The Road to Recovery

By April 15, 2014 Running
Morris Ave

Y’all. It’s actually happening. After over 60 days of bitching and moaning and aching and eating, I’m on my way back to reclaiming my ultra runner status!


Look Ma, I’m back on the trails! Failing miserably at selfies, apparently.

A few weeks ago, a fellow BUTS member gave me the kick in the ass that I needed to stop moping around and finally schedule a PT session. The PT I went to, Rachel, is also an ultra runner and BUTS member and I will love her forever for getting me back on the road and trails. She checked my hips, spine, and pelvic alignment and went through various tests to try and figure out what had happened. Conclusion—I may have stepped funny at some point (during the STR 50K perhaps?) and misaligned my spine, which in turn causes the entire area to ache. Prognosis—good. She gave me the green light to get back running, as long as I don’t feel too much pain. Rx (ugh I hate that term now thanks to Crossfit)—abductor and adductor strength exercises multiple times a day, and resistance band exercises once a day. Rachel topped off the good news with a massage-esque technique she called skin rolling on my leg and surround areas that used metal instruments and lotion and hurt like a bitch but felt wonderful after. And yes, I’m aware that last sentence sounds incredibly questionable.

returning from injury, groin injury, running, rehab, trail running

Like a rockstar, I showed up to PT like this – accidentally left my shoes at home

Next up was a visit to Coach Alex to get a new, recovery-focused training plan. We talked about how I need to strengthen my hips and glutes and core so that I can prevent further injuries and come back stronger than ever. By doing what, you ask? Cross training. The one thing that always eludes my schedule. He was also quick to shut down my plan of running a 12-hour race the first weekend of May. My reasoning—I would have 12 hours to casually run, stroll, and nap my way through as many miles as I could. His reasoning—I need to not be stupid and get better, not worse. Womp.

returning from injury, groin injury, running, rehab, trail running

Cheesin’ with Coach after my first long run this past weekend – 5 miles!

He came up with an 8-week plan that’s both exciting and depressing. On the one hand, RUNNING! On the other, seeing total weekly mileage that’s lower than a single one of my old weekday runs is sad. I want to run and every single mile excites me, but it’s hard to start from scratch. Women—we can’t ever be satisfied. I kid. Or not.

returning from injury, groin injury, running, rehab, trail running

Stark contrast in training plans, eh?

It’ll be slow going for a while. It’s humbling to run a single mile five minutes slower than my old pace and be huffing and puffing by the end. And it’s tots my fault—I didn’t do anything near what I could or should have cross training-wise. But when certain workouts hurt, I would just stop rather than try to find something that was groin-friendly. And with that, I watched my overall fitness slip away. I’m well aware that getting out of shape will make it take that much longer to get back to where I had been. But it’s all good. I’ll own up to it and suffer through the suck to get back to badass Tanya-status.


What do you do when you can’t keep pace with your buddies? Bike alongside!

But in all seriousness, it feels like Christmas every time I lace up my shoes. I am fully convinced now that there’s no better runner’s high than the first few runs back after you’ve been out for a while.

If I ever complain about getting up early or being tired or sore after a run, punch me in the face.

The Sylvans Get Lofty

By April 14, 2014 Birmingham, Ramblings
The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Whew, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? The hubs and I have been super busy the past few weeks—we packed up our cute little bungalow in the ‘burbs and moved to a loft in downtown Birmingham.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

The “living room” is incredibly cozy and always full of sunlight from the giant windows

We had always tossed around the idea of giving downtown life a try. We love our little city, we spend nights and weekends walking and photographing all its nooks and crannies, and it’s the new, hip place to be.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Exposed shelves in the kitchen meant a lot of decluttering and searching Pinterest for layout ideas

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Coffee and poured concrete countertops

It’ll be an adjustment for sure. I love trees and grass and crickets and nature. The pups have gotten spoiled having a large, fenced-in yard to play in. The hubs and I have never coexisted with others—not even in a dorm.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

New nightly ritual – sunset playtime on the roof

But the loft is to die for. I mean, it doesn’t get loftier than our loft. Exposed brick, open floor plan, original hardwood, killer views of the city, and one of the best rooftops in town. My favorite coffee shop is also in our backyard. ‘Nuff said.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

My new writing nook – brick, warehouse windows, and views of the hills

And so far, the pups adore being downtown dogs. They enjoy exploring their new ‘hood and have playdates on the roof with other dogs in the building. They even pee on pavement like champs.

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Our new bedroom is Moose-approved

It’s still a work in progress, but I think I’m going to love loft life!

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design, Sloss Furnace

This is what we wake up to every morning

The Avenues, 1st Ave North, loft living, Birmingham, Birmingham lofts, loft design

Old ad in our alley


Breaking News—Tutus are Uncool

By March 28, 2014 Advertising/Branding, Running
SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Stop what you’re doing and gather ’round—this is an important announcement. It is no longer acceptable to wear tutus. I repeat, no tutus. Ever.

Or anything else silly or ridiculous or “froufrou” for that matter. This includes running skirts, neon compression socks, superhero capes, ugly hats, colorful shoes, or sparkly outfits. All banned from races and other events where runners congregate.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Color blocking is absolutely banned

The fashion police held an emergency meeting, not unlike the meeting of the new G7, and decided to crack down on the running community. Enough is enough. Running isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s about winning. The thrill of competition. Beating all your friends and being #1. A tutu only weighs you down. Causes chafing. Displays your immaturity.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine, BUTS, Birmingham Ultra Trail Society

Look at this! See what tutus cause?

Have cancer? No excuse—no tutu for you. Feeling extra flashy? Best to leave your sparkly skirt at home where it belongs.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Why don’t you just add in some camo while you’re at it – break all the rules

Thank goodness we have women’s magazines to set us on the straight and narrow. I’m glad that a publication like SELF exists to educate me on my health and well-being and fashion do’s and don’ts.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Tutu AND a clown? Banned from races indefinitely.

Oh, wait. This isn’t right. There are no rules. Runners can wear whatever the hell they want in races. Running instantly transforms you into a badass and allows you to bend the “fashion rules.” Tutus are wildly popular and fun. They add whimsy. They can make a 5K seem approachable. They make men hilariously sexy.

Hey SELF, is your common sense on Spring Break 2014? Let’s mislead the girl in the photo as to how the picture will be used. Let’s not ask her why she wore the tutu. Let’s not bother to read her bib with “DIE TUMOR DIE” written on it. Let’s not address our mistake on social media. It’ll go away with time, right? Let’s continue with our regularly scheduled posts. And when we do apologize, let’s half-ass it. Let’s piss off our entire target market. You thought we were about empowering women and encouraging them to be healthy and active? That’s cute.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Every. Single. Post. was highjacked by mobs of angry women

SELF fucked up. Big time. They shouldn’t have written about tutus, period. It wasn’t funny. It’s worse because they made fun of a cancer patient. But that was just an unfortunate accident—that’s not the real issue. They genuinely believe that tutus are ridiculous and meant to bash runners. And the editor, Lucy, apologizing a day later and only referencing Monika only adds fuel to the fire. If you’re going to say sorry, do it the right way. Mean it. SELF clearly didn’t have an emergency social media plan in place for when something like this occurs. #Win for me—I loved watching their Facebook page implode.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

You’re full of shit, Lucy

Runners are not people to fuck with. Female runners? Forget about it. You don’t bash something we love and are proud of and get away with it. SELF deserves every ounce of backlash they get. I wish there were a way to know how many people unsubscribe as a result of this disaster. It’d make me laugh.

Hats off to Monika for making tutus and donating money to Girls On The Run. She deserves credit for running a marathon while on chemo, not to be bashed by some arrogant assholes. And hooray to all the women who proudly rock tutus in races.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine

Even boys wear tutus *gasp*

Do you know what’s BS, SELF? Name calling. And your magazine.

SELF tutu, BS Meter, runners wearing tutus, SELF magazine


Vegan March Munchies

By March 27, 2014 Nom Noms, Vegan Adventures
vegan food, vegan recipes, vegan runner

What’s that saying about March? In like a lion, out like a lamb? Ha! This month was more like, “In like a lion, out like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.” Weather, health, and life happenings all left much to be desired.

So it only makes sense that I turned to my beloved Indian food for comfort. And maybe chocolate cookies. But that’s the hubs’ fault, not mine. Here are my curry-laden favorite recipes this month:

Curried coconut quinoaI’m running out of adjectives to describe just how good some of these recipes are. This one in particular is one of the best I’ve ever made—I could have eaten it all in one sitting if I had no self-control. My foodie mom and sis approve too.

vegan food, vegan recipes, vegan runner

Just looking at this pic makes my mouth water

Roasted chickpeas and asparagusLooking for a stupid-easy meal where you throw things together and magic happens? Here’s your recipe. Bonus—it’ll be great to bring to picnics if the weather ever cooperates.

vegan food, vegan recipes, vegan runner

I love me some food from the ground

Split pea soupI festively made this on St. Patrick’s Day in lieu of the traditional corned beef and beer meal. It was more stew-y (Did you just picture Stewie in your head?) than soup-y, but delicious nonetheless.

vegan food, vegan recipes, vegan runner

It may not look as appetizing as a green beer, but it’s 10x better

Kidney bean lentil curryI never pictured kidney beans as being very Indian, but these little guys held their own with the array of spices in the dish. I’d totally make this for friends who are skittish of Indian food (though if that’s the case then I should really reconsider my choice of friends…).

vegan food, vegan recipes, vegan runner

Try. This. Now.

Carrot fritters (vegetarian but still yummy!)Despite the bipolar weather, it is spring, and that means that bunnies and baby ducklings are frolicking around the forest looking for good vegan noms. These cute little cakes were not as much of a hassle as they originally seemed, and the honey lime yogurt sauce was to die for.

vegan food, vegan recipes, vegan runner

Don’t you just want to reach out and grab one?

Oh, in case you were wondering, eating vegan does not offset lack of calorie burn. It’s time to quit munching and start working out for realz again.

Dunkin Donuts, Cool Mint Coolata, vegan food, vegan recipes, vegan runner

…though I’m sure treats like these don’t exactly help.

Why 100 Happy Days Makes Me Unhappy

By March 26, 2014 Positive Thoughts, Ramblings

20 days ago I came across the 100 Happy Days Challenge. I had seen my friends posting about it on Facebook and Instagram; at face value, it seemed like a fun project to remind people that every day, no matter how shitty life may seem, you can still find something to be celebrated.

I joined in and started posting pictures of things that made me happy that day. It didn’t take long for me to realize that posting these pictures wasn’t making me more happy; instead it seemed as if having to remember to post something that made me happy in effect made me less happy. It became more of a chore for me. I wasn’t posting anything that I wouldn’t normally—after all, I was just adding an extra hashtag. But the more I thought about it, the more forced it felt. Surely, this defeats the whole purpose of the challenge.

After more thought, the challenge further rubbed me the wrong way. And my mind started to wander. How is #100happydays any better than the #thankful posts that pop up in November which make us all want to vom? Or, worse yet, the #blessed posts that I relentlessly make fun of (why yes, I have my bags packed and ticket to Hell booked)? Is it all some passive aggressive form of bragging?


Honestly, this meal didn’t make me happy – it was dry and bleh

Emotions should be felt wholeheartedly, unapologetically, and most important—naturally. That’s the beauty of our emotions. Everyone has unique experiences that contribute to how we think, feel, and act. Often, we can’t control our emotions no matter how hard we try. I see happiness as a sign of contentment; you’re at peace with where you are in life (good or bad) and can see past that to enjoy the best that life has to offer. Happiness is spontaneous, uncomplicated, and shows cognitive toughness. You can’t force these things just for a stupid hashtag; they have to come from a stable mind, a willing heart, and from deep introspective awareness.

I understand that some people appreciate having a reminder that every day holds happiness. There’s accountability in pausing your day to reflect on something positive that happened. I get it. I love clicking through my friends’ posts and seeing what makes them happy. In fact, that is one of the things that makes me happy every day.


My first post with the beautiful See Jane Write leader

It’s totally a “me” thing. I’m an open book—I share these things anyway. If I’m happy, my friends and followers will know it. If I’m pissed, people will hear about it even more. No hashtags needed.


I will always share selfies of myself stuffing my face

Many friends and fellow Instagrammers have jumped on the #100happydays train. I guarantee that this will rub some people the wrong way. Momentarily disrupt their “happy.” I’d love to hear your opinions—what do you think about the challenge? Are you participating? Is it helping you? Do you think it feels forced?


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