Just to let you know- this blog is no longer active. I'll be keeping up my 101 in 1001 list until its completion, but will not be writing new posts. You can read the post below if you want the long version. Thanks for the journey to all my friends in the blogosphere!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

26.2 Miles Per Gallon?

This encounter happened months ago and still cracks me up every time I think about it, but I kept forgetting to share it with y'all.

Back in October 2009 when I finished my first marathon, I, of course, immediately had to locate a "26.2" sticker to put on my car. It's important, as most of you know, to signify to other runners that I'm in the club, to brag without having to say a word, and to look just a little bit mysterious to those outside of the loop.

A lot of folks around here are pretty far outside the loop- running and otherwise. Don't get me wrong, most of the people here are kind and smart and hard working and all of that, but it's pretty easy to be outside of the cultural norm when you're an hour from a civilization large enough to have a Target.

Anyway....all this of leads up to this story.

Since we don't have curbside pickup, I frequent our local "recycling convenience (that's a whole 'nother story) center" about once a week and have developed an ongoing conversation with the two older gentlemen that run the center. They already think I'm kind of a freak because I usually show up with almost literally a carload of recyclables (home + school) and get a little flustered when the community service workers put my glass in the "limbs and leaves" container or toss a unsorted box into the "brown goods" (I still don't know what that's supposed to mean) receptacle.

When the friendlier of the two men was waiting for me to pop my trunk one day he glanced at my bumper and muttered, "Twenty six point two, hmm."

"Yep!" I chirped, so happy to explain, "26.2 miles."

"26.2 miles per gallon? Is that about what you get in this car?"

Awkward silence while I try simultaneously to not laugh or cry. (Am I really living this far out of the loop?!)

"Umm, no, but that would make sense, wouldn't it, sir? That's just how long I ran one time. In a race. Yep, 26.2 miles."


I'm pretty sure he didn't believe me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Clearing the Diet Coke out of my Bloodstream

A few days ago, I was frustrated because my fitness goals weren't going anywhere. (I can't even finish the 30 Day Shred for goodness sake! Something always comes up by Week 2.) When I lived by myself in a city where I didn't know anyone, it was so easy to stick to ridiculous exercise regiments. Notsomuch now.

So, out of the blue, I decided to take on a challenge I could actually get through without anything at all to throw me off course:

54. Give up Diet Coke (which for me, means all soda) for a month.

I don't think Diet Coke is just this horrible, horrible thing. I know the aspartame is bad for you, but I think it's not as bad as all the added calories/sugar you get from a regular soda. Probably, after this challenge, I'll go back to drinking Diet Coke occasionally. I just hope this month off breaks my ridiculous 2, 3, or 4 can a day habit!

For me, there's other side effect benefits too. When I drink less Diet Coke, I....

1. Save money. All those little cans add up!

2. Eat less. I never drink Diet Coke by itself. It's always with a meal or a snack and sometimes I find myself eating more because there's more soda in the can. I don't do that with water.

3. Drink more water. Obviously. I'm not a big fan of other flavored drinks- lemonade, flavored water, juices, tea, etc- so it's basically just water for me this month.

4. Eat healthier foods. Yesterday, my husband ran out to grab something for us to eat after church. The thought of eating any kind of greasy fast food without a Diet Coke kind of grosses me out. So we got Japanese instead and I ended up with a bowl of vegetables, shrimp, and rice instead of the Bojangles chicken biscuit and fries that might have been otherwise.

I've only been off a few days now and I've had some caffeine headaches, but I think I'm over the hump now.

What have you given up or cut back on that's made a big difference for you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why is Running So Much More Appealing When You Can't Run?

Even though running was not hurting my knee, common sense told me that taking a couple days off might help it feel better in between runs.

After 2 days of no running and no Jillian Michaels, my knee is feeling better. It didn't bother me at all at swim lessons today and I thought I might be cured.

So, tonight, when it's gloriously 78° instead of the 98° it's been for the past week, I thought I'd head out for a easy run- sans Garmin, even! A quarter of a mile in, my knee spoke up. Not a yelp of pain, not a cry of agony, but just a whisper, "Watch it. I'm not happy about this."

Which was enough to make me listen. I have been lucky enough over the past 5 years to have no injuries to speak of- even through training for 2 marathons, 4 halfs, 4 triathlons, and a 275 day running streak.

I'm not pushing my luck. If my knee whispers- I listen.

The runner I saw as I walked shamefully back to my house after my pitiful running attempt seemed to mock me as he glided by. Suddenly, I desperately want to run. Isn't that always how it works?

I'm kind of frustrated because I was starting to feel like I was on the right track again after a complete fitness FAIL for the month after the marathon. I had actually completed a week of The Shred, for goodness sake! I was on Level 2!

I understand that in the grand scheme though- this is ridiculously tiny. Hopefully, after a week off, I'll be lacing my shoes back up! I'm going to keep moving in the healthy direction by focusing on what I'm eating in the meantime. What do you do when you can't run?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Knee Pain Suggestions?

A couple of weeks ago, before summer break and the re-start of my running career, I started having some little twinges of pain in my left knee. The first time I noticed it was in the pool, teaching a swim lesson when I was treading water.

Since then, it hurts when I bend my knee all the way, put weight on my bent knee, or rotate my knee. It's not a bad pain, more like a twinge, but I've been noticing it several times a day.

The weird thing is that it has nothing to do with running. Doesn't bother me when I run or walk and doesn't hurt more later.

Sooo.....what do I do? Usually my knee pain solution is to stop running and stay off it for a couple weeks, but that doesn't make sense in this case because it wasn't brought on by running.

The pain is so minor that that's not really the issue- just the fear that I'm messing up my knee. Anybody had a similar event or any suggestions?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

101 in 1001 Progress- Round 2

Because I am a math geek, I just calculated that I should have completed 20% of my 101 in 1001 goals so far. I'm at about 13%. You don't have to be a math geek to know that I'm behind.

Since my last check in, this is what I've finished:

16. Complete (grad school) portfolio.

17. Finish my master's degree.


33. Learn to use a camera beyond the automatic settings. (I'm still learning and will be for a while, but since I've figured out to shoot in manual, I think this counts.)

68. Put something, anything, on the walls in our bedroom. (Finally hung the Ikea canvas I've had for months over the bed.)

74. Organize the second annual Farmers Market Run. (Yay! Over 160 runners and walkers participated in the 5K or Kids Run. It's my sneaky little way of creating new running buddies.)

81. Coach a Girls on the Run team. (So proud of my 24 girls who completed training and the 20 who came and raced their first 5K!)

Even though I'm behind, I'm not that far behind and I have several "in progress" goals going. Since it's summer, I'm hoping I can roll through a bunch in the next couple weeks.


6. Finally, finally complete the 30 Day Shred. (Started 6/14/11)
7. Bring home my bike from my parents’ house.
26. Frame my diplomas.
32. Tackle my pile of clothes that need to be mended.
39. Memorize the major scales on the piano. (My high school piano teacher would be horrified to know that I've ever forgotten these. I think they're still there in muscle memory somewhere, I just need to bring them back to the surface.)
45. Make my own pasta from stratch.
46. Make homemade cinnamon rolls.
48. Get a food processor.
49. Clean out junk drawer.
52. Organize recipes.
53. Become comfortable with cooking on the grill.
55. Make homemade bread for sandwiches.
56. Make daily vitamins a habit.
58. Finish organizing papers in study.
61. Clean out my trunk. (Yes, I realize how pathetic it is that I have to make this a major life goal.)
62. Establish a weekly housework schedule.
71. Go through all make-up/beauty products/medicines.
95. Finish moving all our CDs in iTunes.
101. Get new glasses.

I know that's a pretty long list, but several of those are already in progress. There aren't any running goals listed that I think I can tackle right away, but I'm just going to keep plugging away to build back my endurance and speed. (Not that I had a lot of speed to begin with.)

What are your summer goals?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Settling into Summer

My husband says I always find something to worry about. The first time he told me that I was a little taken aback because I've never thought about myself as a worrywart. More and more often though, I think he might be at least partially right. (Just about this, though.)

I was fretting Wednesday on my first day of summer break. Even though I had no work AND no school. I was just mentally scrambling to figure out all the tasks I've been putting off that needed to be accomplished and frustrated with my current non-fit fitness level. And then, I was fretting BECAUSE I was fretting. If I'm not completely blissfully happy when I have no work and no school, what is wrong with me?

A few days later though, after cleaning (almost) my entire house, unpacking my car, getting (almost) all the laundry done, getting two new tires and my car realigned, figuring out two things I'd been wrongly billed for, baking banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, recycling a whole carload of junk, cleaning out my fridge (in which I may, or may not, have found something that expired in 2009), taking apart the bed and washing everything down to the bedskirt, spending an hour picking out new glasses (even though I haven't made the final pick yet), checking out eight books from the library, actually getting through 5 days of The Shred (wow, that sounds not that impressive when I write it down), and arranging my fourth of July mantel, I feel like I can breathe a little easier.

I'm sure I'll find something else to fret about soon though. Maybe that should be my first summer goal: No fretting. I know when I step back for a second and get some perspective that I've got nothing at all to complain about.

After all, I even got lucky with my TYR grab bag!

I was so nervous/excited opening the bag and was pretty sure what I would find inside would look like this:
But instead, I found this:
I was so excited! I think this is cute for a racing suit.

But that's pretty much all I got going on. I hope all of you have a wonderful Father's Day with your loved ones!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Brain Dump List

1. I'm running again! I was really nervous after that walk/run failure with my husband Monday, but I think it was mainly the heat. I ran 3 miles yesterday evening and 3 this morning. Don't ask me about my times.

2. Once again, I'm starting the 30 Day Shred.

I'm still fast-forwarding through the cardio on days that I run. Cheating? Maybe. The only way I'm going to get through the 30 Day Shred. Probably. It's not that the cardio is hard, it's just boring and it's kind of a bribe to myself to make me do the strength and abs if I know I don't have to take time for the jumping jacks and all that.

3. I'm teaching swim lessons again this summer and decided it was FINALLY time for a new racing/teaching suit. My two suits from college are getting to that see-through phase and that's just not the look I'm going for. I took a risk and went with the TYR grab bag!

It was the best deal I could find on TYR or Speedo, but the color/print will be a surprise! I'm really excited about getting the package, but I could end up embarrassed if it's hideous.

4. I've been having some weird catches, cracks, and minor occasional pain in my left knee. It's strange because this started last week and is completely unrelated to running or working out because I've been a sloth until yesterday. No problems while running though so hopefully it will work its way out. Anybody else have this?

5. My summer reading has commenced and I plan on posting what I've been reading lately soon, but I need ideas from y'all on what to read next! I've been on a non-fiction kick lately but need some novels to work on too.

6. I'm in love with my new camera! My husband and dad are both great photographers and have been giving me tips.

I documented our entire-Outer-Banks-in-two-days-trip.

And my cat and my in-law's new puppy have been my subjects many times.

As much as I love my cat, I hate to say that she's not very photogenic. The puppy receives a much greater response on facebook when I post pictures. : )

7. It's time to plan out my summer! For the past month, I've been asked dozens of times, "You finished grad school and you'll be on summer break from work- what will you do?" And honestly, I've been so busy the past few weeks that I've only been able to think from one day and one week to the next that I haven't been able to formulate a response. Now that's it's here, I want to set some goals for the summer. I'll keep you updated!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Officially Out of Shape

Went for a walk with my husband tonight.

Whined every time he suggested we "run these next two blocks."

Got completely left behind when he suggested sprinting.


Tomorrow's my last teacher workday though and then the summer's laid out empty before me. No excuses!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

26 Days of No Running Since 26.2

So there's my horrible confession.

Since my marathon on May 7th, my running has slammed to a halt. This happened right after my first marathon too and I swore it wouldn't again. If you've been reading a while though, you know better than to trust my fitness proclamations.

It's not that I was tired of the running. I hearts-and-butterflies-loved the marathon training this time (save just a couple rough runs) and didn't really feel burnt out at all. I just got busy with one thing (finishing grad school), and then another (Girls on the Run and the 5K I organize), and another (end of school testing- stress, anyone?), and it was just too easy to not make running a priority.

This week, however, is the start of a new era! Tuesday, I came home and didn't quite know what to do with myself. I had no papers to grade, my house was clean, and there weren't any assignments looming over me. I actually cooked a real supper with three(!) different vegetables, pork loin on the grill, and blueberry crisp. At my husband's request, I even made sweet tea for the first time. (Shouldn't I get some kind of Southern Woman badge for that or something?)

Today, though I finally took it one step further and broke my sloth streak. It was only 2 miles and when I counted up the days, it's been 26 days since the marathon, so that's good irony for you. Now, it's time to find some races! How are y'all keeping up in this heat?

(Despite its seeming unpopularity with 0 comments thus far, : ) I am going to stick to my 25+25+25+25 blogging plan and reveal another 25 list next! Either 25 running songs or 25 running tips.)