Tuesday, November 29, 2011

feeling thankful

Obviously, I'm about a week late for the obligatory blog post but we had a wild Thanksgiving week.  Adam's grandma passed away and we were scheduled to have company from Tuesday-Saturday.  I was still working and teaching one of my classes and our week was a little wild when he left for Illinois for the funeral and getting to and from on Thanksgiving weekend was an adventure for him for sure.  I still think I need to catch up on sleep from the whole thing.

We Turkey Trotted on Thanksgiving with my mom and cousin (and Mom walked Higgins).

As a real registrant, he got a bandana.  

The day dawned cold and super foggy.  Higg Man got to have his first DART ride.

Adam and I ran the 8 miler, which meant that we dodged the INSANE QUANTITIES OF PEOPLE that were not running for the first 2.5 miles and then enjoyed the heck out of the middle miles.  It ended up being super hilly since we ran over two bridges over the Trinity River that have some decent incline.  It was fun.  My goal was to finish in 1:15 but we ended up crossing the finish line about a minute later than that.  According to the Garmin it was about 8.2 miles.  RANT:  IT IS SUPER HARD TO MEET YOUR TIME GOALS WHEN THE RACE IS LONGER THAN ADVERTISED.  But still, we ran all sub-10:00 miles, which was a major feat considering the crowds.  I'll have to think long and hard about doing that one again because it was a little disorganized for my personal taste.

We had a great Thanksgiving meal with some extended family and friends.  I made some S'mores bars that I found on Pinterest that were so easy and delicious.  A new dessert tradition, to be sure.  I had a fabulous pedicure on Friday morning before work with my mom, cousin and uncle.  Mom and Uncle left after I went to work on Friday so I ended up having a great bonding weekend with my cousin.  I'm so thankful that we had that opportunity and that both of us are in a place in our lives to realize that the past isn't a bad thing, but more like what makes our current relationship special.  Without getting into too much detail, we had a lot of family drama growing up but it makes me enjoy her company lots more now.  We were leaving the Katy Trail Ice House together on Friday night when I felt someone grab my butt (which was a CRAZY thing, considering it's not like I know tons of people in Dallas yet).  I turned out to be one of my co-workers.

Speaking of said co-workers, my job is going awesome.  It was worth it to stay home for the holiday weekend to work because on Saturday night they asked me to stay after the season, which is awesome and exciting and gives me a great deal of relief for the rest of December.  Adam and I went to dinner to celebrate that last night and we were talking about how much we have to be thankful here.  We both have jobs we love, we adore sweet Higgins, we're so much happier in our new apartment with all of the space (we can even get a bigger tree for next year when they go on sale!) and we love Dallas life and the outdoor opportunities we have year-round here.  We're running faster than we ever thought ourselves capable of with our run group that is endless fun, I love teaching my yoga classes and he's plugging along with golf lessons, practice time at the driving range and man dates at the golf course.

Life is just good.  I have no desire to change anything about our current situation, well, I'd like to make it where Higgins had a little less separation anxiety but we're working on it.  My birthday is in less than a week and with it being such a "big" number in the figurative sense, I am feeling a little more reflective than usual.  Last December 4th, my grandmother passed away the day before I turned 29.  While it was expected and a relief in a sense that she was no longer suffering, it changed me as a person and made me someone that I didn't like for several months.  I was so angry, bitter, sad, frustrated and I took a lot of those negative emotions out on Adam.  The great Texas job search and condo mess made things even more stressful and difficult.  When I think back on where I was a year ago and even seven months ago, it's a night and day different situation from today.  I'm thankful for my family that they were bold enough to tell me I needed therapy and I'm happy that I went and that God was able to teach me through it.  I finally did what I'd been intending to do for about a year and did yoga teacher training over the summer, and while living a more yogic lifestyle is something that I still have lots to work on, I learned a little bit more about chilling out through that experience.  The people I met were worth all the time and money spent on the training alone.  It's funny that it took me until the last few months that we were in Chicago to really find my own community and my own place.  The transition here to Dallas has been as close to perfect as I could have dreamed it.  I have been teaching since our second week here- what a gift!  Finding other work was not as difficult as job hunting for me has been in the past.  I'm blessed to have jobs that I truly enjoy and co-workers that I want to be around.  Adam has found a place where he can be successful and grow and he found out last week just how much his co-workers here care about his well-being- they went above and beyond when Grandma passed.  We have much to be thankful for, too much for one day a year or one blog post.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a little of this, a little of that...

So I kind of met(ish) Owen Wilson the other night.  It was a quiet Monday night at the mall and he happened into our store and bought a few things.  SUPER nice guy.  When he was telling us about a branch of our company in Maui and using a bunch of fun Hawaiian words, I felt like I was in the scene in Zoolander when they are at Hansel's house and he's telling them about hiking and smoking peyote in various exotic locales.  We were all so geeked out about it, like a bunch of Mary Katherine Gallaghers with sweaty pits and red faces talking to him.  And after he left, we thought of about 20 funny things we could have said or done but I think we just kept it classy and hopefully didn't annoy him completely.  But really, such a nice guy and really cool when another guest was totally making a tool of himself by annoyingly trying to talk to him.  

We went for a speed run last night.  Adam was hoarding the Garmin, which I realized that I've become pretty dependent on lately.  I am always pushing my limits when it comes to pacing (especially during speed runs) so I really have no concept of my pace because I'm going as fast as my lungs and/or legs will let me.  I had really high hopes of doing 3 sub-9:00 miles but it was not to be.  I have to learn to slow down during the first mile to leave a little in the tank for the last two.  I think I have it in me, it's just going to take a little more work.  We've been stockpiling Best Buy gift cards for awhile so we ordered a Garmin for me when we got home for only about $70.  It's going to be lime green (YES!) and I'm hoping that it comes in before the Turkey Trot by a miracle of shipping.  If you want to be a better runner, the Garmin is a life changer.  

My back is progressing along nicely, which makes me want to say nanny-nanny-boo-boo to Adam.  I told him awhile back that my goal was to be healthy again by my birthday (Dec. 5th) and he told me that it's crazy to set goals like that.  I think not, good sir!  I do best when functioning on a deadline.  I will be better by the start of Year 30, thankyouverymuch, because there is no other option for me.  I'm doing so well in PT that I only have to go once a week now!  (thank goodness because PT is NOT cheap)

Speaking of the big 3-0, I'm leaving the plans completely up to Adam.  It's on a Monday and he's taking the day off.  The only thing I really want to do is go to the REI garage sale and try a new restaurant.  I'm feeling a little more anti-climatic about the whole thing, because for the most part, I'm pretty satisfied with life right now.  There isn't anything that I'd change for me or us right now, I'm doing exactly what I want and enjoying the heck out of being in Dallas.  My weekends are full but full in a good way.   

I started teaching a new class on Tuesday nights.  I have a LOT of work to do because it's with students that have never practiced yoga before and I am used to teaching people that know where to go when I cue them into Warrior II.  I'm thinking I'll just break down everything even further, I just hope that the people that came to the first class aren't completely scared away by yoga.  I'm definitely stepping out of my comfort zone but it will be worth it if I can introduce one person to something that I really love.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

go forth and be daring

I've been running off and on for awhile now.  When we had to run in college for our PE class credits, I remember feeling so accomplished after running 1.5 miles.  At that point, there was no thought in my mind that I'd ever run any distances of note.  In fact, I have a distinctive memory of thinking that Ashley was completely off her rocker when I heard her talking about marathon running at the KD house.  Despite the fact that I finally got over my issues and fears with distance running (and I have to say, there's nothing like running a marathon to train your mind that middle distance running is not that bad), I've never really made serious time goals for myself.  I've always been content to run 11+ minute miles and be satisfied with that, telling myself that I have a breathing handicap.

I'm not sure if it was our purchase of a Garmin GPS watch or the fact that we've been doing a lot more races this fall or my new co-workers or a perfect storm of all of the above, but for the first time in my life, I've wanted to get faster and actually started taking the necessary steps to make that happen.  Everyone says that to run faster you have to practice running faster.  I've actually started doing "speed runs" (which my speed run pace would be a joke to most people but I'm trying) and my training plan for the 3M Half in January is to run a longer run each week and a shorter speed run, probably a 5K distance.

When I trained for the marathon, I thought that putting down all of the miles would just automatically make me faster but lots of slow miles means lots of slow miles come race day.  I had time goals in mind but I never put in the time and effort to come anywhere near meeting them.  This time I'm setting some audacious goals and I'm going to do my best to get there.

5K:  under 27:00, previous PR 28:11*
10K:  under 58:00, previous PR 1:00:35
Half Marathon:  under 2:00, previous PR 2:22:00
I'm sure there will be other distances out there, including the 8 mile run we're doing on Thanksgiving, in which case my goal will be to maintain between a 9:30/9:45 minute mile pace.  My goal for the Turkey Trot is 1:15:00, which is pretty daring for me!

*my 5K PR is based on gun time, not my actual chip time.  BOO.

My goal is to hit all of those time goals at some point in my 30th year but my target race for the half marathon is next years 13.1 Race in Dallas at the end of October.  The 10K PR comes from Saturday's race, which I think might have been my first ever 10K!  According to the Garmin, it was a tiny bit longer than 6.2 miles but I underestimated what pace I'd need to maintain.  I feel like I left a little bit on the table there so I know what I need to work on for next time.  I was under 10 minute miles for all 6, which is a HUGE accomplishment for me but I forgot that .2 miles should theoretically take 2 minutes and I couldn't quite make it to the finish in under an hour, which was my goal.

I also want to be more vocal about my goals and hold myself accountable, which is why I'm posting them here.  I'm not totally sure that a sub-2 half is going to be a realistic thing for me but I'm going to work awfully hard to make it happen by next October.

Friday, November 11, 2011

finding our new normal

It's been awhile since I last posted (and we won't even mention how long it's been since my co-blogger posted).  There isn't too terribly much to update.  I finally started working a bit more so I've been busy with that and with trying a ton of different workouts with my new co-workers.  I've spent the vast majority of the last two weeks being incredibly sore because I've been doing physical therapy for the decrepit back that involves a ton of core work and I've tried a barre class (achy calves for days), 2 CrossFit WODs, a new Yin Yoga class, Piloxing and a session on the Pilates megaformer and a class at a crazy power yoga place that reminded me of where I got certified because of it's intensity.  It's been a blast pushing some limits for myself because I've also been fitting in runs into all of that because I'm doing a 10K on Saturday morning.  My runs are getting faster when I've pushed myself (AWESOME!) and I'm basically just enjoying life right now.  I start teaching a beginning yoga class next week at one of the local YMCAs and I'm really pumped to hopefully change some lives like my first YMCA yoga instructors did for me.  It's good times here in the Nard Dog world.

The littlest Nard Dog Dictator, or terrorist as Adam calls him instead of terrier, has had a few funny stories lately.  We went down to San Antonio last weekend to celebrate my brother's birthday (for me, that involved two AMAZING giant bowls of chopped brisket topped by my favorite sauce from Bill Miller's BBQ) with a crazy 50+ person party.  My dad and uncle had a gigantasaurus bar-be-que made last year that sits on a trailer bed and has more outdoor cooking contraptions on it than I can detail here.  Basically imagine a commercial kitchen on wheels.  Adam got to golf and drink scotch and cook and eat Chris Madrid's burgers and tons of bbq and smoke cigars so he was a happy camper.  Higgins hung out with the other two dogs and proved that he is the troublemaking ringleader as he managed to escape from the backyard, not once but twice.  On Friday night, my dad and his girlfriend returned home to find him out in the street and on Sunday, just before leaving, I came home to grab Higgins and found him and Milo in the neighbor to the back's yard. They had found the one rotten board in the fence and somehow squeezed through it but neither of them would come back meaning that the neighbor and I had to finagle them over the fence.  Higgins ended up with a little scrape on his thigh and a cut on his neck from it and he had a bath immediately upon returning to Dallas.  He's INSANE.

Speaking of times that Higgins has been insane, the two escape attempts didn't convince Adam that he can't be trusted so on Wednesday morning I was instructed (against my better judgment) to leave Higgins out in the house while I went to my PT session.  It's only about 6 blocks from us so I was gone for a maximum of 1 hour and 5 minutes.  I got home and saw that he'd managed to push open the doors to both bedrooms and when I got into ours, I saw what looked like paper on the floor.  Upon further inspection, I realized it was our blinds.  He completely destroyed the ones in our bedroom because they are low enough to the floor and then climbed on the couches and ripped the two sets in the living room but only two little blades on eat set so we basically get to replace them for nothing.  Thanks, Dog.  Needless to say, he's back to full-time crating so he'll be safe from chewing the universe and destroying our home when we're gone.  I worry more about him ingesting harmful things than the actual destruction, by the way.

So other than working on the little dictator's separation-anxiety, we're just hanging loose and adjusting to our new schedules and our comfortable little life here.  After the 10K this weekend, we'll be in full training mode as we run an 8 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and a half marathon in January.  I've set some time-related goals for myself for the first time and I'm going to do my best to push myself!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

goal setting

I was lucky enough to attend a small goal-setting workshop yesterday.  It's nice to be coached and to get reminders of what audacious goals will look like.  We set some goals this summer before we moved (including the infamous try to eat 19/21 meals a week at home, which is SO challenging) but this is a great time for me to both revisit those and look toward the future.  Looking at what we set out to do, most of that has been accomplished.  We made the big move to Dallas, which was goal #1 for more than a year and pretty much took over our lives for awhile.  I finally got over myself and my fears and got certified to teach yoga.  Finding teaching jobs has been a process but it's going very smoothly.  I've been teaching a regular class since we moved here and will start a new one in two weeks.  I have another couple of places where I can substitute teach and attend classes for free.  I have my "dream job" working at a yoga/running store and interacting with amazing athletes and people on a daily basis.  Adam loves his new job.  Personally, we're exactly where we want to be right now and there's not much I want to change.  I hadn't really thought about it until we had a brief discussion last night about the Law of Attraction, meaning that we put all these goals on paper together and actively worked toward them and achieved them.  It's not by just magic or even just hard work that got us here, it was setting goals and being brave enough to actually take the steps to make them happen.  Instead of just saying that we're happy where we are, this is as good a time as any to look ahead and make goals for the future.   In our workshop, we're guided to make a 10 year vision and work our way down from 10 year goals to 5 year to 1 year.  Making the 10 year vision is HARD!  I had and still have to sit down to really process and think about what I envision my life, our life together like 10 years from now.  I have nine more days to get my goals honed down and ready to post in the store so this post is mostly just a chance for me to brainstorm a bit more and marinate on my goals.

-Obviously, this one is on EVERY damn goal sheet I make in some form but I still (always) want to lose weight.  I am at the tip tippy top of the healthy weight range for my height and that is, quite frankly, unacceptable.  My problem with this goal is that I don't have a clear direction to get there and I need to think about the steps that I'm going to take to lose the weight and still maintain some moderation in my life and diet.
-Since my back issues started, I've been running more because it's been a pain-free way for me to exercise.  I also have some great company with our Running to Drink group and Adam's company pays for both of us to do a race a month if we choose.  I've been getting faster and I want to continue that and learn to sustain the speed over longer distances.  My previous PR in a half marathon is 2:22:00.  I want to run a sub-2 hour half in the next year.  Also, I want to do a sprint tri before the next five years is over.
-Yoga:  I want to continue practicing but also to grow.  I want to do an advanced class and/or workshop at least once per quarter and I want to learn to hold peacock pose for a minute.  In 10 years, I definitely still see myself actively teaching.  I think the ideal number while also being there for my family would be five classes per week.

Mayurasana (peacock pose) via Yoga Journal.  

-My goals here are just all over the place!  10 years is a LONG TIME FROM NOW and I have a feeling our life will look very different now.  At times, I think that I want to consider homeschooling our kids (part of this is based on the personal goal to buy an older home and rehab it, staying in Dallas proper where public schools may not be our best option and I think I can 100% give my kids a better education at home than sending them to private school, just based on my own personal experience at private school as a kid).  Other times, when I think about that, it sounds so foreign and crunchy-granola-mom-ish to me that I'm so not sure where I want to go with all of this.  
-I do want to be teaching yoga and hopefully working at least part-time when we have kids.  I want to be there for our kids and be active in their lives (field trips, classes, activities, sports, etc.) but I also want to be there for myself by having some time outside of the home and bringing in some income.
-In ten years, I want to be able to teach the classes I want, when I want at the premier studios and gyms in the area.  I don't think I ever want to own my own studio, but I'd love to be a yoga director or group fitness director.

-In ten years, I'd love to have a kid or maybe two.  This is an area where I really have trouble envisioning the future because it's so foreign from where we are now.  Higgins is plenty of responsibility (and money suck) for now!  
-I hope we will be in a position to purchase an existing older or historical home and remodel it to our taste and make it our perfect functional home.  This has been a goal that we've been tweaking and has changed based on where we are living in Dallas right now.  I always thought that we'd move to the suburbs and get a big house but we've come to the realization together that maybe we don't want that after all.  Neither of us wants to commute in the traditional sense.
-I want to be able to continue to travel.  My list of places that I want to visit is always growing at a much more rapid rate than I cross things off the list.  
-I hope we always have at least one dog in our home.  Higgins has changed my life and brightens every day.  I want my kids to grow up with family pets from the time we bring them home from the hospital.  I want to continue to pursue adoption and rescue of our dogs.  

It's always harder than it looks to start to process goals and look ahead at the future, especially because I'm quite satisfied with where I am.  But I didn't end up here by accident, it took setting the goals and working toward them.  If I want to end up at my 10 year vision, it will take more of the same goal-setting and goal-attaining.