You’ll Get There, I Promise

I think I’m in the habit of trying to do the impossible…

Or at the very least, what might seem impossible to me.

In the midst of training for Chicago I got an e-mail from The NorthFace Endurance Challenge. I have a soft spot for this race, you see, a weak-in-the-knees adoration for this endurance challenge.

It was my first marathon ever last year.

So, you know it pulled at my little heart strings until I officially registered for a second round. Only this time I decided to go for the even more impossible.

The mini-ultra.

The 50K.

I just added a few more weeks of training after finishing the Chicago Marathon. I was tired, wornout, overwhelmed, scared and nervous…but I was stoked to complete another new challenge.

Come beautiful Saturday morning on November 17th, I had all the same feelings. I was tired, but excited. Overwhelmed but prepared. Nervous but amped. And when the race started I was off again on cloud nine. My feet, one after another, doing what they know best, my eyes on the road ahead, my hot pink fingernails waiting to give me my superpowers when I needed them. I know my mom thought I was crazy when I stayed up late just to paint my nails on race eve, but there was method to my madness. Superpowers, duh.

And I definitely needed them.

There’s no play-by-play for this race recap, just as there wasn’t for Chicago. I think what is happening is that I’m becoming so overwhelmed by emotions that everything seems to happen in a blur. I am so humbled by my running experiences, grateful for my capabilities, and beyond thankful for all the support I’ve received. I remember the race in moments, and these are moments I hope to remember for the rest of my life…

…all the runners lined up at the start, nervously chattering about how it’s “just five more miles.” Me, standing there in the middle of it, smiling like a kid in a candy store.

…reliving all the sites of Kansas City and remembering running the same streets last year and how magnificent I felt when I finished my first marathon. The same hill, the same bridge, the same buildings…they all felt so nostalgic.

…my friends who were running the half marathon catching up with me and giving me words of encouragement. Then watching them as ran ahead, finishing a great race of their own.

…coming to the first aid station that offered sliced oranges. An orange has never been so delicious.

…the stairs. Four flights to be exact. At least they were going down.

…splitting away from the marathon runners and beginning the out and back route that added those no-big-deal five more miles.

…looking down at my pink fingernails and summoning them for some of those superpowers now.

…the smiles, waves, thumbs up, nods, and words of encouragement as the leader 50k-ers passed back along the out and back route. Those small gestures meant oh-so-much.

…seeing my dad at mile eighteen. I knew it was him from half a mile away…pride just beaming out of him.

…wanting to stop around mile twenty. I’ve never wanted to stop so bad. I decided to walk and eat another orange…then dug deep and found some way to keep going.

…seeing my sister. Her voice screeching as she cheered me on. Then seeing her again, driving in her car, yelling out her window. And again.

…coming to terms with the fact that I needed to walk again. So I did. And at the encouragement of one of the wonderful Kansas City Police Department officers, starting to run again.

…striking a conversation with another runner. Come to find out the only race he’d ever ran was a 5K, and here he was running a 50K right next to me. I told him he was doing great, and he admitted that it was only because he knew I’d been behind him for awhile and he didn’t want me to pass him.

…a mile later, passing him.

…walking for a third time up the longest and hardest and steepest hill, probably in the world.

…the feeling of knowing I only had two miles to go. I was actually going to finish this.

…the little girls who were cheering and told me that the finish line was so close.

…coming around the corner…the same corner that I rounded on August 27th, 2011…hearing my sister’s voice again…trying to hold the tears back and myself together long enough the make it a few more yards to the finish line…seeing my dad standing there…hearing the announcer call my name…

…and crossing the finish line after four hours, forty-seven minutes, and thirty-three seconds. Another seemingly impossible task…finished.

If there is one thing I can tell you, it’s that you can really do anything you want to in life.

My heart is so full of pride and gratitude and thankfulness. For everyone who has given me so much support through everything, I can’t thank you enough.

ang

Better Add Some Down Dog In There

I’ve redecorated my living room…

…with a yoga mat.

I’ve been wanting to get back into yoga for a long time now. However, my yoga mat has been sitting in the backseat of my car never being used for close to a year. Poor little thing. Finally, yesterday, I decided to let it’s pretty pinkness back into my life…in the middle of my living room nevertheless.

So far I’ve only stepped on it a couple of times, only for a few minutes each time…but when I do I choose a pose that I love (i.e. triangle pose!) and it feels so darn good to be doing it. However, since I’m in the pose while watching the blaring television at the same time, I’m not sure you can actually call it yoga.

I’m definitely not a yoga guru, although I pretty much wish I was. Let’s go ahead and add become a certified yoga instructor to the bucket list. I’ve only ever taken a few beginner yoga classes, but I’ve always loved the way yoga makes me feel. The problem is that there are no yoga classes in town (that I am aware of) and I just feel silly doing yoga by myself in my home. Sure I know a few poses and feel great about my technique, but I have no ability to come up with sequences, fluidity, or anything that makes sense. Warrior 1, okay good. Um, next? How about pigeon? Better add some down dog in there.

See. Silliness. No good. (Maybe I should rethink that bucket list thing…)

There are a few things that I do know about yoga, though. Yoga helped me become a runner. I was doing yoga consistently when I was training for my first half marathon. Yoga helped me learn how to control my breathing which helped prepare me for the long distance. Yoga is a good stretch. Obviously. And stretching helps prevent injury. Lastly, yoga is good for the mind and for the heart.

It’s time to go hit up my studio!

ang

P.S. Does anyone have any at-home yoga advice?! Please help!!!

Life As I Know It

…is never going to be quite the same.

Goodbye sleeping in, running whenever my heart desired, four hour-long afternoon naps, reading a book for fun, reading anything for fun, and blogging semi-regularly.

Hello studying, alarm clocks, dark circles, multiple cups of coffee, highlighters, reading only textbooks, scheduling runs, living by my planner (which is now covered in exam and due dates), medical terminology, and only blogging sporadically from my cell phone during my lunch break.

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This week has been overwhelming and hectic…and I kind of love it.

While my husband is probably going to think I’m a raging lunatic/nerd for the next two years (and he’s probably right on), I’m right where I want to be. I thrive off challenge…and this truly is going to be just that.

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Please bare with me for the next few weeks as I try to find my footing. And please know that when you talk to me and I look far away, I’m probably just trying to figure out how I’d assess and diagnose you. In the meantime, if you need your blood pressure or other vital signs checked, I’m your girl…and I only charge a minimal copay.

ang, nursing student

Scary Days

Saturday I did something really scary, but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

Today was also a particularly scary day for me. It was my first day of nursing school!

It felt kind of strange. It’s something that I’ve hoped to do for so long and work so hard for. But for some reason it just felt like one of those days that I’d only dream about and never actually get to experience.

And today I experienced it. And it was scary.

However, I received the most awesome e-mail last night that made it not as scary. In my panic to prepare for the first day I was scouring the internet trying to figure out how to play a video on taking blood pressure. I took a breath for one second and decided to check my mail, only to be surprised with some words of encouragement from a reader and former nursing student all the way from Florida!

Heaven-sent.

At least through all the panicking, printing of syllabi, e-mail reading, and overall going nuts-ness, my eating habits have been yet again improved in accordance with my New Year’s resolution. Not only am I eating breakfast (even if this makes me have to wake up even earlier than I normally would before going to class), but I’m also eating at least three serving of fruit a day! Deliciousness.

A beautiful green apple makes the day a little less scary.

ang

Starting the Year Off Right…

…with breakfast, of course.

I’m in love with setting goals and then achieving them, duh, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading and hearing about everyones’ wishes for two thousand and twelve. I just know this is going to be a ridiculously awesome year!

Each year I make a resolution to “eat healthier” and I can never follow through with it. I’ll start out doing well, and then I just quit. What does eating healthier mean for me anyway? Cutting sweets? Well, that’s not happening. Eating less noodles? Also not happening. Getting more protein? Well, yes…but how? Don’t even get me started about potato chips!

One of my “wishes” is to make one better eating decision each week. That means that I will be making fifty-two choices that will help me be a healthier person in the long run.

I would like to make it known that none of these changes will include cutting any food groups or restricting my diet in any way. Honestly, it will probably involve adding many, many more foods in certain food groups. Hello vegetables…we are about to become best buddies! I’m sure that this wish will entail a lot bravery as I will have to convince myself to try new foods, however, condiments will not be making the list. Absolutely. Not.

For this week my change was easy…it’s just another one of my two-thousand and twelve wishes. I’m going to eat breakfast every single day. No skipping. No sleeping in and then waiting for lunch to come around. It’s going to be breakfast, and it’s going to be delicious!

Which is why I’m glad these precious little grapefruits were on sale yesterday!

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

Weekend Recap

This weekend ended up being extremely successful, productive, and downright delightful!

I tried a new food (which I ended up loving!), I made a new food (smashing s’mores!), I got to see my family, I got to see all my friends, and I achieved one of my October goals! The only negative to the weekend is the fact the the Pretty Pretty Punters lost their first game to the Battling Bruisers, putting them in a tie for second place. I blame it on the Greenbay Packers. Catches by twelve different players…seriously? Why not just the three players I had? And Finley, why don’t you try not dropping so many passes.

Oh my goodness…where is this blog going?! When did My Pinky toes become a place to talk football and trash talk professional football players? I’m sorry Finley, but for real…try catching a few more, please…for me!

Now…back to where this post was supposed to be going…

Saturday morning I woke up nice and early to meet my running gals for a nice long run. I’m seriously in love with my running group right now…they helped my seven miles absolutely fly by! I really think a long run is the best way to start a weekend!

After my morning run I cleaned up and headed to town to make a visit to my mom and mamaw at their craft show, my sister, and then do some shopping! I have been dying to go shopping since my birthday back in August and I finally found some time to do so…and to make it even better, the shopping trip ended up being successful (more to come on that tomorrow!) After shopping it was time for some dinner club action!!!

(Left to right: Kellie, Heather, Casey-on top, Megan-on bottom, me, and Lauren)

The beautiful Lauren hosted Saturday’s dinner club and we had a bonfire! She made chili and chicken tortilla soup. I have never tried a tortilla soup before, but it smelled so good I knew I had to give it a try. After asking what all the ingredients were to make sure there’d be no surprises for me, I whipped myself up a bowl. It was delicious, and I’m pretty darn proud of myself for trying it! Thank you Lauren…I must get that recipe!

(Left to right: top row-Nate, Caleb, and Lance, bottom row-Brandon, JR, my hubs, and Seth)

As for my smashing s’mores (recipe from Jessica’s blog)…

…they were definitely a hit! I don’t have an after photo of them because they were all eaten!!! I managed to snag a couple for myself, and they were pretty darn good if I do say so myself! Make them…now!

We all had a great time catching up, meeting the new baby of the group, awing and googling over both babies of the group, eating, drinking, and of course, always laughing.

Oh, and for achieving one of my October goals…

…I tried something pumpkin flavored…pumpkin beer! Yummmm….!

How was your weekend?!

ang

If It Wasn’t Meant To Be, Then It Wouldn’t Have Been

Now to continue on with my weekend festivities

I was very excited to have my first trip to a winery this past weekend…that was until my mom informed me that I had been to a winery before. I thought how would she know if I’d been to a winery before…I think I’d know if I had. She then informed me that her and my Mamaw (actually my grandma…but she is not a grandma, she is called Mamaw) had taken my aunt and me to a winery when we were little.

Oh.

So, my second trip to a winery this past weekend was…

The gorgeous Heather and Casey!

A M A Z I N G…

and B E A U T I F U L…

and D E L I G H T F U L…

and M E M O R A B L E…

and D E L I C I O U S…

and H I L A R I O U S (silly faulty picnic tables!)!!!

And can I just say, that I have the best friends ever!We talked about how lucky we all are to have each other…how three (or more!) is not a crowd for us…how we should start a book club (hence…why the book club was born!)…and how crazy it is that we all became friends.

If my husband hadn’t been best friends with Heather’s husband all their lives, I would have never met her…and if her husband would’ve married someone else, then I would never have met her either…and if Heather had never met Casey in grad school…and if Casey would have always thought Heather looked like a snobby girl…and if Heather hadn’t invited Casey to go to Bunco…it could go on and on!!!!!

Thank goodness that God knew we needed each other.

And thank goodness for bananas in purses.

And thank goodness for Casey’s hubby for picking us up. A designated driver is always a necessity.

We were meant to be. If it wasn’t meant to be, then it wouldn’t have been.

ang

Here I Go!

It has been decided.

I am going to run a full marathon!

I’ve created my eighteen week training plan based on Hal Higdon’s novice training schedule. I finished day one today! (Monday’s are the easiest…just lifting and stretching!) My legs still aren’t back to 100% since my half last weekend, so I’m going to take this week pretty slow and easy. I’m so excited to have something to push toward again!

The finish line just felt to good.

Why wouldn’t I want to feel like this again?!

26.2 miles! I’m going to do it!

I will keep you updated on my journey…I can’t wait!!!

ang

Aaahhh…Get That Ketchup Away From Me! Please.

I probably won’t post too often about food…mostly because at this time in my life I consider myself a terrible cook.  Anytime I attempt cooking, it usually ends up with smoke alarms going off throughout the entire house, little Tia barking her face off because she’s worried about me, stuff boiling over pots and burning itself onto my stove top, and last week I even caught my oven mitt on fire a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong, though…I love to eat (most things….er…some things), and I do make some things well.

Yesterday I needed to pack a small dinner for work.  I didn’t want to cook something up (mostly because I’m not a fan of reheated food), and I was less than inspired to have yet another microwavable pizza (my go-to easy work dinner).  So, I decided to get creative and whip something together…

Mmmm…a chopped jalapeno mixed with cream cheese spread over crackers and topped with salami.  I was a little nervous at first, as I always am when trying a new food combination, but they were actually very good!  I am obsessed with jalapenos right now…I try to put them in everything I can think of!

And you can’t go wrong with some fresh fruit and veggies!  I’m also obsessed with strawberries right now.  I wonder if I could create something that included jalapenos and strawberries…hmmm…what do you think?  All in all, I am very proud of my new little dinner experience!

On the subject of food, however, I’d like to touch on a subject that is very, very, very scary to me.

CONDIMENTS!

I have to be honest…I have an extreme, ridiculoso, absurd, bizarr-o, outrageous, and unbelievable phobia of ALL condiments. Ketchup. Mustard. Honey mustard. Barbecue sauce. MAYONNAISE (I have a crazy sixth-grade head lice story about this particular condiment). Miracle whip. Cocktail sauce…all of which my husband loves. The list could go on and on. When I found out that many recipes for meat loaf called for ketchup a few years ago, I called my mother right away to ask her if she put ketchup in her meat loaf (that I’d been eating all my life thus far). Luckily, she didn’t.

Photo by Tony Cenicola from The New York Times

source

I’m not scared of them because of calories or fat content like one might assume.  So why, you might ask?  I have NO idea! I guess it’s partly from their smells, it’s partly from their textures (which I don’t know from actually having them in my mouth…because that will never happen!), and it’s partly because of the way they look…shiny and slimy and thick and runny all at the same time.  It’s partly due to the way they sound…you know, how when you have to shake the bottle to squeeze it out and a little slurp comes through the hole (bleh! I’m getting sick just thinking about it!)  I can’t honestly tell you that it’s because of the way they taste.  I haven’t tasted any recently enough to actually know if they taste gross according to my taste buds, but my olfactory receptors sense that they smell in such a way that I wouldn’t desire their tastes.

Will I ever get over this phobia?  My guess is probably not…mostly because I’m so grossed out by condiments that I’m not motivated to like them.  My husband begs to differ.  We have a bet that by the time I’m eighty years old I will be eating ketchup and barbecue sauce.  Whoever loses the bet owes the other person a full body massage.

At least I know I can look forward to getting that massage when I’m eighty!

However, all in all, I can say that as I keep getting older, I am starting to enjoy more and more foods that I never thought I would…and I am happy for that!

ang