248 Days of Awesome

This post from Amy at Just a Titch about her life by the numbers motivated me to make my own. 

And then it was depressing.

I made a list of 14 things I am excited about long-term.  Let’s go into those by the numbers:  six are friend things,  five are wedding things, four are races, three are family things, one is work-related and one is lurve-related.  These categories aren’t mutually exclusive obviously, some events hit multiple categories.

That’s a good disbursement.  So, why am I bummed?  Beyond the obvious that I hate that other people’s wedding have hijacked my year and bank account because even I’m sick of hearing myself complain about that. 

(But BTW, when it’s my turn to play dress up in a fluffy white gown, remind me to spend time with and show appreciation to my bridesmaids.  You know, the girls who mean so much to me that I want them up there with me on the biggest day of my life and who are doing me a huge favor.  Okay, bridesmaidzilla rant over.)

The issue is that the closest thing (lurve) is this weekend (because you can’t look too far down the road in such a new relationship-thing-not-a-relationship-we-are-totes-just-hanging-out-and-it’s-cool-ugh-labels-suck-and-trying-to-be-cool-when-I’ve-had-26-years-of-experience-being-not-cool-also-sucks).

AND, moving on, the last thing is a half-marathon in December, 248 days away.  Just 14 things in 248 days?  Not enough!  I am looking forward to a family trip over Memorial Day weekend and then my birthday in August.  They are 67 days apart! 

Um, excuse me, summer?  You’re supposed to be awesome!

There’s literally NOTHING in June and July.  Well, there is a baby shower in the works.  And who doesn’t love wrapping toilet paper around a hormonal [single] mommy-to-be? 

Now, I’m the first person who will tell you that if you’re bored then you’re boring, so it’s actually good that I looked ahead and realized my summer was veering into less-than-awesome territory. 

This is how I spent last summer:

That ain’t not happening again!

This might be a great time to dive into my 101 list.  Time to start planning!

BTW, it’s supposed to be 97 degrees on Friday…summer is here now.  Oh joy.


Mini-update on my half:  Since I starting talking about it here, I wanted to include the results here as well.  I ran my first half-marathon on Saturday.  I finished officially at 2:09:06 (my first goal was 2:34 and my second was 2:10) and loved the experience!  Now, on to WWW!

Life's Journey with a SmileMy 10 goals are:

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

This week’s questions:

1.  What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?

I found out I actually have an account at eHarmony and went in and updated some of my profile (made during one of those free communication weekends way back in 2009, reminding me just how long I’ve been relationship-challenged).  I also looked into the cost of it so I can budget it into February.  Yeah, it’s expensive.  I’m so hesitant to spend money AND my online adventures have not been great (but I know it’s because of the sites I’m on, thus the upgrade), so I confused myself over if I actually want to do it.  I think I’d probably pay for three months but thinking I’m going to find someone online in three months conflicts with my desire to take on my great dating challenge of 2011!

After two nights of heavy dinners out (man, dating is tough), I needed something light and made a modified version of The Runner’s Kitchen’s Creamy Winter Veggie Pasta.  The (tease alert) simple sauce made with just goat cheese and starchy water was perfect, I got my veggies in AND it was carbolicious for a race week dinner.

I opened an actual rollover account (all these rules I didn’t know!) and found my funds from my old retirement plans and got the forms that will allow me to transfer them.  I’m inching closer and closer on this one.

2.  January is coming to an end! How do you think you did in the month of January? Review time!

Well, I kinda failed at the January part of my first goal.  Now it’s my goal to lose it by the end of the challenge.  Five little pounds suck!  I did well at keeping up with my weekly dinner goal and I’m beyond on-track for my time with friends goal.  With the bits and pieces I’ve done of the others, I’d say I’m about one-third of the way there, but I’d like to have some more completed. 

3.  Do you feel like your motivation is tapering off now that a month has passed, or are you just as motivated as the beginning of the challenge?

I think my motivated tapered a bit, but I like that the end of the month is a check point that will get my butt back in gear!

4.  Who/what inspires you to keep going?

I usually inspire myself, as I’ve said, I don’t like letting myself down.  I’m also big on rewards.  I’ve been wanting a bike for a while, so when I set out to do my half, I set my goal time and told myself the bike was mine if I hit it.  Thinking about that helped me keep up my pace throughout the race and I hit not only my first goal, but by second goal as well!  Some of my WWW goals are rewards in themselves, but perhaps I will set up rewards for the ones that have proven to be a bit more of a struggle.  A massage after completing seven hikes in seven days, a weekly guilty pleasure night-in for jumping into the serious online dating world, a shopping splurge for being responsible and rolling over my 401(k) funds!

5.  Fun Question of the Week:  What is the first thing you think of/do in the morning?

Lately it’s been talking myself out of an A.M. workout!  Oops!  Usually I rationalize that I can do it after work (and I do, but I just really prefer to do it in the morning).  On days when I can’t get out of it or actually have the motivation and enough sleep to get to the gym, the first thing I do when my alarm goes off at 4:30 is lace up and head out the door!  

When I’m feeling a little lazier, I’ve already outed myself as a first-thing Facebook checker and so, yeah, that’s what I do before hitting the shower and getting ready for work.  On these days, I reset my alarm to 6, which gives me just 20 minutes to be out the door!

On weekends, I usually try to force myself to sleep longer (because waking up by 6 during the week means waking up by 7 without an alarm on the weekends, ugh!) and then get up and run or, if it’s going to be a long run, eat breakfast, wait for it to settle and head out.

Positive Picture:

Kind of a weird selection this week, I know.  The race on Saturday was to benefit a kids’ cancer charity and they had pictures of kids fighting cancer along the route.  It was very inspirational and kept me going.  If these little guys can take on this totally unfair hand that’s been dealt to them, I can surely get over whatever excuses I might be using and achieve my goals!  {from}

The What-What

Update: My non-boyfriend Facebook boyfriend let the request hang for about 24 hours before figuring it out and changing his status back.  I feel bad for him, but seriously, dude, tread lightly when it comes to Facebook relationships. 

I’ve got a lot of reading to do this weekend if I want to get off to a good start with my resolution of one fiction and one non-fiction book per month (it WAS the first one on the list after all).  I’m 3/4 of the way through Racing Weight and about 30 pages into Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care. How about we just call it 12 of each for the year?

People with children have no boundaries.  My boss did not think twice about giving me the detailed play-by-play of how his two boys handled having the flu all week.  And someday I will likely do the same to my poor, unsuspecting coworkers.

I’m wanderlusting big time.  Belize is on the top of my list.  Well, was, and then this week, I saw this.  Maybe Europe.  And although I’m bummed that it probably won’t be 2011, that doesn’t mean it can’t be January 2012!

This weekend is the first bridesmaids dress shopping adventure with Bridezilla my sister.  Direct quote from an email I JUST got from her: “My dress is HERE! There will be many more times I will need to go in for fittings [ed. note: lies…she measured a perfect size 2 and I imagine it will fit like a dream] so this is to try it on just because I CAN!” I’m sorry, I get that she’s excited (and that I will likely be just as obnoxious when it’s MY turn), but is it October yet?  In other wedding news, my other October bride is a dream, but I think two of the bridesmaids are going to throw down before the big day.

My first half-marathon is tomorrow!  My long run a few weeks ago took me over the distance of the race, so I should be fine, but it also left me with a knee injury and I haven’t been training as much as I’d have liked in the past two weeks.  The doubting voices in my head have a few other things to say as well, but in 21 hours I’m going to shut them up and hit the pavement.

That will probably be the last mention of wellness and running here because I’m posting on that over at my new wellness blog!  The one I kinda skimmed over here.  It is my second attempt at a public blog (my last one bombed because it didn’t have a focus).  I’m struggling with keeping one anon and one public blog and building readership of both.  If anyone has tips, I’d love to hear them!  And if anyone would like to continue to read about my fitness adventures and kitchen mishaps, email me at emjaye [at] ymail [dot] com and I will be glad to send you the link!

I’m staying at my parents’ house over the weekend because they are closer to the race and to the dress shop and civilization in general.  And because they’re out of town.  And I’m totally having a party.  Well, not really.  I’m on the fence about asking my ArtWalk guy over to make dinner (date #2 was not as great as that first one) or inviting some friends over for a game night.  Yeah, I’m 26, but it still feels like I’m breaking the rules!

Oh yeah, and I need advice about ArtWalk guy.  When do you call an attempted relationship off?  There are no red flags, just a lackluster date, but the first was good!  Do we try again in a different environment?

Me v. Me

I was really excited about signing up and creating a training schedule for my half-marathon.  It’s now three weeks away and I’m still excited and still on track, but it’s been hard!  I’m sure November 26th Emjaye would be in awe of January 8th Emjaye and the paces that I can now run, the distances I have covered, but January 8th Emjaye is not feeling so confident. 

Sometimes the runs feel great, but sometimes the numbers themselves are daunting and totally psyche me out before I even lace up.  Earlier this week, I had a restless last hour of sleep because I kept thinking I was missing my run that I was trying to fit in before work.  Then my alarm actually went off and I got up and headed to them gym and struggled.  Being sore from strength training was my excuse, but in reality it was largely mental.

I ran three of eight, went back and tried to sleep for thirty more minutes.  Then I took the mental health day, stretched and rolled because my legs actually got worse (note to self, weights OR power, not both, especially when I’ve been phoning in the strength for too long) and the next day I exchanged my rest day for a do-over.  Take that. 

Today it’s 12.  And (with my new Garmin on my wrist) I can do that too.

Every Woman

Every woman should know what she can or can’t accomplish in a day, month and year.  Bearing that in mind, here is my list of goals/resolutions/to-dos  for 2011, some to be completed in a day, others in a week or a month and some may be works in progress that take all year.

Read one fiction and one non-fiction book every month.

Eat more veggies.  Get creative and try new things.

Stick to a two-drink limit if I even want to drink at all.

Downsize.  Live simply.  Donate things I don’t use (monthly) and don’t buy crap.

Lose 10 pounds before the fall weddings.

Complete 60 things total on my 101 list.

Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.

Earn $3000 side income, personal training, writing, whatever.

Build a $1290 wedding fund for bridesmaid expenses (yes, I realize NOW that it’s a stupid number, but it’s what my twisted math came up with).  Contribute $50 a month + gifts.

Spend less time with social media and more time with society.

Write six short stories.

Write girl side of dating book and begin collaboration.

Contribute to a Roth IRA…and 401(k) if company restarts match program.

Complete my eight-month emergency fund and leave it untouched in my MMA.

Make and follow a budget each month (< $2000/month or $24000/year).

Make and follow a training schedule each month.

Honor my appointments with myself.  Put myself first as often as I want.

Overpay on student loans (by more than $5, smart girl) to get below $11000 before the end of the year.

Pay off my CC each month, if I use it at all.

Hang out in Starbucks and Barnes & Noble and look approachable so as to be hit on.

Look presentable anytime I leave the house.

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect.  Future me says so.

Try a new dating site.

Leave the baggage in the past.  Leave exes in the past.  Look forward.

Say yes more.  Say no more. 

Go all in.  Finish hard, finish strong – fitness, life, love, everything.

Missing the Experience

Reverb 10, Day 12 Body Integration.  This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Yesterday I had a dream that it was race day – my first half-marathon, that is, coming up at the end of January.  It wasn’t one of those, “it’s test day and I haven’t been to class all semester” dreams.  I wasn’t upset that I wasn’t prepared and hadn’t trained.  In the dream I was prepared, but I was upset that I had missed the experience of training.

I’ve been following my training plan for not even three weeks now and I’ve got a long way to go, but I wouldn’t give that up, even if I could magically wake up on race day totally prepared to rock it out.

I’d been staying mostly on the treadmill because it’s easier for tempo and pace runs, but today I took my training back outside and mapped in a sweet little (not-so-little) nearby hill I’ve been meaning to take on. 

It (the run as a whole) kicked my ass.  I felt it in my feet and my lungs, which makes me feel it in my shoulders and neck and eventually, I got to breathing hard enough and I started to feel nauseous.  And I definitely heard it in my head.  My mind was telling me I couldn’t do it and that I was bored and that I should pace myself and that I deserved a break.  But my legs said keep going and so I did and in the end, I was pleased (and surprised) with my pace and I felt great.

Yes, I HAVE had runs where everything works together.  Where my breathing is easy, my motion flows and feels great to every single muscle and my mind is happily along for the ride.  Those days, I’m integrated, but I can’t think of any one specific example. 

When I tell people I run and that I’m getting into races, they often ask if I ran in high school.  Absolutely not.  Becoming a runner was a choice I made just a few years ago, post-high school and post-college.  Running was a choice then and it’s a choice now, every day. 

On my run today, I reminded myself of my word for 2011 – capable, but capable in the face of challenge, when things aren’t comfortable.  (Nothing wrong with getting a head start.)  Not only am I a runner, I’m an athlete and athletes push themselves.  I told myself it wasn’t supposed to be easy or comfortable and that I was going to leave it all out there (minus any puke, I kept that to myself). 

That’s what I’ll choose to do every day for the sake of improvement, regardless of whether my mind and body are working together or not.  The experience of training – which will every now and then get me to those moments of running glory, when I think about the breeze blowing instead of my tight knee – is what it’s about anyway.

The Next Challenge

I signed up for my half-marathon earlier this week! It’s a charity race, which I find much easier to sign up for than a shiny race that is WAY more expensive because it’s just so damn shiny (*cough* P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll *cough*). 

I found a three-month training program, which I modified since the race is just nine-ish weeks away!  I’m thrilled with this little calendar I made and am so excited to have a schedule to follow.  Too often I’ve found myself skipping workouts simply because I didn’t have a plan.  I can’t use that excuse anymore! 

I made a training calendar like this before when I was trying to get back into a fitness routine, but it hit the back-burner.  I’m making this a priority.  It’s just an hour or so of almost every day that I can take to remind myself that I’m important AND totally capable of achieving this goal!  I think it’s a bit of an extra challenge to take this up during the holidays, but a great way to stay focused on fitness throughout the hustle and bustle and temptations!

There will be a reward at the end, fitness related, of course…perhaps a bike, a running skirt, a Garmin (although I really want one NOW to have even more fun with my training)!  Since I did my 10K at 1:13 with no real training or consideration, my goal is 2:34 (figured out with my mad 8th grade algebra skills).  There, universe, I put it out there!

My First Swag

I know, I know, I was just lamenting my upcoming race (today!).  Or, more accurately, my lack of training for it.  But, I picked up my race pack the other day and got excited.  Check it out!

A cute shirt, wrist band and my first timing chip. Jamba discounts, other offers and running food I’ve only read about on serious runners’ blogs!  I’m excited to try some!  I think the key is that it’s a longer race, but they gave the same goody bags to everyone, even those of us with only enough guts to try the 10K.

So…and NOT just because of the swag, but because the excitement of having an event to look forward to…I’m seeking my next race. 

Completing a half-marathon is on my 101 in 1001 list and the 10K was my stepping stone, so now it’s only fitting to get going on the next step.  A lot of the races I’m looking at increase their entry fees go up around the first of the year (and Lord knows I love a good deal), so I have a month and some to decide what I’d like to do…and I suppose I should wait to see how today goes!

UPDATE:  Apparently the way to run your first 10K is hungover – slash – maybe still a little drunk.  A night out with TGISWOTSDAKHEFAWBOAKHFTD that had sweet and sour notes and a lot of wine kept me out way too late.  Luckily I woke up at 4:30 to set my alarm for an hour later and I actually made it.  I ran and walked and was surprisingly impressed with my run pace, which contributed to my overall time of 1:13.  Not what I wanted to do when I signed up for this race, but better than I was expecting based on my lack of training.  Definitely looking forward to my next one!