Just Livin’ That Lovely Life

Over the winter, when I thought about the whole marathon training + working + planning a wedding + staying social thing, I knew it’d be a little busy…but I had no idea! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, a good one, and I’m in my own happy little version of Oz.

The Green Bay Marathon is quickly approaching: Only about a month away now! I’m so ready. I’m excited, but I have to admit that I am fully looking forward to it coming, and then going and being done. Staying in alone Friday nights, then getting up at the crack of dawn and running for 3+ hours on Saturday morning isss getting a little old. I love, love, love running—why else would I run a marathon?! But all the time that training’s taking away from the rest of my life…well, I’m ready to get that back. 😉

That said, training’s been decent. I did my 18-miler two weeks ago. I felt great for it all, ’til what I thought was my hip flexor, but I now suspect was perhaps my groin(?), was pretty tight for the last 3-4 miles. I finished without pain, but had some dull aching that night and the following couple of days. I took off Sunday—Thursday, then did a 2-mile test last Friday. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I only did 9 miles as my long run this past weekend (instead of 19 miles). I have a 20-mile run on the docket in two weeks and I think I’ll be golden for it. In the meantime, I’m looking up hip and groin stretches and strengthening exercises to help keep me feelin’ good ’til that finish line is in my crosshairs.

In other news: Work + wedding + social life have been fabulous.

I earned a promotion at work a few weeks ago, something I’ve been working towards for almost two years, so that’s exhilarating and motivating. YAY! Of course, that means big projects + personal goals to make things even MORE uber-awesome now, which means I’ve been putting in some extra hours lately. All worth it, though! Can’t live, or work, without a little extra passion. Amen.

I wish I could say I’ve been just as on top of wedding planning.

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I was feeling good about it, like I was ahead of the game, and then the last 2-3 weeks have positively FLOWN by and suddenly my to-do list is glaring at me. Eeeek.

Hope to do some real updating and more in-depth recap on my training lately…stay tuned!

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How do you balance it all? 

The Countdown Is ON

In t-minus three days, I will be having a sleepover with my older sister and her new dog (!!), then waking up ridiculously early to head to the airport. After a few short hours up in the air, we’ll be reunited with our long-lost little sister in Phoenix, Arizona…in the SUN and WARM air and happiness!

Can you tell I’m excited?

My blog posts have been lacking {or just, MIA} lately, mostly due to a crazier-than-usual work schedule and actually staying on top of my workouts despite that. Which leaves no real extra time for this little hobby o’ mine. At least the craziness of the last few weeks will make this little run-cation all the more sweeter! I can’t wait to let you all know how the Phoenix Half Marathon goes (first race of the year for me), and fill you in on the other fun parts of the trip: Sweet hotel, pool time, drinkies, lots of good eats, baseball? and who knows what else.

last year's runcation, celebratory drinks

last year’s runcation, celebratory drinks

Actually, who knows what else? Really? We have all been so busy we haven’t planned…ANYTHING…beyond our race. I guess we’ll play it by ear once we get there.

In the meantime, while I daydream and drool over the thought of running in a t-shirt and not freezing my arse off, I am passing the time in the following ways:

• Obsessively googling bridesmaids dress options. I think I have it figured out…
• Equally obsessively tracking my bridal shoes’ arrival date (helloooo, beautifuls)
Badgley Mischka Randall wedding shoes in mint blue
• Agonizing over our ‘final’ wedding guest list. Seriously, this is the toughest part! We want everyone to be there…
• Watching DVDs of the West Wing to distract me from above wedding things.
• Tromping along on my new (to me) treadmill at home!
• Chugging down protein shakes, eating tuna sandwiches, and sleeping.

My legs and body have been getting sore more than usual in the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why. The fact I’m on a diet—maybe I’m not getting enough protein? Not enough sleep? Pushing myself too hard? I’m betting on the protein/sleep combo. For now.

P.S. Is it pathetic that my right arm and left buttocks are super sore from bowling on Saturday? ‘Cause I kinda think it is. But I ran a marathon last year, so it’s cool. Right?

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What should we do in Phoenix, Arizona? Where should we eat & drink?
What’s making me so sore lately—need more cowbell protein?

Anniversary Weekend Fun

Four years ago, my now-fiancé, Matt, and I were about to leave for a concert (The Fray) when he asked me to be his girlfriend. Four years later this past Friday, I attempted to surprise him with another concert, but that guy is just too smart to be fooled!

Matt and I met during our first week of college at a meeting to be writers for the school’s newspaper. (We’re little nerds, what can I say.) I remember him making jokes and being super outgoing, thinking he was pretty cute—and then inwardly thrilled when he walked me back to my dorm afterwards. We spent some time together and talked quite a bit, but I had come to school a LONG way from home so I could spread my wings and just be me, figure out who ‘me’ really was—so, between classes, a few clubs, and joining a sorority, I just didn’t have time to try to fit another puzzle piece into my life.

But four years later as college graduation neared, our paths crossed again, and finally it was the right time for both of us. And we’ve been together ever since. It’s been a fun, crazy, busy, exciting, full-of-love four years that we’ve grown together through. 🙂

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Oops, that’s not right…Here we go:

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happy

Last summer, we got engaged. We decided to hold off an extra year on the wedding so we could put our resources towards buying a home while the market was still so great. (Every year we cringed at the amount of money we were throwing away in rent!) We were able to find our perfect home this past April, and with that out of the way—it’s on to wedding planning for next summer!

We had a great anniversary weekend, first with a little Friday night fun. That concert on Friday I mentioned above was one of Matt’s favorite country singers, Phil Vassar. He played at Summerfest in Milwaukee on Friday night. What a great show!! I have to admit, I was planning the concert all for Matt’s sake; I listened to Phil when Matt played his music, but besides that, he wasn’t necessarily my favorite artist. But, you know how sometimes you see a band or singer perform live, and their passion, energy and pure talent are enough to make you a forever-fan? That’s totally what I experienced at the Phil Vassar concert. We are definitely going to try to go see him live again at some point. He was just a ton of fun to watch and listen to. It probably helped that we were able to score a spot only four rows back from the stage, dead center. Pretty sweet!

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celebrating 4 years together

Another fun side note, they were shooting footage for his newest single’s music video, Love is Alive, during the concert. We’re hoping that since we were so far up front and in the center of the crowd, maybe we got into the video. We’ll have to keep our fingers crossed & wait to see!

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honeypie cafe

The next morning, we stopped in Bayview at a cute brunch spot, Honeypie. They have tons of vegan and vegetarian options, and also some decadent and meat-laden dishes like the country-fried pork chop with eggs, sausage gravy and potatoes…which Matt of course had to get. I got a breakfast burrito, which was delicious, filling & way too much food. Definitely recommend Honeypie for brunch—or just for some sweets! Look at those…it took all my willpower not to give in to one of those babies.

Then it was on to our wedding venue destination in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. We drove around to every park in the city to scout out a wedding ceremony spot. We also stumbled across a church that we both liked a lot, Matt especially. I have always imagined our wedding taking place outdoors, though, so it will take some convincing for me to change my mind… However, I sadly was not ‘in love’ with any of the parks that we saw, and really can only imagine our wedding take place in one pretty, secluded and quiet spot that we were pretty fond of:

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So now it’s on to figure out the logistics, cost, risk of an outdoor wedding, and all that jazz so we can make up our minds and get our date set. Now we’re finishing off anniversary weekend with a little home-cooked dinner & some wine tonight before it’s back to the real world tomorrow. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Anyone out there have an outdoor wedding ceremony and have any advice? We aren’t hiring a wedding planner & we’re doing everything ourselves here…so any advice is appreciated!

Running to the Altar

If you’ve read my About Me page yet, then you see I have an exciting event coming up next summer…my WEDDING!

One of the benefits I’m hoping to glean from marathon training is weaning a few extra pounds off this bod & then keeping them off, so I can look good in that white dress. Cliché and such a silly chick thing to do, I know, but c’mon—wedding photos are immortal! Might as well make sure I’ll enjoy looking back at them later (hopefully not in longing of a bygone svelte body).

I’ve read several times that marathon training can actually cause weight gain. Due to increased mileage and calorie burn, you’ll be hungrier, which means you eat more (duh). But, if you aren’t eating more lean proteins and fruits/veggies, and instead justifying that extra piece of cake or cookie that won’t really satisfy your hunger (unless perhaps it’s a Snickers), then it’s easy to see how that scale can creep up.

cupcakes = my weakness

cupcakes = my weakness

As you’ll come to find out, I like to bake & I have a major sweet tooth. In the past, I did justify the ice cream, or cookie, or chocolate every day after I worked out. Sometimes I would literally stop to get a hot fudge sundae on my way home from my workout class. Ha! If you aren’t trying to lose weight and you eat a well-balanced diet in general, I think that’s just fine to do once or twice a week. But, when you’re trying to burn that extra fat off, putting it back into your body via gooey hot fudge and vanilla ice cream is not going to help.

Nowadays, I’m focusing more on eating lean meats & way more veggies than I ever did before. I actually hated vegetables up until a couple years ago, after I graduated college, when I started finding some ways to prepare veggies that were actually tasty. (Look for some recipes in the future on that topic!) It’s a little embarrassing to admit that, but I was like a big 22-year-old kid who would frown and just push her veggies to the side of her plate. Wah, wah. Now, I try to incorporate them as often as I can. And, on the weekend I let myself splurge once on a sweet treat…after all, who can really give up ice cream?!

healthy prep

What it comes down to is, I’ve changed my outlook on eating as fuel to get me through marathon training runs. Plus, having healthy meals and snacks planned out for the week means I am never hungry (even with cutting calories to lose weight) and I always feel energized and good during my runs. Win, win!

Oh yes, so back to that whole wedding thing. 🙂 We’ve got the reception hall picked out, and this weekend we’ll be touring the area to find a park to hold the wedding ceremony at. Perfect timing, as Friday is our four-year anniversary together! We’ll be celebrating with some hard core wedding planning. I’m sure my fiancé is super excited. 😉

How do you like to fuel yourself for your runs? Do you have to watch what you eat?

Any advice on deciding upon an outdoor wedding ceremony space? Luckily, our reception hall can double as our back-up plan in case of rain, so we’ve got that one covered!