A Change of Direction

Last year a young college student jumped off the 9th story of a Philadelphia parking garage.  On the surface she was seemingly happy and successful.  On the inside she was mentally struggling from depression. There were no red flags and it shocked the entire community.  She was a successful freshman at Penn and the one of the last people you would be expect to see on the national news for committing suicide.

Full article here:  

This is an article I can relate to a lot.  It’s not something I have openly talked about and honestly it was difficult for me to share nearly 4 years later.  I hesitated to press publish but hopefully it can help someone who was in my shoes before it’s too late. Four years later I can truly see how seeking help allowed me to grow and allowed me to get back to enjoying life.

During college there were two points I struggled with mental anguish, anxiety and partial depression.  The first was the transition from freshman to sophomore year of college.  I was never homesick until going into sophomore year. I spent the first two weeks of sophomore year miserable and debating if I wanted to leave college almost every single day.  After seeking outside help (and talking with someone), I ended up having a one of the best years of college.   My college health center was really good at getting me exactly what I needed to be successful as a person and a student.

The end of sophomore year and the end of a great year.

The end of sophomore year and the end of a great year.

The second time I struggled was the summer before senior year (nearly 4 years ago now).  Coincidentally, I was also blogging at that time.   I was struggling with three aspects in my life: my college majors (math and education), my long term relationship as well as the sport I had grown up with (swimming). 

After getting into the classroom junior year and beginning my prestudent teaching, I realized I didn’t enjoy teaching anymore.  I couldn’t see myself in the education field.  I felt like I had wasted three years of my life.  I was successfully completing the major on track but mentally I felt so worn out and I was miserable.  I didn’t want to quit and feel like a failure but I was repetitively doing something I didn’t enjoy.  I had taken a huge interest in my minor at the time (community health).  I had invested so much time into my major, however, that I could not bring myself to leave.  In my mind, leaving meant I was a failure.

So much math...so little time.

So much math…so little time.

Swimming left me mentally exhausted.  I had competitively swum for as long as I could remember.  My coach, the team and everyone was great but honestly I had grown out of swimming.  Going to each 2 hour practice seemed like a chore.  I no longer enjoyed it and it mentally exhausted me.

swimming

The relationship I had been in most of college was crumbling.  We had grown apart and every talk led to a fight.  Courses made me miserable and practice exhausted me…when I found myself in an exhausting relationship I knew it was time for a change.

Finals came and went for junior year and I passed all of my courses.  I headed back down to Virginia for the summer.  My parents immediately knew something was not well.  I was pale, exhausted and I was miserable to be around.  As with the female in the article, my parents recommended talking with someone (a therapist).  They recommended talking to someone who would listen and allow me to think clearly.  I was thinking through a foggy lens.  My vision was blurred of what I believed others thought would make me happy versus what I knew would make me happy.

The summer came and went.   I went back up to school for my final year of college.  I had learned more about myself during that summer than any other year of my life.

Summer before senior year with one of my best friends Anna

Summer before senior year with one of my best friends Anna

I continued talking with a therapist.  She gave me the advice I desperately needed of “do what makes you happy”.  So to make a very long story short, I did three things.  I made the changes we believed would make me the happiest.  I won’t sugar coat it and was the hardest two weeks of my life.  I was beyond scared to leave everything I knew.

  • I changed my major senior year from math and education to community health.
  • I left swim team
  • I ended a relationship that had already crumbled

Without the advice and help from others I don’t know where I would be right now.  Without several people including family and friends I wouldn’t have made any change.  I would have grinded gears that weren’t grinding.

I know I wouldn’t be nearly as happy or successful.  I know I wouldn’t be enjoying life as much as I am and wouldn’t be as happy.

After finding what made me happy, senior year was so good to me in so many different ways… 

Early senior year ;)

Early senior year ;)


Grinding through Friday nights working on my 50 page comm health paper

Grinding through Friday nights working on my 50 page comm health paper…yet that made me happy.  I was studying, learning and researching something that interested me


Finding a hobby that I didn't feel like a chore

Finding a hobby that I didn’t feel like a chore


Making some of my closest college and life friends.

Making some of my closest college and life friends.


Graduating college

Graduating college

Often times we are too involved in our own life to see what is right in front of us.  Our view and perception of ourselves is blinded.  We do need the help of others whether we think so or not.  If I had had not had several people reach out to me, honestly I couldn’t imagine where I would be right now.  It’s important if you see friends, family or anyone struggling to reach out to them.  You never know what a small positive comment, sign of concern or piece of advice can do for someone.  For some it might save a life and for others it might alter their path to another direction.

Quick Recap of the Month of Real Life

The last month has been a whirlwind and I honestly don’t know where to begin.  I got married…I went on a honeymoon (which was the most fun of my life) and now today I’m back…back in real life.  I did a lot of stuff that will never make the blog.  I made a lot of memories that won’t be blogged about…

To say these last few weeks were incredible is an understatement.

And then never ending dancing

Between my wedding, honeymoon and my new found enjoyment of running injury free, I don’t really know where to begin blogging. So here is a little recap of the last month and I’ll break it down at a later time.

Wedding:

For T and I, our wedding was perfect.  We got to see a lot of family and friends and enjoy the evening with them.  Everything went perfectly (thanks to my wedding planner and vendors).  We didn’t have to worry about anything and could just enjoy the entire evening.

I did a post about our wedding here.

Here are just a few photos (more to come):

Dad walking me down

Dad walking me down

ceremony wedding

Honeymoon: 

We went to Key West, Florida for a few days followed by boarding a cruise.  We both really enjoyed doing this and we felt like we did a lot of fun and new things.

Southern Most Point

Southern Most Point

In Florida, we rode a glass bottom boat and saw dolphins.

A dolphin...

A dolphin…

In St. Maartin, we went kayaking and snorkeling.

kayaking

I somehow ended up dancing and booty popping on stage for the “World’s Sexiest Man” competition.  That is a lolz post in itself…

dancing 1

In summary, the 10 day honeymoon was perfect for us and that is all that matters.  We didn’t stay up until 3am drinking nor did we drink every single night (but we did indulge and spent 10 stress and worry free days). We came back to NJ still married and that is important…

formal night

Running:

I posted a long winded summary yesterday but right now I’m running injury free (knock on wood).  I made a few mistakes along the way from racing to not seeing a specialist sooner but I’m excited to begin running well again.  During our honeymoon, we ran together most days.  It was hot, we weren’t acclimated to the weather but it was really enjoyable because I was running injury free. 

Since I won’t get to writing a post about running goals for a while, my major goal of the summer is actually participate in 5-10ks versus talking about running them and never signing up.  I think reworking my turnover and not focusing on 20 mile runs will be beneficial for my body.  Who knows where the later summer and fall will take me but I will approach that topic at another time.

My 5k PR of 18:35 from 2 years ago...something I have not been able to touch since...

My 5k PR of 18:35 from 2 years ago…something I have not been able to touch since…

Long story short, it was a great month for everything.  I’m excited to be back and begin “Real” real life.  Thank you everyone for their love and support.  It truly means a lot to both of us.

Random Thoughts

This week has been random.  I’ve been working on my wedding, running and just working.  Honestly, it’s exactly the routine I needed.

In no particular here are some (thoughtful?) random life updates.

Random wedding: I’ve continued wedding planning.  I know I’m beating the dead horse here but seriously when one thing ends, a new one begins.  Being a bride isn’t stressful, it’s just another portion on my life plate.   I have decided weddings are one big party and that is my take on it.

Random Running: This week I’ve had some tightness in my plantar fascia.  I’ve upped my mileage so it isn’t surprising. I got my deep tissue massage yesterday and am planning to rest today.  I don’t need to risk injury now.  My “go to” running problem (no matter how much I stretch) is tight calves which ultimately leads to tight a plantar fascia.  I’ve learned when things are only going to get worse and it’s time to rest.  I don’t foresee it being a problem since I caught it early.

I searched plantar fasciitis on my blog and this is the photo I found.  Random and it will do...

I searched plantar fasciitis on my blog and this is the photo I found. Random and it will do…

Random Creeping: I was staring out of my window a few days ago and holy view (via Instagram).  I could not believe how beautiful it was on the lake.

morning sunrise view

Random Life: The winner of the internet this week is Danielle.  She was able to find extremely inexpensive plane tickets to Rochester next weekend.  I was planning to drive but I’ll always choose plane ride adventures versus driving.  I’m still getting used to living so close to so many big airports (Philadelphia, Newark, JFK and even Baltimore).

 

Not even ashamed

Not even ashamed

Random Life Part 2: I’ve been craving ice cream more lately.  I don’t understand because it’s been so cold.

I seriously think I like whip cream more then ice cream.  Whatever...it counts.

I think I like whip cream more then ice cream. Whatever…it counts.

I think that is all I have for now.

Questions for you:

Do you have a problem area for running?

For me I know it’s time to back off when my plantar fascia gets sore.

Random Question for you: What TV shows are you enjoying?  I need something new to DVR.

Personal Eating While Marathon Training

As I train more, I get more nutrition questions. I normally post a What I eat Wednesday post annually so it seems like no time like the present!

If the nutrition question can be asked, it has been.  I put half of my life on the internet so it makes sense there are questions about anything and everything.  Due to my public health major, I have several college nutrition classes under my belt.

That being said I am not a professional.

I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist and I’m not trying to be.  I’m still figuring out what works for me. At the end of the day, just like running shoes there are different strokes for different folks.  I am someone who likes to eat very simply and not makes things more complicated then they have to be.

That being said, please join me on my day. 

I’m in the routine of waking up between 5:30-6. I could run when I wake up (without fuel) but honestly it’s colder and dark. I don’t want too.  I would rather wake up, wake up and eat before my run.

I normally eat a 300-400 breakfast.
I don’t like to drink coffee anymore before I run. I had some stomach problems once (during a race) and decided I would never drink coffee before a run again.

Some of my favorite breakfasts:
Waffle with peanut butter (this is what I have about 75% of the time right now)

So easy and so quick.
2 over easy eggs with a bagel

Egg cooked in one of those microwave egg cookers.

Egg cooked in one of those microwave egg cookers.

Oatmeal (blogger cliche but probably my least favorite)

Total calories: 300-400

Then I go for a run 1-2 hours later.  I have found all of my breakfast choices sit in my stomach well.  I can eat between 1-2 hours and have a great run.

During and after breakfast, I use the time to catch up on emails and blogs. I normally head out for a run between 7:15-7:45. I’m home no later than 9:15 and I quickly shower and head to work by 10. During my mass chaos of getting ready, I eat a power bar (I like the taste of power bars and don’t want to replicate them with a recipe…). I also have my amino acids (lately it’s been in a glass of skim milk) and stop at either Wawa or Saxbys on the way to work.

Calories: powerbars, amino acids and coffee (cream with a side of coffee): 300-400
Total calories: 600-800

I normally work from 10-7. I have gotten in a routine of snacking all the way through my work day. I was never a snacker (more of a three meal type of person) until working at my current job.

None of these times are exact and it depends when I have time to eat.  I just eat when I’m hungry and when I’m not helping people.  Sometimes I have lunch at 11 and other times it has to wait until 2.

Here are some snacks I normally eat at work:
Powerbars. I love the chocolate chip cookie dough ones right now.  I don’t live exclusively off of power bars but generally I have one or two a day.

power bar 1
Sandwiches and yogurt. I have a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because they are easy.  Occasionally I’ll walk down to one of the multiple restaurants in town and grab lunch.

The other day I walked to the deli and this sandwich was the bomb.

The other day I walked to the deli and bought this sandwich and it was the bomb.

When I am feeling really fancy, I will have an egg sandwich with avocado (read have actually gone to the grocery store).

I'm so fancy...you don't even know...

I’m so fancy…you don’t even know…

Total calories: 1400-1700

As I said I normally work from 10-7.  I get home around 7:30 and I’m pretty hungry at this point. I have made note to try not to order take out at work and make it home. It can get expensive ordering dinner every day of the week. Dinner for me is not normally planned. I eat whatever is left over in my house.  By 7:30, I don’t want to cook and more or less just want to relax. 

I try (key word try) to cook some sort of meat at the beginning of the week and use that as left overs with salad or a sandwich. Lately I’ve been enjoyed reheated chicken, salmon or steak with a soup and vegetables.

Here are a couple of dinners I’ve had the last few weeks: 

Chicken on top of mixed greens

Chicken on top of mixed greens

Do.This.Now.

Salmon I actually cooked at the beginning of the week for “meal prep”.  That was a big step for me. 

I attempted to make "pizza wraps" that I saw on pinterest too.  It was just melted cheese, pepperoni grilled in a wrap.  It was actually pretty good but I'll work more on it.

I attempted to make “pizza wraps” that I saw on pinterest too. It was just melted cheese, pepperoni grilled in a wrap. It was actually pretty good but lots of room for improvement.

I also try and have a glass of milk with dinner to get more calcium.

Total calories: 2000-2300

Depending on the day I’ll have dessert or not. If I crave dessert then I have it. My sweet tooths include the Krispy Kreme or froyo down the road. There is also a really nice bakery down the road but it closes at 7pm (after I get off work).  My two favorite desserts are cake and donuts.

Total calories: 2000-3000

As you can see my nutrition is anything but extraordinary. I’m just a relatively healthy eating runner who likes to keep simple. Food is important to me but I don’t stress about it and I don’t take a lot of time to cook it.  All of my meals generally take 15-20 minutes to cook at the most.

Questions for you:

What foods do you enjoy?

What is your work day like? 

Timely New Year Resolutions

Last year I posted about my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions and how I kind of, sort of conquered them.  I also said most of my goals would probably roll over until next year.   With minor tweaks most of my goals have rolled over, so I’m not sure why it took me two weeks to copy and paste my 2015 goals.  My main New Year’s Resolution is to be on time and yet I’m publishing this post two weeks after New Years…

——-

Goals for 2015:

Running Goals:

I want to PR in the 5k.  18:35 is my PR and with proper focus and training, I would like to hit that again.  I haven’t run a sub 19 minute 5k since July 2013.  Looking back at 2014, the goal of breaking 18 might have been a bit overzealous. I’ll start with getting back to my PR.

I break this up by the following:

First I must rebreak 19:30, then 19:15.

The next big task will be to break 19 minutes again (I have raced a ton of 5ks in the 19:00-19:05 range..literally I just counted and in 2013-2014, I ran 6 5ks in that window).

Then it will be time to begin looking at a PR.

By the summer I would like to be in the 19:00-19:05 range again. 

At least I have a photo to prove I once ran an 18:35 5k...time to get that fit again.

At least I have a photo to prove I once ran an 18:35 5k…I’ll get there one day…

Break 39 in the 10k.  I will have to do some research and add some 10ks to my schedule.  Does anyone in the NJ/PA area know of any?  I don’t race 10ks very often because they don’t exist.  I wish that wasn’t there were more.

I know my fitness for 5ks will have to be there first so I don’t see this happening until fall.

Break 1:23 in the half marathon.  I don’t know when or if this will happen.  I plan to run both the Phoenix and Air Force full marathon so this goal will take back seat.

Run and PR in another full marathon.  I ran a 3:17 for my only full marathon NYCM.  I would like to train and PR in that in 2015.  Since I am coming back from my stress fracture, I’m not sure what will happen at Phoenix.  If I PR’ed, I would be ecstatic but I don’t know how it will play out.

My main goal is to finish Phoenix injury free.

My goal for the Air Force full is to (stay healthy) and PR.

Marathons are so fun!

Marathons are so fun!

Continue to enjoy running and racing.  If I’m not enjoying the sport and the process, why bother?  Life is to short to do something you aren’t enjoying.  Your training makes up 99% of your running, so you should enjoy it (at least that is my theory).

Enjoy all the moments.

Enjoy all the moments.  This was my second fastest 5k ever.

Life Goals:

Something I struggle with is being on time.  Often times, I have the best intentions of leaving on time and then end up late due to traffic, random events or whatever.  My goal for 2015 is to be timelier.  I’m not making an excuses and I know being more prompt is something I need to work on.  You can tell since I’m posting my New Year’s resolution post two weeks late.

The second life goal I want to work on is dressing my age. I’m going to be 25 this year and while black leggings and Uggs (plus Northface) are extremely comfortable, dressing like that will get me carded for lottery tickets.  I have a lot of nice clothes and I want to wear them.

Continue to live the dream.  I feel like that will always be a goal of mine.  Other people cannot be happy for me if I’m not happy for myself.

So far I have kept with my goals.  Even though we are two weeks into the New Year, I’m still way ahead of where I was in relation to my goals.

I have a big year coming up:

February 28: Phoenix Marathon

April: Wedding

September: Air Force Full

——

Questions for you:

What are your New Years Goals?

Are there a lot of 10ks near you?

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my dad’s birthday.  Happy birthday Dad!

I can truly say I’m very lucky to have him in my life.  He has always been there for me; whether it was moving to college each year, moving to Texas, helping me with life problems and issues or even inspiring me to begin running a few years ago. He is the best.

Thank you dad for everything and Happy Birthday.

Thank you for making fun of me when I photograph coffee.

Thank you for making fun of me when I photograph coffee.  (What he thinks I look like…it’s accurate)

 

Looking nice

Looking nice

One of my first road races

One of my first road races

My dad:  I don't want that specialty ice cream crap.  I just want plain vanilla ice cream...I'll be bold and go with a cone.  Put this on the blog, I never eat ice cream...I'm treating myself.

My dad: I don’t want that specialty ice cream crap. I just want plain vanilla ice cream…I’ll be bold and go with a cone. Put this on the blog, I never eat ice cream…I’m treating myself.

Personal finance.

Something I’ve been wanting to write a post about for a while is how I have gotten a hold of my finances. By the way,it’s not sponsored (that would be ironic right? I got better at budgeting by doing more sponsored posts ha ha).

Since I was left without a job for close to 9 months, I essentially lived off of savings for a while…Since I do not have unlimited savings, that plan would obviously not work forever. When I began working again I needed to rebuild my savings account. While Tim and I have a joint savings account, we also give separate accounts too. From March until roughly July, I was working unsuccessfully to rebuild my savings.  It’s kind of like someone who knows nothing about dieting.  You just kind of wing it and hope it works.  For some people it works and for some people it doesn’t work. In my situation, I was very unsuccessful.  I decided I desperately needed help.  That is when I began researching personal finances and budgets.  I began looking for a professional to help.  That is when I found Ashley.

In July, I decided I really wanted to save for the Oiselle team camp. My goal was to set aside the extra 1350 dollars for camp (between flights, the cost of camp and extra money). Due to personal reasons and the timing of the camp, I ended up not being able to go.With Ashley’s help and advice, I was able save that amount and ended up depositing it into savings. Over the last few months of working with Ashley, I’ve been able to rebuild my savings. It hasn’t been the most “fun” or enjoyable thing to do but it’s necessary.

I enjoy working with Ashley because she isn’t intimidating. She is much closer to my age. Even when I’ve spent more than I should have (on unnecessary things) she is very motivating to help me get back on track. I would absolutely recommend Ashley to other people. I asked if she was interested in writing a guest post and more about what she does for my blog.  She has truly helped me so much!

———————–

Hi LOLZ readers!!! I am so excited to be chatting with you today! Thanks, Hollie, for having me on your blog!

ashley1

My name is Ashley and I am a financial coach for women in their 20s. Basically, my job is to help people get comfortable with their money. Today, I want to share one of my biggest tips for sorting out your financial life. Are you ready for this? (it’s a big one… brace yourself…)

Okay, here goes. My biggest tip for financial success is…

Figure out your financial priorities!

Sounds easy enough, right? I think most 20-somethings have this issue (myself included) of wanting everything right this very instant. We have no idea of priorities… we just want to buy ALL OF THE THINGS. So my advice is that you do a little soul searching to decide what truly makes you happy in life. Allow yourself to spend money on those things, but cut back your spending on everything else!

{Side note: one of my favorite things about working with Hollie was that she knew exactly what she wanted to prioritize. From Day 1, she was like, “I like going to diners, drinking coffee, and running races.” So I can now confirm that everything she writes about on the blog really is what she does in real life, haha!}

I mean, let’s be honest for a sec. Imagine if you cut out all those silly little things that you spend money on (you know, the stuff you buy and immediately regret because, let’s be serious, do you really need another chevron throw pillow?) and put that money towards your financial priorities.

For example…

Do you really care about going to fancy restaurants? Or could you cut out the restaurant trips and put that money towards paying off your student loans?

Do you really care about your bi-weekly manicures and pedicures? Or can you do your nails at home, and put the saved money towards race entries?

I believe that you can do WAY more with your money than you think you can. Take a few minutes to really think about what makes you happy in life, and then cut out any spending that doesn’t support those priorities.

Do more of what you love, less of what you don’t. It’s an easy recipe for financial success— and overall happiness!

I’d love for you guys to stop by my blog and get in on the money convo with me! I also send out a monthly Money Saving Challenge newsletter– sign up for that to kickstart your money saving journey! :)

Questions for you:

What are some of your financial priorities? 

Have you ever worked with a budgeting coach?