Thursday, March 28, 2013

Learning the same lessons again and again

Hey friends!

As you may know, last Friday was my birthday. I had a stressful week at work (and several weeks leading up to it, honestly) and I was planning to take the day off work, sleep in, and do some shopping. Pat and my friends were gone for spring break, so it was just going to be me most of the day, but with living with Pat and two other roommates, I so rarely have the house (or my room) to myself, I was looking forward to it. Emily, my older sister, and I were going to have dinner. Simple. But perfect.

Then, leading up to my birthday, all week, people kept asking me what I was going to do for my birthday. (My own fault, really, for telling them it was my birthday.) First, coworkers. Then students.

And when I explained my plans (sleep in, shop a little, watch basketball) they all said, "Oh, but you have to do something fun!"

Everyone I talked to, it seemed my plans were not enough.

To have a good birthday, apparently, you have to have a big party. You have to go out and drink. You have to go skydiving or get a tattoo or do something worthy of telling your coworkers, something they can be impressed by.

And I began to believe it.

I've written before about how I'm really bad about comparing myself to others. I've also written about struggling to believe in the beauty of living simply -- of small joys, of quiet conversations, of reading books and enjoying time alone -- when the world glamorizes risk taking, breathless, the once-in-a-lifetime-movie-worthy-experiences.

(and even in that sentence, I have to challenge my thinking, because I've just implied my story isn't worth telling)

So I let myself get down on my plans. And I think I've fallen into this trap for a long time, especially with my birthday.

I began to think about the friends who were gone on spring break. I thought about the friends I've spent past birthdays with who, for whatever reason, are not in my life anymore.

I thought about the birthday parties I've gone to in the past for others and the birthday parties I've helped throw and (being super honest here, folks) wondered why I wasn't worth all the fanfare. Why, again and again, I end up alone on my birthday. I let myself feel not enough.

I threw myself a pity party. And I let myself be pathetic and feel pathetic.

On my birthday, I woke up at 10:15 ish. I laid in bed feeling sorry for myself. I answered a text from my mom by saying "Birthdays are stupid." I cried. I let my misery pool around me and I lied there in it.

I'm not sure what finally turned it around.

Around noon, I was tired of being miserable. I got dressed and went for a run in misty-almost-rain. I came home and had ice cream for lunch because I could.

I showered and went shopping. I bought a bunch of picture frames that I used later to hang some pictures from studying abroad. I went to the running store and bought some gear/supplies I'd been putting off buying.

And then I went to Emily's and she made me a FEAST and bought me ice cream and our Jayhawks won. It was delicious and fun and simple and perfect.

Once I stopped comparing my birthday to what I thought it should be (which was based on what everyone else thought it should be) I had a really good day.

And so, again and again, I'm learning to love what I love, regardless of anything else.

I'm learning that comparison is the thief of joy.

And slowly, every day, I'm learning that I am enough. I am worthy of love and support and I deserve to succeed. I work hard enough. I'm pretty enough. I'm strong enough. I am good enough.

I am enough.

Upon their return to Lawrence, my lovely friends Jenna and Sam, along with the wonderful bf Patrick, surprised me with a birthday dinner. I thought I was going to a poetry reading with Jenna and there the boys were.

This Saturday, I'm going to lunch with a friend from school.

It's not breathtaking. It's not shots in a crowded bar or tons of people all around me. It's nothing that would make the trailer of a movie, nothing to impress my coworkers.

But little moments -- homemade dinner with my sister, a surprise birthday celebration, hands held under the table and boys in button-up shirts, something to look forward to on a Saturday -- these are moments I'll remember, moments that build my relationships and build me up and make me feel valued and loved.

It's what I want, what I love. What else could I really ask for?

Hope you're all having a stellar Thursday. Happy almost weekend!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Perfect Night In Swap!

Hey friends!

Double posting really quick today. Gotta give a couple huge thank you shout outs to a couple girls.

Lin and Amber recently hosted a blog swap with the theme "Perfect Night In." I was paired with Tristan, which was so fun -- I've never been paired with a blogger I already knew before, and I definitely got a great package for it!

Tristan sent me a fitness magazine (which was too funny because I looked for one for her but couldn't find any!), a book off my goodreads list (which I don't already have!) a recipe for cookies and cream popcorn (loooove cookies and cream anything) a few bags of popcorn, some mini bottles of wine (so cute!) and a fun notepad, which I'm sure will be put to excellent use since I am a notorious list maker. :)

Such a fun swap!

Thank you so much Tristan for the excellent package, and thank you Lin and Amber for hosting!

Thoughts on eight miles: Training Tuesdays

Hi friends!

It's Training Tuesday again! I'm using it to track my half marathon training, but if you have any goal you've been working on, feel free to join me and Tamara in the fun. We want to congratulate you!

Link up here and grab a button, if you want. :)

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: Typically this would be interval day, but it was kind of wet weather out and I was scared of slipping if I ran too fast, so I opted for an easy three miles instead (easy meaning an easy pace, not that the miles were easy).
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: Birthday! Ran a misty two miles
Saturday: Snow. Merfed. I was supposed to run eight but had to rearrange my schedule and stick it somewhere else.
Sunday: More snow. Three treadmill miles. Treadmills are THE WORST.
Monday: Eight miles. Inside. Fortunately on the track rather than a treadmill. But still. Yuck.

Pits of the week: 
I know I've said it a lot, but I am so over winter. An eight mile indoor run is no fun. And neither are treadmill runs.

Peaks of the week:
For my birthday, I bought myself some new running gear! None of it is too super exciting, but it was all stuff I needed. I got an armstrap thingy for my iPhone, a water bottle like this to carry with me on long training runs, some sweat-wicking socks and some Gu and other energy supplements for long runs. I'm hoping to do some reviews after I've tried it all out for a while!

And now, I'd like to share with you my thoughts during and after my eight-mile run. 

First off, it went really really well. I maintained between a 10:24 and 10:42 pace the whole run, even allowing for a couple stops at the water fountain! That's about my pace during any run I go on. I finished in 1:24. What this tells me is that I have it in me to really kick it up a few notches during my shorter runs because if I can maintain that pace for eight miles, I should be able to do a faster pace for three.

No one is my friend when I'm running an indoor track. I think a lot of cuss words and insults in my head when I'm running on an indoor track. Like, PICK A LANE AND STAY IN IT. And PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE YOU'RE GOING. And GET OFF YOUR DANG PHONE AND STICK TO ONE LANE OR I'M GOING TO RUN RIGHT OVER YOU.

I tried a Gu after the fifth mile. After hearing all about it from other runners, I was pleasantly surprised. Not that I want to eat it constantly. I just expected it to be the worst thing of my life and it wasn't.

And for the last three miles, my thoughts sounded about like this: Less than three miles left. Less than three miles left. Less than three miles left. Only two miles left! Less than two miles left. (which, really, is incredible since I never thought I'd be running more than two miles at a time.)

But after? After my thoughts went a little like this:

I am REALLY REALLY hungry.
Or maybe I'm going to puke?
Are those cramps? What's happening in my abdomen right now?
Water please!
Oh wait, maybe I really am going to puke.
Now I'm breathing really hard again. Really? Like ten minutes later?

And then I went home and flopped on the couch and ate spaghetti.

That, my friends, is the real life truth of running eight miles.

Sorry this post is up kind of late! I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far! 
I was a big fat failure last week and still need to catch up and comment on your posts. I promise I'll be better!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Twenty four

Hey friends!

I turned twenty four last Friday. Thank you all SO much for your wonderful tweets and comments! You really made my day. :)

But twenty four. Wow.

A year ago (plus a few days, now) I wrote a post with twenty four goals to accomplish in my 23rd year -- 24 Before 24. I remember getting the idea from other blogs, and every now and then I'd see a blogger who didn't complete her list, and I'd think, well that's silly. I'll definitely finish mine.


Truth is, a lot can change in a year. Since this time last year, I quit my old job and started grad school, which also meant starting an internship. I moved in with Pat and started running (which was actually sparked by one of my goals!).

The amount of time I had to dedicate to goals changed, my interests changed. And altogether, I changed.

I did some extra on some of the goals... Maybe that makes up for the ones I missed? :)

I thought about making another list for this year. I even thought of a few goals -- bake for the office, fill the office candy dish, finally read the His Dark Materials series volunteer for a race. And those are all things I hope I'll do, maybe in the next year.

But ultimately I decided not to make another list. Because who knows where I'll be in another year? I'll be about to graduate (again), searching for a job, writing my final compositions. I'll have run a half marathon. I'll be turning twenty five (holy moly). And while there's lots I hope to achieve in the next year, I also want to be open to anything and everything. I want to do things because I want to, not because they're on a list.

We'll see what comes.

Just for fun, here's a look at my list and what got done and what didn't. :)

1. Send 24 letters --  I did this one -- and more! This was the first I crossed off, I think.

2. Visit Simone -- This one, unfortunately, didn't happen. And it's probably the one I wish had happened the most. I mean, how awful is it that in a WHOLE YEAR I didn't make it out to visit my friend in her new home? (that isn't really so new anymore...) But the situation is going to be rectified -- I'm headed out to see Simone at the end of April!

3. Visit Meleah -- Check! I wrote about it here. :)

4. Learn to juggle! -- nope! Still just as uncordinated as ever.

5. Learn a song on the guitar -- nope. On my original list I said, "I've had a guitar for years and can play absolutely nothing on it. I've toted from home to a dorm back home to a house back home to a different dorm, back home again and to a new house and can't do a dang thing with it but carry it around." This is all still true.

6. Finish a puzzle with Pat -- Check! Wrote about it here.

7. Try 24 new recipes -- Check!

8. Learn to sew on a sewing machine -- Nope. Partially, this was on the list because I was going to buy a sewing machine. When I started grad school, I decided I didn't have the time to invest or the money, really, and never bought one.

9. Make one of my dream decor crafts -- Check! Here and here.

10. Go see a local play or musical -- Check! It wasn't really "local," but I counted it because I so rarely see a play! I went to Beauty and the Beast when it came through Lawrence. :)

11. Finish the project I started when I was home for Thanksgiving -- Check! Although it's not on display anywhere. Posts here and here.
12. Go to three new bars and three new restaurants in my hometown -- Check!
13. Start an etsy shop -- This most definitely did NOT happen. Mostly the same reasons as the sewing machine thing -- with grad school, it just hasn't been a priority.
14. Go rock climbing -- Nope. Turns out Pat hates rock climbing, and I never found someone else to go (not that I tried very hard).

15. Find a few great local hiking spots -- I like to think this one didn't happen because I ended up falling in love with running. But also, I never really tried. Whoops. Another time/priority conflict, I think.

16. See a psychic -- I still REALLY want this to happen. 

17. Memorize this poem and this one -- I got the first, never got the second.

18. Complete a 5k -- Obviously this happened. :) Posts here, here and here. :)

19. Try kickboxing -- I did this one! I went to a class at KU's rec center. I also just bought a Groupon for Title Boxing Club! I think I might start with one of their family friendly classes. :) Seems less intimidating.

20. Send flowers to someone -- Check! Sent to my hardworking, incredible mom. :)

21. Buy something I would usually be too scared to wear and actually wear it -- Skinny jeans! Colored skinny jeans! Scarves! 

22. Treat myself to something I would normally talk myself out of just because I can -- Check! I bought a Bare Minerals starter kit. And maybe a few more things... 

23. Hold a dinner party for my friends -- Check! Posted here.

24. Try five new foods. -- Guys. I rocked this one. I tried nine new foods. Quinoa! Spring rolls! Caramel frappuccino! Fried okra! Eggplant Parmesan! Pad Thai! Sweet potato! Pears! and Pomegranate! I would eat five of them again. :)

So there it is. The truth is out. I, like the bloggers I scoffed at, did not finish my 24 before 24 list.

But I did have a really good year.

Hope you're all having a great Monday! Don't forget Training Tuesday tomorrow, if you're linking up!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Forever Fitness Challenge: A few more additions!

Hey friends!

We've had a few late additions to the Forever Fitness Challenge! I'd like for you all to meet Amy and Becky!

Amy is such a fun blogger to follow! She blogs over at Taking Steps Home about everything from decorating and theme parties to whatever is really on her heart each week. Amy has several goals going on -- the first is to work out four times a week! She also wants to cook more and work on making healthier choices, including getting a handle on portion control. She said "I am going after this goal to finally turn my life around and embrace a healthy lifestyle... This is a challenge because I'm a quitter. I start something all of the time, try it for a few weeks, and then BAM I quit. I'm tired of quitting, I want this to be a lifestyle change."

Becky blogs at The Saved Runner and she's been running for a while -- girl's already done three half marathons! Becky wants to work on her speed and will be doing at least one speed workout a week. She's also wanting her mid-distance and long-distance pace to be a little faster.

She said "This will be a challenge for me because it has been about three years since I have really tried to push myself while running or since I have gone out and run sprints. I have gotten out of the habit of pushing myself while running."

I'm adding both these lovelies to the original post so if you are looking to follow everyone in the challenge, you should bookmark the original meet and greet!

In other news, my HUGE work project is finally over, although I have a medium-sized one (that seemed huge before I got last week's project!) coming up, so hopefully I'll be able to catch up on all ya'lls blogs! (I didn't even comment on last week's Training Tuesday posts yet! Eep!)

Hope you've all had a WONDERFUL weekend! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Acting As If: Training Tuesdays

Hi friends!

It's training Tuesday again! I'm using it to track my half marathon training, but if you have any goal you've been working on, feel free to join me and Tamara in the fun. We want to congratulate you!

Link up here and grab a button, if you want. :)

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: 2.15 miles of intervals. I remember I cut the cool-down run short... don't remember why. Was there a basketball game maybe?
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: Another unintentional rest day. Looks like Fridays are hard days for me to run -- I'm always so tired at the end of the week!
Saturday: Seven miles!
Sunday: Didn't do anything... whoops. Was supposed to make up Friday's run and/or crosstrain. I did neither.
Monday: Three miles outside!

Pits of the week: 
Obviously I missed a run this week. Womp womp. I didn't feel up to it Friday -- work has still been crazy -- and my hip felt funny after my long run. I'm wondering if I gave myself too much lenience with my goals -- I'm allowed to miss a certain number of runs as long as they aren't my long runs. But at the same time, I know life is crazy and I'm not really that mad at myself for missing the run. So... yup.

Peaks of the week:
Guys, my seven miles went really, really well. Like, it was hard, but not nearly as hard as six miles were the first time I did that. My pace was pretty consistent. My last mile was super fast (for me anyway) at 9:45. The rest of my miles were all in between 10:25 and 10:47. There were a few crazy hills thrown in there, but I'm not sure if they correlate with the longer times or not.

I don't have a whole lot of an extra topic today. But I'm about to ramble pretty hard core. This is your fair warning.

A lot of what I've been thinking about is the ways running treats me on different days.

There are some days when the last thing I want to do in the world is put my running shoes on. Where the only thing that gets me out that door is the damn sticker chart I made and the fact that I posted my goals on here.

Training can be another stress in my life, another deadline to meet, another time sucker that keeps me from my loved ones. I wonder sometimes (especially on long runs inside -- the WORST) why I'm doing this.

But almost every time, putting on my running clothes is all I need to do. Once I suit up -- I'm in the spandex, I'm in the shoes, my hair is back -- there's nothing to do but go. Just run, one foot in front of the other.

A lot of times, when I have no motivation, no energy -- that's when it comes to me, when I put on my running clothes. My mom always told me and my sisters to Act As If. Not confident going into the 8th grade formal? Act As If you are, and people will believe it. Not sure you're going to win over the interview panel? Act As If.

Not sure you can make it out the door? Act As If.

Obviously, I missed a run this week. I could use some of my own advice.

But I think putting all of this out here -- telling you all my goals, and whether I actually make a run or not -- some of that is Acting As If. As if I have my act together and all this figured out and it's going to be a breeze.

I hope none of you look at this blog and think training has been a breeze so far.

Real talk: right now I have an ache in my right hip. I didn't want to run today and I missed a run yesterday. I feel like I need a bunch of new running gear before my next run, I still haven't figured out to "fuel" right, and I'm probably going to show up at the local running store this week and leave with a bunch less money in my bank account.

My point is, some days I'm a hot mess.

But today, I got home -- an hour late, after waking up early to take Pat to the airport (which is my least favorite activity) -- and I put on my running clothes. I laced up my running shoes, and I ran.

And it was one of those dream runs that leave you energized and feeling flawless and ready to take on the world. Man I wish I could channel that feeling when I really need it.

Because sometimes training is just what I need, you know?

Ramble ramble ramble. It's been a long day, folks. But since I'm using this as pretty much the only way to document my training and my thoughts throughout, there it is.

Hope you're all having a wonderful week. Think good thoughts for me at work this week -- let's all hope I make it to 24, mmmmkay?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Forever Fitness Challenge: Meet and Greet!

Hey friends!

Can I just tell you that this community has already made a difference in my life? Yesterday when I set out on my long run for the week, I was thinking of you guys. And it made me happy. :)

So I wanted to introduce you all to each other. I hope you'll stop by each other's blogs, check it out, and be encouraging! I'll be sure to share updates as our time progresses?

(For any who may have missed it, I threw out a fitness challenge. You can read about it here. This is probably the last chance you have to sign up, so let me know if you want in! :)

Breenah is a beautiful mom to a beautiful little girl. She started running a little while ago and has been doing so awesome! When she started she says she could barely jog a minute, and last update she was pretty pumped about her progress.

Breenah is signed up for a 5k at the beginning of May, and her goal is to finish that 5k! She said, "I feel more energized when I exercise and eat right. I hate feeling lazy and bleh. I also want to be able to play with my daughter more."

Amanda is one cool American lady living in Asia!  Amanda shared a wonderful post recently about the mental blocks she's working to overcome with working out, and guys... she's rocking it.

Amanda has never been a runner before, but she has challenged herself to run a 5k by her birthday in the beginning of May! She said, "My main motivation is that I just want to see what my body can do. I want my body to work for me and I want to be strong and feel good."

Kaitlyn is one of the sweetest Southern girls you'll ever meet. Kaitlyn did a post about her goals recently, and she's definitely challenging herself! She plans to work out every weekday, working in the 30 Day Shred program. She's also doing 6-pack March! AND she's also tracking what she eats.

Kaitlyn said her main motivation is to be healthier. "I also don't want to be overweight the rest of my life. I have been since I was 11. Enough is enough."

Melissa is a super inspiring blogger and is always posting great healthy living ideas! Throughout this challenge, she'll be focusing on tracking her food, eating more fruits and veggies instead of processed foods, limiting her sweets, and drinking more water. Like I said -- super inspiring goals, right?

She said this is challenging because she tends to make excuses in the area of her diet. "I don't feel at my best when I'm not eating the best. I basically feel like my "healthy living" is only half there because my diet is all over the place."

Kate is one of my blogging bffs. She's hilarious. And she's a librarian who loves books. Kate is challenging herself to run at least 12 miles a week and to hit at least one 6-mile run by the end of the challenge. She said this would be a challenge time-wise. Sometimes it's hard to fit in the all running she wants to do! "So this will make me run more frequently or have longer runs. Either way, it will be a challenge, especially to find the time!"

(I'm such a creeper -- I already had a picture of Kate in my blog history and just had to pull it up. :)

Also already had this pic...
Ya'll should be seriously excited that Tamara is joining in, because she is one of the most encouraging people you'll ever know. Tamara has a beautiful daughter and a husband that kicks doors in. She cooks for her family often, so during this challenge, she wants three of those weekly meals to be healthy, low-calorie meals that still taste good. She's also hoping to lose 10 pounds!

She said, "This is a challenge because I'm happy with the way I look. I'm proud of the running journey I've been on this past year and what my body has done for me and that makes it really hard to commit to losing weight. I live in the south where if it ain't fried, it ain't good so I grew up cooking that way. This will be challenge because I've never had to cook healthy."

Tristan is such a talented girl, and she's a BAMF when it comes to working out. Seriously. She's also got a mile goal of 12 miles a week! She said, "I know I love running, but sometimes it's freezing outside and I can't run there, or the Y is jam packed and there's not a treadmill so I find myself just going longer on the elliptical or stairmaster, so I want to make sure I'm actually running those 12 somehow!"

Becky blogs at The Saved Runner and she's been running for a while -- girl's already done three half marathons! Becky wants to work on her speed and will be doing at least one speed workout a week. She's also wanting her mid-distance and long-distance pace to be a little faster.

She said "This will be a challenge for me because it has been about three years since I have really tried to push myself while running or since I have gone out and run sprints. I have gotten out of the habit of pushing myself while running."

Amy is such a fun blogger to follow! She blogs over at Taking Steps Home about everything from decorating and theme parties to whatever is really on her heart each week. Amy has several goals going on -- the first is to work out four times a week! She also wants to cook more and work on making healthier choices, including getting a handle on portion control. She said "I am going after this goal to finally turn my life around and embrace a healthy lifestyle... This is a challenge because I'm a quitter. I start something all of the time, try it for a few weeks, and then BAM I quit. I'm tired of quitting, I want this to be a lifestyle change."

And you can read about my goals here. :)

I am already so proud of all of you -- for setting goals to improve yourselves, for putting yourselves out there. And thankful for the motivation you've already given me! I think this is going to be fun!

Hope you've all had a fabulous weekend. <3

Thursday, March 14, 2013


...I'm the only one (or one of few, what uppp Genna!) who just uses my dashboard to read blogs instead of Google Reader.

However, thanks to Twitter, I know that the world is in a panic about Google Reader ending. I hear tell the dashboard/GFC might end too?

Anyway. For when the world ends, you can find me on Bloglovin here, if you'd like.


And just for fun, here's Chewy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thank you! Training Tuesday

Hi friends!

It's training Tuesday again. I'm using it to track my half marathon training, but if you have any goal you've been working on, feel free to join me and Tamara in the fun. We want to congratulate you!

Link up here and grab a button, if you want. :)

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: Intervals! My new favorite. 2.35 miles, six repititions of 1-min-fast, 2-min-slower, plus a warm up and a cool down
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Ran to make up for the run I missed Monday. Three miles, rec center track
Friday: Unintentional rest day. Last week was Stressing. Me. Out.
Saturday: Six miles inside. Woof.
Sunday: Did cross (which was on the schedule) and two miles (which I was supposed to do Friday). Because I was running, I did non-cardio stuff for "crosstraining" (which I think is not the definition of cross) and I lifted weights and did some abs. I'm sore!

Pits of the week: 
Ya'll... I was not smart about my long run this week. I ate a crap dinner (that tasted sooo good) a couple hours before and let's just say I regretted it during my 6 miles. The first half was awful. The second half, not as bad. But I was glad to be done. And I picked the totally wrong shorts. Won't wear those again.

Peaks of the week:

One of my classmates is also training for a half marathon. I think hers comes before mine -- I'm not sure of the date -- but yesterday she posted a picture of a charm that said "13.1." The caption said something along the lines of, I bet you didn't think I could make it this far! with the gist being that she was proving everyone wrong.

Sometimes, I feel like that's a part of people's personality -- they like to think they're proving people wrong and doing better than expected, even if the nay-sayers are imagined. And I don't know for sure if people really are telling her she can't do it or if it's self doubt or what.

But it just made me stop and think about how freaking lucky I am.


I barely hesitated when I signed up for my half -- and my hesitation was more about the financial risk and cost of injury than about any doubts of my ability to complete the half.

I've never doubted that, if I do my training and work at it, I'll be able to finish 13.1 miles.

And I think you all -- and my family, if you guys are reading, and Pat, who never reads -- I think you all are a big part of it.

You all are so freaking encouraging and wonderful and I love you for it.

So consider this my mini Oscar speech. Sentimentalist like I am, I'll probably end up doing another one when I finish my half (not IF but WHEN).

But I want to thank you all for encouraging me and supporting me. For favoriting my tweets about my runs, for reading my ramblings about running.

For giving me advice and ideas and music and recipes. For not thinking I'm crazy to run 7 miles on a Saturday.

For talking about running. For talking about chub rub and spandex and running shoes and treadmills.

For cheering me on from Virginia and South/North Carolina and Alabama and Washington and Nebraska TEXAS and wherever you crazy kids call home.

You all have let me believe I am amazing and I can do this thing. And I will try my hardest not to let you -- or myself -- down.


PS. I just switched my comments over to Disqus and had some technical difficulties. Please forgive me if you commented yesterday and I didn't answer via email. I'm still figuring it out!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Life update

Hey friends!

So I've been really awful at telling you what I've actually been doing with my time.

Last Saturday, I went to a basketball game...

My friend Julie was in town! She came to the game, we got dinner together and we went out afterwards. And neither of us ever took a picture... whoops. I promise it really happened!

Sunday we went to breakfast with Pat's dad and aunt. Then I drove back to my hometown in Missouri and did some homework, took an online quiz... not much...

Oh yeah. And this:

I took Anna to see Brian Regan live. And it was awesome. (If you are not familiar with Brian Regan, here's a couple links you should check out. The sound is him, not the cartoons, but I quite enjoy the cartoons)

Aaaaand I went to another basketball game...

I also ran a lot, worked a lot. I have a big project going on at work that is stressing. me. out. It'll all go down over spring break, and I will be SO relieved... until my next big project April 6.

One last thing... I also threw down a challenge last week (which you probably know since it's the ONLY thing I blogged about... whoops...). I'm now calling it...

Details are here. You can still join this week! If I've emailed you about it, please email me back by this weekend with your info. :)
I made that banner -- you can use it if you're posting about it. I will be! And I'll have a sidebar-sized button soon too. If you're tweeting about it, you can use the hashtag #foreverfitnesschallenge. Thanks to Melissa for the great ideas!

Alright, that's all for me. Gotta get going for work!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In case you missed it...

because it was hidden in my Training Tuesday post this week, I am hosting a challenge/giveaway!

The challenge is based on YOUR healthy living goals. 
So think about it! I talked about mine here, but yours might be that halfway through, you want to be able to run for 15 minutes, and by the end, 30 minutes. Or you might want to work out three times a week for the entire duration. Or you might give up smoking. Whatever your goal is, I want to cheer you on as you go after it and celebrate with you when you reach it!

If you read my goals for my half, you'll notice I gave myself some room to mess up and miss a few runs. You should do so too -- be realistic! But still try to challenge yourself. Think, something new, or something you're already doing but at a new level. Be specific so you can celebrate when you know you've done it!

Ideas for attainable goals: Be under your calorie count on MyFitnessPal 90% of the challenge. (or over the count if you're trying to gain weight!) Work out three times a week. Walk every day during your lunch break. Limit your dessert to twice a week. Learn how to cook 10 healthy dinners. Eat five servings of fruits and veggies 85% of the challenge.

The challenge will start this Sunday, March 10, and will go through May 16th, which is a semi-random day after my half marathon. :) That gives you nearly 10 weeks to get after it.

The community.
I'll be checking in on your progress periodically. I'm envisioning a couple posts or emails throughout the challenge updating everyone on everyone else's goals. If you'd rather it be between you and me, that's fine too. You'll have the option either way. You don't have to be a blogger to participate. Just have to be a person with a goal!

Yup. There will be a prize. Eligibility will be decided on whether you reached your goal, and then it'll be a random drawing from there. I'm thinking something athletic/healthy (Nike gift card? Athletic swag off Etsy?) and something to treat yo' self (gift card to Victoria's Secret? Cold Stone?) because you'll deserve it!

Why you should join:
Getting fit and getting healthy can feel SO solitary. You feel like you're the only one pushing through that lap or trying to avoid that doughnut. But there are so many people working for the same or similar things! So we should never feel alone. Also, there will be celebration and prizes!

Interested? Let me know! I'll email you before Sunday to get it going. :) Make sure your profile is linked to an email address (not a no-reply blogger) or leave an email, please!

(If you already said you were interested on Tuesday, no need to tell me again. This is just for anyone who missed that. :)

Questions? Ideas? Let me know that, too please!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What's your goal? Training Tuesdays

Hi friends!

It's training Tuesday again. I'm using it to track my half marathon training, but if you have any goal you've been working on, feel free to join me and Tamara in the fun. We want to congratulate you!

Link up here and grab a button, if you want. :)

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: Another snow storm, another snow day. No run. :(
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: Intervals! More in the "Peaks" section
Friday: 5 miles on the rec center track
Saturday: Hills practice outside. I don't think I'll do this particular work out again -- I did what my training guide suggested and it was less than two miles. Hardly seemed worth it.
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Was supposed to run, but life is hectic. Will reschedule to Wednesday or Thursday

Pits of the week: 
I'm so sick of running inside. I tried to run outside and I was good for about half a mile, then I found a snow mountain that covered the sidewalk. Meh.

I'm also discovering that sometimes a two-mile run is more difficult than a five-mile run. Which means it's a mental/emotional hurdle, which I think is maybe harder to overcome. 

Peaks of the week:
I did interval training for the first time! The guide I bought for my half has a day a week that's interval training. The ratios will change as I continue, but for now it was a five-minute warm up, then one minute fast (not a sprint, but a definite increase in pace), two minutes slower/average/recovery pace. I did that six times, then did a five-minute cool down run. It went by SO FAST. It was really fun, gave me something to think about as I ran inside yet again, and the fast parts made me feel really fast.

I've also seen people do this by sprinting on the chorus of songs and running the verses slower, which is a cool idea if you don't want to be staring at a timer the whole time. :)

Also, my five miles were quick and easy -- or at least more so than I expected for running inside. Woo! Six miles coming up this week. :)

An Idea.

I had an idea the other day. I want to do a giveaway based on working toward your fitness/healthy living goals. I'm thinking a gift card to Nike or something athletic/healthy at the end, and then maybe one to Dairy Queen or Victoria's Secret or something so you can treat yo' self.

Still working on the prizes.

But basically, I'd ask you to email me about your goals. I'll check in with you periodically and see how you're doing, and at the end, if you've reached your goals, you'll be entered to win the prize.

It'd provide accountability, since you know I'm gonna check in on you, and incentive, because who doesn't like winning things?


If you're interested, leave me a comment saying so! I'll shoot you an email to get started.

You don't have to post for Training Tuesdays to be in the contest. Just have to keep me updated. :)

But just like Training Tuesdays, I'm interested in any kind of fitness/health goals, not just running. So if you're a jazzercisor or a mile a day walker or just trying to eat more veggies...

Tell me--what's your health or fitness goal? And be sure to let me know if you want in! :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Book review: Story of a Girl

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend--Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.

I found Sara Zarr in January when I read her book Sweethearts. Although the book didn't really speak to me in particular, I was so impressed with Zarr's realistic characters and relationships. I picked up Story of a Girl on a whim in the library a few weeks ago.

Guys, this could have been written about my life.

I related SO strongly to so many things in this book. Not that my dad ever caught me in the back seat of someone's car or that I actually DID anything that Deanna did. But so much of what she feels in this book, I've felt too. Even some of the things she did, my friends did or boyfriends did and I had to deal with the repercussions or decide how to respond.

This was a true-to-life book. It was full of emotion and rawness and teenage experience and LIFE. And I loved it.

I gave it four stars and highly recommend it. It's less than 200 pages. What do you have to lose?

Have any of you read Story of a Girl? What did you think?


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