The Olympics are Coming

Olympic Rings(This post is dedicated to the Olympic’s biggest fan, EmYo!)

Ok – so the Olympics are coming.  Do you know how I know?  The media circus has begun and Visa is exclusively advertising via Olympian endorsed commercials.  I like the Olympics, and as such, I have bought into every single one of the media’s ploys to get me excited about them.

I got sucked into Ready to Fly, a documentary about the women of ski jumping, and their (really long) fight to get their event in the Olympics.  I’m thrilled that the International Olympic Committee is taking strides towards gender equality in sports, and I think the Olympics are a wonderful form of cultural diplomacy, but man do they look like bad guys.  Realistically, I don’t know enough about the IOC to form a judgment, but they came out of this documentary looking like Goliath for sure.  My verdict- not the world’s best documentary, but a GREAT story.  Cheers to the ladies of US Ski Jumping – kick ass in Sochi!  Catch it on Netflix when you want to get psyched up for the gym – you’ll be so mad at “the man”, you’ll want to take up a sport that hasn’t been recognized by the IOC so you can fight the system.

Next up is ESPN’s The Price of Gold.  As a lady (and straight up girly girl) who grew up in the 90s, this was the ESPN documentary to end all ESPN documentaries.  Now, I’m a sucker for a sports doc, and Charlie’s gotten me hooked on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, but this one iced the cake for me.  First, it got my college basketball loving boyfriend to watch figure skating with me.  Second, I got to see the Tonya/Nancy scandal unfold as an adult, which gave me a whole new perspective.  Third, I learned that Women’s Figure Skating in the Olympics in 1994 was the third highest rating sporting event in history.  The other top five events are ALL Superbowls.  F-yea figure skating- 10 points for Kim Kardashian-ing yourself into fame long before the sex tape!

Finally, I was psyched to find out that crowdfunding has found its way to the Olympics!  Using Crowdtilt, Indiegogo, and Dogecoin, fans funded the Jamaican Bobsled team’s trip to Sochi.  As a fundraising professional who works in the arts, I’m 1) thrilled that crowdfunding accomplished something so amazing and 2) know that growing up with the classic sports film, Cool Runnings influenced more than one of those donors to give to this incredible team.

So now I’m super exited for the Olympics, but not just to see incredible athletes achieving their lifelong dreams.  This year’s Olympics have provided a platform to discuss the movement towards gender equality and the power of crowdfunding.   One step at a time, right?

Also, I really, really, realllllllly hope that ABC Family will run a Cool Runnings marathon in the days leading up to the Olympics.  Anyone got a number at Disney Corp I can call to make that happen?

A change of focus and my holiday gift guide

Would you believe it’s been almost 2 months since I last posted something!?  Reading my most recent post, I would have told you that it happened two weeks ago, but time has been FLYING up in here.  I work for a theatre company, and we’ve had three shows running this fall which means, three times the emails to draft, three times the events to attend, and three times the fun!  (It also means I’ve been exhausted, but I love what I do, so I can’t complain.)

As soon as my work schedule slowed down, suddenly Thanksgiving was upon us.  I hosted – and cooked my first turkey – if you have spoken to me in the past month, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, I’m sure you are bored of hearing about it, so I’ll spare you.  (But just in case you didn’t hear, I got the turkey straight from Violet Hill Farm and it was the happiest, healthiest, most delicious turkey I’ve ever cooked.)

In spite of everything, I really could have found time to blog, but I haven’t been able to commit to writing about one thing.   So many things are drawing my attention lately that I can’t focus.  To name a few (in no particular order): Women’s Empowerment/Girl Power/Feminism; Families – and how amazing they are; Poverty – how do we fix it???; Responsible Consumerism – relating to the environment, and fair trade practices; Volunteerism/Giving back; the lack of personal finance education in our schools.

Now, I know this blog is about living a healthy lifestyle, but when a community flourishes, so do the individuals!  In the end, I think that working to improve the world we live in is part of a healthy lifestyle, so I’m going to start incorporating some of these larger world issues into the mix.

Don’t worry, this place will still be a stew of workouts, fitness goals, and healthy eating adventures – I promise to bring you more amazing stories from amazing people with the Rockstar Series – I’m just putting it all in a bigger pot.

So, to start it off, I want to talk about a few great holiday gift ideas that give back!  If you’re on my Christmas list, read with caution, you may ruin the surprise :).

1) Soap Box Soaps – think TOMS, but soap!  Basically, you buy soap, they give soap to someone in need.  They even have this great donation map on their site to show you where  they send soap and donate funds for clean water projects and more!

Soap Box Soaps

2) Grounds for Change – Fair trade, organic coffee, grown in the shade (which is important for migratory birds), AND they take extensive steps to operate sustainably. This is one company that’s good for coffee growing communities and the environment!

fair-trade-coffee

3) This gorgeous tee designed by a handful of kicka** bloggers that gives 100% of the profits to LEAP (Ladies Empowerment and Action Program).  I read about it on Meals and Miles – an AWESOME healthy living blog – so you should check it out while you’re at it.

4) I live in NYC, so space is at a premium.  I love getting and giving Charity Gift Cards, because they give me all the same warm fuzzies as a regular gift card, without me having to worry about where in the world I’m going to store whatever I bought.  You can find great ones at Global Giving.

5) If you’re not the gift card type, you can give anything from anti-malaria tablets to storybooks to a community in need at the UNICEF store!  This one’s another space saver :).

6) Any one of the BEAUTIFUL fair trade items on sale at Ten Thousand Villages including this Tamarind Casserole Dish made in Indonesia.  The company is a “global network of social entrepreneurs works to empower artisans in developing countries,” and was an honoree as one of 2013’s Most Ethical Companies!

Ten Thousand Villages

That’s all I’ve got for today, hope you enjoyed it!

The Government Shutdown Cancelled My Race

I’m supposed to be running the last few miles of a half marathon on the beach right now.  It was going to be my last race of the year (since I’m throwing in the towel on my full marathon in November), I was going to run it with my parents, and there was a post-race party planned.  In short, today was going to be an awesome time.

Unfortunately, that race was the Jersery Shore Half Marathon, and it takes place in Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, NJ- a national park.   I received an email on Tuesday:

“Dear Runners;
With the Government shutdown starting on Tuesday Oct 1, 2013, The Park at Sandy Hook is closed. It is a National Park. If the Government reopens by Friday we will have the race on Sunday October 6, 2013. If the Government is still shutdown, we have to cancel the race. You may defer to 2014 or pick up your shirt at the McLoone?s Parking Lot in Sea Bright onSunday October 6, 2013 starting at 7:00 a.m. Sorry, there are no refunds and we do not mail out shirts.

Please check our website http://jerseyshorehalfmarathon.com/
Jersey Shore Running web site at: http://www.jsrc.org/
Freehold Area Running Club at: http://www.farcnj.com/

Thank you for your understanding; it is an issue out of our control.
Yours in Running, the Race Committee
Jersey Shore Half Marathon.”

The black toenail I earned in training will get no glory!
The black toenail I earned in training will get no glory!

Well, all know what happened next. Thanks a lot Congress.  You’re getting in the way of my healthy fun!  Frankly, the shutdown has just dealt me a solid disappointment – not the end of the world – but there are thousands of people directly affected by the shutdown (and these goats– ha!).  My hope is that our policymakers get their sh*t together and learn to work across the aisle to get things done.  It’s going to be a very rocky road for all of us if they continue to live in ideological bubbles.

So I want to know, what are your thoughts on the shutdown?  Has it affected you at all?

Something to think about when you do your holiday shopping

So, while I come from a family of very political people (both sides of the fence…on both sides of the family), I don’t consider myself to be a highly political person.  My personal views tend to fall somewhere in the middle, with a liberal or conservative stance on specific issues.  However, I don’t think human rights is a political issue.  It is a human issue, and as a human with lots of rights, I feel I should support the rights of other humans.  With that in mind, I’d like to bring these two articles to your attention during the holiday season. 

One of the most powerful roles we play in society is that of consumer.  We often don’t realize how much power we have as purchasers in a global economy.  So please, this holiday, purchase Fair Trade items whenever you can, buy recycled items and antique jewelry, and maybe tell your local jeweler that you’d like to know where the precious goods are coming from.  If we all decide to be mindful consumers, we really can change the world.

From NBC’s Rock Center
Fair Trade activists fight for responsibly mined gold

via The Huffington Post
The sad truth about the fight against blood diamonds

Being Flexible (of mind and body)

There are riots in London, a devastating famine in the Horn of Africa, a quarter of my friends are unemployed, and we’re about the commemorate the 10th Anniversary of this country’s greatest national tragedy.

Things are tough out there.  Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a world I don’t recognize, a place that is foreign and unpredictable; in many ways, it is.  From your personal life to the global world, there are a lot of unknowns and free radicals out there (health pun).  This is why I try to stay flexible.  I’m not talking about stretching (although I am a HUGE fan as a result of my dance/gymnastics background, but that’s for another post).  I’m talking about the day to day adjustments that you should NEED to make in life (especially if you are an amateur athlete/recreational runner/person leading a healthy lifestyle).

Yesterday I knocked out a lovely 6 miles before work.  It felt great, the weather was lovely, and I rocked the rest of the day.  I ate healthy and hydrated properly.  Last night I got into bed an hour later than usual, and was exhausted today.  I got out of bed, but decided to push my run for the day to this evening.  I took leisurely morning stroll and got a bagel (whole wheat with strawberry cream cheese, because 1) its DELICIOUS and 2) sometimes I want to eat something pink).

At lunch I picked up a salad from Hale and Hearty since I didn’t have any food in my apartment, but then I picked up a cookie from a corner deli (I was feeling mopey).  When I get home I’m going to plod out three sloooooow miles, I’ll probably even do two of them at the gym, and I’ll come back and have a bowl of whole grain pasta with sausage and peppers because that’s all the food in my refrigerator.

It’s ok.  I like to cut myself breaks.  I’m not the world’s hardest worker or most dedicated individual, but I put my best into everyday.  Some days, that means I’m a rockstar employee and kick butt athelete; other days that means I need to organize my files because I don’t have the brain power to think strategically, and I’ll embrace couch-potato-hood the minute I get home.

Rest, in life and running, is extremely important to a healthy mind and body.  That doesn’t mean I can make excuses to get out of a long run or a avoid a big project, it means I have to be flexible.  I’ll put my long run off a day and do an easy one in the meantime.  I’ll work on the less taxing projects on my desk and put a focused effort into the tougher ones tomorrow.

For me flexibility is a necessity.  Are you a hardliner when it comes to training, or do you cut yourself some wiggle room like me?