Wednesday, April 17, 2013


This piece is exactly why what happened in Boston is so heartbreaking.

Running has become a safe place for me. It's more than a workout. It's a way to work through demons. To find a little peace. When that safety gets violated, I get mad.

But I'm not special. I think almost every runner would tell you they feel the same way about running. And they'd tell you that they'd keep running, no matter what.

But what really upsets me? That spectators were injured and killed. If there's something crazy about running just for the hell of it, there's something even crazier about watching a race. At least the runners stay warm, burn some calories, and earn bragging rights. Why would anyone stand around in the heat, cold, rain or blistering sun for hours, just waiting for a loved one to run by? Why would someone cheer on a complete stranger? Why would someone hand out food, water, blankets and hugs to a sweaty, delirious runner they've never met, and will never see again? Like the Jezebel piece says, if you want to find your faith in humanity, don't look at the runners. Look at the spectators, the volunteers, the friends and family waiting at the finish line.

I've never run a marathon, but I hope to run the Big Sur Half Marathon some day. But even in short races, knowing someone's waiting for me at the end makes the all the difference. Everyone who's shown up to support a runner, and all the smiling, cheering people in between who have handed out water, cheered strangers on, and picked up all of those empty cups -- they're the special ones.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 1-7

Today's weight: 182.4 pounds.

Monday: Ran 2 miles
Tuesday: 5K on elliptical, abs/core
Wednesday: Walked 3.5 miles
Thursday: Spin for 1 hour, abs/core
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Chased a dog around for three hours

I feel like Sunday should count as a workout. I've had the blues since the weather got nice and I haven't been able to run. I'm seeing the results of a three-day junk food bender and no real running for almost two weeks. I sat down today and planned some meals, and went grocery shopping after work. I'm taking this week off from running, walking the 5K I signed up for next weekend, and starting running after that. There's just nothing else that compares. There's not enough spin classes, and the pool hours don't work with my schedule. And nothing beats running outside in sun and fresh air. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

March 25-31

Today's weight: 177.0 pounds.

Monday: Weights (upper body) for 45 minutes
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Cross-trained (stairs, elliptical) for 45 minutes
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Walked 3.5 miles
Sunday: Off

Last week was very, very busy. Besides work, I: read two books for class, wrote a paper, went to class, saw one of my favorite musicians play a show, went to a library book sale, made a very elaborate cake from scratch for my dad, spent the day in Chicago for my Dad's birthday, and spent the day with my family for Easter. I don't feel so bad that I didn't work out much. I needed the rest. It was good to spend time with loved ones. I am very, very lucky to have them. I am humbled by their love.

My leg was feeling so good today that I went for a (very short, very slow) run outside. It was my first run outside this year that wasn't in the rain and fog. It felt excellent. It also made me realize my leg was not healed. So, back to taking it easy for the week. This was a good start, though. And this week won't be nearly as busy as last week, which means more sleep, and more workouts.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Two songs

Beautiful song, beautiful place, beautiful cover.

A new one by an old favorite.

March 18-24

Today's weight: 174.4 pounds.

Monday: Stairs for 40 minutes, abs
Tuesday: Ran 5K in 30:37
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Sprints for 2 miles (up to 8 mph)
Friday: Off
Saturday: Elliptical for 1 hour (5 miles)
Sunday: Off

I hurt myself. Again. This happened at the exact same time last year -- I was even training for the same 10K I'm training for now. I know I've said running is a lesson in patience, but I'm still feeling particularly defeated. In my down moments, I tell myself I wasn't meant to run. That I'll never truly be a "runner." That I get hurt too much, that I'm just not strong enough. But I know that's not true. All the times I've dragged myself out of bed in the dark, made myself run that extra 5 minutes, forced myself out of the house in the cold -- that's what makes me a runner.

But it's still frustrating. I have a stress fracture in my leg, most likely for shin splints I stupidly ignored. I haven't hurt this much since I first started running, nearly two years ago. I read that you get shin splints/stress fractures when you're first starting running and/or when you up the intensity of your runs abruptly. I've been pushing speed a lot lately -- maybe not gradually enough.

So, I'm adjusting my training plan and trying to make the most of it. At least it will push me to do more weight-training. And until my leg feels better, I'm taking my workouts one week at a time, and trying not to worry too much about that 10K. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 11-17

Today's weight: 172.8 pounds.

Monday: Strength-training (upper body/core) for 35 minutes
Tuesday: Ran 5K in 29:40
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Elliptical for 5K
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

I had the flu the better part of last week, so I took it easy at the gym. I managed to run 5K in less than 30 minutes for the first time ever. I know that's probably not that fast for some people, but it is for me. I immediately got sick after that. But now I know I can do it. My first timed race in November 2011 was 37:40, so it's been nice to see improvement over time. Especially if I'm ever going to run long races.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 4-10

Today's weight: 174.6 pounds

Monday: Ran 5K, abs and back
Tuesday: Elliptical for 5K
Wednesday: Upper body/abs for 30 minutes
Thursday: Off
Friday: Off
Saturday: Ran 5K
Sunday: Ran 5K

This was a week of firsts. The first time I fit in five workouts since the new year (or longer). The first time I ran outside since October. The first time I signed up for a 10K (though I'd started training for one before, but got hurt before I could even sign up).

Running outside was exactly what I needed. I haven't been to the gym since Tuesday. Even in the dreary, cold mist, it felt good. I needed some fresh air. I've felt cooped up. This helped.

I made myself a 10K training guide, adapted from this. Tonight will be the first workout. It's ten weeks long, and it has three days of running, three days of strength-training, and two days of cross-training each week. I'm hoping this is what it will take to do the things I want to do but haven't made myself do (run more than 5 miles, lift weights, etc.). I used a training guide to run my first 5K. I don't know why I didn't think of this a long time ago.

While making the 10K plan, I realized the other day that running has been a lesson in patience. I am not a patient person, ever. But running -- something I've been working at for two years -- has taught me how to persist, how to practice, how to be deliberate. Nothing else has (except, maybe, for grad school). I've spent two years trying to whittle down my mile time, two years trying to build endurance. I'm excited for what this third year holds.

Monday, March 4, 2013

February 25-March 3

Today's weight: 175.5 pounds

Monday: Ran 5K, abs
Tuesday: 3.5 miles of running/hill mix
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Spin for 50 minutes, abs and back
Friday: Off
Saturday: Hiked/jogged 30 minutes in the snow
Sunday: Hiked 1 hour in the snow

I spent the weekend in a cabin not too far from here, relaxing and hiking with my boyfriend. It was a short trip, but exactly what I needed. I feel rested. The only thing I missed was getting in one longer workout, but the weekend was well worth it. It felt so good to get outside in the sunshine and crisp air. I've been cooped up indoors for too long.

I'm happy to have kept up the varied workouts. This week I actually did weight-training for two days -- which is more than I've done in a long, long time. Pretty sad, but it's a start. I also started a little paper journal for workouts/food/health, just to track my progress on a more detailed level. I've been eating a little healthier. Not eating out as much. I'm feeling good. I still have shin splints, though. I'm buying new shoes next weeks, and a friend of mine sent me an article on proper running technique. Between those two things, I'm hoping to feel better soon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 18-24

Today's weight: 178.0 pounds.

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Ran 5K in 31 minutes
Wednesday: Stair climb for 30 minutes
Thursday: Spin for 50 minutes, abs
Friday: Ran 2 miles, elliptical 3 miles
Saturday and Sunday: Off

I've been trying to vary my workouts more, now that I know I can run the distances I want to run. And, look! I finally did weight-training. A very little bit of it, but it's a start. I've had bad shin splints for the first time in about a year -- I'm not sure if it's because I'm running more, or faster, or just that my shoes are worn out.  I'm hoping mixing up my workouts will help. Otherwise, it's time to buy shoes. Again. Already.

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 11-17

Today's weight: 173.8.

Monday: Stair climbed for 30 minutes, walked for 1 mile
Tuesday: Ran 3.1 miles
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Ran 3.1 miles
Saturday: Ran 4.5 miles
Sunday: Off

I like getting longer runs (if you count 4.5 miles as a "long" run) in on the weekends. I don't feel as rushed, and I have more time to recover. I want to run a 10K in April, and I'm on track so far. Also registering for a 5K in April. I'm hoping to beat my old time by a couple of minutes. I wanted to work out yesterday, but I was way too sore from Saturday's run. So, another week without five days of workouts, but the ones I got in were good. I practiced speed during the week, endurance during the weekend. I like this system so far.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The future

I've been thinking a lot about how I want to use this space. I intended it to be a space to log workouts, chew over ideas, write down things important to me at that moment -- basically, a space where I can think about what it means to be healthy and happy in every way.

I'm busier now, and I'm not sure I need a blog to do those things. Sure, it's nice to have a digital scrapbook. Yes, it's good to set down goals in writing. It's great to commend myself on the things I have achieved and to be reflective.

But I'm just not sure I need this space anymore. It's only ever been a journal for myself, but I don't know if I need that now. I may just use it as a notebook for writing down workouts, and nothing more. Or only post sporadically, instead of weekly.

I'll have to think about it. As a fan of things like lists and accountability, it's hard to walk away from this blog. But I also don't see the point of keeping something I no longer need or benefit from. I find it overwhelming, small as it is. Maybe part of it is how I have to continually admit that I eat terribly, or that I never cook. Maybe it's that constant confrontation of a failure. Or maybe it's just a thing that's over-complicating my life, when my free time is already almost non-existent. Who knows? I'll be thinking about it for a while, I'm sure.

January 28 - February10

Monday's weight: 175.0.

Workouts for January 28-February 3:
Monday: Ran 3.1 miles
Tuesday: Ran 3.5 miles
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Spin class for 1 hour (approx. 20 miles)
Friday through Sunday: Off

Workouts for February 4-10:
Monday: Ran 3.1 miles
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Ran 3.1 miles
Thursday: Ran 4 miles
Friday: Off
Saturday: Stair climb for 20 minutes, hills for 20 minutes
Sunday: Off

Let's just say it was really bad. Like, really, really bad.

I am on target for longer runs, and I'm getting much faster. When I first starting running, my average time was 12 minutes/mile. Way too slow for long runs! I've shaved off a good amount of time since then, and I'm happy to have made four miles without too much difficulty. So, that's one goal from the other week accomplished. Still haven't had a five-day workout week yet.

I'm not sure what I want out of this blog anymore, or how to deal with some ongoing issues related to my terribly unhealthy diet. I work out hard, when I do go to the gym, but my diet is just awful. I have some soul searching to do, I suppose.

  • Five days of workouts. 
  • Keep working on speed training. 
  • Eat, like, a vegetable. Or two. I ate some fruit and veggies today, so, it's a start.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 21-27

Today's weight (on Sunday): 173.0.

Monday: Ran 5K
Tuesday: Spin class (1 hour)
Wednesday: Ran 2 miles
Thursday: Spin class (1 hour)
Friday through Sunday: Off

Went out to eat once (Indian food) and actually cooked all weekend. I even made a veggie juice. I also ate a lot of gummy bears. And probably a lot of chocolate chip cookies. Let's call it a draw.

I have a five-mile run a month away. I need to really pick up my running. Last night, I went to the gym and made myself run faster than I ever have. I couldn't sustain that speed for the entire run, of course, but I plan on continuing to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

I also started the reading for my literature class. I missed being in school. I missed talking about books. I missed thinking about the ways language and power work. It's good to be back. If I can't teach, I'm glad I can at least continue my own scholarship, even in a small way.

And I accomplished my two goals from last week. Easy goals, sure. But sometimes you have to write down something easy, just for the satisfaction of knowing you'll be able to cross it off.

  • Work out five times this week.
  • Run 3.5+ miles non-stop.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Look/hear: The Pogues

One of my all-time favorite songs, which should be guilty pleasure but isn't, is The Pogues' "If I Should Fall From Grace With God." I love this song wholeheartedly, every time I hear it. I don't care if Irish folk-punk is corny now (or always). This goes in my All Time Top 10, easily.

This one's pretty great, too.

There are certain bands I will always love -- bands that remind me of high school, bands that remind me of my friends. The Pogues are one of those.

January 14-20

Today's weight: 171.8.

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Ran 5K
Wednesday: 3 miles on elliptical
Thursday: Ran 5K
Friday: Ran 2.5 miles
Saturday and Sunday: Off

Finally starting juicing again. It feels good to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, even if they only way I can seem to eat them is blending into a liquid. It's a start. My lunches were a lot of Jimmy John's being delivered to my office. In fact, I may have eaten from a restaurant every day last week. Yikes. And my weekend? More restaurants. Not so good. Though those weekend meals were shared with my mom, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend's family, respectively. There are few things that make me happier than a good meal with someone I love.

I wasn't able to get out of work soon enough to make it to the spin class, but I am going to go tomorrow. It feels good to be working out regularly. Bloodwork from the doctor came back -- I'm healthy on all fronts. The most surprising: I don't have low iron anymore, despite not eating meat. I've had low iron for years. I'm rarely able to donate blood when I've tried. So, despite my poor eating lately, I haven't done much damage. Yet.

I'm starting a literature course this week, which will take up some of my free time, and keep me from the gym at last one night a week.

But, despite feeling blue that my long weekend is over, that it's back to work, that it's back to working first shift while my boyfriend works second, I feel good tonight. Hopeful, as ever, for what the future, near and far, holds.

  • Work out at least four times this week, and go to at least one fitness class.
  • Keep juicing.
I didn't manage one of my goals from last week -- back-to-back fitness classes -- but my work schedule hasn't been conducive to that just yet. So, if I can make it to spin, I'll be happy.

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 7-13

Today's weight: 177.0.

Monday: 3.5 miles on the elliptical
Tuesday: 2.5 miles on the elliptical
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Ran 3.1 miles
Friday: Ran 2 miles
Saturday and Sunday: Off

The pace of my job has picked up tenfold. I haven't been eating lunches regularly, and often wolf something down after work, before the gym. No good. Tonight I bought some fruit and vegetables (mostly for juicing) and some yogurt and granola bars for work. If I can't take lunch, I can at least something healthy.

I felt a little down at the start of the year. Getting another cold didn't help. The gym being closed most days before January 4 didn't help, either.

But, I'm feeling better. Got four easy workouts in last week. Fitness classes at my gym started up again this week, and they've added a new spin class. I'm looking forward to working out again. And feeling proud that I managed to run a 5K without stopping. That's probably the first time I've done that in a while. I have a month and a half to get up to five miles, but I think it will be fine.

In other healthy news, I went to the doctor today to get a flu shot and bloodwork done, since I've low iron even before I gave up meat, and I've had a pretty poor diet for the last year. Now it's off to the dentist, and then to finally relax at my best friend's house. Feeling OK. Feeling like I'm taking care of myself.

  • Make smoothies or juices this week to use up the fruits and veggies I bought. I've given up trying to cook for now -- my job and my other plans are too time-consuming and I'm too dumb to figure it out for real. So, juicing it is -- for now.
  • Keep flossing (finally). 
  • Go to back-to-back strength training and spin classes this week.
 I think this is going to be a good year.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


My New Year's resolution is simple: Take better care of myself, so I can take better of others.

Of course, it's not really that simple. It's made up of so many other things. But that's the gist of it. This year, I have some big goals. Some are more tangible than others, but they're all interconnected in that they're about taking care of myself in some way. Because I am much better to be around, and much more able to care for others, if I'm doing OK. There have been many things lately that reminded me how fragile and fleeting life is. I want to make the most of the time I have, with the amazing people in my life.

In 2013, I want to:
  • Finish a 5-mile run (I'm running one with a friend in March).
  • Finish a half marathon (I've got my eye on a big one in a beautiful place next fall).
  • Apply to PhD programs.
  • Pay off my credit card and start saving again (nearly there, finally). 
  • Eat better, and finally lay off Diet Coke. I'm sticking with not eating meat, but I need to get way better about eating vegetables.
  • Make time for the people who sustain me. I am so, so lucky to have many wonderful, inspiring people in my life. But in my quest to see everyone equally and regularly, I often miss out on spending more time with people like my mother, my roommate, my best friend, or my boyfriend -- people that hold an extra-special place in my heart. Don't get me wrong -- I care about everyone in my life, dearly -- but there are some people I know I won't see as often soon (my roommate), and who I owe so much of my happiness to (my mom, boyfriend, etc.). 
  • Make more time for reading, writing, studying, and general mental health care. 
That's it. I'm trying to keep things (relatively) simple, and just be kind to myself.  It's something I've never been good at but, dammit, 2012 was a great year. I worked hard. I need to remember that.

After all, in 2012, I:
  • Finished graduate school.
  • Taught and tutored writing to college freshmen.
  • Taught writing to high school students, my most difficult and rewarding job yet.
  • Realized that I could never do anything else, really, but teach. 
  • Decided to go on for a doctorate.
  • Ran several 5Ks, setting my best time yet. 
  • Discovered how much I like biking, spin class, and setting out for long summer rides on my own.
  • Learned, finally, how to be alone.
  • Learned how to be together.
  • Spent time with many loved ones. 
  • Started dating a kind, brilliant, generous and gentle person, who floors me every day with how good he is.
  • Saw my sister renew her wedding vows.
  • Visited beautiful parks, lakes and rivers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Arkansas.
  • Saw some of my favorite bands and musicians, like Deer Tick, Reigning Sound, Sebadoh, Mike Watt, Hayes Carll and Lucero. 
  • Presented papers at two conferences. 
  • Gave up meat. 
  • Grew up.
2012 was a hell of a wonderful year. Here's to 2013, and the big, intimidating, and exciting things it holds.