I’m Back!

No, I haven’t left town or gone anywhere exciting, not yet at least.

I’m back to the pavement! After several weeks away from running, trying to give my pesky knee some time to heal, and working on increasing my strength (soon-to-come: unassisted pull-up), I’ve finally been able to officially start training for the Chicago Marathon!

I’m a week and a half in, and I’m absolutely loving living by my beautiful, colorful training calendar. Obviously having not run very much the past month, I’m starting out pretty slow with low mileage, but I hope to be working both (speed and miles) up in the very near future. I also want to keep focusing on strength training and incorporate a lot of speed training!

Last night the tall man (a.k.a. husband) and I hit up the track for some speed work. We did several 100 meter sprints, a few 200 meter sprints, then we split up and I continued with an 800 hundred sprint (um, can you call that a sprint?), and my fastest ever mile run…seven minutes and twenty-one seconds.

To some, that might not seem all that fast for just one mile, but when I pressed the lap button on my pretty little Garmin and saw 7:21 flash before my eyes, I was ecstatic! After watching the Olympic track trials on television, witnessing 200 meter times in the 20 second range, and then running my own huff-and-puff-tastic 200s in 43 slow and agonizing seconds, I thought I’d lost any resemblance of speed I might have once had. However, 7:21 is at least 15 seconds off my mile PR, so I guess somewhere in these quads of mine is some super-duper-fastness waiting to get out.

I have to give credit to my precious little dog Tia. We took her to the track with us so she could get some fresh air, and after Matt was finish with his workout he took Tia off her leash to play. I was halfway around the track into the first lap of my mile when I heard some cute little footsteps chasing behind me. After nose-diving in a hole in the grass and flipping three times, little Tia eventually passed me and stayed a few steps ahead of me the rest of the mile.

What a good little pacer she is. 🙂

And what a wonderful husband this guy is…

On Sunday he woke up at 5:00am (a huge accomplishment in itself), drove us an hour to downtown Kansas City, and ran the All Star Game 5K (third race ever) in the crazy midwest heat with me. #proudwife

I think I’m turning us into a cute little family of runners! Maybe. 🙂

 

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

Scatterbrained

I am pretty scatterbrained as of lately. I go through my day, come across something that sparks an interest, make a mental note to blog about it (or update my status, or tweet, or instagram about it), then I go on to the next thing and forget. I thought I’d have more time come summer, but so far it is proving the opposite.

So, since I don’t set aside enough time in the day to write a thoughtful, inspiring blog post, here goes a post of random things that have sparked my interest over the past few days.

First of all, did I say summertime? It’s summer! Summer is totally, without a doubt, my absolute favorite season…time for some sunshine and smiles. I love summer so much that I feel like I should have had a grand countdown to its arrival.

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I said that I didn’t set aside enough time to write thoughtful posts, but that wasn’t completely true. You see, I’ve reignited my addiction to pinterest, which means that my blog-writing time has turned into searching for pretty (or yummy) things that I want to make, but actually don’t have time to make.

I love pinterest and I love the creativity it opens up in me again, but like I said before, there is still a love/hate aspect to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stop repinning cute outfits, yummy looking treats, or ideas for my dream home someday. However, you will never see me repin a “workout for your love handles” or a picture of a skinny girl as inspiration. A place where people with common interests to share their ideas and what inspires them is a great invention! However, some of these pins are degrading and aimed at making you feel bad about yourself.

But, I did repin this little gem…

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Word.

Did you know that I love Demi Lovato? Even if you didn’t know that, you probably could assume I loved her based on my background in eating disorder recovery and what she stands for. What an amazing (and real, might I add) role model to have out their in celebrity-land. Her song Skyscraper…pretty sure I could listen to it over and over forever and not get sick of it.

So, that’s what I’m doing right now. 🙂

Did you see she was on the cover of Cosmo? Love that. You know what I didn’t love, though? As I waited in line to pay for my groceries, I picked up this magazine (because this is pretty much the only place where I get any reading done) to try to flip through to see her article. I had to flip quickly because it was almost my turn in line, and I opened the magazine right to the article How to Get a Bangin’ Body For Summer (or something along those lines).

You know I’m all about fitness. I love being active, I love running, and I love anything that will give me a good workout. I love endorphins. However, I don’t love all these things because I think it will give me a “bangin’ body.” I love these things because they make me feel empowered. Confident.

Come on world. Come on magazine peeps. Let’s write an article How to Love Your Already Bangin’ Body that God Gave You This Summer. If I saw that article advertised in the grocery checkout line…I think I’d actually buy the magazine. (Cosmo…if you need someone to freelance write that article for you…)

So speaking of fitness, after taking a week off I went for a run yesterday.

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But today, these shoes were made for walking instead. Yesterday I felt fine for about two miles…and that’s when I should have stopped. The ol’ knee started acting up during the last two miles. I think it’s getting better, but I need to stay off of it a little bit longer. Better be safe than sorry. I’ve been hitting the weights hard, though, and I’m absolutely loving how strong I feel. If I see you in person I will probably have to show your my new guns. 😉

Did you like that last photo? Yeah, I discovered instagram. Love it. Find me, follow me.

Hey guess what? Joplin called. The hubs and I are going to jumpstart our road trip vacation by volunteering with Rebuild Joplin in July! Totally stoked. I hope I get to make my daddy proud and wear a hard hat.

And on that note, I think I’ll go make another cup of delicious coconut mocha coffee.

ang

Because I Love To Run

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

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…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

Time For Chicago…Kind Of

This week marks the start of training for marathon number three!

Chicago!

Well, kind of. I’ve printed out blanks calendars from now through October, but I’ve only filled in maybe one fourth of the days. It’s always a tricky little thing deciding how I want to go forward with training…do I want to incorporate hills (ummm…not really, but I should), speedwork (heck yes!), strength, cross training, intervals, yassos, and so on and so on…? And by the time I fill in all the days, I probably will change it around a million and a half more times before October seventh. And then I have to consider how I am going to train while I’m on vacation at the beach in July. Where will I run? Will I want to run (or will I want to happily nurse a Corona hangover every morning instead?!) Do I run on the beach? If so, do I run with shoes on or barefoot? What if I’m running and I step on a seashells and cut my foot?

So many things to consider. Clearly all logical.

And as excited as I am to run Chicago, it still feels like a long time away.   Which, at this point, might be a good thing considering that as soon as my right inner thigh finally stopped hurting (last week!), my right knee is now hurting. Is there a correlation here (the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone…the knee bone’s connected to the shin bone…)? So frustrating.

I’m getting old.

So on top of my obviously logical concerns above regarding a training plan, how do I get started? Do I rest a little longer and postpone training to try to get my knee to stop hurting? Do I push through it like I did last summer and hope the pain goes away like it did last summer? Do I make my husband give me leg massages daily until it heals up? Do I yoga more? Stretch more (duh)? Roll more?

Too many questions and choices and decisions to make. All I want to do is run…and start running faster. And strength train…and start getting stronger.

So for now, that’s what I’m going to try to do.

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

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

September in Review, October Underway

I simply cannot believe that it is October…October 3rd to be exact. September flew by insanely fast…the whole summer flew by too fast. And now it’s October. Crazy.

I know that I am going to regret saying this in a few weeks when I can’t stand the fall cold anymore (even though the weather is perfect right now, Missouri weather changes too fast), but I’m kind of glad that the seasons are changing. Dare I say that I’m looking forward to our first snow? (Insert my dad gasping here…he loves the snow and he knows I’m a summer baby!) Okay, snow is still pretty far off and maybe taking it too far. No, definitely too far. Nonetheless, I am kind of stoked that it’s now fall.

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The fact that September seemed so short, I’m not going to be too hard on myself about my September goals (and maybe because I already know that I did not accomplish very many of them!) Let’s be real here…in September I spent most of my time trying to overcome my post-first-marathon depression, and even though that wasn’t one of the goals I listed for myself, I think it was the biggest accomplishment.

I did achieve my first two goals: find a new race to sign up for and create a new workout schedule. I ran a 10K in September and I am registered to run my second half marathon at the end of November. I also created a new training plan for my half that I will share with you all later! Success!

My third goal was to strength train at least twice a week. I don’t think I completely accomplished this goal, but I did manage to weight lift once a week. Semi-success!

Two more goals were to blog more and cook more. These are both pretty relative goals, but I can say for a fact that I did blog and cook more than I did in August (which really isn’t saying that much.)

And now for the walk of shame…

Finish unpacking and decorating. Fail.

Do yoga. Fail. Not.Even.One.Time.

Find a book to read. Fail.

Create something artsy. Fail.

And last, but definitely not least, enjoy life. I did enjoy life…but not enough. I spent too much time being sad that my marathon was over and just being moody. Enough of that!

Now that it is a new month, it is time for a new mindset and some new goals!

1. Stick to my half marathon training plan. It is easy to blow off a three miles run here and there, but for the most part I want to stay on track! I’ve devised this plan a little bit differently, so I’d like to stick it out!

2. Cook even more. My body is telling me that it’s had enough frozen meals and frozen pizzas for a lifetime. So, why not make a homemade pizza, with homemade crust, instead of cooking one frozen? As I was preparing dinner last night (yes, I cooked last night!) I thought to myself this isn’t so bad. Maybe I could even start to enjoy cooking. Hmmm.

3. Be creative. I am in the middle of a fun design project for a spa company which I think is very beautiful, but I need to create something out of pure enjoyment! I just haven’t made enough time for creativity lately…and I think I need to get on the Pinterest bandwagon to get the wheels a’rollin! Add that to the goal…be creative and join Pinterest!

4. Try something pumpkin flavored. I have been reading about everyones’ undying love for pumpkin lattes, coffees, creamers, pies, oatmeal, cookies, ect., so why not give it a try? I’ve always veered away from pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving, but I actually tried a slice last year and I think I kind of liked it.

5. Spruce up this little blog of mine. It’s been on my mind for awhile to lose the “.wordpress” from my web address, but I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing. If you have any advice, please share it with me! So, maybe I’m not ready to go self-hosted, but I would like to add a few new pages, update my current pages, and just make it overall a little bit better!

6. Read a book. Let’s give this goal another try.

7. Have faith. October is destined to bring me some more news regarding my future in nursing school. Whatever happens, I want to know that it is the right thing and that I can get through it.

8. Be happy. Life is too short not to be.

What are your October goals?!

ang

Racing Spur of the Moment

I’m not usually a spur-of-the-moment kind of person.

But I did just register for a 10K on Sunday. Yes, this Sunday!

That’s just four days away. Or, um, three days, twenty-three hours, nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds…according to the countdown ticker.

Have I been training? Well, kind of? (It’s probably not a good sign when my answer to that question has a question mark behind it.)

Have I been training enough to reach my new 10K goal of sub-50 minutes? Uuuuuhhh…probably not, but I will surely try my hardest! Since I haven’t had this goal in sight for all that long, I’m not going to be too hard on myself. If I achieve my goal, then it’d be amazing (and I’ll have to treat myself to some sort of frozen yogurt treat!), and if I don’t, well, I’ll have a great time regardless (and hopefully talk someone into getting a sweet treat with me anyway!)

What better way to jump start my motivation again, cross off one of my September goals, and prove to myself that life does go on after my marathon. Hopefully this is the start of a new race season that will include at least two other 5Ks (I have my sights set on this one…sub-24 minutes?) and my second marathon next spring (anyone in?!)

Now, speaking of the motivation…it’s time for me to go hit the gym for some strength training (and now, maybe some speedwork…)!

ang

Did I Really Do That?

I can’t believe it has been almost two whole weeks since I ran my first marathon.

I think back to that day and have to question whether or not it actually happened.

I mean, I remember running it…I remember waking up in the morning, meeting up with all my friends, and arriving at the race sight. I remember starting the race, running alongside Dean Karnazes, meeting some amazing people, seeing my friends at the transition points, and seeing all of my family along the course. I remember my sister screaming, my mom crying, my dad running, and my husband providing me with fuel and water. I remember crossing the finish line, and I remember crossing the finish line for a second time with all of my girlfriends.

I remember hugging all my family at the finish line, drenching my mom in my own sweat, and eating strawberries and blueberries after the race. I remember sitting in the grass cheering on the final runners as they neared the finish line. I remember being too sore to climb a staircase without using all four of my limbs.

But did I really do that?

If it was actually reality (although I’m still unsure at this point) then it was one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It was a feeling that I wish every person can experience at least once in their life, and it was a feeling I want to seek out again.

I’ve been scouring race sights all week trying to pick a race that fits into my work schedule, volleyball schedule, dinner club schedule, and budget. It’s not the easiest task in the world, and I’m going stir crazy not knowing the next time I will get to challenge myself. I have a few races in my sights…maybe a 10K soon…a half marathon before the end of the year, and I definitely need to find a 5K so that my hubs and I can actually finish our bet! I have my eyes set on another marathon for beginning of next year.

It has been interesting working out this week without a set schedule or training plan. I’m such a goal-oriented person and I miss having my training plan stuck to my refrigerator, but it has been kind of nice to just go with the flow this week and enjoy the magnificent weather!

My first post-marathon run was Saturday and I ran three easy miles and walked an additional mile. I was definitely nervous as I was leaving my house that my legs might have forgotten how to run, but somehow they started moving on their own!

On Tuesday I ran four miles on the treadmill (a shame, I know, since it was beautiful outside) and did some strength training. (Yay for biceps!)

On Wednesday I decided to try some Yasso 800s (don’t worry, I didn’t know what they were either until just recently). I learned about this track workout on Emily’s blog last week, and I was very intrigued! I’ve been very inspired by reading about Emily’s running (and swimming and biking) experiences on her blog, so I thought this workout must be legit! Basically you run timed, speedy 800s on a track with an un-timed cool-down 400 in between. You start by doing four 800s the first week, and then you add another 800 each week until you reach ten. Your time during your 800s should (possibly…) reflect your marathon time. For example, if you run an 800 in three minutes and forty seconds, you should be able to run a marathon in three hours and forty minutes (I really hope I’m explaining this correctly!)

Yesterday consisted of some random crosstraining, and today I set out bright (well, it wasn’t actually bright yet) and early for a nice four miler with some of the girls from the WOW running group. It was refreshing to get in another easy run with some awesome company!

While I may not know the next time I will be racing, I do know that these shoes aren’t ready to retire!

ang