Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Odd Fellows 10k race recap + Training Tuesday

Hey friends! It's Tuesday again, and around here that means I talk about my training! If you're working toward any kind of healthy living goal, feel free to link up and share your progress. Go on, brag about yourself a little!

Workouts this week
Tuesday: I meant to wake up early and run before work and that did not happen. But I was so glad it didn't because the weather was gorgeous that night and there was a drumline in the park!!
Wednesday: I was supposed to run 3.5 miles or intervals and I really really REALLY didn't want to. So I talked myself into at least two miles. And then I ran the whole 3.5!
Thursday: Rest day -- tapering for my race
Friday: Rest day -- tapering
Saturday: Race day!! more below
Sunday: Rest day/I took a walk. To Subway :)
Monday: Instead of running three miles, I took a nap and ate lots of junk food. Oops? :)

Odd Fellows 10k

This weekend I ran my first ever 10k! If you've been around a while, you might remember that over the winter I trained for a 10k -- trained, but never ran one. I just used the training to stay motivated! So I was excited to finally find a 10k that worked with my schedule.

For a while I thought one of my coworkers would be running this one with me, but he backed out, so early Saturday morning I headed out to a small town about 20 minutes away for the race.

I'm growing to love small town races. This was my second small town race and while there are some disadvantages (neither had chip timing and this one didn't have race bibs), they've both been really fun and friendly. This one even served breakfast after! (typical fruit and water, but also pancakes and sausage).

There was a 5k and a 10k at the race this weekend and as we all lined up, I got worried I wouldn't be able to tell where the course split off and that I'd get mixed up or on the wrong path. Thankfully, that wasn't an issue. The course was marked with arrow signs, but there were also volunteers at every turn making sure you were on track. At around two miles, the 5k-ers turned around and the 10k-ers kept on going. I picked a woman running about my pace who was wearing a bright neon yellow shirt and made it my goal to at least keep her in sight.

By this point, we were running in between corn fields and what I think were soybean fields? It was a BEAUTIFUL day and I was able to just enjoy the big blue sky and the country scenery and the light breeze. It was a super pretty race. I wish my phone hadn't been all wrapped up in my armband so I could have taken pictures!

Earlier, when I signed in I saw that there were only two of us registered in my age group for the 10k. Since I knew they were giving awards for top three in each age group, I had hope I'd get an award -- but there were day-of registrations, too, so I tried not to have too high of expectations. Besides, getting an award for second out of two isn't super exciting unless you don't tell people it's out of two. :)

I also had seen one of my coworkers floating around -- I wasn't absolutely sure it was her since I waved and she didn't wave back, but I thought it was her.

Well, turns out she was running the 10k too and she ran juuust ahead of me for most of the race. Around 4.5 miles, I passed her while she was walking, but then within the mile she passed me again. I passed her again within half a mile and stayed ahead for the rest of the race!

My goal going into this race was to be in the 1:05 range, which would have meant about a 10:30 mile pace.

I finished in 1:02.41, a 10:05ish pace, solidly ahead of my time goal, getting my best ever 10k time (counting all the times I've run a 10k in training) AND winning 1st in my age group!

Okay, so it was first out of two. BUT. She was ahead of me most of the race and with all those other personal victories in there, I think it was definitely a big win! It also made me feel really good about how my training has been going this summer -- yeah, I've struggled a lot, but given the right conditions and motivation, I can still bust out an awesome run! which means I've been doing something right.

Are you guys working on any healthy living goals right now? How's it going?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Book review: Peace in a Raging Storm

Peace in a Raging Storm by Jenna Thomas

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here.

They were men of different species. Three men Jade Hawthorn found unusual attractions to. And all this time, she thought they were all human here.

Jade knows her family and friends have secrets, but she has questioned little in her life, until now, when her best friend Richard Gale lets something slip.

His life is in danger and he needs her help. Jade agrees, and in doing so finds out that humans are not the superior race, but in fact, last in the ranking.

As her world unravels around her, she turns to her family for stability, but they are as involved in this new reality as Richard.

Jade finds herself drawn between many truths, three men, and different sides of the same war. Would she choose to stand with her family and the humans, or would she give into love and stand against her own?

I'm afraid I can't be unbiased with this review. You see, I know the author. Jenna and I went to school together and she remains one of my good friends. So. This review will be biased. I hope you'll forgive me.

Jade, the main character of the story, is in college -- I forget if we know what year. I like this because there just aren't that many novels that take place in that part of a person's life. I think it's a growing trend, but this is one of the first I've read about someone in college.

Jade's age made a lot of this book easy for me to relate to. Jade's friendships remind me of my friendships, and I loved her relationship with Molly, her bff. And her relationship with her family -- different than when she lived at home, but still, she wants to be close and misses them -- will probably be familiar to anyone who has moved out of the family home.

If I'm going to be completely honest and do my best to be unbiased, I have to say -- you will be able to tell that this is Jenna's first book. But it's a pretty good first.

Peace in a Raging Storm is full of action and mystery. The plot will draw you in and make you think about the story even when you're not reading. And you will be surprised.

Peace in a Raging Storm is available in print and kindle versions on Amazon. :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things people say to vegetarians

I've been a vegetarian for about nine years. This sparks a lot of curiosity in meat-eaters, which I usually don't mind. Here and there, people have seemed offended by my choice not to eat meat, but mostly these conversations go along the same lines:

How long have you been a vegetarian?
Nine years, though I usually have to stop and use my fingers to count.

Do you eat fish/dairy/eggs?
No seafood -- I don't think I've ever eaten fish, and I remember not liking shrimp -- but I do eat dairy and eggs. That makes me a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Someone who eats fish/seafood is a pescatarian. Someone who abstains from all animal products is vegan.

Why are you a vegetarian?
Meat -- what it is, where it came from -- just grosses me out. But I don't mind if you eat meat! I just can't watch you if there's any bones involved. Thank goodness there's always a million TVs at Buffalo Wild Wings!

Is it hard?
Quitting eating meat, for me, because of the reasons I stopped, it wasn't. The first thing I stopped eating was deli lunch meat and then it went from there.

Some parts of being a vegetarian are difficult -- especially travelling and being a guest at someone else's meal.

And when I first stopped as a self-conscious 15 year old, sometimes people's reactions were difficult. One girl on my volleyball team was convinced it was for attention, and some boys from my church jumped around like bunnies, saying I only ate rabbit food. But as an adult, no one has really given me a hard time about it.

Do you miss meat?
Nope. I miss the ease of not having to worry about having enough options. And, in the first year or so, I used to dream about burgers occasionally. But I really don't miss eating meat.

But ...

there are also some things you hear over and over again that can be pretty funny. So I thought I'd share some of my favorites. :)

You must have so much self control!!
Nah, I just don't like meat. You've never seen me eat ice cream.

I could be a vegetarian if I didn't love ______ so much.
Most common answer: chicken. Next most common: bacon. Sometimes steak.

I could never be a vegetarian. I don't like tofu.
Pah-lease. While I've eaten tofu, I have never cooked it for myself, which means it's not a regular staple in my diet.

Are you allowed to eat _____?
This one always cracks me up. It's like someone out there is stopping me from eating certain things. His Highness the Ruler of Vegetarians will kick me out of the club if I so much as look at an egg.
Yes I'm allowed to eat eggs and dairy. I'm also allowed to eat fish. I'm also allowed to eat meat. I choose not to, though.

I could be a vegetarian but I don't like cucumbers.
Oh yes, that is his Highness's greatest law. Thou must love cucumbers. :)

Are there any aspects of your life that people find really interesting? What kind of questions do they ask you?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Running slower -- Training Tuesday

Hey friends! It's Tuesday again, and around here that means I talk about my training! If you're working toward any kind of healthy living goal, feel free to link up and share your progress. Go on, brag about yourself a little!

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: Two miles -- had to really talk myself into this one.
Wednesday: Rested
Thursday: Intervals!
Friday: Tempo run!
Saturday: Took a walk :)
Sunday: Seven miles -- difficult but I felt SO GOOD after.
Monday: Rested

Running slower

I had an epiphany last week while I was running.

I've had the function of my app that reads out my pace while I run turned off for a while -- I turned it off when I was having sucky long runs a while back and have kept it off because it seemed to help.

Even so, at the end of a run, I wanna see that I've run it fast, you know? My success has still been tied up in my pace.

Well, I had an epiphany last week while I was running that running slower is a strategy I should be practicing. I'm not talking about any specific pace here -- just running slower than a pace I'd be excited about, actually slowing it down on purpose.

See, one of my goals for my next half is to run it without walking (or only walking through the aid stations). I'm going to try not to set a time goal because I think that if I can run without walking, I'll beat my first time. And if not, I think I'll still feel better about the race overall.


So I realized last week that I should be practicing running slower because I am going to want to stop and walk during my race. I know I will. But if I can get good at slowing it down, at running a slower pace so that I can restore my energy without walking.

So that's what I'm trying to do now. I've been supposed to be doing this (awful sentence structure -- go with it) this whole time -- twice a week my runs are supposed to be at an "easy" pace -- but I haven't been able to push past that mental barrier of wanting to run faster faster faster. I'm hoping now that I can see it as strategy, I can practice it.

So that's where I'm at now! I've got 10k race coming up this weekend and I'm pretty excited about it! Wish me luck :)

How's your training going?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Book review: Persephone

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here, along with other reviews.

There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life.

I used to loooove reading books based on mythology, so I was super excited to come across Persephone. A modern retelling of a Greek myth, Persephone is the story of a high school girl who discovers she's actually a goddess.

Persephone was a really fun, quick read. It took a minute to get into the book, but once I did, I loved it and flew through. I read it on the plane last weekend and kept laughing out loud and hoping my neighbors didn't think they were next to the creepy girl who laughs to herself. I actually highlighted a bunch of the passages I thought were funny, but I don't want to spoil it. Okay, here's one.

"Everyone secretly wished they were special. But in all my dreams of discovering I was a superhero, or a witch, or maybe even a princess, I'd never gone as far as goddess. That was too pretentious."

Love it.

Persephone takes some fun turns on traditional Greek mythology. A lot of the gods you've probably heard of are there or mentioned, but there were also many I'd never heard of, and even the ones I had heard of weren't what I was expecting. There's also a really cool world introduced -- but I'll let you discover that on your own!

Persephone is a really fun book -- not the deepest or most high-brow book but a lovely book that you'll love reading!

Have any of you read Persephone? I'd love to hear what you thought!

PS: I received a copy of Persephone for my Kindle in exchange for this review. But! All the opinions expressed here are my own. Promise.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In memory

In May, Pat's mom passed away after a decade-long battle with cancer. At the time, I wasn't sure it was my story to tell, my place to write anything about it. And I'm still not sure, but I feel compelled to write now.

Last weekend, Pat and I went to Oregon to attend a celebration of his mom's life and her funeral. I had only had the opportunity to spend time with Sue twice. So in many ways, I was still getting to know her at her celebration of life this weekend.

Many people spoke at the celebration. Coworkers painted a picture of who Sue was in her career-- a talented. driven, and giving engineer. Person after person stood and spoke of how Sue had mentored them, how she had brought them into the company, and of how much they had learned from her. They spoke of her dedication to the job and to the betterment of the company and, through her position teaching at Oregon State and her mentoring of so many, and her service in many professional organizations, the betterment of the profession. But they also said Sue was constantly talking about her children, how much she loved them, how proud she was of them. It was clear that family was her priority.

Neighbors and friends spoke of who Sue was in her personal life -- a dedicated mom, sister, wife and friend. After hearing of her dedication to engineering, it would have been easy to leave with only that picture of Sue, but several friends and neighbors stood to tell their picture of Sue -- a crafter, a creator of Christmas ornaments, a gardener, a volunteer for elementary math classes and a creator of school play backdrops. They said she made you feel valued and important; she inspired you to be a better mom, sister, friend.

Her brothers spoke of her childhood -- raised by hardworking parents, Sue grew up working in the family Dairy Queen. Her mother had been a strong female reporter when such a thing was rare. She never backed down from a challenge and excelled tremendously at all she tried.

Her children stood and spoke about what their mom had taught them -- to be open to the experiences and people of the world, to pursue all endeavors with their full hearts. To put all they have into every relationship. To value the time they have with their loved ones above all else -- to make it count.

And her husband spoke of her strength in the face of her cancer. He spoke to her dedication to her children, her family, and her job. He told the story of their meeting and their courtship and how he convinced her to date him and then to marry him and how lucky he was that he had.

So many people spoke so beautifully about Sue and the ways she'd influenced their lives, there is no way I can even begin to share it all with you. She truly touched so many people.

As I listened, I couldn't help but think about the career I want to make, the family I want to create, the mom and wife I want to be. Sue was an inspiring woman. Just hearing about her life, hearing how she inspired and affected so many others, was enough to make me want to be better. And if just hearing other people talk about her can inspire me -- man, how it must have been to know her, to talk with her, to learn from her.

Before and after the celebration and the funeral service, everyone, of course, wanted to talk to Pat. I stood by him most of the time, but sometimes I stood on the sidelines and kept an eye on him.

During this time, several people came up to me and asked, "Are you Abbey?" It became clear that Sue had spoken of me to many of her friends. One told me she'd been proud of me when I'd worked in advertising, another said she'd liked me very much.

I can't even say what this means to me. Sue was already treating me as part of the family, talking about me like she talked about Pat and Jamie.

As we drove home from the celebration of life, Pat asked me what I'd thought, and I told him I think I really missed out. Sue was an incredible, kind, inspiring woman. And I really would have liked to know her better.


Training Tuesday [7.16.13]

Hey friends! It's Tuesday again, and around here that means I talk about my training! If you're working toward any kind of healthy living goal, feel free to link up and share your progress. Go on, brag about yourself a little!

I hate to say it, but I only ran once since the last Training Tuesday. It was one of those weeks where other things are just more important. The one run I did went well -- 3.5 miles outside in the hot and sticky, but a good run.

Fortunately, this was a reduced mileage week as far as my training plan goes -- I was SUPPOSED to give my body a break (though, not this much of a break). So I'm not really too worried.

I hope you all have more to report than me! Can't wait to hear! (read :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book review: Between Shades of Gray

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews.

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Between Shades of Gray is the beautifully told story of a Lithuanian girl taken from her home and forced into labor camps with her mother and brother during World War II.

With books that tell the story of survivors of horrendous conditions, the most amazing thing to me is always how they can be anything but the most depressing book you'll ever read. Lina and her family face awful conditions -- they're separated from her father, forced into train cars with too many others, where they must use a hole in the floor boards as a toilet and toss out the folks who die. And that's just the beginning.

Yet, I couldn't get enough of this book. And I think it's that Lina's story was so full of hope. And that you really want to see the characters survive and succeed.

The narration of this story is realistic and beautiful. It jumps a bit between the present and the past, giving you a view into the buildup of tension in Lithuania and helping you to know Lina and her family as they were, as they would have been without the war.

Despite the conditions she's in, Lina is still a teenager. She still gets annoyed with her brother and jealous of others. And I think that's so realistic.

But she's also fighting for her life, and her mother and her brother. She's fighting to make contact with her father. She's fighting to hold on to the sliver of hope she still has.

Between Shades of Gray is a great read for anyone who loves historical fiction -- especially if you'd like to see a side of WWII that isn't often told. Also, Lina shares my birthday. :)

Have any of you read Between Shades of Gray? I highly recommend it! What did you think?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Training Tuesday 7.9.12

Hey friends! It's Tuesday again, and around here that means I talk about my training! If you're working toward any kind of healthy living goal, feel free to link up and share your progress. Go on, brag about yourself a little!

Workouts this week:
Tuesday: Rested
Wednesday: Rested -- drove back to Kansas! Woooo.
Thursday: Rested.
Friday: Ran two miles. For America.
Saturday: Rested
Sunday: 2.5 miles
Monday: Seven miles on a treadmill. Woof.

Lots of rest this last week. Early in the week, I really just needed it, you know? And then once I was home, it was really tough to make myself get out and run. So I switched my long run to Monday and did a lower-mileage week. But it was good. I feel good about the week.

I pushed my long run to Monday for a few reasons. I was home with Pat and didn't want to sacrifice an hour and a half. It was hot as heck out and humid on top and I didn't have access to anywhere to run indoors.

And mostly, I think, I was anxious about the long run. But I actually did really well -- hit my goal 10k time and kept going to finish out the whole 7 miles in decent time.

I'm not sure when I'll get over this. I had some bad runs, but that happened last round of training, too. No need to get anxious about it. But I do. And I run inside like a weenie. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with running inside -- but there is when it's because you're scared to run outside.

I need to get over it because I have two races coming up and guess what -- races almost always happen outside! But I'm hoping if I keep doing my shorter runs outside and my long ones inside, maybe it will balance out?

No big topic today friends. Just these small musings.

I hope your goals, big or small, running related or not, are going well!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Summer lovin'

Hi friends!


I am SUPER excited to be posting today because last night I made the trip to Lawrence! I'm going to be home for the next few days. (I have been away for an internship!)

Here's what's most exciting about this: Pat and I have never really had summer together. Since at least one of us has been in school the whole time we've been dating, he has either gone home each summer, had an internship, or studied abroad. This summer, I'm the one away for an internship! (Pat has one too, but he's living in Lawrence and commuting.)

So I'm really excited to be able to spend at least a little bit of time with him during the summer. Some of the summery things I hope to squeeze into this weekend:

FIREWORKS. duh. I'm a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to the kind you buy and light yourself, but I'm hoping to see the city's fireworks!
Snow cones! 
Ice cream! 
Swimming! If I can talk him into it -- he doesn't know how! I'm hoping to talk him into going to the lake, but there's pools around if that won't work.
Maybe even the farmer's market?

Some of the not so summery things I'm looking forward to: Visiting my sister and her new foster kitty, watching movies, and telling him all about my internship. :) I'm also hoping to catch up with a few other friends! It's sure to be a busy few days!

What are some of your favorite summer things? I want to squeeze as much summery-ness into this weekend as I can!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A happy Training Tuesday!!

Hey friends! It's Tuesday again, and around here that means I talk about my training! If you're working toward any kind of healthy living goal, feel free to link up and share your progress. Go on, brag about yourself a little!

Workouts this week
Tuesday: After all my big talk last Tuesday, I ended up taking a rest day. I was really sore and didn't feel like pushing it.
Wednesday: Intervals! Inside. It was stormy!
Thursday: Three miles outside. Turned off the voice feedback that tells me time and pace and ran with my audiobook going -- and actually kept a really good-for-me pace!
Friday: Rest day.
Saturday: SIX MILES. Woooooooooo.
Sunday: Cross -- I took an hour-long walk and did some hip stretches.
Monday: Two and a half miles. I felt like I was running a lot faster than I actually was.

So last week my Training Tuesday post was all about my crappy-as-of-late long runs and what I planned to do about it. And I'm proud to say I did every dang thing I said I was going to do (stuck to my training schedule, drank a lot of water, turned off the feature that tells me my pace at each mile...) and went out and had an AWESOME long run.

Here's my splits:

To put that in perspective, I've been quitting long runs miles before I'm supposed to or taking lots of walk breaks for weeks. A good pace for me is 10:30 (although I don't like it when I'm around 11, which leaves me very little room for error). Anything faster than that is a GREAT pace.

So after weeks of feeling like a failure to get through all six miles and at a pace that makes me happy?

It was a good run.

And look at those negative splits!

(Negative splits means getting faster on each mile, which I did all but once.)

I did run inside, which is arguably easier (predictable/less harsh conditions, no hills, etc, although the gym here doesn't seem to have air conditioning so it was not too much cooler than outside). And this weekend I won't have that option unless I want to run on a treadmill, which is generally my last resort. But I'm still pumped to have made progress and have completed a long run with a smile on my face. FINALLY.

Have you guys had any workout successes lately? I know Kaitlin recently had a good run after a slump, too! And Katrin went running! Shout out to both of those lovely ladies! :)


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