Sunday, August 31, 2014

7,000 Years Later, She Emerges Anew

So much has changed since my last posting! First things first, I am no longer engaged, and not married either. A multitude of small repetitive issues made me realize I was not ready to get married. As hard as it was to send un-invites after I called the wedding off to family and close friends at the end of March, beginning of April, I believe it was the best choice for me.

I'm still on good terms with the now ex-fiancé. And I've entered a new relationship with a past boyfriend. He's in the Navy and 7 timezones away, but due to come back to the United States around the end of February. The plan is that I'll fly out for Christmas and New Years to see him. I'm working on the passport application, hopefully to be completed next week.
Secondly, I was accepted to both SUNY Albany's MSW program and Boston University's Online MSW program. I chose Boston University's program and am due to start... TUESDAY! I will truly be the Sprinting Social Worker once that begins ;)  I have mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness and stress beyond your wildest imagination. So much has been happing lately, and all at the same time!
Which brings me to my next update. I have bought a house, all on my own... well, not yet, technically. It's been a long process that involved one short sale that needed a hefty amount of work, and a withdraw from said short sale after months of waiting with no word while finding a house I liked better that was NOT a short sale and did NOT need any work whatsoever. The sellers are taking a while to close on their new house, so I'm sitting here waiting as patiently as I can to close on mine! The original anticipated close date was July 30th. Obviously that did not happen with the seller's not having closed on their house. The new prospective closing date is sometime during the week of September 8th. We shall see if this actually happens or not. I am beyond excited to move in. I wish it would have been done July 30th so I'd have been settled for the beginning of school, but I'll just have to make due with how it is.
And I think lastly, the big news that probably applies the most, is that I ran a half marathon today!
But first, I did the Boilermaker back on July 13th and finished just over 1 hour and 30 minutes. Race conditions were good; they were worried about canceling for thunderstorms that have been plaguing New York all summer. However, the overcast made the July heat bearable and the lighter wind from the threatening thunder storm proved quite refreshing. Race officials strongly encouraged anyone who wouldn't finish with 2 hours, I believe, to consider not running. However I finished and my good friend Heather finished. She'd been training with me all summer to run her first Boilermaker. And I had talked her into her first few 5Ks, so I cannot even say how proud of her I am. Shortly after we both finished and grabbed some post-race popsicles, we decided to head out and the sprinkles started to fall, so it was really perfect timing.
The half I did this morning was the 18.12 Challenge from one north country town to another. I had to get up at 4am to be ready to leave at 5 with my super supportive mother. We drove there in complete darkness, and when we arrived I secured all my race gear. My mom dropped me off at the starting line and departed to wait at the finish as dawn was starting to break. After a quick (haha) wait for the porta-potties and some light stretching we were lined up and ready to go before I knew it. This race too was weather dependent with 80% chance of thunderstorms looming in the forecast. However, there was no lightening and the race started as scheduled at 7am. I was awake (half), dressed, and my nails were done to the best of my ability with so much going on right now.
We were off! I was hoping for a 10 minute mile pace, since my longest run a few weeks ago was around 10:15 for 12.9 miles. I thought that was a reasonable amount of time to shoot for. I set off trying to keep it reigned in while others passed me and excitement made me want to pass others. When I settled into a pace that felt good and sustainable, I glanced down and saw that I was going around a 9:40 pace. I figured... what the hell, let's go for it. The overcast sky was a little intimidating and if lightening struck the race would be stopped dead anyway. I figured as long as I felt okay I'd continue, and if I felt woozy or not right in any way, I'd slow it down or stop if necessary. So on I went.

By the time I got to mile three I was so excited to glance down and see that I was still at a 9:40ish pace. I had already ditched my light jacket that I'd donned pre-start due to the crazy winds, but a new problem was arising. Yup, GI issues. It wasn't really that bad, and I had gone a bit before the race started so I figured I'd keep pushing forward. The first two porta-potty stops I passed both had lines, and I was way too excited about my pace to ruin my race time by waiting in line for the bathroom. Thankfully the third porta-potty stop had no line and one bathroom open. As soon as I saw the blue makeshift bathrooms I bolted, passing about 8 surprised race participants on the way. I don't think it added more than a minute or two to my time, but it definitely made for a more comfortable rest of the run.

When I settled back into the race, I passed the 10 mile marker and my Garmin let off the ever coveted lap beep. I realized I only had a 5K remaining of the race. I was thrilled. My legs felt good, no knee pain besides a little tightness. I decided to push the pace for the last 5K. Every time I looked at my watch from there to the finish I was hovering just below a 9 minute mile. I was ecstatic! As I approached the finish line over the last couple miles, the streets became more populated with spectators. It was truly inspiring and I picked up the pace even more. I loved passing people (even though I got passed my fair share, too). I did my best to sprint across the finish line and came in around 2 hours and 4 minutes. I haven't checked the race website to see if the official results are up yet or not. I am super happy about this run though. And I learned the magic of fueling about a month ago, and realized I had been bonking at the end of nearly every long run up until then. It is crazy how a few gummies throughout the run can make you feel like a new person at the end!!
All in all, an absolutely fantastic race!

A lot of life changes going on for me right now, but I believe they are all for the better. I'm trying to figure out who I really am and what I truly want out of life. I know for sure though that running has become a necessity to keep me sane!

Safe and happy running!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Running While Female Awareness

I just wanted to post this article because unfortunately, we live in a world where people blame the victim in cases of rape. It should not matter what someone is wearing, how they acted prior to the assault, or whether or not they are attractive. And women should not have to feel so vulnerable and helpless when it comes to situations like it. Unfortunately, this runs over into the running world just as much as the ' weekend night life' world.

Please, read the article or watch the video in this link:

I have never dealt with this, thankfully. However, I had one experience not too long ago, running around my hometown where there were three adolescents loitering in a parking lot. They yelled childish things at me, such as, "run faster!" in obnoxious teenage screams. I, too, never thought I was really in any danger, and nothing ever came of it. However, it was early in the morning, there was no one else around except myself and those kids, and with my psych degree, let's just... say my mind ran wild along with my body for the next 5 or 6 miles.
I mulled over adolescent impulsive behavior, group mentality and feelings of anonymity, and the rise of youth violence in the media. Since I was doing one loop twice for my long run, I wondered would these youth still be there when I returned to that section? On back country roads there IS no alternative route to take unless you want to cut off 3-4 miles or add 3-4 miles on.
As a female running alone, even though the adolescents were just that -adolescents-, I was a little scared. I wanted to sprint by them but wanted to be strong and stick to my slower long run pace at the same time. I resisted the urge to glance behind me until I got to the corner to be sure I wasn't being followed by them. And then I was nervous the whole rest of the run. Was ignoring them the proper action? Should I have confronted them? Should I have just bailed on the run and gone home? Thankfully nothing happened. They did not follow me physically, only with their words and the atmosphere of the situation sticking in my mind. They were also not there on my second loop around the parking lot. But I totally understand her feeling. Completely.

Safe and Happy Running!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wedding and Saving

You may wonder where I have been... Wedding planning. And saving money for a house. And the wedding. And working. And visiting family all throughout the holidays... And I shall continue to wedding plan and house save and family visit until the end of the year.

Running? Not so much! I've been doing more Insanity and some biking and yoga. No chance I'm going on in these -25 degree wind chills. I walked Ziggy to the mailbox on the corner of our street (literally a tenth of a mile away) and absolutely could not feel my hands by the time I got back inside. Yeowch! Although I've been craving a run, I also value my fingers, toes, nose, ears, and other extremities and body parts and whatnot.

My middle-of-the-night waking-up-and-can't-get-back-to-sleep insomnia is back. It probably doesn't help that the fiancé has regular insomnia, so when he does come to bed at 2 or 3 am he tosses and turns and assists in keeping me awake. It's crazy how fast that can completely drain you.

I definitely have house fever. I cannot wait to buy one, nestled in as many acres as I can possibly get, away from the bustle and noise of being in the city or even in a town. I want this so bad my heart freakin' aches! I yearn. All I can do is continue saving. I'm really trying my best to put money away. Now that holidays are over my spending can stop for awhile. Besides wedding deposits and bills and rent and such. I'd like to do something to actively contribute to my house saving besides my day job. I'm thinking it'd be nice to make paintings. However my painting skills are not the greatest. I am thinking I will do more abstract style paintings and quote paintings. I feel like quotes are "in" now. I see tons and tons of inspirational quote art out there, but not so much fitness quote art. I feel like there would definitely be a market for it...? I mean Pinterest and my Facebook is chocked full of quoted action pictures, why not painted fitness quotes for that same audience? I'll let you know how this entrepreneurial seed develops.

In the meantime, I have yet to hear from either of the grad schools where I've applied. This isn't too nerve-wracking though. I'm not expecting to hear until probably March or April... So the wait continues. If it gets to the end of April/beginning of May and still nothing... then I shall start to worry and become a royal pain in the you-know-what to admissions. :)

Just thought I'd give everyone a quick update!
Let me know your thoughts on my painting idea... I'm interested to know how others see this. Is it something you would potentially be interested in or no way?
What's your idea of a perfect house?

Safe and Happy Staying Warm!

Friday, December 27, 2013

What Year is it?

Um, wow, how time has flown! I can't believe my last post was Thanksgiving. This holiday season has been absolutely insane. And we're not done yet! The fiancé and I plan to head to Lake Placid for a few days, but we're not certain of our New Year's plans yet.
But let's catch up on the past month! This beautiful wonderful delicious creation is called a hootenanny pancake! Or a German pancake, depending on what you prefer. I like hootenanny. Much more fun. This glorious concoction kicked off my Christmas, and many more feasts followed! However, I wasn't as good about exercising as I had planned to be. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't terrible, but I skimped a little on the workout and overindulged on the consumption.
However, I must give myself credit because today was the second day this week that I got up and worked out before work! That hasn't happened in a long time, and I'm very proud that I did it twice this week! As far as my skimping goes, it's mainly been Christmas Eve and Christmas Day where I didn't do anything. At all. Like barely walked to and from the fridge. I planned on taking one of the days off, so that wasn't terrible. We stayed up north at my moms though and I forgot that it's usually colder up there and didn't bring enough cold weather gear. The time I planned to run, the temperature was a brisk -4 degrees and I only had base layers and light gloves. NO THANKS! I'm trying to forgive myself and move on though.
Oh, and my cat stretched with me. :) He's my yoga buddy!
Anyway, with New Year's approaching faster than an object in flight when someone yells, "head's up!" I've been trying to contemplate my next resolution. 2012 held no soda, and I succeeded. I wasn't too bad of a soda drinker though, so while it was a challenge it wasn't too hard. 2013 held no fast food. Meaning, no luscious, extraordinary, super-scrumptious McDonalds or other fast food chains. Now, you have to understand. I've lived in the country all my life where fast foods and even Walmart and grocery stores were always a 20 minute drive, minimum, going 60mph on back country roads. So when I moved to "the city" (a more populated town, lol) it was hard to resist fast food like 3-5 times a week. When you can get there and home within 5-10 minutes, dinner in tow, it's difficult to pass up! So I became slightly (okay, quite) addicted to McDonald's burgers and Taco Bell. So far I have not had any fast food this year. No Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonalds, Arby's, or anything of the sort! I have four more days, but I'm confident I can last that long, after 51 weeks and 3 days of abstaining.

I'm really not sure what goal to make for 2014. I'd like to say I'll cook two nights a week, but I'm not sure if that's doable with my schedule, and hopefully starting my MSW. I'll find out about that a few months into 2014. I'd also like to eat more veggies, but I'm not sure how I'd measure it. I already work out pretty frequently, and with my knee issues I'm trying to take it slow and steady. Well, I've got four more days to consider what I'd like to improve upon in the upcoming year. Suggestions are welcome!

Safe and happy running!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving, Thanksgoing, Thanksgone!

Wow. So much running stuff to happen in one week! Shall we start with my Turkey Trot? I was met at the start by two friends and we couldn't wait to start running in the frigid air. It was 13 degrees and felt even colder with the wind chill.
Ignore the woman in capris. She was insane. I'm the one in red with the face mask and I was so cold! All in all it was successful though! Definitely burned off the turkey :)
The day after Thanksgiving I did another run because my fiance and I went for a second Thanksgiving at a friends house. My solo do-over turkey trot was 3.22 at a 9:37 pace. I'm making a comeback with my speed! And my knee has been feeling better. I've taken great care to listen to my body and be sure and stretch after my runs, even if only a little.

Then Sunday I enjoyed a wonderful morning run with the running group! Just two runners again this time, but one walker. Yesterday after work held a 1.89 mile run with Ziggy. All was good for the first mile but then I noticed him limping a little so we walk/jogged the rest of the way home. Once we got back to the apartment he was completely fine though, tearing through the rooms like he didn't just go on an almost two mile run/walk. A friend on Dailymile mentioned that perhaps he got some rock salt on his paw and the salt stung. I'm thinking he's right because yesterday was a warmer, slushier day so people definitely salted the sidewalks.
Once I dropped Zig home I went back out to get my heart rate up, since the run with Zig didn't really do it. 2.03 miles later at a awesome 9:01 pace, I was satisfied. I'm so happy I'm getting my speed back! It won't be too much longer before I start speed work and hills again and hopefully see a time drop! I'd like to be under 25:30 for a 5K by the end of next summer, maybe even under break 25 minutes! Meep! The possibilities are endless!!

And finally, today I went 2.23 miles with my friend Heather and Ziggy. It was the first run with Zig that involved another person. He was pretty distractable and misbehaved for the first quarter mile but then he settled into it. Not only was it the best run Ziggy's ever done in terms of speed, it is the farthest he's ever gone too! I was so excited not to have to drag him the last mile. He kept the pace up and seemed like he was ready to go further at the end. In the next few days I'm pretty sure I can have him running 5Ks with me! I don't know if I'll take him for runs longer than 5Ks. Heather on the other hand misbehaved the entire run. She really didn't like being on a leash, haha! :p

Tomorrow the running group meets and hopefully I will have enough gumption to join them. I won't be running in the morning due to an early staff meeting for work so my day will start an hour and a half earlier than normal. I still really enjoy my job and am getting more comfortable and competent every day! I started teaching my first group of boys. It should make for an interesting few weeks.

Tell me about your Thanksgiving!
What goals do you have for the winter running season? Any big ones for the summer?

Safe and happy running!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Preparing The Human (for the turkey!)

Ahh the wonderful stench of the office after a lunch break run! Today I went out for a nice 2.1 mile jaunt with a co-worker. I haven't been eating to healthily to prepare for the giant Thanksgiving feast, though so every few miles helps.

Thankfully, there's a turkey trot up near my hometown that I can do tomorrow morning. It's too bad that it only covers the turkey's calories though! For today's post I wanted to cover some Thanksgiving basics. Mainly the food and the exercise it would take to burn it off. Let us commence.
Now, I got this from a totally different blog, so this picture is in no way mine. I found here:
However, I wanted to put it in my post to share with you all!

The reason a turkey trot is called such is because it pretty much only burns off the calories found in the turkey. Each mile a person runs or walks (notice it's regardless of speed) burns roughly 100 calories. Therefore, 8oz of white meat turkey is about 260 calories, or 2.6 miles of exercise to negate it. Dark meat is 3.5 miles. and a turkey trot is usually a 5K, or 3.1 miles, so there you have it! Give or take, the turkey trot burns off the turkey. However, this meal is on a smaller plate than Americans usually eat from. Our plates have gone from 8" in diameter to 10" in diameter in the last 20 years. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more Americans using 12" plates for this Thanksgiving!

This means that for a smaller 10" plate with proper portion sizes, one would have to run (or walk) 13.9 miles. That's further than a half marathon!! Keep in mind that that calculation is based only on the above plate, which doesn't include, eggnog, cider, wine, beer, cranberry juice, soda, milk, pumpkin/apple/pecan pie or any other type of pie one might eat. It also doesn't have the rolls and butter, or any butter one might add to say, mashed potatoes. PLUS, what you eat when you pick at things as you wait for the meal OR any after dinner mints or chocolates (like my family eats as a post-dessert).

So... Shall we revise our calorie count? We shall.
Now, this isn't my picture either, but I've seen it multiple places, so I'm not sure where to cite it. Either way, let's analyze it! This meal trades out the brussel sprouts for peas and adds in some beverages and desserts. It also has only one type of turkey. However, it is on a more standard looking plate, although the miles per food are slightly different. Now, this meal, if you can read the tiny writing, adds up to 26.2 miles! A full freakin' marathon! And still no dinner roll and butter (doesn't anyone else eat rolls and butter at Thanksgiving?)!
Moving on. The final point I want to make in this post is that portion control isn't rocket science! It can be daunting at first, but here is a handy little guide that can help you out. And it doesn't compare the sizes to random objects like dominoes or baseballs. You can do it all simply with your hands! Some might poke a hole in this theory saying, "but my hands are far smaller than Uncle Joe's!" To which I reply, Uncle Joe is probably a larger person in general than you anyway, and therefore his body will need a little bit more sustenance than yours does. So keep this guide handy... get it? Get that humor there? And enjoy your holidays!

So after all that, some of you may be feeling a bit discouraged because you really wanted to stuff your face tomorrow. This post is by no means written to make you feel guilty or bad in any way. I absolutely want you to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal! The purpose of this post is to encourage you to make sure that eating isn't the ONLY thing you do on Thanksgiving. Keep your portions under control, do a turkey trot or a solo run/walk/skip/crawl/moonwalk before the festivities, play football with the family after dinner (unless your yard will be covered in snow like I'm sure mine will be!). Have fun, but prepare your mind and body before kicking off the holiday season so you can better enjoy yourself and not feel the post-holiday guilt that so many suffer from once the big meal has passed.

What is your favorite food at Thanksgiving?
Any crazy traditions you don't mind sharing?

Safe and happy running!

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Favorite Word is Consistency

I definitely have to thank Ziggy for getting me out and running more often. If it weren't for him I wouldn't have ran this past Saturday. Even if he does slow me down a bit. We did 1.64 miles together and then I did an extra 1.39 on my own right after.
He loves going to run with me!! :) Today's run was on my own though. A co-worker and I decided we might go on some runs together since we both have been looking for a running buddy. So since I haven't done a solo run in awhile I wanted to see where I was at.
Ziggy stayed home this time and played with his penguin :) It's okay though because Brian took him on a walk when he got home from work. So this run was [mostly] guilt-free.
He did give me sad eyes when I left though. As long as it's semi-warm out and not much wind tomorrow morning I will take him out for a mile or so before work.
This run didn't go as well as I wanted. First, it was definitely slippery. Even though there was only an inch or so of snow on most of the sidewalk, people around here don't seem to see the need for shoveling. Anyway, the footprints heated up enough and then refroze so that it was slick ice underneath the fluffy inch of snow. Not only that, but cars NEVER stop for pedestrians to cross! A good amount of time was spent waiting to cross to the side of the street with a sidewalk. Annnnd plenty of time was also spent hopping onto someones snow covered lawn because the shoulder of the road wasn't all that large and cars are oblivious. Better safe than sorry, but it still added time onto my run. I think I could have gone faster, but tip toeing around makes for a frustrating run. Either way I'm happy that I went after work. Anyone who knows me knows how much of a morning person I am, and anything after about 1 o'clock is a miracle if I do it.

Anyway, this run wasn't a total bust! I got some exercise in, got a rough estimate of where I'm at after a few months of incredible slacking on my running, and got a taste of winter again. All in all I guess it's not bad, but I'm absolutely hoping for some quick improvements in the next few weeks. I will definitely be at a good spot for running with my co-worker, and I'm very excited about that! Not only all of those positives, but between Ziggy, the running group, my co-worker, and my waning fear of knee issues, I'm starting to be consistent again in my running! I absolutely love consistency, because if you consistently do something it will become a habit and you can only improve that skill :)

Speaking of knee issues, (I'm sorry I'm all over the place; it's been awhile since my last post) part of the reason I haven't been consistent is because after my half marathon, my knee began acting up again. I must take the blame for it; I had stopped doing my physical therapy exercises, here's that word again, CONSISTENTLY. Therefore, I'd been slightly afraid to run because I thought my knee would hurt. I took some time off and mainly did Insanity, and it definitely helped strengthen my core and leg and relieve some of my knee pain. Now I'm back to my stretches and easing into running with Ziggy. He couldn't have come at a better time! I hope I continue to keep up with my stretches and improve. I think I will because it's something I want. I will make it a priority :)
Tomorrow holds a Wonderland Lights run. A local agency sets up a lights display where people sponsor or donate a light and the run kicks it off after the run the road is open for those who'd like to drive the scenic route and take in its splendor. It is a two mile route and the running group I've dabbled in is going, so I will most likely go with them.
Also, there is a Turkey Trot near my hometown on Thanksgiving morning. As far as I know I have 2 friends joining me, as well as my future sister-in-law and her husband and possibly their child, and mayyyyybe my future mother-in-law :) I've converted quite a gaggle of friends and family into runners, if only for holiday themed races! No complaining here, I'll take what I can get!

Any holiday runs for any of you?
Does winter slow you down or bring you to a halt?

Safe and happy running!