Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Running confessions

The only two things I seem to do lately are work and run. OK, so I sleep a little and do some reading.  But I feel like my life is pretty consumed with my job and my half-marathon training. Since I hesitate to write much about work in this space, I've decided to center this week's confessions on running.

Vodka and Soda

I cannot tell you how many walnuts I've almost stepped on this year.
Those suckers need to go away before I roll an ankle or faceplant on the trail.


When I see someone attractive, I pick up the pace a little.


I talk to almost every living thing that crosses my path.
This includes not just humans but deer, squirrels, and birds.
I'm just practicing for when I'm a Disney princess. 


I think I'm doing great until I see someone running faster.


Sometimes I smell skunk ... but worry that I'm actually smelling myself.


As much as I hate the treadmill, it has taught me to pick up my feet when I run.
Dragging your feet on the treadmill is a bad idea.

What do you have to confess this week?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Feeling like a failure

I've been feeling a bit down lately.  Really, I've been feeling this way for quite a while. I've just gotten pretty good at hiding it for the majority of the time.

Nothing in particular has happened.  It's more like a culmination of factors that just add up to me feeling very lost and uncertain about my life.  And a bit disappointed.

I thought I'd have things figured out by now.
I don't.

I thought I'd have my life together.
I don't.

I thought I'd be successful ... at something.
I'm not.
It's not a fun feeling and I'm still trying to figure out how to dig out of it.

In the meantime, here's a graphic from Pinterest that makes me feel a little better.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Music Monday: Will Hoge - "Goodnight/Goodbye" (w/ Clare Bowen)

I know I've told you about Will Hoge before.  There's a whole post dedicated to him, actually.  I'm ridiculously excited to see him later this week. I'm especially excited to hear the new music he has up his sleeve, but I never get tire of his "old" stuff either. I recently discovered this video of him singing with Clare Bowen from "Nashville."


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekly round-up, Vol. 4

The end of the week got busy for me so I got a few days behind on blogging which is why I'm late with this post.  But ... there are some solid reads here, so don't let my tardiness stop you.  Besides, you need something to read this evening while you watch the Miss America Pageant or wait for "Big Brother" to air (because it's running late due to football).  Right?

Steph wrote about why she is more drawn to people who are OK being alone.  This explains so much about a lot of my friendships.

In the wake of the Ray Rice happenings, Tamara bravely shared her own story of witnessing domestic abuse first hand.  I'm so in awe of her take on the situation and her courage in sharing it.

I confess I skip a lot of sponsored posts, but Jana makes a good argument about why I shouldn't.  I'll start paying more attention.

Erin tackled the old head vs. heart debate I have to say I'm a lot like her ... and I probably won't be changing either.

Hope you've had a fantastic weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Runner to Runner: Tamara

As I close in on my first half-marathon, I decided to interview some fellow runners. I enjoy learning about other people's habits and I guess my reporter instincts aren't dead just yet.  For the next few weeks, you'll learn more about some of the ladies who inspire me to keep running.


We're starting with Tamara, who has a lovely blog entitled Lehmann Laughter.  She was also one of my co-stars in last week's blogger lip sync video.  I'm still just getting to know her, but so far she's been nothing but kind and encouraging.

How long have you been running?
I ran my first race in 2010 (on a whim with some co-workers) but didn’t actually catch the running bug until 2012.

How did you get started?
I had my daughter in November 2010 and while everyone always tells you – parenting just comes natural, it didn’t feel that way for me and through 2011 I really started hating myself. I wasn’t sure how to balance the mom parts of me with the non-mom parts of me and it was affecting everything around me, including my marriage.  I decided in an effort to lose the baby weight that I’d sign up for the same 5k I did in January 2010 with my co-workers in January 2012. It was a terrible experience but I was proud I stuck to it (since I didn’t train at all for it). I wanted to see what I was capable of if I actually tried, so I registered for another 5k in March 2012 – I ended up shaving 9 minutes off my time! I was hooked.

What is your favorite thing about running?
The confidence it gives me. I feel like I can do anything in every aspect of my life when I’m pounding the pavement.

Favorite race you’ve done?
My third half-marathon, The Bearathon, in Waco, TX. It was my goal race for about a year and everything was perfect, from the crowd support to the weather. For some reason, I decided to vlog my emotions at the end of it - I’m so glad I did because whenever I feel like I’m getting nowhere, I just go back and watch it to remind myself of how far I have come.

What is your proudest running achievement so far?
I’m really proud of myself for sticking to it for the past 2+ years (and hopefully for many more!) I’m typically one of those people that are really gung-ho in the beginning and then just fade off – but with running, that’s not the case at all. It’s also pretty awesome that my 3 year old immediately assumes I’m going for a run when she sees my tennis shoes.

What’s your preferred pre-run fuel?
Peanut butter toast and a glass of Spark (Advocare), if I’m covering a distance longer than a 10k sometimes I’ll add a banana to it.

What’s your favorite post-run treat?
I’ve found my stomach is pretty hardy so I’m down for anything after a run – steak, double meat hamburger, Chinese food, the free beer they sometimes offer after a race – it’s all game to me.

What do you carry with you during a run?
I always have my phone with me – just in case something happens but also because it has my music on it. If I’m running more than 6 miles I usually bring some kind of fuel with me – GU or ShotBloks – and I pack those in my SpiBelt. If I’m running outside, I always wear my Garmin watch. You can usually see me wearing my daughter’s name, Lillie Mae, on my favorite necklace too – she inspires me to be a better person and thinking of her helps push me when I’m ready to give up.

Describe your race day ritual.
- Hit snooze button at least twice. Roll out of bed and sleepily grab laid out clothes from the dresser and head to the restroom.
- Get dressed and apply waterproof mascara. I know it seems silly to put makeup on but it helps wake up my face & makes me feel ready to tackle the day.
- If my husband/daughter are going with me, I’ll usually wake them up after I’m dressed. If not, I sneak past my daughter’s room, so I don’t wake her, to the kitchen and make my PB toast and Spark.
- Put on my Garmin, grab my purse & keys and I’m out the door.
- Before the race I usually do a few deep breaths, say a quick prayer and jog in place a couple minutes to warm up. I may take a pre-race selfie for the ol’ social media if I have time – otherwise, I’m ready for that starting horn!

Any advice for me as I prepare for my first half-marathon?
You only get one first half-marathon, make the most of it – tell your friends & family, wave at people you don’t know, photo bomb, don’t be afraid to cry when you see that finish line - there’s no shame in being a badass, after all. 

What advice would you give new runners or those thinking about getting started? 
Find people who are passionate about running – whether that’s in your real life or online through blogging, Facebook, twitter, wherever – and let them be excited for you! Don’t be afraid to talk about your goals and what you want to do – put it out into existence by your words and then allow your actions to make them a reality. You got this. I promise.   


Last week in Micah's workouts
Friday: 5-mile trail run
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 8-mile trail run <--- This is the longest run I've ever completed. I'm pretty proud.
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill (Mother Nature decided to rain out running club)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off.

I was supposed to run four miles on Wednesday or Thursday, but I just couldn't fit it in. 


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reading is my favorite

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a reading goal of 45 books.  Well, when I finished the 40th book early in the summer, I decided maybe it was time to add to my goal.  I upped the ante to 70 books and I just finished book number 51.  It seems like I'll make it just fine ... although I see myself spending a lot of November and December writing, so I really only have six weeks to read the majority of those 19 books.  But I'm not worried.

You can see what I've read so far this year by checking out my reading challenge on GoodReads, but I thought I'd take some time to highlight my favorites.

I've also read "FanGirl" and "Eleanor and Park." I adored both of them, but I think "Attachments" is my favorite by far.  I related to almost every character and the plot was both believable and a little break from reality.  It was perfect.

 I picked this one up on a whim at the library.  It started out slow but then I really got into it.  The book still haunts me at times as I wonder what I would have done in the position of the father and/or son in the book.

These books are sexy, sweet, and usually have some mystery mixed in. There are eight books in total, and I have fallen in love with all the people in the fictional town of Harper's Crossing (which is based on a town not so far from me, by the way).  I'm ready to move there. It's impossible for me to pick a favorite within the series.  I love them all.  Bonus info: Of the 51 books this year, 12 have been Melanie Shawn books.  Clearly, I have a problem, but it's a good one.

This probably wasn't the best choice to read during lunch hour at work. I kept laughing at my desk and I'm sure people thought I was losing it.  But it was hilarious and a very easy and fun read.

Here's another author who's created a town I love.  Also, this book is about a female brewer who falls in love with a chocolatier.  How is that not a win?  I've also gone through book two of this series and am anxiously awaiting the rest of the series (which is being delayed a bit).

I've already raved about my love for this author and this series.  You can go here and here if you want to check out what I had to say about this book and it's predecessors.  Simply put, I wish Matt and Justin were real.

As a veteran online dater, I enjoyed reading about her dating disasters and the tactics she deployed to improve her dating pool.  Spoiler alert - She ended up finding success when she figured out how to honestly portray who she was and what she was looking for.


Obviously, I don't read a lot of books that would be considered "high brow" or "serious," but I'm OK with that. I read to be entertained and to escape life.  I also tend to be drawn to characters, settings, and relationships more than plots.

What have you read this year that you loved?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Random thoughts, confessions style

Yesterday's post was random and today's will be too.  I guess I'm just all over the place this week.

Vodka and Soda

Here are my confessions ...

I think the "free smells" sign in Jimmy John's is a little weird.  
And borderline creepy.

I've been listening to a podcast called "Lady to Lady" during my long runs. 
I've needed an inappropriate bell numerous times, 
but it's still funny and a nice distraction while I'm logging some miles.

I'm obsessed with guacamole and chips. 
I want to eat it every day.

The other day during my lunch hour, I just drove around aimlessly.  
I wanted to be alone with my thoughts.

I helped a friend do some internet research on a dude she kind of likes.  
Yes, research.

The Wendy's commercials are trying to ruin Mr. Big's iconic "To Be With You" for me. 
I'm not letting them win.  
Just play this version over and over:

And ... I'm out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Love/Don't Love

I'm not ashamed to admit I stole this blog post idea. At least I'll give credit where credit is due.  I saw Holly do this last week and she snagged it from Christy.  I thought it was a spectacular way to share what's going on in my life -- especially when there isn't one theme to discuss. What can I say? My life is a little random.

I am picking up some extra hours at my part-time library job this fall.  I'll be working alternating Sundays.  It's only a few hours, so it's not a total sacrifice of my weekends and it's more money.  LOVE.

I don't even have half my music on my iPod and it's out of room. DON'T LOVE.

I have tickets to see "Phantom of the Opera" tomorrow night. It's the final show in the season ticket package I shared with a friend and I'm pretty stoked to see it. LOVE.

This week is ridiculously busy and I'm struggling to figure out when I'm going to get in my Wednesday/Thursday four-mile run. DON'T LOVE.

It's Hate Week in Iowa. Confused?  Basically, it's the week leading up to the big intrastate football battle between Iowa State and Iowa. Cyclone and Hawkeye fans spend all week exchanging insults. It's a fun rivalry and I'm looking forward to a potluck at work on Friday and watching the game with family and friends on Saturday. LOVE.

I have miraculously found some inner and emotional peace for the first time in months. It's hard to say what cured me, but I don't really care, honestly. I'm just glad to be where I am. LOVE.

One of my cats has some terrible mats on her back.  She's the one that won't let me pet her let alone brush her. I'm thinking a trip to a cat groomer or vet for a shave is in our future.  DON'T LOVE.

And here's a random quote for the week:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Music Monday: Maddie & Tae - "Girl in a Country Song"

I haven't seen a country music video in quite a while, but I think these girls nailed the stereotypes and the way women are portrayed. It's also a pretty fun and catchy song.

What do you think?

Weekly round-up, Vol. 3

I forgot to do this post Friday night. And yesterday I got distracted and then depressed by college football (I'm an Iowa State Cyclone fan if that clears anything up).  And then I decided working on my novel was a better use of my evening.  So, you're getting my weekly round-up today.  Enjoy!

Sarah reflected on her first six months as a mom and talked about some things she'd do differently.  Even though I don't have kids, I have plenty of friends who do and I watch them struggle with some of these dilemmas. Hopefully they can read this and realize you don't have to be a perfect mom to be a great mom.

Holly hosted a d-i-wine night where friends made glitter printouts of their state And now I want to do this too.  Who wants to join me?

Juliette made oven s'mores.  I mean, do I really need to say anything else?

Contrary to the post I just pimped, I really have been meaning to eat better, but I haven't been very good about researching good meals and planning for them.  Katie is here to rescue me with a delicious-looking bacon chipotle meatloaf recipe.

It's been a rough season to be a Rangers fan. And it got a little rougher on Friday when Ron Washington resigned as manager for "off-field personal reasons."  I'm trying not to speculate on what those reasons are (though that's difficult because I'm curious and they're being all cryptic about it).  Instead, I'm praying that everything with Wash is OK (or will be) and extending gratitude for all he did for the Rangers organization.  Donny did a great job of highlighting a moment that is very indicative of the kind of manager Wash was.

Leslie talked about the unintentionally insensitive things people ask foster parents.

If you've been around these parts, you know I love Vodka and Soda's Humpday Confessions link-up.  I actually love her every day, but it's a secret love, really.  Until today obviously.  Anyhow.  On Friday, she shared some easy and yummy recipes I know I'll be trying a few of those.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Tough week and some new goals

Better slow than not at all and better late than never.

Those are my mantras this week.

First of all, I had a very bad run on Sunday.  It was just terrible.  I berated myself over it all evening.  I should have gotten up earlier and ran before it got warm.  I should have eaten better, drank more water, etc.  And during my run on Tuesday, I had so many moments when I just kept telling myself (and others), "I'm so slow."

Why am I doing that to myself?

Running is such a mental thing.  If I'm beating myself down, I will never get through 13.1 in October.  I need to start saying nicer things to myself.  I need to be my own cheerleader. So what if I'm slow?  I'm still running. It's time to take back and get some perspective.

Five years ago, I couldn't run for five minutes, let alone five miles.
Three years ago, I had trouble finishing a 5K, and now I'm looking at a half-marathon.
One year ago, I was sporadic with my running, and now it's something I look forward to.


Secondly, I'm a few days delayed jumping into this Create Your Own Adventure link-up for September goals.

Not Entirely Perfect

This month has a fitness theme, so I hesitated at first. I'm super focused on my half-marathon training right now.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I might be too focused on my running.  Outside of some walking and a few yoga sessions, I have not done any cross-training.  None. I think my body would appreciate a few other activities ... and also some better water intake.

So here's what I'll be working on this month:
1.  Drink at least 70 ounces of water each day.
2.  Go for one bike ride or attend one Zumba class each week.
3.  Complete a yoga routine (at least 20 minutes) two times a week.

I think those are very doable and I hope to report success to you when we close this out on Oct. 2.


Last week's workouts
Friday: 4-mile treadmill run
Saturday: Off.
Sunday: 5 slow miles on the trail. It was supposed to be 7, but I felt terrible and couldn't finish.
Monday: Off.
Tuesday: 5-mile trail run with running club
Wednesday: 4 miles on the treadmill
Thursday: Off.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Writing about writing ... how meta

Last week, the library where I work part-time added my book to the shelves. Obviously, I had to snap a photo. 

Yep, that's mine in the middle -- "Riffs of Regret." Even though it was released two years ago, I still get a thrill when I see it -- especially on a public shelf.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know I'm a writer.  At least as a hobby.  I used to earn a paycheck by writing, but those days are in my past and now it's just something when I find time.  I haven't had a lot of time for writing lately, but I plan on making more time in the near future. 

"Riffs of Regret" was my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which is held each November) project in 2011 and was officially released in September 2012.  Seeing the book reminded me that November is only two months away.  I want to participate this year, but that means I need to finish my current work-in-progress first.  It's actually a sequel to "Riffs of Regret," and it's been a lot harder for me to write than the first one.  But I love these characters and I like spending time with them. I'll have a hard time leaving them behind (again), but I'm also looking forward to starting something new.  And, no, I have no idea what my next project will be.

I should probably apologize for this shameless plug, but I'm hesitant to do that. I'm proud of this achievement.  Also, I'm a self-published author, so self-promotion is the only way my book gets any marketing.  If you're curious about my book, you can read the first draft of the first chapter HERE and you can buy it (if you are so inclined) over HERE.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Struggling with acceptance

In case you haven't met me, I'm a little bit stubborn.  When I have my head and heart set a certain way, it takes a lot to change it. This has served me well in some areas (such as running) and not so well in other areas (such as relationships). 

Yesterday, during a chat with a good friend, I mentioned to her that I feel like I'm going through a phase of accepting things.  And it's not a fun one.  So today's confessions are going to be things I'm currently struggling to accept.

Vodka and Soda

I am not a fast runner. 
I know I've said it a dozen times that I'm proud of just being able to run, but man, I can't help compare my pace to other runners around me sometimes.  I'm lucky to have a 11:30-minute mile during a five-mile run.  I'm just praying I can finish my half-marathon before they close the course.  Not sure how long we'll get, but I'm starting to think I'll need a lot of it.

Just because I want something, doesn't mean I'm going to get it.
I'm not going into details on this one.  It's not a completely materialistic item.  T
here are just things I've always wanted in life that I'm now learning to accept I won't have.

I can be the nicest, funniest, sweetest person, but there will always be people who don't like me.
I try to be a good friend and a good person, but I guess that doesn't automatically garner respect or adoration.  That's a hard pill for me to swallow.  
And do I want to hear why you don't like me?  No thanks.  I can do without that.

Not everyone I meet is my friend.
This kind of goes with the item just above this.  I think I sometimes assume too much about people with whom I spend time.  I'm working on stopping those assumptions.

Staying up late might help me finish the book, but it will not help me the next day at work.
Ten years ago, I might have been able to get by on four or five hours of sleep a night.  
But my body wants at least seven now.  Preferably eight or eight and a half. 

I should not attempt to eat half a pizza all by myself.
I'm not saying I can't accomplish this feat, but I probably shouldn't.  
My metabolism is not what it used to be, and I will only feel miserable within a few hours.

When someone pays me a compliment, maybe they really mean it.
Why, thank you, Channing.

What are some things you have or had a hard time accepting?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bloggers just want to "shake it off"

One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to be a part of a community. Sure, there's plenty of drama and there are always people who like to spread negativity, but I've found that to be such a small segment of the blogosphere that I really don't worry about them.  My four years of blogging in this space have been overwhelmingly positive.

As I've shared my life and followed the lives of others in their respective spaces, I've learned a lot and gotten to know some incredible individuals.  Some make me laugh. Some open my eyes to different perspectives. Some give me positive words when I need them most.

I have yet to meet one of my blog friends, but I look forward to that day.  Until then, I'll embrace the opportunities to collaborate with them on fun posts like this blogger lip sync. 

This is a pretty fitting song for the blogger world as well.  Enjoy!!

This is the second blogger lip sync I've been a part of (you can see the first one here).  Both were a blast to film, and the finished product always makes me smile.

Many thanks to Sar for collecting and editing the video.  Big high five to the other (and far more adorable) stars of the video:  Megan, Tamara, Veronica and Kevin, Neely, and Holly.

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