Category Archives: Random

Stop Doing Stupid Shit

Yep, harsh title right there. But, that’s the phrase I’ve unfortunately been telling myself more often than not recently.

You see, I know we— as humans—have a hard-wired susceptibility to being distracted. Part of me blames nature, a larger part blames the internet, but no matter how you slice it, the ability to concentrate on one specific thing for a long period of time isn’t so easy.

I myself need a good heaping portion of deadline pressure, marginal stress, and a short time frame to crank out my best work. Frankly, it is amazing what I can do in the hours before something is due—I’m focused, precise, and fast. Not even the distraction of needing to pee can take me away from something if I’m in this kind of zone.

However, as you can probably guess—the majority of the time I don’t have this kind of pressure. Sure, there’s always work to be done, but with a time frame that exceeds a week or a deadline that’s far off, I manage to think of every single other thing in the world to do besides what I’m supposed to do.

I don’t have ADD, and in fact I consider myself a hard worker and driven person, so how in the world has stress managed to become a necessary element in making me productive?

It’s not just in my work life either. If I have a lot of errands that have to be done or chores that need taking care of, I will make it all happen. This is one of the reasons why I run in the mornings on days I know will be stressful; a run jump starts my interpretation of “a productive day.” And I don’t want to toot my own horn (because trust me the self-criticism will come later on), but sometimes I am shocked at just what I can accomplish when the productivity monster kicks me in the pants. (<— entertaining image right there)

BUT. Want to know why I am amazed at my own ability to “do things?” Because way too much of my time is, otherwise, spent doing stupid shit.

Again, I blame social media and the internet to an extent. As many of us remember from our college years of writing papers in the library, when Facebook was only a click away…our best intentions to be productive were always thrown out the window. Then came Twitter, which thankfully I didn’t become aware of until after I graduated, and now there’s Instagram, Tumblrs, blogs, PINTEREST, and lord knows however many other time-wasters that I haven’t heard of yet.

But here’s the thing…yes those things exist and yes smart phones exist and wah wah wah we are all a product of our society. BUT, we—on our own—make the decisions to use these things; we consciously decide to break up our real-life routines for the sake of our digital realities. And this, my friends, is 100% our own fault.

I might just be talking to myself here; maybe all of you are wizards at ignoring your phone and checking all your networks just a few times a day. If so, I applaud you. Thankfully, most social media  sites are blocked at my place of work…making that distraction much easier to avoid. Which is why blogs, especially of the running variety, are my default “mental break.” And that’s fine…sometimes. I like reading them, I learn a little something from a lot of them, and they help keep me inspired and motivated in my own running pursuits.

But when it’s 2 pm…and I’m randomly typing in URLs in hopes that someone, somewhere has posted something new…it’s a problem. It’s nothing more than boredom and the hope that for a few minutes, someone will distract me from continuing to do the things I actually ought to be focusing on. In other words, I’m actively searching out stupid shit to fill my time with.

And you know what? I am nearly 100% positive I’m not alone in this habit.

It’s a little depressing…but once I start trying to recognize the times when I’m just doing something to keep from doing something else, the list starts to pile up. All of a sudden, it’s not just the internet or my phone; it’s staring at my pores in the magnetized mirror for 8 solid minutes, or randomly choosing to pluck my eyebrows at 5 am when I should actually be leaving for my run.

All these little things aren’t harmful, but they—for the most part—don’t serve a purpose. All they’re doing is taking time away from the much more productive and constructive things I should be doing.

Thus, I’ve realized that all these time wasting activities are really just stupid shit—and none of it really adds to my life. Yes, I do need to pluck my eyebrows every so often and yes, as an active blogger, using Twitter is useful and informative. BUT, when I’m using those things in place of more time sensitive, important matters—they become inhibitors.

I’m not saying that I should never zone out on the couch watching reruns of Gossip Girl (yes, still on that one), and I’m definitely not saying I should quit social media. But those activities need to become more purposeful and less default-ish. Does that make sense? In other words, if I’m ever going to have a prayer of getting anything done (and be a productive member of society) I need to have intention in my actions rather than waiting for the stress of time running out to tap on my shoulder.

Deciding to tackle our to-do lists doesn’t take much effort—but they wind up having a huge time-saving and de-stressing effect. I love the feeling of getting something done I’ve been putting off for too long (um, hello buying new windshield wipers for a car driven in SEATTLE). It’s such a satisfying feeling—but what normally shocks me whenever this self-congratulations happens is just how easy it is to get things done.

Somehow, all the stupid shit we’ve managed to replace our productivity with makes all those TO-DOs so much more daunting. And sure, it’s easier to use your thumb to scroll through an infinite amount of tweets, photos, and gifs…but it’s also completely empty. I like to feel that when I do lay on the couch for hours and when I do read through Twitter, it’s because I genuinely do need a break from being busy…and not the other way around.

What’s the point of all this? Well, besides castrating myself for succumbing to the all-too-tempting shoulder-devils of the internet, I suppose I’m hoping that writing this will help hold me a little accountable. Admitting is the first step, as they say, and while I’ve always known that my iPhone was a portal to infinite opportunities for stupid shit— it’s time I reclaim a little bit of control.

I really love my real-life life. And I want to try and stop doing the stupid shit that keeps me away from it. Yes, I love you internet people as well—and I’m not planning on leaving you. But this world is much more interesting if there’s something left to the imagination—rather than being auto-refreshed every hour.

So consider this my pledge; to be the highly functioning person I know I’m capable of being—rather than just another street walker whose nose is pressed to a screen. Time to look up and look out.

And as Louis C.K says…

“‘I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say…you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say, ‘I’m bored.'”

Things I Don’t Like (That You Probably Love)

It’s Friday people, which means two things:

1) I have actively abandoned all good intentions to pack a breakfast or lunch and instead just buy something instead (it never fails…every. single. week.)

2) It’s time for a list!

do you see how my subject matter and form matched one another right there? I’m a visual rhetoric genius.

We’re going to do the opposite of Friday Favorites today and take a look at some of the things I do not like. And not just that…the things I don’t like that apparently every female seems to just love.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not trying to act like I’m exceptionally unique or different. Because I’m not. I’m a very stereotypical, boring girl—right down to my weakness for chocolate and my love of quoting Kristen Wiig. However, I have noticed that there are a lot of things that everyone is totally OMG OBSESSED with…and I’m like “meh.” And in fact, there are many popular female things that I actually really, really dislike.

*Warning: This post may offend. I’m merely stating my own opinion, and I realize that my views may very well be in the minority. Sue me.*

Without further ado…

1) Running skirts

I’m sorry. I just can’t do it.

I don’t get it, I don’t like it, and I have zero interest in ever partaking in this “running attire.” It’s not that I think they’re necessarily unflattering or ugly…most people look fine enough in them…I think it’s more the principal of the matter. To me, running is an athletic and very non-glamorous activity, and I prefer to dress the part—which does not, IMO, include wearing a skirt. Skirts and dresses are great—for after a run and after I’ve removed my sweaty shorts.

Sorry, but skirts to me are for cheerleaders (and with all due respect, I know you all need the leg room for splits and kicks and whatnot), but in the sport of running, your legs don’t need the same freedom.

And sorry, again, this definitely included sparkle skirts. And running dresses? Don’t even get me started.

2) Gu

Maybe this has something to do with the time I was force fed a chocolate Gu at the end of a marathon, or maybe it’s because I have a sensitive stomach, but frankly…I can think of few things less appetizing than these packs of flavored syrup.

Blech. Even thinking about them makes me queezy. I realize there aren’t a ton of fuel options available, hence why a lot of people use this stuff—but even regular Swedish fish probably do the same thing as a regular Gu. And would definitely taste much more delicious.

3) Neon shoes

You know how bright pink and orange and yellow shoes are all the rage this year?

Not into it. And apparently I’m the only one, because most people can’t get enough of them. It’s not that I dislike bright colors—although my bland wardrobe might suggest otherwise—but I just prefer for my running shoes to be very simple.

And yea yea…the Pure Connects I wear are relatively bright, however they are definitely the tamest of the options available. If it were up to me, every running shoe I buy would be white with a sprinkle of blue on them somewhere.

Alas…functionality trumps looks in the running shoe world, therefore I am sure before too long I’ll be wearing neon pink racing flats and you all can have the last laugh. For now, I’ll stick to my simple white and turquoise babies.

4) Fans in the gym

In every spin class I go to, I will actively seek a spot in the room that is shielded from the incessant, annoying fan that everyone seems to covet. I am one of the few people who opts for the instructor to not turn the fan on when they offer, and I grit my teeth whenever everyone whoops and cheers for it.

I don’t know what it is, but nothing bothers me more than simulated cold air blowing in my face while spinning. One of the best parts of spin class is all the SWEATING that happens, and I hate when that experience is hindered by a fan. Maybe I’m just a light sweater, and maybe I’m just a first-world-problem crybaby (truth), but I’ll maintain my fan-hate forever.

Big, sweaty, air-blocking men…you are my favorite spinners to sit behind.

5) Plain yogurt

I’ve tried so hard with this one. I know you can put plain yogurt in just about anything in the world—from smoothies to pancakes to baked goods that would probably taste much better with butter—but I just can’t stand the sour, bland taste of regular plain yogurt. Give me all the strawberry, blueberry, and pomegranete you’ve got…but keep that nothing-flavor goop for yourselves.

And “regular tart” froyo? Vom.

6) Coconut water

If you do anything even marginally athletic…from just occasionally going to the gym to running back-to-back marathons, this new trend has undoubtedly been pimped hard to you. Electrolytes! Healthy! Hydration! OMG SO REFRESHING!

Maybe my palate is really just that unrefined, but I think this stuff tastes like a dirty sock that was soaked in water for a few days and then refrigerated.

7) Fuel Belts

Again, I know this is a personal preference thing. But if there’s one thing I can’t stand while running, it’s the feeling that something is weighing me down or interfering. Sometimes even just my Garmin and iPod SHUFFLE feels like too much. I tried wearing a fuel belt that someone lent me ONCE, and it bothering me so much I had to take it off, hide it under a bush, and come back for it later.

I suppose I admire anyone who can pull off fast, efficient running with these things. To me, especially in a race with lots of fuel stations, they’re completely unnecessary. Keys and fuel in your shorts’ pocket, hand-held water bottle if necessary, all good.

……

I’m really not a big hater, in fact I’m much more of a cheerleader than anything else, but sometimes when you’re surrounded by all the bells and whistles of the most popular things of the time—you need to let loose some steam. And who knows, my opinions on these things could change. This time next year, I could be sitting in the front of a fan during spin while wearing a running skirt and fueling with Gu and coconut water. You have my permission to call out my hypocrisy.

But for now, I prefer to maintain my stance on these “all the rage” trends.

But now I’m really curious…

How do you feel about these things? Love? Hate? Want to start an anti-plain yogurt/froyo club with me? Want to throw rocks at me for hating on the running skirt? It’s okay…I’m bad at being a girl sometimes.

 

 

PSJJ

On News Year’s Day, in a state of post-celebrating delirium/hilarity, BF and I had a good ‘ole time talking about potential resolutions.

He and I have never been huge into resolving to change our lives at the start of the New Year, but it’s fun for us to invent crazy ideas of how we could spend the rest of the year.

And for better or for worse…this year, one of those ideas stuck.

It all started with BF trying to come up with some sort of fitness goals. Sometimes he’ll do this throughout the year, such as a number of miles to run in one month or something of that variety, but this time he dug a little deeper.

His idea was to do one push-up and one sit-up on January first, two push-ups and two sit-ups on January 2nd… and so on.

And just because he felt it was incomplete, he included a jumping-jack into the mix as well.

michelle

The things you learn when Google-image searching “funny jumping jack”. Also, this is true.

So on that day, January 1st, he started the first round. 1-1-1.

And because, you know, why not do one push-up, one sit-up, and one jumping jack… I decided to do it too. The next day, we went for our two of each.

I’m not really sure when I decided to join in on this venture, however we’ve just completed day 11 of Push-Up, Sit-Up, Jumping Jack…more fondly known as “PSJJ.”

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It was hilarious at first. Because seriously…who purposefully does only one or two of these? It’s still a little funny…but (and I think you can see where this is going) we’re beginning to realize that this idea is going to get really hard, really fast.

08Tu-Push-ups

I’m not even talking about day 365 when allegedly we’ll be doing 365 of each exercise  I’m talking about mid April when from then on, we’ll be doing 100+ of each per day.

Not so funny then.

However, this wasn’t so much of a resolution as a, “let’s see how long we can do this for” type of thing.

At this point, it’s both amusing and do-able. Howeve,r I’m a little afraid that it’s not too long until we’re going to curse this idea and dread every day a little more.

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However, for two reasonably athletic and outrageously competitive people, I don’t really see us quitting as soon as we hit some scarier numbers.

So we’ll see.

In the meantime, it’s still funny and still a little fun to think of actually carrying this whole thing out.

And in case you’re wondering, there are official rules:

1) Real push-ups. On toes, all the way down.

2) Real sit-ups. No crunches.

3) Exercises can be completed while in a class at the gym/during a gym workout. I.E: while not in the presence of the other participant…we’re all about honesty here.

4) Exercises can be spaced out throughout the day. This isn’t really an issue now…but I can’t get through more than 40 push-ups in one shot….let alone 41, 42, 43, 44, 45….365.

5) Off days. (BF, we still need to discuss). I think potentially we may need to come up with some sort of allotted “off-days” for the sake of deathly illness, injury, or…ahem, marathons. HOWEVER, I think those off-days need to be earned by adding those missed PSJJs on other days.

Clearly, our hangover-induced idea has turned into a much more official endeavour, but it’s kind of fun.

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Who knows, maybe this stupid crazy health-oriented idea will actually start to really supplement our strength.

So there you have it. PSJJ is now public, and open to anyone who wants to join on the bandwagon. There’s no spreadsheet, sign-up, or twitter handle…just honesty and sweat. If you did start now though, you’d need to go until January 11, 2014…just to get in the full year.

And just think, wouldn’t 1, 2, 3..11 PSJJs feel better after completing 365, 364, 363… right before? 🙂

And now you have a glimpse into the thrilling lives of BF and myself. It’s a little embarrassing.

And in case you were super curious…my “real” resolution is to read a book a month in order to get my ass off the interwebs all the time. I know this is ridiculously easy for a lot of you…but for me, well, let’s just say I have a little more faith in PSJJ.

Happy Friday!

Year in Running 2012

Here it is, the ever popular “My Year in Running” post that’s been strewn about the blogging world these past few weeks. Yes, it’s just as cliché as resolutions and pictures of oatmeal, but I figured I’d partake.

I pieced together my “categories” for the year from a variety of sources, please feel free to use.

2012 was an interesting one.

Not perfect. Not awful. Not necessarily everything I wanted.

But in many ways, I feel like I hit both ends of the running spectrum this year. And by that, I mean I barrelled head-first into both the lowest of lows and highest of highs in my running—all within the course of a single year.

Fortunately, the highs have been happening more frequently, and it seems as if I was able to take a little more from the low points that simply a battered body and bruised ego.

Let’s have a looksie back in time though:

Best Race

Chicago Marathon.

Perhaps my favorite race tee yet.

I actually had a hard time answering this question, which makes me smile. The tail end of this year has been full of some good racing in terms of PRs and experiences. However, at the end of it all, I think Chicago takes the “best race” cake for the year. Among an assortment of reasons I loved this race (the crowds, the course, the atmosphere, etc.) I truly felt that it was the best executed race I’ve ever run, considering the circumstances. I went in without expectations and without a goal time, but merely to run well, finish well, and have fun. All those goals were met, along with a new marathon PR and a feeling that I am capable of going back into battle with the marathon beast.

And speaking of that beast…

 

Worst Race:

Tacoma City Marathon.

Lies. All lies.

Lies. All lies.

I mean, there isn’t much explanation needed. If for some reason you’ve been spared the details of this race, go ahead and click the link above. Just a lot of misery around this one, I have a hard time keeping this on my marathon list. I learned a lot of lessons here, which I suppose is a good thing, and another good thing is that I will (hopefully) never hit this low of a low again during a marathon.

PSA: Don’t go for a big reach goal on a hard course. And if you do, don’t be stupid like me and refuse to slow down/stop if your body’s given up.

I still have a bit of resentment about this race, but the best thing about bad experiences is that sometimes they teach us more than the good ones.

 

Race Tallies:

5ks: 3

10ks: 0, unless you count the 4th of July Mimosa 10k 🙂

half-marathons: 2 (soon to be 3!)

marathons: 2

 

Biggest PR:

Seattle Half-Marathon

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In a very unexpected move, I beat my previous half-marathon time by over 5 minutes—which was both very surprising and very encouraging. I still have a hard time believing that this race actually happened and how in the world I was able to hold that a sub 8 pace for longer than I ever have before.

Now, I’m on the cusp of one final half before the year is out, and I’m wondering if I should hang my hat on my 1:40 finish, or dig a little deeper.

We’ll see.

 

Best Run:

I love a lot of my runs, and I don’t have a very keen memory for the specifics, however there was one run that comes to mind that was somewhat exceptional.

And ironically, it was in Tacoma, training for the aforementioned dreadful TCM.

I went down to Tacoma for a 20 miler to get a feel for the hills that would come into play on race day. While the run itself may not have exactly prepped me for what was the come, it was a perfect day of running. Challening, scenic, encouraging, and done at the tail end of knee bursitis—with not a pain to be felt the whole time.

I love the big 20 milers in marathon training, and this one was especially encouraging.

 

Highest Weekly Mileage:

57 miles, Chicago training week #8

 

Lowest Weekly Mileage:

0! Injuries suck.

 

Here is where I resurrect my goal from way back when to run 2012 miles this year. Admittedly, I got lazy, stopped keeping track, and it became too hard to recount. Also, I got hurt a few times which derailed my progress. If I were to guesstimate, I think I will probably finish off the year within the 1800 range or so. Maybe next year…I have started being better about my training log!

LESSONS

I learned a lot this year. About running, about racing, about resting. I do think I’m finally coming to terms with the balancing act of pushing my limits and reeling in the reigns.

I used to think that you were either one or the other– a champion or a slug. But I’ve come to realize that my running and my competitive spirit don’t make me any better or worse than any “normal” person out there. And the days where I’d rather stay in pajamas and alternate between napping and watching tv don’t make me any less of an athlete. The two can coexist…and in fact, they need each other in order to stay live.

The other most important thing I think I’ve learned, which is what I’ll be carrying big time into 2013, is that we are wholly and entirely in control of our capabilities. I used to think that there was a cap to success—a certain quota, if you will. Once that milestone or limitation was filled, that would be the end of it.

However, I’m realizing that there isn’t a finite number of success available. Just because those people have run BQs or have already mastered 50ks doesn’t mean that there’s any less potential available for anyone else who wants those things. An achievement isn’t any less significant or impressive if someone else has already completed it. Good for them, yea, but remember…good for YOU.

It’s all relative, and once we’re able to bat away comparison and take a look at our own playbook, we’ll realize that even the most wild of dreams can be ours.

And wild dreams I do have…starting with a very focused, disciplined BQ-or-Bust journey in the beginning of February.

Now it’s your turn! Best and Worst Races? Biggest PR? Proudest Accomplishment? How did your 2012 look?

A Cozy Christmas for Two

Hello out there! I hope you are currently nestled in holiday vacation glory, enjoying the remnants of leftovers, and continuing to enjoy this most joyous season.

I’m currently back at work—ish—however I decided that my Christmas-themed celebrating will continue until January 2nd. This decision came to me in a case of my inevitable post-Christmas depression: It never fails, around 4 pm on Christmas day each and every year, I get all pissy about how the merriment and happiness is OVER. However, this year I’m very pro-actively putting off the whole “Christmas is over” nonsense and continuing to celebrate with music and chocolate treats.

But in spite of this, let’s back track to the actual “day” of Christmas, which was a first for both BF and myself—since it was just us for the first time in both our lives.

I’ll admit, Christmas Eve day was rough. I spent the whole day shopping and running around to enable BF and I to have the most merry of Christmases. Somewhere among all the crowds and the cheese purchasing, I felt way too adult and emotionally curled into my shell. Where’s mommy?!

It was a little pathetic.

This was my coping mechanism for my sadness. Effective, no?

This was my coping mechanism for my sadness. Effective, no?

However, once BF returned from work, he (bless him) took it upon himself to cheer up his whiny Grinch. And how does one perk up a usually-Christmas-loving grumpy runner?

A Christmas light run!

Instantly, my mood went from this:

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To this…

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A quick little jaunt around our neighborhood with my favorite reindeer alongside was just the ticket. Instant holiday joy returned. See those bells on BF’s antlers? Best part.

Christmas day was pretty close to perfect:

Slept in, stockings in bed, cinnamon rolls, Skyping and FaceTiming family, gift unwrapping, long run WITH BF, cocktails, food, food, okay too much food now we’re too full, and Homeland.

Here’s proof:

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Want to know what’s the best part about cooking/having food for two people? There is inevitably A LOT of it. And please note above: not from a tube!

BF's feelings about going on a run in the rain.

BF’s feelings about going on a run in the rain.

Oh, also, it POURED most of the day. It wasn’t until maybe 2 that it lightened a bit and BF and I headed out on a couple run. Now, despite the fact that we’re both runners, he and I hardly ever run together, so two days in a row was like-whoa crazy. Especially considering the fact that we ended up covering 10 (!) miles on Christmas Day…a distance BF hasn’t taken on for quite some time.

I was so proud and so happy. I promise his mood improved as well.

Green bean casserole, rosemary red potatoes, and beer bread. Who says two 24-year-olds can't cook?

Green bean casserole, rosemary red potatoes, and beer bread. Who says two 24-year-olds can’t cook?

I'm perhaps the only runner that hasn't seen this. Quality stocking stuffer, BF.

I’m perhaps the only runner that hasn’t seen this. Quality stocking stuffer, BF.

I discovered Martinelli's and whiskey this weekend. Life. Changed.

I discovered Martinelli’s and whiskey this weekend. Life. Changed.

Using NEW glasses! See previous caption for details.

Using NEW glasses! See previous caption for details.

Happy ham chef. I'm now realizing that all of my photos are of food. Whatever. Our ham sandwich count is now at 4 and I think we'll be contenders for a record by the time it's all gone.

Happy ham chef. I’m now realizing that all of my photos are of food. Whatever. Our ham sandwich count is now at 4 and I think we’ll be contenders for a record by the time it’s all gone.

 

All in all, my first family-less Christmas was actually quite enjoyable. It’s kind of fun to put together your own personalized holiday. It was really the perfect combination for me of the things, and person, I love. Don’t worry though Mom, you won’t be able to keep me away next year 🙂

So, a belated (but not really because remember Christmas isn’t over) MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS from our house to yours.

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My (Theoretical) Last Day on Earth

In case the Mayan prophets or mainstream media haven’t told you yet, the world is supposed to end today.

Actually, I’m not sure if the world was supposed to end last night at midnight, during the day today, or tonight at midnight…they weren’t super clear on the specifics. But, we’ve all been told for many a year that 12/21/12 would be the end all.

Now, I don’t believe in prophecies or apocalypses or anything of that sort (except perhaps of the zombie variety…that shit’s real). Even NASA said we’re in the clear. But, this whole theory has got me thinking about what I would be doing if it were my last day on Earth.

child-thinking

Naturally, all kinds of fantastical ideas came about. Some involved Disneyland, some involved flying to Prague, and some involved going back in time to summer and transporting to my family’s lake house. They were all quite end-of-the-world worthy.

They also involved excessive amounts of brie.

I intended, then, to write a post about what my more “realistic” last day on Earth would look like. I even started a fairly detailed timeline, with some flailing attempts at humor and everything.

But then, as my “day” started progressing and I tried to come up with all the elaborate things I would do with a final 24 hours (sky diving! hang gliding! robbery!) I realized there were really only three things I wanted to do:

1) Be with my family and friends

2) Run long

3) Eat yummy food

I tried so hard to come up with all the incredible opportunities available on the last day ever. It seemed like there would be so many important discussions to have, misdeeds to undo, and ambitions to take on. But really, when it came down to it, all I really wanted to do were the same things I want to do most every day.

Maybe that makes me wildly boring (probably the case), or maybe it means I lack preparedness whenever the end should come. But I prefer to think it means that I take a good deal of enjoyment out of the simple things in life.

There is nothing more appealing to me than an obscenely long run, followed by an obscenely delicious meal, followed by time spent with the people I love. Perhaps it’s why my weekend plans are always the same, or why I prefer staying in to going out 90% of the time.

And that really doesn’t change if the world is ending or not.

Sure, I do want to sky dive at some point. And duh, I want to go back to Prague and see the rest of the world at some point as well. There are many adventures high on my bucket list. But when it comes down to it, these aren’t the most important things. These aren’t the things that I would turn to if I knew that there would be no tomorrow.

I’d probably spend a good amount of time expressing gratitude for certain people and the impact that they’ve made (which is something, admittedly, I don’t ordinarily do enough), but other than a few circumstantial tweaks, the way I would live my last day on Earth isn’t too different from how I would live a good day, any day.

The fact that I immediately decided running would somehow need to be included in the day was both very not surprising  and somewhat comforting. The realization confirmed for me that running for me is about more than just races and being in shape; that it’s a part of me regardless of those extraneous factors, so much so that I don’t necessarily feel complete without it.

So call me lame, introverted, whatever. I, for one, love envisioning my final day on Earth as somewhat reminiscent of the best days I’ve already had.

And I suppose I’d probably wear a ball gown the whole day too, just for the occasion.

But what I really want to know is…

How would YOU spend your final day?

Holiday Randomness

Despite my lack of having anything very interesting, noteworthy, or glamorous to say—I feel compelled to blog today. Ready or not…randomness at it’s finest coming your way, holiday style!

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This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

All I have been doing for the past week is eating cookies.

I’m not exaggerating—cookies at work, cookies at home, cookies in bed, you name it. They’re everywhere, and if you’ve known me for .4 seconds, you know that cookies and I have a very intimate relationship. It’s unconditional really—if they are in front of me, under all conditions, I will eat them.

Yes, I feel a bit like a slug when I pass out in a peanut butter/chocolate chip/butter/oatmeal/nutella coma every night…but frankly, I don’t really care. Every night, in my overly-sugared state, I swear I’ll hold off on the cookies the next day, and without fail, I do the same thing again the next day.

I am the living stereotype of holiday indulgence, and guess what…it’s the best. My version of “holiday eating survival” involves hoarding all the offices treats for myself. We’re nearing the end of the world people, don’t you know you need to overload on butter to ensure survival?!

Ok, I do leave some for others, but let’s just say if there were a “most valuable customer” award, it would definitely be mine. I think of it as doing a service to everyone who’s avoiding holiday treats. You’re welcome, America. But good luck when you’re SOL on Friday and I’m giddily licking the chocolate off my fingers.

Peppermint bark, also known as...me pretending to be fancy.

Peppermint bark, also known as…me pretending to be fancy.

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I’ve succeeded in watching my two favorite holiday movies: Home Alone 2 and Love Actually, therefore I can breathe easy.

Actually, Home Alone 1 and 2 tie for me…Home Alone 2 just happened to be the one I came across when viewing time ensued. It’s amazing just how many lines I can effortlessly remember from those gems of cinematic genius. Did it ever blow anyone else’s mind that Kevin was 9 YEARS OLD and pulled off all those traps and tricks? More importantly, he went grocery shopping??? I think I was still sleeping with stuffed animals when I was 9. Oh wait, I still do.

And as for Love Actually, just like every other female ages 18-45, I adore that movie. Especially, in no particular order: Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, the story of Colin Firth(Jamie) and Aurelia, Liam Neeson’s son, Olivia Olsen’s version of “All I Want For Christmas is You,” the fact that Billy Bob Thorton plays the U.S. president, and also the fact that Snape is in it.

Plus so much more. Happiness.

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In case you haven’t heard, LES MISERABLES THE MOVIE is coming out on Christmas Day. Fun fact: I am obsessed with all things Les Mis. The book, the show, the music, all of it. If Victor Hugo were alive today, he’d have a restraining order against me.

Case in point: For my 15-mile long run last weekend, I listened to the ENTIRE show—start to finish. It was heaven. There is nothing quite like Javert’s suicide (the saddest moment in theatrical history, IMO) to get your legs a-moving—or something like that. It was magic you guys, magic.

I realize the movie might not live up to my wildly unrealistic expectations given my deification of the Les Mis genre, but that’s okay…I trust Hugh Jackman to pull off a beautiful “Bring Him Home.”

Sorry to everyone who doesn’t understand my references…like I said, obsessed.

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I spy...Bernadette the elephant!

I spy…Bernadette the elephant!

By some miracle, our quaint, two-person tree has a lot of presents under it! Thanks, family! I also might have spoiled BF a little bit considering we’ll be without our families.

And since this is my first Christmas without my family/siblings, I’m filling that void with excessive spending on him. And cookies. You’re welcome, BF.

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Running. Oh yea, that. I’m still running. When I feel like it, which somehow has been a lot considering the whole cold/dark/rain/misery state we in Washington currently face. As I’ve said before, I love me some winter running. I’m also participating in Nicole’s Runcember, so there’s a little accountability factored in as well 🙂

My last race of the year will take place on, literally, the last day of the year. I’m running the Yukon Do It half-marathon with a group of co-workers on New Year’s Eve, and it promises to be cold, flat, and fun. In a perfect world, I would tackle my sub 1:40 half goal…but we’ll see. Honestly, I’m still a little shocked at my Seattle half time, and the thought of running faster than 7:40 miles is a little horrifying at this point. But, who knows. It’s a much easier course than Seattle, and with any weather luck I suppose there’s a chance.

I guess what I’m saying is…I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t happen, but if there’s a chance, I’ll go for it.

…….

That’s all for now folks. Basically, I’m relishing the cookie-and-winter running filled lifestyle right now. I’ve got approximately 1.5 months left until I hit goal-marathon training HARD, so until then it’s rest days and holiday cocktails galore. I suppose someday I’ll detail all my goal-marathon ambitions for you someday, but it’s been far too long since I’ve had a cookie, so I think it’s time to…as they say…”hit the sauce.”

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails ("candy canes") and this is literally "the sauce." I'm amazing sometimes.

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails (“candy canes”) and this is literally “the sauce.” I’m amazing sometimes.

Tell me things about you!!

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?

anything with peanut butter, chocolate, or sprinkles.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Do you love or hate winter running?

A Little of This, a Little of That.

Apparently when I’m not posting race reports, being injured, or training for a race, I have nothing to blog about—hence my absentee-ism last week. I still don’t have much in store today, however there are a few fun/random things to point out from this weekend.

Recently, I feel like I’ve been back and forth between do-everything-possible-in-two-days weekends and do absolutely nothing weekends. This weekend was more of the latter, and it was highly enjoyable.

Seriously, I felt like all I did was workout and veg out. Repeat. Which is just fine, because if there’s anything I love more than a long workout on the weekend, it’s the lazy-session that happens afterward.

So here are some highlights from my stellar do-nothing weekend.

16 Mile Run on Saturday

Month-old photo added for detail. I did wear this hat though...

Lie. This is a month-old photo added for detail. I did wear this hat though…and a braid.

16 is the furtherest I go when I’m not marathon training. And guess what? It’s still hard and still takes a long time.

This run was fine. I felt good, with the exception of the strong headwind for over half the run…not to mention the indecisive rain which would start and stop the entire time. I lucked out though…there were very few non-raining periods of time the whole weekend.

Love you Seattle.

Also, I decided it didn’t matter that I was stupid-dehydrated and completely empty-stomached beforehand. Can someone please show up at my house on Saturday mornings and tell me to not be such a huge asshole about proper running necessities?

Finished in 2:14, 8:18 average. Everybody wang chung tonight.

Saturday night, BF and I ventured into the world of real people and decided to see Argo.

01_argo_ipad

Good stuff. Highly recommended…particularly if you’re interested in our ongoing issues in the Middle East. There’s also a strong presence of early ’80s mustaches in the movie, which is apparently all the rage right now.

#hipsterthings

The movie was not seen, however, before injesting some very important sustenance…

My one true love.

Photo lie #2. This is from a year ago, when I was better at taking photos. But this is what I ate on Saturday. Marry me, Chipotle.

Chipotle > everything else.

Sunday was essentially the same scenario, with a few twists added.

And by twists, I really just mean I went to double spin classes and watched my real TV instead of the big screen. Originality people, have to keep things exciting.

Kidding, I kind of suck.

After spinning for an incredibly boredom-inducing amount of time, I felt a little unsatisfied, so when BF suggested I come along on his run…I changed from one pair of sweaty clothes to another and hopped right to it. 5.4 miles later, and I was a happy little clam. Apparently being outside is always better than being inside, even when “outside” means wind, rain, cold, and dodging little children and skate-boarding teenagers.

We spent a little time reading and people watching at Starbucks afterward, grocery shopped like champs, and returned to the nest for one of my favorite activities of the entire year…

photo

BF: “Do you want an action shot, or for me to smile at the camera?” RB: “BOTH!”

I know every female screams about loving “the most wonderful time of the year,” but I’m very serious when I say I could majorly throw down in a “who loves the holiday season the most” contest.

(pause for amusing image)

I turn into a giggling, jolly mess during Christmas…and that’s on top of my overly-enthusiastic personality.

Needless to say, last night was the best.

 

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The finished product! I love our tree. Also, I spy…not one but TWO Belle ornaments.

Seriously, the best.

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far and have now read all about my hum-drum weekend.

Two final things to add are that we’ve decided to go Monday-Friday this week without spending any money. Exceptions are Christmas presents for OTHER people, and I suppose paying any bills and such.

It’s a great exercise…but will be interesting to see the results. I panic if I think I don’t have the ability to buy a snack if needed…

And finally, if you don’t already watch or haven’t heard from the 6,487 people shouting about it…

Homeland.

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Watch. Now.

If you don’t have Showtime, go buy it and enjoy wasting enhancing the next week of your life watching every episode. Then come and thank me afterwards. Then go and watch all the Dexters while you have the subscription. Best investment you’ll ever make.

Also, where in the world has Claire  Danes been since Romeo and Juliet Leo-style?

Please tell me about the mediocrity in your lives so I can feel that I’m not alone. Argo? Homeland? Run? Rain? Chipotle? If you so much as mention Q’doba…I will find you, and you will regret it.

 

 

 

Chicago, the rest of it.

It was a whirlwind trip to Chicago, and before we were even halfway through it—I told BF that I wished we had an extra day.

I don’t know if it’s that I didn’t know enough about Chicago, or I was simply distracted by the whole marathon thing, but I truly underestimated the magnitude of this city.

Hello Chicago!

It is HUGE. Next to New York, I don’t think I’ve ever been so amazed by the size of a city. The juxtaposition with the crystal blue Lake Michigan was such a sight to be seen as well, and I fell pretty hard for this city. (I know, I know…the city-by-the-water thing shouldn’t get me so giddy any more, but I still can’t get enough.)

unrelated Friday night airport bar photo..

We arrived LATE Friday night, and after a little sleeping in, a 2.5 mile treadmill run, and a trip to the complimentary breakfast, we were off on the Blue line of the “L” headed toward downtown.

Ever since I studied abroad in Europe, I have a very deep affection for efficient and accessible public transportation—and Chicago was definitely not lacking in this regard. It was so easy to navigate our way around, and I can imagine you wouldn’t even need a car if you lived in the city.

Once in the city, we dropped our bags off at a friend’s apartment, and we jetted to the expo. I’m not going to do this expo justice in words or photos, but just take my word for it when I say that it was enormous. They held it in the convention center, and they used up every last space available. Hundreds (yes, hundreds) of booths were set amongst the packet pick-up areas, and you definitely needed a map to quickly find anything.

Other than a few samples we grabbed along the way, there were only two booths I wanted to visit: Runner’s World and Girls on the Run. And look who I found at the RW booth…

Hal Higdon! This meant so very little to most people I tell, but most runners I know have at least heard this guy’s name. He was much friendlier than he appears in the photo as well.

They also had food everywhere, music, shoe testing, etc. It was a party. Although it would have been fun to hang out more, I wasn’t really in the business of staying on my feet for too long—plus we had more of Chicago to see!

With not a ton of time left between the expo and dinner, we decided to head up the Hancock Center. The building has 94 floors, and unlike the Sears tower—it’s free! The views at the top were unreal, and it helped us get a sense of just how huge Chicago really is.

View from floor 94.

Looking out at Lake Michigan.

As I said in the last post, BF made me dinner as opposed to going out. It was simpler, cheaper, and given the amount of carb-hungry runners flooding Chicago restaurants that night—I’m glad we avoided the crowds.

On Sunday, I decided to jog around the city to explore a bit. After 26.2 miles, I figured I ought to include BF in all my sight-seeing, and we went to the infamous Chicago Cloud Gate. I actually knew it was “the bean thing,” but I guess that’s not accurate.

This was the only tourist attraction I actually knew about before coming to Chicago, and I have to say it was pretty dang cool. I was also riding a marathon high and chowing on donut holes, so that helped with the “omg so impressive!” factor.

Where’s Waldo (RB/BF)?

Reflection photo! I told BF he wore the least obvious marathon spectating outfit in the word. He agreed. He also didn’t take up my offer of an enormous pink shirt. Rude.

BF told me I smelled, so I decided to shower before we ventured out to see more things. We had a bit of a time crunch before we had to get back on the train to head to the airport, so we narrowed our exploration down to two things: the Navy Pier and pizza. I really wanted to go on the architectural boat tour, but there wasn’t time—and admittedly I cared more about cheese and crust than pretty buildings.

The Navy Pier was definitely cool, and I loved being close to the lake and seeing all the different boats. Because the pier juts out so far into the lake, we were able to see a lot of the skyline.

Stop your showing off Chicago, you’re making everywhere else look bad.

 

Now comes to only disappointment from the trip…

So, we had just enough time to get to our chosen deep dish joint, eat, go back and get our things, and head to the airport. As we sat down at the restaurant (Ginos East of Chicago), and we ordered our delicious deep dish selection…our waitress informed us that the deep dish took SEVENTY-FIVE minutes to make, so we might want an appetizer. We didn’t have 75 minutes, and so we mournfully opted for the regular thin crust instead.

boring

I realize to a normal human this is a very first world problem…but for two people who were intent on Chicago pizza (one of whom just ran a marathon), this was equivalent to a small pet dying. Sure, thin crust was fine…but this was definitely a disappointment. Don’t worry, I still ate more than half.

Delicious 312 beer helped *a little*.

However, the good thing about missing things while visiting a popular destination is that it gives you a reason to go back. Chicago is definitely a city I’d love to see more of, and I’m very keen on visiting again.

By the time we got to the airport and were waiting for our flight…I was beyond spent. Two nights of little sleep in a row, plus a marathon, plus lots of travelling= a very, very sleepy bird. I can’t sleep on planes too well either, so needless to say after a FOUR hour plane flight home, I was ready for some horizontal time.

Note to self: when travelling for a marathon, don’t be a hero and take the next day off work.

The travel exhaustion, however, was insignificant compared to how great the rest of the trip was.

You put on a good show Windy City, thanks for being awesome.

In a non-related but kind-of-related sidenote, I am almost  pain and soreness free today from the race on Sunday. It’s kind of a miracle, and I credit it to all the walking necessary afterward. That—and all the rest I allowed/am allowing myself before and after the marathon. I also have zero blisters, very little chafing, and all my toenails in tact. Little victories…I accept them all.

However, the combination of little sleep and the marathon has resulted in a fairly heavy cold I’m currently sporting. But, I’ll take a sore throat and headache  if it means I get a race like Sunday’s any day. Does that make sense? I’m sick, don’t judge.

I might try running today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week…who knows. Right now, I’m soaking in some bonafied laziness right now. On Monday, instead of a “shake out swim” or “shake out walk” I decided a “shake out grilled cheese and chocolate” was a much better idea. That theme continues through today…and I could care less.

Have you been to Chicago? What did you love most about it? Would you have been as sad about the pizza as we were? Do you think I overreacted? Mom, you don’t get to answer the last question…

Not An Afternoon Person

You always hear people say, “I’m not a morning person,” or “I AM a morning person!” It’s normally one or the other, few in-betweens.

Rarely do you hear people discuss their preferences/aversions for other times of the day.

Well, I am here to officially state my most recent self-realization:

I am NOT an afternoon person.

In fact, I’d venture to say that I rather dislike the afternoon, and I’d be fine if we just skipped over it.

Pretty positive that you all have guessed by now that I am 100% a morning person. Not only do I preference the morning for running, but I just generally enjoy the energy and promise that comes in the earlier hours. I realize that this is certainly in my nature, and for many people—no matter how hard they try—will never be morning people. Such as my own sister, or this girl. This is no fault to them—and in fact, their productivity at the hours including a “PM” in the title really impresses me.

So let’s talk about why, to me, the morning is spectacular and afternoons suck.

I now pronounce you oatmeal and PB. You may now be consumed by Robyn,

An obvious starting point…breakfast. Breakfast is THE BEST and while I enjoy every time I get to feed, breakfast is always my favorite. Several of my favorite foods are of the breakfast variety, and I’m pretty sure there is no one on Earth who dislikes going out to breakfast. And BRUNCH? Don’t even get me started.

Second, the running. With ever present variables involved with running—namely weather, traffic, and time—the morning consistently proves to be a superior time to get some miles in.

There is very little traffic (aka: stoplights are just pretty lights to look at rather than obey), the temperature is typically cooler and calmer (rain in the PNW tends to hold off in the AM hours), and once you’re done—YOU’RE DONE. No waiting and waiting and waiting throughout the day to run after work, when you’re already ready to crawl into bed.

Or at least—that’s when I’m ready to crawl in bed. Or watch Gossip Girl. Or better yet—a combination of the two with a jar of PB.

Generally, I’m just more productive in the morning. I answer more emails, I stay on task, and I’m generally in a better mood. Yes, this could be a direct result of the fact that I run in the morning—but I think it’s more in my hardwiring than anything else.

Self-photography at 5:30 am—obviously productive things are happening.

So between the hours of 4:45 am (peachy wakeup time, eh?) and, oh, let’s say 1:00 PM—I’m a machine. It’s amazing the amount of things I can accomplish in this time frame, particularly before 8 am. I am typically worked out, showered, dressed, breakfasted, commuted, and at my desk by 8. And on days when I consider putting a bra on an accomplishment (see: all Sundays in the winter), this seems somewhat impressive.

So why, then, after 1 PM does my day start to suck? Honestly, I don’t really know—but slowly but surely, between 1 and 5, my productivity, energy, and attention span start to spiral in a bottomless pit of death. Around 3:15 I start imagining pajamas, horizontal positioning, and a bag of trail mix. That fantasy gets more elaborate as the minutes tick by, and when I think it’s finally time to peace out to Lazyland, it’s only 3:31.

Now, there is a very obvious explanation for this phenomenon: I wake up in the deep buttcrack of dawn, so obviously my energy teeters as the day progresses. Kind of true, but not entirely the reasoning.

You see, around 6, I start to perk up again—as if by some afternoon-turned-evening miracle, the pit of despair has spat me back out into the real world. Once the afternoon is over, I turn back into a milder version of my morning self and can generally maintain some semblance of a functioning person until bedtime.

Also, dessert comes during this time of day, an obvious incentive for some mood-boosting.

So why so much happiness and glitter in the morning, muddy sloth-like behavior in the afternoon, and normalcy in the evening?

My justification: I am not an afternoon person.

Tell Kristin Bell we can be friends.

Just like so many people aren’t morning people, I’m declaring myself not an afternoon person.

I know that a lot of people experience that 2 pm slump that 5 Hour Energy loves to capitalize on, but this is a whole new level of lethargy. It’s really a general hatred for these hours of the day—and while I know it’s important to appreciate the time we’re given because it’s fleeting and blah blah blah…I just really would rather fast-forward through these hours of the day. And not just work days—no, this is a general statement about every day.

The only thing these hours are good for is optimal sun exposure in the summer, and otherwise—they do nothing for me.

What spawned all this afternoon-hating, you may be wondering? Well, in an out-of-character move I decided to move my run from yesterday morning to the PM hours. Normally, if I bail on a morning workout—I take it as a rest day. But no, I went the fateful route of deciding to postpone my run in favor of more sleep. The extra sleep was nice—but when I was grumbling and cursing my way through my PM run yesterday, I gladly would have taken less sleep over that misery.

Seriously it BLEW, and I don’t know how in the world so many of you workout in the afternoon. I mean, hat’s off for sure, because to me that takes about 6,000x more energy than rolling out of bed and sweating in the AM. It took me oh probably 6.5 miles to finally be like, ok—I guess this isn’t too bad, but believe me it took a lot of angry thoughts before I made it to that point.

So, I’ll stick to my morning rituals, and accept the fact that I’m useless human from 1-5 pm.

Or I’ll get 5 Hour Energy to sponsor me.

WHAT ARE YOU? Afternoon or morning? Night owl only? High on life 24 hours a day?