Tips for getting work done when you’re not good at sitting still

I feel like I am emerging from a cave.  Three of my class professors/clinic supervisors were out-of-town last week for one reason or another, so I used last week and the weekend to get the ball rolling on those looming end-of-semester projects that don’t fit in anywhere else.  I am relieved to check off a few monumental items from my to-do list.  Yay!

My printing quota is just about gone.  Graduate students get $40 each semester to print, and B&W pages are $0.04 each, which means that I’ve at least *power-skimmed* 1,000 pages since September.  I tried to save paper by printing articles in very small print…and it was a fail.  If reading from a textbook has ever made you sleepy, imagine reading it in size 4 font.

So I can’t give any printing tips, but I’ll share a few study tips.

I’m calling these: Tips for getting [school]work done when you’re not good at sitting still:

  1. Find what time of day works best for you.  I’m a morning person and find that my motivation is highest in the morning, so I skipped my usual morning workouts in favor of working on challenging projects.  I fit in an exercise break later in the day.
  2. Make a to-do list with EVERYTHING on it.  For one class, I had to read six different articles, so instead of writing “read for child development,” I wrote it six times.  And crossed it off six times.
  3. If there are things you can do without your computer, put your computer in a different room.  Or if you are using your computer, log out of time-killer websites (I’m looking at YOU, Pinterest) to avoid subconscious web-surfing.  Sometimes the extra step of needing to log back in is enough of a reminder to focus on the task at hand.
  4. Keep a post-it next to you for random things that pop in your head.  Surely I’m not the only one who suddenly NEEDS to find out what day of the week Christmas falls on this year…or what the weather is supposed to be tomorrow…or what is the capital of North Dakota again??…when I’m in the middle of actually working on something.  If it’s not good enough for the post-it, it’s not important.
  5. Take breaks.  When I feel myself getting antsy, it’s not even worth fighting.  Sometimes a 10-second break to load my coffee mug into the dishwasher makes all the difference.

So there we have it!  Tips from a professional student.

Since we didn’t have our Thursday class, Andrea and I missed out weekly froyo date.  The week before, our favorite froyo place was closed (!!!) for a staff outing.  It was a very sad moment.  We tested the doors, and they wouldn’t budge.


So we drove an extra few miles to a different froyo place…

Now, on to the workouts….

Like I mentioned, I am a tried and true morning runner, but I switched it up last week to maximize my schoolwork output.  I pretty much stuck to cross training because my right knee has been bothering me when I run, and I didn’t want to deal with it.

Monday (10/20): 60 min AMT
Tuesday: 4 x (5 min run + strength)= 1 hour total
Wednesday: 60 min AMT
Thursday: 3 x (5 min run + strength)= 1 hour total
Friday: Rest
Sat: 6 mile run (lateral knee pain @ 5 miles)
Sunday (10/26): 60 min AMT

Knee update:
-I got a deep tissue massage on Tuesday morning, and the massage therapist focused on everything connected to my knees.  It hurt really bad.  It wasn’t my first sports massage and probably not my most painful, but ouch ouch ouch.
-I also bought new shoes!  Left my beloved Mizunos after 6 years for a pair of Asics.

-And finally…I’ve insisted that whatever is going on with my knee is not weak hips, but now I am eating my words because race pictures from last weekend were posted, and check out that hip drop!
hip drop
Hello again, side band walks.

What shoes do you run it?
Did you do anything fun this weekend?


Sister weekend

As I mentioned, Laura came up for the weekend!!  We packed as much as we could into the little weekend with 100% fun and 0% studying.  Luckily for me, almost all of my classes  are canceled this week because three different professors happened to go on vacation at the same time, so I have time this week to get things done.

Laura arrived on Friday night, and we ran a 5k race on Saturday morning around Purdue’s campus.  As much as we were not looking forward to the race on Friday night, we were both happy afterward!  We hung out after the race long enough to enjoy the atmosphere and the sweet mash-ups blaring from the speakers.  The music selection was fantastic–they played The Wobble a few minutes before we started, and I wobbled my way to the start line.  We also got to see the first half marathoner FLY in.  Amazing!

When we got back to my apartment, it was only like 9:45am (that’s another good thing about 5k races…you feel productive but have the whole rest of the day left), so we drank coffee with pumpkin creamer and watched Netflix.  We searched high and low for Halloween specials, but most of the “Halloween” section was horror movies, and I can’t handle scary things.
Random side note about my experience with haunted houses
1. When I was 8(?), I got lost in a fun house.  I sat down and cried for a while until a nice family led me out.
2. When I was in 15, I went to a haunted house with a group of friends.  While we were waiting outside of the haunted house, I saw a clown with a chainsaw approaching our group.  No one else seemed concerned, but I high-tailed it out of there (probably my fastest run, to date), knocking my teeny little 90-pound friend down to the ground in the process and ripping a giant hole in the knee of my jeans.  Needless to say, I drank hot chocolate around the bonfire with my friend’s dad instead of going into the haunted house.
3. When I was 16, I went to a haunted house with a different group of friends, convinced I was braver.  A guy in a mask jumped out at me, and I reflexively yanked his mask off.  There was a normal, very confused, person behind that mask.  Surprise!

So to celebrate Halloween, I like to do happy fall things in the daylight…like pumpkin patches.IMG_1149
Laura and I met up with Andrea at school to participate in her research study, so we sat in neighboring sound booths for an hour and identified fricatives.  What fun!  Then Andrea joined us for lunch (Potbelly) and to the pumpkin patch.  It was cold and rainy, but we wanted pumpkins, so we were willing to get wet and frizzy.

We hadn’t been to this barn/orchard/pumpkin patch before, but it was pretty cool.  There was a wedding going on, so we got see the bride and wedding party!!…taking pictures in the drizzly rain.  Inside the barn, there were crates of apples and tables of honey and jams, and two itty bitty pumpkins.  We picked out two bags of apples and then trampled our way through the muddy pumpkin field with a pair of shears in search of Andrea’s perfect 12-lb pumpkin.


Then Laura and I vegged for a bit, went to dinner (Panera), and saw The Maze Runner at the movie theater.  I’m a big dystopian fan, so I really enjoyed the movie.  It was a lot more intense than I thought it would be–crazy actiony, and I almost had 20 heart attacks–and now I want to read the book!  Has anyone read it?  Some parts weren’t explained very well in the movie, so I’m curious if the book has more background info.

The next day, we went to church, went to lunch with some church friends, and then went to my favorite froyo place.  We weren’t hungry, but it was our last hurrah of the weekend, so we went all out.

A perfect sister weekend!

Any good haunted house stories?
Do you have a pumpkin? Did you carve it?

Purdue Boilermaker 5k

Laura came up to visit me this weekend!  I’ll recap the whole fun sister weekend soon, but it started off with a 5k!  Actually, it started at 9pm on Friday as we chatted at my kitchen table with a jar of roasted garlic salsa and a container of buttercream frosting.  Obviously, the weekend was already destined to be awesome.

I picked up Laura’s packet on Friday afternoon and finally registered myself for the race.  Since my right knee has been hurting, I wasn’t sure if I should run it but registered anyway and decided to make the judgement call the next morning.

The race started at 8:10am, and it was pretty chilly out (though 46ish degrees was warm compared to my last 5k), so we stayed in the car with the heat blasting for a while.  Closer to race start, I went for a short warm up….I ran to a nearby store with an actual bathroom because the port-o-potty lines were long, but that was a beautiful plan and now I always want my warm up to include running to an actual bathroom….and my knee felt okay, so I decided to go for the 5k.

Weather: Perfect. Cool, slight breeze.
Course: Started with a steep downhill, ended with a steep uphill (ew).  The rest of the course was nice, and I liked that it was all familiar.

The race seemed to go by quickly.  I went out at a comfortably hard pace, and my legs & lungs felt great for the first 2.5 miles…and then I reached the hill (which really wasn’t as large of a monster as it was in my head).  And that’s all I have to say about that.

I finished in 23:00, with a 7:24 average, and it was kind of fun!  The 5k distance, previously claimed to be my least favorite race, actually isn’t so bad.  And most importantly, my knee didn’t hurt at all during the race, which I was so thankful for (I had visions of walking off the race course at mile 1)…though it hurt as soon as I attempted to cool down. Womp womp.

Laura came in a little after me (YAY LAURA!), so we got our free bananas and posed for the first sister pic of the day.IMG_1142

three things and another PT appointment

Okay here’s a random post with a splattering of three things I’ve been up to these past few weeks outside of school.  I just hit the halfway point of the fall semester, and it’s been a little crazy around here.

1. Quick trip to Cleveland and some family time.  My dad, sister, and I drove to Cleveland Friday night for a quick weekend trip.  We popped over to our favorite Great Lake (well, not true, but I do have a life-long loyalty to Lake Erie), toured the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, ate lunch, and peaced out.IMG_1127Sista pic

Do Laura and I look insanely tall???  We chose Grumpy’s for lunch…definitely unrelated to the fact that it’s my family’s nickname for me when I am hungry.  I got a black bean burger, and it was super good….but kind of weird with the coffee I got to drink.  I should have gone all in for lunch or all in for breakfast.

2. #ExploringIndy
Ryan and I kind of cheated the deal this week because we didn’t try a new restaurant, but instead, we (he) tried a new recipe!  I didn’t arrive in Indy until late Monday evening, so Ryan awesomely suprised me with a homemade dinner the moment I walked in the door (see above re: Grumpy. Thanks, Ryan!).  His veggie chili was restaurant quality.

But last week, our new place was the Whole Foods hot bar.  It was actually the first time I’d ever been to WF (I’m a Kroger fan), but I will say that everything I tried (which was almost everything at the hot bar) was tasty.  Now that I look at how much food Ryan and I consumed in one sitting, I understand why I was so, so full.  Worth it for the mac ‘n cheese.

3. Running.
This is the not so fun part.  I’ve been busy with things that are more important than running right now for me, so I’ve decreased my weekly mileage…by A LOT… but I’ve been surprisingly okay with it.  However, I still get knee pain 12-14 miles into Saturday’s long runs, so I went to the PT on Sunday morning to see what my deal is.

After some walking and squatting and bending and twisting and pushing and pulling every which-way, he thinks that I’m just really tight–like everywhere–and it’s throwing off my gait.  This makes sense to me because I’ve been sitting/not moving more this past year than what I normally do, and I don’t stretch very often, if ever.  Even before the appointment, I noticed that my torso is all twisted up and basically facing the wrong way.  For example, if both feet are facing forward, the top half of my body is facing diagonally to the right.  I think (and hope) this is a recent thing because it weirds me out when I’m brushing my teeth, shoulders parallel to the mirror, and look down to see my feet both pointing left…  He gave me a bunch of thoracic mobilization stretches/exercises to do, which mostly involve laying on my back on a foam roller and stretching.  I am happy that these stretches do not involve glute strengthening because that is the story of my life.

Last new restaurant you tried?
Veggie chili, meat chili, or white chicken chili? Or Skyline chili??
When do you stretch?

Nikki’s Shortcut 5k


So this is a little delayed…but last weekend, I took a quick day-trip to Michigan to visit one of my best friends and run a 5k!

This is the second time I’ve been able to run Nikki’s Shortcut 5k, which is a 5k in memory of my friend Olivia’s friend Nikki, who passed away in 2008.  I’m so glad that I’ve been able to participate in this event twice!  More than just a 5k race, it’s a celebration with family, friends, food, and memories of Nikki (I never had the chance to meet her, but she sounds like a pretty special person!)… it’s an all-over awesome afternoon.  The course goes through the woods and is lined with ribbons, motivational posters, jokes, and Halloween decorations (I also think I saw Santa?).  This year, we celebrated the event with 39-degree weather, a torrential downpour, and hail…which made for a freezing, muddy, and FUN afternoon.

I drove up to Michigan on Saturday morning and got there a little after noon for the 2pm race start.  It. was. freezing.  Mega props to Olivia, Molly, and everyone else manning the registration booth in layers upon layers while it was wintering outside.  After everyone’s hands and feet were nicely frozen solid, we lined up with the shivering masses to start the race!

IMG_1090 Molly, me, Olivia

Olivia and I stayed together for the first half of the race.  The course entered the woods and went around turn after turn like a maze!  It rained harder than it had all morning while we were running, so some parts were slippery and muddy….which made running considerably more difficult since we couldn’t feel out feet from the cold.  Liv and I were too out of breath to do anything but pant and reassure each other that our feet were, in fact, still attached, it was so fun to run with my college running partner again!

Timewise, I didn’t set any pace goals or wear my Garmin, so I just ran by feel and looked at my sports watch at the mile markers.  My first mile was 7:17, which I am not in shape for right now, so then I slowed waaay down and finished in somewhere around 24 minutes.  The final stretch was 100 meters of standing water, but by that point every fiber of my being was already soaked through, so yeah.

I’ve run some rainy, wet races, but this one takes the cake.  We were lookin’ goooood after we finished.IMG_1083

Liv and I ended up as 2nd and 3rd female finishers overall (it was a small race), and we were beaten by a middle-schooler.  Two years ago, I remember being beaten by a small boy wearing jeans and a puffy winter coat??  He was BOOKING it because I finished faster than I did today.

We hung out at the race for a while and enjoyed the cake and company…it was still raining…and then went back to Olivia’s to shower and get ready for dinner.  That’s the thing about 2pm races…by the time you run, eat a bagel, rehash the race with your running friends, and shower…it’s dinner time!

We went to Round Barn Public House, a brewpub and maker of the best pulled pork+ham+sweet pickle sandwich I have ever had.


And that was a quick trip!

The eye twitch, a Moroccan subway, and PTX

Currently weighing the pros and cons of running in the pouring rain right now….Pretty sure where this one is headed, and it’s not outside.  (Ha- thinking of you, Mel; we just talked about how we only weigh the pros and cons when we don’t want to run)

I skipped my run this morning because it was raining (and pitch black) and got a few school things out of the way instead.  Good thing, too–I have this issue called “the annual eye twitch” that happens every fall when the semester gets crazy, and it lasts until the semester gets uncrazy…soo December…and my left eye started a low-level twitch this week.  Here’s what Siri has to say about that:IMG_1061Ummwhat?

Fortunately though, it hasn’t all been work (or running…which I’ve totally shoved to the back burner lately).  On Monday night, Ryan and I continued our weekly #exploringIndy food project and went to Poccadio, quite possibly the best meal I’ve had in a long time!  And I’m not just saying that because I eat turkey and/or veggie sandwiches like twice a day.

The woman who worked there described Poccadio as a “Moroccan subway,” where you pick your bread, spread, meat, and toppings down the line.  Most of the spreads and toppings were unfamiliar, so she made us a sample plate with a little taste of everything:IMG_1053I created a more authentic version of my favorite sandwich ever (the Mediterranean from Potbelly), and Ryan ordered a bunch of pita, a bunch of dips, and a huge piece of tilapia. IMG_1051IMG_1055It was all seriously so good (except for the orange and yellow lumps on the sample plate), so if you’re ever looking for a new restaurant in Indianapolis, TRY IT!

And the second and third best parts about Monday:

A gorgeous sunset on my long drive back:

And frozen yogurt…by myself…because it was just one of those days:IMG_1060

One more fun thing to share.  The Pentatonix performed at Purdue this week!  (If you haven’t heard of the Pentatonix, they’re an incredible a capella group. My two favorite covers are Royals and Say Something.)  Purdue puts on a few big events each year, and this one sold out in two days.  I convinced Andrea to buy tickets with me as soon as they were available, and it was an awesome concert!! IMG_1076IMG_1075

Does anyone else get an eye twitch? Please tell me yes.
Do you prefer to try new restaurants or go to the same ones?