Friday, January 31, 2014

Just all over the map

I hope you can bear with this today.  I have a lot of small things to say.  They don't connect, and none of them are big enough to make a blog post.  So they're going to come live here now.  They are excited about it, or at least that's what they tell me.

1)  It's snowing.  AGAIN.  This month has been absolutely ridiculous for snow.  Usually, winter hits us hardest from February to April.  And this is the second storm we've had this week.  According to the NWS, we could get anywhere from 4-8 inches... except that there is some strange jet stream thing going on, and so it's entirely possible that we could see over a foot in 24 hours.  My car is not at all equipped for this kind of weather, I really badly need new tires, so if the weather is really bad, Ammon's gonna have to be driving me too and from work today.  Fun times.

2) I have had so many computer troubles at work over the last 2 days that I just. can't. stand. it.  Starting with switching computers when I switch offices, to not being able to log on to our cloud-based software that runs our entire company, and yeah... not good times.  We have no option but to figure it out by Monday, when I officially start my rent collection duties.  It would be much easier if I didn't have to give up my laptop to the girl taking my job... I could make due on it for a few days with it.

3) We had a blood screening panel at work yesterday.  I skipped it last year, but I succumbed to the peer pressure and went with it.  Can we just talk about how gratifying it is to hear a nurse tell you that there is no reason whatsoever to see a Doctor in the next 2 years unless I have a major injury, illness, or change in lifestyle?  It felt really nice to just once hear someone in the medical profession say that their direct intervention in my life is not necessary.  I feel like all too often,  Doctors and nurses come up with thousands of reasons for them to be involved in day to day health and lifestyle decisions.

4) I have been watching entirely too much Vampire Diaries, but I can't quit it.  Not even a little bit.  It makes my life seem so much better, simply by virtue of the fact that there are not people out to kill me every time I turn around.  I found this workout game on Pinterest just now, and it seems totally killer.  Who needs P90X when you have slutty Caroline and broody Stefan?

Via Pinterest
5) I self-identified as a half-marathon runner twice yesterday.  Even admitted to my struggles with running, and my desire to improve and meet goals.  This may not seem like much to all of you, because I talk about running here a lot, but in the real world, I don't identify much as a runner.  It doesn't feel authentic to "real life Kristen".  She's the nerdy, uncoordinated, book-worm introvert, not the reluctant runner health nut that she admits to having been in her college days.  Because really, I love all of this health and fitness stuff.  It in cool to me, but it is so far removed from my everyday life anymore that people look at me sideways when I bring it up in conversation.  I don't want that to be the story anymore.  I want to embrace all of those things that I love, even the parts that don't make sense.

How's your weather today?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

They say it's your birthday

I have always been a big fan of the Beatles' birthday song.  Especially the duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh part.  But that song is complicated, so instead, I sang my 3rd most favorite guy the regular old birthday song yesterday.

It's hard to believe our Gunner-gram is 4 years old already.  He certainly doesn't act it quite yet.  In fact, when he goes to camp, he spends most of his time with the puppies running and playing and being silly.  Nobody will ever accuse me of not spoiling my puppy, and his birthday is surely no exception.  So I hightailed it to the nearest Natural Foods Pet Store for some super adorable dog cookies.  I hit the ultimate jackpot: A giant dog-bone shaped cookie that took him 2 entire minutes to eat.  Perfect.


I mean, how do you find something cuter than this cookie?  Oh yeah... the cutest dog ever eating the awesomest cookie ever.

Does anyone else celebrate the birthdays of their dogs?  What do you do to commemorate the occasion?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Whatever it is...

Whew.  Did you all make it through that post from yesterday?  I almost didn't make it through writing that post.  It hurt to write it.  It hurts to read it.  But it hurts in the way that says, "I should be more empowered than to have these thoughts, and to let these thoughts rule me."  Luckily, right after I wrote this on Saturday, Ammon showed up at home with these beauties, and life got a whole lot better.

Oh, girls... If I could only express to you how needed these flowers were right at that moment.  They were the spark of sunshine that reminded me that I don't always need to believe in myself, I just need to lean on the belief that others have in me.  It's probably the one concept I learned in Mary Kay that has made a lasting impression on me:  you can do incredible things when you can set aside your doubts and lean on the beliefs that others have in you.

I don't know what your particular battle is today, but I'm sure that you have one, big or small.  Every day we fight our battles, and the outcomes of those battles shape us.  For me, my battle today is probably going to be getting in a workout -- I totally skipped it last night in favor of wine and fighting a WAR with my homework.  Yes, homework and wine go together in my world.  It's the only reason my computer is still working well enough for me to write this blog post right now.  Jesus turning water into wine isn't the only wine-based miracle to ever grace history.

I want you to know, that no matter what battle you may be fighting today.  No matter how hard you are going to have to fight, no matter what the odds are, and no matter the outcome, I believe in you.  YOU are capable of winning, so long as you never, ever, ever give up the fight.  And I know you won't give up, because you know that you deserve to win.  You deserve to feel victorious today, even if it's only for a minute.  You are a rockstar, and I am constantly impressed by the things that you do.  Your spirit, perseverance, drive, and your heart are truly one of a kind. 

So wherever you are, whatever your day may bring, please carry this with you.  And remember that someone out there is pulling for you, always and always.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The hormones are certainly talking

Maybe it's the fact that I'm in full on period mode right now.  Maybe it's the fact that I work with all women.  Maybe it's a little bit of both.  But lately, I have spent an awful lot of time thinking about body image, body dysmorphia, and unrealistic expectations of what my body can, will, and should be.  Not that I think that I am unique in this.  I'm sure these thing are never very far from the mind of most women.  I know conversations about the way we look, the size we wear, the abilities of our bodies are never far from our lips.  Like sick, twisted, hormonal self-hating mean girls, we talk about all of the ways that our bodies regularly let us down.

I don't understand why I can't be satisfied with the fact that I wear a size 6.  Why in the world do I have to put myself down for the fact that I have to wear a size medium in activewear?  I don't understand that I can't be satisfied with completing a half marathon.  Why do I have to insist that I do it better, faster, stronger?  I don't understand why I can't be satisfied that my stomach is mostly flat.  Why do I wish that I could count every single abdominal muscle, and beat myself up when it's utterly impossible?  I don't understand why knowing that my husband thinks I'm the hottest thing on the planet.  Why is it so important to me that I live up to beauty standards set by the media and agreed upon by society?

My body is evolved to do miraculous, incredible, beautiful things.  I can create life, and sustain it until someday, someday far in the future, that life can sustain itself.  My body can carry me to nearly any land bound place on this Earth that I want to go.  My body can withstand the pressure of going to many non-land bound places on this Earth I may choose to explore.  I have so many abilities, so many ways that this body does not fail me.  Yet, I choose to look at the failures.  To look at the things I'm not able to do.  The ways that I just don't measure up.

I wish that this post, this narrative could be my solemn declaration to stop this inner madness.  To choose something entirely different for myself.  To become the eternal optimist, and to only see the abilities.  I wish that I knew of a way to flip that particular switch.  Can you imagine a greater gift that you could give to another woman than the gift of unconditional self-acceptance?

I have had several men tell me that it is a good thing to never be fully satisfied.  That the dissatisfaction is what drives us to grow, and to be better, and to move forward.  And yet I have never heard a woman come out and make this same claim.  As a woman, I know that my dissatisfaction with who I am is both good and bad.  I know that it does keep me striving to reach new heights.  But I also know that it is the one thing that will hurt and hinder my ultimate success.  If I can never see the good that I accomplish, or see that my contributions are enough, I may not even realize that there are things that are worth striving for, or that I can achieve.  Shoot, if I'm being honest, I keep myself from doing things that I know are possible.  I used to climb mountains.  It was one of my favorite things that I did.  And then I met Ammon.  Another rock climber.  And suddenly, the things I can do didn't matter any longer, because it was nothing compared to what he is capable of.  And my embarrassment at my seeming lack of ability crippled me to the point where I can't climb anymore.  I simply no longer feel capable of doing something that brought me so much happiness.

So, no.  I don't agree with all of the men out there who think that the best drive is accomplished through dissatisfaction.  I think that it works for men, because they channel all of that energy for good, and not for self-degredation.  Such a fundamental difference between men and women: the way they talk to themselves.  And it's probably [certainly] the hormones talking, but in this I am incredibly jealous of men.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The struggle is worth it

Yesterday on my run, there was a lot going on.  I had a lot of feelings, a lot of thoughts, a lot of physiological battles.  Still, it was a great run.  A run that gave me so much hope that this year... this year will be the year I see some sort of success with running.

Yesterday, I started off strong.  Really, really strong.  I was maintaining a 4 min running, 2 min walking interval.  And even with that ratio, I still managed to do my first 2 miles in 10:25, a full minute and a half faster than my training pace in previous half marathon training cycles.  I felt so on top of the world.  Nothing, and I mean nothing could stop me.

Until around about the 2.5 mile mark.  And all of a sudden, shit was hurting.  Bad.  My lungs were on fire.  My liver had that searing pain.  And I got passed by 3 runners chatting merrily away while pushing a baby stroller.  Those baby stroller runners are the fastest way to demoralize a girl.  I mean, I am struggling over here to run faster than an 11 minute mile, and someone with a jogging stroller blasts by me like I'm walking sedately down the sidewalk with not a care in the world.

Mile 3... 10:50.  I don't know how I managed it at that point.  I mean, that was one flipping hard mile for me.  Making it in that time felt like a miracle.  And at this point, I just wanted to be done.  I had a mile and a half left to go, and the thought of those extra almost 20 minutes was maddening. 

At 3.3, I had to walk before my scheduled walk interval.  And that was even more demoralizing than being passed.  I only had to walk for about a minute before I picked it up again, but I made it happen.  Painfully.  Achingly.  I wanted nothing more than to just walk the rest of the way in, but that felt a lot like cheating.

It was about this time that I started with the grudging pep talks.  I thought about all of the running and fitness bloggers who are faster than me, and I reminded myself that they started out slow too.  Nobody decides to start running one day and immediately knocks out consistent 7:30 miles.  That's just not how it works.  You have to put in the time and effort to get there.  I reminded myself that all runners get passed, even the ones that can pass ordinary mortals with a jogging stroller.  Whether it's tomorrow, a week from now, or next month, someone else will pass them when they're out on a training run too.  There is always someone faster, stronger, better.  That isn't a reason to get down on yourself, it's just the way that life shakes out.

And then I started thinking about half marathons.  And how deep down, I don't feel like I've "done" one yet, because that whole situation has not panned out twice now for me.  I started thinking about how angry I am that my body hasn't yet been able to carry me through 13.1 miles in under 3 hours.  It's not like I'm asking it to do a full marathon in that time... I just want to be able to not feel like a haggard old woman at the end of ONE half marathon.  It was a really sad, negative, bad thought process  And it was right about then that I snapped this gem of a selfie on a quick walking break... because really, who in the world would believe me that I'd been out running if I didn't document appropriately?

There were totally people around, and they were totally judging me.  I didn't care.  It was brutal.  I wanted a picture that would serve as a reminder to me that hard things don't defeat us... they shape us, guide us, and generally make us better people in the end.  Also, I don't look nearly as red as I felt.  I was certain that I matched my shirt by this point, and it was a huge victory for me when I realized that I didn't.  It's the little things, I tell you.

Mile 4... 11:36.  A LOT slower than before.  But I was surprisingly happy with it, mostly because I was fairly sure it would be slower, somewhere around the 12-13 minute mark.  According to all of the cool calculators, my long runs should be somewhere in pace between an 11:41 - 12:20 mile... so to still be beating that time felt pretty dang good to me.  Also, once I hit mile 4, I just wanted nothing more than to be done, and I reminded myself that the slower I went, the longer it would take.  Nothing gets you to the finish like that thought right there.

And that's the story of my fastest 4.5 miles to date.  As I walked to my car, I realized that I would take all of the struggle, all of the suffering any day, if I got to see positive results.  And that was the moral of yesterday's run for me... that the struggle is worth it.

This week I'm starting my Half marathon training in earnest.  These last few weeks were building weeks, so that when I started I didn't immediately keel over.  The plan I'm using can be found here, and is 13 weeks, but I'm starting a week early and adding a week just before taper... I'm planning on a 12 miler that week, just to ensure that my body is fully prepared.  Since I have a training plan, I'm not going to bother making a cheesy graphic... sorry.  But I'm pretty stoked about the fact that I'm seriously cutting miles this week from what I did last week.  It is nice to have a reminder that I'm not quite as out of shape as I may have thought.

What do you have going on this week?  How are your fitness and health goals coming along?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You never know where you'll find your next blessing in disguise

I lately inherited the curse of the Tuesdays.  Thursdays used to be my cursed day, my day when no good could come from life.  And then Michelle kept sharing about all of the ways that Tuesdays just don't work.  Ever.  And I realized that she and I have the same life pretty much all of the time, right down to crappiest days of the week.

It's the day when I run out of time to get a blog post together.

It's the day that I just want to stay in bed and snuggle my cat and my husband.

It's the day that the hot water runs out just before I rinse off my body wash in the shower.

It's the day that all of my customer service nightmares come to shocking life.

It's the day that I have to try to make nice with everybody and their brother.

It's the day that I get caught in construction during rush hour, and then a light goes out on top of everything.

It's the day that when I get on the treadmill, running for 3 minutes (only 3!!!!!!!!) feels unbearable.

It's the day that the dog is always extra naughty, and not even a little bit cuddly.

 Vampire Diaries.  So broody.  So overly dramatic.  It's Tuesday all the time in Mystic Falls.  Fact.
It's all of these things.  And more.  But you know what?

I don't have to blog every day.  Nobody sponsors this blog, nobody pays me to show up here. Nobody tracks the time I choose to log here.  I get to create this space as exactly what I want it to be.

It's the day that I get out of bed anyway, because I can better show my love to my family by contributing to that family.  Being poor but cuddly is vastly overrated by the romantics.  My animals and my human are expensive to maintain.

It's the day the hot water runs out, but so is Monday, Wednesday, Thursday... any day I try to shower at 7:00am, really.  I mean, we have a shared hot water heater for the whole building.  Of course the hot water runs out almost every day.  I could choose to get up earlier and have more hot water, I would just rather be colder in the shower but more kitty-hubby-snuggly in the morning, I guess.  Still beats being  poor and snuggly.

It's the day that customer service nightmares come true, but those are ALMOST a thing of my past.  And considering I have a trainee that I can pass so many of them off on, I should stop obsessing, and just let them roll.  I am soooooooo close to being the introverted accounting clerk of my dreams.  A couple of nightmares will only make the final payoff much sweeter later on.

It's the day I have to make nice, but deep down, this is so good for me on so many levels.  People deserve nice and friendly.  I truly believe that.  It's just so hard to give that when what you're getting is their worst bits all mashed together.  But that's the true test:  being nice and fair to those who don't deserve it.

It's the day that traffic makes me crazy, but I can take that opportunity to make phone calls, to jam out, or to just unwind from the stress of dealing with people.  No, the car is not the ideal chill-out zone, but there's nobody else there, so I might as well do a little healthy venting, right?

It's the day that 3 minutes of running seems insurmountable, but when I finish my 3 mile workout, and I haven't missed a single interval, I feel like all things in life are possible.

It's the day that the dog is extra naughty, but it's also the day that he's so excited I'm home that he runs in circles for 3 minutes, because he just can't stand to be so happy.  And I nearly cry from laughing so hard at the frenzy he gets wrapped up in.

And it's the day that I can choose to make a lesson, a day that forces me to be a better version of myself.  I don't believe that you choose joy:  I believe that for everything there is a season.  However, I believe that all things are necessary, and can cause growth.  And for all that Tuesdays are cursed, they may just be a blessing in disguise.

Do you have a "cursed" day?  One that just never seems to turn out right, no matter what?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nailed it

Do you ever get the urge to just text every single person in your phone the phrase "Nailed it" with no explanation?

Well, I guess even the dog thinks that might be a ridiculous and bad idea.  But seriously... sometimes you just have those weeks that when you look back on them, all you can think is that man... you nailed that.  And last week was totally that week for me.  A few things I nailed this week.

-- Not having any diet coke until the weekend.  It hasn't been a set goal, so to speak, but I realized that I was getting a little too attached to my beloved sorority girl crack again, and needed to stop the madness.

-- Knowing EXACTLY what the problem with our shower was when the water wouldn't shut off on Wednesday night.  3 years of troubleshooting maintenance problems in order to save our techs time has paid off in real ways for me.  Also, if you ever need your water heater pilot light re-lit, your garbage disposal cleared, or your toilet snaked, I'm your girl.

-- Being told by my soon-to-be former boss that she still wants me to write resident correspondence when I go to the Accounting department, because I do such a good job with it.  I'm still not entirely sure how serious she was.

-- Feeling like I won't be completely out of my league when I have my first day by myself as the A/R clerk for my office.  Our current A/R Clerk could do the job with one hand, blindfolded, while hanging by her ankles.  It's intimidating to have such big shoes to fill, but I'm starting to pick up the major stuff.

-- Getting in all of my planned workouts for the week, PLUS ONE EXTRA workout.  That felt so much better than I could have expected.  My extra workout was a walk with the dog... and he totally whopped my booty.  We did 4.6 miles in 58 minutes, which equated to me walking at my average long run jogging pace.  It was pretty brutal.

-- Actually taking my lunch and eating it instead of eating out every day last week.  I love treating myself to lunch out during hard weeks, and I was so proud of myself for not giving in to the temptation, and instead eating what I had prepared.  Saved some money, and most likely ate more healthfully too!

-- Enjoying the heat wave.  We've had a veritable heat wave in these parts for the past few days, with weather in the 50's!  Ammon and I were talking about how nice it is to wear just t-shirts, and how we would NEVER EVER wear t-shirts in July if it was only 50 degrees.  It feels like we have this same conversation every winter... especially when I run out to the car in the mornings to warm-up my car without a coat on, because "it isn't that cold".  Which makes no sense, because if you have to warm up your car in the morning, it's pretty damn cold.

Some things I'm gonna nail this week:

-- Having today off of work.  Thank you sweet government job.

--Getting to bed before 11pm.  I've been really awful about this lately, and it shows in how hard it is to wake up in the morning.  My real goal is to be in bed by 9:30, but baby steps.

-- The first week of classes for this semester.  Right now I only have 2 classes, plus my internship.  I had debated picking up just one more class, but as fate would have it, the online sessions are all full.  So instead, I'm going to enjoy a slightly lighter load this semester.

-- Incorporating this mantra into my life. 

-- Surviving these workouts this week, without any skips.  Like I said last week, days to me matter less than getting the work done, so as long as they're all in there, I will count it as a win:

What did you nail last week?  What are you going to nail this week?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

And I thought cross training would be the shocker

Just about 10 minutes ago (from when I opened this page, not from when you started reading this), I had to call one of my coworkers to come perform emergency maintenance on my apartment.  It's 9:15pm at night.  Insert all of the curse words.

This really on the surface is no big deal.  Maintenance emergencies happen.  In fact, I actively avoid having to have the maintenance come out, because they're my coworkers, and that's just weird.  However, when your whole building shares one hot water heater, and your shower hot water faucet is stuck in the "on" position because the stem blew, all you can do is call your coworker and grovel, and ask politely for them to come fix it so that your neighbors can take a hot shower in the morning.

Which is really too bad, because I was really proud of the fact that I actually did Cross Training tonight.  I hung through a 30 minute HIIT and ab challenge workout that I found on the YouTubes.  I really enjoy the fact that there are a limitless number of free workout options on the interwebs.  Who need a personal trainer or expensive programs when you can find free workouts to do at home?

Don't worry, I cancelled out all of the good I did by working out with a big glass of Parducci Pinot Noir and the cupcake that Ammon brought home for me to have for dessert.  He's a sweet one, that husband of mine.  Very sweet indeed.

And then I made Ammon watch the YouTubes with me for the last half hour.  He looked traumatized by Miranda Sings.

And because Thursdays are notorious around these here parts, my new favorite video.  Our maintenance lead shared this one last week, and it has been an everyday enjoyment since that time.

If that doesn't make you smile, you might need to seek professional counseling.  And while I haven't watched it yet, this one looks equally awe inspiring, so let's throw it in for some good measure, yes?

Well, that was a little bit creepy.  Oh well.  It took me back to being a small child who believed there were plants growing in my brain.  Fun Fact, my co-workers occasionally refer to my wardrobe as Mr. Rogers chic.
One more.  This one also care of the maintenance lead at work, and especially appropriate for us bloggers out there.  You'll understand.
And that is all that I have tonight.  It's bedtime.  I hope your Thursday is not notorious, but rather, more towards the end of pleasant on the spectrum.  Maybe if we all imagine in the garden of our minds that Thursdays are just happy accidents, that whole notion of a joyful Thursday will come true.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nothing deep or meaningful about it


I feel weird writing this post today, it feels like a Monday post to talk about my fitness goals for this week, and recap what I got accomplished health/fitness wise last week.  But here I am doing it anyway, because Monday felt like the best day to post incredibly happy news, so that's what I did instead.

My goal last week was to run 2 miles three times, and complete 1 cross training session.  Of that, I did the three 2 mile runs, but I didn't manage to squeeze in the cross training over the weekend.  So, a 75%, a solid "C" for the week.  Unless you count the awesome massage I got on Saturday as Cross Training, in which case, I totally rocked that ish.

Yeah, I don't really count it either.  But I really wish that I did.  That would be amazing.  A C doesn't feel good enough for me, it doesn't feel like I worked hard enough, or pushed to get results.  And so as I looked back on what the problems were last week, I tweaked a few things to hopefully make them slightly more Kristen-friendly.

I remembered that I really tend to hate working out on Mondays and Fridays, so I flip-flopped things around for this week... we'll see if it helps me stay on track and get ALL of my workouts in this week!  Whatever helps me get them in is what I'm gonna do.  At this point, I am less concerned about adequately spacing rest days, and more so with getting back in the habit of doing some sort of exercise regularly.  Also, I'm working with the run/walk intervals, since that's what I'll be using in my training plan and on race day for my next half.

And while not explicitly stated, I will also be stretching and foam rolling the crap out of my legs. 

I feel like I should say something deep or meaningful about meeting my goals, and striving for new opportunities.  But truly, as I write this, I am crazy exhausted, and the wind is howling, and I'm not wearing a bra.  There is no deep or meaningful thought left in my noggin right now.  And if there were, it would be about wine, or the love of dogs, or something to do with slippers, because those are the things that are seeing me through this Monday evening.  Like I said, Monday workouts just don't tend to be a "thing" for me.  Also, Pinterest is just not helping a sister out with the motivational mumbo-jumbo tonight.  #firstworldprobs

So please just tell me in the comments below anything.  Maybe... that you're working out too, and how it's sometimes hard.  Or how you only have deep thoughts while wearing flannel.  Or that you hate when the wind sounds like a ghost.  I don't know.  But share so that we can all be happy, because it's Tuesday, and all Tuesdays need a little bit more random happiness.

Monday, January 13, 2014

If you have big news, and no one is around to hear it...

At our wedding in June, our officiant led into the telling of Ammon's and my love story by asking everyone to consider the thought experiment of "If two people are on a first date, and one of them doesn't know it's a date, does it still count as a first date?"  It was totally accurate of our start as a couple.  However, I can't say it's been accurate of this news that I have not kept a secret at all had a really hard time not shouting from the rooftops.  And today I'm going to share it with you, my blogger friends.  I'm sorry you're among the last to know.  I didn't mean for it to work out that way.  But you all were some of the FIRST to know when Ammon proposed along the side of the road on our way to TCBY, so it's fair, I think.

This is where Ammon tells me "Get on with the damn story, Kristen".  Punctuated by drinking delicious beer.  Okay, okay.  Sheesh.

So the big news... the big, Earth shattering, life changing news.

Last Wednesday, I was offered, and subsequently accepted a job transfer to be the Accounts Receivable Clerk for my office!!!  It is a position I have wanted for about 2.5 years now, and it means that I will be engaging in substantially less customer service, answer the phone less, and spend all day with blessed ledgers and spreadsheets.  And while some of you may consider all of that to be your own personal circle of hell, wait until I show you my new office.

Oh yeah, I get a new office, too.  With a door that locks, and 3 windows to the outside.  If you had seen the happy dance that I did when I got a cubicle 6 months ago, you will understand that the idea of having a private office is such a revelation that I just can't even start.

The new job doesn't "officially" start until February 10th, and in the meantime, I'm wrapping up my current job as an Assistant Property Manager, training the new APM, and training in my new role.  It's a pretty hectic work schedule for the next month!  So please understand if I'm a little... quiet... on these here interwebs for the next month or two while we're all settling in.  I promise that I'll be back, and that I'll do my best to pop in when I can!

Friday, January 10, 2014

I like big news and I can not lie

I am officially one of those people who has big news, but isn't going to tell any of you about it yet (unless you're Michelle, in which case you know, because you demanded to know when I was bursting at the seams with good news.  You are now a secret keeper).  I know.  It's kind of rude to just prance around in front of you all with big news, and refuse to share it until some undisclosed future date.  Oh, what am I saying... I'll probably share my news on Monday.  It makes me so happy, and half of you will probably think it's silly.  I don't care, because I legitimately looked like this all day Wednesday:

Sometimes I get so excited that all of the tendons in my neck pop out.  Fun.

And for those of you who don't follow my Instagram, we are not pregnant.  That is the only hint that I will give you for now.  Feel free to guess in the comments.  I hope that you all have a happy, happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

That didn't quite go as anticipated

I am awful at keeping to workout schedules.  So, so, so awful.  I am even worse about working out when I don't have one, so I make them, knowing that they probably won't be followed nearly as well as they should be.  I tend to be somewhat rebellious when it comes to workout schedules.
From Pinterest

After being super excited about finally figuring out how to make those image do-hickey-thingamajigs on PicMonkey that all of the good workout people make, I went and blew the schedule on the very first day.  Ooooops.  That isn't a very good start I suppose.  I did catch up last night, though, and got in 2.18 miles of run/walk, plus stretching and foam rolling.  Mondays and Fridays are a huge challenge for me in terms of working out, so I may shift my workouts for the next few weeks so that they fall on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and one weekend workout.  Hopefully this will help me to actually get the work done in order to start a half marathon training plan.

And speaking of half marathon training... Only 7 days into the New Year, and I am already re-evaluating my goals for my next half marathon on May 4.  I had hoped that this would be "MY" race, and that I could realize my goal of running 13.1 miles in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.  Well, then that 2.18 mile run yesterday happened.  It didn't feel good.  It wasn't pretty.  In fact, it was miserable, and my hips protested a bit.  It made me seriously consider when I want to peak in my training, and what my marathon plans for September will be.  I want to meet my goals, but not to permanent detriment to my body.  That's just craziness, and not worth it.  For the record, I WILL run a half marathon in 2:30 or less in 2014... but since I'm already planning on doing 3 or 4 half marathons, I have options, and it's worthless to limit your options when it comes to things like which race you plan to set a PR at.

So instead of doing the same things I've been doing in the past, I am going to take a different approach to this next half-marathon, and I'm going to do run-walk intervals of running 5 minutes, walking 1 minute.  I'm going to use Jenny Hadfield's Run-Walk Half Marathon training program.  My goal for this half marathons is going to be consistency.  Sticking with the intervals.  Keeping steady pacing in both the running and walking portions.  Not going out so hard that I hurt myself and limp in.  Being able to cross the finish line with a little gas left in the tank.  All of these are things that I will be proud to accomplish on May 4.  No, it isn't running the whole way, but since I haven't gotten quite there yet, I think being able to say that I ran 5/6ths will be better than "I made it to 8 miles and couldn't go any further, so I limped in".  That's the hope, at least.  I don't know.

This is what I look like after limping to the finish line.  Not pretty.  Poor Alyx does not want to hang out with me looking all gross and grumpy and shit.  Also, this is probably one of the only pictures I've taken where you can actually see some of my scars from knee surgery.  Neato.

Honestly, I'm pretty excited about this run/walk program.  It looks challenging, but doable, and intervals are nice because you're constantly switching things up and less likely to be bored.  My theory, at least, because running is kind of boring unless you're with people who are willing to chat/commiserate the whole damn way with you.

Anyway, hos are your goals/themes/words/resolutions going?  Are you still right on top of them, or are you having to re-evaluate a little?

Monday, January 6, 2014

How I'm getting my groove back

First of all, thank you to all of you for your support on my last post about running and transitioning to the triathlon in 2015.  You guys... you are so wonderful.  I have no words most of the time for how much I value each of you.  Also, I know I have sucked at keeping up with comments.  I have hardly been opening my laptop lately, and any of you who I have emailed via phone, or texted with know what a train wreck I am with that particular technology...  Poor excuses.  I'm working on that, and on reconnecting with things and people that are important to me.

You know what is absolutely insane?  Despite my big running goals for 2014, I have not run more than a half a mile or so since the Shiner Beer Run back in November.  I haven't even worked out.  Nope.  I enjoyed taking a break from it.  I needed to take a break, to recover, to do other things.  Those other things ended up being reading, watching copious amounts of tv, and spending time with the husband and animals.  And it was all blissful.  I am so glad I did it.

But, all good things must come to an end, so that something better can come along and take its place.  Like finally capturing that sub- 2:30 half marathon that I know I am capable of.

So I'm now going to ease back into running and working out.  I always feel the need to have a plan for what I'm doing, otherwise I'm always afraid that I'll become directionless and give up.  Naturally, during this entire hiatus from working out, I have been planning how I would dive back into it all when I came back.  How much I was going to back off on mileage, what I knew I would need to commit to doing so that I could meet my goals.  I need to build a base weekly mileage of at least 12 miles in the next 5 weeks so that I can start a 12 week half marathon training plan.  On paper, that sounds easy, but in my head this sounds really hard.  12 miles is 3- 4 mile runs, or 4- 3 mile runs, or some combination thereof.  Something I feel like I did wrong in the past was not taking my weekday runs seriously, and counting on my weekend long runs to successfully get me to the finish line.  I don't want to fall victim to that again.  I need to work on my discipline with my weekday workouts, and not falling victim to "being too busy" or "being too tired" or "I don't feel like it right now". 

For me, it's about taking things one week at a time, and not getting bogged down with details, or with what I have coming up in the future.  Just one step, and then the next.  So my plan for this week is as follows:

It seems so simple... and yet, that is the challenge for me.  I always feel like I can discount the little things, when in reality, those are the things that are most important, and have the biggest impact.

Since I'm nosy incredibly curious about the lives of others, and because it's resolution season, what are you doing this week to work towards your 2014 goals?  Please tell me below, and I'll do my best to email everyone a little extra encouragement this week!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

This opportunity comes once in a lifetime

My first two athletic loves are dying for me to fall in love with running.  And I have decided that 2014 will be the year that this happens.  It has to happen, because after 2014, I might not get the chance again for a while.

Sounds ominous, right?

After much consideration, 2014 will be the LAST year I focus a lot of energy into running distances over a  10k.  Or, at least I most likely won't be focusing on longer distance running for several years.  It was a hard, painstaking decision to make.  However, it was made based on my plans for the future, my dreams, and my goals.  I never set out to become a runner.  I set out to fall in love with running enough that I could accomplish a goal that has been in my heart since I was 15 years old.

The Olympic distance Triathlon.  The culmination of my two first athletic loves, and this athletic endeavor that is such a challenge to me.  1500m swim, 25 mile bike ride, and a 10k run.  Let me tell you, this would be a huge challenge for me to complete.  1500 meters of swimming is NO JOKE, and the thought of running 6.2 miles after 30 minutes of swimming and almost 2 hours on a bike makes me cringe.  Yet at the same time, it ignites a fire in me.  It whispers "oh eff yes, you can so rock this" to me.

The thing is, I don't want to just "do" triathlons.  I want to be GOOD at the triathlon.  It would be easy for me to go out there and do well in the swim and the bike, then wog my way through the "run".  But that isn't really what I want.  I would love to go out there and do my personal best in all three phases, and finish with times that reflect hard work and dedication.
Another reason for making this the last year is family planning.  While we have put the baby making discussion on hold for the time being, we do plan to reopen the subject after my full marathon in September.  I know that a lot of women continue to run and race long distances while pregnant, but based on what I know of my body and my family history, this will not be viable for me.  My uterus has a weird forward tilt that indicates that I will "show" very early in my pregnancy, and likely be bigger than a house before I give birth.  And while my mom remained active during both of her pregnancies, she gained nearly 50 lbs while pregnant with me, and more than that while pregnant with my brother.  So while I can see short 3-4 mile very slow jogs, I just can't imagine myself being that girl showing up to a half marathon while pregnant.

But perhaps the reason that weighs so heavily on my heart for why I plan to give up long distance running is my health.  My body really has had a hard time adjusting to it.  I have had complications with my IT bands.  Most recently, I have had circulation problems.  These are problems I deal with in my everyday life that have been magnified by the pressures of distance running.  And while I want to prove to myself that I can do these hard things, and that it's possible for me to be a successful runner, I realize that I may never overcome some of these limitations.

I am so excited to have one last year to make my mark with running.  To meet the goals that I have set for myself within this discipline.  To try to become the best runner that I can become, in just 12 short months.  I might not have this opportunity again.  Like so many things in life, you only get one shot at a particular moment, and this is it for me with running.  I don't want to blow it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I have plans for 2014

Happy New Year!

Did you do anything fun?  We didn't.  We crawled into bed around 10, just like any other night.  Womp, womp.  However, I'm nursing a sinus infection, and Ammon was snoring like a lumberjack, so I was awake to acknowledge the start of a new year.  And man, do I have some big plans for this year.  2014 is going to be incredible, I can just tell.  Some of the things that I will make happen for myself and my family this year:

- I am going to rock my internship.  I haven't talked about it here yet, but my work is allowing me to complete my accounting internship with them during my paid work hours, and it's a huge opportunity for me to grow into an accounting position.

- Get some travel in.  We have so many people to visit after the wedding, and I want to make a dent in that list.  The top 3 places we are wanting to visit are MN, VA, and WA.

- Run the Lincoln Half Marathon on May 4, 2014 in 2:30 or less.  I signed up for my next half marathon this morning, and I have high hopes that this will be my race, finally.
Either way, though, I'll be running with Alyx, so it will be awesome.

- Graduate from my Associate's in Accounting program and start work on my Bachelor's.  

- Move into a house!  We aren't ready to buy, but we are ready for something a little bigger and more homey than where we are now.

- Run a full marathon.  Yup.

- Get back on the bike.  I miss it.

- Celebrate an amazing first year of marriage, and five years of togetherness with that husband of mine.

If it were up to me (and it's not), we would celebrate this with ALL of the holiday/Bill Cosby sweaters.

So here's to the New Year!  Can't wait to hear all about the fun and exciting things that you all have planned, so tell me about them below!