Running, hot sauce, and a giant potato

Hope you had a nice [3-day??] weekend!  I had Monday off, which was extra special because ALL of my classes this semester are on Mondays.  Woohoo!  Ryan and I still did some work though, so I’m not completely off the hook.

This weekend was a good mix of work, play, and a little bit of running.  Last we chatted, I had just run my first run with no pain in several months, and I am happy to announce that I’ve been running pain-free all week!  The new challenge is to make sure I don’t increase the mileage too quickly.  I went on three 3-4 mile runs throughout the week, biked or rested on the other days, and had a long run of 6 miles on Saturday.  If all goes well, I’m going to try to add one mile to the long run each week and hopefully reach double digits by late February or early March.  My dad and I are registered for a marathon relay at the end of March, so I’m feeling optimistic about running my half.

IMG_1610All of those runs were on either the treadmill or indoor track.  I’m really focusing on my form this time around (I’m a member of the quad-dominant group of runners and I currently have to tell myself “butt butt butt” with every step), so I want to get a little stronger before I venture back outside.

I gave the running legs a break on Sunday and Monday, and Ryan and I did two strength workouts together: a “push” workout on Sunday morning that focused on chest & triceps, and a “pull” workout on Monday morning that focused on back & biceps.  They both had squats, burpees, and some core work sprinkled in.  Ryan designed the push/pull exercises for us because he is the weight training master, and I just did my job of adding planks to every workout and whining about burpees.

Luckily my apartment’s fitness room is almost always empty, so we usually get the place to ourselves and can spread out.  And we can do weird moves like the “dog peeing on fire hydrant one” without feeling weird.  The “push” workout is in the picture below.IMG_1617

So those workouts were good, but this hot sauce may have been more sweat-inducing.  Holy cow.  Ryan and I went to Firehouse Subs after church on Sunday, and they had a shelf of hot sauce ranked from 1 to 10 for spiciness.  We thought it would be “fun” to try a tiny dab of level 10 sauce, and long story short, it was NOT fun.  My eyes watered, my nose ran, my entire body broke out in a sweat, and my tongue.was.on.fire.  I drank 48oz of water right away and never wanted to eat anything ever again.  It took a few minutes for everything to calm down, but it was not an enjoyable experience.IMG_1620

Also…check out the size difference between the large sub and the…normal sized?…sub.  If you’re looking for the best deal, go with the large and split it, unless you’re Ryan and can eat 3 Chipotle meals at one time (linking back to that as many times as I can…so proud!).
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Speaking of large food items, here is the sweet potato that we bought at the grocery store on Sunday, with Kraft mac for size comparison.IMG_1614

Aside from eating, working out, and studying, we met up with some friends on Sunday afternoon/evening for a game night.  We played euchre and Balderdash, and we watched parts of both football games.  I’m not really a football person, but I live in Colts territory, so I was hoping they would make it.  The superbowl is on my birthday this year, and blue is my favorite color.IMG_1621

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How spicy can you go?
Would you rather eat a giant sweet potato or a box of Kraft mac?

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School again and the end of winter break

Guess what day it is?!
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We heralded the first day of our last semester of class with three 2-hour classes (woo every Monday!) but I think we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, so that’ll get us through the semester.  And through the winter.

Oh the winter.  We had some nasty ice/snow/slush coming from the sky all night, so roads were a wet mess this morning.  I took a rest day from running and/or the gym to give myself plenty of time for the drive this morning….but it’s all good because I’m still riding the high from my TOTALLY pain-free treadmill run on Sunday!

Ryan and I went to the Indy YMCA on Sunday morning for a quick workout.  I’m not joking about the quick part–the fire alarm went off 33 minutes into our workouts and they were wishy-washy about whether to evacuate the building (um?), so they shepherded us halfway out, and then Ryan and I just left.  But not before I fit in four solid miles on the treadmill!  And with a right knee that felt like it was made out of gold…or at least a healthy human joint again.IMG_1564There’s the fire truck in the back!

Hopefully (fingers crossed!) I’m on the upswing because this was the first time my knee has felt completely normal.  Over winter break, I went on a few short runs both outside and on the treadmill at my house, but my knee felt a little twingy, so I turned into a biker.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t so bad!  I watched Gilmore Girls or Glee on the easy bike days and listened to 90’s hits on the interval days.
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Back to the weekend.  After we left the Y, Ryan and I had a picnic lunch on his living room floor because sometimes it’s just more fun to eat on the floor.  He made veggie chili that was hands-down the best veggie chili I’ve ever had, even with the new-to-us meat substitute that was really a fungi.  He also introduced me to honey vanilla almond milk, which was delicious and made my coffee taste like birthday cake frosting.

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Then we bundled up and spent the rest of the afternoon at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

We saw some crazy cool exhibits.IMG_1574

And admired the enormity and endless possibility of this room.IMG_1591

And of course took the cheesiest picture we’ve ever taken.
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Oh…and I started my next book in the 2015 Reading Challenge (here’s the list, in case you’re interested!)
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I’m reading Karen by Marie Killilea for the “memoir” category.  Karen was born with cerebral palsy in the 1940’s, when cerebral palsy was “unknown territory” with little research.  This book is her mother’s account of their family’s experience with figuring out cerebral palsy, and it’s fascinating!  This book pulled me right in.

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Tips for staying entertained on the treadmill?
How’s your weather?

It’s 2015! goals, reading list, and all that good stuff

I really love making new years resolutions.  January 1 is like opening up a brand new notebook and using my very best handwriting, all while knowing that it’ll sloppy itself out soon, and I’ll probably mess up on the next page.  That’s the story of resolutions involving diet coke and anything without a sticker chart, so while they’re really exciting to plan out, less-strict “goals” work better for me.

Number one running goal is to get over this hip/knee injury, build my mileage back up, and stay as injury-free as possible (maybe with this book that Greg got me for Christmas!)

Secondary running goal is to fit in a few races.  I’m not feeling a full marathon this year, but I would love to PR in the half!  I’d also like to run more 5k races…5ks are scary to me

My dad and I started out the new year with a bike and a run.  50 minutes on bike trainers in the basement followed by 4 easy miles.  I’m trying to focus on my form (“tucking my tail” & engaging my glutes) in combination with my PT exercises (a lot of glute and core strength) to get over this injury.
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Other goal = Read more.  Laura and I compiled a 2015 reading “category” list based on this idea.  Here’s the list we came up with.  Join us, if you’d like!  I’m so excited about it that I read two books in the last 4 days (Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty).

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Laura and I brainstormed the list during our sister date on Saturday.  We saw Into the Woods, got pizza, browsed Barnes & Noble, and hung out at Laura’s place with coffee.  I told Laura that another one of my new years goals is to spend less money on frivolous things.  Then I noticed that we were standing by a table of 2015 planners that were 50% off at Barnes & Noble, and we convinced each other how important and nonfrivolous these purchases would be.  So we bought them!  Here’s the best self-timer picture we managed with our new planners.
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Other goal = Spend more time outside.  Um, bad time of year to set this goal, but I guess this means trying to run outside all winter and maybe going on a walk if it’s not too miserable out.

Other goal = Be as kind, caring, helpful, thankful, and positive as I can be.  Only one semester of classes left, and then a one-year clinical rotation, so I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Other goal = I am kind of bored with this blog since I haven’t been running and have nothing to talk about, so I have to figure out what to do about that.  I could post about the bike workouts I’ve been doing in my basement…so there’s one sentence.  Post ideas?

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2015 goals?
Do you have any snow yet?

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.

Always a good time with the cousins. IMG_1465
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?