Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween #bestholiday

Happy Halloween, everyone! Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year and while I'm spending it at a conference this year, it doesn't mean I didn't celebrate! I was pretty proud of my last minute costume. I had the idea while I was exhausted and driving from one campus to the other and REALLY wanted coffee, so I decided to channel my craving into my creativity and turn myself into a coffee! What do you think?

Wednesday night my CA staff (as well as some other ResLifers) had a reverse trick-or-treat program where we walked around in costume (mostly just my CAs and I were dressed up... I have the best staff, clearly) and gave our residents candy! It was a fun and laid back way to work my favorite holiday into my schedule, and I'm very happy it worked out so I didn't have to miss out on the fun!

Are you doing anything fun for Halloween? Let me know in the comments! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stumbling Through 26.2 - Part 2: The Gear

You might think or running and assume that because the activity is a pretty basic exercise that you wouldn't need a whole lot of gear to survive. That may be true for the everyday recreational runner, but for marathon training, you need to be prepared! The impact that running long distances has on your body can be pretty damaging and can lead to injury or illness fairly quickly if you don't have the right equipment to lay down the miles. Here are a few must-haves to get you through your training:

Running Shoes

No brainer, right? The kind of shoes you wear when you're running play the biggest role in staving off injury when it comes to gear. Each runner has a different foot shape, stride, and way that they strike the road with their feet while they run, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to picking out your shoes. It takes an annoyingly long time to find a shoe that will work the best for you, but it truly makes all the difference in the world. I would suggest dedicating a solid few hours to this search, and even going to a running store where the employees are trained in analyzing the way you run and matching that to a shoe that will carry through the hundreds of miles that you'll be running in preparation for the big day.

Neon, Neon, Neon

If you've seen any runner on the street, chances are they're wearing some sort of fluorescent color that you can see from 3 blocks away. It's not a coincidence that all runners tend to have the same color schemed wardrobe. It's really because it makes us look awesome stand out to vehicles on the road. I don't live in a large city, so in my running experience I have spent most of my training running on roads that do not have sidewalks and in some cases have quite a few blind turns. I've been in a few close calls with oncoming vehicles and I'm pretty convinced that one day I'm not going to be so lucky. (#runnersfate) BUT wearing bright colors help drivers see me and hopefully take the time to give me space to run. Neon and reflective materials should definitely be part of your wardrobe (ESPECIALLY if you're training in the winter months with less sunlight) if they aren't already!

Hydration Pack

This is essential for your long runs! If you're not someone who likes to carry bottled water with you, you need to have a way to bring it with you. I suggest investing in a hydration pack of some sort for some hands-free hydration! Be careful with these if you live in colder areas, as they do have the potential to freeze and act as a nice weight for you to carry around on your back. (But I mean, that could count as additional training, right?

Fuel Belt

This is one of many types of Fuel Belts... find one that works best for you!

(I like to call it a utility belt... anything that makes me feel a little bit like Batman is a win in my book. This is another essential for long runs. When you're running for more than an hour, your body needs fuel. Eating while running was such a strange concept to me, and sometimes I'm just not hungry while I run, but you need to refuel your body. That's where a Fuel Belt comes in! (I like to call it a utility belt... anything that makes me feel a little bit like Batman is a win in my book.) It has pockets and loops for you to put your favorite fueling materials in (granola bars and Gatorade blocks are my personal favorite) and it even can store your phone, ID, insurance cards, and any other fun things you'll need while you're on the road for a few hours.

Cold Weather Gear

If you're planning on a spring or late fall marathon, chances are you'll be running in some pretty cold temperatures. Being outside for an extended period of time in single-digit temperatures is a nice invitation to frost bite, which is no fun, so make sure you're bundling up when you hit the road! I recommend a nice pair of gloves, a headband or hat that covers your ears, and some Under Armour Cold Gear to wear under your clothes (so worth the investment! I've had my set for going on 7 years now and it still works wonderfully!).

When it comes to marathon training, everyone's going to be different and use a variety of combinations of gear to help them through. Make sure you're picking out what feels right for you, and after a while you'll be able to tell what works and what doesn't!

More of Stumbling Through 26.2: Picking a Plan

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stumbling Through 26.2 - Part 1: Picking a Plan

The one thing I get asked the most by readers across my social media platforms is how I train for the races I run. I don't think I'm a training expert in any sense of the word, but I've been a distance runner for a couple years now and have definitely picked up a few tricks that work for me along the way. I thought it'd be great to share my pointers on how to get through 26.2 miles through a small series I like to call "Stumbling Through 26.2" or "The most accurate description of how Riley runs marathons". If you're interested in running a marathon, then I hope you find the next few posts helpful.

Today I'm going to talk about one of the most crucial components to training: picking your plan. There's a million and one training plans out there (found with a quick Google search!), so it's important to pick the plan that works best for you. I've used the Hal Higdon Novice 1 program for both of the marathons I've run because it fits both my schedule and my skill level equally as well.

Regardless of what program you choose, you should make sure of a few things:

1. You have at least one long run a week. These are your most important runs of each week. These are the runs that are going to impact your training the most and will ultimately carry you across the finish line on race day. These training runs will increase your stamina, strength, and allow you to practice your fueling techniques. One day of your week should be dedicated to these runs, probably a day of the week you typically have off. (You can always join the #SundayRunday club with me!)

2. Your training plan fits well with your day-to-day schedule. I typically shoot for fall marathons because I'm usually working a lot less during the summer and have more time on my hands to train. Training for a marathon takes a LOT of time (3 hour long runs aren't unheard of) and you should make sure you have the time to commit to it before registering for the race itself.

3. Focus on the first 3 weeks when picking a plan. If you feel like you can get through the first 3 weeks of a program comfortably, then that's probably the plan for you! Training plans are designed to train you (shocker, I know) over 16-20 weeks, and you'll start to build your endurance over the first few weeks, to then help you with the next few weeks, and so on. Don't focus on the fact that you'll have to eventually run 20 miles during your training. Take it one run at a time and trust that your body will build up the strength to get you through your training, because it will!

4. Put your plan somewhere you can see it. I usually put mine right in my planner where I know I'll see it every day, but you can put it anywhere - on your fridge, on the dashboard of your car, on your mirror - as long as you know you'll look at it often and be aware of the distances you need to run each week! It's easy to fall into the out of sight/out of mind trap when you can't see your plan, so putting it somewhere that you'll see it every day will help you stick to it.

With all of these things in mind, you'll be able to find the right plan for you. Starting a training program can be pretty scary, but if you trust your body and stick ot everything your plan outlines, you'll be able to get through it - I promise!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Survivng Homecoming... again!

I somehow survived my second BSU Homecoming last week! HOORAY!

Bristaco and I really bonded last week.

This year was 10x more hectic (but 10x more awesome) than last year. Partly because I finally knew was I was doing with the entire event, and partly because now that I knew what I was doing, I wanted to try EVERYTHING. I really pushed the students who I was working with to do something creative with Homecoming this year and to brainstorm ideas of how we could get more of the campus involved. My students are awesome, and together we developed a Spirit Week for the campus, engaging students, staff, and even added some competition into the mix! It was a blast, but there was a LOT to take care of in order to make it successful. I think for it went great for its inaugural year, and it has a ton of potential to go really far in the future!

The OSIL staff participating in Dress to Impress Day before the Pageant!

One huge change this year was to the Homecoming Pageant. Last year, I worked with Lee Forest, the Director of the Pride Center at BSU, to get together a focus group of students to evaluate our Pageant on its inclusiveness to students of all genders. The Pageant had been set up in the past as a traditional pageant, with a King and Queen as the two winners. After gaining feedback from the focus group, we decided it would be more inclusive to have just one winner, male or female, who would be able to choose their own title, crown, etc. This change is in hopes to encourage students who may not identify as male or female or would not be comfortable being crowned "King" or "Queen". There was a great article on the change written on our university blog - click here to find out more about it! I'm very proud to be working alongside such mindful colleagues and students who were willing to make this change to such a long-standing BSU tradition.

Our Homecoming King and the two runners-up!

All of the events went off without a hitch, and we really beefed up some events that needed a little bit of extra attention this year. I'm so proud of everyone who was involved. I definitely felt much more connected to the whole event (all 5 days of it) this year and it's sad that it's the last Bridgewater Homecoming that I'll be helping plan. I'm very lucky that I've had such great people helping me through the process and execution and I hope the next grad enjoys it as much as I have! :)

'Til next year, when I return as an alum... (yikes!)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Run Over by October

It's safe to say it's October, considering what my calendars look like.

What my calendars looked like on the first of the month... they've since gotten more crowded.

This is the month where I typically completely forget I'm a student and am focused mainly on what I'm doing at work. That's not to say I'm not doing my homework, but I often have to remind myself "hey, you've got a 10 page paper due in 2 days... you should probably get on that". This is the month that Homecoming and prepping students for the NACA Northeast tend to collide and explode in a multitude of meetings, emails, Word documents, and more meetings. Oh, and mid-terms too... I guess. #SAgradprobz

I've been staying afloat relatively well this year. Last year, I kind of let it completely break me down, but this year I'm a bit more mindful of what needs to get done and how I'm going to accomplish it. I recently described how I deal with my busy schedule as "completely blacking out and just doing it then waking up and saying to myself 'what just happened'." I think that is the most accurate description I've given to date!

Me either, mystery person. Me either.

I've somehow been able to fit in some personal time in my schedule, and have actually been doing some pretty fun things lately! The weekend I went to NH for the marathon, my parents also ran a 5K called Footrace for the Fallen, so I ran support crew for them in return for running support crew for me the day before. There's so many fun short to mid-distance races in our area of NH, and they try to participate in as many as they can!

I've been making a serious effort to see Brett as often as I can as well. We're both so busy and on completely opposite schedules that it's hard to be able to spend time together that isn't spent sleeping or working on other things, but we've been making the most of it. We went out to froyo the other night (Brett's first time... his mind was blown) and we always have breakfast together in the dining hall at his school after his early morning work outs, so we still get a solid few waking hours together each week!

Yes, that is his school's logo in their waffles... incredible.

Other than spending time with Brett and my family, I've gotten a solid dose of time with my old pal Microsoft Word, cranking out papers like a champ. It's kind of gross that 8-10 page papers are second nature to me at this point when that seemed like such a daunting task a year ago. I'm actually enjoying the things that I'm writing about in my classes this semester, though, which makes it much easier to get through! I guess that's another clue that you're going down the right path, right?

Though October has been stressful thus far, it's been fun as well. We're smack dab in the middle of Homecoming at BSU and we've implemented a Spirit Week component to the mix this year which has been SO much fun! I'll post more about it next week. I'm also really looking forward to NACA at the end of the month. I know kind of know what I'm doing at conferences (I had never been to one before grad school!) and it's going to be a great opportunity to chat with colleagues at different campuses to get a feel for where I'd like to possibly work in the future. It's going to be a lot more than just taking it all in this year, and I'm excited for that!

I hope you all are having a wonderful October as well! (Can you believe we're already half way through? Where is this month going?!) I'll be sure to be posting in the next couple days, but here are two photos that are summing up my feelings on life at the moment...

Talk to you soon! :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Few of my Favorite Links {#8}

(Trigger Warning: sexual assault/misconduct)

Over the past couple (extremely busy) weeks, my friends, students, classmates, and colleagues, have done a solid job of hooking me up with some awesome internet content to peruse. This comes with some serious gratitude, because I really haven't had all that much time to skim the web myself for links to share with you all. Here are some of my favorite internet findings of the past few weeks!

I'm in the car a minimum of 90 minutes each day, commuting here, there, and everywhere. When you're driving, you can't really do much else but drive and listen to whatever happens to be coming through your radio. I've become a huge fan of podcasts, and this is definitely one of my favorites. (I listent to many podcasts, but this is one of my top 3 at the moment. Maybe I'll share a list of all the podcasts I listen to in a future post! #postidea) 

"Not Too Deep" with Grace Helbig is pure, stupid humor. I know that's not for everyone, but I definitely need something mindlessly entertaining to listen to as I drive from workplace to workplace. I must look crazy to the drivers around me when I'm listening to this podcast because I laugh so much when I do. If you're a fan of stupid humor and jokes that go on for way too long (which I find hilarious), then definitely check this podcast out. Here's my favorite one that I've listened to so far, featuring Mitchell Davis!

This Alex and Ani bangle is currently on sale and donating 20% of its proceeds are being donated to the ASPCA! And, bonus - it's adorable. I'm definitely hoping to snag a few of these as holiday gifts (can you believe I just said that? It's October...) for friends and helping out my favorite causes - protecting animals!

Colleges Walk a Fine Line When Athletes Are Accused of Sexual Assault

If you've seen the news at all this fall, you've likely seen a huge spike in reports of sexual assaults on college campuses. To me, this is a bittersweet situation - bitter that there are still so many cases of assault and misconduct on college campuses, but it's great that those who may fall victim of these situations are now feeling more confident to report what's happening and getting the awareness out there of this epidemic. However, as someone who works at multiple institutions, there is a lot to consider when it comes to situations such as this, up to and including making sure the accused is also being protected (false accusations have the potential to ruin an individual's life). 

This article has recently come out on The Chronicle of Higher Education, and shed a little light on what an institution has to go through if one of their students is accused of sexual assault. I can't stress enough the importance of continuing education on this topic. I feel like I learn something new in every article and that's something I hope continues.

20 Courses Missing from Your #HigherEd & #StudentAffairs Master's Program

I saw Paul Gordon Brown speak at ACPA in March and I have fallen in love with his blog! He's always coming up with clever and hilarious posts that those of us in the HESA field can relate to. This one in particular was just TOO real! If you're currently in a HESA program, have been in a HESA program, or are considering going into one in the future, definitely check this post out for a good laugh!

There is FINALLY an Answer to the "HIMYM" Pineapple Mystery

For those of you who are HIMYM fans, you'll remember that in the first season, there's an episode called "The Pineapple Incident". The entire series goes by without ever giving us an answer to where the pineapple in that episode came from. With the release of the final season on DVD, there's FINALLY an answer! Check out the video under the link for some explanation if you're a HIMYM fan like me!

What links have you been loving lately?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Hampshire Marathon FINISHER!

Saturday I ran and finished my second marathon ever - the New Hampshire Marathon in Bristol, NH! 

Training for this marathon went much differently than training for Hartford last year. I've been so busy with other things since I started grad school, which included the entirety of my training for this race, so my mind hasn't been focused on it like it was with Hartford. I was pretty nervous that the race wouldn't go as well as my previous marathon because I wasn't mentally focused, but it actually turned out pretty great!

Louie and Nick originally planned on running this race with me like we did with Hartford, but with their busy schedules they didn't get around to registering in time, so I ran this one solo. My parents did come up and support me though, which was so awesome of them! I know waiting at the finish line of a race for nearly six hours isn't the most entertaining thing in the world, but luckily there's a lot of fun touristy things up in that area of New Hampshire, so they kept themselves busy.

The weather was predicted to be super rainy, and it definitely was a gloomy day, but luckily it was really just a cold, misty day, which is pretty ideal when you're running 26 miles. While I was running I overheard many of the other runners chatting about their own marathon experiences and aspirations. The Maine Marathon was actually the following day, and many of those that were currently running the NH Marathon with me were planning on also running the Maine Marathon the next day! (What?!) There was also one man running his 50th state for the 50 State Marathon Club which was very exciting. It's actually on my bucket list to join that club one day and complete that milestone of running a marathon in every state! The marathon field was relatively small (~300 people) so it was very cool to be a part of that race with such few runners.

The course itself was beautiful and quiet. It looped around Newfound Lake and through heavier wooded areas in central NH. Having the leaves changing colors provided for some beautiful scenery and lots to look at. There were water stops every 2 miles which was amazing, and there was one woman from Marathon Maniacs driving around the course and handing out snacks to all the runners - so awesome! Everything about this race was such an improvement from the experience that we went through in Hartford last year, and really encouraged me that I can still run at the pace that works best for me and be treated with the same support from the race staff as those that are faster than me.

Though it will probably be a little while before I run another, I'm definitely looking forward to my next marathon! This one has definitely motivated and inspired me to keep pushing myself to my limits and accomplishing all the running goals I have for myself. And of course, you'll be reading all about it as I continue to lay down the miles! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Graduate Internship: 1 Month Update

I can't believe it's already been a month since I started my internship with Clark! I suppose that only being there 10 hours a week can make it seem like it's going by quickly, but I'm also really enjoying myself, which definitely helps! Because my internship takes up so little time in my schedule in comparison to my other two positions, I often forget to blog about what's going on there, so I figured it's deserving of it's very own post! :)


Clark's student population is extremely unique to any others that I've worked with before. From simply being on campus, you can tell where their priorities and interests lie. During the time I've spent on campus this past month, I've noticed that these students genuinely enjoy being engaged on campus and want to leave their mark while they're here.

Social justice and acceptance are clearly very important to these students, and they aren't afraid of their own voices. While I was on campus a few weeks ago, a student group put on a program revolving around consent and the education of why it's important. While other student populations may have shied away from this topic, these students embraced it - there was a line to get the opportunity to share their thoughts on the matter! I love the passion of the students here, and I'm excited to see this passion shine through in many different areas.


I know I haven't gone into too much depth about what I'm doing at Clark so I'll give you a rundown. The office that I'm interning for, Student Leadership and Programming, is hoping to build up it's leadership programming for students, and my main focus right now is to explore how that can be accomplished in the best way for Clark students. Over the academic year, the hope is to begin offering some instances of leadership training for students as well as improve upon the resources we have for leadership education. It's still a little foggy about how it'll eventually look, but I've been doing tons of research of leadership programs from other colleges and universities and brainstorming ideas of how to make it unique to Clark.

One of the biggest projects I've begun so far is creating a blog for the office! I'm hoping to engage students not only through their readership but through recruiting some contributors as well. I think that while it's great that we, as staff members, are hoping to provide training and knowledge for our student leaders, it's also important for current student leaders to be able to share their voice with the rest of campus. Having students lending their experiences to those that are just beginning to hone their leadership skills will also allow growth for their own leadership as well. The blog hasn't launched quite yet, but I'm starting to gain some interest from students who are willing to contribute, so I'm excited to see where it goes!

Everything is still in its early stages, but things are starting to gain a bit of traction and direction. I'm happy that I'll get to be at Clark for an entire academic year and to see the these projects through 'til May. It will be interesting to see where it all goes. I'll be posting another update next month, so stay tuned!