Don’t Freak Out

One of my not-so-favorite parts about this time of year is all the diet talk. It’s EVERYWHERE.

Twitter, Facebook, blogs, magazines, discount websites, and in every single conversation I overhear at the nail salon.

Image courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

Image courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar

A “Nine Day Wonder Diet”?!?! Do you know what you could do in 9 days that would do wonders? Get some sleep, drink some water, run some miles, and smile more often.

But NOOOOOOOOOOO. Harper’s Bazaar and every other magazine out there wants you to think they have a “Wonder Diet” that will miraculously make you look like Heidi Klum. Seriously, Heidi. Your body is sick. I know you work for it, so I don’t begrudge you, but my GOD you look fantastic!

Heidi runs on the river! Me, too! See you out there, girlfriend. (Image courtesy of Zimbio.com)

Heidi runs on the river! Me, too! See you out there, girlfriend.           (Image courtesy of Zimbio.com)

Here’s the thing. Holidays are festive. There are parties, finals, parties after finals, big dinners, late-night festivities, and COOKIES GALORE!!!! this time of year. It’s ok to enjoy the merriment of the season.

It is NOT, however, ok to…

  1. Stuff yourself and then complain you’re fat.
  2. Eat nothing and passive aggressively criticize everyone else who is.
  3. Get wasted every night, miss your morning run, and then whine about your slower 10K time.
  4. Run 100 miles this week because you had some delicious white chocolate fudge.
  5. Stress eat, abandon your workouts, pull all-nighters, and then starve yourself for a week.

Get a grip.

C is for Cookie and that's good enough for me. A life mantra, if you will.

C is for Cookie and that’s good enough for me. A life mantra, if you will.

This is not a healthy eating blog because, well, no one should model their eating off of me and my J-pouch diet (I’m still in need of a clever name for my pouch, by the way…). But runners are no less susceptible to the holiday food backlash than anyone else. We’re human after all.

Except Oscar. He is superhuman. (Image courtesy of the Washington Post)

Except Oscar. He is superhuman.                             (Image courtesy of the Washington Post)

So, keep running. Keep training. Have a merry, happy, wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your family and friends and that weird co-worker whose much more fun that you originally thought. Don’t go bananas but don’t also be that Judgemental Judy in the corner with your carrot sticks, scowling at everyone eating a cupcake off the dessert tray. No one likes that party guest.

Ignore the magazines and do what you do. Just don’t overdo.

Maybe get involved with the Runner’s World Streak (albeit a few weeks late) or try the Refine Method Challenge or check out Cooking Light‘s delicious holiday cookies. I’m a raspberry stripper fan, myself.

Mmmmm...can't get enough of these! Good thing they're kind of a pain in the butt to make.

Mmmmm…can’t get enough of these! Good thing they’re kind of a pain in the butt to make.

And if eggnog is what gets you through dinner with your family, then so be it. My personal preference is prosecco or sauvignon blanc, but desperate times call for desperate measures and if there’s alcohol in it, I’m drinking it. Enjoy the holidays, friends.

And don’t forget to go out and run!

P.S. Today is the last day of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. I want to thank you all for your kind words and for spreading awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. In case you ever want to know where you can learn more or donate to the cause, there is a great non-profit called The Great Bowel Movement whose founders are some very lovely ladies I have the pleasure to know.

And if you ever want to raise money for the CCFA, Team Challenge is national and they do seriously fun half-marathons in places like Napa and Vegas. Helllllllloooo, Vegas 2013 anyone?

Thank you again for your continuing support of my super-sexy journey with this disease. Now go out and run!

BOOM! Ask me!!

BOOM! Ask me!!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Holiday Spirit

There’s something magical about New York City during the holidays. Yes, the streets are crazy-croweded with tourists who think it’s cool to stop right in the middle of the sidewalk, look up and cause a major commuter traffic jam on just about every major block in the entire city buuuuuuuuuuuuut…

…the lights on Park Avenue,

One can never have too many twinkling lights.

Tiffanys and Bergdorfs all dressed up, the smell of the Christmas trees being sold on every corner, random carolers in random parts of town, the Radio City Rockettes kicking their faces all day long (go Rainbow!),

Hey, Rainbow!

snowy Central Park runs, strolling the streets on a chilly night with JB…ahhhhh, holidays in New York are magical.

Central Park is lovely when it snows.

Sometimes I forget how amazing New York can be during the holidays. It’s tough not to get all hard and irritable when it seems that every person on the sidewalk is out to get in your way at rush hour or during a run. It’s tough not to want the holidays to be over so that 5th Avenue goes back to being semi-normal 5th Avenue again (which has never really been the same since the Apple store opened in front of FAO Schwartz–what a combination!). It’s even harder not to wish the season away so that you can get in and out of Bloomingdales in under an hour when all you really needed was a refill on your favorite lipstick.

I start with our apartment. I pull out our decorations, which aren’t many since we have a “cozy” apartment not a Devil’s Advocate-sized palace, turn on my very favorite Christmas album by John Denver and The Muppets A Christmas Together, light my Williams-Sonoma tree-scented candle and I hang our stockings by the wine bar with care. And then we get a real Christmas tree.

Oooooooo, preeeeeettttty!

I love a tree. JB reeeeally loves a tree. So, we get a tree. I bought my very first Christmas tree when JB was deployed with the USMC in Iraq. It made my whole holiday season feel more holiday-ish even though he was so far away and I was so sad.

My very first real Christmas tree.

And that’s the whole point of doing things that get you into the Holiday Spirit. Because the Holiday Spirit has nothing to do with religion, it’s a feeling of love and warmth and kindness that seems to seep into the soul of the most hardened New Yorker. And that’s a good thing. So, fake it til you make it, folks.

Break out those baking sheets and get your Betty Crocker on, apron and all.

I like making cookies. I like eating them even more.

Get a tree. Go see Santa. Put some twinkling lights up in your home. Play some Harry Connick Jr. holiday songs on Pandora (or The Muppets!). Make some cookies. Donate a toy to Toys For Tots. Do something to get in the Holiday Spirit.

The Holiday Spirit is all about good will toward your fellow man/woman and we could all use a little more good will in our lives, don’t you think? So, start with getting into the Holiday Spirit, however you do it in your world.

Me? I’m going to buy a tree this weekend and let my husband go bananas decorating it while I supervise the spacing of the lights on the tree. I learned from the best, Mrs. Obi-wan, that the lights are best judged if you step back and squint your eyes. If you see holes from that vantage point, you need to fix your lights. You’re welcome.

Point is, get your Holiday Spirit on and revel in the Holiday Spirit around you! Beats the hell out of the alternative, folks.

Now go out and run!

Streaker

Right before Thanksgiving, I was contacted by Runner’s World magazine to see if I’d be interested in being a featured blogger for their Runner’s World Holiday Streak. The idea of the streak is to run at least one mile a day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Of course I said yes, but for so many reasons other than the fact that Runner’s World was asking me to be a part of one of their stories.

#1. I was just coming off the Philly Marathon and definitely up for the challenge of running at least a mile a day.

#2. NYC is the best place in the world to get creative with squeezing in a run.

#3. The holidays/finals are certainly a time when fitness might fly right out the window in favor of studying, shopping, lounging by the fireplace and sipping hot cocoa.

(Ok, I don’t have a fireplace but you get the gist)

#4. I often commute with my two feet, so now I’ll just do it a little faster.

#5. It’s Runner’s World, people. I’m a total geek.

So far, I’ve run the following completely random at-least-one-mile runs:

  • CPR/AED class (damn near in New Jersey, it was so far on the west side of town)
  • To and from work
  • To and from the grocery store
  • Around and around the UN buildings (where security would let me go, anyway)
  • Regular ‘ol Central Park
  • The Outlaws’ neighborhood in sunny Florida
  • Random sprints up and down 2nd Avenue

So far, so good with the Streak. I’m discovering that I can get one mile done almost anywhere in the city, as long as I have my running shoes one. Well, except for on the way to CPR/AED class when I was wearing my sandals. I had a birthday party after that. No wonder my shins are so sore today!

Point is, it’s totally do-able. I’m sure I’ll come up on a day when I really have to bust my hump to figure out how to get that one mile in, but New York kinda lends itself to this sort of challenge. We New Yorkers commute via our feet and trains instead of cars and I personally wear workout clothes almost all day long because of what I do for a living. The weather has also been exceptionally warm here in the east coast and I am thankful there are no freak snowstorms to curtail my enthusiasm for my daily runs.

I’m curious how the rest of you are doing with your Streak. What do you think of it?

Tell me all about it in the comments. Tweet is using the #RWRunStreak hashtag. Join us now for the rest of the Streak. Or maybe commit to a 30 Day Challenge of your own (yoga, walking, something sweaty every day) and see how creative you get to be/have to be with it.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress here and in the My Workouts section of the blog. In the mean time, happy Streaking!

Now go out and run!