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Travel

On the Road Again

Eating healthy is easy, some smug soul will tell you without reading out loud the fine print.

Eating healthy is easy — when you’re at your own house, have no temptations in the fridge, have no plans to see friends and have all the time in the world to whip up a nutrient-packed home-cooked meal.

But when you aren’t in control of your own schedule, your access to food or even your meal times, eating well becomes exponentially more challenging. It’s hard when you’re staying overnight with family. It’s hard when you’re working late. It’s hard when you’re snowed in.

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I need a hot cocoa and I need it stat.

And it’s extra hard when you’re traveling for work, staying at a conference hotel, working 16 hour days and subsiding on vending machines, coffee carts, freebies and (ugh) press food.

That’s right, folks: I’ve just returned from an industry conference and oooh I have the too-tight work pants to prove it!

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(also all these pictures of cars)

But even though my week in Detroit wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of health, I did find some small ways to undo the damage living out of a suitcase was doing my waist line. These are manageable tips you, too, may want to adopt before your next business trip. (But not your next vacation. Live a little!)

#1. Check out the whole buffet before filling your plate.
Work conferences are famous for their abundant but bland lunch offerings, in which attendees keep going back for more and more because nothing’s satisfying. To make better choices, instead of going straight down the line like the sucker in front of you, scan the heating trays first to decide what two or three items would go well together. Then fill your plate with the salad at the start, add some roasted chicken or grilled steak from the hot food bar, throw on some veggies, and you end up having a pretty decent lunch. And skip the conference room brownies — they’re never good.

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Unless you’re eating at Slow’s BBQ, in which case the “salad” was ribs.

#2. Stock up on produce wherever you can find it.
If you were smart and prepared, you may have packed some dried fruit or carrot sticks in your carry-on — but I wasn’t. And after spending the first 24 hours in Detroit without so much as seeing a vegetable, I knew I had to get serious. So for the rest of the trip, every time I was offered something green, I took it. Banana at breakfast? Check. Side salad at lunch? Check. Individually wrapped apple at checkout? Check. It wasn’t the super-food kale I was craving after several days of sugar rushes, but you take what you can get when you can’t shop for yourself.

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Cause that’s a normal way to serve apples.

#3. Squeeze in a workout however you can.
On long work days, it’s a constant struggle — sleep an extra 45 minutes or work up a sweat in the hotel gym? I did manage to make it to the elliptical once or twice, but the rest of the time, I had to get creative. I did squats in the hotel room while I checked my email. I took the stairs at least a handful of times. I skipped the airport shuttle and hightailed it gate to gate. Pro-tip: if you pack your oldest running shoes that were already slated for retirement, you can leave them behind in the hotel room and make more room for the swag you’re inevitably bringing home.

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Goodbye, beautiful NYC 2015 Marathon shoes.

Don’t get me wrong — for as tough as work travel is, it’s fun to get out of the office for a few days.

But it’s even more fun to come back home again.

Especially when this face is waiting for you. ❤

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Welcome home, I suppose.

How do you keep healthy-ish on the road?

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Uncategorized

20/18 Vision

Alright folks, it’s time to talk about New Year’s Resolutions!

But wait — you may be asking yourself — isn’t it a little late to be setting 2018 goals? I mean, the presents have been opened, the tree’s been untrimmed and the bearded man in red came and went.

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(and he brought belly rubs for all bears on the nice list.)

True statements, all of them, but formally setting my intentions for the new year after January’s already in full swing brings one key benefit: I already know after two weeks of testing if they’ve stuck.

That’s right: I actually set my resolutions on Jan. 1 like the rest of the world, somewhere between waking up semi-hungover and binge-watching the entire season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — which, let’s be honest, everyone should stream this three day weekend. (Except people working MLK Day at the inconveniently timed Detroit auto show, but I digress.)

People set absurdly unattainable goals all the time and then are disappointed when they don’t work out, so I opted instead to give mine a trial run during January’s first half before sharing them with the world. And since these survived all the way to Epiphany and then some, I now have more faith in my ability to keep them.

So what am I doing in 2018? Nothing as dramatic as my past resolution successes, like losing 30 pounds or running my first marathon or starting this blog. Instead, I’m targeting incremental tweaks that I’m hoping can have an outsized impact with fairly little legwork.

1. Strength training just enough not to get injured. I’ve set muscle-building resolutions before, and they’re hard to stick with 1. without a personal trainer to hold me accountable and 2. because strength training stinks. So this year, I’m trying something lower key — I resolve to do one set of each one of these Bart Yasso-recommended runner-strengthening moves every week. I’ve subbed out a few of them for more me-appropriate exercises (i.e. swapping in hip-strengthening clamshells for totally-impossible pull ups), but so far, so good. By squeezing in squats in empty elevators and doing bridges during Jeopardy, I’m finding little ways to fit in the moves that should make me a more well-rounded runner.

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From Runner’s World magazine aka the bible.

2. Eating cleaner, sometimes. Full disclosure: I just ate three slices of pizza dipped in Hidden Valley ranch for lunch, so I think we can all agree moderation has its limits. But for the most part, I’m trying to double down on last year’s good habits with even more smart choices this year, from more fruits and vegetables to less processed meat and white grains. I’m not planning on cutting out anything completely, like alcohol or chocolate, but hopefully by targeting more healthy choices, I’ll be able to keep my weight in check and my running well-fueled in the new year.

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Taste the rainbow.

3. Brushing my teeth for the entire two-minute electric toothbrush cycle even though it’s so long and boring I could die. This resolution is reminiscent of my 2011 goal to start flossing (and also to run a marathon.) This resolution is the hardest one on my list by far, and I’ve already thrown in the towel several times mid-clean. To try to get through the full cycle, I resolve to do more tree-poses and calf raises and other things from resolution #1 while trudging through resolution #3.

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“My teeths is so cleanz and you’s can, too!”

There are several other things I want to do this year — visit my brother in Hawaii, throw an epic bachelorette weekend in LA, maaaaaybe revisit the marathon distance — but I think three goals is plenty sufficient. Well, maybe just one more:

4. Get an excellent haircut.

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And here you thought Keira had been replaced as RiledUpRunner ambassador!

What are you resolving for the new(ish) year?