book dates (weekend recap)

Hello hello!  Monday again, so let’s relive the weekend.  Ryan was up visiting, and we spent the majority of our time reading, eating, and working out…since those are three of our favorite hobbies.

The Reads:

I’m lucky to have found a guy who thinks wandering around a bookstore is a perfectly normal date, so one of our most frequented date locations is Barnes & Noble.  We usually play a game or two of Settlers of Catan in the cafe and then peace out to our respective shelves.

I was in the new fiction section on Friday evening and got sucked into The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.  It’s about three sisters from an eccentric bookworm/Shakespearean family who move back home and try to figure out how to live together again.  I’m about 3/4 through and, pending the ending, recommend it!
photo 2

I was so completely engrossed in this book that on Saturday, Ryan and I went to the library (our newest date idea. #partyanimals) and I pulled The Weird SIsters off the shelf and made my way to a cushy chair, where I stayed for the next few hours.

I found Ryan in this adorable scene:photo 1

We also went to Sam’s Club for a few things (the most disappointing sample day ever) and wound up poring over the fitness book collection.  I found a good one on yoga (still going strong twice a week!) and Ryan looked at one about lifting heavy things.
photo 1

The eats:
I’ve been craving little tacos ever since I went to Q’doba with Ryan’s family a few weeks ago and then with Sarah the week after, so we made little chicken tacos…and ate them all weekend.  The weird brown mashy tuna-looking blob on the right side is a piece of experimental pineapple banana bread.

photo 2
We wiped out about 20 of those little corn tortillas over the weekend–Did you know that you can top a tortilla with just about anything, any time of the day, and it tastes good?

Also-we figured out our sandwich-for-a-snack team approach: Ryan’s favorite part is the middle, and my favorite part is the crust.  Win-win!photo 3

And finally…we heard that Pizza Hut was having a buffet special, so we worked that into our Sunday afternoon plans (i.e. we planned Sunday afternoon around it) and took it upon ourselves try every kind of pizza between the two of us.

The workouts:
Saturday: 60 min AMT (2 x 20min @ tempo effort)
Sunday: Ryan and I did this circuit from Peanut Butter Fingers:
We slightly adjusted it by running half a mile (outside) in between each circuit (mostly so I could catch my breath) and did 4 rounds.  It.was.hard. And so hot out.  Luckily no one else was in the gym, so we got to pick the TV channel—FYI it’s hard to find something to watch early Sunday mornings–so we ended up with The Middle (good) and Spongebob (…).

Sandwiches: crust or inside?
Pizza: crust or inside?


Friday Five: Five things about me

I’m baaack!

What do you write about when you have a running blog but aren’t running…and instead you’re catching up on Pretty Little Liars in between reading articles for summer classes?  I’m not sure, so I didn’t.  But I’ll try today with a Friday Five link up hosted by Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney: Five things about me

1. I kill spiders with my bare hands because my aim is better without a tissue.  BUT if its body is big enough to make an audible crunch when I smash it, tissue all the way.

2. My college dorm gave out superlatives, and I got “Goody Two-Shoes” both years I lived there.  I bet my parents were proud to hear that one..

3. I am directionally-challenged to the max, and exploring a brand new city alone sounds like a horror story.  I’d rather kill a crunchy spider bare-handed than navigate a confusing detour (note: all detours are confusing).

4. I don’t like rereading books or rewatching movies because I don’t want to relive the sad/bad parts.  It’s like knowing an impending doom and not being able to stop the characters from meeting it.

5. This is how I organize and plan my strength workouts:
When I find a good (and realistic…seriously) workout on a blog or pinterest, I write it on a little piece of paper and stick it in my gym bag.  On non-running days at the gym, I sift through the papers to find something appealing.  I think giving myself an option helps me get excited about the workout.

And since I haven’t been running, I’ve been using that pile of papers for my workouts, and they’re kind of fun!  Fortunately, my knee feels okay for burpees and for running short distances.
Sun: Rest
Mon: Rest
Tues: 3 x (run 5 min, 15 tri dips, 15 curtsy lunge+squat, 20 push ups, 20 leg lifts, 20 ab, 20 bridges, 60 sec plank, 20 supermans, 5 burpees); pm yoga
Wed: 7 x (5min AMT, 5 burpees, 10 push ups, 10 fire hydrants/leg, 60 sec plank, 10 tri dips)
Thurs: 3 x (5 min AMT, 25 squats, 25 bridges, 40 sec wall sit, 20 back lunge+kick) with 5 burpees between each move; pm yoga
Fri: same circuit as Tues

Final note: my super short hair has graduated to only needing a medium-sized headband and 2 bobby pins to (mostly) stay up!  I am living for the return of curly hair’s glory moment: the 5-second messy bun.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
Highest number of burpees you’ve ever done in a row?

Weekend recap

Hello, and happy Monday! Or Tuesday.

Ryan was visiting for the weekend, so we packed it with exotic animals (er, llamas), exploring parks, foam rolling, and starting season 3 of Sherlock.

First, the animals:DSCN1815Our church friends got together for a bonfire/cookout on Saturday evening.  Our church friends are humans, but their llamas are pretty cool and super photogenic.



Aside from taking pictures with our furry friends, we talked to our people friends, played cornhole (Ryan and I made an epic cornhole comeback after being down by like 17 points), and ate delicious food.  My favorite was the Reese’s ice cream sandwich cake (which I confirmed with 3 pieces), and Ryan rank-ordered the four different kinds of macaroni and cheesy potatoes for us.

When the sun went down a bit and the evening cooled off (relatively speaking), our friend Brian dragged a dried Christmas tree out of his shed and lit it on fire!  This fire was SO TALL.  You can see the outline of the tree below.DSCN1829It started raining soon after the fire went up…but we managed a few drizzly s’mores.

The day before, Ryan and I explored a new-to-us nearby park, Prophetstown State Park.  We checked out the Native American prairie, hiked trails, got bit by mosquitos, and ate gnats (I’m a great camper).  Also learned that “comfort stations” are, in fact, bathrooms—not nice lounge areas as the name may suggest.image_4
Native American prairie

image_2I didn’t run much this weekend, but I tried to on Friday morning.  I made it about 30 minutes before my right knee started hurting again, so I’m back to icing and not running.  Fortunately, I can elliptical/AMT, lift weights, and even do plyo moves just fine and without pain, so that’s what I’ve been doing instead.  And foam rolling.  I might have been a little too enthusiastic with the foam roller on Friday because my quads and IT band and hip flexors were painfully sore for 2 days..

Has anyone dealt with IT band issues?  Or super tight quads?
Do you have any unique pets?
Most fun thing you did over the weekend?

yoga snafu and avocado cookies

I am happy to report that after being phoneless for two long days, I am now the proud new owner of a beautiful blue iPhone!  Not only did I rejoin the 21st century, but I also made the big switch from Android to iPhone, and with no regrets so far.
And perfect timing–my power went out for two hours as soon as I got back from Verizon…could you imagine? no phone, no power, no daylight (it was storming), no one to talk to…what do you even do?  Foam roll?  Read by headlamp?

Anyway, things are back to normal now.  Even better than normal because Andrea and I went to the correct yoga class on Thursday evening.  Ha, so I mentioned that we’re doing yoga twice a week, but it turns out we’d been going to the wrong class.  Basically there are different types of passes you can purchase at Purdue’s rec center, and Andrea and I bought a pass for 8 weeks of a specific small-group yoga class.  Coincidentally, there was a yoga class at the same time for a different large group (different participants week by week) intro yoga class.

After the second week, we noticed some weird things about the class we thought we signed up for:

  1. The class was enormous.
  2. We didn’t recognize anyone.
  3. The instructor gave us funny looks when she scanned our passes.
  4. The instructor re-introduced herself and re-introduced everything we did.
  5. The instructor had the wrong name.

Once we realized our mistake (my fault, by the way; I had the room number wrong), my first reaction was “nooooo…a harder yoga class might mean more down dogs.”  It didn’t, and we LOVED the new class.  There are less than 10 people in it and we did harder moves, but we flowed through them more quickly.  I left feeling relaxed and stretched out.

As Andrea and I sat on our mats before yoga started, I told her about the cookie dough  (er, experiment) that was sitting in my fridge.  I read somewhere that you can substitute butter with avocado, and I was pretty sure that you could sub sugar with bananas or honey, so I did all of the above and added flour+oats+eggs+baking soda+vanilla+Reese’s Pieces without measuring anything except the flour and oats.  I told Andrea that my batter was a nasty green color, and we discussed whether or not it would turn to that overripe avocado brown color while it was chilling in my fridge.
I introduce to you…World’s Ugliest Cookies!
The colored candy coating on the Reese’s Pieces created a hint of autumn tie dye.

They taste good, despite their extreme lack of visual appeal, and Ryan gave them a thumbs up for approval.  Next time I’ll add the Reese’s Pieces immediately before baking.

Any iPhone apps/tricks/tips I need to know about?
Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms, or Skittles?

books books books and more cross training

A teeny library arrived in the mail today!

Has anyone read any of these?  I got the entire load from Better World Books for less than $30…and promoted literacy!  For each book you buy from this website, a book is donated to someone in need through non-profit organizations.  Better World Books also gives a portion of every book purchase to nonprofit literacy partners.  With charitable outcomes like that, I don’t even feel bad about being the compulsive clearance book buyer that I am.

The package came at a perfect time though.  I was having a sad day because my phone randomly stopped working (it’s kind of old I’m due for an upgrade), but my phone carrier’s nearest store is 3 hours away, so I took it to a different phone store, who couldn’t do anything except set me up with an entirely new phone plan, which I declined.  Long story short: phone drama and I’m currently flying phoneless. It’s odd to think that cell phones are a relatively new norm because I feel anxious and lost in the wilderness without one (*as I facebook chat with my mom and Skype with Ryan*).

The other good part of my day was yoga with Andrea!  Andrea has done plenty of yoga and convinced me to take a Tues/Thurs evening class with her all summer (convinced me= “Andrea, are you taking yoga this summer?  I want to join you.”)–I was inspired by Lauren’s yoga story as well.  It’s a beginner class, so I am keeping up okay…although if we spent any more time in downward dog, I would have faceplanted because we were seriously there forever, and my shoulders were shaking.IMAG1048

I’m still taking a break from running until my right knee feels 100% normal, so I’ve been rolling out my quads and IT band daily…so painful!  I think my IT band actually cried tears of pain today within 10 seconds of touching the foam roller.  I’ve also moved my “mileage” inside to my favorite cardio machine, the AMT:
This morning, I did intervals of :30 hard, :30 easy and :40 hard, :20 easy.  This machine is perfectly placed directly in front of a large window wall, so as long as the sun isn’t shining in your eyes, an hour on the AMT is tolerable…even kind of enjoyable.

When’s the last time you had to go phoneless for more than 2 days?
Go-to song on your playlist right now?

week recap

Two things first:

  1. Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, including mine!  We celebrated him by hanging out all weekend.  Lots of cards and lots of Doritos.  And, of course, a father-daughter workout on Sunday morning.
  2. And HAPPY 30th ANNIVERSARY to my parents!  Love you both!

I went home to Ohio last Wednesday to see my family and a few friends before summer classes started (they start this week), so I’ll skim through some of the exciting parts of the week:

I arrived Wednesday afternoon in time to meet my college friend Sam, who was in town, for a Reds game!  I hadn’t seen her since graduation(?), so it was wonderful to catch up on the past two years and watch baseball (…but mostly talk).  My sister, dad, brother, and brother’s friend Kevin joined us for the game–and the Reds won!IMAG1049

While I was home, I also went shopping with my mom (she bought a really cute maxi dress!), visited my friend Stephanie, got most of my hair cut off, had a photo shoot with my sibs, and had a few good workouts.

My strategy on getting your hair cut: get a lot cut off so that you only need to get it cut a couple of times a year.  I went a little overboard so it’s a bit shorter than I wanted…I can’t even put it all up in a ponytail…but I’m getting used to it, and it’s SUPER easy.  I can blow dry my hair in less than one minute now!  And as an added bonus, it’s not as fro-tastic as I was nervous it would be when she finished cutting it.  The obligatory “all of the children are home, let’s take a picture” picture:DSCN1784

I mentioned this briefly earlier, but last week my right knee started hurting toward the end of a 7 mile run, so I’ve been icing and cross-training since then to let it heal.  I’ve never really had knee pain before, so I’m guessing/hoping that it’s just leftover from the marathon and will fix itself soon.  Here’s my week of fitness, (mostly) sans running:
Mon: 20 min arms & abs; 35 min AMT (steady state)
Tues: 3 mile run (stopped because my knee hurt); pm yoga class with Andrea
Wed: 30 min plyo circuit
Thurs: 60 min AMT (intervals)
Fri: 40 min arms, abs & glutes; 45 AMT (steady state)
Sat: 60 min AMT (intervals + steady)
Sun: 60 min circuit workout with Dad (sets of: lunges, push ups, bicycle crunches, leg lifts, plank, bridges, curtsy lunge + squat, tri dips)

Last baseball game you went to?
Do you prefer your hair long or short?

The Yogathon (a guest post)

I have someone awesome to introduce today!  My friend Lauren, who ran and conquered (and BQ’d!) the Bayshore Marathon with an inspiring, unconventional, and yoga-filled journey to the start line.

I met Lauren five years ago at CMU because we were in the same small group that traveled to Atlanta to work with youth and refugees with the alternative breaks program.  We became friends instantly, and she was the one who convinced me to coach Girls on the Run and to join the Club Running @ CMU team, two of the best experiences I had in college.  I remember her giving the best pep talks ever, whether to our college team before a meet or to our 3rd and 4th graders on a particularly challenging day.

She is an extremely talented runner who, after a lion’s share of injury, re-channeled her athleticism from running to yoga.  Her training for the Bayshore marathon was rather unorthodox, and I was thrilled when she agreed to write a guest post about her experience with it all.

Take it away, Lauren!

The Yogathlon

I’ve always enjoyed pretty much everything about the sport of running…being out in nature, the running community, the endorphin release, and the satisfying feeling of accomplishing a goal. I know many runners can agree with this. They can also understand the frustration of an injury and how it leaves you feeling as if something is significantly lacking in your life.

A couple years ago I finally reached my breaking point. I had invested significant time, energy, and money into reoccurring injuries and my recovery was always minimal or short lived. I decided to quit physical therapy, give up the chiropractic adjustments, pull out the orthotics and shoe lifts, and once and for all stop foam rolling, icing, and popping anti-inflammatory pills as if it was going to make any difference. This decision didn’t come without a strong fight. It didn’t come without tears and restless nights over the thought of no longer being a “runner”. Losing running not only meant losing my personal form of exercise and stress relief, but also my social community, my team.

Despite my decision to take a long and serious break, I was still in pain and I wanted to feel better. I also knew I needed to find some form of exercise in order to maintain my sanity. After eight years, I finally took up my mom’s offer to take yoga classes. I was going simply for rehabilitation purposes, nothing else. I wanted to steer clear of the spirituality and Namaste nonsense.

They say yoga should never hurt, but my initial memories are that it definitely did not feel good. In addition to the physical confusion I was putting my body through, I spent the majority of class lost and a little embarrassed by my lack of coordination and flexibility. This challenge though, kept me coming back. I noticed small progress here and there and soon found myself going four to five times per week. After a year, I began to notice a similar endorphin release to that of a runner’s high, I found a community, and sometimes I even practiced yoga outside.

Fast forward two and a half years, I found myself at the finish line of the Bayshore Marathon hugging my dad after running a Boston Qualifying time…a dream he and I have had since I was very young. I had a different training approach for this race than any other race in my life. It was to listen to my body, only run once per week (long run), eat clean, practice yoga daily, and most importantly to be grateful for each healthy day. I can’t offer you any scientific evidence behind this training. I can’t explain why or how it worked and I don’t really want to try. All I know is that I am the strongest I have ever been in my life, both physically and mentally.

There is not a specific moment in this journey where the practice became more to me than just stretching and injury prevention. I know enough about yoga now though to know that the transformation is incredibly gradual and unique to each individual. I now have a deeper understanding and know that “practicing” yoga is not just a series of postures, but rather your actions when you are off your mat. This practice, most definitely helped me through my physical injury. More importantly though it helped me to become present and let go of the past. It taught me to be non reactive in day-to-day situations. It constantly reminds me to practice gratitude in every moment and every situation.

On that note, I will leave you with this..a list of all the people I carried in my back pocket throughout the 26.2 miles, because all of them have carried me at some point of another. To each of these people, I am incredibly grateful.


  1. Mom
  2. Troy Colt XC
  3. Mary
  4. Chelsea Vonfintel
  5. SHA XC and T&F
  6. Destiny
  7. Sean
  8. Girls on the Run teams and coaches
  9. Sharon & Shmu
  10. Coach Steele & Prowse
  11. Facemelters = S
  12. Bill Breen
  13. Niki & Justin
  14. Evan
  15. CFY teachers – Dave Patterson, Nicole, Keli
  16. Caitlin
  17. Hayley
  18. Jennifer
  19. Blue Yoga teacher training group
  20. Club running at CMU
  21. Coach Matt
  22. Kate
  23. Boston marathon victims & their families
  24. All my friends out there on the course – Karen, Lizzy, Emma, Chucky, Anna, Mr. Dinverno, Julia, Will, Alissa, Marie, Tom
  25. Meredith
  26. Dad

Lauren’s parents on race morning

Lauren on the left, me on the right

Have you done yoga?