Hey, Stranger

Yesterday it was sunny and then it rained and then the sun came out and then it rained and then when the sun decided to come out for a third time I decided to go for a run.

It’s been months since I went for a run outside but today something inside of me told me I would feel better after a run so rather than ignoring that something inside of me, I listened.

Shortly into my run I unconsciously started relating my journey through grief thus far to running.

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I seem to have misplaced my iPod shuffle that I typically use when I workout so I grabbed the old iPod Touch I bought to fill with Stephen’s iTunes library. It has 7,317 songs on it which is still only a portion of his music collection.

I love to listen to Stephen’s music because in a way it makes me feel closer to him knowing I’m getting lost in the same songs he used to get lost in.

The first mile of any run is usually the most difficult for me. But almost immediately following that mile I settle in, find my stride (which resembles that of a duck), and my breathing becomes rhythmic. Yesterday was nothing out of the ordinary.

A good run in my opinion is one where I can get lost in my thoughts, like I’m invisible inside myself just observing the world around me. It’s very healing to get lost in a world while giving it all of your attention at the same time. (If that makes any sense?)

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The song Ocean by John Butler Trio came on during my run and after a while I began to wonder when it would end. I checked just to see and the song lasts for 12 minutes and 28 seconds. Stephen would have a 12+ minute song with no words on his iPod so I wasn’t surprised. 

But it was the perfect song for my thoughts at that moment so I put it on repeat. (More like I listened to it about 2 and 1/2 more times.)

There are parts of every run of mine where I get a boost of motivation and my pace speeds up, I’m full of adrenaline and nothing can slow me down. At other times, I’m running so slow I might as well be walking – actually I’d probably be moving faster if I were walking. I get angry on some runs and curse every time my feet meet the ground and push off it again. On others, I swear I close my eyes, tilt my head to the sun, and smile because it feels so incredible.

Regardless, I keep moving.

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Running isn’t always easy, in fact, it can be very uncomfortable. But that’s the point.

You slow down, you speed up, you run in circles, over hills, down hills, and on straight-away flats. You might trip or even fall down. Sometimes all you want to do it stop and that’s ok.

 

But you can’t give up.

I can’t give up.

 

You can stop to catch your breath, tie your shoe, take a drink of water, or in my case burp lunch which didn’t have time to fully digest.

Yesterday (aside from the burping), I stopped to take a moment and enjoy a beautiful view that made me thankful for the presence – something to be so, so thankful for. After my brief stop, I felt like there was a new breeze in my face and wind at my back. It felt good to start my run again.

Usually, I never let myself stop but I’m really glad I did yesterday. I think it’s important to let yourself know that it’s ok and almost necessary at times to stop for a moment. You know your body and its limits better than anyone else and believe it or not, that little voice inside of you that’s quietly telling you to do something usually knows what’s best. Whether you’re running or just living, taking a moment to let yourself breathe and just be thankful for the beauty of presence can be the perfect boost of motivation to never give up.

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Running is about constantly pushing yourself past your level of comfort in order to find a new one.

As humans we are constantly changing. In fact, the struggle to survive is an effort to constantly cope with change and in order to be able to cope with change we must learn. Learning is a change in behavior due to experiences and change and learning can be very uncomfortable. But just like with running, once we push ourselves past one comfort level we find a new one and  with that new comfort level we become stronger. 

I’m in the process of learning to cope with such a drastic change in my life and it still feels too impossible to be real. But know that I am not giving up regardless of how I may appear to an observer. I am still moving and whether I realize it or not I am a little stronger with every passing day.

 

I had a completely different post drafted that I had planned on posting in place of this but this one seemed to fit better. The purpose of this post is to let those who might be wondering know that I haven’t given up on blogging. However, I hope you all can understand that I am a different person now and HNC will be different also, but for the better.

I have some product reviews, possibly a giveaway, and plenty of recaps up my sleeve for you all so get ready.

Lots of love,

Claire

Quite a Thursday

Hey there friends!

My mom came down earlier today to hang out before my dad makes his way down in the morning and then all three of us head to Baton Rouge. Needless to say, I’ve had quite a Thursday!

Breakfast

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Yesterday toast + PB + nanner; today Greek yogurt + fruit + granola. Why change what ain’t broken, right? Today’s yogurt bowl went sans PB. Gasp, I know, but my nut butter stash is running free viagra samples low and nothing else sounded good so I opted for chia seeds and Bare Fit granola instead.

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Can’t forget about the coffee!

Workout 1

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After CrossFit and date with my foam roller last night, I was feeling better than expected so I went for a quick and easy mid-morning run.

Forgot my camera or else I would have more pictures. It was so so pretty outside today and just perfect for running.

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A handful of grapes after my run. Nom nom.

Lunch

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For lunch I threw together roasted Brussels sprouts + sweet potato, a can of diced tomatoes, two wedges Laughing Cow cheese, and balsamic glaze. The can of diced tomatoes was out of the ordinary yet really good.

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Seasoned everything with a generous amount of hot curry ’cause I like it spicy. 😉

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I crumbled a couple pieces of bran crispbread on top for a little texture and a tasty lunch it ’twas.

P.S. Those bran crispbreads are a staple in my pantry — perfect as croutons in a salad.

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Almost immediately following lunch I had a tiny bowl of yogurt covered raisins. I swear it’s like I HAVE to eat them if they’re in my possession. Sooooo good!

Once I polished off my raisins covered in goodness the doorbell rang and Mom and Sophie were here, yippee.

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Wanna treat treat?

Once Mom put her things down we headed out the door to run a few errands.

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I upgraded my phone — yay for the iPhone 5! –and then we walked over to Manna Grocery to browse around. Of course we bought more than browsed but that’s just what happens when you take me to a health foods store.

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Scored some local strawberries that I’ll be devouring tomorrow morning for breakfast.

Snack

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My stomach was rumbling after running errands so I made myself a snack. Apple slices and a piece of a peanut butter cranberry bar I snagged at Manna hit the spot.

Workout 2

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My mom is recently a yogi so we hit up Yoga Bliss for what was suppose to be a hot class but they were having problems with the furnace. Imagine the heating and cooling people getting a phone call during summer in Alabama complaining about the furnace not working, haha.

Anyways, the class wasn’t hot but it was still great.

Dinner

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After yoga we walked up the street to Big Daddy’s for dinner. Greek salads, hummus and pita plus this little gem to go…

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A Greek fig date newton for an after dinner treat.

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And now I’m sipping on hot tea while watching Sex and the City with Mom. Perfect Thursday.

What’d you do today?

Weekend Recap: Music and Beach Style

Good evening friends! I hope you had a great weekend, whatever you had going on.

As far as my weekend went, it was incredible and I feel like it’s still going on since I don’t leave the beach until Tuesday viagra for cheap morning. No complaints there. 😉

The Hangout Fest was such a blast!

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Seeing Slightly Stoopid was without a doubt the highlight of my weekend. I gave them two thumbs up and almost shed tears.

Some pictures from Friday…

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My Aunt Robin and Uncle E. just so happened to be staying in the same area with some friends of their’s this weekend so I met up with my uncle Saturday morning for a run.

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The only picture I have from our run is this one my uncle took of me after we finished. We ran the state park trails which has an alligator habitat along one of the trails. My mom often rides her bike on the trails and told me she saw a mama gator with a baby resting on her head [insert heart-melting aw here] the last time she was here so I was sure to look for them during my run. I ended up spotting the mama and five little baby gators in one of the ponds! Still kicking myself for not having a camera.

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Annnyways. The uncle is loosely training for an upcoming 10K so he ran 6 miles while I opted for a 5 miler. We started out with a nice 8 minute/mile pace and a lot of conversation so I had to slow down on my way back.

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Coffee, coconut water, Greek yogurt + Kashi GoLean Crunch + Ezekiel flax granola + blueberries + 1/2 bananner 

When I got back from running I had PIAJ (parfait in a jar :)), coffee, and a ton of water. I thought I’d want coconut water but ended up putting it back in the fridge shortly after I snapped the picture. Oh, and yes I brought a jar of PB with me to the beach. Obviously.

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Baby kale + leftover salmon and spinach from dinner the night before + balsamic vinegar

Before heading out to the Hangout I had a small lunch if you could call it that. But whatever it was it was delicious. Can you spy the coconut water in the corner? Thought I would drink it and ended up putting it back in the fridge…again. I will drink that darn bottle of coconut water on the beach tomorrow though! Mark my words.

Some pictures from Saturday…

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As far as today goes, it has been a totally chillax day. I checked a lot of things off my To Do list and have plans of ending it with a Magnum Mini Almond bar. 😀

What’d you do this weekend?

Summing Up Monday

Goooooood evening.

Monday was a great day around these parts and kicked the week off on the right note. Starting with breakfast, of course. 😀

Breakfast

IMG_5444Greek yogurt + how to buy viagra in canada banana slices + blueberries + Kashi GoLean Crunch + the last of my Love Grown granola *tear*

Yogurt bowl and coffee. Always a great choice.

Shortly after breakfast I made my way out the door for some grocery shopping. I didn’t take any pictures of the load I brought home but I did take a few of my fridge. Just ’cause.

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It’s not the best photo but whatever. Maybe I’ll conjure up a post about my fridge/pantry/etc. one of these days.

Once all my grocery goodies were put away in their place, I got started on lunch. 

Lunch

IMG_5463Spring mix + grape toms + shredded carrot + wild rice & quinoa + feta + turkey burger + balsamic vinegar

The combo of feta + wild rice & quinoa + balsamic is just out of this world. Really.

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Then the turkey burger sneaks into the flavor combination and there are no words.

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I seasoned my Jennie-O turkey burger with Emeril’s Southwest Spice.

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By the way, if you don’t already own a rice cooker I highly recommend you change that. These babies makes cooking rice a breeze.

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Yum 🙂

Snack

IMG_5472Kiwi + pineapple + strawberries + Bare Fit granola 

Mid-afternoon I took a snack break from studying for finals and had some fruit and granola. While grocery shopping, I picked up some more “indulgent” granola since I finished off the bag of Love Grown for breakfast. This one is Bare Fit’s Maple Pecan and I have to admit, Love Grown better watch out because this stuff is bomb.

Workout

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The goal for yesterday’s run was 5 miles and I ended up exceeding that by a 1.3 miles so that was nice. Running has been my jam lately. Seriously it’s weirding me out considering I’ve opted for runs instead of hitting up a WOD at CrossFit. Can’t say that I’m complaining though, the weather just keeps calling me outside!

After my run I did some foam rolling while Sophie licked the saltiness from sweating off of me. Thank you for that Soph. 

Dinner

IMG_5481Kale + broccoli + veggie burger + Sweet Thai Chili pop chips + goat cheese + sriracha + balsamic reduction  

For dinner I had a crap ton of kale. Honestly, you would have been in awe if you saw the monstrosity before I wilted it down in some veggie broth. The pop chips ended up getting soggy since this was a “hot meal” so I think I’ll give them another go in a salad.

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This dog is so cute sometimes I can hardly stand it. She got a bath last night, too, so she’s looking and smelling extra fresh. 😉

Dessert

IMG_5486 IMG_5485Almond butter + dark chocolate + Kashi GoLean Crunch

This nearly empty jar of almond butter has been sitting in the cabinet for a while now just waiting for an opportunity to be polished off. Well, last night was the night. I melted in some dark chocolate and added Kashi for crunch. Perfect little dessert.

That sums up my Monday. I hope your week is coming along nicely!

Charlottesville Half-marathon Recap

Happy Hump Day friends!

This week is flying by and, brand name viagra to be honest, I need it to slow down! There’s so much to be done before summer break and even more to be done during — it’s time to kick it into high gear, y’all.

Anyways. This past weekend I was in Charlottesville, VA with my mom and some friends of her’s our’s for the Charlottesville Marathon (half and 8K included).

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Friday 4/5/13

After two wonderful flight delays *sarcasm intended*, I finally arrived in Cville on Friday afternoon, greeted with warm air and beautiful Virginia scenery.

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Our group stayed at the Omni Hotel where the starting line was conveniently located right outside along with Main Street and the race expo.

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Shortly after setting my bags down in the room and cleaning up a bit, we all made our way over to the race expo to pick up our packets and browse around. There wasn’t a whole lot to offer so we didn’t stay very long.

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Can’t decide if Charlottesville is ready to welcome spring or not, haha.

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Since we had some time to kill before all meeting up at the restaurant for our dinner reservations, Mom and I decided to take a stroll down Main Street.

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Mom told me about this almond baklava she saw in a coffee shop earlier that day so we headed that way for a little snack to tide us over before dinner. Baklava is without a doubt my favorite sweet and this almond version did not disappoint.

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Dinner was at Sal’s Italian Cafe for some good ole carbo-loading. I ordered a pizza that came with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach then added pancetta and requested light on the cheese. It wasn’t as good as I had hoped but it did the job carb wise so I didn’t complain.

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Once we finished our meals we took our time chatting before walking to Splendora’s for gelato. There was literally zero room in my belly after my pizza so I sampled the cookies n’ creme and ordered a decaf coffee.

When we got back to the hotel we called it a night and made plans to meet in the lobby at 6:25 am — five minutes before the start of the half and full marathon.

Saturday 4/6/13 

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The alarm on my phone went off at 5:00 am and after pressing snooze twice, I was up and spreading Justin’s maple almond butter on a plain white bagel at 5:18 am. While I was forcing myself to eat that early I thought I should probably snap a picture of my race day breakfast but the sleepiness in me dismissed that idea. Sorry. 😐

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The night before I put together a playlist to run to on my iPod and set out everything I would need for the race. In my ID belt I packed some tissues and Honey Stinger energy chews.

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Soon after breakfast and a cup of coffee, I was geared up and ready to go. 😀

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Left to right: Heather, Katie, Shelley, me. 

Out of the four of us I was the only one doing the half, the rest of the girls ran the full. Shelley has ran in a number of other marathons along with one 30 mile trail race but this was Heather and Katie’s first full marathon.

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Immediately after this picture was taken, we all headed to the starting line. Shelley and I made our way towards the middle of the pack while the other two opted for a start a little farther back. In no time the gun was off and I was officially running my first half-marathon!

I really wish I had a camera with me during the race. The trail took us by parts of UVA’s campus, down town, through picture perfect country roads on rolling hills, and past horse farms with amazing colonial style homes. All while the sun was rising.

At the two mile mark I realized my Garmin watch never got a satellite signal. Yes, it’s just my luck that the one time my watch decided not to work was race day. I tried to reset it a few times during the run before ultimately deciding I didn’t need to know my pace to accomplish my two goals: run happy and finish.

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I was in the middle of giving my two thumbs up face for this picture.

The race was very well organized however, I could’ve used a few more water stops. For my next half I’m going to invest in a Camelbak belt.

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My mom was like the freaking paparazzi when I finished.

Once I caught my breath I headed for water and grabbed a banana then went up to the hotel room with my mom. In the room I did a few sun salutations and stretches to take care of my legs. Next race I’m definitely bringing my foam roller — my muscles need it bad! My mom ran the 8K with Wendy and Karen so we both showered up before heading back to the finish line to watch the other girls run in.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:58:00! Along with my other two goals, I secretly had the hopes of finishing under two hours so I was ecstatic when I saw my chip time. The course was TOUGH and by the end of it I was cursing all the hills under my breath. I can’t wait to run another half with a time goal on a flat(ter) course.

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Mom and I waiting on the marathon runners

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Left to right: Mom, Wendy, and Karen

The 8K ladies

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Shelley finished with an awesome time!

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Next was Shelley’s younger sister, Katie!

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Shelley was extra chipper after the race. I think she was high on GU shots after she told us she took one at almost every water stop they were offered. 😉

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Soon after Shelley and Katie, in came Heather with a strong finish!

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By the time everyone had finished I realized I was starving. Wendy, Karen, Shelley, my mom, and I had lunch at Eppie’s. I made it a point to eat here after seeing this mouthwatering Santa Monica salad with a baby pumpkin loaf on Kath’s blog.

Along with lunch at Eppie’s, I also wanted to make a visit to Arch’s Frozen Yogurt and Matt and Kath’s bakery so me, Mom, and Shelley set off for a walk around Cville.IMG_5349

I knew about Arch’s brownie batter topping but was beyond pumped when I saw they had a yellow cake batter(!!) topping. For my Arch’s treat, I went with vanilla froyo and topped it with brownie batter, yellow cake batter, cookie dough, Oreo’s, Reese’s, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. I needed to replenish my glycogen stores, after all. 😉

Frozen yogurt bars of Alabama: you need to get on it with the batter toppings!

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At Great Harvest I sampled the pesto swirl bread and a salted caramel cookie (uh holy deliciousness) and ended up taking home a bag of Cvile Cluster Granola and a Great Harvest mug. 🙂

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Dinner Saturday night was at Common Wealth where mom and I ordered a salad and shared the mushroom, spinach, and cheese empanadas. The whole tabled shared a few banana bread puddings and a peanut butter torte before we made our way to the roof top bar. We rounded the trip off with a few drinks and some talk before calling it a night.

On Sunday morning we all parted ways and headed for home. All in all I had an incredible weekend spent with a great group of friends. Can’t wait for the next race trip!