Category Archives: Uncategorized

Trying to Run Fast and Eat Slow

The goodness that came in the mail today:

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I’ve already made and tried the Superhero Muffins (delicious!), and the Banana Spelt Bread is cooling and ready for breakfast tomorrow.  I’ve wanted this cookbook since before it was released this summer, but made myself wait until my birthday to get it. I highly recommend Run Fast Eat Slow if you like good food that also happens to be healthy and nourishing. There is a good mix of drinks (smoothies, tea lattes, etc.), snacks, salads and light meals, main entrees, and treats. And that’s not all! I sound like an infomercial. Seriously though, every recipe looks awesome.

On the workout front, I’ve been keeping up with my normal running routine, although I’ve subbed in a track workout every other week in place of my tempo run. I think it’s super important to have one faster or challenging workout per week.  Although I take some time off a couple times of year from all speed work (usually after my December half marathon and after the end of the local racing season), for most of the year I include a tempo run in my weekly schedule. My 5k times have improved with just a weekly tempo run, and I think tempo workouts have an even greater impact on longer races – the 5 mile, 10k and half marathon.

During and just before my racing season, I will substitute a track workout for a tempo run every other week. I like doing 5k paced track workouts because my coach makes makes me do them they help me to lock in my pace during a 5k race, give me confidence that I can run fast, and also help me to get faster. However, as Bill likes to say, “the track giveth and the track taketh away.” My body (especially my feet) take a beating from the combination of regular track workouts and races. So I try to limit my time on the track to key times during the year.

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“The track giveth and the track taketh away.”

Racing! Although I missed the first race in the local series this year (we were in Chicago in August), I was able to run the September race which was the Rock N Run 5k in Casselberry. I’ve always liked this race, mostly because there are no brick streets. I ran a 21:37 (6:57 pace) which I was very happy with. Four seconds faster than last year’s race, and my new PR for chipped races. I am also now fairly convinced that I did not run a 21:29 at the July race, as I used the mile marker clocks during the Rock N Run to estimate the distance I ran before I started my watch at the July race. I’m pretty sure it was a bit longer than the two seconds I previously estimated. Obsess much?

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The splits for miles 1-3 are  actually slightly faster than each of those splits during the July race. That’s something!

My last bit of workout news is that I’m back on the strengthening train again. Twice a week for the past month. For real. I’ve started doing the workouts at the gym instead of at home and it’s made a big difference for me in terms of convenience, liking it more, and making it a more challenging workout. There is a lot more space, and all of the equipment I need is there – a better variety of weights for different exercises, a step to elevate my legs for some of the abdominal work and an exercise ball that is not half deflated (or my kids’ hopping ball with a handle on the top of it, also half deflated). The best part is, I discovered that I actually kind of like going to the gym. So that’s been kind of fun to discover. Oh, and I’m getting stronger. My planks have gotten longer and my single leg squats are so much easier than they used to be. I need to figure out how to go lower without hurting my knees or add some weights next time. Progress! I guess some consistency in strength training actually makes you stronger. Weird.

Ok, that’s enough for now. Bill’s sofrito chicken and arroz con gandules have been simmering for the last 90 minutes and everything smells so good. I can’t wait to scrape the overcooked rice from the bottom of the pot. Does anyone else do that? It’s the best part!

Which do you prefer, track workouts or tempo workouts?

Favorite strengthening exercise?

Favorite cookbook or recipe source?

Rounding out the summer

Greetings! Is it fall yet? I dream of jeans and sweaters and manageable hair. Meanwhile, some of us take this heat in stride.

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This last part of summer was busy but good. One went to a five night sleep away camp for the first time. I was supportive of her signing up, but when it came time for her to go, I surprised myself with how anxious I was about letting her go. For so many reasons that I won’t share lest you think I’m a complete crazy lady.

All I can think of is The Parent Trap. They also had an Arapahoe cabin.
All I can think of is The Parent Trap. They also had an Arapahoe cabin.

One day when we were all home, I took the girls to a community yoga class early one morning at the lovely East End Market. I loved this morning – sharing my love of yoga with my girls. Also, Two is totally down with crow pose. Like it’s no big deal.

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yogis

I’m a little obsessed with strawberry rhubarb, oh, EVERYTHING. I made a crumble and we devoured it in less than 24 hours. So the girls made another one. On their own. Completely impressed.

the making
the making
ta-da!
ta-da!

One of our most favorite things to do over the summer is to visit my family in Illinois. My parents live about 30 minutes outside of Chicago. We love relaxing at my parents’ house and hanging out with family and friends. I really enjoy not thinking about what to make for dinner every night and taking a cooking break. There is something about Midwest summers that will always make me happy.

The big girls headed up there with my dad a week early, and had the best time getting spoiled by my parents. They loved picking veggies from my mom’s garden, watering pots and pots of flowers, running around their basement (a novel thing for Floridians), swimming and checking out the Lincoln Park Zoo. It really is the little things.

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Love that background!

Meanwhile, Three and I chilled on the porch here at home.

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doll baby

Seriously though, having one child = way harder than having more than one child. I really underestimated how much the girls play together and entertain each other. I’m so grateful for the girls that they have each other, and will have each other for life. I’m also thankful that they have each other for me. Just sayin.’

Bill, Three and I eventually met the rest of the crew for a couple of days with my parents. I loved catching up with family and old friends, and also attending my twentieth high school reunion. I had the best time and I think Bill had a pretty good time too. There is something really cool about reconnecting with friends from high school, middle school and even elementary school. People that knew you before you really even knew yourself. I’ll always feel a special closeness with them.

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Goooooooo Hornets!

The running was also amazing up there. Although it was not as cool as I’d hoped, it felt so nice running without that humidity. Vacation running is one of my favorites. I know that some people look forward to taking time off from running and exercise during vacation, and that is great for them because vacation should be about what you truly find enjoyable and want to do. But I am the opposite. I can’t wait to get out there and run new routes and see new things. Experience different weather and terrain. Explore new areas. I always look forward to running when we travel. It was extra awesome on this trip because I could jump in my parents’ pool after my run. Best cool down ever.

Seen on my run
Seen on my run

A couple things about some of our travel eats. First, the corn on the cob. Fresh from The Farm. I mean, I can’t even. It tastes significantly different than the corn here in Florida. Juicier and way less corny, if that makes sense. Second, Portillo’s chopped salad every day for lunch? Don’t mind if I do. Can we also discuss why Orlando does not have a Standard Market? Overpriced (but so super cute) grocery store, maybe. But the Grill? Just plain good, simple food with tons of healthy options (and amazing pizza). Great place to eat a casual dinner with the whole family or pick up a quick meal. Please. Someone open one soon. I’ll be your best customer.

The day after we arrived back home in Orlando (yes, I realize that home is two places) One and Two started school. Yikes! Three started 4 Day preschool this past week. Back to the old grind here. Yay?

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sisters
celebrating/crying on her last first day of preschool
celebrating/crying on her last first day of preschool

Hope your school year is off to a great start!

What was the best part of your summer?

 

Orlando

I had a hunch something was up when I heard the constant hum of two helicopters during my morning run this morning. And then there was the black Tahoe that went speeding by me in the direction of the helicopters, its blue lights flashing. I first heard about it from my neighbors during my post run run with my little girls around the lake. And then I saw video footage from Pulse nightclub…right across from the Einstein’s Bagels I take my kids to for breakfast. And then more footage from Grant Street and Orange Ave, where my Target is, blocked off and full of people hoping to help or make sense of this in some way. City commissioners I know are on national TV, and the Police Chief I often read about in our local paper is giving updates on CNN. Talk of terror, ISIS, hate…and Orlando? There is blood on our sidewalks and our hospitals are on lockdown.

It’s cliche but there are no words. Why? It’s all so awful.

But that is not the Orlando I know. The Orlando I know has room for you whether you live in the city or on the edges of the city or outside of the city or from a different city. It welcomes you whether you came from subsidized housing in Brooklyn (before it was cool) or a comfortable Chicago suburb. Or whether you are from Georgia or England or Puerto Rico or Washington. You have a place here whether you are straight or gay or black or white or brown or purple or pink or green. Whether you are very religious or not at all or somewhere in the middle.

You belong here whether you are covered in Vineyard Vines or tattoos and piercings. Whether you get your food from Whole Foods or Walmart or Second Harvest or the community garden. Whether you are in College Park or Parramore or Thornton Park. You belong here and you are an important part of our community.

It’s cool if you were born here and have lived here as long as the giant oak trees that line our brick streets, but it’s also cool if you just moved here. We love when you bring a part of wherever you lived before to share with us here. Whether you are a Clemons Produce, Charlie’s Bakery or Lake Highland Preparatory School, or a Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, East End Market or Warrior One Yoga – there is room for you here. Orlando is Disney World and Universal and Sea World, and it’s the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Orlando Museum of Art, and Orlando City Soccer. It’s Chik-Fil-A, and 4Rivers and Tako Cheena and NOVA. It’s Starbucks and Credo and Infusion Tea and Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s fundraising walks around Lake Eola, Leu Gardens, 7-Eleven and craft breweries. There’s room here for everyone.

The Orlando I know is about neighbors gathering outside to make sure everyone is ok. The Orlando I know has had to close some of its blood donation centers for the day because so many people came out to donate blood that they ran out of supplies. The Orlando I know responded. And they responded right away in a coordinated way. The Orlando I know is a community that is proud of its city and the people in it. The Orlando I know is not perfect, but it will pull together and be bigger than the people who try to bring it and its people down.

Running Friends

What is it about running friends? Even if you don’t spend a lot of time outside of running with them, they know you. Like really know you. Chances are, they know way more about your digestive health than any other human on the planet. Like what too much wine/cauliflower/butter/ice cream the day before means for your long run that morning. They immediately understand what you mean when you mention that your right hip is nagging at you (again), and whether your foot/knee/butt/back/calf pain is the same or different than the pain you had there eight weeks ago.

Everyone knows who is going to be extra grumpy when meet-up times need to be made earlier (me) or later (Legs and Curls). Who will look forward to cross training on the bike this summer (Legs and Muscles) and dread it (me). Who wants (that’s a strong word) to get some track sessions in (Curls and me) and who would rather run 10 extra miles than step one foot on to the track (Hardcore).

But the bond that running friends share goes beyond knowledge of the obvious physical stuff. There is something about meeting friends to run when you are barely awake and definitely not put together. Before you’ve had a chance to get ready and prepare for the day, both physically and mentally. It’s in those early morning hours before you are “on” and ready to present some version of yourself to the world, when you are just you. Well not *just* you, but you, your true self. That is the person running friends get to see and know, and I think that is why there is a closeness with them that is hard to match after you unlace your running shoes.

My running group has had some pretty intense and personal conversations, and I think it has something to do with being able to be open and genuine because we are our authentic (half asleep) selves when we come together. It may also be because we don’t necessarily share the same social circles outside of running. There’s this sense of closeness yet distance that governs the relationship, which makes it easier to talk openly.

Another important part of the running friend relationship: no kids allowed. You know I love ’em but, really, when is the last time you’ve had a full, let alone deep and meaningful, uninterrupted conversation with them around? The ability to completely focus on what another adult is saying in a relatively quiet space without being pulled on, whined to, stepped on, etc., only happens when I am out on my runs. I’m also not distracted by my phone, and I’m not simultaneously in the middle of (or thinking about) laundry, cleaning the house, making grocery lists, making meals or running errands. It’s just the girls and me out for a run before real life begins.

Now let’s be real – the majority of our conversations are not all that deep, but there’s a bond between running friends that is hard to articulate and replicate.

Speaking of conversations, we had lots of them at a recent running group dinner. We all got together with our husbands to discuss important things like compression leggings,  shopping math and our shared love of brussels sprouts.

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Do you like my inside shoes? Classy.

It was so fun! We had a delicious southern meal that included brisket cooked by Bill on the Egg, baked grits, baked beans, an array of roasted vegetables, and some roasted brussels sprouts* with a balsamic reduction and goat cheese. Dessert included three different varieties of bites made by Mrs. Foodie’s company, Sweets Petit. We had Coconut Pecan, Salted Nut and Cacao Nib and Pistachio Fig bites – sooo good! I also picked up some dark chocolate salted carmel cutie pies from P is for Pie. Also delicious. We do love our food.

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Sweets Petit bestselling coconut pecan bites.

* I just learned that brussels has an “s” on the end of it. Please tell me I’m not the only one!

Do you prefer to run alone or with friends? 

Any insights on running friends you’d like to share? 

 

Florida Hospital Active Kids Summit

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Florida Hospital Active Kids Summit. It was sponsored by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, with the purpose of building a more cohesive local community that is focused on improving the health of our children by encouraging them to move more and sit less (specifically through the public school system) and eat healthier food.

I attended the event on behalf of Recess for all Florida Students, a group that is working to ensure that all Florida elementary schools provide at least 20 minutes of daily recess for all students. The group is led by a few awesome proactive women who, despite their busy lives, are working so hard to fight for recess. After spending last year attempting to work with our local school board, they have spent this year working with legislators at the state level on a bill that would mandate 20 minutes of recess each day for all elementary students. It’s shocking and ridiculous that we have to fight our schools for recess, and it’s even more absurd that the bill FAILED.

In any event, I was asked to attend the Summit on behalf of the group and was ecstatic to have the opportunity to go.

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Agenda for the day

One of the most interesting parts of the day was the Introductory remarks given by Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling (Ret.), who is a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and a senior vice president at Florida Hospital. Prior to his final posting as the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army (2011-2012), he served as the first Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training (2009-2011). The Army had noticed declining health and fitness in its recruits and felt that its basic training needed to be retooled. In 2010, a report titled, “Too Fat to Fight” was released by retired Army generals and admirals and it reported the following shocking (to me) statistic:

“Between 1995 and 2008, the proportion of potential recruits who failed their physicals each year because they were overweight rose nearly 70 percent…”

Read the full article here.

Seventy percent of Army recruits failed their physicals because they were too overweight! This does not include additional recruits who failed simply because they were not fit enough to pass a basic physical fitness test. Want to know what comprised this basic test known as the 1-1-1? One minute of push-ups, one minute of sit-ups and a one mile run. That such large numbers of young Americans could not pass this test or were too overweight to begin with is just frightening. 

Lt. Gen. Hertling believes that there are several reasons for the abysmal and declined health of America’s youth. These reasons include: the phasing out of required daily physical education (P.E.) in schools (a change that occurred in the early nineties), the fact that zero states mandate home economics classes and are therefore largely absent from schools, less time spend in free play (recess, playground and other unorganized activities), an increase in the amount of time children sit in front of a screen, supersized portions of food, and changes in the family structure and parental role.

As I was sitting in the audience, it took everything I had not to jump and yell, “Yes! Thank you! Someone gets it!” It was clear that I wasn’t going to have to explain to this group why daily recess is important…they were on our side and they got it.

I also loved that Lt. Gen. Hertling specifically mentioned Home Economics classes. That HAS gone by the wayside. I mean, it’s not tested on standardized tests so what’s the point, right? Grrrr….a topic for another day. But he is right. The majority of Americans have a lot to learn when it comes to making healthy food choices, learning to cook, learning that anyone can learn to cook, and learning that cooking your meals is not only better for you but can be fun too.

So what are we supposed to do about our increasingly overweight and out of shape youth? Jayne Greenberg, from Miami Dade County Public Schools, who is also a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, gave an awesome presentation about how she is helping her county’s students move in fun and engaging ways. For example, P.E. classes in Miami Dade involve being outside and doing things like geocaching in Florida’s public parks, snorkeling and kayaking. All of this is done through her yearly budget, which is $0. She asks students what types of activities they want to do, applies for grants and works with the community to finance these activities. And she has a county that is committed to supporting active students. She summed up her can-do attitude in four words, “just make it happen.”

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Love this!

Let’s Move! Active Schools is helping to make it happen by streamlining resources, programs, grants and professional development in an effort to make it easier for schools to navigate this area and build a culture of activity. You can register your school to be part of Let’s Move! Active Schools by clicking here.

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The Let’s Move! Active Schools presentation included some interesting (though not surprising) facts. There is scientific proof that children perform better academically after they have been physically active. This is true both immediately following physical activity and when their overall daily physical activity has increased. 

Finally, I learned about some pretty cool resources in our own area which promote a culture of being active and healthy. Best Foot Forward raises awareness with respect to cross walks in an effort to encourage more children to safely walk to school. Fuel Up to Play 60 works to build a supportive community around healthy practices and provides funding for things like playground equipment and P.E. supplies for local schools. The Orlando Magic is promoting an eight week fitness challenge that includes a daily exercise schedule and incentives for children who complete the program. The Edible Education Experience is focused on the nutrition side of healthy kids. They have a huge garden where students can learn about gardening, harvesting food, and cooking. Parents and their children can even take cooking classes together. How cool is that?

As you can see, I absolutely loved my time at the Healthy Kids Summit and was encouraged to hear that there are people in our community who are also concerned about and focused on improving the health of our kids through both nutrition and physical activity.

Does your child’s school have daily recess?

Any cool resources where you live that promote healthy living for kids?

 

My second and last 10k?

A 10k race is hard. You go into a 5k knowing it’s going to hurt, and that stinks, but at least you know it’s going to be over in just a smidge over three miles. A half marathon is long, sure, but it’s not like you are running at full speed for 13 miles. Then there is the 10k. You can still run pretty fast, but you have to keep it up for double the time of your 5k (plus some). So while twenty twoish minutes of pain is manageable for me, forty sixish seemed like an eternity.

According to the VDOT calculator, you don’t get to slack off too much when moving from a 5k to a 10k. I estimated my current 5k time time to be around 22 minutes (a 7:00 pace). I plugged that into the calculator and found that my VDOT number is 44. Accordingly, I knew that I should be able to run a 10k in about 46:09. When I realized that that was about a 7:25 pace, I laughed. Jack Daniels is nuts! I had planned to go out at a 7:40 pace. After talking with my coach, aka my husband, who told me I could definitely (though maybe not easily) run a 7:25 pace for an hour, I decided I’d try to go out at a 7:30 pace and see how I felt.

How I felt was not good. But just simply knowing I WAS capable of maintaining that pace made be believe that I actually could. Even though it was really freaking hard. And the hills! Ok, maybe just one real hill, but it felt like hills. And where did it come from, anyway? Don’t we live in Florida?

My final time was 46:14 (I guess Jack Daniels isn’t nuts after all) with an average pace of 7:26. I was proud of myself for pushing it even though it felt hard and loooong, and also for maintaining a consistent pace which I haven’t done a good job of in the last two races. Per my Garmin, miles 1-6 were all between 7:20-7:26, and the final .28 was a 6:50 pace (my Garmin measured the race distance at 6.28 which brought my average pace down to 7:23 on my watch).

I saw Bill right after I crossed the finish line, and the first words out of my mouth were, “That was terrible and I’m never running a 10k again.”

Famous last words.

 

 

 

 

High Speed Quads, Low Speed Weekend

Hope your Valentine’s Day was everything you expected. Our kids slept in, we enjoyed a leisurely home cooked breakfast and spent some quality family time together. Just kidding. Two was up by 7 and on day two of some icky virus that sort of seems like a mild flu. Bill and I each separately made it out for a morning run so breakfast for the kiddos was cereal. In my defense it was heart cereal. So yeah, pretty much everything we expected.

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Three hopes you had a happy Valentine’s Day

Rewind to Friday night. #fridaynightpizzanight at Anthony’s as usual.

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Photobombed by Three

Big big night. We got our fill of pizza and headed home for an early night of Pinkalicious reading, Nat Geo watching, watch charging and playlist perfecting. We really do lead very exciting lives.

We were up bright and early for Track Shack’s Run 4 Love race on Saturday morning. This was one of the races in the Track Shack series. It was previously a 5k, but was changed this year to a four mile race. Kind of bummer because, while not the most exciting course, it’s a great PR course. It has always been a flat course on all asphalt roads (brick roads are so prevalent in Winter Park and downtown Orlando it’s rare to have a race without them) except for the very end of the race which finishes on a track. I think that running on a track automatically makes you run faster. So fun to finish a race on one!

As always, Track Shack put on a well-organized, well-sponsored, fun race. We typically partake in all of the post-race festivities and stay through the awards ceremony, but we had to run out on Saturday because One and Two both had somewhere (different) to be by 9:30. These crazy kids and their schedules.

Our friends, team Robb-ery, stayed for the awards and sent us the results of the Sole Mate Challenge. The High Speed Quads managed to slide into third.

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I don’t use the term “weak link” often but…

Valentine’s Day got off to a slow start, but One and I spent part of the afternoon breaking in her softball mitt and wandering around the Lake Eola Farmer’s Market. I purposely left my phone at home yesterday afternoon so I could enjoy some undistracted time with One, but I wish I’d taken some pictures of the farmer’s market. Even though we live only a mile from Lake Eola, I typically go to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market on Saturday because they have the best kettle corn in the world (so salty, not overly sweet, huge kernels). Apparently they sell other things there too. But priorities. Anyway, I didn’t make it to Winter Park on Saturday, and was having a fierce craving for kettle corn, so we picked up a second tier bag downtown on Sunday. Wow, the Lake Eola market has really taken off in the past few years with tons of local food and locally grown produce. We’ll be back.

This random post is almost over, don’t worry. I just had to add that Bill finished the bookshelf for One’s room. We moved it in yesterday. Doesn’t it look awesome?

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We will have to sacrifice some furniture in her room to make space for this bookshelf, but totally worth it. This will be filled up in no time. We cannot keep up with our little bookworm and all of her books. 

Bill’s first project was making a table for the Big Green Egg (which he finished staining yesterday – pictures to come soon). This was his second piece of furniture ever. I’m impressed. He uses big saws and real tools and stuff. Quite the woodworker. I’m so proud of him!

Anyone else run a race this weekend?

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

 

Happiness is… and some interesting articles

Happiness is: silly sweaty faces

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Happiness is: homemade flank steak tacos

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Happiness is: taco holders for the aforementioned tacos

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Happiness is: ice cream after school

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Happiness is: holding hands

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Happiness is: jasmime blooming on our fence

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Happiness is: new cute summer sneakers. Check them out here.

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Moving on to some interesting reads:

The first one is “All Women Should Lift Weights.” I saw it a couple of weeks ago and immediately forwarded it to my mom because we are always talking about how we SHOULD be doing more strength training, but our true loves are cardio (walking for her, running for me) and yoga and it’s just so hard to fit everything in. I was inspired to re-incorporate weights into my weekly routine, especially after reading this gem:

One of the top reasons women should lift weights is because women are more prone to bone and joint issues as they age. “The muscle tells the bone where to go, not the other way around,” Thurman says. “As you increase your muscle strength, you’ll improve your posture and support your joints.”

Basically, if you want to keep doing the things you love, you need to start building some muscle. Stat.

I’m happy to say I’ve been going strong (no pun intended:) for two whole weeks now, doing strength exercises twice a week. I’ll post my routine soon. Oh the suspense.

This next article has nothing to do with running or kids or anything related to either of those topics, but I found it interesting so I’m sharing. The Difference Between Being Really Smart…And Being a Genius. Fascinating for a psychology nerd like me:

Most people tend to think of high IQ and genius as virtually the same, but that’s a misnomer. “It’s a nice rubric for people to relate,” Jung says. “And if you’re smart, facile, quick, you’re going to be able to successfully solve problems 95 percent of the time.”

However, the ability to solve the rare problem is what separates smart from genius. “There are different networks in the brain that seem to engage in deductive reasoning, and those networks that are bigger, stronger and faster win the day most of the time,” Jung says. “Creativity, though, is the other network. It is slower, and allows for all the processes to run together. You’re figuring out how things might work with abstraction, metaphor.”

Jung calls creativity “the secret sauce” of genius, which leverages intelligence. “These two reasoning processes are highly adaptive, but the ability to think outside the box with creativity, through abductive reasoning, is key,” he explains.

Basically, raw intellect + creativity + passion + motivation + interaction + luck = genius. Genius.

What’s making you happy right now?

What is your favorite strength training exercise?

Do you have any geniuses in your life?