Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Tell-All

*Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to try to talk about student teaching so much, but my paper load is seriously becoming kind of unbearable. And now I finally know what all my English teachers were talking about...I've spent over 6 hours in the last two days going over one-page rough drafts, and I've only managed to correct half of the periods that I have. And then today I got another whole load of papers that came in that needs to be entered. AAAAAAGGGGGHHH! I will drown in papers before the semester is over.

*Want proof of how overloaded with papers I've been? Matt and I didn't watch Once Upon a Time last night like we always do on Monday nights. We NEVER miss our t.v. shows. Obviously this is serious, people. But I absolutely WILL make time to watch The Bachelor tonight. No exceptions.

*I know I mentioned this in my last marathon training report, but I'm really kind of amazed at how the weight is just starting to melt off--I am now lighter than I have been in years, and the numbers keep going down. And nothing has changed--I'm still eating what I was before, and running about the same amount. Who knows why my body all of a sudden decided to drop the weight? Weird.

*Matt paid me the cutest compliment last night after I fed him his dinner. He said, "If I ordered that at a restaurant, I would never order anything else from there ever again." My heart just melted. (I'll be posting that recipe soon, in case you're interested!)

*I finally started Matched. Although it's gotten mixed reviews, I decided I wanted to give it a shot. And I made the mistake of telling Matt all about it, so now when I go home and am looking for my book...well, you can guess where it is. How that man manages to read so much more than me even though he's busier than I am is beyond me...

*I'll probably post more about this on my teaching blog, but I'm reading over all the students' personal narratives right now, and they are just so endearing. Not to mention hilarious (although the students usually don't intend them to be, which is why it's so funny). I wonder if I would get sued if I posted funny snippets from their stories on here? Hmmm..

*Our kitchen is a disaster right now. I wanted so badly to clean it yesterday, but my aforementioned paper load just wouldn't have it. Sigh. Maybe tonight.

*I've gotten into the habit of donating plasma twice a week to pay for our groceries. Whoever thought of letting us donate plasma for money was a genius. And even though I kind of hate the whole process (esp. getting my finger stuck with a needle at the beginning), it's pretty awesome to see all that cash in my wallet. I never have cash in my wallet. I feel so rich.

*Wanna know something funny? I decided that I am much wiser with my money when I am spending it in cash than when I am using my debit card. I make smarter decisions because I can actually see how much money I'm  handing over, rather than just seeing an abstract number on the screen and swiping my card. Crazy.

*Anyway, school's out and I've got a LOT of grading to do. Peace out!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Marathon Training, Week Four

People who deserve extra blessings: people who shovel not only their driveways, but their sidewalks as well (oh, I just want to hug you all!), people who actually slow down and move slightly over when they see you running, and people who have control over their dogs (or, if they don't, that at least have a leash on them).

I think I have the world's worst luck with dogs in this neighborhood. I swear, Matt never comes home with any stories about dogs trying to eat him, but I come home with such stories almost every day. Take yesterday, for example--I was on the last mile of my 7-mile run, when this curly-haired, cream-colored dog comes tearing out of the house across the street and pursues me mightily, despite his owner screaming, "TITO! Ven aqui! GET OVER HERE!" at him. Of course, had it not been for the presence of the owner, I probably would have tried to kick the dog to make it go away. And then we all would have been in trouble. (Okay, so maybe I wouldn't have KICKED it. But Matt did tell me that if a dog were trying to eat me, I should raise my hand as if I were going to hit it and supposedly it should go away. I made the mistake of doing this in front of the dog's owner earlier in the week--yeah, never going to try that again). Amazingly, I haven't gotten bit yet. But I'm kinda starting to wonder if it's only a matter of time.

As far as the training overall this week, I didn't do too well. Thursday I had parent-teacher conferences all night, and so I was forced to do my run during my lunch hour, which meant I had to cut down my run from about 6 miles to 3 miles. And then on Friday, I donated plasma right before going out to jog (I know, it was stupid of me, but I had no other time to go), and I only was able to run 2 out of my 3 scheduled miles. So I kind of feel like I failed this week, or cheated. But the great news is, my body (for the most part) is still getting stronger and my lungs are getting better at breathing so I don't have nearly as many sideaches, unless I eat right before I run.

Highs of the Week: FINALLY losing the holiday weight. After a few weeks of seeing the scale not budge and then go UP a pound, I lost four pounds in 5 days this week. Body, you are so weird.

Lows of the Week: Not being able to finish my run on Friday because I felt so sick and lightheaded. That's the first time I haven't finished a run because I haven't been physically up to it, and I sure don't want to repeat it again.

Next week our training schedule kicks it up a notch and I'll be bumping my 3 mile jogs up to 3.5, my 5.5 miles up to 6, and my long run on Saturday (now at 7) to 8. Should be fun.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here's What's Cooking...Garlic Beef Enchiladas

At first glance, this recipe looks complicated and like it requires a lot of fancy ingredients. But I actually didn't have to buy anything to make this--I already had everything on hand. And even though it took a little bit longer to make than I normally would like (a little over an hour, from start to finish), it was TOTALLY worth it. It's been ages since I've had an enchilada that I was so smitten by--I'd have to say the last time was at The Red Iguana in Salt Lake (which is fabulous, by the way).

But here goes:

Garlic Beef Enchiladas (from Taste of Home's Prize-Winning Recipes 2007)

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes

4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce (I just realized I used one of the smaller cans for ours, but it still tasted great!)
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder (I used one)
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin (I used one)
1 to 2 teaspoons ground sage (I used one)
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 flour tortillas (7 inches)
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (I used cheddar)

In a saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink: drain. Stir in the flour and seasonings until blended. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in tomato sauce and seasonings; heat through.

Pour about 1-1/2 cups sauce into an ungreased 13 x 9 baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla; top with 1-2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up tightly; place seam side down over sauce. Top with the remaining sauce.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 10-15 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.

Yield: 10 enchiladas (ours stretched a little bit more and made 11--I just threw in an extra tortilla)

So delicious! You won't regret trying it out :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Tell-All

*I feel like the only thing I'm ever going to have to write about anymore will be stuff about teaching. But that's what my teaching blog is for. So I'll do my best to think of other things going on in my life. Ummm....

*So Matt and I really never see each other. Take yesterday, for instance. I left at ten to 8 to go over to the middle school and by the time I came home around 3:30, Matt had already left for work. After work, he goes straight to his evening math class and then gets home around 9:15, at which point I'm pretty much getting ready for bed. This semester's schedule is a beast, I tell ya.

*Did I ever put on here about how I'm pretty sure I failed the Math Praxis test I attempted a couple weeks ago? I didn't even graduate in math, but I figured I went up to Calc IV, so I should have an easy enough time of it...WRONG. That test was insane. And I didn't even finish the thing--after two hours, I only was able to legitimately attempt 38 out of 50 problems (and half of those 38 I'm sure I did incorrectly). Moral of the story is this: don't drop $100 on a test unless you absolutely know you have a decent shot at passing it. However, I still haven't gotten my scores back yet. If by some miracle I pass, y'all will be the first to know.

*Actually, you won't be. Matt will. And then my mom. And then all of you :)

*I have a new little "project" of sorts in honor of Valentine's Day that I'm hoping to get started this week. I'll be posting my idea on the blog shortly (as well as holding myself accountable on here so I'll actually do it). I'm thinking of calling it, "No Skirting the Flirting." But we'll see. I really probably won't call it that; I just was trying to think of something clever and funny. I'm pretty sure that title fails on both counts.

*This weather is really tampering with my marathon training. I know I already stated how much I hated running in the gym, but it looks like pretty soon, that might be my only option. Sigh.

*Doesn't this soup just make you want to die and go to heaven already so you can eat it all day long? I think I might definitely have to try it out for Valentine's Day. But now that I think about it, why wait? Life is too short to pass up on a good chocolate soup recipe. (By the way, if you want the recipe, check it out here).

*The new phrase around the middle school is "like a boss." Although I'm not exactly sure how to use it in context, Matt and I have sure had a fun time trying.

*I haven't started Matched yet (I've totally been slacking on the reading), but I have managed to keep up on The Bachelor, Biggest Loser, and Once Upon a Time. Kinda sad how that works. (P.S. I'm way more excited than I should be about getting to watch last night's Bachelor episode on the Internet today. That's one bad thing about not having t.v.--you have to wait until the next day to be able to watch any of the shows).

*All right, I probably should be using my prep hour (one of them, at least) more wisely. So to the faculty room for a Dr. Pepper it is... :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Photo Walk: Legacy Trail

Remember how I was saying here how I wished I could have had a camera on our run last Saturday on the Legacy Trail?
Well, we decided to go back and try to capture some of its beauty and take advantage of the newly fallen snow on Sunday. And while we didn't want to run 4 miles in again to get to the best spots, I think some of our pictures still turned out pretty cool.

Hope you enjoy!

Sometimes we take pictures of the same thing. His: Left (above). Hers: Right (above)

 In the above right picture, can you see the horse up on its hind legs?
(And West Bountiful seems to produce money trees, as you can see in the above left picture)

 Above picture: Matt waited patiently for what seemed like an eternity for that little icicle to just let off a droplet of water already. It never did.

The ice made the most unusual shapes as it melted: what does the above icicle look like to you?

And lastly--the reflection and the reflected. Wish they could be bigger and still be side by side.

Gotta love the Legacy Trail!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Today we went on our first Photo Walk in ages, and I can't wait to post all the cool pictures we got.

However, it is time for bed, so I will only post these cuz I think they're fun:

Can't wait to show you the rest.

Hope you all had a happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Marathon Training, Week Three

Oh, how I wish I could have brought my camera on our run today so that I could have captured the marshy brushes and the red berries waving in the rain this morning as we ran along the Legacy Highway trail in Bountiful.

Of course, such picture-taking was out of the question as grueling, long Saturday runs and nice, expensive photography equipment don't exactly get along. And besides, I have a hard enough time hefting my own body weight for 8 miles while the rain freezes my hair and the puddles seep through my shoes and socks, so adding any accessory to my running outfit is just out of the question.

But maybe one of these days, when the rain has blessedly stopped and the snow far from our memory, I will pretend like we're out on a really grueling, long Saturday run and take pictures of it for you.

Won't that be exciting?

But as it is, you just get my word pictures today.

This week marked a couple important things for me: first, I started student teaching. Second, I decided at the spur of the moment to up my mileage on today's run (and by "on the spur of the moment," I really mean that I had no idea how far I'd gone and ended up running an extra mile as a result). So I now have run farther than I ever have before: 8.5 miles. I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Overall, this week was just so much better than last week as far as the training went--my body wasn't nearly so stiff and sore, and it just responded so much better to the whole running process: I didn't have so many sideaches to deal with, and our usual runs have started to become much easier overall. I was so encouraged after this week--my body really is responding to the training, and I can feel my legs getting stronger and my lungs becoming more able to provide me with the extra oxygen I need. It's amazing really.

The only thing that was definitely harder this week was dealing with the weather--I ran through freezing, driving rain two of the days this week and then was forced to run into the gym on Wednesday night because the roads were so icy that I could barely make it from my car to my front door without slipping. But through it all, while my wet, smelly clothes clung to my skin and my brain grew numb from the icy wind, I just kept telling myself this: "I cannot afford to be a fair-weather runner. Fair-weather runners will never reach their goals."

Simple, but it worked.

Highs of the Week: Finally getting a change of scenery--since we're down in Bountiful this weekend, we ran an 8.5-mile course along the Legacy Highway trail, and it was just beautiful (even despite the rain). I simply love running outside: I love the ducks I pass at the pond every day in Logan, I love hearing the river gurgling beneath the ice, and I love it when the sun comes out and warms my face. There is nothing better.

Lows of the Week: My run at the gym on Wednesday. It is truly awful to be forced to run on a treadmill in a sweltering, sweaty gym when you have been used to running outside every day. It was without question the longest 3 miles of my life (I would rather have run double the amount I did today than deal with running at the gym again during training). It's so weird how preferences change: two months ago, I had only known what it was like to run in a gym on a treadmill, and I didn't mind it. Now you couldn't pay me to do that. (Well, maybe you could. I wouldn't mind a new lipstick). Anyway, it's not something I want to repeat anytime soon. So all of you who are praying for precipitation...you'd better watch it.

Miles logged: 28.5

Time Per Mile: Somewhere between 10 and 11 minutes. I need to be better at keeping track. (That is the one thing a treadmill is good for).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching Blog

I've decided to use the blog I created last semester for a class as a place to document what's going on in student teaching. These are learning experiences I never want to forget, so if you want to follow along, check it out:


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Tell-All

*I did it, people---survived my first day of student teaching with a smile on my face. Of course, I didn't actually teach today (just observed and passed out papers and went to an IEP), but I'm excited for the semester ahead. I completely take over all my classes tomorrow, and I'm actually really stoked. The kids are so receptive, and I think that I might enjoy teaching this age group more than I originally thought. Of course, we'll have to see how this first week goes...

*I know I've been seeing people post this everywhere, but Jason Mraz's new song "I Won't Give Up" is really just so brilliant. It's been ages since I've loved a song so much.

*So I must have had too much time on Monday (with the holiday on all) because I actually caved in and watched The Bachelor for the first time. (Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit that). I'm even more embarrassed to admit that I kinda like it. And that I dragged Matt into watching it with me.

*Already this week's marathon training is a 180 from last week. My body and mind have been responding so much better, and it's a good chance for me to process everything going on at the middle school. I have a feeling that my heart is about to get a lot bigger this semester, and not just from all the jogging.

*I got 3 magazines in the mail today. Happiness :)

*I almost forgot how cool libraries are. Matt and I went to the Logan Library for the first time in ages this past week, and I picked up some Taste of Home cookbooks I haven't tried out yet, and we made a truly sabroso (tasty) meal on Saturday because of it. It was kind of a duh moment really--a good reminder that I don't have to buy every book the minute I want it.

*I got $35 worth of groceries today for about $10. It was amazing.

*Now I want to go eat all of them. Mmm....

What's up with you lately?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book #1: Forge

Title: Forge
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
# of Pages: 280

What a great way to spend a holiday: snuggled up in bed this morning until ten o'clock finishing my first book of the year. And then drinking a banana-chocolate smoothie and watching Big Bang Theory. Could life get any better? I submit that it could not.

Forge is the second book in the Chains trilogy that I started last month (unfortunately, the third book doesn't come out until the end of this year, a fact I unfortunately didn't know until AFTER I'd already finished reading the first two books of the trilogy). Whereas Chains is told from the point of view of Isabel, a headstrong, courageous young slave girl trying to escape to freedom during the Revolutionary War, Forge is told from the point of view of Curzon, a young slave boy who enlists with the army to fight the war and who tried to escape with Isabel in the first book. Forge tells the story of Curzon and Isabel's continuing search for freedom, while outlining Curzon's plight as a starving private in the Patriot army and Isabel's plight as a branded slave once again. My favorite part of the book is, of course, the budding romance between Curzon and Isabel. One chapter was so cute that I leaned over, grabbed Matt, and started shaking him while saying, "That....is.....just.....so.....CUTE!" (To which he simply looked up from his own book, bewildered and confused).

As I said, no better way to spend a holiday.

Although I'm disappointed that I won't be able to see how the trilogy ends until October of this year, I have loved these first two books and am impressed, as always, with Anderson's ability to craft strong characters with unique writing voices and craft novels that are not only entertaining and suspenseful, but also thought-provoking and full of feeling. She continues to maintain her status as one of my all-time favorite authors of YA fiction.

My Rating: 5 stars

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marathon Training, Week Two

Joggers and dogs are not friends. Joggers and cars are also not friends. And that's a mutual feeling on both sides, and we all know it: cars hate joggers, and joggers hate cars. Case in point: I almost got hit while crossing on a 4-way stop sign, and when I looked at the driver to see what was going on, she gave me a look like, "Get off the road, pedestrian. This is MY territory."
Or something like that.

Of course, if all the snow and ice would go ahead and melt already, I could stick to the sidewalks and we'd all be reasonably happy (esp. the dogs, because that way I would be at a more convenient distance for them to eat me). But as it is, I must trek on at the side of the road, praying that the next car coming up behind me sees me and isn't feeling particularly vengeful.

Highs of the week? The fact that I didn't walk a single time the whole week during my runs. And that I didn't take any "shortcuts," like cutting across the lawns on the corner properties.

Lows of the week? I felt like this whole week was a low: I had problems with my motivation (probably due largely to the fact that "real life" started up again and I was forced to start running solo in the afternoons instead of with Matt in the mornings), I had a minor emotional breakdown during one of my runs that almost spurred on an asthma attack, and my body never, ever ceased to be cripplingly sore (yes, cripplingly is a word. Or at least it is now). Plus I was hoping (you know, since I'm busting my butt every day to go out and run and still keeping up a mildly low calorie count) that I would lose the pesky holiday weight that I so easily put on about three weeks ago. But, much to my dismay, I have actually GAINED a pound since starting marathon training. It's very discouraging.

But I still did it. I still completed the whole week's worth of training (although I did skimp on one mile on Tuesday, since I was afraid I would have an asthma/panic attack if I kept on going). And I feel pretty good about that. Plus the weather was beautiful and dry the whole week, which always makes life easier.

Week 3, I am ready for you.

Number of Miles Logged: 26
Avg. Time Per Mile: 11 minutes (why it's slower than last week, I don't know)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Change It Up Report: A Clean Home

I don't even know where to start with this report. I've been putting it off for so long because (let's be honest) I was waiting for my house to be clean before I actually reported on how I'd done at cleaning it more often/better.

It looks like that might not happen before the end of the semester.

So I guess I'll just say what I tried and how it went.

You all should know, my mom is a brilliant homemaker--I grew up in a spotless, organized home and could expect a hot dinner every night at 6:00 sharp. And while I've got the hot dinner thing mostly down in my own home, I have always struggled with the "spotless" part. (I'm pretty sure it's because I have hoarding tendencies. And a too-high tolerance for piles).

To be honest, I wanted to be able to put down some mottoes in this post that I had magically picked up, like "Don't put it down--put it away." And while I tried to live by that, it just didn't work for me.

So I tried to come up with a system that I know works for a lot of people: assign a different major household chore (vacuuming, dusting, etc.) to a different day of the week. I put kitchen clean-up on Monday, bathroom clean-up on Tuesday, vacuuming on Wednesday, etc. You wanna know long that lasted? Not even a day. The problem? My weeks are often unique in their schedules, meaning that some nights I got home too late to clean and other times I was too tired to do anything more than the basic necessity of cooking a hot meal and getting a foot rub from my husband.

Some nights are just like that.

My mom told me that the key to an organized home is never letting it get too bad. The rationale is that if you keep on top of it every day, you'll always have an organized home and will rarely have to spend more than 15-30 minutes cleaning at a time. When my home was clean at the beginning of this challenge (for about two weeks before the roach spray incident), I could definitely see how that system could work. I also noticed that because every space in the house was already tidy, it was easier to keep it that way (partly because it seemed such a shame to mess up the cleanliness by throwing my dirty socks on the floor). The problem was that when something unforeseen happened (like us having to disembowel our entire apartment so that it could be sprayed for cockroaches), we never seemed to be able to get the house back to its pre-incident state. And then the mess and the clutter just kept growing.

However, I do know that when it comes to a few things, I have made significant progress. For example, we've actually pretty much kept on top of the dishes almost every day (which is kind of a significant thing for us). And a mantra that I unconsciously adopted for those days when it just seemed that I had no time or energy to do anything, I would think to myself: "Just do this one thing." The "one thing" was always something very small, like wiping out the hair in the sink or recycling a newspaper, but usually the "one thing" led to me doing 4 or 5 things, and before I knew it, I actually had made a noticeable difference in a room.

The other biggest thing that I did as part of this challenge was to try and come up with a place for everything so that everything would always have a home and it would be easy to clean up. While this is one that I'm still working on, I have gotten much better in this respect. Some of the things that helped the most were updating our filing cabinets with new folders to carry new papers and putting little card boxes to work holding odds and ends. It also helped that we got rid of a lot of stuff over the past two months.

I still have a long way to go, and I wish that my report could have showcased a more drastic change. But I think I'm going to have to face this ugly truth sooner than later: that I am not predisposed to being super tidy and that I'll have to work at it my whole life. With that said, I will always be looking for suggestions on how to improve myself in this area, like this great blog post I found today (which is where I got the above picture):

30 Minutes to a Clean Home

Change It Up Successful? Umm...kinda. At the very least, I don't think I got any worse...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finding Motivation

photo via runtothefinish.com and Pinterest

I would rather sit home today and watch Sandra Bullock movies and eat ice cream.

However, I still have 5.5 miles to get under my belt.

A few minutes on Pinterest, and I'm feeling slightly more motivated.

Out I go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Tell-All

My brain has been feeling overloaded and soggy all week long, and I blame it on the lack of brain dump that is Tell-All Tuesday. So here you go.

*For the first time since starting the marathon training, I don't want to go running. I blame the fact that I've been sitting in a student teaching seminar for 7 hours straight today. I mean, who wants to do ANYTHING after that?

*We're having the roach spray guy come again today. Actually, he's in my house now. That is why I am not. I'm tired of worrying about the little buggers (even though we, very luckily, haven't had any problems yet)

*Matt and I experienced a miracle yesterday. Hopefully I'll have the motivation to post about it later, because it was a needed reminder that my prayers are always heard and that I really need to stop worrying so much.

*I take the Praxis exam again this Saturday, this time in Math and Principles of Teaching. I've been trying to teach myself Matrix (Linear) Algebra and Discrete Mathematics all week. Needless to say, I'm a little stressed out about it.

*I start student teaching next Tuesday. After two full-day seminars yesterday and today, I am about 100 times more nervous about it than I was three days ago. This has led me to conclusively state that the less I think about things, the better I feel about them.

*I came to the sudden, sickening realization that this semester is going to look suspiciously like the summer, meaning that Matt and I will hardly ever see each other. I hate it already.

*I am teaching my first-ever class on couponing tomorrow night. To tell the truth, I've barely even thought about it. I wonder why?

*Do you ever feel sometimes like the people who know you the least think that you're all great, and that the people who know you the best don't? That probably came out way more depressing than I meant it, but it was just something I was thinking about today. It's a good thing that the people who know us the best love us anyway though, despite the fact that they're familiar with WAY more of our imperfections.

*All right, I'd better go muster up the energy to run before the sun is gone and it's time for my Relief Society meeting tonight. And before I post more depressing rhetorical questions that weren't meant to be depressing.

*Oh, how I missed having my banana-oatmeal smoothie today. 

*(I just had to end on a food note. It's tradition!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Marathon Training, Week One

Have you ever run so far that you threw up? Me neither, but I sure came close today on mile 6 (I somehow knew that eating Denali mint fudge tracks ice cream minutes before we left was a bad idea).

I've never been a runner. When I was in my early teens, I developed a sudden and severe case of asthma that left me breathless (literally) every time I tried running more than a quarter mile. Although the asthma left as mysteriously as it came, I have always blamed it for my seemingly reduced lung capacity for aerobic activity. Up until about 13 days ago, I was perfectly content with thinking that I would just run 2.5 miles at a time for the rest of my life and be happy with it.

Then three things happened.

One: We got high performance spandex running gear from Matt's parents for Christmas (everyone in Matt's family is a runner, not surprisingly).

Two: I suddenly hit on a cute little idea: 26 miles before I turn 26 this year. How fun would that be, right?

Three: I gained a stubborn three pounds over Christmas that just are not being as agreeable as the three pounds that only briefly stayed for three days after Thanksgiving.

And that, my friends, is how it began.

This week, we've started on a 12-week marathon-training plan that will hopefully have us whipped into shape by the time we run our first real marathon on April 21st. Since the marathon is more than 12 weeks away, we're debating whether we should just repeat week one of the program three times or whether we should just keep going with it and just repeat the last week three times. But we'll see.

The training goes like this: run 25 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, run 50 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday, and then run an hour and ten minutes on Saturday.

What really happened?

On the days I was supposed to run 25 minutes, we chose a three-mile loop, which put me at 30 minutes on those days. On Tuesday, we guesstimated how long 5 miles was (what a joke!) and ended up coming home at 35 minutes and calling it good. Thursday, after mapping out a "real" 50-minute run, I ended up running 63 minutes because apparently I slow down the longer I run. And today I ran for an hour and twenty minutes (or so we think, because I beat Matt home due to him running for a longer distance today and him having the key).

Highs of the week? Running 7 miles today. I have never EVER run more than 4 miles at one time in my life, so this was a BIG accomplishment for me. And I did not stop once. In fact, the only walking I've done all week was on Tuesday, when on my guesstimated path, I chose to attempt to run up the steep hill right next to the temple. While I did, in fact, run all the way up the hill, I did not, however, continue to run when I crested the top. I only walked for about 30 feet though, so I'm happy. The other happy revelation? That the running gets a lot easier for me after mile 3. I don't know exactly what "runner's high" is, but since Matt told me it's not what I think it is, I'll call this happy phenomenon "runner's numb": when my body hits the third mile, my lungs start breathing easier, my sideache goes away, and my muscles are so warm that they don't feel how much pain they're in. It's beautiful, really. Until the numb wears off, that is.

Low of the week? Yesterday's run. Since Thursday was the first time I'd ever run 5.5 miles, my body rebelled something wicked yesterday, despite the fact that we were only doing a 3 mile run. My inner thighs hurt so bad that I was half-limping down Center Street as I jogged. I just keep telling myself though that in a couple weeks, 5.5 miles will be a total breeze as it will be about a daily occurrence. Boo-yah.

Number of Miles Run: 25
Avg. Time Per Mile: 10.1 minutes

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Walk: Mini

On New Year's Day, I took a short mini photo walk by myself while Matt and his brother played Magic cards. And you know what I realized?

Somehow the photos are always better when Matt's there with me.

It's probably because most of the ones I post are his :)

But regardless, I guess I'll post the few mildly-intresting shots that I was able to get.

You know what else I realized?

January isn't a very pretty month.

But here goes:

*All pictures were taken on Main Street in Bountiful, Utah.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Eve

Our New Year's Eve was spent with these good people:

The best part about having a best friend whose birthday is on New Year's Eve is that it means that I always have something to do that night.

In years past, we tried to do the whole big party shebang, with lots of food and lots of people.

This year, I'm glad it was just us.

Just us and sparkling cider.

And Uno and Risk.

What better way to ring in the new year?

Here's What's Cooking...Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

The last time I got on pinterest, I ran across this healthy, protein-filled smoothie that I just had to try. For the last couple years, each morning I've been having a Carnation Instant Breakfast smoothie, and it was definitely time for a change. I recommend that you add a little bit of milk (about 1/4 cup) to the recipe so that it's not so thick (the first time I made this, the texture was almost too thick to take--Matt still won't drink this smoothie because of it). If you're looking for a quick breakfast that is low-calorie and leaves you feeling full til lunchtime, this is the smoothie to try! 

Banana Almond Oatmeal Smoothie (from chiquitabananas.com)

  • 2 whole Chiquita Bananas (best with brown flecks on peel)

  • 2 cups Ice

  • 1/3 cup Yogurt - preferably Greek yogurt flavored with honey  (I used plain vanilla yogurt and just squeezed in a little bit of honey)

  • 1/2 cup Cooked oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup Almonds

  • Pour all ingredients into a blender, putting the ice in last. Serves 2.


    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    This Year, I Resolve To...

    I love the idea of a new beginning--it's the reason I always look forward to a new school year or a new job. New beginnings mean a chance to see yourself in a fresh light, the opportunity to harness the hope that comes from clean slates.

    So it stands to reason that I would be a sucker for New Year's Resolutions. As far as last year's resolutions went, well...there's room for improvement (such as the fact that my goal was to read 50 books and I only read 19. And the 19th was a bit embarrassing to review because it involves a vampire love story, and we all know how I feel about those. Therefore, there will be no review).

    But in a lot of ways, I succeeded in my attempts at self-betterment this last year. I mean, thanks to my Change It Up Challenges, I took up yoga, started couponing, lost ten pounds, learned the joy of bright lip color (much to Matt's dismay), and really started to love photography. So in light of my successes (although most of them were unplanned), I'm really feeling like this will be a winning year.

    Without further ado then, in 2012, I resolve to:

    *Run a marathon. (This WILL happen--Matt and I have already dropped $200 to register our spots in the Salt Lake City Marathon on April 21st, and we've started our training already--I've run over 15 miles in the past week to start preparing myself for the more strenuous training schedule that starts in two weeks).

    *Read double the amount that I did last year, which translates to 38 books. You can stay posted on that by reading my upcoming "38 Book Challenge" reviews. I do realize this does not have the same relish that "50 Book Challenge" does, but what can ya do?

    *Go to the temple every month

    *Have people over to dinner every other month. (These first four goals are resolutions that Matt and I set together during Family Night last night. Goals are so much easier when there's someone to be accountable to!)

    *Finish typing up my mission journals.

    *Do the NaNoWriMo challenge. (This might not happen in November, but we'll see).

    Oh 2012, you're going to be so good to me!!
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