first watermelon of the season

I am feeling preeeeeetty good right now.  I submitted a big paper last night (fingers crossed that it’s well received!), presented that embarrassment of a computer programming project, and have only three days of class left. THREE!

I have a few more papers to turn in next week but nothing super stressful…at least I don’t think so (AP, Lauren, & Bre- let me know if I’m forgetting something).  Bre and I got together this afternoon for a mini homework party.  Chunk loooooves to party!

We wrote about hearing assessment protocols to the tune of Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book while snacking on colorful pieces of sugar.  I brought the jelly beans, and Bre provided the gummies.
Bre thought it was funny that my jelly bean bag is only open wide enough to squeeze out one jelly bean out at a time.  But it’s completely on purpose and practical–that way, it’s physically impossible to consume them by the handful (guilty as charged).

After the semester ends, I’m hoping to focus a little more on running.  I put running on the back burner and channeled most of my energy toward research for the past few (more than a few) weeks, which was definitely good, but my brain is ready for a break.  And my butt is ready to not sit in a chair.

My marathon is in 4 weeks (ohh gosh) and I’m not as ready as I wanted to be.  I got the long runs in but not the speedy stuff, so it won’t be the BQ I was hoping for…and that’s okay.  I have my last 20-miler coming up this weekend, so I’ll gauge what kind of pace I want to start the marathon with after that run.  Regardless, it will still be a fun weekend road tripping to Michigan with friends AND seeing old friends who are also running Bayshore!

And check out my best purchase of the day.
Watermelon=almost summer

How long does it take you eat a watermelon by yourself?
Random: You get called down to a stage and must either sing, dance, or perform stand-up comedy for 5 minutes.  Which do you pick?


yurbuds and 16 miles

Today was the very last installment of “Bre and Karen take on MATLAB.”  Like always, we lost.  We were both on campus scrambling to finish (and make sense of) our projects, so we moaned and groaned together as we scrolled through endless error messages.  We’re presenting tomorrow in class, and our projects aren’t quite finished, nor do we understand the parts that ARE finished.  Unfortunate.

And to make things worse, a large group of students sat right across from us in the computer lab and started talking loudly while Bre and I were in the fragile state of almost throwing our computers out the window.

Luckily for me, I had these babies to drown out the noise with Pandora (I brought them to listen to the output signals from my project, but let’s be real–that wasn’t going so well).
Ryan got me yurbuds for my birthday, and I LOVE them.  They’re designed to twistlock into your ears so they don’t fall out, and they fit deeper than most earphones (Boyle’s law to my AuD friends!).  I haven’t tried to run in them because I don’t run with music, but I think they’d stay in just fine.

Speaking of running, I finally busted out my new kicks this week! Pretty, right??IMAG0925

I spent the majority of the weekend doing research and project stuff to finish off the semester (one more week of classes!), but I did go out for 16 miles on Saturday morning by myself.  It was hot and I didn’t feel awesome, but I got it done.  And with no hamstring pain, which is a first in a loooong time!


The BEST part about my weekend was that Ryan was here!  We didn’t get to hang out a whole lot because we both had work/school stuff to get done, but it was definitely nice to have him here.  He went grocery shopping and had dinner ready and waiting when I came home on Friday!  Super sweet.  Bad lighting, but good food!


We are on the lookout for a new TV series to watch together. We’ve tried the pilot episode to about 5 shows so far, and haven’t found anything worth continuing, so suggestions are welcome!

Go-to pandora station? (Mine is usually Sara Bareilles)
Most exciting thing happening this week?


Last week, Emmeline sent me the Liebster award and a fun list of questions to answer! 🙂

First, take a moment to admire how pretty college campuses are in the spring.IMAG0924
Ahhhhh, spring!

Back to the questions.  Here we go:

1. You have unlimited space and resources, how many pets do you have and what kind?
Probably none; I don’t really like animals. (Before you think I have no soul, I do think baby animals are pretty cute).  If I REALLY had unlimited resources, maybe a family of sea otters in an underwater castle, observable through a glass wall.

2. What sports/activities did you do as a young child (prior to age 12-ish)?
Um, I went through a lot of phases.  Soccer, softball, swimming, gymnastics, karate, tap & ballet, piano lessons, art classes…I think that was about it.  In case you are wondering, I was bad at all of them except art.

3. What is the first thing you do when you visit your hometown? (other than seeing family/friends)
Lately it’s been going through the Skyline drive-thru for a greek wrap.

4. You get an all expense paid vacation anywhere you want but only for a week (no around the world trips!), where do you go?
Somewhere pretty with mountains and trails and water.  And I would like to bring family and friends.

5. Favorite American city to visit and why?
I want to visit more cities before I pick my favorite, though right now I’d be willing to go anywhere because a vacation sounds fabulous.

6. What’s the craziest thing on your bucket list?
I would love illustrate a children’s book.  Or create a viral youtube video.  Or whistle as a bird in a movie.

7. What novel has been the most influential at any stage in your life?
I’ve thought long and hard about this question because I feel like I should be able to spew out some sort of profound literary classic, but nothing stands out, so this is a weird answer:  I appreciate cleverness, and I remember reading Holes in elementary school and thinking Louis Sacher tied every string together perfectly.

8. You can choose: be able to run for life but never get faster than a 9:00/mi or you get the next year to be amazing and win marathons but then you can never run again. Which do you choose? (aka the Achilles question)
Run for life but never faster than a 9:00/mi.  It would be AWESOME to run fast enough to win marathons, but not at the cost of never running again.

9. Do you have the same favorite color as when you were a child? What is it now/then?
Nope! It was purple for a long time, so I painted my room different shades of purple and collected purple things.  Then I switched my favorite color to blue…

10. Favorite article of clothing?

Instead of passing the torch of nominations, I am going to hand over a few questions to anyone who wants to play along!
1. What’s the best way to spend a Saturday morning?
2. If you had to open any sort of business, what would it be?
3. Would you rather have a permanent headlamp attached to your head (you are able to turn it off) or permanent retractable roller skates on your feet?

back to the track and more matlab fails

Started this morning at the track, and WOW it’s been a while.  I think the ovals got longer.
Or maybe I just got slower.  Either way, I warmed up with 2 miles, ran 3 x 1 mile, and cooled down with 2 miles.  My mile pace is far from where it was last fall, but I am going to look at the positives and think about how encouraging it will be to see the splits get faster with time and practice.

The temps were in the 40’s this morning, but short sleeves were fine because my personal temperature radar is still skewed from snowpocalypse.  My brain is, too–I’m still living in dread that it will snow tomorrow.

After the run, I headed to school and did school things, and then Bre and I met for our weekly MATLAB date, fondly known as I still hate this and I will never be a computer programmer time.  The saga of “Bre and Karen fail at MATLAB” continues…

IMAG0921 IMAG0919

We gave up after a few hours of getting error messages, and I was SUPER grumpy.  Bre suggested we get froyo–have I mentioned that she’s a wonderful friend?  There is an Orange Leaf basically located on campus, so we walked over and then enjoyed our frozen yogurt in the sunshine and forgot about MATLAB.  Other post-MATLAB coping mechanisms we’ve tried have been watching Frozen, playing Settlers of Catan, looking at my Happy Light, drinking fizzy water, and petting her dog Chunk.

Vanilla, mango, & strawberry froyo + kitkat

You may notice that we DID NOT get pity pops today, despite our tradition.  I gave up pop indefinitely, and it’s been 3(?) weeks since I’ve had my last diet coke.  I’m hoping to make it to marathon day without pop, and then it’s fair game.

How much Easter candy did you eat today?

22 miles and a cappella

Happy Easter!  I was home for the weekend to spend the holiday with my family.

On Saturday morning, my dad and I drove to a rails to trails path for our long run, a nice and flat paved trail that was abuzz with other runners and cyclists.  We got a bit of a late start, so it was almost 8:30am by the time we started running, and already warm.  We ran together for the first two miles and then split up for our respective workouts: 22 slow miles for me, and 20 miles mostly at tempo pace for my dad (faster than I can currently run mile repeats).

22.22 long and slow miles finished!

My pace was fairly consistent–mile 1 and mile 22 were the same pace–but none of the miles were enjoyable.  It was one of those runs where I was aware of every step and couldn’t distract myself or get into the zone, so I just plodded along and waited to be done.  My dad brought his bike and tracked me down after he finished his run, thank goodness–I was about ready to quit after 3 hours.  Nothing hurt (go hamstrings!), but I was just overall not feeling it and couldn’t make my legs go any faster.  A little encouragement and a water refill helped, and I was thrilled to be finished!

Happy, tired, and very salty

After the run, we made a pit stop at Speedway for pop and powerade, played cards over lunch, and then got ready for Greg’s concert.  My brother Greg is part of an a cappella group at school, and they had a concert on Saturday evening that my whole family went to.  He’s a really good singer and had a few big solos, so I was excited that I was able to go to his concert.

He totally rocked Let it Be–check it out here! He’s the one in front who leads the song.

They also sang “My Shiny Teeth” from Fairly Odd Parents, old school Nickelodeon.

Sib pic with the brother star:
Someone told us that we all look alike, but I’m not sure about that one.

On Easter, we went to church, played Euchure (minus Greg), and ate lots of ham.
DSCN1724 DSCN1725

I also finished Gone Girl (Bre- thanks for letting me borrow it…a few months ago) like the rest of the world, so I am on the lookout for a new book.  Suggestions?

Do you look like your siblings?
Do you like a cappella?

Interview with Andrea

Today I’d like to introduce you to…(drumroll)…Andrea!  My friend, classmate, and most recent member of the 5k club!  We’ve shared many good times…spending weekend mornings doing labs, spending weekday nights doing labs, consoling ourselves with pity pops while doing labs–you know, the norm.  It’s hard to fit in friend time during grad school, so it’s fun when you can combine the two!


Andrea ran her very first 5k on Saturday morning, and she totally rocked it!  The race benefited cancer research, and there was a HUGE turnout of runners and walkers–just over 1600 people.  The race started at the Purdue stadium and skirted just off campus.

Post-race interview with Andrea, taken on Monday:

Karen: How were you feeling at the start line?
Andrea: Cold– I had taken my jacket off already. JK, I was very nervous and wished I had someone to talk to. I lined up in the middle of the 10 min/mile pace group and was worried that I should have been further back in the pack. I was overanalyzing everything… 

K: What was the most difficult point in the race for you?
A: Physically, it was the last mile when I wanted to keep going to finish out strong, but I needed to walk to catch my breath. Emotionally, (since this was a cancer research benefit race) it was seeing an 8-10 year old boy in front of me wearing a badge that said “in memory of my dad.” 

K: At what point did you realize that you were going to blow your goal time out of the park?
A: I don’t like wearing watches so I had no idea how I was doing on time. I was thinking that when I passed the two mile mark that things were going really quickly.  It wasn’t until I was in the final stretch and could see the big clock that I really realized how much I was going to beat my goal time (by 3 whole minutes!)

K: What were you thinking as your crossed the finish line?
A: Let’s keep going! I was also happy because my husband and father-in-law were there cheering me on.

K: Next race??
A: As soon as I can find one that benefits a good cause. 

Great job, Andrea! I’m sure we can find another race with a good cause very soon 😉

I cheered from a spot on the course and took pictures.DSCN1694
Huge friendfail: I somehow didn’t see Andrea run by (she must have been too speedy), but I did get a great picture of two sister-runners.  As they ran by and saw me with my camera, they yelled, “TAKE A PICTURE OF US! WE’RE SISTERS!” So I shouted “Woo!” and snapped a picture…a picture that they will never see because I don’t even know what their names are.

My workouts haven’t been very exciting, so they’re hardly worth a recap.  After Friday evening’s long run, Saturday was a rest day, Sunday was weights + AMT, and Monday was a slow 7-miler.  Hoping for something speedy later this week!

Do you prefer large races or small races?
Are you currently watching a tv series?

Goose chase and long tempo

I started my weekend with a wild goose chase…a real one!

I ran after class on Friday evening and took a trail circling around a pond that was apparently inhabited by geese.  Protective angry geese.  Protective angry geese that thought I was out to get their babies.
I saw two geese up ahead on the path, and as I approached them, they whipped their snaky necks around, HISSSSSSSSSSSed at me, and chased me down.

What did I do? FROZE, thankfully didn’t scream, squeaked out a meek “sorry” (why?), looked at the geese, decided eye contact might be threatening, looked away, backed up, looked really quick to see if they were still eyeing me (they were), and waited an eternity-long minute before the scene appeared safe enough to VEER off the trail and run away.

Friday is usually a rest day for me, but thank goodness I switched it up because I would have missed out on that terrifying experience.

I moved my long run to Friday evening because most of my running group is either racing, out-of-town, or tapering this weekend, so I would have been alone Saturday morning in the dark.  The other reason was that Andrea is running her first 5k Saturday morning (ee!!) and I didn’t want to be crunched for time to cheer her on.  Go AP!!!

Friday night’s run went pretty well.  I had a vague goal of 12 miles total with the middle chunk at a faster pace and I ended up with 12 total miles, 8 @ 8:10ish pace.  It was almost 70 degrees out–a big shock to my system that hadn’t run in DAYLIGHT since who knows when (I had finally accepted 20 degrees as the new norm)–but running as the sun goes down always feels awesome.  This was actually my first run since last Sunday’s 20 miler, and my butt was extremely tight, so I stopped a few times to stretch.  On the plus side, nothing hurt!


Tomorrow I’m watching Andrea race, meeting friends for a walk, and then cranking out as much progress as possible on end of the semester projects.

Have you ever been chased by an animal?
What do you remember about your first race?