24 April, 2014

The Bees' Knees

I went shopping after work today with a single objective: to buy shorts.

Shorts: the kind that of pants that end above the knee.

...and I did get a pair of shorts.  I also got two dresses and a skirt.  All of them end above the knee.

I've been thinking about it since I left the store, and I literally can NOT remember the last time I bought shorts.  It feels like kind of a big deal.  Don't get me wrong - I didn't put on the shorts and think, "damn, I look GOOD!"  I did, however, put on the shorts, turn around in the mirror, note thankfully that I no longer have back-of-thigh fat sagging down near my knee pits and that my thighs are WAY less jiggly than I remember, and then did a little happy dance.

As for the dresses, here are some horribly blurry dressing room selfies to get the message across:

funny faces and "I'm a little teapot" pose: free with purchase

The dress on the left is actually kelly green with white polka dots (white balance?  WHAT white balance?).  And I think it's more flattering than it looks in the picture.  I love the fabric. It's light and flowy and makes me want to walk barefoot through a park and spin in circles...or maybe just toss a cardigan on top and wear it to work.

I did what I could with the contrast on the picture on the right to show where the dress ends and the door begins.  This dress is made of the nicest textured fabric, and just looks so darn professional!  (Disney look: now including sleeveless!)  I'm pretty sure sleeveless isn't interview-appropriate, but boy does it make me look like a moderately stylish grown-up!  The belt is just a sash, tied in the back.

Anyway, hooray for continued improvement... and for the triumphant return of my knees...  and for the extra miles I'm running weekday mornings so that I can keep buying new clothes.

16 April, 2014


Dear World,

I ran my first sub-12 mile today. It's been nearly a half hour and my lungs are still displeased, but the rest of me is just tickled!

It was cool and windy this morning. I think I was just running fast in an effort to get warm. For that reason, I have a feeling I won't be hitting 11:54 again any time soon...but hey -- I wasn't expecting to hit it in the first place, so what do I know?

12 April, 2014

Facebook Post for Posterity

Yep...I found out on Wednesday that I got into my first choice (ok, only choice) Master's Degree program.  If all goes as planned, I should be finished in 2016 with an M.P.S. (Master of Professional Studies) in Human Resources and Employment Relations.

We got word two Mondays ago that they were finalizing decisions and should be notified by email within two weeks.  Of course, I had been compulsively checking my email during that entire period, and when I finally got word (at 10:31 am) I pretty much totally freaked out.  I texted my mom right away, printed out the acceptance letter, put the above post up on Facebook, and may have squealed, jumped, and happy-danced in my office (and the hallway by the secretary's desk...and the kitchen).  It took at least 1/2 hour before my hands stopped shaking!

I already had plans to go to lunch with a friend, and as you can imagine, my poor dining companion had to endure random "I'M A GRAD STUDENT" moments peppered throughout our meal.  He was a good sport about it though.  And for the rest of the work day, I was almost completely unable to focus on my job.

My officemate was off on Wednesday, so she got the news first thing Thursday morning.  Later on that day, we were joking about the idea of a rhino escaping and running through neighborhoods for days until the cops could finally catch it (there was context, I swear).  I tried to compare it to those stories of monkeys swinging amok in neighborhoods, and when my mouth started moving faster than my brain could catch up I accidentally used the phrase "until they catched it."  I immediately threw in a "caught...durrr!" once I realized what I'd said, but without missing a beat she turned around and said "ok, GRAD STUDENT!"  I laughed, and figured out that this probably isn't going to be the last time my stupidity is held up against a new standard.

Anyway, no rest for the weary.  My final paper is due by May 2, graduation is May 10, and summer semester starts on May 19.

Wish me luck!!

Riverside Dash 15K Recap

Boy, I guess I let my recap duties get away from me a bit this week!  That's a shame, because I've probably already started forgetting fun details about the Riverside Dash.

I decided to sign up for this race because I hadn't yet done a 15K.  In my half marathon experience, the last 5K usually kills me, so I figured a race that's "only" 9 miles should be great!  I also figured that I'd end up having trouble with the temperature, and the forecast indicated this would be the hottest day of the year so far.  So who knew what would happen for the actual race?

Jackie was running as well, and we figured we'd start out together and see how things went.  She's been working on her speed, so I know I'm not going to be able to keep up with her much longer.  Even in this race I know she was holding back to stay with me, but she stuck with me anyway!

There were only around 400 people running this race, which was a huge surprise to me.  It seemed more crowded at the start, but that might be because there were about the same number of people running in the 5K.  Once we started running though, there was almost no crowd around.  It was really nice to not trip over other runners!  We also started out running about the same pace as three girls doing 30-30 intervals and another woman who didn't have her interval timer and decided to just stick with us.  Oh, and she was a chatty one!

Another major selling point of this race for me was that most of it was along the St. John's River.  While Sanford has some unsavory areas, this particular stretch of a normally busy highway is picturesque and downright lovely.  We were lucky to enjoy a pretty sunrise, and then those low clouds kept the sun out of our eyes and the temperature reasonable through at least the first 2/3 of the race.  I saw an alligator and lots of birds, but those are things that an iPhone camera wouldn't have done justice.

Much like my experience down in Sarasota, my stamina is still not quite up full-strength with my new intervals.  Around mile 6.5, I started to get whiny.  Jackie and our race-buddy-for-the-day tried to keep me motivated, but I basically turned into a human Snickers commercial.  Jackie and I have done enough races together now that we can poke at each other and know where the line is, and frankly her taunting and my subsequent desire to punch her in the throat really did keep me going.  And I like to think that my surliness was at least somewhat amusing.

During my cranky phase, I had two memorable bursts of speed.  One was a random sprint, where I passed both of my "coaches," who were quite confused by what the heck I was up to.  Honestly, I don't even know what the heck I was doing, but it seemed a good idea at the time!  The second was when we were approaching a race photographer.  I think my exact words were something like, "ok girls, we're going to start running when we get to that tree, and smile for the camera like we don't hate the world!"  It totally worked.  Can you tell how much I hated the world at that moment?

I love this picture, not only because of the cheesy smile and the thumbs-up, but because that's most definitely an "I'm running" ponytail.  You don't get motion like that just standing still!

Right about mile 9, Jackie's boyfriend Paul backtracked to find us.  She asked him to stay with me so that she could run in to the finish, and despite my protests that he should run with her, he did exactly that.  I kept my intervals going for the rest of the race, and he told me that the last tenth of a mile was downhill and shaded.  And he wasn't lying.  The end of the race was lovely.  I was certainly thankful for Jackie, and then Paul, keeping me from just walking in the last mile or two.  She kept me from getting into that horrible head space I was in at the end of the Sarasota Half, and kept me going towards my time goal as well...which I hit!

My Race Stats:
Chip Time: 2:06:28 **PR** (because it's my first 15K)
Pace: 13:34 min/mile
Overall Place: 391/418

Gender/Age Place: 41/46

My Splits (according to RunKeeper):
mile 1: 12:34 min/mi
mile 2: 12:57 min/mi
mile 3: 12:48 min/mi
mile 4: 13:02 min/mi
mile 5: 13:27 min/mi
mile 6: 13:26 min/mi
mile 7: 14:06 min/mi
mile 8: 14:05 min/mi
mile 9: 14:09 min/mi
mile 10: 13:08 min/mi (the last 1/3 mile)

Overall, I really enjoyed this race and I think I can see it becoming an annual end-of-season event for me.  The course is flat and beautiful, and there are plenty of water stops.  On the downside, there was no sports drink available at the water stops.  They also ran out of beer at the post-race party a while before I finished.  Since I normally don't bother with the post-race beer I don't know how often this occurs at other races, but it annoyed the crap out of me.  The race bibs had those little tear-off tags at the bottom for both beer and food, and they knew how many participants there were, so why couldn't they have planned better?

But at least the pancakes were tasty and plentiful! And Walgreens was there handing out bags with random stuff like hand sanitizer and pedometers.  Who doesn't love free stuff??

03 April, 2014

During, Take Three

It's been two months since my last check-in (and four since the first).  Aside from the fact that I have obviously gotten better at standing on the edge of the bathtub and that the mirror desperately needs to be cleaned (eww...), there really hasn't been much change.  I like to believe my hips and thighs have gotten smaller and that's why my waist looks proportionally bigger, but it's likely I've actually just gotten softer in the middle recently due to my crap-tastic diet.

I am now down 41 pounds total from where I started when I first joined the gym in 2012 -- just about two years ago.  That's significant, but not dramatic considering the time frame.  I've lost 12 pounds since October, and have 10 to go before September in order to get the extra $150 in "wellness rewards" from work.  (since the money goes straight into my FSA account, if I hit that goal I'm going to buy myself a pair of prescription sunglasses with it -- that's the closest I could come to blowing the money on something pretty)  But honestly, as long as the number on the scale keeps going the right direction I'm not really concerned about the amount of time elapsing.

Honestly though, the numbers are just the non-subjective way to gauge my progress.  In the past few months, I've discovered visible ribs and collarbones, and can feel the front of my hip bones.  I also feel better, inside and out.  I've even stopped lamenting the shrinkage going on in my top half.

Cat commented a few weeks ago about me walking around in a sleeveless shirt when we met up at Downtown Disney after work.  I laughed and said it was too warm out for the cardigan I'd worn at work, and she pointed out that not too long ago I would've just suffered in the heat rather than walk around that way.  She's right!

So, I guess the last two months might not have been all about earth-shattering physical progress.  They seem to be all about confidence.  I don't think I would've even posted this picture on the left to the blog two months ago.  But hey, I guess it's time to embrace my "perfect imperfections" and love myself at every stage, not just when I hit a major goal.