Monday, September 30, 2019

Day 268

I am defying the odds by writing a race report after the weekend of the race. Usually, if I don't write anything by the day after the race, it's not going to happen. Not this time, though!

Sandra and I have been training for the Marine Corps Marathon 50K since April. That has meant running more miles than I might like in the heat and humidity, but we have endured the summer (and beyond) and continue to hold out hope that the weather might be decent someday. The MCM 50K is on October 27, so we signed up for the Heart and Sole Marathon in Jonesboro, Arkansas as a checkup on how we are doing and what we might expect in a month. We left Baton Rouge on Friday afternoon and made it to Jonesboro just before 11:00 pm, so waking up early for the race was not my favorite thing. However, we stayed at a hotel across from the starting line, which made everything a little easier on us.

We arrived at the race with hopes of keeping our pace somewhere between 12:30 and 13:00 per mile. After checking the elevation map and looking at the weather forecast, we were not expecting amazing conditions but figured a sub-13:00 pace was reasonable.

The temperature was hovering just under 70 degrees before we started, which was great! We started hitting the hills early in the race--I am thinking before mile 2--and they never let up for us. Rather than following the beeps of my Gym Boss, we started walking up the hills and running down them to conserve energy. The course took us through a residential area complete with a golf course, so that was fun to see. One spectator was offering wine, so we took her up on that. An aid station by the golf course was handing out Snickers, which were a perfect consistency as they were beginning to soften in the sun.

Then, the sun really came out, and everything heated up. The half marathon runners turned off around mile 10, and we headed into an area with more hills, more sun, and not a lot of shade. One thing this race did exceptionally well was having plenty of water/Powerade stops (one every 1-1.5 miles) and an abundance of smiling volunteers. Many of them were Alpha Gams from Arkansas State, and I took advantage of a photo opportunity with them. 

As we entered the last ten miles of the race, the aid stations started to provide more exciting goodies including pickle juice and wet towels. Around mile 17, two ladies in a  small SUV rolled by and handed us popsicles out the window. We called them our popsicle angels. One of the later aid stations also had popsicles, and we each took two from them. The popsicles were a pleasant throwback to the Red River Road Runners summer fun runs, except those were only about three miles each, not double digits. 

With the aid of the awesome course support, we survived the hilly portions of the course and finally headed back to flatter land toward the finish. We complained quite a bit for the last few miles of the race. One slight reprieve was that the last mile or so was a lap around the Northeast Arkansas Baptist Hospital, though it was a little cruel once we were able to see the finish line. Also, my watch measured the race at 26.57 miles rather than 26.2 miles. I did not run all of the tangents, but I am not typically off by that much. I guess the extra distance just made it a better indicator of how we will perform at the MCM 50K.

I liked the Heart and Sole Marathon, but it is not a race for everyone. Most of the course was through residential and country areas, so there was nothing too exciting to see. The roads were open to traffic, although there were signs posted to remind drivers of the event. Some areas also had cyclists going back and forth to add a layer of protection for runners. There was never a time when I worried I might get hit by a vehicle, so that is good. The crowd support was also limited, but that did not bother me. The course was probably the most challenging road marathon I have ever run, but I tend to gravitate toward the fast and flat ones. The race had plenty of support to help survive a tough day, and that is what counted for me. I would go back if someone else wanted to go, but this is not a race I will be prioritizing in my rotation while I am living in Baton Rouge.

Although we did not finish in the time we had hoped, we gave a good effort and still managed to take home first in our age groups! (Did I mention that it was a small race and nobody else was in our age groups?) Knowing that MCM will not be as hilly and (hopefully) not as hot, I think we are in good shape for our race next month. I could really use some cooler weather, though! 

Something that made today great: Roundtables with students from the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition tonight during class
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Day 269

No race report today, so the chance of me ever writing a race report from the Heart and Sole Marathon just dropped significantly. Alas. Some good news is that I did lots of school work for the upcoming week today, so I don't feel behind going into the new work/school week. I still have plenty to do this week, and I will likely be consuming copious amounts of coffee. Going into Monday feeling prepared is pretty nice, though, and I am currently taking a little time to knit and watch "Friends" before bed.

Have a great week!

Something that made today great: Trying on the new clothes I ordered from Dillard's
Time I woke up: 9:30 am

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Day 270

I’m safely home in Baton Rouge after a tough marathon today! Another marathon is in the books, and I’m feeling ready for the Marine Corps Marathon 50K in a few weeks. (This was our tune up/check in/progress race before MCM 50K.) My plan is to write a race recap tomorrow, but as we know, sometimes I don’t do that. 

Something that made today great: I won my age group (of 1) today. 
Time I woke up: 5:50 am

Day 271

It’s after midnight, but I’m cutting myself some slack after a busy day of traveling. Sandra and I are doing the Heart and Sole Marathon tomorrow morning!

Today was busy with work, errands, and travel, and I am now the the proud owner of one pair of glasses. I am also a tired lady. 

Happy weekend!

Something that made today great: Hilarious story time on the road trip
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Day 272

Balancing school, work, running, and regular life stuff has not left me with a whole lot of time to do other stuff, but especially knitting. My friend Ellen and I have knitted together a few times (I think twice) since I moved to Baton Rouge, and beyond that, I have not made much time to knit. 

A few weeks ago, we decided to make a day trip to Vicksburg, Mississippi for the first day of a three-day yarn conference called Fiber Fun in the ‘Sip. We both had other commitments this weekend, but going today allowed us to take a class and do some yarn shopping. As it turns out, a knitting mini-vacation did wonders for my stress level, even though we had to travel today. I had a great time learning about short rows in my class this afternoon. Although I didn’t need new yarn, I bought one skein of several types of yarn to try and use for small projects. Based on the colors I chose, this is shaping up to be the year of Mardi Gras-colored knitted items. There was so much fun stuff to look at and buy! The good company and conversation didn’t hurt anything either.

Although the end of this week was already busy (Sandra and I are running a marathon in Arkansas this weekend!) I am glad I made time to do something I love that isn’t sleeping or running. As I told Ellen, if I can continue to become a faster runner, my training runs will take less and less time, and I will be able to devote more time to knitting. At least I think that’s how it works! 

Hope springs eternal. 

Photo from Pexels

Something that made today great: Getting my knitting mojo back
Time I woke up: 7:37 am (which was way later than I wanted to wake up)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Day 273

Several times recently, I have posted about various ways in which I have not been a great adult. Well, today I want to report that I was a good adult. In order, I:
  • Woke up earlier than usual
  • Got to work way earlier than usual
  • Worked on some tasks I have been dragging out
  • Drank coffee!
  • Ordered new dresses because I found out yesterday that I’ll be presenting at a conference next month (yay!)
  • Let my dog out
  • Ate a real lunch (not a Clif bar) at actual lunchtime instead of 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon
  • Talked with some researchers about using their data, and it’s going to work out (more on this on the future, I’m sure)
  • Went to class prepared
  • Ate dinner
  • Finished my statistics homework 
I didn’t exercise today, but I’m still counting this as a win. Heck, the waking up and getting to work early would’ve just about made the day a win on its own. Compared to some of the days when I feel like I have 32% of my life together, today was a rock star day for me. I’m still working through managing my time and my courseload this semester. I’m taking tomorrow off of work, and I’m leaving Friday for a marathon in Arkansas on Saturday, so I don’t expect that I’ll be super ahead on anything next week. Maybe by November I’ll be ahead of the game. 

Hope springs eternal. 

I didn’t take any photos today, but I get sad when there is no image preview on Facebook. To solve that issue, here’s a picture of Scooter investigating my yogurt a few weeks ago. 

Something that made today great: The Costco chicken wrap I had for lunch was pretty rockin’
Time I woke up: 6:30 am

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Day 274

I went back to Lunchtime Lifts today, and while I am still not sure I could win in a fight against a first grader, I feel confident that I could win against the version of myself that existed a week ago. I'm still using the lightest bar and being very careful not to up my weight too quickly. Even with the lightest bar, I only made it through 2.75 of the 4 sets of chest presses we were supposed to do, but that's okay! I can be really competitive at times, but for some reason, weight lifting does not seem to spark that in me. (That's probably a good thing.)

Perhaps the biggest victory of going back to Lunchtime Lifts was that I didn't fall off of any platforms today! It helped that we were not doing steps onto any platforms, but I am taking the wins where I can find them. As Jennie and I discussed after class, actually lifting weights helps us get better at lifting weights. Also, progress is progress.

Something that made today great: I got so many steps in today (over 18,000!)
Time I woke up: 5:45 am

Monday, September 23, 2019

Day 275

Today turned out to be busier than I expected because I was completely inefficient with managing my time. I had several meetings and appointments that I scheduled just far enough apart to be inconvenient and unproductive. On the bright side, I felt very little stress today because I had time to breathe between activities, even with travel time.

Perhaps the most out-of-the-ordinary part of my day is that I went to the optometrist because I had been having trouble reading PowerPoints in class. Not things at a distance, just PowerPoints. It turns out that I have mild astigmatism, so I will soon be joining the ranks of the glasses wearers of the world. My optometrist had good things to say about the vision center at Costco, and we all know I love guess where I'm going tomorrow after work? I'm already looking forward to it.

Photo from Pexels
This week is shaping up to be a busy one because I have two out-of-town adventures planned (one Thursday and one Friday), and I have to do my job and school work. It's a good thing I got some rest this weekend!

Something that made today great: Diana treated me to coffee during our class break today!
Time I woke up: 8:30 am

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Day 276

While I was busy reading today, Richard was hard at work in our yard. He is turning into one of those men who obsesses about the lawn, and I am not mad about it. 

Today, he interrupted my studies to show me this teeny tiny frog that is skinnier than my pinky finger! The frog friend was hanging out in one of our potted plants. Richard tried to bring him inside to show me, but then little buddy jumped onto our kitchen door! After this photo op, Richard returned the frog to the wild to do its amphibious thing. 

That’s what I’m sharing today: a tiny frog. Here’s hoping for a marvelous Monday!

Something that made today great: I finished my work for class tomorrow this afternoon instead of...tomorrow 15-30 minutes before class
Time I woke up: 6:55 am

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Day 277

Hooray for a slightly lazy Saturday! I woke up early this morning and went for a 10-mile run that turned into 11.5 miles, which was a lovely way to start the day. Sandra was out of town, but one of the girls from Slow Mode was willing to be my buddy, and now I have a new running friend! Today was hopefully the first of many times that we'll run together.

This afternoon, I did several of my favorite things such as eating a hot dog, shopping at Costco, and taking a nap. I also finished a paper and read one article for class on Monday. I am trying to get ahead this weekend so I can finally breathe this week. I have told several people that if I were in the ocean, I wouldn't be drowning, but I wouldn't be on top of the wave either. I really, really, really want to be surfing on that proverbial wave. (After my lack of balance on Thursday, I will not be attempting actual surfing anytime soon.)

I'm ready to kick some tail tomorrow and go into the new week feeling like I didn't put off too many things. I will have an update on how that goes in about 24 hours. Have a great Sunday!

Proud to be done with our run!
Something that made today great: Spending time with my best husband!
Time I woke up: 5:55 am

Friday, September 20, 2019

Day 278

TGIF, y'all. I am le tired. I went to campus earlier than usual today to volunteer at the Financial Literacy for You (FLY) program through the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Aid (LOSFA), and while that was fun, I can tell the difference in showing up at 8 versus showing up at 9. Now that I have done it, maybe I will try to aim to arrive at 8:00 more often...but I kind of doubt it.

After yesterday's Lunchtime Lifts class, I worried that my muscles would be killing me today from all of the new stress I gave it, but today was actually not too bad! Once I finished working today, I met Lucas for our second Friday Slow Mode Run. Since it has happened twice, I guess that is an official tradition now. I definitely wasn't running at my best, and the heat was not the only thing to blame this time; I am feeling some soreness in my thighs when I try to sit down or stand up. As long as I don't move, I'm just fine! My plan for the weekend (after I go for a long run in the morning) is to not move very much. I also suspect that hanging out in pajamas all day helps with muscle soreness, but I will have a better idea tomorrow night.

Something that made today great: Richard cooked a really delicious dinner!
Time I woke up: 6:50 am

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Day 279

Do you ever just know something about yourself, but when you test that thing it turns out that maybe you didn’t really know that thing about yourself because the situation is actually much better or worse than you realized? 

Well, I have. 

I knew I had noodles for arms, but what I thought were spaghetti noodles turned out to be more like angel hair pasta. I learned this at today’s Lunchtime Lifts class, which kicked my tail despite the fact that our lovely and patient teacher Paul modified literally everything for me. I traded my 15 kg bar for a 10 kg bar , used the lightest dumbbell offered to me, and did my pushups and triceps exercises at a different (read: easier) height than planned. 

I love this panel from The Oatmeal’s book “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run” (check it out at and imagined myself something like the guy in the cartoon, but I wasn’t really that either. 

I thought I would at least be ready to rock some leg exercises, but that didn’t exactly happen either. Usually I can fall back on the old “I didn’t quit!” line, but after I fell off of two different platforms (one soft platform while holding a dumbbell, one harder platform without the dumbbell) doing some box step up exercises, I opted to sit on the floor and count/cheer for Jennie for that round. 

On the bright side, I have established a baseline and should only be going up from here. I hope no first graders try to challenge me to a weight lifting competition anytime soon, because I would probably lose. In a few weeks, I could probably beat a first grader in a lifting competition, but I don’t think anyone would be impressed. 

After work, I decided to make myself feel better by running a mid-week half marathon with Sandra, so I’m sure I’ll feel awesome in the morning. Man I’m tired. 

Something that made today great: Richard is home tonight because he’s done working nights for a while! 
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Day 280

Saturday was a day for great ideas, but this week seems to be a week for poor choices. Monday was the day of eating no vegetables, and Tuesday was the day of the night nap.

"A night nap? Isn't that just called sleep?" Well, not exactly.

Last night after I showered and ate when I returned from Happy's, I was tired. I spent Monday night catching up on statistics, which meant that I had not finished by reading for finance. Actually, I hadn't even started. (That is unusual for me, but it was my situation.) Knowing there was no way I could do all of my reading without passing out face down in a book or on a printed PDF, I decided to take a risky route and go to sleep. In college and my professional life, I found that saying I will wake up early and finish my work is a lie from hell, but a night nap could be just the ticket to getting some sleep and getting my work done.

So, last night I slept from 8:30 pm until 11:15 pm. I woke up to write my blog, then I started my homework. I had a coffee interlude around 2:00 am, finished my reading, and went back to sleep for a few hours.

It is probably not a shock to anyone that the night nap is not an ideal choice for everyday life, and I spent today dealing with the consequences of my own actions. Tomorrow, however, I'm joining Jennie at a Lunchtime Lift class at the UREC, and I'm hopeful that the class will be the beginning of an upward trajectory. These poor choices simply will not do.

Something that made today great: I brought delicious snacks to class tonight.
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Day 281

After two weeks of busy Tuesday evenings, I made it back to Happy’s Run Club tonight. Sandra and I had an ambitious eight miles on our schedule, which we ran on the levee by the mighty Mississippi River. We both agreed that running the levee is always more challenging than we expect it to be! We were able to hang out and socialize for a bit after our run, which was pleasant. 

The weather was cooler today thanks to some clouds, but the humidity is still for the birds. My weather app says the dew point was 77 when we were running, and if I thought throwing a chair or a fit would help the situation, I definitely would...but instead I guess I’ll continue to tolerate it for however many more weeks. 

Something that made today great: The non-Happy’s portion of my day was both pleasant and productive. 
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Monday, September 16, 2019

Day 282

Sometimes I crush the healthy lifestyle thing. There are days when I wake up early, go for a run, make healthy food choices, and drink plenty of water.

Well, today wasn't one of those days. In fact, I don't think I ate a single vegetable today, and I only managed to get one serving of fruit. So what did I eat? Well, let's see. My day started with a coffee walk turned coffee and donut walk, then the downward spiral continued.

  • A cup of coffee with two hazelnut creamer packs
  • A powdered donut
  • A donut with purple and gold sugar sprinkles (that I documented on Snapchat--see below)
  • A glazed donut
  • A cup of blueberry tea with one artificial sweetener pack
  • A Go Go Squeeze strawberry applesauce pack (HEY SERVING OF FRUIT!)
  • A kind bar
  • A serving of Stouffer's meat lover's lasagna
  • A 12-oz can of Coke
  • 3 or 4 macarons that Rebecca left this weekend (yum)
  • 30-something oz of water (and drinking more now!)

I swear I'm my mother's daughter...but I don't wear lipstick as regularly or as well as she does.
So yeah, I didn't crush the responsible decision-making today, but I do think my actions are clear indicators that I feel empowered to make my own decisions no matter how destructive they are. What's the point of being an adult if you don't have a carb-tastic day every once in a while? I'll brush my teeth and take my vitamin, and when I awake in the morning, it will be a new day for making healthier choices. 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, look how happy I am in this photo from this afternoon! The Higher Education Student Personnel Association (HESPA) took photos of some current students in shirts to represent their undergraduate alma maters, and I showed up to represent the best school in the land before heading to class.

Tomorrow will be a healthier day. Maybe.

Representing my alma mater and my future alma mater! 

Something that made today great: Surprise donuts in my building!
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Day 283

Another short one because I'm taking a quick study break, but I have been in the study zone tonight.

As expected, the nap I promised myself was excellent. Richard has been working nights, and our time together has been pretty limited between his work schedule and my class schedule. Fortunately for us, napping together counts as quality time! After we ate a little bit of dinner and Richard headed to work, I walked Scooter, did a short run (I'm starting to work on speed just a little bit!), showered, and started on homework. This week is shaping up to be busy, but I am looking forward to it!

Here's a stock photo of a cat sleeping that I downloaded from Pexels.
Something that made today great:
Time I woke up: Around 8:00, but I went back to bed by about 11:00.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Day 284

Today was a day of great ideas. There was brunch at Ruby Slipper with half price drinks for game day. We bought the coldest beer in town (according to the sign at Circle K). We ate pork in several forms, including boudin. At the LSMSA tailgate, I saw and talked to lots of people I hadn’t seen in a while. I sweated because it was hot. The LSU Tigers trounced the Northwestern State Demons—Siri said so! I watched statistics videos. 

It’s been a wild Saturday night. I’m going to wake up early-ish just so I can take a nap tomorrow. I’m already excited about my future nap, and I haven’t even gone to sleep tonight!

Something that made today great: Tailgating fun with friends and family!
Time I woke up: 6:45 am

Friday, September 13, 2019

Day 285

Hooray for Friday! After being pretty wiped yesterday, I managed to find some energy today. I had a short yet productive day at work and then went for a run with Lucas from Slow Mode. We are testing out routes for a possible regular Friday run. It’s still super hot outside.

Then, I headed home to finish last minute preparations for guests, because we have family in town for the LSU game tomorrow! Geaux tigahs. 

Something that made today great: Most of my hoisevis clean and organized!
Time I woke up: 7:45 am

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Day 286

Yesterday I wrote about how 1999 was a simpler time, and my post had a more serious tone than usual. Well, I'm back tonight with some 90's nostalgia, and this is light-hearted and fun.

Sandra and I ran today after work and met up with the Varsity Sports group for their Thursday night run. We were a little late, and they were doing hills, so we did an abbreviated version of the assigned workout but did manage to log 8 miles today. Boom.

On my way home, I stopped by the Walmart Neighborhood Market to pick up a few items. While I was grabbing Cheerios in the cereal aisle, I was pleased to see that Oreo O's were back. According to this post from Fortune, Oreo O's returned in 2017, and I have somehow missed it. For scientific purposes, I purchased a box and sampled them this evening. I am pleased to report that they taste just as good now as they did twenty years ago. I liked them so much that I could see myself eating Oreo O's as voraciously as I consumed Lucky Charms in the spring. The future is bright.

Something that made today great:
Time I woke up: 8:00 I think?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Day 287

My dad was an international consultant for many years, and I remember going with my mom to the Atlanta airport to pick him up when he would return from his lengthier trips. I remember one specific trip in 1999 when he’d been gone for two months and was finally home. I kept my shoes on, and we could go to the very gate where his plane landed. I stood at the window and watched for the plane to land. Then, I waited for the plane to roll in so I could run up and hug him.

That would not happen today. My mom and I would wait before security, likely tracking the plane landing on a cell phone app and waiting for my dad to come up the escalator to baggage claim because we couldn’t go to any of the concourses without an airline ticket. 

When I think about that memory today, I wonder if I look back on it as a simpler, happier time because I was younger. Admittedly, that’s part of the reason I see 1999 as a simpler time, but on a day like today, I remember that it was truly simpler because the world had not experienced the deadliest single terrorist attack in human history. Eighteen years ago, I couldn’t quite grasp the extent to which my world would never be the same. Most days, the best I can do is to try to be a good person and never forget the day the world changed for so many people. There’s plenty of evil in the world, but there are also incredible heroes, especially those who made brave and selfless choices on September 11, 2001. In addition to remembering their deeds, it is important to carry out the work of so many heroic and innocent people. Let’s get to it.

Something that made today great: Post-class trip to Superior!
Time I woke up: 7:35 am

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Day 288

Apparently, I never pressed "publish" on yesterday's post. Oops.

Today has been a tiring but productive day. Work was productive, and I logged most of my daily steps by walking to meetings I had in various locations on campus, which was a win. Tonight after I came home from work, I was tired and decided to crash for a nap. On Tuesdays, we typically have fried chicken for dinner because it's just easiest for me to pick up something on the way home from Happy's, but tonight, Richard went and picked up dinner while I slept. That was awesome.

Perhaps the most exciting development of the day was that Richard and I finally organized our spare room that has been the catch-all for random stuff over the last year. Moving from a one-bedroom condo to a three-bedroom house has been a delightful change as far as space goes, but "out of sight, out of mind" is definitely a real thing. We already tossed some of the stuff that had accumulated, but I'm expecting to get rid of more items as we continue to work on making that room a more useful space. I can't believe we took this long to finally tackle this task, but I guess we've been busy. Better late than never!

I'm hopeful that I won't be so tired tomorrow. Yikes.

Something that made today great: My nap after work was pretty fabulous
Time I woke up: 8:20 am

Day 289

Something I love is when I find out that there is a name for something I can conceptualize but not quite pin down. It is especially rewarding when I discover the name for a phenomenon in an unexpected place. Today, that happened to me while I was reading for my Finance in Higher Education class!

Sometimes when I have an excess of energy, enthusiasm, or just plain hope about the future, my present self makes commitments and promises that my future self can't or doesn't want to uphold. (In some circles, this is known as, "Your mouth writing checks that your booty can't cash" or some other variation of "booty.") Sometimes, when the future arrives, I am direct and honest by stating something along the lines of "Past Kimberly thought this was a good idea," or "Past Kimberly didn't know I was going to have the week I just had," and I cancel the plans.

Apparently, inconsistency is an actual concept in economics and I just didn't take enough economics classes to learn about it. Wikipedia has some stuff to say about inconsistency, but the short of it in the higher education world is that people's preferences/plans for the future sometimes crumble (for financial and effort reasons) when they have to take some action (such as filling out an application for financial aid). There are also two kinds of people: sophisticates--the people who know they lack self-control and therefore adjust for the choices they would likely make in the future--and myopes--the people who are unaware that their future self will not make the greatest choices. I won't go into more detail, but here's an APA citation for your reference or for further reading. (Also because I didn't come up with this idea on my own.) I pasted it from my class syllabus; I didn't just type it up to flex my citation muscles.

Baum, S., & Schwartz, S. (2015). Student aid, student behavior, and educational attainment. In B. L. Castleman, S. Schwartz, & S. Baum (Eds.). Decision making for student success: Behavioral
insights to improve college access and persistence (pp. 38-62). New York, NY: Routledge.

On my best days, I am a sophisticate, and now that I have a name for my behavior, I'm going to try to double down on planning for what future Kimberly will do or want.

Also, here are some memes that I found using Google images.

Something that made today great: Class was excellent this evening!
Time I woke up: 8:25 am

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Day 290

I am always so impressed by how much I can accomplish in a day when I wake up early and don't take a nap. It's a shame I don't like waking up early, and I love taking naps.

Today started early again because Sandra and I planned to meet at 5:00 am for a 13-mile run that turned into 16 miles. Long runs on tired legs are good for marathon simulation, and the extra distance made our post-run trip to Smoothie King even more rewarding.

This afternoon, I did laundry, helped clean up the front part of my house, edited a paper, read for class, and went to a statistics study group.

Tonight, Richard made a delightful dinner with some steaks and vegetables we picked up on our Costco adventure on Friday, and we hosted Tim for dinner. After dinner, I caught up with Ariel briefly, read some more, and FaceTimed with Leah. I still have some work to do, so I'm going to cut this short. I regret none of the fun I had this weekend, but I do think my life would be less stressful if I could read faster. If a genie comes out of a lamp and wants to grant me three wishes, someone needs to remind me that my first wish should be to read faster while still absorbing the information.

The Smoothie King sign says, "We don't run out of chicken sandwiches," and I love it.
Something that made today great: The feeling of accomplishment from accomplishing so many tasks!
Time I woke up: 4:24 am (I snoozed my 4:15 alarm to get 9 more minutes of sleep)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Day 291

Whew, what a Saturday! I made today all about fun stuff and taking naps, and it was a success. 

The day started early—like, in the dark early—when I met Elena, Sandra, and Ashley to head to New Orleans for the Saints Kickoff 5K. Despite the unorganized corral situation before the race, we had a good time! I barely finished under 30 minutes (I believe my official time was 29:52) but I was proud of my effort given the crowd and the weather. A perk of this race was that someone thought to have cold towels for the finishers, and those were magical. 

We grabbed a delicious brunch at the Ruby Slipper in Metairie on the way home, which hit the spot. This was my second time having their catfish and grits, and it is fabulous! Once I made it home, I was ready for a nap. In fact, I was more ready than I realized and slept for four hours. I had a few things to do at home and needed to slog out a 7 mile run for my RunBet, so I went and did that. Walking in the shade and running in the sun put me at an overall 14:32 pace, which I was satisfied with given that it was hot and I was tired. 

Tonight, Richard and I went to a karaoke party with some of my friends from Slow Mode. My Wonder Woman costume made another appearance, and I sang lots of songs with new friends. Now I’m tired again and ready for bed before I start this running thing all over again. Instead of a karaoke party, though, I have to do homework tomorrow afternoon and evening. Womp womp. 

Something that made today great: I ran into my sorority sister (from my chapter!) after the 5K!
Time I woke up: 4:15 am

Friday, September 6, 2019

Day 292

Back in May, Richard and I made an important family decision: we decided to join Costco. Because we need to buy things in bulk and convince ourselves we are saving SO MUCH MONEY, we even sprung for the Executive Membership that costs $60 extra but pays back 2% annually in bonuses.

I like shopping for large quantities of food and stuff for our house, but what I love about Costco is eating at court? Concession stand? Whatever it is, they sell 100% all-beef hot dogs with a soft drink for $1.50. I like to be a little fancy and get Costco's version of an acai bowl for $4.99. Typically, we eat before we shop because most people agree that it is a bad idea to go shopping when you're hungry.

Tonight, Richard and I felt like taking a walk on the wild side, so we shopped first and then ate. We both agreed that preparing a shopping list helped us stay focused and not purchase too many items beyond the original plan. Content with our purchases, we steered the cart right out of the checkout line to the indoor picnic tables. While I wouldn't call this five-star dining or rate the atmosphere as above average, eating a hot dog beside a cart full of Costco goodies is pretty delightful.

Perhaps not the most legendary way to spend a Friday evening, but we left with delicious groceries and full bellies, and nobody had to wash the dishes. Maybe this is what it means to be 31. I'm not going to sit idly and let the warehouse deals pass me by. Now is the time to seize the Costco.

Photo from Pexels

Something that made today great: I made progress on some possible presentations and a hopeful publication!
Time I woke up: 9:04 am (oops!)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Day 293

Something I am noticing about myself is that after a long day, I am either tired or energized. It is rare that I fall in the neutral/middle portion of the energy spectrum. Coffee could have something to do with it. Today, I managed to go to work, meet with my advisor, attend some meetings related to work, go for a run with Sandra, and attend a Higher Education Student Personnel Association (HESPA) meeting this evening. I'm surprisingly less tired tonight than I am on some days when I do less.

Another possible explanation is that I received a blessing in the student union.

A few months ago, I posted this meme:

Well, today I am pleased to report that the ice cream machine was working at McDonald's! I stopped by McDonald's for a late lunch and ended up with a quarter pounder with cheese, an order of fries, a Coke, and an ice cream cone. So much for moderation, but sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot--err, while the soft serve is frozen?

Actual ice cream cone from McDonald's that I purchased today
Anyway, I'm going to ride the wave of joy that comes from getting a surprise McDonald's ice cream cone as long as possible.

Something that made today great: I did so many things!
Time I woke up: 8:33 am

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Day 294

I appreciate a cliche most of the time, but I'll admit that I roll my eyes pretty hard when I hear the advice "Date your spouse!" My spouse is my spouse. We got married, which was our proclamation to the world that we're well past the dating stage.

Well, I'm back in the routine of regularly using a planner complete with multicolored pens and fun stickers, and one of the sticker packs I bought came with "Date Night" stickers. I am not one to waste a good sticker, so tonight, I dated my husband. Between him working nights and me going back to school and traveling for running, we have been like ships passing in the night (how's that for a cliche?) for the past week. Armed with a 225 Best Eats certificate (think Groupon for Baton Rouge restaurants), Richard and I headed to BRQ for a mid-week date night.

Admittedly, I haven't cooked any rockstar meals lately. In fact, if it wasn't a can of soup or a Stouffer's frozen situation, I probably haven't cooked it recently. Thus, we were likely to be impressed with anything, but BRQ was truly delicious. As is often the case at barbecue restaurants, the portions were enormous, so we actually ended up with two meals each after all was said and done. We could have probably avoided this issue by not ordering an appetizer, but I also have no regrets about ordering the queso. (What kind of monster would regret queso?)

This always happens
Just under the wire, I submitted all of my homework and finished my readings for class today. I am taking time this evening to breathe a slight sigh of relief, but I also know that if I relax too much, I'm going to end up stressed out, tired, and behind again. I will continue to chase the unicorn of work/school/running/life balance.

Something that made today great: I had pho for lunch!
Time I woke up: 8:58 am

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Day 295

I think I have written this exact sentence before, but the thing about four day work weeks is that they're not all that great when you realize you still have to do five days of work in four days. Past Kimberly (aka, me last night) was so optimistic about the extra time to rest and catch up on things, but Current Kimberly (aka, me today) realizes that if today is Tuesday, that means tomorrow is Wednesday, and Wednesdays are busy days for me this semester.

That said, I had a good first day back at work. I went for a run around 4:00, which was a stupid time to try to run, but I got it done. I had a Junior League meeting tonight which was lovely and included dinner (WIN!) After coming home and walking Scooter, I settled in to do some homework, but I think I'm going to shower and go to bed pretty soon, because I'm losing steam on the school portion of my tasks tonight. Alas.

Anyway, hooray for Hump Day?

Something that made today great: Surprise king cake in the kitchen at work!
Time I woke up: 8:10 am

Monday, September 2, 2019

Day 296

I had an awesome recovery day after my marathon! This morning, I took Scooter to a park near my house to run around a bit while I played Harry Potter Wizards Unite, and we walked 1.7 miles. Leah and I FaceTimed and did some goal setting for the week, then I worked on school work for a bit before going on a recovery walk/run (mostly walk--it was hot) with Ellen. After our exercise, we knitted at her house. I did a few rows on a scarf I started in 2013. I should be finished with it before I turn 95 if I keep this up.

Richard is working nights, so I spent a little bit of time with him before he had to go to work, then I spent my evening working on homework and eating lots of snacks/small meals (yogurt, Korean dumplings, a Snickers ice cream bar, watermelon with feta, chicken parmesan...the list goes on). I guess the post-race hunger is catching up to me.

I certainly enjoyed having an extra day of no work or class to rest and catch up on a few things. Here's to a good short week!

I took this photo of Scooter when we went to the park today. I think she needs some sunglasses.
Something that made today great: Knitting for the first time in a while was lovely!
Time I woke up: 9:30 am

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Day 297

Something I have learned about documenting races is that if I don't write a race report the day of the race--or the day after at the latest--I'm not going to write a race report. Case in point? I never wrote a report about the Red Dirt Ultra or Possum's Revenge.

I have possibly mentioned this before, but I am at the point in my running career that I sometimes sign up for half marathons and marathons as training runs for other races. Currently, I am training for the Marine Corps Marathon 50K with my friend Sandra, and she mentioned back in April that a September marathon would be a good opportunity to be supported for a 26.2-mile run and see how our training was going. I agreed, and Sandra mentioned that she had done the Tupelo Marathon in the past. The shirt was cool, Tupelo is within driving distance of Baton Rouge, and the race starts early enough that participants miss out on some of the heat of the day.

Flash forward to last week, and plans changed (as they often do), so I ended up going solo to this race. I left late last night and drove straight to the race to pick up my packet shortly before the start. Race day packet pickup was at the Trails and Treads store, which meant I could use a real (non-porta potty) bathroom before the race. Excellent.

At some point in April or May, I mentioned to Sandra that I would like to finally run a marathon under 5:30, and she said she thought I could do it at Tupelo. The thought stayed in my mind, though training in the heat has made it difficult to maintain the pace I would like for more than a few miles. Still, going into the race today, I wanted to take a shot at it. A 5:30 marathon requires a 12:35 pace over 26.2 miles, but I knew the first part of the race (before the sun rose) would be significantly easier than the second half. Thus, I made my plan to run the first half at 12:00 min/mile or faster, which would allow me to slow to at least 13:11 min/mile on the second half. I decided to do run 2:00/walk 1:00 intervals as long as I could and reassess if or when I needed a break.

The pack took off in the dark, and a small sea of headlamps and flashlights wove through the early miles of the race. Although the temperature was a comfortable 68 degrees, the humidity was somewhere between 91-95%, so people were sweating early in the race. Without the sunlight, there were actually a few moments when the wind blew across my sweaty skin and gave me a little chill!

To give us all the authentic Mississippi experience, the race director was kind enough to leave all of the roadkill out on the course for the runners to see and smell. I went out feeling strong and actually maintained a pace of about 11:30 min/mile for the first half; I crossed the halfway mat at 2:31:21.

The marathoners ran an out-and-back course. Even though the sun was getting higher as I headed back toward the start, there were sections of the first few miles of the second half that were well shaded and even kind of pleasant. I held my sub-12:00 pace through mile 16, and miles 17 and 18 were both 12:12...then it got tough. There were hills I had to run up that didn't seem nearly as steep when I ran down them on my way out. Of course, these hills were not covered with shade either. That would be too easy. Still,  I was doing my typical computations and figuring out what I needed to do to still meet my goal. By the time I was starting to struggle, I could run 14:00 miles and still finish under 5:30. That was a good feeling. Around the time I could run 16- or 17-minute miles and finish under 5:30, I also realized I could beat 5:20 if I gave a good push. I could possibly even beat 5:17, which would take 20 minutes off of my existing marathon PR of 5:37:15.

In the end, I gave a good effort--perhaps not 100%, but I wasn't trying to die--and finished in 5:18:58, which is a PR of over 18 minutes! The last .2 miles or so were on a hill in the sun, which was not my favorite, but I didn't complain. After the race, I hung out and rehydrated (water, Powerade, and part of a hard seltzer) with some other Marathon Maniacs and chatted about the race. I took a photo with fellow Red Felt Running Club (RFRC) member Howard who was running his 70th marathon in his 32nd state today. I also saw my new friend Julie who was only a few minutes ahead of me at the halfway mark but smoked the second half to finish in 4:56 and take 2nd in her age group. Boom!

All smiles at the finish line!

I smelled worse than I have smelled after most races--even some trail runs--but the Snap Fitness gym next to the finish was kind enough to open their showers to the runners after the race. A hot shower gave me the life I needed to start the drive back home. I don't typically eat much immediately after a race, but I'll definitely be hungry tomorrow. I did fry some delicious bacon tonight and shared it with Scooter.

Overall, I would recommend the Tupelo Marathon, especially since it's tough to find a marathon in the South at this time of year. The volunteers were terrific, but there wasn't much course support otherwise. I don't mind, as I do quite a bit of solo running as it is. Apparently, some people run this race every year, so I might have to return next year or sometime in the future.

Something that made today great: A new marathon PR!
Time I woke up: 8:30 last night?