4 miles

I ran 4 miles tonight. That’a the longest in quite a long while (8ish months?) I’ve been struggling to get past 2.5 so I was sort of shaking in my boots. Plus my back is cranky. Just before I was to hit a mile I thought maybe I’ll walk a couple minutes every mile. And I did. And it was suddenly way more feasible, and less deathy and even some fun. Now that I’m up to 4 miles and am running more than 25 minutes my brain starts to wander a little more. This is where it went tonight.

7:21 Damnit. My water bottle was open when I lay it on the ground to stretch. Now it’s mostly empty
7:23 run start
7:24 Crap, these capris have stretched too much. I hope they don’t fall down
7:26 Yep, and there goes my underwear with the pants
7:28 Ooh. Right. There’s a water fountain fills bottle
7:31 The Hood blimp!! And the Prue! And the sunset! I love it here!
7:36 stopped at a cross walk Are my elbows sweating?! My elbows are sweating! That can happen?!
7:40 running along the Harvard side of the Charles Oh there’s some community advisors doing group exercises
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7:42: Wow it’s really nice out here tonight. This weather is excellent.
7:51: I can’t believe I’m far enough into training I have to start thinking about GUs
7:55: Oooooh I deeply regret the amount of cheese I’ve eaten in the last three days
7:58: crossing the Harvard pedestrian bridge Um. I think I’m going to stop here for a minute. Yup. I am. leaning over to touch my toes Oh yes. That’s amazing. Let’s do this for a minute
8:00: I dumped water from my water bottle AGAIN? Learn to close that thing, will you?!
8:02: Another community advisor group.
8:04: And another.
8:07: This is the worst. I hate it.
8:08: 3 miles. I’m really running. This is the best!
8:11: It’s kind of dark out here. I guess I have to start paying attention to sunsets again. DO NOT LIKE
8:18: Done. 4 miles! Woooooo!
photo8:19: Oooof. Let’s sit down for a minute

This is post run, but critical
8:45: Where’s dinner?

This is post dinner and waiting for laundry to dry
10:21: Can I sleep now please?

Hearts and moar summer please

I blinked and I’m a month closer to a half marathon

Apparently I decided July was the month of doing ALL THE SUMMER THINGS. And also ALL the work. All of it.

July has been:

Outdoor movies – The Postman Always Rings Twice with KP

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A night up in Salem meant a crucial shoe decision that, of course, had to be texted to friends. I ended up with the nude flats, but should have gone for the red.

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Beach time – this day I got a run in. It was a hard run that had come after a 10 day stretch of really terrible runs. And it’s possible I teared up a little at the end of this successful morning.

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Pat Benatar – I didn’t know I had a life goal to sing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” at Pat Benatar at a Pat Benatar concert. But I did. And now I can cross it off my list. I hope we’re all still this badass in our 60s!

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Fourth of July snacks and drinks on one of the best decks in America. This weekend was also full of cards, a run, boats, beach time, and good friends!

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A quick work trip to Minneapolis – I got up before our business meeting and went for a run. This is from the stone arch bridge over the Mississippi River. I’m pretty sure runseeing (sightseeing by running) is turning into one of my favorite things. And it’s good I did because this trip yielded a multi-day hangover. Whoops.

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More outdoor movies – this time with snacks and on the Charles

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More beach!

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Red Sox! – This was a good one. This picture is from maybe 9:30ish and I was still toasty in a tank top. Yeaaahhhh July.

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Some time in Vermont helping out a team compete in the Harpoon BBQ Fest. That coffee was the best damn coffee of the summer. I’m spoiled forever.

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There were also chicken hats but maybe the world doesn’t need to see that.

More Red Sox – they lost this one and now the season is just getting ugly. It was actually painful to watch parts of this game.

 

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And still through all of that I’ve kept running. My cross training workouts are maybe closer to 50% commitment but I’m still getting the mileage and time in. And I know if doesn’t really count as cross training because my heart rate doesn’t stay elevated, but damn I’m doing a lot of stuff and that has to count for at least something. I can’t believe July is over. That means I’m another month closer to this half marathon. I’m still a little nervous, but a lot excited. In terms of running, I’m further than I’ve been in a long, long time. When I started to think about what the next few weeks will look like – running more at once than I ever have (without walking) – I get a little sick to my stomach. So instead I just think about the next run, the next work out, the next lace up. Because look at the shiny new shoes I get to lace up!

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Of course I have plans tonight and got up early enough to run but then thought I’d have to leave early so I wanted to come in early so I packed a bag to bring clothes for tomorrow to work so I can run to work in the morning. I mean, for realz, this is my life. I’m having so so so much fun but damn if it doesn’t include a lot of planning. And a LOT of bags.

Hearts and maybe a nap?

 

 

A 25 minute brain reboot

I’m currently sitting on my living room floor eating and drinking this

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I just can’t even tell you about this week. A lot of my job and reading and writing and so far this week looks like it’s 19 hours of meetings. Which means when I am at my desk, everyone and their mother stops by with a question. Don’t get me wrong. I like being busy. And my co-workers are asking important things. But man does my brain hurt. Seriously. I ended the day sitting on the floor in my cube because it seemed easier.

I was at work until 7:30 tonight. Which really isn’t that late for me, I don’t get in until 9 or 9:30 most days. But the time is important for two reasons. 1) the sun is starting to set earlier again and I had a run planned and 2) the power went out and with it being nearly night and also my desk is in a sort if basement thing it got dark. And I was alone. And I’m afraid of the dark. Still.

It came back on after 10 or 12 minutes and I was fine. But when I realized my gym bag was in the car I decided I didn’t want to come back into the office and could just change in the car at the park.

I did. And then I ran with no phone or music along the Charles under a beautiful sunset.

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And my brain found some peace.

Plus I ran for 25 minutes no stopping. This is only the second time I’ve run more than 7 minutes in more than a year and the last time was two weeks ago when I made Jennie (with a head cold) run with me so I wouldn’t chicken out. I’m really quite excited about this. Maybe this half marathon isn’t such a terrible idea.

I want to write more but I have no more words and my third viewing of the Newsroom and my Hell or High Watermelon are calling my name. And soothing my soul.

Hearts and good mind clearing runs!

Summer funtimes scars

Scars. We all have them, both physical and emotional. People have written about them, sung about them, lectured on them. Scars show a map of where our journey has been. There are certainly scars and marks that are traumatic or bring up bad memories. But I love the marks that are all over my body right now. Because they are a testament to the fact that it is nice out and it’s almost summer and I’m having fun.
I’ve got a scratch across my right shin from some sort of thorny twig thing from a run on a new route that turned into a hot mess. Three nails on my right hand were sacrificed to the packing of Krystal’s kitchen. Which made me feel less guilty about cutting my run short. Because boxes of dishes and pans are no joke! I’ve got a huge scratch across my left lower shin from walking into my beach chair on my way to “cross train” by building a sandcastle for a two year old to stomp – yes, technically I yoga’d later for actual cross training. I can’t be lying to get that green square! But it’s fun to pretend for a minute that sand castle building would be enough. I added a new mark last night when I had to sneak off into the woods for a pit stop on the side of Memorial Drive during a 2.3 mile run. Isn’t running just so glamorous? I’ve got mosquito bites on every part of my skin that has been exposed since the snow melted. The itching reminds me that I was out running, eating ice cream, walking around Boston, and running. So many running bug bites. So. Many.

But my favorite marks? My feet. The bottoms of my feet are gross town, USA. I’ve got runner friends losing toe nails left and right. It happened to me before. I expect it to happen again. And though we runners sometimes complain about the distinct awfulness of the look of our feet/lower legs (oh the sock tan lines) there’s always a hint a pride in there too. Because each of those lost toenails or blister or weird skin spot is a record of the miles I’ve put in the books. The mental fight I had to overcome to get through the hard parts. The triumph for finishing a tough workout. So when I look at my feet it just looks like sweet sweet victory.

Anybody else got a good scar or mark from running or summer fun?

Hearts and more marks!

PS Short and sweet this week, but can’t leave out the chart update. Because damn is that thing a good motivator. That and watching my friends’ charts fill up too!

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How many times can I write ‘bra’ in one post???

I’m trying really hard to get used to my routine. I want to get a hella lot of green on that wall. I want most days to include just putting on workout clothes and getting the workout done. I want to be so used to it that it doesn’t even occur to me to try to find an excuse. To do that I reeeeeealy need to stop leaving the packing of my gym bag until the morning. I was oh so close on Thursday. I remembered my watch, a hair tie, a headband, and a breathing strip. I had the right shoes and they matched (not as guarentee as you would think). I had mis-matched socks (I like it that way – don’t ask me why). I had sunglasses and my favorite shirt. I had the pants with the pockets that hold my car key safe while I run. I did NOT have a sports bra. Sigh. I remembered having it in my hand. I was sure of it. Because I did laundry on Tuesday and it was hanging from my light – you think I managed to buy a drying rack since the last post?? I remember having it in my hand with my shirt but I was running late (so what else is knew) and figured I must have dropped it. Thankfully I work across the street from Sports Authority and I could really use a new sports bra. So I put on the rest of my running clothes and hit up Sports Authority with a swing by the clearance section while I was there searching through for what other deals there were. When I first started running 3 years ago I didn’t want to go out and spend money on all sorts of gear. Over time I’ve picked up items here and there but I keep running on the same old clothes. Which is how I am with regular clothes too – much to the entertainment/frustration of my mother. But I’ve been doing this a long time. I think its ok to spend a little money so I’m comfortable and I look good (because I know while I’m running my face is probably contorted into a HORRIBLE look and at least I can be in a cute shirt with my chevron headband – thanks KP! – and some sweet $1 aviators. Duh) I don’t even remember what I was talking about. Oh! Shopping. I got the bra and some Nuun and checked out. When I only have a couple things, I leave the bag behind. It’s a little thing, but I try to conserve where I can. At the bottom of the stairs I saw a sign that Gap outlet had a sale. So I went in, sports bra and 4 tubes of Nuun in hand. I found a couple dresses, jeans, and some shorts. And realized that if I went in and tried them on I could change into my new sports bra – win! I ended up with new jeans, a new dress, and a bra stuffed in my gym shorts pocket. So yeah. I toooootally didn’t look like I was shoplifting.

I got to the park to start my run and right as I pulled my car into a spot, a goose pooped on the grass in front of me. Awesome. I stretched (on what I hope was a poop free zone), fired up the Garmin and hit the pavement. And the first interval didn’t suck. And then the second one was good. And by the third I knew I was ahead of last week because I got across the bridge on my route and still had running to do. Last week I stretched the running to get across the bridge. And then. On interval 5. I had 30 seconds left. And then ran through the first 15 seconds of the walking. My legs were still a little sore from Harvard Stadium climbing. But they didn’t feel heavy like they did the last couple runs. Yay drinking enough water! Then I was momentarily waylaid but some fuzzy goslings and there hissing parents.

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if only it could have been Ryan Gosling

Coming up to the second bridge, the clouds had cleared an eensy bit and I was getting late evening light on the Charles. The way the path is set, to cross the road, you run under the bridge and then come out around the other side and up onto the bridge and I was feeling good. Last week climbing up the little hill to the bridge was tough. Thursday I felt like a rock star. Getting up the bridge was getting tough but I looked over and the tops of the Hancock and Pru were peaking out and ‘Dog Days are Over’ was blasting in my ears. And it was perfect. I went flying down the other side of the bridge and kicked it up for the last tenth of a mile. Coming to a stop, I felt fantastic. And then I spotted the 5k that some friends were doing so I headed over to try and spot them. No dice. Instead I clapped for the runners I saw then went and did my cool down stretches. In the only patch of grass with no visible goose poop. Then driving home I was stopped by a flat bed tow truck blocking two lanes of traffic. Which was a nice bookend to the day because I started my Thursday helping one other guy push the van of a third guy out of traffic. That’s right. ONE dude and I. Pushed a van! A van!! Full of construction equipment. Ok, so yeah, the driver hit the gas on reverse and that helped some. But that thing was definitely not backing up on its own. Bam!! All the might!

I’m doing this post chronologically wonky. Because the beginning worked with the lack of decent gym bag packing. But you may have noticed I mentioned the Harvard Stadium. I ran the seats on Tuesday. Well. Ran is absolutely the wrong word. More like I hauled my ass up the steps using every method possible. Those bad boys are high and steep!

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At one point I came awful close to rolling my body over onto the last seat. I’ve become intrigued with the November Project (a huge group gets together every Wednesday morning at 6:30 to climb the seats) but I’m not ready to show up yet. I wanted to try this out a few times on my own first. It was actually pretty good. Its definitely a work out. I feel like it will work out well as a good cross train for running. And everyone else that was there was sort of just going at their own pace, too. Then I did my power core work out and realized just how much of my core I used to climb those seats. But it felt pretty bad ass to whip out some russian twists to wrap up the night. But. I did not really pay attention to the weather. And didn’t know winter was coming back. So was not appropriately dressed and ended up with my long sleeve work shirt over my gym clothes. Whatever. I got it done. There are 37 sections in the stadium and my training had me doing 20 minutes of XT so I decided to do 10. 2 days later and my legs were only a little sore. I’m sure if I did more, they would have hurt more. But I was sure I would be dead. My body felt like it had had such a great workout. I’m sort of happy that I was able to estimate a good workout for my body. It didn’t derail the rest of my training this week, but I got the workout in. Looks like I have to up the number of sections next time though.

I followed this up with another fantastic run on Saturday morning. The weather was so so so so so nice. Perfect temp, clear skies, moderate pollen (ok. All the pollen. And I sneezed the rest of the day, but whatevs). And I knocked 31 seconds off my 2 mile time! Then I went and had my first massage (thanks KP’s Mom!). Why did I wait so many years to have a massage? They are amazing. AMAZING.

Sunday I went to a Sox game with my mom. It was about a bazillion degrees in the bleachers. But it was a fun game! However I had planned my morning poorly and didn’t cross train before the game. Coming home I stopped off to view an apartment (ugh, this process is a pain in the face) and then hit up Trader Joes for some stuff to make dinner. I was still a mile from home and though normally I’d just walk, I grabbed the bus a a week’s worth of yogurt is heavy, y’all. And the train for another 3 blocks (I was hot and tired and I still didn’t use my car so whatever). I just wanted to make dinner and be done with the day. Couldn’t I just pretend that walking all over the city was cross training? Instead I did yoga and then my strength work out. And then made dinner. And then went to bed at midnight and fell asleep at 1:30.

Monday was a new running interval and I was nervous. Towards the end of the day I wasn’t looking forward to the run. At all. So I turned to my running group for some cheering and “go get ’ems” and instead they said “bitch please, just go run, no excuses” which is why I love them and I love our little (expanding!) family. The run was going ok. It was hard, but parts were good. And then at 12:14 I fell off the edge of the path, rolling my ankle. The path is a maximum of 2 in. above the grass. Maximum. How does that even happen?! Oh, yeah. Be the clutziest person in the vicinity. At least it was pretty.

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Hearts and another week of green

 

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Something is different with this 2014 training cycle

I’m only two and a half weeks in, but it feels different this time. Maybe its because I’ve made improvements in other parts of my life? When I first launched my training in November of 2012 I was working in a job that I was growing to hate. I loved the work and a lot of the people I was doing it with, but the culture of that place wasn’t for me. As the holidays passed I slid deeper into my hole, going directly from engineering to either my part time job or home to TV and bed. I stopped seeing friends. I stopped going out. I stopped running. I took a week’s vacation Christmas to New Year’s and just sat in bed watching bad TV. Which made me start to evaluate if this job was worth it. By January 2nd I had updated my resume. 8 weeks later, I had a new job. I was lucky and found a new job that was great. I started running again. I started cooking again. I started seeing friends again. And I signed up for that half marathon. (It should be noted that taking this job is what put me in Jennie’s neighborhood and got me meeting her to run and convinced me to sign up for that race)

Maybe it’s because I feel less alone this time? It’s not just me in my living room trying to figure this out. I’m not making those tentative first connections with my online running group/family/tribe. And it’s certainly not running alone. 18 months after I first signed up, and a year after I really started training for a race, I regularly meet Jennie for cross training or running, I have a co-worker whom I’m beginning to regularly run with, and I’ve got runner friends all over the US and the world who will find a way to reach through the internet and kick my ass if I don’t get out there. Plus. A bunch of us are now training for the same race. And we’re actually going to meet. In person!!! If I slack off and they don’t I’m going to feel angry at myself for not keeping up. I want to keep up. I want this to be fun. Real bad.

Maybe the motivation is different this time? I’m only two weeks in and maybe I felt like this last year. If I did, I really don’t remember. Probably a little? But this time is different. Last year I wanted to finish strong. Then when I hurt my back and was waylaid for 5 weeks, I just wanted to finish. Looking back now I see the mistakes I made in my training. I’m not crying over spilled milk – I’m trying to learn. Because this year I want to finish strong. Actually strong. So I can hang with my runner friends after and not feel like a giant cloud of pity party.

Maybe it’s my fitness level? I can’t say that I maintained any sort of fitness from last year; I didn’t really end up with much fitness there near the end. And I certainly got a little squishier over the winter. But parts of this feel a little easier. Not so easy that I want to amp it up and add weights. For now I like that my workouts feel right. They’re challenging, I sweat my face off (well, make up), and I push myself as far as I should. The result of which is that at the end of the workout, I feel like a machine. Which makes every thing else in the day feel awesome. Even when I’ve forgotten shampoo and then 12 hours later spill beer onto my pants down to my underwear at a Sox game – hypothetically, of course.

Whatever it is, something feels different. Good different. But different.

Because for maybe the second time ever I didn’t try to get out of a Saturday run. I got up, tried some new pre running food (some success, some failure), and just went running. And a funny thing happened. While I waiting for my breakfast to digest I actually did some chores around the house. I took care of some emails. And I was just plain productive on a Saturday before 10 am. After the run it was time for a quick shower and then off to Boston Calling music festival day 2. And there’s only one way to do that.

Nuun and diet coke.

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Not pictured? The banana and string cheese I inhaled.

Hearts and confusing questions

PS training update: a full week of green!!

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My first red mark and approximately 17 others things that are more like 6 but I have runner’s brain and can’t math

I bailed on a race on Sunday. Thoroughly and completely. My 2 mile runs for the last two weeks have been abysmal and because running is such a mental game, I was afraid I would take too long to get over finishing in the bottom 10 people again and my training would get off to a lackluster start. Sunday’s race was 5 miles. 5k I would have slogged through. But 5 miles was too much. Going through the week, I was trying to psych myself up for it. I was racing with a lot of friends and I didn’t want to be a quitter in front of all of them. Last Thursday I tried to run 3 miles. I ran 1.6. I was at the gym with Jennie who is healing from injury (like a boss, I might add) and was biking. I walked over to where she was. She took one look at my face and asked “shit show?”. And I said “The shittiest of shit shows.” So she told me to get my butt on the bike and sweat it out. Pulling out my best insolent teenager act, I sat and pouted through 30 minutes. The next day Jennie emailed and basically told me that no one would judge if I didn’t run. And if it ruined my mental game that would be bad. I was still on the fence and finally decided Sunday morning I wouldn’t run, I would spectate. Still I left the house very slowly and didn’t get over there until the race was over. I was pretty upset over the whole day – wishing I was one of the runners – and very nearly regretted going. But once I found my people and just hung out, it was worth the trip over. I was upset enough that I really didn’t take pictures. Promise it happened.

That red mark is going to sit there until early November, staring at me. Reminding me that when I say I’m going to train I should just suck it up and for the love of Christmas just get out there. Based on all this, I made a decision to step back a couple weeks in my training. I swore I wouldn’t move around workouts, but I think it’s totally fine to move back in the program. Because if I’m about to survive 5 months of training it has to be fun (at least sometimes – occasional bad runs are inevitable). Last year after my back stopped hurting and I started up training again I started too far into the training and it wasn’t fun. Every run. For almost three months. I’ve got the time in my schedule. Really I cut into the 5 week gap I had in the middle and put two more weeks at a shorter interval at the front. I think I did the right thing. I think I’ll enjoy these runs and they’ll give me the training kick in the butt I need to make LA the funnest fun it can be.

There’s the week. And the damn red mark. But look at all the green!

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I had my first park-at-Herter-Park-and-run-along-the-Charles runs of the season. Really I should just keep running through the winter but I was in such an epic funk this winter that I didn’t. I will say this. I forgot how freakin’ high those bridges climb! And how tiny they look on RunKeeper after. I promise you they feel eternally uphill huge. Despite that, it was still nice to be back out there. Cool down stretches, however, were a challenge. The Canadian geese are migrating back north and are pooping near every. single. waterway. Trunk blanket to he rescue! Can we talk about how magical it is that my trunk supplies are now a blanket, sweatshirt, and beach chair instead of a shovel, snow brush, and bigger snow brush? All the magical.

Side note on this amazing weather. I talk a lot about hating the cold, but Boston this weekend? I can’t even begin to describe how unicorn rainbow sprinkles on top fabulous it was. Saturday I went to meet some family visiting from Michigan and walking down the Comm. Ave median park under trees with bright green new leaves and fading flower buds under an almost painfully blue sky was something I’ll look back at next January. Theoretically. I’ll probably still swear a lot. My love for the John Hancock Tower knows no bounds. And so I take a lot of pictures of it. But look. Look at that blue sky!!

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Ok. Back to running. Last week I was mad. I left my Garmin charging all day but when I went to use it the next day, the battery was dead. I brought it to work to charge Monday and after having it plugged in for an hour I checked – still “low battery” I had noticed some black on the back of it but I had figured it was dirt. Turns out if you write on your arm and then put your watch on and then sweat/have 1500 cups of water spilled on you (ooh. I still owe a how-to-work-a-marathon-water-stop-in-a-million-easy-steps post) the marker smudges and effs up the contacts on the watch. Luckily for me, I work with science! and we have alcohol wipes left, right, and center. A quick clean up and problem solved.

After my pretty good run I had allllll the energy and did some laundry, finally washing all my running clothes at once instead of sneaking them in loads here and there. I know that can be bad for the fabrics but I HATE laundry and thinking anything about it was too much. I’m trying to take better care of my things and not just shove all these tech fabrics into the dryer. Problem: I don’t have a drying rack. Solution? Make one. Any tool can be the right tool (that’s a throw back to my childhood watching the Red Green Show with step dad John). Right now my clothes are drying on a) my reconditioned steamer trunk (thanks John!) b) the bendable arm of my standing light c) the thumb switch of said light d) my towel and bathrobe hooks e) the top of my empty (thanks to runner’s energy cleaning) trashcan f) a rolled up and stood on its end yoga mat g) my pop-up tail gating tent (packed up into its bag thingy) and the pièce de résistance h) a ski pole. I was like Oprah and my clothes were free cars.

Methinks it’s time for a trip to the Tar-jay.

Just 12 hours later; le sigh. I have committed to not packing a gym bag in the morning because I always end up at the gym at work with no post workout non sweaty underwear or un-moused hair or no work shoes. Despite being sleepy and wanting my bed real real bad Monday night, I packed a bag. Tuesday morning I kicked my workout’s ass. I mean, after I was done with it, it wasn’t even recognizable to its mother. And after a good run on Monday I was riding a sweet sweet high. A high that came crashing down when I discovered I had no shampoo or soap. So I turned on the shower and then holding my towel with one hand, I fill the other with the foamy hand soap from the sinks (glamorous!) and then getting in the shower, held that hand above me while I rinsed off and then soaped up. There was no WAY I was putting that in my curls, so my hair just got wet and then went to work dirty. I’ve been doing this workout before work thing almost a whole year. I have a toiletry bag I keep in my gym bag. And even before that, I did this occasionally. So WTH?? In my defence, I changed bags for the summer and forgot to move it. Still. Total and complete #epicfail . This also explains the extra shot coffee that made it’s way to Instagram this week. Because sometimes – lots of coffee.

Hearts and I don’t know, random stuff