Summer Reads

Last summer I was hooked on fiction. I breezed through Gone Girl, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, and The Fault in Our Stars. Coincidentally, they’re all being turned into films this year. My 2014 summer reading list happens to be all nonfiction – most of which chronicle the stories of some bad-ass women:

I am Malala

The book starts with the story of Malala, a 15 year old schoolgirl being shot in the head by the Taliban. She survives and goes on to become a global advocate for education and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. Needless to say, it has sucked me in pretty quickly..

 GirlBoss

I read an article in Glamour about Sophia’s inspiring rags to riches story and it left me wanting more. While my shoe closet may say differently, she’s makes a good case for why “money looks better in your bank account than on your feet.”

 Thrive

Two of my friends and colleagues went to see Arianna speak at an event recently in Boston and came back giddy with her words of wisdom. Some of the takeaways they shared with me that resonated most are “the way the world defines success is unsustainable,” “the more you can be in the moment, the more effective you can be,” and “renewing and recharging doesn’t mean not working hard or not being passionate.”

Born to Run

I’ve heard it equated to the runner’s Bible so I mean, I have to check it out.

What’s on your summer reading list?

Marathon Montages

We’re 10 days out. The intense training is over. I’ve hit my fundraising goal (and then some – thank you friends and fam!). And sometimes it still feels surreal – that I can and will run the 2014 Boston Marathon.

Sidenote: For anyone looking to still donate or just looking for some pretty sweet things – check out the Running for Rare Diseases Online Auction. Bidding closes Friday, April 18 at noon.

With the anniversary of last year’s bombing next Tuesday, the city is reminded of the horrible tragedy, but also of the strength, pride and love that has overcome within the past year. It has been in the news more frequently the past few weeks and many inspirational videos have gone viral. These are two of the best I’ve seen (and watched over and over):

#wewillrun 

Run, Run, Run

I’ve always been a sucker for montages. Something about a set of powerful images, words and video clips set to the perfect song gets to me. These in particular help fuel the excitement/nervousness/gratitude I have about running this year. And also make me wonder if I’ll be able to run a single mile without sobbing. TBD.

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I found this quote from Katherine Switzer to ring true about any marathon, but will resonate even more so this Marathon Monday. Putting aside the incredible athletic achievement accomplished by people from all walks of life, the thing that inspires me the most is the stories behind why runners run. And the complete strangers supporting them with cheers, water, snacks – and even kisses at Wellesley College 🙂

Case of the Mondays Motivation

This morning was a true test of will power to get out of bed and squeeze in a run before work. I’d taken a few days off from running and it’s always hard getting back into the swing of things…plus it’s freezing outside…plus it’s Monday, and not just any old Monday but a Monday that most people have off.  I tried not to think about my friends sleeping in late in their comfy, warm beds, and instead thought about the half marathon I’m running in less than three weeks. I’ll be in San Fran (more on that later) and signed up for the Golden Gate Trail Run with my best friend who lives out there. From everything we’ve read/heard, the course is a BEAST. The fear this course has instilled in me was enough to finally get me out of bed this morning, but in case you’re not into using fear tactics to motivate yourself, I’ve put together a playlist of songs that always push me to go that extra mile:

(Apologies in advance for the profanity ridden, offensive lyrics – I can’t help it if dirty rap beats are what keep my feet moving…)

I am running the 2014 Boston Marathon.

That sentence still doesn’t seem real to me. I’m not sure when exactly it will sink in – maybe at the starting line? Running a marathon is something I never in a million years thought I’d be able to do or have the desire to do. And it probably still wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the members of the Genzyme Running Team (GRT).

I started working with them last February, coordinating the annual Rare Disease Day Relay Run. At that point I was not a runner by any means, but somehow they convinced me to run the last leg of the relay, a 5k. Though I couldn’t consistently run the full distance in the few practice runs I went on,  I managed to run the 3.1 miles without any trouble on Rare Disease Day. That was the first time I realized the adrenaline and energy from a group of motivated people running for a cause greater than themselves can push you to accomplish far more than you think you can.

I helped them organize fundraiser events and other projects leading up to the Boston Marathon – the biggest being a dinner the Saturday night before the Marathon, hosting the runners and their families, patient partners and their families, and a few members of the Senior Leadership Team. Some members of the GRT gave remarks before dinner. I wouldn’t consider myself an emotional person but I found myself getting choked up as they spoke about  their fellow runners, their relationships with their patient partners, their experiences with the rare disease community, and the overall mission and accomplishments of the team. That’s when I realized the magnitude of what the GRT does and how it extends far beyond running 26.2 miles.

On Marathon Monday, after an early breakfast with the runners and patient partners, I wished the team good luck and headed back to my apartment close to the route. After plugging everyone’s bib number into an iPhone app to track where they were in the race, I walked down the street with my boyfriend and roommates to cheer at Mile 22. Growing up along the route, I had cheered on Boston Marathon runners since I was little, but I’d never known so many people running it or felt so close to the cause they were running for.

As each GRT bib ran past, I cheered, clapped and yelled for them whether they heard me through the crowds or not. After about half the team had ran by, I saw 2 GRT bibs coming towards me on the same side of the street I was on. It was Phil,the founder of the GRT and ultimately the push I needed to start running, and Shane, a rare disease patient and GRT community partner. Phil gave me a hug and the waterworks started again. My boyfriend looked at me and asked why in the world I was crying. I couldn’t quite put it into words but that’s when I knew, even before the tragedy at the finish line and scramble to account for everyone, that I had to be a larger part of this team. Never in my life have I met a more motivated, dedicated and inspiring group of people. I believed strongly in what they were doing, witnessed the positive impact they were making, and couldn’t settle for being a sideline cheerleader in 2014.

So that is how I got here. To waking up at 5 am to run in the snow in single digit weather (in a Santa hat, no less). To going back the gym after not having touched a treadmill in literally years. To anxiously waiting to find out who my patient partner will be. To figuring how to best leverage my birthday party to turn it into a fundraiser. To being a member of the 2014 Running for Rare Diseases Boston Marathon team. It might be the most challenging thing I’ve ever done but I think it’ll be equally as rewarding. So let the training begin (and get the tissues ready)!

Resolutions and Snow Day Style

I don’t like the idea of radical resolutions that you’ll never keep and make you feel guilty 365 days later, but I’m a sucker for lists and do believe in setting and working towards realistic goals. They help you grow, reflect and measure how far you’ve come. So, the beginning of the year seems like as good a time as any to add a few more to the ongoing list:
  1. Continue to push myself.  In my career, in my relationships, in running. Maybe in cool things I don’t even know about yet.
  2. Skype more. With many of my closest friends spread across the country, this is an important one. Face to face time or even picking up the phone to have a conversation means so much more than texts, gchat and snapchats.
  3. Learn something new. In 2013, I added running and blogging to my list of hobbies. This year I’m thinking of throwing photography in the mix. First step is to do some research and invest in a nicer digital camera.
  4. Plan another trip to Europe. I always try to go somewhere new at least once a year. Ireland was amazing and has given me the travel’s itch to go back to Europe. Even if it doesn’t happen in this calendar year, I want to start researching, planning and get it in the books.
  5. but also…Stop planning so much. I have a hard time preventing my mind from thinking about what’s next. What’s my next career move? What do we do when our lease is up? And on and on. It’s a constant struggle to let those thoughts go, enjoy what is and just trust the future will work itself out.

Spending the first Friday of 2014 snowed in with my man and pup. The year’s off to a good start so far! Hercules has hit Boston but freezing (and whatever is below freezing) temperatures don’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Stay safe, snuggly and stylish everyone!

Snow Day

Brown coat, $330 / H&M hat, $12 / Isotoner glove $25 / Boots $140

Stress Overload and Gap Sales

I’m suffering from a bad case of “saying yes to everything”. It’s 100% my fault. I say yes either because it’s something I genuinely want to do or because I’m a people pleaser and don’t like to say “no”. Can anyone relate? I love Bethenny and her concept of “Say YES” but I think I’ve taken it too far and need to start saying “no” sometimes.

Some people can do it all and make it work. Props to them. I’m quickly learning that I don’t handle the overload well. I don’t like to just do things, I like to do them well. Some may call this being a perfectionist. Lately I’ve noticed that with so many things spinning in my head (launch meeting, Ireland, dinner date, laundry, puppy adoption, brunch plans, errands, holiday shopping, blogging, Marathon team, and on and on), I am just simply forgetting to do things. When I called my mom crying that I’ve self-diagnosed myself with early onset Alzheimer’s, she ensured me that’s not the case and that I’m just on stress overload with so much going on.

After my mild breakdown, I took a step back, made a list of all the tasks (big and small) that were running through my mind and evaluated. I ended up pushing off one thing until after Thanksgiving and asking someone else to do another thing. It’s amazing how much better I felt by eliminating just a few things from my list and simply saying “no”. I was able to accomplish so much more after I gained that time and peace of mind back.

Needless to say I’m glad this insanely busy week is over, but this weekend is going to be equally crazed. In a good way though. Girls night out tonight. Double date night tomorrow and early Thanksgiving dinner with the family on Sunday before heading off to Ireland on Monday!!

In other non-mental-breakdown-related news, Gap is having major sales this week! Go grab something for yourself or for someone else if you’re one of those people that actually do holiday shopping ahead of time and don’t scramble for gifts at the last minute. Must be nice. I scored a few last minutes pieces below to pack with me.

Have a great weekend and remember not to stretch yourself too thin! It’s okay to say no.

Gap Sale Scores

Don’t Be a Grizzly Bear

After taking a two week break from running after my half, I got out for a short and what I thought would be easy 3 mile run. I quickly remembered running in cold weather is a whole different animal. Runny nose, cold air in your lungs and stiff muscles are going to take some time to adjust to. I also have to find a new routine now that dance has started back up and runs after work mean running in the dark (not a huge fan). I took for granted that an October race meant training in lovely summer and comfortable fall weather. A race in the spring will mean training in brutally cold New England winter weather.

This article  was exactly what I needed to read this week. I plan on taking their advice and buying some new running layers and possibly a gym membership to stay motivated, even though I hate the treadmill.

I’m off to NYC for a fun-filled weekend visiting high school friends and the boy’s family.  I hope you have a lovely weekend!

goodmorning-boston-beautiful-snow-cold-winterDon’t hibernate, motivate! (Sorry, had to.)

What do you do to fight the winter blues and stay active?