Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The best things in life are…

Free. Spontaneous.

Ok, that's probably a lie, since Diane Sawyer informed me last night that most people get more pleasure out of the planning and anticipation of a vacation than they do on the actual vacation.

Go figure.

Despite the Nightly News report, spontaneous nights with a random collection of friends are fantastic.

A few weeks ago I woke up on a Sunday morning and the weather was just right for a BBQ.  But it was a Sunday, and we're still in our mid-twenties and have full time jobs.  BBQs typically include quite a few alcoholic beverages in our circles, so I wasn’t sure a Sunday was going to work out so well.  But I guess we're growing up a little because we got several responses from our mass texts and suddenly we had an event to host!

Spontaneous BBQ/Dinner Party/[Insert Other Event Here] Guidelines:

AKA: How I Totally Fake It And Just Hope People Have A Good Time:

1. Delegate.  Provided you hang around with even a slightly refined group, the questions of "what should we bring?" or "do you need/want us to bring anything?" will come up.  Although you might think you're being nice by saying "We've got it, don't worry about anything", be honest - you don't have a money tree (and if you do, I'm taking applications for BFFs, kthanks) and you probably need to spend some of that would be shopping time cleaning up the designated event area - yard, porch, dining room, kitchen, etc.  Pass things off - salad, chips & dip/salsa or other appetizers, veggies, hot dogs, dessert, etc - and of course "and bring whatever you'd like to drink" can be tagged on the end.

2. Use what you have.  Especially once you’ve lived on your own for a bit, you’ll start have *things*. Like table clothes and vases.  Maybe left over from a holiday you bravely hosted or were given to you as gifts.  I know a lot of blogs are all “OMG I <3 GOODWILL AND I BUY ALL MY COOL HOUSE THINGS FOR $2”, and more power to them, seriously. I wish I had the time and patience, but I don’t. And I was lucky, the previous owners left us some sweet vases, so those cost me $0, relatively speaking.  And, we have an incredible yard that used to be meticulously landscaped before we lived here.  We’ve managed to not kill or weed whack all of the flowers, so those come in handy in a pinch as well.



3. Maintenance.  Not my strong suit.  When motivated, I can get stuff clean and organized (I swear!). But it doesn’t usually stay that way long. I’m not sure why. I think gnomes come in when I’m not looking and mess everything up again. But regardless, I can imagine having spontaneous events would be a lot easier if it didn’t mean a mad dash to clean everything before your friends come over and realize how lazy messy you are on a daily basis.

Obviously I had way too much fun chasing the dogs, playing ladder ball, stuffing my face, and laughing about who knows what with some good people to take any pictures of the actual event.

Anyone else something think the best get togethers are the random spontaneous ones?  Any delicious last minute recipes out there I should know about for next time?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Never Regret

It’s been almost unbearably hot around here – high 90s and into the 100s.  My Grandpa told me he was day dreaming us sledding when I was younger just to try and cool down.  For New England, it’s been unpleasant.  Obviously the last thing I’ve wanted to do was sit around with a hot lap top heating me up further. I’m sure you understand.

Today it’s cooled down. A lot.  And it rained all afternoon.  It was the kind of day you want to come home from work and curl up on the couch and take a nap.  Maybe snack and watch a movie.  Be lazy.

But I had ‘scheduled’ myself to go to Zumba after grocery shopping.  There’s nothing forcing me to go – it’s all a mental scheduling. Sure, I pay good money to be able to go to Zumba.  But I paid for unlimited classes in the month, and as usual, I’m way over the break even point for if I had paid per class – so I already feel like I’m getting a deal.  So, see, nothing making me go.

I skipped last Wednesday because my knee was feel wonky (technical term) and thought it best to lay off for a day.  Plus I had some things I wanted to get down around the house (don’t ask if I got them done…).  It would be easy to again tell myself I’d go tomorrow, or Wednesday, maybe just do a workout video at home – that’s always an option – and be able to relax and get some housework done (but let’s be honest, do I ever actually do that?).

Driving home from the grocery store in the pouring rain, I thought about what I would do if I skipped Zumba.  Take a nap?  Read?  Do some laundry?  All tempting in their own ways, I mean there’s always something else that could be done, that needs to be done.  But something I read in the last few weeks has really resonated with me.


You’ll never regret a workout[run] you did,

but you’ll always regret one you didn’t do.


Something like that.  A play on the “never regret what you did, only what you didn’t” quote.  I can’t recall where I heard this related to workouts or runs, but a quick Google search shows quite a few versions and origins.

This concept got me to Zumba tonight.  And guess what?  I don’t regret it.  It’s gotten me to the gym, races, on the road, and out for walks of the last few weeks.

I won’t sit here and say “Workouts always make me feel amazing and wonderful and life is so good after a run no matter what!”  Because I’d be lying.  Through my teeth.  Sometimes they suck and are no fun at all and I can come up with 1,001 different things I’d rather do at that moment.

But, no matter my mood, I’ve never come out of a run or workout more upset, angry, or sad than I was when I went in.  It doesn’t always fix my mood, funk, or situation, but it’s never made it worse, and the majority of the time I come out at least a little better than I went in.

The last seven months – yes, all of 2011 – I’ve spent time, energy and money on making staying active a priority even when I didn’t want to.  And I’ve been successful, at least in my own eyes.  Exercise and deliberate activity has become a part of my almost daily routine.  And now, I think I’m finally rounding the corner where it no longer has to be viewed as just priority on the list, it’s becoming a necessity to my day.  Just like brushing my teeth, taking vitamins, or eating breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Sure, maybe you miss your vitamins on occasion, or you’re running late and don’t have time for breakfast before work every few weeks.  And, I think we can all admit, there have been times we’ve fallen asleep at night before brushing out teeth.

But one day of missed vitamins, breakfast, or teeth brushing does not undo all the work you’ve done, and the habits you’ve formed.  The same goes for running and working out.

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Never thought I could be one those people.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trying Something New…

I’m trying out a new way to make posts to the blog – Windows Live Writer.  Amanda over at 5 Miles Past Empty asked what services people use to post to their blog and mentioned that she USED to use Windows Live Writer and *loved* it.  Now, call me blog sheltered… but I never even thought that I could use anything other than what is provided by Blogger.
So yea, this is an experiment.
And those are some flowers that I cut from the garden to decorate for a random cookout. Because apparently I’m domestic like that now. Not sure where that came from.
And there’s a side-by-side before and after of the deck staining (which I plan to post about soon – I swear!)  M in the after is just bonus.
So far I’m liking this Writer – so here we go – hopefully this works out…!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Balloon Festival 5K

I ran another 5K last Friday.

I couldn't help it.  It was small, cheap, and based on last year's results - I had a chance to place in my age group.  So I went for it.

The weather didn't seem like it was going to cooperate, but it mostly just stayed cloudy and the rain held off.  The race was part of a hot air balloon festival a few towns away which included food vendors, crafts, rides, and of course hot air balloons!

Somehow I convinced B to join me.  He's only been to two of my races - my first 10K, and my half marathon - so I was excited, even if he wasn't overly thrilled.  (Don't worry, while I was running he got a sausage and talked to the air national guard people that were there.)

It wasn't a chipped race, which always annoys me because I like accuracy.  But, since it was small, getting over the 'start' line wasn't really an issue.  I lined up with everyone, probably in the front of the middle of the pack.  The race was started with a "ready, set, go" through a bull horn, and the course guided by a guy on the bike.

I knew it was going to be somewhat hilly, and I haven't exactly been *ahem* keeping up with training, so I was nervous.  I felt good for the first mile and finished it with a split of 8:44, which is pretty fast for me.  There were a few woman around my pace so I stayed with them for a while before passing several of them.  Mile 2 was out through farmland (aka manure smell) and was mostly flat, except for the uphill turn around that included a water stop.

At this point, I was just pretty ready for it to be over. I wasn't feeling it and just kept pace with a girl next to me through the up and down hills.  Mile 2 split was 9:01.  There were rolling hills the last mile and I was grateful to see the dirt road that lead to the finish line.  As I ran towards the finish I saw B on the sideline with the camera.

I know, I look so great when I run, huh?  Sidenote: the girl behind me in the green shirt was the one I ran with almost the whole time.  After I got home and went to log my miles onto, I realized she was a girl I had recently friended on the site.  We're also running a few more of the same races this summer. Small world!

Mile 3 split was 9:08.  My official finish time was 27:55.  It wasn't a PR, but I'm still really pleased with it.  There were more hills than the one I PR'd on a few weeks ago, and this one was 3.13 whereas that one was 3.01.  So, yea, I was okay with my time. It was still well under 30, and it was in the 27s, so I can't complain!

Oh, and then there's the minor fact that I got 2nd in my age group again. Woo hoo!!! So, I call that a WIN.  2nd out of 15 in my age group, and 68 out of 154 overall. Not too shabby for a Friday night.  And it didn't even start to sprinkle until the awards.

I felt alot better than I looked here, I swear. So sloppy looking!

Anyway, now I've got myself $15 to spend at RoadID, which is what I chose from the table for my award :)  I'm probably going to get a wrist or ankle sport ID.  For those who aren't familiar, they're similar to the medical ID bracelets people with certain conditions tend to wear - only they have personal and contact information available in case anything where to happen to the wearer while running (or biking, or whatnot).  Gives the wearer and their loved ones some piece of mind.  There is also room on them to include an inspirational quote.... so now I need to decide on a running mantra.  And of course which color I want.

Ugh, decisions!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stars & Stripes

Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend.

I wanted to buy a flag, be patriotic, etc.  B vetoed it when we were at Lowe's.  Not sure why.... we already have the bracket on the house, just need the pole and the flag.  I will probably just go buy one by myself anyway, even though its late.  But hey, its okay to be patriotic year round, isn't it?!

We had a great long weekend - getting things done on the house and spending time with friends and family, setting off fireworks, and eating waaaaaay too much food.  I've got a ton of pictures - maybe I'll post some another night, I'm not in the mood to fight with the photo uploader tonight.

I really wanted to post something, because I don't want to keep neglecting this blog, but I can't really think of much to say.

I ran 28 miles last month.  Pathetic compared to 62 I ran in March and April, even the 47 I ran in May.  But, it's more than none, and that's what matters.  I'm having some trouble motivating myself to get out there as much these days.  I have a 5K this Friday, and a 10K at the end of July... and the last time I ran over 6 miles (a 10K is 6.2) was....oh you know, that time I ran a half marathon... back at the beginning of May.  So yea, I need to pound the pavement the next few weeks to survive the 10K, never mind PR it.

I'm also struggling with the decision to sign up for another half marathon.  I really want to... it's just a matter of squeezing the race itself into my schedule AND the training.  I've got a few picked out that look promising but  I haven't made any decisions yet.

We'll see....