Wednesday, April 16, 2014

owl porn

My boss turned me on to what could easily be my equivalent to internet porn:


Wanna see what an Indiana Barred Owl does all day? (Hint: Not much), click here!

My boss sent me the link this morning and I was instantly like,

(By the way, Liz Lemon is my spirit animal.)

I haven't streamed anything on my work computer since last year's Boston Marathon (and divine intervention led me to close the tab about 5 minutes before the bombs went off), so these owls are bound to make the day go by faster. Although, I could really do without the dead mouse in the background. Yeah.

If someone could just find me a live stream of puppies, we'd be in business. 

I've considered setting up a web cam so I can spy on  Joey during the day, but 1.) that would make me even more of an obsessive lunatic and 2.) it would just be a lot of beagle snoozing (and if we're being totally honest, a lot of beagle farting). I swear, sometimes when I go home for lunch, that dog is laying in the exact same position as I left him in that morning.

A co-worker and I had a lengthy conversation about everything we'd like to see stream on a 24-hour live web cam. She voted for baby elephants. I made a strong case for a cupcake shop. Then we both agreed on hot men doing household chores and cooking dinner.

Oh man, sh*t just got real.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

the yard

I was running around in shorts this weekend. Then it snowed last night.

Spring, you disappoint me.

So how was your weekend? Mine was pretty good! Didn't do anything too terribly exciting: Met friends for dinner on Friday, weeded my garden boxes, got a tetanus shot, ran a few miles ... You know, the usual. 

Except for the whole tetanus shot thing, I guess.

My first official day of spring cleaning as a homeowner and I decide to go dancing across a rusty nail in our shed and puncture a hole in my foot.

Ironically, this was no more than 10 minutes before I told Clayton, "Watch out for all the rusty nails!"

So yard work was cut short this weekend with an impromptu trip to the doctor. It was almost exactly 6 years to the day since my last tetanus shot (it was part of the whole "I can't cut potatoes without almost cutting off appendages" saga), so the nurse practitioner erred on the side of caution and suggested I get a shot anyway.

Get a shot I might not need or potentially lose my foot to gangrene ... It wasn't a hard decision. (And why is it that the shot hurt way more than stepping on the nail?!)

While we didn't get everything we wanted accomplished, I was still able to weed our garden boxes and prepare one of the front yard's flower beds for new plants. I also wrestled with a dead bulb whose roots ran halfway to China and there were so many various legs, I was convinced I was digging up an octopus.

But our front yard is still a hot mess. Remember these pics from last August when we had just laid down brick and added new mulch to the front yard?

Yeah, the front yard doesn't look like this anymore.

We had a really harsh winter and half the mulch blew out of the beds and the weeds are straight-up out of control. It looks terrible and it's far too much upkeep (I'd rather focus my time and energy on the garden). I actually hate how many plants are in the front yard and we have plans of digging everything up and planting grass in its place. Last summer's brick and mulch project was just a quick, temporary fix to the disaster we inherited from the previous homeowners.

(Word to the wise: Don't sell your house and then move to the Philippines without enlisting someone to come mow your yard occasionally before the new owners move in 3 months later.)

Only Clayton and I have no idea how to plant almost an entire yard of grass. All grass is not created equal and we have to call a professional and have them tell us what kind of grass we have and give us some instruction because we're both pretty ignorant about lawn care.

And honestly, landscaping doesn't really interest me. For the first hour or so, I was like, "YEAH! LOOK AT ME DOING STUFF IN MY OWN YARD!" Then about 2 hours and one rusty nail in the foot later, I was totally over it. My mom and sister both have green thumbs and are super into their yards, whereas I'm super into having other people do the work for me. 

While we were yanking weeds on Saturday, I said to Clayton, "Remember when we lived in an apartment and didn't have to mess with any of this?"

"Yeah," he replied, flinging dirt into the air as he broke a root free.

"Yeah," I agreed as we fell back into an irritated silence.

However, the stress and strain of yard work wasn't all bad (minus punching a hole in my foot, of course). As we broke our backs tugging on roots, we discovered that our stinky little beagle LOVES the freshly weeded garden boxes and made it a point to nap in them all afternoon.

This will become quite problematic once we actually have vegetables growing in them.

But Joey is actually quite the digger and helped us find a few weeds we missed:

^^That is 1 minute and 48 seconds of pure, unedited beagle-y cuteness right there. Warning: Things get unbearably adorable about 30 seconds in.

And our little man was WIPED OUT after playing in the yard all day.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A beautiful mind

Warning: This post does not cast me in the best light. In fact, you'll probably think I'm an idiot. Proceed with caution.

Any journalism grad or lover of English worth their salt knows that one of the basic mechanics of good writing is to provide supporting details (i.e. proof) to back up statements and opinions.

While Justin Bieber needing to be deported back to Canada is a solid fact, it won't hold up in the court of law unless I can provide some solid reasons as to why the Maple Syrup Man Child should head for the Northern border.

Know what I'm sayin'?

And that brings us to today's blog post.

I am probably one of the most irrational, worried people you'll ever meet. Longtime readers of the blog know this to be true. I am a hypochondriac, I have an anxiety disorder, and I'm just generally ridiculous.

Keeping up with standard writing conventions, let me provide some supporting details:

Since I ran a grueling half marathon last weekend, I've kept my workouts pretty low keys this week. In an effort to let my body heal, I've been looking for physical activities that will take the stress off my joints and give my legs a break.

On Wednesday night, Clayton and I decided we were the next Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte and elected to swim laps at the YMCA. Since doing anything other than laying still in a lounge chair is impossible when wearing a bikini, I busted out the one-piece Nike swimsuit I ordered a few years ago from ebay.

I bought the swimsuit over the summer of 2012 when I was in the midst of training for my first sprint triathlon. Remember that? A week or two before the race, I made the decision not to participate because a summer drought created unsafe levels of blue algae on the lake and call me crazy, I didn't want to swim in blue algae. So I tossed the swimsuit in the bottom of a drawer and completely forgot about it for almost 2 years.

Wednesday night was the first time I ever wore the swimsuit and I know this because Wednesday night I was very alarmed by how it badly it cut off the circulation to my crotch. I'm pretty sure I'd remember that if I had worn it previously.

Meanwhile, Clayton and I were swimming laps and living our lives. While doing the backstroke and thinking about how ugly the blue and gold swimsuit is, I was struck with a paralyzing thought:

"Did I wash the swimsuit before I tossed it into my drawer two years ago?"

As in, did I wash an article of clothing that hugged another person's genitals before placing it over my own?

For the life of me, I couldn't remember.

And I kid you not (and I so wish I was kidding): In a matter of 30 seconds I went from contemplating the ugliness of a swimsuit to being 100% fully convinced that I just contracted herpes.

Like, FULLY convinced. As in I spent the evening googling "can you get herpes from a swimsuit?" and "how long does herpes lives on clothes?" and "herpes isn't so bad, right?". I even started mentally preparing for how I would explain the situation to my doctor without sounding like a complete wack-a-doodle.

Clayton's response? There was a lot of eye-rolling and sighing.

My husband telling me, "You didn't contract herpes from a seller on ebay, okay? Now to go to bed!" is definitely a low-point in our marriage.

And a low-point in my life in general.

I woke up the next morning feeling ashamed and embarrassed over how badly I overreacted to the insane scenario I created in my own mind. When left to my own devices, I can convince myself of anything. ANYTHING. I asked Clayton to pretend like the whole incident never happened.

But that didn't stop me from throwing the swimsuit in the trash anyway.

Moral of the story: I'm a terrible swimmer.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Hoosier Half Marathon recap

Well, kids, my 7th half marathon is done and on the books!

For having almost zero expectations going into this race, I finished way, way faster than I thought possible:


Last year, I completed the Hoosier Half Marathon in 1:54:44.

Not too shabby of a difference!

Especially when you consider I um, had to walk a few times.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, my 7th half marathon was the very first half marathon that I had to walk for a minute or so.

And you know what? It wasn't the end of the world.

I'll be honest: I didn't train well for this race at all. I experimented with too many different training methods, I was chained to my treadmill for most of the sub-zero winter, and I avoided running on hills like the plague.

Last year, I made it a point to run all of my long distance runs in a very hilly area, all the while telling myself, "This really sucks right now, but it will be worth it on race day." And it totally was! I ran the entire way and came incredibly close to getting my fastest half marathon time ever!

But this year?

My training method was more or less like, "I should really be running on hills. But I just don't want to."

And I paid for it.

It was the exact same route as last year, but those hills felt 10x worse than they did before. The muscles in my butt were howling at me (I'm actually sitting on a heating pad as I write this) and I had a horrible side cramp by mile 2 that was fueled by my erratic breathing from trying to huff it up the first giant hill.

I stuck it out for the first 9 miles (and was actually making amazingly fast time), but by hill #5,987, my thighs were giving out. I felt shaky and weak and figured I'd just cut my losses and walk for a minute.

The funny thing? I walked for about 2 or 3 minutes total during the entire race and still finished under 2 hours and only finished 1 minute and 28 seconds slower than I did the previous year when I ran the whole time.

And I think that's the only truth that kept me from having a complete meltdown over the fact that I had to walk.

Before the race sportin' some awesome bed head under that ear warmer.

After the race. Exhausted, but still lookin' fly. Heh.

In a way, walking during this half was a huge relief. I put massive amounts of pressure on myself to consistently improve at each half marathon and Saturday finally confirmed what I've been trying to fight for the past 4 years: It's not always possible. A less than perfect race will happen (though hopefully not that often!) and it shouldn't change how I feel about myself or negate what I've accomplished.

Now that I know what it feels like to painful, tiring half, I'm not as scared of it.

For awhile there, I felt like I didn't deserve my race medal at all because I saw so many people run those hills like champions and I just was not one of them. But then I remembered how much I love race medals.

At mile 11, I took my second short walking break and couldn't help but notice that people totally stop cheering for you when you stop running. A few groups of people fell eerily silent as I passed (That was good for morale guys, thanks). One woman cheering on the corner read my race bib and said, "Come on, Courtney! Try running!" I've never come so dangerously close to slapping a complete stranger in my life. I had to bite my tongue to keep from shouting, "It's really easy to give running advice when you're sitting in a folding chair on the sidewalk, isn't it!?"

But I'm way too nice for that. And talking took a lot of effort at the point.

Later I tried to wave back at a group of spectators, but I was too tired to open my hand all the way and I think I might have actually flashed them the gesture for white power.

I should also mention that the finish line is right at the top of a hill. That's right, after running 13 miles on a rough, up-and-down terrain, the folks at the Hoosier Half want to make sure that you really earned that medal by making the final stretch a literal uphill battle.

I'm dreading getting the race photos back because I probably look like death crossing the finish line. Having far too much pride to be seen struggling or walking during the last mile of the race, I gave it all I could to finish strong and by the time I approached the finishing chute, my vision went black and I came dangerously close to passing out.

That would have made for a lovely souvenir photo.

After finishing, I took my medal from a volunteer, found my husband and said, "I need food."

Clayton took me to breakfast at Cloverleaf and I devoured a Western omelet and an entire plate of biscuits n' gravy. Then we relaxed my already aching muscles by sitting in the hot tub at the YMCA. Is there a better way to unwind after a challenging race? (There is not.)

I also shotgunned half a stuffed-crust pizza later in the day. Post-race pig-outs are my favorite. 

That afternoon, Clayton helped me hang the race medal rack he bought me for Christmas, and I finally got to display my beauties for all the world to see in our freshly painted workout room. Jokes about admiring my rack ensued ...

So this wasn't the half marathon of my dreams. I can accept that and hopefully the memory of my having to walk will stop haunting me here in a few days. This is what I love to do and I'll have many, many more opportunities to have great races. I have every intentions of running well into my golden years and there are bound to be a few bumps in the road along the way. The important thing is that I never let it deter me.

May my love of the sport always be greater than my fears and anxieties. 

P.S. I can't wait until the Monumental Half in November.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The night before my 7th half marathon

T'was the night before the Hoosier Half Marathon and all through the house, not a creature was stirring ...

... except for Courtney. She was driving everyone nuts with her nervous energy and singing "Runnin'! Runnin'! Runnin'! Runnin'! Runnin'! Runnin'! Runnin'! Runnin'!" to the Batman theme song.

It's about 7 p.m. now and just three short 3 hours I will retiring to our bedroom to go to sleep, but I'll most likely end up staring at the ceiling til' all hours of the night, willing morning to come quickly.

Half marathon, I am so ready for you.

No expectations. No projected finishing time. Just run strong. 

In honor of tomorrow's race (and due to my complete inability to write coherently the eve before a big run), here are some fun memes, pictures and quotes from the world of running and all the giggles and joys it has to offer:

Image Sources:
 1/ 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 

Wish me luck! :)

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