Me today.

I don’t know what it is about a 3-day workweek that makes it feel like a 10-day workweek, but today dragged onnnnnnnnn. I think it’s because I’m already hungry for Thursday. People want to talk about marketing strategy and budget planning, but all I can think about is turkey and wine and holiday naps.

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty good, if not slightly uneventful because Clayton spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday working on my car with his dad. Bless their sweet souls, they repaired the broken part of my heater, but now there’s a wiring issue that they can’t figure out.

I’m beyond impressed that they successfully removed the entirety of my dashboard and put it back together because honestly, I had my doubts. It’s hard to feel confident about your husband dismantling half of your car when he all he says is, “Trust me. I watched a YouTube video.”

YouTube: The college degree of the 21st century.

“Doctor, are you SURE you know how to put in a heart stent? I don’t recall you ever actually going to medical school.”

“No problem! I saw this video about it and it was only 3 minutes long, so how hard could it be?”

But in all seriousness, I really appreciate their time and efforts. Not a lot of people would put that much energy into fixing something that isn’t even theirs.

Clayton did get away from the garage long enough to enjoy Saturday night with Colby and Ireli. We watched the Poltergeist remake and most importantly, we made authentic, homemade tamales!

Actually, Ireli made the authentic, homemade tamales and I just fumbled around in the kitchen next to her. She spent all day prepping and cooking the beef and chorizo, and I got there just in time to help her finish mixing the “dough”. We formed it into small balls and used her press to flatten them for the meat filling. She had previously soaked the corn husks and in just a few hours, we had delicious tamales!

She even gifted us with two bags to take home and I’ve already eaten half of one bag. I froze the other bag so I can satisfy my next tamale craving later this winter. 

Clay was also kind enough to pause his mechanic work on Sunday to snap a few pics with me for this year’s family Christmas card. A friend from work takes photos in her spare time and offered to do a mini session with us if I paid her in Starbucks gift cards (deal!). My in-law’s live next to a Christmas tree farm and come on, could there be a more picturesque setting?

This is only the second year Clayton and I have ever done holiday cards (last year we just used a picture of Kevin wearing a Santa hat while sitting in a tiny gold sled. #BestChristmasCardEver) and it's not necessarily something I plan to do every year, but it’s been a hot minute since we’ve had photos taken. And ya know, I’m 30 now. I figured we’d better document some more memories before my body starts to succumb to gravity. 

I’m not entirely sure which photo I’m going to use for the Christmas card, so I’ll post all the pics once I decide (don’t want to ruin the surprise … I say that like seeing Clay’s and my faces is a special treat.)

But here’s a pic Stephanie snapped of Joey and I while Clayton took his sweet time walking over to the Christmas tree farm:

This is the only picture where Joey isn't howling at goodness-knows-what. Trying to get a beagle to cooperate while he's outside in a field is not a task for the faint of heart. He wandered away several times and only stood still long enough to poop. (Luckily we didn't get that on film. Although ... #BestChristmasCardEver?)

Okay, maybe one more photo:

I look larger than my husband. This will not be the Christmas card. 

I hope you had a relaxing evening and are working up your appetite for Thursday!

 ❤️          C
This is the saddest gym selfie I've ever taken.

I will be seeing my chiropractor on a weekly basis until my hamstring issue gets resolved. I saw her last week as a follow-up after the Monumental Marathon and she confirmed that my hamstrings are shot. There's a huge imbalance between the strength in my quads and the strength in my glutes and hamstrings from all of the miles I've put in. In her words, the muscles are "weak" and hearing that was a bullet to the heart because I've always thought I had such strong, powerful legs (it was the only thing that made me feel better about my legs not being long and skinny).

I took a fitness class in college and specifically stayed late one day to ask the instructor about what I should be doing for my legs. I told him that I didn't love the fact that my legs were extremely muscular (though I do now) and wanted to know what kind of strength training I could do to "tone" them without adding bulk. He told me not to worry about using weights or strength training my lower body at all. He said that cardio from walking and the elliptical would give them the only workout they needed. 

And I believed him because well, he was a professional trainer.

Ever since then (and up until last month) I did very little by way of strength training my lower body. I did lunges and squats a few times a week, but not much else because why do that to yourself if you "don't have to"? I used the extra gym time to blast out more cardio.

And now look? My leg strength is disproportionate. 

I seriously outta call up that instructor. I have a few choice words for him.

Ladies, heed my warning. Lifting weights will not make you bulky. Resistance training will make you strong. We want to be strong. We don't want soft, weak bodies. Your muscles are no different than a man's, so lift like one. If I see you holding 3 pound weights at the gym, I'll come slap them out of your hands.

I'm sidelined from major running and miserable. 

I have the green light to run, but I can't go more than 3 miles at a time and I have to stop and walk in between each mile (as in, stop and walk voluntarily. I looked at her blankly for a few seconds because it sounded like a foreign language). I've been doing this for the past week and guess what? It still hurts. I'm in pain. And I usually cry each time because I'm feeling suuuuuuuper sorry for myself.

I feel like Ricky Bobby right now. I want to go fast, but I can't. 

In true Courtney fashion, I'm being completely dramatic about the whole thing, but this is the first time I've been legitimately injured as a runner and it suuuuuuuuuuuuucks. Clayton keeps telling me that I should enjoy the forced break and that I should embrace the opportunity to pause and heal. 

Ya, that's not how I work.

So every time I work out, I have to consciously choose my health and well-being over my ego. Because if I let my ego and pride make all my decisions, I'd be busting out my usual 5 or 6 mile runs and putting myself in jeopardy of a major injury that could keep me out of the running game for MONTHS instead of weeks. 

When really, I couldn't ask for a better time to take a "break". I'm coming right off of a big race and I don't have another one until the spring. We're going into the winter months which means my mileage decreases anyway. I'm not currently training for anything. It's the right time to cut back.

*Sigh* So that's an update on my body. If you need me, I'll be busy strengthening these hammies.
Someone told me that Southern Indiana's current extended forecast includes snow and I promptly told them to shut their dirty mouth.

I'm ready for the holiday season, but I am not ready for high heating bills, dry skin, and shoveling the driveway.

Like I've ever shoveled our driveway ...

But have I mentioned that my car doesn't have heat? (I did.) I drove all of last winter without heat and it dropped below zero degrees several times. (I purchased my Ford Escape in the middle of a sweltering August, and making sure the heat works is the least of your concerns when you're suffering with cleavage sweat.)

So no, I am not ready for any of the unpleasantness that come with winter. Psyched for Christmas, yes, but not the cold.

I'm concerned that this past weekend was the last truly nice weekend before we enter the crummy season, and I pretty much wasted it. I can't do much running (more on that tomorrow) and aside from taking Joey on a few walks, I was a hermit. 

Over the course of Friday night through Sunday night, Clay and I watched all three of the original Star Wars movies. In case you're wondering, this was not my idea. I've never seen these movies and I know that's probably the most unAmerican thing you've ever heard, but sci-fi just does not interest me. I've never felt compelled to watch the movies, but I did it to appease my husband and so I won't be totally out of the loop when he drags me to the theater to see the newest one in December. 

After watching all three movies I can say this: Meh. 

I definitely appreciate them for what they are and can understand why people gravitate towards them, but I wasn't dazzled. They were fun and held my interest and I finally understand the context of the quotes I've been hearing all these years ("These aren't the droids you're looking for."), but I can't say I loved them. I wish I could, but I can't. 

And Yoda looks like a wrinkled lime forgotten in the refrigerator. I don't believe for a second that anyone ever took him seriously as a jedi. And why is everyone wearing "futuristic" linen robes, but Luke's aunt was wearing a jean jacket?

The best part of watching the trilogy is that Space Balls makes more sense to me now and I LOVE Space Balls.

Clayton worked the last home IU football game of the season, so I was mostly left to my own devices on Saturday. I cleaned the house, ran a few errands, and got my hair done. 

My stylist moved out of town and I've been desperately looking for another salon to fill the void she left in my life (when you get your hair cut by the same person for 3 years, you kinda get attached). I decided to try a salon that Blueline helped brand (we did some killer design for them), and I was not disappointed. 

My stylist's name was Jamie and the first thing she did was sit down and talk to me about my hair and my normal routine. She spent several minutes trying to understand how I felt about my hair and what I wanted to accomplish (and what was realistic). I told her that I felt like my current color was kind of blah and somewhat stark against my complexion. She agreed and suggested she weave in a few different caramel tones to warm my face and bring out the gold in my eyes. 

The process took forever (the entire appointment was 2.5 hours), but she made fantastic recommendations on how to style my hair and was just a joy to chat with. I usually leave the salon feeling frustrated with my flat, flat hair, but she used a round brush in a way I've never seen before and it created incredible volume that actually made me love my hair's God-given texture. It looked so good, I regretted not having any plans because I wanted to go somewhere and show it off. 

 Excuse my lack of make-up and my rouge eyebrow.

My highlights have a red tint under bathroom and other harsh lighting, but I can assure you that my hair is not red. I'll need to buy a special toning shampoo to keep my color from getting brassy, but it's a small price to pay for hair you're happy with.

I tried to feed my hubby well this weekend, but we definitely had one of those "oops" meals that I shan't be trying again.

I wanted to take a trip to the bayou and made cajun-spiced catfish with black eyed peas and steamed broccoli (I didn't have any collard greens). My darling husband had to race back into the kitchen for milk because I guess the cajun spices were a bit "too spicy" (though I suspect he's just a big baby). Even after drowning his fish in ketchup, he quit after a few bites and made a sandwich. I thought it was good!

But he woke up to a nice surprise on Sunday morning when I made up a recipe for coffee whipped icing, for no reason other than I had some left over heavy cream and my coffee went cold. I whipped them together in my mixer with some powdered sugar and vanilla (I didn't measure; I'm a decent guesser when it comes to frostings) and voilĂ ! It tastes like whipped KahlĂșa!

Since it was kind of early in the morning and I didn't have any baked goods on hand, we just ate it with a spoon. And I caught Clayton walking back to the fridge several times that day for more. :)

I think I might try making it with the addition of cream cheese and smear it on some chocolate cake.

And finally, Clayton got to experience something brand new and flew a helicopter today! My friend Brittany is on a spontaneous trip to Iceland (!!!!) and had a Groupon for a helicopter lesson that she couldn't use. She tossed it my way and I made arrangements for Clayton to get a flying lesson. He was totally surprised and loved every minute of it! He's mentioned numerous times that he wants to fly, so now he can check it off his bucket list.

I only called him three times on his way to the lesson to remind him not to crash. Me worried? Never.

Happy Monday!
Happy Monday, everyone! I trust you all had great weekends and aren't too terribly devastated that it's already Monday? If given the choice, I'd definitely opt to have another Sunday, but Mondays aren't totally ruining my life.

I also trust you're all here for the Monumental Marathon recap?

Well, I successfully completed my 10th half marathon on my absolutely favorite half marathon course (though I fear it's becoming an increasingly big race and I am not a fan of massively large racing crowds). Did I PR? Sadly, I did not reach my goal pace or set a new personal record. However, I did finish the race without walking, which believe it or not made me incredibly happy.

Here's the thing you need to know about me (and you may or may not already know this): I am my own worst enemy. I've sabotaged myself in many ways and in many areas of my life for well, my entire life. If you spent anytime in my head, you'd be convinced that I want myself to either be dead or chronically unhappy. I am not good to myself.

I got sick the week of last May's Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon and the race was blistering HOT and I had to stop and walk several times. I struggled to finish and it was the worst racing experience of my career.

And I've let the fear of that happening again follow me around like a shadow ever since. I secretly worried about getting sick or having to walk again all during my training for the Monumental half. Learning about the issue with my hamstrings in the weeks before the race only fanned the flame. The anxiety carried over into Saturday and I'm just relieved that my body was stronger than my doubt and I made it all 13.1 miles. I finished in 1 hour and 55 minutes.

I just didn't run the race I wanted to. My GPS went out twice when the course led us under tunnels, so I struggled to get a true read on my pace. Plus, I was near a literal panic attack during the first 5 miles because of everything I just stated above. My hamstrings and glutes seized up, making me feel as exhausted as I did during my full marathon. As I told one of my friends, it was just a perfect storm of unfortunate events.

But I finished. Goal #1 is to always finish the race. Goal #2 is to beat your previous year's time. I'm one for one and I have got to freakin' accept that this kind of thing happens and that it's okay. Yes, it stings even worse because I was already coming off of a bad half marathon in May, but this is what I chose and it's a risk I will always have to take every time I register for a big race ...

... and fortunately it's a risk I WANT to take. I'm already looking ahead and planning for the next. I'm taking a hard look at what I need to change and do differently in order to keep becoming a better runner and heck, a better person. This race opened my eyes to some physical and emotional issues I need to correct.

And I want that challenge. I love it. I love the process.

Who puts self tanner on her legs before a race in November? This girl.

I've been having some issues walking ever since the race (which has NEVER happened to me before) and I'm mildly freaked out. I stumbled a few times walking around the office because my legs aren't steady. It's not usual soreness. I have another chiropractor appointment on Wednesday. Fingers crossed this goes away soon, please.

But I think the best thing that came out of Saturday's Monumental Marathon was watching my friend Amanda complete her first full marathon. Even though my legs were killing me, I loved every second of waiting for my friend to round the corner at the finish line. We got to see so many people complete the marathon and I'm not embarrassed at all to admit that it brought tears to my eyes. I witnessed several people turn the corner during the final .2 miles and saw joy and relief spread across their faces. Some folks were running alongside friends and I heard more than one exclamation of "It's right there! The finish line is right there! We're almost there!" (Holy crap, I'm getting emotional just typing that.) I remember exactly how that moment felt for me and it was awesome watching others experience it.

Clayton glanced at me as I wiped my eyes with my coat sleeve and sighed. "I swear," he said, "you're the most sensitive person I've ever met."

"They all just worked so hard!" I sniffled.

But enough about the race, there are more important things to discuss. Like the fact that today is my beagle butt's 11th birthday!

You couldn't even fathom the amount of anxiety I feel whenever I consider that Joey is now 11, but I am so thankful for this lil' guy's enduring presence in our lives. He represents everything good and fun about life and my goodness, do we love him!

On Sunday morning I woke up early and Joey snoozed on my lap while I enjoyed a cup of coffee. He's always extra snuggly when he's chilly and moments like that are pure bliss. Stress and pain and injury and disappointment don't matter when you have a dog who thinks you're amazing simply because you love him and give him belly rubs. <3

Happy birthday, baby boy!

Hey all! Happy Friday Eve! For those of you not keeping track (which I assume is all of you because you have your own lives to live), the Monumental Marathon and Half Marathon takes place this Saturday. I hesitated to even blog this week out of fear that all of my posts would consist of me talking myself in nervous circles, but I'll try really, really hard not to do that.

Last night was my last short run before the race. 3 miles or so, easy pace. Such an easy pace, I didn't even take my Garmin with me. I just got my heart rate up for a bit and kept my legs fresh.

I was extra cautious during this final week of tapering because yesterday I had to visit the chiropractor for some issues I'm having with my hamstrings. About midway through training, I started experiencing a lot of tightness in the back of my legs and running just one mile made my body feel as fatigued as it does when I run 10+ miles!

I became really diligent about foam rolling, icing, and stretching and was happy to see a lot of improvement over the past several weeks. But I wanted to be 100% sure I was in the clear to race, so I went to the chiropractor earlier this week to have everything looked at. I was diagnosed with what my chiropractor lovingly calls "HamAss", a cutesy way of saying my hamstrings and glutes are fried from overuse. I didn't spend enough time strength training my legs and the muscles on the backs of my legs are disproportionate to the strength of the muscles in my quads.

Honestly, I found this discovery to be odd because I do strength train, even when I'm training for a big race. I guess the number of squats, burpees, and lunges I force myself to do every week still aren't any match for the number of miles I put in.

Her solution was to use the Active Release Technique on my hamstrings and glutes, and holy cow. It was excruciating. It felt like her fingers were going on a treasure hunt in between the fibers of my muscles. I mean, she was DIGGING into me. I'm actually surprised she didn't tear through to the other side of my leg because it sure felt like she was going to.

The stiffness in the backs of my legs has almost completely vanished and for that I am so thankful! Sure, I think I'm developing massive bruises on my lower body, but that's to be expected when your butt is treated like pizza dough for almost 30 minutes.
Praying that all systems are go for Saturday and that I have a strong, fun 13.1 miles. We're less than 48 hours away from the starting gun and I've had a nervous stomach all week. Just talking about the race to my co-workers and just seeing Facebook updates from the Monumental Marathon folks makes my tummy do a flip flop. 

Whenever I'm nervous or anxious, I feel like I, um ... need to use the bathroom. I know that's a horribly gross overshare, but imagine feeling like that for an entire week? I took Joey for a walk this evening and of course starting thinking about the race. I seriously almost had to turn around and book it back to the house because I thought I was about to have a "situation".

That's one thing I don't understand about my body: It's my understanding that anxiety is all part of that fight or flight response thing we're born with, and the adrenaline we generate when we feel "threatened" is essentially energy to help us run away. Not sure why my adrenaline only creates the need to use the bathroom or how that's useful for fleeing ... or staying to fight.

Well, I guess no one wants to fight the girl that pooped her pants. I have that going for me.

Good luck to my friends and family who will be in Indy running with me on Saturday. Say a quick prayer to God, Harry Potter, Bernie Sanders, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or whoever you may believe in) and ask that we stay safe and rock this thing out!