Wordless Wednesday. Because Awesome Needs No Words.

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Checking Out

I haven’t talked about it much here, but I’ve been training.  I was so disappointed in the outcome of St. Jude (missing my sub-5:00 marathon by 15 minutes because of a freak 70-degree sunny day in December) that I signed up for what was to be my redemption race:  The Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham on 2/17.  Things were going great.  I was running my long runs faster and easier than ever before.  I ran a fantastic 14 miles on 12/30 and then things went downhill from there.  On 12/31 I woke up not feeling well, but I ran 5 sloooooow miles that afternoon to finish out my 1,000 miles for the year.  Around lunchtime on 1/1 I went DOWN.  There was no denying it.  I had the flu.  I knew I had been exposed that week.  A coworker had tested positive for type A flu.  I ended up missing most of that week of work and didn’t run a step for 8 days.  Even when I came back, I tired easily.  So that was one long run missed, but I didn’t freak out too much because I thought I still had time to bounce back.

Fast forward one week.  I missed another long run.  We had plans to go to Nashville for my birthday on Saturday, and then it rained its ASS off on Sunday.  That happened during my last training cycle, too, and I was forced to run 12 miles of an 18-miler on the treadmill.  It sucked, but it got the job done.  However, this time around I was already feeling a little burned out, and the idea of 16 miles on a treadmill was just not appealing.  AT ALL.  I couldn’t even bear the thought of stepping foot on the mill knowing that I would still have 16 miles of it in front of me.  I decided to wait out the rain and just get in as much as I could.  Well, the rain didn’t end until around 4:30, only leaving me time for 8 miles before dark.  Yeah, I COULD have finished out the last 8 on the treadmill, but I didn’t.  I thought about it.  For about a second and a half.  So that was two missed long runs.

Fast forward one more week.  Yesterday, I decided I’d give myself one more shot.  I’d try for 16 again, and the outcome would determine whether or not I went to Birmingham.  It was the perfect day for a long run.  High 40s, sunny, a beautiful day.  I felt wonderful.  I was well-rested, well-hydrated, well-fueled… I was going along just fine and then all of a sudden I was just… OVER IT.  I mean, I was DONE.  I was at mile 11, still feeling great, only had 5 more to go, but I was just sick of running.  So I stopped.  If that’s not a sure sign of burnout, I don’t know what is.

I made the decision right then.  I’m checking out of training.  Birmingham isn’t happening for me this year.  And you know what?  I’m perfectly okay with that.  If I’m not enjoying it, what the hell’s the point?  I’ve been burned out before, and I’ve always found my way back.  I have no reason to think that this time will be any different.  I think it’s just time for me and the long run to take a break from each other.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Lull

I originally titled this post “Rut,” but then I decided that really wasn’t accurate.  I’m not really in a rut at all.  Everything is going just fine.  Things are just… quiet.  Since all of the CRAZY of the holiday season is over, it just seems a little odd, I guess.  For the first time since like October, my days aren’t packed from well before sun-up to well after sun-down.  Things are still going on, but nothing terrible or terribly exciting.  Mundane, really.  And you know what?  I welcome it.

  • I’m still running, though not as much.  I’m kinda struggling with a little bit of burnout here, so I’ve cut back some to keep from completely losing that loving feeling for it.
  • Bella has recovered fabulously from her ACL surgery and has been released to her normal dogly activities now!
  • We’re still in the process of trying to buy the business.  It’s not going nearly as smoothly as we’d hoped, thanks to the current owner and his horrendous bookkeeping and financial management abilities.  (Okay, let’s call it what it is–tax fraud.)  But we are not giving up.  We’ve exhausted one avenue, but we are actively exploring others.  We haven’t lost hope yet.  It’s just gonna be a little more difficult and more expensive now but not so much so that it isn’t worth it.  We’ve had a figure in our head from the get-go of how much we would be willing to give for the business, and as long as we can stay under that we’ll continue to pursue it.  
  • Our new living room furniture will be delivered next Monday.

So, you see?  Things are still clicking along, and in the right direction for the most part, however unexcitingly.

How do you guys deal with the quiet times?  Do you wallow in the peace, or do you find yourself getting bored?

Mission 33 Before 33: A partial success…

A few months ago I made a list of 33 fun, easy, inexpensive (or free!) things I wanted to do before my 33rd birthday.  I started out trying to write about them as I crossed them off, but that got too confusing after only like five things, so I decided to do them all here in one place.

Thursday was my 33rd birthday!  I’ve marked most of the things off my list, but there are a bunch that I haven’t gotten to yet.  But that’s okay–that just gives me a few more things to look forward to doing!

1.   Go hiking.  We live about 30 minutes from some hiking trails (hiking trails–“not suitable for running” according to the park ranger that I asked at the headquarters when I stopped to get a map), and I’ve never been on any of them.  Fix that.  And see if the park ranger really knew what he was talking about.  Scope out possible running trails.

      Okay, I’m not starting off on a good note here, as I didn’t get the #1 thing on the list done.  Our only chance is on the weekends, and the weekends the past couple of months (really ever since I made this list) have been BUSY, as is always the case this time of year.  This is still at the top of my to-do list, but it’ll likely be a few more weeks before I get around to it.

2.   Spend an afternoon checking out all the independently owned shops on court square downtown.

      What better day to do this than Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving, right?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  Turns out the shops here in town didn’t feel the same way.  I didn’t make it downtown until about 2:00 (as evidenced by the clock tower below), and over half of the shops were already closed!  It was the Christmas open house weekend for Pete’s sake, and even Santa had already packed up his shit and gone home!  I went into a few stores, but I didn’t buy anything.  Unless you’re in the market for incredibly overpriced women’s clothing ($150 for a shirt?  Screw you.) or country craft-style decor, downtown Paris apparently isn’t the place to shop.  It was kind of festive feeling though with all the storefronts decorated for the season.

Bottom left – Santa’s shack locked up tight

3.   Make a vegan dessert and sneak it into the family’s Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner so they can eat it and then I can give them hell about it when they like it, completely invalidating their “My God, you must eat rabbit food all the time,” way of thinking.

       I made a totally kick-ass French silk pie thingie at Thanksgiving and took it to my in-laws’.  It was a hit, but it never came up that it was vegan.  I made it again for Christmas at my parents’.  Everyone there knew it was vegan and liked it anyway.  So yay!

Silkened tofu blended with melted chocolate chips and a little vanilla in an Oreo crust with crushed Oreos sprinkled on top.

4.   Book next year’s vacation to the Dominican Republic with my bestie and her hubby!

       Okay, it’s not booked yet but it’s still in the plans and we’ll make the reservations just as soon as everyone finds out their work/school schedules so we can nail down a date!  It’s looking like August.

5.   Run from my house to another city.  It’s almost exactly 14 miles from my driveway to the Walmart one city over.  All of my runs start and end in the same spot, but I think it would just be awesome to tell people I ran from Town A to Town B.  I can totally do that during this marathon training cycle.

       Done!  Read about it here.

6.   Take a vacation day just for the hell of it and do whatever I want to do that day.  And I’m not allowed to clean or do laundry or take an animal to the vet or get my teeth cleaned or any of that other crap that I always end up doing when I have a day off.

       I took off the day after Thanksgiving, but I didn’t go shopping with the masses.  The only crowd I fought was the one on couch, consisting of me, two dogs, and one cat.  I did absolutely nothing productive all day long.  I slept until 8:30 (after getting up briefly at 6:00 to feed a cat that feared she may starve to death before dawn), watched Rock of Ages (cheesy plot, great music) and Paranormal Activity 4 (hilarious!), did a little online shopping, went for a short run, went back to the in-laws’ to eat leftovers… the perfectly lazy day.  I thoroughly enjoyed every second!  And I guess Thursday could count toward this one too.  I never work on my birthday!  It’s my own little personal holiday!

7.   Get a massage.

      Nope, didn’t do this one either.  I thought about calling to see if I could get in on Thursday while I was off, but then decided I didn’t feel like getting out of my pajamas or shaving my legs.

8.   Pick out colors to paint the living room, dining room/kitchen, and hallways.  If we get it DONE, even better, but I’ll be happy just forming a plan.

      We were going to hold off on this one because we had decided to just redo the whole living room, new furniture and all.  The plan was to get new furniture in the spring and THEN pick colors to go with whatever furniture we got.  Well, yesterday we were in Nashville for my birthday celebration and decided to just look in some furniture stores to try to start getting some ideas of what we wanted… damned if we didn’t end up finding and buying something right then.  So we’ll have the furniture in here in a couple of weeks and can start choosing colors adding in the accents then.

9.   Run a holiday-themed race.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all fall between now and my birthday, so surely I can find one of those!

      I ran the Santa Hustle Smokies Half Marathon with the bestie!

10.  Volunteer with an animal rescue.

      I haven’t done this one yet either.  I emailed the one here in town asking about their need for volunteers and they told me that the inmates took care of everything for them.  They said they would definitely keep my name and call on me for adoption events in the spring.  I’m not planning on stopping there though.  This is a matter that always has been important to me, and is becoming more and more so lately.  I want to get involved.  It’s just a matter of finding where and how I can be most useful.

11.  Go to a Trader Joe’s.  I’ve never been to one, and I hear people rave about them all the time.  There’s one a couple of hours from here, so maybe I can do this in conjunction with some Christmas shopping.

       I finally went to a TJs yesterday while we were in Nashville!  I gotta admit, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.  I guess I was expecting something more like Whole Foods.  I did get some good stuff though… HELLLLLOOOOOOOOOO cilantro and jalapeno hummus!!!!!!

12.  Do something fun on New Year’s Eve.  We’ve spent the last three at home by ourselves.

      We went to a private party at some friends’ lake house and had a freaking blast.  Friends and food and alcohol and live music.  I can’t think of a better way to close out an awesome year and bring in a new one.  This little hottie is the local kid we hired for music.  I’m not putting his name here because I don’t want local folks to come across this blog when they google him, but look for this face on the cover of an album someday!  He’s already making a name for himself in Nashville!

13.  Channel my inner child and go play laser tag.  There’s a place here in town that opened a couple of years ago that has indoor go carts, laser tag, and all that other stuff kids (and by “kids” I mean 32-year-old women) like.  I’ve been wanting to go but I’ve been afraid I’d be the only adult there.  Screw it.  Go anyway.

      The weekend we were in Sevierville for the Santa Hustle, there was a huge arcade in our resort.  And, YEP, they had laser tag!  So fun!!!

At our “base” receiving instructions.

14.  Go to a comedy show.

      Never made it happen.  We checked into going Zanies the weekend of D’s birthday, but we had never heard of the guy scheduled to be there.  We looked him up on You Tube to see what his comedy was like.  Yeah… not our kind of guy.  He was pretty down on whitey.  I wouldn’t have been comfortable there.

15.  Unplug.  Go one full day with no phone, no laptop, no Facebook, no texting, no TV, no Netflix.  Music is okay.

      Didn’t and not gonna.  I don’t know what possessed me to put this on my list anyway.  Those are all my favorite things.

16.  Go to a second-hand store.

      One of the stores I went to when I was downtown for Small Business Saturday was a consignment shop for furniture and decor.  I didn’t buy anything, but it was a super cool store!  I’ll have to remember to check back in there periodically.

17.  Do at least one thing this Christmas season to bring joy to myself.  I’ve hated every second of the last few Christmases because of the added job pressures and financial strain.  I’m sure all that stuff won’t just magically disappear this year, but I will do ONE fun Christmasy thing this year.

      This ended up being a repeat of #18 below.  I had so much fun marking that one off my list that I did it again for this one!  When I was telling a friend about it, she said it sounded fun, so we booked ourselves for a class to paint a Christmas tree!  Everyone was very much in the Christmas spirit.  There was Christmas music playing, apple cider flowing, just a very Christmasy feeling all around.  It was perfect for putting/keeping me in the holiday spirit.

18.  Go to a canvas painting class at the new place in town.

       Done!  See it here!

19.  Go see This is 40 when it comes out.

       D and I caught this one on opening weekend.  LOVED IT!

20.  Also Breaking Dawn Part 2.

       My sister and I saw this the weekend after Thanksgiving.  The ending was a trip!!!

21.  Teach Harley a new command.

      I really haven’t put any focus on this one at all.  I actually even forgot it was on my list until not long ago.  We were playing around the other night, though, and I was trying to get him to catch stuff.  He’s always sucked at that.  Bella can catch a treat thrown to her from clear across the room, but Harley won’t even attempt to catch anything thrown to him.  He will watch you, know it’s in your hand, see you getting ready to throw it, and then watch it come straight at his face, but still let it bop him in the head.  It ends up looking much like this.

22.  Splurge on a pumpkin spice latte this fall at the local coffee shop.

       Done.  Here.

23.  Go somewhere directly after work for happy hour.

       One Friday afternoon after a particularly hectic day at work, one of the girls said, “Man, I could use a drink!”  That’s what got the ball rolling.  An hour later, three of us were sitting at the American Legion with beer in hand.  It was only like 4:30 in the afternoon, so it was totally empty.  Other than two older men at the bar, we were the only ones in there, meaning we had the jukebox and the pool table all to ourselves.  It was fantastic.

24.  See a live band.

      I’m counting our New Year’s Eve shindig for this one, too.  And we saw the same guy again the very next weekend at a bar when we were out for a friend’s birthday celebration.

25.  Plant some trees in our back yard this fall.

       Well, this one didn’t technically get completed.  We did our research and decided what we wanted to plant, and when we went to the nursery they told us we had probably waited a little late in the fall to plant.  We should have done it six weeks before the first hard frost.  This was in mid-October and although we hadn’t had a frost yet, we knew we probably would within the next six weeks, so we decided not to chance it and put this one off until spring.  And it’s a good thing we did because we got our first decent frost just a couple of weeks later.

26.  Read a book.  I’m open to suggestions.

       Done.  Here.

27.  Go to a restaurant I’ve never been to.

       I’ve actually done this a couple of times!  I told you about one here, and then we did it again the weekend before Thanksgiving.  That was D’s birthday weekend, and his parents wanted to take us out to eat.  They took us to Patti’s 1880’s Settlement.  It was really pretty cool!  And they were already all decorated for Christmas.  It was a little gaudy for my taste but still very festive!

28.  Have a sisters’ night out.  Or night in.

       Kim came up one Saturday night and we went out to eat, to the movies, and then came back to the house and I introduced her to Glee.  Since she’s as big (okay, bigger) a music nerd as I am, I knew she’d love it.  She did.

29.  Attempt to make an Indian dish.

       I found a recipe for vegan matar paneer that sounded good, so I made that one night last week.  It was really, really tasty!!!

30.  Swing in the park.

       I was running through the park at about mile 7 of a 12-mile run a few weeks before St. Jude when I did this.  I had no intentions of stopping in the middle of my run when I started it that morning, but when I ran past the swing sets that’s exactly what I did.  There were no kids around, but there was a bunch of teenagers playing flag football across the field.  I just closed my eyes and swung (swinged?  swang?  Nothing sounds right!) and listened to the game and felt the wind in my hair and felt my stomach catch when I got going real high… I truly felt like a kid.  Positively care-free.  I don’t know how long I stayed and didn’t care.  It was perfect and a perfect example of why I did this whole “33 things” thing.  To remind me it’s the little things in life.

31.  Visit a different winery.

      Not yet.  I’ve passed a few billboards for wineries on the interstate, but it’s always been when we were in a hurry to get somewhere or in a hurry to get home.  It’ll be easier to do now that we’re past the super busy holiday season.

32.  Find a sitter for the animals and get out of town with the hubs for a weekend.  We missed out on our late-summer vacation, but surely we can sneak away for a couple of days.

       Again, our weekend in Sevierville took care of this one, too.

33.  Do something with a friend.  I don’t care what–lunch date, movie, pedicure, whatever–just ONE thing with a friend.

       The entire St. Jude Marathon weekend was spent with friends.  The highlight for me was getting out the night after the race and just having drinks with friends.  Good times, good times…that’s what it’s all about.

Goals for 2013

I’ve been really, really, really giving this a lot of thought the past few days.  (I’ve been laid up with what I’m quite certain is the flu for a few days, so I’ve had a lot of time to think.)  Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Running/Fitness:

  • Get faster.  Period.  In all distances from 5K to 13.1.  And I plan to do this by …
  • Quality over quantity.  I hit my 1,000-mile goal in 2012.  Unlike most folks, I’m truly not interested in going longer or farther, and I won’t be racing as much this year.  Other than what will hopefully be my marathon redemption in February and a 10K in May, I have nothing on my race schedule.  I MAY run a half in April just because it’s local and I feel like I should support it.  Otherwise, I don’t plan on any more distance races until the fall where my goal will be…
  • A half-marathon PR.  It scares the shit out of me to say sub-2, but that is the number lurking in the back of my head.  I used to literally laugh out loud at the notion of me running a sub-2, but I’m starting to think that with the right training and right attitude that I could pull it off in another 11 months.
  • Get that damn sub-60 10K.  Third year’s a charm, right?  I missed it by 34 seconds in 2011 and didn’t run a 10K in 2012.  Actually for 2013 I feel like 60 minutes is too conservative, so this year I’m shooting for sub-58.
  • Get stronger.  Like I said, I’m not interested in running just to rack up miles this year, so some of those just-for-numbers runs will be replaced with strength training this year.  My motives here are twofold.  First, I’m hoping stronger legs will lead to a stronger, longer stride, thus helping with speed.  My second reason is pure and simple vanity.  I want a leaner, more muscular physique.  
Life in General:
  • Declutter this damn house.  My plan of attack is one room at a time, one room a month.  This is more of a goal for my husband.  I wouldn’t have a problem backing a dump trailer up to the house and loading it up right now.  Getting him to part with anything will be the chore.
  • Have a will drawn up.  Yeah, that’s a morbid thing to put here, but it needs to be done, and I’m more likely to do it if I put it on a list.
  • Get involved on some level with local rescues.
  • Just DO more.  Sometimes I feel like all I do is work, run, eat, sleep, and clean.  I’ve been making a more concerted effort to do more fun things in the past few months (as part of my whole 33 before 33 thing).  I want to carry that over into the new year as well.
Overall, 2013 is gonna have a hard time topping 2012, but hey… HERE’S HOPING!