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See You Later

I come to you today with a full and heavy heart. As some of you may have noticed or figured out, while I’ve still been around on the blog, I have recently not been in Huntington or at the Marshall Rec Center.

Almost exactly two months ago I decided to take a big step in my life, and I moved from Huntington down to Charlotte, N.C. While this time has been a huge learning and transition period for me, I have decided that in regards to the beloved MRC blog, it is time to pass the torch. Even though I am leaving you in some very capable hands

(Michele, Alison, and other Rec writers are the bomb if you haven’t noticed), I didn’t want to say my final see you laters without sharing how special my time in Huntington and at the Rec has been (you can’t get rid of me yet!).


From the Big Pink Volleyball Tournament!


I still remember my first day at Marshall, not knowing a single person when I moved into Buskirk Hall, with the exception of the few emails and Facebook messages that I had exchanged with my freshman year roommate. I was a lot of things- young, terrified, and excited for the potential of the future. While of those three things I was mostly terrified, I was determined to make the most of time at Marshall, no matter how long that time would be. Almost seven years later (undergrad AND grad) I can safely say that I did. There is absolutely nothing that I would exchange for my time at Marshall. It helped me grow into the person that I am today, and I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined, both in and out of the classroom.

Huntington is different from a lot of places, there is really nothing like it. Yes, there are plenty of college towns out there that are flooded with tradition and history, but even still there is something that sets it apart. Here, there is an undeniable and unshakeable sense of tradition, community, and family, and once it takes hold of you it will never let you go. I won’t deny that at certain points, living in Huntington felt like living in a crazy bubble, and I know a lot of people would agree with me saying that. But that’s why you love it, and sometimes that’s why you don’t love it as much, and that’s the truth. Even still, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Not only did I get an education, but I have made life long friendships and relationships that I literally cannot imagine my life without, and to me that is truly priceless. I’m not done growing, but if I take a second to think about who I am and where I am, I am exactly who and where I want to be at this moment in time, and a large part of that is because of Marshall, The Rec, and Huntington. If I think about it long enough, I could honestly cry. I don’t care, sometimes I tear up and get chills during Kate Mara’s opening line of We Are Marshall:

“In the middle of Huntington, WV there is a river, next to this river there is a steel mill, and next to this steel mill there is a school, in the middle of this school there is a fountain…”

But I love my school, and genuinely feel for other individuals that didn’t have the same type of experience that I did.


After one of the many CUT Classes!


I started working at the Rec my sophomore year of college. To this day I still remember sitting in Harless Dining Hall with dormmate, friend, and former co-worker, Morgan H., and reading the info display on our table while eating dinner. It was a simple flyer, informing us that the new Marshall Rec Center would be opening in Spring of 2009 (that next semester), and that they were hiring for a variety of positions. Both of us not only interested in health and fitness, but in need of jobs, decided to apply…and so begins the start of a wonderful adventure. Being an employee of the Rec taught me a lot about responsibility, hard work, and leadership- three things that are never handed to you in life, and for that I am forever grateful. I wish I could name and individually thank everyone that I’ve worked with and grown to love in my past five (+) years at the Rec, but between people that I’ve worked with, as well as our awesome patrons, it would easily take up twenty pages or more. Just know that you are all loved and appreciated.

Being able to write the blog was an even greater gift. During my past year and half in Huntington, it allowed me to see everything around me in ways that I didn’t always initially consider, even though I had previously spent five years in the town. My main hope is that through the blog (aside from learning about being healthy and fit) I have either been able to show you how special Huntington is, or you have learned to appreciate it in the same ways that I have.


Circa Holiday Party ’12


If I could give two pieces of advice to incoming freshman and current MU students it would be this:

First, Huntington is your oyster- it is there for you to learn as much as you breathe. It is not going to put a limit on you, the only limit will be the limit you put on yourself. If you allow it, you will learn so much more about yourself and about others, than you ever thought possible.

And secondly, be present, it’s going to go by so fast.


End of the Year Banquet ’13 with my main PT, Mo Khan (#winners)


I’ve never allowed myself to say goodbye to things (okay, the words “goodbye” have literally come out of my mouth before but that’s not the point), it’s never goodbye, it’s always see you later. I will see Huntington, Marshall, and everyone and everything that I love about it again soon, and until then I will move ever forward and cherish fondly the memories that I have made.

I will continue writing at my very (very) new blog, Skinny Fingers. It is still in it’s early stages, but I plan to keep the same kind of themes and attitudes going, now just with some North Carolina flair…it’s all only the beginning, and I’m excited about where life is taking me. I thank you, Marshall, The Rec, and Huntington, for impacting my life in the way that you have, because I would not be who I am now without you.

It’s cheezy, I know, but much like one of the university’s most recent campaigns, going to Marshall was really the Best. Decision. Ever. When I think about all of the ways that being a daughter of Marshall has influenced my life, I couldn’t put it better myself. So once again, it’s not goodbye, but see you all later on.

We Are…

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Alleviating Wrist Pain in Yoga

I try to incorporate yoga whenever I can, and although I’ve been doing it for a while I still consider myself intermediate at best. One of my main problems (aside from flexibility) is that my wrists always kill me. I just recently found this image on backonpointe’s tumblr, and I’ve found it to be extremely helpful.



Yoga is about a lot of things, especially balance and weight distribution. I’ve only tried focusing on this for a few yoga sessions, but I can tell the difference. It’s tough, to focus on, I’m not gonna lie, but after a few sessions you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll be a better yogi for it.

Have you guys had the same wrist problems that I’ve had? In what ways do you alleviate wrist pain?

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Member Spotlight-Shawn Watts

In June of 2013, the scale said 300lbs. A year later, the scale says 190. For Shawn Watts, this amazing weight loss journey was all about taking control of his life to save it.

Shawn grew up being very active in a variety of sports, like basketball, baseball, and football. He admits that he was always on the heavier side, but was in shape. In high school and on into college, Shawn stopped playing sports, and it was then that he began packing on the pounds. He weighed 230+ all throughout high school and reached his highest weight ever of 310lbs after he graduated college. Shawn attributes a lot of his weight gain to late-night snacking and not enough physical activity.


I asked Shawn what his turning point was, and he said it was a series of things.

“I had several friends who had been trying to get me to go with them to the Rec Center, so I tagged along and began to workout with them. I wasn’t eating any better, but I started to at least workout. I had also started teaching full time (I currently teach first grade) and knew that I couldn’t keep functioning at 300+ lbs year in and year out. I was constantly taking naps after the workday because I was so exhausted. I started eating better and counting my macros (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) after talking with a friend who lived in Florida as he had seen some great results in doing so. We still converse almost daily, usually about fitness related stuff, and he’s really kept me on track and I hope vice versa.”


When asked about his favorite healthy food, Shawn said he doesn’t really have a favorite “healthy” food, but relies a lot on chicken. He follows Brandon Campbell (CampbellFitness) on YouTube, and his favorite recipe from CampbellFitness is the pulled buffalo chicken recipe, which is simply chicken, buffalo wing sauce, and a packet of ranch dressing mix that you throw in a Crockpot together and let cook for a couple hours.

I asked Shawn to be really honest and tell me his favorite and least favorite part about working out (because we all have both).

He said his favorite part about working out is seeing the progress over time and the people he sees day in and day out at the Rec Center who are pushing themselves to be the best they can be. Shawn said you have to accept that changes don’t happen over night, but you can take comfort in knowing if you keep pushing yourself, the results will come. He said he also really, really, really loves training legs.

His least favorite part: having the patience to wait for equipment and working out with a busy schedule.

My final question for Shawn was the one asked of all our member spotlighters… “If you could talk to your former self, before you started your fitness journey, what would you say to yourself to encourage you to get started?”

His advice was simple but thoughtful.

“Just be consistent. That’s the name of the game when it comes to working out and eating. It wasn’t easy, but I’d do it 100 times over if I knew I would feel like I do now and know I probably saved 10, 15, 20+ years of my life. You just have to trust the process and let it work itself out. I had days where I wanted to go home and sleep instead of lift and hop on the Stairmaster, but I knew that to change my body and change my life, I had to put the work in. Never doubt yourself. Doubt will kill more dreams then failure ever will. Everyday is a day that you can use to better yourself, so don’t waste it and dominate humbly.”

Shawn before…


Shawn after…


Shawn really demonstrates what hard work and determination can do. If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish a lot.

Way to go Shawn!! The Rec Center is really proud!

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Charity Miles: A Workout App That Makes A Difference by Guest Blogger Alison Wickline


Running. Some love it, some hate it. I think I’m somewhere in between. I enjoy the feeling of running, the wind in my hair, music blasting in my ears, my strides in line with the beat of the music.

But let me be honest…sometimes I get tired of running. I’m definitely not the middle school track star I used to be. As someone who is trying to increase her running stamina, I needed to find something that would make running more enjoyable.

Of course, I went with the traditional…”If you run three miles, you can have ice cream afterwards.” But the bribery can only last so long. So, I scoured for something else to make my running experiences more pleasant.

I found it…in the exercise app Charity Miles. The app actually has two benefits for runners, it tracks mileage but most importantly, it raises money for different causes based on your mileage. What’s better than running for a cause? Nothing.


First of all, the app is free; a shocking revelation I made because how could something that raises any amount of money be free on the other end. But it is, for iPhone and Android. Anyone can earn money for charities, whether you’re walking or running because the app tracks distance through GPS. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile and walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to the organization’s initial $1 million sponsorship pool.

If you’re anything like me, right now you’re asking yourself A. what’s a sponsorship pool? and B. who’s footing the bill, because nothing is free? Well here are the basic answers.

The company is self-funding the initial $1 million covering the app’s first users. By doing this, the company is hoping to grow the user base fairly quickly, to entice future corporate sponsors. But why would corporate businesses be interested in sponsoring, besides out of the goodness of their hearts?

The figurative goldmine lies in the last part of the Charity Miles app process. After you complete your run or walk or bike ride, the app asks you to accept the sponsorship and share your workout progress on Facebook or Twitter. So you become the marketer, and even if you’re not into bragging about your workout, the fact that it promotes charity makes it worth it.

Another great part of Charity Miles is the broad spectrum of charities you can work out for. Just to name a few: Wounded Warrior Project, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the ASPCA. My strategy for choosing one is simple…I scroll and see where I land and choose a different one every day.


I don’t want this blog to seem overly promotional. I’m not saying the app is perfect. For one, it does use up a lot of your battery. And it isn’t the most high-tech as far as apps go. Plus, the amount of money being donated isn’t huge, but when you compare it to working out with no money being donated at all, it seems big.

I use Charity Miles basically every time I run now, not that I’m some sort of huge philanthropist, but if I’m going to run, why not help myself and others at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to donate lots of money to all kinds of charities outside of the app, but I’m a college student on a limited budget that doesn’t allow me to do so.

What I know is that I can run, not very well but that’s beside the point. And if my exercise can not only help me but help numerous charities too, that’s pretty great!


What running apps do you like to use?

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Grocery Grab- Lara Bars

Today’s Grocery Grab has been a consistent staple in my diet for quite some time now. Lara Bars are these amazing, and extremely clean health bars. Out of their variety of flavors, pictured below, the bars have anywhere from 2-9 ingredients in them…that’s it! Compared to what a lot of other “healthy” bars have in their food, 2-9 is a pretty basic amount of ingredients.



Each bar is about a dollar and some change, it depends on where you buy them from. You better believe that when they’re 10 for 10 at Kroger I seize that opportunity and stock up. These things are perfect for that midday snack craving I get at work, or for a little boost of energy before a workout.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a few and try them out! My favorites? Apple Pie and Cashew Cookie, although I haven’t tried the Blueberry Muffin flavor and I’d think that one would be delicious. What about you guys?


Do you all like Lara Bars? What are some of your favorite flavors?

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Grow Your Own Greens

Hiya! Today I wanted to talk to you guys about growin’ some {legal} greens. Every time the weather starts to get warm I always get excited about what I can plant and grow for the season. While my ultimate goal is to one day have a green thumb that pleases even the pickiest of garden gods, I am limited by my current sunlight options. I’ll give you a hint- with the way my porch faces, I basically have none. I have tried growing a tomato plant, but it has been in vein. The poor thing just doesn’t get enough light {but the summer isn’t over yet, little buddy!}. For now I’ve settled for growing a plethora of herbs, mostly because they are low maintenance and they don’t always require as much light.

Fresh herbs bring even the blah-est {that’s a word} of dishes to life. Plus, I love having the ability to just go on to my porch and grab a few basil leaves or sticks of rosemary at my leisure.

All you need to do is visit your local home improvement store and their gardening section will have everything you need! (I also buy the organic soil, it’s only a buck or two more, totally worth it)


Here is a shot of my Rosemary (from my mom’s garden…it started as a single stick and now it’s grown so much), Basil (actually given to my from my beloved Fam, Parsley, and my little bebe tomato plant.


And then here is a shot of my mint and stevia leaves. I love adding either of these to my teas and drinks, an extremely refreshing option!


And then this thing is no herb and I would not recommend eating it at any time, but I wanted to show it to you anyway. It’s a mosquito plant! Yes, it’s true! This thing legit smells like a citronella candle, but without all the icky chemicals. I highly recommend growing one on your own porch.

I know that there are a ton of other herbs out there that could potentially be grown, so I want to know what you guys plant!

What types of herbs have you had success growing? What kind of dishes do you like to make with them?


International Running by Guest Blogger Michele Muth

As summer is in full swing, I think many of you are out travelling the world. I hope you are enjoying your vacations and getting the most out of them. I recently travelled to the majestic country of Norway for 2 weeks to enjoy nature, eat amazing food, and well… just relax for awhile.

While I was there I had the opportunity to travel to a small coastal town called Farsund to run a half marathon. The original plan was to run the Rock and Roll half in Oslo, but it was cancelled, so I was happy to find that I had another opportunity much closer to where I was staying in Egersund, Norway.

I have run 3 marathons including Marshall and Chicago (twice! Love that city!) and I am happy to say that I have been accepted into the 2014 New York marathon, and I’m running the Disney marathon in Florida this winter. I’m no spring chicken, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect at a race that wasn’t planned and executed in the good ole U.S of A.

So here’s a little recap for those of you that have thought about running a race while you’re abroad. I know every experience will be different, so keep an open mind and think of it as a way to stay in shape while you are out of town. (Often a struggle for me!)

photo 1 (2)

First of all, let me just tell you that I knew in advance that the views were going to be amazing. Norway is a gorgeous country. It’s very rocky and mountainous, and on the day of the race (May 31st) the weather was absolutely perfect. The picture above is from the downtown area right where the race started.

When we got there are picked up our packets, there was access to nice bathrooms, and everything seemed organized. They had run out of shirts, which always makes me kind of mad because if you sign up well in advance you should get a shirt, right? Not in this case, but there are a lot of races I have run that do the same thing, and it makes me mad every time. I ended up getting a shirt in the wrong size, which is a shame because Mizuno was the sponsor and the shirt was nice. A nice shirt that I will never wear.

The people of Farsund must be ambitious, they offered a full marathon in addition to the half, as well as a 10k, 5k, and about 20 fun runs for the kids. The marathoners were off at 10am and the half started at 11:30, with all the fun runs in between.

We walked around the little downtown area and waited for my start time to come. (My sister and her friend ran the 10k)

photo 3 (2)photo 4 (2)

Sisters!!!!! I never get to see my sister Missy, so I was super excited. Can’t you tell?


The atmosphere downtown was awesome. I loved seeing all these people and spectators in this tiny town out just being together and being fit. The start line was well marked and the organizers were good at letting everyone know when to start. I was surprised that there was a huge hill right out of the gate, but then I remembered that I was in Norway, so the race was bound to be extremely hilly. Starting on an incline was a little bit of a drag though.

I didn’t have my phone with me on the run as I was pretty focused on my time, but there were several times I thought about how beautiful it was. There were Norwegian flags waving everywhere, people cheering and ringing cowbells. Yes COWBELLS.. I must of thought about Christopher Walken 500 times because I had the fever. The fever for more cowbell. I saw about 20 kids riding horses, and spotted the ocean off in the distance on several occasions. They were VERY light on water stops, about one every 3 miles. I’m going to be honest, this about killed me. Other races (in the US) usually have water every mile.

I also noticed that other runners seldom had an iPod or headphones on, and I was actually cut off a couple times. I can see being cut off when there are a bunch of people, but I was cut off by the ONLY other person on the stretch of road I was on. Weird.

(On a side note- my Garmin worked perfectly there, which was a big help since all the signs were displaying kilometers instead of miles)

There was one point of the race that I have to mention- I turned down this tiny road with small stone fences and fields on either side of me, and I was running on grass that had been flattened by a tractor of some sort. I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere at that moment. So peaceful and quiet.


photo 2 (3)photo 3 (3)


After the race was over they had some great food and bananas, but what they didn’t have was medals!? That was a huge bummer for me- no medal to display at home of my half marathon Norway edition. Sad face.

Here are some pictures that I took after the race- the first one is super creepy. That is a huge house built on a rock in the ocean. just a small patch of rock. The questions I have about that situation are too many to mention.

The second picture is of the place that we stayed the night after the race. All the little houses seemed to be painted white and had red roofs. We sat out in the sun until the wee hours eating shrimp and drinking wine- did I mention it doesn’t get dark at night in Norway in the summer? It’s the best thing ever.

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We even had some furry visitors around midnight.

My trip to Farsund was definitely an experience. If you ever have the chance to compete in a race while you are travelling, you should think about it. There are websites dedicated to telling you where to sign up, and you won’t have to worry about exchange rates if you pay with your credit card. I also recommend Norway to any of you that have ever thought of going there. It’s my favorite place in the whole world, hands down.


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