Monday, December 31, 2012

Spring marathon training

If there is one thing this holiday break has taught me, it's that I need to stop judging gold diggers, people who mooch off their parents their whole adult lives, or anyone else who has somehow finagled it so they have no job/responsibilities, because not working is the best thing ever. There are so many wonderful aspects, but I think that my favorite is waking up.

Normal workday: Alarm goes off, it's pitch black outside, I shake my phone trying to figure out how it broke and is ringing the alarm 3 minutes after I fell asleep, finally figure out that it's actually morning, fight off sobs, and use every ounce of willpower I have to get out of bed.

Vacation: Roll around in bed, waking up and going back to sleep numerous times as I see fit, not removing my eye mask until I am truly good and ready, and even then staying in bed to check my email, Facebook, reading on my kindle, etc. When I do get up its not at all painful because all I have to do is fill a cup of coffee and head to the couch.

I have a bad feeling that the day of which we will not speak when I return to work will be a pretty rude awakening. I think today was maybe the second time I actually got out bed prior to 10am all week, and it was at 9:55.

I've loved sleep so much that I've even been skipping breakfast and just going straight to lunch.  I'm morally opposed to skipping any meal but sleep is an acceptable reason. Plus I've been having a third meal full of Christmas desserts around 10 or 11 pm each night, so it all balances out.

I swore I was on break from any training until 2013, but I sort of started training for my spring marathon two days early. I started thinking about the timing on a run last week and realized there are only 11 weeks until the race. When you factor in tapering and the fact that I hadn't run more than 9 miles at a time since JFK, that's not much time. I texted Kari (she'll be virtually training with me) and she said the long run that week was only 14 miles, so I figured I could at least do that.

I just ran 50 miles less than two months ago, so 14 miles should be a breeze, right? Uh, not so much. The distance seemed terrifyingly long. I wanted to do it Saturday, but I chickened out using pathetic excuses - I was dehydrated from the road trip the day before, it was snowing, I suck at life, etc. I managed 7 miles at an 8:57 pace and felt great, and almost did another 7, but then I was like "nah".

Sunday I finally manned up and faced 25 + mph winds to get it done. My genius plan of staying in bed forever and eating breakfast at noon (it was oatmeal, therefore breakfast) meant my lunch was this:

I made it extra delicious by starting the pack months ago and putting the rest in a plastic bag and waiting until they were nice and stale to finish them. Even fresh, these are not good, nor are they easy to eat while running,  but they were free from some race, and you can't go wrong with free.

I ended up doing the 14 miles at an average pace of 9:30, which I felt good about, since when the wind gusted I'm pretty sure I was running in place. That put me at 35 miles for the week. I ran 0 miles the week after Christmas last year due to bronchitis (I know I keep mentioning that but it was quite traumatic) so I'm pretending that's an improvement.

This afternoon I finished out the year with 8 miles at a 9:04 pace. In 2012 I ran 1847 miles - so (relatively) close to 2000 ! I also cycled 1005 miles, which really surprised me, I didn't expect it would have been that many.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

NYE through the ages and best of 2012

I worked so, so hard on this post, so hard that it is embarrassing, because it's not even that great. My old laptop from college died years ago, and took all of my photos with it. I learned from my mistake and now all of our pictures are backed up on an external hard drive. We keep it in our fire safe. I have been quite successful with unlocking the safe and getting it out after the first time Eric taught me how, but I failed yesterday. I begged Eric to come open it but he found it more fun to laugh and take pictures of me. 

Our travel plans always include throwing everything we brought on the floor
when we get home and then ignoring it.
But that was just a start. Since all the pictures have been lost, I had to go on a treasure hunt to find any pictures prior to 2008. I love looking at old pictures though, so it was worth it. Here's a little photo montage of all my New Year's Eves since I graduated from college, whether or not you want to look at it.

The epic party of 2005 - 2006 (my first year as a grown up in Baltimore, before I met Eric!)
No actual pictures exist from NYE 2006 - 2007 because things got a little wild, but I do have this picture from NYE 2007.2, when we re-celebrated in February.

We don't know the bald guy. Also note we were all wearing New Year's hats at a bar in February.

2007 -2008: last NYE before tying the knot

2008 - 2009

2009 - 2010
2010 - 2011: party at our place!
2011 - 2012 I'm wearing the same outfit as 2009. I really need
to go shopping.
Last NYE I celebrated with bronchitis, so I really have no where to go but up. 

At first I rolled my eyes when every blog had some sort of "best of 2012" post, but then they turned out to be really fun to read. I decided to do my own, because jumping on bandwagons always works out.

I'm not going to do a month by month recap because for the same reason that I don't post every day: probably 75% of it would read something like "went to work. didn't get fired. did some running. watched tv. saw some friends". Thrilling.

But when I reflect on 2012, a few exciting events do pop into my mind. By far the best and most important was August 3rd, when my sister had my nephew Harrison and I became an aunt

It's probably best that I don't say any more because I still get choked up thinking of the first time I met him and all my sappy thoughts are in the linked post above. 

Holding his little tiny hand the day he came home from the hospital - this kills me.
Actually I think I just came up with a new year's resolution for 2013 - get my emotions under control otherwise this blog is going to be unreadable when Harrison finally gets a little caramel colored cousin. No, that won't be happening within 9 months from now, but it's in our future at some point without a doubt.

Moving on. In 2012, I faced some fears. I have intense fears of dogs, needles, public speaking, and biking. Obviously the biking one was easily ignored, unlike the others. The public speaking one seems easily avoidable too, but mine is so bad that I get bright red just speaking in faculty meetings or grad classes, aka in front of less than 20 people that I've been working with for years now. 

I'm never going to own a dog or become a heroin addict, so biking and public speaking were the only options.

As soon as 2012 began I started training for a half ironman triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run). I ended up loving my long bike rides and enjoying that leg the most during the race

I even took first place in the novice group!
I also ended up doing a presentation at a national teaching conference (with two colleagues). I still hate speaking in front of any adults, but word on the street is that our presentation didn't suck. I took the blurriest picture of all time to commemorate it.

We agreed to wear our school shirts and jeans, I'm not
just an idiot who doesn't understand social customs.
I attempted, and somehow survived, a GORUCK challenge - quite possibly the most frightening thing of all. It's essentially an overnight challenge where you do crazy stuff all while wearing a backpack full of bricks. If you are curious check out my recap or for the quick version, my picture post

I ran the JFK 50! I was ambivalent on this race even after mailing in my registration (they are old school) but in the end, I'm really glad I did. I ran the Stone Mill 50 but really 55 or so Miler in November 2011. While I was super proud of covering that distance, to be honest, I was majorly ashamed of my time and hated telling people how I did (14 hours and 27 minutes). I really wanted to see how I would do in an actual 50 (well, 50.2) mile race. I now have a time with a single digit in the hour spot, so I'm happy.

Taking a finish line picture in daylight was a major win.
I accomplished my life goal of visiting California (yep, I dream big)  - twice!

First time in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego
Obviously, this is the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco
Last but not least, another life changing event, I slowly but surely gave up my vegetarian ways and really cinched the deal by eating a burger.

When I originally decided to do this post it was only going to be Harrison, JFK, and the half ironman, so maybe 2012 was a tad more exciting than I realized. And there's still one more day!

My one and only 2012 new year's resolution was to spread whooty awareness. I'm proud to say that when we were looking at old pictures last week my mom told me that I had a whooty even as a baby, and at the time this post was published, 277 people have found my blog by searching whooty. Mission accomplished, but I plan to continue my work in 2013. 

I have to ask: what was your highlight of 2012?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Big life changes

Yesterday afternoon, I forced myself to get in the car and let Eric drive me back to Maryland. I'm pretty sure that if I were single, or married to someone less handsome and funny, I would just quit my job and alternate sleeping in my parents' guest room and my sister's couch. 

We made a few stops before we hit the road. First, we had lunch at a Jewish deli with my dad and my aunt. They are both Jewish but somehow I've never eaten at a Jewish deli and didn't even know what most of the foods were. I tried my first knish.

It's a savory pastry usually filled with potato, but my aunt and I shared a spinach feta one. Loved it. We gorged ourselves on all sorts of another wonderful Jewish foods as well (I had a sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and roasted red pepper sandwich on rye). Eric and I take a lot of road trips to see our families and friends, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's that eating a heavy, large meal right before we leave is always a wise choice.

Then we drove down to Pennsylvania to see my Grandma and bring her some Christmas presents.

She definitely takes a close second to Harrison for cutest member of the family.

We finally got home around 11pm Friday night. After a week of doing nothing but enjoying ourselves, eating, and having fun, Eric and I were exhausted and slept in nice and late Saturday morning. The feeling of waking up, considering starting the day, then remembering I don't have any grad work to do or anywhere to be and rolling over and going back to sleep without setting an alarm is just divine. When I finally got "moving", I enjoyed some of my Christmas gifts.

Trader Joes gingerbread coffee - the holy grail of holiday flavors

I'm no longer a hipster bookworm. I can finally read like a member of the 21st century. I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas! Thanks Mom & Vince! Plus Eric got me that sweet super soft, warm hot pink blanket because he knows I'm always cold, and I love hot pink, just like everyone else on Team Edward.

Side note - I've brought the Kindle everywhere so far because I'm completely addicted to Divergent

Still adhering to my "wear pajamas at all times" priority
So that was one life change, but I'm still working on making another major one (no, it's not a cousin for Harrison, because if it were, saying it that way on a blog is really gross). I'm currently in recovery from about 10 years of vegetarianism, followed by 6 years of pescetarianism (eating fish but no other meat). I took a big step in my recovery on Thursday: I HAD A BURGER!
I even bought the meat!
 I ate some deep fried turkey on Christmas, and some ham (that wasn't great though, no one in my family really liked it), and quite a bit of bacon macaroni and cheese (seriously, if my parents didn't cook Christmas dinner for you, I pity you). But a burger is a big deal. It's obviously a staple, and a favorite for most carnivores. You can't pretend it's not dead animal like you can with my gateway meat, bacon. Yet the bun and the toppings make it a little easier to swallow (pun intended).

I take toppings quite seriously.
 I'll admit, I was nervous. My stepfather stood outside to grill it for me, in the dark, in the snow, while the temperatures were in the teens. That is some fierce dedication to the cause, so I would have felt awful if I couldn't choke it down. My main issue with meat is not a moral one (sorry, but I could really care less, Mufasa said we exist in a circle of life, so that's good enough for me) but a texture one. So you can see why eating a burger caused me some anxiety.

As I prepared for my first bite, no fewer than three cameras were flashing in my face and I thought I knew what celebrities must feel like for a hot second. The pressure was on.

Here I go!
SUCCESS! It was perfectly cooked (medium to medium well) and delicious. 

Goodbye, vegetarianism.
I cleaned my plate.

Look how much wine I have left - I didn't even need to down a glass for courage!
I think it helped that I was wearing Kara's hand me down shirt, so her love of meat was close to my heart, and that my aunt, a fellow recovered vegetarian (she lasted about 25 years!) was there cheering me on. 

I was pretty impressed with how full and satisfied I felt afterward - I must admit, you just don't get that feeling after eating a Boca burger. My aunt said she started eating meat after experiencing intense cravings for it and realizing her body needed it. I haven't felt that way, I never craved this burger or anything. It was more curiosity - I wondered how fried turkey tasted at Thanksgiving, so I tried a bite. Then it turned out to be really good, so I thought, maybe other meats are really good too, and I've been missing out! Apparently that was exactly the case. In my mind I am going to have a huge energy boost really soon from all the extra iron.

I'm not sure what's next - chicken still makes me nervous because it was a McDonald's chicken nugget that started this whole thing and I don't want to end up disgusted by meat for another 16 years. 

You may note that this post didn't mention any running or exercise of any kind. I could have, I just didn't feel like it. I'm still officially not training until 2013 so rest and laziness is the name of the game until then. Sorry I'm not sorry.

What meat filled recipes should I try now? 

What was the best Christmas present you received? I love my kindle so much but I haven't even taken a picture of Eric's gift to me yet!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Break Priorities

Last week, I left work for Christmas break and knew that it would be a full 12 days before I needed to set an alarm clock again. It was, as always, a glorious feeling. Of course, that 12 days goes by in the blink of an eye, so it's important to prioritize how I want to spend my time off, and clearly the most efficient way to do that is in list form.

1. Family

I cannot even look at this picture because it makes my heart explode.
This one is even worse

2. Family

Harrison and Grandpa (my dad)

3. Family

Mom and Stepdad
4. Family

Hanging out with Uncle Logan (my bro)
5. Family
Wrapping paper is delicious!
6. Family
My aunt Leslie joined us for the first time, and don't get confused,
that's not Eric, we have another (honorary) black member of the family, Marc.
7. Family
A beavery Christmas
This is probably the only time of the year I get so much uninterrupted family time and words can't describe how precious that is to me. I know I usually take a sarcastic tone on this blog but that part I actually mean so please don't read it in a sarcastic tone in your head. I make it my mission to soak in every single moment so I ignore the internet, and pretty much everything else in the world except sleep. We were up well past midnight every night laughing until my stomach hurt and tears were running down my face. 

8. Friends
Carolyn and I braving 30-40mph winds to get a run in before
we hit the road on Saturday
Hotel room self timer photo
We started off our break in the fabulous city of Syracuse, NY where my college roommate, Amanda, now lives with her husband, Alex. She wasn't my only college roommate, but she was by far my favorite, and by even farther the only normal one. Marrying Eric was a great call for many reasons and one of them is that he gets along with everyone and is now BFF with all my friends' husbands and you would never even know that they were originally friends on "my side". 

I'm really disappointed in myself for not getting a pic, because we also saw another one of my college friends, Nikki in the cuse. As if I didn't run the risk of being hospitalized for cuteness overload with Harrison, I got to hang out with her daughter (and her husband). Fiona is 19 months and quite possibly the happiest child on the planet. You'll just have to imagine it.

9. Sleep and only wearing pajamas when awake.

How amazing are Eric's Christmas pjs?
I didn't think I had a picture to illustrate sleep but then I remembered I took this as proof that I am NOT the bed hog in our relationship. Just look at the placement of those elbows. That's what woke me up.

10. Food

Christmas Eve morning - ricotta filled Italian clam pastries, coffee, and of course beer

The boys: frying turkey and drinking beer
Looks burnt, tasted delicious
Christmas morning: spinach quiche and pulled pork hash

                                                           Christmas dinner candid
11. Pedicures

My sister and I took our aunt out for birthday pedicures on Thursday. It was another pic taking fail, but trust me, our feet look gorgeous.

12. Workouts

This one was waaaaaaay down on the list, more of an afterthought. If it happened, it happened, but I didn't stress over it. Leaving our midnight hysterical laugh sessions to get some sleep so I could get up early for a run is just ridiculous to consider, and I get plenty of time to be sleep deprived during the rest of the year, so I wasn't setting my alarm for the ass crack of dawn so I could run while everyone was sleeping. Plus, I had this lovely forecast.

Upstate NY winters are so fun
I did manage 7 milers on Monday and Wednesday, plus I'm always on board if I can combine family time and exercise.

My sister and I doing a Jillian Michael's DVD. Harrison was not impressed.
I've enjoyed one of the best weeks of my life, so I would say that my list of priorities did the trick. I knew this would be a picture heavy post, which can be annoying to readers (or at least to me as a reader) so I hope that including Harrison in the majority made it palatable.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday as much as I did! We are driving back to Baltimore today and I don't even want to talk about that. 

One last adorable picture for the road.

Uncle Eric's first diaper change.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Goodbye, world

Is anyone else as excited as me that the new blogger app finally has the "save as draft" option again, or am I just a nerd by myself?

A student gave me a Ruby Tuesdays gift card for Christmas and outwardly I tried to appear gracious. Inside, I was hysterical with excitement. This is without a doubt the best gift I've ever received from a student. If you don't understand why I feel this way, go there immediately and eat some of their croutons. If you're feeling sassy, demand some fresh out of the oven (yes, they bake them there).

Ruby Tuesdays is also full of memories for me. It was the first place we went on our honeymoon, and we actually waited outside for them to open. The reason for this is a long story, but the highlights are that we had to Home Alone it to our plane (this was before I was a runner, so it was especially challenging), and then when we arrived in Florida our luggage was lost.

Such a romantic start
We took a cruise, and I felt like including another honeymoon picture to prove it.

I also went to Ruby Tuesdays the night my newphew Harrison was born, so it truly has a special place in my heart. I won't lie, my first thought when I got the gift card was "SALAD BAR", but those memories are important too.

Speaking of Christmas gifts, Charm City Run (my second job) gave me a great one.

Sorry - this is how I look after a day of chasing 8 year olds.
I have been dying for a sweet Northface jacket but they are expensive, I already have plenty of sweatshirts/jackets, it's the season for giving, not buying yourself crap you don't need, etc. But now I have one and it's all I dreamed of and more. It's soft on the inside, fitted, comfortable, and this was the first day in my teaching career that I didn't have blue fingertips for at least an hour after lunch (aka it's warm). That paragraph really reads like I have some sort of sponsorship from Northface, but unfortunately that's not the case, I just get really, really excited about gifts. 

I did get myself a little gift today - some new reading material. I finally committed to taking a break from reading the Games of Thrones series, even though it was really difficult to pull myself away. 

I like to consider myself a hipster in terms of reading, because I still hit up this bad boy.

Granted, an elementary school teacher loving the library is a bit of a cliche, but I stand by my hipster status. 

I got some recommendations from my good friend Kristin, and also picked up Divergent, which I've been meaning to read for ages.

Its the same genre as The Hunger Games, and it looks almost exactly the same! In fact, when I got the library, I thought to myself "Hey, look, someone else named Lindsey requested Hunger Games" because I'm smart and good at deciphering situations.

Reading this book is kind of a big deal, because Eric read it and recommended it to me. That has never happened. He does not read, other than Harry Potter (which I've never read, I know, sue me, whatever). I finally got him into The Hunger Games by playing it on audiobook on our way to visit my parents. When we arrived, we were right at the final scene at the Cornucopia (I'm usually psycho about spoilers but if you haven't read or seen Hunger Games by now you are dead to me so I don't care). He brought our bags in, then sat on the couch with headphones, refusing to interact until the book ended. We all approved of this choice, because no sane person would do otherwise.

The point is, he actually read Divergent, so this is the second book we will be discussing in our history as a couple. I'm skeptical, since people have compared it to The Hunger Games, and that's a lot to live up to, but I'll give it a chance.

Yesterday, I ran an uneventful 7 miles in the morning. I had a shift scheduled at Charm City that night, and I needed to get a gift card before I clocked in. I can't disclose the store I went to, but I can say it was a location with no parking, it's a pain in the ass to get to, and it was rush hour. So I ran there instead. Best choice ever. I got five extra miles in, and instead of my errand leaving me frazzled and irritated, it left me relaxed and rejuvenated. Which was good, because work was a bit busy, as retail stores tend to be the week before Christmas.

Tonight I ran 7 windy miles in an hour, at my "fast" pace of 8:38. Eric completely lost his voice on Monday and finally has it back, so it's quite nice to have someone to talk to in the evenings again. We are watching a documentary on The Rock, and it's definitely not the worst way to spend our last night on earth.

He's on my list, right next to Dolvett.
I'm really down to the wire on deciding whether or not to eat all my advent calendar chocolates. 

What are you doing on your last night on earth?

PS - Check out my friend Dan's post about the beer bread I baked him! He calls me a recovering vegetarian and I find that hilarious.