Wants vs. Needs

This hasn’t been a banner week in Megan-land. Nothing terrible has happened, but a series of little things have just left me worn out and down, you know? I worked a little late on Friday night and by 7pm I was in a pretty foul mood. Everything was grating on my nerves, I was tired, and instead of going for my planned run, I felt like having a good cry. I have a penchant for the dramatic sometimes. Runners are often told to “listen to their bodies”, but this rarely seems to work for me. You know what my body wanted yesterday? To go home, wallow in my funk, and eat ice cream for dinner. But you know what my body needed? A good, long head-clearing run commute home. Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between the two, I admit. Occasionally it feels great to skip some miles in favor of happy hour or some extra sleep, but other times (like Friday night) the best thing for me to do is push forward knowing that I’ll feel better on the other side of my run.

Over the next 9 1/2 miles, I sorted through all of the things that were bothering me, prompting anxiety, and causing frustration. With each step I felt like I left a bit of that toxic stuff behind. When I finished the run, I was hungry for dinner, ready for a shower, and my bad mood had been replaced by a calm tiredness. I will tell you from experience, running works better than xanax. Is it a good thing to depend so much on running to fix my mood? Maybe not, I don’t know, but it’s healthier than many other options people use to get through life. Sometimes I run because I’m training for a race or I want to spend QT with a friend, but other times it provides something much more vital to my well-being. I feel so incredibly lucky to be healthy enough to run as long and as often as I need to. Apologies if this post is a little sentimental, but I suppose I just needed an outlet for reflection and gratitude.

Anyway, this week did have some lovely moments. As I mentioned in my last post, I had a awesome ladies night on Tuesday and then later in the week, THIS was delivered:

For as long as I can remember (okay, actually since Freshman year of college), my mom has been sending my Valentine’s Day care packages. Chocolate, jars of peanut butter & Nutella, Starbucks Via packets, my favorite brand of toothpaste, St. Patrick’s Day underwear (!!!) – she knows me well. Even though I’m well past the age when I should be expecting care packages from my mom, these little reminders from home always make me smile.

This week hasn’t been perfect (Tuesday = Tequila, apparently), but I’ve done a pretty good job playing the role of a responsible marathoner. I’ve aimed for 7+ hours of sleep per night and I’ve logged most of the miles that I planned to run. It’s Saturday night as I write this and I have my 20-miler planned for the morning. Rather than stressing out over the miles like I did last week, I’m feeling fairly confident. It helps mentally that the run will be broken up into parts: 3.5 mile warm-up to the start of a race in Prospect Park, a 10 mile progression run (I’m not actually racing), and then 6.5 miles cool-down back home. My Garmin is charged and I have my route all mapped out. I’m ready to go.

There’s no escaping holiday candy this week, but I did make an effort to create something fairly healthy, quick, and economical. I’m a huge fan of Morningstar Farms Spicy Black Bean burgers, but each box is upwards of $4-5. I decided to try my making my own from scratch. The verdict? Not exactly the same, but very economical and they freeze just as well. Plus I know exactly what went in to the veggie burgers, no weird preservatives or processed soy products.

Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers, makes 6


  • 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can of corn
  • big handful of Sunchips, crushed (you could also sub in ~1/3 cup breadcrumbs)
  • 1 egg
  • salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin to taste (about tsp of each, except only 1/4 tsp of the cayenne)


  • Lightly oil a baking sheet and pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  • Add the beans and corn to a food processor or blender and process until mostly mashed (it’s okay if some beans remain whole).
  • Transfer bean mixture to a bowl and stir in spices, crushed chips (or breadcrumbs), and egg until combined.
  • Use your hands to form 6 patties. Place on sheet pan and bake for about 12 minutes. Flip burgers and bake for another 5 minutes or so, until slightly browned and crispy.
  • Veggie burgers can be stored between layers of parchment paper in tupperware in the freezer. Microwave for about 45 seconds on each side to reheat!

Anyone else have a little difficulty deciding what they need vs want?

Happy President’s Day weekend! I’ll be back on Tuesday with a special cookie recipe!

  • Becki Sue

    I totally understand the want vs. need thing today. I have a major head cold and am completely zapped of energy. Skip my long run today to conserve my energy or put in a few miles to see if I can flush out some of that gook in my head? I picked the save my energy route, and I regret my decision at the end of the day.

  • Oh my gosh I feel you on the terrible week issue. Something about February seems to be getting everyone I know down. I can’t even run out my anxieties because I’m dealing with some hip pain (I’m blaming the number of hours I spend sitting at my computer doing school work, but I don’t think that my Econ professor will take that as an excuse as to why I haven’t done enough studying for my midterm.) I’m glad that you’re feeling good about your 20-miler! Good luck tomorrow morning!

  • 7+ hours of sleep? In my dreams! And xanax is definitely a NEED. Don’t you judge me! XO

  • Jess @ almostovernow.com

    I’ve never been one to subscribe to the ‘listen to your body’ mantra simply because it’s usually my mind talking, not my legs.  Unless I’m in a good deal of pain, it’s usually just laziness and depression telling me not to run.  Unfortunately even when I’m injured I depend on running so much to regulate my mood that I can’t stop until I’ve really damaged myself – running is a good coping mechanism relative to other things, but the problem is that it’s very fragile and always hanging in the balance.  I need to run out my anxieties, but at the same time I have so many anxieties that I tend to run more than anyone ‘should’ in order to avoid multiple stress fractures, in my case.

    Hope the 20 miler went/is going well.  They always scare the crap out of me!  I was a bundle of nerves last Sunday when I did mine. 


  • Malikabourne2

    Recipies I’.. have to try.
    Hope this week is better.

  • Heather

    I try to run before work and I find that it makes me have a MUCH better day!  I hear completely what you are saying about running – I am a much mellower and enjoyable person after a run.  

    I just need to have running stop stressing me out.  When I train for races (by no where near a fast runner), I get stressed out when I miss a run.  My next project to work on…

  • Anonymous

    I would never judge you Marie. In fact, I’m more likely to give you the xanax hook-up. Ask AR and Sarah. I mean…what??


  • Anonymous

    I think getting a little nervous/stressed out about races just means you care. I worry about myself when I *don’t* feel at least a little anxious about my training! Of course, being too anxious is never a good thing. It’s tough…

  • word. wants and needs are tricky. in moments like these, i try to spend time with people because being in my own head when i’m in a funk is never fun. or i like taking really focused yoga classes where you have zero time to think because you’re constantly being instructed as to what you should do. that works for me. 

    love the care package action, how sweet of your mom! i like the idea of the sun chips in the burgers. crafty.

  • I know exactly what you mean about needing a run but not wanting to. I can’t wait til I’m healthy again. In the mean time, I’ll soul cycle out my feelings. Or eat my feelings. Or both.

    My mom sends me Valentine’s, too – at least I know I’ll always have some form of a Valentine!

  • RunTheLongRoad

    the “running is cheaper than therapy” tagline is cliche but so very true.  i am more calm, focused, and happier that running is in my life.  

  • Great post.  One of the best things I can do for myself is to replace the crabbiness and stress with a tired calmness that comes after a long run.  There is something so calming that for the next xx minutes I will be running and that I can’t do anything about the stuff I’ve momentarily left behind.

  • Gemma Cartwright

    My want vs. need dilemma occurs post-long run. I always have trouble distinguishing a NEED to refuel after a long run and a WANT to demolish any and every bit of food I encounter on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I always wind up over-refueling as it’s hard to distinguish genuinely needing to replenish energy stores and the faux hunger that comes from telling yourself you deserve that extra scoop of ice cream/cupcake/cookie/burger/or E all of the above for having just run so far.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t care packages the greatest? My roommate always says I get all the fun mail 🙂

    Those black bean burgers look really good! I might try to make them or maybe buy your recommended morningstar ones…because I am lazy and they still sound healthy. I have been eating such garbage recently and none of my easy, healthy go to foods have sounded appealing. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Don’t even get me started on want vs need. I most certainly did NOT need the cupcake I got post run today…

  • Anonymous

    Your mom is the best! That looks like a perfect care package. I can very much relate to this post – my hamstring has technically needed a rest from running, but my brain has wanted my runs more than anything to help clear my head. I think I’ve been depending on them too much lately for that, but I guess it could be worse. I have a really hard time figuring out what I need vs. want because I’m so freaking stubborn. 

    I’m glad running was there for you when you needed it! Hope you’re feeling better now and had a great 20 miler 🙂 

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  • Ali

    You’re a smart girl, Megan, and not only are you doing the best you can in life, you’re really doing a GREAT job with everything. That care package looks delightful, and like just the thing to perk a girl out of a funk.

    As for what you said about relying too much on running to get you out of your bad mood: I can relate to that. I like drinking, and sometimes it helps, but a good sweat always beats a hangover. Sure it’s risky to ALWAYS want to run when things get bad, but ultimately I think it’s a healthy habit. But then again, I don’t listen to my body and my brain is crazy, so keep doing what you’re doing and never, ever take advice from me.

  • Sun

    I couldn’t agree more that running is a great way to stress less and feel better about life. I can’t wait to try your black bean burger recipe. I also eat a lot of veggie burgers but don’t like the preservatives or extra soy products that are in them. Your recipe looks easy to make and delicious. Love!

  • It’s such a difficult call to make, ins’t it, especially as wants and needs often overlap!

  • Page

    Running IS better than Xanax. Sing it sista! Awe – your mom is adorable. Cute care package.

  • That care package looks awesome.  I love how toothpaste is included with it.  Cause obviously you’re going to need to do some extra brushing.  

    I struggle all the time with need versus want.  I think I need things I want all the time.  Also, its perfectly fine to rely on running to help you get through a bad day – think of all the people who rely on cupcakes or booze – obviously, the former is much better.