motivation

2019 Goals Check-In

Hey y’all, happy June!

I’m really at a loss for words that we’re halfway through the year already—but then again, it seems like New Year’s Day was approximately 600 years ago.

So.

That’s where I’m at with 2019.

But I set some excited goals for this year and I thought it was about time I checked in with where I’m at.

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1) Journal daily

Progress: 44% (161 days/365)

I have really loved this goal thus far. Journaling is one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do but never took the time to start. Now that I have however, I wonder where I used put all those thoughts at the end of the day. If you’re someone who has trouble falling asleep at night, or who tends to bottle things up inside, I highly recommend giving journaling a try. I personally like ruled Moleskine notebooks, but if you are someone who likes prompts to get you started, I’d recommend looking up “guided journals”. There are a bunch available on Amazon.

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2) Take a cooking class

Progress: 0%

This is on my to-do list to research. Anyone have any recommendations for classes in the LA area?

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3) Cook my way through a cookbook

Progress: 19% (19 recipes/103)

I chose Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Hungry for More as my designated cookbook for this goal and I am SO happy I did. Every single thing I’ve made so far (which I mention here and here) has been absolutely delicious. Highly recommend! (you can grab the cookbook here)

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4) Try the best drink from every state

Progress: 2.00% (1 drink/50)

Yeah so I’ve tried a whopping ONE drink from this list, mostly because I almost always order the same drink whenever I go to a bar, but also because I’m not sure how many of these drinks are actually served in standard bars and I’m embarrassed to ask. For the most part I think I will have to buy the ingredients and make them at home, so I will have to enlist the help of my mixology experienced (or just curious and adventurous) friends.

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5) Watch a sunset and a sunrise at the beach

Progress: 0%

I’ve been waiting on the summer weather for this one and it looks like it’s finally starting to arrive! So in the next few months you can find me on the beach, I’ll be the one doused in sunscreen and wondering when it’s okay to put on my jacket.

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

Progress: 60% (3/5)

I really tried to get on this one early this year because I want to actually lean in to that at least for once. As of now I’ve volunteered with Food Forward three times, both picking and gleaning fruits and vegetables from local farmer’s markets, and in doing so I’ve been a part of collecting and donating almost 4,000 pounds of fresh produce that was donated to hunger relief agencies. Isn’t that amazing?!

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7) See 3 WRLA’s

Progress: 33%

While on a recent trip to visit family in Arkansas, my mom, sister and I took a side trip to Berryville to see the World’s Largest Razorback. It’s about as epically weird and wonderful as you can imagine and I’m so happy my family supports this quest of mine.

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8) Pay off 1 of my 2 remaining student loans

Progress: 90%

This month I will make my final payment on my second to last loan! That’s right baby! I will officially be down to ONE. STUDENT. LOAN. Ayyyyyyy! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, y’all.

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9) Amazon Wish List splurge

Progress: 0%

I have this one listed at 0% done, though I could probably put it at around 80% because I have an entire Amazon wish list dedicated to this cause. All I need to do now is add those bad boys to my cart and order them with that sweet sweet Prime shipping. Stay tuned.

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10) Stomp grapes and make wine

Progress: 100% (ish)

This is one of those goals that I thought sounded like a fun, quirky and unique idea at first, but now has me kind of wavering, and wondering, do I really want to do that? Until I decide, I’m marking it as complete because I did go wine tasting for the first time this past weekend and that’s in the wine goal family (which is a thing?) so….

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11) Make my family tree

Progress: 25%

I officially have an account on Ancestry.com and have begun my hunting, but I have a BAF (you know, a BIG ASS FAMILY) and so it’s going to take a little while.

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12) Hike the Narrows

Progress: 100% (ish)

Yeah so I’m just breaking all the rules this year but I’m kind of into it. I gave this one an “ish” because a few years back I made “Project Lightbulb” (which was the name I gave to a family trip to Iceland) one of my goals for the year but we weren’t able to complete it. This year however, we gathered our savings, did all the research and are taking (in literally two days) a trip to Europe. Sure, that’s still not Iceland, and sure, it’s also not the Narrows, but it’s still a family bucket list vacation and I’ll take a box check where I can get one.

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13) Do (at least one) unassisted pull-up

Progress: she’s working on it

I have no way to really track a percentage of progress on this one but I am working on it little by little. A couple weeks ago I went rock climbing with my family and it was the first time I noticed I was actually getting stronger. If I remember it correctly, I believe at one point I turned to our guide, flexed my arms and said, “I have medium guns right now, not the big ones just yet.” So I guess that’s my progress: medium guns.

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14) Get 100 rejections

Progress: 3% (3/100)

This one has been a big struggle for me actually. Blame it on the journaling or the full calendar or the final season of Game of Thrones, but my mind has been all over the place and I’ve had trouble finding the time/effort to write, meaning I’ve had almost nothing to submit, and thus nothing to get rejected. It is my goal however, to rope this in for the second half of the year.

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15) Learn Spanish

Progress: 20%

Surprise! This goal wasn’t even on my original list. (I told you I was breaking all the rules this year.) Goal #15 used to be “learn a song on my ukulele” but again, after some contemplation, I realized that maybe I don’t even want to do that. And you know what, y’all, there is no reason to pursue a goal that you don’t even want to accomplish. So I dumped it. Tossed it to the side like every single mushroom any restaurant has dared put on my plate. Then I downloaded Duolingo and I started learning Spanish, and I’m having a great time! I mean, lo estoy pasando muy bien!

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16) Finish my museum goal

Progress: 50% (10 museums/20)

For Mother’s Day my sister and I took our mom to the Huntington Library for some tea (which I highly recommend, by the way!) and a walk around the gardens. About midway through our stroll through the one of the exhibits in the library, I remembered that it was on my list of museums and I took a few seconds to jump up and down excitedly. This is the only progress I’ve made on this carry over goal from last year, but it put me at the 50% mark so I’m calling it a win.

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17) Run a Marathon done! read about it here

Progress: 100%

To be honest I’m still in shock that I can write completed next to this goal, but it gives me such a big boost of pride that I think I’ll say it louder for the people in the back: COMPLETED, BABY. You can read all about it here.

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When we add that all together, my total progress is about 40%, which I’m proud of! Not only because I’m on track (for once) but because this is the first year I’ve made adjustments to my goals when I realized my interest in accomplishing them had changed.

For the last few years I’ve felt locked into the goals I set at the beginning of the year, sometimes to the point of hating certain goals, which made accomplishing them far less exciting. It became more about getting it over with, which is not what a goal should be. So I’m proud of myself for loosening the reins a bit and remembering that the whole point of setting these goals is to try new things and explore new challenges—it’s brought the fun back into it for me, and it makes me excited for the rest of this year and the ones to come.

If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

To My Fellow Tough Eggs

Often when I meet someone new, or when I see someone for the first time in a long time, or sometimes for no reason at all, I feel very shy and quiet and unable to start, continue, or enjoy a conversation.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, demanding, THIS IS ON YOU, and making myself believe that whenever a conversation goes stale, or when someone opts to sit or stand with someone else, or when the stranger I meet at the supermarket doesn’t immediately fall in love with me like the movies told me they would, it’s because I’m boring or unlikeable or pathetic—or a healthy combination of all three.

Anyone else with me on this?

Anyone else wish they had that magic they see in other people? That ability to talk about anything and everything to anyone and everyone. That something that draws people to them without even meaning to. That ease.

I do.

And while I think it’s something I’ll always strive for, and as much as I believe that you can challenge yourself and grow and acclimate and learn, there comes a point when we have to realize that we are not required to be that kind of person.

We don’t have to be the person that knows exactly what to say all the time. We don’t have to talk to anyone and everyone about anything and everything. Some of us are simply tougher eggs to crack and you have to give us a little more time.

So, to my fellow tough eggs, let me just say that I am with you. You are not alone in feeling like you should do more, be more. You are not the only one sitting there internally screaming, “SAY SOMETHING.” You are not boring or uninteresting or pathetic. You just need time. And anyone worth having in your life will give you that time. So be patient with yourself.

31 Good Things that Happened in May

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) This man adopted a deaf puppy and taught it sign language

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2) This little guy hijacked a school performance in the best way

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3) History was made when this drone delivered an organ in a successful transplant

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4) This 🙂

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5) This celebrity chef offered to hire a cafeteria worker that was fired for giving a student free food

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6) This boy wrote his teacher a touching note

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7) This man paid off an entire graduating class’ student loan debt

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8) This little girl saved her friend from choking one day after learning the Heimlich maneuver

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9) This huge child exploitation bust resulted in arrests and rescues

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10) This whale returned a phone that was dropped in the water

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11) This lawsuit win for a small Amazonian tribe saved hundreds of acres of rainforest

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12) This cellist received over $100,000 in donations to help him go to college

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13) Parkland High School dedicated a page in their yearbook for therapy dogs

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14) Adam Sandler hosted SNL for the first time in 24 years and paid tribute to Chris Farley

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15) This man took a sloth back home

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16) This former janitor earned a nursing degree from the school he used to clean

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17) This guy fell…artistically

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18) This man shared a magical story about his time working at Disney

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19) This artist created animal beds out of used street tires

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20) This woman, known as “waving granny”, got a heartfelt goodbye from the kids she used to wave to every day.

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21) Quarterback Russell Wilson bought his mom a house

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22) These parents celebrated becoming empty nesters in the best way

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23) This 93 year old woman earned a college degree

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24) These guys put a camera on a sushi conveyor belt and got a fun result

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25) This woman threw out a hilariously memorable first pitch at the White Sox game.

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26) This woman received a photo of her cat from a neighbor

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27) Memorial Day

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28) Jennifer Garner gave an amazing commencement speech

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29) These kids sang their hearts out

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30) These dogs became best friends

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31) And THIS:

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what June brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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A Lesson from Claire Wineland: Love Your Life Your Way

Last month my sister and I went to see the movie Five Feet Apart in theaters. It follows two people with cystic fibrosis, who fall in love but are forced to keep their distance from one another.

The director of the film, Justin Baldoni, recently posted a video on his Instagram (that you can find here) where he introduced his main inspiration for the film: Claire Wineland. She lived her entire life with cystic fibrosis before passing away at the age of 21. In the video (taken in 2015), Claire gives a short speech, and it’s immediately clear why she changed so many peoples’ lives, and why her legacy is sure to live on.

She said:

I’m 18 years old and I have something called cystic fibrosis. I do only have a few years left to live. I mean, that’s how the doctors see it. Let’s get the whole like death thing out on the table, right?

Like all of us could get hit by a meteorite, so let’s stop thinking about the death part of it because that doesn’t matter to me. We have no control over it. But we do have control over whether or not we are proud of our lives. I mean, that’s something we have complete say over.

I am genuinely proud of my life. I am so proud to be alive. I’m not saying I don’t feel pain. I’m not saying I don’t feel sadness and suffering, and loneliness, because that’s what it means to be a human being. But I’m saying that that pain and that loneliness and that sadness is beautiful.

We live in a society that benefits off of us continuously looking for happiness and dreams and goals out here. Right? If we say, “No. We are not going to go looking out there for a happiness. We are alive and that is all we need.” We are beating the system. Right? And we’re living lives that we’re proud of. We’re living lives that make us happy!

You have to look at all of it. All of the pain, all of the loneliness, all of the beauty, all of the friendship and the family, and the sickness and the health. You have to lay it all in front of you and you have to say, “Okay. That is what I have and it is all wonderful. What can I make with it?”

Woah, right?

It really made me stop and think.

So often I am someone that puts an immense amount of pressure on myself to live a life that other people can be proud of. Sure, I take pride in what I do, but when I’m lying awake at night stressing, it is because I’m worried I’m not doing enough, not being enough. I’m worried people are judging me or pitying me or just wondering what the hell is she doing?

When we focus on the eyes of others, it’s hard to accept “all of it”. It’s hard to see all of the pain and sadness and beauty and family and friendship and sickness and health, and consider it “wonderful”. We can see the wonder in some of it, sure, namely the parts that might impress or connect us to others, but it’s hard to see all of it as the wonderful combination that makes us, us. It’s hard to realize that our unique combination of all of those elements is what makes our lives beautiful and special and important.

So today, I am going to take a look around, and I encourage you to do the same. Look at all of it. Everything you’ve been given, and find the meaning in it. Find the wonder. Stop living your life by other peoples’ standards and start living a life that you are proud of.

Give Thursday a Chance

So it’s Thursday.

Which means it’s almost Friday.

Which means it’s practically the end of the entire week.

Which means there’s no point in starting anything now.

Right?

All those goals you’ve been meaning to start pursuing.

That something new you’ve been wanting to try.

Those chores you’ve been needing to get done.

There’s no reason to do them today.

It’s Thursday.

You might as well call this week a wash and just start again on Monday.

Right?

As much as I want to say yes, and as much as I want to put everything I want to do aside and just worry about it tomorrow or, you know, next week, that really wouldn’t do me or you or any of us any good.

Mondays are great for motivational purposes. They are great for easy calendar tracking purposes. They are great in theory. But really think about a Monday. Think about how when you actually get to a Monday, it’s hard and awful and has too many responsibilities to begin with.

Monday’s can suck.

So…why not Thursday?

Why not Friday?

Why not Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m.?

There’s no reason to wait to start doing the things that will make you happy or organized or less stressed or successful. Every day holds the possibilities we give to Monday and every day can be as looked forward to as Friday.

So why can’t Thursday be your day?

Give Thursday a chance.

Start today.

There is More than Red

I recently listened to the audiobook of “You’re A Badass” by Jen Sincero and immediately after finishing it, I went out and bought a hard copy because I wanted to be able to highlight it and make notes and read it over and over and until the binding is good and tired. It is packed with good reminders designed to get you up and out of whatever funk you might find yourself in, so you can get out there and kick some (mostly your own) ass.

One of my favorite chapters started with the author asking you to look around whatever space you are currently in and pick out everything that is red.

Give it a try.

Focus on those things, memorize them, repeat them over and over again in your mind.

Now close your eyes.

Well. Okay. So this exercise might work better if you were listening to it. Otherwise you’ll just be sitting there with your eyes closed, repeating “ketchup bottle” over and over, with no idea what to do next. Since I was listening to the audiobook, I did not come across this logistical issue.

I APOLOGIZE.

The point of the exercise is to close your eyes, and after spending all that time focusing and memorizing the red, she then asks you to point out everything in your space that is yellow.

Huh? I thought.

Was this a trick?

I just wrote an entire rhyming poem called “Red in my Head” and now you’re going to pull something like THIS, Sincero? I do not approve.

But then she pulls a fast one on you.

She points out that if we are singularly focused in our lives, constantly looking only for the red, than we’re not going to notice the yellow, or the blue or the green. And Lord knows there is some green to be seen after all of this rain.

I listened to this chapter of the book about the same time I wrote this blog, and while they touch on the same thing, they stuck out in different ways. While my reminder to “look up” was a reminder that there are always good things amongst the bad, this “find the yellow” exercise was a good reminder that there is just more.

The world is full of so much more than what we might be struggling with in a particularly difficult moment or season. This doesn’t and shouldn’t belittle what we’re going through now, but it can act as a reminder that there are so many more moments out there for us if we have the courage, patience and perseverance to work through this one. There is so much yellow, y’all! So much blue! So many stars and stripes and polka dots. There is more. So take a deep breath, blink a few times, and let all those other colors come into focus.

Tips for Training for a Marathon

This past Sunday I ran the LA Marathon, a feat I never thought possible for myself, and one I will forever be PSYCHED about.

I wrote a blog about the experience, but I wanted to write another one for anyone who might be considering running a marathon, be it this year, next year or whenever. These are the things I learned both going into the race and on the day itself and I hope they can help you!

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1) Follow a training plan or join a group

Before I started training, the only thing I really knew about marathons was that I eventually had to run 26.2 miles. But as far as breaking it down to manageable increments, I had no idea. I didn’t want to undershoot it and leave me unprepared, or overshoot it and leave me exhausted. So, I enlisted the help of the internet and found this training plan that I followed (as well as I could) and I arrived on race day feeling very prepared.

If you are someone who has trouble getting motivated to follow a plan like this on your own, there are a ton of organizations out there that will give you a community to both encourage you and hold you accountable. If you are in the LA area, check out the LA Leggers, Students Run LA, Movement and LA Road Runners.

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2) Train hills

The LA Marathon is known for its hilly course and let me tell you: the rumors are true!  I was very grateful to have paid extra care in training with hills because I didn’t have any issue with them, but I could tell there were a bunch of runners who weren’t prepared for that element of the course and it zapped their energy.

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3) Mix up your routes

Training for a marathon is a long process. I probably did about 60 training runs, which is actually less than my training plan suggested, but was the best I could do in accordance with my schedule. After the first month or so, I had a list of routes I was familiar with and I would rotate them around. For the most part this was totally fine, but when I started having trouble with my IT Band, I read that one common cause of the tightness is running on the same side of the road too often. Since sidewalks are slanted (even if we don’t notice) we will unknowingly distribute our weight to keep ourselves balanced, which in turn can put extra strain on certain muscles. To prevent this, try to run a variety of routes and sometimes run those routes backwards, or on the opposite side of the street.

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4) Figure out your perfect training diet

There are a lot of articles out there that will tell you the “perfect” thing to eat before and after runs, and many of them contradict themselves. The reason is all of our bodies are different, and as such require different things to perform at the best of their ability. For me, I liked to eat pasta the night before a big run, a protein bar or some toast the morning of, and then a fruit smoothie with some protein powder after. I stayed away from dairy and sugar and I drank lots of water for days leading up to the run and afterward.

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5) Don’t skimp on post run care

Trust me when I say that I know the first thing you want to do after a long run is just sit on the couch. I also think it’s important to note that for the first two months of my training I did. It wasn’t until I started getting to the longer training runs that I realized that just wasn’t going to cut it. I was getting really sore and feeling worn down and frustrated. So, I did research on good post-run routines and then I stuck to them. After every run I made sure to stretch. And then I made myself a protein smoothie, drank water, took a cold shower (it’s as awful as it sounds but it seriously helps with sore muscles, I promise!) and then I relaxed on the couch. If my muscles were still sore, I iced them and took Advil.

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6) Find somewhere to put your phone

I personally do not like wearing any accessories when I run. Not even a fanny pack or those bands that strap on your arm to hold your phone. I am just so particular about the way things feel and I have never been able to find a happy medium for how tight or loose those are. SO, I wore a pair of leggings with pockets down the sides. This allowed me to keep energy gels, snacks, my phone, anything I might need during my run without having to hold them, because as I learned the hard way, anything gets heavy in your hand after an hour or so of running.

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7) Keep yourself hydrated

This was another one I learned the hard way. On my first 15-mile training run, I thought I could just go for it like I’d done on all the runs in the past, assuming that having water waiting for me at the end would be enough. It was not enough. I got so dehydrated and  I was all but convinced I was going to pass out on my walk back to my house. After that, I started planning out my runs in loops. I left a water bottle outside my front door that I would loop back to every five miles or so, and I kept energy gels in my pockets that I would take every hour and a half or so. (If you are a runner that is comfortable running with a water backpack or a water bottle this probably won’t apply to you, but it worked for me and might be something to consider.)

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8) Bring chapstick

When you are out there running for long periods of time, your lips get very dry. I constantly forgot to put on chapstick and I paid for it, both with cracked, dry lips, and sunburned lips. So, if you can, apply a bunch before your run. Also, I’d recommend bringing some with you on race day since you’re going to be out in the sun for so long. There are people who stand on the sidelines with poster boards covered in Vaseline, but I thought that was…kind of gross? It’s really a personal opinion here, if you have no qualms about germs/sweaty hands/melty Vaseline, then go ham on those poster boards. I kept some Chapstick in my pocket and took each poster I saw as a reminder to apply.

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9) Be patient

Training is a long journey. Give yourself time to improve and don’t get down on yourself if that process is slow. Just keep getting out there and keep moving forward.

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10) Listen to your body

There is a fine line between pushing yourself and hurting yourself. Aches and pains are a part of the process, but they shouldn’t all be brushed off as collateral. You know your body, so when it tells you something is wrong, pay attention.

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11) Go for it

Get pumped. Go all in. Believe you can do it and listen to the people around you who believe it too. Let that positivity fuel you. YOU CAN DO THIS!

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12) Push through the wall

In the blog I wrote about my own marathon experience, I talked about hitting the infamous “wall”. It was around mile 21 and I wholeheartedly considered quitting. My self-esteem had plummeted and my body was so tired I wanted to cry, so the thought of having to go five more miles seemed impossible. Prepare yourself for the possibility of this feeling. It is hell, but it is what makes a marathon a marathon. Take a break, breathe in and out, picture yourself at the finish line, and put encouraging words on repeat. I probably muttered, “I can do this” one hundred times after I passed the mile 21 marker, trying to muster up some inspiration from deep inside myself. And though it hurt like hell and seemed like an absolutely ridiculous idea, I started running again, and with each step I let those words sing louder than the doubt. I can do this I can do this I can do this I can do this.

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13) Be proud of yourself

Two days after I ran the marathon, I ordered myself a cake and had the bakery attach at note on top that said: “Never stop believing in yourself.”

There is no shame in being proud of yourself. There is no reason not to celebrate your own accomplishments. You are a badass and it’s most important that you know that. Once you do, you’ll be unstoppable!

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YOU. CAN. DO. THIS.

You can do anything.

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If you’d like some information on marathons happening this year, check out this article.

I Ran A Damn Marathon

Two years ago, just after my 27th birthday, I made this list to give myself 30 things to strive for before I turned 30. The very last item on that list, was an ellipses-ed, maybe, kinda, but I don’t know item: Run a Marathon.

I didn’t want to commit to the task, but I also wanted to keep it in mind. I love challenging myself, and I especially love proving I can do things I never would have believed I could, so I put it on the list and let the curiosity fester.

Then, in September of last year, the curiosity bubbled over.

I did some research and I looked up training plans, and I decided to commit to this one, which would have me marathon ready in six months. I would start my training in October, making it so I finished training just before the 2019 LA Marathon.

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The training was tough, and long, and sometimes just plain frustrating, but I got through it, and this past Saturday, as I sat eating my now traditional pre-run pasta dinner, I hoped it had been enough. Then my alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. the next morning, and there was no more wondering, there was no more waiting, it. was. time.

The starting line was at Dodger Stadium and the start time was 6:55 a.m. So after pinning on my bib, jumping around and stretching, and hugging my family goodbye, I got in line, loaded up my playlist, got herded into the corrals, and then…the gun went off.

I was in the zone y’all.

The first mile flew by and when I saw that first mile marker, I lifted my hands up the air, confident, excited and ready. Only 25.2 more to go!

It wasn’t going to be easy. This was a marathon after all, and everyone running that race was running against something that had nothing to do with the course. For me, besides the emotional obstacles of doubt and contemplating my potential insanity and all that fun stuff, I had recently been struggling with the IT band on my right leg.

It began in the last few weeks of training, and though I’d been as diligent as I could to ice it, rest it and pray sweet blessings over it, the muscle still, for lack of a better word, twanged. And unfortunately, after that first strong mile, I felt that twang.

Okay, I thought. We’re okay. We can do this. PLEASE, LORD, HELP. We can do this.

For the next 10 miles or so, I did do it. I powered through. The uphills were tough and the downhills were worse, but I breathed and I focused and I powered through.

We can rest later, I said, talking to my IT band like a person, just keep your shit together for ONE. MORE. DAY.

Thankfully (I guess), by mile 15, the arch of my left foot started to ache, which more or less cancelled out the pain in my leg, giving me a nice, uniform discomfort that was manageable.

And so came mile 16, and then 17, 18 and 19, and just as I approached the mile marker for mile 20, I slapped my hand on a sign being held by a little boy on the sideline that said “tap here for a power up!”

Only 6.2 miles left! I thought. We do this all the time. We got this.

That’s when I hit the wall.

Not a physical, actual wall. No, the infamous, figurative marathon wall. It’s the point when your strength suddenly plummets, the trail suddenly stretches, and time suddenly slows way down.

I came around a corner to the hill that led to the mile 21 marker and I suddenly just felt done.

By this point both of my legs were aching, the bottoms of my feet felt like I was running on broken glass, and my knees were just plain tired of being knees. I stopped running for the first time and I wobbled my way up that hill, feeling as broken and discouraged as I did during my first training run for my very first 5k all those years ago.

Mile 22 wasn’t any easier.

I took turns running and walking, neither one feeling particularly easier than the other, and I stopped making eye contact with fans cheering on the sidelines. What if I can’t make it?

Just then, a text came in from a friend who was tracking my progress online: “Keep it up Kim! Almost there!” I thought briefly about curling into a ball and crying, but instead I decided to start running again. It was a slower pace than I’d kept my first 20 miles, but it was something.

I jogged and I breathed and I tried to stay focused on the songs playing in my headphones, assuming that if self confidence could take me 80% of the way, an up-tempo song with some inspiring attitude could take me the other 20.

Then I saw mile 23. And 24. And then, finally, mile 25.

“Only one mile left!!” someone on the sidelines yelled into a megaphone.

I took a deep breath and I buckled down. My entire body hurt but I didn’t care. I could f*cking do this and I was going to prove it.

I came down the last hill and saw the ocean, and then the road wrapped around and there was the finish line. It was a straight shot. A far, long, seemingly ENDLESS straight shot. But it was there, and each step got me closer, until suddenly my feet were on the final platform and the finish line was moving into my rearview.

I had done it. I RAN A DAMN MARATHON. And the moment I saw my family and they ran out from behind the sideline to give me a hug, I burst into tears.

This was undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was also the most rewarding. At the end of mile 20, as I came around the corner under an overpass and looked ahead at the mile 21 marker at the top of the hill, I wanted to quit.

There’s just no way I can make it. I’m in over my head. I can’t do this.

But the moment those words crossed my mind, I was determined to shut them out. To prove them wrong. So I took this picture:

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I wanted to remember this spot. This moment when I could have let doubt and discouragement win. So that when I crossed that finish line, when I got my medal and my free banana, I could always remember that I kept going. That instead of quitting, I went 5 more miles.

We can do anything we put our mind to.

Go the extra five miles. You can do it.

Look Up and Look Around

I am currently training for the LA marathon. This means that three times a week I’m outside running, telling my body that all the pain and exhaustion will be worth it when we get that medal at the finish line—and the free banana shortly afterward.

This past Saturday I ran 17.5 miles, the second longest run in my entire training plan. (The longest being 20) For the first 13 miles or so, I was doing pretty well. My legs, while tired, still had some juice in them and I was determined to check this milestone off my list. But as I started those last four miles, it seemed like each step got harder and harder. My knees began to ache and my ankles threatened to quit on me. This was the longest I had ever run in my entire life, and to know that even when (or if) I finished, come marathon day I’d have to come up with the strength to run nine more miles—a marathon is 26.2 miles—my body was just about ready to call it.

Around mile 16 or so, my mind was really starting to get shaky and my legs were even worse. Continuing to run almost felt like punishment, but I knew quitting would feel far worse. That’s when I hit a red light and had to pace around the sidewalk—legs wobbly as ever—while I waited for my signal to continue. I put my hands on my head and took some deep breaths, hoping to relieve some of the stiffness in my back, and then I looked up. The sky was a piercing blue with big, beautiful, puffy clouds. I watched them swirl around above me, and it gave me a warm feeling in my stomach.

When the light turned green and I started running again, I focused on the clouds, and for a little while my knees didn’t ache as much and my feet didn’t sting; my back felt looser and my legs felt a tiny bit stronger.

By the time I made it back to my house however, I was sure my legs were going to fall right out from under me. I walked through the door like a baby giraffe and stumbled my way through a shower and the making of my usual after-run protein shake.

My body was spent.

But even as I limped around for the rest of that day and the next, I still thought about that patch of sky. While it hadn’t taken away the pain I was feeling, it reminded me that it wasn’t the only thing that day—that moment—had to offer.

There are many instances in which I’ve let a dark time or a difficult situation block out all the light around me. Sometimes it’s hard to remember there’s a blue sky up there. Especially when so many other days are grey, cloudy and rainy.

But alas, there are always good things. There is always something just out of your line of sight that is there to give you hope and inspiration. There is always something to push you that last mile.

In the next month, I’m sure I’ll spend more than a few days wondering, what the hell am I doing? Namely when I pass the 20-mile mark at the marathon and have to run SIX. MORE. MILES. But I’m going to take that patch of blue sky with me through the whole race and the days, months and years that follow. I’m going to look up, even when my head wants to hang down, and I’m going to look around, even when it seems safer to keep my eyes forward. Because as sure as there will be dark, there will also be light, and I’m going to try harder to find it. Even when it feels like my knees might spontaneously combust—or you know, the day to day life equivalent to that feeling.

31 Good Things that Happened in January

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) This baby became a hair model

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2) This boy called 911 to get help on his homework

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3) NASA found three new planets

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4) These Indian women made a human chain for equality

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5) This comedian and musician composed a would-be theme song if Wii Jogging was included in Wii Sports…

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6) …it’s actually part of a series he’s released over the last two years and they are all wonderful.

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7) This professional hockey player sent an inspirational message to a fan

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8) Roma actress, Yalitza Martinez, was nominated for her very first Academy Award

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9) This youth group cleaned up national parks during the government shutdown

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10) This man helped save a woman’s life with CPR he learned watching The Office

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11) This standup comedian starting offering daily tips to other comedians

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12) New York City banned foam containers

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13) This dad built an igloo

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14) This woman tracked down her fairy godmother

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15) These Canadian air traffic controllers sent pizza to their American counterparts

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16) Retired major league pitcher, Mariano Rivera, was voted into the Hall of Fame

View this post on Instagram

The moment that Mo made history. 🐐

A post shared by MLB ⚾ (@mlb) on

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17) This woman asked the drunk driver who hit her to help raise awareness

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18) This woman gave us all an incredible life hack

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19) Actor Jonah Hill shared an inspirational message about his new hobby

View this post on Instagram

I started Brazilian Jiu Jitzu 2 months ago and try and train 4 or 5 times a week. In high school the dudes who did Jiu Jitzu used to beat the shit out of us at parties so it turned me off to it as an idea growing up. But quietly I always thought it was a beautiful art form . At 35 , I try and get over the stuff that made me feel weak and insecure as a teenager. It’s just wasted time and lessons you’ll never learn. Trying to let go of that. Nothing more humbling than getting your ass kicked by a 12 year old your first week . Got my first stripe today. I know it sounds corny but it’s pretty dope to jump in and do stuff you’d never think you’d be able to do. Much respect to Sensai Josh and @clockworkbjj and Anthony for getting me into it ❤️ 🥋

A post shared by Jonah Hill (@jonahhill) on

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20) This mailman helped prevent a package from being stolen

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21) A GoFundMe page for this Fyre Festival victim raised $100,000

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22) This boy made progress

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23) Actor Patton Oswalt turned an online attack into an opportunity for outreach

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24) This UCLA gymnast wowed with an amazing floor routine

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25) Marvel agreed to let this dying fan see the new Avenger’s movie early

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26) Snoop Dogg provided incredible commentary for a Los Angeles Kings game

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27) These people showed up for a veteran’s funeral

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28) This dog learned to pet a cat

 

29) This company gave tailored suits to those in need

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30) This man converted his van into a mobile library

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31) This man did yoga with his pig

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what February brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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