Inspire

A friend of mine sent me one of the most amazing text messages earlier this week. It started, “Thought I’d give you an update since you inspire me to achieve my goals…” Then she went on to tell me about the awesome achievements she recently accomplished and the new goals that she hopes to achieve.

My first thoughts were of giddiness…aw, she thinks I inspired her!

My second thoughts were of honor…how honored I was that she chose me to share her news with.

My last thoughts were the most important. Pretty darn revolutionary.

You see, the past two months or so (since my 50K in November) I can count the number of times I’ve ran on one hand. I needed a break from running…really, I needed a break from everything…so I took one. This break lasted quite a long while with many hours spent watching the love tangles between Nathan, Lucas, Peyton, Hailey, and Brooke…snuggled up on my couch with a bottomless cup of coffee in my hand. Let me tell you, the drama from those twenty-something-looking characters at Tree Hill High is really captivating. Needless to say, I started feeling lazy…

…and lumpy.

My body-image slowly started becoming less positive, and before I knew it, I was feeling guilty about my time resting. Although I knew realistically that my body had not physically changed (other than losing some endurance), my mind was starting to tell me otherwise. Crazy pink elephants.

Then I got the text.

I realized that I needed to shut off those crazy thoughts in my head and start going after my goals again! And it’s okay that my goals are less fitness-oriented right now, and it’s okay that they may be more involved with finding out who Lucas Scott really ends up with in the end. And it’s okay that I may not run a marathon this year, especially if that means that I get to start working in the career field that I’ve been working so hard for.

Nursing Group

Just as long as I’m happy.

So, what I’d like to say now is…

Thank you Katrina, for inspiring me to remember to be happy and to stay positive.

ang

A Lovely Muddy Time

Recovering from my marathon two weekends ago has basically consisted of no running. That’s probably not the smartest way to recover, especially since I plan on continuing running, continuing running long distances at that, and especially since I had a race on Saturday.

It was no marathon, but an extremely challenging 5K nevertheless.

That required face paint…

…and muscles…which are for the most part lacking on me. (Oh, did my neon bright white skin blind you? I’m also lacking any semblance of a tan. Sorry about that.)

My hubs and I along with two of our friends, a.k.a. the Ultimate Warriors, ran the Warrior Dash in Kansas City!

We met up at one of the guys’ houses where we found his beautiful wife diligently painting his face. His wife continued to paint our other teammate’s face while I sat my own hubs in front of me for his makeover. Apparently there is a famous wrestler (dead or alive, I don’t think anyone was sure) named the Ultimate Warrior and all of the guys wanted to “be” him for the race.

I, myself, chose to just go with a little multi-colored eye-black.

After everyone was made-over and arm-tassles and headbands were created, we headed to the race. Again, the boys all listened to the opening theme music for this Ultimate Warrior wrestler the entire way there. Oh the joys of a thirty minute car ride with three boys, err, men. Grown men who apparently love professional wrestling.

Once at the race site we had to take a bus over to where the race actually took place. We proceeded to initial and sign our waiver forms, pick up our packets and t-shirts, use the port-a-potties (always a definite must for me), and head to the start line. We were very early, so we were at the very front of the start line for our heat. After thirty minutes of nervously waiting for the countdown to start we were finally off and running!

I knew I’d be racing with the boys, and while I trusted in my running ability, I was worried about keeping up with them on the obstacles. Right out of the gate, though, the course was very downhill, and I warned them all that we were probably running at a sub-8 minute pace. I definitely knew that I couldn’t keep up a pace like that, and I secretly (so not to harm their egos) questioned the boys ability to keep that pace, too.

After three quarters of a mile we approached our first obstacle which required crawling under barbwire. Fortunately, I was short enough that I could crawl regularly without having the put much effort into lowering myself closer to the ground. My hubs, on the other hand, had to army crawl the distance of the wire. Once the four of us completed this obstacle our pace slowed drastically as we were hit with our first (of many) uphill climbs to the next obstacle.

We proceeded to crawl through trenches, climb up walls, slide down poles, swim through nasty, muddy, swampy water, hoist ourselves over walls, cross a balance beam, run through a field of tires, climb up a cargo-net, and finally leap over fire…all the while running uphill through a muddy field between obstacles.

Just a little over three miles later we crawled out from under the last of the barbwire through the last muddy water pit, all four of us hand in hand, and crossed the finish line together.

Mud and all, I had an absolutely lovely time.

ang, the only female member of the Ultimate Warriors ;)

A Favor To Ask

With the new year comes resolutions. If you’ve read my blog at all this week, or any other blog in the world for that matter, this is quite obvious. Any excuse to come up with some extravagant goals…I’ll take it!

I want to be honest here. I may not have made it known to everyone over that past few years, but losing a little bit of weight has always, in a little-tiny way, been a secret resolution of mine. Since recovery from my eating disorder I have never thought of doing anything drastic…I just maybe wanted to drop a few. Did I need to lose weight? No way…but I just thought what the heck, it wouldn’t hurt.

This is the first year in quite a long time that I’m not even secretly making that goal.

This week as I’ve joined my running gals several times at 5:30am at the local community center where we meet up for runs, the parking lot has been nearly packed full. I think that is great! It may not be the most desirable situation to have to wait for cardio machines or make your way through a crowded gym, but isn’t it great that so many people are there to make a healthy change for themselves? I think so.

With the new year I know that there are a lot of people hitting up the gym with the goal of losing weight, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing…if you need to lose weight to be healthy. However, my concern lies in the motive behind the goal. Are we seeking to shed a few pounds because we think it will make us happier?

Because I will tell you right from my heart…losing weight will not make you happier. It just doesn’t work. (Please note, I’m definitely not a doctor or a psychologist or a nutritionist or any kind of medical professional. I am only sharing my opinions based on personal experience.)

With that being said, I have a favor to ask.

In two thousand and twelve, as we seek to live happier and healthier lies, let’s not focus on the number on the scale, but rather ways in which we can truly make ourselves happy people. Like by …

…finding something you love to do. This can be anything! If you love to run (like me!), run! If you hate running but love to cook (unlike me!), find new healthy recipes to try…or even make up your own. If you love to be around your friends and family, try planning get-togethers, and better yet, plan get-togethers where you all can do something active together. Who doesn’t love a good game of bowling?!

…ditching the scale. That silly thing can be evil. Weight is not the only way to measure healthiness or if you’ve slimmed down, and it’s definitely not the way to measure happiness. It may not be an easy task, so take baby steps. If you are a daily weigher, try every other day or once a week. If you are a random weigher, just ask yourself why you are weighing yourself (a tip I need to listen to more myself). If your goal is to slim down, there are other ways to measure your success. How do your clothes fit? Have you lost inches? A number on the scale can be deceiving, especially if you are getting healthier by fitness or strength training.

…eating breakfast. I know this is my specific goal, but I highly recommend it. Eating a good breakfast makes a great start to the day, and by golly, I feel happier!

…giving yourself positive affirmations. You didn’t think I’d forget to give you your first Friday affirmation of the new year, did you?

…finding a reason to smile every day and take note of it. Did your dog just do the cutest thing (Tia always makes me smile!)? Did you finish a great run at a great pace? Did you laugh at someone’s joke? Did you make a delicious meal? Whatever the reason, remember the little things that can make you happy each and every day.

…eliminating the word “fat” from your vocabulary. You are not fat, you don’t look fat, so please stop saying it (or any other word that has the same negative meaning). It is a mean, mean word, and it should definitely not ever be in the same sentence as the word “happy.”

…being silly. Sing in the shower…or obnoxiously in your care at stoplights without worrying if the car next to you is watching. Dance. Leg-wrestle with someone. Do cartwheels. Have a food fight or throw a pie in someone’s face (as long as you’re sure they will think it’s funny, too!)

…donating clothes that you don’t feel comfortable in. Whether they are too big or too small or just don’t hug you the right way, get rid of them. Donate them. There are not many things more daunting than a pair of “skinny” jeans hiding in the closet. Why not just wear the jeans that make you feel sexy and confident and comfortable right now? Right? So do it!

…reminding yourself that you are beautiful just the way you are. You probably get tired of hearing me say this at least weekly. But it’s true. And if you tell yourself it enough, you will start to believe it. I promise…both that you are beautiful and that you will believe it soon enough.

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 Super Bowl Time Baby!

I’m pretty competitive.

By competitive I mean that I want to be the best that I can possibly be.

I want to make goals and I want to crush them.

I want to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of, and then I want to do more.

I am all about having fun and learning along the way, but if I can, I like to win.

That’s why I’m pleased to say that my Pretty Pretty Punters are going to the Super Bowl!

I take on the Battling Bruisers come Christmas Eve, and my team will be hard at work until then.

I’d like to take this moment to give a huge thanks to the handsome LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles. If it weren’t for you, I probably would not have the opportunity to experience my very first Super Bowl. I admire your hard work and determination, and because you are only 5’11″ you are proof that little people can be awesome at sports.

I can remember back to the day of the fantasy draft. I had no idea what I was doing, so I was looking over the color-coded player cheat sheet that my husband had created. Your name, LeSean, was highlighted in orange and I asked him why. He said you’d be a wildcard. That’s when I was sold on you and I just had a feeling. This past Sunday I told my husband that I love you, and that you are my football boyfriend. I hope this is alright with you…I’d like to think I’m a good catch. My husband was pretty jealous, which might be worrisome since he is nearly a foot taller than you, but I’m sure you can stiff arm him then outrun him.

Before this football season I barely knew anything about football, let alone the individual players. I still cannot say that I know much at all, but I’m learning. I have actually found it enjoyable to spend an entire day with my gooloo glued to the couch while my husband flips back and forth from the Red Zone to the Chiefs game. I think my little crush on LeSean is balanced out by my husband’s crush on Scott Hanson.

Nevertheless, when I started this blog back in March, I never would have thought that another post would be dedicated solely to the subject of football. I take my newfound love of the game very seriously, and come Saturday you better know I will have my game face on. Not only do I want to win the Super Bowl of my league…

…I want to be invited to play in the husband’s league next year.

Fingers crossed!!!

ang

I’ve Been Smiling A Lot

My goal for the month of December was to enjoy life and smile a lot. I must say, I do think I have been very successful achieving my goal thus far. Between laughing it up with my husband, spending time with my family, and catching up with friends, I could not have asked for a better month.

However, I have only logged a handful of miles in my old Asics, and I think they miss me. It always seems like such a great idea at night to wake up at the crack of dawn…or actually, before dawn…and get a good run in. When the morning rolls around the the idea sounds much less desirable. Much. Don’t get me wrong…I am missing hitting the pavement, too…but I’m definitely enjoying life a little bit longer in my warm bed!

And, I’ve been more than lacking in the food/cooking/eating well department. Between my peppermint bark rice crispie treats, and the cookie party I went to, I’ve eaten dessert for breakfast more times than not. I justified the rice crispie treats by reminding myself that rice crispies are cereal after all,  however it’s much harder to justify a sugar cookie.

But, sugar cookies and rice crispies make me happy, so I’m not going to worry about it! I call that a successful month!

I have big, big goals for two thousand and twelve, though, so prepare yourself. In the meantime, I’m going to live it up for the next eleven days and spend every happy moment I can before school, work, and running invade my life to the fullest. My 2012 wish list will be coming to the blog very soon, and expect to see a lot more about my running plans, my running goals, and eating and cooking well. You heard me right…cooking well. Oh, and running a sub-four hour marathon.

Oh wait, did I just say that?!

ang

Christmastime Makes Me Happy

I am having the best time reading all your comments on why the holiday season makes you happy! I would definitely have to say that getting to spend time with family seems to be the top reason, and I would have to agree one hundred percent! There is still time to enter the giveaway…all you need to do is go over to this post and leave me a comment telling me why the holiday season makes you happy! (You must live in the US, and you cannot be a relative! Sorry!)

This photo of my sister and me is from my most recent family get together this past weekend! Of course we had a blast visiting with the whole big italian family!

Because I have asked you to tell me why the holiday season makes you happy, I’ve decided that I’ll tell you why Christmastime makes me so happy.

Reason number one: Spending time with my family! Duh!

Christmas is one of the only times of the year when I get to see my entire family all in the same place at the same time. So many of my favorite family memories dating all the way back to when I was a little girl come from this time of the year.

Reason number two: Cookie parties!

Umm…you get to bake a ton of cookies, go to a party, eat a bunch of cookies, and go home with a ton more. This needs no explanation.

Reason number three: Giving presents!

It’s truly a fun feeling when you know you got something (or made something) for someone that they absolutely love! Many of my gift recipients have gotten (or are going to get, HA) homemade soaps this year, and I’m pretty sure they adore them. (If you don’t then you are crazy and should just give them back to me because I am now a soap hoarder!)

Reason number four: Getting presents!

Just admit it. You love getting something that you really really want. I was super stoked when the husband got me my new running shoes for Christmas…even though I picked them out, typed in the credit card number online, and opened the box when it showed up on my doorstep.

Reason number five: Peppermint flavored things!

I drank way too much coffee on Sunday and that was because my mom-in-law had peppermint mocha creamer at her house. I made some peppermint bark rice krispie treats for dinner club, and I also have a bar of peppermint soap that I’m going to have to show great restraint to use it for washing and not for eating.

Reason number six: Giveaways! Have you entered yet?!

Reason number seven: Christmas lights. Prettiness!

Reason number eight: Winter break.

Since basketball season has started I feel like I never get to see my bundle of 6’8″ handsomeness anymore. At least when he breaks from school I will get to see him more and we will get to sleep in together a few mornings!

Reason number nine: Spending time with friends.

This can probably be added to number eight, but many of my friends are teachers so I get to spend more time with them throughout the holidays as well. Please bring on the dinner clubs, cookie parties, gift exchanges, wish list parties, and New Years Eve parties galore!

Reason number ten:  Last but not least we cannot forget the true reason for smiling this holiday season. We get to celebrate Jesus’ birthday!

Woowoo!

ang

Pumpkin Train

Yes. I know it is December, which means that all of the hype over pumpkin-flavored food, desserts, and drinks is now over.

However, I just jumped on the pumpkin train only a few short weeks ago, and I’m not ready for this ride to be over quite yet. That’s right, until this year I never ate anything pumpkin. Not even the pie. But this year I have become just a little bit braver when it comes to food…I’ve eaten jalapenos (and loved them), onions (and loved them), mushrooms (and, oddly enough, loved them), and now pumpkin-y things and yes, I also fell in love with them. That picture of pumpkin pie…I ate it in December.

A couple of weeks ago I was assigned to bring the dessert for dinner club’s Thanksgiving gathering. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend (tear!), but I still wanted to make sure my family of friends had something sweet to eat after all their ham and casseroles.

Of course, I reached for my handy-dandy phone to open up my AllRecipes app for this recipe. It’s always my go-go cooking source. I know that all of you are over the pumpkin thing, so I’m not going to bore you with the recipe, but if you are interested in these pumpkin pie chocolate chip cookies, click here!)

I was baking away when the husband got home from basketball practice, and with a very concerned look on his face he asked me, “What are you doing, honey?” When I explained to him that I was baking cookies for dinner club he asked even more concerned now, “From scratch?”

Yes. I made these from scratch, and if I do say so myself they were pretty darn tasty. The term “myself” might actually be completely correct, because even though all my dinner club friends texted me telling me my cookies were delicious, I can’t be for sure they weren’t just trying to make me feel good. I did have to force my husband to eat one…and the word “force” is not an exaggeration…and I’m pretty sure my sister never ate one.

I can’t be for sure if anyone actually ate any at dinner club, but I guess I’ll take their word for it. They must not be too afraid of my dessert-making skills because I volunteered to make dessert for next weekend’s Christmas dinner club and nobody tried to stop me.

I promise, though, I’ll jump off this pumpkin train soon (probably when my pumpkin spice coffee creamer runs out) and I’ll be jumping on a new one soon. I’m expecting some very delicious peppermint and chocolate combinations in my very near future. Maybe this one from Miss Julie!

I mean, it is December after all.

ang

Greatness

When I woke up this morning it seemed like every other morning. I drug my booty out of bed, put on my robe, let the princess outside. I wished that I had woken up earlier, but I felt tired and worn down…from what I have no idea. I went to the bathroom and noticed how dark my eyes look, and although that seems like more of a curse than a blessing, I thanked God for my half italian background. I thought of everything that I wanted to do today, made a schedule in my head, but took no action to start on that list. Instead, I brewed a hot cup of coffee and sat down at my computer.

There is something so comforting about a cup of coffee.

I started on my e-mails and was excited to see I had received one from a friend regarding the latest dinner club gathering. Goodness. I’m so thankful to have such amazing girlfriends in my life right now. Then I read on. The next e-mail was to inform me that I had a new comment on my blog. I read it, and my heart immediately filled with gratitude.

This blogging thing is funny. Sometimes I wonder why I do it. It takes up a lot of time, it makes me feel vulnerable, sometimes it is too hard to think of something to write about, and I think that some people think it is weird. But then I get an e-mail informing me that I have a new comment from someone…and their words fill my heart with joy, and I remember why I write.

And I am grateful for this journey I have taken with my pinky toes.

As my morning continued on, my next stop was Facebook. As I scrolled down the page, catching up on everyones’ public personal lives, there were two things that caught my attention. One was this article being shared, and the second was like song that was posted by a relative I haven’t seen or spoken to in awhile…

And then my whole morning made sense.

I have found this happy place in my life through the blessings of God. He had all this planned…I have this amazing family…husband, mom, dad, sister, stepdad, aunts, uncles, cousins, mamaw, grandmas, and grandpas…because of Him. I have wonderful friends because of Him. I started this blog and have carried on writing through events set in place by Him.  I live an extremely blessed life, and while everything along the way so far hasn’t been all daisies, it has all been worth it. The appreciation and gratitude I feel like morning is pretty unexplainable.

Just Greatness.

ang

P.S. Here’s a Friday affirmation for you:

A Paper Surprise

Over the weekend I celebrated my best friend’s birthday (twenty-sixth, right?!) with a lovely surprise party planned by her husband and parents. I, along with another sweet friend, was assigned the fun task of providing decorations for the party.

Well, if you’ve been reading this blog at all you probably know that I’m going back to school. Going back to school equals being poor for the rest of your life. Being poor equals the need to get creative. Thank goodness Pinterest is free.

All the decor was created with paper, yarn, paint, cans, wooden sticks, and a little bit of rhinestone bling. Combine that with a hot glue gun, sand, a sewing machine, and some tape and you got yourself a party.

I arrived early to set up all the decor before the guests, especially the guest of honor, got there. I’m sure that I got many strange stares from the diners and servers as I stood atop the barstools to reach the ceiling. This was just the first time of many that I truly missed my 6’8″ handsomeness who was unable to celebrate with us.

When the guest of honor arrived she seemed completely shocked and surprised, and I’m pretty sure that she shed a tear when she saw me there. It was difficult to keep the secret all week when all I wanted to do was tell her how excited I was to be coming in town to see her!

It was a fabulous night.

Today is her actual birthday, and I’m so happy that she came into this world, umm…twenty-three(?) years ago, and that she came into my life four years ago. Happy birthday H.

ang