Just to let you know- this blog is no longer active.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, July 28, 2011

Dear Diary,

Today, still all sweaty and gross from my morning run (I am running- I've just been too lazy to keep up with dailymile), knowing that I should be mowing the lawn, but wanting to do anything but, I went up to the attic to crack open my "childhood mementos" box. I was looking for a tape that my parents recorded about me for a sixth grade project. The only thing I remember from that tape is my dad saying I "have a low tolerance for pain," which , in retrospect, sounds like a really creepy thing to say about a child, but I guess in my dad's recent memory was an episode of me getting a splinter and howling as my mother the unforgiving doctor removed it.

Before I could late the tape, I laid my hands on an equally exciting discovery- my diary from grades 2 - 9.
After spending 20 minutes skimming back over those pages, equal parts amused and embarrassed, I've come to several conclusions.

1. I need to be keeping a journal. (I know I've got this whole blog thing, but I'm just never going to lay it all on the line here.) Yes, the middle school obsessions about boys and the use of the word, "phat" is kind of painful to read, but it's worth it for the gift of being able to look back to those earlier versions of myself.

2. I have always loved writing, had a quirky tone, and overused parentheses.

3. People don't change that much. At least I haven't. I have always been fearful of losing memories,
(I then proceeded to ramble on about my haircut in preschool and my best friends in each grade), a little neurotic/dramatic/emotional (That's my first first diary entry when I'm in second grade. Paranoid much?),

obsessed with my weight (I bragged about losing 6 pounds when I was 8), had jealousy issues (apparently, my best friend Ashley got a letter congratulating her for good grades in third grade, even though my grades were just as good as hers), and surrounded myself with "best friends."

4. I had a charmed childhood. Despite my neuroses and my inability to get the stars to aligh to match me up with a boy I liked who liked me until well past the end of this diary, I had year after year of best friends, camps, slumber parties, family trips, school dances, and favorite teachers. Literally, the worst thing that ever happened to me (according to me in seventh grade) was when Earl, a boy I had a crush on and sat with on the bus, moved away and I didn't get to say goodbye because I had tennis practice that afternoon. Really? That's charmed.

5. When my future children get old enough to scratch out words, the very first gift I'm giving them is a diary with a lock. They will be instructed to never tell anyone the code and to hide it in a place Mommy would never look. It's going to take every ounce of self-control I have not to sneak a peek, but I want them to be free to write whatever they want. Even if it's misspelling how "cruel" my parents have been.

Here's a few more gems:

Apparently, snarkiness starts in third grade. (Although I totally knew that since I've taught third graders.)

I sound pretty smug about that reading group and getting chosen first by my smart crush in Seven Up. This must have been before I didn't get the letter about good grades when Ashley did.

This is me describing the guy I had a crush on in middle school. He sounds like a real keeper, right?

This made me laugh harder than anything else. Apparently I wrote this note to the boy I liked in sixth grade that I obviously was never going to send, but it must have been cathartic for me to write it because I saved it in my diary. You can tell it was the nineties by the unashamed use of Printshop Deluxe.

Okay, I might have laughed even harder at this. It sounds disgusting, but I guess at the time, my sister and I thought that was good eating. (After we got our computer, 'a Gateway 2000' as I bragged in 1995, I would occasionally type my entries and fold them into the diary.)

Anyway, this probably cracks me up more than anybody else, but I hope it inspires someone else to dig up their childhood diary or start their own!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Am I the only one who...?

Sometimes, if I'm having a bad day and have fifteen minutes to spare, I'll log on to facebook and look at all the pictures I'm tagged in. Which sounds pretty conceited, but it's not me I'm looking for in the pictures- it's what's in the pictures with me.

Facebook has created a fairly comprehensive scrapbook of the last 6 years of my life. Almost every trip I've been on, wedding I've been in (including my own), party I've attended, adventure I've explored, and even a few of the races I've run are documented there. There are pictures of me with so many people who I love and who have helped make me into the person I am today.

Sometimes, when it's a bad day, it's easy to see things out of perspective. After viewing those 593 pictures though, it's impossible for me to not feel loved, blessed, and incredibly grateful for the life God has given me and all the people in it.

Am I the only one who does this?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Diet-Coke-Free Month Results & Other Food Paranoia

When I decided to give up Diet Coke (and all soda) for a month, it was an experiment. Here are the results.

Do I feel amazing/more healthy/purer/etc?

Ehh. Not really in a dramatic sense, but I know it's been good for me to drink so much water and get some of those sketchy chemicals out of my system.

How did my body react to the dramatic loss of caffeine?

I had a few headaches for the first couple days, but I was expecting that. I was not expecting how exhausted I would be for the first week. I guess I thought my body was just kind of immune to the caffeine, but apparently not. After a week though, I leveled back out. (Of course, it's summer and I'm not working, so my sleep and activity schedule have been a lot more flexible than it will be during the school year.)

Did I save money?

Yes, for sure. I wish I had kept track, but I know I've saved a dollar or two each time I've eaten out and just ordered water and I haven't had to lug home any 12 packs from the grocery store either.

Did I drink more water and stay more hydrated?

Definitely. Besides half a cup of lemonade and the occasional (how should I say?) fermented or brewed drink, it's been just glass after glass of water. I don't know if it's just because it's so hot too, but I crave it more too. It's not unusual now for me to fill a glass and then drink it right there at the sink or Brita filter so I can refill it before I walk away.

Did I lose weight/bloat less?

Nope. I thought I ate more when I drink Diet Coke, but apparently that's not really the case.

Did I miss it?

Yep- almost every day. Isn't that sad? There are just some foods that are better with a soda.

Am I running back into the arms of Diet Coke now?

Possibly? I know a lot of people kinda lose a taste for it after not having it for a while, so when I try (probably later today...) I'll see. I do want to limit myself to one a day or less and I think that won't be a problem now that I'm weaned.

The issue is that the more research I do, the more paranoid I get about Diet Coke, oh, and pretty much everything else. (Start googling "BPA" and you'll be terrified of half the stuff in your kitchen, not just the food- but the packaging, your tupperware, the whole nine yards.) It seems like you have two choices- go all natural/organic/whole foods and stop trusting anything in the mainstream food culture, or throw up your hands and say, "Oh well, you can't get away from it, it'll be alright." Right now, I find myself straddling these two ideas and since I live 161 miles from the nearest Whole Foods, I think I'm going to just have to stay somewhere in the middle. At least we have a farmers market!

What about y'all? How food-paranoid are you? Do you lay awake at night wondering if the FDA is a big conspiracy? Or do you just keep rolling and not stress about it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Morning Runs & Running Club

So, not to be redundant or anything, but it's hot here. Dawn or dusk are the only times that I can run without feeling completely and totally worthless. (I'm still feeling sorta worthless during those times. I was a good runner back in the spring right? Didn't I run a marathon? It feels kinda like it was just a dream.)

Even during the summer when I'm not working, I've always leaned more towards evening runs instead of morning...until now. I've been running (okay, admittedly some mornings run/walking) regularly first thing now and I love it. It feels like the whole rest of the day is carefree, even when I have other tasks/appointments/chores, because I've already got my exercise in. I find I lean towards healthier foods all day because I got off on the right foot. It almost makes me feel a little smug.

I still need all the motivation and help I can get to get out the door though. When we were training for our races this spring, a couple friends from church and I started getting together for our long runs on Saturday mornings. It was their first half marathon and my first time since I moved here having my dream of a running buddy realized. I forgot how the miles go so much faster when you've got someone to talk to.

Now I decided we need to take the next step. I had been interested in starting a running club here for a while since I do see occasional runners out and about and wanted to meet them, but was told that it wouldn't get off the ground. "How 'bout a walking club?" was the suggestion. No offense to walkers (says the girl who walked the last mile of her "run" this morning), but a walking club didn't sound that cool to me.

So, I compromised. I sent an email and facebook message to all the Farmers Market Run/Walk participants from May and invited them to come out to run OR walk with us on Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m. I'm thrilled to say that we've actually had people show up! More runners than walkers even! The running club is actually happening.

I'll be out of town this weekend so I'll miss the next group run, but I feel so proud that even without me there, a few runners are planning to get together. Remember how I said there wasn't a running community here? Well, guess what? There is now. : )

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Relays, Triathlons, and Races

Last night, I received an unexpected call asking me to participate in a triathlon relay as the swimmer in September. Even though it's because this trio's normal swimmer will be in Alaska that week and I might be the only other qualified swimmer they know, I'm still couldn't help feeling a little flattered!

I haven't given my official "yes" yet because I need to work some things out on the calendar, but I'm really excited about it. Triathlons are really, really fun- maybe more so than running events. The reason my mom and I are runners now is because of that first triathlon we signed up for in 2004. I ran track and cross-country in high school, but didn't really keep it up between seasons or after graduation. That first triathlon though, gave both of us the racing bug.

I've got 6 sprint triathlons under my belt, but I've never made the financial/training commitment to go any further. My mountain bike I received as a 13th birthday present (even though we never got around to actually purchasing it until I was 16) doesn't really cut it and I'm not a big biking fanatic anyway. (I'm really, really, really scared of being hit on the road.)

So being invited just to swim (which is my favorite/fastest portion anyway) in this race sounds pretty good to me! The runner and biker are also considering the Beach to Battleship Half-Ironman relay later this fall if I'm interested. Swimming 1.2 miles doesn't intimidate me. (I swam across a 4 mile lake once.) Figuring out a wetsuit and swimming next to "ironpeople"...seems scary. We'll see.

Googling running events is fun though, so here's a tentative plan for the rest of the year:

March of Dimes 5K - Sept. 3 or Historic Wilmington 5K- Sept. 8 or Brunswick 10K - Sept. 10

Wilmington YMCA Triathlon - Sept. 17th (Swim Portion of Relay)

Battleship Half Marathon or Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon- Nov. 6 (I need to make up my mind soon if I'm going 13.1 or all the way this fall.)

Tanglewood Running of the Lights 5K - Jan 1- 12:00 a.m. (I have wanted to do this for years but we always have other New Years Plans. This is NOT my husband's idea of a great way to start a new year, but I've got, ehh, about 6 months to convince him, right?)

I know I'll be complaining about the cold when it comes, but right now, I'm fantasizing about that crisp fall running weather!

Have y'all ever done any relays? Are wetsuits that scary? Know of any other NC races this fall/winter that are can't miss? Want to mock me for being terrified of road biking?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When It's Not So ______ Hot, I'm Going to be Fast Again.

Okay, relatively fast.

That's it. Just wanted to clarify.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Do You Blog?

One of my favorite bloggers, D.A.R. at Midwest Paradise bid the blogging world adieu last week. I'm sad that I won't get to read her posts or see what's going on in her life anymore, but after blogging for since 2008 she decided it was time to go and with a recent move, fairly new job, living near family and friends, house hunting, and expecting a baby, I think she'll have more than enough going on to keep her busy.

It got me thinking about this strange thing we call blogging and why we're all here. This morning when I pulled out the laptop, I read Chloƫ's current thoughts on blogging now that she's a new mom and training for the New York marathon, so obviously I'm not the only one who thinks about this.

I started this blog in 2009. I was a newlywed, living in my husband's hometown, didn't have any local friends, and had fallen off the running bandwagon. I found the blogworld because I enjoying reading my the blogs of my high school friends who were now far away. Soon I discovered the scores of running blogs out there and knew I'd found my niche. So, I started my blog, of course, with my obsessive challenge to run 365 days in a row.

Obviously, that's been a bust.

I did so well with the running streak I attempted before I got married that I thought this new one would be a breeze. Turns out, in this stage of my life, it hasn't been that easy to cling to obsessive challenges. So I don't know when I'll get my streak in.

Even though my blog's focus has shifted slightly, it's still a way for me to talk about my (running and otherwise) goals, training, and races, get advice from other runners, and have some accountability/motivation. There wasn't a running community here and I needed one badly. (Not to mention all the other sweet non-running bloggers who I've "met" along the way.)

Over two years later, I'm proud to say that there's is a growing group of runners in this rural town. I have been running on Saturdays with two of my friends from church (who completed their first half-marathons in May) and last weekend, we invited the community to join us. There were just five of us that showed up to run or walk on Saturday, but I've got four more who are excited to join us next week. We're going to have a legit running club here very soon and I'm so proud that I'm part of it.

So even though I may have the fitness community I dreamed of when I moved here, I still need blogging. It's hard to imagine all the ideas/products/books/races I wouldn't know about if I wasn't reading what all of y'all where up to. (As much as I love the people here, new ideas are not always celebrated here.) I don't think I'd have my Garmin Forerunner if it weren't for Jess or my Canon Rebel if it weren't for D.A.R. I might not have made my wedding frame collage in the dining room if I hadn't seen Erin's beautiful collages, or made my own headboard if I hadn't had the confidence inspired by John and Sherry. There are way, way too many times to count the time I've been moved by the beautiful writing, photography, joys, or struggles of other bloggers and I've have hundreds of pages saved with recipes, home tips, fitness advice, projects, relationship suggestions, teaching ideas, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

All of which explains why I read blogs, but I guess the reason I have my own is that I want to share too! I like to write and to share photos here and there, but my husband isn't that thrilled about me sharing pictures of us so I can't really have the open, friendly, share-your-life blog like so many of yours. (For the record, I think he's a little paranoid, but I play along.)

In any case, after reflection, I feel like I'm still in a place where blogging is still beneficial to me. Part of me thinks that down the road when I have kids and am still juggling everything else, that I'll probably leave the blogosphere behind (especially because I won't be able to share pictures of what will undoubtedly be my favorite subjects- no offense to my cat) but on the other hand, how will find out all ideas/products/books pertaining to kids if I leave then?!

Anyway, this whole post is basically to say that I like it here in blogworld, I'll be staying for a while, and thanks for making it a pleasant place!

Why do you blog?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer This and That

I hope all of y'all had a happy Fourth of July! Ever since I met my husband, all of my Independence Days have been at the lake and I was thrilled that my sisters, their boyfriends, and my parents joined us this year. Over the weekend, we grilled shrimp scampi, went on two runs (one of which was a very pleasant 5 miles- the longest I've ran since the marathon!), made a few trips across the lake, sang patriotic hymns at the lake church, biked to see friends, had fresh stuffed peppers, kayaked over 3 miles, boated to a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the end of a pier, had 50 or so friends over (including one dressed as George Washington- wig and all- carrying an American flag, canoed by men in costume), grilled 108 hot dogs, and even squeezed in some some lake lounging time.

I may, or may not, have been up at 1 in the morning Sunday night finishing this cake:

It was kind of a disaster on the outside, but I think the inside turned out alright.

Now we're back home and I'm working on my summer reading. I've been a big nonfiction kick lately (where is that book review I keep saying I'll do?!) so I went into the library looking for novels. I think I succeeded.

I realize that four of these are Young Adult (or as our outdated library has them labeled "Junior" which I think is kind of cute) selections- I'm working on # 28. I've decided that re-reading counts in my 100 book list. I just couldn't resist my Ellen Raskin books. (I've probably read "The Westing Game" a dozen times. Yesterday, I literally squealed when I stumbled upon "The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues" because we didn't have that at the local library when I was little. Just like I squealed when I discovered and read it for the first time at the library in Iowa when I was visiting my grandparents when I was nine.)

We went to a friend's house for birthday cobbler last night and ended up in two beautiful backyard gardens that pretty much make me feel like the most pathetic person ever for not being able to grow a vegetable. Walking through rows of homegrown tomatoes and squash make me feel like a little kid in my grandma's garden again and I feel so incredibly cheated that I didn't enjoy any of that produce growing up. (I refused any fruit or vegetable except corn, potatoes, or the occasional cooked carrot until I was 20. Isn't that sad?)

I'm so excited about the loot we brought home!

I'll let you know what I cook this week!