Book Chat: 5 Lessons I Learned From “26 Marathons” by Meb Keflezighi

Meb

Seeing as I have just gotten back into running and was desperately in need of some refreshing and inspirational reading material, I started reading Meb Keflezighi’s book, “26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life From My Marathon Career.” It is authored alongside journalist and running writer Scott Douglas. The book turned out to be both of those things, refreshing and inspirational, in addition to easy-to-read and well-written to boot.

Meb Keflezighi is an Eritrean-born, American distance runner. He’s a four-time Olympian for Team USA, he participated in two World finals, and he has won prestigious races such as the Boston and the New York City marathons. He is practically as “elite” as a runner can get.

Continue reading “Book Chat: 5 Lessons I Learned From “26 Marathons” by Meb Keflezighi”

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Easy 5 Km Jog and Trying Orgain Plant-Based Organic Protein Powder

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This morning, I woke up an hour before my alarm, at about 7:45 a.m. That’s still about an hour later than I usually get up, but after a day filled with two exams, I wanted to set myself up for a good day today and get a ton of rest.

I knew I’d be going for a jog this morning, even though I hadn’t decided on the specifics. I’ve just gotten back into running with the warming April weather, and so far, I’ve played it by ear each time I’ve gone, setting a goal for myself based on how my body feels within the first minute or so of the jog.

I had a few procrastinate-y thoughts as I got up and sat in bed, thinking about the chilly 5-degree weather (41 degrees Fahrenheit, for reference) waiting for me outside. And things got even (a little) more challenging when I started getting dressed and realized, after digging deep into my closet, that I’d have to wear knee-length pants/shorts because all of my workout pants (I don’t own many) were in the laundry basket.

Continue reading “Easy 5 Km Jog and Trying Orgain Plant-Based Organic Protein Powder”

Things That Make Me Happy

A few weeks ago, I stopped my job hunt and decided to settle into a routine with my remote work and to take on a larger course load with school. Having spent so many months in limbo, often overexcited or worried about one interview or the next, and feeling as though my entire life routine and even place/city of residence could suddenly change, I didn’t take a lot of time to just enjoy life. Now that I know that for the next year or so, this will be my life, and I will not need to look for another job, I can just settle into this and focus on everything good.

I can’t describe what a relief this realization has been; I feel like I can stop waiting to live and just live now. And this post is a list/celebration of the simple, accessible things that bring me joy.

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— A good hike with friends. I stipulate “with friends” because I recently had an awkward experience with a member from a Meetup hiking group—generally things were fine with them, though, so this is not meant to reflect badly on the website. I love hiking and getting out in nature. Depending on the season, the same trails can look completely different, and the Bruce Trail in Ontario has over 880 Km, so exploring new sections is a favourite hobby. Winter hiking is an especially satisfying experience. I feel twice as adventurous going out when it’s snowing outside (though if you plan to do the same, please read about safety and don’t go alone).

— Writing dates with myself! I’m genuinely surprised I like this one so much, but it’s true. I feel so, so good going to a coffee shop and working on my creative writing project. I am working on a story outline, but it’s been getting pushed back because it seems like there’s always something else to do. Home is just not a place where I can leverage my focus when it comes to things I don’t have to do, unlike studying or work. Well, it turns out that going to a coffee shop does the trick; it’s just so official, and once I’m there, I can focus on my project with abandon, without feeling like there’s something else I should look up or do. It feels like I’m taking time for myself, even though it’s productive time, and finishing this project would be a win professionally and personally.

—Meditating after a Tone it Up workout (and the Tone it Up workout). Hear me out! I don’t have a gym membership, and no fancy exercise equipment (I own a Weslo bike I bought two years ago for $120 CAD and some dumbbells and a yoga mat). The Tone it Up app subscription runs at about $12 CAD per month, and it offers so much. There are daily workouts that are 20–30 minutes long, and daily and weekly schedules. In addition to that, there are guided meditations available. Sometimes I’ll go a few days without working out with my TIU trainers, and I forget how amazing I feel after one of their workouts. The combination of the vocal encouragement and the exercise moves leaves me feeling like I’ve taken a plunge into a pool of endorphins and drank it all. To turn on one of their 10-minute guided meditations after that and enhance that feeling is amazing. It’s definitely the type of thing that can turn the day around for me; the hardest part is convincing myself to actually go for the workout on those days (they’re not always easy!).

—Salads and protein smoothies because they represent the purest, truest form of self-care to me. It’s true that positive/constructive self-talk and a good attitude are realistically even more important to me, but I feel a nagging sense of pride eating a salad. And as someone who eats a lot of salads and drinks a lot of smoothies, it’s weird that I STILL get this feeling every single time. But it’s been years, and the magic is still alive. That probably has something to do with why I keep going back to my super green, super “earthy” tasting smoothies. I feel like I’ve won a competition when I eat well, and that’s a positive feeling of joy that nothing else other than winning an actual competition can give me.

—Mindful Youtube or Netflix watching. That little adjective at the beginning of this is SO important. Here’s a little tid-bit on me: left to my own devices, I fluctuate between over-control and eventually, after a crash and exhaustion, under-control. So it’s important that I intentionally create balance between work and “life,” times when I put in concentrated, hard work and times where I can take it easier and live more slowly. One way I genuinely enjoy taking it slowly is watching TV shows or my favourite videos. But that can easily turn into a binge if I’m not careful, and not only is that potential lost time that should have been dedicated to other things, but it also makes me feel really guilty. So instead, I like to plan exactly what I’m going to watch before I do: is it two episodes of Lucifer? Five Youtube videos I can chuck into a playlist? Whatever it is, I make a plan for when to stop and what to do after. And then after that,  I grab a blanket and a mug of tea and rid myself of every distraction and just relax. This can be so therapeutic if done with intention and mindfulness!

I’d love to know what everyday parts of your life you find joy in. I think sometimes it takes looking over our day and finding out where we can make space to do the things we already do a little more intentionally that can make the difference between a meaningless routine and a space/time of joy. Would you agree?

 

Saturday Hike: 22 KM (Photos)

Today I wanted to share some photos from my long hike yesterday (Saturday). Even when it’s cold outside, you can brave the elements by dressing a little warmer.

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I’ve found that days spent breathing in fresh air are invigorating and rejuvenating. So even when I really, really don’t feel like going (like yesterday) I join a hike anyway and haven’t regretted it yet.

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The temperature fluctuated between -2 and 5 degrees celsius and it was sunny throughout the entire hike (which lasted about six hours). Even though I didn’t take any gloves, even my fingers warmed up once we set a reasonable pace and kept moving.

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This photo is from the end. Just a couple months ago, it would have been dark at 5:40 p.m. but it was still completely sunny by the time we made it back to our cars.

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Most of the hike was in ravines and woods, like this. The trees and bushes are all bare in winter, so it’s not the greatest scenery. Except the rainbows! I spotted so many in my photos, but I have to admit I either missed all of them in person or they were ones you could not see with the naked eye. Is that possible?

Also, behind the rainbow, the white, is a waterfall. Beautiful.

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Another of the many waterfalls we passed. How gorgeous is this?

There were steep drops towards most of the waterfalls, but looking down we could spot a few daredevils who’d ignored common sense and sometimes explicit signage and who’d climbed down into the ravines. Not something I would do.

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This little pond was completely frozen when we first passed by it (pictured). We test-threw a few rocks that bounced off its icy surface.

On the way back, it was almost completely thawed with the warming air and all that sunlight!

Awesome day overall.

You can find a hiking group in your city by Googling hiking groups, finding one on Meetup.com, or dragging a few reluctant family members and friends and you might be surprised by how quickly you all turn into avid enjoyers of the outdoors. We’re born nature lovers… So it doesn’t take much.