Long Run and Kitchen Issues

I haven’t run a race ALL year – first, I had to cancel my plans to run a 10 mile race to go visit my ill grandfather (don’t worry, he’s back to 100%); then, I cancelled my plans to run the same half marathon I ran last June because Kris and I were going to do one of the bike tours instead, but for some reason that I can’t remember right now, we didn’t; then, I was just going to do a short 5K…and then found out we were planning to be out of town AGAIN (to see Kris’s extended family for the 1st time in a year). So now, I’m planning to run a half marathon in October, but obviously I am not in my peak running condition, here. I’m back to using Hal Higdon’s Novice II plan to train (what I used the very first time I ran a half).

Yesterday, I woke up excited to run my 6 miles. I saw the high was going to be in the low 70s and that it was supposed to be sporadically rainy, so I figured the weather would be great (cool and not too humid, and I could probably sneak in the run between rain showers). I must not have been stretching or something, though, because almost the entire time, something in my legs felt tight, and by the time everything went back to normal in terms of tightness, I was just sweaty and miserable. I ran at a 10:00 pace, which is TERRIBLE for 6 miles for me – despite my general slacking on running, I’ve been regularly running 7-9 miles for my long runs with 10:00 being my slowest pace pretty much all summer.

I’m sure it was just an artifact of postponing my Thursday run until Friday night after work, not stretching, and then going out again the next morning for my long run, but I still had one pretty major concern. When I first started out, my right ankle felt really tight. I’ve been having some minor issues with it since I wrecked my bike a few weeks ago (slipped on loose gravel and skinned my knee – the bike and I were well enough to bike 4 miles home), but I can’t decide whether I should go to the doctor or not. When I first wrecked the bike, I think I like smooshed the area (my lower tibia, right above my ankle) or something, because it hurt enough that I decided to take a whole week off running after the wreck. It seemed to get better, though – I had promised Kris I would go to the doctor if it didn’t start to improve after 2-3 days, and every day it did legitimately feel better. It was never swollen, and the only sign of injury was a small bruise that appeared out of nowhere 2 weeks later and only lasted a couple of days.

The issue, though, is that it still hurts if I touch it. It doesn’t hurt to walk or run on it – even yesterday, it didn’t hurt, it just felt like I needed to stretch it out –  and it never hurts badly, but if I poke the affected area, it is still a bit sensitive, even though it’s been nearly a month. It’s one of those things I do have mild concern about but I feel like it would be a giant pain in the ass to take off work, go to the doctor, have them refer me to another doctor, just for them to tell me that there is nothing wrong. Ok, maybe that isn’t the real reason – I have good insurance, and like, a week of sick time, so this is a really lame excuse, this wouldn’t even cost me any money or be that big of an inconvenience. I think I’m mostly afraid if I ask a doctor about it they will think I am silly for even considering there might be a problem. It’s probably something I just need to get over and go ask about (side note: this fear stems from a terrible doctor I had in high school who would dismiss all my medical concerns as fabricated and literally laughed at me on multiple occasions; I haven’t seen this man in like 10 years but it’s still a huge issue for me).


Now on to the kitchen issues. Lately, for some reason, I have been having MAJOR kitchen organization issues. My mom keeps buying me tons of Tupperware, and I myself keep buying new gadgets, and I do not have room for any of this shit in my teeny tiny kitchen with cupboards that have only one shelf. My solution had been to just pretty much leave things laying on the dining room table, but we were having a board game day with some friends yesterday and we weren’t sure whether we were going to their house or they were coming to ours, and I had to clean up this mess because apparently you need a table to play board games on. I ended up throwing things into random cupboards or putting them into the storage area we have on our enclosed back porch…yeah, right beside the lawnmower. Very sanitary. I have no idea how to fix this organization problem, either. There are no more cupboards and all the places I have to keep this stuff (the backporch and the basement) are not very sanitary or good for things like appliances because moisture can get in. I’ve been trying to hold off on buying a standalone pantry or something because we are probably going to move out of this place in like, less than a year, but trying to deal with this yesterday was incredibly frustrating. 

Now, on to a couple of more lighthearted kitchen issues. After my long run yesterday, I came home and decided to make homemade strombolis. Sorry for the lack of stromboli pictures; I was far too hungry to stop and take a picture of them before eating. A few weeks ago, I had bought a new “spice rack” for my kitchen. A key kitchen organization issue was that the area that the spices was in was taken over by other food, and the spices slowly migrated to the top of my microwave, where they were always getting knocked over by the cat (or, more likely, by me because I’m clumsy and the plates are in the cupboard right above the microwave). I decided to buy a small shelf I could hang on the wall over my stove, and found the perfect one at a yard sale for $2! 

Well, I hadn’t had any problems with it until yesterday when I made these strombolis. As far as I knew, the oven in my gas stove vents through the rear right burner. None of the burners are directly below this shelf, and cooking has not seemed to affect the spices, so I didn’t think baking would either. This morning I came down and noticed that the chili powder was falling over in the rack. I picked it up, and saw that it, and several other spices, were completely warped! Upon further examination, my oven has a vent directly below this rack, so when I was baking the strombolis it melted the spices. Luckily, this thing is just hung on a couple of nails and can easily be lifted off while baking, but I can’t believe I melted like half my spices!

The label even fell off!

One final kitchen organization problem. I promise, this really is the last! I also went grocery shopping yesterday (wow, now I am sounding like I was really productive!). I’m not sure if it was the peanut butter recall or what, but the peanut butter I normally buy (which is NOT on the recall) was LESS THAN HALF PRICE. Seriously, it $1.21. Kris encouraged me to be a rational person because we already had some at home, so I only bought two, but I still don’t really have enough room for all this peanut butter. Is there such a thing as too much peanut butter?

Note: this is where I used to keep the spices, if you were wondering why I ran out of room for them.

 

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Food Friday

This week’s post will be a discussion of food “failures.” This week was so weird – everything I tried to make had SOMETHING wrong with it, though in no cases was it a complete failure.

Monday: Attempted to make lasagna. I had planned to do this, as Kris randomly said “hey, why don’t we get ricotta cheese?” at the store and I realized we had all of the ingredients except zucchini, which I ran to buy. However, when I got home, I discovered that the “giant container” of lasagna noodles had only 6 noodles in it; parts of the top 2 layers were made with spaghetti instead.

Tuesday: Started making coconut-peanut Thai curry only to find that I was “out” of red curry paste. That’s ok – I’ll improvise – after all, I had all of the ingredients for curry paste on hand! After putting my half-ass curry paste mix into the sauce, I look over to see the curry paste. I had put it somewhere “clever” while preparing to cook. It turned out ok in the end, as there was only about 2 teaspoons of paste in the jar in the first place. The curry was a bit too spicy for Kris, though 😦

Random morning I don’t fully remember because it was pre-coffee: put 3/4 of a cup instead of half of a cup of liquid into my oatmeal and it was really really really gross 😦

The good news: I only had to cook 2 days since I made lasagna!

I actually had another relatively major fail this week: my first attempt to go to the company gym. Yesterday, it was very cold and windy and I had some errands to run after work, so I planned on heading back into work to use the treadmill. When I got there, I couldn’t find the locker room at first. Then, I decided to go change in the “bathroom” (note: the gym is not on my floor, so I am unfamiliar with this floor’s layout). For some inexplicable reason the “bathroom” had a secure entrance requiring me to scan my ID, which I thought was weird…until I walked in and discovered it was a completely unmarked locker room in a different hallway than the gym! The worst part: I couldn’t even work out at the gym because I forgot my sports bra and had to go home; I ended up just doing a workout video.

I guess I’ll try again next week! After all, next week is going to present a new challenge: balancing overtime and working out. My job is in a completely new division of the company, and very little of the work was being done before we arrived (due to lack of manpower); therefore, we are a few months behind where we need to be and will be working mandatory overtime until we are caught up. It looks like I’m going to have several nights of working until 7-9, meaning I will have to hit up the gym afterwards if I want to get a workout in. Let’s just hope I don’t resort to too much takeout and too many frappucinos in the meanwhile!


Oh – I do want to end today by noting a change of plans: I will not be running the 10 mile race I had planned to this weekend, despite my weeks of training (even in the ice and snow!). My grandfather is unfortunately very ill in the hospital, so I will be going out of town to visit my family. At least I hadn’t paid for the race yet, and it still had the positive side effect of forcing me to get my ass back outside and running! I’m not sure what my next race will be – the next one I had considered is a half on April 6, and I don’t think I’m prepared for that (the longest I’ve run this month was 9 miles, and I missed a run this week). A lot of the other races I had been thinking about aren’t until October; are too difficult/too soon; or they are sold out. I’m sure I’ll find something soon, though!

Races I’m Considering

The past few days have been really busy! On Monday, we were supposed to go to a pub trivia thing, but the person who actually lives in the town where trivia was taking place cancelled, so we decided to go out for Mexican and go play board games with the other people who were supposed to go to trivia with us. The Mexican place was ok – it was at least better than the big regional chain that is around here, which was weird because it is apparently owned by them.

On Tuesday, I had a job interview and had to take Kris to the doctor about his seizure. I was overqualified for the job, so I think they might not hire me, and Kris’s doctor answered about zero questions.

Today, I attempted to make bread and failed (more on that another time) and had to deal with my computer randomly deciding that although my wireless internet was working that none of the browsers would work. The only way to fix it was to uninstall Norton Antivirus, so hopefully “Windows Defender” serves some protective purpose! I also start my part-time waitress job today (I am still interviewing for full-time positions, but took this just in case) so hopefully that goes better than the bread and computer issues did.

In other news, the “polar vortex” has finally moved on. It didn’t get as cold here as it did elsewhere, but it was still pretty darn cold! Belle was displeased with the weather, anyway. It hasn’t really warmed up enough to go running yet, either. Well, perhaps it would have been warm enough if I had waited until this afternoon, but that wasn’t really going to work for me today if I wanted to shower before doing anything else, so I just worked out at home again. I really hope it becomes a) more than 20 degrees and b) not snowy quite soon!

At least my time cooped up in the house has given me some time to think about what races I might want to do this year. I’ve included a list of several – comments are welcome, as I am clearly quite undecided and cannot possibly do ALL of these!


5K

  • Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K. This is one I’m actually “committed” to doing (meaning I signed up virtually). I’m going to try for 25 minutes, but it’s unlikely I’ll achieve that goal due to my lack of running lately. I’ll still have fun doing my first virtual 5K, though!
  • Grape Strides 5K. Apparently this is a 5K “wine run,” whatever that means. I think it would mean that I couldn’t take it too seriously, but I also think it might be a really unique experience!
  • Spirit of Gettysburg 5K. “The Spirit of Gettysburg 5K travels the first day of the historic Battle of Gettysburg.” You need to say no more to entice me.
  • Capital View 5K. A 5K that runs through a park that allows you to view the Harrisburg skyline, which sounds nice. There is also a “Dalmatian Dash” fun run. I wonder if they have breed restrictions on dogs :p
  • Chocolate Miracle 5K Race. I do have a later rant about Hershey coming up that you will see biases me against racing there, but this race actually sounds nice. They are promising free ice cream, cookies, and coffee!!

10 K

  • Hershey 10K. A 10K that goes through Hersheypark. I have a giant rant about Hershey on the half marathon description but I might be ok with this as it is mostly in the park and is short and I can’t find many other 10Ks.
  • ???

Half Marathon

  • Cook Forest Half Marathon. This course is up near where my parents live and I know that it would be very scenic, which is one reason I would like to run this. It is the day before the Capital 10 Miler, however, so I’d have to pick one or the other (mostly due to the races being on opposite sides of the state).
  • Various German/Amish Themed Half-Marathons (Rumpsringa; 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut). Both of these races sound super fun! They are both small and have great prizes (German weather houses!) and at least one has the promise of beer. I’d probably be more likely to do the Rumspringa because it’s closer to my house, but the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut sounds like it’s a bit more silly, which might be fun. Plus that is the one that promises beer!
  • The Harrisburg Half Marathon. I can only seem to find information on the 2013 race, but if this actually exists I might run it. Races in Harrisburg tend to follow the same routes, so I’d be really familiar with the course, and most of it would be within walking distance of my home. I don’t really see many downsides to running this.
  • Hershey Half Marathon. I’m not sure about this one because I am not 100% certain that I’ll be in central PA in the fall, but if I am, I suppose I should run it because it’s sort of “the race everyone does” around here. Still, it is the same weekend as the Runner’s World Festival, so I might do that instead. FYI, the website makes  the town* of Hershey sound way cooler than it really is. I mean, the theme park is cool, but see how they keep emphasizing the kiss-shaped street lights? That’s because other than a few road names that is the only Hershey themed part of town. And don’t get too excited about the “chocolate aid” station. According to my ob-gyn, who told me she ran it last year, chocolate is a lot less appetizing during a half marathon than one might think.
  • The Blue-Gray Half Marathon. This half-marathon is held in Gettysburg and assigns participants to the North and the South, with each team running different courses. As suggested by my willingness to do the Gettysburg 5K, the nerd in me longs to do this race, but there is once again the risk that I won’t be in the area. It is also the weekend after Hershey/Runner’s World so if I do one of those I might have to give up on this or just run it really, really, slow.

Dare I Say…Marathon?!

  • The Harrisburg Marathon. When I was more certain I would be in Harrisburg in the fall, I had cautiously mentioned to Kris that I might aim to do this. It is supposed to be a mostly flat, relatively easy course, which I think would be nice for a first marathon. Like most races in Harrisburg (they are all run on the same damn course), it has the added benefit of being able to walk to the starting area!

Other

  • Capital 10 Miler. I already mentioned I was thinking of this. It doesn’t seem like anything particularly special, but, once again, I could theoretically walk to the starting line, which is nice.
  • Runner’s World Half & Festival. You run a 5K and 10K one day, and a half the next. One of my Facebook friends did this in 2013 and it looked like a lot of fun! There are like 50 other races this particular weekend I would like to do, though.
  • Double Creek Bike Tour. I did the half-marathon last year, but Kris and I might do one of the bike rides (not races, so no pressure) this year.
  • Mad Anthony Half. I thought about doing this, because my family claims we are somehow related to Mad Anthony Wayne, so that might have been fun, but I am now refusing due to the fact that they are not supportive of the race having a colonial era theme. Where is the fun in that?!
  • Buck Ridge Burn. A trail race on part of the Appalachian Trail. Do I want to challenge myself to complete the whole 13.1, or challenge myself to get a good time on the trail 5K?
  • LCCM Duathlon. I’ve thought about branching out into tri’s, but I am a completely unprepared swimmer. Perhaps it would be a good idea to experiment first with a very short duathlon, which involves only running and biking.
  • Lower Allen Park Adventure Run. I’ve always wanted to try an adventure race, but the Warrior Dash is so overhyped and expensive, and Tough Mudder and Spartan race are probably too long for me right now. This is a smaller, local event so it might be nice to attempt this instead.

*Fun fact: Hershey, PA is not a real town. It is just the part of Derry Township, PA where all the chocolate stuff is.

New Year’s Resolutions

Time for the obligatory New Year’s Resolutions. Last year I made only one: to run a half marathon, which I was able to complete! Though this may have been my only legitimate resolution, I did have several other goals I set over the year and achieved (such as completing said half marathon in under 2 hours). This year I figure that I can start out by trying to plan out several of these smaller goals in addition to bigger resolutions.


Running Resolutions and Goals

  • Complete as many races as I did last year (5). The only race I had been seriously planning to do was the Indy Mini, but I’ve had to change that plan as I won’t be in Indiana in May. I’m glad I procrastinated on registering! The main race on my radar right now is the Capital 10 Miler, now. I would also like to do another 5K so that I can finally get an official time under 25 minutes; another half marathon just so that I can force myself to train up to the 13.1 miles again (and maybe decrease my time); and a 10K because I’ve never actually done one (the trail race was a quarter marathon, and was actually a bit long, so more like 7 miles than 6.2).
  • Run more miles than I did in 2013. According to Runkeeper, I ran about 818 miles last year (I’m sure I forgot some, but we will have to go with that number). Looking back at the data shows that my winter months (Jan.-Mar. and Dec.) were very low so I bet if I could increase those I could get up to 900 miles. I will see how well I do at the beginning of this year and adjust from there.

General Fitness/Health Resolutions and Goals

  • The obvious one: continue to maintain my weight loss for another year. Perhaps I should actually weigh myself for the first time in like a month so that I know where I’m starting. Ugh. Hopefully the Wii is still working, I’d hate to buy a scale.
  • Eat more vegetables. I don’t like this one that much because I like quantifiable goals, but it needs to be done. I basically eat no veggies except spinach and carrots and I eat maybe 2 servings a day. Oops. I think this is especially important as I am trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet – I don’t want to become a carbivore!!
  • Take a 50 mile bike ride. Kris and I did 20 last summer with almost no training so I am hoping we can work our way up to this goal if we actually try.
  • Try to strength train at least once a week. I hate strength training and do it very sporadically, but I know it helps to prevent running injuries and is healthy for me in other ways because it increases not only my strength but also my bone density.

Other

  • Read a novel. I’ve read a grand total of 3 books since starting graduate school in 2010: Under the Dome, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones. Graduate school messes up your ability to read for fun. I actually cried and yelled at Kris one time when he suggested I try to do so because the memory of enjoying it in the past was so painful. I’ve read about 100 pages of Clash of Kings so I could start by picking that back up again. I also looked up the hours for the library, which I feel is amazing progress.
  • Step outside my comfort zone with friend-making. I’m really outgoing once I’ve been put into a social situation so once I am in one I make friends easily but I am bad at setting them up because I get anxious about new experiences. I feel like while I’m here in Harrisburg I should try to join a club or something. I’ve thought about joining a gym at least, but that isn’t really the best for friend making unless you do classes or something, and it’s kind of pricey. Even my super introvert husband is in a local Warhammer club, I’m sure I could come up with something!!

Good Riddance, 2013

2013 has not been the best year. The year started with the sudden death of my grandmother, who I was very close to (my mom and I lived with my grandparents until I was 8). It also included my husband having numerous medical issues, numerous bad luck type expenses (major car issues, part of my bike being stolen, etc.), and me having to give up on my goal of earning a second master’s degree. I’m sure I’m actually forgetting bad stuff in that list, to be honest. The year also had highlights, though, so I thought I’d go through a few of them to remind myself that while it was probably one of my worst years, if I look at the big picture rather than focus on these small problems, the year has been pretty good!

January

  • I finished my first quilt! My grandmother taught me how to sew and got me into quilting. Normally I just quilt small things (table runners, purses, etc.) but she bought me the materials to make my own quilt and after I found out that she had cancer (October 2012) I made a goal to finish it before she passed away (don’t worry, I did, and she saw it over skype). In 2014 I plan to finish some of the quilts she had been working on.

The awesome quilt. It had some issues with the binding, but whatever, it was my first quilt.

  • I returned to graduate school! I had taken off fall semester of 2012 for my husband’s medical issues and was able to return for both semesters in 2013. Leaving once and returning gives me hope that I will return and finish eventually!

February

River on her first day home, being a pit-ball.

March

  • Every year my roommate and I try to throw an epic fancy cheese and wine party. We had it this year for her birthday and as an added bonus made it a masquerade!

Selfie in my sweet masquerade mask.

  • Ran my first 5k! You can read all about it on my race report!

April

  • I replaced my running shoes for the first time.

  • Played hookie from an academic conference to go see Sue (and other, lesser dinosaurs and I suppose a few other things) at the Chicago Field Museum.

  • Ran my 2nd 5K and almost broke 25 minutes (I have done it a few times in training, but never officially in a race).

Pre-race selfie.

  • Won an outstanding teaching assistant award for the political science department. Mostly because I had the patience to not yell at kids who didn’t know that Obama is not a dictator (regardless of your opinion on him, he still has to deal with Congress, so he is not factually a dictator). Hopefully my roommate wins outstanding independent instructor award this year for the patience she exhibited dealing with kids who were not only ignorant but argumentative about it (like, yelling at her for displaying statistics from reputable sources because they just “can’t be true” levels of ignorant and argumentative, and that is just the tip of the iceberg).

May

  • Independently taught my first upper-level statistics course. It was intense to teach 2 hours a day for 4 weeks but I loved it!

Bathroom mirror selfie before my first day of teaching.

  • Belle and River were introduced (because Kris came to visit in Indiana). Belle did get injured while there due to having a panic attack, but it had a silver lining: River became nicer to her because she was trying to protect her, and I bonded with my students after explaining to them that my poor doggie bled all over their exams.

Belle and River slept on this bed while Kris and I slept on an air mattress.

My roomie observed that this photo shows their true nature: Bellie begging for belly rubs and River slowing encroaching on my space.

Injured Bellie 😦

  • Two friends of mine got married and Kris was able to attend the (awesomely geeky) wedding with me.

Guests were asked to wear their Harry Potter house colors. We represented Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw!

I won the Tardis cookie jar centerpiece (as I said, awesomely geeky) and was gifted the Corgi for watching their furbabies during bachelor/bacherlorette festivities.

June

  • My roommate and I moved into a nice apartment that did not have awful maintenance men who pretend to fix your AC (ours was broken in the old place for 11 months, including months where it was so hot the dog starting throwing up).
  • Kris and I got bicycles!

Don’t worry, I bought a better lock!

  • Ran my first half marathon and beat my goal of finishing in under 2 hours! I don’t actually have any really good pictures of this, as the pro photographer didn’t catch me. There is a picture of me crossing on the post, though.
  • Finally took our delayed honeymoon to New York, where we went from loving to hating Brooklyn in the course of an afternoon and saw Wicked (which was amazing). But seriously, Brooklyn, we could only take so much hipster and you guys were apparently too cool to sell us overpriced craft beers (we were ignored in a bar).

On the Brooklyn Bridge.

They seriously gave us these cups for wine. And filled them with about 1 inch of wine.

July

  • I turned 24. Not the most exciting of ages. Really I just want to be 25 so I can save on car insurance, though I will miss saying that I am in my “early 20s.” At least I got a nice present – a GPS watch!

  • Chopped my hair off! It is so much nicer for running to be able to tuck it into a hat like a dude and wash and dry it in minutes (I can seriously blow dry my hair in under 2 minutes). I also get tons of compliments on it!

  • Kris and I went to another wedding. I mostly am posting these pictures from weddings because Kris and I are adorable. 
  • With my birthday money, I accessorizedmy bike.

August

  • Celebrated our one year wedding anniversary!

Cake from Kris’s family.

September

  • Quit the horrible second Master’s program (this was both good and bad).
  • Acquired my first running injury by falling down a hill (read:cliff) while trail running.

October

  • Ran my second half marathon. Again, it was in the rain and quite unpleasant. At least I didn’t do worse the second time around!

I look so thrilled to be there.

November

  • Made a mini-Thanksgiving for roomie/BFF and I.

  • Road-tripped to South Carolina for Thanksgiving after being stuck in the Cleveland Airport for hours.

Belle hating her harness.

Evidence of civilization.

  • Forced Kris to do his first 5K – a turkey trot – with me in record low temperatures for the area.

December

  • Got to come home to Kris and Belle to celebrate the holidays and got tons of awesome Christmas presents!

  • Kris and I plan to celebrate the new year by hanging out at home with Belle (if there are fireworks we don’t want her to panic) drinking wine and eating butternut squash and black bean enchiladas rather than the traditional pork and sauerkraut (that is the tradition in this area). I don’t really hate sauerkraut THAT much but my family always picks on me about it so I basically don’t eat it out of spite. Amusingly, I told my mom I couldn’t make it because I don’t have a crockpot and then I wound up getting a crockpot from her for Christmas.

See, when you look at it that way, the year doesn’t seem half bad! Not only did I run my first race, but I ran 5 races and was able to maintain my weight loss (well, within a reasonable range of about +/- 5 lbs) all year. Here is to hoping that 2014 is even better. Happy New Year everyone!

Trial and Error

Today I went back to working out for the “first” time since my half marathon (I bike commuted yesterday, but quite weakly). Last time, I tried to “loosen up” by running for 20 minutes the day after. That sucked, so this time I instead tried to do it 2 days later, which worked much better (I did take a leisurely 1 mile walk the day after). My workout today was so random. I just messed around on some weight machines in our apartment complex gym (mostly to see what they were like) then did 20 minutes at an easy pace on the treadmill. I never like this period right after a race where I don’t really have a workout plan – I have no idea what I want to do for my workout that day so it makes me procrastinate and then I never know what to eat (because I don’t know how many calories I will be burning/when I will be working out). I need to come up with a workout plan so that I am not in the weird limbo I am in this week – I am apparently a person that needs structure. Here are a few of the options I am entertaining:

  • Re-attempting NROLFW. I tried it before, but kind of half-assed it and decided I didn’t like it. With it being cold and rainy outside everyday, though, this might be a good option.
  • Biking: I know I can bike on the stationary bike trainers on campus regardless of weather. Also, Kris and I are planning to take some major rides (50+ miles) next summer so it would be nice to catch up to his ability level before that. I would need to find a somewhat structured plan, though, because I don’t really like stationary bikes and I’d probably slack off if I was just doing it whenever I felt like it. Maybe I can read the Game of Thrones books while I ride?
  • Running: I will definitely run during the winter so I don’t completely lose my base. I’m pretty hardcore about running in the winter actually – I went out and bought tons of gear last year and only stayed indoors if it was raining, blizzarding, or under 10 degrees (F). Though, speaking of cold weather gear, why do they not make more athletic tights for guys? I tried looking at cheap places where I usually find my stuff (i.e. Old Navy, JCP, Target) for Kris to wear on his bike and all I can find is sweatpants, which are a no-go for biking. I can check the Under Armour outlet when I’m back home in PA, but I’m a cheapskate, so I’d prefer somewhere else.

I also tried my new shoes out today (full disclosure, that is a referral link). They were…interesting. I could feel the arch support in them like I have never felt before. I seriously can feel the shoe pushing my foot back when my ankle tries to collapse in. Super weird feeling. This was interesting to me because the other shoes I have used in the past (Brooks Adrenaline; Mizuno Wave Inspire) seem like highly recommended shoes for over-pronators (people with flat feet) so I expected them to have the best support out there. I would say these shoes have about the cushioning and weight of the Brooks shoes – I had liked that the Mizuno’s had less, but they just aren’t going to be warm enough for winter (I needed to get rid of them anyway – they are completely worn through in several places and I can visibly see the degradation of the cushioning). At first the shoes felt really really weird because of the additional cushioning, but I got used to it during my run. I was also thinking that they made my right shin feel a little funny but then I realized it was just the way I was running on the weird treadmill we have in this gym, and correcting my gait on the treadmill helped (some other dude was on the good treadmill).

One final new thing I tried today. I am currently working on reducing meat in my diet (not going full vegetarian, just trying to not eat meat every single day) and today I managed an entire day without meat! Well, technically the day isn’t over, but I only plan on having some pumpkin ice cream with a pumpkin muffin, and those don’t have meat. I am fairly proud of this accomplishment, especially considering past me – one of the meals I ate was penne with marinara sauce (I put a ton of veggies in it) and I remember literally getting into fights with Kris because pasta “requires” meat or I won’t eat it (I used to be this way with pizza, too, and my favorite pizzas are now often 4 cheese or veggies). It’s an even more impressive feat if you know that as a child, I ate no vegetables except white mushrooms or baby carrots. MAYBE iceberg lettuce. Look forward to at least one meatless recipe for Food Friday 🙂


One final thing – and I have separated this because it has nothing to do with the rest of the post, but I don’t really want to see it as an afterthought – remember that there are several things about your body that fitness cannot change. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, here, but after seeing two posts on Reddit yesterday from super skinny ladies about hip dip (I feel ok with declaring them super skinny because their hips were as small as mine), I realize that not everyone knows this yet: THERE ARE NUMEROUS THINGS ABOUT YOUR BODY YOU JUST CAN NEVER CHANGE. These include:

  • Thigh gap (the idea that your thighs should at no point touch)
  • Hip dip (aka violin hips; the dip between where your hip bones are and where your femur points out)
  • Cellulite
  • I’m sure there are more things the internet will invent that I haven’t thought of yet. Fat ears, perhaps?

Technically, there are things you can do to slightly alter each of these.

You could reduce fat or muscle mass and see if that allows you to have a thigh gap. This probably won’t work unless your thighs are really muscular or you are very overweight, though – my thigh gap appears when I am a size 12. It depends almost entirely on your bone structure, and trying to lower your body fat enough to obtain it can be dangerous, mostly because for many people, their body fat will NEVER be low enough for it to appear, or it would have appeared already when they were at a healthy/slightly overweight weight.

Hip dip is sort of the opposite – you can only really see it if you are thin, because otherwise your hipbone and femur won’t be jutting out of your skin. So thin girls: if you want to rid yourself of hip dip, gain weight. I thought mine looked weird at first, but then I realized everyone had one, so I decided I was ok. Then I learned that there is some craze to try to lose weight and rid yourself of it, when that will only make it worse.

Cellulite is less of a modern internet problem – ladies have been worrying about this for decades. Remember, ladies: 90% of you have cellulite. It is just the way that women’s bodies (or bodies with low testosterone in general, if I remember correctly) store fat. Unless you have an extremely low body fat percentage (like, figure competition level – and even they don’t stay in that kind of shape for long), it’s probably going to show up. The “treatments” for it have limited effectiveness – sure, super cream X may work randomly for one person, but there is not really any evidence that any of them work (if you have a ton of money, I think that I heard that certain surgeries work – that’s it). It’s probably best to just remember that everyone has it. Go Kaleo has a great post where she shows a picture of Scarlett Johansson’s, and actually talks about all the sciencey stuff  behind all this with sources unlike me, because I’m lazy and just sending a reminder, not reinventing a wheel. I know that doesn’t make you feel better in your skin tight outfit, but hey, that is why Spanx exist*. They are cheaper than 80,000 creams and less effort than massaging your skin for hours. Note: I’m a super-weirdo and I’m fine with my cellulite showing in say, shorts, but I just HATE when it breaks up the line of a skin tight dress so I wear them sometimes. Remember: I wear size 2, and I have cellulite (and also loose skin, which is the primary reason for the Spanx). WE ALL HAVE IT.

*I know I should be like “completely embrace your body” instead of advocating shapewear, but I’m realistic, and trying to take baby steps here, ok?

Holidays and Family Fun!

First, I’d like to complain about the fact that I am still feeling sore from my half yesterday – that cold weather REALLY made my legs stiff. I was even limping a bit last night! It’s slowly feeling better as I move around, though. All in all, I had a pretty good day yesterday after my half, though. I had an awesome lunch and dinner (Irish for lunch; Mexican for dinner); accidentally stumbled on a preview day at the Sephora that is opening in our town next week (I exhibited great self control, purchasing only things I actually needed); and my roommate bought an awesome new car!

Today I am enjoying a Sunday where I don’t have to dedicate 2 hours+ of the morning to running. I’m making some chili, planning out some DIY Christmas present ideas, and “getting some work done” (hey, I downloaded some PDFs).  Side note: the accidental sexism of crafting websites is baffling. All of the generic “Christmas sewing project idea” type lists are full of nothing but women’s clothing and purses; in order to get anything else, you have to add “for men” to that search query, and then you end up with the actual generic presents, like coasters, wallets, lunchboxes, etc. I can see why some are lumped into a “for guys” category (i.e. stuff for sports like golf, which are male dominated – the sexism problem is related to the sport itself, not the crafting websites), but there are some things categorized as “for men only” that are just ridiculous. For example, this keychain was on a list as a “man keychain:”

I’m so feminine that I can’t see the manly details, apparently, because all I see is a fairly generic looking keychain.


Ok, I’ll end my rant and move on to my post now.

A few months ago, I started to think about how I should run a Thanksgiving 5K this year. I thought it would be fun to run in a big, just for fun race and a good way to get in some exercise over the break. To top it all off, I am spending Thanksgiving in South Carolina this year (my in-laws live there), so it won’t be freezing cold. This means that not only do I get to do a fun race, but that I get to have nice fall-like weather instead of freezing cold conditions (well, at least there is a chance) and that I get to do a race in a new city! Yay! In order to make this plan come to fruition, I started Googling to see if there were any good 5Ks near them and came across the Charlotte Turkey Trot*. This looked like a great race to do just for fun – a large number of participants, the timing is not competitive (they are having a competitive 8K), and costumes are encouraged!

I asked Kris if he would mind if I did this as part of our trip down there, and half-jokingly suggested that he do it with me. Now, I didn’t really expect him to say yes, because he hates running, but he mainly hates running because I am an asshole. I’m just way too hardcore for him. I am just doing this race for fun, though, so I should be able to refrain from yelling at him the whole time (only a slight exaggeration of how us running together has gone in the past). I have been super excited to do this with him ever since, but I hadn’t posted about it yet because I was afraid it wouldn’t work out. You see, he didn’t own any running shoes (in fact, he owned no athletic shoes at all!) and he hast gone running maybe twice since the last time I tried to make him do it (over a year ago). He has finally purchased the shoes and promised to run at least a little bit, and we have discussed whether he seriously wants to do it enough that I believe him, so I finally registered us for the race today! I’m super excited! We have also discussed doing some lengthy bike rides and some other local charity-type walk/runs (for example, the 5K run for the Bullies they have in Harrisburg) together, so you can probably look forward to more posts about joint ventures into fitness with my husband 🙂

Note: we want to wear Thanksgiving themed costumes so I need ideas, pronto! Don’t make me spend 15 hours on Pinterest trying to learn how to make a DIY pilgrim hat!

*To all of you who are suddenly panicking for me because I am going to South Carolina but have mistakenly chosen a race in North Carolina, don’t worry, I am well aware. Kris’s parents live on the border. His dad works in Charlotte! I promise it is nearby!