The time has come ...

My lunch is mostly packed.

My outfit is all laid out and ready to go. Accessories included.

I've checked the bus schedule.

Now just to get some shut eye.

Hope I sleep well. I'll need my rest.

For tomorrow, I begin molding young minds.

I'm excited. And nervous.

Wish me luck!


Sponsor Me!

It's time again for ...

with Stasha from The Good Life.

This week's topic was chosen by Bruna over at Bees With Honey.

Her challenge to us was: "If they were to make a movie of your life what would the soundtrack be like? Share 10 songs that best tell the story of your life. Be sure to include the period or event that each song represents."

I thought it sounded like a great challenge/topic, but you know what? I really couldn't think of 10 good songs to describe my life. I'm going to be a ruler breaker this week and do my own topic.

As you probably know, my marathon training begins two weeks from TODAY.

It will be my third marathon. I ran my first in 2002 and my second in 2003. Twin Cities Marathon both years.

And then I said ... NEVER AGAIN.

Yet, here I am endeavoring on this adventure once more.

Whenever I tell someone I've run a marathon, and they are impressed, I always downplay the accomplishment. My time wasn't fast enough. I walked a lot. I didn't properly train. Blah. Blah. Blah.

This time I want to make the most out of my training. Hopefully this will improve my time. Hopefully this will give me a little more pride in my accomplishment.

BUT I think I will need some help in staying focused. In staying motivated.

So, without further ado Sorry for the lengthy back story here is my list of 10 ways you can sponsor my training for Grandma's Marathon 2012.
  1. Motivate Me. With quotations. Or videos. Or images. Or maybe just a funny story. Or an inspiring one. You can share these with me on my Facebook page, Twitter, or mention me in a Pinterest pin.

  2. Share your own training story. Any tips you have for devoting the time to the training. Or for cross-training, hills, speed work, etc. Story of your own personal accomplishment. Of running a marathon or something else that was a difficult goal, but you persevered and felt a sense of pride following it.

  3. Sing me a song. Or just send me your favorite songs to listen to when you are out running. What songs/artists inspire you to push yourself? To keep going when you just don't want to.

  4. Run with me. In person. Obviously in person it would need to be in St Paul or somewhere I can get to easily via public transit.

  5. Run with me. Virtually. I'm talking on the phone. Since I’d likely have headphones in, we could chat instead of listen to music. Sure I would likely be out of breath a bit, but at least I would have someone to talk to who was also exerting the effort of breathing, talking, and running.

  6. Fuel me. Send me your favorite fuels. Or your favorite fuel recipe. Pre-run. During run. Post-run. Whatever. Or even simply suggestions of what has worked for you.

  7. Race registration fees. Not for the marathon. That's already paid for. I would like to do a few races in the meantime, though.

  8. Cheer for me. At the marathon in June. Or at the Get Lucky Triple 7K I’m doing in March. Or even during a long weekend run. Obviously in person would be fun, but you could also cheer for me via email or gTalk. I generally run with my phone to record time/distance and for safety.

  9. Product testing. If you are a company or have a running product you'd like to promote, I'd be happy to test it out in exchange for a review. Or let me know your favorite, must-have or obscure product, and I can contact the company directly.

  10. Carpool. If you happen to also be running Grandma's, I'd love a ride. And maybe split a hotel room. :-) I have yet to figure out logistics. The marathon is only 20 weeks away, and most of the nearby hotel rooms are already booked or way too expensive for me.
You could sponsor me for a day. Or a week. Or the entire training period. I hope to get my marathon training schedule posted later today or sometime this week. It will have it's own tab under my header. You know, in case you want to really hold me accountable choose when in my training you'd like to sponsor me.

If you want to do any of these to help me out, please let me know. You can email me at enjoyingthecourse@gmail.com. Or contact me on FB, Twitter, or DailyMile (links in top left sidebar). Or I guess you could just surprise me.

Happy Monday! Make it a great week, everyone. :-)


SOC - Ahhhhh...

I'm linking up with Fadra's


Today’s Writing Prompt: Describe, in detail, the way you like to relax.

In detail? I don't really know.

In general? I'm pretty easy to please.

I could relax by:

  • simply vegging in front of the TV watching a favorite show or a movie.
  • reading through my favorite blogs.
  • reading a book.
  • going for a run or to the gym.
  • taking a bubble bath. maybe with some glowing candles.

  • I don't really need anything to relax for me.

    I'm not really a comfort-food or drink kind of chica.

    I mean I do tend to eat a lot, but not really as a way to de-stress or relax. I just eat because I'm hungry or because it's there. Unfortunately, it's sometimes too often the latter.

    Relaxation can come in various ways, I suppose.

    I kind of prefer the escapist way to relax. Mind-numbing. Not needing to think. Or laughter. I love to laugh!

    Now it's your turn! Here are a few rules:

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

  • What are your favorite ways to relax? How did you relax this weekend?


    Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K (virtual race)

    This afternoon, I participated in The Boring Runner's virtual 5K.

    When I signed up, I was considering running a half marathon today and doing the virtual race as part of that race. I decided against the half because 1) my knee is still bothering me, 2) I babied my knee slacked on the training a bit these past few weeks, and 3) I didn't want to pay the registration fee.

    Adam said we could run it "Wherever the crap you want! Outside, treadmill, in front of the WII, nude in the shower, wherever!"

    I considered running nude in the shower. But I figured that would probably be even more boring than the treadmill and almost as slippery as outside. ;-)

    Since the sidewalks are still a little icy, I headed to the gym instead.

    I kind of strained my knee during Thursday's virtual race, so I decided to take it easy for this one. I started real slow, walking the first 1/2 mile. I could pretty much feel my knee during the whole run. Boooo.

    Here is how I broke down my race:


    I probably still pushed it a little too much. Ugh. At least it is over.

    So, yeah. I didn't exactly freeze anything off during this race. Or get a PR.

    Good thing all the prizes are randomly selected. Hope I win!!

    Speaking of prizes, don't forget to read my review and enter my giveaway.

    Did you run any races this weekend (real or virtual)?

    StrongStride Review and Giveaway

    I'm excited for my first ever review ... and giveaway! I hope you are, too. Please give me any feedback on this review (length, comprehensiveness, type of product, etc) and/or the giveaway (entry options, etc). I'm a newbie at this, so I welcome all feedback. Thanks!

    When I saw this video on Collage Video's facebook page, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to try out. An exercise video specifically designed for runners? Sign me up!

    Here is a little preview of the video.

    My first thoughts? Wow! This is NOT for beginners. This was a very challenging workout. I think I probably only did about half of it the first time. I couldn't keep up and my legs were so tired. Even when I was doing it, I don't think I had very good form.

    The first time I tried it out, I tried to do all of Workout 1 in one session. It runs about 46mins and is broken into 6 segments. I had to skip the 5th segment altogether because it's all plank exercises resting on your elbows and forearms. My forearm was bruised at the time from a fall a few days prior, so it hurt too much to put all my weight on it.

    As I’ve tried it a few more times, I have gotten stronger and able to make it through more of the workout, but I still end up taking small breaks and not doing complete sets. I also tend to do the exercises at a little slower tempo, which also prevents me from completing full sets.

    A little more about the video.

    StrongStride is a pilates and strength training regimen that will strengthen your core and improve your stride. – From the video intro.

    The breakdown.

    Program 1 (~46 minutes) and Program 2 (~51 minutes)
    • Each of these workouts are broken into 6 segments - Glutes/Hamstrings, Hips, Hip Flexors/Quads, Core, Core (Planks) and Back.
    • You can easily do the whole workout or choose to focus on one or more of the segments.

    Strength Training
    • Broken into Warmup (~5min), Running Muscles (~32min), and Non Running Muscles (~26min). The Running Muscles and Non Running sections are further broken into Weights and no Weights.
    • The menu for this section of the DVD is a little cumbersome. You can’t select to do the all three segments without returning to the menu. Also, if you wanted to just do the weights portion or the no weights portion, be sure to select those words. If you select Running Muscles, for example, it will automatically start playing and go through the strength training with both weights and no weights.
    • The Weights and No Weights workouts are very different. I thought that the No Weights would be the same exercises as the Weights segment, but just not using any weights. I was wrong. Pleasantly so. This greatly added even more to the variety of exercises done throughout this video.

    Dynamic Warmup (~3min)
    • This is just a simple warm-up to do before you head out the door on a run.

    A few of my random thoughts
    • Like I mentioned before, This. Was. Tough, but the good news is that after only a few sessions, I do feel like my strength increased. I haven’t been able to run as much this month because of a sore knee, so I can’t testify to it actually improving my stride and running ability. That said, I think if I continue to work out using this video which I definitely plan to do, I really believe it will have long-term, positive effects.
    • I am not really familiar with pilates, which possibly made this workout seem more challenging for me. There are a lot of similar exercises with just flexing or pointing your toes. Is that common in pilates? It definitely seemed to make it trickier for this girl. Even though there are a lot of similar exercises, there is also a lot of variety, which I definitely enjoyed.
    • There are times in the video when I wish she would alternate sides more rather than doing everything on the right and then having to switch to the left. This seemed to really tire me out more and then I wouldn’t be able to complete the second side without a little breather.
    • The models in the video are shown wearing shoes, but after reading some reviews on Collage Video’s website, I generally did Program 1 and Program 2 barefoot. It seems this is more common for pilates. I felt like it was more difficult to point and flex my toes when I had shoes on.
    • While there were modifications shown in by the models, these modifications were never vocalized, so I wasn't exactly sure what the options were for modifying the exercises.
    • I would suggest probably going for a short run or walk as a warm-up because she just gets right into it for Programs 1 & 2. Obviously, there is a warm-up you can choose for the Strength Training. Well, I’m sure you could do the strength training warm-up before the programs, too. :-)

    Overall, while there were a few minor things I didn’t like about this video, I would definitely recommend it to any runner how there wanting to improve their stride or simply anyone looking for a good at-home strength training program.

    Pros Cons
    *TOUGH*Modifications are not really explained
    *Easily customizable to fit your fitness needs/goals*Tempo is kind of fast (for me at least)
    *Menus are easily navigable*No Warm-ups before Programs 1 & 2
    *Lots of variety within each segment

    You can purchase this DVD from Collage Video for $19.99.

    Or you can enter below to win a copy.

    Before I get to the giveaway, here are just a few notes about Collage Video.

    They are an exercise video distributor. While they don’t have a lot of selection specifically for runners, they have an excellent selection of a variety of other fitness videos.

    You can browse by Goals (e.g. Weight Loss, Endurance, Stress Relief) or Workout Types (e.g. Aerobics/Cardio, Stretch/Yoga/Tai Chi). You can also browse by specific instructors, brands, and equipment.

    Every video has a description that includes a nice breakdown of the different segments of the video.

    Also, all the videos also have customer reviews, which I find very helpful when choosing a new video.

    You can also create a Video Wish List. I love websites that allow that, so I don’t have to remember all the videos I want to try.

    If you want to read a few more reviews on StrongStride, be sure to visit its page over at Collage Video.

    And now for the giveaway.

    Collage Video has agreed to let one of my readers try out this video for free. How cool is that?!

    To enter, simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below. If you have any questions about how to enter, please feel free to email me at enjoyingthecourse AT gmail DOT com.


    THE END + 5QF #3

    Today was my last day of work.

    I know I'm off to bigger and better things plus I was a bit of a slacker at work, so I was pretty much looking forward to finishing up this assignment.

    Still, it was with mixed feelings that I ate my good-bye lunch and worked through this final day.

    Of course, our company holiday party is tomorrow evening, so I'll see everyone one last time.

    In addition to a free lunch today, I also got a card signed by everyone in the office (about 10 or so people) with a $100 GC to the Aveda Institute included. That was very unexpected!

    I think I'll hang on to it until around Spring Break. I'm betting I'll be ready for a little pampering by then. :-)

    My boss also made me this pretty pendant.

    And then her boss gave me a $50 Visa gift card as a thank you for working over MLK weekend.

    All in all definitely not a bad last day of work.

    And now for Five Question Friday.

    1. Do you swim in the winter?
    Only if I have to. I'm not a big swimmer, but I'll go every now and again to encourage my husband to get some exercise. Last weekend I swam with the sharks at SeaLife. Does that count? Hopefully I'll get a post on that up in the next few days.

    2. Do you love or hate winter?
    Yeah. I'm pretty much a winter hater. I hate the cold. The dry, itchy skin. The bloody noses. The cold. The dark. Blah.

    3. Do you put makeup/actual clothes on when you know you're going to be home all day with just family?
    Ha. Sometimes I don't even put makeup/actual clothes on when I'm going out and about. Oops!

    4. How old were you when you had your first alcoholic beverage?
    I was 20.

    5. How many ill calls in a 12 month period do you think are acceptable?
    I'm not sure. Maybe 9-15.

    Have you ever received gifts on the last day of a job? What are you up to this weekend?


    Virtual Race - 3.5

    This morning, I participated in my first ever virtual race.

    I did it on the treadmill because, well, I am a wimp didn't want to risk running outside in the dark with snow-packed sidewalks.

    Since this was a race, I wanted to really push myself. I think I may have pushed myself a little too hard because I can feel an increased twinge in my knee. I hope it doesn't last all day.

    Here's how I broke down my speed:


    I took a pic of my final results on the treadmill.

    Time: 33:43 Distance: 3.5 miles
    Sorry for the crappy picture. It looks better on my phone, but when I uploaded it directly from my phone to Picasa, it cut off the bottom for some dumb reason. Weird. I tried it twice before deciding to just crop it and go with that.

    There were several times when I wanted to stop to walk OR just pause the machine to take a quick breather, but I RESISTED!

    Other than that, I felt great. And, of course, finishing felt great, too. :)

    Running a virtual race is not quite the same as running one IRL. I find it a little more difficult to push myself when there aren't other runners out there to attempt to pass and no spectators to cheer, but I think I'd still do another one. I still pushed myself a little more than I normally would have.

    There is still time to join me in this race - but not much. Head over to Running, Loving, Living to sign up. Then run 3.5 miles either today or tomorrow. She's got lots of great giveaways, too. I'm sure I won't win with my time, but fingers crossed I win a fabulous drawing. :-)

    Now don't delay, run today (or tomorrow)!

    Have you ever participated in a virtual race?


    One week

    One week from today, I'll be a student teacher. My semester actually begins on Monday, but next Wednesday will be my first day in the classroom.

    I still have some things to do to prepare.
    Like read the student teaching manual.

    Overall, I'm very excited.

    But I have some concerns.
    That are not at all teaching-related.

    What will I wear? Technically, there is no dress code, but it is business casual. No jeans. My closet is a little pathetic right now and could easily go for a nice overhaul. Unfortunately, that just isn't in the budget.

    What will I eat for lunch? My current office has a full kitchen - with an oven, stove, microwave, refrigerator. Can I bring my own lunch? Where will I store it? Will I have easy access to a microwave, or do I need to bring cold lunches? Where will I eat? Classroom? Teacher's lounge?

    How will I stay hydrated? Sometimes I feel like I have the smallest bladder. The more water I drink, the more often I need to sneak away to the potty. I won't have the luxury of just heading to the bathroom whenever I like. I also can't shouldn't simply deprive myself of water, though.

    Will I be able to get enough sleep at night? I already have poor sleeping habits. Will student teaching help me correct this or make it worse?

    How will this affect my workouts? I begin training for Grandma's Marathon on Feb 13th. Will I be able to successfully focus on both? Will I be able to incorporate exercise into my daily routine and actually get more energy rather than have it zap my energy?

    I know I'm largely needlessly worrying. Once I get started and into a routine, this post will seem silly.

    But right now, I'm concerned.

    Any lunch / hydration tips for me? How do you stop from needlessly worrying about the small things?


    Before I Die

    It's time, once again, to link up with Stasha for ...

    This week's challenge comes to us from Ally at Two Normal Moms. If you aren't already reading her blog, you should. She is awesome. Anyway, her challenge for us was to list 10 things you'd like to see happen before you die.

    I've changed it slightly. I've added things I'd like to do as well.

    So here goes.

    I'd like to ...

    1. Scuba dive in all 5 oceans.

    2. Run a marathon (or half) on 6 of the continents. I don't think I'm up for an Antarctic race, even if there is one to be run.

    3. See the world move away from fossil fuels and move to alternative energies.

    4. Visit at least seven of the Wonders of the World.

    5. Witness a total solar eclipse (maybe while singing Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler)

    6. See an end (or at least a huge decrease in the amount) of greed in the world and a narrower gap between rich and poor.

    7. Know treatable diseases were actually being treated in 3rd world countries (particularly the countries of Africa).

    8. Hike in the mountains. Not rock climb. Not venturing where no one has been. Not any particular mountain range. But definitely mountains. With a guide.

     9. Visit Dubai.

    10. See all my nieces and nephews follow their dreams and find true happiness.

    Dang! This was a lot more difficult than I'd have liked. Perhaps it's too early (10am? hahah) on a Monday morning. It can't possibly be because I don't want to see or do much, right? It's got to just be a brain fart. I'm going with that.

    What do you want to see or do before you die?


    SOC - Sunday Mornings

    I'm linking up with Fadra's

    Today’s Writing Prompt: How did you spend your Sunday mornings growing up? What are some of your favorite memories?

    Most of the time Sunday mornings were filled with chaos as we all got ready for church. Luckily for us, church was only about a 15 minute drive, there were usually up to 7 people who needed to get ready and only two bathrooms. There was generally a feeling of rushing around trying to get showered, dressed, and breakfast eaten. It wasn't so bad. Church wasn't until 10am, so at least it was a little more time for sleeping in than during the week when we'd have to get up earlier to do all the same things in order to catch the school bus.

    These were mornings with my mom.

    On infrequent visits with my dad, I have many memories of pancakes on Sunday mornings. He wasn't a church goer for many years. When he started back to church, then the pancake morning were relegated to Saturday mornings. I loved those mornings!

    He taught me how to make pancakes, really. I used to love helping out in the kitchen. I remember flipping the pancakes when all those little bubbles started breaking. I also remember being in charge of making the orange juice.

    Today's 5-minute Stream of Consciousness post went by really fast. I feel I could have probably gone on and on. Perhaps that's better for you all that I had to stop at 5 minutes. :-) I really didn't think I'd have anything to say on this topic, so I was caught a little off guard when the timer started chiming.

    Thanks for a great topic today, Fadra!

    Want to give it a try? Here are a few rules:

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.

  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.

  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.

  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.

  • Link up your post.

  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.
  • 1.20.2012

    Five Question Friday #2

    I'm linking up with My Little Life for...

    1. Where do you hide the reeeally good snacks?
    I usually just give the reeeeally good snacks to my husband, but if I do want to keep something for myself, I'll just put it in any cupboard that isn't the snack cupboard. Sometimes hiding things from him is soooo easy!

    2. Do u keep your vehicle clean or am I the only one who has things falling out of their van?
    We've been car-free since Aug 2010, but back when we owned a car, we kept it relatively tidy. It's easier, I think, without any rugrats.

    3. Have you ever been to Vegas?
    I have. I went with my step-mom and sister back in 2002 (I think). It was a great trip! So fun!! I'm going again this coming June for a mini-college reunion. I. Can't. Wait!

    4. Warm room light blankets or cold room warm snuggly blanket?
    Definitely warm room light blankets. While I do love snuggly blankets, the cold room just makes it that much harder to creep out of the blankets in the morning.

    5. What is the worst airplane/flying experience you've ever had?
    I don't think I've really had too many horrible flying experiences. A few delays and minor (might have seemed major at the time) inconveniences. Nothing that really stands out though.

    It's snowing here today. No huge flakes, but definitely a constant flurry and some accumulation. I'm not sure how long it's predicted to fall, but I'll likely stick to the treadmill for tomorrow's run. I've starting watching Warehouse 13 on Netflix, so I might start timing my treadmill runs by episodes. I figure 1 episode should get me close to 4.5 miles.

    Oh, and Sunday, I'll be swimming with the sharks at SeaLifeMN.

    It's gonna be a great weekend! What are your weekend plans?


    3TT #2

    I really had high hopes for being a great blogger during January when I didn't have any homework, and I was just biding my time until student teaching started. Unfortunately, work has been keeping me busy and I've just been too tired lazy to blog in the evenings.

    So, here are at least 3 things that are going on with me this week.

    Thing 1 - Less than two weeks until I am in a classroom for student teaching. I am both excited and pretty nervous. I met with my mentor teacher last night. I think we'll get along great and work well together (based on that initial meeting). He teaches 3 sections of 10th grade World History, a section of AP Government, and a section of AP European History. I'll be most active in the World History classes. I get to plan a unit on Latin American history. This is intimidating, yet I am looking forward to the challenge!

    Thing 2 - I ran for the first time this morning since Jan 2nd! I tried out my new shoes. They were a little awkward for the first 1/4 mile or so but felt great after that. No knee pain at all during the run; there is a little discomfort right now, though. :-(

    Nike Zoom Structure Triax 15

    Thing 3 - An Arctic cold front blew in last night. When I left for work this morning it was -11°F. Straight temp. Today's high is forecasted to be TWO whole degrees.  It was so cold when walking the 3 blocks to the bus that the collar of my coat frosted a bit from my breath.

    If you were taking a class on Latin American history, what would you like to focus on or hope to learn in the class? How's the weather where you are today?


    Never, never, never!

    It's time for Monday Listicles!

    This week's challenge, brought to us by Greta, is "I'll Never...": The Top Ten Things You Said You Would NEVER Do And Have Caught Yourself Doing.

    1. Go to graduate school.
    2. Become a runner.
    3. Live in a super small town (luckily this was only for 10 months and was several years ago now).
    4. Enjoy going for long bike rides.
    5. Have (and love more than anything) a dog.
    6. Go for a run wearing just a sports bra (well, and shorts and stuff). Ok, so this just happened once, but as I move to hotter climes, it might become more frequent.
    7. Cut my own hair.
    8. Run in the dark with a reflective vest AND headlamp. (safety first, y'know!)
    9. Be flattered by comments of how young I look. This used to bother me immensely when I was in my 20s. Now, eh, not so much!
    10. Run another marathon. Training for #3 begins in less than a month!

    SOC - Winter

    I'm linking up today for the first time with Fadra's


    Today’s Writing Prompt: How does winter make you feel and what do you do with those feelings?

    Winter makes me feel cold and sleepy. It's gets so dark and dreary here in MN. Somedays I just want to curl up and sleep all. day. long.

    Of course, there are wonderful things about winter. Like hot chocolate and warm cookies.

    It's been a pretty pleasant winter so far this season, and I'm not entirely sure how this bodes for the remainder of the season. If it's nearly 60°F in early Jan, what will it be like in mid-March? Will it be super cold or will summer come early?

    I've always been the type of person who would much rather be HOT than COLD. I know, I know. If you're cold you can always put on more clothes or wrap up in a blanket. yada yada yada.

    BUT I'd much prefer to wear little and sweat a LOT.

    Maybe I'm just weird that way.

    This will be my last winter in the frigid north, though. I'm very excited to live in an area with much more temperate weather in the coldest months. I'm looking forward to beaches and diving. And RUNNING outside. all year long!

    Want to play along? Here are a few rules:

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.

  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.

  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.

  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.

  • Link up your post.

  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.
  • 1.14.2012

    Comment Interaction

    I ♥ Comments. (What blogger doesn't?)

    I also love the interaction that comments can bring. I love getting a response to a comment I've left, and I love responding to comments I've received.

    But not every person that leaves me a comment has an email address attached to their comments, so I can't always send them a personal response via email. :(

    Today, I noticed that Blogger made some changes to the embedded comments. Replies can now be posted to a comment! I've longed (a little dramatic, huh?) for this moment for a long time. Now, I can easily to respond to every comment AND I can reply to other comments on other blogs.

    Thank you folks at Blogger!



    I've seen lots of blogs do this, so here goes.

    Thing 1 - Turns out, my rash is not likely pityriasis rosea as the doc originally suspected. Nope. My throat culture came back with high levels of staphylococcus aureus. I've been on antibiotics for a few days now, and the rash seems to have gotten a bit better. Unfortunately, now my skin looks (and feels) like it is on fire. And it's still itchy, just not as bad. At times. It's got to get better soon, right?

    Thing 2 - Tomorrow I'm attending my first ever professional workshop. I'm excited and nervous! The topic is Renewable Energy: Wind, Solar and Biofuels in the United States and Central Europe.  I'm excited to learn more about this topic and how to incorporate it into my future classroom. I just hope it's not too scientific and will be useful for a social studies classroom as well. Best part is I'll receive a handful of CE credits before I even get my license to teach.

    Thing 3 - It's back to being stupidly cold here in MN, but on Tuesday we had record highs. Our neighbor wanted to take a walk and stopped by to ask if she could take Sallie with her, so she wouldn't have to walk alone. Jeff let her go but messaged me all nervous about her being gone. It was so cute how overly concerned he was. Sallie came back home happy as a clam and super stoked after enjoying the nice weather.
    This is from a few months ago, but isn't she the cutest?
    So there you have it. My first Three Things Thursday.

    Would you let a casual neighbor take your dog for a walk? Have you experienced an extreme weather change this week?

    It's almost Friday! Whoohoo!!


    I Did What?!

    It's time for Monday Listicles with Stasha! I know it's only my 2nd time, so you're probably not used to seeing these posts each week.

    Anyway, today's theme, brought to us by Squashed Mom, is Top Ten Strange (odd/unusual/funny/interesting) Jobs you have held in your life.

    Here goes (in chronological order) ...

    1. Dished up minnows and wrote out a LOT of fishing and hunting licenses at the family bait shop.

    2. Stalked Assisted women at a clothing boutique. Everyone was a potential shoplifter.

    3. Rule Enforcer Resident Assistant at college. Very fun, actually. I got to make the rounds and check on all the girls. You know, instead of studying.

    4. Shot girl at a dance club. Would you like a bj? Worst. Job. Ever. Ok, maybe not so bad, but definitely not good for my personality type. This may have lasted two weekends?

    5. Server at TGI Fridays - back when you had to have flair.

    6. Read the phone book a.k.a. Appointment Setter a.k.a. Telemarketer. When can our sales guy come to your home to sell you the most fantastic vacuum? Very short lived.

    7. Served beverages high in the sky. Being a glorified waitress in the sky is not all that glorious. It was boring and made me kinda, sorta develop a teeny phobia of flying. Not good.

    8. Managed a bookstore in Manhattan. At a theological seminary. Supervising work study students.

    9. Worked with students needing a little extra help/supervision. Once I was even mistaken for a new student ... by a high school student. I was more than 10 years older than her.

    10. Went on drive-bys with my husband. Sounds much more dangerous than it was. Though we did find ourselves in some sketchy neighborhoods from time to time. Really, I just navigated while my husband pontificated, oh, and tried to get in touch with homeowners in foreclosure.
    For a more comprehensive, less exciting look at the jobs I've had,  you could read this post.

    What's on your top ten list?


    Time for a Change

    Wait? What? Didn't I change things up enough around here already?

    This time I'm not talking about blog changes. :-)

    As you may recall, last week my doctor strongly urged me to buy new shoes. I lamented that it would mean not being able to get my haircut.

    So, I decided to take up the shears on my own.

    Now, I'd cut my hair on my own before (click here for my post about my very first time), but once I went really short, I told myself it would need to be kept up by a professional.

    Well, my finances dictated otherwise.

    So, I made a trip to Sally Beauty Supply and Walgreens to get some better quality tools, and ...

    You tell me.

    Did I do a good job?

    I am very satisfied with how well it turned out.

    Jeff is equally impressed and has assured me that it, indeed, does look professional.

    Hair dye: $4.50
    Hair cutting kit: $9.99
    Blending shears: $17.99
    Sense of personal satisfaction and some pretty big bragging rights? Priceless.

    Have you ever cut your own hair to save money? What kinds of things have you done to score bragging rights?


    #HBBC Finale

    My participation in The Holiday Booty Buster Challenge really fizzled out by the end. Bummer!

    The challenge is now over.

    Since I didn't post my recap for Week 6, here is my recap for the final two weeks.

    Week 6

    12/24: 10 points
    • Ran 9 miles - Joined TCRE for a group run. Much bigger group than I'd originally thought, which worked out well. I was nervous because the last I'd checked there were going to be 3 of us, and we all had very different paces. I wasn't sure how we would manage, but more people showed up and it went really well!
    • Stretched for 20 min - I'm usually really terrible about taking the time to properly stretch after a long, hard run. Not today! I took the time to really just relax and enjoy some good stretching time.
    12/25: 0.6 points
    • I convinced my sister and niece to go for a walk with me on Christmas Day. It was fun to walk around my parent's neighborhood and such a beautiful evening! I was kind of disappointed in the lack of visible Christmas lights in the area, though.
    12/26: 0 points
    • REST!!!
    12/27: 3 points
    • Ran 3 miles - This run went really fast - despite a slower pace. Sometimes it's fun to just run!
    12/28: 0 points
    • I couldn't seem to drag myself out of bed this morning. Plus, I was on a deadline to finish my portfolio, so I didn't really have time in the evening, either.
    12/29: 4.8 points
    • Ran 4.8 miles - I really wanted to get in 5 miles, but the sidewalks and trails were slippery in patches. After falling twice, I ended up turning around and walking quite a bit of the way back.
    12/30: 0 points
    • REST!!!
    Week 6 Total: 18.4
    Challenge Total: 113.35

    Week 2

    12/31: 3.1 points
    1/1: 0 points
    • Was going to run 10 miles out to my parent's house, but there was a snowstorm the night before, and I didn't feel safe about running on the paths.
    1/2: 11 points
    • Ran 10 miles - Treadmill. I really wanted to get in 10 miles even though my knee was hurting slightly since the 5K on Saturday. I just took it at a nice, slow pace. Attempted to watch movies to fight the treadmill boredom.
    • Stretched for 20 min - Another great stretching session after a nice long run.
    1/3: 2 points
    • Exercise video for 40 minutes - Since my knee was still bothering me, and I'd developed some sort of rash, I decided against running and swimming. Instead I tried out a new exercise video at home that is designed to help runners strengthen their cores. I'm going to try it out for a few more sessions, and then I'll do a full review and giveaway. Very excited about this!
    1/4: 0 points
    • Knee still bothersome; rash even itchier.
    1/5: 0 points
    • Went to the doctor for my rash and complained about my knee while I was there. Her orders? Buy new shoes and strengthen my core.
    1/6: 0 points
    • We had dinner plans with some friends, so I intended on getting up early and doing that workout video. I just couldn't seem to crawl out of bed! I ended up catching an even later bus than usual. Booo!
    Week 7 Total: 16.1
    Challenge Total: 129.45

    Would I do this challenge again? Yes, I think so. Even though I didn't get as many points as I would have liked, it was still a good challenge. I think it may have been better if I'd signed up on time. I may have taken it a little more seriously.

    What's my next challenge? Well, I've been pseudo-training for a half marathon on Jan 28th. I still have time to register for the early registration rate, so now I'm hoping that my knee gets to feeling up to it. After that, training for Grandma's starts mid-February.


    According to my phone ...

    It's currently 44°F outside.
    And I just walked outside for some lunch with just a sweatshirt.
    No hat.
    No gloves.

    It's been an incredibly mild winter so far. If I were the superstitious type, I'd say I shouldn't type that out. That it will only ensure cold, cold winter days ahead. Luckily (hehehe) I don't go for all that.

    It's been nice.
    And I'm not complaining at all.

    In January 2010, we went on a trip to the USVI - St Thomas.
    In January 2011, we went on a trip to Costa Rica.

    There will be no trip in January 2012.
    There will be no grabbing of our wetsuits and jumping in the ocean.

    At least the bright sunny days and relatively warm weather doesn't make me want to desparately look forward to a non-forthcoming vacation at the beach.

    Besides, by this time next year, we'll be living in a sunny location where I won't be freezing my a** off every winter.

    Our future destination is still to be determined but it will certainly be somewhere sunnier and warmer and near the ocean. Jeff would live in his wetsuit, if I let him.

    Okay. Maybe not.

    But we are still focusing on summertime when we can don our gear and get back into the lakes. AND THEN move to wherever the wind blows us next.

    Our adventure is just beginning.

    In the meantime, we'll likely be jumping in a big aquarium to check out some sharks. Stay tuned for more on that later.

    This post was sponsored by the folks at BodyGlove.


    Doctor's Orders

    Ok, so she's actually a physician's assistant. Good enough.

    I went to the doctor this morning because I've developed some annoying rash. Well, it's moved beyond annoying. It's itchy.

    And so I've scratched until it's spread over much of my arms and legs.

    She actually gave me some Zyrtec, which is helping a LOT.

    She thinks it might be a non-textbook case of  Pityriasis Rosea. Don't quote me on this. It's hard to remember big, fancy medical jargon.She's wasn't exactly sure, so she had them swab my throat (to rule out strep) and draw blood (to check white blood cells).

    In the meantime, it's Zyrtec and Benadryl.
    Hydrocortizone, if needed.

    While I was there, I decided I should talk to her about the pain I've been experiencing in my right knee.

    Her first question? How are your running shoes?
    My answer? Pretty bad.

    I know all you runners out there are going to cringe when I say I've been running in the same shoes since July 2010. That's a long time for running shoes!!

    She couldn't stress enough the importance of getting a good pair of running shoes.

    So, I guess I *need* to go shopping. Ugh. I don't mind shopping - except when I don't have any money.

    This also likely means no haircut for me. Running shoes (especially with my upcoming marathon training) are WAY more important, right?

    She also suggested really focusing on strengthening my core.

    So, I'll be taking a week or so off from running to focus on my core, do some cross training, and BUY NEW SHOES!

    After how many miles do you generally replace your shoes? What have you had to sacrifice to be able to afford new shoes? How bad does something usually have to get before you go visit a doctor (or physician's assistant)?


    Happy New Year!

    I really intended on writing this post yesterday, but it took much longer to re-design my blog than I'd intended.

    Without further ado ...

    Let me introduce you to ...

    Enjoying the Course
    An Average Girl's Journey Through Life

    I'll still be posting many of the same types of posts, but the emphasis of my blog will really be focused more on running and maintaing a healthier lifestyle. I have lots of work to do in this regards, so hopefully blogging about being healthy will help motivate me to becoming healthier.

    I hope you all had a lovely ringing in of the New Year!

    In true New Year's fashion, I'm setting a few resolutions.

    Run 600+ miles. This shouldn't be too difficult. It's an average of 50 miles a month, and with training for a marathon, I should be able to do this relatively easily (I hope).

    Read 12+ books. I really want to read more, so I'm making it a resolution this year and putting a specific number on it. I'd like at least 6 of these books to be history, geography, or education related. This is only 1 book a month, but I didn't want to make it much more than that. I'm just not sure how much free time I'll have from Feb - May with student teaching and marathon training.

    Be a better blogger. I'd really like to improve my blogging skills and get my name/story out there. I've also created a Facebook page and Twitter account. Feel free to follow me there as well. I'm hoping to incorporate some reviews / giveaways (I already have something exciting in the works). Mostly, though, I'll be sharing running progress, marathon training, race reports, motivating pictures / stories, an occasional book review, updates on student teaching, and well, anything else that strikes my fancy. If you have any suggestions on what you'd like to see, please don't hesitate to contact me.

    I think that 3 is good. Manageable.

    Happy New Year!


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