I thought you said “extra fries.”

A sentiment that really resonates with me: Exercise? I thought you said “extra fries.”

If I could choose, my favorite food would be kale, but the reality is that my favorite food is fries. And my Top Ten Favorite Foods list may include some healthy items, but I would eat fries and drink milkshakes everyday if it were socially acceptable.*

*If anyone lives in a part of the world where this is socially acceptable, please contact me immediately.

half marathon
after my first (and only) half marathon

So it’s pretty much mandatory that I stay active. I started running in 2012 with some encouragement from fellow graduate students who were all trying to get into shape and practice some self care. At the time, I was so embarrassed to run that I woke up at 5am and ran before the sun came up. Fast forward five years and I’m running in public areas at all hours of the day. Not only that, but I’ve done more than 10 5K races, 3 10K’s, and a half marathon. Not bad!

After I bought the right shoes and committed to daily running, I got the hang of it. It was very difficult and I was not a quick learner. I was never athletic and I had never been in a situation where I had to push through physical pain or discomfort. I was a runner years prior to starting in 2012, but it was in high school (aka before the “freshman 15”). Slowly but surely, I started to really enjoy running.

10k
me after my first 10k

Eventually, I ran my first 5K. Now I have a birthday tradition to run a 5K and I’ve done at least one every year since. I also ran in the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, South Carolina and the Capital Hill Classic 10K in Washington, D.C. Running has done a lot for me, beyond the obvious. Above everything, running is a form of therapy for me. It helps me clear my mind and spend time focusing only on myself.

If you’re looking to get into shape or increase the amount of time you spend taking care of yourself each day, I highly recommend getting into walking, jogging, or running. Do whatever your body tells you it can or wants to do.

Here are some thoughts on how to get started:

  1. 10 Out, 10 Back: walk, jog, or run away from your home for 10 minutes, then go back home! It’s a short commitment for a great end result. After that you can decide if you want to increase your pace, distance, time, etc.
  2. Sign up for a race: this will give you a very tangible goal. There are a lot of apps and training plans out there and you can get started no matter what level you’re at.
  3. Organize yourself: add “Run at 10:00am” to your calendar or schedule meet-up’s with friends around your workout. If you carve out the time you CAN make it happen.
  4. Put on your running clothes right when you wake up or right when you get home from work: it’s not a guarantee, but it may give you that extra ounce of motivation to get out for a run.
  5. Use breaks wisely: if you work regular office hours, you may just have a lunch break. Use that break to eat, of course, but then go on a 20 minute walk. That way, if you aren’t able to get your full run or other workout in, you can still get some activity in. Sometimes I’ll do a working lunch so I can use my hour break to get moving! BONUS TIP: walk and talk! If you have calls with clients or co-workers, call from your cell while you walk around the office or the neighborhood.

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