I’m back from a fantastic holiday week! I ended up taking extra days off work to make it a whole week (and a half day) break. For those who don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s a peek at my week:
Monday I headed up to see Sixx. I spent the night there and generally had a great time. Our relationship is so hot and cold lately (today it’s the latter, go figure,) but it was nice to get to see my person. Tuesday I drove down to my cousin’s house and spent some one-on-one time with her and the kidlets before my mom arrived that night. We all went to dinner once she got to town and relaxed with tequila.. then at home, we relaxed with Dancing With the Stars (my girl won!) and beer, and Rumchata. Oops.
Most of the rest of the family came in on Wednesday, and I’m honestly not totally sure what we did. NP and I went on a very brisk run, and I suppose we finalized Thanksgiving day plans. That was a good thing because on Thursday NP got called in to work… which meant I had to take the charge on making dinner for 40. It actually ended up pretty well, everything was ready at the same time, and it was delicious. I was pretty proud of myself. Once the extended family left, I took a quick nap before we headed out to the stores.
Black Friday is huge with my family. It’s one of the first times I remember hanging out with NP by myself a few years ago and I think we all spend quality time together doing it. That said, the backlash about stores opening on Thanksgiving night this year really shocked me because for the last few years, the outlet near our house opened at 8 that night. At any rate, that evening and the following day were filled with broken sleep, puppy naps, and a broken back. I managed to throw out my back sleeping on a mattress on the floor and running all over creation. (I’m only just now getting back to normal.) Since my family is huge and spread out, Saturday was our Christmas. Short of a gun-related panic attack and a drunken meltdown, it was a pretty nice time.
Most of the family left on Sunday, so I got more time with mama llama. We also watched a Hallmark movie that was filmed in the town they live in. The movie was awful, but was fun to see places we go on screen. My nephew was especially excited to see his school, which they used as a hospital. To be honest – I’m not feeling “in the spirit” at all this year, and I’m not sure what the deal is. I’m certainly ready for days to be long again and to see the sun when I get out of work!
How was your Thanksgiving? Did you scoop up any Black Friday deals?
Last Sunday I did the Real Girls Run half marathon and let me begin this recap by saying: I hope that was the worst run I will ever have in my life. Let me follow that up with the preface that yes, I was horribly undertrained… but still.
There were so many omens of how the day would go, including the night before while I was packing my race bag and couldn’t find a pair of headphones ANYWHERE. This resulted in an 8pm trek to Target, which saw me panic-shopping and grabbing everything I thought I’d possibly need. $80 later, I now need to make another trip out for returns.
When we signed up for the race, a 4-hour time limit was listed on their website, and their Facebook advertised that participants would receive a t-shirt and medal. At some point before the race, they changed the time limit to 3:30 and e-mailed that participants would receive a bracelet instead of the medal. I thought that was kind of poor form, especially because they touted the race as being very walker-friendly.
I climbed out of bed at 6:30 on race morning, did a quick rinse in the shower to wake up, and headed out of the house with a bottle of water and a banana. I typically also like to make my fiber muffins, but I had been working the day before, so I skimped out. It was foggy and rainy, which I didn’t mind too much, but I’ve never done 13 miles in it. I wore my custom Glee-inspired tech shirt from MyRaceRagz. There’s an episode of the show where the kids are encouraged to embrace something they don’t like about themselves but can’t change, and wear shirts to own their imperfections. I’m probably never going to be a fast runner – and I’m okay with that, so I customized my shirt to read SLOW I even wore black running tights so I could really be in uniform.
It was a very small race, and I liked that. No big lines, no congestion. We took of promptly at 8:00, and here’s another place I went wrong – I put my phone on shuffle. The first song that came up was “Rock Problems” by the Hold Steady. A favorite song by my favorite band, but not the best choice to start 13.1 with.
The course was beautiful, and the pack thinned out pretty quickly. There are a ton of speedy little runners in my area and I was certain I’d be bringing up the rear, but I didn’t. I was feeling strong, even though I knew I was undertrained, and tried hard to keep from going out too hard. I ran with a mother/daughter team for the first three or four miles until I got awful cramping in my legs. That has never happened to me before, and I’m sure it has something to do with focusing more on strength training than cardio for the last month or so. I really loved the out and back portion of the course, and getting to cheer on (and be cheered by) the other runners. It’s amazing how much hearing “you’re looking strong” can get you through!
But let me tell you. 10 miles on cramping legs was the WORST. I let go of my 2:56 goal around halfway and decided the goal was just to finish. Of all the things I had on my person – I even ran with Run Guard in my pocket, just in case the humidity called for a reapplication – I left my Hyland’s Leg Cramps at the finish line. I kept my head up and just kept moving. I lost two places in the last two miles, which was disheartening, because for awhile there was NOBODY near me. But oh well. Every run can’t be great, and every race can’t be a PR. The course was really beautiful (even though it was crazy hilly), and I wasn’t in love with running on an open course (especially after they shortened the time limit?) but the people at the support tables were great and laughed at me when I answered their “water? Gatorade? Gu?” questions with only a “YES.”
The winner finished in 1:30 and many people were long gone by the time I finished, but the race directors cheered just as loudly for me as I bet they did for the early finishers, which was nice. Plus, a perk of being a slow runner – the spread left at the finish line is all yours!
I did learn more new lessons, like “just because your left knee has never hurt during a run doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still tape it.” I definitely learned what it’s like to run with only your legs… and then to run only with your head.
The biggest complaint I have about the race, though, is how they handled complaints about the lack of medals. After the race, I saw several complaints on their Facebook and as a social media manager, I would use that as an opportunity to engage with the audience – instead, they simply deleted all the posts! That’s a big thumbs down from me.
In short – I hope that is the worst run of my life.
Bad to the Bone Endurance offered me an entry into the Real Girls Run half-marathon and I received a MyRaceRagz shirt to review, but all opinions are my own.
This fall I’ve been trying to get out of my usual cycle of Glee, Buzzfeed, and the same sad music (no matter how much I love it.) Here’s what I’ve been digging lately!
The League – this semi-scripted show about fantasy football is HILARIOUS. I started watching it with Pedal Steel one night and ugly laughed the whole way through. There’s even an episode called “The Marathon” which had me rolling on the floor laughing. I need to put an asterisk on this one – I HATE fantasy football, so it’s really saying something that I love this show!
Fashion of Glee – this is a website I didn’t know I was missing until I found it. It attempts to source anything and everything the cast or characters wear. Now that I’m losing weight and can fit into a lot of these things, it’s fun to buy a Rachel Berry sweater and embrace my inner style nerd (when the pieces hit clearance, of course.)
Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship – this shampoo has made my life SO MUCH EASIER! I should have known it would be great because in high school I used (and loved) their straight hair formula. It smells so good, my hair is shinier and more easy to manage than it has ever been, and I’m sure it’s from the shampoo. On Black Friday I plan to get the conditioner to see if it makes it even prettier.
Vulture.com – MTV VJ Dave Holmes was long one of my childhood crushes. Fast forward ten years and we are Facebook friends and he’s a writer for Vulture. Last week they did features on fame in 1998, and I lost my mind for them. I miss the 90′s.
Drive-By Truckers – they’re a band I should have always loved. They’re the south’s answer to the Hold Steady (my favorite band) but when I gave them a try a few years ago, I didn’t love it. They’re Pedal Steel’s favorite band, and he made me a mixtape of their best stuff. I get it now.
What are you into this fall?
I’m back from a much-needed break. Seems that post-marathon depression, mixed with a perfect storm of other things, all culminated to make me bonk. Here’s what I’ve been up to, in brief:
I ran two races: the Danger! Zombies! Run! 5k here in town as well as the Real Girls Run half-marathon. I’ll be posting a recap of that fail of a race but suffice to say… I’m just happy to have finished both of them. The 5k was basically 3 miles of hills and was my slowest 5k yet.
I’ve been focusing on a lot of Les Mills & kettlebells classes lately. I’m loving the change in my workouts.
I saw Amos Lee this week. I’ve seen him before and he continues to blow my mind. I was in the front row and I’m pretty sure I got pregnant.. he is the sexiest man I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
I’m really trying to make the best of being in a situation I don’t necessarily want to be in. Still seeing the new guy, trying to be engaged around campus and go to events and maybe even make some friends. I remain skeptical about the necessity of friends, but I hear they’re good for mental health.
And that’s it in brief! I am thankful to be leaving for holiday break on Monday afternoon and getting off to Ohio. What are your Thanksgiving plans?
Hello strangers, it’s been awhile.
I’ve half been busy living my life (I’m dating! Go figure!) and half been too embarrassed to write.
Honestly – I’ve been a sloth. I’ve been struggling with depression. I haven’t been sleeping. I’ve been struggling with eating (or not eating.) I haven’t been putting in the work, and I think it’s really messing up my mind. As good as you think you are, and as solid as you might be in your recovery, this month has really shaken me and shown me that something can happen and prove you wrong anytime. I can’t even pinpoint what it was. Maybe it was the re-breakup. Maybe it’s the weather or that person who cut me off in traffic two weeks ago or maybe it was stubbing my toe on Friday. Maybe the overwhelming feeling of dating is getting the best of me – I’m not sure. All I know is that I’ve been miserable lately, and I’m still not at the part of misery where I can make myself work the plan that I know makes me feel better. I’m close, but I’m probably not there yet. I need another few days in bed. It’s not glamorous, but I hate when bloggers try to sugarcoat things. Depression is real and it’s ugly, but you can fight it. I’m trying to fight it. I want to be an example.
Despite how I’ve been feeling, I’m trying to live my life. I’ve made it to the gym a few times. I’m dating a new guy. (Dating is expensive you guys, I didn’t know.)
With any lucky, I’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming shortly.
Today I logged in to my Capital One 360 account to flip some money from my birthday savings to the checking account to buy my plane ticket for Los Angeles and was super pumped to see this:
Having set up the automated savings last month has really made it easy, and I didn’t even realize I had that much socked away. It hurts a little to not have that almost-$700 sitting in my 3% interest earning checking account, but this way it’s much easier for me to spend it specifically on LA vacation details. In addition to the automatic savings that comes out of my paycheck, I dump extra windfall money here as well – ATM fee reimbursements, interest earned in my regular checking account, eBates cashback, GymPact earnings, secret shopping payments, things like that. If you’re looking for a “special occasion” savings account, Capital One 360 has been really easy and convenient for me and since I don’t carry this debit card around with me, it’s very out of sight, out of mind money. (Plus I like the graphs.) I would love to have all of my money pooling up in my 3% interest checking account to just accrue, but psychologically, that isn’t working for me right now. I need dividing lines.
Beyond saving for Disney, I’m still trucking away at these stupid student loans. I discovered Student Loan Hero via Stephanie at Empowered Dollar, which is a tool that lets you add all your student loans (and even syncs with the NSLDS and Fannie Mae) and displays all of them in an easy to read format. The only thing I don’t like about it so far is that you can’t change your loan priority.
This fall I am really trying to refocus on paying down my debts. On the 14th, I made the last payment on my dental work (thank God) so that’s another $40 I am getting back in my budget. Here’s my pretty, up-to-date, and sad year-to-date graphic:
Sad because I have some big expenses coming up and I know I won’t be able to hit the debt payment goal I had hoped to. I will need new running shoes before Disney (and probably won’t have enough Swagbucks to buy them,) plus holiday trips to see family in Cincinnati and Gatlinburg, I need new brakes AND tires, and I’m still replacing tings in my wardrobe since things are so ill-fitting.
Little by little. I’m getting there. Adulthood is expensive.
What is your best money hack?
Last week I ran my first half marathon. It was amazing, empowering, incredible – and it was also a huge learning experience. While I trained for the race solo, I did a lot of reading, but of course no amount of reading can prepare you for the time you cross the start line for a 13.1 challenge for the first time. As I prepare for my next half on November 17, these are some of the most important things I will keep in mind, as taught to me by fellow runners and discovered on my own.
There is no shame in crying for your mom: There was this great couple I ran with for almost the entire race. He had clearly been the runner in the pair, and she was just trying to finish. At the mile 11 water stop, she said “I WANT MY MOM!” I couldn’t stop laughing. Whatever gets you through the hard parts!
There is no shame in crying: It’s no secret that I’m a very emotional person.The slightest twinge of feelings, happy or sad, can send me spiraling into a sobfest. (You should have seen me watch the last episode of Glee.) I expected that I would make it through the entire race and cross the finish line while ugly crying. Instead, I got teary along the route. To get through the miles, I’d written down 13.1 people on my arm and thought about someone different along each mile. There’s nothing wrong with crying – whether you’re emotional or in pain.
There is no shame in walking: A very small percentage of people can run for three hours straight. Don’t let yourself feel bad about slowing down and don’t let anyone else, either.
There is no shame in listening to your body: I’m still upset about the nosedive at mile 10, but I had to listen to my body. If you don’t do this, you’re asking for even more problems.
There is no shame in crossing the finish line and asking “WHERE IS THE MEDICAL TENT”: I listened to my body, but not really soon enough. At first I was a little embarrassed to be hobbling into the medical tent (bless those Cleveland Clinic trainers!) but as I sat surrounded by runners MUCH more fit and sporty than I am, I realized that it’s okay to need a little TLC post-run.
There is no shame in singing: I believe that you should use every resource possible to get you through a run, whether it’s a fast two-mile jog after work or a half-marathon. My biggest resource is music and you can bet that I sang and puffed along to my phone as it played song after song to keep me moving. (My fellow runners might want me to believe there is a little shame… I just don’t have any.)
There is no shame in using people: wait, that’s not what I mean. I mean there’s nothing wrong with using the runners around you – whether it’s for motivation, inspiration, pacing, or general chit chat to get through the race. I will probably never forget the great camaraderie from Cleveland and the help I got from fellow runners!
Going into my next half in four weeks, what other advice do you have?
I also want to thank everyone for the supportive tweets and texts regarding my last post. It’s tough, but I’m dealing. Enjoying the good things, like having paid off all my dental bills! Holla!
I have been a little out of touch over the past week because I’m dealing with the break-up – again. If you’ve been reading since the start, you’ll remember that Sixx and I actually broke up in October 2012, right after I moved out of Michigan. While we never “officially” got back together, I felt that the only thing that changed was our title. I was (and am) still madly in love with him. There was this quote from an episode of American Dreams where Meg Pryor said “I wonder if, when you meet that right person, it feels different at the beginning.” I know it does, because I remember the first time that we met. For five years now, I have known that it would be him. I have spent four years now kissing him, and I chose Cleveland as my first half marathon largely because he would be able to be there with me. We had a great weekend, as our visits always are.
After I got on the plane to leave Ohio, he sent me a text that he is interested in dating a new girl and “felt he owed it to [me]” to tell me.
I’m upset, I’m hurt, I want to kill him, I’m mad at myself – it’s just hard. I went for a long time feeling like I’d always be alone, and then I met him, and we have grown together in such wonderful ways and even when we broke up I was patient and sure of how things would go. And even now, I’m still sure, but I’m so angry.
So – I’ve been quietly trying to deal with it. I’m sorry to spill out my crazy, I’m just tired of sitting with it.
At the end of the month of September, I sat down to catch up on my spending tracking. Though I was great at tracking (and spending) in August, I did less well on tracking through September. I didn’t think I was spending too much, but I had a HEART attack as I added up the totals I spent on food. For just me – one person – I spent $228.35 on food. That is totally unheard of for me – and even worse that that included a free $50 haul from Relay Foods and did NOT include a $20 bar tab from a Mayer Hawthorne concert! It’s time to do something serious. I need a dedicated budget tracker (not just jotting down what I spend in my planner) and I need to STOP spending so much.
I fell in love with May Books the first time I saw them, and was excited to find their expense notebook and food/exercise tracker. I ordered one of each and after a month or so of using them, these are my thoughts.
- May Designs books are absolutely gorgeous! They’re hand stitched notebooks with beautifully printed covers. They’re about the size and width of the standard Moleskine notebooks, for reference. In addition to the two I chose, they have several planners, plain or lined notebooks, and other inserts to choose from.
- Budget book: I wish there was a better system for outlining variable income. There’s only one small line, but I have so many different secret shopping incomes that it’s hard to figure out where to distinguish all of it. I also don’t like that there are so many lines for savings, insurance, and investments as compared to other things, like shopping. My insurance and investments right now come out of my paycheck, so they aren’t even included in my monthly income anyway. And as much as I would love to have enough money for 12 lines of savings goals – I just don’t right now. I’m working to customize it more for my needs, but I’m not quite there yet. I do really like that in the back there are sheets for special event/vacation budgets, though.
- Calorie and exercise journal: There’s literally nothing I would change about this. It has places for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, your daily target calories, a water tracker, and a place to log exercise. Everything has plenty of room, and it’s a great tool to use for pre-planning what you’ll eat in a day. I do this a lot to keep my dinners on track, since I don’t have White-Out at home
- Another criticism is that the pretty designs on the front seem to be rubbing off, so that means I need to take better care of them than just throwing them in among the clutter of my Thirty-One Retro Metro. This would be easier in a more structured/organized purse than my “throw in and carry around everything that fits” mantra.
Click through for more photos and to enter the giveaway! (more…)
I’m officially, finally, a half-marathoner!!! Over the weekend I FINALLY got to do the Run Rock n Roll half marathon in Cleveland. I apologize – I know I get long-winded with recaps, but maybe this will be the last lengthy one and in the future it will just be greatest hits.
I flew up to see Sixx on Thusday night, so I spent the whole weekend with him. We headed to Cleveland on Saturday morning and as I was checking my race info on the way, I noticed that none of the documents had an actual physical address for the expo. I figured it couldn’t be that hard to find, because one did have a cross street, and an expo center should be well-signed, right? Nope – not well signed. We couldn’t find it, so we elected to park at the hotel and walk over. We found it that way but it still wasn’t very clear and the only reason I even figured out what building it was was that I saw a Run Rock ‘n Roll sign inside the glass door. The expo was super empty when we got there around 10:30 so that was really nice. It was also very small – since the only one I’d been to before this was the Flying Pig one which was HUGE and awesome, I was kind of disappointed – but that also meant I escaped without spending any money. (Which also meant I came in $200 under budget for the vacation, holla!)
We were able to get into the hotel early (yay!) but would have had to pay for late checkout
A little bit of everything. I totally ate the CRAP out of those sweet potatoes
(boo.) After we did a little settling in, we took showers and made a plan to hit the casino. Fun fact – I do love gambling. I also really love casino buffets, and as soon as I walked by the spread at the Horseshoe, my plan for a healthy race weekend went out the window. Oops. After we feasted, we hit the slots for a little while before returning back to the room. Neither of us won big, but I only spent $3, so I’ll call that a win for some cheap entertainment. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, I ate more crap for dinner (Irish Nachos at Tilted Kilt – yum!), I taped my knee, and went to bed at 9. (My peaceful slumber was interrupted around midnight by the loudest hotel party I’ve ever heard next door. I was extremely close to running out into the hallway naked and giving them a piece of my mind, but settled for calling security.) I had been nauseous and impatient and anxious all day for the race – I wasn’t nervous, just so excited for it to come. All of my things had been set out in the hotel room, I took the gratuitous “Flat Desi” picture, and pinned my bib to my shirt. (Lesson learned – do this while wearing the shirt, or else it won’t be centered and will rub on your arm.)
FINALLY my 6am alarm went off! I hopped out of bed, took a quick rinse, and got myself ready to go. I knew Sixx wouldn’t be walking me to the start line, which was fine. Before I headed out I stopped in the lobby bathrooms to shake out the last of the nerves I could get out, and met a nice couple from Pittsburgh on my walk over. She was running her first half too and it was nice to walk over with them, talk to them, and get a few last pieces of advice. I dropped my bag at gear check and thought “well maybe I ought to just jump in the port-a-potty line..” Can’t hurt, right? Lesson learned: don’t listen to the race volunteer directing you to shorter lines “down there.” They aren’t shorter and they are farther from your corral.
I did a little stretching, really enjoyed the electric guitar Star Spangled Banner, and then Corral 1 was off… then Corral 2… then, finally, me in Corral 7. My plan was to run one song, then walk one. My secret goal I wasn’t talking about was 2:45. When I heard my first split on Nike+, I was shocked – 11:26. Faster than I have ever gone. It was awesome! I kept a great pace and when I thought about slowing down, I thought how freakin’ awesome it would feel to finish under 3 hours. That kept me going for a really long time, as did conversation with other runners. The signs in Ohio City at mile 5 were great, and the aid station volunteers were fantastic. I think it was around mile 7 when I started doing math and realized that if I kept my pace, I was going to go sub-2:40. That made me so happy I wanted to cry. I literally never thought that was possible. I paced myself with other runners (since I made the mistake of not shuffling my music AND putting the Lana del Rey album on the playlist.. what was I thinking? way too slow) and raced those around me.
I was feeling strong and nomming on my PowerBar chews every 30 minutes and blessing the Gatorade volunteers. I’ve never been so happy to see Gatorade in my life. I was doing great until mile 10 when the weird pain in my foot got too much to bear. It was a new ache in the arch of my foot that I’ve never felt through any of my training. I had been pushing through it for two miles before it finally got too much and I had to slow WAY down. I was pretty devastated and upset, but I had to tell myself that for my first half marathon, the real goal was to finish. I hobbled through 10-12, pushing past the pain and medical tents, and managed to do some jogging on the last 1.1 miles. The volunteers on those last miles kept saying “the finish is just around the corner,” so when I finally saw Sixx at mile 13.05 and he said it – I had some colorful words for him I wasn’t able to sprint the last quarter mile like I like to because the GPS tracker was off on my app, so I only got in the last .1, and I finished in 3:04:07. I’m pretty upset about it. Sixx was waiting on the side just past the medals, and I went over to him, started handing him all of my gear and just said “I’m going to the medical tent.” He walked along and as I was collecting chocolate milk and bananas and the rest I would hand it to him. (Lesson learned – always bring a pack mule! ) Of course I then bypassed the medical tent and strained my neck to slam my chocolate milk while I tried to catch some of Gavin DeGraw’s set but that didn’t last too long. I was just impressed with myself that I didn’t hurt myself more seriously than I did, and I didn’t feel bad at all when I was sitting around plenty of other runners getting ice saran wrapped to their bodies.
After that I hit the beer tent. I drank my free beer and then was handed another complimentary beer which was awesome, but I was in no position to drink it (so I stuck it in my bag and drank it later that night.) I ate Skyline Chili and then we went home, the end.
So.. I’m disappointed. To be going at such a great pace for me and then fall on my face from a new pain that I’ve never felt before is truly frustrating. At least I have Real Girls Run in a few weeks to redeem myself!