I’m as free as my hair.

Yes, I totally just titled my blog post with a song lyric from Lady Gaga, so what? πŸ˜‰

Lately, I’ve been thinking about hair. I mean, it’s kind of impossible not to think about it considering I have a LOT of it. Seriously, those of you who know me in real life know what I’m talking about. I’ve almost always had long hair except for that time 3 years ago when I went to Germany and thought it’d be a good idea to get straight bangs and a horrible shoulder length cut. Yeah, never happening again. It didn’t look right with my face no matter how I went about styling it. It also was a nightmare for running. No headband could hold my bangs back and I had to put a zillion bobby pins in order for my hair to stay in a ponytail. I haven’t had a drastic cut since that somewhat traumatic experience. πŸ˜› I had a cut this past January and it’s already MUCH longer than it was before that. I’m wondering what I want to do next with it. I’ve been seriously debating chopping it off entirely and going with something very short or just getting another trim and letting it grow until I am Rapunzel and Jeremy is Flynn Rider. I don’t want anything in-between. No awkward shoulder cuts or bobs. I just want something different but I have no idea what would look good on me. I know long hair has always been a good look for me but it’s so inconvenient. Jeremy called me once a few weeks after I had visited him because he found one of my hairs in his beard. It also gets caught constantly in my armpits, my purse straps, elastic bands, bikini tops, etc. It also doesn’t like to fit in a swim cap which, let’s be honest, is kind of a priority for me considering I want to do big triathlon things in the future. So, my question to you folks is, what should I do with my hair? Should I chop it all off and try out the short look? Should I keep it long and try to grow it out even more?

In case you didn’t believe me about the lion mane hair…

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An open letter to Fitness Police

Dear Fitness Police,

Every single person has one of you in their lives. You are the person who believes it is your business to comment on another person’s lifestyle no matter how little you actually know about that person. You are the person who makes fatphobic comments all over the internet under the mask of “caring about someone’s health.” You are the person who feels the need to remind someone how awful what they’re eating actually is for them because clearly reading an article on the internet makes you an expert nutritionist. You are the person who plasters images of half naked photoshopped men/women with slogans like “No Excuses!” and “Do you really want to eat that cookie?” all over your Facebook/IG/Tumblr feed. Let me tell you one thing. I am fed up with it. In order to properly shut you up, this letter will present the “Fitness Police” mentality and why it is problematic, dangerous and simply wrong.

1. “No Excuses! An hour workout is just 4% of your day! If you don’t exercise, you’re lazy!” This is the most popular saying I see in the fitness community. Not only is it extremely judgmental, but also inaccurate. For a person who needs 6-8 hours of sleep to function, has a standard 9-5 job and a family to care for, an hour can be a huge chunk out of their day during which they could be doing something else that has a higher priority in their lives than fitness. For a minimum wage worker who works 12 hour shifts to get by and has to take care of a family, it can be even harder to get any sort of activity in. There is also the issue of accessibility. Not everyone can afford a gym membership. When you are in survival mode, a gym membership is probably not what you’d want to be spending money on. Some Fitness Police try to make the case that you can run or walk outside or create some of your own workouts in the comfort of your own house/apartment. What about the people who live in bad neighborhoods? When I lived in Orlando, if I wanted to venture out of my little community, I had to drive 30 min to a trail because some of the areas weren’t safe to be running alone in. Not everyone has that luxury. Finally, not everyone wants to get into the fitness world. I know it’s hard for some people to believe but not everyone wants to workout. Some people would rather do other things that make them happy and that’s totally fine. Respect their choices and realize that one’s respectability does not depend on how fit they are. There are plenty of shitty people in the fitness community just as there are plenty of great ones. Working out/eating healthy does not make you a better person. Stop the “No Excuses” mentality.

2. “Gluten, Wheat, Sugar, Fat, Dairy, GMO, Non-OrganicΒ  are all bad for you! There are articles on the internet about it that have suddenly made me an expert!” I’m sure we all know some people who have to remind you that the wheat bread you’re eating is the spawn of satan and gluten is what makes Americans fat and sugar is addictive, etc. We’ve heard it all and it’s all BULLSHIT. Note: I’m not saying there aren’t people who have food allergies/intolerance/etc. I’m talking about the people who feel the need to comment on what you’re eating because they heard on Dr. Oz or read on the internet that it’s bad for you. Everything in moderation is essential for a healthy diet. Cutting out food groups is a one-way ticket to disordered eating. With all the false information out there, one could argue that everything we eat that isn’t grass is bad for us and should be avoided. Not only are these claims extremely inaccurate, they are also incredibly classist. Okay, so you can afford to get your Organic fruits and veggies from Whole Foods along with your gluten-free bread and vegan chocolate. Good for you! If that’s what makes you happy then fine. My issue is with people who think that everyone should adhere to these rules. First of all, it’s expensive. Second, you don’t NEED to cut out food groups in order to be healthy and finally, healthy eating is a privilege that not everyone has. People like to think if they don’t see something happening that it doesn’t exist. There are plenty of low socioeconomic groups in this country who are barely surviving. Be thankful that you can afford to eat healthy and be critical of internet articles that try to instill fear in you for what you eat.

3. “Fat is unhealthy. Strong is the new skinny! Healthy is beautiful!” These sayings are usually posted on pictures of very photoshopped fitness models and are thrown around on posts everywhere. First of all, fat people are PEOPLE who deserve basic human respect and the right to exist in this world without the message that their bodies are wrong. When I hear someone make a comment about a fat person or when someone takes a picture of a fat person at the gym and posts it to facebook, the only thing it is really saying is how much of a complete jerk they are. When you make comments about someone based on their appearance, you are judging their whole story based on nothing. Yes, I said nothing. Because being fat does not say anything about your health. I know fat marathon runners and fat powerlifters and fat yogis and fat vegans. Here is a great article that goes more into depth about that topic. The second statement, “strong is the new sexy,” is also problematic because it is sexualizing strength. Being strong for the sake of being strong is a great thing. Not everyone who lifts heavy and eats “clean” is going to get a super chiseled body and bulging muscles. Bodies are incredibly diverse. No body is wrong and no body deserves to be shamed.

4. “Eat Clean! Abs are made in the kitchen!” While there is no doubt that nutrition affects performance, “clean eating” is a very dangerous mentality that leads a lot of people to orthorexia. A healthy diet has a balance of healthy foods and not so healthy foods. Click here for another great article on clean eating.

5. Fitspiration My biggest issue with the fitness community is the promotion of fitspiration or “fitspo.” It really does set people up for failure. Images of perfectly tan and fit bodies really tend to mess with your mind after awhile. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but realistically, most people will never look like the people in those images. Those images are heavily photoshopped and do not tell us anything about the people in them which reduces them to their looks only. However, because there are some awesome people on the internet, there has been a movement called “Reclaiming Fitspo” which focuses on athletes for their abilities. Here is an awesome link to reclaiming fitspo.

So, my dear Fitness Police, I know you are probably fuming after reading this but I feel like it needed to be said. Overall, I hope what you take from this is that health is not black and white. Health comes in many different sizes and all are perfectly fine. Also, do not give unsolicited advice to people at the gym. Mind your own business. Seriously. If you’re spending all your time at the gym watching others and passing judgments, you’re a jerk. Focus on your own workout and let others be. If they ask you for advice, go for it. Eat delicious food and find activities that make you happy and be kind because everyone is fighting their own battles.

 

Sincerely,

A frustrated runner.

My First Stitch Fix

Hey everyone! I’m currently in the middle of studying for finals and working a lot of hours at my second job. It’s been hectic but in the midst of it came this little beauty yesterday.

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For all of you who don’t know what Stitch Fix is, it’s an online personal styling service for women. A few of my favorite bloggers have been raving about it in their recent posts and I figured I had to try it, especially since I’m not the greatest shopper in the world. How it works is you create an account and they ask detailed questions about your body type, current style and what sort of atmosphere you’re looking to wear their clothes for (business casual, professional, night out, vacation, etc). It was very detailed and I appreciated that. Personally, I was looking for clothing that could be used in professional settings but also worn out with friends for a night out. As a 22 year old, I feel like my wardrobe is a little dated to say the least. A lot of my clothes are from my early college years when I was 18 and didn’t have a clue on how to dress myself. So I turned to Stitch Fix. I scheduled my first “fix” to come in this weekend as a treat for myself and this is what I received:

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A comfy blue dress with sails on it that can be worn with a cardigan to dress it up or by itself. πŸ™‚

I LOVE this dress. It’s very flattering (although it may not look so from the picture) and versatile. Perfect.

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I also got a white braided tank top that was paired with this skirt and the clutch purse. This outfit combination is AMAZING! πŸ™‚ I’m obsessed with the skirt. It has pockets (!!!!!) and it’s an appropriate length for my body. I love how it pairs with the tank top and the clutch really brings it all together. This sort of style is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Not pictured is a pink cardigan that I love for it’s versatility. It can pair with either two outfits that I posted above or can be turned into something new. πŸ™‚

The way Stitch Fix works is that you don’t pay for the clothing unless you decide to keep them. You can return any of the pieces and you won’t be charged for them. That being said, they offer a package deal for all 5 of the pieces that ends up being a lot cheaper than returning any of them so I kept them all! πŸ™‚ I loved my first Stitch Fix and am looking forward to scheduling more fixes with them!

If you’d like to start an account with them click here!

All opinions are my own. πŸ™‚

I am a triathlete.

Today, I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for over a year now.

I completed a triathlon and lived to tell the tale. πŸ˜‰

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Yesterday after a long morning of class and work, Michelle and I left Mt. Pleasant to go stay with my friend Beth in E. Lansing. As always, we went to an Italian restaurant to carb up for the race. I find that I always perform my best when I eat a very heavy pasta dinner with lots of breadsticks the night before. πŸ˜‰ We also got ice cream and spent the evening watching the lion king and relaxing. It was a really great way to keep our nerves at bay. All the food also helps me fall asleep really easily. I crashed hard last night and had nightmares about drowning and forgetting how to swim. My dreams before a big race day are always like that though. Before my first marathon, I had a dream about my marathon turning into a hunger games arena. x_x

I woke up this morning feeling pretty rested but nervous. I kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Preparing for a triathlon is a lot more involved than preparing for a running race. For running all you need is your outfit, shoes, bib and fuel! Triathlons are a lot more complicated. I kept worrying about getting hypothermia on the bike since it was so cold out and I was afraid my tri suit wouldn’t dry quickly. We got to the race site and had about an hour to kill after checking in so we relaxed, checked out the pool and prayed it would warm up a bit. Thankfully, the swim was indoors. I could not do an outdoor swim right now especially with how cold it was this morning. At about 8:30, the race directors gave us a pre-race talk about how the swim would work. It was pretty simple. They arranged us in a line and had a swimmer start every 40 seconds. I somehow got put into the front of the pack which made me very nervous. I didn’t like the idea of possibly being trampled over by people passing me. As I was waiting, I chatted with an older man in front of me who is a cancer survivor (!!!) but he was doing nothing to calm my nerves. He kept telling me about the time he was diagnosed with early stages of hypothermia during a race like this one and it was not what I needed to hear. Luckily our coach and his wife were there doing the race and they were super encouraging the whole morning. Pretty soon it was time to start the race!

Swim: The swim itself was 275 yds. We started at one corner of the pool and ended at the opposite corner. It was pretty simple and the water was really nice. This was honestly the part I was most nervous about though. I’m not a strong swimmer but I’m getting better. It’s mostly my mentality. I have an insane phobia of drowning (go figure) and I’m still learning how to trust the water and trust my abilities. I started off feeling really strong but got really nervous and started hyperventilating a bit in the middle. I used breast stroke just to get myself to calm down and then went back to front crawl and finished strong. They didn’t really do a great job of timing us but I’m pretty sure I finished in about 7 minutes.

T1: Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as cold as I thought I was going to. My adrenaline was rushing and I was just concerned with getting on my bike and starting. I dried myself off quickly with a towel, threw on two warm top top layers with my bib on it and put on my shoes and helmet.

Bike: This bike course was BRUTAL. It was a really simple out and in course but it was insanely windy from every direction. I felt like I was going to be blown off my bike at any moment. On top of that, the course was hilly. The hills where you were riding into the wind were the worst. When I saw someone biking towards me they would yell that it got better right after the turnaround point. Good! At least I had something to look forward to. I was averaging around 14 mph but on some of the hills I dropped down to like 7-8 mph. Not a fan of that. :/ After the turnaround, it did get a little better. I never felt like I was tired on the bike which I took as a good sign that I could definitely go longer. However, the conditions were rough today. Everyone was talking about the bike being the worst part because of the crazy winds. Getting off the bike was a very interesting sensation.

T2: When I got off my bike, my legs felt awful. I did a ton of bricks during my training so I was really surprised that my legs felt so tight. I hobbled over to the bike racks and took off my helmet, drank some water and immediately went out to run.

Run: My legs did not like me during the run. The course was really pretty though! I did the best I could. I have no idea how fast I was going but I passed people and didn’t feel like I was over-exerting myself. It was just a 5k so I pushed to get it done as quickly as possible. When I got to the last stretch, I gunned it for the finish line and finished strong! My coach and his wife had finished just before me so they were there to congratulate my finish. It felt so good to be done!

This race was TINY so I honestly have no idea what my official times were. I was just focused on finishing and getting through that awful bike ride. It was a great first triathlon and I would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to be in a very stressful environment for their first tri or if someone is not used to swimming in open water. Good job, Williamston! πŸ™‚

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After the race, we all went to IHOP, got epic pancakes and shared race stories. It was a great way to celebrate becoming triathletes! I could not have done it without my awesome classmates and our coach, Dave. You guys are the best! πŸ˜€

I learned a lot from this race. I learned that your mental game can make the difference between finishing and not finishing. I could’ve given up so many times but I’m so glad I didn’t. I’ll be doing more triathlons soon and incorporating more swimming into my workout routine. I have a long journey before I become an Ironman! πŸ˜‰

Once Upon a Stressed out College Student

Hellooo friends, I have been super busy lately and I’m sorry that I haven’t been checking in as often. Since this is my blog and I can be as honest as wish, I have to admit that I have been feeling overwhelmed with everything lately. I recently picked up a second job and ever since I started, my schedule has been extra cramped. I’ve been scrambling to get from my classes to work and then immediately after I usually have to get over to my second job, do homework, and find time to breathe in between all of that. I’ve been considering any day that I can squeeze in a 20 min nap to be a particularly good day. However, there’s a foreseeable end to it. Two weeks of school and three days of exams left until I am free. πŸ™‚ I will cherish every glorious moment of sleep after that. There’s been a lot of positive things happening in my life though, so I can’t really say it’s been all bad. This past weekend, I sang Beethoven’s 9th with the Midland Symphony Orchestra! πŸ™‚

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It. Was. EPIC. πŸ˜‰

I also busted out my bike for my first outdoor ride of the season!

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Biking is definitely not my strongest sport but I’m getting there. πŸ™‚ Surprisingly, swimming has become one of my new favorite ways to relax. I’m still struggling a bit with finding my tempo in the pool (music nerd, FTW) and taking too many/too little breaths. It’s getting better and I’m definitely sprint tri ready. πŸ™‚ My tri is next weekend (April 26th) so after that I’ll be taking it easy and resting before jumping into something else. πŸ˜‰ I maayyyy or may not have been inspired this past weekend to pick a marathon for this year.

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and I mayyyy or may not have set a goal of trying to BQ. πŸ˜‰ see, my awesome friend Beth qualified at her recent marathon and reading her review gave me the fire that I’ve somewhat lost over the past year in terms of marathon training. As always, we’ll see how things go. πŸ™‚

Have any of you ever done the Grand Rapids Marathon? What did you like/dislike about the race? Comment below!

Triathlete in the making

Hey everyone! Guess what arrived at my doorstep today?

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I finally got a tri suit! πŸ™‚ I’ve been in the market for one but most places were ridiculously expensive and I’m a broke college student. However, a friend sent me a link to a website called the clymb and found that they had most of their tri suits on clearance! πŸ˜€ I got this baby for 70 bucks including shipping. I was really impressed with how quickly this delivered. I was afraid I’d be waiting a few weeks. Anyways, I tried it on and it fits perfectly. I’ll be taking it out for a test run probably on Friday. πŸ™‚

I’ve been really surprising myself with how committed I am to swimming. I used to have such a difficult time getting myself to get to the pool but now I actually look forward to it. Don’t get me wrong, running will always be my #1 sport but swimming is getting better. Today I started my day off with a swim and felt really refreshed. It just goes to show that a little effort will pay off in the long run! (no pun intended heh)

In other fitness related news, the Boston Marathon is happening in 1.5 weeks! I’m seriously considering skipping classes because, I mean, it’s pretty much a religious holiday, right? πŸ˜‰ I’m always super inspired by the athletes who run the Boston Marathon and I hope to be there someday. #BostonStrong πŸ™‚

Some non-fitness related news (yes, I have a life outside of fitness πŸ˜‰ ), I’ve been REALLY busy with school. Today I gave my final presentation for my education class which relieved a lot of stress. I also got a second job at Sam’s Club which has been keeping me very busy. Between my two jobs I’m basically working full-time while going to school full-time and training for a triathlon. It’s been crazy but I’m managing. Jeremy has been even more supportive lately which has really helped me get through everything. Love you babe! :* That’s pretty much been my life lately!

What advice to you have to give to a person doing their first triathlon?

Eat, Bike, Run, Eat, Swim, Eat

Happy Sunday everyone! πŸ™‚

I love Sundays because they always include a long run and pancakes. However, they also mean that the weekend is almost over. This morning, I ran 7 miles.

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Look at that first mile! I was listening to “Let it Go” (obviously) and when I heard my runkeeper say average pace: 7:56/mile, I kind of freaked out a little bit. It felt EASY. However, as you can see, my split times got slower over the course of my run. *sigh* but for the first few miles, I was totally rocking it! πŸ˜€ I can’t wait to push myself and see what I can really do!

I also made paaaancakes. πŸ™‚

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They were chocolatey and delicious. Yesterday was a rest day since I pretty much killed every body part on Friday with my brick workout in the morning and my swim workout in the evening. During my brick, I biked 12 miles and then ran 1.5 miles. I’m feeling really confident with my bike-run transition but the swim-bike transition is what is kind of freaking me out. My triathlon could be freezing, so what do I wear that will not require a lot of changing but also be warm enough to get me through the bike and run? I’m looking into investing in a tri suit but the ones that I can afford are the sleeveless ones with shorts. This would be a much simpler affair if I lived in Florida still. Michigan is always unpredictable especially in April. When I ran my first marathon two years ago, it was in the 60s the day before the race and below freezing the day of. Ridiculous! I’m just more concerned about the swim. Any suggestions? I’ve obviously just been swimming in my athletic swimsuit which has been working well for me. However, speaking of swimming, I am quickly finding out just how weak of a swimmer I am. I am having a really hard time getting through 50 yds without taking a short breather and then going back at it. *sigh* I’ll get there.

Besides my triathlon, I have a few other races I am doing this year.

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The Dirty Girl Mud Run! πŸ™‚ I somehow scored a free entry via their Facebook page and am going to the run in Chicago! If any of you are going to be there, send me an email and we’ll meet up! πŸ™‚

Also, wait for it..wait for it….

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THE AVENGERS SUPER HEROES HALF-MARATHON! πŸ˜€ Any guesses on who i’ll be dressing up as? πŸ˜‰

So, that’s been my weekend in a nutshell. How was yours? Did you do anything exciting? Did you hit any training goals? πŸ™‚

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