Learning When to Step Back + Basically Running a Kennel

Hello friends!

I have to say, while Blogmas was a blast, it feels sort of nice to be back in the swing of things with normal posts.

Before we get into the food+fitness+animals (#prevetlife or something), I wanted to talk about one thing that’s been on my mind these past few days.

I love exercise. That’s no secret. And I’m lucky that I happen to love something that is so good for my health. But one thing I’ve struggled with in the past is knowing when to take a step back.

Yeah. Hello, stress fracture.


For years, I always felt like I had to work out every day, more than once often. Otherwise I wouldn’t be “fit.”

Ever since my stress fracture, I’ve exercised significantly less (but still regularly, to be clear). And guess what? I’m fitter than I was before, with all those extra workouts.

I thought I had to be dragging my body through workouts day in and day out; I had to run 3-4 times a week, spin, Crossfit 4 days a week, who knows what else. It was about quantity, not quality. But then I hurt my foot. And I got busy with various internships. I no longer had the free hours in the day to work out that I did in college, and ever since then, my fitness level has improved. Quality over quantity. In St. Louis, I found I didn’t really like doing runs the morning after a hard evening Crossfit workout, so I stopped doing Crossfit the night before. In the past, I would have struggled through the run. But now I decided I didn’t want to feel awful for the run.

This week, I had to convince myself to take a step back. My stress fractured foot is healed, but sometimes it gets a little bit sore, especially when I’m either wearing the wrong shoes, or jumping a lot. After walking around the city in boots on Monday, and then doing lots of box jumps at Crossfit Tuesday, my foot was bothering me a little bit. I didn’t want to step back, but I remembered how much worse it was to have to immobilize my foot for 6 weeks, so it was better to take some time off now than get that far again. I scaled my Crossfit workout this morning to take the jump out of burpees, and instead of my normal Thursday run, I decided to go to a much needed, low impact yoga class, and spend Wednesday off my feet for the most part.

I guess the main point here is, you have to listen to your body, and you don’t have to exercise 12341234 hours a week to be fit.

Back to life.

For some reason I have not been feeling yogurt in the morning, but I went with it because I thought it would go well with my amazing pears (it did). I had Fage 2% with Cinnamon KIND granola and sunbutter.


Tuesday was another packed lunch at the library, but I made it a little more festive by making a salad with pear, leftover turkey, and cranberry goat cheese. Plus crackers.

img_1426 img_1427

Persimmon bread was my afternoon snack. Plus some other random things because I’ve been so freaking hungry these past few days. That usually means Crossfit has been especially hard.


I’m not super big on pizza (especially with the whole GF thing), but my parents really like it. We went to a place that had GF crust, and my family and I split a brussels sprouts salad, and then my mom and I split a GF pizza margherita.

img_1429 img_1430

I got some ice cream for Christmas dinner that I really liked and wanted to get more of, so we walked to a local Italian grocery after dinner to pick it up. It’s really not exotic; Dreyer’s slow churned frozen yogurt, chocolate vanilla swirl. But I also picked up a couple of GF cookies! Chocolate chip, and chocolate mint.


Wednesday morning I tried Chocolate Cheerios for the first time, pre-workout. I like them! They’re definitely subtle.


Mid-morning, I took the crazy pup out for a walk at a park with some friends. They got to see crazy Chloe: at one point she was just running and jumping around in a circle, which is an interesting sight given I was holding her leash…


I have a problem with her riding in the car right now. She wants to sit on the center console. She does that with my mom which is fine for her, but problematic for me since she’s always really close to shifting gears in my car. On the way home, I tried having her in the front seat and she eventually settled down. Not ideal, but better.


And then began Aurora’s kennel. My parents were out of town for the day/night, so I was on full pet duty. Throughout the day, Chloe has been following me around (but being an angel), sleeping in every room I’m in. It’s actually adorable. I move rooms, and a few minutes later she comes in and settles down near me.


I had a lazy day. In the afternoon, I did a little baking. I made marble bread by making half persimmon bread, half chocolate banana bread. It came out really well!

img_1439 img_1440

img_1441img_1443 img_1444

I do enjoy spending one on one time with Chloe. She’s honestly much better behaved with just me, and it’s good to have some pup-sister bonding. We went for a nice long walk before dinner. It’s the end of December and despite the 30-something degree mornings, I can’t complain about the fact that I can wear shorts and walk Chloe outside (ignore the fact I was wearing 2 jackets). And this area is so darn beautiful.

img_1446 img_1448 img_1449 img_1450

With my family gone, I had the opportunity to crank up the heat. I swear, my mom and I have totally different internal body temperatures. This morning, both kitties were huddled under the blanket for warmth. I clearly wasn’t cranking it up enough though, because Lilly was camped out on the heat vent.


I cooked myself up a simple but delicious dinner. Scrambled eggs with high quality cheese is always delicious. I used cheese leftover from our wine and wine night, and paired my protein with some olive-fig tapenade, avocado toast, and leftover Christmas green beans that I added truffle salt to.


Chloe and I planted ourselves in front of the TV with a movie, and I enjoyed another bowl of ice cream and a cookie half.


The other part of my kennel duties came later than evening when I had to take care of our little visiting kitty. He’s almost 19, which is crazy. We’ve taken care of him before, so he’s staying with us for a week. He moves amazingly well for such a senior kitty, and he’s a big sweetie. He, however, wasn’t a fan of taking his pill. I got it in him eventually, but he was a master at somehow spitting it out and gave me a run for my money!


And with that, I’m signing off!

Tips for New Group Exercise Instructors

Hey guys! I taught another spin class yesterday, and it was AWESOME. The members of the gym are the best. I can also definitely tell I’m improving my teaching style with each class, so I thought I might share some things I’ve learned.

1. Ask for feedback, and incorporate that feedback. Both from your boss and the students. Ever instructor should have their own style, but you need to be willing to work with the students and give them what THEY want, given they are the ones coming back time after time.

2. You don’t have to be talking the entire time. This is one I struggled with at first-I felt like I needed to constantly be saying something, and then I would feel like I had nothing left to say. A little time without your voice isn’t bad-a good playlist will work with you! Plus, given I’m doing the workout with them, I need time to breathe!

3. Microphones take some getting used to. And even with a mic you may still have to yell. It’s a content struggle for me between being heard through the mic and not adding too much extra bass when the mic picks up my breathing. What is working best for me right now is having the mic a ways away from my mouth, and then yelling.

4. Prepare! Be ready to put the work in, and it will show in your class. Right now, I think my classes take a minimum of 4 hours to prep for. I’m sure this is something I won’t need to spend as much time on in the future, but it’s worth it for me. It’s an hour to make the playlist, and then there’s practicing the playlist-I did it 3x by myself this time. And then more adjusting of the playlist after testing it out. I think it’s really worth it to know the songs well and know when to give the cues. Plus, it’s still a workout for me!

5. There will be nerves, but they will fade. Especially for that first class, put a smile on and put it all out there. You won’t always get nervous before classes once you have a few under your belt!

6. All the hard work, anxiety, and time is so, so worth it. Teaching group exercise is so incredibly rewarding. I got the best compliment after class, and it totally made my week. It’s awesome.

And onto the food.

Weekends tend to mean a lot of breakfast foods, which is fine.

Before teaching, I ate a banana with sunflower seed butter. Afterwards, I went to brunch back on campus.


A yogurt bowl, french toast, roasted carrots, and some random things that were meh.

A little bit later, I was hungry again so I had more carrots and pancakes.


Last night, I went downtown to get some new boots. While I was there, I stopped at Starbucks for dinner. I got a kale caesar salad, which I was impressed with. I loved the addition of sundried tomatoes for some extra flavor!


Plus an iced green tea on the side because it’s been so hot here!

Any tips for new GroupX instructors?


Exercising Now and Future Plans

Guess what? I’m T-1 day from flying across the country for my internship! WOO! Packing still needs to happen, but future (well, near future) problems, right?

Since I have very few food pictures, I thought I’d spend some time talking about exercise from this past week, as well as injuries and some plans for my exercise when I’m in DC!

Monday-Nike Training Club 30 minute workout with one of my best friends. This one never fails to kill me, but at least I wasn’t too sore after this time!

In the evening, I had my last softball game (since I’m leavening) with my Monday night slow pitch team! We had an awesome game, and my bat was finally alive again! Afterwards, we went out to celebrate, and it was such a great time. My teammates are so much fun!

Tuesday-I had planned to go for a morning run but ran out of time since we were going up to the city. I went to evening Crossfit which was sort of killer. I PRed my overhead squats by 5 lbs, and the WOD was a little too close to 14.5 for my liking! It was a 10 minute AMRAP of 3 thrusters at 65 lbs, 3 over the bar burpees, then 6 and 6, then 9 and 9, and so on. Definitely a rough but good workout!

Wednesday- I got my butt out of bed at the crack of dawn for a spin class with one of my favorite teachers. Since I don’t have a gym membership, I was able to get a guest pass. Such a fun class! Afterwards, I went back to one of my favorite summer running places for a short 2 miles, 80% for picture purposes.

IMG_8140 IMG_8144


Remember last time I ran there last summer where I almost got attacked by geese? I was grateful to not run into any this time!

Wednesday night, I had a softball game. I did quite a bit of base running, and played shortstop a bit which was fun (I’m normally an outfielder). Unfortunately, I took a particularly ugly swing while at bat and managed to sprain my hand. It feels a little better today, but I’m glad I have some time to rest it before I have to swing a bat again!

Also on the injury front-I went to a different foot doctor today and it seems that I have plantar fasciitis, not tendonitis. Or potentially tendonitis as a result of compensating for my foot pain. Apparently it’s because my calves are super tight and don’t have very good range of motion. The doctor wanted me to do physical therapy, but seeing as I’m leaving TOMORROW I got some stretches to do on my own to try and loosen it up. I also got some more supportive and comfortable work shoes, so hopefully that helps!

In terms of future exercise, the plan is Crossfit tonight, hand permitting. I may go again tomorrow morning, or do a run, before my flight. Saturday I’m planning on visiting my new Crossfit in DC. They seem really nice, and were named the best box in DC last year, so I’m hopeful I’ll love it! Sunday, I want to do a run to explore my new area a bit.

In terms of my general workout schedule, I think I’m going to need to run in the mornings…early….to beat the heat and since I’ll just never get it done after work. I will definitely not be doing this for probably the first week or so because time changes are rough-I don’t need to be waking up at 2:30 CA time to run before work…

Crossfit will happen after work, since I don’t have time in the mornings and since it’s right by my Metro stop coming home. I may try to do some spin or yoga classes at the gym attached to my Crossfit. I’m also eager to try some new (especially budget friendly) workout options, such as November Project (since it’s pretty close to where I’m living). I’m really excited to explore DC on foot, although I know the heat is going to be killer!

Any must see DC things?


My Current Exercise Routine

I call this a food and fitness blog when I tell people about it. But I don’t usually go into my exercise routine, for some reason or another! I’m going to go through a typical week, and explain why I do what I do. 

Generally, mornings are for running. It’s local (I don’t have to drive there-I just walk outside), I get it done, and once I’m up I’m not going to back out. If I tried to run in the afternoons, more likely than not it just wouldn’t happen. I either get lazy or eat too big of a snack, or am just not motivated. I usually do Crossfit or yoga in the evenings-which is scheduled and which I can’t back out of!


I run 3-4 times a week depending on what is going on. Last week, I ran 3 times. This week, barring an unknown, it will be 4. At this point, I do maybe a day of speed work, 1-2 non-paced runs, and a long run. More than anything, it depends on my schedule and where I can fit it in. Here’s this week (proposed), which is more or less typical for me. Sometimes I go to Crossfit less or lift more on my own, depending on how much time I have or what the Crossfit workouts for the week are.

Monday: easy 4 miles+ Crossfit

Tuesday: Crossfit

Wednesday: 6 miles hilly run+ Crossfit

Thursday: AM spin+yoga class

Friday: 4 miles speed work (I’m planning 16×400 @ 10k pace but not sure if I’ll get that many in)+Crossfit

Saturday: Crossfit

Sunday: 12 mile run

As you can see, I like Crossfit! This is more than I would typically go in a week, but I liked the looks of all the workouts. One thing about Crossfit is that the workouts are more or less designed so you can go each day, or many days in a row. I get sore a lot, but it’s in different places, and the intensity is not that high that I’m immobilizingly sore (at least more than 1x/week!). In contrast, when I lift on my own, I won’t be walking for a week. If my only goal was to get as strong as possible, to be honest, I’d probably be better off lifting on my own, 2-3x a week. But I like Crossfit. It’s fun. It’s endurance as well as strength, and I’m still getting stronger. I just really like lifting weights. If there is anything going on with me, or if I don’t feel great, or I’m tired, I always feel better and accomplished afterwards. 

For example, I had a great time yesterday because we did Atlas stones. Which is where you pick a giant concrete ball off the ground and lift it onto your shoulder.



I’ve only done this once before, but I feel so legit! I was even able to move up to a heavier stone! (95 lbs).

Now that I’m doing more distance running, I’m really trying to be better about fitting yoga in. It’s the first thing to go when I get busy, but I get so tight during distance running that it really is essential for injury prevention. My legs have felt pretty tight all week, especially my calves, so I was glad to make it out to a class today! The last couple of weeks I’ve just been practicing on my own. 

In terms of food, I have some things to share. Let me just say that my roommate is amazing. She made Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt. Take a moment to absorb all that.


They have been a staple of my diet these last few days. After eating so many cookies, I’m trying to clean it up a little bit to fuel all my studying! Here are some eats of late:


Plain greek yogurt, fruit salad, berries, and a pancake.


Lots of salads.


Scrambled eggs with oranges.


It’s deadweek so I get a heart in my cappuccino. Speaking of which, the other day I met up with a friend in the afternoon for coffee to catch up since I haven’t seen her much since last year. We went to my normal coffeeshop, and when I ordered a decaf cappuccino, the barista looked at me like I was crazy. I think I get coffee too much…


My prize-gotta love Nutrition class! I won these for my title page for a paper-local organic strawberries! I’m excited strawberries are starting to be in season (at least around here!).


This is still a work in progress. You can’t tell from the picture, but there are a few green streaks in there! I think I need more baking soda, and I think it needs to actually bake in an oven. On a different note: mashing up banana with sunflower seed butter and vanilla tastes amazing. I may never buy granola bars again, and just make my own! YUM. 

What’s your favorite type of exercise?

P.S. I just saw the announcement for the the Open WOD 14.3 and I’m PUMPED. Deadlifts+box jumps are my favorite!