Almost through week 1

Oh man, this week.  I’m not even done with the first week of the semester and I can already tell that it will be a crazy fall.  Now that I have a schedule again, I’m back to having a more consistent running routine…which means actually buckling down to run hard again.  Why not deplete my legs and brain of all energy at the same time?

I headed to the track this morning to tackle some 800’s with the rising sun.IMG_07502 miles easy, 6 x 800m, 1.5 miles easy

I tried to run these at 5k pace, but since I have no idea what my 5k pace is right now, I just went with a moderately-hard effort and clocked in each repeat at 3:30-3:37.  That’s a good 15-20 seconds slower than last year, but whatever; I was totally impressed with myself for even going to the track in the first place.  As much as I dread speed work, it’s never actually that bad, and you feel extra productive afterward.  Running fast and breathing hard is the best way to start the day.

And the best way to continue that day is to commute an hour for a 3-hour class!  Ha, not really, but at least Andrea, Lauren, Bre, and I get to share this experience together every Thursday.  During this semester, I’m in clinic/seeing patients for about half of the time (I’m working with our little friends under 3!) and sitting in class for the other half…and driving all over the place.

Driving, driving, and more driving.  I had a meeting in Indianapolis on Monday, and due to my nonexistent sense of direction and anxiety over being late for important things, I left embarrassingly early and got there with an hour and a half to spare.  So I explored, ate lunch by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument,

and ran into this guy.

Fun life news: Ryan moved closer, so we have upgraded from being 3 hours apart to only being 1 hour apart!  Basically neighbors and barely long-distance!  And more fun news: As I mentioned, I’ll be traveling weekly for a clinic rotation, so I’ll get to see him ALL THE TIME!

We celebrated with frozen yogurt at a new-to-us froyo bar, Yogulatte.  I’m making it my mission to try every frozen yogurt shop in the nation.  Who’s with me?

This is also the first installation of #Karenandryanexploreindy.  Joint mission to try a new food place every week.

Fruity for Ryan, chocolatey for me!  Angel food cake flavored, vanilla flavored, and peanut butter flavored froyo with Kit Kats, chocolate chips, and sprinkles.

We also popped into The Fresh Market, where I saw my six favorite words, all grouped together.  Heaven?

And that’s that.  Almost Friday! –Four hours of classes plus hopefully a jump start on reading articles for me!  Have a good weekend!

Sunday: 2 miles + strength circuit (1 hour total)
Monday: 6 miles (3 @ 7:30-7:40 with a break in between)
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 2 miles + strength circuit (1 hour total)

Do you/would you like to live in a big city or small town?
When’s the last time you hit the track?



humid 12 and mountains of veggies

Hello!  Hope you had a lovely weekend.

For me, this is the first week of school…going strong on 19th grade.  My schedule has some odd travel logistics early this week, so right now I’m trying to figure out what to pack for lunch on Tuesday that would be okay sitting in my car for most of Monday.  I enlisted Google for help and have gotten some..interesting…suggestions including dill pickles in a ziplock, and spray cheese.  I’m going to go with the ever-classic PB&J, but I thought I’d throw those out there in case anyone wanted to change it up.

Backtracking to Saturday morning’s run, miserably referred to as the aquajog… I walked outside at 5:15am in the 100% humidity and 72 degree air and wondered, why are there clouds in the parking lot?  Nope, those were just pockets of water hovering in the air.

I met up with the Saturday morning crew for a 10 mile loop + 2 on my own.  The runners with marathons in mid-September started at 4am (!!) and had already finished their first 10 miles by the time us late sleepers joined for the second half.  They were extra drippy, like they had just emerged from a pool fully-clothed, from the crazy humidity…and nothing gets you in the mood to run like that does…
We kept the pace easy and carried water but ended up cutting the loop to 6-miles instead of 10.  I took a long water break and then went back out for 4 more miles with another girl, and then took an even longer water break to chat with Erin before heading out for the final 2 miles of my morning.IMG_069712 muggy, hot, sticky, stinky miles DONE, with 2 breaks.  I was lethargic and felt extra drained starting at mile 3, but I survived and nothing was in pain, so I’ll take it!  My shoes made squish noises by the end, and I think I left a trail of sweat for the last 2 miles.

Immediately after, I walked into the heavenly non-humid air-conditioned CVS next door and straight to the drink coolers in the back. Sometimes I buy a cold Powerade as a post- long run treat, but this time I bought some weird carbonated juice that I had never heard of before.  I think it was the promise of carbonation and the fruity-looking labels, but I craved this random juice like it was my favorite food.  And they were 2 for $3.

I got home and downed 32oz of water + both juices (completely worth the $3 and their long list of artificial ingredients), and then Ryan and I headed out to the local farmer’s market.  It’s open every Saturday morning from May through October, but this was the first we’d gone this year.

Dressed like twins!

We meandered through the displays of vegetables, fruits, salsa, hummus, breads, and other fresh summery things.

After some serious produce decision-making, we ended up with a large zucchini, the cutest little carton of baby plums ever, blueberries, 4 tomatoes, and some corn.IMG_0703

We used them to make veggie sandwiches for almost every meal that weekend, and those sandwiches just got better (and bigger) and better (and even bigger).

We stayed inside for most of the weekend…it was stinking hot, and I was traumatized by the run…but we managed to get some fresh air with a short-lived picnic (*3 bites* “…so, wanna go inside?” “yes”), a couple random outings, and a walk in the park.  IMG_0729

We enjoyed the great outdoors from the inside by watching two documentaries on Netflix related to the wilderness.  One was about a group hiking the JMT and kind of monotonous so we only made it 2/3 of the way through, but the other one was kind of cool.  It was called Tiny, and it followed the story of a man who built a tiny house from scratch, with interviews from other tiny house owners tucked around his story.  <–interesting concept if you haven’t heard of the tiny/small house movement

And a weekend isn’t complete without cards and something dipped in Nutella.IMG_0714

How often do you go to a farmer’s market?
What is your favorite thing to eat with Nutella?

a soggy run and week of workouts

Hello!  Almost weekend…it will be my last weekend before the fall semester starts!  I’m not even upset about summer ending because: 1. Routine starts and 2. Fall.  Reason #2 encompasses some of the best things in life…fall running & racing, sweatshirt weather, scarves, pumpkins, apple prices, bonfires, s’mores, brand new school supplies, campus excitement…

Speaking of campus excitment…they’re baaack.  Erin and I ducked and dodged dozens of new campus-dwellers on our run this morning.  We met at 7:45am, under a dry but ominous sky and dreary forecast, for a tempo/speed ladder:
2 mile warm-up
5 min tempo pace + 4 min easy
4 min half-marathon pace + 3 min easy
3 min 10K pace + 2 min easy
2 min 5k pace + 1 min easy
1 min all-out
1 mile cool down
Total of 7ish miles.  I wore my sports watch instead of my Garmin, so I’m not sure of the distance or pace…I’ve never done an actual pace-specific workout before.

Before we knew it (lie- we counted down), we sprinted the all-out minute, high-fived to celebrate, and panted for a few seconds before beginning the cool down mile.  And then it started POURING.  Hardcore pouring that felt awesome and refreshing…until the rain got into my eyes and under my contacts and I couldn’t see anything.  We sloshed and blindly shuffled (me) a cool-down mile, and that was that.  Great way to start the morning, and now I don’t even need to shower, right??

I missed my run pals!IMG_0658

Our pretty orange shoes:IMG_0657

Here are the highlights of my workouts earlier this week:

Monday: 7 miles, easy pace
Noon and HOT.  I’m still astounded that I finished (more shocked that I started) this run.  The best part was when I passed two boys manning their Grasshopper Stand.  One of them yelled, “MA’M!!…(really??)….DO YOU WANT TO BUY ONE OF OUR GRASSHOPPERS?”  Innovative business idea.  Too bad I didn’t have 50 cents, or I could have purchased a new pet!!

Tuesday: 6 miles (3 tempo)
It was already pretttty thick and muggy outside when I started, so I was dripping before I finished my warm up and melting by the time I finished.  2 miles easy, 3 miles @ 7:36, 7:14, 7:23 (with a rest between each mile), 1 mile easy.

Garage circuit: 4 x (run 1/2 mile + body weight strength)

And lastly…Tell me what’s wrong with this picture. I have a good guess on who put the milk away *dad*

Name 3 things you like about fall.
Do you do pace-specific workouts?

11 miles, fall run plan, and weekending

That was a quick weekend.  Hope you had a good one!

Mine began with 11 solo miles.  I prefer to tackle my longs runs with the Saturday morning run crew at school, but since I ran alone from home, I was able to “sleep in.”  Beautifully cool (50’s to 60’s) weather, which was a total luck-out because now we’re back to 70’s and muggy in the morning.IMG_0620
The first 5 miles wove through hilly neighborhoods, the next 4 circled around and around a school (I looped the school six times because it was flat), and the final 2 scooted along a nature trail.  11 done and pain-free!  I kept an easy pace and felt strong throughout the run…just super thirsty at the end.

I had some time to kill after the run before Ryan arrived for the weekend, so I watched American Ninja Warrior and created a rough outline of my fall running plan.  I’ve backed down from a fall full to a fall half or two..probably Indianapolis at the beginning of November, but potentially a TBD half in October.  I’m switching up the order of workouts (tempo, speed, rest, etc) because Tuesday will likely make the most sense for a rest day with my fall schedule, but I want to keep long runs on Saturday.  This is the best rearranging I could figure out:
Sun: body weight strength circuit (with ~2 miles of total running between circuits)
Mon: tempo
Tues: REST
Wed: intervals
Thurs: easy run
Fri: body weight strength circuit (with ~2 miles of total running between circuits)
Sat: long
…2 days of hard running, 1 long run, 2 days of strength, 1 easy day, and 1 rest day.  I’m 100% sure I won’t follow this to a T, but I like to have a rough outline….starting next week because it’s Monday morning and I’m not about to go run a tempo right now.

Anyway, by the time I figured that out, Ryan arrived for the weekend!  We met his friend at Miami University (of Ohio) for lunch, and then Ryan and I gave ourselves a self-guided photo shoot on campus.  As evidenced, we are incredibly photogenic.

On our way back, we stopped at a farmer’s market on the side of the road.

We didn’t buy anything, but I was tempted by this $40 baby: 110 lbs of pure watermelon, also known as happiness.

So I didn’t eat (not quite) my weight in watermelon, but I accomplished that feat via the potluck at church that evening.  There was, and between me, Laura, and Ryan, we probably tried all of it.  Ryan’s dessert contribution was huge.

The next morning, I headed out for a muggy workout at the park: 5 x (run 1/2 mile + lunges + squat jumps + single leg glute bridges).  My legs felt good after Saturday’s long run, but I added in breather breaks between some of the leg work.  I stretched and iced afterward, and then Laura, Ryan, and I went to a morning movie.  Laura and I couldn’t get over how weird it was to go to a movie in the morning…do we buy popcorn? Is 10:30am too early to drink pop?

I had been looking forward to The Giver since I saw a preview for it in May, and it finally came out on Friday.  It’s one of my favorite books (it’s utopian/dystopian…you may have read it in middle school…read it again!), and although the movie deviated from the book quite a bit, it was still a great movie.  IMG_0646
But a movie was a weird way to start the day…walking out at lunchtime was like seeing a Christmas tree in July.  I was also incredibly hangry when we left the theater, and I apologize to anyone I growled at or glared at from 12:30pm until 1:30pm…

Have a nice week!

Have you ever seen a GIGANTIC fruit or veggie?
Have you been to a morning movie? How early is too early for movie popcorn?


home and writing process tour

Happy Friday! 

I’m home in Ohio for the last little more than a week before the fall semester starts, and I’m writing this post to the tune of seven singing boys in my basement.  My brother’s college a capella group is performing locally, so our house is home-base for rehearsing and sleeping.  I could get used to these high quality concerts via the vents in my room.

I’ve had a good week of workouts while I’ve been home, and I’m still riding the high of the super tempo run I had this morning!  I ran 2 warm-up miles, 3 miles @ 7:36, 7:18, 7:13, and one cool down mile.  I had  absolutely zero pace expectations because it’s been probably three months since I’ve done anything remotely fast, but somehow it was awesome and I felt like my feet were made out of little wings.IMG_0610

Afterward, my sweaty self joined my mom on a loop of garage sales, where I lucked out with a few kitchen essentials that aren’t really essential…or maybe they are and now I’ll find out what I was missing. A blender, 2 cooling racks, 3 spoons (okay, these are kind of essential, and I do have other spoons), a 1/2 cup measuring cup (I dedicated my other one to my oatmeal container), and salad tongs.  All for about $3!

Other workouts this week:
Monday: 4 x (run 1 mile + squat jumps, squat + lift, burpees, v-ups, push ups, skaters, plank, & tri dips)
Tuesday: 7 miles, easy pace
Wednesday: 4 x (run 1/2 mile + squat jumps, push ups, squat with side kicks, tri dips, skaters, plank, & single leg bridges)
Thursday: 15 min arms, 60 min AMT

While I’ve been home, I’ve met up with a few friends for lunches & dinners.  I joined my sister and our friend Allie at a pizza place that we recently discovered called Blaze, where you go down the line (like Subway) and pick your individual pizza toppings.  They also have predetermined pizza topping options, if that’s your thing.  That should have been my thing because I went crazy and chose a weird combination of everything I liked: basil, artichoke, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, roasted red peppers, green olives, red onions, banana peppers, garlic, oregano, and ham.  Not sure the pineapple and green olives were team players, but it was still tasty.

Our faces are obscured by the angelic beams of sunshine coming from Laura’s head.IMG_0609

No beams of sunshine from Allie’s head…just an umbrella hat.
IMG_0608It was great to see Allie!  We chatted for so long that even though I only ate half of my fairly big pizza at the restaurant, I was hungry again by the time I got home, so I ate the other half before taking my shoes off.

Before I move on to the writing process tour, I need to acknowledge an important holiday that happened over the week: National Middle Child Day.  Its level of importance sits just behind Christmas and the first day of watermelon season.  Happy National Middle Child Day to my fellow middle children.

My history as The Middle started 20.5 years ago, when baby Greg came into the world and I wasn’t big enough to hold his head.  We’ve become friends since then.sc01086199 img104

Now, I have something fun to share!  Two awesome bloggers, Amy @ Fitness Meets Frosting and Anne @ Candy Crazed Runner, invited me to participate in the writing process tour!  I have four questions to answer about how and why I write what I write, and then I get to pass it on to three other blog friends.

1. What am I working on?
Academically, I’m working on a clinical doctorate of audiology, so eventually **in May 2016** I’ll be an audiologist, and I’ll work with patients & their families to diagnose, treat, and prevent hearing loss.
Specifically pertaining to the blog–It’s a creative outlet to talk about my biggest hobby called running, though lately the blog has turned more into a life journal disguised as a running blog.
2. How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?
I try to make my blog genuinely me, and I hope that my family and in-person friends can vouch for that.  I write like I talk, and I post about all of the silly and weird things that I do…usually with Ryan.
OH, ha– one thing that makes me different from most other running bloggers is that I am not a foodie.  My contribution to dinner parties is usually carrots and hummus, chips and salsa, or paper plates and plastic utensils.  I didn’t have a blender until this morning.  I can pass up any baked good without blinking except for one particular cookie that my mom makes.  I like to try new foods, but I would be okay if I had to eat PB&J every day for lunch for the rest of my life.
…so if you’re looking for recipes, I’m not your blog.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Um, I guess because I like to reflect and I like to write, and I like to reflect and write in a somewhat humorous manner.  I think it’s fun and de-stressing to recap events, runs, failed cooking attempts, trips, etc.  I like to read about other people’s days (CREEEEP), so why not post mine?  Plus, I can keep in touch with the family and friends who read it…and I can keep in touch with my own running in a life-perspective way.
4. How does your writing process work?
I don’t have a process or a posting schedule…for the most part, I post a weekend recap that usually includes a long run, and midweek posts depend on how busy I am or if feel like blogging, and whether or not anything exciting happened.  I’ve toyed with the idea of having some sort of “Friday [alliteration post topic]”..”Tuesday [alliteration post topic]”…whatnot schedule that repeats weekly, but I don’t want to make blogging feel like a chore.  So I’m sticking to what works for me.
Now…I’m passing this tour over to:
Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties
Ashley gives easy and realistic, yet sometimes genius, tips and tricks to save money.   Perfect for someone like me whose brain instinctively muddles up with words like “finance” and “spreadsheet” and “budget” and “taxes”.  She also has a great blog personality and writes about her life, which is still fun while saving money!
Mel is a fellow runner who writes about her training, but also about positivity and happiness!  I love to read her Gratitude Friday posts.  We would have a lot to talk about if we got together because I am pretty sure that we share a love for social psychology, counseling, and happiness.
Kelly @ Running in Scrubs
Kelly is another runner & healthcare field friend–she was my fellow eternal student until she went and graduated. 🙂  If I ever go to Charlotte, I will stalk her blog for places to eat and things to do because she is more of a social butterfly I am, and she has great reviews of local restaurants and yoga classes.  She also goes on sister dates, which makes me smile because Laura and I do too.
What are you up to this weekend?

10 miles and Lake Michigan

After spending all last week in Colorado for a conference–listening to lectures, participating in workshops, making new friends, running in the mountains, and eating a lifetime supply of jolly ranchers–I was down for the chillest, most sleep-filled weekend ever.  Ryan arrived on Friday evening, and we got Jimmy John’s and planned for all of the movies we’d watch and books we’d read.

Instead, Saturday came, and I got up at 4:30am to run 10 miles and then Ryan and I drove to Michigan for the day!

Since I’d been running 6-7 miles without pain for two weeks, I thought I was ready to join back in with the weekly Saturday running group…I had missed them.  Running with the right group of people makes the 4:30am alarm almost something to look forward to.

There were two back-to-back 10 mile routes planned, and I joined in for the second 10-mile loop.  I was a little nervous because I hadn’t run more than 7 miles in more than 2 months, but it felt great!  Not easy, but doable.  I’m not sure if the week of high altitude training helped or what, but I was pleasantly surprised with how my body handled the mileage after a break.  I ran every mile with Erin, and she helped push me through.
photo 2

After the run, I stretched, hydrated, and iced for good measure (though my knee felt normal), and Ryan and I hit the road for a spontaneous trip to visit my friend Olivia on Lake Michigan.  She called the evening before asking if we wanted a spur of the moment trip…YES, yes we did.

We upgraded from this…photo 4

To this:photo 5

Liv is one of my best college friends and running partners, and I hadn’t seen her since the marathon, so I was very happy to spend an entire day with her, her family, and her dog Franklin.  We stayed on the beach for the majority of the afternoon–she basically lives ON a secluded shoreline, which is really awesome.  We waded in the freezing water, lured Franklin in with floating leaves, and eventually dove in…but only once because it was soo cold!

Here’s our ad for friendship and Lake Michigan. 🙂

Olivia also gave Ryan and I a tour of a few surrounding lake towns, and we hopped out of the car to get a few more scenic pictures.  The weather was so perfect.
photo 3

We enjoyed the evening with snacks, conversation, and a cookout.  photo 5
Thanks for spending the day with us, Liv and Franklin!

Ryan and I left before the sun set so that we’d get back at a reasonable hour.  Though car sunsets are pretty, lake sunsets are gorgeous.

The unplanned eventful day was awesome and completely worth compressing our lazy weekend to Sunday…which is what we did.  We got up for our respective workouts (5 miles with 3 sets of lunges, squats, & push ups for me), visited a new-to-us (and new in general, I think) church that is about 2 miles away and we’d been wanting to check out, and then chilled for the rest of the day.  Ironically, the sermon was a motivating lecture on working hard v. being lazy… and then we went home, ate lunch, took giant naps, and ate dinner.  I started a new book (In The Woods by Tana French…it’s a thriler…bad choice for me) and Ryan watched a movie somewhere in there.

And lastly, I’ll show you the rainbow called dinner:

Do you have any pets?
Do you like scary movies/books?

Week in Colorado

It’s Friday!  Feels kind of weird to me because I got back from a 6-day trip last night…just in time for the weekend!

Last Saturday, Andrea, Bre, and I left for Keystone, Colorado, for an audiology conference/camp.  We flew out of Chicago early Saturday morning for a week of learning and networking in the mountains with other audiology students.  I had fun meeting future colleagues who are also going through this difficult yet exciting endeavor called grad school, and I was interested in hearing about different clinic & research experiences.

photo 3Bre, Andrea, me

We alternated eating and learning all week and joked that our typical day looked something like this:
…They clearly have graduate students all figured out, and the food was fantastic.  BBQ buffet, pizza & ice cream sundaes, cook outs, lasagna, a grill-your-own-meat restaurant…and a bowl of Jolly Ranchers on every flat surface.

We were also given plenty of free time to explore the area.  I had only been to Colorado once before, but it’s on my short list of The Most Awesome States…as long as I can get over a bad hair day every day (curly hair likes humidity).  I’m from the flat and corn-filled Midwest, so the mountains are extra exciting and BEAUTIFUL.  I woke up super early each morning to run before our academic day began (it was light out by 5:45am!), and the hour of running seemed flew by because there was so much to look at.

Saturday: ~6 miles EARLY before we left
 ~6 miles (didn’t notice an altitude difference in breathing because I stopped every 5 minutes to take pictures)
Monday: ~6.5 miles (stopped twice to breathe)
Tuesday: ~6.5 miles (stopped twice to breathe)
Wednesday: ~6.5 miles (stopped like 6 times to breathe/wheeze/pant)
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest

Transitioning from about 600 feet (Purdue) to a little over 9200 feet (Keystone) was a big shock to my lungs, and they needed a walking break after a few miles to gasp for air.  I wore a normal watch instead of my Garmin and went at an easy-feel pace, but it’s crazy how an easy run for my legs felt like speed work to my lungs.  Here’s a good Q&A on the basics of running in high altitude.
The morning runs were so much fun that I looked forward to waking up early to see the mountains again.  I probably shouldn’t have run so many miles in a short amount of time immediately after an injury, but nothing ended up hurting, and I took off both Thursday and Friday to recover.

Now…a photo dump of my favorite pictures taken from runs throughout the week.  I ran the same trail every morning because I am fully aware of my history of getting lost.
photo 2photo 2 photo 3  photo 2  photo 4  photo 3

As I mentioned, Bre and Andrea also came on this trip, and I was happy to travel with and spend a week with two of my greatest grad pals.  Little sleep, lots of together time, and still friends 😉photo 2

Travel tip: If you have a leaky water bottle in your book bag, put a package of pretzel goldfish crackers at the bottom of your book bag.  It will soak up all of the water like a sponge, leaving you with soggy pretzels but a dry camera and iPad.
photo 1

Aside from learning, eating, and running, we:
…hiked the Continental divideDSCN1857

…appreciated its vast beauty

…toured a gold mine (Fun fact: I mixed up the name and legitimately told people that we were going to the Little Boy Cave instead of the Country Boy Mine, so we dubbed it that all week).
photo 5

…gawked at things we don’t see in the Midwestphoto 4

Things we didn’t do: sleep, get hungry

I have family in Colorado, and I got to see them too!  They so kindly took me out to dinner, and I got a salad to help out the food triplets in my stomach.

It was a fun and power-packed week, so I’m ready to catch up on sleep and vegetables.  Have a good one!

Have you run at a high altitude?
Most fun thing you’re doing this weekend?
Favorite jolly rancher flavor?