Goodbye 2011!

The past few days have been a time of serious reflection on this past year. This time last year I was so happy that 2010 was over because honestly, it’s not a year that I will ever miss. But 2011 on the other hand…if someone had told me on New Year’s Eve last year what the coming year had in store for me, I would have laughed at them.

I feel so immensely blessed to have the year that I did. It exceeded my wildest dreams and expectations, leaving me wanting more out of myself and life than I have ever wanted before. With the blessings came trials and periods of growth, but we know those make the good things so much sweeter.

This is my life, and I love it. I have never been this happy and excited about life as I am right now, and I only hope with the coming year that this zest and vigor continues to grow.

Last year I didn’t set goals or resolutions because I wanted whatever the year had in store for me, which included

Quality KU basketball watching with my momma

My 2nd-5th half marathons

Started going to a new church which has completely changed me inside and out

Spent lots of quality time with my family

I traveled near, far, high and low

I saw my best friend while she was in Seattle

and together we explored the Pacific Northwest

and became closer than we ever have in our eight years of friendship

I got uncomfortable

and even ran my first marathon

2011, you far exceeded anything I could dream, but in turn, have bigger dreams for 2012. I’ll share those with you later, but now I want to relish in how incredibly amazing this year has been, as well as all of the people in it. I have grown friendships and cultivated so many new friends in this year and I love each one of you SO much, I’ve had experiences (some good, some bad) that are making me into the person I am becoming. I have learned, loved and lost. 2011 was crazy and amazing, and such an incredible year.

With that being said, 2011, it’s time to say goodbye. The memories will last forever, but 2012 is coming and it’s my time to thrive.

Have a FUN and AWESOME New Year’s!

 

I’m a Streaker

No, not that kind of streaking, gosh! More of a workout streak of sorts. Typically, I workout 4-5 days a week, with a day of rest in between workouts because that’s what I like. Last week I was pretty sick (read: left bed only for necessities) and slept in longer increments than I have ever slept in my life. Come Wednesday and Thursday nights, sleep was hard to carry out because I had been snoozing most of the week.

Friday night I woke up at 5, drank some tea, and was going to try to go back to sleep. My body would not have it and I knew there was no way I could sleep more. The lightbulb in my brain went off and immediately I knew that I was having trouble sleeping because I had only worked out once last week (on Monday)…it was a huge duh moment for me when I realized how much working out actually helps me sleep. So for the first time in many months, I was on my way to the gym before 6am to hit the treadmill for 5 miles. All I wanted to do for the rest of Friday was sleep. Then comes Saturday morning, Christmas Eve…and I am up again at 5am. I knew that entire day would be dedicated to baking and eating food that is not high on the nutritional value chart, so again, I trucked to the gym before 6am for another sweat sesh.

Pause. How was your Christmas Eve and Christmas? Mine was completely wonderful and I loved spending the time with my family. This Christmas was different than what we normally do; we had a Feliz Navidad Fiesta for dinner on Christmas Eve and also opened presents instead of waiting until Christmas morning. I enjoyed this especially because I was able to sleep in past 10am on Christmas morning. My mom is a great fiesta-maker. Call her if you ever need the best queso ever

Dear Mom, please don't hate me for this šŸ™‚

We only got a couple of good snapshots from the night because we were busy dipping our night away and opening presents, as a good Christmas Eve should be!

I also found out that you can get a really cool picture of your Christmas tree while someone bumps into your elbow mid photograph

Tell me this is not so cool

Sadly, Christmas came and now it is over…I never like this week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I don’t know why but it’s always one of those ‘awkward weeks.’ Now back to the topic of streaking.

Sunday was another dippy, snacky, sugary, family filled day. It also happened to be in the 50’s on Christmas day and I will take that over a white Christmas ANY time! Since it was so nice out, I took it upon myself to go for a 3.5 mile walk to burn off some excess calories and make extra room in my stomach for more good food. This was day three of working out in a row. Who am I?

Monday morning I woke up and was pretty sure I had stored away enough food to not have to eat until summer, and Monday night I went to Zumba off all of those dips and cookies. Then Tuesday morning, Zumba is a regular thing for me. As much as I wanted to stay asleep, I made myself go and am glad I did…girl worked hard! It’s always a fun workout to shake your booty and pretend you’re a backup dancer for Pitbull or something. Right….right?

So there was my five day workout streak and I cannot remember the last time I ever did that. Yes, I train for marathons but no, I do not workout for almost a week in a row, I like my rest days. Today is definitely a rest day, but tomorrow I’m going out on one of my last non obligated trail runs because the weather is supposed to be amazing and I start training for marathon #2 next week.

I’ll be sharing my training adventures with you as I did for my first marathon, but this one will be different because I completely made my training myself and I’m doing things a little different this time, including the fact that this training is half a long as my training for Tulsa was (praise the Lord on high). I’ll go into that later this week or early next week.

Are you doing anything fun for New Year’s Eve? Can you eve BELIEVE it’s almost 2012??? What are some of your goals for the new year?

Merry Christmas Eve!

As I take a moment to clean the cookie dough from my hands, elbows, hair and clothes, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope you get to spend it exactly as you like, whether near or far, wherever you are! May it be filled with laughs, good (or bad…hopefully mostly good) food, people full of love and many good memories. From my blog to you, Merry Christmas!

Now I present to you the single girl’s Christmas card

A Real Warrior

This little boy inspires me. He’s the four year old son of a couple who I am friends with; it’s people like these that I will be running for in the very near future. Truly, with God, all things are possible. Never stop praying, never stop believing, never stop loving…

Cold Baby

Okay so last week I was talking about how much that first outdoor run since the marathon stunk. It turns out that first really was the worst!

If you know me, you probably know that I am cold about 95% of all time and would rather live in 80+ degree temperatures year round, and come winter time in the midwest it is not unusual for me to wear multiple pairs of pants and spend as much time in front of a space heater as possible.

After the marathon I wasn’t quite sure what I would be doing with December being an ‘unstructured’ month as far as having workout plans go and how/if I would detach myself from the dreadmill to run outside in the cold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took a couple of weeks for me to get running cabin fever; there was no way I could spend another hour running inside, with people all around while staring at ESPN on TV and listening to Pitbull on my iPod. While it helps me maintain fitness, this is not the form of running I enjoy. I also hadn’t completed a ‘long run’ of any sort since the marathon and had a really bad itch to get one in.

This past Saturday the low was only going to be in the mid-twenties, with temperatures looking to hit above freezing by 11am so I decided that Saturday was going to be my day. One of my biggest issues with cold weather running is that I don’t have enough cold weather running gear (which will be changing very soon), because I know proper attire can make or break a running experience.

I must say that 8 miles never felt so good. It took the first two miles to even get warmed up, but it felt so good to be back on the trails where I completed nearly all of my long runs while training for the marathon. The trails that I run are beautiful in the summer and fall, and now I know they are still as gorgeous in the winter. Instead of lush greenery, I was welcomes with bare trees, the sound of frost crunching under my feet while crossing a wooden bridge, and descending a hill overlooking a field blanketed in the morning frost…it was simply wonderful.

This is my kind of running.

I only saw a couple of sets of fellow runners while on those 8 miles (and none of which were women…ladies we need to represent!) and when I finished I felt like myself again.

I’m looking forward to more winter runs, because one thing I have realized is that I feel most like myself when I’m running. Until then, I’ll be cuddled under 6 blankets in front of my space heater.

First the Worst

Ok I just need to be honest here for a minutes while I bake some cookies for a Christmas party tonight! In case you are wondering, they are clean eating peanut butter cookies, with only FIVE ingredients! And they are so good. Not that I would know, because I definitely didn’t sample one. Or two. For breakfast.Ā The website is currently down but I will link you the recipes as soon as it comes back up!

Time to spill. All of my runs that I have done since the marathon have been on the treadmill. Which is only like 4 or 5 runs, I haven’t even been logging my workouts. Granted all of those runs have been an hour-long, don’t ask me why. I had just been wanting to do nothing but run for an hour on the treadmill, yes I am crazy, people told me this before I did Ā a marathon, I have accepted it.

Now this brings me to my title. first the worst. Between batches of cookies today (to run off the ones I sampled), since I didn’t have time (or the patience) to drive to the gym, I decided to put on my warm big girl pants and go for a run outside. It’s not even really that cold, mid 30’s but with 15mph winds. I didn’t expect it to be great, I just knew I needed to get it done. I ran around a 10:00/mile pace and my legs felt great, but cardiovascular-wise it was AWFUL. Ok maybe not that bad, but it was NOT fun.

Which reminds me, on Saturday I spent about 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym for the first time in a few weeks and the first five minutes felt like someone had put a brick on my chest, not fun. I was honestly asking myself, “Awhhh crap don’t tell me I lost my cardiovascular endurance after ‘going easy’ for the couple of weeks after the marathon!!!” I know it’s not totally gone, but I definitely am not ready to crank out any (pleasant) 18-milers in the immediate future. It is hard to deal with because I spent four months of hard training for the marathon and I need to maintain my fitness at the very least for Little Rock in March.

How does this relate to anything but me whining? This experience reminded me of what it was like when I weighed 300lbs nearly five years ago and could barely hold onto the elliptical for dear life for five minutes at a time. Whether you are 140, 160, 180, 200, or 300lbs, those first steps might not be the easiest or most fun. Maybe you were at the peak of your fitness and were sidelined with an injury and are so afraid of what it will feel like to go back, that you keep avoiding it. Let me tell you something– stop thinking about it and take those first steps. Those first steps are not fun, pretty or exciting, but without those first steps you won’t get to where you want to be. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes,

“You have to burn to shine.”

Happy Monday, ya’ll!

Wednesday Favorites

Yes I know for alliterationĀ purposes, ‘Friday Favorites’ would have been more appropriate, but it’s not Friday ya’ll, but we’re halfway there! Some of my current favorites

Cute Asian babies-um can I have one?? Thankfully my best friend is Asian so I can offer to babysit her children for free for life and never give them back.

Milk Jug Snowmen– my latest Pinterest project and SO easy and cute for a little front porch Christmas decoration!

My next Pinterest project– I can’t wait to make this!

Yummiest Indulgence– I start drooling at the words ‘mint’ and ‘chocolate’ lately and these look like my dreams.

My future Christmas cards– I imagine my children will look more like this than Asian and I can just hope the loving person who gets this card wouldn’t call child services on me. But still, totally adorable.

Best vacation this year- the main reason this trip was so fun was because I was seeing my best friend there. Regardless, I often think about my visit there and how much I loved it, I can’t wait to go back!

Favorite truth– yes yes and yes.

Favorite snack– I cannot get enough PEARS! Red, Anjou, Bartlett…you put a pear in front of me and I will eat it.

Favorite season– Christmas, naturally. Not just the holiday, but everything that surrounds it. Being with the people I love, the spirit in the air, the giving-ness of the holiday, what’s not to love?

What are some of your Wednesday favorites?