Not Natural DIY-ers: A Remodeling Update

So, for those you who don’t know, John and I live in a fairly old house.  It was built-in the ’60s, and, while it wasn’t a wreck when we bought, it certainly needed a lot of love.  We bought our house in 2009 so we were lucky enough to take advantage of the first-time home buyer credit that the government was offering.  When we first moved in, we had big plans to take that money, fix up the house, and live happily ever after.

Then reality set in.  Within a few weeks, we got the unfortunate news that our little house that only needed cosmetic changes, actually had thousands of dollars of foundation damage (don’t get me started on our home inspector!).  That took the wind out of our sails a little bit, and definitely extended the timeline for the remodeling we wanted to do.  When you add in the fact that neither John nor I really enjoy remodeling, and would much rather spend our weekends doing just about anything else, you can see why we spent four years without closet doors.

Fast forward to the present.  We decided in the last six months or so that it’s finally time to move on, and we’ve bought a really beautiful lot in town where we’ll start building our new house in the next few months.  That means, of course, that we have to get our current home in tip-top shape, and we’ve been working endlessly at that for a while now.

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Today I wanted to share some of our progress, and give you an idea about what we still have left to do.  We’ve been in the process of remodeling the kitchen and the guest bathroom, and both of them are tantalizingly close to being finished.

Before the cabinets were gray.

Before the cabinets were gray.

A few weeks ago, John decided the kitchen cabinets needed one more coat of paint, and that quickly evolved into, “Hey, let’s paint the bottom cabinets gray!”.  I’m actually really happy with how they turned out.

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Mom came up last week, and the two of us (mostly her!) finished all the painting in the kitchen.  When we decided to go with the gray cabinets, we knew we couldn’t keep the green walls so Mom and I repainted them a light blue that matches the living room.  I really, really love it.  Our kitchen is partially open to our living room, and just makes the whole area feel open and light.

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We also tackled the soffit above the top cabinets.  It’s now gray to match the bottom cabinets, and it ties everything together.

As you can see we need to finish putting up the bead board in the guest bath, paint it, and then put the mirror back up.  It’s very close to being finished, and we should be able to knock that out in a weekend.

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Just for fun, here’s a picture of the master bathroom that we redid a few years ago.  I don’t think I’ve ever shown it off!

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So what’s left?  The kitchen still needs countertops and a backsplash, and the cabinet doors need to be painted and installed.  John plans on tackling that particular project this weekend, and the countertops were ordered earlier this week.  As soon as we get all of that done, we’re going to replace the floors in the kitchen, guest bathroom, and living room (I’m way over carpet!).  After that the only big project that’s left to be done is trim throughout.  It sounds like a lot, but we’re hopeful we can bust it out in three or four hard weekends.

I’m so excited to get it fixed up, and move forward on the new house.  I’ll be sure to give you another update in a few weeks, but, in the mean time, make sure you’re following me on Instagram.  Hopefully, by Sunday night it will look a little different than it does now!  Have a great weekend!

Run Rock ‘N Roll: Dallas Edition

Hello, world!  Despite my best intentions, I once again only managed to get one post up last week.  Breaks are tough, aren’t they? ;)  Seriously, though, the week flew by.  Mom came up to visit for a few days, and she helped me do a ton of painting in the kitchen.  It’s really starting to look good, and I owe you all an update on the remodeling which I’m planning (fingers crossed!) for later on in the week.

I capped off my Spring Break week with #3 in our 12 in 12 in 12 quest!  Dad, Justin, and I ran the Run Rock ‘N Roll Dallas yesterday which crossed Texas off the list.

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The three of us plus Caite hit up the Expo on Saturday, and we all agreed that it was the best one we’d been to.  Everything was really well organized, and the booths were spaced out just enough which is really important to me.  I absolutely hate being squished in like sardines anywhere I go, and when you have a thousand runners all trying to look at one rack of socks it’s a perfect recipe for an anxiety attack.

It was an 8 o’clock race start, and the four of us (John had to stay home this time so Caite took over the role of groupie :) ) arrived with about an hour to spare.  After a short walk from the car and hitting up the port-a-potties, we took our spots in the corral.

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The corrals were released every 90 seconds so it didn’t feel like we were waiting forever once the gun went off.

The three of us took off together through three pretty flat to downhill miles.  Honestly, I don’t remember much about them at all!  Justin had originally planned on taking this race slow, and staying with Dad and I.  I could tell that he was having trouble running at that slower pace, and around the three mile marker he left us in the dust!  Homeboy ended up finishing in 1:45!  I can’t even begin to dream of ever touching that!

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Around mile four, we saw Caite, Mom, and Joel.  This was the first half that Mom and Joel have ever gotten to see.  Mom reports that she had a lot of fun watching.  I don’t think a long distance run is in her future!

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Not too long after we ran through Dealy Plaza which is, as you history buffs know, the place were JFK was assasianated.  That was a nice little downhill, but it almost immediately switched to the first big hill.  By the time I got to the top, my calves were completely knotted up.  I have decided that I’m just going to have to suck it up and start doing some hill work.

The next few miles went by pretty fast.  Around mile seven we crossed over the Trinity River.

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This is a fairly new bridge in Dallas, and it is really spectacular.  We never stop to take pictures during races, but this time we had to.

We saw Mom, Caite, and Joel again at mile 8, and everything was still feeling pretty good.  At mile 9, I started to feel like I needed to take a quick walking break, but I told myself to make it until mile 10 before I did.

I walked for a few seconds then got going again, and that’s when my knee started to act a little angry.  From 10.5 to 12, it was aching pretty good.  I knew that this was going to be a possibility going in.  Running up on my toes doesn’t put any pressure on my knee, but since I’ve had to start striking mid-foot, the knee is getting a little more action.  For those of you who don’t know, I was ironically diagnosed with runner’s knee several years ago.  I say it’s ironic because it usually only bothers me when I’m hiking-almost never while running!

We were pushing pretty hard to try and make it in under the 2:09:40 PR I had set in Baton Rouge.  Around mile 12, my knee magically stopped hurting, but, by then, I’d lost a little too much time.  Not to mention, if I’m being completely honest, by mile 11 I had run out of gas.

So the stretch from 10.5 to 13.1 was physically and mentally challenging.  With a few hundred yards to the finish, we saw the family again, this time with the addition of my step-mom and stepbrother, and seeing them all cheering gave me a boost to get to the end.

We crossed the line at 2:10:48, and, all in all, I’m very happy with this race.  I had ABSOLUTELY NO FOOT PAIN!  You guys know what a victory that is!  Although I did struggle with some knee issues, the pain was completely manageable, and didn’t start until late in the race.  I’ll take that over foot pain from mile 1 on any day!

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Our next half is April 18th in Kansas so I have just under a month to tweak a few things.  My number 1 priority is incorporating hill work.  I don’t like it so I don’t do it which means I suffer during a race.  That’s  no bueno.  I’m also thinking I need to incorporate more miles per week.  I shouldn’t have been as gassed as I was toward the end of the race so I need to build up a little bit more.

Regarding the knee pain, I’m deciding whether or not to give the kinesio tape a try.  Does anyone have any experience with it?  I’ve heard both ends of the spectrum on it, but I’m thinking it can’t hurt to give it a try.

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So #3 is in the books, and we have nine more to go. Kansas here we come!

Hometown Racin’

Hello, Monday!  I am not particularly sad to see this Monday as it’s the beginning of my Spring Break!  I hate to rub it in to all you non-teachers out there, but, if it makes you feel any better, just picture what my paycheck looks like compared to yours.

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We kicked off my week of freedom with a trip home to see the family.  John actually had a fire department training to attend close to my hometown, and I was signed up to run the St. Patrick’s Day 5K with some familiar faces.

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Mom, Joel, Caite, and I all took to the streets Saturday morning, and I was really excited to run in my hometown.  It feels familiar in a way that only the town that watched you grow can, and sometimes I miss it a lot!  It was also great to see so many people that I hadn’t in awhile.

The race was scheduled for 8:00, but, lucky for them, they had an enormous amount of people registered so it took longer than expected to get through the pick-up line.  We finally took our marks at 8:30, and when the gun sounded we were off down a hill for the first quarter mile.  I took off way too fast, but I luckily realized it in time, dialed in my pace, and settled in for the run.

My hometown is A LOT flatter than the part of Oklahoma I live in now so I new the race wasn’t going to be particularly hilly.  After the short downhill at the start, we stayed flat for about two miles outside of a few small inclines.  We made a turn at around mile 2.3, and started a long slow uphill to the finish.

For most of the race, I had a pretty good idea that I was running about second in my age group.  With around a half mile to go, another woman I judged to be about my age passed me.  She was running at a strong pace, and I knew better than to try to match her or I was definitely going to gas myself.  Around the same time, another woman came around me, but I was able to stay with her for a good stretch.  Unfortunately, with just a hundred yards or so to go, she surged ahead, and I just didn’t have enough left in the tank to do the same.  So I ended the day at 4th in my age group with a time of 27:29.

Last week I alluded to some thoughts I had on a 5K I ran the week before this one.  Since that post never happened, I’m going to throw them in quickly here.  I ran both races with my new and improved mid-foot strike, and I am happy to report that I had absolutely not foot pain either time!  I’m so relieved, and let’s just hope that my next half (next weekend!) goes as well.  It’s also worth noting that I set a PR in last week’s race with a time of 27:28!

Mom, Caite, and Joel all rocked the race with placements in each of their age groups.  Joel came in at 28:59 (2nd Place).

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Caite clocked in at 29:56 (2nd Place) which was a PR for her.

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And Super Mom came in at 30:41  which earned her 1st Place!

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It was a really great race, and I’m hoping I can make it an annual tradition!

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The four of us cleaned up, added Grandma and Tace to the group, and spent the rest of the day celebrating Joel and Tace’s birthdays which included P.F. Changs….

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….and catching McFarland, USA at the matinee.

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As a side note, if you haven’t seen this movie, do so immediately.  It was actually the second time I’d seen it, and I loved it just as much this time around.  It is so so good!

Ok, I’m off to enjoy Spring Break!  Catch ya later!

 

Life Currently!

Hey, hey!  So I know I’ve been dropping the ball on the whole blogging thing recently, but life has just been busy!  Remodeling, racing, and regular ‘ol stuff to do has been taking up a ton of time.  That said I miss chatting with you guys so I’m determined to get back into a regular schedule.  I actually owe you all a recap of a 5K I did on Saturday because I have lots of thoughts about it, but I until I can get that summed up enjoy a little Currently post for March (really?!?!)!

Currently: March

Current books:  I’m letting my history nerd out to play a little bit.

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The Anglophile in me is very happy :)

Current music:   You guys know I’m a huge fan of music from the ’60s and ’70s, and, as such, I’ve always liked Bob Dylan.  However, I think I’m turning into a super fan.  I’ve been listening to this song on repeat.  So good.

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Current guilty pleasure:   It’s Bachelor season so you know the answer to this one.  I have no idea why I continue to invest time in this show, but I do every single time.  Now that the finale is over, perhaps I can spend my Monday nights in a more productive way.  You know, until The Bachelorette starts.

Current nail color:   I had a day out by myself on Saturday, and I actually got a manicure!  I dig pedicures, but almost never touch my fingernails.  However, the place I went for my pedicure was running a special, and I thought why not?  I really love this color, but, as you can tell, I’ve already messed up several of my nails.  The embarrassing part of that is, it happened within minutes of leaving.  I just do not have the patience to wait until they’re completely dry!

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Current drink: My Diet Dr. Pepper habit has reared its ugly head again, but I swear I’m going cold turkey.  I really, really need to get it under control.

Current food: Flapjacked Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Tops

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I tried a recipe last weekend from Flapjacked, and was so happy with the results.  They tasted like a very cakey chocolate chip cookie.  It was super easy to throw together, and there are just a few ingredients.  I highly recommend!

Current shows:  I’ve been binge-watching Parenthood on Netflix during my treadmill runs, and I am loving every minute of it.  How did I not get on board with this show from the beginning?  I’m almost done with Season Five, and I have felt every emotion on the spectrum!

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Current wish list:  I need to find some running shorts.  We’re getting into the season in which in will be too hot for me to wear my capris.  I have never been able to stand running in shorts because I spend the whole time digging them out, if you know what I mean.  I’m on the hunt for some that will actually work!

Current needs:   I need to get my house back in order.  The kitchen is still a work in progress, and Sunday we decided the cabinets needed another coat of paint.  That meant dragging everything back out.  I got a lot of it put back up last night, but there’s still a good deal all over the living room.

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Oh, and did I mention we decided to pain the bottoms gray?  That literally happened just a few minutes before we started adding another coat of white.  Nothing like last-minute decisions!  I’m actually really happy with how they turned out. And don’t worry-the wall is not staying green!

Current triumphs:  I ran a 5K last weekend, set a PR, and felt great!  I owe you guys a recap later in the week on this!

Current bane of my existence:  Mud.  All the winter weather we’ve had over the last two weeks has made every not concreted surface a landmine of yuck. On top of all that, it has been raining for the last 24 hours.  Mud for days. There’s only one little guy I know who loves it.

Current celebrity crush:  For some reason, I had the urge to re-watch The Notebook a few weekends ago so I’m back on this guy.

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Current indulgence:  I guess my day out on Saturday counts!  I took in a movie, and just wandered around with no schedule.  It was so nice!

Current blessing:  This guy.

Complete with cute firemen ;)

Complete with cute firemen ;)

Days out by myself are nice, but I love that he’s the reason I don’t have to do it too often :)

Current exercise:  All the running.  I’m determined that my next half is going to be great.  However, I really need to get back into strength training.  I’m not good at doing body weight exercises in my living room.  I always revert to cardio for my daily workout because it’s what I enjoy.  Any

Current excitement:  Spring Break is only a week away!  My mom is coming up to spend some time, and I’m very excited!

Current mood:  Sleepy. Right now, me and the time change are not friends.

Current link:  Let’s do current app.  I recently downloaded Duolingo on my Kindle, and I am having so much fun with it.  It’s a language learning app, and you can choose between French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and English.  Each lesson only takes a few minutes so you can get one in whenever you have some down time.

What are you reading these days?  What has you excited today?

Old Man Winter Is Peeved

I know everyone says this every week, but this weekend really did seem to go by in a blink of an eye.  I’m actually not complaining though since my weekend did not go as planned.  Remember a few weeks ago when I said I felt like Old Man Winter had ripped us off this year?  Well, apparently he heard me, and he is pissed.  The last week and a half has been full of crazy winter weather, and the last round hit on Friday and Saturday completely wrecking my plans to get to the Cowtown Half yesterday.

On Friday, all of my southern family reported snow and ice coming down like crazy.  So much so that Caite’s school dismissed kiddos at noon that day!  It didn’t take long to realize that attempting to drive south was not going to happen Friday afternoon so John and I decided to wait and see what Saturday looked like.  Unfortunately, late in the day, our part of the world started getting hit with the nasty conditions, and Saturday morning we woke up to the tundra outside our window.  After talking to Mom to get a report, it became obvious that we’d be taking a risk to try to make the drive.

I spent the rest of the weekend pretty bummed.  I haven’t seen Mom, Joel, and Tace in months, and I really, really wanted to run Cowtown again this year.  Not to mention that I was looking forward to the opportunity to test out my feet, and see if I’ve made any improvement.  It was an all around crappy turn of events.

I’m definitely not the only one who was affected.  The Cowtown organizers ended up cancelling the ultra and the full marathon for Sunday so the half was the only one that took place.  It was definitely a cold and dreary race, but that didn’t stop a couple of guys I know from rocking at life.

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Justin and Dad were still able to get to the start line, and they crushed it.  Dad came in at 1:55:44, and my crazy stud of a brother-in-law finished in 1:48:20.  It was his first race!!!  I definitely wish I could have been there to be a part of it.

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So what does this mean for our 12 Races 12 States 12 Months plan?  Well, it looks like Dad and I will be running the Rock ‘n Roll Half in Dallas towards the end of the month.  We’re not going to let a little snow throw us off-the dream lives on!

Have you ever had to bail on a race?

My Best Friends Are Fictional

Ever notice how Friday comes a lot sooner when you have two days off at the beginning of the week?  Since we had Monday and Tuesday off because of the snowy weather, Friday is upon me just like that, and I don’t hate it.  We’re heading home for the weekend so Dad, Justin, and I can run the Cowtown Half on Sunday.  I also get to see Mom and Joel plus possibly my favorite aunt, and I haven’t seen any of them in months so I’m very pumped!

The pups enjoyed the snow!

The pups enjoyed the snow!

Quick update on the feet situation:  I had an appointment with an ortho doctor on Wednesday, and the good news is that I don’t have any stress fractures which was worst case scenario, but good to know for sure.  Basically he told me what I already knew-by running up on my toes I am putting a ton of stress on that part of my feet, and my best bet is to try to change my foot strike.  He was also amazed at how tight a muscle in the back of my calf is (sorry-I don’t remember the scientific name is!), and said I need to stretch like it’s my full-time job to loosen it up.  He was hopeful that could take some of the pressure off.  So, there you go!  I’m going to keep working on my strike, and this weekend will be a true test!

10-day-you-challenge

Ok, so it has been a good while since I did an installment of the 10 Day You Challenge.  Technically it’s time for Five Foods, but food posts bore me to tears so I’m skipping right on to Four Books.  As I tell my students often, I’m mad with power.

I’ve been a life-long reader, and the feeling you get when you find a really good story is almost incomparable so narrowing down the list to just four is a bit of a struggle.  I did manage, however, to come up with those few books that have meant a great deal to me at certain points in my life and are still ones I love to read over and over again.

1.  The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough 

I have no idea why this epic historical novel had such an effect on me, but it is unfailingly the answer I give when someone asks what my favorite book is.  This novel can only be described as romantic.  Not in the love story sense (although there is certainly plenty of that), but in the way in completely romanticize the Australian Outback.  I read this when I was pretty young, and I believe it was the first book I had read that truly made me understand what it was like to be transported to a completely different part of the world than the one you inhabit.  It’s beautiful and breathtaking, and I highly recommend it.

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2.  Anne of Green Gables

Oh, Anne (with an e, of course).  I have loved her since the first page, and it is a kindred spirit relationship that has lasted ever since.  Between the lovable characters and the setting of Prince Edward Island, which I still would desperately love to visit, this entire series is one that never loses its appeal for me.  I reread all eight books every couple of years, and I love it when I’m able to convince one of my students to give her a try.  They’re never disappointed!

3.  Harry Potter

Yes, I’m one of those people.  I didn’t discover Harry Potter until I was in early adulthood, but it didn’t stop me from falling in love with the boy wizard.  These stories are magical is every way you can use that term, and I’m in awe of the incredible writing J.K. Rowling did to give them to us.  Even now I listen to the audiobooks pretty regularly.  If you love Harry Potter like I do, definitely give the audio a listen.  Jim Dale is masterful.

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4.  Wild

You knew it was coming, right?  It’s no secret that I have a deep level of respect for this book and it’s author.  Of course, it speaks to me as a backpacker, and it is largely what I credit for planting the idea of a thru-hike in my head, a goal that I hope to accomplish at some point in the future.  More than that, though, I’m always struck my her bravery and her desperation to pick up the pieces.  Sometimes having the courage to save yourself is the most heroic action you can take.

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So everyone should read a great book this weekend, and now you have suggestions!  Have a great one!

What are your favorite books?

Playing Catch Up

Hello, friends!  I didn’t mean to go dark for over a week!  Last week was a little extra busy, I spent some of my down time reading instead of blogging, and, to be perfectly honest, I just wasn’t  very inspired to write.  It happens!  So today how about we play a little catch up?

We’re actually out for a snow day today, and I love it.  I’ve lamented our lack of winter for months, but it appears that it is not done with us yet.  It snowed really hard for a few hours yesterday, and it’s currently coming down again.  With temperatures not getting above freezing all day today, I’m assuming I’ll be housebound for a little while longer.  I am not complaining!

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Every once in a while I find a book that I absolutely can’t put down to the detriment of every other item on my to-do list.  That happened last week which is partially to blame for my lack of blogging.  It was The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes, and it was fantastic.  It tells a dual story of a woman living in a small German-occupied French village during WWI and a modern-day widow living in London trying to put the pieces of her life back together after her husband’s unexpected death.  There’s an intriguing piece of art that ties the two stories together, and it was a gorgeous story.  This is the second one I’ve read by Moyes, and I’m now a serious fan.  On a mission to get every other book she’s written!

I have been eating a ton of Flapjacked.  Every morning for breakfast, and at least once for dinner last week.  Pancakes are definitely a top five favorite food, and it’s really nice to eat a healthy version of them.  On a side note:  I sometimes feel like when people mention products that they’re affiliated with, it comes off as a bit inauthentic.  So I really, really want you guys to know that, yes, I am a Flapjacked ambassador, but I am not joking when I tell you it is one of my favorite products.  To illustrate:  I have been through three family size bags in one month.  By myself!

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I got my Hokas in the mail last week, and I did one run in them.  Afterwards (and for the rest of the week) my feet hurt worse than ever.  They even hurt when I wasn’t running which has never happened before!  I think part of the problem is that I need a bigger size, but even if that is fixed, I’m not sure they’re going to work.  And if a shoe like that doesn’t work, what the heck am I going to do??  Well, I think it’s time to start changing my foot strike.  In fact, I ran eight miles on Saturday, and I focused on landing more mid-foot during the entire run.  I had very minimal foot pain so maybe I’ve landed on something.  I actually have an appointment with an ortho doctor on Wednesday so we’ll see what he says, but a change of strike might be the answer!

Speaking of running, our next half is on Sunday.  Dad and I (and Justin this time!!!) are running the Cowtown in Ft. Worth.  I’m actually not nervous at all.  I know there’s a real possibility that my feet will give me problems, but I feel like if I can get through the Ft. Smith race then I can get through Cowtown.  Let’s hope I’m not overly optimistic!

Last year after Cowtown!

Last year after Cowtown!

Let’s end with something adorable.

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I love these two so much.  As usual, Max is not digging the snow at all, and Gus is loving life with it all over the ground.  Yesterday, he was running around barking and trying to bite it as it fell.  So goofy!

Alright, friends, I’m heading out for now.  Enjoy your day and stay warm!

Isn’t It Romantic?

First of all, thank you thank you thank you for all the kind words regarding last weekend’s race.  It was super tough, but you guys made me feel infinitely better about the whole situation.  I will tell you that last night I finally bit the bullet and ordered this pair of Hoka’s.  Yes, they are the ugliest running shoes known to man, but if they fix the problems with my feet, I’ll wear them proudly!  Stay tuned!

So word on the street is tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  This is perhaps the most volatile holiday there is.  It seems like people either love it or hate it, but I’m one of those people who fall somewhere in the middle.  Yes, I recognize that it’s largely commercial, and it does create a lot of pressure on relationships.  However, commercial or not, I kind of like the idea of day where people universally slow down and take the time to tell the people they love how important they are.  Should we need a special day once a year to do that?  Of course not, but, unfortunately, people often let it slide.

Anyway, I didn’t really mean to go off on a tangent!  Instead I wanted to take the special occasion to share some of my favorite romantic movies to honor the official day of love.  I saw a similar post on The Pioneer Woman last week, and I thought it would be fun to give you a run down of my list.

Now, to be fair, John and I might be the most unromantic people on the planet.  I guess we’re lucky that we found each other!  That being said, I just can’t abide the truly sappy, and you’ll find the majority of my favorite romantic movies will fall more on the rom-com end of the spectrum.  I actually really love that genre, and it was little hard narrowing it down!

When Harry Met Sally

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Of course, this is at the top of the list.  Not only is it a great Valentine’s Day movie, it’s my favorite movie ever.  It’s funny and sweet and about two best friends falling in love which is exactly my own love story.  My dream in life is to be one of the 85-year-old couples sitting on the couch.

Dirty Dancing

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“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”  Enough said.

You’ve Got Mail

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Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, NYC, Nora Ephron……how can this combination fail?

Sleepless in Seattle

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Sub in Seattle for NYC, and see above formula.

Crazy, Stupid Love

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Ok, it’s no secret that I (along with just about every other straight woman in America) have a seriously thing for Ryan Gosling, and he’s shirtless in this movie.  That right there makes in worth seeing.  However, this movie has so much more to offer.  Watching Steve Carell and Julianne Moore navigate the challenges of a marriage that has stalled is not only hilarious, but truly touching.  Plus, the first time I saw the fight scene in the backyard I had literal tears streaming from laughing so hard.

 The Holiday

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I rediscovered this movie recently, and fell in love with it all over again.  No, I wouldn’t dub it true classic material, but it’s sweet and fun and it’s set at Christmas time.  With English accents.  I’m sold.

 Legends of the Fall

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This is the only drama on the list, but there’s no way I could leave it out.  This movie is heartbreakingly beautiful, and one of the greatest films of my lifetime.  The scenery is gorgeous, the acting is phenomenal, and the story is something that stays with you long after the final credits.  If you haven’t watched this movie, do it pronto.  You won’t regret it.

Every movie on this list is one I could watch over and over again.  In fact, I think binge watching them is a perfect way to spend the most romantic day of the year.  Are you listening, John Ford? ;)  Have a wonderful weekend and a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

What’s your favorite romantic movie?

It Was Ugly

It was ugly.  I just have to get that out of the way right from the get go.  Nothing about this race went well other than the fact that I finished.  And, let me tell you, when my feet started hurting before I had even hit the .5 mile mark, I wasn’t entirely sure I would.

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I definitely had an inkling of how the day was going to go when I woke up at 3:45 that morning and couldn’t go back to sleep.  This severely irritated me for a lot of reasons, but not the least of which was the fact that the race was a 9 AM start!  I could have slept until 7:15, and it just didn’t happen.

After watching three episodes of Parenthood on my Kindle, I got up to get ready around seven, and Dad and I headed out to the race around 7:30.  By that point, a rock the size of my fist had taken up residence in my stomach.  Honestly, I think I was more nervous about this race that I’ve been about any of the others.  Apparently, my brain knew what was coming.

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The gun sounded a little after nine, and we were off.  There were about a thousand runners for the marathon/half-marathon which I think is a great turn out for a first year race.  We made our way up the historic downtown district, and Dad and I saw John, Caite, and Justin less than a mile up the course.  Those three did a great job of following us all day, and it was a much needed pick me up.

As always, I started off way too fast.  I have a really bad habit of thinking “Hey, I feel great!  Let’s go!”, and I start sucking wind before I even hit a mile.  Luckily, Dad knows how to do this a little better than me, and he slowed me down pretty quickly.

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However, despite getting my pace under control, my feet weren’t in the mood.  Here’s a little history:  I am most definitely a forefoot striker.  I’ve been made fun of all my life for running up on my toes, but it’s just the way that feels most natural to me.  That means, unfortunately, that I cannot find a shoe that adequately cushions that part of my foot, and I have hurt in every single race I’ve done.   Seriously, my feet look like something out of a horror movie.

This race was definitely the worst foot pain I’ve had to date.  I was stopping for walking breaks before we even hit the two-mile mark because I just couldn’t stand the pain of staying up on my toes.

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About halfway through, I  consciously switched my stride so that I was striking more on my midfoot which helped quite a bit, but it wasn’t enough to make up for all the time we lost at the beginning and I still wasn’t moving that fast anyway.

So what changed this race?  Last weekend I bought some inserts in effort to ease the pain, and I think they did the exact opposite.  I was wearing the same shoes in the Baton Rouge race minus the inserts, and I didn’t hurt nearly this bad.  Which you better believe means those inserts are coming out before Cowtown in a few weeks.  Bottom line-I desperately need to find the right shoes, and I would welcome any advice you guys can give!

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I ended up crossing the finish line at 2:18:43 which is 43 seconds slower than my slowest time.  A part of me is definitely disappointed, but another part of me is thrilled because (time-wise) it could have been so much worse.  I have some work to do before my next half and a few things to figure out, but Louisiana and Arkansas can be checked off the 12 Races 12 States 12 Months list.  Bring on Texas!

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Seriously, experienced runners:  what is the solution for my little problem?

 

The Return Of Scout & Atticus

Let’s Think Out Loud today!

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1.  I have a race this weekend.  The February slot in our 12 Races 12 States 12 Months challenge goes to an Arkansas race close to home.

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This is the inaugural year for the Ft. Smith Marathon so it’ll be on the smaller side which can definitely be a good thing.  Unlike my Baton Rouge race, I’m feeling a little bit of nervousness, but (Confession—->>) my overwhelming feeling is dread.  My rational self knows that this can be chocked up to two reasons:  1.  This race is continually described as “challenging” which scares the bejeezus out of me and 2.  Since my last race, I’ve had the flu which zapped my energy and kept me off my feet for a whole week.  My runs have been feeling a whole lot better in the last week and a half, but I’m still worried about my stamina for this one.  Right now I’m just trying to get in a better head space because I know that’s half the battle.  As Dad said the other day, our goal is to do twelve.  Not twelve fast.

2.  Dad, Caite, and Justin are coming up for the weekend which is the great part about the weekend!  Caite and Justin haven’t seen the land we recently bought so I’m really excited to show them.

3.  So John and I became obsessed with Game of Thrones a few months ago, and now I’ve finally picked up the first book at the library.  So many of students have read it (which I think is slightly questionable!), and they are dying to talk to me about it.  I’ve promised one senior to have all of them finished by graduation so I’ve got to get busy!

4.  Are you guys morning people?  I AM NOT.  My week day alarm goes off about 5:40 every morning, and it is a serious struggle to get out of bed.  I am being completely honest when I tell you that what finally gets me up is the idea of food.  Breakfast is my favorite meal, and I’m always starving.

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Lately, of course, I’ve been having Flapjacked first thing in the AM which is a serious improvement over oatmeal.

5.  I’m a huge fan of podcasts, but it seems like I always just stumble on ones that become my favorite.  I suck at finding them for myself so you guys help me out-what are your favorites?

6.  So I know I was complaining about the weather a few weeks ago, but I do have one positive thing to say about our less than wintery weather.  Yesterday I was walking across campus, and I realized that the almost 60 degree day felt exactly like a summer morning in the backcountry.  It instantly inspired one of those “isn’t life wonderful?” feelings.  Maybe I should channel that at the race this weekend!

7.  Did you hear that Harper Lee is publishing a new book this year?!  Fifty years after one of the most influential novels of all time was written, the author is giving us another glimpse into the world of Scout & Atticus.  My book loving heart is happy.

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8.  Ok, I’m going to end on #8 today because, as I write this on Wednesday night, I’m anxiously waiting for the second part of the Chicago Fire/Chicago PD two-parter.  Priorities people!

Race day advice?  Hit me up with a list of your favorite podcasts!

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