The Places that Make Us

A little exposition: I wrote this post months ago and never went live with it, but it feels like a nice little tribute to Global Running Day, so you’re getting it nowūüôā

I’ve been thinking a lot about place lately. Places we’re from, places we live, places we go. I never thought I was particularly attached to places.¬†In my parents house, there’s a framed piece of embroidery with the lyrics of Billy Joel’s You’re My Home:¬†

When you look into my eyes
And you see the crazy gypsy in my soul
It always comes as a surprise
When I feel my withered roots begin to grow
Well I never had a place that I could call my very own
That’s all right, my love, ’cause you’re my home

It’s apropos, because when they were first married (and in the first few years of my life), they moved a lot. I don’t rIMG_2502emember most of our moves – actually the only one I remember was when we moved from Raleigh, NC to Bucks County, PA when I was 9 – but I’ve never associated home with a place. Home is where your people are. Simple.

But lately I’ve been thinking about how much place has shaped me. I might not be “Straight Outta” anywhere, but I don’t exist in a vacuum.

Since I don’t do things by halves, I decided to feed my fixation. So I visited some of my places.¬†And I bought a book about places. And I mulled over the places I choose, and the places that chose me. Do you know what I figured out?

I’ve left pieces of my heart all over the place.

In the same way that you leave little pieces of your heart with your people – you can leave them in places too. And in the same way that you’re filled with joy when you see your people – you’re filled with joy when you’re in your places. Places have changed the shape of my heart.

Lucky for me, since I’ve been running for awhile, I’ve got miles and miles of places.¬†I may not know where I picked up the 5 different weird accent elements that my family busts my balls about, and I may not belong in any one place, but I can always feel at home on my own two feet on an open road.

Need some motivation?

I dunno about you, but I need a little extra motivation every now and again. I mean, sure some days I¬†wake up READY TO WORK, but other days, I have to remind myself “Excuse me, hell-O, you need to put the work in to accomplish the results you want on race day.” This statement is usually followed by a quick browse of instagram, twitter, or my blog feed (I use The Old Reader if you’re interested) for a little external motivational support. Since sometimes we all need a pinch of inspiration to light the fire, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite athlete-related social media accounts/pages below.

But first, I want to bring to your attention to a study that has shown that when racers see motivational messages while racing, they perform better. Translation: If someone makes you a poster for your next race and comes to cheer you on, YOU WILL RUN FASTER. It’s science. So, if you want to PR in your next race, I HIGHLY recommend making a donation to my fundraiser for Back on My Feet. I will make you a motivational poster (email me if you’re curious or want further deets).

Without further ado, I present to you Рin no particular order Рa list of athlete-related social media accounts that rock my world:

ImPressive Pros

@fleshmanflyer РLauren Fleshman, professional runner and entrepreneur РLauren also has a great twitter account

@jessemthomas – Jesse Thomas, husband of aforementioned Lauren Fleshman and pro triathlete – also writes for triathlete mag

@athletestyle and @athletefood  Wassner twins Рprofessional triathletes on instagram

@karagoucher¬†– has a blog that doesn’t get published regularly, but her instagram game is ON

@emmacoburn РEmma Coburn, track and field pro, great instagram

@LauraRBennett  РLaura Reback Bennett Olympic triathlete, twitter is a mix of hilarious and getting it done

@sgroffy – Sarah True another Olympian with a sense of humor

Awesome Amateurs 

@zippchick – this is probably my favorite find this year, Emily also has a great blog

Run This Amazing Day – (blog) a triathlete and coach with a great outlook and killer sense of humor

Preppy Runner – (blog) New Yorker, runner, professional -Theodora is tenacious, I love how she never quits and is always looking to take a bite off a new challenge

Big Shot Brands 

@oiselle – running gear for ladies, lots of pro runners and pretty clothes

@onlyatomsnyc – “cool running clothes for warm humans” guys and gals – lots of ultra inspiration

@triathletemag – Triathlete magazine – pictures of fast people

@nuunhydration – all kinds of endurance athletes (and pictures of water tablets)

@bettydesigns – triathlete gear for ladies, I think they coined #badassisbeautiful

Who/what inspires or motivates you? (Doesn’t have to be sports related!)

Recovery Week and a #RunFail

What’s shakin’ bacon? Hope everyone had a good week! Mine was a recovery week. It was nice to hit it a little easier, but most of all, it was nice to SLEEP IN. ¬†Since I only needed to do one a day, I moved all of my workouts to the evening and slept in til 7:30am everyday. I got 8 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT! ¬†How’s that for recovery!?

The last workout of my week was an 8 mile easy run. Things did not go as well as planned.¬†I was out of town for family on Saturday, so Sunday ended up being pretty busy. I ran around most of the morning doing errands, chores, church, and meetings. I hadn’t planned my meals well, so by the time I was ready to run, it’d been hours since breakfast. There was no way on earth I would get 8 miles done without eating lunch – so I made lunch. Tortellini with saut√©ed kale, meatballs, parmesan and olive oil – DEEEE-licious. I sat for about 30 minutes, then set out on the run. BIG mistake.

I spent miles 2, 3, and 4 wishing I would puke so I could just get it over with. It was seriously gruesome. I’m not prone to gastrointestinal distress while running, but now I realllllllly feel for those of you who are – I don’t know how you do it! Nausea is not for sissies! Mile 5 and 6 were better, but I could feel myself losing steam and knew I needed to get some water. (Somehow I thought that since the calendar said SPRING that the water fountains in the park would be running again‚Ķthey weren’t.) I stopped and bought a bottle from the vendor in the park, drank as much of it as I could, dropped the half full bottle in the recycling and carried on. As all that water sloshed around in my gut, I changed my tune and wished for mile 8. #RunFail.

BUT – I survived. In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened. It was my first bad run of this training cycle, and I got through it. I kept going, sucked it up, and got ‘er done. And I will never ever eat a heavy meal less than two hours before a run ever, ever again. Lesson learned.

On a much happier note, I got a very exciting package this week!


Beautifully, locally made running gear from Only Atoms! I’ve been eyeing their stuff for awhile (I mean, how could you not?), but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger to have one shirt shipped my way. Luckily, inspiration struck me a few weeks ago and I realized that I could justify shipping for one shirt to me IF another item came with it for someone else. So I ordered one for me, and one for my momma. She broke her sternum in a car accident in January and can’t run right now, BUT she’s still working out and she will run again, so what better to cheer her up than a super stylish run tank! Amiright?

Spoiler alert – she liked it! How could she not? Check out these gorgeous tops (I wish I could show you how soft they are. So, so soft! Also, forgive my complete lack of picture taking ability):


They even come with little hair ties made out of the extra shirt fabric! How great is that? Now, Only Atoms gear is NOT cheap, but it’s not CHEAP either. They are literally made of the softest fabric I’ve ever felt. They’re also 100% made in New York City. Unlike the gear I pick up from Target and Old Navy, you know that everyone who worked on these shirts was paid a fair wage, in safe conditions. ¬†So high quality + responsible business practices + beautifully designed = higher price. It’s worth it – and their clothes make a great gift! Also – let’s be real – it’s not more expensive that Lululemon or Athleta, and you know there’s bad juju going into their clothes.

If you’re interested in sustainable and ethical fashion, I recommend this great interview on the Rich Roll Podcast. It got me through two hours on the trainer on Friday night – effing snow – and I learned a lot!

Do you make any purchase decisions based on ethical or sustainability considerations?

Weekend Nutrition Edition

Hey-O! How’s everyone’s weekend going? I had a blast this morning, cheering for all the half marathoners running the United Airlines NYC Half with my Back on My Feet teammates. I made a couple of signs yesterday and they turned out to be a huge hit – with the runners and the cheerers! You can catch a video of the inspiring Lorenzo letting the runners know just how #badass they are on my instagram. I always have such a blast with BoMF and I can’t tell you enougpostersh how proud I am to be a member of the amazing BoMF NYC team! (Reminder- I’m fund-race-ing the NYC Triathlon for the org, and you can make a donation here. I will be eternally grateful, and it will be the best money you’ll ever spend. There are also NYC Marathon spots available if YOU want to fund-race for BoMF – you know you want to!)

But let’s get to what this post is really about – FOOD! As I may have mentioned, one of my biggest lessons in training this year has been the importance of nutrition. I borrowed¬†The Complete Nutrition Guide for Triathletes¬†from library (on my iPad), and it’s definitely helped me out. There’s nothing here you can’t find in various web articles, but it was great to have it all in one comprehensive source with charts and tips. The information I picked up there has informed how I fuel when I’m on the bike (or on the run), and changed how much water I take in mid-training sesh. ¬†Apparently, there’s something called “cardiac drift” (not to be mistaken with Tokyo Drift of The Fast and the Furious fame), and it happens when you start dehydrating. Hence, when you are dehydrated, your heart has to pump faster and you don’t perform as well. So¬†staying hydrated is a big part of a winning race plan. I know you’re all thinking, “DUH Aubrie,” but I’ve always been a “eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty” kind of racer. As it turns out, this strategy may have been hurting my performance, and planning out my nutrition and hydration in advance – based on how much I sweat and the length of a race – could really help me out. It definitely seems to be making a difference in my workouts!

Corned Beef and CabbageThe more fun part of this conversation is all of the delicious food I get to eat when I’m NOT training! For starters – like most of you, I’m busy! I don’t have time to cook everyday. So I spend a few hours a week, usually on Sunday, to cook and prep things for the week. Nine times out of ten, I’m making a recipe I found on Pinterest. Last week I made corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, and a thai curry with shrimp. While I don’t restrict myself of anything, I try to eat meals that are balanced with lots of veggies and a good amount of protein. I’ll usually eat salmon once a week (mostly canned salmon – I’m cheap), and get my protein from plant based sources (beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and nut butters) & dairy for about 1/3-1/2 of my meals each week. I eat more carbs now that I’m training, and I consume more calories with pre, during, and post-workout fuel (one or the other,¬†pre or post is typically regular meal), but my eating habits haven’t changed a ton. I’m still experimenting, but on the whole, I think things are going pretty well!

If you’re looking for inspiration on the food (and general badass athlete) front, check out Athlete Food, or Ask Lauren Fleshman. Both are awesome!

What’s your nutrition strategy? Have a good resource for me to check out?

I’m going streaking (or four things I’m excited about right now)

I’ve never been a streaker, you know someone who runs every day for a streak of time, but I figured I needed a kick in the bum, so I signed up for the #Spartan30 Mile a Day Challenge (exciting thing #1). ¬†I figure a mile a day won’t get me into trouble with any overuse injuries- and on these cold days, it’s enough motivation to get me into the gym (once I’m there, I’ll actually work). ¬†I’m on day 2, and I’ve kept up with it.
Whooooo streaking!


The next thing I’m psyched about is all of the MONEY I’ve been spending lately. ¬†I spent $500 on two items this week. ¬†Seriously, I’m like a sieve with broth – the dollars are just passing right through my fingers. ¬†My first big purchase was an entry into The Nation’s Tri¬†(#2)!

Ever since I finished my first sprint tri last August, I’ve wanted to do an Olympic distance race. ¬†Since I lived in DC for years, I know it’s one of my favorite places to run (I went on a casual morning run without a watch while visiting for a bachelorette party last spring and ended up running 8 miles). ¬†I have some amazing friends who still live in the district, AND I know where I can get a killer bloody mary post-race.


My second major purchase was to join a CSA (3)! ¬†I’ve been planning to join one for literally 3 years, and every spring I found a reason not to. ¬†In 2011, I was in grad school and could never make the pick up times. ¬†In 2012, I didn’t try to sign up early enough and all the shares were gone. ¬†In 2013, I just couldn’t bring myself to pony up the $350 all at once. ¬†Well I finally did it (thanks to a little liquid courage and distress over the Eagles game), and I’m really looking forward to a summer full of farm fresh veggies. ¬†I am also very excited to finally be supporting a local farm. ¬†Joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is really in line with my views on health, the environment, and (what I hope will be) the future of agricultural policy in this country. ¬†If you want to learn more about CSA’s, and if you live in New York City and want to join one, check out

Finally, I’m really excited about this podcast I just listened to on The Fat Burning Man Show (4). ¬†Now, before you judge (YES Abel James looks like such a DOUCHE, but it really is a pretty good podcast), give it a listen. ¬†Don’t watch the video – seriously, who can stand looking at so much V-neck – just listen to the podcast. ¬†Download it on iTunes and listen to it on the subway, or in the car, or at the gym, because it is the BEST conversation on optimum human diet that I have ever listened to.

It’s nothing revolutionary, but Chris Kresser discusses how he evaluates which studies and claims are actually good and which are not, and concludes that there is not a “one size fits all” perfect diet that works for everyone. ¬†There’s a baseline of things that are clearly pretty good for you, and a baseline of things that are clearly pretty bad for you, but you have to fine tune your eating habits based on your body’s reactions to different foods. ¬†I’m so tired of being fed these all or nothing approaches, so this discussion (and probably the subject of Chris’s book The Personal Paleo Code¬†– which I have not read) was super refreshing. ¬†Yay for common sense!

So those are my four exciting things of the moment Рoh, and you know what, one more Рsome of my amazing friends have hooked me up with some great new recipes after my call for help last post!  THANK YOU!

What’s exciting in your world right now?