Monday, April 30, 2012

New Challenges

I don't know why I didn't figure this out sooner.

I think I know what the problem is... why I can't seem to get motivated to run much and haven't since last year.

I'm bored.

I know I probably sound bratty or maybe even less than humble to say this, but after 12 full marathons, 20 half marathons, 3 relays, 1 Goofy Challenge and a slew of other random races... I'm bored.  That's not to say that I negate how much of an accomplishment all of these things have been for me or that they would be for someone else.  But right now?  I just don't have the motivation to just train for another half.

Sure, I could try for a PR.  And I have considered trying for one this fall. 

But I'm strongly considering my first ultra.  It started a couple of weeks ago when a Ragnar teammate asked if I'd be interested in doing an Ultra Ragnar this fall in November... 6 runners in 1 van, each person running 6 legs and no break to be the non-active van. 

And then I started wondering about training for that and how I know it'd be different than marathon training.  And then I found out that Fleet Feet has a 50K training program for the Stump Junp 50K in October.  It'd be perfect.  It's a bit pricey to train with them, but I think it could be good for me to have the accountability of a coach and a weekly training run with the group.  I could get myself back in shape, run the half marathon I'm doing in July, and then start 50K training.  Then run that race in October a month before the ultra relay.

Granted, the ultra relay isn't a done deal.  But even so, I think it may be time to try my first 50K.

So I'm sleeping on it... I need to decide something this week, but I'm kind of thinking I'm going to jump in and do it.  It would mean that my fall half marathon will probably have to be run for fun and not a PR since it's the week after the 50K, but I almost think that even training for a PR isn't going to be enough for me right now.

Mulling this one over...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Distractions

There are seasons in life where I think I go into a kind of survival mode... it can be a result of many different kinds of things.  "Survival" is kind of a strong word, but it's the best word I can think to describe what that season can feel like.

It's a time where I can't turn my overanalytical brain off.  It's a time where I have a bit of anxiety.  It's a time where I can't really eat or sleep as well as normal.

So I have to find distractions.  Sometimes I need multiple distractions.

Lately?  It's definitely been some of the stuff I've written about... Trying new things.  Planning trips. 

And watching Friday Night Lights.  I'm almost done with the fourth of five seasons.  I have to say it's one of the best tv shows I've watched in a while.

I have laughed.  I have cried.  I have remembered stuff I hadn't thought about from when I was in high school 11 years ago.  In some ways it's a lot like what I remember high school being like, and in some ways it's a little exaggerated in the way many tv shows can be.

I feel like it's lost a little of its luster in season 4, but I still can't stop watching.

One of my most favorite recent episodes shows the rivalry between two football teams, and it reminds me of the rivalry we had when I was in school.  In the show, one team plants like a bazillion toothpicks in the other team's field.  But in return, that team comes and completely destroys their field.

When I was in school, someone took a chicken to the other team's field.  I thought it was pretty clever... mostly harmless, called them chickens, etc.  But then they came and burned their letters into our field.

I guess it just reminds me that there are always kids who know how to conduct a harmless and funny prank, but then there are other kids who only know how to vandalize.

Anyways.  The point is... I feel like for right now, I'm in a season where I'm trying to distract myself a bit.  And something I've learned as I've gotten older is that it's totally ok to do that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Being a bit more girly

I like getting a good pedicure from time to time to help my runner feet look a little nicer, but I very rarely get a manicure.

Part of this is that I'm not really so girly so as to feel like I need my nails looking perfect all the time.  The main reason is because I can't stand it the second they chip, and they usually chip within a day or two.  So why get them done and painted when I'm going to chip them and take off the polish right within a few days?

On Friday, my sister and I decided to go get manicures.  I've been a little blue lately, and it seemed like a nice treat for myself and was a good way to spend some time with the sister.  She had tried the shellac option the last time she went, so I decided to give it a shot.

For starters, it was really cool that I left with dry nails and wasn't worried about messing them up as I got in the car to head home.

Second, it looked really good.



But the thing that has made it the most worth the bit extra you pay?  I went rock climbing 3 days after getting it done, and they still look just as good today as they did the day I got them.

I have never felt like my nails grow particularly fast, so I'm hoping they'll keep looking good for a solid two weeks as promised.  Part of getting them done was also because I'm taking this impromptu trip to Chicago this weekend, and I thought it'd be fun to be able to go up there and go out with Steph and just feel a little more girly as we dress cute and go have some fun around town.

Do I think I'll do this often?  Probably not... I still prefer to have natural nails with no polish.  But I think if I'm going to get a manicure as a treat from time to time, this is going to be the way to go.  With normal polish, I would have already messed them up and taken it all off by now.

I'm going to a wedding in Canada in June and then straight to the beach, so I may splurge and do it again for that!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trying Something New

When I was at MTSU, we had a really awesome rec center.  I went over there a good bit, but one thing I never did there was try to climb the rock wall.

I think part of it was I felt intimidated to try something new like that... when it was right inside the front door where everyone coming in and out could potentially watch.  (I was nervous like that back then.)

I always thought I'd enjoy rock climbing, but I never really knew quite how to get into it.

My college boyfriend had me try once.  We went out with two of his roommates somewhere within driving distance of Nashville... and we climbed on REAL rock.  As in, one of them did the lead climbing and placed all the little thingies (whatever they're called) to feed the rope through for the rest of us.  (Clearly, these boys knew what they were doing.)

Eventually it was my turn to give it a shot.  I remember I asked him to send the other two boys away... the last thing I needed was three different experienced climbers (and boys at that) telling me what to do.  They went for a hike, and he taught me the basics.

I remember realizing quickly that it's just as much about the work you do with your legs as it is about using your arms.  This was good for me since I have a ton of leg strength and virtually no upper body strength.  I was able to get a little ways up, and I remember thinking it was fun... but that was the only time I ever did that.

(I realize now I have more of a "why not go all in" attitude than I sometimes admit.  You know, what with running a full marathon before every running anything else longer than a 5K... and climbing on real rocks outdoors instead of trying an indoor rock climbing gym.)

So when a friend of mine suggested I give indoor rock climbing a try, I was on board.  Plus, I've just got some stuff going on and have been trying to keep myself busy and plan stuff every evening.

On top of that, I'm also going through my little impulsive streak that a mentioned a few days ago.... so I was pretty easily convinced to go on and buy the 30-day pass so that we can come back a few times over the next month.  (We agreed that after a few times we might feel like we've tried it and want to move on to something else.  We shall see.)

Y'all.  I had a BLAST.  It was exhilarating in a way that I didn't expect.  Not only did I feel like it was a workout and that I was making my body try something new, it was also a rush to have to think strategically and figure out where to place my hands and feet as I scaled on up the wall.

My only disappointment was that there wasn't a bell to ring when I reach the top.

I feel like it was easy to learn.  Within the first 20-30 minutes, I knew how to belay and was also able to get myself to the top of some of the easier climbs.  We tried some harder ones next, and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment to reach the top.  I tried a little bouldering, but WOW is it all about the upper body.  And mine is sad.  Finally, we were trying some harder climbs, but by then I was worn out and was only getting halfway up before having to drop down.

All in all, it was a really fun 2.5 hours, and I can't wait to go back a few more times.  Do I think I'll get into it and need to do it all the time? No.  But is it fun and something I'd maybe go do from time to time now after my pass expires?  Definitely.

I also realized it'd be a fun date night, should you need a date idea.

I'm not easily bored, but I do think sometimes I need to try something new.  I think that's why sometimes with running I care less about PRs and more about trying things like the Goofy or a Ragnar Relay. 

Something I'm currently considering?  Running an ultra relay.  One van. Six runners.  No non-active van break.

Yep.  Ultra.  I said it.

Still brewing, but something about trying this new thing last night has me itching to try new things in running as well.

This post got long.  The point is - TRY NEW THINGS!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy birthday Tucker!

Today my little Tucker is 6 years old!


He was such a tiny little thing when I brought him home in June 2006.  I was getting ready to move into my own apartment for the first time, and I knew I'd be happier with a pet.

Out of the kittens in his litter, he was the one that climbed in my lap and started purring.  He was also very chatty and let me hold him and love on him a lot, so I knew pretty quickly that he was mine.

I had him a few weeks before I finally settled on a name.  He was a VERY active kitten, and he would play and play until he would literally just fall over asleep, all tuckered out.


He's remained a very active and happy cat over the past 6 years.  He still loves to run around, though I can tell he's slowing down a bit. I've also been able to tell in just the last 6 months or so that he's starting to fill out (his belly is definitely bigger!), and I've noticed a few white hairs here and there.  But he definitely still seems to have his youth.  He loves to sit and look out the couch at the world outside, staying alert for hours.

He still follows me room to room.  He still is found waiting at the door when I come home.  He still comes running and meowing anytime I yell out "Tucker, do you want a treat?"  He's still a traitor if I have a boy over, preferring to curl up on them (maybe he feels like he's protecting me?)

And he still loves to curl up and sleep on me.


We've been through a lot in 6 years.  We are living in his third home.  He still goes to stay at my parent's house any time I go over night or if I am going out of town for a trip.  He's seen boyfriends come and go.  He's gotten to know many of my friends, cat lovers and non-cat loves alike.  He's had bladder infections that led to me finding out he has a bladder disease, which means he has prescription cat food to prevent blockages.  (So he's totally fine, but it did scare me when it first happened!)

But I'm hoping that he's only a third of a way through his life and that there is much more in store for our journey in this world together.  He's been my only roommate for 6 years, and I plan on keeping it that way until I find the man I want to live my life with... for now, he's my little Tucker man, and I can't imagine coming home to an empty apartment.  I definitely pray that we have many more years together!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Impulsive

I'm not normally an impulsive person.

I am analytical.  I am calculated.  I like to plan.  It's not that I can't be spontaneous... I totally can.  I don't have to have everything planned out, and the older I get the more I understand just how unpredictable life truly can be.

Nonetheless, I think something in me has changed over the past year.

I'm not planning out and executing blog posts the way I once did.

I'm not planning a race calendar and obsessing over training schedules leading up to them.

Sometimes I forget to open the planner I carry around all the time in my purse.

And so on and so forth.

It's not that I've done a 180 or anything.  By nature, I am still the same.  It's just that it's all a little different.  I'm using the calendar on my iPhone so that it can give me alerts to remember when to do things.  I'm thinking about some races, but I'm not really setting them in stone.  I still turn up on this blog from time to time.

I think it's just that I'm realizing that sometimes you just have to jump.

So I quit my job in January... without having another one lined up or knowing what I would do if I had a hard time finding something else.  Fortunately, it all worked out and now I'm in my dream job (or so I think... I suppose time will tell, haha!)  And it still brought with it some anxiety, but it felt really good to be impulsive.

The most recent example?  Last night in less than an hour I got an idea to book a flight, checked with the friend I'd stay with to see if it was ok, and booked it... it's still a little bit planned because it's not until next weekend, but it's not really like me to go booking flights only 8 days in advance.  Nor is it like me to just kind of spend money and not analyze if it's really a good time to do so.  (Don't worry, I didn't rack up debt to buy a plane ticket.  It's more that I usually have to force myself to spend money, haha.)

I think maybe I'm in a season where being a bit more impulsive is the way I need to be.  I think that as much as I like structure and routine, I'm kind of going through a time where I don't want that as much.  Honestly, this is even evident in this new job I started... I don't really go sit at a desk in an office from 8-5, something that I think was slowly sucking away part of my soul or something, ha!  I work remotely a lot, and I get to be out and about meeting people in the community.

I have no idea where this is all going to lead me, this new sense of impulsiveness.  And don't get me wrong... I'm still Melanie.  I think way too much and all the way around some things... but there's this other part of me that's just jumping and believing that I'm going to land.

So next Friday I'm heading up to Chicago for a long weekend.  Sure, I've been there more times than I can count now and already have plans to go up there in July to lead a team to run in the Chicago Half to raise money for the military (contact me if you're interested!)... but I needed to get away.  And my best friend is AWESOME and has already planned a super fun weekend socializing with her friends and hitting the town.

Sometimes I think you just need to check out... so I'm really looking forward to it and am glad I made this random decision.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Unsubscribe

I did something that I wouldn't have fathomed a few years ago...

I allowed by subscription to Runner's World expire.

It's not that I don't enjoy reading it.  There are often some pretty interesting feature articles in there, and I like being clued in to new websites that might be usual to me.

I definitely think it's an excellent resource for relatively new runners, but I started to feel like it was the same information and it just wasn't relative to me anymore.  Plus, a lot of the content is on their website for free. :)

The thing is that I like the training plans and strategies I use.  I like the gear that I use.  I never found any of their food information especially applicable to my lifestyle.  And if I do want to find something new?  Well, there's the internet.

It's a great magazine, and I would recommend it to anyone just learning about running or getting into it, but I just wasn't finding it all that applicable to me any more.

So I let the subscription expired and saved some money.  It felt good.  And I haven't missed it the past couple of months.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Oh Hi

So yeah... I have been a terrible nonexistent blogger lately.  Maybe I'm in a season where blogging isn't as important to me?  The funny thing is I still read blogs in my Google Reader every day... I just haven't been posting.

What have I been doing?

Well, right now I am sweating.  Apparently in addition to our mild winter this year, we're also jumping straight to summer.  It was like 90 degrees today, and this is after weeks of 70-80 degree weather.  I'm not complaining, but a little spring would have been nice.  Not only that, but my a/c does not appear to be working.  It's running and blowing out cool air, but it's not really cooling off... I think maybe the thermostat is broken.  I called the apartment office about it, and they claimed they fixed it... but seeing as how it's saying it's still 80 in here?  I'm thinking I'm going to be calling again tomorrow.  Fortunately we don't have summer humidity yet, so it's not SO bad... but I know I need to get it fixed sooner than later.  Rent ain't cheap, and while I am not a complainer, I will definitely be a polite pest about getting it fixed.  Whatever they did today didn't do anything.

I also started a new job.  It's definitely a big change, and while it's a good one, it is also incredibly draining.  I have been gleaning a ton of info about the organization and the events that I am taking on, and hopefully I'll be able to really dive in and get started on some things soon.  I'll probably write a post about this new job soon and share a few things... I've been given the awesome opportunity to plan athletic events to raise money to provide counseling to US troops and their families through my new position at Not Alone.  It's super exciting to combine my desire to do something to serve others along with my passion for running and athletic events!

Running.  Hmm.  So I'll admit.  I haven't run since the half marathon in New Orleans almost a full month ago, unless you count running through the parking lot to get to my car in the rain.  Honestly?  It feels good to truly take a break.  I realize I've been pretty scaled back on training since my last marathon in November, but I think I've just really needed to take a true break.  But I'll be working to get back on track soon... there are no plans to train for a PR or to do a lot of distance anytime in the next few months, but it's nice to let myself get to this point where I actually miss running.

So that's where I've been in addition to my social life, the boy, etc.  And watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix.  (Seriously, I finished season one in like a week.) And reading The Hunger Games (I may or may not have stayed up til 3am reading it, and I'm pretty sure I'll finish it tonight.  And then want to go see the movie.)

I'll try to get back on track with some more regular blogging.  I'm hoping some of you are still out there!