What Happens When You Neglect Self-Care

And, we made it through the week!

fridayI’m just going to be straight-up honest here. This has been an absolute sufferfest of a week. My posts haven’t reflected it – the first three were written on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at a cafe, and yesterday’s was immediately upon waking before my computer science lab. Which basically ruined my day.

I have my computer science  midterm on Tuesday, and that alone has me nervous to the point of tears. Add to the fact that I have been quite literally been going going going nonstop from 6am-8pm every single day this week. I know that there are a ton of people that can handle even longer days in stride, but I am not one of them. I desperately need time for myself so that I can focus and be productive! What is the use in spending three hours at the library after class if you are too tired to even understand what you are studying?

no3

Some issues that can arise as a lack of self care; and a few things that I have been experiencing thanks to driving myself into the ground: 

  • Acne. And not a zit here or there – the random breakouts along my chin that are very clearly a result of skyrocketing / plummeting hormones. Can someone say CORTISOL?!
  • Intense sugar cravings. Again – this is not the typical “Man, I am so craving some ice cream right now!” It has literally been “Give me something/anything/everything NOW. Half a bag of granola? Cool! There’s only three cookies left so I might as well eat them all. I want oats in a jar tomorrow so that’s a good reason to eat all this peanut butter. ” I’m generally quite good about honouring my cravings so things like this don’t happen too often for me – so when they do I know something is up.

dark-chocolate-dreamsMissed ya darlin‘…sort of.

  • Stomach pain / lack of appetite. This indirectly causes the above. Yesterday, I felt physically nauseous and like my stomach was cramping all day – I wasn’t sick, I was stressed. So I definitely ate, but not as much as usual. And it was my rest day, so that should have meant I was hungrier than usual! (hooray for recovery) Instead I ate a snack-like dinner due to a still whacked-out appetite, and then the combination of voracious hunger / cravings began.
  • Lack of motivation. I’ve been burning myself out so much to the point where I just hand in assignments incomplete. I get so frustrated with myself that I just give up and say that I don’t care. In the moment I genuinely don’t – but getting 1/10 on a problem set is never a good feeling. And yes, that actually did happen. Did I mention yesterday was awesome?

sheldon-throwing-papers-gif

My intention is NOT to write a super duper depressing rant. But I also don’t want to sugarcoat what I am dealing with, for two reasons:

1. My blog is an honest place. I don’t post to gain readers / traffic / money. I post because I am passionate about writing, healthy living, and connecting with others in an honest way. Fake relationships do nothing for me!

2. I believe I can help someone. Even if it is just one person – I am of the mind that we go through hard things for a reason, and part of that reason is so that someone else won’t have to. So if that means that one person decides to go to sleep instead of studying more, or read a book instead of pounding out another assignment, it’s worth putting myself out there.

So, if writing a “woe is me” post is not my intention, then what is?

Learning how to care for yourself.

And myself, obviously. These are the things that I plan to do starting NOW to get out of this hole and back into enjoying my life.

ron

1. Writing. It’s therapeutic for me, and writing posts like this especially. They may not all get published, but some form of regular writing/journaling does wonders for my sanity.

2. Just sitting. Just this minute I stopped writing and listened to “Les derniers amoreux de la Terre” by Christian Marc. So few people take the time to just sit, even for a few minutes. We are always going, going, going! Even when were are not working, we are procrastinating or scrolling through Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter, maybe we are texting or talking or anything, but always something. Even just a couple of minutes can help to entirely change my mindset.

3. Physical self care. Pedicures, manicures, body lotion, they all matter! I know what you are thinking – Emma, you yourself just explained going a million miles a minute. Nobody has time for a manicure! And the fact that we should make time for something like that on occasion aside, it doesn’t need to be that complicated! Just trim your nails and push your cuticles back. Moisturize your body before going to bed. I don’t even remember the last time I put lotion on – and I have bloodstains around my nails to prove it. Attractive, I know.

4. Communicate. I have totally ignored my mom this week. I feel like an awful person. But I just haven’t had the energy to put up a facade acting like I was okay, and I definitely didn’t have the energy to rehash everything that was going on – it was enough to deal with it once! But that doesn’t help – bottling up emotions just leads to an explosion in the end. Reach out to people – they are there for you. ❤

5. Have fun! This post is turning into a novel so I will wrap it up – but never forget to just let loose and do something fun! Tomorrow after class I am going into the city with a few friends (to go to Whole Foods…I think I have found the right friends. 😉 ), and then we are coming back for a cozy movie night! Sans costumes.

if_i_stay_2014_movie-wideIf I Stay – #1 in the lineup! 

I truly hope that this was helpful, and that it prompted you to remember JUST HOW IMPORTANT YOU ARE. Always remember that.

Thinking Out Loud: Baking Withdrawls, Music + Books!

Bonjour, good morning! Today is going to be one of those Thinking Out Loud days – where my brain is SO full, I literally have no idea what I am going to say until I Say it. It’s been happening in real life, too…not always the best, but usually pretty funny. 🙂 Thanks for the link party, Amanda!

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. And then I just stared at a blank screen. It’s 7am right now – practically noon for me. 😉 Perhaps my brain is trying to save all of its energy for my computer science lab at 9:30am. 😉

2. I’m not hungry right now. I know, that is SO INTERESTING to you, right? Well it’s strange because I used to always wake up starving, but now that I have been a regular morning runner for a while I think my body has gotten the message that it doesn’t get food immediately upon waking. Buuuut I will still be eating, anyway, obviously. Perhaps its time for oats to come back in my life?

oats

3. Five more days. That is how much longer I will be a nervous wreck / ball of stress. My second computer science midterm is on Tuesday at 7pm (I know!) and if I can just do okay on that, I will feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I got a decent grade on the first one, and so if I can scrape by on this one too that means I have a fairly good chance of passing the final and the class! We can hope.

4. I’m smelling up our dorm with ripe bananas. Yep. I’m that roommate. Some form of banana action will definitely have to happen ASAP, plus then I get FROZEN ones to snack on like candy. My usual reaction of bake ALL the things is sadly a no go in the dorms. Make these for me?

banana-bread-muffinsSigh…if only! 35 days until I have an oven again. 

5. Whoever said you don’t have time to read (for fun) in college LIED. Even though I am freaked out beyond belief about failing computer science, I have been making sure to take time to rest – well I am now. The first three days this week sorta did a number on me and I ended up throwing all work out the window and read the entirety of If I Stay last night. I haven’t read in so long – it felt amazing!

6. t’s a baking night tonight. As per aforementioned plan, I am not going to go to class from 9:30am to 5pm and then study nonstop until I go to sleep. So instead, these will be happening in my life. 🙂 So dorm and Canada friendly (hello maple syrup addiction, I’m Emma, your longtime bestie)

no-bake-all-natural-energy-ball-recipe-1024x756Thank you so much for the recipe, Heather! 

7. Taylor Swift’s album! Judge me. Seriously, go for it. While you’re at it, I still listen to the Jonas Brothers and Hilary Duff. They never fail to put me in a great mood in the morning.

8. It snowed in Edmonton. Again. That’s about all I have to say about that.

canadian winter

However, my lovely little Vancouver has a 100% chance of rain all day long, so I am most definitely not one to be gloating. I hope you all have an amazing Thursday! We’ve almost made it! And hey – we’re in Thursday now, which means we’re not really waiting for Friday so we can just pretend it is. Right? Riiiiiight.

Tell me on thing on your to-make list!

I need to live vicariously through you.

Who I’m Watching in the NYC Marathon

So, you know how some people (I think they’re a word called “normal”) follow hockey / football / basketball games? Well, I obsessively follow marathons. I barely understand it myself. I mean, what is really so interesting about watching really skinny people run at a nauseatingly fast pace for 2+ hours?

I think most runners out there will agree with me – a LOT.

I am almost as far away as possible from the action, but you had better believe I will be following the NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 2nd. It’s one of the (many) marathons I dream of running someday, and is #2 on the list only behind Boston. So, until I can make it there myself, I will have to settle for being that creepy girl who knows every single person and event all. day. long. I’m okay with that.

1. Kara Goucher. Yep I have a total girl-crush on this badass and am not afraid to admit it. In one of her interviews, she said that she was planning to run 2:28, followed by “I know that seems slow.” Can we all just take a minute to comprehend the ability of a runner for whom a 5:39 pace for 26.2 miles is SLOW? I’m pretty sure the vast majority of us would jump for joy if we could run that pace for ONE mile. I am so inspired by Kara, who is on her THIRD Olympic cycle after having a baby.

kara-goucher[source.]

I am also in love with her attitude towards running. She takes it very seriously (duh) but is truly passionate about it and does it because she loves it. She gets that nervous /excited feeling the rest of us mortals do, and is just a very humble, down to earth human being. I am so rooting for her success!!

2. Deena Kastor. SO, this 41 year old powerhouse’s goal for NYC is a casual 2:25 – three minutes faster than the master’s record! She is truly a testament to the fact that age is just a number, and your body is only as capable as your mind believes it to be.

3. Desi Linden. I feel like Desi doesn’t get nearly enough recognition for everything that she has done! She came 2nd in the 2011 Boston Marathon, WAY better than the vast majority of North American runners in approximately seven bajillion years. And yet she always seems to be swept under the shadow of Kara Goucher, Shalene Flanagan and the like. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely ADORE those two, but Desi is a rockstar in her own right! Not only is she excited about the hills (crazy sauce) she has a very realistic and refreshing approach to her running career.

“When you start counting backwards [in terms of available marathons prior to the Olympics], the chances are pretty limited,” Linden said. “The goals are getting on the team, one; try and get a medal, two; and then you start worrying about PRs and stuff after that.”

Yeap, these are all American women! But Canada is very tragically not even a remote factor in distance running, and being a female runner I am inspired beyond words by these strong and talented women! Four days and counting!

Are you watching the NYC marathon? Thoughts?

Are you RUNNING it? 

Can you please put me in your suitcase now, thank you.

Weekly Training Update: Slowly Increasing Mileage

I have got to say, as painful as it is to up my running mileage sloooooowly, it is 200% paying off. I’m going into my fourth week of consistent running and I am SO grateful. I’ve said this before, but I feel like my entire running career has simply been on/off, and I have never been able to make any real, solid progress because of it. But times are a-changin’! I know that the 10% rule is controversial, but if anything else it keeps me from getting too overzealous so I’m sticking with it for now. This is how last week went down!

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 5 miles. This was a rather interesting morning. I ran to the gym in the pouring ran (~0.75 miles), spent 3.5 on the treadmill, then ran 0.75 back to my dorm. I’m sure I looked like quite a site, hopping on the treadmill at 6:30am appeared to be already covered in “sweat” (the joys of living in Vancouver). Every single step of this run felt so slow! I might as well have been sprinting on the treadmill at an 8:34 pace, and I don’t even want to know how fast I was going outside. But I RAN and that is what counts!

rain-runningPlus we all know I looked like this anyway. 🙂 

Wednesday: 6 miles @ 9:00. I have found a nice 3 mile loop that I like to do twice in the mornings. It’s great for when its too dark to see (at some points I literally cannot see the ground beneath my feet!) because I know I am not going to get lost.

Thursday: total body strength training. I worked out in the afternoon!! I know, I was shocked too. But I had so much energy after my class ended at 5pm and the last thing I felt like doing was going back to my room to do homework. So gym it was! I may do that more often – it made my day far more enjoyable. Instead of doing one of these workouts, I alternated between each using supersets!

UpperBodySupersetWorkout

 

[source.]

leg-workout

Friday: 3 miles @ 9:00. I barely even broke a sweat on this run! I so wanted to keep going. But I also wanted to feel great for my 10K race the next day, so I reigned myself in! Worth it. 🙂

Saturday: Great Trek 10K! I love running. ❤

Sunday: Total body strength training. So…my 3 x 10 105lb squats are starting to get easy…TIME TO UP THE WEIGHTS! I love getting stronger! Such an amazing feeling.

TOTAL: 22 miles of running and two strength workouts. Success!

How was your week? Do you squat? 

Please say yes.

Great Trek 10K Race Recap

I think this was the first time I have ever truly “raced” in my entire life. I know that sounds like absolute insanity coming from a die-hard runner with a running blog, but it’s just the truth! I ran a couple of 5ks when I was younger but it was more of a “run then sprint to the finish” than an actual “I have a race plan and a time goal” situation. I just didn’t feel the same way about running then as I do now! Of course I did my half marathon this spring, but I was most definitely not racing that – i just wanted to finish feeling awesome! So I definitely felt a little bit out of my element at the start of the UBC Great Trek 10K.

great-trek

The only time goal I had was under 50:00, because that would translate to sub 8:00 miles. I honestly thought that was a stretch, given my runs lately, and the fact that my sub 1:45 half marathon (a 8:00 pace) still seemed so out of reach.

I planned to do a slow mile as a warmup, but it turned out to be at an 8:10 pace! Craziness – I hadn’t been able to hit that running hard in weeks, and here it was popping up when I was trying to go slowly?

I was sort of worried that I fatigued my legs too much before actually starting, but I put it out of my mind. The course was four 2.5km loops – which did not actually mess with my mind as much as I expected it to. The way I broke it up in my head was:

  • Run the first loop fast. Not really an intention, but it’s just what happened given race adrenaline / excitement. I was careful to not be too fast, but kept a comfortably hard pace and knew I would slow down a bit.
  • Run loops two and three relaxed. I tried to not slow down a lot, but did focus on conserving energy and if I felt like I was sprinting, pulled it back a notch.
  • SPRINT IT IN! Yeah, obviously for the last lap I wanted to give it my all. This ended up working perfectly, as my last mile was my fasted at 7:26!! I know, I’m shocked too.

For laps two, three, and half of the fourth I was zigzagging with another girl running literally my exact same pace. It sort of seemed like she was surging to get ahead of me which of course made my competitive streak just explode. I focused on keeping an even pace the whole time, though, and she turned out to be a total sweetheart!

I didn’t have negative or positive splits. I sort of went from fast –> slow –> fast which in my mind translates to even pacing and in Runner’s World’s mind, success! These were my mile splits: 7:34, 7:52, 8:02, 8:01, 7:45, 7:26.

10krace

Overall, I am SO happy with my results and cannot wait to race more! I think I got a little too caught up in just wanting to run farther and forgot how fun it was to really push it and run fast! I set a new 5K PR on this course, and of course now need to race a 5K to see how much faster I can go there. I have another 10K coming up in three weeks so we will see what happens then! I was planning on not caring a ton about this race and then going hard in November, buuuut now I feel very satisfied with myself. 🙂

Also, in case you have been doubting my runner’s OCD: when I looked down at my watch after crossing the finish line I was only at 6.1 miles, so you had BETTER FREAKING BELIEVE I kept sprinting straight across until I hit 6.2 I’m sure I looked like a complete lunatic but I do not even care. If I ran that fast for 47 minutes I was most definitely not finishing with a fake PR.

Who else raced this weekend? Success? 

WAY OUT THERE Bodyweight Workout

Have you ever had one of those days where you know you want to work out, but you have absolutely no clue what to do? That was me this morning. I had already run two days in a row, so I knew I didn’t want to do that – the torrential downpour confirmed it. Walking for 20 minuets to the gym in said downpour was juuust slightly unappealing, especially at dark o’clock in the morning when skunks are prowling the neighbourhood campus.

So what’s a girl to do? There is a box of a fitness center in the commons block where I live, but it’s hardly a gym. There is one treadmill, one elliptical, two incredibly horrendous bikes, and about five random weight machines. NO free weights / dumbbells / anything helpful. All of the bodyweight exercises and workouts I’ve found lately have sort of left me feeling…meh. You can only do so many air squats, am I right? So I ended up compiling the most exciting bodyweight exercises I’ve found into one incredibly fun workout!

I personally love moving every morning – it keeps me from getting antsy sitting in class all day, energizes me, and makes breakfast pretty darn delicious. I’m really happy to have found a workout I can do anytime, anywhere! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. 🙂

WAYOUTTHERE2

Some notes on the exercises:

  • Complete each bubble three times through, with ten reps of each exercise.
  • You don’t need to do 10 one minute planks! That is the only exercise in the entire workout that is its own rep – just do it three times, after the ten reps of the other exercises.

Planks with leg raise

Inchworms –> YES, that guy’s voice is super irritating! But it’s a good demo. 😉

Welp, I’m off to go study for the rest of my life a few hours. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

When is your favourite time to work out? 

Thinking Out Loud & Facing a Fear.

Good morning all you wonderful people! I know that I say this every week, but holy man alive is it ever the perfect day for Thinking Out Loud. Amanda seriously knew what she was doing when she came up with it! I honestly feel like life has been GOGOGO since the moment I got back to Vancouver the evening of October 8, and has stopped for absolutely nothing. Not weekends, evenings…nada.

I’m pretty impressed with myself though for posting my fourth day in a row amidst all the chaos! It’s not because I’ve been procrastinating homework.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. I actually have NOT been procrastinating homework. And when I do, it’s only because I am putting it off in favour of finishing another assignment! As per usual, most of my other courses are falling behind as I have been studying for computer science non. freaking. stop. I have my second midterm in two weeks and I am frightened for my life.

2. But NO LONGER while running! You guys – this morning I did something big – I ran outside in the dark! I have been forcing myself to go on the treadmill lately, since I need to get my run in before sunrise if I want to go to class (seeing as they cost $500 each, I sorta do). But this morning I swallowed my fear and conquered six miles. Aside from a yelp when a construction worker opened his car door, there were zero incidents! 😉

like-a-boss

3. But there was a rather furry close call. So, I saw a snake skunk (edit: the effects of writing a post after a 14 hour day. i have yet to see a live snake and hope to keep it that way). 100% real, live snake for the first time in my eighteen years of existence. Luckily I was far enough away that I could cross the road before even coming close to it, but…could you imagine the alternative? I’m pretty sure I would have skipped all my classes out of embarrassment.

4. I’m getting slower. My run this morning FELT awesome (hugely in part to my newfound badass-ness), but it was a 9:02 pace. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever ran anything above a 9:00 pace in my memory, even long training runs for my half marathon. So I’m wondering what the cause is – I’ve been sleeping well, eating well (ALLthecarbs), and stretching + strength consistently! This is not the right direction for a 1:45 half!!

tired-halfNot the finish line face we are going for this time. 

5. I convinced some friends to try sweet potato + PB. It’s a well-known fact in the blog world how unbelievably delicious that combo is, but the ‘real world’ seems to shy away in disgust. Win!

6. Never eat again. Okay, obviously NOT! I just have so many issues with this it is not even funny. Do we really live in a world where people think the physical act of eating is too much work?!

wafflesI know…it would be just so much easier to drink some powder in water. Here, eat this for me. 

7. Because real work is a long grocery store commute. When your only method of transportation is walking, and your grocery store is 1.5 miles away, it gets old fast. Add to the fact that I need to carry as many bags as humanly possible to last me the week. Yay exercise? But not really. 😉

And yes, I realize the epic first world problem-ness of that statement.

8. I almost just fell asleep. I’ve been feeling slightly nauseous all day, and just so so tired. I have gotten some pretty good nights of sleep lately so I’m a bit confused, but I’m goin’ with it anyway. Time to crash for (hopefully) NINE hours. And ignore the massive to-do-list. Hey, I did my laundry yesterday. Cut me some slack.

9. Because autocorrect apparently won’t. Okay, I know I said I was sleeping, but the autocorrect on my computer WILL be the death of me. It’s not like on iPhones where you can type what it changed for the second time and it stays that way – nope, I can retype a word twenty times (not that I did that) and it will CONTINUE CHANGING IT! Apple, you are just wrong.

Have you ever experienced awful fatigue and have no idea why?

I’ve had my iron stores checked multiple times and they’ve always been fine, but maybe I should again?

Any skunk experiences?