Friend Makin’ Mondays

Today is day one of my training program for my half marathon on October 19! I should really get around to getting signed up for that….

Anyway, it doesn’t really feel like day one because Mondays are stretch and strength days basically meant for long run recovery. Once I’m doing long runs, I am sure they will be welcome, but right now I’m just bored. Also, I don’t really have any strength equipment here.

So, what is my plan for today? For the stretch portion, I plan to do some of these yoga moves I found on Pinterest. I’m not a big yoga person but with how tight my hips tend to get these might be beneficial. Some of these even remind me of stretches recommended for IT band problems. for the strength portion, I plan on resorting to a core workout that requires no equipment.

Today is also Friend Makin’ Monday! I didn’t do it last week because it was about TV and I don’t really watch TV (To be fair, I do have Netflix so I could have probably rambled on about old TV shows or any of their original series. By the way everyone who wants to see something that is actually different, original, and awesome go watch Orange is the New Black right now. You will thank me). This week’s topic is easier for me, though, so I’m jumping back in!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Ten Things that Make me Happy

  1. Being in Pennsylvania. I enjoy my time at school, but miss my husband and our little doggy Belle when I am there. I also like the area where we live. We live downtown in a small city, which I highly prefer over the rural area I grew up in because there are always things to do, even if it i just going to the park (where I grew up, you had to drive like 10 miles to get to the closest public park!). Also, when I am in PA, I am usually working on my own projects and spending time enjoying my own hobbies rather than dealing with the stresses of grad school.
  2. Various foodstuffs. I really like to savor and enjoy a good latte, alcoholic beverage, flavor of ice cream, or pastry. And of course, pizza in all its forms.  Because I am in weight loss maintenance, this can be a real struggle. Luckily for me, it is more of an “ice cream increases my current mood” than “I am sad must eat ice cream” feeling, so I can MOSTLY control it.
  3. Pampering myself with beauty products. If I am in a bad mood, taking a nice shower with a nice smelling soap, then getting out and putting on lots of lotion and doing slight grooming (like shaping my eyebrows) and putting on my fancy makeup can make a world of difference.
  4. A closely related one is wearing put-together outfits. I am not a person who can stay in my pajamas all day – I’ll just feel depressed because not getting dressed makes me feel like I didn’t even do anything all day but lay around (even if I am wearing those pajamas while working on a major project from home or something). This means even lazy days at home usually involve at least wearing real pants rather than yoga pants or workout shorts. Even if I’m just going out to run errands, I try to make sure I am wearing a somewhat nice (though usually still casual) outfit, as I just feel so much more happy and confident.
  5. Running. I am a very anxious person and running really helps to reduce that. I joke that I am expending so much energy on running that my brain cannot divert any of it to worrying anymore. In all seriousness, I think it helps because it gives me a peaceful, solitary time where I am alone with my thoughts and I can focus on them and sort them out rather than trying to worry about them while simultaneously grocery shopping or something.
  6. Being able to be active in general. I love being able to walk my dog, bike with my husband, or do other normal activities that require physical exertion without much thought. I think this one is particularly important to me because it used to be quite difficult. Yes, I still walked the dog a lot, but it felt like a chore and a workout rather than a pleasant, relaxing experience.
  7. “Shopping” for big purchases. I will spend hours online looking at $400 boots and purses that I won’t be able to afford for years. I really over think purchases and will spend hours “agonizing” over them but I shouldn’t really call it agonizing, because I actually sort of enjoy it. I think I spent an hour last week debating between two rear bike racks that held the same amount of weight and cost the same amount of money. Seroiusly. I also love researching things like homes/apartments and vehicles. I have probably been driving poor Kris mad looking at homes in our city this summer that we will not be able to buy for probably at least 2 more years (you know, when we actually live together and I have a real job and we can actually save enough for a down payment). I think I pick this up from my dad – both of us are constantly talking about things that we could probably never buy or are at least unattainable right now and making our significant others think that we are going to run out and buy a $4,000 lawnmower (ok that one might be my dad). At least I come in handy when it is actually time to find a new apartment or whatever!
  8. Wow, this is getting difficult. I think it’s because I am doing such abstract topics. Like, I could have split number 3 into like taking relaxing showers; grooming; and using fancy makeup. Oh well, it’s too late now. Oh! Talking! I love talking. I love rambling on and telling stories and jokes and making people smile. Kris is a very introverted person and I joke that we go well together because I love talking and he hates talking so I get to talk twice as much by talking for him and never needing to listen!
  9. On a closely related note, teaching. I am always a little nervous about teaching a whole class in the abstract, but I’m never nervous about going into the classroom for the day to teach the “kids” (some of them are my age or older) a new lesson. I am lucky in that I work in a college setting where even if the topic is not my main interest I get to focus on what I am passionate about, so I basically just love that my job is to go in everyday and help young people learn about these topics that I love. It is especially rewarding when they come to love them as well. Even if they do not come to love the topics as well, I try as hard as I can to make the topics exciting; share my passion for them; and at least get them to learn something new, and from what they claim about me on teaching evaluations, they at least usually come to understand the information that they have learned and why it is that I am so passionate about the topics and enjoy that I have been able to share that with them.
  10. Finally: warm clothes and blankets. I love being bundled up in about 50 layers of wool. It just makes me feel so safe and comfy. Summer clothes are fun because I love the bright colors and honestly the thin, flowy fabrics are more flattering on my new straight body type because the big boxy sweaters make me look like a box, but I much prefer my literally 100% wool winter wardrobe (ok, a FEW things might be wool blends). what can I say, I get cold very easily.

Return to Running

My lack of posting can be explained by this being my university’s “dead week.” This is a week where professors aren’t supposed to assign anything major as finals are next week. There are 2 issues with this: one is that this is ignored in graduate classes (which is fine, I mean I think it’s a silly concept anyway) and the other is that even if this were not ignored, I would still be super busy. I have papers and finals due next week and I think every organization in the universe is trying to get in its last meeting of the semester. Plus, all of the “end of the year” parties!

The good news: I ran yesterday, and my knee is fine!

The Joys of Foam Rolling and the Stationary Bike

My title is meant to be sarcastic.

As I mentioned before, my IT band is acting up (probably because I’ve done a bunch of hills all of the sudden), so I’m trying to give the poor thing some time off. Unfortunately, this means I am pretty much relegated to the stationary bike in the basement of the gym. I hate working out inside because it’s boring. At least on the treadmill I am terrified of falling the whole time which distracts me from getting too bored. On the bike, I feel like I’m just sitting there, making my legs hurt for some strange reason. I would say “at least there is a TV,” but the TV is really small, which makes it difficult to read the closed captioning. This makes me ALMOST wish I owned a bicycle to take outside, but I know I’d be too scared to ride it out there anyway – what if I got hit by a car!?!

This fear probably stems from growing up in a rural area and having slightly overprotective parents – there were few places it was possible to bike to, and even if I was biking, my parents’ rules were really silly – like make sure I am in sight of the porch at ALL TIMES and if there is a car get off the road and wait for it to pass. Then, once when I was an adult (but really out of shape, which is probably why this happened), my husband and I dug out my old bike and tried to go for a ride in the woods. I’m not kidding when I say I probably almost died! I think I rode like one mile and then pushed the bike back, crying and having to stop because it was too difficult to push the bike. This was maybe 3-4 years ago and I have not been on a real bicycle since. I wonder why? My husband, on the other hand, loves biking – he used to bike to work every day and even once did it like 2 weeks after a surgery – it is running he hates! Logically, I know that I just had such a bad experience because I was out of shape and that the cars PROBABLY won’t all hit me if I’m careful, especially as I run on those roads without getting hit by cars and can comfortably maintain a reasonable-ish pace of 15 mph on the stationary bike. I think that a major goal for me this summer will be to drag my bike out of my parents’ garage (if it even works anymore, I might have to craigslist one) and try taking short little rides on the bike path in the city where there are no cars and I’ll have Kris there to hold my hand (not literally, I don’t have good enough balance for that).

Foam rolling is also unpleasant. It hurts a lot, and I’m having trouble determining whether it is hurting in the right way. Like, yesterday, it almost felt like I was hurting my femur, rather than my muscle and connective tissues. Today, it seemed more proper. But then my leg hurt more afterwards (for like 5 minutes, it actually feels a lot better now). I have seen a lot of people complain about foam rolling, but I didn’t realize it would be this bad. It’s incredibly painful, to the point that I look like a total dork and people are probably like “wtf is that chic doing over there making those anguished faces” (though I’ve gotten over caring about this). Also, I didn’t realize that it would hurt such random parts of my leg. Like, it hurts the most when I’m rolling over the most painful part of the IT band (right at the top of the side of my knee), but also in strange places, like halfway up my thigh. I know this is because my IT band stretches all the way up to my hip, so it is probably tight in other places, too, but it is still strange to suddenly experience pain where I had none before. Even though my knee feels a lot better and I watched a ton of youtube videos, I’m still fairly certain I must be doing something wrong. This is just too weird and unpleasant.

A Non-Scale Victory: I DEADLIFTED 100 LBS!!! I know that isn’t that much, and it was only 5 reps, but getting up to triple digits was super exciting to me. Now just to suffer through a rest day tomorrow and hopefully my poor leg will recover for a nice easy 3 mile run on Wednesday. Also, I’m curious to see my squat on Wednesday after 3 whole days without running – I’ve been stuck at 65 lbs (lol) and I bet it’s because my legs never get a chance to rest. Oh, and another one: yesterday, there was a party, with pizza, and I only went over 100 calories!!!! Whoooooo!!!!

Scale Victory: I lost all the water weight from my double-Burger-Red Lobster weekend.