Well, I did it. All the training and hard work definitely paid off. 13.1. It was amazing, when it was over with.

On April 22, I ran the Earth Day Half Marathon in St. Cloud, MN. I stayed in St. Cloud the night before to avoid having a drive in the morning before the race. The evening before, I indulged in some pasta from the Olive Garden. Any excuse to eat carbs is completely okay with me.

The morning of, I ate a peanut butter and jelly, English muffin, some eggs, a yogurt and banana. I also drank plenty of water and was sure to get a lot of sleep. I ended up wearing running leggings that tied on the top so they didn’t move during the run, an Under Armour tank top and a running light zip-up jacket. I had Brooks running shoes on as well. 18033301_10155627064796874_6654001974034216975_n

As a rookie marathon runner, I figured out before the start–that you want to line up at your projected finish marker, since you will be running at a similar pace as those people.

So, once I decided where I wanted to finish (I choose the 2.5 hour marker), with hopes that I could finish around that time. Once the run started, I was feeling good. There were so many people lined up along the route, with encouraging signs and were cheering as people ran by.

For the first 5 miles, I didn’t have any pain and was running at a great pace. I was using the Map My Run app on my phone, so I knew where my pace was at each mile and what my split pace was. I was keeping up with the starter marker, and I was feeling good.

At mile 6, I started getting some cramps in my stomach and my lower back started hurting. Now before the 13.1, my longest run that I trained for was 10 miles long. When you are at 6 miles, 10 doesn’t seem that far off. When you’re going all the way to 13.1, you’re not even half way there at 6.

After reaching mile 8, my stomach and back started to feel better. There were a lot of people I was keeping pace with, and we just kept going. Once you get to 10 miles, your legs just aren’t all the way “there” anymore. My legs just kept going, although my body was very exhausted.

The last few miles were exciting, but it became hard to concentrate on anything else besides “I’m almost done, it’s almost over. Just a little longer.” The last mile was by far the best. My pace had fallen a bit at mile 11, but I was still doing better than I had originally hoped.

That last mile I gave it my all. My app I was using however, was off from the measured distance the run had calculated. So when I thought I was about done, I still had what felt like forever to go. I started to sprint, which was a great idea–but I did it too early. Knowing I was so close (may .3 of a mile out now) away from the finish line, I just couldn’t give up. I ended up making it over that finish line and just wanting to crash.

It was amazing. I felt so great. I did it. I just ran 13.1 miles, and I did it well under my goal of 2.5 hours. My final time across the finish line was 2:11:10.

My body wasn’t hurting significantly besides my lower back. I took pain pills before the run and when I finished, and the pain went away within 5 hours or so. The evening of the run, I was feeling great and was amazed at how well my body handled it. By the end of the night, I realized I may have injured myself a little more than I had hoped.

My foot had endured a lot of pain and seemed to be getting worse the more I was on it. For the rest of the weekend, I continued to ice my foot and try to rest it as much as possible. It has been about 2 1/2 weeks now, and my foot is still hurting. Unfortunately, I think I may have a slight fracture that is going to continue to need time and rest to fully heal.

I was all ready to sign up for the Tough Mudder which takes place in July, but I may be looking at the Tough Mudder 2018 to ensure my foot heals properly. All in all, I a so glad I tried a half marathon and it has inspired me to do more challenges, like the Tough Mudder.

My overall advice from my experience is to listen to your body. Goals are amazing to reach and it’s exciting to finish what you started out for, but be careful. If you’re in pain, your body is telling you it’s too much. Don’t hurt yourself in the process. Your body is a beautiful thing.


Unique Habits of Ridiculously Likeable People

Dr. Travis Bradberry
Coauthor Emotional Intelligence 2.0 & President at TalentSmart

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few—the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception.

When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the most likeable people they have ever worked with. People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under people’s control, such as approachability, humility, and positivity.

These qualities, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in emotional intelligence (EQ). TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable, they outperform those who don’t by a large margin. Ninety percent of top performers have high EQs, people with high EQs make $29,000 more annually than people with low EQs, and a single-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your salary. I could go on and on.

Being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence. Unlike innate, fixed characteristics, such as your intelligence (IQ), EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with effort.

To help you improve your EQ, I did some digging to uncover the key behaviors that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likeable.

They are genuine. Being genuine and honest is essential to being likeable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel.

Likeable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will make them like you.

They ask thoughtful questions. The biggest mistake people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.

They don’t pass judgment. If you want to be likeable you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen.

Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are.

They don’t seek attention. People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. You don’t need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likeable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, you will notice that people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what—or how many people—you know.

When you’re being given attention, such as when you’re being recognized for an accomplishment, shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help you get there. This may sound cliché, but if it’s genuine, the fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you’re appreciative and humble—two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.

They are consistent. Few things make you more unlikeable than when you’re all over the place. When people approach you, they like to know whom they’re dealing with and what sort of response they can expect. To be consistent you must be reliable, and you must ensure that even when your mood goes up and down it doesn’t affect how you treat other people.

They use positive body language. Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who’s speaking are all forms of positive body language that high-EQ people use to draw others in. Positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation.

It’s true that how you say something can be more important than what you say.

They leave a strong first impression. Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likeability. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. Strong posture, a firm handshake, smiling, and opening your shoulders to the person you are talking to will help ensure that your first impression is a good one.

They greet people by name. Your name is an essential part of your identity, and it feels terrific when people use it. Likeable people make certain they use others’ names every time they see them. You shouldn’t use someone’s name only when you greet him. Research shows that people feel validated when the person they’re speaking with refers to them by name during a conversation.

If you’re great with faces but have trouble with names, have some fun with it and make remembering people’s names a brain exercise. When you meet someone, don’t be afraid to ask her name a second time if you forget it right after you hear it. You’ll need to keep her name handy if you’re going to remember it the next time you see her.

They smile. People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want people to like you, smile at them during a conversation and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.

They know who to touch (and they touch them). When you touch someone during a conversation, you release oxytocin in their brain, a neurotransmitter that makes their brain associate you with trust and a slew of other positive feelings. A simple touch on the shoulder, a hug, or a friendly handshake is all it takes to release oxytocin. Of course, you have to touch the right person in the right way to release oxytocin, as unwanted or inappropriate touching has the opposite effect. Just remember, relationships are built not just from words, but also from general feelings about each other. Touching someone appropriately is a great way to show you care.

They balance passion and fun. People gravitate toward those who are passionate. That said, it’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likeable people balance their passion with the ability to have fun. At work they are serious, yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They minimize small talk and gossip and instead focus on having meaningful interactions with their coworkers. They remember what you said to them yesterday or last week, which shows that you’re just as important to them as their work.

Bringing It All Together

Likeable people are invaluable and unique. They network with ease, promote harmony in the workplace, bring out the best in everyone around them, and generally seem to have the most fun. Add these skills to your repertoire and watch your likeability soar!

Click for the full article.


Oil Pulling: Why You Should Try It

I just read this article by , and was pretty inspired to give it a try. But then.. I realized not only did you have to do it for 20 minutes (that’s a long time!) but that she tried it and could barely handle it for 10. So… who has tried this and what did you think!?

What exactly is this?

Although oil pulling has been a hot topic recently, it’s definitely not new. The practice is actually an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification. The belief is that swishing pure oils in your mouth for 15-20 minutes will pull out bacteria, fungus, and other harmful organisms from the mouth, teeth, and gums.

What are the benefits?

The main benefits touted from oil pulling include whiter and stronger teeth, stronger gums, cavity and gingivitis prevention, and better breath.  So say goodbye to Crest Whitestrips? It’s worth a try. (Some larger health claims such as sinus congestion relief, cleared up psoriasis, headaches reducer, a hangover cure, and allergy help have been made but not sure of any conclusive evidence.)

How do I start?

1. Choose your oil.
You will need 1 tablespoon of an extra virgin cold press oil. The traditional oil of choice is sesame, but sunflower, coconut, and olive oil will do the job, too. Coconut oil’s antibacterial properties and (somewhat) good taste have made it the most popular.

2. Swish for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once you have the tablespoon of oil (the solid form will melt within five seconds in your mouth), push, swirl, and pull the oil all around your mouth and through your teeth for 15 to 20 minutes. Since the oil is supposed to be attracting toxic material, you don’t want it to touch your throat, so don’t gargle!  Evidently, the timing is key, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy.  You need to do it long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but any longer won’t help. Fife says if you go over 20 minutes, your body could start re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria.

3. Spit and rinse.
Now that you made it the full time (go you!), spit the oil in the garbage NOT your sink! The oil could solidify and wreck havoc in your pipes. Then, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth. You’re done!

Trader Joe's organic virgin coconut oil to be used for oil pulling

I tried it….

I knew I couldn’t handle 20 minutes of olive oil or sesame oil, so I went with coconut oil because I love the taste in my cooking. How bad could be it, right? The oil tasted fine to me but it was the length of time! Five minutes, maybe 10 was all I could tolerate. I do have to say that the second day of oil pulling felt easier, and the third, even more so, but I never felt completely comfortable with the constant swishing. Did I notice any changes? My mouth felt super fresh right after spitting, but apparently you need to do oil pull for most days during a two-week period to experience any of the proposed benefits. I don’t mind it for 5 minutes but don’t think I could stomach 20…I may just stick to getting my heart healthy oils in my meals.

So to oil pull or not to oil pull? That is for you to decide. It won’t hurt you and it may help you.  It could give you whiter teeth and fresher breath…but don’t go canceling any dentist appointments!

Follow your Passion

As you start to excel in your career following high school and college, it is easy to forget  the small things that make you happy.

When you are younger and don’t have as much going on, it’s much easier to fit the things in that you truly like and should be doing. From playing a sport to volunteering, it’s easy to bypass what you enjoy–to fit in your busy life.

When I stopped dancing and volunteering consistently after high school, my life wasn’t depressing– but I could tell something was missing. I was so busy trying to balance class, homework and work, that I forgot to continue doing the things that really make me happy.


As I began to get more settled in college, I started to find other ways to continue to do dance and volunteer. Zumba replaced my love for dance, and volunteering during sporting events at St. Cloud State through Campus Recreation helped continue my volunteering niche.

Since I have graduated college and developed myself in the work force, I have established more time to continue to do what I love. I wish I would have continued to follow my passion even when I was busy– but sometimes life takes over.

When things get too crazy and seem like they will never slow down, try to come back to home-base, to what you are familiar with and enjoy. When you lose site of the things you care about, life becomes a job. You start to get caught-up on only checking things off your list.

Life is too short to get caught-up on the things you HAVE to do, make sure to fit-in those things you LIKE to do. Find your balance, there is no reason to live a life you aren’t enjoying.

Forgive and Forget

As most of us know, life doesn’t go how we always want it to. People make bad decisions, plans don’t go how you thought they would and sometimes you regret what you said. From the moment you are born until the moment you say goodbye; there are constant struggles with peers and life itself.

No one can decide who you are going to follow after, who your friends are going to be, what choices you are going to make and how you pick yourself up after a struggle. When life makes a turn for the worse, the automatic response is to become frantic. Emotions become wild and many people (like myself) have a hard time controlling their responses.

Recently I wasn’t getting along with someone very close to me. We weren’t seeing “eye-to-eye” on how something should go and we both became very defensive towards one another. Not only were we both sticking hard to our opinions, but it ended up blowing-up over something extremely meaningless. We ended up saying some pretty hurtful things, and neither of us would apologize to the other. Instead of coming together and trying to work it out– we both went to our third party to get satisfaction that we were right about the situation. Eventually, we had to get over it because we are family, and it’s a little hard to stay in an argument with someone that lives in the same house.

The moral of the story is: Don’t waste time trying to “win” the argument, make a point or lose someone you care about. Life can be challenging and mixing-in emotions doesn’t help. The key to avoid these situations is to stay calm and apologize even when you’re “not wrong;” or to take a step back and not react in a negative way in order for an argument to erupt– this is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship with any peer.

Whether your boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or a family member admits they are wrong and/or stays calm right away,  you are less likely to defend yourself and end up in an argument. Decide what’s more important to you: winning the argument and ending up ruining a relationship, or staying calm to fix the issue–without starting an argument to keep someone in your life that you really care about.