Happy Tuesday: Weekly Update

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Leaf Angel!

Hello everybody, happy tuesday! Time for a weekly update. My first week back at home has been wonderful! It’s been a great combination between relaxing (and recovering from the uber stressful previous 6 months) and productive as I take steps to figure out what my next steps are. I met with a career counselor last week and had fun taking a number of personality, value, and career tests. I think I’m going to really enjoy this process of discovering my path. I also started doing some research on different types of life coaching and the steps that I would need to take if I wanted to be a coach. I also spoke with Victoria Moran who is an inspirational speaker, corporate spokesperson, certified holistic health counselor, certified life coach, vegan lifestyle coach, and founder/ director of Main Street Vegan Academy, about how she got to where she is today and about the steps  I would need to take if I wanted to pursue a similar career. Additionally, both yesterday and today I am attending an online conference hosted by Jacob Sokol called I Kinda Wanna Be A Coach. Hopefully by the end of this I’ll have a bit of a better understanding about what the job might entail and if it’s something I want to further explore.

Some of the things I’ve been loving this week:

Riding my bike everywhere!

It’s the best. I love getting out early and riding in the cool fresh air, feeling the sun on my face in the afternoon, and getting to watch the sunset every evening.

The fall leaves

The are so incredibly beautiful! I can’t get enough of them. Yesterday after my run I just laid down in them and made leaf angels (see the picture above).

Running

I finally have time to run again!!! I have missed it so much. It’s definitely a bit of an uphill climb to get back into shape (I’m always amazed at how much it hurts to run when you haven’t been running for a while) but I’m slowly getting back into it. Every day I can feel my legs have a bit more spring in them and my lungs are slightly more adjusted. I’ve decided to start a winter streak in order to motivate myself to keep running even when its a bit tough. For those who don’t know, “a streak” is a term used by runners to describe a commitment they’ve made to run at least one mile every day. As long as you follow through with your commitment you keep the streak going. One fay missed though and the streak is broken.

Researching

I finally have time to do all the research my little heart desires. I absolutely love learning and have missed academics so much these past few months. Last weekend I went to The Green Festival in San Francisco where I purchased two great books on nutrition by Brenda David, RD, and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD, Becoming Vegan: the everyday guide to plant-based nutrition and Becoming Raw: the essential guide to raw vegan diets. They are both chock full of information and have given me plenty to sink my teeth into.

photo-6Oh, and go check out my latest post on my health blog, www.naturallywholesome.wordpress.com. I provide the recipe for a super yummy tea and describe all the health benefits associated with it.

 

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Why Do You Run?

Running With Music, a blog for people who love running and love music (what could be better, right?!) recently asked their followers to answer the question “Why Do You Run?” I really like this. Although I’ve been running forever I’ve never really thought about the reasons I do it, other than “I like it.” So I thought about it for a bit and here are the answers I came up with.

I run because…

1. I can’t get enough of the outdoors, especially when it’s sunny
2. There’s nothing better than a runners high
3. It makes me feel great (during, immediately after, and for the rest of the day)
4. You can eat soooo much yummy food after a long run. hahah
5. It gives you beautifully built legs
6. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people
7. It’s de-stressing
8. It teaches me about myself (physically, emotionally, mentally)
9. It’s a constant challenge and is a way of proving myself
10. It makes me feel strong

Today’s Theme: Changing Gears

To give my legs a break from all the running I’ve been doing recently I decided to mix it up and go biking as a bit of cross training. It’s crazy how your body can get used to one particular sport, and no matter how in shape you are for that activity, you can feel completely inadequate when attempting something different. Needless to say, the hills of the normal loop that I ride seemed much steeper than I remembered them to be. I felt like a slug slowly crawly up the mountain of asphalt ahead of me. A few minutes into my ride though I got used to my steady pace and rather than focusing on how slowly I was going or on how much my legs burned, I started focusing on small improvements that I made throughout my ride. Actually managing to gain enough speed to create some wind became a huge success and psyched me up for the next challenge. The biggest moral booster of all was when I actually passed someone while going up a hill!! Granted it was very tiny compared to all the others, but we’re ignoring that fact. All I needed to do was switch gears, both figuratively and literally, for my workout to take on a totally different vibe. Once I shifted down and changed my focus from being the fastest to simply improving upon my own abilities, I turned my ride into something that was not only a manageable, but also enjoyable. Each incline was a new challenge and I played a game with myself every time I reached the base of a new hill; how quickly could I move my legs and what gear did I need to be in in order to get up the hill as efficiently as possible. 

 In addition to my biking adventure, today was also the first time I took my brother’s stick shift out on my own. I’ve spent the last few days learning to drive his car and today was the first time I felt comfortable enough to hit the streets solo. I spent most of my time driving up and down fairly crowded streets, which meant LOTS of gear changes.  The constant speed up, slow down, and stop action forced me to practice flipping from third to second then back to third again depending on how fast traffic was moving. This was something I’d never done before, having only previously practiced shifting up then all the way down to come to a full stop. I think I managed it fairly well (not to toot my own horn or anything). I found that as long as I remained calm and focused on feeling the engine, rather than staring at the numbers, I instinctively knew what to do. I only stalled once all day!! And that was just because I was accidentally in gear 3 instead than gear 1 when starting up again after a stoplight; an easy mistake that anyone could make.

So in summary, today was definitely an example of how a slight change of gears, both physically and mentally, can be the difference between success and failure, between fun and frustration, or between ease and struggle. Sometimes all you need to do is calm down, try taking a different approach, and see what results follow. 

Tom Sawyer Camp Trail

This morning I decided to check out a new trail that I heard was supposed to be beautiful, peaceful, and a long-time hot-spot for runners, bikers, hikers, and anyone looking to get outdoors and enjoy both the sun and a little physical activity.  The place was called Tom Sawyer Camp Trail and is located along Skyline Boulevard in Burlingame, Ca. Since the early hours of the day are by far my favorite time to run, I decided to get myself up with the sun in order to get out there and start moving while the air was still fresh and the natural world still waking up.  I was surprised by how many runners were already there when I arrived at just passed 8:00. Seeing so many people made me even more excited to start running though. Everyone was happy to be there and eager to get their blood pumping. As I started down the trail, I immediately understood why this place was so popular. The path was paved, making for an easy run since there was no need to worry about tripping over rocks or roots. The view from the trail out over the Crystal Springs Reservoir was fantastic. I’ve always thought this body of water combined with the surrounding wooded area formed one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Bay Area, but I never realized it was possible to get down below the road and to run alongside the water. I wish I had had my phone with me so that I could have taken some pictures. The water was a brilliant blue and perfectly complemented the rich green of the surrounding woods. The trail itself weaved in and out of the trees. This provided a good balance between shaded and open ground. It also kept the scenery interesting and varied. The entire trail is about 6.5 miles, meaning that it’s long enough for nearly all levels of runners to get a good workout. If you ran from one end to the other, then turned around and came back you would have essentially completed a half marathon! Each half-mile is marked by signs, allowing you to easily run your intended distance even if you didn’t bring any fancy GPS equipment with you. Overall, I give the place a huge thumbs up. Trail running is such a great way to keep workouts interesting and this trail is definitely a gem.