Four Munros and a Marathon: week 3

This September and October, I’ll be running two tough races, three weeks apart: the inaugural Ring of Steall Skyrace and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. Every week, I’ll be reflecting on my training – what worked, what didn’t, changes made, fueling, diet, sleep, etc.

What I learned this week:

  • One of the reasons the Ring of Steall has a huge elevation gain (8200 feet or 2500 m) in so little distance (16 miles or 25km) is that it starts, and finishes, at sea level. There is a sea loch at Kinlochleven, the site of the race start/finish. This means, that rather than the usual inland ascent of say 2000 feet (which is still a lot but doable), we’re climbing from the very bottom to the very top of a munro, immediately. That’s over 3000 feet. Good thing I’m still in the early phases of training.
  • Take more clothes on long trail runs because you never know what Mother Nature will throw at you!
  • My fitness is much better than it was a few months ago. This training is paying off big time.
  • Never drink alcohol, even a small amount, the day of a long trail run. You’ll find out why!

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Knowing My Limits

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Pat has entered the D33 Ultra marathon for March. It is a 33 mile out-and-back race from Aberdeen to Banchory and back. He has just started training for it, and being the supportive wife I am (read: I actually just need to push distance beyond my comfort zone of 8 miles lately), I elected to join him on his long runs. They started last week with a very hilly 11 miles of landrover track through the woods of Drumtochty. This past week, Pat decided to increase to 15 miles, and reluctantly I went along.

I say ‘relucantly’ because realistically, I shouldn’t be increasing distance so much, so soon. At this time last year, I was half marathon fit and mentally, I would’ve been comfortable with a 15 mile run. This year, my current long run fitness is at the 8 mile mark – I can bang out an easy 8 mile run with no adverse effects. My hips wouldn’t ache, I wouldn’t feel tired after the run, I’d be fine to get on with writing, meal prep, cleaning, whatever for the rest of the day. And I wouldn’t feel the after-effects of stiff muscles and tiredness the following day.

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How to Stay Paleo this Holiday Season

Christmas 2015 is heavily upon us! You’re probably already in the thick of work Christmas parties, one last meal with friends before the big day, and starting to plan your Christmas dinner. You may have read this post and thought “I actually could’ve done with this post two weeks ago;” but don’t worry. While I acknowledge that this post could’ve been published two weeks ago, let it be a used as a guide on how to possibly continue your festive celebrations, and also reassure you that the extra alcohol and non-paleo foods you may have had these past few weeks are actually okay; being Paleo Perfect shouldn’t be a huge priority right now, (or ever really because that’s too much unnecessary pressure and standards by which to live). This is when, of all times, you should truly exercise the 80-20 rule Mark Sisson advises. Below, I’ve highlighted what I think are the five main concerns us paleo peeps might have around this time of year, as per the series I posted this past week on my Instagram account (follow me?).

 1. Alcohol: 

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Glen Clova Half Marathon Recap

This race was a tale of two halves, with me relying on information from others to guide my expectations of the route. Leading up to the race, I had been told two facts about it: #1 it’s easier than the Stonehaven Half; you’ll have no problem with Clova; and #2 this race is so hard!!!! I wasn’t sure what to believe, but neither influenced my ultimate decision to just run this race. There wasn’t going to be any pursuit of a new 13.1 personal best – I think two in one year is enough – but I had hoped that I would still, based on these ‘facts,’ be able to run a sub-2 hour race in the least.

In the days before the race, I had been experiencing a dry cough in the morning, accompanied with mouthfuls of phlegm. While I had left my previous job because of how the stress was getting my entire wellbeing down, it appears my immune system still wanted to do me over. That, coupled with working with little germ ball children again, and the fact that I’ve still been more so 80/20 than 95/5 with my diet, led to a chest thing less than a month after my throat thing. Side note: I really need to get my act in gear because I don’t like all this being ill business!

Upon hearing me still coughing the night before the race, Pat queried my intentions for the next day. I clarified that I wasn’t going out to race the race, but rather just run around the route and hope for a time under two hours. I hadn’t even bought my usual Honey Stinger Energy Chews, and instead opted for the very paleo but sweet Nakd bars made of nuts and dates.

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{Coconut Friends} Amie the Runner

Coconut Friends is a new, monthly series I’ve started to showcase people’s journeys and success using a variation of primal eating. Primal eating affects us all in different ways, and the reasons we start doing it varies as well. The term comes from my friend Amie’s boyfriend Jamie: whenever she would talk to him about me, he called me her ‘Coconut Friend,’ especially since Amie cooks so much with coconut oil. And, as we know, coconuts and all their goodness are the cornerstone for any primal eater.

It’s only fitting that Amie is my first Coconut Friend. She is a good friend of mine: we met through work, but we’ve bonded over some running, but mainly our passion for paleo and primal eating, and spreading the message of just eating real food (aka JERF!) to others. I think Amie is an elite runner, but she’s so humble she’ll never tell you that. Amie will also be a partner in my primal business. Here is her primal journey.

I’m an athlete therefore I’m healthy!

I didn’t get into the Paleo lifestyle to lose weight, far from it; I was just over 8 stone (112 lbs = 51 kg. Amie is 5′ 1″ tall), with an enviable body fat percentage of just 14.5%. I run for a well respected athletic club: Fife AC, representing my club at regional and national events in Scotland. I have been selected to run for the East of Scotland in the international championships on two occasions. I train six days a week and sometimes twice a day. I thought I was fit and healthy. My half marathon PB – 1:24:57 – told me so, right?

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My Primal Journey

I hadn’t intended on writing a post today, and then something special happened this morning: I achieved my goal weight. After having spent my five years in Scotland with my weight number beginning with a 7 – as in 73kg, 76kg, up to 80kg after my first half marathon – I’ve now maintained a lower weight for about two months now, getting into the 6’s – 69, 68, 67, 66 and now finally 65.9kg. You may think that this is a really random number, but convert kilograms into pounds and you get 145lbs, or in UK terms 10 stone 5 lbs. I haven’t been this weight since I graduated from high school, 16 years ago, (that long!!?!?). This was the weight I was aiming for four months ago when I started my primal journey. And now I’m sharing that journey with you.


When I used to eat therefore run

First, my life as an athlete to help put things into context: I played softball at an elite level into my adult years, and earned two Canadian Championship silver medals as a result. I played high school volleyball and trained five nights a week. As a twentysomething adult, I did Olympic Weightlifting for a few years, gaining serious muscle mass (hello big traps, glutes and quads). All throughout, I ate and drank whatever I wanted and was able to maintain my weight. I also had a decade-long Pepsi habit to boot, and would indulge in a piece of cake here, some gummy candies there, a meal out, takeout, or second helpings often. Everything in moderation, right? (I now hate that phrase). Continue reading

#trustthetraining | The value of a training programme

This week, I started training for my second half marathon. I am using the same programme I used for the Aviemore half, the same one that incorporated speed work, hill training and long runs and that was rolled into a neat little package of three days a week, perfect for my needs and my body. This programme gave me the chance to rest, to do ab work and to learn so much more about myself than I ever imagined. This programme solidified my love for running and helped me run a strong first half marathon.


This isn’t the case for everyone though. As runners, I think it’s safe to say that we think we know it all, but really we only know the tip of the iceberg. We hear tips, we assume, and we push ourselves far beyond our body’s limits, and as a result, we become more prone to injury and illness.  And because we think we know it all, we train ourselves, we assume that the programme we’ve created in our minds (and that can be so easily manipulated because nothing is really set in stone) will be the one that will help us smash our current personal bests and allow us to become stronger, faster runners. Only we’re wrong, and race day comes and goes, the PB was non-existent, and we’re left wondering what happened. And in case you’re wondering, yes I’m describing myself for the most part.

I now know that training programmes work for me and today I’m writing to preach the benefits of choosing a structured programme over trying to train yourself. I’m not a certified run coach or personal trainer, I’m just someone who’s been there, done that and failed, then been there, done the programme and succeeded, and I want that for other runners too. During these next twelve weeks of half marathon training, on top of Half Mary Musings (my weekly reflection on training), I’m going to write a series of posts on the benefits of training programmes, all with that familiar hashtag #trustthetraining.

Today, as you may have guessed, we begin with the value of a training programme:

1. They are created by fitness professionals who have studied extensively in this field and know what they’re talking about. They understand the science of the sport, the human body and the science of recovery, so they’re best placed to be making the training calls. They’ve done the ground work, you just need to follow willingly.

2. And because the ground work is already done, there is no thinking involved in a training programme, just doing. Actually, I take that back: you do, at times, have to re-read what’s set out to make sure you understand it. Or maybe that’s just me 😉

3. A no-brainer: they improve your overall fitness to ultimately help you succeed race day.

4. You go outside your comfort zone and you make space between I can and I can’t. I know that over the twelve weeks I trained for Aviemore my confidence in my running improved greatly. While I didn’t become the fastest person in my running group, I became the fastest I’d ever been to date, and all down to the different types of runs I did for my programme.

5. You will do runs that make you feel like a more serious runner. I used to read running blogs and articles with the words tempo, threshold, negative splits, progression, intervals, and hill sprints and think to myself “I’ll never do those, only serious runners do those.” Now, along with long runs, these are the only types of runs I seem to do!

6. You learn what your paces feel like. When I first started half marathon training, I kinda panicked because I had to know my 10km pace and 5km for some training runs. At first, I thought using the McMillan Running calculator and my Garmin would help, but I found this made me into a perfectionist runner, and I didn’t like that. Then, I read an article and with the advice of a friend, went by effort and feel for paces rather than what my watch said. I’ve been doing that ever since, and it’s been working.

7. You learn how to run smart. I ran 10 races last year, and only after half marathon training and seven of those races did I finally learn how to be a smart runner. Rather than start out way too fast at the beginning of a race then fading away and losing speed, I learned to start slow and finish fast, all because of some clever 80 minute long runs with the last 20 at threshold pace. After my first run like this, it clicked. And it’s been clicking ever since.

8. You learn your running time. This is a difficult one to explain and I’m not quite sure ‘running time’ best describes it, but I’m going with it. You know you’ve got to run another half mile and based on your training to date, you know that that half mile will be, say, up that hill and around the bend. And sure enough, it is. It’s a strange thing to try to explain, but I’m sure there’s a few of you reading this right now, nodding your head in agreement.

9. Your body adapts to the long runs and recovery. I used to never think that I could run further than 6 miles because whenever I did, my knees and hips ached. All it took was for me to gradually increase the distance of my long runs and my body adapted to them. Recovery is something that we don’t seem to think about, and some take for granted, but it’s one of the most important aspects of your running. We push our body to work hard in our training programme, but then equally, with scheduled rest days and strategic easy weeks, our body’s are also learning to adapt to the hard exercise and as a result, they become more efficient. They are learning to recover, which will lead to easier recovery after the big race.

10. You will have a great race because you’ve trained hard, done all of your sessions and given your body the required amount of time to adapt and recover.

Do you follow training programmes for your races?

What kind of running mistakes did you make after you assumed something?

What races are you training for?

First World Problems and what to do about them

Maybe you’ve seen it on Twitter, maybe you’ve seen it on Instagram, heck maybe you’ve even seen it on Facebook: #firstworldproblems. The problems that we have living in developed, first world countries, where quality of life is good, war and conflict are non-existant, and we are treated equally. The problems that we think turn our world upside down, but really, in the grand scheme of things, are just lemons to make lemonade with. The problems that, in retrospect, make you think that good old Scottish phrase of “Get a grip of yourself!”

Like the tattoo says

Like the tattoo says

Today, I had a first world problem kinda day. It started when I got out of the car at work, and ripped my pants (trousers). There was already a tiny rip, so small that I thought I could get away with it until the weekend, when I would buy a replacement pair. That was unfortunately not in the cards, and the rip, high up on my right, inner thigh, got bigger. I thought I could at least get away with it for the school day, then buy a new pair on the way home from work, but this was not in the cards. Just before lunch time, getting ready to leave with a class, I ripped them again, and the hole grew from my inner thigh to my rear thigh. It was too noticeable, and therefore, inappropriate. I needed a solution immediately! I went into town (because my school is in the middle of the countryside, set in the woods – picturesque really), and bought a new pair of pants without any hassle. Or so I thought. I had changed into the new pants in the store, and asked the kind sales assistant girl to throw out my old ones, (which she did, so nice!), and then I headed back to work. Little did I know that I had left the key to my locker, which houses my wallet, mobile phone and car keys while I work, in the old pants! I couldn’t go back to get the key because afternoon classes were about to start, so I called the store and asked them to retrieve the key from the pants. Which they did, thankfully.

I didn’t get a lunch break, nor time to get any work done; add that to an already stressful term with massive changes to the Scottish seconday curriculum,  increasing workload demands, Christmas show preparations, last minute assessments, #RWrunstreak, and some less-than-ideal off-task behaviour from some of the angels I teach, and this made for a very frazzled Danielle. In a nutshell, I felt like this:

I got home late because I had to go into town to get that locker key, then head back to work to pick up my mobile phone, then head home. I had already had a mini breakdown at school, but my amazing colleagues were there to listen. I got home to a husband who had made dinner, who was willing to listen to me vent, and who wanted to do whatever it took to make me feel better again. I vowed to never be one of those women who always praised their husband, but when you’ve got a good one, you want to tell everyone 🙂

Pat asked me “What would Nelson Madela do?” because we had watched his memorial service last night, but also to make a point. If Nelson Mandela can forgive and move forward despite the many hardships he faced, surely I could get over my day of hell, right? I said “He would forgive.” While this isn’t necessarily a case of  forgiveness, I can take my ‘hardships’ and look at them in a different way, from a different perspective.

I ripped my pants and had to buy new ones fast.

At least you had money to buy them and a car to take you there.

I missed my lunch.

At least you have a lunch; some people, including children, don’t have that luxury every day.

I left the locker key in the pants, in the store.

At least you had possessions you thought were important enough to lock up.

I had to go back and forth, back and forth between the town and work today.

At least your colleague that you carpool (lift share) with was totally okay with it, listened to you vent, and made you laugh.

I had a little cry at work today.

At least you had three awesome colleagues there to listen to you, offer their help, and make you feel better.

The same colleagues that bought my this shirt for Christmas

The same colleagues that bought my this shirt for Christmas

There’s too much work to do and no time.

At least you have a job, and a head of Education and principal teachers that value what you do so give you additional responsibilities because they know you can do it.

Some of my students seemed like they couldn’t care less about what they’re doing in school.

But most of them did, and they had really good periods with you. So much so that they made you laugh and smile, and made you proud to be their teacher because they were working hard, making positive contributions to discussions and being creative. You also had one boy achieve a qualification and he was so happy. Your students have helped you learn so much about dealing with difficult and cryptic behaviours, and in the process, you have become an even stronger, even braver person.

I just want it to be December 20th already! (also known as the last day of school before the holiday)

At least you get both Christmas and the New Year off.  And you’re going to Germany for it to see family and friends.

All fair points, all different ways of looking at a situation, all turning negatives into positives. This is what we need to do, all the time. It’s not easy, and on a physiological level, it’s a difficult feat in the heat of the moment when your brain is flooded with cortisol (the stress hormone) that prevents us from thinking with our logical brain and only with our emotional brain,  (ever wonder why, when you’re emotional, you don’t think rationally? This is the reason). I’m fortunate to have a supportive, understanding and mellow yogi-husband, as well as some pretty awesome colleagues I consider friends.

So the next time you have a #firstworldproblem kind of day, you can ask yourself “What would Nelson Mandela do?” and give yourself a healthy dose of perspective.

What do you do to make yourself feel better after a bad day?

What are your Christmas plans?

The Pros and Cons of #ThisBody

I know I said that I would continue writing about our Ski Adventures in the Italian Alps, but I’ve had an epiphany and need to get it out. Hopefully you’ll understand?

Yesterday I went to the doctor for a regular check up. We went through my information, then I got weighed and had my blood pressure taken. Good news: no change in weight in two years, and my blood pressure is in a good range. I hadn’t weighed myself in quite some time before yesterday, and had mixed feelings towards the result of 73 kg (or 160 lbs). At 5’7″, 160 lbs isn’t obese, but according to a BMI calculation of 25.1, I’m now in the ‘overweight’ spectrum. BMI isn’t the be all and end all determinant for what is deemed a healthy weight: I look back to my weightlifting days, when I trained with girls who were much heavier than me due to their sheer muscle mass and their ability to lift well over 100kg (or 220lbs – 1kg = 2.2lbs). I also am very aware of my muscular build, and my husband and physio have told me I have muscular legs. I will never be someone with long and lean muscles, and I also know that genetics is a huge factor in how you put on muscle and what your muscle mass will look like. Both my parents have muscular builds; it’s basically inevitable for me.

This news of weight led to some very mixed feelings, which one could see as the Cons of This Body:

This body needs to lose weight.

This body runs regularly, but has maybe hit a running plateau and needs to up the intensity in one, or more, ways.

This body has a small muffin top I get when I wear my jeans and work pants (trousers), of which I’m not that crazy about.

Then I started thinking about this more, and began putting things into perspective. Last month, Christine and a few other bloggers wrote letters of apology’s to their bodies. They detailed the negative things they’d done to their bodies in the pursuit of fitness and thin-ness, how they sacrificed food and their bodies, resulting in injuries and sickness, and leading to further unhappiness. While I haven’t deprived myself of food aside from a week of healthy and controlled-portion eating to begin to lose weight for my wedding, which ultimately drove me crazy and led to taking up running instead, and the whole I Eat Therefore I Run mentality, I have had negative thoughts about my body in the past, and even every now and then. I could’ve also written a letter of apology, but I choose to celebrate the things my body has done in the past instead. This tattoo of mine really does help!

Some of these next points would’ve featured in a planned post on 33 ways life has been good OR 33 reasons why I don’t do bucket lists, but I found that sitting down to write that post was difficult because I felt like I was bragging. Instead, I’m celebrating how my body, in all it’s postive and negative glory, has taken me to some pretty amazing places and helped me do some incredible stuff.

Or, in a more simple form, the Pros of This Body:

This body in the early years

This body hasn’t gained weight in two years.

This body eats whatever she wants in moderation (and no fast food), and running contributed to that.

This body has remained the same clothing size since high school, fifteen years ago.

This body has battled nameless aches and pains for almost a year now, but was determined and never stopped running, and is now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And also is seeing a really good physio therapist.

This body ran its first 10km in under an hour, (59:13).

This body has clean and jerked 60kg (132 lbs) and snatched 45kg (99lbs).

This body has hit an out-of-the-park homerun, which was also coincidentally a grand slam.

This body runs weekly and has never taken more than a week off of running in three years.

This body has never, and will never, run a marathon, but is okay with that.

This body has done Moksha hot yoga and pilates.

This body has had many sprained ankles, a few painful bone bruises, two concussions, and sprained ligaments between her first and second vetebraes.

This body has skied all over the Canadian Rockies.

This body has successfully glided across boxes and landed spread eagle jumps off-of table tops in terrain parks at ski resorts.

Ski friends for life!

This body has landed a few 180 spins on skis, (which is also how I sprained my neck!).

This body has skied the Italian Alps and a wee bit of the French Alps.

This body has hiked up some big hills!

This body has hiked around Uluru, or Ayers Rock, and Kata Tjutas, or the Olgas, in the Australian Outback.

 This body has done a massive road trip around Australia, from Cairns up to Darwin, down through the Outback to Adelaide, along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, and onto Sydney.

This body has scube dived (dove?) the Great Barrier Reef.

This body has toured around a good chunk of Scotland.

This body has experienced the northern tip of New Zealand’s North Island (and loved it!).

This body has stamps on her passport from the USA, Mexico, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the Canary Islands, Portugal, Germany and the countless from the UK.

This body has also visited Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy, but not received passport stamps from those countries, (and doesn’t know why).

This body has seen Jack Johnson in concert in Toronto and Paris.

This body has seen Jamiroquai in concert in Melbourne.

This body has seen the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team play in Edinburgh.

This body has flown on the largest passenger plane to date: the Airbus A380.

This body earned two university degrees.

This body lived in another city and province of Edmonton, Alberta, aside from her home of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

This body currently lives in another country besides Canada.

This body will always remain a Canadian citizen, wherever she may live.
This body is a teacher.

This body is 33 years old.

This body will one day carry children, but isn’t ready for that yet, despite its age.

This body has an amazing family of people in Canada, the USA, Germany and Scotland.

This body cooks and bakes some pretty delicious food.

Blueberry shortbread anyone?
How about some beef brisket with creamy white bean mash?

This body has made many fantastic friends from high school, through playing softball, going to two different universities, working at different restaurants, and through many life experiences.

This body played softball for a total of 19 years, and has two silver medals from Canadian Championships as a result.

Calahoo Seniors: I’m top right corner

This body will be running the Balmoral 10km at the end of this month!


 This body puts a lot of pressure on itself, but is dealing with all of that slowly.

This body does yoga and pilates, and has tried barre exercise and CrossFit.

This body really likes stand-up and paddle surfing.

This body is always a work in progress, but….

This body has done some pretty amazing things.

What are the Pros and Cons to your body?

How have you celebrated it?

Let’s tweet about it! ‘Hey @IEat_IRun, the pros and cons of #ThisBody…..’ why not?

With that, This body is hungry and wants its lunch!

33 things I’ve learned in my 33 years

I turned 33 last week, and in true Danielle, procrastination style, I’m blogging about it now, (I also used all my free time last week to plan and book our next holiday, another reason? Excuse?). To celebrate my 33rd birthday, I’m doing two posts themed around ‘33.’ Some bloggers might celebrate their birthday by running their age in miles (which I’ve seen, and have no plans of running 33 miles), others might share a photo diary of what they did for their birthday. Me? I’m creating a few different lists. I like lists. The first is a list of the things I’ve learned through running, cooking, baking, marriage, blogging, and the many experiences I’ve had that have shaped me into the 33 year old I am now. Shall we begin?

33 lessons I’ve learned in my 33 years 

1. It is better to be remembered for being a good person than being a good runner, softball player, baker, chef, weightlifter, etc..

2. Marriage is not what Hollywood films make it out to be.

3. As the No Fear saying goes ‘He who dies with the most toys…. still dies.’

4. Butter is the best fat to use for baking.

5. Overtraining will get you no where. Actually, it will get you somewhere: the road to injury.

6. Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your mind and your body. It is when your body repairs itself, take heed runners!

7. Marriage is incredibly tough, but also incredible. The two things I love most about being married: you are still loved even when you’re unlovable (aka that crazy, horrible bitch comes around), and someone knows you as well as your parents do.

8. Some blogs are very poorly written.

9. Some blogs can be seen as ‘toxic’, and promote either unhealthy, restrictive approaches to eating and/or authors who over train themselves to the point of injury.

10. Increase in weekly mileage should be only 10% of your total miles run; so if I ran 15 miles altogether last week, then this week I’ll only increase my total mileage by 1.5 miles.

11. I have learned more about myself since I’ve been married than when I was single.

12. To be a good runner, you can cross-train and follow smart training programs all you want, but you must fuel your body with good food and enough of it, otherwise you’re being counterproductive.

13. There are some adults we love, others we dislike, and yet others to whom we are completely indifferent. This is the same for children.

14. Just because you ‘feel’ you could run forever doesn’t mean you should.

15. You can be an amazing cook and/or baker, and make some incredible stuff at home, but sometimes the best meals are the easiest, most basic ones to prepare with the most basic of ingredients.

16. You do not need to blog every day.

17. Margarine may be lower in fat, but it is a synthetic fat, which isn’t good. Take the advice from a quote from the film Failure to Launch: “Deception is like poison, it’s like margarine. I can’t have that in my body.”

18. Setting goals is a wonderful thing, but these goals need to be realistic and small. If your goals are neither, the only thing you’re setting yourself up for is failure.

19. Common running injuries are a sign of too much too soon.

20. A quote I saw on a Starbucks coffee cup a long time ago: “It takes two seconds to tell the truth and it costs nothing. A lie takes time and costs everything.” I concur.

21. If you find a blog ‘toxic’, and it is mildy driving you crazy, the best thing to do is walk away and unsubscribe. The author is not your friend, and no matter what you comment, it will not change them. I’ve abided by this and stopped following blogs, stopped following the authors on Twitter, and other social media because I completely disagree with what they’re doing and feel that if I continue to read, I’m supporting something that I deem unhealthy.

22. Europe is full of culture and history, but it is also has its fair share of tacky tourist traps.

23. When you bring negativity to your running, your opening yourself up to the risk of injury. Why not try yoga thinking for your running practice? 

24. Driving a car with a manual transmission is such a good skill to have: you’ll be able to drive all over Europe!

25. Another Starbucks cup quote: “You simply can’t make someone love you if they don’t. You must choose someone who already loves you. If you choose someone who does not love you, this is the sort of love you must want.”

26. Buying a latte from Starbucks everyday makes you poor. Especially when you just finished university. That’s why it’s called the Latte Factor.

27. Playing on the best team and winning all the championships isn’t always amazing. Politics in elite sport can turn something you love into something you hate.

28. Rather than looking at misfortune or getting frustrated with things not going your way, it is better to look at it from the perspective that it is meant to be, and try to discover why that is. I’ve used this approach and it’s helped me understand and appreciate my situation at that specific time.

29. In my opinion, there are three great things in life we strive for as young adults: the spouse, the house and the job. The order in which we get these things depends; for me, it was the job, then the spouse and still waiting on the house. For some of my friends, it was the spouse, the house and still waiting on the job. Patience, it all works out.

30. Ignoring doesn’t always make things, situations and behaviours go away. But neither does micro-managing.

31. You can have the brand new car, the big house, or vacation all the time, but unless you make a crap load of money, you can’t have it all starting out. So you compromise. We’ve opted for the ‘vacation all the time,’ for now.

32. Life is so much easier when you have good credit.

33. Pick your battles!

And one more for my 34th year of life:

34. KISS: Keep it simple, stupid!

It’s now time for bed 🙂

Any valuable lessons you’ve learned that you’re willing to share?