I Run Races But I Dislike Running

I completed my first Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on Sunday. My first race in my own city! I now have three half marathons, one ten miler, and a Spartan Sprint under my belt, with 5Ks and 10Ks sprinkled in as well. And I foresee more races in my future (a marathon perhaps???), but I don’t love running. I don’t even like it. I actively dislike it.

So why do I spend hundreds thousands of dollars on races and traveling to said races? Why do I mentally torture myself to train (or really, not train) before each one? Why do I spend hours doing an activity I don’t like?

There are a few reasons:

  1. I like the “day of” race event. Not the running. That part royally sucks, especially when it means an hour or two out on the course without stopping. But I enjoy taking pictures with my friends, pumping each other up, swapping music ideas, discussing post-race plans, or figuring out our pace to run together. I always do races with people – my gym squad (#6amCPcrew), my boyfriend, my DC friends, my besties from home – because it makes it more enjoyable to wake up at an ungodly hour, potentially in the cold, to run a race I paid for months prior.
  2. I like feeling accomplished. Crossing the finish line feels amazing. Each time I run a race, I’m somewhat amazed that I’ve done it. Years ago, I couldn’t fathom doing intense workouts outside of tennis practice. And I sure as hell did not feel the need to run more than the forced gym one miler. During my first half in February 2017, I wasn’t sure I would make it. During my second half in November 2017, I was amazed at my PR. During my third half in February 2018, I ignored my longer running time because I ran with a foot I injured 3 weeks before. Each time, I had a different reason to feel accomplished, and each time it felt really good. That feeling wipes away all of the disdain I feel during the actual race.
  3. I like testing my mental fortitude. I’m not saying I’m the fittest person ever, but I regularly workout and (usually) eat pretty well. In the last three years, I’ve lost weight and changed my lifestyle, so I know I can physically go out and jog 13.1 miles with minimal training. I’ve done it (three times to be exact). And while I’m not the fastest, I get it done, and in pretty decent time if I do say so myself. So the hardest part is not the physical activity, it’s keeping my mind in check. It’s easy for me to say “Brynn, you’re not doing great. Let’s stop” or “Come on girl, everything hurts. Time to walk” when I really am just bored and / or feeling achy. When I can force my brain to listen to my ratchet AF playlist and not my internal mean thoughts, that’s a win. Now the next step is figuring out how to keep my mind positive during 26.2 miles, if I decide to try it! (LOL who am I?)
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First half marathon! Disney Princess Half (February 2017)

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First Spartan Sprint, three days post-China trip! (June 2017)

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Second half marathon! Disney Super Heroes Half (November 2017)

Have Yourself a Healthy Little Christmas

Christmas is just a few days away, and I am scrambling to eat healthy AF before I head home for the festivities. I know I’m not alone in this. I even did a juice cleanse one day last week (to my nutritionist’s dismay) and it felt good for five seconds, but it isn’t sustainable and it really wasn’t that healthy (“a whopping 152 grams of sugar!” she said. “holy shit!” I said).

Therefore, I am refocusing – continuing my road to a healthy lifestyle (because diets don’t work long term). I will try to remain consistent over the holidays – continuing to workout and eating well in between the prosecco and the Christmas cookies. Below are some strategies, recipes, and products I am going to try so that I am healthy and happy during the holidays, and not angry and deprived!

Move Every. Damn. Day. Whether it’s a full-fledged workout at a fitness studio or 10 minute at-home HIIT or even some squats and pushups in between cooking Christmas dinner, it counts. I already have time set up to do Crossfit with my aunt, and I’ve called LA Fitness to get a guest pass for a few days. I may build in a run, I may do some BBG at home – we’ll see! But I will make sure to get some movement in. Not just to burn unwanted calories, but because it feels good!

Pick and Choose. I am going to consume red wine and prosecco and cookies throughout the holiday. That is for certain. However, I also know that being home Thursday to Wednesday means I can’t binge every single day. I will not feel good during or after the holidays if I do. Therefore, I am going to pick and choose. Friday night party with my best friends? Wine, please. Christmas eve prosecco? Hell yes. Christmas day cookies? I think so. In between, I’ll hit the gym, and continue eating high fat / moderate protein / low carb foods.

Find an Alternative. While I’m down to splurge this holiday weekend, I’m also looking for alternatives, because I KNOW there are amazing, yummy, healthy foods I can make / consume! Example: on Christmas morning, I like waking up and making hot chocolate before opening my gifts from Santa 🙂 This year, I am going to make Four Sigmatic Mushroom Hot Cocoa with Cordyceps with Vital Proteins collagen peptides. I’m hoping I love it. It’s delicious and nutritious way to start the day (and festive and fun!). I’m also looking into great healthier alternatives to Christmas foods! May also try to cook or bake some healthier versions of Christmas staples (here, here, and here). But Domestic Goddess I am not, so we’ll see how that goes (sorry to my boyfriend, and to my ancestors…). I’ll keep you updated!

Remember, you can still enjoy yourself AND add in some healthy options. As my nutritionist says, remember to “stay strong, focused on your goals, and aware of your choices!”.

Happy (healthy)  holidays!

XOXO,

Brynn

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IMG_6407 My gift from my gym’s annual “sockret santa”. Will be worn on Christmas Day 🙂

 

 

Staying on Track During Thanksgiving

Well, damn. It’s been some time since I’ve been here. If you saw my Insta story on Sunday, you know I’ve had a few weeks of feeling really down – about work, about fitness, about nutrition, about my body…the list goes on. But, I’m back! It’s time to stop feeling sorry for myself. And time to be grateful for all I have. And this is the perfect week to (re)start that mentality, after all, it’s about giving thanks!

Below is an article I wrote for my office’s wellness committee last week that is relevant to the time of year, but also how I’m feeling in general.

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, and for spending time with family and friends. But let’s be honest, it’s also about the meal. Whether you love your nana’s homemade stuffing, Aunt Carol’s sweet potato casserole, or that pecan pie that has been in the family for generations, Thanksgiving is not known for being low calorie, low sugar, or portion-controlled. Therefore, many people often struggle with food guilt, the food coma, and wondering what or how much to eat. Follow some (or all) of these tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal and still stay on track:

Don’t Skip Breakfast

Skipping the AM meal(s) to save your appetite will only lead to a [insert favorite food here] binge session at the dinner table (e.g. four helpings of nana’s stuffing). Instead, make sure to eat a breakfast containing protein and fat to stay satiated while finishing up the preparation activities. Good options located here and here.

Get in a Workout

Get the family outside and throw around the ‘ole pigskin, or participate in a local Turkey Trot 5k. If that’s not your family’s style, go for a walk (alone or with willing participants), or hit up your favorite fitness class in the morning. Mom won’t miss you too much for an hour (or less)!

Participate in the Meal Prep

Healthy doesn’t have to be bland, and yummy doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Offer to prepare a side or dessert (or both!) that is delicious and nutritious. It’s an easy way to be helpful while also ensuring there are some actually healthy options on the table, not the “seemingly healthy but actually very bad” items (lookin’ at you green bean casserole). See here, here, and here for lighter recipes.

Hydrate

With WATER, not just mulled wine or hot apple cider. Make sure to take in eight glasses (or more) of H20 throughout the day, and drink a glass prior to sitting down for the main meal. This will prevent you from mistaking thirst for hunger pangs. It will also help you refrain from overeating (think “eyes bigger than stomach”).

 Cut Yourself Some Slack

Enjoy the day. After all, it is one day (minus the yummy leftovers. See healthy options for post-Thanksgiving here). Remember to be grateful for your family and friends, for your health, your job, your dog, etc. Drink some fancy red wine, eat the mashed potatoes and gravy, and remember that you will get back on track. Don’t let food guilt bring your down this Thanksgiving. It will only make you stressed, and less likely to enjoy the holiday.

See other healthy Thanksgiving tips here! I hope you found this helpful!

Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

XOXO,

Brynn

The (Sober) Life of the Party

I recently posted a tweet by Chance the Rapper on my Instagram (reposted from Spiritual Gangster) that not only hit home for me, but with followers, and some of my friends too. There seems to be a constant pressure to be “the life of the party” or “the drunk girl dancing on a table”…unsuitable surfaces if you will (shout out to sorority sisters). I’ve learned that it’s not only possible, but OKAY to have fun without food and alcohol – either by being the “odd girl out” at a party or by choosing to have fun a different way.

To be completely honest, I haven’t mastered this yet.

To be completely, completely honest, I’m in Santa Fe for a wedding, and pondering 1. how / when I will indulge, 2. how I can still “have fun”, 3. how I will not be a “Debbie Downer”

Just wanted to level the playing field. Gotta keep it real, ya know?

HOWEVER, I will say that I have made some serious strides in the last few years. I used to be baffled by weekends without drinking. Brunch is what you do in DC (between museums and monuments and rooftop bars). When I started at my gym, a coach told me to find other things to do. I realized that hanging with friends was always surrounded by drinking or eating. Eventually, I started to take long walks in beautiful DC with friends, try a new museum, or check out a hiking spot. That slowly transitioned into me being able to go to happy hours and brunches and make a game time decision about what I wanted to do. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t drink or indulge (#prosecco #chocolate), I just pick and choose when I want to consume it, and how much.

What I’ve learned is…if I don’t groan about it (which I often still do) 1. I still have fun, and 2. most people don’t know or care what I’m doing (apparently the world doesn’t revolve around me always???)

PRO TIP: Sip on club soda (+ lime, lemon, orange, etc.) or nurse a drink during the night. Get your dance on, be the jokester, hold court at the end of the table…just continue to BE YOURSELF.

I hope this helps anyone trying to live his or here #bestlife while striving to reach goals! Just know you’re not alone, it’s possible to have fun soberly, and if you don’t make a big deal about it, you’re most likely golden. And if people have a problem with it, share the Chance the Rapper quote (that’s both facetious and not).

Additionally, check out the wellness trends of 2017 from one of my favorite sites, Well + Good (specifically #9 and #13).

XOXO,

Brynn