May 31, 2012

Thought for a Thursday: Gratitude

Today, I am practicing my gratitude…

by being thankful for this crazy mutt

I got home from class today, and he was excited to go outside like he usually is when I leave him cooped up all day because Music Man is gone.
Well… after we got back inside, I  noticed he already went to the bathroom.
In the middle of my living room floor.
At least I think he went to the bathroom.
He ate most of the evidence, but left a beautiful stain for me.
JJ has attachment issues. A year ago spring when we were living with my parents,  Music Man was gone all week working out of town and I was commuting. JJ developed separation anxiety (or so we think…I’m not about to take him to a dog shrink.) He would oh so casually leave tiny bits of evidence of his messes. Personally, I’d leave the whole thing. Why go through the torture and eat it at all if you’re still going to leave stuff behind?
It was a wonderful couple of weeks.
Then we moved, got settled in, and life was fine. Until we changed up His Royal Highness’s schedule.
And we’re back to being depressed.
You thought I missed Music Man?
You clearly haven’t met our greyhound.
Despite the lovely little present that months ago would have made me livid, I stopped, gave him a look, tousled his ears, and played a nice little game of  tug of war.
Because Grace reminded me how nice it is to have another heartbeat keeping me company.
Thought for your Thursday: Do you have a pet/friend/situation that has done something to you lately that just made you livid? How did you handle it? With or without grace?  Usually I’m the without, but tonight, that was a landmark for me.
Seek Peace. Choose Joy.

May 30, 2012

Weakness Wednesday: Series of poses

So... tonight's Weakness Wednesday is the last post for the 30 Day Yoga Challenge, but fear not, I shall be continuing on with my yoga!
It's been a great month of yoga, and now that I'm back in school, I definitely need yoga in my life again.

I decided to do a series of poses tonight--for relaxation and loosening. My muscles are TIGHT after two runs today.
One of the videos I chose was How Yoga Can make You a Better Athlete by Tara Stiles. It's a short video, but a good one hitting a lot of the poses I like/need:
Hero Pose, Cow-Face Pose, Pigeon Pose, and a session of Alternate Nostril Breathing

So without further ado, here it is. 


Hope you relaxed well today! I did, and now its off to sleep well.
Seek Peace.

Wednesday? When did you get here?...And suggestions needed.

What a day.***
Waking up early to run didn’t happen.
Had to get some more snuggle time in before Music Man left at the crack of dawn.
So we snuggled. He got up and shaved.
He left.
I caught the train.
Had a little coffee.
Started my novel. (no big deal)
Then I ran.
2 miles actually.
And surprisingly I looked like this.

Then I realized my smile was off. That’s what happens when the other half leaves.
But THEN I realized I just ran some hard core miles.
So my smile came back.


Most likely because I ran on this.


It’s my new wintertime lover. I’ve never heard of this type of treadmill before, nor ran on one so I gave it a whirl.
That whirl felt like I was running outside. I had spring to my step on a machine. The treadmill might not be so evil after all.
Ps…this is my gym now.


It’s like cardio heaven (This is only one cardio section…didn’t want to be too much of a creeper.)
4 different types of treadmills to choose from, plus I had a choice of tall or short. Seriously. There were treadmills for all of us!
3 types of elliptical-y machines, row machines, and a few other machines that I’m not quite sure what body part they work.
Ok. So it’s not really a gym per say but a ginormous rec center.
Still heavenly.
And there’s even an entire section dedicated to ab work.


Where I used the second evil contraption


to do this


Sexy legs. I know.
And hard core planks


I promise I’m doing a plank here. (I was trying to take pictures of the workout while still doing more work than messing with my camera.)
I actually really love the bosu ball for ab work. You can do all sorts of exercises and target different areas of the ab. Hmmm…I think I feel a series coming on.
Then I sat through class, caught the train home, and ran another 2.5 miles.
There’s just something about running on the day he leaves. It refocuses my mind, honestly.
Yes, I miss him, and yes it’s only the first day, but running… helps me get past that.
Dinner was weird tonight because I forgot to lay stuff out, and I HATE cooking just for one.
I had some weird cravings too.

No worries. Definitely no baby-on-the-way cravings.
Just weird-I-miss-him-don’t-want-to-be-lame-and-cook-for-one type of food.
And I only had like 5 gummy worms, so I’m considering it healthy.
Ok. Ok. I can only blog so long to avoid studying for my test.
Sorry for all the tangents. My mind may be focused off of him, but it’s not focused elsewhere.
Have a good night everyone!

Passing the Baton: What sort of suggestions do you have to keep myself busy while the hubster is gone? Any good workouts to try? Crafts? Books? I’m up for suggestions!
***Disclaimer. I know it may seem like I write/whine a lot about the hubster being gone for Army duty and that I miss him extremely much (and it might get worse over the course of the next 3.5 weeks.) But please don’t judge me. I’m a writer. It’s how I deal with my emotions. And being an Army Wife… it’s not like the Lifetime show. Hate to break it to you. There’s not that much drama, but there is a lot of missing involved even if he’s just in the states. It’s kind of like when you move away from your best friend after high school/college. You just feel a bit lost and not sure who to talk too. So, I talk to the blogosphere. And yes,  I do know that I got into this military life willingly when I married a soldier. So you don’t have to remind me.
If I annoy you, don’t read my blog. It’s ok. I’ll deal.
Seek Peace. Choose Joy. Find Strong.

May 29, 2012

A few stolen moments...

Please don't think I'm gross, but I didn't shower today.
I didn't work out, either.
I even set my alarm for 4:45 so I would have enough time to do both before catching the train to class.
But I woke up, changed my alarm, and curled back up with Music Man.

Please don't think I'm lazy either.
I have a valid reason for both.

I am an Army wife, and Sgt Music Man leaves tomorrow for a month.
It's not an official deployment but a month long training exercise.
And he will  be in the States so we can talk.
But still.

I skipped running and even showering this morning because curling up with the hubby for a few extras minutes is always better.
Those are the moments I hold onto. Those are the moments that make me realize what's important in life. Yes, I love running and yes, I shower on a daily basis, but if I can squeeze in a few extra moments of snuggling, in lieu of skipping a few things, then I always will.
I am an Army wife, after all.
And most times, these last few moments are the best of all. Shower or not.


*disclaimer ...this post via phone app why snuggling on the couch for even more stolen moments

Luna Review Series 1: Luna Bars

Today starts the Tell it to Me Tuesday, and I’m starting it right: with a three week review series of Luna Bars.
A couple of weeks ago, I contacted the public relations coordinator at Cliff bar and just asked if they ever worked with bloggers for reviews. Wouldn’t you know that they do?
Now you all know my love obsession with Luna, but surprisingly, there were several flavors that I hadn’t tried yet, mainly because for some reason our local stores don’t carry all the flavors.
So, I got a box in the mail of the flavors I hadn’t tried yet, mostly some of the newer ones.
Todays’ review is on the Luna Bar, and the flavors I have dubbed cookie bars.

Before I hit the review, here’s what LUNA has to say about the bars:
Created by and for women, LUNA bars were the first bar just for us, with the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. Wholesome nourishment and delicious indulgence, they are made with 70% organic ingredients and just plain yummy!
They are also

  • High in calcium, folic acid, vitamin D, and iron (the Core 4)
  • Rich in antioxidants A, C, E
  • Contain 9g protein, 3g fiber
I received the Chocolate Chunk, but just happened to have the Peanut Butter Cookie, and Chocolate Dipped Coconut around.

Peanut Butter Cookie
I haven’t actually had the chance to try this one before last weekend. The PBC is not one of the first flavors, but it’s not the newest flavor either. I stumbled across it at my local Kroger’s and thought to myself perfect timing.

Luna describes it as peanut buttery delight with hints of creaminess and a light peanut crunch. I describe it as delicious.
I was super busy writing and researching on Saturday morning, so by the time I tore myself away from the computer, I hadn’t had breakfast yet. Enter, the Peanut Butter Cookie.
It has 180 calories, 6g fat, 26g carbs, 3g fiber, and 9g protein. I think I ate it around 10, and then didn’t eat lunch until late afternoon. It held me over until then.
Usually, I’m more of a sweet breakfast person than savory, and on the weekends, I don’t always get up at the crack of dawn so my breakfast pattern is off. Luna fits in perfectly.
This bar reminded me of a fancied up version of a rice crispy treat. When your mom made them for you as kids, did she ever throw peanut butter in there? Mine did occasionally as a treat, and I’m thinking the Luna PBC bar is like the grown-up healthy version of that snack.
It’s more crispy than other Luna bars, which I really liked. And the bottom is covered in that peanut buttery delight.
Um delicious.

I most definitely recommended this bar for either a quick breakfast or even mid-morning snack. You won’t be disappointed in the flavor, especially if you’re a PB lover like myself.
This is definitely a believe ‘em, and  it gets a 9.5*

Next up is the Chocolate Dipped Coconut
The PR coordinator offered to send me this flavor, but luckily, my local grocery store carries this flavor.
The CDC is a fairly newer flavor, as in, two bars ago (I think) and since chocolate and coconut is one of my favorite flavor combinations, I pretty much have been snacking on this flavor since it came out.
Luna describes it as a deliciously decadent combination of toasted coconut and chocolate.
I call it the healthy version of that one girl scout cookie that’s oh-so-delicious-yet-so-not-healthy because it tastes just like a Samoa cookie to me.
Which pretty much means I’m in love.

The CDC has 190 calories, 7g fat, 25g carbs, 3g fiber, and 9g protein. So, a little bit higher on the calorie count that the PBC, but it’s worth it if you like coconut (you’re missing out Wonder Woman!)
This bar for me is more of an afternoon snack-pick-me-up kind of treat. It’s got the nice, oatsy crisp bite to it, (but definitely not too protein-y or fiber-y tasting) with a solid layer of chocolate on the bottom AND swirls on top. Not to mention the caramel like glaze and toasted coconut so kindly covering the top surface. I mean, just look at it. Doesn’t just looking make you feel guilty?
But that’s the best part.
This one definitely tends to be a little bit more sweet than the other bars I have tried, but, again, my sweet tooth it happy. I’d recommend a good glass of water instead of a Frappe with this one though. Don’t want to overload yourself.
This is definitely a believe ‘em, and  it gets a 10* (10.5 if I could…it might just be in the running for my favorite flavor right now)

Last up is the Chocolate Chunk
This is one of Luna’s newest bar flavors and they describe it as their nutritious take on the classic chocolate chip cookie with big, mouth watering chunks of dark chocolate.
It carries 180 calories, 5g fat, 26g carbs, 3g fiber, and 9g protein.
So a little healthier than your typical bakery cookie.
I really was not sure what to expect with this bar because I’m currently trying to perfect my own chocolate chip cookie. But I was pleasantly surprised.
When I opened the wrapped, it smelled like a cookie. And let me tell you, I was commuting on a smelly public bus. But I still got that whiff of chocolate chip cookie.
I could immediately tell that it met the promise of being full of chocolate chunks, and unlike other Luna bars, there was no icing/glaze layer.

After a few bites, I realized it wasn’t entirely like a homemade cookie, but it was in the running. I mean, it had a really good aftertaste, which for me was important. There wasn’t any lingering protein/fiber/fake flavor.
I didn’t want to vomit the flavor back out. I actually tasted like I had eaten a cookie (I know… weird explanation, but if I just said it was good, would that make you want to try it?)
Unlike some of the other Luna bars, I found this one to be a tab bit dry. it could be because there isn’t any chocolate glaze on the bottom of the bar, but the chocolate chunks really helped with the dryness. They were everywhere!

I mean, here’s the thing. The other side of me is a baker. I love my sweets. But, too much isn’t a good thing especially when I’m training. Yet, my sweet tooth needs fed practically every day. And since I’m in school again, what’s better than an after school snack of milk and cookies?
Oh, you know… my health.
So, this bar is definitely my new go-too
I get that chocolate chip cookie aftertaste my sweet tooth needs. I mean, I feel like I ate a cookie (by my taste buds) but my mind/stomach knows it was so much better for me.
it’s filling enough for an afternoon pick-me-up, and I can hold on until dinner without the guilt.
This is definitely a believe ‘em, and  it gets a 9*

That’s is for round 1 of my Luna reviews.
Up next week is the Protein bar.
Passing the Baton: What do you think of the LUNA bars in general? Have you tried any of these newer flavors? If so, how do you feel about/rate them? What’s your favorite flavor overall? 
* Disclaimer. I was not paid to write this review. I received some of the LUNA bars, fair and square, from the company. The others I purchased myself. All of the thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone based on personal tasting of the product. 100% honesty. As part of this series, LUNA was not promised a positive review, they just happened to get it.

May 28, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

So. After my first week back in school, I remembered why I was excited to do summer classes.
3 day weekends every week.
And with Memorial Day today, make that a 4-day.
Needless to say, it’s been a good weekend.

I spent Friday and Saturday glued to the computer doing homework. The overachiever in my kicked in, and I knocked off a lot of little work for the next few weeks.
Don’t worry. Music man worked all day, both days, so I didn’t ignore him or anything. And I won’t bore you with the details of my homework.


But we did head out Friday to see MIB 3 

I thought the first two were pretty funny, and this one was just as hilarious. Josh Brolin does an amazing job of the young K. I seriously thought he was a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones.

It provided some much needed laughs after a day at the computer screen. Sometimes, I just need movies like that.


Saturday I made friends with a moose.

And don’t worry about calling the MIB for my alien skin. Blame my stupid cell phone camera.

Music Man is headed out on Wednesday for another long spout of Army training. He’ll be gone for about a month, and is itching to get back into running with the rest of the brigade on post. So we stopped off at Scheels for some running shoes.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of a Scheels, but it is this crazy, mega, super sports store. Pretty much like a mall with only sport and fitness all under the same roof. The one in our area, which is the closet around for a good while, even has a ferris wheel in the building.
When it first opened last fall, I didn’t want to jump on the hype. I was fine with online shopping and the local sports stores.
But I caved.
Especially when this happens:


See. When I got into triathlons, all I had to swim in was my one piece speedo that I had from jr. high.
No lie.
Church camp and modesty and all.
But when speedo’s range around $80, and you’re a budgeter like me, you deal with the saggy swimsuit butt.

However, the see-through aspect, not even going to attempt that one.
So when I got into triathlons, I bought a two piece training suit so I could attempt to use the top as a bra for my cycle/run transitions.
But this whole quarter-life-crisis-abs-that-want-to-protect-the-nonexistent-baby-instead-of-looking-like-a-sixpack thing is sort of keeping me from the two piece.
Saggy butt vs saggy abs.
It’s a daily toss up.

Until Scheels and it’s $19.99 TYR deal saved the day.

Good-bye circa 1997 suit. Hello hot stuff blue.

It’s time for some swimming this week.

In addition to a new suit, I picked out the clippless pedals and cycle shoes I want, and a few jerseys and padded cycle shorts.
Now it’s just time to save up the $500.
Ok, not that much. (You’re learning I exaggerate, right?) But still.
I did  purchase my first Bondi band though.

Um. Awesome.
I tried it out on my run this morning, and it was the first headband I’ve tried that doesn’t slip.

I am in love.
Plus I love that they come in both colors/print or with writing. I can match them to any mood I want.

Sunday  was a good day of rest, some light reading, and a dvd in. We rented We Bought a Zoo, and I got more positive affirmation that I should become an adventure writer.
The movie told me.
Music man just gave me the stink eye.

Guess I’ll stick to blogging for now.

We celebrated Memorial Day right. My family came over for a nice cookout and some good, quality time.  Unfortunately, my own soldier had to pull a retail shift, but he heckled his boss and they let him come home early.
I made him man the grill.

But it was all his favorite foods today.
And I made him this:

Does that layer of Oreo goodness not scream LOVE to him?
At least that’s what I told myself.

It’s been a good weekend or rest and remembering.

Passing the Baton: How did you celebrate Memorial Day? Did you travel this three day weekend, or work? Favorite summertime/grill food? –We’re definitely a brats and ice cream kind of household.

Seek Peace. Choose Joy. Breathe Hope.

Motivating Monday: We Pause

Who kept the faith and fought the fight;
The glory theirs, the duty ours.
-Wallace Bruce

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
-Joseph Campbell

The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree.
-Thomas Campbell

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.
-Francis A. Walker

For love of country they accepted death...
-James A. Garfield

The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men
-Minot J. Savage

Thank you

May 25, 2012

A little Fitness Weekend Reading

Am I ever glad it’s Friday. No classes today, just homework.
Blogging in my time out.

So here’s a little more reading for you this weekend.


1. Ready to be a streaker? Yeah, me either. No so much in the way you’re probably thinking of. But, if you’re in between training and want to try keeping up a good run streak, you should head over to Runner’s World and join their Summer Running Streak 2012. It runs from Memorial Day (My 28th) to July 4th this year. All you have to do is run one mile a day. A pretty good form of streaking if you ask me. I don’t think I’m going to sign up this year with the way my schedule is, but I’ll still be running. If you do sign up,  use #RWRunStreak when sharing with @runnersworld on twitter. Keep connected with others and encouragement is bound to happen!

2. How many times do you get the weird look when you tell people you run...for fun? Or that you run marathons for fun? I’ve gotten it a few times over the last couple of years, but I always give them a weird look right back and say something to the extent about how I’m going to live longer because I run.Well, this past week the New York Times Well Blog asked if marathon running was bad for your heart. I was super interested in the article because every other running and heart related article I’ve read always says that running is great for cardio. But then things happen, and every once in awhile someone will die during a race, or from complications in training. But is it because of so many logged miles? Is running the culprit? Not necessarily. Like any sort of physical activity, it’s always best to get doctor’s clearance before starting, especially if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Nonetheless, it’s a good article with some interesting info. Check it out.

3. As important as it is to get checked out by the doc before you start running, how many of you runner’s steer clear of him once you’ve started running? I know it took me a bit to see my sport’s doc one my leg started hurting. And even now I’m tired of not being able to be diagnosed or fixed, so I just quit with the appointments and keep running through the pain. Which sometimes, I don’t even take the time to notice. Interesting that a new review form German researches talks about the pain tolerance in athletes while training. The Sweat Science blog on Runner’s World  posted some quotes from the full review, and I totally have bullet point number three down. “While athletes showed increased pain tolerance, they didn't show any difference in pain threshold (the level of stimulus at which they start perceiving pain). In other words, it's not that athletes don't feel pain -- they feel it the same as everyone else, but they've learned to cope with or ignore it.” I’ve got the coping mechanism down!

4. I’m pretty sure if you already do yoga you don’t really need this list. And if I could do my job convincing you, you wouldn’t need it either. But here’s just a few more reasons why, if you’re an endurance athlete, yoga is AHmazing for your body: Why every Athlete should do Yoga. Sometimes I just like to read articles/list like these to convince myself again why yoga would be a good thing for my day. Print it out. Hang it up on your mirror. Just tell yourself to do yoga. I promise it will feel good.

Alright folks. A short list today, but I’ve had my nose stuck in education books for the most part. Besides, it’s Memorial Day weekend. Get outside, cookout, spend time with family. But don’t forget the most important part of this weekend. To remember those who gave their lives for our freedoms.
If you get the chance to thank a soldier/veteran this weekend, do it.
I promise you that will feel better than yoga.

Picture source:

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Find joy

May 24, 2012

Thought for a Thursday: Gratitude

Since my blog is about being honest, here goes nothing.

I really don’t want to be grateful today.

I think I forgot how to run this week.



I need this today. I mean, I really need this today.

You all know I started school again this week, and taking summer intensives is hard. I’ve forgotten how hard cramming 16 weeks of class into 16 days is. And since I’ve been on pause from school for about two years, my mind doesn’t feel as fresh as it used too.  As academic as it used too. Which means that the test I bombed today, and the case study I failed really didn’t help my thinking. Nor did the fact that after I’m done with my classes for the day I just study. I haven’t had time for running.

So I’ve pretty much been full of self-doubt, and wondering if I should even become a teacher… if this is the right program for me… if I can really do this…if I’ll ever have time to train for a marathon.

What the crap.

I’m a triathlete.
I’ve finished four half-marathons.
I’m attempting my first marathon.
I do endurance like it’s nothing, and yet, after one week of class and a few grades, I turn to a puddle of mush.
I wallowed in my self-pity-my-brain-has-disintegrated-and-I’m-no-longer-smart attitude all day.

What the crap is wrong with me.

I’ll tell you what is wrong with me.
I’m not grateful.
I’m not thankful.

And I haven’t been all week.

The thought that I’m back in school…that I get the chance to be back in school didn’t even cross my mind.
I haven’t even stopped to think about, and revel in the fact that I’m back in school: a place I love.
Honestly, I shouldn’t be worried about a few failed (which is really just sub par C for me) assignments. I should be thinking how those failures are successes because it means I’m pushing my brain again.
I’m learning.
After all, a failed run is still a run. It’s a time I’ve used to learn something. It’s a time to make myself better.
Take Tuesday for instance. I met my RB late afternoon-ish, about 12 hours later than we usually run.
We did our 4 mile loop, of which only 30 minutes were spent running because it was a time of day I wasn’t used to running at, I was tired, it was super hot, and I was dehydrated.
A bad run?

I ran about 3 miles which means I ran. I finished something.
And I learned.
I need to run more in the afternoon to build my stamina back up.

And I definitely need to keep working on my hydration.
Did I wallow after that run?
most definitely not

So I’m done wallowing. It was a couple of stupid grades. Whatever.
Next week is a new week. New experience. New chances to learn.
Time to keep running.

Thought for your Thursday: Are you a wallow-er? Are you the type of person who has trouble accepting failure, or seeing the better side of failure? What do you do to get yourself back in the race? How do you shift your focus? How do you keep running?


Seek Peace. Find Strong.

May 23, 2012

Weakness Wednesday: Back again!

Have I mentioned that with these intensive, summer classes, I get to sit in lectures for 6 hours a day?
No, I haven’t mentioned it? Hmm... maybe I've just been complaining constantly to Music Man.

Well… let me just tell you: it creates havoc for my back.
You would think sitting would be much better than standing all day, but in fact, it doesn’t.

I get lazy.
I slump.
I already have back issues.
But there’s this new spot on my left side, middle back that is just killing me this week.
Sometimes I think it’s my kidney exploding.
Probably just the stupid classroom chairs.

Today’s Weakness Wednesday pose focus is most definitely the cat-to-cow sequence.
I love to open my yoga routines with these poses, and I seriously do them for about five minutes every time.
It’s a great sequence to open up my spine and to warm the muscles.
Plus I feel like it hits all areas: shoulder area, middle, and lower back.
And it’s really easy.

As you breathe in, arch your back like a cat. Then, exhale, drop your pelvis to curve you back, and look up.
Match the movement to your breath.
If you inhale/exhale slowly, you’ll get the much needed stretch/muscle warmup.
Here’s a 4-minute back sequence video as well. No cat-to-cow example, but I do like to sometimes begin my yoga sequences with these poses as well. This video would be a good warm-up for your 30 minute session of the day!

I’m off to do some yoga, then back to studying.
Namaste everyone!
Seek Peace.

May 22, 2012

Tell it to me (or you!) Tuesday

This post is short and sweet tonight as I have about 80 pages to read for class tomorrow.

I'm starting a new series, and I need YOUR help!!
Tell It To Me Tuesdays is going to be a place featuring YOU!

You = runner/fitness you
You = other you (non running life)
You = company/product.

I want to start taking time each week to highlight my readers, other bloggers who run, runners in general, and companies/products I believe in.

Tell it to Me Tuesdays are going to involve interviews, your stories, your accomplishments, and product reviews. But this only works with YOUR input.

So if you're a runner who wants to tell me your story, a reader who wants to let me in on your life, you just finished your 1st or 50th race, or a company who would like me to review your product, contact me at enduringtrigirl(at)gmail(dot)com

Nominations are also welcome, and I will be happy to seek those nominees out!

So Tell it to Me Tuesday and fill up my inbox!

May 21, 2012

Motivating Monday: Beginning


I’ve found that in running, I hate the first few steps.
My body hasn’t woken up yet from either a night of tossing and turning, or in the afternoon it hasn’t shifted from working and being sedentary for the day.
To be completely honest, I never want to start running.
Not on tempo runs. Not on speed work.
Not even on races.

But once I do start, I usually don’t want to finish.

I find this motivation 100% appropriate for today because today also marked my first day back at college.
I’m attending college again to complete my teaching certification, (I have an English degree that I suppose I’ll put to use) but for the program, I am technically considered an undergraduate.  

Just call me that fifth year senior.

I wanted to start this summer to get classes out of the way, and I actually like intensive work. It’s a whole lot of work in a short period of time, but I like condensing a semester down to four weeks. More freedom that way.
If it all goes well, meaning I pass and get all the classes I need to take, I’ll be student teaching by Fall 2013, and hopefully finding a job shortly after that.
It all seems fine and dandy and exciting, especially to a life-long learning nerd like me, but when I woke up this morning, I did not want to start school again.

I wasn’t ready to go back as an “undergrad.”
I wasn’t ready for this whole transitional phase where I’m not settled yet.
I wasn’t ready for nights of homework and less blogging.
I wasn’t ready to be one of the oldest people in the classroom.
But you know, it turns out I wasn’t.

I found out in my Ed Psych class today that the average age of the college student isn’t 19 like I thought, but 26.

So, older than me.

I guess it just means that there’s a whole lot of people out there not afraid to start something new again.

Why should I be any different? I mean, I hate taking those first few steps when running, but once I do, I feel great.
I feel strong.
I finished something.

My hope, with teaching, is to share my passion of children’s/young adult literature, with middle schoolers and teens. I want to inspire them to love reading, to be passionate about words, and to not be afraid to imagine and create. One of my favorite books is The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (Probably because Macy is a runner!)
Macy, the protagonist, is dealing with the grief of losing her father, and over the course of the novel, comes to terms with who she is as a girl. Macy used to run with her dad, but she was the one who found him lying on the ground after he had a heart attack as she went to catch up with him on their morning run. Throughout the novel, Macy thinks a lot about her dad and the things he used to say to her. And it never fails that the same sort of line she remembers always comes to mind when I think about starting something new,

be it running

or training

or school.

You know the first few steps are the hardest part.

And in telling myself that so many times, I’ve learned that the other side of beginning never fails me.
The other side of beginning is beautiful.

Passing the Baton: What have you started lately that you were iffy about starting? Do you have trouble taking those first steps on a run? What’s your mantra to get your feet moving?
Seek Peace. Find Joy. Breathe Hope.

May 18, 2012

Fit Links! Fit Links! Get ‘em While They're Hot!

Ladies and Gents! Welcome to the last early edition of the Friday Fit Links!
Today’s edition comes to you from one super happy Cait, and this is her last full day of work. Scary and joyous all at the same time.
But, without further ado,  time for some weekend reading.
1. If you’ve been reading, you know I’m not one to 1. pass up sweets and 2. supplement meals with shakes, bars, and meal replacements. But, I think I have found my new after workout meal and/or nightly dessert. I discovered Dashing Dish this week from pinterest. She’s an RN who now cooks and blogs full time, offering health coaching, specific meal plans, and some workout plans. Not only do most of her recipes looks absolutely delish, but she offers her Dashing DishTM Official Protein Shake. I’m more of a Greek yogurt shake based girl, so I’m interested in the cottage cheese base. I’m not picturing something very tasty, but the Cake Batter Protein Shake…I don’t know… I don’t think I can pass up trying it.
2. While on topic of food, a new study has shown a new link between drinking lots of coffee and living longer. I’m all for it, though, I have to stop my coffee consumption by ten or I won’t sleep at night. Which is what makes me wonder about this study. Too much caffeine = lack of sleep. Lack of sleep = decreased life. If a=b and b=c then  according to the law of Math, therefore, too much caffeine = decreased life which technically would null and void the new study, right? So since I’m a genius and just figured out that this new research isn’t sound, feel free to contact the New England Journal of Medicine . I’ll even let you have some of the credit.
But I’m still going to drink my 1-2 cups of coffee every morning.
3. At one point in my injury annoyance, the doc said my Piriformis was tight. I responded with, “there’s a reasoning behind the pain in my butt besides my brother?” Anyway, the Piriformous is this crazy muscle in our butts that can actually get really tight from running and can cause a lot of different issues: sciatic nerve pain (the P runs right over it and so when tight, presses down on the nerve), related pain in the IT Band, etc. And quite literally, a pain in the butt. It’s not always a tight muscle, either, that cause the issues, but a weak and over worked one.  Over the last couple of years my P has annoyed me, but I’ve learned to keep the flair down by rolling my butt around on a tennis ball and stretching the area, not too mention strengthening the area. What better reason to get my butt lookin’ good than to get rid of pain? I’ve found  pigeon pose is the best stretch for the area, but here’s a short series with a few more stretches that I also love. Via Sage Rountree and Runner’s World
4. A blogger who runs posted this via Twitter this week, and I found it appropriate given my The 25th Year quest. And so, I give you the Quarter Life Crisis Test. Never fear, I only scored a 4  so I “must be so magnificent at life that [I]have little to no cares in the world” Basically, I’m not having a quarter life crisis as I thought I was. However, as of today I am doing #2 (quitting my job to chase my dreams), #5 is a regular occurrence, the second part of #12 was a constant though this past year, and #13 is my everyday thought. But according to this test, I’m not having a crisis. I’ll just keep telling myself that.
5. Speaking of crisis, here’s one more reason I really need to get my anxiety under control. I was reading a few health articles on EmpowHer this week, and found this one interesting: Chronic Stress: A Major Suspect in Alzheimer’s Study Says. Not really something I want to hear 1. because I stress way more than I need too and 2. Alzheimer’s runs in my family. There’s a lot of medical jargon in the issue, but if you can past the language, it’s really interesting. It make me think more about how I must get a handle on my stress. Not only does it effect my life in the now, but it could play a major factor down the road. Alzheimer’s is something close to my heart because my family has been affected by it, and I think it’s one of the reason’s I’m a writer. I want to preserve memories as best I can.
6. Something else close to my heart is our military and our veterans. Now, I’m no good at fundraising, (I only sold those candy bars and meat and cheese trays to my family) but since I’m going to be tackling a first this fall with the marathon, I thought, why not go full force and try running for a cause? I haven’t officially signed up for either, but when I do, I think I’m going to be signing up to become an athlete for Team RWB. Their vision is to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat and exit their position. And that is something I believe in considering I have a veteran in my own life. I encourage you to check out Team RWB and support them!

7. Lastly, I am going to leave you with some humor. If you haven’t caught on to the viral sensation of the Hey Runner Girl Tumblr blog, then let me introduce you. 
That definitely just happened. A whole blog of Ryan Gosling talking to us runner girls. Not only is it a nice blog to look at, but it’s quite hilarious. Check it out. Have a laugh. Enjoy.
Alright readers, that’s it for today.
Have a good Friday!
Passing the Baton: Any fitness links you’ve read this week that you’d like to add?? I need some reading myself!
Seek Peace. Find Joy.

May 17, 2012

This one time..I married John Mayer

Remember that one time I mentioned my Music Man husband, and how I use nicknames just to keep my friends and family off the blogosphere.
This is why. I’m married to John Mayer.
That third person, he’s just a fan ok he’s, my real husband. Truth is, John professed his undying love for me this past Tuesday but I straight up told him, “John. You’re extremely talented, and super rich, but I’m married. We just can’t do this. I’m committed. I’m in love with you with my husband. I’m happily married to my own Music Man. Besides, this whole Bob Dylan-Montana Cowboy- haven’t-taken-a-shower-in-a-few-days-homeless- look isn’t my thing. I like the Star Wars nerds.”
So. Yeah. John Mayer isn’t my husband, but I did get to go to a listening party in Chicago Tuesday night and meet him. He’s real in the pic. Not wax. And he’s nice.
The party itself was for veteran’s and their +1. Jon is a big supporter of military veterans, and it was actually a really neat night. It’s nice to know that some celebrities actually care about something.

Thought for a Thursday: Gratitude

Music Man and I had the craziest thing happen to us this week. (I swear I’ll have a whole post dedicated to it soon.) Last Friday, he got a random email from the Student Veterans of America, Illinois chapter offering him +1 the chance to go to a listening party and meet and greet with John Mayer.
Now, Music Man and I have been Mayer fans since the beginning so we jumped at the chance. Except that it was in Chicago. At 4:30. On a Tuesday.
We were both working, I had a dentist appt, there was the question of money, etc. I started filling my head with all sorts of negative crazy thoughts instead of enjoying this crazy, good chance we could have.
So, we worked out our work schedules, cancelled the dentist appt, and realized that the whole thing was free. We just had to get there.

So we did.

Except, anxiety-driven me freaked out at the $28 public parking lots, getting there on time, spending more money then we really should. Etc.

I didn’t ruin the night, though I almost did..and often do thanks to my anxiety…but I couldn’t just simply be thankful.


Thought for your Thursday: Why is it always so much easier to go to the negative thoughts? Why do we (or some of us) have such a hard time immediately thinking positively about a situation instead of negative? Could being thankful, even for a ridiculous parking ticket, change the mood and banish the anxiety? What if we went one whole day where we were thankful for everything? If we wrote it down, kept a day journal, and no matter what happened, we said “thank you for this opportunity/moment.” Because honestly, we may be getting the moment. But think about the millions of those who aren’t.

May 16, 2012

My thumb is green… or would like to be

Number 5 on my The 25th Year list is to nurture an herb garden.

Well, you all know that a couple of weeks ago two of my really good friends surprised me with some gardening gloves, Rosemary, and Chocolate Mint. Those lovely ladies must read my blog or something.

That evening was the beginning of something beautiful.
Here, let me show you.

I spent last Sunday outside “gardening.” We have crazy landscapers around these parts and I wasn’t about to let them mow over my herbs, and kill them before I get a chance, so I’m attempting to pot grow them (and no, that has nothing to do with illegal substances). Plus, if my green thumb surfaces and I don’t end up killing these babies by the end of summer, I’m hoping to bring them inside to continue the gardening experience.

I had a lot of fun planting and nurturing these into their new home. In fact, I found it relaxing, and I now understand why my mom enjoys it so much.
Everything I planted is an herb that I use a lot in my cooking.
The yellow pot has Italian oregano, chives (transplanted from my mom’s garden) and parsley.
The turquoise pot has rosemary, another tiny chive plant, and the chocolate mint (which I cannot wait to try in some coffee or tea.)
And the green pot has cilantro, lemon basil, and lavender.
No more dried up, plastic bottle herbs for this gal!

I’m most excited about the little plant in between the pots though. It’s a purple pepper plant, which is supposed to produce purple bell peppers that are on the sweeter side. They take about 70 days to yield a crop, and I am most certainly counting down.

Who knew this city girl with the farmer brother would enjoy playing in the dirt?

Passing the Baton: Do any of you garden? What’s your choice? Flowers, veggies, or herbs? If so… any tips for this gal with the typically non-green thumb?

Seek peace.

Weakness Wednesday: Working on the Back

After a late night last night, I decided to curl up in bed and stay there as long as I could this morning. Suffice it to say, I didn’t get any yoga in before heading to work.

I didn’t get any in after work either. In fact, I’m sitting here blogging about yoga to pump myself up about my practice. I’m thinking a little something like this tonight

Ok. Not really. But someday I would seriously love to be able to hold that pose. I  mainly do yoga to release my muscles from all my training, but I also use it to help balance my crazy life and de-stress myself. But sometimes I get bored. So look at all the crazy balancing poses on pinterest and wish I was that cool.
Then I tell myself that maybe someday I’ll be able to focus enough on yoga and use it as a challenge to really find balance. Probably when my hamstring blows out and I’m forced to quit running forever.
But I’m not thinking about that tonight.
Instead, I think I’ll focus on bridge pose

Slightly more my style, a bit of a core workout, and hopefully some release to the trouble spot in my back.
Time to get practicing.


Passing the Baton: Do any of you suffer from chronic back pain? Or, are you like me and have a super tight lower back from running/lifting? If so, have you tried yoga? Any poses you like that help the hurt?