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Monday, May 05, 2014

Running: A history

Cap City Half Marathon, May 2014
Let's just get it out there: This was a craft blog once – it still might be as I have lots of wedding projects from last year I could post – but lately I've ignored the biggest things in my life: travel and running. So, I suppose, in the interest of the blog, I'll update when I feel like it and no longer stick to specific subject lines! As always, blogging feels very strange and attention starved when I dissect it, but I follow 100+ blogs about fashion, life, crafts, and art and I love every update and never think less of the author for sharing their world.

So, with that said: welcome to a running post. Some background:

Junior High & High School:
I ran cross country for a few years. Poorly. I was so slow and never practiced. I would hang around with a running buddy and we'd either walk/run around or go over to Dairy Queen for a while, then meet up with the team. I struggled to run 2 miles my first year. I regret not trying so much now. By season two, I went from a 20 minute two mile to 15 minutes! Without TRYING. I'm serious. I magically ran faster in the last few meets. Oh, to be young again.

I also ran track and had greater success in the 800m. But still, I didn't really make an effort and eventually lost interest and quit after two years. I just figured some people were naturally fast and while I was pretty good at the 800m, I didn't want to run the mile (which I was forced to do), I hated running in circles, and since I wasn't breaking any records it was time to move on. Running was hard and I made probably a 45% effort during practice. It was difficult watching some teammates naturally excel without making an effort. Thing is, they probably ran 30+ miles in a month compared to my 10. They did make an effort, but it just seemed effortless to me.

So, I quit and focused on marching band (nerd) and ski club. I did well in those. Occasionally we had to run a mile or laps in band and I was usually the first or second girl to finish. I felt pretty awesome, but not enough to go back to running. High school cross country was scary: I tried it, but the girls were fast and sexy in their sports bras, and I felt totally out of my element...

College: 
Flash forward: I tried to run outside on the epic bike path at OU. I went maybe 3 times. Again, hindsight is 20/20: it was a gorgeous path, a lovely route, and just because I couldn't run 3 miles straight out the gate, I quit. It wasn't easy, so I was over it.

During my junior/senior year I became really close with a girl who loved the gym. We went a lot and I started with the stationary bike. It wasn't scary, it wasn't hard, and I could ride it forever. Eventually I tried the indoor track. 10 laps = one mile. It was so much easier than running outside (but maybe that's because I was in better shape overall during this school year!) and the confidence boost from running 10-15 laps was amazing. It didn't matter that it was "only" 1 mile, it felt far!

Post-college:
After graduation I didn't do much of anything. Years passed. I wasn't as chubby as I was during freshman/sophomore year of college, but that was due to my food intake rather than activity level. (I didn't eat as much crappy food once I had to buy and prepare it myself!) I've always enjoyed being outside and hiking / swimming (laying around in a pool), but I prided myself on not having to exercise. Honestly. I remember feeling smug once because I didn't need to diet or exercise to remain pretty scrawny post-college. (I know, what a jerk.)

Race for the Cure, 2008
Around 2008, my friend Greg started to see a trainer and run. I agreed to sign up for a 5k and we'd run together at least once a week. He had a training plan and I just followed him. I remember getting very tired on our runs and he'd keep me motivated, but I'd still punk out and walk. When we finally ran the 5k I was so tired by the last half mile and I really wanted to walk. He didn't let me. In the end, we didn't break any records. It was over 30 minutes. Alex (my then boyfriend, now husband) ran it, too, and finished in, like 22 minutes. So, while Greg and I did a great job for us, I felt pretty bummed that Alex went out an ran fast without any training.

Greg went on to run half marathons and marathons and lose a ton of weight. I am so proud of his running journey and think of him when I need inspiration.

Running with friends: 
A few years ago (2011?) one of my closest friends started running regularly. I was in awe. She was running far! She kept talking about the benefit of taking it slow. That's always been my problem: I try to go too fast, get discouraged, and stop running. I kept repeating this cycle and hated running. 

Around the same time, another close friend moved back to town and had the desire to start running. We decided to give it a go. And before I get too far, I feel like it needs to be said: If I didn't have a friend who kept me accountable, I would not be a runner today. 

We started at the local high school track and she had a plan she found online (maybe a couch to 5k, but I'm not sure in those early days). We started with VERY short distances. We'd run 1/4 of the track, then walk the rest of the lap, and repeat this 4-8 times. I can't tell you how many weeks we did this. I wish I'd kept better track because while it was very little running, it was enough to make us feel accomplished. And it got easier.

We went farther... eventually. I think it took us at least 1-3 months to run a full mile. We both ran cross country and ran a bit in college, but we needed a fresh start. I think we both tried the run too fast, too soon thing and would get disheartened. Somehow this plan clicked. It kept us in check, but without any boredom or feelings of failure.

At some point we ventured out onto the road. We were running in an area with giant (for central Ohio) hills. Sometimes we had to walk up the hill, but even after 3 or 4 runs we were able to jog up slowly... and then a few weeks later we could maintain a constant pace. We started aiming for time goals: run 18 minutes, then walk. At our best, we got up to 30-35 minutes. Because we ran similar routes Tuesdays and Thursday, we had measurable progress via distance and time milestones. It felt amazing!

We were supposed to run a 5k in May 2012, but I think she had to go home that weekend so we put it off. Then our schedules didn't match up as well. I think she was juggling school, work, and a side job (while I was a bum and only had work), so finding time to run became tough. Somewhere along the line she joined a great gym and really got into the classes there. As I have no hand/eye coordination, I started to run on my own...

July 4, 2012
TIP: Map Your Run: 
Besides Meredith and Tricia (the friends mentioned above), Map My Run has been an integral part of my "success." I am a Type-A person (I'm trying to be more Type B all the time) and I love charts, graphs, and gold stars. Map My Run allowed me to see my month-to-month growth. In my first month using Map My Run (April 2012) I ran 17.16 miles. In April 2014 I ran 70.89!

 5Ks, wedding interruption, and beyond: 
My first 5K post-running-renaissance was July 4, 2012. My goal was to run it in under 30 minutes. Unfortunately, it was the hottest freaking day ever (90-something by the time the race began) and I finished with 30:43 (9:55 mile). And here's where another challenge emerged: comparing myself to others: especially Alex! Alex and another male friend ran insane times. They almost won. I felt so lame. But let's look at the facts: Alex works outside all day long. (By comparison, I sit hunched over at a desk.) He is in amazing shape and is built for running. He could run 5 miles without effort. The other friend ran multiple half marathons prior to this 5K. But in my mind I thought, "I'm so slow no matter what I do. Sigh."

Running became less of a priority for a while. I couldn't coordinate with Meredith and I lost interest after my "slow" 5K (whatever!). Life was getting a bit full, too, and I wasn't much for running in the winter. At the beginning of 2013 I ran a total of 36 miles over 4-5 months. In April, Alex and I got engaged and planned our wedding in 5 months. It was extremely stressful and I needed an outlet: so I started to run regularly.

Running alone was really hard. I don't think I ran more than 2 miles at a time for months. About a month after our wedding we signed up for a 5K. It was the first in a string of events and suddenly I felt really into running.
November 14, 2013

November 2013: After a few 5Ks my pace was improving and I was feeling cocky so we signed up for a 4 miler and a 5 miler. I think I may have run more than 4 miles at one point in my life, but honestly, I'm not sure. The 4 miler was my second 4 mile run ever. Same with the 5 mile Turkey Trot. Needless to say, by the last mile it was really tough. But I powered through and ran respectable times.

Unfortunately, something hurt after the Turkey Trot. It continued to hurt until January (so my first 5K of the year wasn't great). At the same time– despite this injury– I looked into joining a training group. Getting from 1 to 3 miles took a year, but somehow getting from 3 to 5 seemed relatively easy. I went to an informational session, a trial run with the group, and I decided to join for the entire 2014 year.

I've been plagued with a small foot injury (fixed with Superfeet insoles) and IT band syndrome for the past few months (remember to stretch!), but I just ran my first half marathon (more to come).

The future: 
My 5K time is down around 28:00 (9:05 mile). Alex and I started to run together (unheard of before!) I can't keep up with him at his speed, but he doesn't have to run as slow as he would have last year. He's agreed to run one 5K race with me in hopes that I can get my time under 9 min/mile.

There's another half in my future, but until then (October?) I'll register for a few 5Ks and a quarter marathon (6.55 miles). I don't know if I'll become a half marathoner, but I know I'll continue running until I can't.

I don't consider myself a runner yet. So that's something else I need to work on!

Advice:
  1. Find a friend with a similar pace/goal or join a training group that offers multiple pace groups.
  2. Set small, achievable goals
  3. Keep walking / running and track it! You'll feel such a sense of accomplishment looking back at all of your entries. It doesn't matter the time or distance. It all adds up!
  4. Do not compare yourself to others. I have the hardest time adhering to this. But really, it's unfair to compare yourself to someone who has run 10 marathons or got a scholarship to college based on their running skills!
  5. Slow and steady! Do not try to go too far, too fast. Remember, it took me months to go a mile. 

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Jewelry Organization: A Work in Progress

I've finally sorted through most of my jewelry and made a display using items I've collected over the years.


I'm not going to lie. It doesn't look great. I think the people on Pinterest must have all matching jewelry. This looks like slightly ordered chaos to me. But it is functional and I think it will get better as I edit my collection. It's nice to have everything visible in one place (though I seem to be missing a few items...).


My two trees came from West Elm and Urban Outfitters. This little guy is great, but the tall one (top photo, left) is driving me nuts. It looks crowded. 


This tray is from West Elm and was a gift. I think it'll catch my every day earrings because there's no way I'll put them back on the fox all the time. That's another thing, what do Pinterest people do with stud earrings? Is that where the egg holders and ice cube trays come into play? 


The fox (Urban Outfitters) is cute, but it's kind of a pain to take the backs off the earrings, position them on the fox, and then affix the back. I don't see that being a viable solution for earrings I wear all the time. I've had it for a year and never replaced worn earrings. Maybe I'll fill this with special occasion earrings. (This is where my missing jewelry will go. I'm guessing it's all in a travel bag.)

Necklace and dangly earring storage is fine. We got this frame with chicken wire from our wedding florist and used it on the guestbook table. It's been lying around for a few months and finally has a home. I used mini craft clothespins to hang the necklaces. They can't handle a ton of necklaces so I would not recommend buying them for a project like this.

And finally, my rings and decorative pins are in a Kate Spade Saturday mug. The handle broke off during shipment and I was too lazy to return. I figured Alex could use it for a plant, but this is better. :)

Once I get everything into place I will revisit this display in a few months. I made a huge donation pile while preparing this and I feel so much better. I had necklaces and rings from middle school!

You can find several jewelry storage ideas on my Organization Pinterest board.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Word of the Moment

moun·te·bank
ˈmountiˌbaNGk/
noun
1. a person who deceives others, esp. in order to trick them out of their money; a charlatan.

He is an insecure, self-centered mountebank, a man of few scruples and limited social graces, but he harbors no delusions that he is duping anyone with his lavender robes and scepter of ersatz emeralds. 
Source: The Biology of Luck, Jacob M. Appel, Chapter 11

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Word of the Moment

an·i·mad·ver·sion
/ˌanəmadˈvərZHən/
nounformal
1. criticism or censure.
"her animadversion against science"

Dame Darcy, The Illustrated Jane Eyre
At that hour most of the others were sewing likewise; but one class still stood round Miss Scatcherd's chair reading, and as all was quiet, the subject of their lessons could be heard, together with the manner in which each girl acquitted herself, and the animadversions or commendations of Miss Scatcherd on the performance.  
Source: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë, Chapter 6
(I'm going to start posting words I'm unfamiliar with, are rarely used in modern language, or just sound cool. This is more of a personal bookmark, but maybe you'll enjoy it, too.) 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Books of 2013

The final count: 86 books in 2013. (76 "real" books and 10 audiobooks)

Originally, I set out to read at least 40. A friend suggested an A to Z author challenge, in which we read one book from every letter of the alphabet. Some people use the book titles for the letters, but we used the author's last name. About halfway through the year my mom joined. I can't remember when I finished, but it was early enough that I was able to read whatever I wanted over the past few months.

Here they are. Most recent first. (Click to enlarge.)




Audiobooks were a lot more prevalent in 2013. I listened to 9.5. I started running to audiobooks. It took me a long time to get through them as I wasn't running more than 2-3 miles a few times a week. After my wedding, I started to up my milage a bit and ran more frequently. After some post-Turkey Trot tendonitis, I listened to a few audiobooks at work. Find of the year: I looooove Nicola Barber's narrating. I listened to five audiobooks I wouldn't have for her narration alone!

Did not finish: I rarely abandon books, but this year I left behind Beautiful Ruins. I hated the characters.  I include it on my list because I made it 60% of the way and read the last two chapters. No bueno. I do not regret leaving it behind. I also stopped listening to Carrier of the Mark halfway through. Even Nicola Barber couldn't keep me interested in fantasy YA.

The complete list in ABC order by author
1. Scott Adams, The Joy of Work
2. Tasha Alexander, A Crimson Warning
3. Sarah Addison Allen, The Peach Keeper
4. Sarah Addison Allen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon
5. Jessica Anthony, Chopsticks
6. Kate Atkinson, Life After Life
7. Max Barry, Lexicon
8. Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother?
9. Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
10. Rusty A. Biesele, The Saeshell Book of Time, Part 1 (I won this book!)
11. Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk with Me
12. Francesca Lia Block, Ruby
13. Francesca Lia Block, Blood Roses
14. Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree
15. Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey
16. Jeffrey Brown, Darth Vader and Son
17. Dan Brown, Inferno
18. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game
19. Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop
20. Daniel Clowes, Ghost World: Special Edition
21. Lauren Conrad, Infamous
22. Gareth Cook, The Best American Infographics 2013  (I won this book!)
23. Jenny Doh, Craft a Doodle: 75 Exercises From 18 Artists
24. Junot Díaz, Drown
25. Janet Evanovich, Smokin' Seventeen
26. Leigh Fallon, Carrier of the Mark 
27. Elizabeth Warnock-Fernea, Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village
28. Helen Fielding, Mad About the Boy
29. Bob Fingerman, Maximum Minimum Wage
30. Becca Fitzpatrick, Hush, Hush
31. Gillian Flynn, Dark Places 
32. Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects
33. Jim Gaffigan, Dad is Fat
34. Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
35. Nicole Georges, Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir
36. Tavi Gevinson, Rookie Yearbook One
37. Khalil Gibran, The Beauty of Life
38. Lev Grossman, The Magician King
39. Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
40. Amanda Hocking, Wake
41. Amanda Hocking, Lullaby
42. Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man
43. Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
44. P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley
45. Maureen Johnson, The Name of the Star
46. Maureen Johnson, The Madness Underneath
47. Kazu Kibuishi, Flight Explorer: The Lost Islands
48. Stephen King, Duma Key
49. Stephen King, Joyland
50. Stephen King, Doctor Sleep
51. Julia Kuo, 20 Ways to Draw a Dress
52. D.H. Lawrence, The Virgin and the Gipsy
53. Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
54. Lisa McMann, Crash
55. Lisa McMann, Bang
56. Vladimir Nabokov, The Enchanter
57. Audrey Niffenegger, Raven Girl
58. George Orwell, Animal Farm
59. Jake Parker, The Antler Boy and Other Stories
60. Anna Quindlen, Black and Blue
61. Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
62. Veronica Roth, Allegiant
63. Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
64. J.K. Rowling (Robert Galbraith), The Cuckoo's Calling
65. Nancy Jo Sales, The Bling Ring
66. David Sedaris, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
67. David Sedaris, Holidays on Ice
68. David Sedaris, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls 
69. David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day
70. David Sedaris, When You Are Engulfed In Flames 
71. Maria Semple, Where'd You Go, Bernadette
72. Jon Stewart, America
73. Mark Twain, The War Prayer
74. Lyudmila Ulitskaya, The Funeral Party
75. Various Authors, The Book of Other People
76. Kurt Vonnegut, We Are What We Pretend to Be
77. Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins 
78. Rachel Ward, The Drowning  (The author sent me this book!)
79. Frank Warren, PostSecret
80. Frank Warren, A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book
81. Karen White, Return to Tradd Street  (I won this book!)
82. Qiu Xiaolong, Death of a Red Heroine
83. Banana Yoshimoto, Lizard
84. Gabrielle Zevin, All These Things I've Done
85. Cecily von Ziegesar, Gossip Girl
86. Markus Zusak, The Book Thief


2013 was a good book + internet year:
  • I found out via twitter my favorite author Max Barry (Lexicon - READ IT) was coming to town. We met him, watched a movie based on his book Syrup (next to him), got books signed, and went to dinner with him and other fans. It was awesome.  He's from Australia, so it was pretty insane he came to Columbus. 
  • The same friend and I have been waiting for Rachel Ward's new book forever, we said something on twitter to each other, Rachel Ward saw and sent us a UK edition of the book (The Drowning). 
  • Kazu Kibuishi mentioned he'd be in Columbus about two days before an event so I quickly bought tickets to see him talk. It was extremely inspirational AND I got to chat with him briefly and he signed my copy of Flight
  • I won six First Reads giveaways on Goodreads! (Three to read in 2014.)
Next year... 
Originally I planned to read all my "to-read" shelf books but 1. there are too many and 2. I wasn't wild about feeling constrained by a challenge, so I'm just going to read whatever I want.

Okay, that's all. If you're still reading, did we read any of the same books? And as always, if you're on Goodreads, let's be friends.

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