Friday, September 28, 2012

Fill in Friday

San does these occasionally, and they are so fun to read, so I thought I'd make one today!  Feel free to do this on your own blog!

I wish I could go to Paris sooner than I likely will.
I want to have an unplanned, quiet weekend.
I always wear my heels down to the nail, so get the heel tips replaced by a cobbler.
I need to pick up some of those re-tipped shoes from the cobbler.
I feel like I get sick way too easily.
I think about my schedule and how to optimize it quite a bit.
I ask what time it is often enough that I should buy a watch (but have a nickel allergy so need to find one that doesn't have nickel).
I hear sirens when I fall asleep at night.
I smell the smells of fall in the air.
I ponder what my purpose on earth is.
I seek approval from others far too often.
I play piano to calm myself.
I try to be the kind of friend that I would want.
I prefer the aisle seat over the window seat, unless it's an international flight.  Then I prefer the window seat.
I wonder when I will meet my husband.
I believe that my husband is out there somewhere.
I mean it when I say my heart aches for Paris.
I never thought moving downtown would be a possibility but am so glad I made it happen.
I plan to turn some work trips into fun trips this fall/winter.
I hope that the weather is nice on the day of my marathon.
I worry about things that are out of my control.
I dislike tardiness and arrogance.
I struggle to understand why there are people who still smoke.  It's so gross and so bad for your body!

Happy Friday everyone!  I'm running 22 miles tomorrow (eeks!), and then I fly out for (another) business trip on Sunday so it will be another short weekend for me!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finding Calm Amidst the Chaos

Greetings and happy Wednesday everyone!  I am back from my trip to Charlotte.  It was a great trip, but as always, it felt good to return home.  Honestly, my life feels extremely chaotic right now, mostly due to all of the traveling I am doing for work.  In fact, last week I woke up during the night and a) I wasn't sure where I was, and b) I had to think hard to figure out what day it was...  My apartment is spotless these days, the fridge is empty, and it looks un-lived in because I am not around to mess it up!  I like the spotless part, but would love for my fridge to magically fill up with meals to bring to work for lunch!

I knew this crazy time was coming, but I will say the amount of traveling I am doing is even more than what I expected as a result of my previous boss leaving.  But now is my time to shine at work and prove that I can handle whatever it is that they throw at me.  So I am trying to keep a smile on my face, which is challenging at times - like when I found out I do have to take ANOTHER licensing exam for work (by Nov 30th) or that I have to go to Charlotte the Wednesday-Friday of the week of my marathon.  I was not happy about that.  It's not the end of the world, but work trips are exhausting and I want to go into race day feeling rested and ready to perform, so that is going to be a bit tricky.

It's only natural for us all to have seasons of our life that are so busy and test us.  I feel this way during CFA study season for different reasons, but going through 2 study seasons has helped me handle these chaotic seasons of life.   So here are some things that I do to find calm amidst the chaos.

1.  Make time to attend weekly mass.  No matter what is going on in my life, I make time to go to mass on Saturday night or Sunday.  I am not super open about my faith on here, but I am a practicing Catholic
 and going to mass really seems to center me and I always walk away with a sense of peace.

2.  Reading for pleasure.  I sometimes feel like I should be reading articles for work or reviewing my slides for a presentation when flying for work, but I give myself permission to read a novel for pleasure.  Reading is such an escape for me, and it makes the plane rides fly by.  As you will see, I have read  A LOT of books this month and that has helped me stay sane.  I make sure to read for pleasure when I am studying for the CFA, too, as I need the lighter reading to offset the intense study materials!

3.  Exercise.  This is tough to fit in when I am traveling so much as the days get long, but I try to keep up with my runs and I try to get out of the office and take a walk to grab lunch at noon.  Feeling the sun on my skin and breathing fresh air sort of 'resets' me during the day and gives me some energy to tackle the second half of the day.  And the endorphins from running really seem to help me stay more calm!

4.  Make time to talk to my parents or a friend.  Honestly, I hate talking on the phone.  But my parents don't live near me, so unless I pick up the phone, I'm not going to hear their voices.  I try to check in with them once a week, especially during really busy phases of my life as it lightens my mood and calms me to hear their voice.  My dad called me out of the blue when I was at the airport on the way back from Chicago just to see how I was feeling and to let me know he was thinking of me, and that call meant SO much to me.  I need to be the one initiating those calls, too!

5.  Cook.  This is one area of my life that has really suffered as a result of all the traveling since most of my travels require me to leave on Sunday.  But when I do have a free weekend evening to myself, I try to make something delicious that will yield leftovers for the week.  For whatever reasons, the act of chopping up veggies and other ingredients is so soothing for me and I just love being the kitchen!  

So that is what I do to say sane.  I am also trying to remind myself that I wanted a fast-paced, challenging career, so I can not complain because I am getting what I asked for.  Sometimes I feel like I am juggling the "balls" of work, running, being a friend/daughter/sister/aunt whilst walking a tight rope, and I am dangerously close to dropping one of those balls, but I just try to keep putting one foot in front of the other!

What do you do to find calmness during chaotic times?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 14

4 weeks until the marathon!  Holy cannasta.  It is coming fast.

Despite my doubts after being so sick with bronchitis, I totally staged a comeback last week.  It started with that 13 mile run in Chicago.  That run was tough, but I was able to complete it without feeling too tired - and I wasn't sore the next day, which was a good sign.  I decided to err on the side of caution and rested both Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I decided to try to do my first run club workout in over 3 weeks!  I had ran with the group the previous Wednesday, but I just did an 'easy pace' run instead of yassos since my lungs were not fully functioning!

The workout on Wednesday was pace work - after the warm-up, we did 2 miles at marathon pace and 2 miles at half marathon pace.  When I started the workout, I really wasn't sure if I would be able to do the full workout, but I wanted to give it my all (while listening to my body).  Well, it turned out to be one of the best work outs I've had all year!  My goal pace for the marathon miles was 9:09 and I ran them at 8:48 and 9:00.  My goal for the half marathon miles was 8:45 and I ran them in 8:21 and 8:26.

I WAS ON TOP OF THE WORLD AFTER THIS WORKOUT.  Seriously.  I had been seriously doubting my ability to run the marathon, but this workout really gave me a boost of confidence and showed me I CAN do it.  I may need to adjust my goals and expectations, but I am definitely going to be able to run a strong marathon!

I capped off the week with an AMAZING 18 mile long run! I actually had to consciously try to hold myself back during this run as my legs were ready to GO.   Next week, I will do my 2nd and final 20+ mile run.  I am a bit disappointed that I won't get 3 20+ milers in, but I will take what I can get!  It just feels so good to be BACK!  I wanted to high five the world on Saturday!

In fact, how I felt is best summed up by this:

Here is how the training broke out:

Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  2xMP, 2xHMP, 8 miles total
Thursday:  4 mile recovery at 9:24 pace
Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  18.25 miles at 9:20 pace
Sunday:  Rest

Training Tally:
Week 14:  30.25 miles (still too low but I'll take what I can get)
Training-to-date: 403.25

I am traveling again - this time I am in Charlotte - so I will have to miss run club again tonight!  And I will be traveling next Monday as well, and the following weekend for Nora's wedding (so 3 trips in the span of 2 weeks).  The timing of all of this travel is not optimal, but I can't really control my travel schedule right now and I just have to roll with it and fit in runs when I can!!

When is the last time you had a workout that left you feeling like you were on cloud 9?  The last workout before Wednesday's & Saturday's was probably about a month ago when I held an 8:30 pace for 4 miles (which is good for me!)!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ten Quirky Questions

Happy Friday!  Jen did this earlier this week, and I had fun reading her answers, so I thought I'd play along!

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotel?
No, I don't.  I travel so much these days, if I did I would have WAY too many.  I can't handle clutter in my toiletry closet!!

What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who are late and unapologetic for being late.  Totally unacceptable.

Do you chew your pens and pencils?
NO!!  There is someone at work that CHOMPS on his pen and it drives me CRAZY.  We don't have any walls in our office so noises travel easy.  I can block out people's voices pretty well, but can't handle white noise like pen chewing.  It actually makes my skin crawl and I have considered purchasing this person the Sophie the Giraffe toy as a chewing alternative.

Do you believe in ghosts?
Nope!  Not one bit.

What was your first concert?
Jars of Clay, which is a Christian band.

Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
Yes.  Many times.  The most recent time I can recall is when I passed level I of the CFA.  I didn't cry this year because the process of finding my results was so fricking ridiculous, and I was in the middle of a conference call when I found out, so it was sort of, well, anti-climatic in a way (but still very awesome, of course).

Do you crave sweet or salty food?
Definitely salty.

How late is "sleeping in" to you?
Wow, this has changed in the last couple of years.  7 is now sleeping in to me.  That would have been early years ago.

What is a food that you never thought you would try, but then 
tried and liked? 
Sushi.  I never ever thought I'd like it.  Raw fish?  Seriously?  Now it's one of my most favorite foods ever.

DJ or band at a wedding?
Tough call...  I would have to say a band, but it can't be too loud!

Alright - your turn!  Either answer some questions in the comments or keep the fun going and do it on your blog!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Am I the Only One?

 Allison did this post yesterday and I thought it was kind of a fun post, so I decided to play along!

Am I the only one...

- who has no desire to ever step foot in the city of Las Vegas unless I am required to go for work?

- who thinks that sweatpants with words across the behind are tacky?

- who doesn't like to talk to others while I am going to the bathroom (seriously, why do people do this!  It makes me so uncomfortable!)?

-  who feels like society has become numb to infidelity and dare I say, finds it "cute" (as evidenced by the popularity of the book/movie "Something Borrowed")?

- who adored the Happy Potter Books but has no desire to ever see the movies?

- who thinks you actually get more sick the years you get a flu shot?

- who cringes on the inside when people say the phrase "I have to pee" (what happened to saying I need to use the restroom!)?

- who is tempted to de-activate their facebook profile until after the election?

Ok, your turn:  Am I the only one...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Look Whooooo's One!

Greetings and Happy Wednesday everyone!  I am back from what was a wonderful trip to Chicago!  I had so much fun with my family, and it was one of my best business trips yet!  Yea!

As I said last week, the timing of this trip was prompted by my niece's 1st birthday party!  I could tell you all about it, but it's more fun to share photos!  Here goes!

Shortly after I got to the party (I arrived fashionably late), they started opening presents.  Anna had NO interest, though, and instead spent that time playing with her cousin's booster chair (the things that will entertain babies!)

Anna's party had an owl theme!  My brother, SIL, and mom made and decorated the cakes and cupcakes (Anna got her own smash cake, which isn't pictured here)

Ooo, the cake it coming!!

She dabbled in some frosting and cookie eating...

And was pretty much a happy, clapping mess by the end
The party was so much fun - she was a happy, bouncing, clapping baby that was happy to be passed from person to person (she is one easy going baby).  I had fun visiting with my sister-in-law's family, who I have gotten to know very well through the years.  Before we knew it, it was bed time.  Despite the fact that I had gotten over 11 hours of sleep on Friday night, I was so exhausted on Saturday night, at one point I just laid on my dad's shoulder - which felt so nice to do as I don't get to see them very often.

The next morning we Anna was up early, and I couldn't miss out on the fun so I came upstairs and played with her for bit before getting ready for church.  As usual she was all smiles.  She's a new walker so is totally rocking that 'drunken sailor sway'.  So fun!  Here are a few more pictures from Sunday!

Anna and I!

Big brother Kolin and I cuddling on the couch

Happy happy Anna, hanging out on my lap.  Her smile just kills me!  And we have the same eyes, I think!
My parents with Kolin and Anna (Anna looks ready for a nap at this point!)
 All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.  Anyone who knows me well knows how important my nephews and niece are to me.  They are the lights of my life!  I am so glad I got to be part of her birthday celebration.  I know she will not remember this event, but I always will.  I definitely cherish all the time I got to spend with my family this weekend and it really restored my spirits and made me feel more like myself after a tough couple of weeks of being super sick.

Besides all the family fun, my business trip also went really well and I am returning to work today with a renewed energy and passion for my job.  I needed this trip, really badly. After a rough patch in August with my boss leaving, I feel like things are turning around and moving in the right direction.

In closing, I will say that every time I come to Chicago, I feel this incredible magnetic pull.  I am not sure whether I will give into that magnetic pull and explore moving to Chicago some day, as I am actually very happy in Minneapolis, but I know that no matter what, I will always make time for multiple trips to that fabulous city!

Is there a certain city or area, besides where you live, that you feel "drawn to"?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marathon Madness Monday - Week 13

Today, I should be recapping the 21 mile run I did on Saturday.  But oh no - no 21 mile run happened last weekend.  Instead I spent Friday sitting in a doctor's office, looking like this:

Yes, friends, I once again had to sit in the waiting room and wear a face mask.  That totally wasn't embarrassing at all.  #sarcasm

So yes, I went back to the doctor.  My cough got worse instead of better, and I still had a fever on Friday.  My body is worn out right now.  So I got another round of antibiotics and some steroids to help with the cough, and they also took a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia (I'll get the result today).  Man, I was/am sick.

I do have to give a shout out to my pharmacist, though.  She picked up on the fact that the doctor prescribed a drug that interacts with steroids and could cause a ruptured tendon.  She said she would advise most people to avoid exercise but when I told her I am training for a marathon, she decided to call the doctor and come up with a different drug (which ended up being 1/10 of the cost!  Double win!).

Anyways, not much running happened last week.  I am starting to watch my hopes of a strong marathon slip away.  At this point, I don't even know if I will be able to run the Des Moines marathon.  My coach said I shouldn't give up yet, but that I should also have a back-up marathon in case I am unable to run the DSM marathon.

To say I am discouraged is an understatement.  But more than anything, I am MAD.  I do all the right things (eat well, go to bed early, rarely drink, don't smoke), and this is how my body thanks me?  Granted, I know that I was under a heightened level of stress in August when my boss decided to leave the company, so that is a likely culprit in why I got so sick.  But it still sucks. :(

On a positive note, the steroids + antibiotics ARE working and I felt well enough to do a long run in Chicago yesterday (which was great, albeit a little slow but I'll take it).

So I guess now I have to take a wait and see approach.  I know in the grand scheme of things that it won't matter if I can't run the Des Moines marathon, but dangit, I was really excited about it and I have been working so hard all summer.  I guess time will tell what happens, and if this is not my race, there will be others (my back-up plan at this point is the CIM in Sacramento in early December). 

Training Tally:
Wednesday:  6.5 miles (during which I coughed and coughed and coughed)
Sunday:  13 miles @ 9:51 pace along the beautiful Lake Shore Path in Chicago. Wow this is an awesome city to run in!!

Week 13:  19.5 miles (sob)
Training to date:  373miles

Despite the fact that I am really bummed about how this illness is impacting my training, I am focusing on what my coach said in his email to me last week:  "There are many marathons, there is only one Lisa.  Get well."  (I have THE best coach).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mid-Month Money Manifesto

And just like that, it's September.  We are done with nearly 3/4 of the year!  How is that possible?  I know, I know, it's  rhetorical question that most of us are asking ourselves.

Last month, I tweeted something about how the ability to walk to the grocery store was one of my favorite aspects of living downtown - which resulted in a flurry of responses.  Some said they had lived walking distance from a grocery store and loved it, some said they absolutely hated it and loved the convenience of driving to the grocery store.  This conversation then prompted other conversations about how much we each drive and whether each person was a one car family.

I am single, so obviously, I am a one car "family".  But I rarely drive the car that I own (which I own free and clear, boy I don't miss the car payment).  Most weeks, the only time I drive is to drive to run club (which is ironic, no?).  The rest of the time, I get around by walking or taking a nice ride bike.  I HATE DRIVING so I love that I can get most places on foot, be it church, the grocery store, target, or work.  Granted, shopping on foot has it's pros and cons.  I have to really think hard about whether I want to take advantage of the 2-for-1 deal on pickles as that might make my grocery bags too heavy, making for a miserable bike ride/walk home.  I also take more of a "European" approach to grocery shopping which means I shop more frequently and buy less during each shopping trip.

Besides the summer months when I drive up to my parents cabin, I usually get by with only filling my car with gas once a month.  The decrease in the amount of driving I do has been a significant source of saving since moving downtown.  In fast, last fall I went 1.5 months without buying gas, and I expect that to happen again this fall!  Besides the savings in gas, my car *should* last longer, and I only need about 1 oil change a year instead of multiple oil changes.

My car has been payed for now for a couple of years and I do not have any plans to replace it anytime soon.  Given the low number of miles I put on each month, I expect my 2003 Honda Accord to last me for years upon years to come.  I have absolutely no plans of replacing my car anytime soon.  For me, I'd rather have a paid-in-full "older" car than take on a car payment to drive something nicer.  And really, I don't think of my car as being old, but know that many would since it has ~145,000 miles on it and is 10 years old.  I have never subscribed to the view of cars being a status symbol, so I have problem driving my practical paid-in-full car.

So here is hoping that my trusty Honda Accord stays reliable, as right now, it's a huge source of savings for me to not have a car payment!

Do you grocery shop on foot or do you drive to the grocery store?  Are you a 1 car family?  If not, have you or would you ever consider being a 1 car family?  If I was to get married and continue to live downtown, it would definitely be feasible to be a one car family since I drive so little.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sorry I'm Not Sorry

This post has been brewing in my head for quite some time, in different formats and with different titles.  But earlier this week, the lovely Amy of Coffee & Sunshine shared this post which struck a note with me and got my creative juices flowing.  You should really go read the whole post, but her post is basically about getting excited about the life that you are living and not being ashamed or embarrassed of our passions.

I am going off on a bit of a tangent here, but after reading that post, I reflected back on conversations I've had with a couple of different people from different corners of my life.  And the topic of those conversations has been that I feel like I no longer fall under the conventional definition of "fun."

What do I mean by this?  Well, while I am certainly as single as they come, I am not living the stereotypical life of a "fabulous 30-something."  I'm not closing down the bar. I don't go to dance clubs.  I don't meet up with friends for cosmopolitans on a Tuesday night.  Let's face it - most nights I am in bed by 9:30 and that includes Friday nights as I have to get a good night of sleep before my long runs on Saturdays.

The truth of the matter is -- I never have enjoyed going to bars, not even in college.  I've never been good at staying up until last call.  I mean, truth be told, I have actually been known to fall asleep at the bar on occasion (yes, seriously, there are photos to prove this)!  I have never been, nor will ever be, the life of the party. 

But I spent so much of my 20s apologizing for or being embarrassed or insecure about the fact that I wasn't good at staying out late or drinking more than 1-2 drinks in the span of an evening, and I let myself believe the lie I had been telling myself - and that lie was that I wasn't a fun person.  Now that I am 31 and have a better sense of self and my priorities/interests, I've gotten to a point where, well, I'm not sorry that I don't enjoy those types of activities.  Don't get me wrong - I do enjoy getting together with friends for cocktails and conversations, I would just prefer to be out between the hours of, say, 7-10, instead of 9-12.

I've redefined my definition of fun.  Fun to me means getting together with girlfriends for wine at one of their houses, which might mean taking part in the bedtime rituals of their little ones (which are moments that I relish, as I know they are fleeting).  Fun is getting together at 7 am on a Saturday morning for a double-digit long run around the lakes and rivers of Minneapolis in the company of my fellow run club members.  Fun is a night in that includes a home-cooked dinner and tackling my next knitting project.  Fun is sharing my passion for all things French by planning an over-the-top delicious menu for our next Julia Child night.  Fun is getting giddily excited over my newest striped apparel purchase. Fun is losing myself in the pages of a book.  Fun is browsing through books at Barnes & Noble with a pumpkin spice latte in hand. Fun is engaging in conversations with family members over memories of the past. Fun is playing countless games of Go Fish with my nephews (and suspiciously never winning).  Fun is planning trips to see other bloggers, both near and far.

I will say, it took me the entire decade of my 20s to get to this place I am today - a place where I can embrace my passions and share them - be it a passion for numbers and bonds, or France, or the season of Advent, or macaroons, or white wine.  But I am done saying I'm sorry or wishing I was different than I am.  And yes, I still encounter situations or events that make me insecure about the fact that I am not 'the life of the party,' but for the most, I've learned to embrace that I am who I am.

So no, I am not living the stereotypical 30-something single life, but I think the life I am living is the right one for me.  And better yet - I think it's fabulous.

I thought I would close with a short poem by one of my favorite authors, Mary Anne Radmacher, which sums up how I feel just perfectly:

with passion live
with attentiveness love
with courage imagine
with integrity communicate
with perspective play
in all things and in all your ways
build your legacy with joy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Looking Forward

After being really sick for the past week or so, I need some positive momentum to propel me forward!  I have some really fun things to look forward to, so figured it was time for a "looking forward" post!

Today I am looking forward to running with my running group for the first time in over 2 weeks!  Between my travel schedule and being sick, I haven't been able to make it to any work outs.  I really miss my fellow run club members!  We are doing yassos tonight.  I am not sure if I will be able to do the full workout, but I plan to listen to my body and do as much as my body allows.

This week I am looking forward to seeing my Chicago brother and his family.  I get to help my niece celebrate her first birthday!  I will be sure to take photos and share those with you when I get back from my work trip to Chicago late next week!

This month (meaning in the next 30 days) I am looking forward to attending Nora's wedding.  Besides participating in the wedding festivities, I'll get to spend quality time with Becky, Mandy, and Nilsa!  I can't wait for our little blogger reunion!

This year I am looking forward to co-hosting our 4th Annual Julia Child Night!  My aunt and I have already done a trial run of the main course and the salad course, and have plans to get together later this month to practice the soup and an amouse bouche course (yes, we are fancy like that!).  I love sharing my love of all things French with family and friends! 

What are some things you are looking forward to today, this week, this month, and this year?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marathon Training Monday: Week 12

This week of marathon training can be summed up by the movie title, "Death Becomes Her."  I am not being dramatic - holy wow, I  got sick last week.  While traveling.  And presenting.  It was *awesome*.  #sarcasm.

You can plan and plan and plan for something like a marathon, but sometimes life throws a wrench in those plans and you come down with a terrible case of bronchitis.  I went to the doctor on Friday and am on antibiotics so am hopefully on the mend, but this infection seriously laid me up.  I exchanged a flurry of messages with my coach, who assured me that missing a long run this weekend would not be the end of the world and would be in my best interest.

So my mileage this week was super low.  I worked out twice.  TWICE.  Terrible huh?  But when the death virus comes a-knocking, you best lay your body down on the couch and admit defeat.

Here's hoping my 21 mile run goes ok on  Saturday...  I am really nervous about how this interruption of marathon training is going to impact my marathon, but I guess if it does impact the race, there will be other marathons.  And like my mom said on Friday, nothing would have been gained by running this weekend.

I am so sick, I ended up having to cancel my Sunday/Monday trip to Philadelphia as I am still home sick. I can't believe how much this illness wiped me out. 

Here's how my epically disappointing week of marathon training played out:

Monday - 7.25 miles with 4 miles at marathon pace.  I ran those 4 miles at 9:08, 9:05, 8:52, and 8:57 and felt strong during that stretch of the run despite the fact that my cold was really starting to come on this day.

Tuesday - rest (travel day)

Wednesay - I felt like absolute crap but dragged my butt down to the hotel gym to crank out some yassos. I ran 6.25 miles total and did 6 yassos at an 8 min/mile pace.  I actually didn't feel too bad during this run, surprisingly.

Thursday - Sunday - rest

Training Tally:

Week 12:  a measly 13.5 miles
Training to date:  353.5

Have you ever had to take a week off from training for something due to an illness?  This is a new experience for me.  I've been sick in other training cycles, like last year when I got that string of sinus infections, but this level of sickness is like nothing I have experienced in years honestly.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I'm back from my business trip in one piece!  Ufda, this was a tough trip for me.  I did what I set out to do and successfully presented at 2 different bank conferences, but oy vey.  This trip was hard.  Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of it...

The Good
- We got really good feedback from the participants at both sessions.  I am new at presenting so positive feedback really helps build my confidence!
- I traveled with my boss on this trip and we really bonded and got to know each other.  I think it was a blessing that we had to do this trip together because it forced us to get to know each other better. I feel much much better about reporting to him now and feel as though we are on the same page regarding my career path, strengths, and opportunities.

The Bad
- I got to the first hotel we stayed at, unpacked, and realized I had forgotten to pack my suit jacket.  I do NOT know how I did this.  That is a pretty crucial thing.  A suit wasn't required, but I like to over-dress instead of just meeting the bare minimum. 
- I almost got into a car accident on the first night.  My boss yelled to stop me from turning into a car.  I was turning left and thought they were turning left but they were going straight...  I blame the cold meds as I had that floating head/out-of-body feeling.  But it was pretty scary.  I felt awful but my boss was super nice about it and said to not feel bad.

The Ugly
- I got SICK on this trip.  Like SO SICK.  If I hadn't been traveling for work, I most certainly would have been staying home sick because I was miserable.  It started with a head cold which then settled into a chest cold.  By the 2nd day of presenting, I didn't have much of a voice.  Getting up in front of a crowd of people feeling like crap with a fading voice is HARD.

So there you have it.  All in all, I feel good about how the trip went, but I am not going to sugar coat it.  I was miserably sick on this trip (and still am miserably sick).  I'm working a half day today and then am taking the afternoon off and am going to the doctor (I want to rule out bronchitis).  I need to rest up as much as I can as I leave again on Sunday afternoon for another one of these presentations, this time in the Philadelphia area.

What was the good, the bad, and the ugly of your week?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of August


Felt Good on My Lips by Tim McGraw - Yep, I am still on a summer country kick!  I love this song!  I bet it's awesome to see him perform this live.  I adore Tim McGraw and have such a crush on him.


I read a lot of books in August!!  

The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares -  I actually did not like this book when I first started it, but ended up loving it.  It tells the story of a sort-of love triangle between 2 sisters and their childhood friend, Paul.  I think Brashares is such a great writer.  One of my favorite lines from the book was, "You could spend the rest of your life longing for a single idealized moment that may not have even happened."  That quote resonates with me as I have definitely romanticized certain times from my past.

Looking for Alaska by John Green - Another great book by John Green. Having loved the book, "The Fault in Our Stars," I thought there was a good chance this book might fall short of my expectations. It did not. Green is a brilliant writer! It's classified as young adult, but I think it transcends that genre and deserves a league of its own, honestly.  

All Over the Map by Laura Fraser - This is the sequel to the book, "An Italian Affair," which I read and loved in the my 20s.  I enjoyed this book, but didn't LOVE it and it's not something I'd really recommend to others.  In this sequel, Fraser is trying to reconcile the fact that she is 40, single, and childless.  I can relate to the fact that her life is turning out differently than she imagined, and some of her thoughts mirror mine, like when she says, "... I am losing the threads of my story that have to do with disappointment, with regret, with difficulties with men.  I am happy for the wonderful men I have in my life, would be happy for a new love, and am happy either way."  But there were also many passages where I just couldn't relate to her, like when she stays in relationships where she seems to be settling.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed - I had a hard time writing my goodreads review for this book.  On one hand, I love reading about Strayed's experiences hiking over 1,100 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail.  On the other hand, it was painful to read about some of the decision she had made, such a using drugs and (repeatedly) cheating on her husband.  I sypathize with the fact that her rough childhood and the experience of losing her mom at a young age were the catalyst for some of those decisions, but it was still difficult to read...  That said, I would still recommend this book!

Bloom by Kelle Hampton - I requested this book from the library after seeing it mentioned on several blogs that I read.  It was such a great book. In this book Hampton shares the experience of unexpectedly finding out her daughter has Down Syndrome when she is born.  It's heart breaking and uplifting at the same time and is beautifully written.  It also includes many adorable pictures of Hampton's family.

Paris in Love by Eloisa James - This is memoir about an American family that moves to Paris for a year.  It's not something I would widely recommend but it was a good book that provided a 'Paris fix' for me (which is something I seem to need on a monthly basis!).  Each chapter included snippets that she has shared on twitter and FB, which initially gave the book a bit of a disjointed feel, but  grew on me by the end.


It was another strong running month, which included my first (of 3) 20 mile runs!  Eeks, hitting that point makes the marathon seem so much more real.  I ran a total of 163.25 - I am not sure, but that might be my highest mileage month ever!!  I continue to feel really strong on my runs, which I think is due to the fact that I came in with a really strong base.


This is my favorite casualish look of the month.  Of course it involves stripes.  Just call me the ambassador of stripes!! I got this dress half off at Gap.  When I bought this dress, the (gay) sales associate told me I will meet my husband wearing this dress (he saw me try it on).  Ha.  I think it will be a great fall dress as I can pair it with tights and boots.  I am pretty sure this will be my Julia Child night outfit!

This is my favorite "professional" look for the month.  I had a 50% coupon for Banana Republic so decided to buy some staple items for my fall wardrobe.  I will be traveling so much, I know I will need more of these type of outfits, so I am glad I got some on sale.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 11

This week of marathon training is brought to you by the word flexibility.

I will totally own up to the fact that I am not the most flexible person when it comes to my schedule (oh who I am kidding, I'm not flexible when it comes to pretty much anything).  Controlling my schedule and planning out my weeks makes me feel more in control of my life in general.  But last week was so not in my control.  I had some evening commitments for work on Wednesday and Thursday night, and was gone for the weekend for Nora's bridal shower and bachelorette party, so I REALLY had to re-shuffle my workouts.

It went so so.  The biggest adjustment was doing my long run before work on Thursday morning.  I knew that the weekend was not going to be conducive to 2+ hours of running, so I did it before work on Thursday morning.  Which meant getting up at 4:15 so I could eat and be out the door by 4:45.  It.  Was.  Tough.  It was dark for 8 miles of my run, which really messes with my pace.  And it was warm and muggy.  But I pushed through and kept focusing on putting one foot in front of the other until those 14 miles were done.  All in all, they weren't that bad, but it wasn't very fun running that early in the morning.

I ended up taking an extra rest day this week, which I am fine with as I have not been sleeping well and I know I just have to accept that some weeks are out of my control.  I am a little nervous as the next couple of weeks are going to be so busy and I will be traveling so much (I have 2 sets of flights in the next week).  I hope I can still squeeze workouts in here and there - some of which will be on a treadmill.  I'm sure I'll make it work - I will just have to be flexible and patient with myself.

Here is how the training played out this week:

Monday - 4 mile tempo run at half marathon pace with a warm up and cool down (7 miles total).  I am SUPER pleased with how this workout went as I ran my 4 miles at an average pace of around 8:33!

Tuesday - 7 mile recovery run @ 9:44 pace.  This was a tough run as it was hot and the route I picked had no shade.  I struggled to finish this run.

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - 14 mile long run @ 9:33 pace.  Toughest long run of the training season.  Running at 4:45 is tough, yo!

Friday - Rest

Saturday -  4 miles on the dreadmill.  Given my propensity for getting lost, I opted to run on the treadmill v. risking getting lost in Nora's neighborhood.  :)

Sunday - Rest 

Training Tally:
Week 11:  32
Training-to-date:  340

Would you say you are a planner?  I live and die by my Erin Condren planner and would be so lost without it.  Most weeks I have control of my schedule, except when work-related things pop up, as they did last week.

PS - I hope those who have the day off are enjoying themselves.  I certainly am!