Running and Reading: December 5 – 11, 2016

This week: Maple water, Solid Core, pelvic floor dysfunction, White Elephant gifts, Ryan Lochte, the Florida Keys, and choosing joy.

1) For 6 years, I had the honor of working for two United States Senators on Capitol Hill and, to this day, they were some of the best days of my life for all the people I met, the work I did, and the privilege to serve my country. I was pleased to see Roll Call‘s piece on the Women’s Congressional Staff Association, of which I was a board member, because it highlights the true sense of bipartisanship and women supporting each other in our work for an institution that is largely underrepresented by women. Brava, WCSA, and keep up the tremendous work!

2) With the New Year in less than a month (thank God!), I’m already starting to put together some ideas for resolutions, including keeping an eye on wasteful spending. After combing through my budget with a fine tooth comb, I found about $206 per month that I was wasting without even realizing it. Here’s a list of “97 Easy Ways To Save Money” that I will be following for 2017, but full disclosure: it requires some effort.

3) Last month, I joined up with Drink Maple to become one of their 2017 Athlete Ambassadors. I absolutely adore maple water, but I get a lot of questions about what it is and what’s the point of it (besides an excellent athletic recovery drink). Here’s a July 2016 NPR article explaining what it is that I sent to a friend who then used my code FRIENDOFBROWN to get 15% off her monthly subscription of maple water at DrinkMaple.com.

4) The off-season has already been a great time for me to catch up on some of the muscle strength I lost during marathon training, including the mysterious concept of pelvic floor dysfunction. While I don’t have the typical symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, I’m definitely always seeking physical therapy for some kind of hip issue. Here’s a great article I have read in the past about how to help strengthen those deep core muscles and, while I’m at it, make room in your running and athletic equipment budget for these Core Sliders ($15, Amazon.com) before you buy anything else.

5) Lately, I’ve come to disregard empty mantras and statements like “Choose joy” because I feel like “choosing joy” is an invalidation for very real emotions that deserve the benefit of introspection. Or maybe I don’t like being “sad shamed” when I have a bad day and just wanna be mad for awhile. Perhaps, just like running a marathon started out with most of us running to the end of the block and back, “choosing joy” is something that you shouldn’t just expect to be good at right away and, if that’s the case, this article from The Huffington Post is a good training guide.

6) There’s a whole lot of fitness boutiques, all vying for the same punch to the gut that keeps you coming back for more.  This recent piece in the Washingtonian, highlighting D.C. -born and raised Solid Core’s legal battles and the founder’s “how did you get here” story, makes my head spin, laugh, fear for my life, and completely inspired to change literally how I do everything in life. And maybe also a little bit grateful for my quiet, un-messy life.

7) Next week, my office is having a White Elephant gift exchange, and I’m so excited for it. But this is my first Christmas here and so I find myself in the classic “what should I bring?” dilemma. Obviously, this depends on your workplace and its sense of humor and style, but here’s a pretty non-controversial list from Real Simple.

8) I love non-traditional distance races, like a 20K or 15K, or even an 8K like the very first distance race I ever crossed the finish line. Here’s a couple of great non-traditional distance races to run from Women’s Running Magazine. Bonus: you’ll probably get a PR if it’s a brand-new distance!

9) I love the Olympics, and I’m definitely a fan of Ryan Lochte despite the cringe-worthy incident he got himself into this summer in Rio. But his recent engagement has me completely confused about how people can do atrocious things, be so self-serving, and completely unaware of the consequences of their actions and how it affects other people, and yet still end up by all accounts completely and totally blessed and happy. #2016

10) This weekend will be my first trip to the Florida Keys and, in true 2016 fashion, it’s going to be rainy and windy the entire time. Disappointing. More than likely, I will spend my time getting faced in any one of these famous Florida Keys tiki bars or take a road trip Florida Keys-style.

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