Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Change of Scenery

Happiest of Saturdays to you, blends!

I want to thank you for each and every time you visited my little corner of the blogosphere, even if today is your first visit. Your comments, texts, tweets, and emails have taught me so much more than I expected over the past ten months. I have come to truly love the experience of blogging, and I can only hope that you have enjoyed reading. I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you my big news...
Girl Emerging is moving! The crazy stories, fitness blunders, dietary experiments, and thinking aloud are all the same -- just at a new location. Now you can find me at SarcasmWithaSideofVeggies. The new site is still under construction, but I couldn't wait any longer to unveil it!
You can still email me here:
Tweet me here: @girl_emerging
And please feel free to continue reading and commenting here! I'll be checking back regularly as I make the transition :)
Thank you for making my first blogging experience and location incredibly memorable and educational! I hope you'll keep up with me at Sarcasm with a Side of Veggies!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brand-Spankin'-Unexpected PDR + Big News!

Happy, happy, happy Friday, blends!
I have several pieces of news to share with you this morning.
First, yesterday I accomplished a personal distance record I thought was a bit further down the road (pun intended) than it actually was.
Wednesday night, I wondered to myself whether I could do 5 miles on the treadmill. Five miles is a lot for someone who's farthest distance to date was 4 miles -- and that had been a stretch the few times I had accomplished it.
Thursday morning, I woke up with renewed enthusiasm. Why had I been so pessimistic? The worst that could happen would be a shorter run than I had planned. I prepped well by eating a wholesome breakfast, and then a quinoa bowl for lunch. I felt mentally prepared and well-fueled as I left for the gym. I settled in on my favorite treadmill, Toddlers and Tiaras keeping me company. I don't know about the rest of you runners out there, but I can't run a "long" distance or a new PDR without some sort of distraction.
Before I knew it, I had 2 miles under my belt, then 3... and then 4. Just one more mile, and I'd have reached my goal. Actually, just 0.01 more miles and I was at a new PDR. I marveled to myself how incredible I felt throughout the run; my blood sugar didn't drop, my heel didn't bother me (excessively), my knees didn't feel weak or unsteady, I wasn't experiencing chafing or irritation.
I had to ask myself, Why did I think five miles wasn't within my grasp?
I can't even explain the feeling of rounding that 5-mile mark. I was incredulous all day long. I texted pictures of the treadmill stats to both of my parents and to Ian. I was also surprised that I accomplished my goal in less time than I had anticipated. When I began the run, I set a 1-hour goal for myself, at just under an 11:30/mile pace. I reached five miles at 57 minutes and 40 seconds -- by far one of my proudest fitness accomplishments. To many, my pace probably seems downright sluggish, but the feeling of completing a new PDR is the same every time: it's as though I've just crossed the marathon finish line.
Of course, Ian was none too happy with me for not only not heeding his sage advice, but for attempting a new PDR on a (possibly) injured foot. Well, today I don't feel any the worse for wear, and my attitude is at its prime. I'd say that's a pretty good reward :)
My second piece of news is something I can't share with you just yet. There's something BIG coming to the blog, and I absolutely cannot wait to share it with you! Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How to Make Someone's Day

Step 1: Say something kind and unexpected.
End of list.
Last night, one of my classmates absolutely made my day. She literally stayed late after class to tell me that she noticed I had lost weight. She asked me if I was on a diet, and I told her no, that I was running and eating more cleanly. We didn't have a lengthy conversation, just a few words and she was on her way.
It literally made my entire day that not only did she pay me such a nice compliment, she stayed late, after almost everyone had left, to tell me in quieter quarters that she thought I looked good. I was beaming.
I'll be honest, folks. It doesn't take much to make my day. I don't need to be bought a $200 dinner (but feel free!) or showered with pricey gifts. Over time, I've learned to appreciate the little things in life. To me, those are the most meaningful.
I'm a sucker for one of my favorite movies unexpectedly being on TV. Sheets and towels fresh out of the dryer. A guy holding the door open for me. Four-leaf clovers. A wildly inappropriate joke. A phone call from family or friends. Snail mail. A bowl of ice cream with all the fixin's. Earning an "A" on even the smallest assignment. You get the picture. It's neither expensive nor difficult to make my day. Others are likely the same way.
So go ahead. Make someone's day today :) There's nothing more beautiful than genuine altruism.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What the Heel

I can't even begin to tell you how many runner-bloggers' posts I've read about injuries suffered, physical therapy sessions attended, doctors' appointments made, hiatuses taken, and pieces of advice offered. I've suffered a few boo-boos myself, between bruising my knee (and my ego), experiencing unexplained knee pain (and here and here), and suffering a very painful ear infection. Hazards of the trade, I suppose. Well, apparently I'm made of glass, because my heel has been bothering me since the Vinton 5k.

I'll back up a bit. After Dad and I finished the 5k, our family headed to the pancake breakfast. I didn't realize how tight my muscles already were until I stood up after breakfast and I found I was incredibly sore. I can definitely attribute this to not stretching before the race, running in the cold on pavement, and not stretching after the race. Triple oops. I don't normally stretch before or after running because I don't normally have stiffness, soreness, or tightness. That being said, I don't normally run outdoors in 40-degree weather. Anyway...

The morning after the 5k, my right heel was pretty tender. There was no swelling or visible bruising, but it hurt to apply pressure or stand on it immediately after I got out of bed. That's the way it's been every morning since.

I've never experienced pain after a rest before. When I was experiencing knee pain, I recuperated from rest, and experienced pain during and after exercise. I'm having a hard time explaining this... It's also hard to describe exactly where the pain is:
Someone offered me an explanation of plantar fasciitis (but the pain isn't the bottom of my foot); someone else offered the possibility of a stress fracture (I probably wouldn't be able to walk normally, much less run). Ian, my MD-to-be, suggested RICE -- rest, ice, compression, elevation. Call me a total idiot, but I don't like the sound of any of it.

I took Friday off from the gym, spent most of Saturday walking all over Appomattox, and rested all day Sunday. Yesterday, I blew it all off and went for a short 20-minute run around my neighborhood. Brilliant, A.K. Looks like for the next few days, I'll finally be heeding my boyfriend's advice and working on my upper-body strength training... *sigh*

Besides the obvious -- Suggestions? Recommendations? Possibilities?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Orthorexia: There's a Name for Everything

My mom sent me this Dear Abby on Friday:
(My apologies for the photo; my scanner was acting screwy this morning)
Ironically, my friend and sorority sister, Colleen, blogged about this same issue a few days ago, from the perspective of those who are burned out on others pretending to have developed lactose or gluten intolerance, and those who have a burning desire to share with the Web every uber-healthy morsel they consume.
Turns out there's a name for everything.
At the risk of sounding like a Psyc-101 freshman here, I wonder aloud how this new condition, termed orthorexia, or the "psychological obsession with eating healthy," has touched my life. And not in a positive way. I truly appreciated Colleen's post because it caused me to take two giant steps back to see how my lifestyle and my choices affect those around me. (Am I making a positive or a negative impact?)
It's all too easy to fall victim to the slippery slope of look-Ma-I've-finally-decided-that-vegetables-are-good-for-me, segueing into look-everyone-I-ate-my-allotted-soy-protein-powder-gluten-free-morning-meal. The more Instagram pictures of dressing-free salads are posted, the more pressure there is to count calories, question every bite, and overanalyze the "nutritional" quality of each meal. This doesn't just apply to women, either. There are a number of Twitter accounts I recently discontinued following because they made me feel bad about myself and the foods I chose to put into my body. I follow several well-known registered dieticians (RDs) and fitness gurus whose glistening abs remind me on the daily that I'm not doing nearly enough to tone, tighten, and trim. (Or am I?)
If you've been reading Girl Emerging for awhile, you know that for the past year, I've made serious changes in my diet, eating habits, fitness regimen, and lifestyle. I've been blogging and Tweeting about my progress and new developments as a way of logging experiments, challenges, triumphs, concerns, and queries. In terms of weight loss and exercise, I've been feeling out what works best for me, and then sharing it with you.
I stopped in my tracks to ask myself:
Is the message I send others about my "diet" one of health and wholeness, or one of negativity and obligation?
Is the snapshot I display of my intense workout going to inspire or injure?
Am I being true to myself and my values along my weight-loss journey and my lifestyle makeover?
Do my family and friends enjoy conversing with me about the changes I've made, or do they wish I'd shove another carrot in my pie hole and stop babbling?
Colleen's blog post and the Dear Abby article have given me a lot to consider in terms of the impact I am making on those around me. I don't want to create an impression of intolerance or disgust with others' food and exercise choices. I don't want to lose friends or cause people to be turned off by my life decisions in the pursuit of a healthier, more holistic life. To be cliche, at the end of the day, I want to live a life fueled by health and happiness, and I want my friends and family by my side to share in that.
P.S. Have you heard of orthorexia? Is there someone who has impacted your health-related life decisions?

Edited to add: My mom did not send me this article because she believes I have orthorexia or any related condition; she sent me the article for the sake of awareness and out of curiosity about whether I had heard of the condition. Thank you for your concern and your positive responses to this post!