Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I was going to write a post about how I never make resolutions and then, out of curiosity, I looked at my blog archives from last January and, apparently, I made several resolutions last year. The good news is I succeeded at one of them, which was to run more. But the other two were huge failures (be organized and be more adventurous with fashion). I’m not even going to attempt being organized this year – it’s a lost cause. So here are my resolutions for 2010 that I hopefully will not immediately forget about.

Run a half marathon. Since running was my only successful resolution of 2009 why not continue with it for 2010? I plan on signing up for the race next week and seriously start training this weekend. I’m actually excited for this. I’ve always wanted to be able to run a half marathon and, more than that, be the type of person that would run a half marathon. Now I am that person! I just have to keep reminding myself how wonderful it will feel to cross that finish line. Along the same lines I want to diversify my fitness routine. Try swimming more and take more classes at the gym.

Project 365. I got a fancy new camera last January and I haven’t been very lax about using it. My goal this year is to become a better photographer and I figured the best way to go about this would be with lots of practice. With all that practice I’m sure to get better at composition and lighting. So I plan on taking at least one picture every day. Obviously, to succeed at this resolution I will need to get in the habit of carrying my camera with me everywhere and also uploading my pics once a week. I also think it will be fun to look at the pictures next year as a way of reviewing 2010.

Career Decision
. This isn’t so much a resolution as a MUST DO. I have to start interviewing next fall so I really need to figure out what kind of job I want and what kind of company I want to work for. I’m sure I’ll be blogging about it because it has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.

I am really really looking forward to 2010. Mainly because I’m getting married. Did you hear me? I’M GETTING MARRIED. I’ve been engaged for six months and yet I still feel the need to shout that every time I say it. Here’s to a fabulous 2010 – Happy new years!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Motivation for the new year

Then last night I went to the gym to run a 4-miler on the treadmill. The first mile went great. Then the second mile I started to get shin splints and stomach cramps all at once. Two things that rarely happen to me. I kept pausing the treadmill to stretch and drink water, but nothing was helping. So I quit at mile 2. I have NEVER quit a run early before. I felt shitty about it all night. I should have at least walked the other 2 miles. Oh well, time to start over and forget about it.

Luckily, Runner’s World posted an article today about how to stay motivated so I decided to write down my favorite ones from the article here so I can refer back to it when I need a little extra push (some I tweaked slightly to fit me personally).

Create a blog. I’m already doing this! This is all about publicly declaring your goals to create accountability for yourself. In that vein, I fully plan on running 4 miles tomorrow and 8 miles on Friday.

Forget the watch. I have become way too attached to my Garmin. I can’t even imagine running without it. But I found on a 10 miler I did a week ago that when I didn’t look at it constantly and actually relaxed I ran at a faster pace. So I need to become more relaxed and start making running fun again. On a related note, I think this is partly what went wrong last night – I was pushing myself too hard and if I had just slowed down I’m sure I would’ve finished the 4 miles.

Sign up now. Signing up for a 5k is how I originally motivated myself to start running. I’m very competitive so this always helps me. I really need to sign up for the Seattle Rock n Roll half before I chicken out or they sell out. I signed on to do it a couple weeks ago and then got sticker shock when I saw how expensive it was. But now I have Christmas money so I NEED to get on that. I know that’ll get me off my ass. The fear of failure really is the ultimate motivator.

Think Fast
. Runner’s World’s suggestion here was to run the first half of your run slow and then run the second half fast. I definitely need to try some runs like this because so often I don’t pace myself very well and am dying on the second half of the run. It would be a nice change of pace to have extra energy at the end of the run.

Download new music
. I know if Kesha’s song Tick Tock came on my iPod as I was running my pace would increase. Or promise yourself that if you go for your run you can purchase that song you just can’t get enough of when you get back.

Remind yourself
. It always helps me to remind myself how far I’ve come both mentally and physically since I started running regularly. I may not be at the weight I want to be at, but I am proud of my body because I know what it’s capable of. I love my legs now even if they are ridiculously short because I know how strong they are. I always make a point of thinking about how confident and great I feel when I finish a run.

Treat yourself
. When I am having an especially hard time getting my ass out the door I promise myself a treat when I get back. Chocolate milk is the best treat because it’s good to drink after a run and who doesn’t love it?

Honeymoon Bikini
. This is the obvious one. Swimsuit season is just around the corner. I’ll be on a honeymoon this summer and I fully intend to look hot while on it. I plan on hanging a pic of my dream swimsuit in my office to serve as a constant reminder.

Don’t Pause
. This is a big one for me. I need to just jump out of bed and go for a run – I tend to give myself too much time to talk myself out of it.

No Regret. My mantra: You’ll regret it big time if you don’t run and laze around on the couch instead.

Try New Trails. Change up your route. I think I’ll try the park across the street (I don’t know why I haven’t run there yet…) and Green Lake would be a big treat for me (great people watching).

What motivates you to get out the door and get your ass in gear?

Monday, December 28, 2009

For Brandy

We interrupt the regular blog program for a very important message from the amazing Brandy. Please read it and think about it. If you feel so inclined, please copy and paste the below post onto your own blog to spread the word and keep the good karma, thoughts and prayers flowing.

My name is brandy. And I have a blog.

And a plea.

I use my blog to showcase the crazy I meet everyday, share the stories of the kids I teach and document my love for tequila, dairy products and the abdominal muscles of Ryan Reynolds. Rarely do I talk about personal issues on my blog- as personal as the dude that I adore (who I actually met through my blog- single ladies, let that be a very good reason to blog, the possibility of meeting someone as wonderful as my man), but I need your help. And it involves my dude.

He's a guy who made math comics for my class, so they would love learning about addition. He's the kinda guy who sends my friends gift cards when they are having hard times, who remembers every story I ever told him, who was the first person I celebrated with when I got a teaching job. He's the guy who sent flowers to me at school- dozens of my favourite pink roses just because he loves me. He's a guy who has spent a year patiently explaining (and re-explaining) everything there is to know about football during the important games when silence is preferred. He's made me word puzzles and comics and stayed up late playing Scrabble with me (even though I beat him almost every time). He's listened to me cry about school and family and jobs. He is everything I never knew I needed and everything I always knew I wanted.

The holidays have hit us hard. He's recently been told he may have something called multiple myeloma- an incurable cancer, that gives a person an average of five years of continued life. Though this news has came as a shock, he continues to be exactly who has always been- spending his time worrying about me, rather than worrying about himself. He's the most selfless individual I know- (he stayed late on Christmas Eve to work, so his co-workers could leave early) and a post like this would never be something that he would promote or encourage but when I'm overwhelmed and feeling helpless, the blogging community has always given me tremendous support and comfort, two things I desperately need at this time.

As I write this, the future is uncertain and we aren't sure what's happening. He'll need to see an oncologist soon, to verify what's going on in his body. My hope is that everyone who reads this think positive thoughts and if you are a person who prays, could you add him to your list? (You can refer to him as 'brandy's hot awesome dude'). If you don't pray, please keep him in your heart.This cancer is only a possibility and I believe that the prayers and positive thoughts of people can make sure it never becomes a reality.

I want to give a big thank you to the blog owner who scraped their original blog plans and graciously put this up. My goal is to get as many people as possible to see and read this post. If you are reading this and want to help, copy and paste my plea into your blog or send a link through twitter, so more people can keep him in their thoughts. I would be so very grateful (even more grateful than I am to my friend who first showed me the picture of Ryan Reynolds on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. If you haven't seen it, google it. You. Are. Welcome).

I realize this all sounds dramatic, a Lifetime movie in the making- but this is life. Right now. And I'm throwing away any hint of ego and am humbly asking for you to pray or think kind thoughts. If you are able to pass this on, thank you and if you know anything regarding MM- please email me (my email is on my blog). This isn't a call for sympathy or a plea for pity. It's just one girl hoping you can think positive thoughts for the person she adores. If my current heartache provides you with anything, let it be with the reminder that life is short, love is unbending and no one knows what could happen next. Maybe it is silly, but I really do believe that positive thoughts can make a huge difference. Thank you for reading this and if you haven't already? Please tell someone you love them today.

I did.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Turns Out I'm Illiterate

I was thinking last week that I wanted to start having more posts about cooking on here. I love to cook and am always trying new recipes so I thought I could share with the three readers I have what recipes work and what don’t.

So this weekend as I went on a baking frenzy and in the back of my mind was the thought of what recipe could I blog about. The first difficulty I encountered was taking pictures of the steps. I don’t know how the Pioneer Woman does it! It must take her ages to cook when she has to take pictures of every step.

The other difficulty was that everything I made was a disaster…well, mostly everything. First, I made cookies called Oatmeal Scotchies on Saturday. When I read the part of the recipe where it called for one cup of butter in my head I read 1 stick of butter. I didn’t catch my mistake until after the cookies were out of the oven and finished and then had an epiphany where I realized it was supposed to be TWO sticks of butter. Oopsies! Chuckles has assured me they taste fine despite the lack of butter. I personally am not a fan of oatmeal cookies so I am not a trusty source for an unbiased opinion so I really don’t know if they’re ok...people seem to be eating them. But the point is I can’t be trusted to give advice on cooking.

Then on Sunday I made Deep Chocolate Cheesecake Bars. The first step was to melt an entire bag of chocolate chips. Then it said beat cream cheese and sugar. So I beat the cream cheese and sugar with the chocolate. Big Mistake. The chocolate was supposed to be added later – I think it really messed up the consistency. It was a bitch to mix that’s for sure. It seems to be ok, but I’ve only had one so I am reserving judgment on those until later when I can pawn them off on unsuspecting family members.

Finally, tonight we are going to a potluck and I was going to make a pear, bleu cheese, and walnut salad for it. I always make candied walnuts because (do I really have to explain?) candied walnuts are always better than toasted walnuts. I decided to try a new recipe for it because the last ones I made weren’t pretty enough for me. Sure they tasted good, but they just didn’t look like it – I wanted them to be shinier. So I made them from a new recipe that had glowing reviews and poured them on some wax paper to cool and when I went to put them in a container later they were completely stuck to the paper. So obviously I fucked up and the worst part is I have no idea where! But they sure are shiny…

So if I were to do cooking posts on here they would all most likely be a lesson in what NOT to do. My coworker told me not to stress about it because I have been very tired and stressed and therefore flaky lately and that is why I can do nothing right. My reaction to this flakiness has been to drink four times the amount of caffeine than I normally do, which, unfortunately, is only making the situation worse…oh well, only 3 more days til Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Do NOT mess with my sleep!

I was reading an article on Runners World the other day about how people find time in their busy lives to workout. I am a total sucker for articles like this because I often find myself in the mindset that I am too busy to do anything and then I read these articles and realize that my life is a piece of cake compared to these other people. For example, there was one woman who had four young children and worked full time and to get her runs in she would get up at 4:30 in the morning!! Isn’t that the

So I thought why can’t I get up at 5:30 in the morning to work out on those days when I have work and then school afterwards? Anybody who knows me knows that I love love loooooove to sleep in. In fact, I will outright YELL at you if you try to get me up earlier than I need to. I might even hit you. Who am I kidding? I would definitely hit you. Maybe even with brass knuckles.

So I immediately threw that idea out the window and decided that a much more reasonable strategy would be to stay up late and go for a run. The problem is next week staying up late to work out just isn’t an option. So I am entertaining the possibility of getting up early.

I have basically given up on the idea that I will be able to run on Christmas Eve or Christmas and the fact that I even thought about running on those days makes me think that I am quite possibly losing my mind.

Anywhoodle, I have decided that my goal is to work out at least 2 days next week. What with multiple birthday and Christmas parties I think it will be quite the challenge. AND to fulfill it I will HAVE to get my ass out of bed early one morning. Hopefully nobody will get hurt in the process.

In case you’re wondering why I am posting so much about my boring exercise routine it’s because I have found that it motivates me to keep at it when I blog about it. Basically I take motivation wherever I can find it and go with it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Give me the biggest omelet you got

I ran my first 10K this weekend. It was Saturday morning and I spent Friday night at a Christmas party at a winery in Woodinville. I assured myself going in that I would leave early and only have one glass of wine. That didn’t so much happen. The wine was just so tasty!

I eventually made it home just after 10 pm and downed some water and ibuprofen. Luckily, I didn’t feel that horrible the next morning and my running buddy, Linda, and I ran the 10k no problem. I really wanted to finish in under an hour and we ended up finishing at 1 hr and 33 seconds. I blame this on the fact that I failed to double knot my shoelaces so we had to stop twice for me to tie my shoes. I easily wasted thirty seconds there.

Our pace was pretty good for the first half – we were consistently under a 9:30 pace (pretty freakin’ good for me). Of course this meant that I really struggled during the last two miles. I kept thinking this is just NEVER going to end. Our average pace for the last three miles was probably more like 9:45.

Anyway, I’m really glad I did it even if it was below freezing out. Afterwards we met a college friend of mine for a delicious brunch at a place called Wild Wheat in Kent. I had the biggest bacon omelet EVER. It was absolutely insane. Anywhoodle, I’m already looking for my next race!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why Must I Be a Poor Student?

I’ve been window shopping all morning on the interwebs, which is alternating making me happy to look at all the pretty clothes and sad that I have no money to buy any of them, but a girl can dream right? So I thought why not make everybody suffer with me! I have a Christmas party this Friday and while I will wear some old dress or skirt I’ve had for years here’s what I wish I was wearing:

I LOVE this Octopus bracelet from Anthropologie. Of course, it is way over my jewelry budget at $198, but I think you could wear it with a simple LBD and black shoes and it would make the whole outfit interesting instantly. I love fun accessories for that reason alone.

I think this 7 for all Mankind Asymmetrical dress would be perfect for holiday parties – Simple with just a little bit of embellishment on the shoulder. I would definitely wear a skinny black belt around the waist to give it a bit of shape.

And to complete it a pair of simple black pumps by Michael Antonio with a ruffle along the edge. Surprisingly, these are affordable at $50, but they don’t have my size. (My bank account is grateful.)

Well, that’s my dream outfit for this Friday night. What are you lusting after this holiday season?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some Rambling Nonsense

I filled out my class evaluations today and for the first time since I started graduate school I gave both my professors glowing reviews. They were both interesting and explained everything clearly, not to mention, managed to make two subjects that had the potential to be excruciatingly boring fascinating. Because of this I am almost sad to see this quarter end for you never know what kind of nightmares I’ll have to deal with next quarter.

I say almost sad because I have never had so much reading assigned before and, therefore, have never been so behind before. That and when I turned in my legal paper rough draft I was told it needed “extensive rewording” which gave me heart palpitations because I don’t handle criticism well.

It also makes me nervous because, while normally I’d be looking forward to a leisurely break this break will be the complete opposite of leisurely thanks to Christmas and wedding planning and my life is only going to get more busy in the next nine months. On the positive side this means they’ll go by fast, which is good because I am very impatient and ready to get married.

I am also looking forward to getting back to training and exercising more regularly. I get so caught up in studying for finals because I’m crazy and think that anything less than 100% is a big fat FAILURE that everything else in my life has to take a backseat for those two last weeks in the quarter. So starting the 13th I am going to start seriously training for my half marathon and I really can’t wait!

I wish I could make time this weekend to run because the temperature here took a severe and sudden drop this week and I would like to get some experience running in the freezing cold before my race on the 12th. Unfortunately, I am afraid that 10K will be my first attempt at running in the snow. So at this point I am just hoping I am able to run it. I asked Chuckles to get me some runner’s cleats just in case it’s really icy.

Well…those are my rambling thoughts for the day. It’s pretty representative of how all over the place my head is lately.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Trying to be a runner

I’ve been running regularly for over a year now and have seen a lot of improvement in my speed and form and yet I still don’t feel like I belong to the “runner’s club”. I read other running blogs and runners world forums and feel pathetic that I have yet to run even a half-marathon.

Of course, I know this shouldn’t bother me at all because everybody has to start somewhere. Regardless, when I see other runners out on my run I always feel my pace speed up a little as I try to prove myself.

I went on two runs this past weekend in an attempt to burn off the Thanksgiving calories and they were difficult, painful runs. It was quite possibly the amount of booze I drank on Thursday or the biting wind, but by the last mile of my nine mile run on Friday I was barely able to walk.

And (I warn you – this might be TMI) it was also difficult to run because there was a distinct possibility that I might shit my pants. I know I am not the only one that has this problem on long runs and the best advice I have found on runners’ forums is “Run near toilets”. Great. Advice.

Anyway, as I was walking up the hill toward my car a girl was running towards me with a runner’s belt, skinny runner’s body, and judging eyes. Yes, Judging Eyes. Because I was walking. It took all my willpower not to yell, “It’s because I don’t want to shit my pants! Lay Off Lady!” Yeah, take that.