Why I Run: Part 3

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If you’ve read part 1 and part 2 of my running story, you’re probably curious about why I’m still running. I never felt naturally inclined to run as a child, and there isn’t enough ballistic emotional shit still going on in my life to carry forth the trend that motivated me to run in college.

When I first started, my goal was to run X number of miles and finish. I ran another marathon after my first marathon and it sucked. My body and mind were exhausted, and I wasn’t ready to commit to another training cycle…but I did it anyway. It was slower than my first race, and I felt more miserable for a greater portion of the race than my first marathon. I swore off running another marathon when I finished.

By this time, I’d met my to-be-husband and got him hooked on running, too. He’s been a lifelong athlete (baseball, football, basketball) and went on weekly jogs, but he didn’t take running seriously as a stand-alone sport. Just like when I started, running was a means of getting better at some other sport.

Together, we ran around our hometown, college campuses, and so many places in-between. I’m happy to report we’re still running together now. We make a good pair: on days that I struggle getting out the door, Sam pushes me to go faster than I’d go on my own. I’m a morning person and often convince him to get up and run with me at the crack of dawn (or earlier).

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Continue reading “Why I Run: Part 3”

Why I Run: Part 2

Why I Run: Part 2 - Mo Stych // mostych.comSince I’m not a natural runner, it should come as a surprise that I wasn’t fast when I first started running. And I lacked endurance. And I didn’t really know what to do to improve either of those things.

It didn’t stop me from running, though. I slogged through laps around the track outside Couzens Hall a few times a week, running a mile (or maybe two if I felt ambitious). As winter set in, I found myself enjoying my running routine and going a little bit farther each time. Instead of one or two miles, I ran two or three, or sometimes five miles.

My mom, seeing my interest in running, proposed that we both take on a race together. I agreed it would be a (potentially) good idea. We don’t do a lot of things together, just my mom and I, so maybe this could be something we shared. Feeling empowered by our consistent mileage and perhaps a little too ambitious, we signed up to run a half marathon on Memorial Day weekend in 2009. It was two or three times further than any distance I’d ever run. I was terrified to race, but also invigorated by the challenge.

Thankfully, the track path stayed plowed during the winter months, so I kept running. On days when it was too cold or snowy, I moved to the indoor track at the gym and ran there. I felt physically better than I had at any other point in my life. Nothing made me feel as joyful and bubbly and ready to take on the world as running did.

Running did so many other things for me, too. I took chances during my sophomore year of college that I wasn’t brave enough to do my freshman year. Longing for a news room, I joined the Michigan Daily and was elected Co-Managing Design Editor after only a semester on staff. I also ran for a position on the executive board of the Arts Chorale choir. I was voted in as Secretary (and held onto my position through senior year). I also finally decided on a major, which was stressful until I realized I loved learning about art more than anything else. I tried dating some guys during my sophomore year, but all I really got out of that experience was some awkward date stories. Despite being successful in some ways and unsuccessful in other ways, it didn’t matter. The important thing was taking risks and trying new things, and my running dedication fueled these actions.

Continue reading “Why I Run: Part 2”

Journal Entry: Hometown, Nostalgia, and Trusting Our Hearts

We were fortunate enough to spend Labor Day weekend in our hometown of Traverse City, Michigan. It’s been almost a year since Sam moved from TC to Chicago, and I’ve been in Chicago for about seven months. Moving from a town of 15,000 people to the third largest city in the USA was definitely an adjustment. We’ve learned to live a little bit differently—in some ways life is easier, in other ways it’s harder—but now that we officially feel settled in our new apartment, Chicago is growing on us.

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes - Labor Day Weekend in Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Leelanau - Mo Stych Blog Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes - Labor Day Weekend in Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Leelanau - Mo Stych Blog Pyramid Point Hiking at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes - Labor Day Weekend in Northern Michigan, Traverse City, Leelanau - Mo Stych Blog

Previously, every time we’ve visited home in northern Michigan, it wasn’t easy to pack up and drive south to Chicago. We missed the open roads, fresh air, public beaches, home-cooked meals, and patches of grass welcoming an afternoon snooze. Those drives back to Chicago were tinged with the feeling that, somehow, I wasn’t strong enough to make our lives work in Traverse City. Like I did something wrong in the five years we tried to establish a life in our hometown, and it was my fault that it never felt right living there. When a place is so beautiful and peaceful it must be easy to live there, and I just didn’t try hard enough to be happy.

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Quick Tips for Updating Your Résumé (Today!): Awesome Job Alert

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Hey, folks! For those of you who aren’t aware, I post content periodically on a website called Awesome Job Alert. If you live in the northern Michigan area, be sure to check out this incredible resource for “meaningful, impactful or unique job openings” in the region.

Here is one my recent posts about how to update your résumé quickly and painlessly. It’s good to do if you’re looking for a new job or just keeping your career paperwork up-to-date. Let me know what you think! 

 


 

Updating a résumé might be the only thing more agonizing than filling out a job application. Are your job descriptions too long? What font should you use? Oh, yeah, and what year did you get that certification, again?

In my most recent job search endeavor (which spanned 4-5 months) I rewrote my résumé a few dozen times. Every time I rewrote it, it was still awful. Tweaking a résumé is not fun, and I’m not going to lie to you and say it eventually becomes enjoyable because I don’t think that will ever happen. However, in the midst of all that editing, I learned a few quick tricks that helped me out along the way.

Continue reading on the Awesome Job Alert blog…

SOLO ADVENTURES IN BERKELEY

SOLO ADVENTURES IN BERKELEY

When I first arrived in Berkeley, I did something I’ve never done on any of my other vacations: I headed straight for a laundromat.

My two coworkers and I finished up our lunch in Oakland’s Chinatown on Sunday afternoon, we said goodbye to our hosts and hopped on the BART to Berkeley. We all went our separate ways, which for me, meant checking into the Hotel Shattuck Plaza and settling into this new town for a few days.

After seeing the things I saw at our Oakland hosts’ home, I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear the clothes I wore in that house until they were washed. In fact, I didn’t even want the clothes I wore in that house to be anywhere near the rest of my possessions. I started unpacking and separated out The Clothes I Wore In Oakland from Clothes Without Any Oakland On Them. My hotel room was so beautiful and white and clean and essentially the opposite of where I just came from. I didn’t want to contaminate this sanctuary with anything I came in contact with at my previous accommodations.

Of course, in the midst of unpacking everything, I discovered that about 50 of my ant friends found their way into my suitcase (to be more precise, inside the Ziplock bag holding all my toiletries). Upon discovering these ant hitchhikers, I proceed to mumble expletives underneath my breath while I went on an ant killing spree. I took my toiletries into the bathroom and washed out the bag, plus the toiletries compartment of my suitcase, and then the outside of the suitcase. Just to be safe. Because gross.

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Mo Money: Five Steps to Build Wealth in your 20s

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When we first started budgeting and saving, we found different parts of the process challenging. I had no problem going days without an impulse buy, but I hated tracking my purchases or paycheck amounts. Sam meticulously monitored our expenses and income, but as a craft beer fan fanatic, he tended to rack up unplanned purchases each month.

This list is a short summary of the subjects I plan to tackle over the next few weeks in the Mo Money series. It’s not vital to change all these things in your life at one time. Focus on one or two points that speak to you and the challenges you face with managing your finances. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this whole process, it’s that changing your worst habits and tackling the scariest financial burdens yield the greatest rewards. Getting to the root of your struggles helps everything fall into place.

KNOW YOUR INCOME AND EXPENSES

It sounds simple enough, right? Right.

When we first started budgeting I honestly had no idea how much money I spent on groceries, or even the value of my paycheck. These days, I know how much money I make and where it goes. I can sense when I’ve over-spent in a category because I know what quantifies as “normal” spending in a month.

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Mo Money: New Blog Series!

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Over the past two years, financial health has been at the forefront of my life. Sam and I took the leap into a world of budgeting, planning, and financial organization a few months after we got married. It was our New Year’s Resolution in 2014 to get a handle on our personal finances and figure out how to live the life we want—both now, in our 20s, and in the future.

I should start out by saying that Sam and I didn’t think about money the same way when we first started combining our finances. My philosophy was always to save every little penny, work side-jobs for extra cash, and spend as little as possible so I could save up for some unforeseen financial hurdle at some point in my future. Saving was important to Sam, too, but he also spent money (very reasonably) on things he enjoyed rather than storing it all for some later time. Sam also knew how much money he had and where his paycheck went for taxes, 401(k), health insurance, and savings…whereas I just knew I had some money in a bank account somewhere and it would be there when I needed it.

The good thing is that we both valued saving and planning for the future. However, our perspectives differed on how to save, when to spend, and what we wanted to accomplish with our money. Perhaps most importantly, neither of us had a definitive game plan for how to get from where we were to where we wanted to be.

Continue reading “Mo Money: New Blog Series!”