Texas, warm me up!

By , December 12, 2017 5:24 pm

Last weekend was my annual December trip to Dallas to see my otra familia – Gina, Steve, Luca, and a new family member, GINGER!!!

Steven didn’t come on this trip since he’s too busy with work in December to travel

Gina is fantastic at finding fun stuff for us to do when I visit. We did our annual trip to see Santa, tried Goat Yoga (!!!), and went to a “Holiday Balloon Glow”!

We ate at some of my (and their!) favorite restaurants – Silk Road Thai Cuisine and Mellow Mushroom.

Photo we sent Uncle Steven as we were leaving the Thai restaurant to let him know it was us turning off the holiday lights from afar…

Conversation with Luca at Mellow: “What is Uncle Steven doing right now?” “Draw me what you think he is doing!” (using a weed wacker)

We had some home cooked meals too (Gina found a yummy vegan frittata for me!), including these amazing nachos.

Ha ha ha. On Saturday night, we were talking about nachos for dinner, but decided not to have them. Then on Sunday Steve mentioned the Cowboys vs Giants game was going to be on at noon and we decided we HAD to have nachos for the game… even though we only watched the final quarter. Any reason to make nachos!

On Saturday we were on the go (running, Santa, goat yoga, shopping, lunch, hot air balloons). Sunday was quiet, which I needed, because the cough I had during the week got worse, and I was also dealing with chills and sweats (sweats at night only), and achy lower legs. I was run down. And bonus: I got a bloody nose at the airport (waiting to board the plane home), which was a bit of a disaster.

I’m a bit of a disaster right now. Ugh. I’m grateful I could make my annual trip but bummed my body wasn’t feeling 100%! And hopeful I kept all my crudiness to myself. Eek.

On a funner note, now it’s time to start planning our 2018 adventures! We reviewed our 2017 visits on Sunday – five visits (March, April, May, July/August, & December). That’s pretty good for living so far apart!

I know I’ve mentioned this many times but it amazes me that I’ve become close with people I’ve met online. It makes sense – you meet people who share your interests and are more likely to hit it off when you meet in person because of that, but I suppose the “luck” of it is what blows my mind. How is it that we met friends that are like family to us, and like family to my family?!

Training Week 425

By , December 11, 2017 8:14 am

Highlight of the Week: Goat yoga!

Monday | December 4, 2017: 4.5 m run (incl. 4 hill repeats) + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 59°/62°, Time: 48:30, Pace: 10:47 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Strength: step and kettlebells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good (hungry though!)

Tuesday | December 5, 2017: 10 m ride + 3 m run
Indoor Ride Time: 39:54, Pace: 15.0 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 30°/30°, Time: 30:51, Pace: 10:17 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Wednesday | December 6, 2017: 3 m run
Loc: Lakefront Trail, Temp: 35°/32°, Time: 31:25, Pace: 10:27 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but could tell the legs need a rest day
Thursday | December 7, 2017: rest
Friday | December 8, 2017: teaching strength class + 6.7 m run (incl. 10×1:00)
Strength: step and kettlebells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but really sweaty
Loc: VP Woods loop, Temp: 19°/20°, Time: 1:13:49, Pace: 11:01, Difficulty: easy then hard, Felt: great then blah

Saturday | December 9, 2017: 3 m run (w/Gina) + goat yoga (w/Gina)
Loc: McKinney, Temp: 27°, Time: 29:59, Pace: 9:59 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Sunday | December 10, 2017: 1.7 m walk (w/Gina, Steve, Luca, & Ginger)


  • The beginning of this week was all about the wind. Monday it was warm and windy (25 mph with gusts in the 30s) and I ran all my hill repeats in to the wind (why not?). Tuesday was my first dark run in awhile, and yeah, it was still windy (in the 20 mph range). And Wednesday, you guessed it, windy (high teens), but sunny, at least. Yay, wind.
  • My legs were tired on my Wednesday run. They hadn’t had a rest day in a week. I was trying to get as many runs as possible in before my trip to Dallas (so I could chill in Dallas!). I had originally planned to do a long run Thursday am (I even took time off from work!) but when I woke up Thursday am with only five hours of sleep, I decided to just use the time for sleep and rest. Eh, yolo.
  • So on Friday’s run I felt great for the first mile and was excited that my rest day paid off! Then after I did my repeats in to the wind, uphill, and some on the crushed limestone, I felt crappy. My legs were a bit tired and my lungs too. Ugh. I really hope this slight cough I have doesn’t turn in to something more! It was 20° when I finished my run and the area on the top of my inside knees was purple! I ordered some inexpensive fleece-lined tights from Amazon to try, but please let me know if you recommend a certain brand/style!!!
  • Saturday morning’s run in Texas was in the high 20s but felt so much warmer than back home (duh). It was nice to have a pleasant run! Especially with Gina!
  • We tried goat yoga after our run. It was hilarious. We were laughing the whole time, with the goats jumping on us and everyone else! I am not sure why I didn’t think about the fact that the goats would be going to the bathroom everywhere… ha ha ha.

Link to Training Week 424

Random Thoughts Thursday 158

By , December 7, 2017 8:10 am
  • The Lindsey Stirling “Warmer in the Winter” concert was FANTASTIC! Watching her play the violin and dance was just as impressive and fun as I thought it would be. The concert had a playful tone with some humorous bits (and sometimes serious story-telling). Stirling performed two non-Christmas songs – Elements and Crystallize. It was a holiday concert so I was surprised and excited to hear those songs. I’d love to see her again – especially to hear her other songs!!!

  • Ugh, the opening act was painful though. An opener wasn’t listed when we got our tickets and I was hoping there wouldn’t be one. It was Stirling’s dancing partner (from Dancing with the Stars) and his wife’s group – Alexander Jean. I didn’t care for their style and got irritated listening to them. I felt like I was being forced to watch them, and just wanted Lindsey to come on stage!
  • We had crazy high winds Monday night and a tree came down in our yard. It fell in the same spot as last time – right over the log pile. Ha. I am glad the trees know right where to fall – where they need to be chopped and placed anyway!

  • Tomorrow is my nine year anniversary at work! Which sounds like a long time, but doesn’t even begin to compare to how long some people have worked at my organization!
  • I ordered our holiday cards Monday and they are arriving this weekend, yay! I am looking forward to sending them out.
  • I also set up a birthday party for Steven! His dad and brother are coming in to town on his birthday, so we’re going to have a little bowling get together with them and friends. I am looking forward to it!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 157

1.5 Days

By , December 6, 2017 7:21 am

That’s how long we had the new tree skirt out before Data barfed on it.


Data is not an everyday barfer year round, just in December when he can’t stop chewing on Judy. Sigh.

Judy is the name of the garland

Why does he have to barf on carpet, or a rug, or other soft surface?! WHY?!?! THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER HARD SURFACES IN THE HOUSE THAT WOULD BE EASIER TO CLEAN.

I love our kitties.

Maybe we should leave the skirt off until Steven’s family arrives on the 22nd.

Khali looked so sad it was gone though, so I put her bed there. Aww.

Don’t “at least” me

By , December 5, 2017 6:23 am

Have you seen this (short) Brené Brown video about empathy versus sympathy?

A coworker shared it earlier in the year, and I’ve thought about it often since. The gist of the video is that empathy fuels connection with someone, and sympathy drives disconnection. Empathy is taking someone else’s perspective, not being judgmental, recognizing emotion in the other person, then communicating it.

Empathy is NOT finding a solution, or silver lining, or saying “at least fill in the blank!” when someone tells you about a situation they are struggling with. It’s not coming up with the perfect thing to say, it’s connecting with someone when they’re in pain.

The part of this video I think about the most is the note of saying “at least this” as not being empathetic, because we ALL do it. I do it! It’s natural! We immediately think “wow, it could have been worse if this!” Or, “at least not everything was affected.” And we often express that thought.

But people who are expressing pain about something are already living that pain, and don’t want to hear theories about how it could have been better or worse. They just want to be heard.

In the same vein, a friend shared this article (pdf here), giving suggestions on how to comfort friends suffering with the holiday blues. It has four points, and the second one, you guessed it, is about empathy, and how we tend to empathize with someone by mentioning something similar we’ve encountered.

Sociologists call this conversational narcissism: that moment when we shift the conversation to put ourselves in the spotlight. Odds are you don’t actually know how they feel. Even if you do, you should focus on their experience, not yours.

“When you’re faced with tragedy,” writer Tim Lawrence notes, “the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. Literally say the words: I acknowledge your pain. I’m here with you.”

That is basically the same conclusion the video came to – acknowledge what you’re hearing, let them know you are glad they told you, and don’t come up with a solution or suggestion, and especially, don’t “at least” them or make it about yourself.

It’s definitely something I am working on!

December, here we go!

By , December 4, 2017 6:23 am

December is off to a busy start, like I thought it would be. And, it’s of my own doing, like I thought it would be!

On Saturday I ran, then immediately went to teach fitness boxing. I did NOT go to the Bath & Body Works annual candle sale like last year. I remembered how stressful it was, so I decided to order online instead. But you can’t stack coupons online, and you had to use a code to lower the candle price, which meant I couldn’t use my 20% off as well. I took that as a sign that I did NOT need to stock up on candles. Ha ha. My snis did pick me up one candle when she went. Can’t wait to see what scent she got me! Thanks, snis!

After fitness boxing, Steven and I got to work on the yard. We’ve had very few non-rainy weekends in November, so we hadn’t taken care of the leaf situation. And it was quite the situation.

Leaves from a small area of the yard

Three hours later, after using the leaf blower, mower, and rakes and tarps to move the leaves, our pile was done.

We won’t do a pile that big again. It’s too much to burn at once.

I took a one hour nap (!!!) after raking, then we were off to the holiday party at the studio where I teach. I wore the new festive sweater I got for the year (and plan on wearing to every holiday themed get together, ha).

Those are NOT the pants I planned on wearing with that sweater. I had on a different pair I could wear boots with, but the thigh rub area split when I was bending over before leaving the house. That made me feel great!!! Not. (I’ve had them a few years and they were worn out, but it was discouraging, ha ha.)

After the party we went out with Jen, Troy, and Declan for a bit!

On Sunday, Steven left early to help a friend, and I went on a run, then did errands (six stores, eek!).

My brother-in-law and I have an ongoing joke that we are buying each other all Porg-related things for Christmas. But is it a joke…?!?!

Steven and I got home around the same time, ate a quick lunch then started to burn the leaf pile.

Pretty (mostly) leaf-free yard!

We spent three hours burning the pile before we started spraying it down. Most of the first half of that time was burn control, but once the pile was about two-thirds its original size, we pulled up some chairs and chilled a bit.

I really wanted to be lazy the rest of the night, but I had it in my head that WE HAD to take a holiday photo this weekend. It was stressing me a bit. Last year was the first year we did one (this photo, also taken this weekend), so I guess I thought people would be expecting one again? Logic tells me that no one would be upset if they did not get a holiday card from me, but year after year, I have an acquaintance from college ask me WHY they do not get my holiday card (year after year, it was “we don’t send one,” until we did one, and I wasn’t going to send one after all that weirdness, ha).

Anyway, I like taking the card and sending it! We just didn’t make it a priority, so I put the stress on myself.

So after burning the pile, we (kind of) finished decorating the tree. We put the skirt out (fingers crossed Data doesn’t ruin it) and put the balls on – the tree still doesn’t have other ornaments on it. Then we tried to cat wrangle.

Fun times.

After the photo sesh, Data and Khali couldn’t get enough of being under the tree. Typical.

Khali actually slept there for a few hours last night!

Then dinner, more chores (and work for Steven – he had to work a bit this weekend), finishing my training post, and bed! And I still need to select a design and order the holiday cards!

I could easily cut out the exercise to gain back more time in my weekends, but it keeps me saner through the rest of the day. I bet my workouts will get shorter and shorter as the month goes on though!

Training Week 424

By , December 3, 2017 8:16 pm

Highlight of the Week: Feeling great for my long run Sunday, and naturally finishing the last half faster than the first!

Monday | November 27, 2017: 5.2 m run (incl. 6 hill repeats) + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 47°/47°, Time: 54:42, Pace: 10:31 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: step and kettlebells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | November 28, 2017: 10 m run
Loc: VP Woods Loop, Temp: 52°/51°, Time: 1:52:14, Pace: 11:13 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, just annoyed with all the rocks in my shoes
Wednesday | November 29, 2017: rest
Thursday | November 30, 2017: 10 m ride + 4 m run (incl. 3×800)
Indoor Ride Time: 33:43, Pace: 17.8 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great – no sore butt!
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 52°/50°, Time: 38:40, Pace: 9:40 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: great!

Friday | December 1, 2017: teaching strength class + 1,008 yd swim + 4 m run + 3.3 m run
Strength: step and kettlebells, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: FitNation, Time: 22:03, Pace: 2:11 min/100 yd, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great
Loc: hood, Temp: 45°/48°, Time: 40:34, Pace: 10:08 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine, but hungry
Loc: VP Woods, Temp: 50°/47°, Time: 31:32, Pace: 9:33 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great!

Saturday | December 2, 2017: 6.7 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: VP Woods loop, Temp: 37°/37°, Time: 1:15:01, Pace: 11:12 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: sluggish (duh)
Strength: core, pads, and boxing, Difficulty: easy (mostly observing), Felt: good

Sunday | December 3, 2017: 11 m run
Loc: Outlet Mall Loop, Temp: 26°/42°, Time: 2:00:17, Pace: 10:56 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great


  • The combo of speedwork last Sunday then hills on Monday did a number on my legs – I was feeling it Monday night! I thought my long run Tuesday morning would be horrible, but it wasn’t – just all the rocks in my shoes were. Ha. I usually have a day or more between hills, speed, and the long run, but my schedule is going to be all out of whack this month as I try to fit my workouts in with holiday celebrations!
  • Steven came with me to speedwork again this week! And he got to see how hella windy it is at the lake I do it at. Makes sense – it’s an open lake with almost no tree protection. Doing my speedwork there will build mental toughness… right? It’s worth all the irritation?!
  • This was my highest mileage week this year at just over forty-four miles. Funny that I used to run over forty miles every week, last year, and the year before. I cut back on purpose this year. I think I’d like to start increasing my mileage again in 2018 though. I feel better (physically and mentally) when I run more.
  • Monthly recap time. In November I ran 134.8 miles (25 runs, and my highest mileage month of the year so far!), cycled 62 miles (6 indoor rides) and swam 3,822 yards (4 swims). My coldest run was 25°F and my warmest was 63°F. I did 4 hill sessions and 5 speed sessions. I taught 7 strength classes, and 3 fitness boxing class.

Link to Training Week 423

My legs are revolting

By , December 2, 2017 6:46 am

Ha ha ha, I meant “revolting against me” but “revolting” as an adjective works too!

It’s been in the 40s and 50s here lately and I’ve been enjoying wearing shorts for my runs!

My legs however, have not been.

What started as a tiny red spot on the inside of my right knee, has now spread to cover most of my entire lower legs. SEE PHOTO HERE (I did not want that photo to be what shows up on Facebook and in Feedly, ha).

It really itches, and is irritated if something touches it.

I am not sure if it’s windburn, dry skin, a reaction to chlorine (I swam yesterday), or a reaction to the stuff I put in my baths. Or a combination. I’ve had patches like this on my legs before, but never this much!

Whatever it is, OUCH!

I am going to wear tights for my run today. And maybe put vaseline on my legs. An obviously stop with the baths.

Unrelated photo of Khaleesi enjoying the fire with her mouse:

Things I’m excited about in December!

By , December 1, 2017 6:48 am

One of my first thoughts when I woke up today was “this month is going to FLY by!” We have something going on every weekend, and many weekdays. Wheeee!

So today’s quote is perfect for the first day of December. It’s a good reminder that it’s up to us to do what we value with our time! (That’s how I interpreted it. I am not a LOTR fan so I don’t know what it’s actually about. Ha!)

Here’s what I am excited about this month (per usual, list is in mostly chronological order)!

  • Seeing Lindsey Stirling in concert! I’ve been a fan for a few years now and really want to see her dancing violin player shtick.
  • Going to the dentist (I LOVE having my teeth cleaned).
  • Completing refinancing our house.
  • My annual December trip to Dallas to see Gina, Steve, and Luca!
  • Running a holiday themed 5K (maybe!).
  • Seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
  • Treating myself to a massage before hosting Steven’s dad and brother for Christmas (maybe I should have one after, too?! Ha.)
  • Celebrating Steven’s birthday!!!
  • Teaching three fitness boxing classes. I am especially excited for the December 23rd “Merry Fitness Boxing” class!
  • Hosting Steven’s dad and brother for Christmas.
  • Lighting the “campfire donut” candle. For whatever reason, I’ve been saving it for this month!
  • Continuing getting in 5K shape! I have a long road ahead of me (I might be in 5K shape for a race in April) but I am enjoying the process of hill and speed work each week, and of eating less and losing weight.
  • A quiet New Year’s Eve at home with Steven?!?!

Random Thoughts Thursday 157

By , November 30, 2017 6:20 am
  • Is anyone else listening to Sia’s new album, Everyday is Christmas? I downloaded it a couple of weeks ago (thanks to a recommendation from a Facebook friend, Susan) and have been listening to it on repeat! Yay, new Christmas music!

  • On Tuesday Facebook changed the size of group page cover images, making all existing images cropped. I was annoyed, but figured I’d just reformat them. I changed the images to the two pages I administer to the new size, but every time I uploaded them (at the right size), Facebook zoomed in on them, essentially cropping them, again. I tried a few more times and eventually just padded the images so that you could see the content. What a sloppy annoying mess.
  • The honeymoon period has worn off with my work detail. I still like the work itself significantly more than my last position, but some of the typical office bs that I was able to deal with better at the beginning of the detail is starting to get to me now. I’m not surprised. Just tired.
  • My mom is doing the Holiday Mile Challenge with me and is kicking butt at walking her mile each day. I’m proud of you, Mom!
  • Here’s the watch face I am rocking right meow! (The snowflakes “fall” in the background!) Notice – no visible step count, ha ha ha.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 156

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