Thursday, May 28, 2009

Running, Running... EVERYWHERE

I'll be out of pocket for a few days as I go with my sister to cheer on her boyfriend as he plays for my alma mater in the NCAA baseball tournament this weekend.  Go Blue Raiders!

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to all the lovely ladies that I know are running San Diego this weekend!  I was in SD in 2005 during the race and got to watch part of it, and I know you are in for a real treat.  Good luck to Danica (her first marathon!), Aron, Maritza, and anyone that I have forgotten because I know there are more I can't think of right now.

In other racing news, I signed up for a race today.  On July 4th.  In LONDON.

Heck yes, right?  Bennett and I found a 10-miler that we can easily get to on the subway, so we signed up for a whopping $13.50.  I have no idea what to expect since I've never run in another country, but it should be good times.  And hey, I promised myself I wouldn't slack too much on my first two weeks of marathon training just because I'm in Europe... having this race mixed in will help!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Got My Butt Kicked...

...by a chick named Christie.

In an effort to start exerting more actual effort on my non-running days, I decided to hit up a class at the Y called Ultimate Circuit taught by Christie.  I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

We jumped rope.  We did jumping jacks.  We did squats.  We did the football run.  She sent us out for laps.  And let me tell you... I don't care that 13 laps equals a mile.  When you keep getting sent out for 2 laps every 5 minutes after you've been bouncing around the whole time, it kind of sucks. 

There was the one lap where we were told to skip.  That was nice.  Of course, the next time it was back to 2 laps.  Oh, and run up and down the stairs after each one.

And the lap of lunges.   Let me tell you... one lap goes by quickly when you're running.  When you're told to do lunges for an ENTIRE lap?  You start silently cursing this woman named Christie, even though you're sure she's a perfectly lovely individual.  You'll do it again when you get out of bed tomorrow, I'm sure.

Don't even think for a second that I haven't tried to figure out how to log the 9 laps we actually ran in my mileage log.  I ran.  It counts.  The problem is I don't really know how to convert 9/13 of a mile into decimals.  (Math was never a strength for me in school.  Or in life.)  I'm guessing it's around .75 mile or so.  Anyone know for sure?

Then there were bicep curls.  And tricep work.  And lat work.  And ab work.  OH THE AB WORK!  It was so hard that I believe I am guaranteed a 6-pack when I wake up tomorrow. Either that or severe pain every time I laugh.

Needless to say, I got my hour's worth of sweat and calorie burn today.

Of course, I followed it with the Nachos Cozumel at dinner and then a hot fudge sundae at Sonic.  I did have them hold the whip cream, but I also asked for hot fudge.  Oh well.  This is part of why we run, right?  Dessert.

The speed workout went well yesterday.  I'm thinking a gentle 4-miler tomorrow to gear up for my 9-miler over the weekend.  That is, if I can get my body to lift out of bed tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Fun

What a lovely weekend I had! I hope you all had a nice one, too.

Friday evening I stuffed myself with some yummy food when I went to dinner with my dad. My mom and sister were out of town all week at a baseball tournament, so it was nice to hang out just the two of us.

Saturday, I checked another distance off the list in my quest to build my mileage before I start marathon training: 8 miles! Not only that, but I kept a pretty consistent 10:00 m/m pace the entire time. I was VERY pleased with that. It was a pretty humid run and a reminder that things are about to get HOT around here, but all in all it was a good run. I spent the rest of the day (after an ice bath and donning my recovery socks) hanging out with my friend Danielle who is home for a while from Korea.

Sunday was a lovely lazy day. I had lunch and watched Apollo 13. I realize how incredibly random that is, but I just have had the urge to watch it again for a while so I rented it. I think I just find myself amazed that we can send people into space, and it's a really good movie about the Apollo 13 incident. After that, I spent the evening at a cookout with friends. Good food, good drinks, and lots of Nintendo Wii action.

The only downside? I only got 5 hours of sleep because I was up at 6am to pick up Paige and go volunteer at a Memorial Day 5K. Despite my general sleepyness, it was worth getting up early. We had a great time clipping chips and finally meeting fellow runner and blogger Amy. (She's way cool, just like her blog!)

I had intended on taking a nap, but I headed to the Boro with my folks instead to go to a little celebration for the MTSU baseball team. They won the SunBelt Conference over the weekend, something that's pretty cool for my alma mater. My sister's boy is a senior on the team, so we're excited for him. They got a spot in the NCAA tournament, so I'll be heading to Louisville, KY with my sis on Friday to go watch them. They'll be playing Vanderbilt and have a decent chance of beating them. I'd love to see them go forward in the tournament.

I rounded out my weekend by going to a wedding yesterday evening. It was outside. And it rained. One minute it was bright and sunny, but then a 10-minute shower rolled in and soaked us all. I have to say, even though it wasn't ideal, it made for a nice memory I'm sure. Everyone just kind of rolled with it. It kind of took out the sound speaker, so we hummed "Here Comes the Bride" after the shower passed and the bride was able to walk down the aisle. It ended up being a lot of fun, even if my efforts at making my hair look good were in complete vain after the shower.

I love weekends like this one... I little relaxing, a little busy, a little running, and a lot of fun.

Looks like I'll be running my 9 miles this weekend around Louisville... or on a hotel treadmill. Today I'm going to do another little speed session of 400s to continue to do some slight work on my speed. I'm not ready to start going crazy on that just yet, but it felt good last week to make my legs work a bit faster. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm back in a fitness groove. I still have a ways to go, but it's nice to not feel so sluggish anymore. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Rest of My Birthday

As promised, I thought I would share a few photos from the rest of my birthday.  There's not really a lot to report.  I basically just went with my family and some friends to Olive Garden for a very yummy dinner (and dessert!) on the evening of my birthday.

Awesome bag my grandparents gave me!

I had joked with my sister's boyfriend asking him if he was going to give me the same thing he gave me last year - nothing.  He surprised me with an awesome card and $1.  Sweet.  I was cracking up!

Dad seems a little surprised that mom stuck $100 in the card.

Yay for new jeans!  They're Lucky brand, the first I've found that fit well after a LONG search.

New running shirt!

Getting a laugh from my sister's card

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Exciting News

So, let's say you are only working part-time because the economy stinks and your boss needs you to work less to save some money. And let's say your boss is all like, "Hey, if you want to take some time off unpaid, go for it!" And let's say that you had already earned a week's vacation anyways that can be combined with some unpaid time off.. What do you do?

You book a trip to Europe.

Heck. Yes.

I had been toying with the idea for close to a month ever since I found out that I might either totally lose my job or have to go part-time. I figure that there's no telling if there will ever be another time in my life where I have no husband, no kids, and no job commitment. And Europe is on sale right now! Last time I went? I spent $1100 on my round trip airfare. This? I got my round trip flight AND a direct flight from Dublin to London for a little under $700.

So I'm going to Europe. I realize this might seem a tiny bit foolish since technically I'm only making enough money right now to pay my bills. However, I'm super frugal and very financially responsible. The way I see it, this is exactly what I save so much money every month. I want to be able to do things like this.

Next month, I'll be flying out to Shannon, Ireland to travel around southern Ireland for 6 days before flying over to London. There I will be meeting up with some of my travel companion's friends to stay and explore wherever they can suggest that we haven't seen before (I've been to England twice already). We might also make a day trip in England happen as well since we've got 5-6 days there before we fly home.

I am pumped. It's not every day that you can do something like this, and it's really not every day that you can talk a friend into going with you.

I'll be reading up on Ireland for the next few days because we need to plan our route and book some hostels to stay in during our days there. If anyone has ever been to Ireland or England and has any suggestions for us, I'd love to hear them. Again, we're staying in London most of the time, so if you know of things that are a little off the beaten path or if you know of a great day-trip destination, send it my way. Neither of us have been to Ireland and we're up for pretty much anything if you have suggestions.

Believe me... you might miss me while I'm gone, but the posts and pictures I'll have when I return will make up for it, promise.

And to all my fellow runners - this does not mean I'm ignoring my training plan that technically starts the same week I'm flying out. My travel buddy also runs marathons so we've agreed to get a few runs in while we're there. Running in Europe? Heck. Yes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First Speed Workout

It wasn't my first speed workout ever, but it was my first speed workout since, oh, November. Before the stupid cracked femur neck. (Curses.)

Anyways, I showed my femur neck who's boss last night. After an hour of pilates (which was a bit easier than I had hoped, so I may try the other pilates class that I hear is tougher), I hit the treadmill for a gentle one-mile warm-up. I kept it at a 10:00 m/m pace, and then I started on some 400m repeats. (For those not down with the track lingo, a 400m is also a quarter-mile/ 0.25 mile.)

I did 6x400m repeats with each repeat at the 9:00 m/m pace. I certainly used to do repeats faster, but I'm still trying to make sure I don't overdo it with increasing pace and mileage. At the same time, I knew that my body would experience shock when the first speed session of marathon training hits if I didn't go on and start doing some semblance of a weekly speed workout now.

It definitely felt good to pick it up a bit, even if it was just for 2:15 at a time. In the end, I logged 3 miles in about 31 minutes (including the short walk breaks I took between repeats). I am pleased.

Meanwhile, I'll be back tomorrow with some exciting and big news! And no, I am not engaged (wouldn't THAT be big news since I'm not seeing anyone), pregnant (that would be an even bigger surprise considering the lack of baby-making activities), or moving.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ladies, Help Me Out

So here's the deal... I've been using a Gilette Mach 3 razor for years to shave my legs.

Lately? I get out of the shower and find myself with razor burn... and when I put lotion on my legs like I always do post-shower, I can still feel stubble.

This happens even when I use a brand new razor.

Very annoying.

So I'm looking to switch to something new since this one is suddenly just not performing. Razors are expensive, so I hate to trial and error it.

So please help me out... tell me what razor works for you. Any insight on why you think it works well would be appreciated. I shave often this time of year since I'm in my running shorts pretty regularly, so it's important that I find something that will give me a nice, smooth shave.

Help please!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Monday

I thought about taking an arms and abs class this morning, but when it came time to set the alarm last night I decided against it.  Sure, it would work parts of the body I didn't wear out with the 7-miler and yoga yesterday... but I usually run on Saturdays and take Sundays off, so I decided to take today off instead.

So I slept until 10am. (Ah, the life of the part-time employee.)  Let me tell you... Mondays goby much faster when you stay in bed later.

I followed that with eating two blueberry toaster strudels, the true breakfast of champions. Seriously, I grew up on those things, and I just can't let them go.

After working my four hour shift, I'm now at home daydreaming about vacations and looking forward to heading out in a bit to the REI to pick up the new watch I ordered.  I'm super pumped and hope that it will be every bit as awesome as I think it will be.  It's the Tech4O watch that I read a review about on one of your blogs.  I'm sorry I can't remember which one of you reviewed it... feel free to say hi if it was you.  Right now you can get it on REI's outlet website for $50 and then get it shipped to any REI store (if you're fortunate to have one nearby) for free.  Even if you don't have a REI, the sale price is still decent so why not order from them than to order the watch for full price elsewhere?

I'll let you all know how well I like it once I have had time to learn how to use it and get a few runs in with it.

I'm feeling good about my running.  I have plans for all my runs this week and will also hit up pilates at least once or twice.  I think focusing on my core strength might be the way to go for now.  Once I adjust to all of that, I'm going to try to add a bike workout and maybe even a swim workout to really try to round out my training as I continue to work on my base before my marathon training starts.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Running a Bit Behind....

Apologies everyone for my absence the past few days from the blogosphere.  Honestly, things have just been kind of busy even though I am only working 20 hours a week right now.  I promise to do better about posting and commenting soon. :)

Meanwhile, I still need to get pictures on my computer so that I can tell you how the rest of my birthday went!  I'll get on that, too.

I've been busy since my birthday going to board meetings at the non-profit I serve at as well as a baseball game and a wedding.

My sister's boyfriend plays for the university I also attended, and they've been doing really well this season.  He usually puts our family on the list when we're coming to games so that we can get in free, but he forgot to include me with the parents on Friday.  I decided to go out on a limb and see if my old college ID would get me in.  They don't swipe them like they do at football games.  So I pulled it out, flashed it, and they waved me on in.  Yes, I realize some of you might think this is wrong, but the way I see it they got plenty of money from me over the 4 years I was there... not getting another $5 from me isn't going to kill them.  Besides, I bought the over-priced concessions, so I call it even.

Yesterday I traveled 3 hours to go to a wedding that my sister was in.  It was a pretty wedding, but it definitely made for a long day.  I drove my sister's car back because she was exhausted from the weekend's festivities and not getting a lot of sleep.

Today? Today I ran 7 miles!!  I was very excited, even though my left leg is still having some aches that I don't like.  I know it's just because that leg is still a little weaker than the other because of the time I had to spend off of it, but dang it's getting annoying.  My knee bothered me a bit today... it didn't stop me or anything, but I'd be happier if I wasn't aware of a particular knee during a run.

Nonetheless, I am now up to 7 miles.  I ran it in 1:15, which was about 5 minutes slower than I would have liked.  However, I'm trying to really relax and take it easy until I can get up to 10 miles or so.  I feel like it's important to focus on my endurance right now and not get my panties in a wad over my pace. I have PLENTY of time to improve my pace.  It won't do me any good to run fast if I can't go the full distance.

It felt really good to be out there, even if my leg was bothering me a bit.  I saw a piece of rope that I thought was a snake, then I saw an actual snake, and I saw 6 geese just hanging out and not giving two flips that I ran by.  We've had more rain than usual lately, so there were ponds all around in places there shouldn't be ponds.  I also had to run out of my way once to get around some flooding on the greenway.  However, at sunny and 65 degrees, it was a nice day for a run.  I followed it up by a cold water bath (because I didn't have any ice), an hour of yoga, some foam rolling, my compression socks and an ice pack on the achy knee.

I need to start getting more serious about working cross training in as I'm increasing my mileage.  I want to make sure I'm doing other things to improve my strength and fitness.  With my new schedule, I should be able to make it to more spin, pilates, and strength classes at the gym.

I'm determined to catch up on my Google Reader this week as well as post about the rest of my birthday, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today at 5:40pm, I will turn 26.

Crazy.

Even crazier is that this is the first year where I don't really feel any different. I think 25-27 seem kind of interchangeable in some ways. Or maybe it's that so manye of my friends are 27-29 and I don't ever feel like they're older than me, so I don't feel much older by turning from 25 to 26.

Anyways, it's my birthday! I stayed up kind of late last night watching Jimmy Fallon because the totally awesome Andy Samberg was on there. I'm pretty sure I'd marry that man. They performed "I'm On a Boat" live for the first time ever. It was totally worth staying up late to see.

I started my day with a bagel and then headed to my awesome hair stylist to get my hair cut and colored. It's not as big of a deal as it sounds. It was just time for a regular trim. And I had her do a semi-permanent color to match my natural color exactly... we were just trying to cover up the greys. Yes, I have grey hair. They aren't terrible yet, but it runs in our family to turn grey early... and I had enough that I wanted to cover them up. Even though my color isn't different, it still seems prettier in some way... richer and shinier. :)

I've been having a relatively quiet day here at work, and tonight I'll round out the celebrations with dinner at the Olive Garden. YUM.

Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! My Facebook page has been blown up today, and it makes me feel very loved.

If you scroll down to the previous post, you'll see I've decided to join the 101 in 1001 bandwagon. I wanted to do this back at the new year, but I took forever to decide what to put on the list. Starting on my birthday seems sensible. I reserve the right to alter my list at any time, but I feel pretty good about getting started on this journey.

Here's to hoping that the 26th year of my life brings many good things. I'm ready.

Melanie's 101 in 1001

I didn't get everything done in 1001 days, so I am continuing to update the list as I accomplish things!

Since I’m a Runner...

1. Run the PWP 11.2 mile loop with someone so I can learn it (finally) 7/11/09
2. Run at least eight marathons - Chicago 09, Huntsville 09, San Francisco 10, Flying Monkey 10, Huntsville 10, Disney World 11, Chicago 11, Flying Monkey 11
3. Run a 23:30 5K - 23:36 Run for Mercy 5K 10/2010
4. Break 1:50 in a half-marathon
5. Break 4:00 in a marathon
6. Run in at least eight races I’ve never run in before - 7/4/09 London 10-Miler, 7/25/09 Striders Picnic 5K, 9/7/09 Franklin Classic 10k, 9/26/09 Shelby Bottoms Boogie 15K, Chicago Marathon 10/11/09, Team Nashville 10-Miler 11/14/09, Frostbite Half 2/13/10, Oak Barrel Half 4/3/10, River Bank Run 25K 5/18/10, San Francisco Marathon 7/25/10, Nashville Women's Half Marathon 9/25/10, Run for Mercy 5K 10/30/10, Flying Monkey Marathon 11/21/20, Disney Half and Full Marathon (Goofy Challenge) 1/8-9/11, Key Alliance 5K 5/14/11, BoroDash 11/24/11
7. Join the Nashville Striders for a group run at least once a year - Fall 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011
8. Get a massage (or other special reward!) after every completed marathon - Chicago 09, Huntsville 09, San Francisco 10, Flying Monkey 10, Huntsville 10, Disney 11, Chicago 11, Flying Monkey 11

To Be Fit and Healthy...

9. Go for a month without soda - April 13 - May 13, 2010
10. Make cross training and/or yoga/pilates a weekly habit
11. Try an Ultra
12. Try a new kind of workout/class - BarreAmped May/June 2011

To Be a Tourist in My Own City...

13. Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame - February 2011
14. Visit the Yazoo beer brewery
15. Visit Cheekwood - Fall 2010 for Chihuly
16. Eat at the Melting Pot again - Girl's Night Out October 10, Erin's Birthday 2011
17. Listen to music at The Bluebird Cafe - January 2, 2012
18. Visit Arrington Vineyards - June 2010
19. Go to Nashville Shores - September 2011
20. Go to a Nashville Predators game - March 2010, October 2010, November 2010
21. Go to a Nashville Sounds game - August 2009
22. See something in the new Symphony Center - April 2010
23. Eat at Loveless Cafe - May 2010, August 2010

I Love to Travel...

24. Take a spur of the moment road trip - Bowling Green, KY/Diamond Caverns April 2011
25. Go to NYC again - December 2012 with Adam (and got engaged!)
26. Visit 3 new states - Oregon (Aug. 2009), Washington (Aug. 2009), Missouri (Oct. 2010), West Virginia (Dec. 2010), Wisconsin (June 2011) 
27. Return to Europe - Ireland and England Summer 2009
28. Visit a new country I’ve never been to - Summer 2009 (Ireland), January 2010 (Cayman Islands, Mexico, Belize, Roatan/Honduras)
29. Go to New Orleans - March 2012
30. Visit St. Louis and do the tourist stuff (the zoo, museum, Budweiser, the arch, etc.)
31. Go out of town for a New Year’s Eve - Snowshoe Ski Trip 2010
32. Visit Cedar Point or another equally cool amusement park
33. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast somewhere

I Want to Be a Student...

34. Learn how to sew on buttons
35. Learn how to drive a stick-shift
36. Learn how to make 10 new dinner recipes - Ketchup chicken, mexican casserole/dip, poppy seed chicken, french toast, honey glazed porkchops, chicken enchiladas, buffalo chicken, vegetable ragout, Red Lobster cheese biscuits, round steak
37. Learn how to change the design on my blog
38. Take a dance class (ballet, tap, hip hop, etc.)
39. Learn more about how to start a business - November 2011
40. Learn to make a homemade pie (preferably from Miss Millie’s recipes)
41. Take a surfing lesson, preferably in Hawaii or California
42. Learn to do something new that I've NEVER done before - March 2010 (hit golf balls)
43. Read the Bible (even the boring books)

I Want to Be a Giver...

44. Give five “just because” gifts  
45. Give money to people who are fundraising at least 4 times a year - August 2009, 2 in September 2009, October 2009, January 2010, March 2010, June 2010, 2 in August 2010, October 2010, December 2010, April 2011, August 2011, September 2011, October 2011, November 2011
46. Cut off some hair to donate to Locks of Love or comparable non-profit
47. Complete at least 50 hours of volunteer work - Run for Mercy 5K 2009 (Event Chair)
48. Mail a card/letter to someone four times a year (doesn't have to be the same person) - Mrs. Belcher May 2009, thank you cards for the Mercy 5K October 2009, Aron after her BQ, December 2009, assortment of people Christmas 2009, interview thank you January 2010, Brian throughout 2010, thank you cards to my Run for Mercy team in women's half September 2010, thank you cards to Run for Mercy 5K team, thank you to Rebecca for taking me in during snow storm, February 2011, LG thank you April 2011
49. Donate $1 for each task not completed to a non-profit

Since I’m Relationship-Oriented...

50. Fall in love - Fall 2012 Adam!!!
51. Mail a real love letter
52. Kiss in the rain
53. See Stephanie and Amanda at least once a year if schedules allow - Steph: October 2009, December 2009, May 2010, Both: July 2010, Both: April 2011, Steph: May 2011, Steph: June 2011, Steph: September 2011, Both: October 2011
54. Make contact with local friends I don’t see often at least once a month
55. Meet at least one blog friend per year in person - August 2009, October 2009, May 2010, July 2010
56. Plan at least five $5 dates - June 2010 (Wave Country), Spring 2011 dinner/movie nights
57. Find a church and get involved - CrossPoint
58. Make at least one new good friend - DONE :)

It’s All About the Benjamins...

59. Save money for laser eye surgery (and do it if I can afford it)
60. Remain debt-free (exception: buying a home or reasonably priced car)
61. Maintain a 3-month emergency fund
62. Continue saving for large future purchases
63. Sell anything I can that I no longer need - Yard Sale June 2010, Yard Sale September 2010
64. Put money in my Roth IRA each year - 2009, 2010

I Like Culture...

65. See a Broadway play (preferably on Broadway, but in another city will count) - Wicked - September 2009
66. Listen to every song I’ve got in iTunes at least once
67. Go to the ballet (not The Nutcracker since I've seen it twice) - Cinderella 10/27/11
68. Go to three concerts per year - Live on the Green 9/24/09, Live on the Green 10/1/09, Imogen Heap 11/20/09, John Mayer 2/10/10, Live on the Green 9/2/10, Live on the Green 9/30/10, Live on the Green 10/7/10, NeedtoBreathe 11/19/10, Bright Eyes 3/17/11, Lady Gaga 4/19/11, NKOTBSB 6/21/11, Live on the Green Fall 2011, Lady Antebellum 11/14/11
69. See Dave Matthews Band anytime they are in Nashville

I Like Organization

70. Organize my receipt system into something that works better - July 2009
71. Clean out things/clothes I don’t use/need once per season (sell or donate items) - June 2010, January 2011


Further My Career...

72. Publish something I’ve written - Pets Across America 2009
73. Get paid for something I’ve written - Pets Across America 2009

74. Accept a new job that I love - February 2010
75. Find a job with benefits - February 2010


Just for Fun...

76. Take pictures inside a photo booth - July 2010 (SF marathon)
77. Host a true dinner party - October 2009
78. Go ice skating again - March 2011
79. Go snow skiing again - December 2010
80. Go water skiing/wakeboarding again - July 2010 wakeboarding, July 2011 wakeboarding
81. Go roller skating three times - May 2010, December 2012, April 2013
82. Go to a drive-in movie - May 2013
83. Go white water rafting again - July 2009
84. Try 10 new beers - Ireland and England Summer 2009: Bulmers, Smithwick, Kilkenny, Zubr, Boh, Blarney Blonde, Guinness, Plain Porter, Porterhouse Red, Chiller, Magners, and Strongbow.
84a. Try 10 new beers in the States - Easy Blonde (8/09), Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale (10/09), Yazoo Dos Perros (10/09), Sam Adams Octoberfest (8/10), French Broad Rye Hopper (8/10), Purple Haze (8/10), New Belgium Sunshine (9/10), Sweetwater Blue (11/10), Yazoo Seasonal (11/10), Stella (3/11)85. Visit an amusement park I’ve never been to - Wave Country June 2010
86. Try a new hair color - August 2010
87. Scan all of my favorite photos from pre-digital years into my computer
88. Finish my college senior year scrapbook and scrapbook of races up-to-date
89. Send a postcard to PostSecret
90. Ride a horse
91. Sing karaoke
92. Buy myself flowers three times - July 2010
93. Carve a pumpkin one Halloween - Halloween 2012
94. Paint pottery with someone
95. Watch one new movie per month, minimum
96. Read one book per month, minimum
97. Complete another cross-stitch item
98. Buy my own domain name - January 2011 - www.marathonmelanie.com 
99. Name my car - The Cougar (November 2009), Hadley the Honda (February 2011)

To Be Accountable on the List...

100. Blog about each item (do this in monthly re-caps of my progress)
101. Make a new list!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Par-tay in Nashville

So my birthday isn't really until Wednesday, but I find Wednesdays are not really an ideal time to hit up downtown Nashville with your closest friends to celebrate.

Friday evening, we all headed to my favorite place... The Big Bang.  We settled in pretty early so that we could get tables since we were going to have about 10 of us hanging out and celebrating. We stayed for a little over 4 hours!  I had so much fun hanging out, listening and singing along to great music and laughing a ton.  I love my friends!

It's always fun to celebrate something like this because it means I get to bring a lot of my friends together.  I have friends in all sorts of different circles, and it's neat to see everyone meet each other and have a good time together.  I definitely felt like everyone else had as good of a time as I did, and that made me happy.

After we left the Big Bang, most everyone headed home... but four of us moved on to Cadillac Ranch (yep, we have places called that in Nashville) to do a little dancing before heading home for the night.

It was definitely a super fun night, and I couldn't have envisioned it being any better.

I spent the rest of the weekend going to my cousin's graduation, having a birthday dinner with my grandparents, and going to a MTSU baseball game today with my family.  It was definitely a terrific weekend!

Also, I totally stayed up and watched Justin Timberlake on SNL last night.  If you didn't see it, go to hulu.com NOW and watch all the clips they've got on there.  You won't be disappointed.

Here are some photos from the birthday party!










I have no clue who this guy is, but it was his 21st birthday and he had this awesome hat so I asked to take a picture in it. :)

This was at the end of the night before we all crashed.  I had decided to put on a friend's shorts on top of my jeans.  Aside from that weird fashion choice, I think this is a neat candid shot.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Stormy Morning

I had intentions of starting my whole "go to the gym before showering, having lunch and heading in for my shorter work day" today. I should have known better than to try to start something like that on a Friday because all I got was a big fat fail.

I woke up to a thunderstorm around 5am. Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but it is... I usually sleep through them. We're talking I come into work and the guys are talking about the huge storm and I'm all, "what storm?"

But this storm? Colossal. I'm talking CONSTANT thunder and lightning. There was so much lightning, I could see it even with my eyes closed. My windows were shaking from the thunder. There was no way I was going back to sleep with all that noise. (Side note: I won the 7th grade spelling bee with the word lightning.)

I finally fell back asleep, but the disruption made me lose some valued and much needed sleep... so when the alarm went off, I turned it off.

I feel a little guilty, but at the same time? I'm going out tonight to celebrate my birthday with friends. So I feel like sleeping in was probably wise since we'll have a late night. And I'll get a run in on Sunday. And I can start my new gym in the morning routine on Monday, which makes more sense anyways.

In the meantime, there's still rain in the forecast for the weekend. I love a nice rainy day, but it feels like it's been raining for weeks now. I'm ready to see it all move out.

Have a great weekend. I should have a fun post and pictures after tonight's birthday mayhem downtown. :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Four Years Ago

On May 7th, 2005... I completed my education when I graduated with my B.S. in Journalism.

And yes, I realize that I have a sick way of remembering dates. It's worse than just remembering what date something important happened. I often remember exactly when unimportant things happened.

It's crazy to think of how different my life is now than it was on that day 4 years ago. Sure, I'm not using that degree I earned... but I will one day. I've been happy with where I've ended up. A degree is a degree sometimes.

I've experienced heartbreak since then. Unfortunately, more than once.

I've had a terrible job working for someone awful, but I learned from it and eventually found the one I'm in now and have been super happy for close to 3 years.

I've made new friends. I've seen friends get married. I've seen friend freaking have babies.

There's a lot of unanswered questions in my life. Will turning 26 next week feel any different than being 25? Will I be able to keep my current job for as long as I'd like to? What will my next job be? When will I meet the love of my life? When will I get to go overseas again?

I know the answers will come when the time is right. I can't say my life is what I thought it'd be at this point, but all in all I'm happy. I am blessed. I know the future will be bringing more ups and downs. Maybe things don't always go the way that I might have anticipated yesterday, a month ago, a year ago, or even four years ago.... but I think where I've ended up is pretty good. And I look forward to seeing where I end up next.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"The future is no place to place your better days..."

One of the many reasons why I'm such a DMB fan? His amazing lyrics like that one...

So I've mentioned a few times over the past few weeks that things have not been going as well as I'd like lately. One or two of these things are still issues, but I still don't find it quite right to discuss on here.

However, I'm ready to talk about one of them.

I'm no longer employed full-time.

For a few days, I thought I might be completely losing my job. I work for a small company, and we have not been immune to all the stuff going on in the economy. I know my boss hates to let any of us go, and he told us that if we had another offer somewhere then take it. One of the guys I work with is married and has a little one, so he moved forward with another job.

Being single and having little expenses, I was prepared to go on unemployment and spend some time really thinking hard about what the future holds for me. I do a lot of administrative tpye stuff in my current position, and while I love doing it in this particular role at this business, I have NO desire to do it anywhere else. My heart is in the publishing industry, and that's where I want to be eventually.

Fortunately, things aren't so bad that I need to completely walk away. My boss and I have arranged for me to work 20 hours a week for the time being. If things get worse, then I'll leave. If things get better, I'll increase my hours again. It means half my pay since I'll be working half the hours, but I am incredibly frugal and save a ton each month, so I'm ok to live on less for a few months. I think I can swing it without having to dip into savings as long as I don't go overboard on spending, but that's also what the savings is there for...

I'm actually really ok with it all now. It was a little disconcerting at first, but now I've figured out that I can sleep in a bit and then go get a run in or go to the gym each day. I'm going to be in better shape than ever before I think! Then I'll shower, have lunch, and come in to work 4 hours each afternoon. I'll still be done at 3:30 (and will already have my run or gym time done), so I will have time to do whatever else I need to do.

It's easy to sit here and wonder what the future holds... I know that there's a good chance I'll ultimately have to find another job eventually. But I can't really think much about all of that. I want to be present. I want to live my life now. I do think there's a world of change on the horizon for my life (and I'll admit, sometimes it takes me a little time to adapt to big changes). For the meantime, I want to make the most of where I'm at now. It's pretty awesome that I'm going to have a lot of extra time on my hands and that my daily schedule is going to be the way it is for a little while.

I'm also contemplating takig a trip. I don't want to say too much until I sort out the details and figure out the when and the where and such, but I figure that now is probably one of the best times for me to go do something really fun. Sure, I probably shouldn't spend the money when I'm bringing home less, but that's part of why I stay on top of my savings so well. Plus, all things travel are getting less and less expensive right now. I love a good deal.

I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed by how my life has kind of turned upside down a bit lately, but at the same time I'm kind of excited about the changes. It felt good to sleep in this morning. I know it's going to be great tomorrow to sleep in, go run a few miles, go to work and then have the whole afternoon and evening free to run some errands with my mom and have dinner.

I'll probably keep my eyes and ears open for odd jobs to earn some extra cash. I'm looking into a tutoring program, and I figure I'll let the people I used to babysit for know that I have daytime availability again.

In other news, I turned on the weather today and it shows rain for the next 7 days. It's been raining since last week. Seriously, it's getting old.

When I went for my 5-mile run yesterday, I went to our local greenway. I planned to run 2.5 miles out and then turn around to run back to my car. I only got to about 1.25 and couldn't go any further because the creek was flooded and covered the path, and there was no way to get to where the greenway picked up again on the other side. I mean, I could have swam across, but that seemed excessive. So I ran back and then turned around and repeated everything again. With all the rain in the forecast, it's looking like I might not get to run more than 1.25 miles out on that path for a while.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kicking Off the Birthday Month

Those of you who were around here last year know that I'm pretty good at turning my birthday into a month-long ordeal. This year, my birthday hasn't really registered quite as high on my radar... I suppose because 26 isn't as big of a deal as 25. I also haven't been thinking about it as much since I've had so many other things on my mind. However, I still think May babies are best and am determined to make May a spectacular month.

Here's how I've already started:

Sunday evening, I was already near downtown having dinner with a friend. I decided about an hour before it was supposed to start that I was going to try to get a ticket to see Death Cab for Cutie at the Ryman Auditorium. This is one of my favorite places to see a show. Since it's on the smaller side, there's really not a bad seat in the house. I walked up to the box office and scored a ticket in row 8, DEAD CENTER, for only $34. I then spent 4 hours watching Ra Ra Riots, Matt Costa and Death Cab. My spontaneous decisions lately have definitely been worth it, and I feel like I got May off on a good start. The concert was definitely a nice little present to myself.

In other news, the weekend was incredibly rainy. Someone I know actually made a post on Facebook about how she didn't know we lived in Seattle. I used the time to catch up on the month's worth of laundry that had accumulated.

My boss and I go to lunch together once a week (it's a nice little perk of the job), and today we headed to a local mexican joint since it's Cinco de Mayo and all. I realized halfway through our meal that the 4 men seated beside us kept staring at us. It was a little unnerving, and I couldn't believe they didn't stop when they noticed I was staring back. I'm sure they were wondering what was up... I mean, I am close to 26 and he's 29. But I never can figure out why people seem to think it's so odd we're out eating lunch. I could TOTALLY pass for his daughter. We're both short, skinny and have dark hair. He's got 2 daughters the exact same age as me and my sister. While I don't look like either of them, I could still pass for being his daughter if people only saw me.

I ran 5 miles today for the FIRST time since last November when I ran a 5-mile race and realized something was horribly wrong with my hip. It was exciting. I finally felt confident bumping up to 5 miles, and it went pretty smoothly. I finished it in about 48 minutes. I probably could have pushed the pace, but right now I'm more concerned about increasing my endurance. I'll worry about picking up my speed later.

Tonight I'm heading out to do a little celebrating for Cinco de Mayo, yet another fun way to kick off my birthday month.

I realized I've bounced around a lot in this post. Sorry! All of these tidbits couldn't really stand alone as their own posts.