Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Day 195

I'm learning, largely through using my calendar to visualize how my time is spent, that when I plan ahead and do things in advance, I not only feel less stressed out, but I also have the benefit of variety and choice when I don't absolutely have to finish reading or writing something before I go to sleep.

Today, for instance, I was able to choose a caffeine-free tea for my reading/studying beverage rather than my typical Angel's Dream tea that I drink when I need a boost while I'm studying. (Nobody's paying me for that endorsement.) I don't even know how we ended up with caffeine-free tea in our house in the first place, but it's nice to try something new when I'm drinking tea as a way to stay warm but not necessarily awake. This is not an option I typically give myself.

My super sweet nephew painted this mug for me, and it's extra big! Perfect for studying.
While I do sometimes struggle with time management, the source is usually less about how much time I am wasting on things like cell phone games or reading every single comment on a politically-charged Facebook post and more about trying to do too many things. Just yesterday, I reflected on my current goals which include the following:

  • Run my first 100K (February 2)
  • Run a 2:30 half marathon (March 9)
  • Lose some weight so the quad butt doesn't reappear

Those are all great goals, but this week, they're colliding and conflicting with each other. As I'm making preparations for Saturday's race, now is not the time to try to build speed in my running or have a calorie deficit each day. I need energy for my longest race ever! Each goal will come in time, and I am looking forward to changing the "lose some weight" goal back to "maintain this weight" in the next few months, but some of what I am trying to achieve will have to take place sequentially.

Fortunately, I am learning to give myself the gift of time and to take a step back and look at my own practices. There's nothing fun about being stressed out from doing too much, even if the things I am doing are anything but stressful in their own rights.

Perhaps having the opportunity to choose a tea without caffeine is a small, even inconsequential thing, but I'm looking forward to transferring this realization to other aspects of my life. Imagine what I could do with more flexibility in my studies, running, and personal life. Surely the best is yet to come.

Something that made today great: I had a wonderful run after work today AND I looked cute in my winter workout gear.
Time I woke up: 9:28 am (Yikes!! But I was up late Sunday, and Monday was exhausting.)

Friday, January 25, 2019

Day 196

I loved having Monday off from work and school, and I enjoyed that time to its fullest. Unfortunately, that bit me in the rear, and I spent the rest of the week catching up from my relaxing Monday. The first thing to fall by the wayside was running. I skipped running on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday because I didn’t get out of bed early enough to go before work (partially because I was up late reading and working and partially because I did not want to run in the cold), and my days and evenings were packed! Richard has been either working or out of town all week, and the “temporarily single dog mom” life has limited my schedule’s flexibility. 

The good news is that I am doing a half marathon trainer RunBet that requires me to run four days per week if I want to keep my money, so running is a priority for my weekend activities. Thanks to the end of (or break in) the government shutdown, my first 100K is on for next weekend. (We were unsure until today’s announcement!) Since the RunBet week runs from Monday to Sunday, I’ll have to tackle most of my RunBet runs early so I can rest right before and after the race. 

As if my distance goals were not ambitious enough, I have decided to shift my focus to running some faster races, starting with beating 2:30 in the half marathon. I have my sights set on doing this in just six weeks at the Amazing Half Marathon in Baton Rouge on March 9, which initially seemed overwhelming until I found a plan from Runner’s World that makes the goal seem achievable as long as I stay injury free between now and the race. Today, I ran 7 miles at a sub-12 pace, and tomorrow calls for 5 miles at a sub-11 pace. I’m excited to follow this plan to a new PR even if I miss 2:30 on my first attempt. 

Other than running, school is keeping me plenty busy. I am still loving my classes this semester and am enthralled (albeit occasionally confused) by our reading. My bachelorette Friday night has included watching Netflix, reading, playing on my phone, reading, and repeating the cycle. I’m optimistic that I’ll head into next week more prepared than I did this week, although that’s a pretty low bar. 

Something that made today great: Briefly catching up with Ariel this afternoon
Time I woke up: 8:28 am

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Day 197

Despite the flexibility that round 2 of my blogging challenge is giving me, I need to be posting more than I have been if I want to finish before my summer classes start. Oops!

I'm currently reading Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education by Nathan D. Grawe as homework for my University Enrollment Management class. I allowed myself to take it a little too easy over the long weekend, but I am getting caught up. I am also practicing using my new gel highlighters that don't bleed through the page. As you can see from the photo below, my technique isn't quite there yet, but I'm working on it.

In the chapter about the Higher Education Demand Index, or HEDI, the author acknowledges that college enrollment prediction models can be imperfect for a variety of reasons, which you are more than welcome to read about for yourself (I'll loan you my book after this semester!), but he also writes that while we need to accept that our projections will be imperfect, there is still value in making them.  Specifically, he says, "Our inability to foresee perfectly should not be an argument against looking ahead." I think that idea can apply to anyone, so I wanted to share it here.

While I'm not one to actively avoid looking to the future, I sometimes fail to plan ahead too far in the future simply because I get caught up in the here and now so easily. The scheduling assignment for my Traditions of Inquiry class is helping me think more about the future and how my actions today can influence the next day, week, month, and even year, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little overwhelmed when I consider that it could be my job to plan for a generation of college students 15 years in advance based on some data. I'm more excited than overwhelmed, but it certainly puts my role as a future administrator or researcher in perspective. 

Something that made today great: The weather was lovely!
Time I woke up: 8:11 am

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Day 198

Classes started last Wednesday, but since I was out of town, I had a bit of a late start to the semester. As of today, I have attended all of my classes, and I can say for sure that I like all of them. I'm so fortunate to be in a program I love and that I can be a student full time. I really do love learning! I hope I can keep this energy up all semester.

One of my class assignments is to schedule my days in advance on a calendar in one color of ink and go back in a different color and document how I actually spent my time. I still have my Erin Condren planner and fun stickers, but I'm also using the template my professor provided because I like the space for reflection. I am not sure that maintaining two planners is the best use of my time, but so far it's helping me stay organized. I've spent a lot of time catching up on reading this week, but  I am already working on spacing it out next week. So far, I'm finding that I work best in hour or half-hour chunks with 15- or 30-minute breaks, and I am enjoying challenging myself to stick to what I said I would do as much as possible. As a bonus, I reward myself with green highlights for the chunks of time when I actually do what I said I was going to do. It really is a lovely visual.

Much of the weekend will be taken up with Rendezvous Louisiane festivities, but I'm going to find a little bit of time to work among all of the fun. Since I won't have work or class on Monday, I should have plenty of time for reading and relaxing. Maybe I'll do a little running, too. 

Something that made today great: I attended an awesome Junior League training about creating effective presentations
Time I woke up: 7:30 am?

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Day 199

I've written a little about my first marathon before, but what I might've not touched on is that I am a run/walker. When I race, I don't run the whole time. I will likely be a run/walker forever, or at least until I have to drop to just walking...hopefully, that won't be until I'm at least 102, though.

When I was training for my first marathon, I joined the Natchitoches Run/Walk Club, which is where I learned the magic of run/walk. I purchased a pink Gym Boss interval timer to help with my training, and that thing has been my best non-human running friend. My Gym Boss has been with me for hundreds of training runs and dozens of races since 2013. I made one of my best running friends, Tim, after we saw each other at two races, and he couldn't shake the beeping noise of the Gym Boss as we leapfrogged through the 2016 Revel Run 15K and the 2016 Autumn Breeze 10K, both in Shreveport. Without my pink Gym Boss, I wouldn't have had Tim as a friend, and my life would be sadder.

Here's a picture of my Gym Boss and me somewhere pretty late in the 2013 Chicago Marathon. It's true love.

In the picture,  I am wearing the Gym Boss on my wrist, but sometime in 2016, I decided that I had too much stuff on my arms. A watch, Gym Boss, and handheld water bottle were plenty, but sometimes I even wore an armband if I was running with my phone. Look at this hot mess on my arm in the 2016 Louisiana Marathon.

At some point in 2016--before I met Tim, I think--I ditched the wrist band and started wearing my Gym Boss clipped to the waistband of my bottoms. Decluttering my arm was a helpful step, but I could still run my intervals. Life was good.

Flash forward to today when I ran the Mobile Marathon with my friends Elena and Sandra. We were out for 26.2 miles of smiles, and our goal for the day was to finish before the 7-hour cutoff. I had my Gym Boss set for intervals of running 60 seconds and walking 90 seconds, and everything was just fine. It was a bit chilly, but better chilly than hot or raining, so really we had an ideal day for a marathon. As we ran, we thanked the volunteers and police officers, drank plenty of water and Powerade, and admired the historic homes we passed along the course.

Around Mile 10, we decided to stop for the porta potty because our hydration had been so on point. Everything was going great, and I was going to be out of the porta potty in record time...and then it happened. I stood up, started pulling my pants up, and then I must've bumped something or pulled too quickly because my Gym Boss flew off of my pants and into the blue sea of the porta potty.

"OH NOOOOO!!!!!!!" I cried, unable to believe what had just happened.

From next door, I heard Sandra ask, "What happened? Did you drop something?" 

"I threw the Gym Boss in the toilet! I can't even see it anymore!" I answered.

While I didn't want my Gym Boss to suffer a slow and painful death, I do hope that it got a few more minutes of beeping before the water seeped into the battery compartment. We had a good laugh about what might happen if the next person came in to use the bathroom and the Gym Boss beeped from the deep waters of the toilet.

Other than the loss of my beloved Gym Boss, the race was great, and we finished in plenty of time. I have now run a marathon in ten different states, which means I qualify for membership in the 50 States Marathon Club! That's kind of neat. My first marathon of the year is in the books, and I had such a good time traveling and hanging out with some of my greatest running buddies. I have an ambitious running schedule for the year, including the Louisiana Marathon next weekend and the Red Dirt Ultra--my first 100K--on February 2. I'm much more excited than I am scared. It sure is fun to do crazy stuff with your equally crazy friends!

Pre-race photo op! I bought Elena pants to match mine for Christmas.

Something that made today great: The volunteers and race staff for the Mobile Marathon were so kind and supportive!
Time I woke up: 6:20 am

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Day 200

I’m restarting my blogging challenge, except instead of blogging for 100 days straight, I am going to blog for 100 days this semester. That means I’ll write most days, but I’ll have the flexibility to miss every now and then or skip when I don’t have much to report. Looking back, I’m glad to have documented most of my first semester (which I finished successfully for anyone who was wondering) through my blog, so I would like a similar record for other semesters.  

Classes start tomorrow, but I’m actually spending my first week of the semester in New Orleans on a service immersion trip through Alpha Gamma Delta and the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values. We are staying at Camp Restore, which was founded in 2006 following Hurricane Katrina, and the camp has partners throughout the community that we have been venturing out to serve. Yesterday, we visited an amazing community garden started because one woman had a vision for an undeveloped plot of land, and today we worked at the Arc of Greater New Orleans and sorted, among other items, more than 1675 pounds of Mardi Gras beads alongside local staff members. It was incredible to see how differences in abilities didn’t stop us from conquering a large task. We have also loved having the opportunity to connect with people from this community, as they have been so welcoming and so willing to share their stories with us. 

Tonight we talked at length about how people in the local community might perceive groups coming from the outside to serve and what attitudes we as volunteers ought to have as we embrace differences in community and culture through this immersion. Serving without considering the interests and perspectives of the community can be harmful when it intends to be helpful, and as I thought more about that concept tonight, I found these photos online from post-Katrina. These simple signs say so much without using many words or being flashy. 

I’m thankful for this experience and am glad to be challenged to be a more intentional and helpful servant and volunteer. We have an incredible group of women, and while I’m a facilitator for our curriculum, I’m especially enjoying working and learning alongside them through the service work and cultural immersion. I hope that I can help the community in New Orleans, not just “help” it, and I pray for grace if and when I do fall short of being truly helpful. One thing is for sure: the work toward recovery is not yet done, so there is still space for us to do something meaningful. 

Something that made today great: Talking smart with Ms. Tina while we bagged up Mardi Gras beads this afternoon
Time I woke up: 7:35 am