My Reading List: September 8 – 12

1) Whether we like it or not (and I don’t), fall is coming and with it comes the usual viruses of pumpkin EVERYTHING as well as the kind that can make you sick– and I’m not just talking about fall engagement photos, am I right? Now that I am back in DC, I am once again becoming keenly aware that my daily mode of public transportation is quickly becoming a threat to my well-being and that I have to take care of myself when I am in public spaces; however, this article in Real Simple magazine seeks to remove the complacency that I feel when I set foot in the office at 9AM every morning: that just because a space is my space doesn’t mean it’s an immaculately sterile haven of purity. Sometimes it really is impossible to remember to wash my hands the second I get off the train because I have a million things waiting for me when I walk through the door, but I do try to be mindful of my co-worker’s health as well as my own. Luckily, simple mindfulness is all it takes to take control of the situation and curb your odds of picking up something unwanted. That and, well, a flu shot?

Finally coming around to Starbucks's new "You Are Here" coffee mug design.
Finally coming around to Starbucks’s new “You Are Here” coffee mug design.

2) Coffee, tea, water, and wine. Those are my drink choices. I don’t drink juice, soda, or even milk really. It’s not because I don’t love those things and I’ve definitely been known to swig juice like my life depended on it when I’m sick or grab a cream soda at a family gathering (my family has a HUGE thing for cream soda), but the sugar content in juice, soda, and even milk is for me the biggest deterrent in making those items a part of my daily lifestyle. This article in the New York Times confirms my sentiment for liquid sugar, but not because I have to take 12,000 steps for every soda I drink, but because of the manner in which fructose and sweeteners are processed by our bodies. That alone is terrifying, and for that reason, I think it is misleading to give the article the title it has. If I was chugging a diet Coke and browsing the headlines on my lunch break and saw this particular one, I would probably think, “Okay, no problem– I have to go to the gym later anyways.” The science in the article confirms that more movement helps to negate the impact of fructose and artificial sweetener metabolism; however, I think there’s probably something to be said for the way our bodies react to artificial sweeteners. I don’t like to put my body through that kind of drama. I’d rather kick its ass with a hard run and reward it with a massive salad– preferably one that has avocado, shrimp, and artichoke in it. While we runners “can” get away with eating a multitude of foods, I’ve learned the hard way that eating a chocolate cupcake after a run actually makes me feel worse because it has zero nutritional value that my muscles need for recuperation. So, swig that soda if you want and then go walk 12,000 steps. But I’m willing to bet that you’ll feel a million times better without the soda in the first place. Hashtag just sayin’…

3) It’s not even fall yet and already pumpkin-mania has hit America. I MEAN ENOUGH already. I’m so glad someone else is saying it, too. Don’t get me wrong– I love a good PSL and yes please on the pumpkin beer. But pumpkin spice Oreos….pumpkin soda….pumpkin spice Greek yogurt. Fall has the benefit of a trillion warm and cozy flavors; why is pumpkin getting all of the attention? Personally, I adore maple. Or let’s give butterscotch a whirl sometime! And why doesn’t nutmeg or cardamom get the attention they deserve? I think the pumpkin spice craze has reached its peak with me, which is probably why I can’t bear to light another apple cinnamon candle (poor apple cinnamon…). But admittedly, I can’t wait to grab a 6-pack of harvest ale this weekend and I’m counting the days to my inaugural PSL (not until it’s officially fall– I have standards, please), I will more than likely pack up my beach-y summer candles and swap them out for a fall-scented doozy of pumpkin and leaves and cinnamon, and I kind of can’t wait to make this luxurious pumpkin pasta recipe, but for now….just for now….enough pumpkin-spicing the crap out of our human existence!

4) Every cloud has a silver lining. My running injury as of late has only revealed to me that I probably run too much. Training for a marathon is harder than I even realize sometimes, and I have definitely seen it over the past year. From my failed training for the Minneapolis Marathon (which got cancelled anyways) to dealing with the injury in my training for the Chicago Marathon, one of my biggest realizations is that if I am planning to keep this sport in my life for as long as I can, then I probably should take it down a notch. This Runner’s World article proves that I am on the right track not just for Chicago but for every race I run after that. Not saying there is a one right way to training, and if you love the feeling of pavement under your feet 8 days a week for tens of miles, then more power to you– I secretly wish I could be you. But I think my threshold is between 30-50 miles a week at best, and that is okay. There are days when I would much rather swim laps or cross-train and not run. I would rather do what I did this week– take a couple of days off after a long run last Sunday before hitting the trail last night and feeling that fast, easy freedom in my legs. Runs like that help me appreciate the sport more. Taking time away from running helps me respect it more, too. And that only contributes to a sweeter victory. I literally can’t wait to finish my fifth marathon in a month. And I can’t wait to train happy for my sixth one. And really, I can’t wait to see how far I can go taking a quality over quantity approach.

5) Sweet, sweet validation. Not only for this kind of post that I (try) to post weekly, but for getting my English degree. This may also explain why, after spending weeks researching the area in healthcare policy that I hope to be an expert, I am still almost as clueless as when I began. The more you know, the more you…don’t….know…. Gotta keep reading now….


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