The Sum of My Parts

The last book that I fully read from start to finish was “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk. I read this while I was training for the Big Sur Marathon because I needed a hobby other than running to keep me busy since I swore off alcohol during that time period.

I hate to admit this as a writer, but I seldom read books for recreation. I know that I should in order to inspire different writing styles and learn from other great authors, but I continuously make excuses that I don’t have enough time (which is not true)

This book, however, inspired me a great deal in terms of thinking outside of the box as a writer. One quote, in particular, resonated with me throughout the duration of my marathon training and still resonates with me now.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.”

Since I’ve been home, I’ve made it a point to see old friends that I’ve grown up with from high school and college. I like to check up on people to see how they are doing. Fortunately, I’ve been able to hang out with various groups of friends from different parts of my life. These are the people who still really matter to me; who have been with me through significant points of growth in my life up until this day. I’m grateful to have them in my life and glad that we still reconnect when we can.

It’s interesting, the conversations that I have with my different groups of friends. They all know me from different time periods, but somehow I’ve always been the same person throughout

As I continue my journey of “self-discovery” in New York City, I constantly as myself, Who am I? What makes me original?

I try to think of all of the things that make me separate my from the pack. However, I always come to the conclusion that there is someone out there who is doing the exact same thing as me, except better. There’s always a faster runner, a better singer, a stronger writer. But then I stop myself and ask why I’m even comparing to other people. Regardless of whether there are people who can do things better than I can, they can never do it with my style, my passion, my enthusiasm. And for that, I can only really thank the people who have me made me the way I am. My friends. My family. My teachers. My coaches. My co-workers. All of the people who have entered and exited my life. All of the people who I’ve encountered for brief periods of time or extended periods of time.

I remind myself of Chuck Palahniuk’s quote, but in a way that uplifts me. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If we didn’t have other people to inspire us, we wouldn’t get very far.

The whole self that is me is more important than the things that I do, where I work, the music I like, the food I eat.

As Aristotle once said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.

Home is Where the Heart is

A few years ago, while I was still in college, I wrote out a list of short-term and long-term goals that I wanted to accomplish after I graduated. Some of them seemed extraordinarily out of reach, but to my surprise, I was able to cross a lot off of my list. Among these things, my biggest accomplishment still stands as taking that leap of faith to move into New York City. I can’t emphasize enough how grateful I am for getting a job in the city, and shortly after, finding an apartment.

For the few months when I was commuting back and forth from New Jersey to New York City, I was miserable. I was cranky and irritated almost every day and I couldn’t wait until I moved out. I grew resentful towards New Jersey and living at home. I felt like I was missing out on everything that the city had to offer. I always had to rush home just to get enough sleep so that I could wake up and go back into the city the next day. It was exhausting.

When the big day finally arrived, I couldn’t be more excited to embark on a new chapter of my life. I couldn’t wait to leave everything and everyone behind from my “former life.” During the first month of living in New York City, I went out almost every night and definitely every weekend. I felt like I had an infinite amount of freedom. Eventually, the excitement fizzled out and “city life” just became regular life. Living in New York City was no longer this fantastical idea. It was reality. it was then that I began to miss home.

There were weekends when all I wanted to do was see my old friends, go home, and eat my parent’s food.

People always think that the grass is greener on the other side. Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, it isn’t. We fantasize of what life would be like in another person’s shoes. We want to explore uncharted territories and see what life is like somewhere other than that of what we’re familiar.

I love New York City and I love living in New York City. The only thing that the city doesn’t provide me with is the comfort of home.

As resentful as I was towards it, I can’t deny that New Jersey is my home and no matter what, it will always feel like home.

After all, home is where the heart is.

My First Medium Post: Food and Happiness

The day has come

Two days ago, I finally received my invitation to write on Medium.

A friend of mine had told me about this new writing platform several months ago, and ever since then, I have been striving towards being able to write for them.

Yesterday, I posted my very first entry titled, “Food and Happiness, How our food choices affect our mind and body”

Below is the full text. I hope that you all enjoy this read!

Link: “Food and Happiness”

Growing up as a kid, I’ve always had a hearty appetite. I come from a Filipino ethnic background, which played a significant role in my eating habits. The Filipino food culture revolves around two main food groups: Protein and Carbohydrates (and to be more specific: Meat and Rice)

My parents raised me to never be picky. I always finished the food that was put on my plate and was immediately encouraged to take second servings afterwards. Unfortunately, this transformed into a habit that has translated into my early adulthood, up to present day.

As a runner, the nutrients that I consume are detrimental towards my performance. The food choices I make before and after a race, or even just a light workout, is a tremendous factor in the results that I both see and feel in my body.

Humans, and animals alike, need specific nutrients to fuel their daily activities. A lion’s diet is completely different from that of a squirrel. In turn, a long distance runner’s diet is completely different from that of a competitive bodybuilder’s.

The similarity, however, lies within the affects that these diets have on us.

You may have heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.”

Well, it’s true.

We are a product of the food that we consume. Our body and mind reacts a certain way to these nutrients . When you eat things that are unhealthy, your performance is going to dwindle and your level of happiness is going to decline. This is a constant struggle for me.

You would naturally assume that someone who exercises frequently is also a relatively healthy eater.

This is not true.

For a lot of people, running or exercising frequently is motivated by their food choices. For example, when I binge on a large dinner consisting primarily of carbohydrates such as rice or pasta, I know that I need to run an excessive amount of miles the next day in order to counterbalance. However, the root of the problem stems from the predisposition that I think I can eat whatever I want because I run so much.

This is a distorted mindset.

It’s a constant struggle for me between the foods that I want to eat and the foods that I should eat. Sometimes after a run, I just want to eat everything, but the kitchen sink. Whenever that happens though, I just end up feeling worse about myself and having the urge to make up for it the next day. There’s no balance. And in life, balance is the key to happiness.

We (especially me) need to keep that in mind for the next time we decide to go on an eating rampage. In the long run, what we eat affects how we feel, both in the mind and the body.

By: Lindsey Lazarte

Iron Strength Workout Recap

I’ve been expanding my horizons lately and trying different types of workouts in the past few weeks other than running. For example, last Thursday, I went to a Hip-Hop dance class with my sister for the first time.

As much as I love running, I also love other variations of exercise that challenge me to utilize different muscles in my body.

Earlier this morning, I participated in an Iron Strength Workout that was held in Central Park at 6AM by the well-known Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Jordan Metzl. This event was held in conjunction with my team at Runner’s World due to the high demand of participation for this type of workout.

I have never done a workout like this before, so I was curious as to what was in store for me. A colleague of mine had warned us, prior, that it was not to be taken lightly, and for him to say that definitely rattled my bones a bit.

I woke up this morning at 5AM on the dot. My first thoughts were, “I can’t believe I’m waking up this early for a workout” (I’m more of night owl when it comes to exercising) I got ready in only a few short minutes and headed over to Central Park.

When I got there, the sky was still dark and my eyes were still heavy. As the sun began to rise, more people started coming in waves and I was finally waking up. Once it turned 6:15AM, Dr. Metzl made an announcement, introducing my colleagues from Runner’s World and myself. Shortly after, we dove right into running.

I had no time to loosen up, so I just had to shake it out during the run.

Below was the structure of the entire workout:

  • Hill Sprints

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up, jog down

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up two (2) times, jog down

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up three (3) times, jog down

  • Plyometrics

– 6 sets of 15 jumping squats, rotating abs in between

– 3 sets of 15 hill climbers, rotating push ups in between

– 3 sets of 10 burpees, rotating one-legged toe touches across (5 on each leg)

– 3 minutes of planks (1 minute plank on the left forearm, 1 minute plank on your the forearm, 1 minute on both forearms)

(Iron Strength Video Feature on the Runner’s World website)

I’d say that I was feeling the burn right after the 3rd set of jumping squats.

My overall assessment of the workout is an A+ rating. This workout incorporated all parts of the body with enough rest in between for recovery. It included cardio as well weight training, balance, and flexibility.

I was extremely satisfied with how I felt afterwards because my muscles were in pain (which is a good thing) I always love testing my limits and breaking new barriers. I was able to evaluate my current fitness level through this workout and I know now what I need to work on to become a better runner and overall athlete.

What I have taken away from this is the following:

Never be afraid to try new things. You never know if it might be something you fall in love with. And if it’s not, at least you learned something new. Knowledge is power. Expanding our horizons helps us grow.

The Runner's World Team in New York City
The Runner’s World Team in New York City
Group Photo
Group Photo

Soul Searching

People come to New York City for a lot of different reasons. Ultimately, it boils down to two sides of the spectrum: Either you came here with a plan or you came here without a plan.

I’ve met a variety of people since I moved here. Everyone has a unique story. Everyone has their reasons. Usually, they’ve come here in search of something. There are other times when they’ve come to get away from the place they were before; for a change of pace.

Yesterday, while I was sitting at Starbucks, I met a man who came to the United States only two days ago from Israel. He came straight to New York City. When I was speaking to him, he told me that he was looking for a place to stay for the night. I suggested that he try looking on Craiglist because there are always available rooms posted there (Plus, I found my apartment that way) He shook his head in disagreement and said that he was interested in a place near Wall Street that he wanted to check out. He, then, asked me how to get there by walking. We were in Union Square at the time, and honestly, I had never walked from Union Square to Wall Street, so I had to look at my iPhone to map out the best route.

“I’ll figure it out,” he told me.

I was shocked at how nonchalant he was about not having a definite place to stay. He reassured me that he was going to be okay. I smiled and wished him good luck. I had a feeling that he would be just fine. People eventually find their way in New York City.

As he left, I reflected on all of the people that I’ve met so far. Some have come from every corner of the United States: California, Florida, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Maine, Massachusetts. The list goes on.

What I love so much about New York City is how you can come here with a fresh start. It doesn’t matter where you came from. You can redefine yourself. It’s a place of self-discovery. Here, we all have a clean slate and it’s a common thread that unites everyone who lives here.

The other thing about New York City is how much it can tear you down. It can make you feel more alone and lost than you’ve ever felt in your life. And if you let it, it can swallow you whole, which is why many people also feel the need to get out. Endless waves of people are constantly coming in and out of this city.

New York City has beaten me up many times since I’ve been here, but I can’t say I’m ungrateful for it. Originally, I came here with a plan. I came here for work. I came here to run away from home. I’ve realized, however, that my problems just came with me. No matter how far you run away, the things that you’re running away from will always catch up to you.

I spent a lot of time alone this weekend, which is exactly what I needed. I slowed down my life a little from going out so much the past few weekends. I came to understand that New York City is making me strong so that I can face these problems.

The reasons for why I originally came here have changed. I, now, know that I came here to do soul searching. There have been times where I felt like I couldn’t handle this city. I wanted to get out, like a lot of other people. But, I’m not even halfway done with my journey.

Every day, I’m getting a little closer to finding myself. This is why I came here.

Live with Passion

I’ve always been curious as to how people choose their interests. I often wonder whether it was by accident or maybe through a friend. Maybe they saw it on television or on the streets. Either way, I love seeing how far along they come with the time that they invest into that particular hobby or interest.

All throughout my life, I’ve had friends that have their own unique skills and talents. Dancers, gymnasts, skaters, musicians, singers, you name it. I’m constantly inspired by my diverse group of friends because they all lead such different lives and are passionate about different things. I surround myself with these kinds of people because of their drive and determination to succeed. There’s a saying that goes something like “the friends that we choose are a reflection of ourselves” I’m not sure if that’s how it actually goes or if I just made that up, but regardless, that’s what I believe.

When I dissect my friends by their personality type, I have a pretty clear understanding of why they are good at the things they’re good at. It’s because of the time and effort that they put into those things.

As we get older, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that we love. We grow up, get jobs, re-prioritize what’s important to us, and fall out of touch. Looking at my friends now, I’m seeing that a lot of them now have jobs, but are still attached to the things that they love and they’re all doing pretty well for themselves. They’re happy.

As I said earlier, I love to see how far along people come with the things that they love. If we work hard enough at the things that we’re passionate about, it will eventually manifest into something great. The time that we invest into our daily tasks is directly correlated to our success.

All of the decisions that we make in life are a reflection of ourselves. Similar to the way our friends are a reflection of ourselves, the same goes for the hobbies we choose. And this also goes for our work. We should never lose sight of our passion and interests because someday, it can and will define us.

Live with passion. Always. Something great will eventually happen.

“How to Find and Do Work You Love”

“How to Find and Do Work You Love”

A friend of mine sent over this TEDTalk YouTube video the other day and it really resonated with me. I’ve been feeling extremely inspired lately; to write, to run, to enjoy my life. I wanted to share this so that other people can feel inspired too. Happy Friday!

Weather and Change

To add to the list of things that I’ve learned since living in New York City, I can say this:

Weather amplifies whatever mood you wake up in (by x100)

Side Note: For those of you who don’t live in New York, New Jersey, or the East Coast in general, it’s no surprise to get all four seasons in one week. Actually, it’s no surprise to get all four seasons in one day. Today is a prime example of that.

This morning, I woke up already feeling the rain in my joints.

I got out of bed, looked out of the window, and grunted. I didn’t want to predestine that it was going to be a lousy day because a day is only what you make of it. This morning, however, was a bit lousy and I only blame the weather.

New York City in the Summer is a wonderful time of year. There are hundreds upon thousands of sights to see and activities to partake in. This past weekend, for example, I spent an entire day walking around Williamsburg in Brooklyn and it was one of the best Saturdays I’ve had recently.

When the sun is shining, everyone calms down more than usual. Everyone becomes a lot more tolerable. On rainy days though, it takes a drastic turn. Everyone returns to their hostile, agitated state and it’s pretty unpleasant when you’re surrounded by a million hostile and agitated people.

It was down-pouring as I walked to work this morning. My office is only a few short blocks away from Grand Central Station, but on days like today, the journey seems like it goes on for miles.

Once I got to work, I brushed off the tension from the morning commute, and settled into a more comfortable state. As I settled down at my desk, I was already re-arranging the rest of my day around the weather and adjusting my routine to work out.

It’s amazing how quickly plans can change due to the weather. It’s also amazing how quickly the weather can change.And ultimately, it boils down to…it’s amazing how quickly people can change their minds.

New York City has taught me a lot about how anything can happen. Weather quickly changes, plans quickly change, people quickly change. And what I’ve gathered from these observations is this:

No wonder why people in New York City are so self-sufficient, independent, and isolated in their own worlds. It’s really hard to depend on anything or anyone as 100% guaranteed.

In the grand scheme of things, I guess you can apply this idea to the entire world. Really, anything can happen and I appreciate New York City for giving me that open mindset.