Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Little R & R

After a twelve-mile run, an afternoon of errands, an evening of Half-Birthday Party shenanigans (they had a dunk tank, people: a dunk tank), and a one-mile walk home, today was a welcome rest day.

But, I don't know how to rest.

This was a few weeks ago, but still: does this look like a girl who likes to rest?!  Also, I thought it'd been too long without a sweaty picture.  You're welcome.
Does anyone else have this problem?  All I wish for is a day off, a day to do nothing, and when that day actually comes, I'm absolutely restless and feeling like a total waste of space if I do nothing.  The irony.

I did a pretty good job today, though.

I woke up around 8:00 or so.  I'm sure it would've been earlier since I went to bed about 10:00 (yep, that cool for the second weekend night in a row), but then I received some random text messages around the time of, oh, bar-close, and could not fall back asleep.  But that's okay: I had all day to DO. NOTHING.

Around 9:30 or so I whipped up a Breakfast of Champions:
What?!  It was whole grain!

I may or may not have eaten the whole box.

Okay: I did.  But then I wasn't hungry again until dinner, I swear!

My initial plan for the day was to go kayaking with a buddy, as he mentioned it last night at the Half-Birthday Party.  Unfortunately, kayak-rental places prefer you to call in advance, so that plan was thwarted.

So, I decided to read a little more of my book: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin.

Source (author's website)

And instead of just reading part of the book, I finished the entire thing.  I really enjoyed it.  It's a story told from Alice Liddell's point-of-view.  Supposedly she was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland, and the novel chronicles her life as a child, a young lady, and an elderly woman, centering on her relationship with Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll, and something that happened between them that changed the course of her life forever.  It was absolutely intriguing, so much so that I did further research and discovered that the book seems to be largely based on fact.

Anyway: read it.

I wanted to go on a bike ride today, but after seeing this

Please note: this was at 8:30 p.m.  Yes: it's still 89 degrees at 8:30 p.m.
and being talked out of a workout by Marathon BFF, I had yet another change of plans.  She and I instead headed to the beach around 4:30, stayed for a couple of hours, chowed down some Thai food, and mapped out our route for tomorrow morning.

See that temperature for "tomorrow"?  Yeah.  That's a high of 95 degrees, actual temperature.  Who knows what the heat index will be?!  Because we're a couple of smart cookies, we decided to head out at the crack of dawn to crank out 4.5 miles.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Long, Long Time Ago...

...I updated this thing.


I've been busy!  I'm teaching summer school right now, and that takes a lot of energy, as does training for this, um, marathon.

Oh, and the free time I have has been consumed with the great time-wasters: Pinterest and Goodreads.

So yeah.

Anyway, I haven't forgotten about this thing, and I swear I will update more regularly.

Today's post is brought to you by...Chloe!

Just kidding.  She's not a good typer.

This morning started bright and early at 5 a.m., which was actually okay because I went to bed around 9:00 and, after reading a new-to-me page-turner, fell asleep around 10:00.  On a Friday.  Because I'm that cool.

Today's run was supposed to be 14 miles, but the girl with whom I was scheduled to run had not yet completed 12 miles, so that's what we did.  At first I was a little disappointed to "only" be doing 12, but then I thought that it would, in fact, be a good thing since my first go at 12 miles sucked horribly.  Today's 12 was nearly 8,765,312 times better than the first time around, but I'm super sore; my right knee has been causing me trouble, and after a quick four miles on Tuesday, I strained my left calf, which is now nearly immobile.

I really need to purchase one of these:

But since that is not on the agenda for today, I am stuck with one of these:

The rolling pin, that is.  I'm not sure the cat will be of much help.  In addition, I promise that's the last cat photo for today.

So I'm going to work the muscle with some ice, Advil, a rolling pin, and some Icy Hot.  Hopefully I'll be able to move it sometime in the near future.

But enough whining.  I actually need to sign off for today, as I am headed to a Half-Birthday Party for two of my besties.  I'm not sure the world is ready for Round Two of grown-ups on a Slip 'n Slide and road flares in the middle of downtown Des Moines, but it doesn't so much have a choice.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sleepy Time

Today is going to be a short post.  Sorry (or, maybe, you're welcome).  I'm absolutely exhausted.  And honestly, I'm a little cranky that I'm not jammin' to Kid Rock right now.  Oh, and I stood up for myself for once, and I'm a little emotionally wiped out from that ordeal.

It's not been fabulous.  And now I'm done whining.

The day started with a bowl of Cracklin' Oat Bran.  I know this is not the best cereal to eat, but I was really craving it when I was at the store, and it really kept me full all morning.  I almost didn't even want to eat the banana I brought for my mid-morning snack.

After teaching for four hours, I went straight to my student's house for a tutoring session and then practically sprinted home because I was famished.  I whipped up a quick turkey sandwich (yum) and then hit the pool with one of my new friends.

And now?  I'm fried.  Like, beet red.  Oops.  Apparently I should've put sunscreen on sooner than two hours into our afternoon swimming session.

Immediately when I got home, I popped in 30-Day Shred.  I knew that if I sat down for even one second, I wouldn't work out.  Now I can barely move: I am so sore!  I'm not sure I'll be shredding tomorrow, but I am planning on waking up at the crack of dawn to run three-and-a-half miles.  We'll see if I can actually peel myself out of bed an hour early to make that happen...

My final endeavor for the evening was to hit the mall for another pair of my new favorite pants:

They're from Express of all places.  But I have been LIVING in them the last week, and I figured since that is absolutely disgusting, I'd better get another pair.

I also felt like I should buy this tanktop since it was a buy-one-get-one-half-off deal.  It's cute and will be even cuter when I'm a smidge more toned.

This weekend I bought this sweatshirt in charcoal gray.  I LOVE IT.  The pockets are rouched, and it fits perfectly.  I've already worn it nearly every day, even though it's been 110 degrees outside, so I know I'll get good use out of it.  I could probably get it in pink as well and do just fine, but I'm going to make a good decision and not do that.  :)

I strongly recommend all three of these pieces.  You'll love 'em.

My sister-in-law has been recommending Chi Running, so I went to Barnes and Noble as well and bought a copy of that.  She said it's a great book that shows how to not expend so much energy while running.  Since I'll be tackling 26.2 miles soon enough, I thought this would be a great thing to know!

Of course, I couldn't just leave with one book.  I also bought a running memoir: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  I've heard of this book before, possibly in Runner's World.  It's a memoir, which I love, and it's Murakami's journal from training for the New York City Marathon.  I need all the motivation I can get!

Finally, I bought a "for fun" book:

To Kill a Mockingbird is my all-time favorite book, and this is a collection of essays as to how the book changed people's lives.  I'm really, really excited to read it - and I like that it's a book that doesn't have to be read all at once: I can read a few chapters in between other books, etc.

And speaking of books, I'm going to head to bed and read for a little while.  I wanted to get my two pieces of writing for tomorrow done tonight, but it's just not going to happen.  My creativity is non-existent, so I think a good book and a good night's sleep are calling my name.

Ciao, bellas.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Morning came way too soon today!  After I finished blogging last night, I met BFF for a drink and commiserating.  (Side note: how can people be so rude?!)  Of course that included us staying out past my bedtime, and I was sleepy this morning.  I haven't been drinking caffeine lately - literally all I've been drinking is water and Kool Aid - so I'm sure that had something to do with my sleepiness.

On my way to work this morning, I ate a banana, and halfway through the morning, I ate another Fiber One bar.  I'm not kidding: those are like crack.  Yum.

After school I came home and gobbled up some leftover quinoa.  Today I added sweet chili sauce instead of Rasta sauce, and it was delish, too.  I know it's not the healthiest condiment; I need to find a better dressing for blander quinoa dishes...  Any ideas?

I then proceeded to take a nap; it was absolutely amazing, just what the doctor ordered.  Following my midday snooze, I met up with one of my students at Caribou to tutor her in writing.  Because we were at Caribou and because I had some post-nap hunger, I had to order my new favorite drink:

A White Peach Berry Smoothie.  It was delish.  I highly recommend them.  They're 300 calories and loaded with sugar, but I think it was worth it.  :)

I then decided that working out was in order.  I took a day off of running due to my blister/foot injury, and while that probably wasn't my smartest idea, I did something different:

Yep!  I shredded!  Consider this Day One of the 30-Day Shred.  I probably should've taken before photos, but too late now!  Just teasing - maybe I'll do that before I go to bed.  Or maybe you'll just have to trust me when I rave about my success.

I can already tell I'm going to be sore tomorrow.  It's been forever since I've done strength training, and even though I was only using five-pound weights, I was hurting during several of the exercises.  There were even a couple that I had to break during.  Oops.  I'm sure tomorrow will be easier.  :)

Luckily, I had a helper:

Also, it's interesting the things you notice when you work out at home and in a sports bra: 1.) I get really sweaty, really fast; 2.) my carpet is itchy; 3.) my carpet is DIRTY!  I swear I just vacuumed it, but it was absolutely ridiculous and disgusting how much was sticking to me by the end of the workout.  Suffice it to say I jumped straight in the shower!

After my workout, I worked on my freelance writing for a little while (major writers' block, absolutely no creativity), and then I decided to "cook" dinner:

Same as lunch yesterday: a turkey and pepper-jack cheese sandwich with a side of fresh mango, strawberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon.  It was really yummy, and I know it'll keep me full 'til morning.

The next two days have the potential of awesomeness: tomorrow could include a trip to Omaha for a Kid Rock concert (I'm DYING to go and have yet to coerce someone into going with me - but I haven't given up yet!) or to Kansas City for a Newcastle game.  Thursday, I may be going to Omaha for a Zac Brown Band concert with my sister-in-law.  And then Saturday, as you know, I'm going to Omaha for Aly's triathlon.  Could be an exciting (and full-of-driving) few days!!!

And if I don't post, you know why.  :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Spree

Happy Monday!

Today started off with a delicious smoothie.  I haven't had one forever and remembered quickly how much I loved 'em:
Please disregard the dying dead flowers in the background.
In today's mix: frozen mango, peaches, and raspberries; vanilla protein powder, chia seeds, and UVAB.

Because of all the frozen fruit, however, I had to wait awhile to drink it.  My teeth are really sensitive to cold, and I don't like to eat freezing stuff super fast.  So, I brought it to my first day of summer school and ate it while the kids were arriving.

During one of our breaks, I had the following snack:

Following summer school I went to the gym for a run; there's no way I was going to attempt it outside in this heat!  I intended on doing three miles, but I stopped at 1.5 for a couple of reasons.  First, I always run a lot faster on the treadmill than I do on the road.  That being said, I think I still could have pushed myself further had it not been for reason number two: the massive blister on my right heel.  I honestly had trouble putting my running shoes on because it hurt so badly, and then my gait was completely off due to the pain.  I decided to take it a bit easy today so that I would be able to run my 8k on Saturday.

After the gym and a much-needed shower, I ate lunch:

A turkey and pepper-jack sandwich with a side of fresh fruit (watermelon, mango, cantaloupe, and strawberries).  It was delish - and kept me full all afternoon.

After, I went to my co-worker's house and met her brand-new twins, and we worked on planning out our year; neither of us can believe how fast this summer has gone!  We got quite a bit accomplished today and are planning on meeting a few times over the next couple of weeks, so hopefully all will be ready to go by August 25th!

I then came home to work on some articles for my freelance writing gig, finished those, and ate dinner.

I was really nervous about this meal because it was totally fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants.  I cooked up some quinoa and added all of the veggies I could find: green peppers, onion, mushrooms, and garlic.  I then worried it was going to be too bland, so I tossed it with my favorite condiment - Rasta sauce.  Seriously.  If you don't already have this staple in your fridge, order some now.

It was a really good dinner, and surprisingly satisfying as I'm über full right now; I hope it lasts!

I had full intention of doing Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred this evening, but as it's nearing 8:00, I still have some work to do for school and for my grant, and I have yet to sit down and do nothing, I think I may put it off until tomorrow.  We'll see how I feel as soon as I'm done with everything else.

On a completely different note, check out what came in the mail today!

My Stella & Dot order!  How adorable are the tiny jewelry boxes?!  (Order from my sister-in-law, and you, too, can have 'em!)  And look: when you open 'em up, they're still cute!

Now, let me show off my goods:

This hippie-ish bracelet is totally my style.  I have a feeling I will wear this just about every day.

I tried really hard to get a good picture of this bracelet on my wrist, but it just didn't happen.  Trust me: it's absolutely rockin' with my skin tone.

I had to have these earrings.  They weigh approximately nothing, and Aly said she wears them with absolutely everything, and I knew I would, too.

And check out the last two - these necklaces.  I thought the arrow was so stinkin' cute, and the way Aly had it displayed was with this disk - this sparkly disk.  It looked so cute together, and I love the layered look, so even though it was expensive, I knew I had to have it.

And that, my friends, is the end of my jewelry spree.

See you tomorrow with a (hopefully) more productive work-out day!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pump, Pump, Pump It Up!

I'm not exactly sure yet what I consider this blog to be, other than a place for me to talk about myself.  :)  I want it to be considered largely healthy-living and fitness-oriented, so that's the direction I'm going to be taking it.

Starting tomorrow.

Don't worry: you'll still get my random babblings, such as the life playlist I treated y'all to a few months ago.

I'm planning on (hopefully) posting pictures of everything I eat, talking about my workouts, and maybe trying some different routines.  Guess what I'm not going to be doing, though?  Posting calorie counts.  That was way too much work; I'm too lazy for that.  And frankly, I don't think it's all that important as long as I'm eating a balanced diet.  So there.

I've recently started following a couple of blogs that discuss ways in which to incorporate strength-training into your routine, and I think that is the one thing I'm definitely lacking right now; I think the 12-miles could have gone better had I been strength training as well.

Here are a few of the sites I'm going to be referencing:

  • The Fitnessista - I love the variety of workout programs she mentions - and she's a fitness instructor!
  • Carrots 'n' Cake - I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this blog and how much I look to Tina for recipe and fitness advice; she is a strong supporter of Body Pump, and I could definitely make that happen at the gym
  • Eating Bird Food - Brittany did the 12-week Body for Life program, and I think it sounds manageable and results-driven
In addition, I'm considering just popping in Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred; that is a difficult workout, and I don't have to go to the gym to get it done...

Essentially, I am looking to strength train three times a week.  I would also like to incorporate at least one day of yoga, as I have completely let that part of my exercise regime go.  I miss it, and I think it would really help a lot of my tightness and what feels to be out-of-whack alignment.

I'm always this happy when I'm at the gym.
What is your favorite strength-training program?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I'm sorry, but I'm going to talk about my feet.  Again.

Today I ran twelve miles.  Let me repeat in case you didn't quite get that: I. Ran. Twelve. Miles.

Although, I'm not sure "ran" would entirely be the correct word.  It was somewhere in the mid-90's today, with a heat index of 109 degrees and humidity so thick that we could barely see in front of us.  Essentially, it was the most awful weather I have ever experienced - which led to the most difficult thing I have ever done.

The distance was definitely twelve miles.  I would say we ran nearly the entire first six to seven miles, and then it all went downhill.  We. Were. Dying.  There was a lot of walking involved, and frankly, I was not even sure I could walk the last mile.  My entire body hurt, my hands were so swollen that they had creases on them, and I was nearing pass-out point.

It wasn't good.  But I did it.  Kind of.

The rest of today has included a lot of eating and a lot of sleeping.  It's fairly unbelievable.

I also went to Half-Price Books with the BFF and bought tons of books for so little money.  I'm excited to start perusing them, especially the books I bought about Africa, child soldiers, and the many civil wars.  (I'm starting summer school on Monday, and our first unit is all about the Lost Boys of Sudan; I bought several other books to use as additional resources with the kids.)

Now I'm chowing down some Mac & Cheese (the meal of marathoners, duh) before getting ready to go out with some girlfriends this evening.  Here's my question to you: do you think my über-sore legs and ridiculously-blistered feet can handle these shoes?

Or are flip-flops the way to go?

Maybe my Sauconys?

Friday, July 15, 2011


I'm going to again reference my new favorite funny girl, Dawn Dais, and her book, The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women.  I promise: as soon as y'all read this book and laugh as much as I did, I will shut up about how amazing it is.  But until then, you're stuck with hearing about it every other day.

In the book she talks about the physical disgustingness of running a marathon, which of course includes toenails turning black and falling off.  So far I haven't had issue with that (THANK GOD), as I have cut the nails down to pretty much nothing.  However, I have had major problems with the bottoms of my feet.  Like, ridiculous problems.  The calluses are absolutely insane, and the peeling, shredded skin is super attractive.

It's so weird that I'm single.

But I digress.

I don't want to get a pedicure for two reasons.  First, I know I need the calluses for running; if they were sloughed off, I would have raw feet that would not be able to withstand long miles.  Second, I'm not about to pay $30 for pretty toes when I know they will be back to disgusting within a day or two.

So, I gave myself a paint job and am praying that no one sees the bottom of my feet.  Ever.

Side note: check out how poofy my ankle still is - from the sprain that happened nine months ago.  Awesome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Deepest Fear

I recently received an invite to join Bliss Connect, a community of health and wellness bloggers.  First, I am extremely honored to be included with some amazing women such as Angela, one of the most inspirational writers I've read; Brittany, who has great recipes, food-finds, and workout ideas; Caitlin, who founded Operation Beautiful (check it out - awesome); and many, many more.

Second, I started browsing the site today and came across one discussion thread that I really, really like.  It's all about inspirational quotes, sayings that make you feel better, etc.  I am constantly looking for things like this in my life; in fact, I have six pieces of art work (that I can think of off the top of my head) hanging in my house, all consisting of quotes.  I love everything from poems to song lyrics to literary text to random musings.  Through one of my friend's blog rolls, I also discovered a website full of quotes and images; check it out.

I thought today I would share a few of my favorite quotes, some of my most recent finds, with you!

I just bought this from rawartletterpress on Etsy and plan to put it in my classroom - she adapted an A.A. Milne quote from Winnie the Pooh, and I think it is something that so many of my kiddos need to hear everyday.

Love, love, love.  Imagination is so important.

I'm going to figure out a way to put this one in my classroom, too.  We do so much with the concept of voice, the idea of journaling and about finding oneself, and I think this idea fits in impeccably well.

Finally, I leave you with this video:

Okay, so most of my favorite quotes today had to do with teaching and with my students, but...oh well!  Tomorrow we'll talk about running.  :)

What are your favorite quotes/sayings?  What words inspire you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Milestone

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had wonderful, relaxing weekends!

Mine was awesome: jam-packed full of family, friends, and fun.  It started on Friday when my soon-to-be sister-in-law came to town.  She recently became a stylist with Stella and Dot and had a trunk show at my apartment.  I am usually not super into house parties where stuff is being sold, but I absolutely LOVE this jewelry line and am even thinking of selling it myself.  Until that happens, though, please consider purchasing from Aly.  :)

After the trunk show, we went downtown to meet her best friend, and after a quick visit to a new-ish patio, we headed up to her friend's roof - and managed to bribe a singer/songwriter/street performer to play his guitar up there for us.  While it was a little on the humid side, it was a spectacular view and amazing entertainment.

Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early (5:45!) for our run.  Can you guess how many miles we did?
It was awesome.  I cannot even tell you how proud I am of all of us - and I'm totally including myself here!  It was SO hot outside, and it was obviously the longest distance we've run.  Interestingly (or maybe not so interestingly), it was the first time I've been sore after running.  I really haven't had any muscle soreness, oddly enough.  The ten-miler was quite different, though, and I was hurting immediately after we finished.
In addition, while my slicing shin pain has been almost completely alleviated with my new shoes, I am starting to develop "runners' knee."  It's very, very sore, but I also know I need to ice and Advil more than I am.

But enough complaining: I RAN TEN MILES!

After the run we came home and had to relatively quickly get ready for an appointment: to shop for wedding dresses!  We hit up Schaffer's, an upscale bridal boutique, where Aly tried on beautiful couture gowns and classy bridesmaids' dresses.  From there we went to the mall to pick up new running shoes for Aly, new software for me, and lunch.  And then Aly had to leave.  :(  I love that girl and am so thankful she's a part of my family.

As soon as I arrived home, I absolutely crashed on the couch.  I did not even wake up to two text messages or a phone call - and I always wake up to my phone!  Saturday night I went on a date to see Horrible Bosses.  I had absolutely no idea what this movie was about (or even what genre it was), but I am so glad we went: it is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a LONG time.  I was crying because I was laughing so hard.  After the movie we went to one of my favorite bars, had a couple of cocktails, and called it a night.

And it was a good thing we did because I had to wake up early: my mama came to town!  We had a girls' afternoon/evening at Summerset Winery planned, and my mom came in early so that we could go to brunch and then on a hot, humid cemetery walk.  After a short rest at home, we packed up our picnic and headed south to the winery for a wonderful time with great friends.  I worked briefly on my new job (!!!) and then crashed - I was pooped!

Today included a three-mile run and a gut-buster workout, a dentist appointment, more work for the new job (!!!), and dinner with friends, and now I am ready to crash.  Is it bad that I'm kind of crossing my fingers for storms in the morning so that I can sleep in and run later in the day?  :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Running Mantra

For See-Us Run Des Moines, we have practice Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  The three weekdays are shorter runs, generally three to four miles, accompanied by strength workouts (hills, squats/lunges, crunches, sprints, etc), and the Saturday run is our long run, gradually building distance until we reach 20 miles, the farthest we will run pre-marathon.  As Dawn Dais says in one of my all-time favorite books, The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On With Your Training, "Since when do you only train for two-thirds of an athletic event?"

Because of my amazing summer-work schedule, I am able to attend most of the morning practices.  Last week, however, I wasn't able to attend any.  That does not mean that I skipped working out altogether; instead, I had the pleasure of running after summer school - at 1:00 - in 100-degree weather.  Let me tell you how much I was looking forward to those runs.

I cannot tell you how many times I had to repeat my three favorite running mantras:
  • I will never regret a workout - this is courtesy of Tina Haupert at Carrots 'n' Cake, probably my all-time favorite blog.  She recently ran her first marathon and continually has great workout routines as well as healthy recipes, and I really appreciate that she is so realistic.  She'll have dessert, and she'll have a cocktail.  It's so refreshing seeing someone to whom I can really relate.  I had to repeat this over and over and over in order to brave the heat to complete my workouts this week.
  • My body is stronger than I think it is - honestly, I cannot remember who deserves the credit for this one.  It may be Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats.  I get a lot of my workout inspiration (and recipes!) from her.  Regardless of who the originator is, this quote is so true: our bodies are machines, intended to do hard work; our minds are what prevent us from doing so.  I constantly remind myself of this during workouts.
  • I can do anything for two minutes/a fourth of a mile/etc. - I believe my mom is the creator of this gem.  If I'm struggling up a hill or at the end of a race (okay, okay: throughout the entire race), I repeat over and over and over that I can do anything for a short amount of time/distance.  The other day one of my students and I went to the YMCA as opposed to running in a 117-degree heat index, and we ran two miles at a much faster pace than we do on the trails.  I repeatedly had to remind myself that I can do anything - even a really fast anything - for a short amount of time.
You can bet that as I lace up my tennies to run ten miles (yes, TEN MILES) on Saturday, these three mantras will be on "repeat" in my mind.  I can't imagine finishing the run without them!

Speaking of tennies, here are my brand-spankin'-new shoes:

I went to a real-life running store and got fitted for new shoes because of intense pain I'd been having in my shins.  I cannot even begin to tell you how much these have helped; the pain is non-existent (knock on wood).  Thank you, Fitness Sports.

Now if I could just find a sports bra...