Hello. It’s Me….

Hello, strangers!  It’s been another long stretch in between posts, and I apologize for that.  There’s been lots happening around here lately so the ‘ol blog has taken a bit of a backseat.  I’m hoping that with the coming summer vacation I’ll have a little more time to pop in around here.

So what’s been keeping me away from this little corner of the Internet?  Well, first and foremost, most of you know we’re in the middle of building a house so that has definitely been keeping our attention.  It seems like every other day we’re having to go here and there to pick something out or meet with the contractor.  So far it hasn’t been a bad experience at all, but there has been a ton of decisions which makes the head spin a bit.  Poor John has definitely had to bear more of the brunt of than I have!

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These pictures are about a week old, but it still looks pretty much the same at this point.  Most of the work done this past week was plumbing and electrical.  I can’t believe how fast we’ve gotten to this point.  John assures me that the progress will probably start to slow down now, but wow!

Other than the house, school has been taking up a lot of my time and attention.  The last few weeks have been a whirl of testing and activities that have left wanting nothing more than my bed by 7 o’clock every night.  I even have the pleasure of a field trip to OKC (a 6 hour round trip!) to look forward to tomorrow.  But it’s all gravy because we are down to the last six days of school.  That’s right, folks.  In a week and a half, I’ll be running around singing Alice Cooper at the top of my lungs.  To say I am ready would be an understatement.

In other news, last weekend we found out some pretty exciting news!  My sister and brother-in-law held a gender reveal party to find out exactly who we’ll be welcoming into the family in a few months.  All the guests dressed in blue or pink (or both!).

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John’s guess was one of each, but I was Team Pink all the way.  I had a really strong feeling that both babies would be girls.  So who was right?

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That would be me!  We’ll be getting two beautiful baby nieces in September, and all of us are so excited!

So that’s what has been up in our corner of the world lately!  I’ll promise to pop back in much sooner (although, full disclosure, it will probably be after school is out next week!), and, hopefully, I’ll be able to show even more house progress.  Until then!

My Five

Hey, everyone!  How is everyone since last we spoke?  Things are going great in our part of the world.  We’ve entered our last full month of school (woo hoo!), John and I spent last weekend on a little getaway with some friends and had a blast, and things at the new homestead are moving along!

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The builders poured our foundation yesterday, and things are definitely getting real.  Apparently, this part will sit for about a week, and then framing will get started.  I’m really excited, but I’m also feeling the nerves.  There’s a lot of decisions coming down the pike, and I’m very bad at those!

Today I thought I’d share my answers to a blog survey that was making the rounds a few weeks.  Posts like this are always my favorite to read of other bloggers so I wanted to join in the fun!

Five places I’m dying to visit:

England-I’m such an Anglophile, and there’s so much there I want to see.  Luckily, I have a trip planned for next year!

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New England-I’ve traveled pretty extensively all over the country, but I’ve never been to the Northeast.  I imagine the whole place as quaint small towns a la Stars Hollow, and I really want to check it out when the leaves are turning!

Maine-I guess technically this could fit in the New England category, but I think it deserves a spot all its own.  Being from my part of the world, Maine feels like an entirely new world.

Canadian Rockies-We visited Waterton National Park a few years ago so I have seen a tiny sliver of that world, but there’s so much more.  I’ve heard so many people marvel at the beauty of places like Jasper, and we all know mountains are  my favorite!

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Hawaii-This is a new one for me.  I am so far from being a beach person, and I’ve never had a burning desire to visit Hawaii, but the urge has been growing lately.  Any time I see Hawaii on TV I think it can’t possibly look that way, but John assures me it does.  I want to see for myself!

Five foods I eat every day:

Eggs

Cheese

Peanut Butter

Turkey Sausage (at least lately-that stuff is good!)

Tea (Not technically a food, but I couldn’t think of another regular one!)

Five talents I wish I had:

Singing-I’ve always wanted to be a singer.  It is hands down the talent I most want to have.

Acting-This actually goes hand in hand with the singing as I would love to be talented enough to be in musical theater.

Creativity in general-I am a self-described intellectual NOT a creative type.  I can’t draw, I can’t decorate, I can’t envision things and then make them happen.  Just not my cup of tea!

Effortless dresser-You know how two people can wear the exact same outfit and one person can look effortlessly stylish while the other really looks like she’s trying hard?  I’m the one who really looks like I’m trying hard.  I think I might can blame this on the creativity thing!

Good with people-I always admire those people who everyone in room likes and wants to be around.  It’s not as though people don’t think me.  I’m just not the funny, charming one.  I’m horribly socially awkward.  I think I get better the more I know someone :)

 

Five things I wear almost every day:

Sports bra

My backpacking/13.1 one pendant necklace

Sweatshirt-I sleep in one even in the summer!

Tennis shoes

Sunglasses-I’m the goober who has them on during cloudy days.

Five songs I listen to on repeat:

The entire Pitch Perfect soundtrack

Fire and Rain by James Taylor

It’s Too Late by Carole King

The entire Wicked soundtrack

Leather and Lace by Stevie Nicks

Five movies I can watch on repeat:

When Harry Met Sally

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Pitch Perfect

Dirty Dancing

Vacation

Christmas Vacation

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Five books on my current reading list:

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard-This is the second installment in the fairly new YA series Red Queen.  I finished the first book last week, and LOVED IT.  I actually think this might be my favorite dystopian series since The Hunger Games.

Girl On A Train-I know I’m so behind on this, but I still haven’t read it.  I really want to as it seems like it’s all anyone talks about.

Outlander-Again, so behind.  I actually started it a few months ago, and couldn’t really get into it.  A friend of mine urged me to give it another shot so I’ve recently picked it back up.  I’m definitely more into this time, and I’m really looking forward to rest of the series.

Luckiest Girl Alive-I really enjoyed the very dark Gillian Flynn novels, and, by all indications, this is that type of book for the YA genre.  This one actually came into the library just a few days ago so I expect to get to it soon.

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All The Single Ladies:  Unmarried Women and The Rise Of An Independent Nation-I heard the author speak on one of my favorite podcasts (NPR’s Fresh Air!) a few weeks ago, and I am fascinated.  I, of course, have chosen to be married, but we have opted to have an “alternative lifestyle” (no kids!) and, as such, I’m fascinated by stories of people (women, particularly) who choose a different path.  I actually have an Audible credit coming soon, and I think I’m going to use it on this!

Alright, folks, have a fantastic day!

We Are Under Construction!

Hello, friends!  How’s the week treating you so far?  Last week was Spring Break in our part of the world so I’m slowly getting into the swing of things.  It hasn’t been too bad thus far, and, luckily, we’re out Friday so they’re easing us back in nice and slow!

Spring Break is such a nice treat, and this year was especially sweet since we had some fantastic weather just about every day.  You guys know I’m no fan of spring, but we had a string of those rare perfect days that delude people into thinking they actually like this time of year.  I spent a fair amount of time outside playing with pups, and I used some of my days off to indulge myself in my new secret hobby :)

Mom and Joel came up for a night, and we, along with John, took my niece and two nephews to see Zootopia.  You guys, this movie was so cute!   It has been many moons since I’ve seen an animated movie, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.  I would definitely watch this one multiple times.

Mom, Joel, and I took the pups up Cavanal the next morning which was a lot of fun.  I don’t think I’ve climbed The World’s Highest Hill since last summer, and it was quite a bit easier than I remembered.  I guess all this running has paid off :)

A throwback picture from the top of Cavanal last year!

A throwback picture from the top of Cavanal last year!

Max and Gus enjoyed themselves too, but the poor guys were so worn out they did very little but sleep the rest of the day.  They’re not used to that much exercise!

From a few weekends ago because, you know, they're cute :)

From a few weekends ago because, you know, they’re cute :)

Thankfully, the nice weather has held into the first part of this week which means we have movement at the Ford property!

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That’s right, the new house is officially under constructed.  The builders dug and poured the footings yesterday, and, if everything goes right, we should have a concrete pad next week!  I anticipate things looking very, very different in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Last but not least, I have some exciting news to share that I’ve been keeping under my hat for the last month or so.  IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:  Please do not misunderstand; the following picture was created by my sister and brother-in-law to announce their exciting news (read:  it’s not me!!).

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I’m going to be an auntie again x 2!!  Caite and Justin are expecting twins in October, and I am over the moon excited about it.  These babies are already ridiculously loved, and life is about to take on a whole new look :)  Also, note the structure of the announcement.  I think it is safe to say John and I have successfully brought those two over to the backpacking dark side!

Just Add Rock Climbing To My Talents

Hello, friends!  How’s the week?  It’s dreary in our part of the world.  The forecasters are predicting something like 7 inches of rain this week, and I started out my day telling quite a few people that I would punch in the face the next person that told me how much they loved spring.  People are always waxing poetic about spring, and, perhaps, I would as well if I lived somewhere other than Oklahoma.  However, to me spring means allergies, humidity, and endless mud and rain.  I don’t get the appeal.

But enough of my complaining!  I wanted to check in to tell you a little about our rock climbing adventure this last weekend and give you a little update on our house building progress.

Like I said last week, we’ve been talking about rock climbing for awhile now, and the stars aligned this weekend to make it happen.  Right outside of town, there’s a rock wall built under an old train bridge that someone put anchors in many moons ago so we headed out there with our friends Jedd and Whitney Saturday afternoon to give it a go!

You guys, rock climbing is serious business.  My one and only previous “rock climbing” adventure is limited to one of those indoor walls in a Dick’s Sporting Goods when I was in high school.  The real thing is very different!

The four of us took turns going up and down the wall.  I had a few false starts my first time up and a few falls, but I somewhat got the hang of it and managed to make it up to the top (about 25 or 30 feet up) without any major issues.

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The second time around went even better, but, man, were my forearms screaming!   I had no idea just how much work that part of your body has to do in this sport, and they definitely got a workout.

For everyone’s last go round, we moved to a different route on the same wall.  This one was MUCH more difficult, and everyone had some issues trying to tackle it.  I was completely unsuccessful.  I think I manage to get about three feet off the ground!  Between the difficult route and my arms being gassed, I just didn’t have it in me to get up that last time.  No worries-I’ll be back to conquer!

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All in all, I LOVED rock climbing.  I really love any activity that combines a challenge with physical exertion, and this definitely had both.  John has already been scoping out deals to get a harness for me and shoes for both of us (we had to share with our buds.  Yep, co-mingled sweat.).  I think it’s something we’ll be getting into.  Unfortunately, we may have to wait awhile before I next try.  The wall is located right next to our local river, and usually goes underwater during our heavy spring rains.  This week is not going to do us any favors!

We started to lose the light so we packed up and headed to our new land.  Our other friends, Michael and Hannah, met the four of us out there, and we prepared for a very specific project.

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The clearing of our land, of course, left a huge brush pile that had to be burned before they can start the pad, and the weather made Saturday night the optimal time to do it.

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This thing was so big!  We stayed out there until around midnight before going home to collapse in bed.  John was back out there at 6 to stoke the coals, and get it going again.  The poor guy worked all day Sunday taking care of it, and the fire reduced the pile pretty significantly.  However, there’s still quite a bit of it left to burn, but the rain is thwarting us!  Nevertheless, we are very close to getting the actual building process started, and I am so excited!  Never fear-I will bombard you all with more pictures of it than you care to see!  Stay tuned!

Playing Catch Up!

Hi folks!  It’s been another hot minute, hasn’t it?  The last two weeks seem like they’ve been super busy, and, as we speak, I’m just trying to power through Friday so I can get to a weekend with, mercifully, not much on the schedule.  Today I wanted to check in with my Internet family so here’s a bunch of random stuff that’s been filling up my last two weeks!

  1.  So I ran another half marathon last weekend!  Yes, I think we might have a race problem :)  I decided not to do a full blown race recap, but I do have a few thoughts.  First off, the race in question was the Ft. Worth Cowtown Half-Marathon which, some of you may remember, was my very first half-marathon two years ago. IMG_1232 It was a gratifying experience to return to the Cowtown with 15 additional half-marathons under my belt, and, since I am a big fan of poetic justice, I was so hoping that it would be the race I finally break the sub-2 barrier.  However, life doesn’t work out as neatly as things do in books and movies, and it wasn’t to be.  We crossed the finish at 2:05:51 which is about twenty seconds slower than we did Ft. Smith two weeks before, and the Cowtown is a MUCH easier course.  I felt like I was running on dead legs the entire way, and I decided that I’m putting the kibash on running these half-marathons so close together.  IMG_1235Oddly, enough I wasn’t overly disappointed.  When it became apparent that I wasn’t going to break the sub-2, I decided that I simply haven’t earned it yet.  It’s time to put in some more training and really work on this goal as opposed to just saying I want to do it and hoping it happens.  And, honestly, I was and am just ready for a break.  If you’re keeping track, that’s 15 half marathons in the last 14 months.  That’s a lot for someone who is not a natural runner, and a little break is definitely in order.  Dad and I have talked about doing one next month, but I don’t think it’s going to work out with our schedules so it will probably be June.  That sounds a-ok to me!IMG_1234 (1)

2.   Max has been dealing with some stomach issues for the last two weeks which have not been fun.  You can imagine what stomach issues entail, and, let’s just say, our garage has something of an odor right now.  I’ve been very worried, but, after consulting with our vet, it appears that the poor guy has an ulcer coupled with a sensitive stomach and/or anxiety.  The good news is none of that appears to be serious, and we should be able to control it with diet or possibly medication when he has flare ups.  This doggy mama is breathing a little easier over here.

3.  This week is Read Across America week (otherwise known as Dr. Seuss’s birthday) so we’ve had lots of celebrating going on.  At one point or another I’ve had silly socks on my feet, bunny ears on my head, and been Hermione Granger come to life.  It has been lots of fun, but it’s always one of my busiest weeks of the year so I’m glad to see it come to an end.

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4.  One more week until SPRING BREAK!  That is all.

5.  A lot of clearing and moving dirt around has been going on at our new property, and we are days away from a pad being poured.  Things are getting exciting and stressful over here, and I’m sure there’s more of all of it coming our way.  Stay tuned.

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6.  Remember how one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to take up only one new hobby this year?  I think I’m on my way to breaking that resolution.  I have collected all the necessary materials for one new hobby, and I’m hoping to give it a go this weekend.  Now it remains to be seen whether I will be sufficiently good enough at it to keep going, but I’m really excited about it!    I can’t let you in on it yet because it’s going to be a surprise, but I’ll document it thoroughly so I can share after the fact.  Oddly enough, I think I may be starting my other new hobby today!  There’s been talk in our little group of friends for sometime about rock climbing, and I think we’re finally going to make it happen this afternoon.  I’m so pumped for this because I think it will fit in nicely with all my other outdoor pursuits.  Plus, it’s a great workout!

7.  So, despite my break, I’m not completely taking off racing.  I’m actually running a 5K both tomorrow and next Saturday.  I’ve not run all week (on purpose) so I’m going to use tomorrow as a “stretch my legs”, easy kind of run.  Definitely not looking or expecting to break any PRs.  It’s here in town, and I get to run it for free through a local program so why not?  Next weekend, John and I are going back to my hometown to visit and take in one of our musicals, and that trip just happened to coincide with the St. Paddy’s Day 5K I did there last year.  It was such a nice experience to run in my hometown so I definitely wanted to do it again.

8.  Alright, this is turning into an opus so I’ll end it here.  I’ll be back next week with, hopefully, a rock climbing recap!

Redemption!: A Half-Marathon Recap

Hello, folks!  I hope you all had a tremendously fun Valentine weekend, and, if you are one of the lucky people who has today off, please tell me you’ve spent the day lounging on the couch watching too much Netflix and thinking about those of us who didn’t have the option :)  Not that I’m begrudging you.  As I tell John all the time, I have so much time off that I can’t very well complain on those few and far between days where I’m at work and most of the rest of the country isn’t!

We had a fun if not necessarily romantic weekend.  Dad came up to spend the weekend with us because it was Ft. Smith Marathon time once again!  Some of you may remember this was our February race last year during our 12 in 12 in 12, and it, since it is a race that I can do and still sleep in my own bed the night before, is one that I will probably do several times in the future.  In fact, I’m fairly certain I made up my mind to run this past weekend minutes after I crossed the finish line last year, but let us begin at the beginning.

Dad, John, and I headed over to the Fort Saturday morning for packet pick-up.  2015 was the inaugural year for the Fort Smith Marathon, and it was readily apparent that it has grown since then.  The expo featured several new booths, and was moved a few blocks to a slightly bigger location.  Nevertheless, that space was PACKED when we were there around noon so, after grabbing our packets and taking our picture, we hot-footed it out of there.  I don’t do large crowds and small spaces!

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As we are wont to, the three of us decided to take in a movie, and spent the next three hours watching Leo DiCaprio dragging himself through the mountains.  My quick and dirty take on The Revenant?  It is an extremely violent movie with gorgeous scenery that is little too long but very good, and I’ll never watch it again.  One other quick thing:  I am definitely one of those people who think it’s a travesty that Leo has never won an Oscar so I’m glad it looks like he will for this one and he deserves it, but, in my humble opinion, the best acting performance in that movie is definitely Tom Hardy.  But I digress!

We spent most of the rest of the evening carb-loading and watching TV, and were all in bed my 9:30.  We had an 8:00 race start, and we were at the start line around 7:40.  The big story was the weather as the temperatures had taken a dive overnight, and we were looking at overcast skies, 35 degrees, and wind that could knock you over.  Not the best racing weather, and I was glad I had put on some layers!

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This course is by far the hardest one we do.  There are a ridiculous amount of hills including a really steep one around mile 4.  When you combine that aspect with the weather, I knew this wasn’t going to be my sub-2 race.  Mostly what I was looking for out of it was to redeem myself from last year.  The 2015 edition of this race was extraordinarily tough for me.  That was back when I still ran with an extreme forefoot strike which means I ended every race with pain in my feet.  Right before this particular race, I tried to solve the problem with insoles.  Bad idea.  These were completely wrong for me, and I was in pain from about the first half mile on.  It was a horrible race, and I had an equally dismal time of 2:18:40.  I’ve progressed so much as a runner in the last year, and I didn’t want my 2015 showing to be the final say of what I could do on this course.

I won’t break the course down mile by mile for you.  Instead I’ll tell you that I felt good from the word go.  My body felt good, and, once we got started, the cold wasn’t too bad.  The wind was pretty aggressive which was not easy to battle through, but I don’t even remember thinking too much about it.  I felt strong going up the hills, and I credit the hill training that I’ve been intentional about in the last month or so.

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I honestly felt great the entire race.  So much so that I was able to joke a little with John and some of our friends that came out to support at mile 7.  I started to tire during the last mile and the last push to the finish (always hard for me!) was a bit of a challenge, but we crossed the finish line at 2:05:24.

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I couldn’t be prouder of that.  All things considered, I don’t know that I really could’ve done better at this moment in time, and I definitely got the redemption I was after.  This is the first race in several that I came away with absolutely no regrets or disappointments, and that is a fantastic feeling!  Now for a few days of rest, and then I have to get back after it.  I’m racing again in two weeks!   I know, I know-I have a problem.  But I’m taking a break after the next one.  Probably 😉

A Look Back

Hello, friends!  I hope you’re all having a good week.  I’m very pleased to say I’m almost at the end of mine.  We have P/T conferences tomorrow night which means no school on Friday.  Can’t we just all agree to institute four day work weeks already?  I feel like that might be the answer to all world problems.

So in the last few months of 2015, I started thinking about a recap I wanted to do of the entire year of races that Dad and I did.  Then, of course, the incredible busy schedule that is the holidays distracted me followed by a comatose January as I tried to recover from it all.  All that is to say, that a few days ago, it struck me out of the blue that I never did get around to writing it!  So I am here to rectify the situation.

We traveled A LOT in 2015, and saw a quite a big chunk of the country.  Each race was pretty different, and I liked different things about all of them.  So I’ve come up with a few categories and picked my favorite race to put in those columns.  I hope this guide is helpful for those of you who are considering some destination races this year!

Best T-Shirt

This one is hands down the long-sleeve 1/4 zip we got from the Santa Hustle in Indianapolis.  I seriously want to sign up for another one in this series this year just so I can get another!

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Best Medal

I’m going to give a nod to the Ft. Smith race on this one.  The medals were huge and pretty cool plus I fought extremely hard for it.  Here’s hoping I get another one next week, and that it’s a little bit easier process!

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Best Crowd Support

I’m going to choose the Dallas Rock ‘N Roll for this one.  Not only were there large crowds throughout the entire race course, but we had a large number of family members that made it out to support us there.  I say it every time, but, non-runners, don’t ever underestimate the difference having you there can make!

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Best Weather

We could not have had better weather than the September race in Omaha.  September can be hit or miss for us in Oklahoma as far as weather is concerned, but it already felt truly like fall in Nebraska.  The race started out fairly chilly, but quickly warmed up enough to be a perfect autumn day.  I believe the kids would say it was on point.

Friendliest Race

The Albuquerque race had very little going for it, but I can’t say enough about how friendly everyone was.  It was a really small race so that may have contributed to it, but, as we ran along the out and back course, it seemed like everyone we passed said “hello” or “great job!” or “looking good!”.  It was so noticeable that I remember commenting about it during the race!

 

Most Beautiful Course

Well, I’m sure I’m biased, but this has to be the Colorado Springs race.  You had a great view of the mountains throughout most of the course which makes the actual running part a whole lot easier to handle.

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Favorite Overall Course

Without a doubt, this award goes to the Blackberry Mountain Half in Kentucky.  It was a moderately tough course but not too bad, it was beautiful, and NOT BORING which all runners know is very important.

Best Travel Experience

Again, this was our trip to Kentucky because we didn’t just go to Kentucky.  Dad and I are both teachers which means, in June, we had all the time in the world to get there and back.  A few weeks before our race, Dad says, “You know, if we take a southern route home we can hit a few states we’ve never been to.”  We’re both pretty obsessed with checking off all 50 states (I’m sitting at 30 now!) so I was on board with this plan.  That quickly evolved into, “Well, hey, if we’re going to be in South Carolina we might as well see Charleston!”.  We literally drove to Kentucky, raced, drove to Charleston and spent one night, drove home, and we were only gone about four days.  Not many people would’ve enjoyed that trip, but we had a blast!

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Favorite Overall Race Experience

You guessed it-Kentucky.  It was just such a fun race.  We loved the course, the area was pretty and shall we say, interesting, and the trip itself was great.  It’s the race we’re still talking about 8 months later, and I would be willing to do it all over again this summer if someone wants to come along!

So there you have it!  It was a really fantastic year, and, although I’m enjoying the break from the constant travel, I miss it already.  Who knows-we may do it again in a year or two! (Don’t tell my husband, ;))

Currently: January

 

Hello, friends!  Despite my best intentions, I went MIA last week.  I honestly have no excuse other than I’ve been reading a ton lately, and I’ve been picking up a hard back in my free time rather than my computer! However, I’m back today with a Currently post because it has been a hot minute since the last time I wrote one, and they are my favorite way to give you a snapshot of what’s up in my world.

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Current books:  I’ve definitely hit a reading sweet spot in the last few months, and I had to hit the library Saturday to refresh my stack.  Last week I polished off Code to Zero by Ken Follett and loved it so I picked up two more of his along with a few others.  I started with The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine, and it is starting off sloooow.  However, it’s one of those annoying books that is just intriguing enough to make you stick with it if for no other reason than to find out what the heck is going on.  All I can say is, I hope it’s worth it because it is a hard read for me at this point.

Current music:  My new Audible credit came through over the weekend, and I used it on another one of The Great Courses.  This one is A History of Russia from Peter The Great to Gorbachev, and I’m excited to dive into it.

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Current food:   I’ve bought strawberries on my last three grocery trips, and each batch has been a home run.  Let’s see how long my streak lasts.

Current shows:   Recently a show called When Calls The Heart popped up on my Netflix, and I decided to give it a try.  I’m a huge Dr. Quinn fan and this seemed to be in the same vein so why not?  This particular series is based on a set of books by a Christian author which, if I’m being honest, gave me pause.  Generally, I’ve found that Christian literature usually isn’t very good, but I wanted to give this series a shot and I’m glad.  The story lines have a few holes in them and some of the acting leave a little to be desired, but, overall, I really enjoyed it.  The first two seasons are on Netflix right now, and season three starts on Hallmark in February.

Current wish list:   I’d really love a truly delicious Italian meal.  I’ve had such a craving lately!

Current needs:  New jeans!  I’m so awful about shopping for jeans, and I tend to only ever have one or two nice pairs.  The pair I’ve been living in for multiple years now have finally developed a whole.  It’s strategically placed right now so I’m getting away with it, but won’t last for long!

Current triumphs:  My piano lessons are going so well! I’m starting to get into some more challenging pieces, and, though I’m still far from perfect, the nuts and bolts of the playing the piano are starting to make so much more sense.  I’m very excited about it!

Current bane of my existence:   Politics.  Enough said, right?

Current celebrity crush:  In celebration of my below indulgence, here you go:

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All of Downton Abbey fandom can keep Matthew Crawley.  Give me Tom Branson!

Current indulgence:  Who are my fellow Downton Abbey fans out there?  I’ve been a huge fan for many years now, and I, along with many others am sad to see it go this season.  Last week’s episode featured a scene with a character from season 1 which led to many of the characters to reminisce about a character no longer alive.  Well, that made me miss some of those old characters, and since Sunday I have binge (re)watched all of season 1 and I’m two episodes into season 2.  This is definitely an indulgence, and, also, impressive when you consider I have a full-time job, a husband who had surgery this week, and various other obligations.  I’m a hugely talented multi-tasker :) 

Current blessing:  A blissfully free schedule.  I have a total of four weekends that have set plans in between now and July, and that makes me so happy.  I’ve been so busy for the last several months, and I really want to slow down this year.  So far, I’m doing a great job :)

Current outfit:  Jeans!  To school!  On a Wednesday!  We were able to pay $5 to wear jeans all week for a National Honor Society fundraiser, and, let me tell you, that’s $5 spent that I don’t even think twice about.  All you teachers out there know what I’m talking about.

Current excitement:   We are very close to breaking ground on our new house!  There’s just a few days of work that needs to be done on the land itself, and then the real fun starts.  Hopefully, I’ll have some progress pictures to show you before too long!

Current mood:   Feelin’ groovy :)

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What’s going on with you currently?

Rookie Mistake

Hey there!  Happy Hump Day, and I hope you’re making it through this week a little better than I am.  Last week was fairly easy in respect to getting back into my regular work routine and I think I got a little cocky because this week has hit me like a ton of bricks.  As in, the alarm went off this morning, and all I wanted to do was lay there and cry.  Or, you know, go back to sleep.  I saw this meme on Facebook yesterday, and all I thought was, “I feel ya, bro.”

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So some of you that follow me on social media may have noticed that I ran another half last weekend.  You just thought I was done for awhile, didn’t you?  So did I, but, apparently, I have a sickness.

I’m not going to leave you in suspense.  I’m going to be up front and tell you that this was not my sub-2:00 half.  The good news is I knew going into it that it wouldn’t be.  I’ve gotten in several runs since Indiana, but I also took it easy and didn’t push myself.  Then I came down with a pretty intense cold right before I went back to school.  My body was in rebellion, and I knew that I wasn’t healthy enough to really push for a sub-2:00.

Despite all this, I headed down to Dad’s house last Friday so we could run the Resolution Run Half-Marathon in McKinney, Texas Saturday morning.  Luckily, the race was only about thirty minutes from Dad’s so we had a break from what has become our standard long drive and hotel stay.

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Start time was at 8:00 at McKinney Boyd High School, and let me tell you it was cold!  While it didn’t touch Birmingham in terms of temperature, it was much cloudier with a heck of a lot more wind making it seem like the coldest race I’ve yet to run.

This was a very small race with only somewhere around 100 runners, and I appreciated the laid back feel to whole thing.  We took off right at 8:00, and almost immediately turned onto a paved path in a residential park area where the entire out and back run would take place.

I had a little trouble with my breathing at the beginning which was no surprise given the cold temperature, but I got it under control (by my standards) pretty quickly and was pumped to find that my legs had not forgotten how to run fast.  We settled into a sub-2:00 pace (Dad said he was going to pace us for it until we couldn’t maintain it anymore), and I cruised along for a few miles.

Unfortunately, just after mile 3 the whole race ran into some problems.  Due to some recent rains, parts of the path were covered over in water, and runners were forced to either go through it or slip and slide through the muddy grass on the side.  All of the sudden, I had flashbacks to last year’s rain apocalypse in the San Juans.  Let me be clear-I HATE RAIN!  This section was not fun, and we continued to battle small sections of it here and there for the rest of the race.

Despite that, I managed to stay in front of the 2:00 pacer for the first half of the race.  I wasn’t getting any illusions of grandeur-I knew I wasn’t healthy enough to maintain that pace for the duration.  However, I started to think that, perhaps, my time wouldn’t be as bad as I feared.  It was a nice thought 😉

Just before the turn around, I felt my knee start to give a little twinge, and that’s when I realized I had made a rookie mistake.  Before every race, I take an ibprofuen and then pack two in a Ziplock bag to take during the race if I need to.  This time I had forgotten.

Of course, that means that my knee plagued me for the rest of the race, and all hope of a respectable finish went out the window.  Even though I had spent the whole preceding week talking myself into not being disappointed by whatever finish I managed, I couldn’t help but be a little aggravated with myself.  Had I not forgotten this very basic pre-race ritual, I would have done MUCH better.

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So we crossed the finish line at 2:08:16 to cheers from my step-mom, Alex, Caite, and Justin.  I have to say it was so nice to see all those familiar faces at the end especially since I was kind of bummed.  Side note:  If you’re not a runner but you have them in your lives, do not underestimate the power of a great spectator.  I will say it until I’m blue in the face-seeing familiar faces out on the course is a HUGE pick me up, and it makes all the difference.

In spite of health and course problems, I will say I really enjoyed the actual race.  I loved the smaller feel (those are nice every once in awhile) and I thought the course was really peaceful if a little bit on the flat side.  I would really like to do another race there!

The sub-2:00 still eludes me, but I have a feeling it’s not far off.  We’ve got the Fort Smith Half and the Cowtown Half coming up next month so keep your fingers crossed!

The One With The Resolutions

Hello, friends!  As I sit down to start this, I feel the overwhelming need to write, but I’m not entirely sure what I want to say.  Buckle your seat belts-this could get rambling!

Work is back in session, and I’m actually looking forward to getting back into a normal routine.  Fall through Christmas is always such a busy time, and this year was even more jam-packed with all the traveling we did for our half marathons.  My calendar for the next several months is looking a lot less full, and I’m really excited about that.  However, we will be building a house, and I hear that process can be a little stressful so stayed tuned.

The Internet has been deluged with resolution style posts the last few days either by people making them or people being snarky about those who do.  I, personally, am firmly in the resolution camp.  I love the idea of setting goals for yourself, and I’ve always believed in the pursuit of a better self.

So, all that being said, here’s my contribution to the resolution game.  As I’ve thought the last week or two about the things I’d like to accomplish in the next year, I’ve actually had to work hard on focusing my goals.  There are so many things that come to mind, and I’ve tried to narrow it to a few things that I really think are manageable going forward.  Without further ado, here’s what I’ve come up with!

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Focus on lifting

Last year was all about running, and, while running will still be a big part of 2016, I really want to focus on hitting the weights.  I’ve been lifting with John and a couple of our friends two days a week for the last 6 months, and I’ve already started to see a little bit of a difference.  I won’t be adding any more days a week, but I really want to get the most out of the days I’m in the gym.  I’ve been accused (looking at you, John Ford!) of phoning it in while I’m lifting, and there will be no more of that!  I really want my arms to look fantastic so I’m committing to putting in the work.

Make Meal Prep and Cleaning Eating A Habit

This goes hand and hand with my lifting goals.  I definitely understand that those fantastic arms start in the kitchen, and I really want to get into a better groove with my eating habits.  I typically eat fairly healthy, but I’ve definitely let some unhealthy habits sneak in over the last few years.  While I don’t want to get as strict as I once was years ago, my diet would benefit from a little more scheduling.

More Yoga!

I discussed this on the blog a few months ago, but I am definitely committed to adding yoga into my routine.  John and I did a restorative yoga class on New Year’s Eve, and it reinforced once again how much I love to practice.  My goal is to make one class a week with a some at home sessions sprinkled in.

Run a sub-2:00 half and a sub-25:00 5K

I came so close to running a sub-2:00 half in the last few races of 2015, and I feel sure I can make it happen in 2016.  My plan is to keep training until it does!  I have actually ran a sub-25:00 5K during a half-marathon so I would like to do it in a race.  I have one or two other running related goals that I’m kicking around, but I haven’t fully committed to anything yet so we’ll all have to wait and see!

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Become A Better Dresser

Yes, this is a real resolution.  Guys, I am not stylish.  I have very little interest in clothes, and I would rather have someone stick things under my fingernails than spend one hour shopping.  BUT I am getting to an age where I can no longer pull off looking cute in shorts and an old ratty sweatshirt (Not to mention, that I’m starting to think that was never all that cute anyway).  So I’m going to try.  I got some new stuff for Christmas, and I even went shopping a few days before and picked out some things that weren’t too bad.  I also commit to putting on earrings even when I don’t feel like it, and taking off my digital watch when it absolutely doesn’t match my outfit.  My mom is going to be so proud.

Practice Piano 30 minutes A Day

I’ve been taking piano lessons for a year and a half, and I love it!  I’ve definitely been making some progress, but I know I could put in more time practicing.  I feel like my practice time took a backseat in 2015 since I was having to run so much so this year I will have more time to devote to it.

Take Up One New Hobby

This is one of those resolutions I had to make to keep myself from taking on too much.  I have about ten things right now that I would like to get into or learn more about, but I’m realistic enough to realize that I can’t do everything.  I think I have this new hobby narrowed down to two choices, and I’ll let you know when I pick the winner!

Read 65 Books

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember, and that love has never waned.  However, as an adult, it has been more challenging to find the time to sit down with a good book.  I’ve tracked by reading the last few years out of curiosity, and last year I read 52 books which averages out to one a week.  That’s definitely not shabby especially in comparsion to most adults, but I think I could do better.  65 is high enough above 52 to make it a challenge without setting a goal that’s insurmountable.  I’m already one book down!

There you have it!  As a goal-oriented person, this is one of my favorite posts to write.  I’m excited to get started!  Happy 2016, everyone!

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