How to Move a Blog

Dear friends, fans and followers:

Well it’s been a year or so since I’ve written a post for Fit Chick Diaries and you deserve some sort of explanation. Last year was extremely tough for unexpected personal reasons and many, many changes happened. First off, I did not move to New York! I ended up finding a fantastic job in Madison, Wisconsin and now live here in this much smaller (but no-less incredible!) city. Second, I did not run ANY races last year. Boo. I know! I was extremely disappointed. But with all that was going on at the time (which I won’t bore you with), my heart wasn’t into it. In fact, it hit a dead stall and only within the last couple weeks have I had the desire to even lace up my running shoes. Third, I have added another passion to my life…TRAVELING. After dreaming of visiting another country for years, I finally had the money and gumption to just do it. I spent three weeks backpacking solo in Ireland and England last fall followed by a short trip to Germany last month. Traveling seems to offer the same benefits as running, in that it clears my head and allows me to truly test my comfort zone in a whole new way. The only problem? Drinking beer in Germany does not count as exercise.

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Now that life has calmed down a bit and I’m falling back in love with running and adding new hobbies to my life, I’ve decided to create a new blog. I’m calling it Running Dust and Wanderlust – I would love to have some familiar blogger faces follow along! I’ll still be blogging about running, fitness & recipes, but I’ll be adding some bits about my adventures as well.

I’ve missed you all and hope to see you there!

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P.S. I’ll leave Fit Chick Diaries up for a while because I notice it is still receiving quite a bit of traffic :)

A Letter to My Younger Self

To My Younger Me,

First off, let me reiterate how incredibly strong, intelligent, and capable you are because I know you have a tendency to doubt yourself. I know you hate change, but I want you to embrace each obstacle that life throws in your way. You can handle it, and you can handle it with grace.

Don’t sell yourself short, and hold tight to a sense of optimism about the world. Learn to forgive people for their shortcomings, and remember that you aren’t perfect either. Embrace your enemies and those who try to bring you down–love is a stronger weapon. Find beautiful qualities in everyone and everything that you come across because beauty is all around you.

Never stop learning. Open your mind to new ideas and hold tight to your passion for knowledge. Don’t half-ass school. You are smart and capable of achieving your goals, so set them higher than you think is possible. They are within your reach. Be patient with yourself. You will get where you want to go if you persevere.

Stop comparing yourself to other girls. You are beautiful, loving, and kind. Besides, confidence is the sexiest quality–so show it off. Stop dating guys because they play in a band or have spiky hair. If they can’t hold a job and don’t treat you with respect, they aren’t worth your time.

Surround yourself with people who love you for everything you are–the ones that take the good with the bad. Remember that your family will always be there, and make sure you return the favor. Show compassion to those who need it most.

Always follow your heart. You will be pulled in a million directions at once, but listen to your gut. Don’t be afraid to take risks or  rise to a challenge. These will build your character and self-esteem. You will be better, even if you fail. Don’t get discouraged.

Lastly, believe enough in yourself to go after what you want. No one will do it for you. If you want something bad enough, make it happen. There is always a way.

Your future you,
Me 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Have any of you ever written one of these before? 

Where I Landed When I Fell Off the Face of the Earth

Yet again, it seems I have fallen victim to life and all its curve balls. My blogging and training have been in an ongoing battle with my to-do list, and I’m sad to say they weren’t doing too well. This is probably obvious from my absence on all things social media! But I haven’t been just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs. And I certainly haven’t given up hope that my half-marathon will happen come hell or high water! First, let me fill you in on all the things that have been stealing my attention.

The LARGEST factor can be summed up in one word: school. As the time ticks down toward my final days as an undergrad, I have a bunch of projects and exciting assignments that need my full attention. Luckily, they are all things I’ve found to be rewarding as well as time consuming, which make them more worth the effort.

I’m currently in an Editing and Publishing class which operates as an independent publishing house called Cornerstone Press. Every year, the class publishes two books–reading through manuscript submissions, choosing which to publish, and then taking that manuscript from its raw form to a beautifully printed book. Each student is elected to a certain position: Copy Editor, Designer, Marketing Director, etc. I was elected to be Director of Sales, which means I coordinate all sales efforts of our previous titles and the current book chosen by our team.

This semester, we’re publishing a historical fiction novel about Adele Hugo, Victor Hugo’s daughter, titled Syncopation by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt. I’ve read the whole thing, obviously, and it’s phenomenal! I highly recommend you buy a copy after it is released April 20th! Plus, you’d be supporting me and my school in the process! <—shameless plug.

Syncopation_FrontCover.jpg

A great book club read!

The other class (actually ran by the same professor!) is Book History, which I’m happy to say is the most absorbing class I’ve ever taken. I haven’t missed a single day because I am always excited about what we’re going to be covering. It definitely brings out the book geek in me!

Aside from school, I’m applying for grad programs and getting ready to move to New York. Over spring break, I had the chance to spend a week there. Nick and I found our apartment too! Our dog will be happy because there’s a dog park a block away, and I’m happy because there are running paths a block away!

Speaking of running, I actually fulfilled one of my life-long dreams of running through Central Park. Yippee! I did a 4-miler and my time wasn’t ghastly either, considering I was out of my routine.

Since I was visiting over St. Patty’s day weekend, I was invited to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan. I felt like quite the rock star!

Nick still had to work while I was there, so I bummed around the city and saw all the touristy sights I missed on my last visit. Of course, I hit up the New York Public Library first because I have an obsession with all things books and libraries if you haven’t noticed. Another day, I went to the Statue of Liberty and stood in awe of her incredible beauty for what seemed like an hour. I can’t imagine what my ancestors’ reactions were as they immigrated from Finland, and saw her on the horizon. One thing I already love about the city is all the history that it contains.

This picture doesn't even do her justice.

These are just little tid-bits of what I’ve been doing lately. Still, I MISS RUNNING! I cannot stress that enough. I guess I know things are only going to pile-up more and more until May, when school is over. My trial race is the end of May, and I’m absolutely still set on giving it a go. I won’t be anywhere near the shape I should be in to do it, but I think it will be a good test. I’ll run as much as I can and walk when I feel like I’m about to die. After that, I’ll start my training over (or back track a little) and be in full swing by September’s race.

Enough about me…
How are all my fellow bloggers and followers these days?
Anyone else struggling with a crazy schedule?
Any running stories to share? I miss you!

Finding Motivation through…Pinterest?

I feel like I was one of the last few people among my friends to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. The last thing I thought I would need is yet another computerized distraction to keep me from getting real work done. That being said, I finally broke down and joined the pinning community. I had no idea I would find so many useful tips, tricks, quotes, or workouts to help with my training — or simply to get my butt off the couch and out the door!

Last Saturday, I was facing my first 6-mile run of this training program. I felt overwhelmed by my fear of failure. The little voice in my head was trying to talk me out of it. I was tired. I had an essay to write for class. The weather would be better the next day. All of these excuses flooded my brain as a result.

I was procrastinating, which is usually what happens when I’m faced with a challenge that I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle. I found myself browsing Pinterest, and wasting time. Thankfully, the fitness category was chuck full of motivating tidbits that managed to tune out the negative self-talk. Before I knew it, I was double knotting my tennies and strapping on my Garmin — ready for the challenge. Before I left the house, I grabbed a pen and wrote, “6-miles. Don’t quit and don’t stop,” on the back of my hand, just for good measure.

The first 3-miles seemed to breeze on by. I didn’t check my pace as I went, but instead listened for the beeping of my Garmin to tell me when I completed another mile. I thought that sneaking a peek might psyche myself out. By the last stretch, I could tell I was getting tired and my legs felt heavy. I was almost within view of my house, and kept up the pace. I rejoiced when I heard the final beep telling me that I had reached my goal for the day!

The sense of accomplishment was amazing. I can’t imagine what I will feel like when I cross the finish line in an actual race! I’ll probably laugh, cry, fall over from exhaustion, and be looking for a snack all at the same time.

I have to say, my attitude toward Pinterest has certainly changed. It may be a weird way to find motivation, but it worked for me that day and it has worked for me since. I guess anything to get me out the door!

The week after that infamous 6-miler was pretty easy, and this Sunday my long run was only 4-miles. But from here on out, the training will become more grueling and those 6-mile runs are going to feel like a drop in a bucket compared to what lies ahead. Can’t wait!

Have you found inspiration through “pinning”? 
 How do you get yourself pumped before a long run?
Do you get intimidated by new distances? 

“No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies

I have a confession.

I like to make low-calorie desserts, so I can go back for seconds and thirds without the guilt. I am all about moderation, but there are times when a girl needs to eat three cookies.

This was one of those times. I was having a severe sugary-sweet craving and, of course, I am in desperate need to go grocery shopping. Thankfully, I found a bottle of blackstrap molasses in the back of my cabinet! I don’t even remember why I originally bought it, probably for a “recipe-that-never-was,” but regardless I was up for putting it to good use.

I’d like to introduce you to my molasses cookies!


This is what happens when you stick me in a near-empty kitchen with a sweet-tooth, and a desire to make something I can eat in multiples of two without feeling like I will gain 10 pounds as soon as I swallow the first bite.


To make these a little less fattening, I substituted unsweetened applesauce for the butter. I also substituted 1/4 cup of the sugar with 6 packets of stevia. Instead of using all white flour, I used 1/2 cup white and 2 cups wheat.

At the end of the day, these cookies have approximately 92 calories and 0.3 grams of fat. The sugar is 10 grams, but play around with the amount. You may be able to substitute more packets for the sugar, or cut back on the amount of white sugar altogether. If you’re really feeling creative, I bet you could even sub flax meal for the egg. I thought about doing that, but seeing as how I was already doing a lot of substitutions, I didn’t want to let things get too crazy up in here!

 

 “No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies

inspired by: BonAppetit and Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white flour
2 cups wheat flour
2 tsp ginger or nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
6 stevia packets
3/4 cup white sugar**
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Sift flour, ginger (or nutmeg), baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper into a small bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, cream together applesauce, stevia, and 3/4 cup of sugar** until light and fluffy looking.

4. Beat egg into the applesauce/sugar mixture. Next, stir in water and molasses.

5. Gradually add the flour and stir.

6. The dough won’t be thick enough to form balls. Instead, scoop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and enjoy!

**Note: Again, if you’d like to cut back on the sugar, play around with the sugar-stevia ratio. This recipe seems to be very forgiving.

Why are they called “No-Sweat” Molasses Cookies? Because you can eat them without the need to go run 5-miles immediately afterwards…unless you want to that is!

Let me know if you try these, and how they turn out for you!
Do you have any yummy dessert recipes? Share!

Blame It On The En-En-En-Endorphins

I’m either crazy or ambitious, I haven’t decided which category best describes my impulsive race registration from this past Wednesday.

It all started with a run. Or rather, a run that wasn’t going to happen. I was technically supposed to cross train that day, but I couldn’t help myself. I could practically hear the pavement calling for my feet to come hit it. So I did.

I took the dog, but left my iPod at home. I wanted to be able to hear my breathing, and increase or decrease my pace based on how I was feeling. I ran my usual route along the Wisconsin River, which ends up being about 3 miles when all is set and done.

The run felt incredible. I could tell I was pushing it, but my legs and lungs were up for the challenge. I didn’t miss my usual music mixes, and enjoyed being more aware of my surroundings and in the moment.

By the time I got back home, I was riding a wave of endorphins. I plugged in my Garmin and, low and behold, I ran a 9:29/mi pace. That would be my fastest run thus far! Prior to that day, my fastest was a 9:51/mi.

This is where the crazy vs. ambitious debate comes into play! Feeling pretty good about myself, I decided that I couldn’t wait till September to run my half. What did I do? I signed up for another half that I’ll run in New York over Memorial Day weekend in May. Because one just isn’t enough! Oh and did I mention that the week before I’ll be graduating from college, packing my life into a U-Haul, and moving to NYC?

I’d like to say I’m ambitious. The event is one of the Holiday Marathon races put on for free, and you can choose the distance you’d like to run. I am looking at this as a trial to test my training, and to better prepare myself for the race in September. This is my way of dipping my big toe into the racing pool!

Have you experienced an endorphin-high after a run or a good workout?
Ever sign up for a race on impulse? If yes, how did that go?

11 Random Things About Me

Today brings a rather unconventional post because I was tagged by Jamie @ My Run is Not Done to complete this 11 Random Things Questionnaire! You may have already seen circulating the blogging world. If not, here are the rules:

RULES

1. Post these rules. 
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Now that you know what the heck I’m doing here, on to the fun!

1) I have a scar on my right leg from dirt biking in high school. I was attempting to show off my skills, only to find that I had none!

2) My husband and I met while he was in the Army stationed in Afghanistan. I sent him a care package, he wrote back thanking me, and when he finally was able to come home we met for the first time. We’ve been together ever since.

3) We actually won our wedding in a competition for Wisconsin veterans with a great love story.

4) I played basketball for two years in middle school and never made a basket during a game. I did call a time out to tie my shoe! Apparently, I thought I was too essential of a player for me to miss any of the action!

5) I lived on an island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a summer.

6) They call me the “car killer” because I always am driving whenever our cars break down.

7) I won $500 off a scratch-off ticket purchased at a random rest stop, while on vacation. I didn’t even know I won, and almost threw it out!

8) I’ve been rock climbing, white water rafting, and sea kayaking.

9) I’ve never traveled outside the United States.

10) My biggest fears about moving to NYC are bed bugs and cockroaches. Yuck!

11) I am a total old lady when it comes to going out — I’d rather be a homebody and stay home relaxing.

So that’s my little bits of random! Now I’ll answer the questions Jamie posted…

Questions:

1. What is your favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?

I would have to say my coffee maker! I need my coffee in the morning…

2. What fitness activity have you always wanted to try?

I’ve been wanting to give Bikram Yoga a whirl for a long time. I don’t think they even offer classes anywhere within a 50 mile radius. I live in the middle of nowhere… Boo!

3. Where did you take your best or worst vacation?

I have a tie for best vacation. It’s either Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks or my honeymoon in Disney World. I was with my hubby for both of them, and I think those were some of the happiest times for both of us, and we left with amazing memories and nice tans.

4. What’s your favorite season?

Summer is my top favorite followed closely by spring. I love warm weather, but I also love that first day of the year when you walk outside after a long winter and you know spring is on it’s way!

5. Tap water or filtered water?

Filtered. I will drink tap, but we don’t have the best tasting tap water. I bought one of those filtered water bottles so I don’t buy bottled any more.

6. You have no distractions or obligations, how would you like to spend your day?

I would want to go hiking/camping in Devils Lake with my husband and our dog. I love being outdoors and active, and involving the whole family just makes it that much better. It’s nice to be able to turn off technology, and just enjoy the solitude.

7. How many bones in your body have you broken?

None! Considering I’m prone to being a klutz, I don’t know how I managed to avoid serious injuries.

8. Who is your fitness inspiration?

I never thought about this before! I don’t know if I really have one! I see people that are in shape or running great distances, and I admire them. At the same time, I don’t really follow their training or try to emulate them.

9. Do you have a sweet tooth or a salty tooth?

Kind of both, but usually a sweet tooth! I love ice cream, pie, cake, cookies, brownies…you get the idea! If I’m watching sports, I tend to crave an unhealthy portion of nachos.

10. What’s your favorite shoe style?

When it comes to sneakers, I love bright colors! If I’m wearing dress shoes, I try to pick out a sexy pair of pumps. I’m already tall, but I’m not giving up my heels.

11. What are you most looking forward to doing when the weather warms up?

Running without having my face freeze over! And not having to worry about driving in snow. I have a tendency to wind up in ditches.

Onto the last part of this whole shebang!

I’m tagging these blogs to continue on the 11 Random Things. I chose people from among my followers, so hopefully you’ll be happy to do this little activity! If you’ve already done one, I apologize! I guess just let me know, and I can tag someone else.

Forever is Composed of Nows, The GSB, endurancegalOn these feet, Lavendar Parking, Running in Mommyland, Run with Chips , bearrunner, runner on the right, domestic diva, speedy cupcake

My questions for you all:

1. Do you prefer to listen to music, or no music, while running or working out?
2. Where do you find the most support in your life?
3. Would you rather read the book, or watch the movie?
4. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
5. What is your favorite meal to prepare?
6. How many states and/or countries have you visited in your lifetime?
7. Ever travel a great distance for a race?
8. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
9. If your life was a title of a song, what would it be called?
10. What is your greatest temptation (food or otherwise) that might cause you to be less healthy?
11. What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?

Have fun with this! I can’t wait to see what you answer!