2014: Year in Review

Bye 2014!  It’s been a pretty great year.  I finished three more semesters of grad school, ran my 5th marathon, learned to accept running injuries a little more gracefully, laughed a lot with family and friends, and went on plenty of random dates with Ryan (highlights include Euchre night at a nursing home and baking a yogurt-covered cauliflower because I “saw it on Pinterest.”)  Not my year for running, but that’s okay.

Like 2012 and 2013, here are some 2014 memories.

January: I drove back to Purdue during the snowpocolyspe, and it was terrifying.  …Happy New Year!  My dad followed me back to make sure I got there safely, and we both were snowed in at my apartment for two days because everything, including most roads, closed down soon after we arrived.  Read the exciting “day in the life” post here.
I tackled the cold temps with my running partners and can look back on fun times…running by headlamp at 5am with two layers of pants, mittens over gloves, eyes closed to avoid the ice chunks hurdling through the sky, not being able to talk because our lips wouldn’t move… I experienced five miles that took every ounce of energy I had, painful frostbutt, and frozen eyelashes.  It was a great month!!!
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February: I turned 24 on the first, Bre and I realized we’d never become computer programmers and mourned our MATLAB class each week with pity pops, and I started training for the Bayshore Marathon in May.

March: Marathon training and a busy semester just about sums it up.  Jaime and I spent 7 hours studying at Panera Bread one day, Ryan and I played outside as often as possible, and I spent time with family and friends over SpringBreak2014.  My dad and I also ran the Circular Logic Marathon as a relay team, and I ran my half with Erin.
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April: I continued to marathon train, pushed through the end of the spring semester, and spent time with family over Easter weekend.

May: I finished the semester and went home for a glorious two week break before summer semester.  I got bronchitis really quick and then ran the Bayshore Marathon!  I wasn’t in shape for a PR, but it was a fun race, and I had a blast hanging out in Traverse City for the weekend!  I got to see Olivia and Lauren, which is always a fun time.  Ryan’s sister got married at the very end of the month, so I went to his hometown with him for the wedding.
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June: I visited Sarah and had a great weekend in Michigan, Ryan and I discovered that dates to the library are awesome, and I battled a sore knee as I got back into running after the marathon.  Little did I know that the knee would turn into a full-blown injury that stayed with me for the next 6+ months!
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July: I spent the weekend of the 4th in PA for a two-part vacation with extended family on both sides.  I once again proved my lack of navigational skills when I got lost on an out-and-back run and found a nice stranger with a bike and an iPhone to help me out.  I also went on a fun camping trip with Ryan and his friends and achieved my new record for number of mosquito bites.  Running-wise, my right knee was bugging me, so I stuck with cross training instead.  At the very end of the month, my PT found that my pelvis was twisted, which may have caused the knee pain, so he pushed it back into place, and POW the pain was gone.
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August: I traveled to Colorado with Andrea and Bre for a conference, visited Olivia in Michigan, went to the Farmer’s market nearly every weekend with Ryan, and started the fall semester.  Back to normal running, and my knee felt good.
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September: I visited Sarah in Michigan and climbed the Dunes with Ryan, went to Canada to watch my dad compete in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and was able to run double digits (my knee would start hurting 12-15 miles in, and then I’d stop).
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October: I saw the Pentatonix in concert, visited Olivia for a race in memory of a friend, went to Cleveland for a quick trip (more on that later!), had a sister weekend at Purdue with Laura and ran a 5k, and then stopped running for 2 months because my knee hurt.  Oh, and we can’t forget about the time Ryan ate 3 Chipotle meals in one sitting!
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November: I went back to Erie for a wedding, saw Ingrid Michaelson in concert, and spent Thanksgiving with Ryan’s family.  I also tried to figure out what was wrong with my knee; I saw a few different specialists and got an MRI.  Finally, I went back to my PT, who found that my right hip had rotated again, so he pushed it back into place and POW the pain was gone, again.  He gave me a strengthening program to stabilize my SI joint, pelvis, & lumbar vertebrae to and keep everything in place.
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December: I finished the semester, passed a really big and important exam, went to a wedding in Pittsburgh, and spent Christmas with my family and Ryan.  Running-wise, I’m still working with my PT to strengthen everything around my pelvis, particularly my right-side glutes, and I’m slowly working my mileage back up.
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Happy New Year to everyone out there!

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Highlights of 2014?
How are you ringing in the new year?

Merry Christmas! a few days late…

Hope you are enjoying the last few days of 2014!  I’m still on winter break for two more weeks before ***my final semester of classes…ever?*** starts, so I’m soaking up a relaxing, card-playing, library book-reading, restful stay at my parents’ house.

My family had a lovely Christmas 2014.  As soon as we got back from Pittsburgh last Sunday, we switched into Festive Mode: Extreme and cranked the holiday tunes, baked a ton of cookies, bought and wrapped last minutes gifts (or all gifts, in some cases), and decorated the tree!

My frosted forest:
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An awkward ornament to warm your Christmas spirit.  Goes to show I’ve always been a suck up, and Laura’s always been fashionable.
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On Christmas morning, we opened gifts, ate breakfast together, played cards, and just hung out for a while.  Since this is a running blog and all, I’ll highlight the workout.  My dad and I have a tradition of a father-daughter Christmas day workout, and this year, we did a brick (bike + run) after brunch digested.  We started with a 45 minute bike in the garage and then ran 4 easy miles together.
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Later that afternoon, Ryan came to stay for a few days!  Christmas is actually his birthday, so we got to celebrate an extra holiday at my house this year, complete with a cookie cake, the happy birthday song, and a makeshift candle.  Happy birthday Ryan, and thanks for spending it with all of us 🙂IMG_1491

The next few days after that were a blur of good times and good cookies.  We played SO MANY GAMES–Tonto, Euchre, Hand & Foot, Phase 10, Tripoly, Quelf, and Telestrations.  We’re game people.IMG_1479A perfectly executed Jackpot hand in Tonto

We had a few other fun things sprinkled in there…We finally saw the “new” Hunger Games movie, met some friends for dinner, held Trivia Crack challenges from the same room, and did I mention we played card games?

I am happy that Ryan likes to work out too, so we were able to do that together.  I enjoyed my Christmas bike experience so much (ha) that Ryan and I held our own little spin class the next day.  We had a 60 minute bike with a tempo ladder in the middle, and it was good.IMG_1493

We went on a rainy, dreary run together somewhere in there.
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I’m up to 5 miles now with some mild and intermittent knee pain, which is a major improvement from not being able to walk without pain a month ago.  I’m still having SI-joint issues though—I had a PT appointment over the weekend, and he found that my right hip had rotated again, so he pushed it back into place and scheduled me for a follow-up in a few days.  Still not in the clear, but 5 miles is the longest I’ve been able to do in a few weeks (months?), so that’s improvement.

A great Christmas and start to winter break!  I’m hoping to do some sort of [running?] 2014 recap in the next few days, so stay tuned!

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Did you get anything running-related for Christmas?
How did you spend your holiday?

Weekend recap: another wedding, some runs

Hope you’ve had a nice start to CHRISTMAS WEEK!

I fully embraced the relaxation of Christmas break today and did nothing productive all morning and afternoon (except go for a slow four mile run and send one school-related email), and then I babysat three of my favorite kids in the evening.

We created our own little monsters for a game, and they were pretty cute…
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But let’s go back to the weekend.  My family was in Pennsylvania for my cousin Andy’s wedding, the second in our series of “That time five boy cousins were engaged at once,” also known as “Did I wear this dress last time?” also known as “Maybe I’ll finally learn the Electric Slide.”  I love weddings, and it’s fun to spend more time with extended family and welcome in a new member.

Like the wedding we went to a few weeks ago, my family left after work on Friday for the 5-hour drive to Pittsburgh.  We listened to our “special box of mixed CDs”, and this trip particularly highlighted hits from the musicals Godspell and Across the Universe.  We arrived to my Grandma’s house by 1am and went right to bed.

The next morning, we listened to Christmas music and played cards with my Grandma at the kitchen table for a few hours…our love of card playing spans generations.  At my house, we usually play Tonto, Euchure, or Up & Down the River, but the official game of my Grandma’s house is Hand and Foot, so that’s what we played.  Five rounds (and five losses? I don’t remember) later, my dad and I laced up for a quick run around the block.  We were short on time and I’m just getting back from an injury, so we went 4 easy miles, and thankfully, my knee was okay as long as I focused on my form!

Then we went to the wedding!  We have a huge extended family, so we took up the first few pews at the church and had a perfect view of the beautiful ceremony.  Welcome to the family, Alise!

We went right to the reception afterward, and Laura, Greg, and I found our place at #Table17 with a few cousins and other youngish people.  We made new friends and challenged each other in Trivia Crack, which is apparently the hot new app according to the trendy people at the table (aka not me; I just got snapchat a few weeks ago).

Sibs at the reception:
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Laura, Greg, me

The reception was a blast!  We danced, danced, took breaks to explore the 25 different kinds of cookies at the cookie table, and danced.

The next morning, my dad and I ran another short and sweet 4 miles and finished just as one of his sisters and her family drove up to send us off.  More family ended up coming over as well, so we all hung out for a while, recapped the wedding, reminisced this trip, and laughed a lot.

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My grandma made my scarf!

I hit the library before the trip, and I started reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore on the car ride home.  Good so far!

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Can you knit, crochet, or do crafty things?
What card game do you most often play?

Christmas break! and first run back

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus, this semester is OVER.  Perfect timing because Christmas is in less than one week (wut?) and I have some gift-shopping, hot chocolate-drinking, cookie-eating, gingerbread house-making, Christmas music-listening to fun to catch up on.  Also some Gossip Girl-watching to do.  Did I mention that Erin and I chose Gossip Girl as our next Netflix drama? I just started season 3.

And more news…I went on my first run in two months!  2 slow social miles.  My friend Erin just finished a 12-week rest period for a pelvic stress fracture, so about 15 of us gathered together last Saturday for a celebratory 2 miles + breakfast.  I was a little nervous to run 2 miles after two months of not running, but I couldn’t turn down the perfect occasion to try.  I’ve been doing the PT exercises for my hip/knee 5x per week for a solid 3 weeks so far, and I think/hope I’m turning a corner.  Anyway, I survived–with super mild pain that was more like a “feeling of awareness that my knee was there” that didn’t get worse as I went.  I was expecting to walk, so hooray!  Even more exciting, I ran 3 miles yesterday and my knee felt better than it did during the 2 miles.

No pictures of the first run back (run blog fail), so here are some random pictures:

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My sister Laura gave me a coupon for a free Nutella (thanks Laura!), so Ryan and I got the  necessities.  I had been craving cookies & cream ice cream since we watched Forks over Knives & Hungry for Change last weekend (someone was eating cookies & cream ice cream in a “don’t do this” type of scene, ha)

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This package of k-cups arrived on my door step before exam week from a very thoughtful boyfriend.  They are mostly cake-flavored and really good.

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I found my new favorite workout for when I can’t run: 5 x (cycle 5 minutes + bodyweight circuit).  I switch up the strength circuit, but it’s usually about 5 minutes and has a mixture of squats + push ups+ planks + ab moves.
I really like when there are spin bikes that you can use outside of spin class!

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I’ve been doing a lot of strength training since I haven’t been able to run for a few weeks, and Ryan and I created a “push” workout last Saturday and a “pull” workout last Sunday.  I definitely prefer running over weight training, but it’s been nice to switch it up and double nice to workout with Ryan!

I hit up the library yesterday to get a few easy reads, and I’m excited to relax without feeling like I should be reading a textbook.  Book recommendations?

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Do you run alone or with people?
What do you enjoy more: baking Christmas cookies or eating Christmas cookies?

studying, Frosty, and froyo

Hello!  Okay, quick post because I’m having some serious focus issues.  Next week is finals week and this week is…well, the week before finals week. I’m trying really hard to get in “the zone” and prep a presentation for tomorrow, but I got distracted by the rain pitter-pattering on my window and moved to my couch to watch it, and now I’m writing a blog post.

Ready for an exciting weekend recap?  Ryan drove up to join me for a weekend of studying, reading, writing papers, and finishing presentations.  We worked so hard on Saturday afternoon that when the evening rolled around, I was burnt out and wanted nothing more in the world than Netflix and ice cream.  We scrolled through the Netflix documentaries and ended up watching two food/nutrition-related ones: Forks over Knives and Hungry for Change.  They were interesting!  I mean… I was eating chicken while watching a documentary promoting veganism and still wanted ice cream, but I was inspired to eat more veggies.

On Sunday, we went on a date to Sam’s Club (it took me six tries to find directions to Sam’s from church because I typed in “Costco” the first five times) where we LOADED the cart with bulk-sized vegetables of every kind.
Cashier: “Wow, you have all kinds of healthy things in that cart!”
Me: “Yeah, we watched a documentary on healthy food last night…”

We meandered through the book section, where I found this special story that changed my life almost 25 years ago.IMG_1429

Once upon a time, in January/February of 1990, my sister Laura was two years old and about to get a baby sister.  Her favorite movie was Frosty the Snowman, and she walked around the house with her imaginary friend “Karen” from the movie (for those who haven’t seen Frosty, Karen is the cute little girl in the red dress above who is basically awesome).  When her sister was born on February 1, the baby didn’t have a name for a few days…and then she was named Karen, after the girl in Frosty the Snowman. #namesake

And one last photo, since I’m thinking about changing my running blog to a frozen yogurt blog.IMG_1419Last week, my froyo4lyfe partner Andrea was busy after our hour-drive Thursday class, so she missed out on the weekly fro-date.  Lauren and I carried on the tradition, just in time for the first day of the winter styles/flavors.

Still no running for me.  My right knee is on-again-off-again hurting when I walk, and it’s very confusing.  My PT gave me a strength routine that I’ve been doing for the past week and a half, mainly to stabilize my SI joint on the right side and strengthen my spine & hips on the weak side first and then both sides.  I haven’t run more than half a mile in almost two months, but I’ve been alternating between strength workouts, spinning/biking, and lots and lots of rest.  I’m sad but it could be worse.  My original goal was to run by Christmas but now my goal is to be able to run a half marathon by the end of March…because I’m already registered.  It’s a marathon relay I’m running with my Dad, and if I’m not healed up by then, he might be running a surprise full marathon! 😉

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Were you named after anyone?
Documentary recommendations?

Thanksgiving 2014

Goodbye November!  Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  A good reminder to stop and think about what you’re thankful for.

Ryan’s family welcomed me over for Thanksgiving again, and I had a wonderful time.  It’s always fun to see his parents and sisters and their families…and play with two adorable little kids.  Tucker the Dog and I also had a lot to catch up on since we hadn’t Skyped in several months.

We talked, played a few extreme rounds of the ever-evolving game of Tonto (cards), built and smashed Lego towers, sang along to Christmas music and Disney favorites while Ryan and his sister played piano, and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner.  The Thanksgiving meal in general features my favorite food group (bread, bread, stuffing, stuffing), but Ryan’s dad’s red beans & rice, and his mom’s hummus were also so delicious that I can’t even pick a favorite food item from the weekend.

Ryan and I had our annual Thanksgiving photo shoot.  Behold what is possibly the best photo of us ever taken, and photo credit and shout out to Ryan’s mom.DSCN1930

I didn’t run at all (theme of the month), but Ryan and I managed to fit in two solid strength workouts–one in my apartment fitness center on Thanksgiving morning, and one in his basement the day after Thanksgiving.

We created the basement workout by taking turns adding exercise moves to create the list below while watching Hitch (the movie was hilarious).  It took almost an hour to go through the list four times on Friday morning, and I’m really proud of us because it was hard.IMG_1408

The only change is that instead of actually jump roping, we hopped around to “Today’s Hits” Pandora and called it the dance break.  And then Ryan lifted weights for a few minutes and I lifted one weight one time.

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And since we’re allowed to listen to Christmas music now (I mean, I’ve been okay with it since November 1, but for the sticklers), here’s the Pentatonix (a cappella) version of Mary, Did You Know?, in case you haven’t heard it.

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Did you run a turkey trot?
What’s one thing you’re thankful for?