Archive | March 2014

Weekly Update

Last Saturday, got up early to run a local 8-miler with my friend Bob. We kept a really solid pace and finished in under 1hr15! It was a really beautiful day and I spent it outside there and also at the dog park in the afternoon. Also hung out with Linds in the evening for Target and fro yo!

Sunday was really productive day with yoga, studying, and laundry. James arrived in the evening for the week.

Monday and Tuesday were busy with clinicals. Got short runs in.

On Wednesday, I tried to get work done, but was less than ideally productive. Did a melt/stretch class with Lara after a 5k at the gym.

Thursday I filed my taxes (exciting!), met Lara again for yoga, and did homework before going to the dog park with James after he got out of work.

Friday morning was absolutely beautiful! After my morning run, we took the dog pack for a walk “downtown.”

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Then we had a nice afternoon together getting things done.

Saturday was rainy and lazy. Other than studying, not much productive occurred. Need days like those every now and then.

Sunday, also rainy, but I promised Bob I would run, so I showed up and actually had a great time, other than numb hands. Then productivity ensued, as it tends to when I start the day off on the right foot!

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Also, on a tangential note, I had a really important conversation with James that went better than expected.

And…I finally won this game 🙂

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Memories

I remember when I was not even a little bit in shape enough to run a 5k.  Luckily, the peak of my “out of shape” time happened in my early 20s, so I was never out of shape enough to not be able to “run” a mile.  But still.  Back then, I wondered why anyone would ever run.  I thought people who paid to be in races were downright crazy.  Paying someone else money to run?  Madness. 

Now here I am, three years later, and I have to actively stop myself from registering for every 10k+ race in my area.  I’ve even gotten snobbish to the point of thinking 5k races are beneath me.  Well, not exactly.  I tend to think it’s silly to pay for those because it’s just so easy to go out and run 3.1 miles on my own.  I don’t need anyone to set up a course for me, or provide water stops, or cheer me on.  At this point, a 5k is quite a short distance for me.  I usually run 4-6 miles when I’m out on my own, because it hardly seems worth the effort to “suit up” just to run 3.

I have reached a new peak of fitness, and I continue to climb.  It’s funny, because progress is so rewarding.  In this case, the journey has been wonderful, and I have loved having goals to work towards.  I know I haven’t reached my limit, and that’s an inspiring position to be in.  However, at some point, if I continue on my current trajectory, I will inevitably reach the pinnacle of fitness and running success.  What happens then?  How will it feel to be in a “maintenance” stage of fitness?  What will it take to keep me excited about running and getting stronger when I have checked off all the items on my bucket list?  Perhaps that’s why people are constantly turning to new challenges like ultras and triathlons, or just increasing the frequency of their races and racking up the medal count?  Maybe I won’t ever be satisfied until I’ve run Boston or the Badwater Ultra?  Honestly, I am nervous about getting bored with running once my improvements begin to level off, or even decline as I get older. 

But I do know this…  I want the body of an aging runner.  I was that healthy glow, those lean limbs, the mobility and agility of someone much younger than my years.  I want to look doctors in the face at 65 and for them to applaud me on how well I’ve held up, and what great life decisions I’ve consistently made.  So maybe that should be my ultimate measure of success: good health over a lifetime.  I kind of botched it for the first 20ish years, but that’s what fresh starts are for, right?  It’s never too late to work towards good health, and now that I’ve started, I just don’t want to stop.

So much has changed for me over the past few years.  Not just running…  Family.  Life.  Responsibilities.  I hardly even recognize the person I was back then.  I have a completely different set of priorities.  I wonder how much change will take place in the next 5 years? 

Nice Surprises

So I had a surprisingly nice Thursday.  I got up and said bye to James as he left for work, but went right back to sleep for a few hours in preparation for my evening-night double at work.  Before that, I met Lara for yoga, and we had a really challenging but excellent session.  I told her I wanted to focus on my arms, so we did some extra modifications to certain poses.  It was a new and exciting change of pace.

Then I said bye to the pups, but not for too long as James got off work just a few hours after my shift started.  My evening shift was hectic, lots of drama with the patients as per usual, but my night shift was one of the best I’ve ever had.  Not only was it calm, but I had some great conversations with my coworkers and didn’t even feel too sleepy on my drive home.  I swear, I don’t want to do it often, but I rarely regret it when I do. 

So I came home to the nicest surprise on Friday – James had stayed overnight to see me off the next morning.  I was grinning ear to ear.  He had even cleaned, changed out my lightbulbs, and fixed my dryer door.  Not that I’m keeping track, but he earned some MAJOR boyfriend points that morning.  After a visit with him, I did end up crashing into my post-night-shift coma.  But I had to get up earlier than usual due to an interview I had for a summer internship.  So I made it out of bed in time to go for a short run (the better to seem awake), and was able to leave with plenty of time to get to the interview.  I was actually a little extra ambitious and got there about a half an hour early, so I took a moment and grabbed a Diet Coke (the better to actually be mentally awake) from Sonic.

The interview went well, I think!  I hope I made a lasting and favorable impression, because this position would open so many doors for me.  Two of my classmates also applied, so I’m hoping we are all selected!  Afterwards, I connected with a new colleague, and RN who I was lucky enough to meet down at the race last weekend.  She gave me some excellent advice and pointers for my upcoming teaching project while we enjoyed a delicious Mexican feast (the fresh guacamole is to-die-for).  We were having such a great conversation that I hardly noticed when two hours had passed by!  I rounded out that evening with a stop by the Girl Scout cookie table…finally buying my first cookies right at the end of the season.

Saturday morning, I voluntarily got up bright and early to register for a local 8-mile race!  My new friend Bob has been encouraging me to run more with this organization, and this seemed like an ideal chance.  He is my running idol, because in his late 60s, I follow him and he pushes my pace!  Today’s run felt awesome, and I again exceeded my time goal (but still waiting for official results to post).

Then I came home and had a moderately productive afternoon of homework and laundry.  And the gorgeous weather persisted, so I took the dogs to the park and caught up with several friends I have been missing.  Finally, I rounded out the evening with a trip to Target and fro-yo with my dear Linds.  I don’t get to hang out with her nearly enough, and it was a nice way to be social but also chill on a Saturday evening.

Shift to the Future

My life this week has been all about future-thinking. Took my third med-surg test Monday, got my best grade yet this semester (with plenty of room for improvement still), and made the official decision to start the process of moving in with James. Our goal is to get my place advertised by the end of this month, hopefully get a tenant lined up by April or May, and set a move-in date for July or August. Maybe June, if we are being really efficient. Lots to do between now and then, much of which will be put on hold as I finish my semester, but the decision has been finalized. Insert deep breath here.

Also, I got a call back to schedule an interview for a summer nursing externship! I go down on Friday afternoon, and I’ll need to have my game face on as I work a double evening-night today. But I should a solid 5-6 hours to sleep. And I got a new interview outfit that I feel confident wearing. I went shopping with my Nursing School Little Sister after our lunch. The guy at tropical smoothie noticed my weight loss and complimented me. And in the dressing room, the smaller size of pants fit me. Shopping is so much more fun now!

James and I finished Orange is the New Black this week. I have a solid rough draft of my paper 4 days in advance of its due date. My house is a disaster, but maybe I’ll get to it this weekend? And I’m hopefully registering for an 8-mile race on Saturday morning. It’s my reward to myself for accomplishing so much this week.

Oh also, Rudolph is fitting in quite well! He has to wear the cone of shame because he pulled out the stitches in his du-claws, but other than that, he’s an easy and wonderful addition!

New Puppy, Plus a PR

I’ll just start by saying that a dose of doubt is healthy, but when it’s right…it’s right. We drove down Friday to look at little Rudolph, and after careful consideration and a mutual conclusion, we adopted him.

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Already, he fits right in. Low-key personality, no messes, very friendly. Here he is on his first morning with us.

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He even likes car rides! He’s so stinkin’ cute.

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Saturday after a relaxing morning out at James’s, we loaded up the car and headed to my place, where I promptly turned around and left for my half-marathon weekend plans.

Regan and I made it down to the expo just in time, got our SWAG and a few extras. While waiting for dinner at OG, we had a facetime with Little. And then dinner was wonderful (because, carb-loading). Then we headed back to the hotel and hung out with the rest of our group.

Here we all are, race morning.

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I switched into a higher corral to try for the 2:15 pace group. And that’s where I met Kelly! We literally chatted our way through the entire race. I encouraged her at the beginning (it was her first half), and she pushed me at the end. We ran ahead of the pace group for the last couple of miles for a solid PR of 2:13:45.

Here we are, euphoric in our victory!

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And I’m going to throw it out there now, I want another big PR at my October Half…under 2 hours. I also have a Half in June, but that one is supposed to be quite hilly and hot, and it doesn’t give me enough time to make the necessary changes. So this one will be just for fun, not for time, which will also be a first for me.

After watching the marathon leader cross the finish line, we all met up for post-race stew (and beer, if that’s your preference). Then we headed back, just a little bit heavier with our giant medals!

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That afternoon, James and I celebrated with a seafood feast. Then I commenced studying. Test today. Trying not to get distracted. It’s clearly working. But they’re so cute.

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And so is he 🙂

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Big Decisions on the Horizon

So, I’ve been grappling with this decision since before I was in Phoenix, and the break afforded me some extra time to think about it and talk some things out with my girlfriends. Since then, I have talked extensively with James and with most of the important people in my life. Here’s the thing: I’m thinking about moving out of my house, renting it, and moving in with James.

But first, let’s recap what happened after I left the desert. I took the red-eye, during which I mercifully found sleep. A very nice young man on my flight walked me all the way to my new gate on my layover, either because he was bored, hitting on me, or genuinely worried I would sleep-walk my way onto the wrong plane. Then I had quite a long layover during which I ate some breakfast. I also slept on my connecting flight back home, where James and Bratwurst were waiting to greet me. We had to wait around for a bit on my luggage, which was ultimately not delivered til 11pm that night, but was thankfully not lost/damaged.

We had a nice rest of Saturday, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather. On Sunday, I ran a new 7-mile PR, James did his workout, and we finally finished Breaking Bad. Epic conclusion!

On Monday, I did morning speedwork at the Y, class, pre-clinical, then an easy 5k back in the neighborhood, for a total of 6.6 miles. Not much else got done in the evening due to distractions.

Tuesday, I almost overslept for clinical, but I moved efficiently and only forgot a few important things like my wallet and gum. It ended up being a great experience, and a beautiful day. When I arrived home, I tried some outdoor yoga.

Wednesday, I again got out the door early to run at the Y (5 miles this time), and made it to class with literally seconds to spare. But I blame that mostly on my decision to chat with some ladies in the locker room about MyFitnessPal and weight loss. Class ended early, which prompted a study session, which ended up in Mexican food, which resulted in a long lunch. I was gonna run errands, but I just headed back here. The rain arrived late, so I had a chance to study outside, which was where James found me when he got home from work. We had another nice evening…the entertainment of the week has been episodes of Community (we finished Season 1!) and Resogun (an arcade-style video game I actually enjoy watching him play).

This morning, no alarm woke James up, so he had to rush out the door, which is a bigger deal because he was supposed to pack for the weekend/week. Let me explain this other potentially big decision… James wants to see about adopting a third dachshund mix dog from a shelter 3 hours south of here. So we leave tomorrow AM, see the dog (maybe take him with us), and keep moving south to see his sister and niece. Then Saturday, we head back early so he can drop me to meet Regan at my half-marathon expo. It’s gonna be a crazy weekend! He has to come back here tonight to pack, but had he not overslept, he would have just come back to my place after work.

So, on the decision to move in, there’s a lot weighing on my mind. First, it’s a big emotional commitment to move in and literally spend all my free time with him. Second, it’s logistically complicated, and I don’t know if I have time right now with school. Third, it’s quite removed in terms of distance from all of my regular activities.

But on the other hand, I am ready for a change, I want to try renting my house, and I love him and want to spend more time with him. We’re in a good place right now, and that could get even better with this move. It could also get worse, but that’s always a risk. Love is a risky business, but so far all of the chances we’ve taken have been rewarded. I mean, we practically live together now, we just flip flop between our two places.

But I promised myself I would give it some time and wait at least until this next test to make a decision. It feels like everything in my life is happening all at once! Big decisions, bigger changes… Do I play it safe, or dive right in?

Fun Part Two

So Thursday we started out taking things slow, did morning workouts and then got ready for a bonus hike! Just a place right around here with a few hills and nice views. Rooms was unamused at the idea of taking a sweaty selfie, but she humored me.

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I decided I needed a posed picture with a cactus because how could I leave AZ without one?

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Then we proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon hanging out by the pool/hot tub. It was actually a cool day, so we eventually ended up back indoors and watched some movies.

In the evening, we met up with Roomie’s friend Emily from work and had a delicious dinner at Pita Jungle. We ended up almost closing the place down because we were having such a good conversation.

And then Friday morning, I still managed to drag my butt out of bed in time to run before the sun got too brutal. Today’s challenge was 12 miles, my last long run before the half next weekend.

Before (barely awake):

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During (4 of the 8 total balloons I saw out at once):

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After:

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Wow, I was sure happy to be done. And also quite proud of myself because I did it in 02:03:54. That’s 10:20/mile … for twelve of them! It’s leaps and bounds faster than my first half (12:36/mi), and actually gives me hope I could pull off this one in 02:15:00-02:20:00. That would just thrill me to death 🙂

For the rest of Friday, we did a little shopping and eating, hanging around and packing my stuff. After quite a busy week, it was nice to actually have some true down time. Tonight I fly back home on the red eye, and with time zone changes and DST starting this weekend, my body clock is going to be all kinds of messed up.

It’s been a nice week out here with Rooms. I finally got to see a glimpse into her life out here. I really enjoyed all the adventures we had. And I felt quite lucky to trade my snowy, cold home for balmy Phoenix for a week. Now back to the real world…