Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Day 120

I submitted my literature review today, and I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted! I have one more thing to submit, which is really two papers, and then I will be done with the first year of my PhD program. Holy moly. 

Tonight was an extra special treat because Elena joined Santa and me at Happy’s Run Club. Then, when I got home, I spent quality time with my husband. It’s not often that we sit around on the couch and run our mouths about whatever is on our minds, but we made space for that tonight, and it was perfect. 

Something that made today great: Scooter came to work with me for a little bit today! 
Time I woke up: 8:24 am

Monday, April 29, 2019

Day 121

I think I did a haiku post once last semester. Tonight, I'm feeling another one because most of the brain power I have that could be used to write sentences has been dedicated to my literature review...which is almost ready to send off to my professor. Hallelujah.

Trash can by my desk
Is full of candy wrappers
I sure love Hi-Chews

I did not forget
My favorite cereal
Lucky Charms, it's just

Candy's an escape
Little bites of paradise
To keep me pushing

Literature and
Review won't fit on one line
In this brief haiku

And my lit review
Is exploding in my brain
Onto the Word doc

Yet somehow, sadly
I don't think it's long enough
For publication

Something that made today great: I accomplished so many things because I woke up early, AND I went to the dentist for a cleaning. BOOM.
Time I woke up: 5:30 am

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Day 122

The time is 11:45 pm, and I am late starting my blog post because was engrossed in my literature review once again. I'll be so glad when I get this document to the point that I can send it to my professor for revisions, but I'm beginning to wonder if or when that will ever happen. In fact, the way I feel about my literature review is beginning to mimic the way I was feeling about my own healing when I was sick a few weeks ago. For several days, I kept thinking that the next day would be the day that I felt better, but I made multiple incorrect predictions. Alas. 

I did have a good Sunday of sleeping in, writing, taking Scooter to the park, picking up dinner and catching up with Ariel, and more writing, so I'm pleased with the balance of work and play, and I'm going into finals week feeling strong. Hopefully, it will stay that way.

Fun date with my best dog today!
Something that made today great: Scooter and I went to the park for almost an hour today and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine!
Time I woke up: 10:59 am

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Day 123

I considered several running adventures this weekend including the Whistle Stop Challenge (3 races in 3 days—5K Friday, 10K Saturday, and 15K Sunday) in Mississippi and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon (I want another stab at the 5:30 marathon), but I was too overwhelmed by school to commit to leaving town. On Tuesday, Sandra told me about the Active for Autism 5K, a local race not far from my house, so I signed up for that. After being sick for the GOTR 5K and not feeling in tip-top shape for a PR, I was ready for another attempt. 

I’m pleased to report that I smashed my previous race PR of 29:47 (Mudbug Madness 5K in 2018) and finished in 29:01. My watch said the course was 3.15 miles, so it might’ve unofficially been a larger PR, but either way, I am proud of my efforts today and am motivated to keep getting faster. 

All smiles post-race!

I must’ve started my watch 3 seconds after the race officially began. 

After the race, Sandra and I had breakfast/brunch at The Ruby Slipper, and I failed to take a photo of my food once more. I guess I’ll have to go back, which won’t be an issue because my food was deeeeeeelicious. Seriously, yum. Catfish and grits with a creamy Tasso sauce and a delicious fluffy biscuit and their cane syrup butter? Yum. Even better, the portion was so enormous that I knew in advance that I needed to save some for later, so our wonderful waitress brought me a box (with a to go portion of the cane syrup butter), and I immediately put half of the biscuit and half of the catfish and grits in a box for later, so I was able to enjoy it twice. What a great idea. 

Then, we went to Trader Joe’s, I put gas in my car, and Scooter and I hung out in the yard because the weather was fabulous today! I wrote thank you notes while she basked in the sun, then I worked on my literature review for a bit, and we took a nap. 

The weekend so far has been just what I needed, although tomorrow will be a little more work intensive than today was. Overall, though, it’s not a bad way to go into finals week. 

Something that made today great: That PR was pretty sweet!
Time I woke up: 6:40 am

Friday, April 26, 2019

Day 124

Hooray for the weekend! I have to finish my literature review and put some solid work into my final for my Wednesday class, but I'm also making time for some of my other favorite things like running and napping.

Overall, this was a good week, but I'm definitely glad it's the weekend. This time next week, the first year of my doctoral program will be under my belt, and I can hardly believe how the time has flown! But, I'm ready for a bit of a break before I start classes again in June.

Time I woke up: 9:00 am
Something that made today great: I was home by 6:00 pm for the first time all week!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Day 125

To celebrate my last day of class for the semester, and to look nice for my presentation, I woke up early this morning and did the following adulty things:

  • Dried and styled my hair
  • Put on makeup
  • Wore (nice) jewelry
  • Wore panty hose

Come to think about it, some of those could be middle school things, but I was definitely going for "student in a PhD program" and not "7th grader who can finally start wearing makeup." Hopefully, I pulled that one off. It was nice to go through a beauty-ish routine before work for once! I gave the last day of class my best effort, and I think it worked. I am satisfied with the day and ready for bed.

What could also be making me tired is the enormous and insanely delicious burger I had for lunch today at a restaurant called Our Mom's House when my office went out to celebrate Linda's birthday. I don't have aspirations to become a food blogger (I know that post about boudin and Lucky Charms might've led some of you to believe otherwise) but after talking with Jennie today, I think I am going to start documenting some of the notable things I eat. If I'd been thinking about it today, I would've taken a photo, but I failed. I had the PB&J Bacon Burger, which is exactly what it sounds like: peanut butter, jelly, and bacon on a burger. Everyone else at the table thought it sounded disgusting, but I like the combination of sweet and salty (chocolate covered pretzels, anyone?) and wanted to order the burger. So I did.  It was brought to me on a cloudlike sourdough bun, and I can't tell you anything wrong with it. I can't wait to go back again so I can photograph it and dedicate a post to this little piece of heaven on earth.

But first, I have writing to do. Finals week isn't going to kill me, but it's going to give me quite the endurance workout with the writing and work that remains. Then I'll have another PBJ Bacon Burger.

Photo from http://kathurley.com/adulting-the-final-fronteir/

Something that made today great: Another presentation down...and my group did a great job!
Time I woke up: 8:26 am

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Day 126

Well, I missed yesterday's blog post, but I think I've made it pretty clear that missing a day isn't going to ruin my day. I was so tired last night after run club and dinner that I went to bed at 9:30, but then I woke up at 1:30 am ready to do homework, so today's been a bit unusual.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to share my experience with an issue that's popping up across the United States and probably around the world: the McDonald's ice cream machines always seem to be broken. All of them.

Monday after class, I decided that I wanted some ice cream. There's a McDonald's in the LSU Student Union, which is also where my class had met, so I crossed my fingers and hoped that the McDonald's ice cream machine gods would smile down on me in this pursuit of a sundae or cone. They didn't.

I had halfway prepared for this and decided to order apple pies instead, and even though they were a little past their serving time and one was actually a strawberry and creme pie, I rolled with the punches because I did manage to get speedy service. I happened to notice yesterday when I came across my receipt, however, that the reward for telling McDonald's about my recent visit was--wait for it--a free ice cream cone.

Who did this? Who made this plan? I love McDonald's more than the average person, and I could probably live for an extended period of time on their cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries. Heck, I love the McGriddle, too. Throw that in this disaster diet while we're at it. I'm probably more likely to defend McDonald's than most people I know, too, but I don't think I can jive with McDonald's promising free ice cream cones when they can't seem to get the ice cream machine to function long enough to sell ice cream cones much less give them away. I've gotten quarter pounders with cheese for filling out these surveys, and I think they sometimes offer sausage biscuits or Egg McMuffins, but ice cream is going a little far until McDonald's is able to get the ice cream situation on lock.

I filled out the survey tonight, and the coupon is good for 30 days from the date of the receipt, so I'll report back about my attempts to procure this ice cream cone. Keep your fingers crossed for me...oh, and send me some good energy and prayers before finals while you're at it.

Photo from Meme Generator

Something that made today great: My group rocked its presentation in Testing and Measurement class!
Time I woke up: 1:30 am, then again at 8:30 am.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Day 127

Today marked the beginning of the last week of classes for the semester. Finals are next week. Woah, baby.

I haven't admitted this widely, but I fell off of the planner wagon this semester, and it shows. At one point, I was using two planners and an online calendar, but that stopped around mid-February. Since that time and up until today, I'd abandoned all but my online calendar, and that was mainly for tracking my hours worked (or not worked as it's been lately!)

Tonight after class/literature review workshop, I spent some time with my planner because I know that May is going to be super busy, but I needed a visual. Part of me thinks it was a mistake to put it all out there (it's a bit overwhelming!) but the other, more sensible, part knows it had to be done if I'm going to get back on the right track and have an awesome (but also productive) summer. I am fortunate that it is looking like I am going to come out of this semester with grades I can be proud of, and I have worked hard despite my decreased organization--heck, it's likely that I've worked harder because I haven't been as organized lately--but it's time to get back on the planner train. Good thing I already have stickers and pens ready to roll.

Something that made today great: I had a truly delicious lunch at Reginelli's today and am already thinking about when I'll go back.
Time I woke up: 9:00 am

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Day 128

To go most places by airplane from Baton Rouge, there’s a layover involved, which makes travel days lengthy sometimes. We managed to schedule our time away so that I could sleep in and we could enjoy lunch before we departed, but I could’ve stayed longer without complaint.

We’ve made it home safely once more, and we shall resume life as usual in the morning. That means more blog posts about literature reviews and presentations...get excited!

Something that made today great: I won my RunBet!
Time I woke up: 8:30 am

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Day 129

I think there’s a famous quote along the lines of “‘‘Tis better to have gone on a trip and had to go home than to have never gone on a trip at all.” I could’ve messed up a few words, but the general meaning still stands. 

We enjoyed our last day away, but we are excited to return to our dog and house. I do wish we could have stayed longer, but we are already thinking about the next time we can get away. On the bright side, I’m ready to give the last bit of the semester my best effort, and it’ll be May before we know it. Wow!

Happy Easter (a little early) y’all!

Something that made today great: Not getting a sunburn!
Time I woke up: 9:30 am

Friday, April 19, 2019

Day 130

Today, I learned that I like mini beer shots. I can’t seem to make a link on the Blog Touch Pro app, but you can find the recipe at https://www.liquor.com/recipes/licor-43-mini-beer/. If you ask for many beers, you might not get mini beers, so make sure your pronunciation is up to snuff. 

My husband is the cutest. 

Something that made today great: so much delicious food
Time I woke up: 7:21 am...but then I ate breakfast and slept for two more hours. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Day 131

I shut down the school work and reading and decided to dedicate some time to enjoying life with my spouse. While it’s a good change of pace, it also feels weird. I am separated from literature reviews, group projects, and PowerPoint presentations, and my focus now is eating good food and having a good time with the man who committed to accepting whatever nonsense life throws at us. We both have ambitious goals, but he’s never ever suggested that I couldn’t do anything I dream about accomplishing. 

So, here’s to enjoying a break from chasing dreams with the person who won’t let me achieve anything less than my wildest dreams. I’m so fortunate.

Something that made today great: One-on-one time with my best husband
Time I woke up: I didn’t sleep last night...yikes 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Day 132

I looked at the clock and realized it was 11:52 pm, and I hadn't written my blog post yet! Oops. I was so engrossed in my Testing and Measurement project (specifically in how to fix the mistakes I have made in at least three different ways without arriving at the correct answer) that I didn't realize how late it was getting. I really thought that homework wouldn't take very long, but look who's wrong!

Other than that, I had a good day at work. I am making meaningful progress on my literature review, Sandra and I had a good but tough run on the 4-mile loop of the LSU lakes today, and Richard and I picked up Chinese food for dinner. Bad weather is headed to Baton Rouge tomorrow, so keep the Red Stick in your thoughts and prayers as the wind and rains come in!

Something that made today great: I remembered to back up my literature review today...just in case
Time I woke up: 10:45 am (but that was after staying up until 4:30 am, to be fair)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Day 133

I think this will be the last day that I talk about being sick. I finally went to Student Health today, and my doctor declared that I have a sinus infection. Armed with prescription medications, I am confident that this nonsense will be gone on or before Thursday.

Today, I went back to Happy's Run Club! Going to Run Club is something I really need to prioritize in the coming months. I'm scheduled to have a Tuesday night class in the fall, so I want to go to Run Club as much as possible between now and then. Work-life balance is a frequent topic of conversation in my field, but it's something that most people fail to properly achieve. Since transitioning from my previous Residence Life/Greek Advisor practitioner role, I think I've done a better job of finding a balance with work/school and everything else, but being in the throes of writing my literature review, life has recently become a cycle of work, reading/writing, and sleeping with frequent nose blowing as needed. 

Generally, running is a hobby that cannot be ignored if progress is to be made, so I stay accountable to my training schedule. Tonight, specifically, I made it a priority to go to Run Club, and I'm so glad I did. Sandra and I ran 3.2 miles to celebrate the lives of the 32 victims in the shooting at Virginia Tech on this day in 2007. Then, we grabbed our 2-for-1 beers and enjoyed the music and nice weather until the smell of cigar smoke overtook us, and we made a dash for the exit. Once more, I did not finish my 32 oz beer, but I did make it past the halfway mark this week. (I think I had 20 oz!) Since the beers are 2-for-1, anything past the halfway mark is lagniappe. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

My neck looks super long in this picture.
While I was at the doctor today, I confirmed my scale's finding that I've lost 12 pounds since September. To continue the spirit of balance, Scooter and I went to Taco Bell after our walk, and I bought extra quesadillas to eat while I'm writing tonight because nothing throws me out of my writing groove like a growly belly, and I've been eating quite a bit of candy (hello, Hi-Chews!) and Lucky Charms lately. If I'm going to indulge in late night junk fare, I might as well spice it up with some variety.

Now, it's time to settle in and work on my literature review.

Something that made today great: Scooter and I went to Taco Bell!
Time I woke up: 9:00 am

Monday, April 15, 2019

Day 134

Hooray for Spring Break!

I had a busy Monday even without class and Girls on the Run practice. I'm still chugging away at my literature review (trying to make meaningful progress by mid-week), and I went to the Junior League placement fair this evening.

When I got home, I took Scooter out for a walk, then I did just under a mile of running by myself, and it wasn't so bad! My nose is still running (although that has stopped since I succumbed to Mucinex DM), so I'm hoping I'll be ready to run stronger in just a few days.

Aaaaand it's almost midnight. Again.

Something that made today great: I ate lots of candy today!
Time I woke up: 9:25 am

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Day 135

A quick one in bullet form because it's almost midnight:

  • I slept in again today, and I'm sad I don't get to do it again tomorrow.
  • The Girls on the Run 5K was a success, although I'm pretty sure I pushed myself too hard, which probably delayed my recovery. (My nose is still running, and I'm still coughing.
  • I have two more articles to read, then I think I can finally start synthesizing and figuring out a question for my literature review.
  • It's technically Spring Break, but it doesn't really feel like it right now!

Something that made today great: Getting toward the bottom of my pile of articles to read
Time I woke up: 11:30 am. (I'm going to miss this next week!)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Day 136

I'm spending a huge chunk of my weekend working on my literature review that's due at the end of the semester, and it's quite the task. I've worked on it off and on over the past few weeks, but now I'm at the point where I need to wrap up the reading of articles and start writing. In class, we talked about how a literature review involves asking a question of the literature, but we don't create that question until we read the literature and know what sorts of answers it provides.

After searching library databases and mining reference lists of journal articles I was liking, I compiled 29 articles that I thought I should include in my literature review. As I have been working through all of the articles, I have been tempted to go ahead and start creating a question, which is not the way the process works. I'm trying my best to be a good follower of the rules, but it seems like it'd be easier in some ways to skip ahead to answering the question with the literature. Alas.

Tomorrow afternoon, I have the Girls on the Run 5K, but I'm still not feeling up to much running. I am excited to cheer on my team, and it should be a good break from school work.

Something that made today great: I cooked a tasty dinner of King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese (get the recipe here, but know that it took me longer than 20 minutes of hands-on time)
Time I woke up: 11:43 am (and it was awesome!)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Day 137

I made it through the work week, but I’m still not feeling completely better, and that’s such a bummer. My energy level is higher than it has been in about a week, but I’m definitely not recovered. I attempted to do a bit of jogging/running this evening, but the most I could manage was a strong speed walk. I don’t want to overdo it too soon, but I will be happy to be feeling up to training again. 

This weekend, I have quite a bit of work to do on my literature review, and the Girls on the Run 5K is Sunday, but other than that, I plan to rest and relax. I didn’t finish watching “You” on Netflix when I started it a few months ago, so I’ll probably watch at least what’s left of the first season this weekend. Also, this upcoming week is spring break, so I won’t have to attend classes or submit any assignments. Better late than never, I suppose! I have plenty of reading and writing to keep me from missing school or forgetting the routine, though. 

Also, I managed to squeeze my car between two trucks today. That was exciting. 

Something that made today great: I completed LSU Safe Space Training today!
Time I woke up: 8:16 am

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Day 138

It probably says something about my generation and my priorities that I'm more afraid of sneezing while driving than sending a text message while driving, but sneezing while driving terrifies me. (For the record, we'd all be safer if nobody sent text messages OR sneezed behind the wheel.)

When I was in 8th grade, I read in an e-mail chain letter that if you sneeze with your eyes open, your eyeballs will pop out. I'm an adult with multiple degrees, and I know better than that, yet I am still at least a little afraid of my eyeballs falling out if I somehow manage to keep my eyes open during a sneeze someday. (Fortunately, that there's not much I can do to overcome the reflexive closing of my eyes when I sneeze.)

I can ensure that I am a safe distance from other cars when I sneeze, and I can focus on holding the steering wheel straight even if my body jerks while I sneeze. If I take those precautions, nothing out of the ordinary should happen in the tiny window of time when my eyes are closed, yet I am still terrified of driving while sneezing. It's just plain scary. While driving back to Baton Rouge on Sunday, I sneezed while driving a few times, but I've fortunately been safe the rest of the week. Tonight while driving home from class, however, I fought a driving battle with a different bodily function: coughing.

I felt much better today than I did yesterday, but my voice is still a bit froggy, and I do have some lingering congestion. Also, my cough has not gone away. Throughout the afternoon and early evening, I'd coughed a few times and tried not to make a scene, but when I made it to my car after class, all bets were off. Although I've never been a smoker, my body unleashed its best smoker's cough, complete with phlegm that you can hear and feel but can't quite cough up. With sneezing while driving, I worry about not seeing other cars, but when a coughing fit comes around, the worry shifts to what could happen if my foot slipped on or off the brakes while I was attempting to exorcize a congestion demon. With an accidental tap of the gas or the brake, Grace (my car) and I could be in trouble, and that simply will not do. This cough has got to go.

Something that made today great: My house is clean!
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Day 139

Today started out worse than the last two but did eventually get better. I slept in and went to work late, but less than an hour after arriving at work, I felt myself crashing and knew I would be toast if I tried to stay until it was time to leave for GOTR practice and class. Thus, I went home, climbed into bed, and stayed there until it was time to get ready for GOTR practice. I really needed that, because I slept soundly for over two hours. 

I wasn’t feeling 100% like myself, but I gave GOTR practice and testing and measurement class my best effort. Then, when I came home, I took Scooter for a little walk. Then, I did some straightening up before our housekeeper comes tomorrow, because that’s a thing I do now. We have left so many things spread around the house since we’ve returned from our wet camping trip (our dehumidifier is getting quite the workout!) and I’ve been sick, but I was able to restore some order tonight. That was enough to tire me out, but at least I’ll wake up to a more organized house in the morning. 

It’s officially hump day for the week, and I hope I’m past hump day for my sickness. Fingers staying crossed...

Something that made today great: I had class for the first time in over a week! It felt good to be back. 
Time I woke up: 9:30 am

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Day 140

DayQuil/NyQuil, nasal spray, Claritin, salt water gargles, and cough drops...I am living the dream here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I went back to work for a half day today, which was actually not bad, but I have definitely not shaken off whatever it is that's made me sick. My fingers are still crossed that I'll wake up tomorrow and feel better.

Still, for a day of feeling below average, I managed to shower, go to work, eat food, do some homework, and even run (and fold!) a load of laundry. I'm ready to run again, though. Oh, and breathing through my nose again would top my list of priorities. I'm not sure if running or nose breathing ranks higher at the moment.

Currently feeling kind of like this adorable puppy looks. (Photo from Pexe

Something that made today great: I had a pretty good nap when I got home from work.
Time I woke up: 8:05 am

Monday, April 8, 2019

Day 141

I thought volunteering wore me out, which it did for sure, but it seems there might've been something else at play. Since I'd spent 48 hours in nature and it's that delightful allergy-tastic time of year, I thought I was having allergy issues. Yesterday, I started coughing and feeling worse, and today, I woke up with a low-grade fever. Google tells me that a low-grade temperature could still be an allergy symptom, but at this point, I don't really care what it is. I'd just like to feel better!

Other than the time recently when I was so tired that I didn't go to work (yikes!), I haven't taken a sick day in quite some time. I was sick several times a year as a child, and my mom would always take care of me and let me watch TV while I laid around and rested. Today, though, I was too sickly to do much other than read a few pages of Harry Potter before drifting back to sleep again. Not only did I miss work, but I also missed out on Girls on the Run practice, and today was our Community Impact Project day.  Hopefully, this will be a short-term gig and I'll feel better tomorrow and up to full strength by Wednesday. Fingers crossed!

Something that made today great: I had a dreamy doctor to bring me food and water in bed while I rested
Time I woke up: No comment--I was up and down from bed most of the day.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Day 142

Whew, what a weekend! I missed posting yesterday, but that's okay because (1) I had a good excuse and (2) I already proved to myself that I could blog 100 days in a row in the fall. So there!

I'm finally home, showered, and in my pajamas. I'm trying to sip water frequently to make up for not drinking nearly enough water this weekend, and I'm running laundry because EVERYTHING got rained on this weekend, including what was in our tent. Oops.

To say the very least, the Screaming Monkey 100 was a smashing success! To say much more...well, keep reading.

First of all, of the many interests I have, being a race director is not among them, and I don't think it'll ever climb in my aspirational ranks. I do not have enough answers to questions, much less enough correct answers to questions, to ever pick up that gig. Also, I need more sleep than the position allows. While I think I do well paying attention to details, I'm not sure I do well enough to manage the RD job. BUT, I was pleased to serve this weekend in whatever capacity I was needed, and that's exactly what happened.

Richard and I left home Friday morning and headed to Shreveport-ish (Eddie Jones Park in Keithville, specifically) to help with preparations for the Screaming Monkey 100 trail festival, which is north Louisiana's first 100-mile race but also offered shorter distances such as 5K, 10K, 13+ miles, 26+ miles, and 100K. The GOATS have been planning this weekend's festivities for months (although not that many months, which is an amazing feat in itself), and the time finally arrived to combine our powers to make the weekend one to remember. Unfortunately, our powers don't allow us to wave a magic wand and have all of the logistical stuff done, so Friday was a day full of marking the trails, rerouting around a flooded section, setting up aid stations, and helping people figure out where to park and set up their campsites. Meanwhile, back in Shreveport, packet pickup and the pre-race meeting were enough to keep a crew of people busy, so we had to be in two places at once. Much of my time was spent marking the trails, and when Richard was done helping set up aid stations, he cooked for us over a fire. There was also a food truck set up for the race, and they boiled crawfish for the Friday night campers, so we had some crawfish and headed off to bed.

Richard was up at 4:00 am to help Daniel with some race day deliveries, and I was summoned not long after that because the last aid station needed volunteers. Richard and I drove out to Aid Station #4, which happened to be at the end of the section that takes runners through an abandoned prison, and got set up for the race. We marked the dark prison with glow sticks and tap lights, then we got busy setting up the snacks and beverages for runners. The 100-mile and 100K races started at 6:00 am, but we were around mile 18 or 19 of a 20-mile loop, so we didn't see any runners until 8:41 am. (I know because my job at the aid station was to mark the time runners came through!) Waiting for the runners grew a little tiresome, but once they started trickling in, we stayed busy encouraging runners and occasionally helping them refuel.

A little after 12, we were relieved and headed to the start/finish to grab some lunch and take a nap while there were plenty of other volunteers around. We were so fortunate to have a crowd of awesome volunteers in many (many!!) capacities to help the runners. I was proud to count myself among them. I slept for about three hours, and Richard slept for...30 minutes. Sleeping in a humid tent isn't for the faint of heart, and with the combination of daylight, generators from campers, and runners coming in, he wasn't able to snooze much. I am a notoriously deep sleeper, which was only amplified by the fact that I was pretty tired when I climbed into my sleeping bag, so I was able to rest for a bit.

Rain had been predicted for most of the weekend, but we ended up with much less than we were expecting. Still, storms began to roll in during the mid/late afternoon, and rain fell intermittently through the day and night. Around 5:00 pm, I was asked to pace Theresa, one of our 100K runners, on her last loop, which was a good opportunity for bonding and seeing the course. I was so proud of her for powering through a slick, muddy, and challenging course to earn her 100K buckle. Highlights of our loop included singing a silly song (I was singing to her), seeing a friendly copperhead snake (yikes!), and giving regular reminders to drink water.  While I was out on the trail, Richard was shifted into doctor mode and was dressing blisters and examining feet left and right. He hardly had time to miss me while we were out on Theresa's third loop because the runners were getting beat up on the course.

Plans were previously laid for midnight karaoke, but most of the people who were awake were still running around like crazy nuts (a term I'm borrowing from Special K), and Catherine told me she would likely need me for 5K and 10K packet pickup at 6:30 Sunday morning, so I stayed up until about 1:00 to cheer a few runners in before going back to the tent to sleep.

I knew the tent held humidity, but what I did not know is that our tent does not fully hold up to large amounts of rain. Our tent was definitely leaking somewhere, so Richard and I ended up with quite a bit of wet stuff. Through the rain, thunder, and lightning outside our tent, though, we still caught some sleep. I woke up just in time to head over to the pavilion before the bottom fell out of the sky once more. I was signed up for the 10K race this morning, but I was not feeling it at all. By the time the race started at 8:00, I could've probably managed to run, but I was so tired from my 20 miles the night before, plus volunteering, plus sleeping on an air mattress in a leaky tent, that I opted to sit this one out. While the 5K and 10K were going on, Richard and I packed up our wet stuff and started cleaning up the start/finish area. Several of the 100-mile runners were still on the course at that time, and we were able to watch the last ones finish up. I'm amazed at the talent, athleticism, and perseverance of those athletes in particular. Wow. Just wow.

Speaking of being amazed, I'm so proud of all of the runners who attempted all kinds of distances this weekend. One of my favorite parts about trail running-- and running in general-- is celebrating life and new achievements with other people. So many runners ran their longest runs ever this weekend, and I was able to witness that and share in just a smidgeon of their pride. Also, being able to take a loop on the course, I saw how the different aid stations were set up, including Team RWB's aid station that was passed through three times during the 20-mile loop. All of the aid station helpers were nothing short of energetic, encouraging, and helpful, and that's critical during those dark and lonely miles on the trails at night. The aid station volunteers really rocked their roles, and I have so much respect for them for their selflessness and service. Ah-mazing!

Also, I'd like to end this post by saying that volunteering absolutely can present similar levels of exhaustion and joy as running does. I don't think I'll lose any toenails after this one, and my legs feel fresher than they typically do after I complete an ultra, but man I am wiped. There aren't many better ways to feel this tired than cheering on friends and strangers as they achieve amazing things, though. I'd volunteered before, but not for as long of a duration. I always appreciate the volunteers, but if it's possible, I appreciate them even more after this weekend. It's difficult not to love good people who love to help other good people.

Something that made today great: Making it home safely to my best dog, still riding the high of an incredible weekend!
Time I woke up: 6:30 am

Friday, April 5, 2019

Day 143

Happiness looks different for everyone, but my current version of happiness includes eating cookie cake and anticipating tomorrow’s trail festivities. 

I spent today doing race preparations, mostly marking the trail, and while I wasn’t running, I definitely got some steps in, and bending over to place flags added a dimension to my fitness. Tomorrow and Sunday, we’ll see the fruits of months of planning and excitement come to life at the Screaming Monkey 100. I’m tired now and am ready to rest before the big day. 

Something that made today great: road trip playlists!
Time I woke up: 7:25 am

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Day 144

Today, it rained.

Specifically, it rained so much that the sides of the streets were filling with water as I drove to work this morning, then it rained all day. 

My professor ended up canceling class tonight, which was a bit of a bummer because I enjoyed the reading and was looking forward to discussing retention and student success, but there will hopefully be time for all of that next week. I'm not one to complain about the gift of time.

Perhaps I should've used my gifted time to work on my literature review, but instead, I decided to work on my physical health. By the time I left work, the rain had slowed, so I went out for a run and finished my RunBet week early for once. I decided to see if I could run a mile under 9 minutes and 5K under 29 minutes, and I knocked out both! So, I've raised my own bar once more, which is exciting. If I can keep this up, I should be able to finally smash my goal of running a 5:30 marathon, and then it'll be onward and upward to the next thing. I also have my eye on a 10K under an hour, but I'm going to have to find the right 10K, and it's going to start getting hot around here pretty soon. 

Next up is the Screaming Monkey 100 and lots of GOATS fun, which I am really looking forward to. The weekend won't be terribly productive school wise, but I am in a good position at the moment, so I'm not worried. The focus, for now, is having fun on the trail...and hopefully not getting too wet in rainy north Louisiana. 

Something that made today great: Crushing my run! New PRs for the mile (8:51) and 5K (28:36). I'm going to keep working on getting faster!
Time I woke up: 9:00 am. I was not feeling it today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Day 145

My energy seems to come in waves; last night I was so full that I went to bed early, and tonight I'm looking to be up past midnight. I've already done quite a bit of reading, but I have some other stuff to tackle, and it seems wise to do it while I'm riding this wave of energy and focus. Also, this weekend is the Screaming Monkey 100, the GOATS inaugural trail festival, so I will be traveling this weekend and won't be spending much time (if I am honest, any time) on school work while I'm away. Looking ahead to next week, there's plenty of stuff I can be working on before I leave town.

Here's a stock photo (from Pexels!) of a camel for hump day. 
I had a great Wednesday! I woke up feeling rested (imagine that) and had a good day at work, followed by Girls on the Run practice. Since I didn't have class tonight, Sandra and I went and ran a 4-mile loop around the LSU lakes before I headed home to eat dinner. Richard made turkey spaghetti, which was extra delicious because I didn't have any involvement in the prep or cleanup. (I did help him portion the leftovers into smaller containers because Richard struggles with scooping out what I would call reasonable portions. Then, I read lots of pages and did some laundry. Hooray for productivity!

It's kind of hard to believe that I'm past the halfway point of this week. Time is flying, and while I'm ready to wrap up the semester, there's still stuff to be done over the next few weeks. Here's hoping that I can stay strong.

Something that made today great: The weather was lovely! (But it's supposed to rain starting tomorrow, I think.)
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Day 146

I only make it to bed before midnight a few nights a week, but tonight is one of those nights. I am pooped!

I had a good day at work, and after work, Sandra and I went to Happy’s Run Club. I was in a run club in Shreveport, but I had class on Tuesday nights in the fall, and I didn’t make myself venture out on most Tuesdays this semester. (I went once in January.) It was good to have someone to go with and share the route with, and I hope to make more friends as I continue to attend HRC. After the run, we grabbed beers. Apparently, if you don’t specify that you want a pint, the bartender pours you a 32 oz beer. Sandra and I started getting cold while we were drinking our beers, so we ended up drinking about 8 ounces each before bailing to go get warm in the car. I’ll know better next week. 

I met Richard and some of his coworkers at The Bulldog after HRC, and I ate entirely too much food. In fact, being super full is the entire reason why I am going to bed early tonight. I did stop by Albertsons on the way home because I’m almost out of Lucky Charms, and I caught a sale! So, I’m set on cereal study snacks for at least a week, probably two. 

Man I’m tired. Good night. 

Something that made today great: Dinner at The Bulldog with Richard, Scooter, and some of Richard’s coworkers
Time I woke up: 8:45 am

Monday, April 1, 2019

Day 147

I made it home shortly after midnight and talked to Richard briefly before he went back to sleep, and I went to sleep for the night. I slept in a bit this morning and had a good (albeit short) day at work. Monday is one of my Girls on the Run (GOTR) practice days this semester, and the girls were feeling quite silly with their April Fools pranks (or rather, attempts at pranks) during practice, so that was fun.

The highlights of my day, however, came after all of that. I have learned that it's pointless to try to go home between 4:30 and 5:15 because I'm going to hit traffic, and since I was already dressed from GOTR practice, I decided to tackle the first of this week's RunBet runs. I wrote in an earlier post about trying to work on my speed during this RunBet, but I was recovering from 32 miles at Chicot Challenge early last week and did hills on the treadmill yesterday, so I hadn't actually worked on speed much at all. Today, I set out to run 5K in under 30 minutes, and I just barely made it, but it counts! I have the GOTR 5K coming up on April 14, and if I don't end up being someone's running buddy, I think I might try to PR at that race. (My current record is 29:47 at last year's Mudbug Madness in Shreveport.)

I ran so hard that I had to go slowly while walking back to my car (note my differing start/end points on the map), and I even stopped to sit and catch my breath twice--once by the lake and once by a church--but I did eventually make it back to my car so I could drive back home to shower. When he finished at work, Richard and I went out for a date night, which was a nice Monday night treat. (Honestly, spending time with Richard over a burrito bowl is a treat any day of the week.) We also went to the grocery store because I wanted new ice cream, and if you don't think the fact that I had fun doing this is an indicator that I'm becoming a bit of a boring adult, you're probably a bit of a boring adult too. (It's okay.) 

After our wild and crazy date, we went for our family dog walk. Then, Richard went to bed, and I got cracking on some articles I've selected for my literature review. (This pattern of him going to bed early while I stay up to read is likely to be our routine from now until 2022.)

Today wasn't perfect, but it wasn't a bad start to the week!

Something that made today great: Lots of great things mentioned above, but I'll add that the weather was lovely today. I love it when the sun shines but it isn't too hot.
Time I woke up: 9:47 am