Friday, October 26, 2012

Things I Like

I recently saw a friend post a long list of things he liked. This friend typically complains or is upset in his posts, so it was nice to see something different. But most importantly, I learned more about him in that short list than in the years I had known him.

So, in ode to my friend, here's a list of things I like:

I like warm rains in Chicago. I like the wind. I like long walks in fresh air. I like text messages. I like laughing. I like it when I work really hard at something and am recognized for it. I like sports. I like sitting next to a field and watching random people play a game on a nice afternoon. I like fishing. I like reading. I love Lake Powell. I like water. I like lazy Sunday mornings where you can play oldies on the radio and dance in the kitchen. I like taking risks. I like hiking. I like being alone. I like the feeling when airplanes take off and land, and even when there's turbulence (otherwise flights are boring as hell). I like people-watching on the train. I like to screen calls—it makes me feel important. I like planning, even for things that will never happen. I like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (Pinterest is still growing on me). I like it when my boyfriend says the full "I love you" rather than just "love you."(Speaking of the bf, I just screened his call. Ha!) I like freaking out sometimes because it means that I care. I like my family. I like my friends. I like shopping for workout clothes. I like pedicures. I like cars. I like motorcycles. I like my bicycle. I like the color green. I like my eyes.

I could go on and on, but that's a good list for now. This little exercise has made me smile, and I like smiling to myself.

I also like snowflakes. Tiffany's anyone?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

If I had style

I have notoriously been a person with no style. In Colorado I lived in jeans and old soccer t-shirts. Not kidding. I looked horribleall the time. The good thing is that I blended right in!

But in Chicago I've been trying to make more of an effort. Mostly because I work with some gorgeous peoplewelcome to advertisingand I don't want to be that frumpy girl in the corner.

Here are a few of my recent efforts to look presentable in the big city. Sorry for the weird and blurry bathroom shots.

Thoughts? Feelings? Suggestions for improvement?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Post-Marathon Thoughts

Well, I'm alive. Barely.

So, the race didn't go very well. Turns out that you have to actually train for a marathon. In my two marathons, I've now made every rookie and veteran mistake imaginable.

1.) Rookie mistake: I trained well but went out way too fast and bombed at the end of the race.
2.) Veteran mistake: I figured I had this whole marathon thing down and didn't train---like, at all.

Wisconsin marathon time (5/5/12): 4:24:46
Chicago marathon time (10/7/12): 5:19:29

Almost an hour slower. Wow.

I'm disappointed. I'm not happy with my time but I have to admit that this was a very humbling experience. Turns out that if you want to do well, you have to actually train for it. It's a good metaphor for life.

I kind of scoffed at the "slower" runners before. But now I know: Every mile is a battle, whether or not you're fast or slow. In fact, I'm now a firm believer that slow runners have to fight for longer and are therefore stronger people.

Despite my time, I still had fun! My 5 goals remained in my head and I have to admit that they got me through the race. I really enjoyed the course and I made sure to keep my head up and enjoy the crowds and the energy of it. Chicago really is a great city and the marathon highlighted the best parts of it!

My two favorite signs seen on the race course:

1.) Do Epic Shit
2.) You've been training for this longer than Kim Kardashian was married

So, I'm going to learn a few lessons, pick my head up, and keep going. Marathons take guts and commitment and pride. And so, I'm proud of myself.

Sean and I on race morning! 
Blisters after the race
Post-race Chinese food!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pre-Marathon Thoughts

The Chicago Marathon is tomorrow. Wow. Wow.

I have not been looking forward to this marathon. My summer training, in one word, sucked. The heat and humidity really bothered me and I am going into this undertrained.

But I got excited for the race yesterday. Really excited. All of my friends were asking about it. My office even put together and signed a good luck card for me! I was so amazed and flattered by their support.

My first marathon (the Wisconsin Marathon in May) was small. I was running with only a handful of people for a lot of it. But Chicago? The Chicago Marathon is huge. And I'm learning that the whole city gets behind you! Everyone comes out and watches it. My friends who aren't running the race will be making signs and following my progress with some pretty cool racing apps (check out RacerChaser).

So, yes, I'm getting excited. Finally.

I went to a talk about last-minute marathon tips. Coach Mark said to come up with 5 goals---even if one of the goals is getting to the start line. So, Coach Mark, here are my 5 marathon goals:

1. Get to the starting line
2. Get to mile 5
3. Get to mile 13
4. Don't worry about the time. Run/walk as I see fit. No watches.
5. Head up. Smile. Enjoy it.

Chicago, I heart you. See y'all out there!

Race bib
Good luck card from my company! I love my job!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Long-distance relationship

Andrew and I
My boyfriend is great. He is so good to me. He texts me in the morning and says I'm beautiful and gorgeous. He calls me every day, often after work and then again before bed. He's not afraid to say "I love you" on the phone even when surrounded by his soccer buddies. (That freaks me out more than him.)

But there are a few times when he calls that I don't pick up. I don't want to talk. Talking just makes our dysfunctional relationship a reality. It's easier to hide behind texts. We've been dating for almost a year and a half, but only six weeks of that have we lived in the same state.

I don't want to talk because it tells me the obvious---that I don't know anything.

Sometimes, when he calls...
  • I don't want to go through the obligatory, "How was your day?" question and answer session
  • I don't want to go through the awkward silences as we're both doing something else while on the phone
  • I don't want to have to ask, "What? What??" when I can't hear him because a bus is driving by or I'm witnessing a car accident while walking home
  • I don't want him to repeatedly say, "I've gotta go, can I call you back?" because he's working his second job or going to class
But more importantly,
  • I don't know when I'll see him again
  • I don't know his daily routines
  • I don't know what makes his eyes light up on a low-key Sunday afternoon
  • I don't know what he likes in his coffee or his favorite breakfast food
  • I don't know his body language when it has been a good day or even an especially bad day
  • I don't know his true hopes and dreams. You know, the ones that we keep well hidden and are revealed bit by bit over time
  • I don't know if I can ever come back to Colorado and not cry (maybe if that happens, I'll be ready to move)
  • I don't know the future for us
But despite all of this.... despite the difficulty of long-distance.... I couldn't imagine being with anyone else. And that's what it really comes down to.

So, for now, shhhhhhh. Let's not talk about it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Review: The Chosen Series

I recently read books 1-3 of The Chosen Series by Denise Grover Swank. They were recommended to me by as a fun and quick read. But the real reason I picked them up is because my brother was reading them. He rarely, if ever, reads. Naturally I had to find out what captured his attention!

The books are titled Chosen, Hunted, and Sacrifice.

Basically, the stories follow Emma, her son Jake, and the man who soon fills their life, Will. I don’t want to give too much away, but in a very basic summary they are seemingly every-day humans who become caught up in an centuries-old elemental battle.

I really like the character development---Will is a lot more interesting than Emma---and the overall storyline. Authors, take note: If you want to win me over then have solid character development. I want to practically see each character front of me! I want to know what they look like, how they move, how they act, how they think---and, most importantly, how I can relate to them.

Back to the series. The elemental part is also an interesting take on things. It’s a fantasy without moving into a new world. The books are a fast read, filled with action, and they keep you hanging over a cliff and clamoring on to the next title.

That said, the imagination does fall flat with all the get-away scenes. I mean, really, how many car chases can there be? I swear there’s one every chapter. The author tried to break things up and throw in an airplane getaway, but that was too much of a stretch.

Book four, titled Redemption, is not out yet, which is good and bad. I’d like to keep reading but stepping away from the series is nice too. Sometimes you need a breather from even the good things.

My overall take is that The Chosen series is a quick and fun read. When you start, be sure to have books two and three next to you because this author rocks at making you want to jump through the series!

I leave for Lake Powell in a week, so I hope to be able to conquer a few books while I’m out there. Reviews will come.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Bet

I recently got a free health screening at work and they sent me a 32-page “heath profile.” Although most of the blood work results were mumbo jumbo to me, the profile was still able to peg me pretty well.
Area of Interest: Nutrition

Generally, I’m healthy but I need to work on my nutrition.

No surprise there. I’ve known this for a while. I try to eat better each and every day. I pack my lunch for work almost every morning and I try not to keep ice cream in the house. However, if I have a craving or see any stray cookies in the office then GAME. OVER.

Packed lunch. This little lunch bag is the best thing I've ever bought. Ever.
Considering how much I work out, I should be a lot skinnier than I am. And this is not a woe-is-me statement nor am I fishing for compliments. I’m saying the truth; looking from the outside in. I need to build muscle and lose fat.

So, my sister-in-law and I---via text message---started a bet. The terms are:
  • We both have to lose 20 pounds by Christmas (which is about 17-weeks away, calculating to a little over a pound a week)
  • On the line is $250. Whoever doesn’t lose the weight has to pay the other person $250
This sounds impulsive, but it is all very strategic. Here’s our thinking:
  • $250 is enough money to be damn good motivation. We can both afford to lose it, but not without a fight!!
  • We are both good with our workouts, but where we fail is our diets. So, the goals are to focus on good dieting, calorie control, and clean eating while still working out
  • We are both competitive. Very competitive
Everyone talks about clean eating. It shouldn’t be so hard, right? Right? Well, three days into the diet we have both been fighting headaches. I feel like I'm having a harder time than she is. Not fair! Processed food is an addiction, y’all!!! An addiction!!

And, to be honest, I’m really struggling this morning. I’m hungry. I want white flour. And salt.

But instead I’m going to eat my oatmeal with chia seeds and strawberries (really yummy, actually!), drink my green tea, and continue to repeat this mantra: $250. $250. $250. $250. $250.

Whole Foods salad for dinner last night