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Halloween is here! One of my favorite days of the whole year. October 31st marks the beginning of the holiday season for the next two months in a lot of ways, which means that we will all be a little overstimulated and hopefully surrounded by some extra love. The end of October is the perfect storm between football, basketball, cooler weather, festivals and holiday excitement. Some people don’t care for the commercialism of it all, but that part doesn’t really bother me. Any reason to celebrate is good enough for me.
Tonight I’m looking forward to seeing my niece Lily dressed up as Thomas the Train, with my brother Dave as Percy and Amber as Emily. To say that she is obsessed with that show would be a complete understatement… Dave says the first word that comes out of her mouth in the mornings is Thomas. When the show comes to on TV, she yells Jen Jen, Thomas! Mimi, Thomas! Daddy, Thomas! Mommy, Thomas! Pop pop, Thomas! Everything is centered around Thomas. She is so adorable. Mom coached her last night on how to trick or treat, so we will see how that goes. Little Lily Bean will be two next weekend! Time flies.
I love to be scared. I used to hate horror movies growing up, but now I can’t get enough of them. There is nothing like the thrill of danger that doesn’t really exist. I watched a really great scary movie a few days ago called V/H/S co directed by Birmingham native Adam Wingard. It’s the scariest film I’ve seen this year, and it’s brand new. We watched via Movies on Demand, though I think most places are carrying it this Halloween. If you love horror, you must watch it! Be prepared to scream like a little girl.
Have a safe and fun night! I wish you lots of treats and smiles.
I am doing something this year that I’ve never done before… I am making no plans for New Years Eve. Why is that so scary? Well, there is nothing worse in my mind than being alone on that specific holiday. It’s not that I haven’t been invited to do things, because there are options, but this year I want to be flexible. I also don’t want to put any expectations on it like I usually do. I think I get so excited about the New Year because it’s like getting to press a reset button… and you get to dream of all the things you’d like to accomplish or experience in the upcoming year. I remember in high school my best friend and I would write down our top 10 wishes on New Years Eve and burn them at midnight so they would come true. I’m not really sure why burning them made it any more lucky, maybe we just like the mystery of it all. As I did last year, I plan to do 2011 reflections and 2012 hopes everyday next week. It will be an emotional journey, but an exciting one as well.
Blogging is great, if you have any interest in doing it I couldn’t recommend it more. It is a good way to share common experiences, passions, and ideas while documenting your life. But I can’t for the life of me go back and read past entries… it makes me cringe. It’s just like your childhood diary, everything seems so cheesy after you’ve written it. But I find that others see value in it, and it is so rewarding to know that a little piece of your life exists indefinitely. It has also helped me to become more authentic in general and really own who I am.
Christmas was WONDERFUL up until last night when my dad and I & got into a fight over a Chicago style pizza. Everyone was so tired… doing a whole lot of nothin’ in tight quarters for over 24 hours will give anyone cabin fever. Without boring you with all of the details, Mike and I accidentally ate one of my dad’s pizzas that turned out to be a Christmas present from my future brother-in-law. He had carefully packaged them (there were 4) in a cooler and drove the pizzas all the way down here himself. Of course I wouldn’t have eaten the damn pizza if I knew its sentimental value… but it was already digesting in our stomachs when I discovered the severity of the situation. My dad did his best to disguise his hurt feelings that eventually turned into anger, and when I got wind that he was upset I confronted him about it. That’s when all hell broke loose – there were tears and I ended up leaving the house for the rest of the night. All of the innocent bystanders were left bewildered & confused. We eventually made-up via text message… and now it’s just downright funny that all of the drama was stirred up over a freakin’ sausage pizza. Of course I’m sorry that I ate it, and of course he’s sorry that he let a large piece of dough w/ marinara sauce get him so worked up. Ah – the joys of Christmas!!! I am very grateful to have a family that rallies behind forgiveness when a silly fight like this one breaks out, and then have the sense of humor to laugh about it later.
Today I am taking a “me” day full of relaxation & naps. In between snoozes I’ll head to the gym to get in a 5-6 mile run & a 30 minute swim. It’s gonna be just what the doctor ordered!!!
What would I do without a space heater & hazelnut decaf coffee on a chilly Monday morning? This week is already starting off on a high note, and I can feel Christmas just around the corner. I know the holidays aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for me they are a very special time of year. I love being around my family and taking part all of the traditions we have developed over the years. Christmas Eve is always the best – we enjoy a wonderful meal and then we all snuggle in our PJ’s (not together, of course… that would just be weird) while drinking eggnog. Christmas morning we open presents & eat a hot breakfast at my mom & dad’s. This year we have the special addition of two little ones – Anna Banana & Lily Bean, so that is sure to make it extra fun! :)
The most exciting part of all is that 2011 is just around the corner. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to make resolutions for New Year’s Eve. Nothing fills my heart up with more joy than thinking about the future and all of the possibilities! I will be sharing my list with all of you that evening, and I hope some of you will share some of yours in return. It’s always inspiring to hear what other people’s hopes & dreams are.
My legs are only a little sore today, so I’m considering going to spin class this evening as active recovery. I plan to keep my regular running schedule this week, no need to change anything up because of the holiday. I took at peek at my Half Ironman training schedule and I was right about it starting on the 26th (this Sunday). Closer to time I will share how I plan to incorporate that with my already existing marathon training.
In honor of Christmas, I want to share a few of my FAVORITE THINGS!
1. Hot bubble baths
2. Being fit
3. My nieces :)
4. Family & friends
6. Listening to awesome music while running
7. Racing against myself
8. Hopes & dreams
9. Vegetarian Chili
10. Working on my book!!
11. My Mac
12. My job
13. My coworkers!!
15. Sitting on floor vents in the winter
17. My new body :D
20. Post long-run meals
22. My awesome running partner Vero
23. Frozen yogurt w/ coconut
24. Anything Amy’s
25. Crossing things off of my to-do list
27. My pale skin (being serious!)
30. Of course, The Carb Lovers Diet
31. YOU for reading my blog. :)
32. 2011 and everything it has in store for all of us…
Not on the list:
Shoes laces, because they have not been kind to me lately. ;)
I’ve enlisted Mike to help me stay the course this weekend. After several glasses of champagne last night at my sister’s holiday party in Columbus, GA, I thought it would be funny to tease him by sticking random pieces of naughty food in my mouth and then showing it to him before I ate it. It became a hilarious game… or at least it was to me. He kept yelling, “Jen, spit that out! You can’t eat that!” If I could only imitate the sound of his voice when he actually said it, you would be laughing too.
It’s actually been pretty easy to eat well at parties following a few tips & tricks that I learned from Holley Grainger at Cooking Light. Click here to watch one of her holiday videos! I think you will find a lot of her advice very useful.
This morning Mike and I passed a McDonald’s on the way from one family members house to another, and I stopped to think about the last time I ate at a fast food restaurant… and it’s been AGES. Before I resolved to get healthier earlier this year, I was eating at fast food restaurants 4-5 times a week. There is something in their food that makes you want more and more… a magical (& evil) combination of salty, fatty & sweet. It’s hard to stop once you’ve got it in your system, very similar to the way candy makes you feel. It brings you up on this incredible high, then drops you flat on your butt. The only way to feel better is to eat more, or suffer through the cravings for the next few days. I definitely don’t miss that vicious cycle!
Tomorrow is my long run of 19-20 miles which I will map out later this evening when we get home. I plan to download a book for my iPod so I can listen while running. Someone recommended “Born to Run”, A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. I’m looking forward to it!!!
WW #37 – 144.4
My feet are officially healed! I went for a 5.5 mile run yesterday afternoon, then a 4.2 mile run this morning with no problems. It was definitely the laces. The trick where you curl your toes under while lacing really helped the most! For my next pair of shoes I’m going to test out something in the laceless department, but that will be a month or so down the road.
With all of the holiday parties & outings, I’ve been concerned about eating more food than I should be. To help balance this out I try to eat a light breakfast and lunch as often as possible. Doing so has helped the scale stay in a range that I’m happy with. While I don’t think exercise has a lot to do with weight-loss in general, I do think it has helped me maintain. Luckily that’s all I’m really trying to do right now!!
Our kitchen at work has been full of junk for about two weeks now… everything from frosted sugar cookies to peanut butter chocolate bites. And to top it all off, there is still Halloween candy lurking in a few offices! And it’s the good stuff too, like Almond Joys and Snickers. Every now and then I will have a piece of candy instead of my usual afternoon Kashi TLC cookie, but I try to avoid the food in the office kitchen at all costs. Once you start, it’s so hard to stop!! I am reserving any holiday food indulgences for certain times each week when I know I’ll want to partake.
It was sooooo nice to run with Vero this morning!! It had literally been about 3 weeks… between Vero being sick, the freezing temperatures and crazy work schedules it’s been hard to run together. I’ve been running a lot in the afternoons since I was doing it alone, so the alarm went off a lot earlier than I was hoping this morning. :) It was even sleeting… now, that’s dedication!
Tomorrow night Rachael Ray will be in town signing autographs for her new book Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook. Click here to read more about it. I’m going to try and get a photo with her!! :D Maybe she will remember me… ;)
As snow flurries fall to the ground this chilly 19 degree morning, I am sitting snug as a bug in our heated home. When it gets this cold outside I always think about the stray cats and dogs that have nowhere to go. It makes my heart very sad. I hope some of you who are considering getting new pets this holiday season go to a place like your local humane society to rescue a sweet soul from there. When you do that, it makes room for other animals who might be suffering as we speak.
I am going to hit-up a spin class after work today in place of a run so the tops of my feet can heal a little more. Over lunch I still plan to visit the place where I bought my running shoes a few weeks back to see if they have any ideas on what could be causing the phantom pain. The last thing I want is an injury!
Today’s post is going to be a little shorter than normal as I slept in later than expected. And it was WONDERFUL!!!
Yesterday was a BIG day. It started off with my 18 mile run… which I now think may have been closer to 16.5-17 miles (which is still pretty great). I’m not sure how I miscalculated the distance, I need to track it online to see where I messed up. All I know is that it took me 2 hours and 40 minutes, and that’s way to fast for me to have done 18 miles in.
I had some phantom pain on the tops of my feet that made me readjust my shoes more than once. It hurt so bad at one point that I almost called Mike to pick me up. It would only strike every 2.5 – 3 miles, and it didn’t matter if my shoe laces were tied tight or loose. I did notice the pain earlier in the week too while running on the treadmill, but it wasn’t bad enough to make me think twice about it. The only relation I can think of with the pain is the fact that I got new shoes about 2 weeks ago. My old pair was extremely worn out and I guess my feet had gotten used to them. This new pair is another brand all-together, and is extremely supportive. Maybe going from one side of the support spectrum to the other is causing the discomfort. Either way, these are the only pair of shoes that I have right now… so I need to find a way to make them work. Tomorrow on my lunch break I will hit-up the Trak Shak in Homewood to see if they have any ideas to alleviate the pain. I just don’t want this to turn into an injury, so best to fix it now!
Besides the foot pain, I went through some tough mental obstacles as well. The main culprit was boredom… it just seemed to take so long to do anything. It really helped to break the course down into sections in my mind, that way I was meeting mini-goals throughout the run. Each section brought me that much closer to being finished. A big turning point was 5 Points South, which was about 13 miles into my run. I was at the top of the hill I’d been climbing for about 2 miles and I knew I was officially on the way home. I enjoyed a surge of energy because of this and rode it all the way back. I even called Mike about a mile away to ask him to pop in an Amy’s pizza for me.
After my run, Mike and I went straight to my mom’s house to bake our traditional tea cakes with my grandmother, sister Rachel, Amber & baby Lily Bean (photos below). It was so much fun!!! Unfortunately we discovered about halfway through that the last big batch had spoiled shortening, so we are going to finish making the rest this afternoon.
Last night Mike and I went to an amazing holiday tapas party just a few blocks over, then we headed downtown to watch The Music of Queen performed by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. It was so good it was mind-blowing… almost as if Freddie Mercury was standing right before us. Such a wonderful experience, and it sounds like they may do it again next year!
After the concert I was pretty much down for the count, so Mike went on to the chicken nugget holiday party without me. I crashed about 10:30 and loved every second of it.
Today I am having brunch with Vero, David, Courtney Oz and hopefully a few other friends. After that I’ll head back over to my mom’s to finish making our cookies. It’s going to be a peaceful Sunday! Right at this very moment, it is lightly snowing outside…