Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Love

Happy Better Than the Alternative Tuesday, friends! The day when we remind ourselves just why it’s so much better to be here than not, no matter what we’re facing today.

Just a quick though for this Tuesday, since I really need to get back to studying for my Physics exam on Friday.

The simplest reason that any day, not just Tuesdays, is a great day is Love. I am reminded of this when I’m curled up with my husband and we’re laughing like little kids.

I’m reminded of this when I see the joy in my sweet baby niece’s face as she crawls (!) and smiles and claps. Her face is one of pure joy and Love and I cannot get enough of her.

Love from family. Love from friends. Love from strangers on the street. Love from the guy at Subway who keeps giving me a free cookie every time I get a sandwich. Love from workout buddies. Love from people in your spin class. Love from your co-workers. Love from the flower guy at the bodega. There is so much Love in this world, you just have to open your eyes to see it.

“I see friends shaking hands saying, ‘How do you do’/ They’re really saying ‘I Love you'”

Never forget that you are Loved. Never forget to tell those in your life that they are Loved. Feel it. Share it. Accept it in return. And don’t forget to Love yourself (ALL of you!), too.

There is nothing more powerful and precious than Love. And every day that you have Love of some kind in your life is surely Better Than the Alternative.

Sending my Love your way today.

Now go out and run!


Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Forced Staycation

Happy Tuesday!

It’s chilly and dark and rainy here in NYC this morning and yet, I feel oddly sunshiny today. Well, it IS Tuesday and we all know what that means here at Run Stronger Every Day: Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays! So, maybe my sunshiny mood isn’t so odd after all?

We’re just coming off of a long weekend, thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday, when lots and lots of people take advantage of the extra day off by jetting out of the city to hit the slopes, the beach or otherwise get the hell outta Dodge. What did I do? I had a Forced Staycation and I loved every minute of it.

I would have loved to have headed north or west to ski. I would have loved even more to have been on a warm, sandy beach sipping mojitos. I would have even liked to have simply jumped in a car and driven to the country. Did I do any of that? Nope. I stayed in the cold city on my Forced Staycation. Why Forced? Well, two reasons, really.

One, JB was sick. He managed to game it up for Cousins Happy Hour on Friday night, but that was about all he had in him as far as socializing this weekend. Poor guy.

Two, all of our dollars are currently going in two directions: NYU and our piggy bank. A certain someone special got engaged this weekend which means lots of fun travel coming up this year which means I need my piggy bank to be a lot more full than it is right now. Anyone want to contribute?

So that’s how come our Staycation was Forced.

But it was kind of awesome, if I do say so myself. We had one dinner out, two dinners in. We watched some awesomely bad (and some seriously bad) 80’s movies. JB got his fill of zombies/vampires/sci-fi television. I finally got to see Moneyball (good, but not Oscars-good). I went for a run and didn’t have to rush out or rush back. I went to Flywheel in the middle of the afternoon. I did all the laundry for the rest of the week. We spent 20+ hours of every one of those days in my pjs. We napped every day. We laughed every day.

We reconnected.

How often do you get to do that?

When I’m in another city, I feel guilty for just sitting around watching tv. I don’t want to nap because I’m certain there’s something else I should be doing to get the most out of my vacation. I never do laundry (I mean, except for at my parents’ house). I rarely cook and go to the store. Running is often something I have to squeeze in while on vacation.

Vacation isn’t always relaxing. This Forced Staycation was exactly what the doctor ordered.

One person commented that I am “too young” to nap all weekend and stay in with my husband. At first, this made me feel bad about my Staycation. And then I looked around at the way people rush from date to date, from plan to plan, not really enjoying themselves. They seem to be DO-ing all this stuff just to have a story to tell when someone asks them what they did with their weekend. You know what? I enjoyed myself and my Staycation and I feel rejuvenated and happy. Do you feel rejunevated and happy after your weekend?

Sometimes it’s a good thing that you can’t go anywhere for a few days. Most of the time, we are so busy lamenting our inability to travel to exotic places and DO stuff that we don’t realize the opportunity sitting in front of us. Sometimes we are so busy DO-ing stuff that we forget to take the time to sit, relax, and reconnect with ourselves and our partner. That’s what the Forced Staycation can do for you.

So, next time you “can’t go anywhere for the long weekend” maybe look at it another way: as an opportunity to be still in the place where you feel most at home, your home. Reconnect. Stay.

My MLK Forced Staycation did just that for me and I couldn’t be happier about being in this freezing cold city all weekend long. Maybe that’s why I’m sunshiny today.

Now go out and run!

What did you do this weekend? Something exotic or were you a Staycation-er like me? Did you run in the frozen tundra? BRRRR!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: The Caretakers

*This post could also be called: I Love My Husband. Be forewarned: it’s a little sappy. Deal.*

Good morning, everyone! May I just say that it is absolutely gorgeous in New York City today? 42 degrees when I popped out for my pre-dawn (gee, thanks for not letting me sleep, steroids) run this morning with the other early birds in Central Park. Despite my stomach refusing to cooperate, I had a seriously awesome and speedy 7 mile run.

Good morning, New York!

Perfect way to start this Tuesday–Better Than the Alternative Tuesday, no less! Great run and a fun new headband that *gasp* didn’t slip once on my sweaty run! Hooray for Sparkly Soul Headbands!

Ooooo, it's early and I still have those Moon Face cheeks. Don't judge, just check out the flashy new headband.

I’m a good Caretaker. I learned from the best (hi, Mrs. Obi-wan!) and my husband marvels at my ability to swoop in and take care of most any emergency/sickness that arises. I will travel where I am needed and bring presents and food and good company. Ask anyone. I’m an awesome hospital companion. I will bring cookies and cross-stitch while you get your treatments. Caretaker is a role in which I am comfortable, far more comfortable than being the patient.

2011 was the first year when I was the patient, the sick one. Being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis didn’t really seem like a big deal in 2010 and they got my symptoms under control quickly with relatively innocuous medications. No biggie, right?



Like I said, 2011 was the year of me being the patient. Weekly doctor’s visits, “procedures” where I needed JB to be there to make sure I got home safe and didn’t end up sleeping on a curb all day, drugs I never imagined I’d be taking (you don’t want to know), fighting with my body just to get through the day, humiliation (or humbling experiences, you might also call it) beyond belief…I have a whole different perspective on being the patient. And now I’m the one needing a Caretaker.

Iron/Potassium IVs every week? Well, ok. If you say so, Dr. Boz.

I have a whole new perspective on the hell that The Caretakers go through watching their loved one endure these treatments. And mine aren’t even all that bad. I see it in my gorgeous husband’s face when I’m in pain and completely worn down from this f-ing disease and he doesn’t know what to do for me. I mean, I’ve been on the other side of it as the Caretaker and I have to say, there is no pain worse for me than seeing that helpless look in my husband’s eyes. It’s worse than any symptom I have and I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for him.

We are like two peas in a pod, JB and me.

Some of the main side effects of my symptoms is serious fatigue, irritability (like, perma-PMS), lack of physical strength and, well, frequent trips to the restroom. Romantic, right? How does he do it? He listens to me talk in detail about every little symptom/movement/horrific experience, waits patiently for the *one* bathroom in our apartment, asks about my appointments, holds me tight when I’m pissed off (see: irritability), indulges my cupcake cravings, and otherwise talks me down from the ledge on which I find myself these days.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s his job, right? I mean, he married me “in sickness and in health” and all that. But, do you ever get married at age 31 and imagine that your 29 year-old wife is about to be diagnosed with a chronic auto-immune disease that will turn her and your world upside down six months into marriage? No. You sure don’t. But he takes it in stride.

We take our vows seriously. Seriously.

And so today I would like to shout out to ALL the Caretakers in the world, but especially mine. JB, you deserve for everyone to know how amazing you are at taking care of me and loving me the way you do every single day. Thank you for being strong when I am not. You make every day Better Than the Alternative. I love you.

Hey, Run Stronger Nation, my husband is awesome.

Who takes care of you? Who deserves a shout-out for being YOUR caretaker? Share it here!

Now go out and run!

Running On Vacation (M.I.A.)

Hello friends!

I know, I’ve been gone so long. I promise I have a very good reason for being away and not sharing workouts with all of you for the past two days. I am busy falling in love. That’s right. And going on dates. And snuggling. It’s pretty serious.

I mean, if you had the choice of either hopping online or holding this little angel, which would you choose? That’s what I thought. So, are we still friends? I hope so. Because I am absolutely going to enjoy every single minute I can get with my sweet baby niece.

Unfortunately, she’s too small for me to strap into a jogging stroller and push along for five miles. No worry, I still got my run in! It’s a challenge when you’re traveling, isn’t it, to find the time to grab a run. Especially if you aren’t familiar with the area. So, how do you make sure you stay on schedule when you’re on the road? The simple answer is: you plan.

#1. Bring your stuff. You don’t need a ton of changes of clothes (if you’re buying the tech stuff) because you can easily rinse it in the sink and hang it out to dry overnight. Hooray for quick-dry fabrics. Your sneakers might be the bulkiest thing you pack so my advice is to wear your sneaks on the plane. It’s a lot easier than trying to stuff them in next to your clothes.

#2. Know your distance. Either map it out on Map My Run or make sure your Garmin is all charged up so you’re sure of your distance and how long you’ll be away. Let others know where you’re going and when you should be expected back and maybe make a mental note of where the bathrooms are along the way (or is that just me…?).

You can’t see it very well, but I got stung by a wasp or something right before I needed to find a bathroom. A successful run it was not because I passed up the bathrooms I saw earlier. Apparently, this was how I was being punished. DOH!

#3. Do an out and back. Run in one direction for half the time you want to workout and and turn around and run back for the rest. See if you can’t run a little faster on the way back and make it a negative splits workouts. Out and backs are great for when you have no idea where you are and you really don’t want to get lost.

#4. Get it done early. When visiting friends and relatives, it’s so easy to let the day get away from you and all of a sudden, your workout is a distant memory. If you’re up because of a time zone switch, sneak out early for a jog and get it done. You’ll be so glad to have the rest of the day to cuddle with cute babies and the like.

Get a manicure before you get there to save time 🙂 Airport spas are the BEST!

Do your best not to let your workouts suffer simply because you’re out of your usual routine. Go out and explore new land! Breathe fresh air (for you New Yorkers)! Meet new people! It’s lots of fun. I’m hoping to get a few more runs in this fresh mountain air before I have to leave my new love.

What are you waiting for? Go out and run!