Taking care of business and working overtime

So much to do tonight…it may be a poor coping mechanism, but I think the frequency with which I blog will be in proportion to the amount of studying I have hanging over my head. My plan is to study until about midnight tonight and pick up again around 8 tomorrow morning, but at 3 pm the fun gets started. Yeah, it may be a super lame Friday night, but it’s the only way I can take a break tomorrow.

At 3, I’m shutting down my computer and hitting the pavement. My plan is to run to my in-law’s house for my 19 mile run. I’m really going to force myself to keep running and finish by 6 because the Notre Dame game kicks off at 6:30. RE will meet me at his parents (with clean clothes/shower stuff, etc.) and we’ll all settle in to cheer on the Irish.

I’ve biked over to my in-law’s house once, but got lost along the way where some of the trails were less clearly marked. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out tomorrow. Worst case, RE is ready and waiting for an “I’m lost…come pick me up, please!” phone call. Now, if I don’t finish by kick-off, all bets are off because I may not be able to pry him away from the television- another reason I better keep my legs moving!

It’s supposed to be in the mid-50’s/ low-60’s tomorrow so I’m hoping that helps keep me going. I didn’t get an audiobook, so I’m going to have to stick with music or podcasts. I’ll figure it out tomorrow morning. I’m a little nervous about running in the afternoon rather than first thing in the morning, but it’s the most efficient way to cram all the things I want to do in with the things I need to do.

Good luck to all those other long-runners tomorrow!


Do it faster, makes us stronger

Why do I read blogs- because I get so inspired by other runners*! It may be silly to get pumped up by someone I’ve never even met, but I would not have had such a great run without Hungry runner girl Janae’s afternoon post. Despite the five miles I had planned for today, I ran 8.2/70 minutes- a record for me at that distance, or at least close to it. I don’t really keep a running log so I don’t know for sure, but regardless, it was a great, fast run and just what I needed to reach my current state of endorphin high.

I did 3 ~20 minute sets like this: 2 minutes at 6.5, 6.7, 6.9…7.5 and then 1 minute at 7.6, 7.7…8.0

On my middle set I maxed out at 8.1, but next time I think I could push it a little further- possibly even 8.4? Given that most of my runs hover right around 8:30-9 minute miles, I felt like I was flying. But also was surprised how my legs rose to the occasion. I can feel them getting a little (good) sore as I sit here typing but I’m refueling with chocolate milk and will be sure to do some extra stretching before bed.

I wish every run felt this wonderful!


*I also read blogs about food. I’ve learned so many kitchen tricks from food bloggers and finally can make a few meals worth eating ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame

This week has definitely been one where I’ve had to buckle down and get in school-mode. Aside from a few breaks on Saturday, it’s going to continue to be non-stop studying through the weekend so that I’m ready for a “midterm” on Monday. I use quotations because it’s not for a grade, but if I don’t get myself ready for it now, it will be so much harder to catch up before finals.

Last Saturday I completed that 18 mile run I canned the day I fell. The first 14 miles were no problem because I was accompanied by a great friend. I think I only ate 2 shot blocks (individuals, not packs) and didn’t even finish the 20 oz. of water I carry on my fuel belt. I was feeling awesome, but totally lost my drive once we parted ways for my final 4 miles. I know I could have physically run the miles without a problem, but it was a huge mental battle. The mental messages of “you’re tired, just take a little break” were overwhelming and won out quite a few times. So while it wasn’t the strongest 18 miles, I still covered the distance. If I can just figure out this mental game before the race, I will be golden ๐Ÿ™‚

This weekend will be the true test because I need to log 19 miles and my long-distance running buddy MF is out of town. I am already trying to come up with some motivating mantras and hopefully a good audiobook. I know my legs can do this run, but I need to quiet my thoughts. Tomorrow I’ll write a post about my strategy and our fun plans for the weekend- the little parts not spent studying.

We are in the middle of football season, and I can’t believe I’ve excluded our love of Notre Dame from even the few posts I’ve written. My husband and I are both alumni and have an undying love for ND. Just being on campus revitalizes us and every trip back “home” is thrilling. So it is practically unheard of for us to miss even a minute of any game. The only exception we make is for weddings, but even that is a tough sacrifice and we do (secretly) begrudge the couple a tiny bit- come on, it’s football season!

Anyway, last weekend we joined the Minneapolis/St. Paul Alumni gamewatch and had such a great time. They set up a “tailgate” in the parking lot and we were able to spend a few hours “pregaming” before kickoff. We generally don’t go to these events because it is too loud to hear the game, but this week it really was a fabulously fun time. The Irish are now 3-0, ranked #11…we did not see this coming and have our fingers crossed that luck stays on our side. We’ve lost many, many games in the past 9 seasons of which I’ve been a part. Maybe the tides are turning? I’m too scared to hope!

This weekend will be much quieter with full attention directed at the game- but more on that tomorrow. Time to get back to the books!

Money can’t buy you class

The lyrics above are in honor of the Real Housewives of New York who were instrumental in making today’s run a good one.

I FINALLY had a good run after what seems like weeks of disappointing speeds and mentally tough miles. Today I met both the distance and speed goals I set during my drive to the gym! 8.75 miles in 75ish minutes.

I was stuck in traffic on the way over so I had extra time to think. It gave me a second to remember that 9 months ago it was a challenge for me to run 3 miles without a walk break. I was running at 6.7 mph, 0% incline on a good day and I never dared to venture outside. In April/May my “long run” was 7 or 8 miles. I remember the 7 mile run because I ran with two friends after a final. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to cover the distance and high-fived my buddies at the end of it because it was my personal distance record. Now 8 miles is my middle-of-the-week run sandwiched between two 5 mile runs.

I also spent some time reminding myself that my running goals are not the same as so many of those I see in the blogging world. I’m never going to be a person who runs 60ish miles/week because I’ve committed to a time-intensive career path and also look forward to having a family. Family and career will be my priorities and it is unrealistic to think I could ever commit the time required for those kind of miles. It may seem silly, but I think I needed this reminder. I was getting bogged down by the accomplishments of others and forgetting how far I’ve come.

Once I jumped on the treadmill I realized Bravo was replaying the Real Housewives of New York episode I missed on Monday. It was a run meant to be ๐Ÿ™‚ No matter, I think my run would have been just as strong, but being able to get lost in the ladies’ drama definitely made the time go faster.

There is also a possibility that my food choices helped with this run. I was hungry all day and just kept eating carbs. Probably enough “bonus” carbs to balance out the calories I burned during the run, but whatever.

Lastly I did interval running which kept me interested and helped keep my speed up.

6.5×5 min for warm-up

6.7×3 min, 7.0x3min, 7.3x3min, 7.5×1 minute (10 minute routine). I was going to just repeat this 6 times but felt inspired at the end of the first set so decided to reverse it. So instead of doing just 1 minute at 7.5, I did 2 and then worked my way back down the speed “pyramid”. For the interval at 6.7, I limited it to the 3 minutes rather than doubling it and then started the climb back up to 7.5.

Tomorrow I’m meeting a friend for 5 miles. I think my legs will be tired, but hopefully this is the start of some great run weeks! I was pretty down after my fall a week ago. My knee is still pretty gruesome-looking and tender to the touch, but it doesn’t hurt once I start moving ๐Ÿ™‚

Another one bites the dust

18 miles did not happen this morning.

Did not even come close to happening.

At about 5.3 miles, I tripped on a crack in the cement and face planted. Well, everything hit the ground except my face, and hit hard. My knee started bleeding profusely and every single joint on my left side is scraped up and bruised. RE found me on the sidewalk- thank goodness I decided to run with my phone today. lesson learned. He helped me get to the clinic on campus to see whether I needed stitches since it was a pretty deep gash on my knee cap.

Luckily the doctor said nothing needed to be done and I could be back to running as soon as I feel like it. This half-dollar size soon-to-be scabbed knee is going to look awesome peaking out beneath the hem of my dress at the wedding this weekend. And now I need to figure out how I’m going to “make-up” this run.

I don’t miss many runs on my schedule, and I don’t try to make them up when I do. But Hal Higdon- whose program I’m using- emphasizes that it’s fine to skip runs here and there you really need to commit to the long runs. If I can stay on top of class work this week, I may try for 18 again on Monday morning. At this point it looks like I don’t have any class scheduled, but things change frequently, especially at the beginning of the semester.

I feel like I’ve been in a running funk for the past couple weeks and desperately need to get out of it. I think the jump in weekly mileage is making me more tired and making it harder for my legs to recover. I feel like I’m getting slower and slower despite covering the distance. It makes sense, but it is frustrating that fewer and fewer runs “feel good.” At the same time, I’ve put in too many weeks of training to give up now. Marathon, here I come!

Back to life, back to reality

And summer is over. Grad school year 2 started today, and they certainly didn’t ease us in to it. Left home at 7:05 and returned 6 classes and a 2 hr. lab later at 6:15. Ran to Aldi, my grocery store of choice, to pick up pasta and avocado for tonight’s meal. Watched Real Housewives of NYC and, because I am so exhausted, couldn’t stop myself from also watching an episode of Honey Boo Boo. Jumped in the shower and am not typing up this post so that my head is clear for studying.

I will be 50% less stressed at this time tomorrow because I will have completed an 18 mile run- a new distance PR for me. I don’t know why I am dreading this run sooo much, but I’m going to do everything I can to pump myself up. I’m hoping tonight’s dinner is a good fuel food. I ate pasta the night before my 17 mile run and felt surprisingly awesome, once I had the first 6 miles under my belt. I’m hoping tomorrow is the same.


Some of the mental road blocks that are making this run particularly daunting:

1. Last time a great friend ran the first ~14 miles with me, but she has a “real job” and can’t join me tomorrow.

2. I’m out of my normal schedule. I’ve been doing my long runs on Saturday but can’t this week due to a very good friend’s wedding in Illinois- 9 hours away.

3. I have class at 10 am. I was planning to skip because all of our lectures are video recorded so that we can review them on our own time. However they had problems with the audio today and haven’t been able to troubleshoot it. I’ll be thrilled if I finish my run in about 2:40 but am counting on 3:00. Sunrise is at 6:40. And I can’t show up in class in my sweaty running clothes. So you see my problem. My current plan is to run the first 7-8 miles on a treadmill at the rec center ~ 6am and then move outside for the remainder. I better pack some good snacks.

What am I going to do? think positive thoughts. I just wrote out all my doubts so I’m going to stop thinking about them. From here on out I’m going to have the silent mantra, “You are awesome. You are such a strong runner. Look at you go. You just finished those X miles like they were nothing,” etc. I’m going to lay out my running gear tonight and find a good audiobook I can download from my library. I’m going to try to get a solid night’s sleep- this may be the hardest prep step.

I can do this. Time to hit the books for a couple hours…

Have a great night!


It seems ridiculous to start a blog without introducing myself, but also kind of tricky. So I’m going to keep it short. I’m a 27 year old grad student living in Minneapolis. I married RE almost 3 years ago. It’s only been in the last year that I started really reading blogs. I started reading with an emphasis on cooking healthy, nutritious meals, but my interest has morphed in an effort to learn about running- a somewhat new hobby. I’ve learned so much in the past year and want to add my voice to the conversation.

This blog will be about my interests and hopefully it will gradually find its niche.ย  Like many others, it will be a place where I keep track of my workouts and favorite recipes while also chronicling my life. Aside from serving as my own record, it will give me infinite joy if someone else finds this blog and returns to a passage I wrote for inspiration to push through another mile. I know I’ve relied on that same “push” from several blogs. I thrive on the philosophy “If she can do it, I can do it.” Possibly I can bring another perspective to the conversation- one to which someone out there can really relate, in a different way than they’ve related to other blogs they’ve read.

At this point, my priorities are 1) family 2) graduate school, and 3&4) tied between running/working out and healthy eating. For me, my current fitness goals are intertwined in my eating habits so they can’t be ranked one over the other. I’m training for my first marathon Oct. 21st and try to look at food as a means of fuel, but I have an insatiable sweet tooth. I also love to read and tackle DIY crafts. I’m a Real Housewives addict. Oftentimes I bemoan my ability to retain celebrity gossip despite trying to cram my brain with grad school knowledge.

Please enjoy the blog!

Last night’s Workout- not quite 5 miles, just under 50 minutes