Category Archives: Books

13 for 2013

Now that January is basically over, I guess it’s about time I share my goals for the year. I always wait until the ninth to finalize them in my head – it’s my lucky number and I believe it allows time for the “OMG, it’s the new year, let’s make all these crazy resolutions right now” hype to die down a smidge. Now that it’s the end of the month, and according to multiple statistics, most people have already given up on their resolutions, I’ll share mine. Spread some more optimism.

1. Do more yoga. I believe that I went to yoga all of 10 times in 2012. I’m not kidding. Instead of me setting some crazy goal of going from zero to twice a week like I did last year, let’s just try to do more than I did in 2012. If I manage to stretch myself out 11 times this year, I’ll deem this one a success.

2. Be able to do 20 push-ups in a row. Bringing it back because I really want to do this one. I’m ready for buff biceps. And I just want my entire upper body to look nice.

3. Run a sub-2 half-marathon. Another goal from last year, but I’m so much closer to crossing this off the list than I was then. My current PR is 2:06.41, and I’m ready to train hard and slash 6+ minutes off my time. Goal race to make it happen: New Jersey half-mary with team Lululemon in May. Here we go!

sneakers

4. Participate in the first Manhattan Relay for Life. It’ll be my seventh Relay, but the first in the city I now call home. And the first in Manhattan, ever. I’m on the planning committee to help make this big dream a reality and I could not be more excited. My mom will be celebrating her 50th birthday this year, which makes this Relay even more special to me and my family. Get ready, folks, there are some great fundraisers in the works and I would love to see you.

5. Run in a relay race. I’m already starting to make this one happen with Abby and a bunch of other fabulous ladies who plan on running Reach the Beach in Massachusetts this May. It’s 12 days after that goal half-mary, so I’m hoping to be in prime running shape to do my fair share of running legs. But more importantly, I’m excited to have fun with 11 other run-crazy women, crammed in a van for 24 hours. Doesn’t that sound like a great time?

6. Run six half-marathons this year. One of my big life goals is to run a half-marathon in every state before I’m 30. I did the math at the end of last year, and in order to do that, I need to run six every year. Phewwwwwwie. It’s not impossible, but it’s a jump for me. I’ve done five half-marathons total, so jumping to six more in one year is a big leap. But I’m ready to take the plunge and will reveal which races I have my eye on soon.

race rack

7. Go on vacation at an all-inclusive resort. Dustin and I had the cruise experience and loved it, but now we want to check out another way to relax. We’ve been intrigued by the concept of all-inclusives for a while now, so let’s make it happen this year. We’re thinking about the Dominican Republic, but are open to other suggestions. Please share!

8. Pay off one student loan in full. I’ve paid off one loan completely and am on track to do it again soon. Ideally, I’d like to check this one off before the end of summer, but sometimes life gets in the way. I’ll be happy if it’s completed by December 31st.

9. Read two books per month. Last year I read one each month and you all know how much I loved it. I’m picking up the pace this year and will continue to get my knowledge on. For a quick recap of the books I devoured in 2012, click here.

10. Read my personal training certification books. This is separate from goal numero nine because I don’t consider text  books to be a part of my leisure reading. Nonetheless, I’m excited to bust these babies open and get back to studying.

11. Buy curtains. It might sound dumb, but I’ve been living in New York City for almost two years and I still don’t have them in my living room. 2013 is the year to purchase appropriate window fabric. 

windows

12. Finish a scrapbook. I used to make time for this little hobby o’ mine back in college, but it’s fallen to the wayside since graduation. I really enjoy making them, for myself and others, and think it’s a great way to package photos and memorabilia. I have one that’s been in the works since 2010 (eek!), so let’s aim to at least finish that one up.

13. Ride in RAGBRAI. What’s RAGBRAI, you ask? Oh, it’s just a bike ride that starts at one end of Iowa and ends on the other side. Karla, our co-worker, John, and I are gearing up for the race in July and I am pumped! Have I done a bike race before? Nope. Do I know anything about bikes? Not so much. But has that ever stopped me before? Not a chance. Remember, my first running race was a half-marathon. Go big or go home, right? (If anyone in NYC wants to teach me how to ride well, that would be great)

There ya have it, folks. 13 goals for 2013. Now it’s your turn: what goals have you set out to accomplish this year?

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Books, Books, Books

Last year, my goal was to read one book per month. As you know, I accomplished that goal and could not be more proud of myself for sticking with it. It really helped me relax and well, preserve my sanity, whenever things got crazy with work, training, friends life in general.

Back in August, I gave a quick recap of some of the top reads I devoured through the summer months. Now, I don’t think it’s quite fair to show those books the love without spreading it around to all of the great titles I read this year. Not to brag, but I picked some seriously awesome reads. In fact, I don’t regret a single one. So let’s take a look back and I’ll give you the quick 4-1-1 on each, mmk?

If I don’t post a quick synopsis here, you can find it in the last post mentioned above. For more of my book recommendations, check out my Pinterest page.

January 2012: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I started reading this in 2011, but didn’t finish the beast until the new year, so I counted it as the first month. What a great novel. Set in World War II, it tells the story of Louis Zamperini and his struggles as a runner, a lieutenant in the Air Force and someone hoping to survive a horrific crash. It’s all about resilience and strength, and despite it’s length, Hillenbrand kept me enraptured with every page.

February 2012: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. At first, I wasn’t sure this plot line was going to work for me: a circus that only comes out at night, and two magicians who are fighting against each other to the death end up falling in love. First, the whole magicians thing isn’t usually for me. Second, it all sounded a little cliché. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. Morgenstern does a great job of weaving characters together and made me root for both of the magicians, no matter how the ending turned out. And the fact that it all happened at night? Well, that just made it cool. You know how things always seem to take on a new life at night – scary or intriguing, most of the time? That’s what happened with this book.

March 2012: Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs

April 2012: Healthy Tipping Point by Caitlin Boyle. I got to read this before the release date for work and I’m so glad I did. I’m a regular reader of Caitlin’s blog and love how her voice transferred over effortlessly to her second book. The success stories sprinkled in with Boyle’s down-to-earth narrative and advice made it a page-turner, and makes you seriously think about making changes in your life for the better.

healthy tipping point

May 2012: Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

June 2012: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

July 2012: Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin

August 2012: Gone Girl by Gillian Fly. An amazing page-turner that is extremely well-written. It took me a while to get into this book because I felt that the main character, Nick, was weak and not taking any responsibility for his failing marriage. But part two hit me like a ton of bricks and I was instantly sucked in. This novel is all about how things aren’t always as they appear, and no matter what source you go to, there’s always another side of the story. You’ll want to read this just for the mind warp.

September 2012: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. Clearly I went on a Giffin kick this year. I love this movie, but never got around to reading the book first. So I had Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson stuck in my head the whole time, but those aren’t necessarily bad things, right?

books

Anyway, this beach read follows the story of Darcy and Rachel, two best friends living in NYC – Darcy is the overpowering, beautiful blonde who always gets what she wants handed to her, and Rachel is the quiet do-gooder who always has Darcy’s back, despite Darcy frequently taking things from her. Before you know it, Rachel is in bed with Darcy’s fiance. Obviously drama ensues, but the best part of this book is the fact that I was rooting for Rachel the entire time. Based on her actions, you should want to hate her, but I was cheering for this girl’s happy ending.

October 2012: Something Blue by Emily Giffin. The sequel to Something Borrowed is almost as good as the first one. Instead of the story being told from Rachel’s perspective, we shift vantage points and hear about what happened from Darcy. And then we watch the story unfold when she finds out about Rachel and fiance Dex shacking up and she flees to London. It was definitely smart of Giffin to write the sequel from this point of view – I managed to develop some empathy for the little blonde girl who’s finally starting to realize life isn’t handed to you on a silver platter.

November 2012: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. Libby finished reading this in two days and immediately passed it off to me, saying the movie was coming out around Thanksgiving (FYI – if you’ve seen the movie, the book is way better. But the movie was good). The main character, Pat, believes that life plays out like a movie and that every situation has a silver lining. Heart-warming, right? Things get interesting when you find out he’s just been released from a mental institution after having a nervous breakdown because he caught his wife cheating on him. Ouch.

Then you meet Tiffany, another girl who needs help because her husband died unexpectedly. We watch their stories intertwine with one another, while they fight with each other and their families, all while just trying to figure out their own silver linings…together. Aww. It might sound cheesy, but just read it. I promise it’s good.

December 2012: Divergent by Veronica Roth. HOLY CRAP, this book is amazing. Seriously, I’m as obsessed with this series as I was with The Hunger Games. So if you liked that series and haven’t read this one yet, I strongly encourage you to go pick it up immediately at your nearest bookstore or download it to your Kindle.

divergent

I’m a huge fan of dystopians packed with action, drama and romance, and this book delivers in all three areas. Roth is only 24 and has managed to create a brilliant world filled with conflict that cuts straight to everyone’s soul. I can’t give many details because it will give away the story, but just trust me on this one. Pick it up, and thank me later when you’ve finished it in two days. That’s what happened to me.

And that was 2012! In 2013, I’m upping the ante and trying to read two books per month. So far, I’m right on track. In January, I read:

  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth – the sequel to Divergent. Duh. I cannot wait for the third book to come out this fall, or for the first movie release in 2014.
  • Baby Proof by Emily Giffin. I forced myself to break from the dystopians for a few weeks since I was starting to have some seriously messed up dreams, ha. And you can’t go wrong with a Giffin novel. That girl knows how to deliver a light-hearted read that still touches on important life choices.

I have a few others up my sleeve (back to dystopians with Gretchen Powell’s Terra – so excited!), but am anxious for recommendations. Tell me, what book have you recently read that is an absolute pick-it-up-right-now-or-you’ll-regret-it-forever kind of story?

Summer Reads

One of my goals for the year was to read a book every month, and I’m stoked to say I’ve kept up with that goal. Along with all of the magazines I read, I’ve been taking the time for myself to get lost in someone else’s world, someone’s else’s writing, and boy, it feels good. There really is nothing like curling up with a good book. Yes, I have my Kindle and I use it sometimes, but I also have a big ol’ bookshelf that I love to pull from (and add to!). I still love the smell of paper and the feel of a book as it starts to be gently used.

Not that I just went off on a tangent or anything…

So this summer, I’ve been lucky with every book I’ve decided to dive into. Each one was a winner! At least, it was in my opinion. Instead of reviewing each one in a separate post, I’ve decided to give you a brief glimpse into what I’m reading. I’m not going to give away too much of the plot, so I promise no spoilers here!

The Book Thief 

This Markus Zusak read is based in Germany during World War II, so I immediately knew I was going to love it. I’m a huge sucker for anything based in that time period (another great read if you haven’t picked it up – Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand). The story follows the life of Liesel Meminger, a young girl who’s put into a new home with foster parents in the beginning of the novel because her mother can’t care for her anymore – we later find out this is because she’s Jewish.

The most interesting part of The Book Thief, and what kept me enraptured in the story, is that it’s completely narrated by Death. It was such a unique, captivating approach for the author to take, and I think he pulled it off flawlessly. Death encounters Liesel many times throughout the book and there are multiple incidents that weave the entire story together. We get to know Liesel, the youngster who – you guessed it – steals books and is obsessed with words. I fell in love with her sidekick, Rudy, and the eventual Jew Liesel’s family protects, Max. Liesel’s foster parents are equally engaging, as are the secondary characters sprinkled throughout the book. Zusak did such an incredible job portraying their emotions, making me feel exactly what they were feeling, that when traumatic events happened I was quite literally sobbing as I turned the page.

Where We Belong

Emily Giffin is the famous author behind Something Borrowed (which I still haven’t read), a novel that was turned into a film recently and starred Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin. But I digress. Where We Belong is a book I read early this summer because a preview copy was sent to me for work. I had never read anything by Giffin before, but thought, “What the heck? It’s summer and I could go for a light-hearted beach read.” It was a bonus that, as you can see above, I got to meet Giffin to chat about her new novel and snag her John Hancock.

The story is centered around Marian Caldwell, a television producer in New York City who seems to have everything she could’ve ever wanted in life: she’s working for a fairly successful TV show, dating the super-attractive boss of the company and well, living the dream in the city that never sleeps. Everything’s perfect, until 18-year-old Kirby Rose shows up. Turns out Kirby is the long-lost daughter Marian gave up for adoption long ago.

Yes, the story line sounds a bit cheesy, and I was hesitant going into it. It all sounded too predictable. And while it definitely wasn’t a mind-blowing read, Giffin did a great job of storytelling and kept me rooting for both characters. I never felt like Kirby or Marian was the bad guy, or even the boy who got Marian pregnant all those years ago. I felt like they were all extremely relatable characters, and in the end, I was just rooting for each of them to end up happy. This is definitely a beach read that will remind you of just how strong family ties can be, and how important the people you love really are.

Drop Dead Healthy

If any of you read Julie’s blog, you’ll notice that she’s also read a few of these books during her monthly book club. I follow her blog regularly, and whenever a book is chosen, I usually add it to my “To Read” board on Pinterest so I eventually circle around to it. I always mean to read it at the same time as everyone else, but somehow that hasn’t worked out yet. I came this close with this month’s read (you’ll find out what it is at the bottom of this post), but am only partially finished now and it’s the end of the month. There’s always next time!

Anyway, I say all that because this title by A.J. Jacobs was a PBFingers book club read. Boy oh boy, was it funny. As a blogger who likes to focus on healthy living, and an editor who works at FITNESS, I was excited to dive into a book that has the author spending two years trying to be the healthiest man in the world. We learn about his experiences with fitness and nutrition experts, a whole variety of workouts, different diets and anything else you can think of, all in the name of being healthy. 

Fortunately for me, I met Jacobs before reading this book (another perk of my job – Jacobs was a guest speaker at FITNESS’ Blogger Meet & Tweet!). So I was really able to integrate his voice and personality into the book on a whole other level. But honestly, even if I hadn’t met him, I still would’ve loved it. I fully believe that there’s an overwhelming amount of information readily available for people to take in about being healthy, but it’s difficult to sift through it all. I loved the journey that Jacobs took us on, and I thoroughly enjoyed the “character” of his wife. I can only imagine what life would be like if Dustin tried to do the same thing – I give her major props for putting up with it all!

In the end, this was a very educational read and extremely entertaining. See, Mom was right again – learning is fun!

Love the One You’re With

Last but not least, I recently finished another Giffin novel. What can I say – Where We Belong got me hooked! This one addresses the classic “what if?” question so many of us have dangling in the back of our heads, especially if we end up marrying someone who wasn’t our first love. That’s what the main character, Ellen, is dealing with about a year into her marriage with Andy. They’re basically the perfect couple, but a random run-in with Leo, “the one that got away,” sends her into a tailspin, and she questions the decisions she’s made as secrets start to reveal themselves.

Again, Giffin made her characters extremely relatable. I didn’t hate any of them, but I was definitely pulling for Ellen and Andy to work things out. There was a soft spot in my heart for Leo, and by the end, I was rooting for his happiness, too. So clearly Giffin is really good at making me root for the warm-fuzzy endings. She just does a great job of reminding me about important life lessons that tend to be thrown into life’s background when things get busy.

And those are the books I tackled this summer. Pretty varied as far as topics go, but each one had its own enjoyable story line. I’m about halfway through Gone Girl now, which is a definite page-turner and seems to be the big book this summer. Of course I saved it for last!

What books did you crack into this season? Any I should check out? 

August in Review

Hey there! Hope you’ve all had a fantastic Thursday 🙂

If you remember, I set some goals for myself at the beginning of the month. Now that it’s September (holy crap), I figured it’s time to take a look back and see how I did! Won’t you join me?

Fitness 

  • Stick to half-marathon pre-training plan. Check! I only missed a few runs here and there, which is 100 percent okay in my book. I need a plan that allows flexibility, and this definitely does. Plus, I’m only in pre-training mode right now. Official training begins Monday, so I aced this goal with ease.

  • Incorporate more strength training. Eh…not so good. I only did strength training twice, maybe three times this whole month. That’s so sad. I used to lift three to four days a week. I’m definitely going to make this a goal again in September, but break it down a little more so that it’s attainable. I think if I write it in my actual half-marathon training plan, that’ll help.
  • Push myself on speed. Win! I have definitely been pushing myself to run at both faster and more consistent speeds. I used to average a 10:00/mile pace and now I steadily stay at a 9:30/mile pace when I’m running at a comfortable pace. When I do a speed workout, I range between 7:30 and 9:00, depending on the distance and how much I’m pushing. I want to continue this into September and increase my speed even more.
  • Continue spinning and incorporate more yoga. Half-check. I definitely kept up with spinning – I go once a week, per my plan. I also did a lot more yoga. I wanted to do it once a week, but that didn’t always happen. I say I made it three out of the five weekends in August. So maybe I get a three-quarters check? Yes? Maybe?

Nutrition & Health

  • Cook dinner. Hahahaha. Unless we count last night’s extravaganza, this was a total fail. I don’t think I cooked a legitimate meal the whole month. Unless you’re like me, and consider pasta in a bowl a legit meal. Whatever, it’s excellent carb-loading and I’m not fancy. I would say I’ll make a conscious effort to drastically increase this next month, but Dustin’s moving in soon, so I know it’s not gonna happen. He’s the cook in this relationship. Perhaps I’ll consider cooking once every other week. That’d be progress!
  • Sleep more. Excluding this week, I get a check! I’ve been putting my computer away at 11p.m. nearly every night, which is exactly what I wanted to do. This week was really busy on the work front, so it wasn’t feasible. I still get a check. I said so 😛

  • Take my daily vitamin. 100 percent yes! I have taken it every. single. day! I put it on my vanity where I get ready in the morning so I see it and just take it while I’m putting myself together for work.

Life

  • Get a full-time job. Umm, fail. I’m still working on a freelance basis and still searching for something more permanent because like I said, I need that health insurance. I did just have an interview for a part-time job though that I’m really hoping pans out. Fingers crossed!
  • Buy my personal training certification books. Check! I have all three books in my possession and I’m ready to start studying! I have to tell a little story here though: after I posted my August goals, one of my creative writing professors from college, Donna, messaged me on Facebook and told me she wanted to send me an Amazon gift card to help purchase one of my books. She said she was proud of me and told me to consider it an investment in my future. How sweet is that?! She already influenced my future so much because of everything she taught me, and now she’s allowing me to expand my knowledge even more. My heart swells at her generosity and it just goes to show how wonderful my school is. You don’t always get professors who care about you even after you’ve left with diploma in hand. I’m so thankful for them. Thank you again, Donna! ❤

  • Establish a blogging schedule. Mehh. As August moved along, I realized this wasn’t a feasible goal and basically gave up. Right now, my work schedule is too busy for me to try to blog any other time of the day. I work out in the morning, work all day (most of the time I eat lunch while at my desk), attend events for work or blogging in the evening, blog, then sleep. There’s not too much wiggle room. Perhaps there will be later on, but for now I have to stick to the late-night posting. Fresh stuff for you to read in the morning!

That’s it! I think I did pretty well and I had a pretty fantastic August. I’ll be back tomorrow with my new goals for September!

What goals did you have last month? Did you meet them? Tell me!

Stretching Before A Run

When I was growing up, I was always told to make sure I stretch before a workout. Whether I was jetting off to a soccer game, cheerleading practice or a softball tournament, my coaches always made me stretch beforehand. Some made me spend a lot of time stretching (at least 15 minutes) while others just wanted me to spend one or two minutes on it to loosen up my limbs.

Broomball game in soccer sweats.

These days I’m told not to stretch at all. Quite the 180, huh?  Studies now show that stretching beforehand can actually hinder your performance, and a warm-up is a better idea. So which is it?

Personally, it depends on what type of activity I’m doing. When it comes to sports, I almost never stretch before. If I have some spare time I’ll give a quick pull on my quads, but I’m more focused on a light warm-up. But when I go for a run, I always stretch. Only for a few minutes, but I give special attention to my quads, calves and hamstrings. I’ve tried running twice without any stretching and couldn’t get it out of my head that I would’ve done better if I had taken the time to stretch.

So is it all mental?

I think at least a portion of it is. Running is a mentally driven sport. Most of the time, if you can get past your mental barriers, you’ll move a lot farther and faster than you thought possible.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t stretch at all though.

Basically, the debate is about whether you should stretch before and after your workout. Either way, you must stretch after if you want to prevent injury and reach your maximum performance level. Your muscles need it. Don’t believe me? Take a beginner yoga class and your body will worship you afterward. It happens to me every time.

So which works better for you? Do you stretch before or after your workouts? Have you tried not stretching before a run? How did it feel? I really want to know! 

In other news, my back is feeling better today. I laced up the sneaks and went for a three-mile run this morning. I took it easy, but my form was much better and my legs felt stronger. I came home a hot sweaty mess.

Gotta love shiny, sweaty skin.

In case you were wondering, my top is an Adidas sleeveless top with CLIMALITE technology. I don’t know the specific name, but if I figure it out I’ll be sure to update you! This top is another one of my faves because of its lightweight fabric and breathability. It doesn’t cling to my skin when I run, but it hugs all the right curves to give a flattering look.

After my run, I settled in for a big bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with one percent low-fat milk and half of a banana. I ate the other half of the banana immediately.

Honey nut is better than regular.

Here’s a random tidbit about me: I can’t eat the ends of a banana, or any brown spots. I just can’t do it. I always tear off the very ends of a banana and toss ’em, and if there are any brown spots, I won’t eat that section. Am I the only one out there who does this?

It should also be noted that this is the first time in a really long time that I’ve eaten breakfast after a run. Post about that to come soon because I think this is something that is very individual and I would love to get your ideas on the subject!

Now I’m off to start reading Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. I’m told this piece of fiction is basically worshipped among those in the running community, so I’m excited to dig in!

Pain in the Back

It’s just like a pain in the butt, except it renders me helpless when a flare-up decides to occur. Which has been happening more frequently these days.

After I ran my half-marathon back in April, the right side of my lower back started giving me some trouble. Nothing major, but just a little more pain than I was used to. I told myself to toughen up and ignored it. No need to miss a workout when it doesn’t hurt that bad. Most of the time it would only bother me when I woke up in the morning or when I was relaxing to go to sleep, anyway.

Unfortunately, the pain has gotten worse. Last week I did a 30-minute treadmill interval program, then followed it up with Jillian Michaels’ “No More Trouble Zones” DVD.

Feel the burn.

Later that night, and for the next two days, my back hurt so bad that I couldn’t even bend over to flip my hair upside down and tie it in a ponytail. When I can’t bend so that my body is at a 90-degree angle, you know there’s a problem.

I finally started analyzing everything that I was doing and paid attention to when the flare-ups occurred. Then I called my older brother, Justin, who’s currently in medical school in Philadelphia. Although he obviously can’t diagnose me on the phone, he provided more insight than I had when I dialed his number.

He's so smart...

Basically, he thinks that my pelvis is overcompensating for my left knee, which is the knee that had a torn ACL and meniscus back in 2009. The reasons for his diagnosis (from what I understand):

  1. The right side of my lower back hurts, less than a finger-length away from my spine.
  2. The pain is centralized and always in one location, rather than spread throughout my whole back or radiating up and down my spine.
  3. It hurts the most after strength-training, especially when squatting.

I’m sure there are other reasons that I simply don’t understand, but those seem to be the big three. Everything he said to me makes sense, so I’m going to listen to his advice until he gets home on Sunday (yay!) and can actually take a look at me. I must say, it definitely is nice to have a doctor in the family. Beats paying a chiropractor to tell me the same thing!

So for now, I have to take it easy on the strength training. No more squats or lunges (I love squats!) and all upper body work needs to be done while I’m sitting in order to stabilize my back.

He didn’t take running away from me though, so today I headed out for a three-mile hill workout. Whenever I’m running back home, I don’t intend for it to be a hill workout, but it always ends up that way because they are everywhere. Sometimes I wish I was in Florida where it’s always flat. The only thing that gets me through is constantly telling myself I’ll be grateful for it later.

Keep rollin' on.

I finished the run a little slower than I would’ve liked, but I think it’s because I was paying close attention to my form. Admittedly, my posture sucked. I could feel my shoulders slumping and my chest leaning forward too far. I tried to push back my shoulders, but whenever I did I felt like I was exerting ten times more energy and quickly released it. Needless to say, it was not my best run.

My back doesn’t usually hurt after a run, so I avoided anything else for the day. Instead, I decided to soak up some vitamin D while breezing through Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks on my Kindle.

Kindle it up.

The book was pretty good! The ending was cheesy, but you kind of have to expect that when you pick up a Nicholas Sparks novel. However, his writing was much different this time because he went into an in-depth viewpoint — one of the main characters was physically abused by her husband, who was a Boston police officer. Sparks delved into the husband’s point of view and really brought out the constantly changing mindset that these people go through (I’m assuming Sparks did his research). It was an intriguing read and the reason I finished the book in less than 24 hours.

Then I settled down for a nice summer meal with my family.

This meal screams "Memorial Day Weekend!" to me.

Not much beats grilled chicken, pasta and potato salads. Yum!

Have you ever trained through an injury? How did you get past it? And how did you spend your  holiday weekend?