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Today I got back up on the horse, if by horse you mean treadmill.  Due to a chaotic September followed by a sprained ankle, it has been far too long since I did any running.  I might be fighting against biology (let’s just say if anyone ever makes a sports bra out of titanium, I’ll be the first in line to buy it) and suppressing my knee-jerk loathing I have for running – but I’m determined to one day be a runner.  I’m not sure why I’m so obsessed with becoming good (actually, I’d settle for competent)  at something I hate – but I suspect that this fact says chilling things about my inner psyche (hence the title of this post).

I live next to the Arboretum and I get so jealous when I see people jogging there, especially this time of year when they get to jog under the radiant fall foliage and wrap themselves up snuggly against the growing autumnal chill.  I’m like the loser kid trying to hang out with the cool kids at the back of the bus whenever I try jogging (which involves a lot of walking when I’m doing it) in the Arboretum – it is very obvious that I don’t belong.  And while I have always proudly embraced my misfit status, for once I *really* want to belong with this crowd.

For one thing, I love the portability and the ease of jogging.  You can pretty much do it anywhere (especially outside!) and you really don’t need to haul a bunch of heavy stuff around in order to do it (unless someone comes through on the titanium bra front).  I do a fair amount of traveling and I would love it if instead of worrying about the hotel gym I could just go for a run.  And when I do actually run, I love how it completely clears my mind of any daily stress – my mind actually has to get rid of those thoughts because it is too busy pointing out the fact that I suck at running and that I might die soon.

So despite the fact that all signs point to me not being a runner, I’m going to keep trying.  I did a 5K in the summer (with some walking it must be said) and really enjoyed it.  I would have enjoyed it even more if I had been able to run the whole race, so I’ve already got my eyes on next year.  After two months of not running, it kind of felt like starting from scratch today, but I’m going to keep trying.  I made a new “run” mix on my iPod with tunes to inspire me and I keep daydreaming about rolling out of bed and being able to go for a long run in the Arboretum (yes, I realize that is an odd dream).  When I was browsing in a bookstore last week, I came across a book called “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”.  It is by an author I love (Haruki Murakami) and he started running when he started writing novels to help balance the sedentary lifestyle required by lots of writing.  Now he has compiled his thoughts on running and I think that reading it my help keep me inspired (note to Santa – gift idea).  I should probably admit that I am a total nerd AND I have a masters in library science – so I tend to ascribe books with actual magical powers.

Anyway, these are all thoughts on ways that I hope to keep myself motivated with my challenge.  I did better today that I thought I would (once again, low expectations are my friends!).  And I felt great afterwards.  So I’m just going to keep trying…and maybe investigate my idea about titanium sports bras.


I wasn’t sure I was going to make any resolutions this year. I failed pretty miserably at the ones I set for myself last year. So I decided to make some basic ones for this year and to try not to get down on myself if I do not follow them to the letter. What is important is that I do try and make changes every day to live a better, healthier life.

2010 Resolutions

  1. Continue to go to the gym regularly. Do not beat myself up over not going, especially if I am sick or in pain. Try to get a minimum of three good workouts in as I do feel better when I am working out.
  2. Try one new class or activity a month.
  3. Run the Timlin 5k on 6/19/10.
  4. Lose a minimum of twenty pounds.
  5. Eat healthier foods that are less processed and incorporate more fruits and vegetables.

So the five things I have chosen should not be difficult to incorporate into my current lifestyle, thus allowing me to be successful with my resolutions. And this time next year I certainly should be pleased with my results!


Do you make resolutions? If so, share in the comments!

The Turkey

I did it!

Thursday morning, at what seemed like the crack of dawn, I ran the Smoke the Turkey 5k Race held in my hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

What a thrill it was to run in this event. It took me a while to wake up that morning but when our car pulled into the lot at the race site, I felt wide-awake and ready to run. I attribute this to two things: I was with good friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile and I was anxious to see what I could do after training hard for a month and a half.

Group Post Race

After getting my runner’s packet, I pinned my bib on and laced my racing chip to my shoe for accurate time tracking.When my group of friends was ready, we headed to the staging area. Although between my group of friends there was an intense rivalry, we ended up staging closer to the back of the pack. Surrounded by dogs on leashes and double-wide baby strollers, we waited for the crowd to start moving forward so we could start the run and officially start our race. Read the rest of this entry »

So my birthday happens to be in November and I recently received a lovely surprise from Healthworks in my inbox. For all those members who have a birthday in the current month aka ME, Healthworks provides a coupon for a free water bottle, free beverage OR 15% off personal training, spa treatments or café services.

Because I will have ran my 5k Turkey Trot race and because I am the birthday girl this month, I’ve decided to splurge and use my coupon for 15% off a 50-minute massage.

Though I am the type of woman who can count on one hand (ahem, two fingers?) the number of times I’ve had a massage, I think this is the perfect time to get one. I’ll be traveling back from Thanksgiving festivities (family, friends, Turkey Trot) and heading into a stressful holiday season (late nights at work, holiday parties, last-minute shopping), so I think I need/deserve to prepare myself with a little relaxation and I’m excited to share with you my relaxing experience.


Do you have a favorite mode of pampering? How are you getting yourself mentally and physically prepared for the holiday season?


As you know from my previous post about the Turkey Trot, I am getting ready to run a 5k race with some friends from home. Because I am not a runner (I just want to be one!) I have been trying to learn some new techniques to help me perform as best as I can come Thanksgiving Day.endEnvy

With my mind on training, I noticed through Healthworks complimentary programming that Natalie D., a runner and a personal trainer at Cambridge Healthworks, was offering a workshop for runners and cyclers desiring to build endurance. I decided this would be good to attend considering my current situation.

Upon arrival to the workshop, I met Sierra, a member and recent triathlon finisher, looking to improve her performance in future races. Jihye, another member, is a swimmer and walker and she increase her ability for running and cycling, joined us.

To start the 30-minute workout, Natalie had us do a few “old school gym” exercises to get warm:

  • Toe Touches (25)
  • Jumping Jacks (20)
  • High Knees (30 seconds)

Then we started working on “burning out our muscles.” Natalie explained that the best way to get your muscles ready to endure long distances or hills is to get them prepared for that situation. You can do this by “burning” your muscles so that they have felt the same stress and fatigue of running up hill or running longer. Read the rest of this entry »

This morning I got up early in order to get in my workout before a really busy day- keep in mind that I’m still a student, so for me to actually be anywhere at 7:30 am is quite an accomplishment. I got to Healthworks at that ghastly hour, and decided that I would run for half an hour and then go to the Smartbells class at 8. I was thinking specifically about my goals to run a faster 5k and to try different kinds of workouts, or at least exercise in a different way than I might normally.

A few weeks ago, I ran outside and then mapped my run to find out the distance, and according to google I had run 2 miles – in 20 minutes – at my fastest pace ever. I’m not a 10-minute miler, and I was shocked that I would be able to run so fast for 2 miles! I’m realizing now, though, that my calculation must not have been accurate (and this happened while I was training over the summer, too. Even though I thought I had trained up to 12 miles, my run at the race was so unbelievable difficult) because this morning I huffed and puffed all over the treadmill. I ended up running at an 11-minute pace, and then had to stop to take a breather before picking it up again. Needless to say, I worked really hard for that half hour.

Read the rest of this entry »


About a week after I joined Healthworks Cambridge, I started noticing a few signs around that let members know about the installation of new equipment. “How exciting!” I thought, “I just joined this beautiful gym and now they are bringing in even more equipment.”

I forgot about the new equipment that week (I was on a class-taking kick!) and went on my way. Then my friend, Allie, from home started talking about doing a 5k on Thanksgiving. I shouldn’t say she started talking about it. She more or less challenged me. And of course, I could not pass up this bit of friendly competition. So I started doing some research. It seems like everywhere you turn there is a chance to do some good for yourself and others by running in a 5k. This one in particular peaked my interest because of its name: “Smoke the Turkey.” It’s a Thanksgiving Day “Turkey Trot” to benefit the Hospice Program of Northwest Ohio (where I am from originally). It will also help me feel better about indulging on Thanksgiving Day (mash potatoes, anyone?) – not to mention that I can only imagine how awesome the runners’ t-shirts will be.

Anyway, after taking on this challenge, I started to panic. Allie has taken up running and her personal goal is to beat her standing 30 minute 5k time this Thanksgiving. (Please note, I am of the school of thought that looks at running as the punishment for my sport. Whether I was playing volleyball, basketball or softball, running lines meant we were in trouble.) I started to wonder what time would be realistic for me. I wasn’t so sure about the 30 minutes but I thought it might be a reasonable goal if I started to train. That’s when I got the idea to try out the new treadmills at my Healthworks.

The particular treadmills I am talking about are the Life Fitness Treadmills and they are awesome. What first attracted me to them was the TV display. What better way to run, than to have something in front of you to make you forget you are running. With that perk alone, I jumped on the treadmill and started to warm up. As I entered in my personal information, I played around with the touch screen. There are options to run hills, work on weight loss or build up endurance. You can also hook up your iPod to control your playlist on-screen or plug in a USB to track your workouts. While poking around I found the perfect option for me and for anyone else who has ever wanted to run a 5k – Sport Training. You can find it under Select Workout and then Advanced. Once I selected the 5k option and entered my weight, intensity level and speed, I began to run – and watch TV! Read the rest of this entry »

For a long time, I was driven to the gym by my burning desire to reach a goal and by a specific deadline. If by Labor Day I couldn’t run a half marathon, then I was going to miss the race. Having such a definite cutoff date really pushed me to push myself. It made me really want to work out as much as possible and as hard as possible. The race was quite literally the only thing I talked about for a few months – in fact, I still talk about it a lot. After it was over, though, I had a really hard time feeling motivated. I accomplished the goal; heck, I accomplished a lot of my goals: I finished a half marathon, I lost 50 pounds, and I gained a lot of confidence. Once it was over, though, I couldn’t help but feel that I had less to strive for, besides my lofty mission of being generally healthier.

I think this means I’m a more concrete kind of person. I realized that I need to have a specific goal to work towards. Telling myself to go to the gym because it will be better for me in the long term doesn’t seem to cut it. However, telling myself to get my butt to spinning because I have to build up enough endurance to run a race – well, that’s the trick. So, now that summer is over (long over), I need to really formulate just what I’m working towards. Bear with me:

1. I ran a 5k in 40 minutes. I want to cut out at least a minute and run, comfortably, in the 35-39 minutes range. Good thing there are a lot of 5ks coming up. This weekend, I want to hit 39 minutes.

2. I already ramped up the number of times per week that I work out, but I need to start varying the kinds of exercise I do. I think my body has started to get used to my routine. I need to shake it up – so, goal 2 is to try a new class or do a new kind of workout every single week.

3. I lost 50 pounds (did I mention that already? I’m pretty proud…), but I know have more work to do. This concrete goal involves me losing another 20-30 so that I can go on a (second) major shopping spree. There are a lot of sub-goals that go into this, and I still have to work out exactly how I’m going to make it happen (stay tuned).

What are your goals? What motivates you?



It took me a while to get used to my new fall schedule, but I have finally managed to ramp up my fitness goals (workout 5 days a week!) and settle into some sort of routine. My routine has pretty much been to go to spinning three times and smartbells twice each week; I had mostly been doing cardio this summer in preparation for my half marathon. You’ll notice that this schedule doesn’t leave very much room for running. In fact, I hadn’t really run very much at all since the Labor Day race.

Until Sunday, that is!

Some friends convinced me to run a 5k in Salem. Actually, I had planned on running two 5ks earlier this fall, in Newton and in Somerville, but for each of those occasions the weather was freakishly out of season (snow in October! Not my idea of a fun run…) and I wimped out each time. This weekend, though, I was determined to complete the race! Because of the differences in distance, 3.1 miles compared to the 13.1 of the half marathon, I had to rethink my running strategy and pacing goals. While training for the half marathon, I did a ratio of 1 minute walking for every 5 minutes of running in order to build up the endurance needed to finish the race. But 3.1 miles seemed much more doable – I knew that I wanted to do it in one go with no stopping, and that I wanted to beat my 5k time in the half marathon.

hannah_white_salem5kAnd I did! I finished in 40 minutes, which beat my last time by about 5 minutes! This is so crazy to me for a few reasons. Firstly, I can run for 40 minutes without stopping! I may not be the fastest, but that is such an amazing improvement from where I was a few months ago, when I couldn’t run for 10 minutes without stopping. Second, I drastically improved my pace, without even planning to! I think this is because of my intensive focus on cardio and strengthening my heart. Also, racing is so exciting. I never ever thought that this is something I would be interested in, and now I’m envisioning my future collection of race entry bibs. I talk a lot about wanting to change my life, and I know that I have. Really, there is no way that I would have done something like this a year ago. Now I can’t stop! Anybody interested in the Somerville Superhero 5k or Brighton’s Thanksgiving Day Race?

Finally, I should just say how super fun it is to run in a costume. The 5k was a Halloween run (it’s Salem, so of course it was Halloween themed), and I was excited to run in a costume. I wore my regular running gear, plus a few accessories: 20’s style flapper dress, satin gloves, feathered hairband, and fishnets!


What races are you running this fall? Leave your comments!


hannah_white_blog1picFor most of my life, I would not have considered myself an active person. I’ve struggled with fitness for a long time, and I usually think of myself in terms of my intellect and artistic ability– I was always the kid with the paintbrush, not the basketball — and I really never thought of myself as an actual body. I did participate in a variety of activities when I was younger (activities that I ended up quitting: horseback riding, fencing, rowing, ballet, swimming, soccer), but I never stuck with any regular exercise. The result was a terribly out of shape and overweight adult, somebody continually struggling.

This year, I decided to change all of that, and to let go of my baggage. Most of this started for me in January of last year, when I decided to start running. I downloaded the Couch to 5k podcast and began my training – and I did it! I completed the 9 week training schedule, and on April 20th I ran for a few miles at the end of the Boston Marathon to support a close friend. Later in the year, I found Healthworks (through Groupon – it was a great deal!), and took up spinning classes. The really crazy part was when I decided to run a half marathon, which I finished over Labor Day weekend.

When I first began my fitness overhaul, I was scared out of my mind. I had never done anything like this before, and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it — or that I would give this up, like everything else. My marathon coach gave me some great advice, and told me to bite off goals in manageable chunks in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed. “Just take one step at a time,” she said. And she’s right! Her advice made me think of Lao Tzu’s very famous and very over-quoted encouragement: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

At this point, I have taken a lot of steps to change my life. One step was starting to run, another step was joining Healthworks, joining an intramural soccer team, running my half marathon. In this process, I’ve already lost 50 pounds, and I know that I’m on my journey to a healthier, stronger, more confident me. I also know that I have more work to do, and that my journey isn’t nearly completed. Part of my journey involves thinking about workouts, meals, inspirations, frustrations, and goals. I just have to put one foot in front of the other and keep running on my journey.


Learn more about Hannah and her goals by following the “Meet the Bloggers” link at the top of this page!