Fitness Goals life

Current Events & Frivolous Fitness Pursuits

June 29, 2022

Current events:

I know I haven’t written much about our tumultuous political upheaval right now. If I am being honest, I have thought about it some, but have not made it a personal focus. In a way, these things fall under “things I cannot control” and thus probably don’t deserve much of my mental energy. Yet if we all feel that way . . . apathy leads in a dangerous direction, I know.

I continue to listen to my preferred news source daily (Up First) and probably should commit to listening to at least one episode of Pantsuit Politics weekly.

I will commit to vote and encourage others around me to vote (adding our primary + election dates into my planner NOW — check your own local website!). I will spend at least a dedicated session researching this voting so I can vote in alignment with my values/beliefs.

We will continue to budget for giving monthly, and will choose causes that align with the most pressing and salient needs (though it is discouraging that there seem to be more of these needs every day).

I will spend some time reading/thinking about these important issues, but not at the expense of the rest of life. I absolutely think being off of social media has helped with this. I feel like I am controlling these inputs so that they don’t control me.

Running Report:

I am definitely feeling the pull to get back into running as more than just a fitness adjunct, but as a hobby/lifestyle. I think it’s the ages of my kids (and probably magnified by my low parenting duties this month).

I decided to sign up for a 5K in September (this one!) just to give me something to try to work on my speed for. I don’t even have a time goal yet. I’d love to get to the point where 8 minute miles are a reality for a 5K race but I think that will take significantly longer than 2 months.

yesterday’s 1K intervals x 5. pre-fueled with half a banana which seemed to help a little!

My lifetime PR is under 23 minutes BUT it doesn’t count anymore because #old (that was 2010!!!). A more realistic but still challenging goal is probably 8:30/mi pace, 26:xx range. We will see what is possible! At Coco‘s recommendation, I signed up for RunnersConnect and am eagerly awaiting my training plan.

I will be working on my July goals list and a mid-year goals check in today. Very much looking forward to this! Will report back, plus Laura and I will share goals on next week’s BOBW ep. Oh, and we are doing an interactive mid-year goals check in on the BOBW Patreon tomorrow at 12 pm Eastern if anyone interested!


  • Reply Lizzie June 29, 2022 at 6:40 am

    Hi from the UK! I am a faithful reader of your blog and find it very inspiring, so thank you for sharing so much.

    I have a random idea (maybe for BLP?) but I would love to know if/how you plan your ‘allowance’ spending? We also have an ‘allowance’/personal ‘fun money’ system and I would like to plan to use mine more intentionally. Thanks!

    • Reply Caitlin June 29, 2022 at 3:27 pm

      To piggyback on this, how did you determine your allowance amount? Is it a percentage of your income, or income after expenses, or just a random amount you and Josh are both comfortable with? I would like to set one for myself but don’t know how to calculate it. (And I am also interested in how you plan to spend it!)

  • Reply Amy June 29, 2022 at 6:49 am

    Yes, the question of the hold that national news and political situations have on us … I think that overall, you have a balanced approach and a good take on it. Yet I have to ask — what does committing to listening to another podcast do, especially one that (I’m guessing) isn’t going to challenge any of your preconceptions but is just going to echo / reinforce what you already think? You add “pantsuit politics” to your queue, check it off your list every week, and then what? You know what is happening in the world and what role you can play in advocating for the policies you want. To me, adding another podcast to the to-do list just means you wind up adding “this week’s outrage” to your to-do list and then feel guilty for not walking around with this perpetual rage. You already know what’s going on in the world and your position on these events. Adding more news sources and more voices and more opinions and more *time* spent engaged in that way is not as productive as staying engaged in your own life. If this is an issue you care deeply about, join the board of your local Planned Parenthood or get involved in NARAL. If you don’t have time for that (understandable) or don’t want to, you can donate. But don’t use “I don’t want to be apathetic” as an excuse to get caught up in the attention / outrage spiral. It’s destructive.

    (This sounds more polemic than I really mean it — I just see lots of people caught up in feeling like they are obligated to live under this sense of ongoing outrage when all that really accomplishes is that they feel anxious and angry all the time, and anxiety and anger don’t actually solve social problems. It can be a tough balance but you have to maintain your own equilibrium and be honest about what your actions are accomplishing. Best of luck.)

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 29, 2022 at 9:00 am

      Very valid points. I guess I just felt like perhaps I needed a bit more nuance than the brief UpFirst chunks. My point wasn’t to add more rage, but to add one more measured limited source of knowledge. I do totally know what you are saying, though. It’s all in the dosages and the sources chosen. I don’t find PP to be too rage inducing but I am sure it can be for some.

      I can multitask and listen to PP while exercising etc so it’s not quite as much of a time commitment as the things you mentioned which admittedly did not entice me in the least, from a time perspective.

      • Reply Amy June 29, 2022 at 12:22 pm

        Yes — all in the dose and the source. Just take care of you. ❤️

    • Reply Marthe June 29, 2022 at 11:03 am

      Where is the like button for this comment 😉

    • Reply Jessica June 29, 2022 at 12:24 pm

      I entirely agree with your point “I just see lots of people caught up in feeling like they are obligated to live under this sense of ongoing outrage when all that really accomplishes is that they feel anxious and angry all the time, and anxiety and anger don’t actually solve social problems.” However, I think that listening to one short daily podcast and one weekly podcast, while doing other things, seems like a valid balance to me. I avoid outrage for the sake of outrage, but one reason I listen to politics/ policy podcasts (can’t speak to Pantsuit Politics specifically) is to better understand the issues so that I can use my vote, donations, and activism effectively. If I don’t listen to any policy deep-dives, I have trouble choosing how to vote on ballot initiatives and candidates, especially in a primary (which in my area is essentially selecting our representatives). Again, I totally agree that people should not stress over some perceived obligation to be informed and outraged. But Sarah is a thoughtful, action-oriented person, so a podcast giving her a weekly reminder to engage on issues/ donate/ encourage others to vote/etc seems like a win to me.

      Sarah (and others!), as for things to do, your plan of voting and getting others to vote is one of the most effective things you can do! If people make a concrete plan to vote, they are much more likely to do so. When elections are coming up, reminding 3 people (or more) in your life to vote and asking about their plan to vote is a concrete, important, and relatively easy action to take. I also wouldn’t underestimate the power of contributing monthly to grassroots organizations working on voter turnout, fighting voter suppression, etc – these organizations often get a lot of support around the elections but not much outside of that, so committed recurring support can be crucial to maintaining their operations in “off years” to support election years. There are plenty of other things that people can do if they have more time, but those are a couple of important ones with smaller time commitments.

  • Reply Anon June 29, 2022 at 8:59 am

    Hi Sarah, this isn’t something I’ve thought of before for you, but the comment above about adding a podcast made me think about it. I am like you (and most people?) where too much time on social media leads me to despondency and sometimes even less productive action than I would otherwise take. Luckily I’m an immigration attorney at a non-profit so much of my work helps to channel that feeling into something productive. If you ever wanted to be more involved, you have a really unique skill set as a pediatric endocrinologist. We often use doctors and particularly specialists to help us support cases for clients with a specific medical need (eg a child with type 1 diabetes etc). You are a busy person so the nice thing is that this support can be done as a one time thing rather than an ongoing commitment. Just wanted to mention it as often people feel like they don’t have much to offer to help, when in fact they do.

    On the other hand, I am feeling very helpless about Roe, so would welcome some ideas from others!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 29, 2022 at 9:02 am

      very interesting! I feel like I have done this kind of thing as a one-off for specific patients before but never really thought of it as political, just helping a child get what they need. When you have the patient in front of you . . . it seems like the only right thing when it comes to something like diabetes or other life threatening conditions. But you’re right different ways to view these things.

      • Reply Anon June 29, 2022 at 12:06 pm

        I’m not surprised at all that you’ve been doing this all along. We rely often on medical professionals (pediatricians, mental health professionals, specialists) to show why detention, separation from caregivers, and denial of appropriate medical care are all harmful to kids. Your voices have so much more weight in these arguments, so you are incredibly important allies. In these cases, doing what feels like the right thing can still be political!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns June 29, 2022 at 9:30 am

    Your comment on your identity/focus on running is timely as I just wrote a (long) post about my identity as a runner and how it has really changed, especially since having kids. I recently decided to shift my goals and will focus on 10k races instead of the 10 miles races I was previously focusing on. It was just… too much. But I am in a different stage of parenting than you are, and I think I have different sleep needs than you, so getting up at 4:30-5 to run just hasn’t felt possible. But i am excited to run a 10k race because I can probably be somewhat proud of my time, or at least satisfied. My 10 mile time was so so awful last fall – it was more of a blow to my ego/self-esteem than I expected (even though I can see that it shouldn’t have been a blow if I am being completely rational)! 🙁 Good luck training for a 5k. That is my LEAST favorite distance! I am just not good at running fast for a short distance. We used to do 2 mile time trials in my running club to predict our pace for half and full marathons. Even with a warm-up, my time trials were awful. 2 consecutive miles within a 1/2 marathon would be faster than my 2 mile time trial which really doesn’t make sense!

    I recently started to listen to PP again, too. I like their nuanced view of things and how the podcast hosts have differing views/political affiliations. I also like that they are both attorneys so they have a different kind of understanding of things, like supreme court rulings, than I ever will, and they do the work of reading the 200+ page opinions. I’m also completely off social media which I think definitely helps when big things happen.

  • Reply Annie June 29, 2022 at 9:55 am

    Something all medical professionals should think about (not just those who are directly affected, like me as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, and you, as someone who takes care of people with diabetes and thus are at risk of high-risk pregnancies) is that Dobbs has opened the door for politicians to attack any area of medicine at all that they don’t approve of (or, being really cynical, costs too much). How will we fight against that? It’s easy to think it doesn’t apply to your area of medicine because abortion is such a stigmatised topic. How are you sure your corner of medicine won’t be next? (This is not aimed at you particularly Sarah, more of a rhetorical ‘you’)

  • Reply Anna June 29, 2022 at 10:00 am

    I will add the suggestion that you re-frame posts like this one (and any future posts that encourage voting or supporting candidates you believe in) as effective political activism on your part! Our social networks are important places to set norms about voting and what candidates and platforms are worthy of our support, and your blog and podcasts give you wider social networks than most. I don’t have that, and voting in my deep blue pocket of CA doesn’t alter national politics, so (in addition to donations) I’m writing letters to encourage Democratic GOTV efforts in other states (like Texas and Florida) through Vote Forward. Sometimes I only have a little time, but doing something that I know is part of a coordinated big group effort feels really good!

    • Reply Jessica June 29, 2022 at 12:28 pm

      Can’t agree more with all of this, and I love Vote Forward! Highly recommend it for anyone looking for a research-backed way to help increase voter turnouts that can be done at home in small snippets of time.

  • Reply Jessica June 29, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    One more comment: anyone struggling with feelings of despair at the news, I would recommend the short video “How do you cross the sad gap” by the author of The Anthropocene Reviewed. It’s on YouTube and is 4 minutes.

    • Reply Gwinne June 29, 2022 at 3:59 pm

      I’ve been thinking hard about concrete actions that I can take that are within my skill set and time/ energy. Postcards to voters, letters through vote forward, and text banking. Mostly asynchronous activities that can be done in small bits of time. More broadly some activism through an organization I belong to and in the future the teaching of women’s literature which has fallen out of my rotation.

  • Reply omdg June 29, 2022 at 4:18 pm

    Just wanted to say that I also struggle with feeling with powerless, and like nothing I do will possibly ever matter. But maybe it’s really the little day-to-day things we say and do are what matters. For instance, today I talked with a person I work with (she brought the topic up herself) about what it means to be trans, why our local public schools teach inclusivity, and why sex education in 10 year-olds is important. I don’t think I converted her completely, but maaaaybe I moved the needle just a little bit? IDK, maybe I’m weird, but I find people I know ask me *constantly* about why didn’t I change my name, why did I have only one child and do I regret that, do I feel guilty working so much, how do I do all of this research stuff and work as an anesthesiologist. Yesterday someone asked me how it was possible that a teenage patient could have an inperforate hymen and nobody knew about it before, so I explained. I hope it matters, because wth else am I able to do?

  • Reply coco June 29, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    really hope you like runners connect. I am loving it. the workout plan seems daunting at first when you look at few weeks ahead, but it has been proven that they are just right pace for me. Only 3 weeks into my training plan, I can tell I am getting faster and stronger. 11 miles long run doesn’t even cause any soreness to my legs anymore. 🙂
    5k PR would be so cool 12 years later, right? I’m sure it’s possible. once I finish my marathon, I’ll probably try to beat my 5k/10k PR too. Running really gives you sense of progression and purpose… which I couldn’t find in strength training despite giving it a solid try for 4 months.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger June 29, 2022 at 7:25 pm

      I actually really want to keep strength training – my body responds really well! Need to figure out the best combo, thinking 4-5 runs and 3 strength workouts a week.

      Currently I’m not impressed w my own running speed but I’m push pressing 20 lb each arm which I’ve never done before. And I like muscle definition 🙂

      Thank you so much for the runners connect rec! Just got my plan and I’m pretty impressed so far!

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