Thursday, October 31, 2019

Day 237

Scooter loves to bark when we receive deliveries, so we decided to have an experiment today. We wondered, “If we dressed Scooter up as a delivery person, would she bark at herself?” Richard found a UPS costume online, and tonight was the night of our highly scientific experiment. 

While Scooter did not bark at herself, she was ready to get out of her costume almost as soon as she got in it. A limitation of this study would be small sample size (n=1); your mileage may vary depending on breed of dog and how much your dog likes or dislikes delivery people. 

Scooter doesn’t like costumes or photos. 

By the way, I am still tired. The time is 10:21, and I am heading to bed. 

Something that made today great: I graduated to the 15kg bar (for back squats only) today!
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Day 238

For the second night in a row, I'll be in bed before my self-enforced 1:00 am bedtime. I thought I was just tired yesterday from staying up late on Monday, but I think the combination of traveling and running this weekend is also playing a role. I could run an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) using hours of sleep as a covariate to see if the lack of sleep significantly influenced my tiredness following race weekend, but then I would have to collect data from a bunch of people, and I'm too tired to do that. Also, it probably doesn't matter much why I am tired. I know what I need to do.

On a happy note, my appetite returned today! I put away a large plate of pasta for dinner, and I probably could have eaten more. Instead of pasta, though, I decided I needed to eat some ice cream. I have not been very hungry the past few days, but that changed tonight. I'm not mad about it.

An adorable pasta plate, found on Pixabay
Something that made today great: I found out that I did well on my statistics midterm!
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Day 239

Apparently, I am still recovering from the weekend, because I am le tired. I also got really excited about pulling articles for a literature review I am co-writing and ended up breaking my 1:00 am bedtime and staying up until 3:00 am last night. Oops! I paid the price today when I had to come home and take a nap before I could go for my afternoon run and go out to dinner.

I think I would do really well as a bear. If someone gave me a chance to hibernate for the next few weeks, I would 100% sign up for that. I think LSU would have to accommodate my hibernation. Since hibernation does not seem to be on the horizon, however, I am going to bed right now (it's 10:16 pm!) and hoping I can wake up early and rock my Wednesday.

I didn't make this meme. I found it at

Something that made today great: Morning snuggles with Scooter before work
Time I woke up: 8:00 am

Monday, October 28, 2019

Day 240

The Marine Corps Marathon 50K...whew, what a race!

Yesterday was the fourth time I toed the line in Arlington, Virginia at the Marine Corps Marathon. I ran most or all of the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014, 2015, and 2016, but I skipped the last two years just to mix up my race schedule a bit. When the fine folks at the MCM announced the 50K as an option this year, I did not give it much of a thought...until Sandra signed up. On that fateful day in February, I managed to access the website and enter my credit card information fast enough to clench one of 500 spots to run extra miles at The People's Marathon. (Eventually, the MCM opened up to a capacity of 1700 runners.) We trained in the heat and even ran a practice marathon (Sandra did two!), and we logged hundreds of miles together. Some days were better than others. Sometimes we ran great paces. Sometimes I needed to walk an entire mile in the middle of a training run. One time I had awful stomach issues out on the levee. We enjoyed many beers after Happy's runs on Tuesdays, and we made several trips to Smoothie King on weekend mornings to celebrate another long run. Race day was a long time coming, though the nerves started building when the race was only a few days away.

The MCM is famous for its unpredictable weather. There have been years when it was freezing cold and even snowing, but other years, it's unseasonably hot, which becomes problematic for runners who aren't acclimated to the heat. The start of the race was perfect as far as temperature goes, but it was raining just hard and consistently enough to be annoying. The Red Felt crew headed to the start area dressed in ponchos and garbage-bags-as-ponchos, and we had to wait about an hour in the rain for the race to begin. I was among the garbage bag wearers of the runners, and I cut the head hole in my garbage bag a little too big. By the time the race started, water was running into my garbage bag; I need to work on my bag cutting technique.

Photo from my runner friend Maria! I'm in the white hat. :)
The 50K runners got a 25-minute head start on the marathon pack, but the 1500-ish of us spread out pretty quickly. Sandra and I didn't go into the race with any specific goal beyond finishing, but we stayed within sight of the 6:30 pace group for a while. We were not fast enough to outrun the fastest marathoners; somewhere between miles 3 and 4, the lead runners in the marathon began passing us. Running in a trash bag was about as awesome as it sounds (note for the future: it would have been better if we'd cut them a bit so they wouldn't stick to our legs) but every time we thought about shedding the extra layer, the rain would kick back up again. The rain stopped, restarted, stopped, rained harder, and let up a few times, and we decided to take off our trash bags before we did the separate segment that only the 50K runners had to do.

Around 4.7 miles, we did the extra 4.9 miles as an out-and-back, and there was a special aid station where the volunteers were handing out muffins! Some people complained that they were soggy, but I thought they were just easy to chew. 

By the time we merged back onto the marathon course, we were behind most of the marathon runners.  We had an added confidence boost from passing people as we ran through Georgetown and to the half marathon (13.1 mile) point for the 50K runners. The rain continued to go in and out, raining pretty hard on us at one point, but we trudged on. The wear blue mile was, once more, one of the most emotional experiences I have ever had during a race. Perhaps my memory is foggy, but it seemed like there were more signs with photos of fallen heroes than there had been in other years. What was staggering was the number of men and women who had been killed in action over the past two years. It was a sobering reminder that men and women who serve our country place themselves in harm's way constantly, but it also encouraged me to run harder for a moment. After taking time to reflect on lives lost, the next section of the course is lined with people holding American flags and cheering the runners on. I took the time to look up and smile at each person holding a flag, and I fist bumped/high fived quite a few of them. Though pictures can't do the moment justice, here are a few pictures from the wear blue website (I think they're from 2016).

Eventually, the sun came out, and the race heated up. As we approached the first gauntlet--mile 17 for the marathon, and mile 22 for the 50K--I could hear the drums in the distance pounding out rhythms for runners approaching the famous bridge. Unexpectedly, my eyes started filling with tears, but I quickly shifted my thoughts back to making the next turn. We still had a few miles to cover before we would run by the drummers; we turned away to head toward the Capitol. We passed the first gauntlet with 22 minutes to spare! The miles were adding up, but we stayed strong. We saw Ed out on the course around mile 23, and I stopped for a hug. I rammed my shoulder into his chin (oops) but he was a good sport about it. 

Our next cutoff was the Beat the Bridge, which happened at 1:15 pm. Although there wasn't a Red Felt table before the bridge this year, there was plenty of crowd support with a group cheering, "BEAT THE BRIDGE! BEAT THE BRIDGE!" as we came around the corner. It's entirely possible that I yelled some profanity about beating the bridge to some enthusiastic spectators who roared back at me. The drummers were still pounding, and I felt my feet fall into their cadence. (Too bad I couldn't ever do that when I was in marching band.) I crossed the bridge feeling stronger than I ever had at that point in the race, even though I had five extra miles on my legs this year. It's amazing what some good training will do!

Sandra and I crossed onto the bridge about 25 minutes ahead of the cutoff time, and it felt like the entire pack shifted into slow motion at that point. We typically walk hills anyway, but there wasn't much space to run in this one because the pack was heavily concentrated, and almost everyone was walking. Practically out of nowhere, I started silently sobbing. Sandra looked at me, puzzled, and asked if I was okay. My response was something like, "Yeeesssss" (sniffle sniffle sniffle) "I just started thinking about when I got picked up by the bus five years agoooooooooooooooooo," and she said, "It's okay! We made it with plenty of time!" and I managed to wail, "I knoooooowwwww. It's just works. That's some good shit!" and she agreed that training is some good shit. Then, we laughed it out and kept going. The bridge is around 2 miles long, and it gets lonely out there. We did a bit of running when we could, but we had to bob and weave to move through the sea of runners who were hitting the wall. 

When we got off of the bridge, Crystal City greeted us with baby bottles of Fireball, beer shots, and Fireball shots. There were also the regular water/Gatorade stations. If we thought the bridge was bad, Crystal City was impermeable. We speed-walked through the few miles of Crystal City, and the last two miles or so led us to the finish. At that point, we did a few more 1-minute run intervals, as we were hoping to finish under 7 hours. By this point, we were one of a handful of people still running at all. 

Marketing for the MCM says, "Charge the District, beat the bridge, and take the Iwo." A cruel aspect of the MCM is the "take the Iwo" portion, which is a hill just past mile 26 of the marathon (around 31 miles for the 50K) that leads to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Sandra told me she was going to move to the right and try to run up the hill, so I said I would do the same. What happened, however, is that my inner Tasmanian devil came out, and I decided to blaze through the walkers on the hill (by "blaze" I mean probably run a 12-minute pace) and run through the finish line. I moved right, and Sandra moved to the other right (aka left), so we separated a bit and ended up with slightly different race times. For all intents and purposes, though, we ran the whole race together and had an awesome finish to our months of training. (Also, our watches both had us over 31.1 miles, so we ran over 31.1 miles together according to the Garmin gods.)

And that, my friends, is my tale of the Inaugural MCM50K.

Time I woke up: 6:40 am
Something that made today great: Seeing my best husband and best dog for the first time since Friday!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Day 241

It’s funny that I wrote about failure, disappointment, and rejection a few days ago, and one of the disappointments (I have learned not to look at it as a failure) was when I didn’t finish the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014. Today, even after two successful MCM finishes, I found myself getting really emotional when I beat the race cutoffs without having to worry about it. It’s amazing how far I have come in five years, and today was an amazing day to celebrate that progress. Even with tough conditions, we made it and finished strong. Hopefully, it’ll just keep getting better.

As is always the deal with race reports, if I don’t write it by tomorrow, it’s probably not going to happen.  I hope to get to it tomorrow, though, because this is a race worth documenting. I’m just really tired right now!

Something that made today great: A new 50K PR!
Time I woke up: 5:00 am

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Day 242

Race day is tomorrow! We've hydrated and carbed up. We went to the expo and left with our bibs, race shirts, and goodies we didn't know we needed. (I bought a book at the expo. That was a first.) Sandra and I went on a 5.5-mile shakeout run through Georgetown and previewed some of tomorrow's course. I did spend some time working on the lab portion of my statistics midterm, but other than that, today was laid back and all about preparing for race day. We also caught the second half of the LSU game, though I mostly worked on statistics and looked up whenever Sandra sounded excited or angry.

Here's hoping for an excellent race tomorrow. We've trained for this, so now it's time to show the world what a summer of hot runnin' can do!
Hitting the sign for good luck during our shakeout run!
Something that made today great: I enjoyed having the day just to focus on getting ready for the race.
Time I woke up: 9:02 (but that was 8:02 in Louisiana)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Day 243

It’s finally Marine Corps Marathon weekend! After months of training, the big weekend is here.  I just I looked at my watch and it was 10:30 pm that I needed to get my blog post done or I was going to be paying for some in-flight WiFi. (Or posting after midnight eastern and saying it was still Friday in Louisiana.) 

I managed to have a productive day starting with Breakfast Break at the Women’s Center. The camaraderie and discussion were excellent! Then I headed off for the first part of my statistics midterm, stopped by my office to answer a few emails, and ventured to UREC to hit the treadmill. (It rained most of the day in Baton Rouge!) I grabbed a smoothie, dashed home to shower and pack, and then Emily picked up Scooter and drove me to meet Sandra. Whew!

Our flight out of Baton Rouge was delayed, but we took advantage of the airport bar, so the delay didn’t bother us one bit. We are about to take off for Baltimore, then we will ride to Washington DC. If my intuition is correct, we will be sleeping quite hard once we make it to the hotel. I can’t wait for the weekend’s adventures!

Something that made today great: The first part of my statistics midterm is out of the way, and I feel pretty good about it. 
Time I woke up: 7:00 am I think

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Day 244

Yesterday, I wrote about a number of great things that have happened to me over the past few weeks, even as I have been quite overwhelmed with work and other things I committed to doing. While some of them were silly (like eating catfish and grits three weekends in a row or buying new clothes), there were also several outcomes related to work and school that were kind of cool to think about.

This afternoon on my way from work to the Varsity run group, I talked on the phone with a friend who was having a rough day and told me he needed a pep talk that included "Get your shit together" and "Move on," so I told him those things, but then I threw in some of my own lines. Using some catchphrases from the cool kids (mostly "live your best life"), I told him something along these lines:

You have to live your best life. It might not be the best life you thought you were going to have, but it could just be better. 

I also gave him some other bits of advice that are more specific to his situation. After we hung up, I thought about some of the times when life did not deal me the hand I was expecting. I thought back to some feedback I received on a paper I turned in for my Access and Choice class about my college choice process. Among the feedback from my professor were these comments:

"I also appreciate your honesty in talking about schools that you didn’t get into...Sometimes people see successful, talented people as not ever experiencing rejection … and that is often far from the case."

Then tonight on Facebook, at least two of my friends made posts about some difficulties they are having in their lives, and I felt compelled to share some of my less glamorous moments. In the spirit of life balance, I am going to list some failures, rejections, and disappointments I have experienced in life. They are not all from the past month (in fact, many of them aren't) but I did manage to come up with 24 items, which matches my number from yesterday.

  1. I got rejected from my first choice college (Duke University) in 2006.
  2. I got rejected from every medical school I applied to in 2010.
  3. I was also rejected from serving as a Leadership Consultant for Alpha Gamma Delta in 2010.
  4. I was not accepted to facilitate at the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute (UIFI) in 2018.
  5. I was initially not accepted to facilitate at UIFI in 2019, but I moved up the waitlist enough to be able to go.
  6. I got picked up by the sag bus at the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014.
  7. I fell off of a platform not once but twice the first time I went to Lunchtime Lifts last month.
  8. I DNFed (did not finish) the Possum's Revenge 69-mile race in May.
  9. I got rejected from NC State's Higher Education Administration Ph. D. program in 2018.
  10. I don't even know how many jobs I have been rejected from in my life...including jobs I thought I would for sure get.
  11. Also, I once got denied from the same job twice.
  12. I've also been rejected from jobs on my voicemail, which has pros and cons to being rejected live on the phone, but it was still unpleasant.
  13. Most of the people I dated dumped me rather than me dumping them.
  14. I've cooked some bad meals and desserts in my life.
  15. I got rejected from facilitating at Alpha Chi Omega's Leadership Academy last year.
  16. I got rejected from facilitating at Sigma Alpha Epsilon's Executives Academy this year.
  17. I got rejected from being a facilitator of Kappa Kappa Gamma's Harm Prevention Program last year.
  18. I failed my driver's test the first time I took it (2004). 
  19. I had to take Organic Chemistry I and II twice each (which probably should have been an indicator that #2 was going to happen, but I pressed on)
  20. I lost a lot of spelling bees. I lost the 4th-grade spelling bee when I left a "k" out of "bookkeeper." I remember this because the person I lost to (who was my friend) told me that was an easy word for her because it's "b-oo-kk-ee-per." I also lost the 5th-grade spelling bee, but I don't remember the word I lost with. After winning the 6th-grade spelling bee, I lost the school spelling bee by missing "pursuit." I spelled it "persuit." I lost at the 6th-grade spelling bee at the district level with the word "allege." I spelled it "alledge." I lost the 7th-grade spelling bee with the word "brocade," and I have still never had a cause to use the word "brocade" other than mentioning that I lost a spelling bee with it. I lost the 8th-grade spelling bee too. I don't know what I missed that year.
  21. I was in FBLA in high school. To attend the National Leadership Conference in my event, I had to place in the top two at state. I placed 3rd in 2004 and 2005 before moving to 2nd in 2006 (at last)!
  22. I never made district honor band. In fact, I tanked almost every musical audition I ever had except when I auditioned for the wind ensemble at Mercer.
  23. The one semester I had to do a jury in college, I blew that.
  24. One time I made jambalaya for my hall using a Tony Chachere's kit and thought it'd be vegetarian if I just didn't add chicken or sausage. NOPE, THERE'S CHICKEN BOULLION IN THAT, AND I FED IT TO MY VEGETARIAN STUDENTS.
Anyway, the point of this is that while I have lots of amazing things going on in my life--the fact that I can list as many awesome moments from the past few weeks as I can name about ugly moments over many years is testament to that--sometimes I mess up, fall short, or just have less to offer than other people in the universe. That's okay. It happens to everyone. If I had more time to think about it, I could come up with even more items to list, but I also try not to dwell on these moments. I try to grow from them and think about how life is better in some ways I ever imagined it, and that feels pretty darn good.

I ate this delicious donut today.

Something that made today great: Great run with Sandra tonight!
Time I woke up: 8:23 am

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Day 245

It is 11:32 pm, and I just submitted my statistics homework that was due at 11:55 pm. I expected to have about 3.5 minutes to write today's blog post, but I ended up with a whopping 28 minutes. When I thought I was going to have much less time, my planned post was going to be two sentences along the lines of "I did it. I finished all of the things I needed to do by October 23." (That isn't entirely true because I skipped two of my journals for finance class--we can skip four per semester without penalty--and my statistics midterm got moved, but I did everything I absolutely had to do.)

I was talking with Jennie earlier today about all of the wins in life this month. Now that I have an extra 25 minutes, though, I am going to take the time to list as many wins as I can think of for the first 23 days of the month. I fell behind in plenty of areas and neglected some aspects of my life, but I also had a lot of wins. Those wins deserve to be celebrated.

This list was compiled without looking back at my previous blog posts. I realize I change sentence structure/tense pretty often here, but you only live once. #YOLO

  1. A LACUSPA educational session on The Lighthouse Program at LACUSPA
  2. Another LACUSPA educational session on working with students of concern at LSU
  3. A solid Access and Choice presentation on Low-SES students
  4. An equally solid Finance in Higher Education presentation on higher education finance in Pennsylvania
  5. Family time at the Utah State game (and more later that day)
  6. Cooking Vegetables Galore (Richard's maternal grandmother's recipe from River Road Recipes)
  7. Running fun with new and old friends
  8. Implementing a 1:00 am bedtime for myself (most of the time)
  9. A relaxing work wife weekend this past weekend
  10. I found out today that my ACPA proposal was accepted, so I'll be presenting in Nashville in March
  11. Starting (and putting in some good work on) several knitting projects
  12. Continuing to attend Lunchtime Lifts class (and getting stronger as a result!)
  13. Really the fact that I didn't quit Lunchtime Lifts is remarkable
  14. Leading journal club with an article about post-college outcomes for fraternity and sorority members
  15.  I think I ate breakfast/brunch at The Ruby Slipper three weekends in a row. I had catfish and grits with a brandy milk punch every time, and it was awesome every time. (That cane syrup butter is the real deal.) 
  16. I discovered some great Spotify playlists thanks to recommendations from friends
  17. Learning a whole lot about multiple regression...
  18. ...and getting to use it in a real paper for the ASHE conference
  19. Partnering with some exciting scholars for my statistics project
  20. Richard turned 34!
  21. Eating delicious cake from Ambrosia thanks to Richard being born in October
  22. Enjoying gin and juice made with juice of satsumas from the tree in our yard
  23. Fleshing out my wardrobe with great finds from Dillard's clearance
  24. Celebrating all of the madness of the month (so far) with classmates at Superior tonight
These past few weeks have been insane, but I survived. Phew.

Image result for i did it meme
Meme from Memes Happen
Something that made today great: Reminiscing about LSMSA over Facebook messenger with Freddy-May
Time I woke up: 6:30 am

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Day 246

Tomorrow is October 23. I feel about like I expected to feel two weeks ago when I thought about how much effort it was going to take to get through the next two weeks. By this time tomorrow, I will have survived everything except for my statistics midterm (which has been pushed to Friday), and I will likely have a margarita in my belly.

I am so tired, but going to grad school is worth it. But I'm still tired. But it's still worth it.

Session, Science, Pictogram, Fatigue, Studies, Student
I didn't draw this. It's a free photo from Pixabay.

Something that made today great: Spending time with Richard! We went out for dinner (Fried Chicken Tuesday) and walked our best dog.
Time I woke up: 9:00 am...oops.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Day 247

Today was busy and productive, and I started my week feeling prepared. What I am finding tonight, however, is that no matter how much work I have accomplished, I can still find plenty to do to fill the time. Tonight, I can think of plenty of tasks to do or items to revisit and revise, and that's on top of the stuff I have not finished for the week. This is not a good sign for future dissertation writing, so I am going to have to keep an eye on my own habits and try to resist the urge to stay up late tweaking my work.

Other than taking some time to relax this weekend, the best thing I have done for myself was starting to enforce a 1:00 bedtime so I can get some sleep. Hopefully, I will continue to work that bedtime earlier. I don't want to get too crazy and commit to anything ridiculous like waking up at 6:00 or 7:00 most days, but who knows what might happen if I managed to get myself to bed by 11:00 pm every night? I might just be unstoppable, but the world might never find out for sure.
I didn't take this photo. It's a stock photo from Pixabay.
Something that made today great: Lunch/catch up time with Diana before Journal Club
Time I woke up: 7:00 am

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Day 248

Today, I had Friends playing in the background while I worked on a paper. I watched the series finale, and as soon as it ended, I started the series over again. After failing a Buzzfeed quiz that my friend Cate shared with me last week about Friends knowledge/trivia, I realized I was going to have to watch the series all over again.

Also, for any Friends fans out there, October 20 is the day Rachel got her first paycheck and the anniversary of the day that Ross and Carol "consummated their physical relationship." How appropriate that I watched Season 1, Episode 4 today! Other remarkable moments included the girls getting George Stephanopoulos's pizza and Ross getting hit in the face by a puck at the Rangers game. Here's a YouTube video with some highlights of the episode.

While all of those things about Friends are exciting, perhaps the best part of today is that it's October 20, which is only a few days away from October 23, the day I have been counting down to. Also, I am less than a week from the Marine Corps Marathon 50K, and that is really exciting. I'm looking forward to traveling and having a great race after all of the craziness of the past few weeks. But first, Monday!

Image result for friends rachel first paycheck FICA
Photo from 

Something that made today great: I am not anxious about the upcoming week!
Time I woke up: 8:45 am

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Day 249

Earlier today, I was texting with some of my classmates from my statistics class about our activity (or lack thereof this weekend), and I reported that my day had consisted of going running, eating brunch, taking a nap, knitting, watching TV, and ordering dinner to be delivered by Waitr. It felt good to not stress out about the upcoming week and just taking time to hang out and relax. Lately, I have worried that time to relax like this is taking away from my school and study time, but today I chose the approach that some relaxation would help me to be a better student and better human.

I've loved having my Work Wife in town for some of our favorite activities. We both took super serious naps this afternoon after running six miles with Sandra this morning, grabbing breakfast/brunch at Ruby Slipper, and doing some shopping at Varsity Sports. Although we considered going out and doing something tonight, we decided that staying in our comfy clothes and ordering food to eat while we binge-watched Schitt's Creek would be a better use of our time. We had a progressive meal of birthday cake, ice cream, and sushi. The original plan was to place a second Waitr order, but we went too hard on the sushi and filled up on that and some wine. We are making impressive progress on Schitt's Creek, and I am expecting a productive day tomorrow.

Cheers to a well-balanced weekend!

Post-run trip to see Mike VII!
Something that made today great: Sandra and I picked out new singlets for the MCM 50K!
Time I woke up: 6:45 am

Friday, October 18, 2019

Day 250

Today is day 250, which means I am halfway through my 100 days of blogging for the semester. I am also halfway through the semester (this was midterm week, so that does make sense...), which feels good. This semester has been quite the ride so far.

Going into the weekend, I am pleased with my progress on what remains of my lengthy to-do list; my presentation for Monday is done, the one for Wednesday is almost done, and I am not petrified of my statistics midterm that I was supposed to take today but is still pending due to scheduling. I lifted weights yesterday, I have run the past two days, and I took time to knit and watch Netflix tonight.

Best of all, my Work Wife is here! We planned this post-midterm visit before I had my presentation dates, and I have been a little nervous about balancing a guest when I am so stressed out, but I think this is just what I needed. We sat outside and drank cocktails while I knitted tonight, then we went on a date to Fat Cow with Richard and Scooter. After dinner, we drank wine and watched Schitt's Creek, and I did more knitting. Hopefully, this is a sign that I can still have fun, and I won't go into next week as a frazzled hot mess. I don't want to dream too big, but maybe I'll be a hot mess without the frazzle.

Image result for girls weekend
This was a result from when I Googled "Girls weekend." Who knew Natchitoches was such a destination for girls weekends?
Something that made today great: Runch with Jennie followed by lunch from Newk's
Time I woke up: 8:00 am I think.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Day 251

Today during Lunchtime Lifts, I felt the pump! Although I am a frequent user of phrases like "I'm so pumped"--on this very blog, I have written, "I'm so pumped to go to sleep by 10 pm" and "Salt Shaker Radio is one of my favorite Pandora stations because it gets me pumped up and brings back some good memories"--I had no idea that "the pump" was a term related to exercise and muscle strengthening. I guess you could say I'm pumped to experience and learn more about "the pump." (According to this Men's Health article, Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that the pump has a better sensation than sex. Research says that the pump accelerates muscle growth.)

I was doing bicep curls, and I think I only had a 5 lb weight on the machine, but Paul pointed to my engorged baby muscle and told me that was called the pump! I'm still not convinced that I like strength training, but I guess I am now one step closer to ripping my sleeves when I flex and crushing melons with my thighs. I am not sure that either of those things ranks very highly on any list of life goals I might have, but it's good to keep my options open.

Body Solid Bicep Curl Preacher Machine S2AC
Photo of a piece of equipment similar to where I achieved the pump! From
Something that made today great: Sandra and I had an awesome 5-mile run with Varsity tonight!
Time I woke up: 8:00 I think?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Day 252

I feel like I am on a roller coaster this week with my emotions and enthusiasm for school. Yesterday was exhausting. Although today was long with work and school, I had a good day and was in a happy mood when I made it home tonight. I'd be lying if I tried to pretend I am not still feeling a bit frantic about the next week, but I am now at the point where I will be through the madness and mounting to-do list.

There will be a new mounting to-do list in November, but I am not acknowledging that right now.

Tiger And Turtle, Stairs, Roller Coaster, Sculpture
Photo from Pixabay
Something that made today great: Writing a fresh to-do list with fewer items than the one I made a week ago
Time I woke up: 8:40 am (maybe the almost-full night's sleep is part of why I felt better today!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Day 253

My energy for blogging today is approximately zero. I spent my day setting up for Junior League's Hollydays, then I picked up a cake I ordered from Ambrosia Bakery for Richard's birthday. We kept dinner simple and went to Raising Cane's, then we were too full to eat the cake. Alas.

Maybe we'll have a repeat birthday celebration later this week, complete with a nicer dinner and cake.

I feel like the dog in this picture. I might not make it to my 1:00 am bedtime tonight.

Something that made today great: It was Richard's birthday!
Time I woke up: 6:45 am

Monday, October 14, 2019

Day 254

I missed my step and water goals today, but I am not letting that get me down. Perhaps my greatest accomplishment today was waking up at a reasonable time without an alarm!

The second best accomplishment was probably wearing awesome paper bag pants with my dinosaur necklace. Unfortunately, my outfit selfie was unremarkable, but I'll blame that on the rain or the fact that it was Monday. Along with taking better outfit selfies, tying a more attractive bow when I wear paper bag pants will be an area of growth for the future.

Anyway, I'm chugging along to October 23. In under ten days, I will be done with my midterm and presentations, and I will be catching my breath before it's time to head to the Marine Corps Marathon 50K. There's still so much to do, but I am finding that enforcing my 1:00 am bedtime is making me more productive than trying to tackle a bunch of stuff in one night. It's like everyone who says all-nighters are not a great idea have some idea what they're talking about. Hmmm...

Something that made today great: A caramel Mochassippi as an afternoon treat between a meeting and class
Time I woke up: 7:51 am

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Day 255

I had a wonderful day where I managed to squeeze in FaceTiming my father in law, going for a run, walking Scooter, and shopping for yarn with Ellen while still completing more homework than I expected to do today. I feel like I really have a grip on my life right now.

Of course, this sense of accomplishment has not come without a bit of ridiculousness.

I am currently finishing a study guide about multiple regression while "Back That Azz Up" by Juvenile plays on repeat. October 23 is still pretty far away. The "playing early 2000s rap songs on repeat while doing statistics" stage wasn't supposed to come this early. I worry about what the future holds. I will probably eat too much cereal at some point before this is all over.

I didn't take any blog-worthy photos today, so here's a picture of some candy corn that was free on Pixabay.

Something that made today great: My professor is allowing us to submit two "short" journals this semester, which is going to save me at least a few hours in the coming weeks. Boom.
Time I woke up: 7:00 am

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Day 256

I'm continuing to work through my to-do list, but I started the day off with a little running and brunching to ease into the weekend. I had sworn that this would be a weekend of intense studying--which it's that too--but I needed some time to chill out, breathe, and have a little fun. Then, I did what I said I was going to do and studied. On one of my study breaks, I did take a quick trip over to my polling place to cast my vote in the primary election, so I feel like I did a good job taking care of my physical, emotional, social, and civic responsibilities today. 

The countdown is still on for October 23, but I am feeling less overwhelmed with every task I check off of my list. Even though I have tons to do, I am starting to see that it is possible to get it all done if I can break things down into smaller pieces. Plus, when all of this is over, it'll just about be time to head off to the Marine Corps Marathon, and that is something I have been looking forward to for months. I am almost to single-digit territory in the countdown to my last presentation. I can do this.

I would've voted without the sticker, but it was nice to get a sticker today!
Something that made today great: Running and brunching with fabulous female friends
Time I woke up: 6:15 am

Friday, October 11, 2019

Day 257

Through my College Access and Choice course this semester, I am participating in a service-learning opportunity. October is College Application Month, but in my state, it's actually Louisiana College Application and Access Month. Today, I volunteered at a high school for their College Application Day, and I helped seniors fill out college applications at a high school located about an hour and a half from where I live. In each class, I introduced myself with a spiel that went something like this:

Hi everyone! My name is Kimberly Davis, and I am a Ph. D. student at LSU. I am here to help you with your college applications and answer any questions you might have. I earned my bachelor's degree at Mercer University, which is a small private school, and my master's degree is from Arkansas Tech University, where I was an online student. If you have any questions about private institutions, online learning, or LSU, I am happy to answer those too! 

I did not have to answer any difficult questions; many of the issues that arose had more to do with navigating the application websites than the content of the applications. What was particularly exciting was seeing students finish their applications and feel accomplished for getting the ball rolling on their college processes. Most of the students were applying to state schools nearby, and I was surprised at how many were applying to their local community college. (While they worked, I walked around to answer questions and see where they were applying.)

Most students were either filling out college applications or searching for scholarships, but one student had Google pulled up on his Chromebook and had searched for "phd student." I had to pause for a moment and remember that while "Ph. D." is something that is a huge part of my life right now (and one of the top five topics I discuss with...anyone ever), I cannot assume that everyone knows what that is when I talk about it. Tonight when I came home, I read one of my readings for class on Monday, and it was about jargon and college knowledge. I spewed out all kinds of higher education terms in the 30 seconds I took to introduce myself--not a great idea for seeming like an approachable, relatable person to ask for help. These students are going through college application processes that differ from mine in many ways, and I just know I must have looked like a dodo. Fortunately, I managed to build some rapport with several of the students as we worked through their applications.

As I have learned more about college access this semester, something I have worried about is seeming unrelatable because I did not have obstacles to pursuing a college education. I do try to be honest about that fact, and I hope that my concern comes across as genuine when I serve students. College access is climbing the ranks of things I am passionate about, and I want to do meaningful work in expanding access to higher education. Realistically, I will likely always struggle with this as long as I am in the higher education field, but I hope I will come across as authentic when I serve others. Hopefully, the joy of the service will overtake my worries soon.

Free clip art of a Dodo bird wearing a crown...because I felt like a queen dodo bird today.

Something that made today great: I stopped at Billy's and picked up some boudin and pepperjack boudin balls. Yum!
Time I woke up: 5:15 am

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Day 258

I am amazed by how much better I have felt after making that to-do list last night. Even though it's a long and ambitious list, I feel so much more organized with my life. Also, checking items off of the list (well, highlighting them to indicate that they're done) feels pretty amazing.

I am proud to report that I am not guilty of this yet, but I still liked the meme.
At the moment, my list only contains school and professional tasks, but I did have some workout/exercise accomplishments today. I went to Lunchtime Lifts, making this the first week that I attended both workouts, and I ran with Varsity tonight! We did the decrease part of a ladder on a "hilly" area of Baton Rouge (which means not really hilly at all), and I managed to run faster as the requirements got shorter, even though I was getting tired. My hope is that I will continue to grow faster and stronger as I keep at it. For accountability purposes (and future reference) here were my paces:

  • 880 m: 9:19 min/mi
  • 660 m: 8:45 min/mi
  • 440 m: 8:08 min/mi
  • 220 m: 7:47 min/mi

Something that made today great: Getting two solid workouts done in one day!
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Day 259

My mantras lately have been "I can't commit to anything new between now and October 23," and "I will be able to breathe a bit after October 23." Looking at my semester after October 23, however, I am starting to realize that I am still going to have a lot to do to finish the semester strong. Still, I am allowing myself to buy into the narrative that I will be able to relax after October 23 because I head to DC for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, and I am absolutely going to allow myself to breathe, enjoy the company of friends, and run the race I have been training for since the spring.

Tonight, I sat down and made a to-do list of everything school-related that I need to do between now and October 23. I broke the list down into manageable pieces because I like being able to check off tasks, but that made my list pretty long. Still, seeing it all in one place was actually kind of relieving, so I'm counting that exercise as a victory. I'll be glad to check every last task off of that bad boy and report back on my success in two weeks. Whew!

Something that made today great: I think I did really well on my statistics homework this week!
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Day 260

I am definitely getting better and more confident in the weight room, and I think I might actually like Lunchtime Lifts. (Gasp!) Today was the first day that I did not have to shorten my last set, so that felt good. Paul even talked me into adding a little bit of weight to my last set of bench presses, and I still managed to do all eight reps. I'm not looking to do anything too crazy in the future (like upgrade from the 10 kg bar to the 15 kg bar), but I'll probably be there sooner than expected if I can continue to not fall from platforms and/or cry during class. I haven't done either of those things since the first day.

With the number of things I have on my plate this week and the fact that Richard was off of work tonight, I opted to skip Happy's and spend some time with my best husband and favorite dog. I am not running as much as I was a few weeks ago, which is due to a combination of (a) being a bit overwhelmed with school and (b) embracing the taper before Marine Corps perhaps a little too much. I'm doing better with my water consumption and sleep, though, and I like to think that those things will make me a better runner.

I'm glad tomorrow is the halfway point of the week!

Paul and I sent the workout to Jennie because she was not in class today
Something that made today great: Richard and I brought back Fried Chicken Tuesday for the first time in a few weeks. Popeye's for dinner!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am

Monday, October 7, 2019

Day 261

Today was jam-packed with student affairs fun! The annual Louisiana Association of College and University Personnel Administrators conference was today at Southern University. With some collaboration from LSU friends, I was able to co-present at two breakout sessions. This was great fun and apparently counts as valuable professional experience, so that's a double win!

I spent the bulk of the day at the conference but headed back to LSU in time to meet with my group project partners at 4:00 before we had class at 4:30. The first group presentation was today, and it was awesome! I might talk about it in my blog a little later this week, but I am pretty tired at the moment. I will actually be heading to bed before 11:00 for the first time in a while, which is an indicator of just how delightfully exhausting this day was. (Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I might've stayed up past 1:00 last night working on my PowerPoint slides. And by "might've" I mean "definitely blew that one," but I did take a three-hour nap yesterday.)

My heart is full from spending the day doing things I love and meeting people who are doing some incredible work in our state, but I have quite the list of things to accomplish between now and October 23. I have to pace myself so I don't end up crying in my car again...ha!

Selfie opportunity with my master's advisor after the graduate student round table!
Something that made today great: Reunions with fabulous student affairs friends from around Louisiana
Time I woke up: 6:15 am

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Day 262

I had another lovely weekend, but I can already tell I will be looking forward to the next one quickly. Without question, I had lots of fun, but I was not as productive as I had hoped. Next weekend, I am really going to have to buckle down and prepare for midterms. I am possibly running the Cane Field Classic on Saturday morning, and after that--well, after lunch after that--I think I'll pretty much just stay home and hit the books. Knowing me, I will also need at least one study nap. This studying stuff is hard work!

Other than pacing myself through the week (the goal is not to stay up past 1:00 am on any day), I'm going to work on drinking more water. I'm thinking I will strive for 80 oz per day, but I will update on that. Sometimes I can be a little too ambitious when I set these types of goals. Since I didn't take any photos today, here's a stock photo about drinking water.

Photo from Pexels

Something that made today great: Quality nap and walking time with Richard and Scooter
Time I woke up: 7:15 am

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Day 263

After my marathon last weekend, I wanted to coast until the Marine Corps Marathon 50K, but Sandra reminded me that tapering still involves some running.

The LSU game was scheduled for 11:00 am, so we opted to start early enough to be ready for the game. We did about 3 miles by ourselves then met up with the Varsity Sports group for 10-ish miles that took us through LSU. While we were out, we ran/walked about 8 miles with a lady named Brandy, and the three of us ran/walked the last two with a lady named Amy. We were quite the sight running through the tailgaters and gameday guests!

Post-Run selfie with new friends!

After the run, I took a quick shower, and Sandra dropped me off on campus to meet Richard, Russ, and George at the game. We had seats in the stadium club, which was pretty cool until Russ, Richard, and I all got sunburned. Apparently, games that start at 11:00 am have challenges beyond waking up early. 

By the time we made it home, I’d experienced more excitement than I enjoy in some weekends, but the party didn’t stop there! We hosted Tim and Emily for dinner; Richard made sous vide steak with gnocchi, and I made Vegetables Galore. That’s a story for another day, but there were definitely vegetables galore involved. Not to be outdone, I made two desserts: peanut butter pie and mixed berry cobbler. 

I added onions after this. 

It’s been quite the eventful day, and I think my sunburn and full belly are the perfect recipe for a night of deep sleep. Whew. 

Something that made today great: I accomplished so many things!
Time I woke up: 6:10 am 

Friday, October 4, 2019

Day 264

I am not 100 percent sure, but I think I won at adulting today. My Friday night consisted of knitting, eating tacos, and not doing any dishes. 

The internet told me that today was National Taco Day, and while I know lots of those types of holidays are made up, I did not want to chance missing out on a day dedicated to tacos. 

After work, I went over to Ellen’s house for a bit because we bought matching yarn at Fiber Fun in the ‘Sip and wanted to cast on our knit along project. As I was getting hungry but not excited about making dinner, I asked Richard if he was okay with Taco Bell for dinner. He was quick to agree, and when I called to ask what to order, he suggested a Taco Party Pack. 

Taco Bell offers several products that can be mixed and matched in a Taco Party Pack, but I decided to keep it simple and do a dozen soft tacos. 

For dinner, I plopped the box in the middle of the table, and Richard and I each ate six tacos. Well, Scooter got a few bites of mine.) We didn’t even bother with plates, which meant that there were no dishes to wash other than our drinking glasses. Everything about this meal was a victory, and I have no shame about my unbalanced dinner. 

Photo from Taco Bell

Something that made today great: Eating 5-6 tacos for dinner
Time I woke up: 7:30 am

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Day 265

Today was not a day where I knocked many things out of the park, but it was a pretty okay day. I had several meetings and ended up missing Lunchtime Lifts after the combination of one meeting running over and parking by the UREC being a hot mess would have only left me with 15-20 minutes of workout time. My meetings were productive and mostly positive, though. 

My day after work was nice! Sandra and I went to the Varsity run and did three miles, then I met Richard and Maryanne for dinner at Acme Oyster House. It was such a treat to have Maryanne in town, as I had not seen her since May. I ate eight or nine chargrilled oysters and followed them up with a delicious roast beef po boy that I think is my new favorite comfort food. 

Again, I didn’t take any photos today, so here’s a stock photo (from Pixabay) of some oysters on a grill. I should’ve taken a picture of my roast beef po boy. 

Something that made today great: Dinner at Acme was a highlight!
Time I woke up: 6:55 am

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Day 266

Yesterday, I wrote that I was tired. A natural solution to that problem would have been going to bed and getting some sleep, but what I instead chose to do was stay up past 3:00 am reading, writing, and working on homework.

That did not make for a great day today. 

Not only did I wake up tired, but I ended up sobbing in my car after a dermatologist appointment when the doctor prescribed me a topical medication instead of an oral one. That was my cue that I was not going to be productive at work or anywhere else until I got some sleep, so I rescheduled a meeting and let Jennie know that I was not coming to work in the morning and possibly not today.

I drove home, climbed back in bed, and logged another 4.5 hours of sleep. I woke up feeling better, ate a little lunch, and did some light preparation for a project before heading to my Wednesday class. My class went well, but perhaps even better was going to eat Mexican food and drink margaritas at Superior after class. This semester, I am starting to realize how precious weekends are and how important it is to find time to rest and reset. Fortunately, I'll be home every weekend between now and the Marine Corps Marathon and should be able to have a better grip on my life and my business. That's the hope anyway!

I didn't take any pictures today, so I decided to pull a photo from Pexels. The ones for "crying" were more depressing than I was going for, so I searched for "tired," and this photo of an attractive person in front of a pile of tires came up in the results. I guess that's a different kind of tired.

Photo from Pexels
Something that made today great: Post-class trip to Superior!
Time I woke up: 7:00 am 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Day 267

It's only Tuesday, and I am already tired. I think this is the part of Ph.D. life that people tried to warn me about. Despite that, I am still having a great week! In bullet form (since it's already 11:52 pm), here are the notable things I did today (letting my dog out didn't make the list today):
  • Fixed my hair
  • Did my makeup
  • Wore a stylish new dress
  • Got my headshot done for the new Title IX dress 
  • Went to Lunchtime Lifts (I changed out of my dress) and didn't fall or cry
  • Had a productive meeting with my advisor
  • Worked on presentations for a conference next week
  • Wrote a proposal for a potential future publication
  • Did most of my homework for tomorrow
...and since I did most of my homework, not all of it, this is where I will end my post for the day.
Post-Lunchtime Lifts selfie

Something that made today great: I am picking two today! 1) Catching up with Ariel and 2) Richard bringing me a delicious burger for dinner.
Time I woke up: 7:30 am