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    I'm a 20-something, recently married, runner who recently moved to New York City. Questions? Email therunnerwife (at) gmail (dot) com!

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Fluff Reading (or, Why I Read the Twilight Series)

Everyone has guilty pleasures. Some are more open about theirs than others. Generally, I’m pretty private when matters of potential embarrassment are concerned. One thing I refused to be ashamed of was my fanatical obsession with Dawson’s Creek all through college. No joke, I ended a date early, once, because I insisted on going home to watch the new episode. (A fact The Huz is probably happy about, since I wasn’t on a date with him!)

While I certainly have other guilty pleasures, I’m only going to reveal one more here: Cheesy young adult books. LOVE them. Most recently, I finally finished the Twilight series. I know, I should be hanging my head in shame, but they were just so good! Ridiculous, obviously, but also so much fun! I bought and read the first book while living in Boston. I let a friend borrow it after raving about it and she returned it a day later and suggested I might want to have my head examined. I guess someone didn’t share my appreciation for overdramatic teen vampires. Sigh.

I waited until I’d moved to NYC to continue the saga and, in light of my new, more expensive surroundings, borrowed books two and three from a coworker. Well, from my coworker’s teenaged daughter, actually. I finished each book in less than a week and vowed to wait a few weeks for the last book. Then, I quit my job. Suddenly, my source for sappy teen drama had been cut off. I felt like an addict who’d lost contact with her supplier. I needed my fix!

Finally, as if this girl wasn’t already a complete goddess, I discovered book 4 on the shelf of one soapy, chocolatey Diana while shuffling through her truly awesome cookbook collection. Not only did I walk out of her new abode with a belly full of clafoutis and a handful of recipes, but I also had Breaking Dawn tucked into my bag and a guilty grin on my face.

True to form, I polished this book off in just over 5 days. Started on Sunday evening and finished at work on Friday, and I loved every single printed word of it. Was it cheesy? Of course. Was it predictable? Fairly. Was it a totally fantastic summer speed read? Without a doubt! And now I’m ready to revisit some of the more intense novels on my bookshelf!

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Book Review – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I think my book slump has finally ended! I’d heard of my latest literary conquest while browsing an old issue of Runners World and I’m so glad it came up in my book queue when it did. I was gearing up to race the R Baby Mother’s Day 4 mile race and trying to get my running groove back. I know I go through phases with running, but I struggle with all the mind games I start to play when my running shoes have been in the closet for more than a few days.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami, is truly a meditation on running. A dramatic departure from his other books, WITAWITAR is a collection of diary entries, mixed in with recaps of races he wrote for running magazines and interviews. Much of the book is a tribute to Murakami’s love of long distance running, a passion he began cultivating at the respectable age of 33. He describes, with vivid detail, some of his favorite, and most challenging runs. And he highlights the many ways in which running and writing have become inextricably connected in his life. Both require talent, focus and endurance. This is why Murakami has run and written every day. And he has run a marathon almost every year since he began running.

The commitment to the practice of his trade, and to his passion, is remarkable and humbling. When I raced in Central Park on Mother’s Day, I chuckled as I remembered Murakami’s musings on how quiet his mind becomes when he runs. “Essentially I’m not thinking of a thing…all I do is keep running in my own cozy, homemade void.” I tried to absorb every moment of the race, mulled over each signal my body was sending me. I pushed through my fatigue because “It’s precisely because of the pain,” Mr. Murakami writes, “precisely because we want to overcome that pain, that we can get the feeling, through this process, of really being alive.” And what do you know, I came out the other side with a new 4-mile PR: 33:15. That’s an 8:18/mile average, folks, and boy did I feel alive after that!

I might not be signing up to run from Athens to Marathon in the middle of the summer (Murakami did this) or running a 62-mile ultramarathon anytime soon (he did this too), but I am definitely excited to hit the streets consistently, to build up my own habit and commitment to regular running. And I’m also dying to read more of Murakami’s books! In the meantime, I’m going to read and re-read this interview. Enjoy!

2010 Goals Update – An ‘Off’ Week

I’ll be honest, I hesitated about posting this update because I’m not very proud of my progress this week. But I’m hoping this serves as a good reminder that progress doesn’t have to mean perfection and having an ‘off’ week isn’t the end of the world. And maybe it’ll just serve as good motivation for this coming week! I present my 2010 goal update, week 2:

1. New 1/2 marathon PR – Still haven’t logged any long runs. Last weekend was SO cold so I skipped out on what should have been my last long run pre-half marathon. Whoops! However, I did bank an awesome 5-miler with Lindsey, and enjoyed a quick and dirty run on Friday afternoon. Maybe I’ll squeeze 6-8 in on Sunday morning and I’ll feel a bit more on track!

2. Run 9 NYRR races and volunteer for 1 – The upcoming half marathon is finally becoming very real, which is probably a good thing since it’s NEXT WEEKEND! I’m already looking forward to the next races I’m going to register for, so let me know if anyone wants some running company here in NYC.

3. 200 blog posts – This week, I posted 7 times, between Saturday and Friday. Funny, I was getting stressed earlier this week about not having enough to write about, but now I just can’t seem to stop!

By the way, if you missed them, I wrote about:

Book Review #1 – My Life In France
Recipe – Chickpea and Pasta Rosemary Soup
An Improvised Dinner and Blogger Run
Book Review #2 – The Art of Racing In The Rain
The Huz Becomes a Food Blogger
Taking Time For Breath and Prayer

And even if you didn’t miss this post, you should check out the comments from each! I really loved all your reading list suggestions and I’ve already tried a new wrap combination, as you saw this morning!

4. Read 8 books – In case you hadn’t noticed from #3, I’ve already finished book #2 and am so happy to be back into a reading groove! Once A Runner is on my nightstand and I have big plans for a Sunday afternoon of reading 😉

5. Lose 10 pounds – I mentioned last week that my goal was to just stay on track with my .8lb/week goal. Since I’d already lost 2.2lbs by last Friday, I only needed to not gain .6lbs. This goal was definitely a success. While I didn’t lose any weight (what with the not working out much), I stayed exactly the same. Guess that means I’ll have to get back to the gym a few times next week to start losing again!

6. Eat vegetarian at least 4 days/week – Epic FAIL. Actually, that’s not totally true. While my only completely vegetarian days were last Saturday and yesterday, every meal except dinner each day was vegetarian. In fact, it was vegan! The Huz made the lamb roast on Sunday so we had leftovers that needed to be eaten. My improvised wrap was such a success on Monday that I ended up repeating it each night this week. The wraps proved to be portable, which was a huge plus since I was out of the house Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, and they were very satisfying. And now I don’t have to worry about wasting food since I definitely won’t be consuming lamb this week while on the Spark! cleanse!

So there you have it, a full disclosure update on my goal progress. Hope you’re staying on track and feeling great! If you’re struggling, how do you fight the negative self-talk? I often beat myself up for not reaching a goal but I’ve found that reminding myself of the mantra I learned from Gena (It’s about the big picture, not daily perfection) has been a tremendous help.

Check back soon for my Spark! cleanse prep pictures and a recap of my day with Miss Happy Herbivore!

2010 Goals Update – An 'Off' Week

I’ll be honest, I hesitated about posting this update because I’m not very proud of my progress this week. But I’m hoping this serves as a good reminder that progress doesn’t have to mean perfection and having an ‘off’ week isn’t the end of the world. And maybe it’ll just serve as good motivation for this coming week! I present my 2010 goal update, week 2:

1. New 1/2 marathon PR – Still haven’t logged any long runs. Last weekend was SO cold so I skipped out on what should have been my last long run pre-half marathon. Whoops! However, I did bank an awesome 5-miler with Lindsey, and enjoyed a quick and dirty run on Friday afternoon. Maybe I’ll squeeze 6-8 in on Sunday morning and I’ll feel a bit more on track!

2. Run 9 NYRR races and volunteer for 1 – The upcoming half marathon is finally becoming very real, which is probably a good thing since it’s NEXT WEEKEND! I’m already looking forward to the next races I’m going to register for, so let me know if anyone wants some running company here in NYC.

3. 200 blog posts – This week, I posted 7 times, between Saturday and Friday. Funny, I was getting stressed earlier this week about not having enough to write about, but now I just can’t seem to stop!

By the way, if you missed them, I wrote about:

Book Review #1 – My Life In France
Recipe – Chickpea and Pasta Rosemary Soup
An Improvised Dinner and Blogger Run
Book Review #2 – The Art of Racing In The Rain
The Huz Becomes a Food Blogger
Taking Time For Breath and Prayer

And even if you didn’t miss this post, you should check out the comments from each! I really loved all your reading list suggestions and I’ve already tried a new wrap combination, as you saw this morning!

4. Read 8 books – In case you hadn’t noticed from #3, I’ve already finished book #2 and am so happy to be back into a reading groove! Once A Runner is on my nightstand and I have big plans for a Sunday afternoon of reading 😉

5. Lose 10 pounds – I mentioned last week that my goal was to just stay on track with my .8lb/week goal. Since I’d already lost 2.2lbs by last Friday, I only needed to not gain .6lbs. This goal was definitely a success. While I didn’t lose any weight (what with the not working out much), I stayed exactly the same. Guess that means I’ll have to get back to the gym a few times next week to start losing again!

6. Eat vegetarian at least 4 days/week – Epic FAIL. Actually, that’s not totally true. While my only completely vegetarian days were last Saturday and yesterday, every meal except dinner each day was vegetarian. In fact, it was vegan! The Huz made the lamb roast on Sunday so we had leftovers that needed to be eaten. My improvised wrap was such a success on Monday that I ended up repeating it each night this week. The wraps proved to be portable, which was a huge plus since I was out of the house Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, and they were very satisfying. And now I don’t have to worry about wasting food since I definitely won’t be consuming lamb this week while on the Spark! cleanse!

So there you have it, a full disclosure update on my goal progress. Hope you’re staying on track and feeling great! If you’re struggling, how do you fight the negative self-talk? I often beat myself up for not reaching a goal but I’ve found that reminding myself of the mantra I learned from Gena (It’s about the big picture, not daily perfection) has been a tremendous help.

Check back soon for my Spark! cleanse prep pictures and a recap of my day with Miss Happy Herbivore!

Book Review #2 – The Art of Racing In The Rain

First of all, thanks to all your great wrap fixin’ suggestions! All I want for lunch this week is to try out each and every one of your suggestions 🙂 Oh, and if you missed them, check out the goods. Sweet wraps, savory wraps. Salsa-fied wraps. You name it, I’m totally tempted to try it!

The Huz and I went to Costco on Saturday and, as usual, I couldn’t help stopping by the book section for a quick perusal. At one point, I had four or five books in our cart, but I managed to narrow it down to one – The Art of Racing in the Rain. The last puppy book I read was Marley & Me, which made me cry like a baby. I’d seen The Art in the stacks several months ago and was intrigued, but I firmly believe that sometimes books come into your life at just the right time. I’d passed this one by before, but this time it was meant to come home with me.

After the rest of our errands, we spent a lazy afternoon at home watching football, making homemade soup, and spending time with a family friend. With football finished and a belly full of pasta and chickpeas, I hunkered down for some quality reading time. And wouldn’t you know, I didn’t move from the couch for almost four hours. I positively devoured this book, flying through the pages, committing the words, characters and scenes to memory.

I probably should have known that I was in for a tear jerker after the first chapter had my mascara running and my nose sniffling but I can honestly say I loved every page of this book and I believe any pet owner or dog lover would too. I want so much to tell you all about the story, but I don’t want to ruin a single sentence for you. It’s Wednesday, now, and I’m still replaying scenes in my mind. I will say that Denny and Enzo are two of the sweetest, most genuine characters you’ll find in a book today and I know they’ll remain in my heart.

Have you read a book that stays with you for days or weeks after you read it?

Oh and if you missed my first book review of the year, check out my opinion of My Life In France!