Friday, September 25, 2015

Crazy week #1,000,000

Hello all you wonderful people, sorry I've been away!

You know, I thought (quite wrongly, it appears) that things would slow down after the company's fall charity week. Hah. HAHAHAHAHA.

(Pardon my hysteria. Have a picture of some baked goods instead...)

I think the sugar cookies are the only thing that actually sold out. Go me.

Well, calm down it didn't. On Friday as I was tap-tap-tapping away at my keyboard, drafting up an important events email and the documents to go with it, I kept thinking, 'On Monday things will slow down. On Monday things will slow down. On Monday...'

Well. On Monday I got to chide myself for being so silly, because things definitely did not slow down. As it happens, Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday AND Thursday ended up being way more full than normal because of this event I'm helping to plan for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

Lemme back up. First things first, my department is struggling very hard not to flounder under all of our work right now because we're down two people. Perhaps that doesn't seem like much, but we are a five-person department. Someone retired in July and their replacement still has not been hired (for reasons that are neither here nor there, my manager is actually working really hard on it). So that's one spot that's not filled. And then last Monday one of my coworkers didn't come in. At around 9:00 my manager came over and told us that our coworker broke her ankle and would be out for six weeks.

Cue that hysterical laughter. And a roiling bubble of other emotions I'm just not even going to talk about.

Last week I was already nervous because of all that charity stuff, and the nerves increased because it meant my workload was going to go up. And it did. And then with everything for Making Strides, my inbox has been close to exploding every morning when I come in, putting me on the verge of a brain aneurysm...mostly because I get email after email and desk-visitor after desk-visitor asking me the exact same questions over and over, and then I get to go to a meeting and answer those same questions again. There is no such thing as explaining everything once, because not everyone will be listening the first time around. It is becoming clear to me that this a fact of life.

Yesterday alone was probably one of the most stressful days I've had at work since I've been here. I'm in production, so I have work that I have to get done each day, and though I completed everything that was due, I left the office (after one and a half hours of overtime!) feeling like I hadn't accomplished anything.

And I'm not even going to say it might slow down next week...but maybe. Maybe just maybe I'll get lucky and it will...

...maybe. But not holding my breath.

This was also Nana and Papa's last week here (they left at 5am this morning and Nana had me crying when it was entirely too early to do so) so we were trying to spend more time with them. I also met Cam's dad's parents for the first time ever (we've been together 2 years and this was my first time meeting them!). So no pressure at all outside of work.

My mom's also been in Boston this week, so it was up to me and my broseph to keep the doodles alive. Don't worry though, they are. Even though we ran out of dog food...I sacrificed my lunch for them and they got chicken and potatoes for two meals each. Lucky dogs.

But on the not-so-good news front...I had to have Benjen put down. A couple months back I posted about his visit to the vet, and finding out he had a massive tumor. The tumor did not stop growing, but it was growing very slowly...until last week. Last week, what happened to Rico happened to Benjen, and suddenly he had a rapidly growing mass that seemed to be attached to the larger tumor, right under one of the glands on his side. I went back and forth about it, because he seemed to be doing okay, but then I realized he was having trouble going to the bathroom and cleaning the decision made itself. In the end, his tumor was larger than a golf-ball, and probably comprised about 1/2 of his body weight. I know I made the right decision...but I still feel like a jerk.

:'( Just looking at this picture is hard because he was such a well-tempered, gorgeous little guy.
I feel even more jerkish because I already miss being a hamster-parent. With Rico it was a bit easier because I could still come home and dote on Benjen, but now I don't have a little dude to dote on. I will in time, but it's a struggle right now.

And I may as well continue the bad news streak, because why not. (I promise things don't sound this depressing when I talk about them, but inflection can be lost in the written word.)

I mentioned in my last post that I had a reason for not signing up for another half marathon. And that reason is...I'm injured. Something's wrong with my ankle, and has been since laser tag on the 11th. I was going to push through for the half, but after the fiasco that happened there was no reason to run on an obviously injured ankle. I'd actually done a test run before my company's 5k on the 16th, and I'll be honest, it hurt with every step...and I only ran a mile. So I walked the 2 mile walk with my company, (which also hurt) and then all that stuff happened with Women Rock (still working with AmEx on that), so I let go of my goal for now.

It's so strange to think that this was my one BIG personal goal for the year, and I should have accomplished it by now...and I haven't. I should have just run 13.1 instead of that 12 miler the other day :P

Anyways, Cam and I went for a walk on Sunday and it was about three miles. Around 2.5 I was ready to be done, and limping with every step. I went and saw my orthopedist on Monday, and he put me in an ankle brace with a strict no-impact-activity restriction for the next two weeks. (Sidenote: His reaction to the nurse's note that it started bothering me after laser tag was hilarious.)

I really like and trust my doctor, and after doing the functional and ROM tests he told me he wants to rule out tendon and ligament problems before moving on to an MRI to see if there's something else going on (like a stress fracture). Honestly, though it adds a few weeks to things, I appreciate that he didn't jump straight to prescribing an MRI that will cost a couple hundred bucks.

Unfortunately, so far the brace isn't helping. I've lightened up on activities too, simply because I've been so busy and stuff with Cam's family put a kabosh on our gym time this week. Unless cruising around the office like a madwoman counts as impact activity, I've actually been pretty freaking lazy this week.

And I certainly haven't been running. I did, however, dig out my swimsuit last week and have hopped in the pool a few times. I'm going to have to get a different swimsuit (the one I have is at least a size too large) and new goggles wouldn't be a bad idea, but it's been good to get back in the pool. I haven't done much swimming the last few years since leaving my old-old gym (the one I left in 2012), but now that we're at a gym with a decent lap-pool I've decided it'll be good while I'm injured. Actually, I'm really enjoying the thought of a workout/training plan that doesn't involve running for a while. Just a few swims have helped me acknowledge and work on the weakness and tightness that still exists in my shoulder from my surgery 2 years ago, and I want to do what I can to alleviate both. Cam and I have started talking about how to address our workout plan now that Nana and Papa have left, and it's not looking like it will include much lower body stuff for either of us for now.

That said, I'm also hoping Cam and I can squeeze in a few good bike rides before the cold weather sets in, but I suppose that will also depend on what kind of diagnosis I get about my ankle within the next few weeks. But maybe we can get one in this weekend before the doctor tells me no bike riding. Afterall, he only said no impact activities...and biking is not impactful (nor does it bother my ankle).

I also have a full plate with studying for my next CPCU exam, which I have done approximately 12 pages of. Just FYI...there's like 250 pages in the book. I need to get going on that....

And I've been saying it for months, but somewhere in there I'd also like to squeeze in a bit more yoga. Another thing swimming brought to my attention is the tightness in my neck, and I need to address it before it becomes something that really hinders my performance. Yikes...

Finally, in other news (and running related stuff): Though I didn't run my half on Saturday, I was super productive at home. I managed to do a ton of stuff, including hanging up my race bibs and medals from this year. It's makeshift for now because I plan on turning it into something more permanent with Cam and I move in together, but for now this will do:

I even wrote all my race times on the bibs. It'll be fun and interesting to see how they change year-to-year.

Harry Potter medals and my DA Galleon on the HP shelf in my room.
I also made a Blackhawks blanket for Papa, picked the runner beans in my garden (check out that 9-incher!), finished my first coloring page, and started another (with the gel pens my cousin Jennie suggested I get):

When I was picking these I watched (and screamed) while Stewart CAUGHT AND ATE not one, but TWO birds. It was horrifying.

I also think I'll be spectating the Chicago Marathon! I wanna get a feel for it, and I've never spectated a race. Papa Bender's brother, Jim, is running it (for like the 10,000th time) so it'll be cool to go see the marathon and support him. Plus I'm looking forward to hanging out with Mama and Papa Bender!

I've got some other things I'm thinking about, but this is already pretty long so I'll save them for another post. One of them will be about the Making Strides Walk I'm helping to plan, and I'll be including a link in case anyone would like to donate. I know I don't have a ton of readers, but maybe, just maybe you'll consider donating :)

For now...adieu! Have a great weekend if I'm not back before the end of it :)


Friday, September 18, 2015

*My* Half is not happening...and I am pissed.

I don't want this blog to turn into a bitch-fest, but it really has not been my week. And I feel like I'm more than entitled to the opinions I have about what happened last night, so please bear with me, because there's a wall of ranty text coming.

Yesterday, right around 4 o'clock, I got the following email from the race organizers for Women Rock Chicago:

I got through the first bit and thought, 'Okay, that sucks, but I can deal with that. We just have to leave a bit earlier...' but I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled I was as I finished the email, quickly calculating how much time that gave me to run my 13.1, and realized...

I can't finish in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Given my mile times during training, my estimated race time is between 2:38 and 2:40 (it took me 2:24:59 to finish my 12 miler). Factoring in start times (since I probably wouldn't cross the start mat until about 6:40), there is no way I'd be off the course by 9:00.

This has wound through my head so many times now that I don't even know what to say anymore.

The "conflicting events" they're talking about is actually the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final...which happens the same weekend in Chicago every year. The race organizers have to have known about this conflict for at least 6 months, probably more, as ITU books the date a year in advance. What all that means is that this is a total and complete fail and muck-up on the part of Team Ortho and Women Rock (the organizers of the Women Rock Chicago race). This information alone makes everything feel really shitty and shady.

But what really, really makes me so upset about this is that I chose this race. I picked it for it's size, the seemingly enthusiastic and supportive crowd, and for the fact that it would be mostly women racing. And the medal looks pretty sweet too. If not for this race, I would have run my hometown's half last weekend. But no...I chose this one. And now it's come back to bite me. And moreover, if the time limit had been a prior stipulation, I would not have picked this race. When I signed up I had to I estimated and enter my time, and I estimated it at a minimum of 2:30. When I signed up. Because that is what my average mile time worked it out to (factoring in slightly slower miles for the longer distance). So if I'd known from the get-go that I would be limited to my minimum time, I would have picked a different race because I'm not an idiot who thinks I can train for a long distance AND greatly lower my min/mile time as well. I've even gone back and checked the terms and conditions to see exactly what I'd agreed to. Which is not this.

I attempted to request a refund through their website, but a few weeks ago after they finally released the pre-event info and I realized I probably couldn't make it I submitted a request to have my packet mailed to me. I was charged for this on September 3rd, and got my packet on Monday (the 14th). Apparently if you have it mailed to you, you are no longer eligible for a refund, which I think is totally bogus. Also...when I initially emailed them about getting my packet mailed, I was NOT told that this precluded me from any kind of refund, and this information is not in the terms and conditions. So I paid an extra $30 for that shiz-nitz, and I'm not even sure why it cost $30. I mean...what they sent me (the athletic jacket and race bib) would probably cost about $6 to send via USPS.

Fortunately, I used my American Express to pay for everything and I'm calling them today to see if there's a way they can help me handle this. I feel totally and completely swindled by what's happened.

Moreover, the organizers' suggestion of running both the 10k and 5k to compensate for not running the half is so incredibly indequate as a solution. And I feel like even showing up will give them validation for their incompetence in organizing, and for the "solution" they offered.

And for other reasons that I'll talk about next week, I have decided not to pick and run another half. I'll explain later, I promise. I was willing to push myself to and through this race, but now I'm throwing in the towel on the endeavor (which probably isn't the worst idea I've ever had).

So...there's the update. I still plan on enjoying my weekend, but I feel frustrated and let-down, and it's not even like I could have done anything to stop it. It just sucks.

Thanks for reading. This has been my goal for the year, and it doesn't look like it's happening (right now). I'll update you all on what happens, but for now I suggest NOT registering for any Women Rock Events OR for anything organized by Team Ortho. If they handle this well, I'll reverse that suggestion. If they don't, I'll be boycotting their races in the future, for sure.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Late nights and early mornings.

I am writing this verrrrrrrrrrrrrry early in the morning. Like, before work early. And I start at 6:30 (going in earlier today), if you need a frame of reference.

It's been (yet another) busy and stressful week. I won't go into everything, but I started out, right smack bang on both Sunday and Monday beyond flustered and frustrated first for personal reasons and then work had to dump it on too. And since then I've just had days cram full of stuff the whole way through.

I was out "late" last night (okay, til like 8:30) hanging out with people from PrideZ which meant I was up until 11 frosting cupcakes and cookies for today's bake sale at work (it's a big one). Today I got out of bed at 4:15 to bag up the cookies and granola I made. I feel like a bit of a slacker this year because I only made a few dozen cupcakes and cookies (and a large pan of granola) but I just didn't have as much time!

And looking at today is like waiting for someone to punch me multiple times. I have more than a few meetings, the bake sale, the 5k (which I've decided not to run...I'll do the 2 mile walk instead for reasons I'm not even addressing here until Saturday afternoon), AND, like, my actual work.

So yes. There's all that today, and already I just want to fall asleep. But I needed to get it out so I can go about my day and smile and all that in all the right places at all the right faces. Don't get me wrong, it'll be a good day and after today I can coast for the rest of the week, but I'm exhausted already...



Sunday, September 13, 2015

A quick week recap.

Hey there....

Just wanted to do a quick post to check in and say I haven't forgotten about the wide ol' world of blogging. The past week was mentally exhausting for me, which I think is pretty funny given that I only worked two days.

We went to Shipshewana in Indiana on Tuesday, and I feel like I ruined it for myself by worrying about the study time I was losing during the trip. The drive to get there was almost three hours, and I totally didn't realize that's how long it would take, so I kept panicking about getting back late. Although Cam was totally fine with leaving right after lunch (meaning we spent more time driving than we actually did walking around), so I may be over-exaggerating the amount of fun there was to be had. We got home by 4 and I got a ton of studying in, so it ended up being okay.

On Wednesday I had a few meetings at work (in addition to my work) so the day felt like a bit of a blip. I was very busy all day, and then came home and studied some more, getting together a list of the things I felt I needed to review on Thursday morning before my test.

Thursday...oh it was great. I actually spent most of the day feeling like I was going to throw up. I reviewed a couple of key principles when I woke up, then took my very last practice test to gauge how I might do on the real thing. I got like 80%, and you think that would make me stop worrying, but it didn't. My test wasn't scheduled until 1:00, but they'd called and said I could go in as early as 11:00 and I was ready to just get it over with. So at 10:30 I left my house, and I got to the testing center at 11:15. This was what the sky looked like the whole way there - it was hard not to take it as a bad sign for the test:

I was tested and out by 12:15...and I PASSED!

Weight off my shoulders! I'm happy to say I now feel a bit more confident about how to study and prepare for future exams. Part of the reason I was so stressed about this test was that I had no idea if I was preparing adequately. There's definitely room for improvement in the study section, and now I feel like I know how to address it.

I'll say though, the experience didn't help my stress level going in. They actually check your pockets (and hand me do things like roll up the bottom of my jeans to show my ankles and stuff) and then wand you to make sure you're not trying to cheat. I couldn't even wear my watch. I really wasn't expecting that...but at least now I'm prepared for next time.

However, I spent so much time studying during the week that I ended up not running at all after my 12 miles (and we only lifted on Sunday). My mood has actually been a bit dumpy all week, but on Friday we went laser tagging for a friend's birthday and it was awesome. I had a great time, and was really looking forward to my run on Saturday, but it didn't happen.

And I don't want to talk about why it didn't happen because I'm hoping the reason will go away.

That's all I'm gonna say about it for now, but it's sorely affecting my mood today. And yesterday. I feel like a useless lump. I spent all day yesterday baking for charity, but because I didn't run I feel like anything I did doesn't count toward productivity. Which is stupid, but no one ever said brains are always smart.

Anyways...Cam and I are going to bike ride today, so that should help my mood a bit. It never helps like running does, but oh well.

And that's where I'm gonna leave it for today, because I want that bike ride to happen, so I better go make it so!


Sunday, September 6, 2015

First Saturday

I feel a bit like this this morning:

I'm sitting here in Cam's clothes (seriously, why is his underwear so much more comfortable than mine?!) reflecting a bit on yesterday, and dreading the madness that will ensure as my mom gets everything ready to have Cam's family over for dinner tonight (big deal, that).

Yesterday was a busy, busy day. I had my longest run to date, and then a full day of stuff after. Normally I'm up at 6 for my long runs, I eat, and then I saunter on out at 7, but yesterday I accidentally fell back asleep and woke up like a shot at 7, realizing I was now running late (I actually didn't intend that pun, but I'm leaving it).

Sidenote: Cam is super sweet. Before he went to bed he sent me a text that said, "Please wake me up and take me with ya tomorrow. I don't mind how early you decide to leave." The night before his mom had been making a big deal about people being attacked at Busse Woods (not sure the specifics or severity so I'm skeptical) and he told me that if anything happened to me and he wasn't around he'd feel terrible. Not only was it nice to wake up to that text, it was also nice to know I'd have some company for the two and a half hours I'd be running.

We left by 7:30 and right around 7:45 I popped in my headphones with an audiobook on (Storm Front - Book 1 of the Dresden Files if you're wondering) and was off.

This run was a very interesting experience for me in a lot of ways, all of which I shall detail.

First...I realized pretty quickly just how muggy and humid it was, so I was sweating a ton right off the bat. I felt good for the first couple of miles, I was just very sticky. Okay, that's not new or interesting, but it will be around mile 6.

Anyways, I paused around 3.5 and captured a few pictures of these guys (and I stole some of Cam's because his were better):

The elk of Elk Grove Village!

You can see all the sweat on my chest...

Great pic by Mr Cam!
And then around mile 4 Cam snapped this picture of me running over one of the bridges. I started asking him a question before I realized he was taking a picture of me:

Cam and I kind of leap frogged through the whole thing. He'd ride ahead and do push ups or something, and then I would pass him before he got back on his bike. I feel like he's the real hero for doing that for twelve miles over two and a half hours.

I had to turn around a bit sooner than I wanted to because of construction on the trail (mile 5.15) and it was around this time that I realized my feet were starting to hurt. That was a shock, because I wasn't even half way done at that point and couldn't even imagine how they'd feel after nearly double what I'd done. You see, I had a total brain fart before I left my house on Friday and I forgot to grab my 1260s - I only had my Glycerins in my bag. I wasn't worried about blisters for the run, but I was worried about support...and this run taught me that for long runs, I need my 1260s.

After my turn around I took a few pictures of my distance...yesterday's run counted as my Beat the Blerch 10k and I wanted to document that!

A bit slower than past fastest was actually my run in the rain last week at 1:10:18!
I took this picture at the end of the 12...there was no way I was carrying that stuff with me while I ran!
I also snagged this pic of me and Cam after I realized he was running his bike behind me - I have to admit, he got crafty with his workout yesterday, and I love him for doing this for me:

Right after I this I decided I was too hot to be wearing a shirt. So, in an impulsive fit of "I don't care anymore"...I took it off. And for the first time in my life I completed a run without my shirt on. I kind of cared, but at the same time I didn't. I mean, I don't have a perfect body, but it's not like I was going to stop traffic because I'm hideous.

It actually had a huge mental effect on me. I felt like I could do whatever I wanted after that. 12 miles? Easy-freaking-peasy. (It got harder though...haha.)

So, I never fill my Camelbak when I run because I've always had plenty of water left over, but it was so hot yesterday that I sucked down the 1 liter I had by mile 7. I got a bit panicky because I didn't know if the marathon training group had finished and taken their water away with them. So when Cam came up behind me I told him I needed water and he gave me his water bottle and I downed it (there was about 8 oz in it). I told him I was out and he said he'd go find a place to fill his bottle and come back. (Around this time my headphones also came out because I was sick of dealing with them.)

It turns out the marathoners hadn't left, and he filled his bottle then took my Camelbak and filled it enough to get me through my remaining miles.

We reached the 10 mile mark just before I got to the bridge that would take us back to the car. I didn't want to have to run past the car and back, so we decided to explore one of the shorter paths that branches off the main one. Here's a map of my whole run - basically one long out and back because of the construction:

And that little bit in the top left was my extra out-and-back when I got closer to the start:

I felt really, really good through mile 10, and then I got to The Wall. Mentally, I knew I could do 12 - but those last two miles were hard physically. My body hurt and I was tired, but when I slowed down to walk it felt harder than it did when I was running, mostly because of the pain in my hips and my knees.

When I finished, I stepped off the trail and took a break for a few seconds. I was so happy...not really to be done, but because I'd done it. It was a great feeling of accomplishment. And here are my splits for the feat:

I'm happy because these times are fairly consistent. Mile 6 I slowed down to take pictures of my Garmin but didn't stop it, and mile 11 I walked a bit longer because I was eating the Larabar and needed an extra minute of recovery for the final mile. But overall, I hovered right around 12 minutes per mile, which will do me just fine for the race in two weeks. Afterwards, I'll focus on increasing that mile time a bit.

So observations (they're mostly physical):
  1. I'm sore. My left hip and both of my ankles are achey today, and my hip flexors feel pretty beat up.
    • For the next couple of weeks I will really need to focus on stretching out my hips, quads, and hamstrings. Icing my ankles probably isn't a bad idea either....
  2. I did 12 miles, so I'm confident I can do 13. This was my longest run to date by THREE miles, and I know that if I can push myself to do that, I can push myself to finish the half.
  3. I totally forgot to mention that I got a FlipBelt. It was difficult to get my nutrition out of my Camelbak while I was running, so I decided it was time to get something else (especially because I don't plan on running the half with my Camelbak...I don't think. I dunno yet...)
    • The flip belt fit well and was snug around my hips for the whole run.
    • My phone stayed in place (which really surprised me) but I had to put it in a plastic bag to get it in an out. Good thing though, otherwise it would have accumulated a TON of sweat on it. I was pleasantly surprised that my phone didn't bounce at all, and it didn't even feel like I was carrying extra weight. I will probably take my phone with for the half.
    • I had to readjust my nutrition a few times because the packages slid a bit, but it wasn't some horrendous feat.
    • And in case you're interested: My nutrition for this run included 4 shot bloks and 1 Larabar (roughly 500 calories). I also ate some weird chocolate oatmeal protein bar beforehand (it had 400 calories but was slow-burning carbs, and while not terrible, I don't think I'll do it again - I'd rather just have a Clif Bar with peanut butter on it). I'm trying to stay away from too much sugar based stuff (like the Shot Bloks) which is why I got the Larabar too. I had absolutely no digestive issues during the run, so this is probably the same protocol I'll use for the half.
And that's it on the training end of things!

By the time we got home it was almost 11 and I had to hurry to shower and get ready for my cousin Sarah's wedding shower. Aside from being really hungry - I had a cup of coffee with soymilk but didn't have time to eat anything - I just felt rushed because I also had to stop and buy wrapping stuff for the gift I bought (another thing I forgot to bring from home on Friday).

I was on time though (score!) and the shower was nice and fairly informal (which I loved, because that's just how I am about weddings). Sarah and I were able to talk for a while, which was probably my favorite part of the whole shower. As we've gotten older we've realized we have a ton of stuff in common. Apart from the fact that she's a physicist (fer realz) and I have an aversion to math, we share many of the same hobbies and it's fun to have those things to talk about and connect over. It kind of sucks because she lives in California now, but I think we'll adjust and handle it as we go.

I left around 4 and headed home to get ready for dinner plans with an old friend. When I got home I ended up laying on my bed for about 20 minutes while Benjen roamed around my room. I had planned on cleaning my room, but that didn't happen. I had no idea how I was going to make it through dinner with Steffi, but we had a good time and then went to DSW and Old Navy and scored some good deals. I didn't get any shoes, but at Old Navy I bought a few cute (and work appropriate!) tops, so score there.

I didn't get to bed until 10, and I'm surprised I made it that late. I'm even more surprised that I was up at 6:45...but that is how it goes.

And now I'm off, for today awaits, and after today is tomorrow - a holiday and a day off! You know what that is Second Saturday! Yay!

Peace out, peeps!


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Questions and Goals

I know I said I wasn't going to blog much this week, but I figured I'd stop in and say Good Evening and Happy September! 

In other news, it's hot here again. On my way to work yesterday(at 6:00 am) it was already 72 degrees and the humidity was made me SO happy that it wasn't a run day, it was a go-to-the-gym-and-lift-stuff-only day. But I looked at the 5-day forecast and it looks like last week was a total fluke. Today it was 74 degrees by 6:20am, and 93 when I left at 3. Yikes. And if you compare the average temp and highs from last week to what the temps look like this week, it's depressing:

Aside from all the madness that happened around my hometown yesterday. Long stories short: A police officer was shot and killed near where Cam works and now they started a massive manhunt in the northwest burbs for the three people they suspect killed him. The story is actually really sad because he was very close to retirement and has a wife and FOUR kids. I can't imagine what they're going through, and the way he died just sounds so these men were luring him out. I seriously hope they find those people soon, but right now it doesn't look good :/ (latest CNN update here)

And at home, they put all the schools on lockdown after an alleged gunman holed himself up in a house (that's actually just down the street from where I live, and in a neighborhood I frequently run in). Apparently he wasn't actually in the house, but there's a warrant out for his arrest anyways. That'll be fun to think about tonight when I need to run...

It made me pretty happy that I stay at Cam's on Tuesdays, mostly because I'm glad I didn't have to deal with the traffic, or the advisories to stay inside.

Anyways, that's freaky and sad stuff. In other news, I decided do a "September Goals" post this month. I've only come up with a few and they're pretty broad, but a goal is a goal, and sometimes what helps us achieve our goals is by putting them out there for the world to see (like I did in January when I talked about wanting to run a half!).

So here they are, for your reading leisure:

September Goals
1.     Don't get too stressed out this month, and make it out alive! I have a lot going on this month, so here's a rundown in chronological order:
o    September 5th: last long run for training (12 miles) and a wedding shower
o    September 8th: Trippin' it to Indiana with Cam's family for a day (supposedly to visit the Amish...)
o    September 10th: My first CPCU exam! I'm already nervous and will be doing lots of studying in the lead-up.
o    September 12th/13th: I will be busy baking because the 14th begins our company's week-long fall charity fundraiser (A Time For Giving)...I'm participating in 2 things:
§  September 16th: A Time For Baking bake sale/contest...there are lots of things I'll be making for this
§  September 16th: ATFG 5k
§  Good news: No workouts this week as I rest for the half!
o    September 19th: My first half marathon!!!!!!!!
o    In addition to all this (training, studying, baking, and participating in everything) throughout the month at work I will be organizing our company's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk as well as my floor Event Team's fundraiser (for October 18th), preparing training manuals for our department's new employee, and working on PrideZ's first event!
o    Told you I'd be busy!!!! But after the 19th it should slow down a bit!
2.     Take more pictures of stuff! I realize I've been really bad lately about taking pictures of stuff and using my Instagram, and I actually really like IG, so I'm going to try to do that more. If you want to follow me on Instagram you can find me here!
3.     Post Weekly Workout Updates I keep saying I want to do this and I keep not doing it. Since September will be a bit lighter on workouts I'm hoping it'll be easier to come up with a day to sit down and figure out how I want to do this. So watch for those (probably on Sundays).
4.     Start looking at running/race goals for the rest of this year, and next. Though I'm excited for the half because it'll mean I'm done training for it (and can sleep in on Saturday, woo!) I've actually really, really enjoyed training. I'm afraid I'll slip back into non-running habits and I don't want to, so I want to make sure I'm still training for something (like the Hogwarts Running Club, or the Rosehill Crypt 5k that my cousin promised she'd do with me). But I also won't lie...I've started considering doing a marathon. I'm not saying I will for sure, but I think it might be a good goal for 2015. For me, this means I'd also start to factor in some kind of training to increase my mile speed and throughout the fall, winter, and spring, focus on shorter, faster runs instead of long runs on the weekends. It's daunting, but I feel it's more than do-able.
So there are some September goals. That last one will probably be ongoing after September, but I wanted to put it down because then I can't forget about it altogether.

And just for fun, I picked up this survey thingy somewhere and decided to ease some boredom pondering the answers, and I don't want them to go to waste now :P

What is your favorite fruit flavor?: the actual fruit though, not just the flavor. For flavored stuff (like candy) raspberry.
Which two friends can you see together as a couple?: I'm not in junior high so any friends I have can decide for themselves.
Which sitcom character do you relate to?: Leslie Knope, only slightly less crazy.
What was the happiest moment in your life?: This is a tough one...but I was pretty freaking happy when Hannah called me after her 3 month scan and told me Miles was alive and healthy :)
If you knew that this was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?: Not at work...
If you were granted three wishes, what would you ask for?: 
  • WORLD PEACE! (For real though, if people could stop starting wars over ridiculous ideologies so countries could focus on social welfare and technological growth, that'd be great.)
  • Money (necessary evil, but so much can be accomplished with it)
  • More wishes (no one said I couldn't!) ;)
Name one annoying habit of any of your friends', which you would really like to change?: Thinking everyone has to be present for everything. It's impractical and sometimes plans fall through and we argue simply for this reason.
What are your pet peeves?: Thinking that experience is based solely on age. It's not. Also, political parties. They really do more harm than good.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?: Hopefully doing well at my job, married, with at least one kid, and I'd like to have a house (all that super boring adult stuff).
What would you do if you won the lottery?: Pay off my loans, invest some of it, and store the rest away in a savings account.
If you were born a boy/girl, how would things have turned out for you?: I would be named Stephen and that's all I know for sure.
Would you be brave enough to spend an entire hour alone in a cemetery?: In the day time? Sure. Not at night though, that's just silly talk.
What is the one thing you wish you could do if given the chance?: I feel like most of the things I want are attainable, I just have to work hard to get there. But I'd LOVE to do a really in depth tour of Europe without having to worry about money or finding a job when I come back.
Do you believe that there is life beyond our planet?: For sure.
Got a phobia you want to share?: Moths. They're gross and creepy and give me the shivers.
What is the weirdest thing you've ever done?: I don't really do weird things.
How long can you hold your breath?: Not long...probably about 30 seconds?
If you were stranded on an island, what are the three most important things that you think you would need?: A renewable water source, plenty of sunblock, and a library.
Have you ever tried bungee jumping or paragliding?: No, I totally wanna try parasailing though.
How do you think the world is going to end? In flames or an ice age?: Zombie apocalypse. Just kidding, given those two choices, probably an ice age unless the Sun implodes, then we'd all be sucked into a black hole before we knew what was happening...but I'm guessing with the Sun dying it would also have already gotten pretty ice age. Or nuclear oblivion.
Do you believe that the end of the world is looming in this year 2015?: Absolutely not.
What is your definition of an incredible weekend?: Getting in a good workout, a night out with friends doing whatever, and maybe a pool party to relax on Sunday (heated pool, please).
What are the five things you cannot do without?: Should I be as literal about this as I was about the island one? Food and water for sure, a sheltered dwelling, companionship, and a good blanket.
Give us an idea of your hopes and dreams: I just wanna be a good person and do some kind of good things with my life. I'd also like to feel like I challenged myself during my life, and accomplish something that I may have considered impossible at one point.
What is your favorite day of the week?: Thursday, because the hope of the weekend is still real.
Are you a cat/dog person?: I enjoy both, but I'm a total dog person.
If you had to choose between world domination or world peace, which one would you pick?: I believe I answered this with my "wish" question...
What is your favorite breakfast meal?: Depends on the day, but I loooooove restaurant pancakes.
Who or what inspires you?: My mom. She's been through the ringer in her life and come out a champ. I aspire to handle life as well as she has.
What is your favorite color and why?: Blue because it's the best. Cerulean, if you want a specific blue.
If you could live on any other planet, which one would it be?: Somewhere I wouldn't die of exposure or lack of food, water, or oxygen...I don't believe we've found one of those yet.
How many places have you traveled to? Name them: A few US states besides IL (in no order: CA, ID, FL, PA, OH, WV, WI, TN, IN, IA), England, Scotland, Germany, Poland.

Well that was fun...feel free to fill it out yourself and comment if you do because I'd be interested to read your answers!

For now, I'm out! Until next time!