The Little Things
June 21, 2016

So  there’s been a total lack of running talk on this blog since my 8 hilly miles post in the middle of March. That training run was most ideal, and all I needed to do after that run was go to Mexico and do a few short runs and I was set for the Carmel Half Marathon in April. Obviously things didn’t go as planned.

I felt great after that run, and really felt great for the next 12 days. I was doing a lot of physical work in Mexico, on my feet all day, and everything felt fine, until Thursday of that week.

I was in the squatting position for several hours that day as I was weeding outside, and I remember feeling sore that day. I also got attacked by ants, so that didn’t help as both my feet swelled up a bit. The next day I was out walking, and ended up having to sit down several times in the street because my foot hurt to bad. Not ideal.

I came back and figured that if I rested for the week I could get a run in that weekend, but by that Saturday morning I figured that I needed to just rest it and I’d be fine. Not so, my friends. I obvious DNS’d the half marathon, which was aggravating as I completed the full training cycle.

I did the whole R.I.C.E thing for about 6 weeks, and it was still aggravating me, so I finally got myself to a physical therapist. My suspicions were confirmed- I have Achilles tendinitis- boooo! As I started compensating for that, my posterior tibial tendinitis that flared back in 2013 flared up a bit again too. NO FUN!

I’ve been doing PT exercises for the past few weeks, and that seems to have helped! I walked 2.75 miles this Saturday (with KTape on), and had no pain while walking or after walking. The morning was beautiful in downtown Indy.

body glide

(Disclaimer: I received this body glide for free to review as part of being a BibRavePro Ambassador)

The body glide came just in time for my morning walk. As a sidenote- I walked to a Dunkin Donuts for coffee (1.1 miles there) only to discover it didn’t open for another hour. Booo! I was really looking forward to that iced coffee!

Anyways- back to the topic at hand. I haven’t run since the middle of March, and it’s the longest I’ve gone without running ever… well, at least since I started running in 2011. It was pretty sad at first, and while there are days that I miss it, my schedule has also gotten used to extra free time. I am eager to run again, and am hoping that I’ll be able to run by my birthday. For now, I continue to ice massage, use KTape while exercising, and do my PT exercises regularly.

Fingers crossed I’ll be running a bit by August!

 

 

June 20, 2016

I’m so excited to tell you a little about the book When Breath Becomes Air. I heard about the book several months ago, and immediately added it to my “to read” shelf on good reads. I ended up reading it last week during a flight (yes- in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down), and I’ll tell you that the ending to the book, especially the epilogue, had me in tears. Yes. I was that person sitting on a plane crying while reading- yikes.

When Breath Becomes Air is written by Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgery chief resident who was diagnosed with lung cancer. From the start of the book, we learn that he passed away in 2015, so I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this. This book is his personal memoir of facing death. He lets the reader in to his wrestling on how to live well when looking death in the face, on how to suffer well.

When breath becomes air

Here are a few quotes that stood out to me:

“Lucy and I both felt that life wasn’t about avoiding suffering.”

“The tricky part of illness is that, as you go through it, your values are constantly changing. You try to figure out what matters to you, and then you keep figuring it out. It felt like someone had taken away my credit card and I was having to learn how to budget. You may decide you want to spend your time working as a neurosurgeon, but two months later, you may feel differently. Two months after that, you may want to learn to play the saxophone or devote yourself to the church. Death may be a one-time event, but living with terminal illness is a process.”

This book deeply moved me, and I’m so thankful that people had so strongly encouraged me to read Paul’s story. The book ends with an epilogue written by his wife, since Paul didn’t live long enough to finish his own story. But that’s the beauty of life with our loved ones: when we pass away, our loved ones carry our story on for us, and this book does it beautifully.

If you’re looking for more book suggestions, check out my book reviews page.

May 23, 2016

I’m someone who can tend to overbuy/over collect things in order to hold onto experiences or make sure that I remember something. I’m naturally more sensory based (for my Myers Briggs Type, I’m a Sensor), and because of that, having things I can see and touch can seem essential to making memories.

While some of this really is true (for example, when I see my tiny owl statue next to my TV, I smile and remember the trips to Greece that I’ve taken), I have also realized that I don’t need multiple things to remember an experience by.

This point was driven home when I was listening to The Minimalists podcast (I think it was #6 “Tuesdays”); they said “Our memories aren’t in our things. They are in us.” I stopped and listened to it again. Our memories aren’t in our things. Woah. Of course our things don’t completely hold memories.

So I started to wrestle with the balance between what I hold onto and why. What did I need to job my memory and remind me of those happy times, and where did it become excessive.

Our Memories Are In Us

This quote was in my mind a lot recently when I went back to Mexico. Especially when I travel, I’m tempted to buy a lot of things so I don’t forget. The thing is, though, that over the last year since the first time I went to Mexico, I’ve remembered it a lot, and it’s not because it’s a thing in front of me. I remember it because it was important, because it challenged me, because it’s changing the way I live my life. That memory is stored within me. So as I walked around the markets and small shops throughout the week, I reminded myself “Our memories are within us, not within our things”. I enjoyed looking at the items, taking some mental pictures, enjoying the cultural experience, and then I walked away.

In fact, the only thing I purchased this year in Mexico was a small thing of Mexican candy that I enjoy and a small bag of coffee to bring home and enjoy. in that way, I can enjoy a sensory experience that reminds me of the trip, but then I use it up and it doesn’t take up space for years and years.

And you know what? I am remembering this year’s trip the same way now as if I had purchased several things while there, because my memories are within me.

This feels really difficult for me to embrace at times, but I’m challenging myself and am seeing progress. That’s what matters.

May 22, 2016

Disclaimer: I received a SPIBELT to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews! 

Hydration is SO important while exercising, so I was excited to try SPIbelt’s hydration belt!

SPIbelt

I’ve been a HUGE fan of SPIbelt for years, as my dad got one for me almost as soon as I started running, and I’m so glad that he did! This hydration belt just takes it that much further.

In full disclosure- I haven’t run in this belt, as I’m injured. But, since I’ve run in their belts before, I can tell you that the bounce is very low with these belts, and they stay really well in their place. This belt has a thick band, and it’s incredibly comfortable to wear. The pouch in the back is excellent for carrying your essentials on the run. It looks small but it stretches a good amount, so I have no problem putting my ID, phone, keys, and a small snack in the pouch. Impressive, right?

SPIbelt

I’ve been wearing my belt on walks, as it’s SUCH a convenient hands-free way to hydrate. However, as with a lot of other exercise gear, it’s also good for other activities as well.

I’ve worn my belt outside several times on walks, while gardening, and while mowing, and I absolutely love it! I know it sounds sort of silly to wear a belt like that while gardening, but it’s so convenient to have my water on me whenever I get thirsty!

SPIbelt

My friend Cassie also tested the belt this month, so if you want to know what it’s like to run with it on, you can read her thoughts here.

I have been a fan of SPIbelt since 2011, and I’d highly encourage any runner to check this particular brand out! Even better- I have a discount code for you! Use “caroline10” for 10% off your purchase!

Now it’s your turn to share! How would you use this SPIbelt in your summer workouts or activities?

May 18, 2016

I’ve been lagging a bit on posting lately, but here’s my book list for March and April of 2016!

March:

Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life. This was a really quick and easy read, but I really enjoyed it. There are several things that I highlighted in the book that I’m using as I move forward with my Decluttering Project.

Fangirl: I actually started this in February, but finished in March. This book, by Rainbow Rowell, was much better than Attachments. I’m a fan of Rowell’s writing, and enjoyed this fun and easy read.

The Queen: This is a novella based on one of the characters from The Selection Series. I really love that the author has written these little novellas to give the reader a bit more of a taste for these characters; it makes the story much more enriching.

Rising Strong: If you haven’t read anything by Brene Brown, or even listened to her Ted Talk on vulnerability, run immediately and get a book or listen to the talk. She has such wisdom and care in the way she presents information, and it’s so beneficial. I would strongly recommend you read this book!

The Favorite: This is another novella based on one of the characters from The Selection Series, and I loved it!

The Heir: This is the 4th book from The Selection Series, and it was excellent! Seriously- I really love the Selection Series!

Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General

The Prince: Again, this is a novella that explores the background of one of the characters from The Selection Series.

April:

NPR Laughter Therapy: A Comedy Collection for the Chronically Serious: I was thinking that this would be really funny and make me laugh, but, for the most part, it didn’t. There were some parts that were funny, but I was also a bit disappointed.

Sh*t My Dad Says:I rated this a 2.5 on goodreads- most of it wasn’t really funny at all.

Playing With Matches: I REALLY enjoyed this book- A LOT. This was about a matchmaker in a Jewish community, and I felt really invested in the characters from the start.

Winter: This was the fourth book in the Lunar Chronicles, and I really loved how the series ended. The writing was great, and it kept me hooked, even with it being 820 pages.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette: I started this audiobook in the summer of 2015, but stopped due to lack of interest. I decided to listen to it again while weeding this spring, and I liked it a little better, but not by much. It didn’t hook me.

#GirlBoss: This is an autobiography sort of book about one woman’s journey to starting an incredibly successful business. It was interesting to see some of her insights on leadership, although she did a whole lot of things I would never consider doing.

I laugh at myself sometimes because I often feel like, no matter how much I read, my “to read shelf” gets longer and longer. My strongest “to read” suggestions from the last two months have been: The Lunar Chronicles, The Selection Series, and Rising Strong.

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s your book recommendation from the last few months?

 

May 9, 2016

As I mentioned back in January, my word for 2016 is “Simplify”. I thought I’d give an update on what I’ve been doing to embrace that word.

Simplify Quote

So that’s where I’m at. I’ve thought through my values and am trying to create a life that lines up more intentionally with the values that I currently have. I’m trying to learn to release my possessions, knowing that stuff isn’t what I value or makes me happy.

Now it’s your turn to share! What would you like to do to “simplify” your life?

May 7, 2016

Disclaimer: I received the Zensah Well Rounded Shorts to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’m a HUGE fan of Zensah products (especially my compression sleeves), so when I had the chance to test out Zensah’s Well Rounded shorts, I jumped at the chance!

zensah shorts 1

My favorite Zensah gear!

When I received the shorts in the mail, the first thing I noticed was how comfortable these shorts were (I think I mentioned it in most of my instagram posts!). They feel incredibly soft, especially for exercise shorts, and I loved that. They look incredibly little when not being worn, so I was worried they might be too small. The sizing guide, however, was accurate for me, and even though it looked small, they fit just fine.

zensah shorts 2

To say that I love these shorts is an understatement- I haven’t wanted to take them off!! I even sat in my living room the other day reading while wearing them. I’ll take any workout item that is comfortable enough for both workouts and lounging around the house.

zensah shorts 4

Something I’m concerned about when I purchase shorts is comfort: I don’t want a waistband to dig into me, I don’t want the legs to ride up, and I want to feel like the shorts are breathable. I focus on each of these things my first few workouts in any pair of shorts I wear, and I’m happy to report that the Zensah shorts hit the mark in each area!

zensah shorts 6

One thing I should mention: they are slightly see-through-ish. Ok, before you write the shorts off your list, let me explain. Some of the Pros have noticed that underwear, if patterned, can be seen occasionally. The simple solution to this has been to go commando! They aren’t see-through enough for this to be a problem, and I know a lot of people wear running shorts without underwear anyways. I just wanted to share this with you so you wouldn’t be surprised.

zensah shorts 3

On a walk in my zensah shorts (and hydration spi belt, which I’m also reviewing right now!)

I can strongly say that I am a BIG fan of these shorts, and am so happy that I had the opportunity to test them out. I’m usually hesitant to try new shorts because they can feel so uncomfortable to me, but these are a major WIN in my book!

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one thing you look at when you buy a pair of shorts?

April 25, 2016

Last year I lead a trip to Cancun, Mexico, and like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I did it again this year!

I so enjoy having the chance to not only lead a course on “healthy helping” and serving other cultures and communities, but also getting to lead college students on a trip that allows them to see and experience things first hand. Like last year, the trip was 10 days long; the first 7 were spent working with an organization (they spend a lot of time doing education for people who come down to work with them, which I love, along with a very holistic and healthy (and trauma-informed!) way of working with vulnerable children and their families), and the last 3 were spent looking at other parts of culture, along with having a bit of time to play tourist. IMG_1875

Journaling and Coffee at the team house

One of the things that really stuck out to me was how very different the Cancun that most people think of (the hotel zone) and the real Cancun actually are. There is a beautiful strip of water and beach that is manicured and created specifically for the tourist, and then there is the business area of Cancun and the “inner city’ and the “outer communities”. For a year I have felt deeply privileged to have had a small look into the other sides of the real Cancun, and this year that feeling only deepened.

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The wonderful thing is that I built relationships with really wonderful, beautiful people last year, and getting to go back this year meant that I got to re-connect with them again. At one of the sites, there was a girl I spent time with last year who has special needs. I went to her house and got to speak to her mom, who has such a desire to help her daughter, but doesn’t have the money to do it.IMG_1877

When I saw her this year I sprinted over and said hello, reaching out to grab her hand. She immediately threw her arms around my neck, and then pressed her forehead against mine. We spent the next several hours together, and I tried to show her love and care. This little girl brings tears to my eyes when I think of her, and I’ve counted it a privilege to pray for her over the last year.

There were several work projects we did. I spent six hours weeding at one site, and the ground was covered ( I mean absolutely covered) in ants, and cockroaches were running around. The team built beds for a set of teenagers who hadn’t had a bed before, and seeing them cry at the sight of their own beds felt deeply overwhelming and beautiful. We played with kids, ran programs, and provided whatever we could to the organization that is already at work there. It was good, hard work, and it was beautiful. IMG_1886

I ate delicious Mexican food every day (including all the guacamole that I could desire), I ate at some of my favorite restaurants down there, and I got to know 14 great college students. We had good, hard conversations and wrestled through all sorts of situations. And I got to mix some cement, which is something I look forward to every trip!

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freshly made guacamole

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Coffee from the hotel balcony on Easter Sunday.

I’ll share a bit more about some other experiences in future posts, but today I wanted to just barely scratch the surface on this deeply wonderful, other side of Cancun.

 

March 30, 2016

Hello!! I’ve vanished a bit around here… but for a very good reason!

I’ve been in Cancun, Mexico for the last 10 days, leading a group of college students, just like last year. I had a wonderful, thought-provoking, and deeply beautiful time there, and have only just started to process the experience (and am so far behind on many aspects of life here!).

Tulum beach

I can’t wait to share more about the trip with you all, but for now, I thought I’d leave a picture or two. 

Cancun from the sky

Have a wonderful week!

March 22, 2016

As I’ve been working increasingly towards living a mindful life with peace (shalom), one of the things I’ve added to my life is the idea of a mini vacation.  I realized that I had never talked about this idea here back in July when my parents were helping me move a bit (they helped drag some boxes over before my official moving day).

At night after we had spent about 12 hours running errands, carrying boxes in to the house, and pulling weeds, we were back at my apartment and had just finished dinner. Before we did the dishes I had them come out and stand on my back deck and enjoy the lightning bugs flying around over the field. It’s one of my favorite summer views (I miss it already!), and I wanted them to enjoy it. And then I explained the “mini vacation” to them!

Give Yourself A Mini Vacation

I started to realize that one of the great things about vacation are all the extra intentional things that people do. For example, when I’m on vacation in Marco Island, I will run down to the beach and enjoy sunset after dinner, even if I haven’t cleaned up from dinner yet. It’s an intentional thing that I prioritize. One year when I got back from the Island, I realized that, at least a few days a week, I could choose to implement a similar slowing down and “enjoying the moment” situation. So, I’ve made it my goal to pause and take five minute to enjoy a sunrise or a sunset, the gently falling snow, the changing leaves, a ray of light, or the views of the lightning bugs at night. I enjoy reading outside on vacation, so I try to do that once or twice a week as well, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.

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When we intentionally choose to pause and find joy and awe in the present moment, we’re able to release all sorts of happy chemicals and hormones into our bodies, which decrease cortisol (stress) and help fight against anxiety and depression. We ground ourselves, and this time can serve as a “re-set” to our day!

I’ve loved giving myself “mini vacations” over the past two years or so, and look for opportunities to regularly engage in this type of behavior!

Now it’s your turn to share! What is one “mini vacation” that you enjoy? Is there a little thing you could do more often to give yourself a break?