Wanting and Wishing

My little sister has naturally curly hair. Beautiful curly hair. She has always had this curly hair…quite unruly at times, as evidenced by her third grade school photo in which my fifth grade self attempted to french braid it for the picture day.

She always wished for straight hair.

When I was little I had the straight hair, and wouldn’t you know it, I wished for it to be curly. My hair was long and boring, and all the cool kids had perms. Sure my mom fixed it beautifully everyday, curled bangs with a headache-inducing side ponytail, but I wanted more. This just goes to show that we all wish for the things we don’t have.

But, I’ve learned that it’s important to be careful what you wish for…now in my adult life I have this wavy/curly/straight/frizzy combo hair. Hair that doesn’t go out in public unless a blowdryer and straightener or curling iron has been put to it.

What I wouldn’t give to have my childhood hair back.

A few months ago, near the end of my spring marathon training, I told a friend of mine that I wished it was after my marathon and I could run shorter distances, less mileage, and strength train more. Long runs are hard and time consuming, and marathon training in general takes a toll on a person. I wished for the night I could drink a glass or two of wine and not worry about it hurting my long run the next morning.

And now that I can’t go on that long run…that’s all I want to do!

I vaguely scratched out a training plan for Chicago that started last week. By vaguely scratched out I just mean that I planned my long run schedule for each weekend. This past Saturday has an “8″ written in the box.

I didn’t run eight miles. I didn’t run one mile. Girl, be careful what you wish for.

This morning I went out for a short “test” run, and fingers crossed, I think my knee is on the up-and-up. I made it a mile and a half, stopped for thirty minutes of a bootcamp workout in the parking lot with four other lovely ladies, then another mile and a half back home. All pain free.

The moral of the story friends? Be grateful for what you have going on right now. Today. I’m excited for my long training runs to come, but today I enjoyed running short, squatting low, and lunging forward.

And, I guess I’ll be grateful for this pile of frizz I have knotted on top of my head, too.

ang

Because I Love To Run

Guess what I’m doing on this beautiful day…National Running Day?!

source

…not running.

At first I was utterly disappointed about the fact that I am not running today. I love running, and not participating in this wonderful and challenging sport that I love on its own national holiday just doesn’t seem fair.

But yesterday, as the day went on, that little pain in my knee started to go away. This morning when I woke up there was absolutely no evidence of any knee pain.

And for Chicago’s sake (and successful marathon training’s sake and potential PR’s sake), I want to keep it that way!

So instead, I am going to celebrate National Running Day by spending some quality time with some weight machines and dumbbells…so that when it’s time I will be running better than ever!

Today I don’t run because I love to run.

ang

A Bit of an Understatement

Remember yesterday how I said I was getting nervous to start nursing school?

Well…

…I went and bought my textbooks for the semester today…

…and this stack of books is not including the two other textbooks that I need, the books that I had last semester that I can’t seem to find now.

Nervous seems a bit of an understatement now.

I should also preface this story with my plan for the afternoon. I wanted to purchase my parking pass for the semester, buy my books, get in-get out, and hit up the recreation center for a quick speed workout and possibly some strength training. If I want to do a pull-up this year, I better start building up these little muscles!

I went to purchase my parking pass first, but once I was about to buy my pass I decided against it. Campus is not that big, and I’ve found several places near campus where I can park on the side of the road for free. I decided I’d give walking a whirl before giving up fifty precious dollars to park in the campus lots that aren’t all that close to my classes anyhow.

Next I went to the bookstore…which was approximately half a mile from where I decided to park alongside the road.

About half an hour later I walked out with all of these…

…and had to walk the half mile back to my car to drop them off.

Needless to say, I crossed strength training off my afternoon agenda.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been talking about getting into nursing school for long enough (um, the entire life of this blog), and I’m beyond stoked that I actually get to start on Monday! It’s just scary. Life as I know it is going to change a little bit. I’m not going to have the time to sit and talk to Tia all day long, or hang out on my computer, or watch marathons of addicting television shows (hello Friday Night Lights). My textbooks might be accompanying me to my next several dinner club get-togethers. My new favorite cell phone apps just might be regarding medical terminology. And pretty soon I might be bugging all my family and friends to practice taking their blood pressures.

I guess it’s beneficial to me that I love a good challenge.

ang

Starting the Year Off Right, Part Two…

…by hitting the pavement!

If you take a look at my two thousand and twelve wish list, right away you will see that I have some pretty lofty (to say the least) goals that revolve around running. Two marathons…at least one of them sub-four hours…pure loftiness.

While these goals scare me quite a bit…like piddle-in-my-pants scared or I’m-going-to-bawl-if-I-don’t-accomplish-them scared…I’m still super stoked to try my very best to make them happen. With that being said, marathon number one of 2012 is only sixteen weeks away. Sixteen weeks! So, there’s no better time than now to hit the ground running. Literally.

I woke up this morning to complete five and a half freezing cold my-phone-said-it-was-fourteen-degrees miles with four of my favorite gals here in mid-MO…and all done before the sun even came up. That makes a total of nine and a half miles on the week so far, with hopefully many more to come. There’s nothing like a good run with fun people to set a positive tone for the entire day…and to start off a long training season!

I have a rough draft of what my next sixteen weeks will look like, but I haven’t committed completely to the plan yet. Once I start school, get used to my new schedule, and finish tweaking it, I will be sure to share. My plan for right now is to slowly start building my mileage back up, and of course, have fun! Soon it will also include some speed work, Yasso 800s, long long runs, and weight training. I’d also love to add in some yoga somewhere…

Here’s to pure loftiness!

ang

It’s Basketball Season

Well, basketball season has arrived, which means one thing for me.

My husband’s life is now being taken over by about thirty teenage boys.

I’m sure going to miss him.

However, this leaves me with more time for some important goals to achieve. I have plenty of time to waste in the gym…I can even spend my evenings there instead of trying to fit it all in before noon. There is a much different atmosphere in the evenings at the gym…and I find it quite interesting. You see, I workout at the local university, and the early morning is not a popular time spend at the gym if you are a college kid. I mean, these people think an eight o’clock class is early.

So in the evenings, the gym is crawling with excited college girls be-bopping on the treadmills and big-headed, big-biceped fraternity boys taking up all the weight machines. I realize that I am over-generalizing the college atmosphere…but not by much.

I’m not sure if it’s funny or intimidating. Interesting for sure.

However, I just stick the pin in the weight machine at seventy pounds and make bench pressing look easy for a 5’3″ gal. I was pretty proud of those seventy pounds tonight. You boys ain’t going to intimidate little ol’ me!

And with the hubs being gone it also leaves me more time to get creative, do some reading, blog more, and maybe even participate in some fitblog chats again!

As for getting to spend any time with the husband at all? I’m going to have to suit up and become the Panther’s new number one super fan.

No problem there!

ang

What To Do Now? September Goals

I have spent the past five days attempting to be as lazy as I possibly could. (Successfully.)

I have thoroughly enjoyed it, but I’m getting a little bit antsy…every time I hear a blood-pumping song on the radio my legs get an itching to start running!

I definitely did not think I’d be wanting to get back up and run so soon after my marathon. I heard many people say that as soon as their first marathon was over they vowed never to run one again…heck, even to never run again. I prepared myself to feel the same way and I was convinced that after awhile I’d have to drag myself back up to go for a run. However…now I don’t think that is going to be a problem.

I do feel a little bit lost though. My training plan is still pinned up on my refrigerator…completely filled out with pretty purple stars. I kind of don’t want to take it down. All my running clothes are…drumroll please…clean. My hair actually smells like shampoo…not sweat…or sweat mixed with love spell body spray (I think the husband appreciates this one).

After I achieved my New Year’s resolution and finished my half marathon back in April, I knew that I had to just keep going. That’s when and why I decided to run a marathon. Now, since I have finished my first marathon, I have to decide what is next!!! This fall and winter I do not have very much going on, so it will be the perfect time to knock out some new goals before I start classes for nursing school! (Oh my goodness, it sounds awesome to say that!) I asked the hubs what he thought I should do next and his response was the train for an ultra marathon (probably with a pinch of sarcasm thrown in)! Don’t worry mom, my immediate and natural response was, “Yeah right!!!” However, I do see another half marathon, maybe another full, and definitely another 5K in my future.

So without further ado…September Goals!

1.   Find a new race to sign up for! This can be either a 5K, 10K, or half marathon (or all three!)

2.   Make a new workout schedule, even if it does not revolve around a race plan or goal. I know that working out makes me feel oh-so-happy, so even if it is not working toward a particular race, I need to find out how to keep exercising anyway.

3.   Strength train at least two times a week. I have never felt so strong in my life and I want to keep feeling that way. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll be able to do a pull-up! (Should that be a goal, too?)

4.   Blog more! Summer is nearly over, the hubs is back to work, and I am currently not taking any classes, so there is no excuse not to share my whole life, every detail, with you on a daily basis! I’m just kidding, but I do want to participate in the blog world more!

5.   Finish unpacking a decorating our new place. This might be a long shot considering that when we lived in our house I never accomplished this in almost three years, but I’m getting closer here.

6.   Do yoga. My gym offers yoga classes, so I definitely need to look into the cost of that. If it costs too much, then I own my own yoga mat, I just need to make myself do it!

7.   Cook. I was going to say “cook more” but I don’t think I’ve earned the right to say that. By “cook” I mean more than popping in a frozen pizza, boiling a pot of noodles (plain with no butter or sauce), or microwaving some canned soup. Do you have any suggestions for easy recipes for two? (By easy I mean super-duper-I’m-a-terrible-cooker-and-will-mess-it-up-if-it’s-too-hard recipes!)

8.   Find a book to read and think about starting a new book club series. Any suggestions for books? I’ve heard a lot of hype about The Help and would like to read the book before seeing the movie. I’ve also heard a lot about other books here in the bloggie world. What are you reading right now?

9.   Create something artsy. I went to college for art and have tons of art supplies just sitting around…so why not use them!

10.  Enjoy life! Yes, I love setting goals and then killing them, but it is also so important just to enjoy the moment you are in! I’m going to try not to stress the small things and just have some fun!

What are your September goals?! Do share!

ang

P.S. I am completely overwhelmed by all the love and support and comments from my marathon recap. There have been so many people say that I am their inspiration…but in all honesty…YOU ALL have been MY inspiration! Thank you!!!

I Heart Strength Training

I heart strength training. I really, really do. I never thought I’d say that in my whole life.

When I think back to my freshman year of high school, I give some of the unfortunate credit to my negative body image to strength training. Obviously this makes no sense at all, but let me explain.

I had to participate in weightlifting workouts in order to participate on the volleyball team at my school. I love volleyball, so I did what I had to do. I lifted weights…and I hated it. First of all I found it intimidating. Being in a room full of sweaty boys and grunting and yelling is not really my style.

Secondly, weightlifting made me get “bigger”. I had always been very petite and the smallest girl my age, so when that wasn’t the case anymore…it scared me. (I didn’t take into consideration that I was having a growth spurt, and that it isn’t that common to go into ninth grade being a twig standing at 4’9″.) So in my skewed mind, weightlifting equaled getting bigger, and getting bigger equaled getting fatter, and getting fatter was just unacceptable.

Now fast forward to today.

I cannot wait to get in my strength training workout today. I have been craving strength training, especially since I missed it earlier this week. Since I started half marathon training in January, I incorporated strength into my routine consistently for twice a week! I started out with hesitation, but I soon fell in love. After my half marathon, I made sure that I included strength training into my full marathon training plan as well!

What made me change my mind? Why do I love strength training now? Well, I’d love to tell you!

Strength training has made me bigger.

Wait? Wasn’t that what I was afraid of in the first place? Yes, however, weightlifting has made me get bigger in all the right places! I have never had biceps before…until now! (Even though I still max out on twenty pound curls!) Now I can’t wait for the unlikely opportunity to come up where I need to flex for someone!

curlsI have always been self conscious about my legs…my thighs to be more exact. I’ve always just felt like they were unproportional to the rest of my body. But this summer when I was at the pool with my sister and she told me that my legs looked strong, I was actually flattered rather than embarrassed. A huge accomplishment if you ask me!

Strength training has helped me with running injury.

I’ve been having some pain in my knee (which is a pain in my gooloo) for awhile now, and I’m not sure why. However, whenever I strength train, my pain almost instantly goes away. I can’t explain the physiology of it, except for the muscles around my knee must be getting stronger to support the pressure running puts on my knee. Whatever the reasoning, I’ll take it!

Strength training has made me taller.

Since my sophomore year in high school, I had always been somewhat embarrassed to list my height on all the volleyball rosters. I love love love volleyball, but when you see all 5’3″ of me, it’s not very scary. I’m sure the other high school teams would check out our roster and say, “Oh, we better watch out for that number 4…she’s five foot three! Keep the ball away from her!

The truth is, I haven’t measured my height in a long time, so I can’t say for a fact that I’m actually taller. However, I feel taller. I’d be confident listing my height at 5’4″ if I was ever on a roster again. I credit this to strength training because I stand up straighter now. I walk around with my shoulders held further back and my chin lifted slightly higher. Which brings me to my next point.

Strength training has given me confidence.

I can’t explain this one. I just know it is true.

Strength training makes me happy.

I think that everyone knows that exercise improves a person’s mood. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, and it makes you feel all good inside!

With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to strength train?! (I think it should go without saying, but this is based on my own personal experience. If you haven’t weight trained before, make sure to do it safely and correctly with the consent of a doctor.)

Do you heart strength training? What do your weightlifting workouts look like? What makes you feel all happy inside?

ang