I know it's been forever... I've been traveling like crazy for work and I just haven't had the time/energy to write on here. I read a good little article this morning to motivate myself for the upcoming long runs in my VERY near future and I thought I'd share it with you.
Runners World has a great assortment of articles from everyday runners and this particular one
describes a man's first long run. I really enjoyed reading it because I've been in that man's shoes. I have gone out and suffered through runs, gone on when I felt like it, and always had a distance that I'd think "some day".
I have completed two half marathons (one in a decent/ok time and the other in a depressing time since I got very sick halfway through). I have to say that I also didn't prepare well for either of them. Life somehow seems to get in the way. I mean, I could run okay for the first half or so but after that, I would lose steam.
This time around, I started out with super high hopes of following a strict training plan and then.... I ended up traveling EVERY SINGLE WEEK for the last 8 weeks. Next week will be my first week home without travel since the middle of February and the next week will be FULL of travel up until my race trip.
Needless to say, my training has once again suffered greatly. I was in decent shape in January but once the travel began (and the getting stuck in snow storms, etc.), it all went downhill. It's so hard to get back into the swing of things once you take off a few weeks! I have increased my speed, which is wonderful, but when it comes to the endurance, I'm still miserable.
And, my former injuries are not helping the situation. Each time I hit around 3 miles, my IT band cramps up and I'm miserable. I've tried some different therapeutic options and I'm hoping I've found something to get me to the finish line at the end of the month.
Basically, I'm saying that I'm not ready. At all. Since my race is in 25 days, I guess it's time to REALLY buckle down which means that this weekend, I'll be tackling a 7-miler along with upping the number of short runs during the next couple weeks. Next weekend, I'll hit 9 (10 if I'm feeling really good), and hopefully my legs won't give out of me before the end! Haha.
Sometimes it helps to read others' stories so I know I'm not the only one in the boat and the article today really helped motivate me to go out and there and just do it. (That and the new shoes I should be getting tomorrow!).
So I was pretty excited this weekend when I found the perfect couch for our living room! Like most (financially conscious) newlyweds, we inherited furniture or found something super cheap so we would at least have something to fill the space in our rooms.
Slowly but surely, we have acquired some great new furniture. My first major purchase after getting hitched was our bedroom set. I splurged on that and bought a beautiful, classic, and sturdy set. We found a matching set for our dining room and then made do with the rest of the house.
As was pointed out to us on our anniversary trip, once we hit the two year mark, we are no longer considered a newlywed couple. Since our status is moving up, I thought it was time to upgrade our living room as well :)
I decided to check out craigslist as my hunt for a new couch set commenced. Boy did I luck out!! This beautiful set fits perfectly in our house and I love that the ottoman can open up to hold blankets or anything else we may need! We got a great deal and I couldn't be happier! I feel like we really are moving on up!
So I have been severely lacking in my blog-updating lately and I'm going to try to do better! The last few weeks I have traveled all over the state of Texas (mostly for work) and I've had few opportunities to get on here. I've been to the Panhandle and South Texas, Central Texas and I'm headed to East Texas next week. All in a month's time! The trip to Central Texas was for my cousin's baby shower and Husband's and my anniversary. This week I'm thankful for the trip Hubby and I made and the few days we got to escape normal life!
I'm thankful for new babies in the family! This weekend was Cinnamon's baby shower and we found out they are expecting a little girl! I'm so excited to welcome another little one! And, it's so much fun to buy clothes for baby girls :)
This week, I'm very thankful for WINE. Our anniversary trip was to the wine country in Central Texas and we had such a wonderful time tasting tons of amazing blends! We spent two days traveling to different wineries and broadening our palette. Now, we have to figure out when we can use the goodies we brought back!
Our trip was incredible. We stayed at this amazing Bed and Breakfast in Fredericksburg and we were spoiled rotten. Our room was quaint and perfect and the breakfast was delicious. It was exactly what we wanted and when we left, Husband promised to go back soon! I'm so glad I found the perfect spot for our trip! Check it out - Corner Cottage B&B
So this is King George - the Corner Cottage Conman. He tricked all of us into believing he was a starving, homeless kitty and we were shocked to find out that he specializes in conning lodgers into believing he needs leftovers. Though I felt a little embarrassed that I fell for his tricks, I am glad he added to the weekend. Had to make sure I got a pic with him before I left... Isn't he adorable!?
This past week, I received an email from Minna Sithep, author of Happier Bride: A Guide to Happiness and Planning Your Wedding.
She asked if I would read and review her book and of course I said yes!
Although I have already been through the wedding planning process, I still wanted to see what advice she gave about how to tackle the job! Her guide was quite helpful and having been through the process, I think I appreciate the book on a whole new level.
Here is what I wrote about my feelings on the book:
I really enjoyed reading this book. I got married a couple years ago and there are many things I wish I had done differently during the wedding process. I utilized things like theknot.com and some of the wedding planning sites that were popular at the time but I missed out of today's great resources like Pinterest! After reading this book, I realized how MANY resources are out there for brides and how many ways they can get help along the way.
This book was useful in several different ways. First, from a future bride's perspective, it provided easy-to-follow steps that make the wedding planning process easier. It also provides some tips on how to be happy and stay happy. I think that's why I appreciate it as a whole compared to other wedding planning books.
What I really liked about the author's advice is her emphasis on the physical and mental health involved in planning a wedding and a marriage. Physically, she provides quick tips about better eating and sleeping habits as well as exercise. From the mental perspective, she gives a short explanation of the importance of meditation and focusing on the things around you that make you happy. When I was planning my wedding, I just wanted it to be over. Stress was coming from every direction and I wish I had taken more time to enjoy the fact that I was planning my WEDDING. So many brides forget to step back and realize the reason for the day - to marry the love of your life. In the book, there is a whole section that reminds a future bride of that important factor.
One very good point the author makes is that the engagement period is a time to focus on the relationship. So many other relationships are involved in the wedding planning process (friends, family, etc.) and sometimes that takes away the focus from each other. Isn't that funny? Because, really, this day wouldn't happen if it weren't for the couple. There are some tips on how to nurture the relationship and focus on the bride and groom throughout the process. I think this is something many people forget to do and it's a reminder this book makes throughout.
Finally, the book begins with a recommendation to start your wedding planning process with a statement of values. This is important advice for every single person, not just the bride. It is definitely a great way to start the wedding planning process, though, because you can constantly remind yourself what you want to stand for and how you want to be throughout.
Overall, I find this book a great tool for wedding planning and life in general. It is your traditional wedding planning book in some ways but in others, it is so much more.
Today would have been Carrie's 39th birthday. She would be celebrating with her husband and little girls and not wanting to talk about how close she was to 40. Instead, she's celebrating her first birthday in Heaven. I can't believe she passed away 3 months ago yesterday. I don't think any of us have completely processed that she is actually gone. Maybe because she had such a presence among us all. She still lives with us each day even if she isn't actually here in person. I miss her terribly and I know it doesn't even compare to how much others miss her. Today, I pray for her little girls and her husband and my in-laws and my own husband that they can get through this day with the knowledge that she is happy and not suffering any more. She is still with us (and if you see her youngest, you'll see her spitting image) every single day and her love for the world lives on. Love you so much, Carrie!! Happy birthday!
Happy Valentine's day everyone!! Today, I'm thankful for a day to celebrate love :) Call me a romantic (because I am), but I just love that there is a day dedicated to showing people how much they mean to you. Whether you have a lover or just a good friend or family member that you love, make sure you let them know how much they mean to you today.
I'm thankful to spend the rest of my Valentine's days with my wonderful husband. This is our fourth together and I'm so lucky to have many, many to look forward to. I love him more and more each day and I'm blessed to have someone who really makes this day special.
Husband gave me an early present yesterday and it made me cry. This is one of the last good pictures we got of Meg before we had to put her down in November. She was on her way to her surgery the 3 days before her last day and she started feeling a little better so she climbed into to passenger seat to look out the window. Husband took a picture to let me know she was doing okay. Yesterday, he framed it in the most perfect frame that I put on my desk at work. Now I can always see her happy and enjoying her ride.
I'm thankful for St. Valentine for whom this day is celebrated. It is said that St. Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers when it was illegal for soldiers to be married due to the belief that men are better soldiers when they are single and have no ties. This day was not associated with romantic love until Geoffrey Chaucer penned a poem referencing St. Valentine and love birds. The connection stuck and evolved into the modern day celebration of Valentine's Day. Either way, today was made possible because of the of its patron saint and the acts that
First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Mardi Gras! This Fat Tuesday (today), I hope you all take a moment to enjoy some sort of splurge before we head into the Lenten season. Though I'm not really one to partake in the craziness in New Orleans, I do enjoy the Mardi Gras season and believe we have something to celebrate. I hope you get a chance to enjoy some delicious King Cake at least!
As we move into Lent, many of us are wondering what we should give up. Many people will give up sweets, some will give up coffee **gasp**, and others will give up more personal guilty pleasures. I have decided to give up Facebook.
Now, some people (ahem: Cate) have questioned me on this particular sacrifice and what it really means to me. Others have argued why Facebook is a tool and why I should not give it up. I've decided to argue my case here (oh good ol' law school coming out...).
First, I believe that Facebook is a very valuable tool (you are correct, Harry), especially for those of us who have friends, literally, all over the world. I could never completely shut down my account because it is a way that I keep in touch with childhood friends I met while living overseas and friends I've met at different points in my life who live thousands and thousands of miles away. There are many benefits to Facebook in addition to a means of keeping in contact with people and I truly appreciate it.
However, there are also some serious negatives about it. I am hooked. I mean, seriously addicted. Sometimes, I pick up my phone and don't even realize that my thumb has tapped the Facebook icon until I see my newsfeed loading. I check it at least 10 times a day and I never start or end my day without checking Facebook to see what is happening in the Facebook world. I know, it's bad.
Also, it strains my personal relationships that I have on a daily basis. I am constantly distracted from daily activities because I'm checking the latest posts or pictures. When I am spending time with Husband, I'm usually also spending time with my 1000 online friends. It drives him crazy and it also keeps me from giving him my undivided attention. I'm sure I do the same thing when I'm with friends and other family members.
I've noticed that I'm checking it while waiting at the bus stop after work and while waiting for my food at restaurants. It's a way to pass the time -- at least that's what I tell myself. The thing is, this constant distraction keeps me from appreciating all of the little things in life. The little, daily blessings that God gives us as a reminder of his love. Instead of checking my phone while waiting for food at a restaurant, I could be watching a child and her parents celebrate a birthday or a new couple in that blissful new-relationship stage. Better yet, I could see an older couple still in love and on a date after 60+ years together! Those beautiful things are much better than what the latest person commented about the power outage at the Superbowl or the traffic jam on the way home from work.
After a lot of thought and reflection, I've decided that although it will be extremely tough, I will be deleting my Facebook app from my phone and I won't log on until after the Lenten season is over. In doing this, I will also be making a constant effort to look for the beauty around me. It will give me a chance to work on the relationships God has blessed me with, time to meditate on my own faith and the life I live, and remember that the world is a blessing and it is all too easy to be distracted by technology or gossip or what others are up to.
I've mentioned before my interested in eating clean
and the health benefits of using organic foods and "clean" products. Now, I'm not the type of person that will ever use completely organic clothing, deodorant or green energy, but I do believe that there are small changes we can make to make our daily lives just a little bit healthier.
I've started buying more and more organic cleaning supplies (I LOVE Mrs. Meyers Clean Day
in Basil and Method
is also a great product). Recently, I've tried to buy a majority of my produce from local farmer's markets or the organic section at the grocery store. I don't always have the organic option, though, so not everything gets to make the cut!
Last week, I got an email from Fitness Magazine about when you buy organic. This list is great. It's not an organic-buying-bible or anything but it does provide some directions for those of us who aren't sure which products really make a difference. For example, it's totally fine to go mainstream with mascara but you should really go green when it comes to body wash - who know? Also, I use the thick-skin/rind rule when buying produce. If you're buying something with a thick skin, like bananas, it's okay to buy regular ones but if you're buying apples or peaches, go organic!. Check out the Fitness Magazine slideshow here
to learn more.
Some of my favorite green products I'm using right now include: Organix Cherry Blossom body wash
, Mrs. Meyers Basil
dish soap, counter spray and room spray, Origins GinZing
eye brightener and Tree Hut Hawaiin kukui body butter
. To name a few.
Do you have a favorite "green" product that you use?
This week, I read The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green. My friend Jennifer bought me a copy for Christmas because it is her all-time favorite book. Since I was recovering from the loss of Carrie and this book is from the perspective of a girl with cancer, Jennifer told me to take my time starting it because she knew the wounds were still fresh. I decided I was ready to tackle it this week, and although it did bring me to tears, I'm so glad I read it. I honestly, could not stop thinking about it.
You know how there are some books that keep you thinking even when you're not reading them? This is one of those books. Oftentimes when I finish a book, I can start another one the same evening. I grabbed another book off my shelf and went to start it and as I sat down looking at the first page of the new book, I realized I wasn't ready. There was too much to think about and reflect on from The Fault in Our Stars. Instead, I decided to sit in thought sans distractions for 30 minutes so I went upstairs away from Husband and animals and just replayed the story in my head.
The book is about a 16-year-old girl named Hazel who has been fighting cancer since she was 13. After an experimental treatment buys her some extra time, she is going through the motions as a home-bodied teenager with cancer when she meets a guy named Augustus at her support group. He allows her to break the monotony of her life and experience true love. Because of the shortened life expectancy of terminally ill cancer patients, Hazel and Augustus see the world from a much different perspective than healthy teenagers. They spend much of their time examining the world and life and their relationship is a truly beautiful one.
Having spent the last two years sharing Carrie's battle with cancer (though from an outsider's perspective), I could relate in many ways to the story. Though Carrie was very young when she passed away (only 38), she left a legacy behind in her beautiful little girls and all the people that loved her. In the story, Augustus often talks about leaving something behind for the world to remember him by. I guess as a teenager, it's hard to see your life as something so short and fragile. You barely have a chance to figure out who you are when you are a teenager and the thought of leaving your mark on the world is something that crosses few teenagers' minds. When the opportunity to grow old seems taken from you, I can't imagine what goes through one's mind.
Like I said, this book provided me with a lot of food for thought. This isn't exactly a book review as much as an opportunity to write out how the book affected me. All I have to say is that you should pick this book up and read it. It will make an imprint in your mind. Well done, John Green. And thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your favorite book with me. It means a lot!
Today Husband turns 30! I cannot believe how time flies! I have been so blessed with his love and support and I hope today really is all about him.