How to Combat The Winter Blahs (Otherwise Known as SAD)

Hi everyone!  Today’s post is near and dear to my heart as an Alaskan.  In the summer, we’re the “Land of the Midnight Sun” and we literally have to stay up past midnight to watch the sun set.  And it’s up again at like 3:30 AM.  I have hiked and ran at midnight and loved every second of it!  But all of that summer sunlight comes with a price:  in the winter, we have significantly less sunlight than normal, and the sun is very low on the southern horizon.  And as we get closer and closer to the winter solstice it’s only going to get darker.

IMG_7269The view from my office at 3:00 pm

Sometimes this can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.  A lot of people in Alaska have this during the winter months, and people in northern, cloudier areas of the Lower 48 can easily get this too.  When I lived in Philly I was fine, but last year I was hit really hard with SAD – I was constantly tired and achey, would randomly take unplanned naps during the day, felt completely depressed and overwhelmed, and cried daily.  I also completely stopped enjoying running.  It was ROUGH.  Last year my doctor was able to clarify what was going on and gave me some tips to avoid it in the future.  This year, I’m doing things differently to try to keep my SAD under control, and I can definitely see a big difference!


Are you feeling the effects of less sunlight and shorter days?  You might have SAD, or you might just be one of many people who has a harder time dealing with winter.  If you’re feeling like all you want is spring back, here’s my tips on how to keep those winter blahs away:

Take Vitamin D supplements.  No lie, this is the number one most affective thing I’ve tried!  Last winter my doctor prescribed me 3 times the recommended daily amount because I was so deficient.  I’m currently down to twice the recommended daily amount per my latest doctor’s appointment, and I make sure to take it every day or I can feel a difference.  Our bodies need it, especially in the winter when we can’t get enough from the sun!  I get mine at Costco and it’s worth every penny.

Use a HappyLight.  I got two of these for Christmas last year so I use one at work and one at home.  I turn mine on while I’m eating breakfast at work and leave it on for a half hour.  That’s all it takes to make a difference!  It makes me feel like it’s sunny in my office, even when the sun won’t rise for another 2 or 3 hours.

IMG_7279My HappyLight + coffee = lots of winter happiness!

Get outside in the middle of the day.  Last year I started eating my lunch in my (south facing) car so I could see the sun.  I also try to take lunchtime walks so I can get some fresh air for a bit.  It helps wake me up and give me more energy for the second half of my day.

Exercise!  Endorphins seriously make a difference in my attitude during the winter.  It can be from the gym, a class, or an outdoor workout – all of them make a huge difference in how I feel.  If I’m going through a rough patch, all I need is some cardio and I’m feeling a million times better!

IMG_7320It’s 3:00 and the sun is starting to set on my snowshoeing adventure, but I’m still having fun!

Wake up to “light”.  I’ve been thinking about trying out one of those alarm clocks that slowly lights up to wake you up, but they’re crazy expensive.  So I came up with a cheaper idea:  I bought a lamp timer and a very soft lightbulb, installed them in my bedroom lamp, and set the timer to turn the light on at 6:30 AM.  I still use my phone alarm, but the light makes a huge difference in how miserable I am when I get out of bed.  I bought mine for $15 at Target and I highly recommend it if you need a little extra help getting out of bed in the winter!

Meditate.  I love the mental benefits of meditation.  I’m still a newbie, but I can definitely see a difference in my mood on days when I meditate.  Just taking a few minutes each night to focus on my breath and my body helps me feel ready for the next day.  And I take a bit of time to thank my body for all that it did for me that day – even if all it did was resist falling asleep at random hours!

Winter can be tough, but it’s such a beautiful and fun time of year.  Knowing how to navigate the darkest part of the year will set you up for a happy winter!  I mean, how can you be miserable when it looks like this outside?


Do you suffer from SAD or get the winter blahs?  How do you deal with less sunlight?  What’s your favorite thing about winter?

A Week of Workouts + Some Good News!

Hi everyone!  The bad news:  it’s Monday.  The good news:  It’s a three day work week!  I’m so excited that it’s Thanksgiving week and we get one day full of eating and another day full of shopping!  But before I get ahead of myself, I’d like to take a look back at my last week because I’ve got some pretty good news to share!

Monday:  Spin class after work
Tuesday:  Restorative yoga
Wednesday:  Spin after work again
Thursday:  PT and restorative yoga
Friday:  Rest day
Saturday:  We got a bunch of snow on Friday night (FINALLY!), so we spent the day breaking in my snowshoes in Kincaid Park
Sunday:  Morning spin class

IMG_7333Snowshoeing was definitely my favorite workout of the week!  It’s so hard but so much fun!

If you’re thinking that my week looks pretty repetitive, that’s because it is!  My PT has lots of restrictions on what I can do while I’m working on hip strength, and this is basically it.  To mix things up, I tried out the new spin studio at one of the branches of my gym and it was amazing!  The bikes are brand new and have these special computer systems that calculate the intensity level you’re working at (which are based on your stats that you type in before your workout) and glow different colors based on those levels.  Knowing that everyone can see if I’m slacking forces me to work hard, and I love being able to see how hard I’m pushing myself based on the color.  Spin class is definitely hard and not as much fun as running, but I’m starting to enjoy it!


Now it’s time for the good news!  All throughout the week I made sure to keep up with my hip strengthening exercises every day, and I was really interested in seeing if my PT would notice.  And he did!  He immediately told me that my hips were stronger and gave me some tougher exercises to add into my rotation.  Now my bridges are done on a stability ball, and my clamshells are done with 3 to 5 pounds of weights on my leg.  I’m also doing squats with a resistance band on my knees.  But the best part was that he wanted to see my running form, so he had me hop on the treadmill so he could record me running.  I was only on there for one minute, but I didn’t have any pain at all!  I’m not cleared to run yet, but he said it’s a good sign that I didn’t have the same instantaneous pain that I was having before.  And he noticed right away that I overpronate like crazy and that my hips drop from side to side as I run.  He wasn’t really that surprised by it and said that it’s a really good thing that we’re working on strength because it will help my form.  So my appointment was filled with positive news, and I’m looking forward to my next one on Wednesday!

What was the most exciting part of your week?  Are you a fan of spin class or do you just stick to running for cardio?  And have you ever tried snowshoeing?

Friday Five: My Five Favorite Ways to Drink Coffee

Hi everyone!  It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another Friday Five with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney!  Their topic this week is “Five favorite cool weather drinks”.  Since it’s already perpetually dark and cold here in Alaska, there’s really only one answer to this prompt:  coffee!  I’m a morning AND afternoon coffee lover.  So I decided to dedicate my entire post to the greatest beverage of all time!  What are my favorite ways to drink coffee?


1. Black.  During the Whole Life Challenge I learned to like my coffee totally black – but it has to be the really good stuff.  It works really well on cold, dark days when you need energy fast.  My favorite black coffee is from Kaladi Brothers, which is a local coffee place here in Alaska.

2.  And on the total opposite end of the spectrum, I’m obsessed with PSLs!  The sugar content is crazy but they will always be my favorite.  #basicgirlforlife


3.  Flat white.  I’m not going to lie, Starbucks helped me discover this type of coffee and it’s sooooo good.  Espresso shots mixed with the creamiest milk and foam ever?  I don’t even add sugar and it’s perfection.

4.  Iced.  All of my coworkers think I’m insane, but this is my favorite way to drink coffee year round.  Anyone else with me?

5.  Wawa’s hazelnut coffee.  I miss this so much.  I can’t wait until the end of December when I can drink this every day while I’m in Philly!


How many times a day do you drink coffee?  What’s your favorite way to drink coffee?  I’m all about trying out new things, especially when coffee is involved!

Dear Non-Injured Me…

Hi everyone!  Injury update time:  although my weekly PT appointment isn’t until Thursday afternoon, I’m already feeling hopeful that I’ll be allowed to try running soon.  My constant hip/butt pain is now gone (it used to hang around all day long) and my daily PT exercises are getting slightly easier and less painful to do!  For a look at what I’ve been asked to do, check out my official injury post here.  Of course, I’m going to do only what my PT tells me I can do, and I’m not going to push it.  But I know he’s going to ask me to run on the treadmill at my upcoming appointment to assess my hip strength, and this week I’m totally ready for it.  And oh, what I wouldn’t give for 5 short blissful minutes of running right now, especially with the glorious snow and ice we’ve got all over the trails!


And that’s where I got the idea for today’s post.  I’ve been running for a little over 3 years now, and I’ve had a few small bumps in the road over that time.  Each time, I was able to ease back into running within a week or so, and never really had to deal with having to stop running for medical reasons.  And it’s pretty stressful not knowing when I can start again.  But I think the worst part is knowing that over the last few years there have been many times where I could have run, but for some reason didn’t really feel like it.  And I would give anything to be able to go back in time to talk to that bored, burned out, and tired person and remind myself how lucky I am to be a runner!  I know that someday soon I’ll be back to running, and I’ll have those same moments where I’ve lost all motivation to run.  And I’m hoping that when I do I’ll take a look back at this post and remember what it felt like to be injured.  So here’s my letter to my future self and any other non-injured runners who need a bit of motivation today:

Dear Non-Injured Me,

Today, you have strong hips.  Hips that can take you as many miles as you want at whatever pace you feel like doing today.  Maybe you’re running up the same hill over and over again, or pushing yourself on the track.  Or maybe you’re just on your favorite route enjoying the views of the mountains.  Or maybe you’re not feeling like you want to run at all.  Like running is the last thing you want to do when it’s cold out and you’re tired and the sun has set hours ago.  But here’s the thing:  you can run today.  Even if you don’t make that choice, just know that today no one is telling you that you can’t lace up your Asics and head out for a few miles.  You’ve got the freedom to choose to do whatever you want.  And I think you should run.

Why?  Because running is the best way to end a long, tough day.  You might feel tired now, but getting in a few miles will help relax your body and empty your mind of all the things that happened today.  You know that thing you’ve been trying to figure out at work but can’t get quite right?  After a few miles you might have a clearer view of what to do!  And anything that made you frustrated this week is going to magically melt away with every minute you spend outside.  It always happens!  Every foot strike, every deep breath, and every drop of sweat gets you closer to that runner’s high!

Think about all the things you can do on a run today!  You can try out a new trail and explore a new part of the city.  Or you can do another scavenger hunt with your fellow bloggers (remember this one?  And this one from last winter?).  You can even do my favorite running motivation cheat and go buy a new running item that you’ll be dying to try out ASAP!  Or you can call up your friends and head out for a post-sunset headlamp run together.  And maybe if you’re feeling like you need an extra challenge you can sign up for a fun race to train for.  Or you can even do a virtual race – it’s almost that time of year again for my Solstice Sprint Virtual 5k and there are so many other ones out there to choose from!

And if all else fails to get you out the door, remember this: you are healthy, strong, and injury free and just having the choice to be able to run is an amazing thing.  You don’t have a PT or a doctor giving you restrictions, and you don’t have constant pain.  You don’t wake up every morning with sore hips wondering how much pain you’ll be in if you go for a run.  You’re incredibly lucky to have fallen in love with the best sport in the world – now go out there and enjoy it!  But make sure to take it easy out there so that you don’t end up injured again  :)

Sincerely, Injured Me

PS:  Remember to do lots of yoga and cross training, and use that foam roller every day!

IMG_4298I’m always going to remember how it felt to cross every single finish line!

If you could write a letter to your non-injured self, what would it say?  How do you motivate yourself when you don’t want to run?  What’s your least favorite part about not getting to run when you really really want to?

Whole Life Challenge Recap + Healthy Tips

Hi everyone!  So you may remember my post 8 weeks ago when I talked about starting the Whole Life Challenge.  It’s an 8 week lifestyle change where you commit to eating healthier, working out 10 minutes a day, drinking lots of water, taking daily supplements (Vitamin D for the win!), doing 10 minutes of daily stretching/yoga, and trying a new “challenge” each week.  On day one I was nervous and had a headache from sugar withdrawal.  On day 56, I was a lot different!  I felt great, had tons of energy, and was eating completely different meals than before!


In the past 8 weeks I’ve had to make lots of changes to my lifestyle.  I’m beyond excited about what I’ve accomplished – especially that I learned how to cook, and that my taste buds changed so much.  Sugar tastes so sweet now and I feel really weird and nauseous  when I eat it.  Overall, I lost 8 pounds and 2 pant sizes – and my husband lost 17 pounds!  I also built up more speed and stamina with running (before the injury happened).  The best part is that I love how I feel when I don’t eat added sugar.  In fact, we’ve decided that we’re going to continue eating this way from now on with the occasional pizza or burger thrown in there.  And by occasional I mean once or twice a month if possible.  I know I’ll be eating lots of fun things while I’m home at the end of December, but I’m going to try to tone it down a bit.  You know, like only visiting Chipotle twice or something  :)  I just feel better when I’m not eating tons of sugar, carbs, and cheese!

dont diet

I know it can be intimidating to make a giant lifestyle change like this, especially during this time of year.  I honestly felt like the most unlikely person to ever complete the WLC, but I did it!  If you’re interested in trying the WLC or another clean eating plan, here are some of my tips for success:

1. Get someone to keep you accountable.  Part of the WLC comes from participating in online “teams” with other people who are doing the challenge.  I was also very lucky to have my husband join me, so we were both able to hold each other accountable and avoid non-compliant foods together.

2. Keep foods you want to stop eating out of the house.  This was key to our success!  If I knew something sweet or cheesy was in the house I wouldn’t have been able to resist it at all.  We’re actually going to keep up with this now that the challenge is over so that we don’t have any reason to start eating things that make us feel sick.

3.  Have a plan!  We started planning out our meals for the whole week and did lots of food prepping.  We also started making lots of food at once so that we’d have leftovers to last us for another meal or two.  When I knew I was going out for a meal, I made sure to check out the menu beforehand so that I could make a healthy choice and not get swept up in ordering all the stuff I usually would.

4.  Know that sometimes you’ll want to eat non-compliant foods, and that it’s okay.  During half marathon training I ate Jelly Belly Sport Beans as fuel, and after the race I ate chocolate milk and tortilla chips.  And when I was in Portland, I absolutely had to have a donut at Voodoo Donut!  The key to this is knowing how your body reacts to the food and listening to that.  The jelly beans and chocolate milk made me feel great, while the donut did not.  It’s a process learning how to listen to your body, but it makes a huge difference in how you feel after a meal!

5.  Stop thinking of foods as either “good” or “bad”.   Donuts aren’t bad – they just make my body feel awful.  Knowing the difference between eating things that fuel your body and eating things that make your body feel awful is pretty important.  This might look different for everyone, and that’s okay!  For now, eating bread and pizza doesn’t make me feel as bad as eating cheesy pasta and ice cream, so I know what I need to avoid – and I know that I need to eat less bread and pizza so that I’m fueling with whole foods instead.

6. Don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s hard to try new stuff, but if the things you’re doing now aren’t working, why not give something else a shot? I would have never thought that spaghetti squash would replace pasta for me, or that black coffee could taste so good. And I’ve always thought that meditation was weird, but I discovered that it actually makes me feel so calm and stress-free when I make it part of a daily routine!


Remember that making big changes takes time, and that you won’t see results overnight.  But if something makes you feel better and run stronger then it’s definitely worth it!

If you could change one eating habit, what would it be?  What’s your favorite sugar-free food?

Friday Five: Five Ways To Stay Happy During the Holidays

Hi everyone!  Thanks for your kind words on my last post.  Being injured is tough but I’ve made it to the end of the week and haven’t gone crazy yet from my lack of running.  I’m feeling optimistic that I’m making progress towards running again soon!  On that note, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for another Friday Five linkup with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney.  Their theme for the week is “Five Ways to Stay Healthy during Holidays”, but I’ve decided to tweak it a bit.  If you’re a long time reader, you’ll remember that last year was a really tough holiday season for me.  I had just moved to Anchorage and was starting a completely new life, and I was unable to go home for the holidays.  I think I spent every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas fighting through tears, exhaustion, and a sadness I couldn’t shake.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was dealing with a wicked case of Seasonal Affective Disorder from my lack of sunshine and Vitamin D mixed with lots of homesickness during my first Christmas away from home.  I couldn’t begin to focus on being healthy during the holidays when I was feeling so sad.  Which is crazy to think about because the holidays are my favorite time of year and I look forward to them all year long!  This year I’m totally settled in and loving Alaska, and I’M GOING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!  But I’m still going to need to focus on staying happy and healthy through the darkest and busiest month of the year.  So for today’s post, I’m going to change it to be all about staying HAPPY during the holidays!

happy during christmas

1. Keep up your usual routine.  It’s tempting during the holidays to totally change up or push aside  your usual workout and meal routines – I mean, you’ve got so many parties, events, and gatherings to attend!  But keeping up your usual routine will help you feel normal and in control during a typically busy and stressful time of year.  For me, taking a Vitamin D supplement has been a year-long part of my routine as a constantly Vitamin D deficient Alaskan.  If I forget to do this during the dark winter I can actually feel it!

2.  Treat yo self!  If you spent hours baking that perfect pumpkin cheesecake, eat a piece.  Just bought gifts for everyone on your list?  Buy something for yourself too!  There seems to be a focus on appreciation and gifting for other people, but we need to turn that back on ourselves sometimes.  And I’m going to be thinking outside the box with this one too – like gifting myself a pass to my favorite yoga class at the best yoga studio in town after I’m done with all my Christmas shopping.

3.  Take lots of “me” time.  I find that the holiday season is filled with lots of people rushing everywhere.  That is so not my scene!  I like to take a little time each day just for myself, which really keeps me sane.  This can come from lost of things – going for a run, taking your favorite workout class, reading a book, or even taking a nice long bath.  This year, I’m hoping to take it up a notch and start a daily 5 minute meditation routine!  I can’t imagine how much calmer my mornings will be if I start the day out with a focus on me instead of all the things I have to do.

4.  Try new things.  There’s lots of amazing holiday activities going on out there, and even with all the things you have to do each holiday season there’s always time to try something new!  A few years ago I fell in love with doing ugly sweater races, and last year I tried to cheer myself up on Christmas by going on a Christmas Day hike in the snow.  This year I plan on going to the Anchorage tree lighting ceremony downtown, ice skating on Westchester Lagoon, and maybe finding some real reindeer to visit!  I mean, they actually do live here  :)

5.  But remember to do all your favorite things too!  The holidays are a time of tradition and memories, and it’s important to take time to do some of your favorite holiday things.  For me, that’s decorating the tree on the day after Thanksgiving, driving around town looking at fun Christmas lights, making my dad’s almost-famous chocolate chip cookies, listening to non-stop Christmas music, and falling asleep under the lights of the Christmas tree.  I’ve had to make some of my own Christmas traditions throughout the years but some things will never change!  These are the things that truly make me feel happy during the holidays.

IMG_3530Putting the star on our first Alaskan Christmas tree last year!

What do you do during the holiday season to stay healthy and happy?  What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Add Me To The Injured Runners Club.

Hi everyone!  I want to thank all of my visitors from the blog hop on Monday – I have never had that many comments on a post!  I’m really looking forward to following all of your blogs too.  It was a really nice distraction for me, because as you learned in this post, things have been a bit of a mess lately when it comes to running.  On Monday I went to my very first physical therapy appointment ever at the recommendation of my coworker, and I was so nervous.  After all the assessments I thought they’d just tell me that I’d injured something, but instead the doctor said that I have extremely weak hips and he has no idea how I am physically able to run long distances because I have no hip strength.  I immediately felt embarrassed and like I was a “fake” runner.  I have no idea why, since it’s not like I faked all those half marathons – I mean, I just ran one two weeks ago and had the time of my life!  But I couldn’t shake how weird it felt to see him so shocked and surprised over the state of my hips as a half marathoner.  He explained how I dump into each hip when I walk and balance on one leg, and that he shouldn’t have been able to push my legs as easily as he had in the assessments.  At this point he prescribed me four exercises to do over the next week and gave me higher reps than usual because of my lack of strength.  He said that they should be able to help me get stronger and hopefully identify what areas are the weakest for me.  He took pictures of each exercise so that I could remember them later.  Here’s what I got:  (and remember, these were prescribed just for me and my wacky body so don’t take this as medical advice, but they might help with general hip strengthening!)

First, we’ve got clamshells.  It looks like I get to just sleep in this one, but unfortunately I need to lift my upper leg open while keeping my feet together.  I get 20 on each side.


Next, I do hip extensions on my forearms, 20 on each leg.


I then do my least favorite, side plank.  I need to do 5 on each side and hold for 5 seconds each.


Finally, I do bridges.  I start with a neutral spine, tuck my pelvis to flatten my back, and then dig my heels in to bring myself up to a bridge position with my knees apart.  I do 20 of these.  At least my view doing these at PT is nice, right?


When I left I felt really frustrated about everything.  I mean, I knew I needed to strength train and do more yoga, but I never did.  I just ran and ran and ran, and threw in 10 minutes of yoga and foam rolling a day and thought that was fine.  I knew what I was supposed to do to be strong, but I didn’t do it and now here I am, another member of the Injured Runner’s Club with unbelievably weak running hips.  And my PT wasn’t even sure how extensive the damage was (apparently hip weakness leads to lots of other problems) and wants to continue seeing me once a week for the next month to see how I’m progressing and to see what areas need the most help.  The good news is that I’m allowed to do spin, yoga, and the elliptical on top of my daily exercises.  The bad news is that I’m not allowed to run yet – he didn’t even want me to risk it at our appointment this week, so I’m getting my gait analysis done next week.  He told me that I don’t even need to worry about rolling it out or massaging it – that it wouldn’t matter anyways.

I’ve had a few days to process everything, and I’m trying not to be too upset.  Sure, I have no idea when I’ll be back in my running shoes again, and how long it will take me to get back to running a few pain-free miles.  But I’ve been dying for a break in training, and with no long races on the horizon I can take it easy and let my body recover.  I’m also planning on trying out lots of approved classes at the gym over the next few weeks.  I’m realizing that my gym has a lot more yoga classes than I thought, and I’m looking forward to checking them all out.  Real talk though: I think the hardest thing about being injured is knowing that I did this to myself, and that I might struggle to get back to normal for a while.  I’ve got to really listen to my body, take things slow, and not hold myself to the standards I had before I was injured.  It’s going to be a tough month, but I’m hoping I can use this time to get stronger as a runner.

rocky quoteI’m from Philly.  Obviously a Rocky quote was coming at some point.

Have you ever been injured or gone to PT?  How did you deal with not being able to run?  What was your favorite safe way to stay active when you couldn’t run?

The ABCs of Run Away With Me

Hi everyone!  And an extra special welcome to my fellow Grow Your Blog blog hop members!  Today I’m getting the chance to “meet” a lot of other Sweat Pink Ambassadors who are interested in finding new blogs to follow, and I was thinking about what I might want to know if I came across this blog for the first time ever.  And then I realized that because I’m usually blogging about running and hiking and other fitness stuff, there’s so much I don’t get to share about me with my readers.  So today I decided to share some facts about me – one for every letter in the alphabet!  Here’s the ABCs of Run Away With Me:

A – I moved up to Anchorage, AK last year and absolutely love living here!


B – I have a slight obsession with books.  There is nothing better than cuddling up with a blanket and coffee while reading a good book, am I right?

CCoffee is a necessity in my life.  I like it either black or in a PSL  :)

D – The 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon was my first half ever.  I dressed up like Ariel!  You can find that fun recap here.


E – I really love to eat!  For the past 7 weeks I’ve been eating clean while doing the Whole Life Challenge and have been loving how a life without sugar (and bread, pasta, dairy, and any weird added ingredients) feels.  But once it ends on Friday I might add in some dairy again, mostly for pizza.  Pizza is my favorite thing on earth  <3

FFall is my favorite season!  I love the cool weather and changing leaves.

IMG_6579Fall in the Yukon!

G – I have been wearing glasses since 4th grade.  But you’ll never see a picture of that because it’s really uncomfortable to workout in glasses.  Contacts for the win!

H – I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.  Going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida was so awesome!

IMG_2698Drinking a butterbeer in front of Hogwarts!

I – In case you want to connect with me, I’m over on Instagram and Twitter at @runawaywithkk

J – I’m kind of obsessed with John Mayer.  I think I’ve seen him in concert 4 times!

K – The only nickname I’ve ever had is Krissy, and only my grandpa was allowed to call me that.

L – My current half marathon PR is from the Love Run Half in Philly.  I feel like I’m on an eternal quest to beat my time of 2:30!


M – John Muir is my inspiration in life.  If you’ve never read any of his books, go do it!  The mountains are definitely always calling me.

N – If you ever see me watching sports, it’s going to be the NHL.  I’m a big Philadelphia Flyers fan and have gone to too many games to count!

stanley cup

O – I’m the oldest sibling in my family and have one little sister.

P – I grew up outside Philadelphia and spent most of my 20s living right on the West Philly border.  I definitely get homesick sometimes.


Q – My quickest 5k was 28:41.  Sub-30s are hard!

R – This letter was super easy – I’m a runner and super proud of it!

IMG_5530Running by Byron Glacier

S – I’m kind of obsessed with snow.  It’s snowing right now and I can’t stop looking outside like a little kid!

T – I teach health education for a non profit and absolutely love my job.

U – I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh undergrad.  Hail to Pitt!

V – My favorite vacation spot is Bar Harbor, ME.  I really want to run a half there someday.

P1000531At the top of Acadia Mountain in Acadia National Park

W – I’d take winter over summer any day!

X – You definitely won’t see me in Xtratufs anytime soon because I HATE being out on the ocean.  I get seasick!

Y – My favorite color is yellow

Z – I’m not a morning workout person – I love my extra ZZZZs in the morning!

Did you learn anything new about me?  Leave me a fun fact about yourself in the comments!

Why I’m Not Running This Week (And Maybe Next Week Too)

Hi everyone!  So I’ve got a little bit of an issue right now.  Well, maybe more than a bit of an issue.  You may have noticed little hints of this in my posts over the last month, but now it deserves its own post.  Because as much as I hate to admit it, I think I’m injured.  Let me explain:

If you’ve been reading my blog regularly in 2015 you’ll remember that I got some weird butt and “hip pain” back in January. I got and x-ray and MRI and my doctor ruled out anything serious. He told me not to overdo it or increase my milage too fast, and I think I did a pretty good job of that. But ever since then, I’ve had a nagging pain in my butt whenever I run. It started out really subtle, but by May I was feeling it pretty hard and even had to take some time off running during my trip to Fairbanks so that I could get better during Her Tern Half training. After Her Tern, I felt okay and dropped my milage a bit while training for Ragnar CO and the Klondike Road Relay. I was able to maintain long runs of up to 8 miles, so I figured that throwing in one last half in 2015 would be no problem. Except that the slight butt pain turned into a lot of pain during my long runs – and now I’m feeling it on every run, no matter the speed or distance. It’s like a pinch in the middle of my left butt, and sometimes spreads into my low back and during my 10 miler even spread down the side of my leg. Despite getting through the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon without feeling this pain at all, it’s not going away now and I feel it even when I’m just walking around. And so I have to admit that I think I’m injured, and I think I need a break from running.

i just want to run…but I can’t.

My intense Googling has led me to believe that the pain is my sciatic nerve, and that I’ve got piriformis syndrome. If this is true, the good news is that it can be fixed with stretching, strengthening, cross training, and even a tiny bit of low-intensity running (as long as I listen to my body and know my limits).  And since it seems like there’s a lot I can do to get back to normal again, here’s what I’ve got planned for the next few weeks:

  • I’m going to see a PT that my coworker highly recommends on Monday to learn more about the cause of my specific injury, how to recover, and how to prevent this in the future. It looks like it’s caused by weakness in other surrounding muscles, as well as my running form and overpronation (which makes sense because I just started working on improving my running form during Her Tern training and I run in ASICS Kayanos for overpronation control) so I’d love to get some strengthening exercises and tips on how to fix my form.
  • No running until my PT says that it’s okay to do so and I feel pain free.  I’m struggling to imagine life without running, but I know I can’t push it and need to get better before I go out for any more runs.
  • Now that my last long race of the year is over, I can turn my full attention on cross training and spending more time in the gym getting stronger.  I’m hoping I can do strength training, yoga, and spin classes so that I can get stronger, work on my flexibility, and keep up my cardio.
  • I’m going to cut waaaaay back on milage over the next few months.  I’m hoping to still be able to do all of my planned winter races, although if I need to walk the Turkey Trot and the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis I will – and I can skip signing up for the others.  I’m 90% finished with my goal of running 500 miles in 2015 and if I don’t make it, that’s okay!
  • Lots of epsom salt baths  :)


I’m not sure what the next few weeks will be like, but I realize that this is what I need to do if I want to keep running long races in 2016. My goal is to stay healthy and I’ll do anything it takes to get me back there.  For now, look for more gym selfies and less running pictures!  And the second I’m able to run I’ll let everyone know of course  :)

Have you ever had this type of pain?  What did you do to recover and get back to normal?

Frightening 4k Race Recap

Hi everyone!  It’s already time for another race recap – this time for the Skinny Raven Frightening 4k in Anchorage!  This race was my first Halloween race ever, and I was so excited to plan my costume.  My coworkers and I were on a team together, and we decided on an “80s workout” theme – mostly because it kept us warm and was super comfy to run in.  Two of them weren’t able to make it on race morning, but we were still excited to run as a group!

IMG_7095My entire outfit came from the junior’s section at Walmart.  Are people expected to dress like this in 2015?

One thing to note is that the day before the race it snowed!  I was so excited because snow is my favorite thing ever and it helps Anchorage go from a dark, brown, and dead looking place in the winter to a lighter and more beautiful place.  But even though I love it, it does complicate things when it comes to running.  Especially since this was the first one and there was a very thin layer of black ice left on the road after the plows came through.

IMG_7068The view from school on Friday during the snowfall.  I love it!

Anyways, on race day we met up at the Hotel Captain Cook downtown at 10:30 for our 11:00 race start.  It wasn’t too cold outside so we hung around and took pictures while doing some people watching.  Some of the costumes we saw were incredible!  Before long it was time to line up for the race.  We positioned ourselves in the middle of the pack, but when we crossed the start line I was surprised to see that everyone in front of me continued to walk!  I had flashbacks to last year’s Turkey Trot as I realized that this was more of a family-friendly race than a runner-friendly race.  After zig zagging around lots of cute costumed kids and people who are walkers, we were able to start running near the halfway point.  It was stressful trying to navigate all the kids and newbie runners while simultaneously trying not to slip and fall down the hill!  It was a pretty stressful race start and on the way back we tried to run in the snowy grass so that our studded shoes would have a better chance of gripping something and so we could pass people.  Running back up the hill was tough because of all the walkers, and the crowds opened up long enough for us to finally start racing – just as we turned the corner and saw the finish line!

Frightening 4k finish

Overall, we were kind of bummed about this race and I’m not sure if I would do it again.  It was stressful and we didn’t really get to run!  Although it’s the only Halloween race in Anchorage so knowing me I’ll be doing it again next year just so I can dress up.

What I liked:

  • It was definitely family friendly and newbie friendly, so if you’re looking for a first race to do this is probably the one.
  • Costumes!  I love dressing up so getting the chance to dress up while running is awesome!
  • There were trick or treat stations every kilometer.  People were walking this race with candy bags and kids seemed to love this part, but since I’m not eating sugar I didn’t get to participate in this part of the race.
  • The race shirt is great!  It’s a long sleeved tech shirt (we almost never get tech shirts!) and is white which will match everything I own.

What I didn’t like:

  • This goes along with the kids and newbies thing, but race etiquette was nonexistent.  It seemed like very few people were actually running this race, which made it hard for me to run.  And people were stopping and walking all over the place without warning which was dangerous for the runners behind them given the slippery conditions.  Even though I was running this race for fun, I was so nervous that someone was going to cut me off, trip me, or their stroller or dog would knock me over that I couldn’t even enjoy it!  If I run it again I’ll probably start way up in the front to get around this.  I think having a wave for runners and separate wave for walkers, strollers, and dogs would have helped a lot.
  • I know that there is no way to control the weather or the maintenance of the road, but it was super slippery.  It’s that weird in-between time in Alaska where the roads are icy but not snowy yet so it’s hard to run on the roads even in studded shoes.
  • The post race water table was a hot mess and I thought I was going to have to fight people to pour myself a cup!


I’m not going to lie though, dressing up for the race was so much fun!  I had lots of flashbacks to the Disney Princess Half, and I may have come up with 20 different costume ideas before we all agreed that 80s workout was way warmer and easier than anything else.  My best idea?  Zombie Spice Girls.  Yep, that might need to happen next year.

Have you ever dressed up for a race?  What was your favorite race costume?  What was the most crowded/unrunnable race you’ve ever run?