Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Running and Books

Once again, I read a lot of books this year! Not my best year, but work and school caused me to read some academic related books as opposed to my fun, fiction reads! The starred (*) books are the ones I recommend.

  1. Anybody Out There? by Marian Keys
  2. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari*
  3. Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag
  4. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
  5. New York by Edward Rutherford*
  6. Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keys
  7. Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keys
  8. The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
  9. A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman*
  10. Hatteras Girl by Leslie Wisler
  11. Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand*
  12. The Assistants by Camille Perri*
  13. The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand*
  14. Summer People by Elin Hilderbrand*
  15. Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand*
  16. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson*
  17. I Still Dream of You by Fannie Flagg*
  18. Babyville by Jane Green*
  19. Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves*
  20. The Housewife and the Actor by Shannon Hale
  21. Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
  22. No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood by Henriette Mantel
  23. Gray Mountain by John Grisham
  24. Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson*
  25. Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
  26. Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
  27. Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
  28. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult*
  29. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty
  30. Deadline by Sandra Brown*
  31. Turning Tables by Heather and Rose McDowall
  32. Boys on the Boat by James Brown*
  33. Drowning Ruth by Christina Swartz*
I also ran a lot this year! I set personal records (PR) in the 15k, 10k, 5k and half marathon (I PRed twice!). Sadly, no full marathon PR due to getting the flu, but overall, it was a great running year! Click here to see all my records and races! My total miles for the year are about 1382, which is lower than my 1414 from 2015 BUT I blame that on my un-run marathon and the week of non-running due to illness:)

My running goals for next year actually includes running FEWER races (trying to save more $) and doing two marathons in the fall- Chicago and Richmond! I am excited to run more for fun and less for time...thankfully, setting so many PR's this last year takes the pressure off and let's me enjoy my miles for my mental, physical and emotional health rather than the clock time. 2017 will be the year of LESS pressure on myself and MORE enjoyment of my hobby!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy NEW YEAR! GOODBYE 2016!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Holiday Season 2016

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! After many holiday parties and festivities, I got off work on December 16th with two glorious weeks off! It is my favorite break of the year, so I had to celebrate accordingly.

Therefore....I went on a cruise to the Caribbean! My sister in law and I went out of Fort Lauderdale via Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas for a relaxing 6 day adventure.

Grand Cayman Island

Costa Maya, Mexico 

Cozumel, Mexico

I lounged A LOT, got a lot of sun, played a lot of trivia , ate a lot of food and read a lot of (3) books!

Then I spent Christmas with my favorite niece, June!

We snuggled a lot...

Since then, I have visited some friends, met a lot of babies, watched TV, run and will be enjoying a low key New Years! Get ready for my year end book list coming tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Long Time No Talk!

Well helllllo!

It's been 6 months since my last post, and I have been recently getting the urge to post again! I really enjoyed the break and my step back from blogging, but I did miss posting some days. I won't be a regular poster, but I do think I am ready to get back into the blogging game for a little bit!

So what have I been doing? Well, much of the same! I started a new job in July, so I have been adjusting to my new school and my new role and it has been wonderful! I was definitely a good decision! I work at my alma mater (high school) as the Counseling Director, which is fun, but also feels very different than when I went here, so that separation has been great.

I also am almost done with this semester of school! I took two classes this semester- an Educational Measurement class on creating test and survey instruments and a Qualitative Research class. I have enjoyed the content of both classes very much, and I finish completely for the semester on December 14th! I have some presentations between now and then, but I am pretty much done. It is hard to believe next semester is my LAST of classes! BUT I have a lot to do- taking two courses, teaching a course (same one I did last spring) and then my qualifying exam and comprehensive exam....THEN I get to start writing! I have my topic and chair, though, so I am feeling good and excited to get started! This program has flown by and overall been really great. I still don't know for sure what I will do with it, but I am looking forward to having options (like not paying tuition and making more $$$)!

As for racing- oh, what a fall! I was all trained for the Richmond Marathon, feeling great and having completed THREE 20 miler runs, and I woke up the day of the race with a 102 degree fever and the FLU. It was awful, but there was no way I could race. It took me about 10 days to get over the flu (please get flu shot)! I was able to run a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 10k, and instead of finding another marathon, I ran a half marathon this past weekend the Blue and Gray in Fredericksburg) and ended up setting a personal record! SO that was exciting and at least made me feel like the marathon training was for SOMETHING. It was a hard pill to swallow to miss it, but feeling as bad as I did made it a little better. There will always be another race!

Besides all that, I became an aunt in October (!), attended a lot of baby showers, and traveled to New Orleans this fall for a conference. It has been a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to the holidays!

I will check in again soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

On the last day of my twenties...

On the last day of my twenties, I woke up at 5:30 AM to 50's degree temperatures and went on a 3.5 mile run...

On the last day of my twenties, I wore a purple dress..

On the last day of my twenties, I played with kittens at work...

On the last day of my twenties, I went to my summer class from 4-6:40 and talked about the different views of educational research...

On the last day of my twenties, I went to my former high school's graduation...

On the last day of my twenties, I talked to good friends and laughed with coworkers...

On the last day of my twenties, I sang Broadway in my car...

On the last day of my twenties, I watched an episode of Gilmore Girls...

On the last day of my twenties, I went to bed grateful for my twenties but ready to have them behind me...

On the last day of my twenties, I thought about all the amazing places I have been in my 29 years...

On the last day of my twenties, despite having a rough week, I felt blessed.

Here is to turning 30 and the best decade yet!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Race Updates

I have run a few races this year, so I figured it was time to do a quick recap of all of them!

January-> Frostbite 15K: 1:17:17 (PR)

I was in pain at this point, but I think I look pretty cool, right?
This was the 2nd time I have run the Frostbite 15k and it is a great, small race that starts only about 2 miles from my house. It begins at a local elementary school, so it is really easy to park, and they have a place to hang out, keep warm and use the bathrooms! This race was cold, in the 30's and it was snowing, but it was better conditions than last year when it POURED. It runs around a neighborhood and a few lakes, and I always enjoy it. A PR is also nice:)

March-> Huguenot 3 Miler: 24:44 (5k time- 25:37, PR?)

This race was not my favorite. I ran my last half marathon peak run the day before (12 miles) and had done it fast, so my legs were not rested. I wanted to use this run as some speed work, and while my first mile was 7:40-something, my last two were 8:30. I just couldn't keep the pace on my tired legs. The course was a few loops along a wooded path, so not my favorite scenery and it was not easy to run the tangents. I also think it was short of 3 miles... I may/may not do it again. At least it was cheap!

March-> Shamrock Half Marathon: 1:52:24

This is a good depiction of the race- head down avoiding wind/rain!
This race was probably the worst conditions I have ever run in! There were 30-40 mile/hour winds, it was POURING rain and it was cold (upper 30's). I debated running it once I got to the race (I commiserated with some other runners as we all decided if it was worth it), but since I had driven down to Virginia Beach AND paid for it (it was expensive), I decided to try. It also is a half I have run many times, so I knew the course well. I ended up only missing a PR by 13 seconds, and once the rain ended the race wasn't so bad. I may be done with this race for a while, though!

April-> Monument 10k: 49:04 (PR)

Smiles of a PR finish!
The Monument 10k is a BIG race (30k runners) and is the race that got me hooked on running. This was my 6th year running it, and it is always one that I look forward to. I live close to the start, know the route very well (I run it on a regular basis), and I get to party after the race is finished at my friend's house- what more could you want? It also has starting waves (and a good starting time- 8:30!), so it is well organized and you are always with people who run at your pace. My goal this year was to break 50 minutes, and I did it! I actually had to walk part of mile 2 due to a stomach cramp, but all my other miles were in the 7:40's, so I was able to make up a lot of time. The conditions were cold and it was even a little snowy, so it was perfect for a PR! I also parked near my friend's house for the after-party and jogged a 1.5 mile warm up on the empty streets before the start, so that was great:)

April-> Flying Pirate Half Marathon: 1:51:00 (PR)

This race is fun because it means a weekend at my friend's house in the Outer Banks! The temperature was perfect- upper 40's and sunny and we did not have much wind on the sound except for during mile 8. The course is challenging as the last 3 miles are on a trail and the rocks hurt your legs at that point AND the last .5 mile is practically straight uphill. I always run the last 3 miles about 10-20 seconds slower than the rest of the race, but I still PRed! My legs tightened up early (around mile 6) probably due to my fast 10k the week before, but I held on and was very pleased. Now I will have to aim for under 1:50 :) I do love half marathons!

 I have felt really good running and have kept my mileage around 20 per week, which seems to be my sweet spot, so I will have to keep all this in mind when deciding if I want to start training for the Richmond Marathon again:)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Singled Out vs. Married with Children

Disclaimer: this post is not about me hating kids or hating on my friends for having kids. It is only my perspective and not the perspective from the other side of this-> what it is like for friends with kids to have friends without. Yet, this is simply about how it feels to be single, unattached and almost 30 with no kids on the horizon.

This post is for anyone who is not having babies (for whatever reason) when practically everyone you know is or will be soon. It is a weird place to be. A few years ago I wrote this post on my feelings about all my friends getting married, and while many things from that post still hold true, having babies is a totally different dynamic. For my relationships with my friends, marriage didn't really change our dynamics, or if they did it was temporary when the relationship was new, but babies undoubtedly do.

Don't get me wrong, babies are great. They are cute and smiley and say and do adorable things and bring out a different side to you and your friends. They also keep me employed, because I work in schools! But, and I am totally being selfish here, they also take your friends away from you. When babies enter the picture, your friends are tired, worried, stressed (mentally and/or financially), less flexible or willing to hang out with you due to home life being a little crazy, and their minds are all about their kids as they should or should not be depending on the level of obsession:)

My social calendar was once filled up with social gatherings surrounding alcohol and freedom...then it moved to wedding showers and Bachelorette parties (I am lucky that I still have many of these, too), baby showers are taking the cake (literally, though, any excuse for cake is great). Instead of easy to purchase home items, I am looking at registries for items I don't understand (if someone can explain to me half of what people need for babies, I would appreciate it), and I am going to parties where the talk is all about babies, the birthing process, bodies during/after babies and everything in between. (Shout out to my friend this weekend who showed me her c-section looks much better than I imagined!)

The thing is, I love it and hate it at the same time. I love to see friends so happy about this new stage of their life and see them and their partners embracing their maternal/paternal instincts. It is also great to see the different approaches to parenting and the cool kids they ultimately produce! But it is also a bit of a mourning period for me when each friend starts having kids. Mourning what our relationship is because it will never be the same. Mourning the fact that I am no where near that stage of my life.  Mourning what is wrong with me that having babies doesn't seem so great to me anyways?

The dynamic towards me as a childless, single, almost 30-year-old has also changed. Where once (and still sometimes) people were envious of the freedom and different path I am taking career, lifestyle (running + travel!), and education-wise (PhD), people also judge. I have heard more and more over the past year that "you don't understand because you don't have children," or "you don't know real love because you aren't a mother." Since when do women tear each other down? Since when is my life less important or less fulfilled because I don't have kids? Since when does my choice NOT to settle with any man  or practicing *ahem* safe sex, delineate me to a lifetime of sub-par love and lack of understanding? How does anyone even know what I think or feel about relationships and marriage and babies and life goals? Why do we have to judge so much?

Fact of the matter is, I don't know if I want kids or not. I don't know if I want to be married or not. But I sure as hell do not sit around mourning what I don't have. I wasted enough of my time in my mid-20's doing that, and it led to me feeling worthless and lost. I view life as a journey with different paths, not one better or more perfect than the other. If I marry and have kids- great!- and if I don't- that is great, too! But I do mourn for what I am losing, in terms of friends and how that relationship will change. No matter how wonderful something is and how change is a part of life, it is never easy, especially if it is on a path different from your own.

My life has been a big part of celebrating other people. Engagements, weddings, babies....all these wonderful things. But, when will people be celebrating me?

Some other great posts on this topic: When Everyone Else is Married with Children, An Open Letter to My Friend Without Kids, 16 Things New Parents Want Their Friends Without Kids To Know , How to Stay Friends When Your Friends Have Kids

Please share your thoughts on this topic below.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


Happy New Year! I hope your first few days of 2016 have been full of rest, thinking about the new beginning, maybe a little less food than the past few weeks, and friends and family!  I don't believe in making resolutions at the new year, because I believe you can change your life at anytime, but there is a big resolution I have been thinking of for a while.


I tend to get caught up in the day-to-day lives of other people and how I measure up to them. I spend too much time on Facebook and Instagram, twitter and tumblr, blogs and online news sites, and when I really thought about it, I realize how much happier I am when I am not plugging in. 

This goes back to things I said about my blog, too. I love this as a diary of my life, but I am finding I have less and less to say, and don't want to keep it up when it is not a true measure of my thoughts and activities. It is really at it's best when I am saying important/interesting/exciting things rather than the ordinary. I don't want to feed in to the culture of comparing and measuring up, because what I am doing and what you are doing shouldn't have to be compared. We are all doing fine.

So, this year I am unplgguing a little bit. I am not going to post as much and will only do so when I really have something to say. I think that many people talk when what they are saying doesn't mean anything. I think that the point of an online forum is to speak when what we say can help other people and make a difference. This blog does not do that for me anymore, and I only want to keep it up if it does. 

So I will be seeing you this year, but much less. I am sure I will have races and travels to talk about, but my day-to-day is just that, my own day-to-day. I'll catch ya when I do.

HAPPY 2016!!!