Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Well. It’s been a little while. I’ll admit, my desire to write much of anything, let alone anything about running, has been virtually nonexistent lately (unless of course you’re the recipient of some of my more long-winded emails, in which case, sorry I’m not sorry).

I have been having a LOT of feelings about running lately, and there have been some less than awesome ones in there.

Pretty sure my wonderful friend Ange figured that out, and as she tends to do, she’s pushing me. This time by nominating me for a blog award (I’ll avoid an extended commentary on the irony of nominating a blog for an award when that blogger doesn’t really write much).


So, here we are. Apparently I have questions to answer. However, I will not be adding my own questions or nominations at the end because I’m a rebel like that. Heh.

Let’s get to it.

1. Tell me about your favourite non-running activity.
Reading. I have always really loved reading, always loved getting lost in someone else’s life/universe. I recently finished the fifth Game of Thrones, and I’ve taken a step back from heavy reading (tossed in the Divergent series, because it was easy and quick). I always love new books, and as much as I love my Kindle, there is something very special and comforting to me in the act of picking up an actual book. Do you have any recommendations?

2. What is your favourite animal and why?
You’d think this would be an easy question, but really it’s not. I took Mammalogy, Herpetology, and Behavioural Ecology in college, and it was just FASCINATING to learn about stuff like that. So I guess I’ll just take the easy way out and say sharks. Mostly because of this clips like this.

3. Are you loyal to running brands or do you switch it up?
If you’d have asked me this a year ago, I’d have sworn up and down about how awesome Asics are. And then I ran a marathon. And then I had IT band issues for a full year. And then I got fitted into some Brooks (the same brand I’d sworn off years ago) which meant I had no more IT band pain. And now you are speaking to a convert. If changing up brands of shoes every now and then will keep me from having to deal with that ever again, then you can count me on the “Switches it up” side of things.

4. What is your dream for your blog?
To actually, you know, write more on it. Or at least do more than open a post and stare at the blank window.

5. What are your goal races in 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years from now?
One year–I have some thoughts and ideas on this one, but I’m going to be keeping this one to myself for a while. I found that writing about upcoming races as intently as I have done in the past psychs me out, and with this one, I really don’t want to do that. So, I’ll tell you in a year what I’ve done.

Two years–I’d like to do a Ragnar with my family in the next couple years. My aunt Melissa and I have talked and talked and talked about it, and now with Ragnar one month from today (!!!!) I’m reminded again that talking won’t get you out the door. My aunt Julie has an IronMan that she’ll be running next year, so we’ll see how feasible this is, but it’s on my radar.

Five years–Any race in Canada. Ange has and will come down to the states a few times in the next couple years, and I would very much like to return the favor. Before this year’s registration snafu, I’d have said SeaWheeze, but now I’m not so sure. Either way, a Canadian half marathon sounds pretty excellent.

6. If you didn’t run, what would you do?
Eat Oreos and take naps.

7. Tell me about your dream vacation.
I want to go to Italy. I want to have conversations with my fiance (husband by then, I’m sure) over glasses of wine overlooking vineyards in Tuscany. I want to explore Rome and all it has to offer in the ways of art, history, and architecture. I want to speak in broken (probably) Italian because the language is so beautiful, and I want to know it. I want to walk along the waterfront in Venice and find the place where my future aunt-in-law took a picture of a curved building. I want to taste for myself the differences between northern and southern Italian cooking. I want to hold hands and kiss and wade in the Mediterranean Sea during a sunset.

8. What is your favourite “get pumped” running song?
Hey Ya! by Outkast.

9. What is your favourite running product?
My shoes. See earlier: no IT band pain.

10. What is your favourite post-race meal or treat?
Strawberries and cottage cheese or yogurt and granola. With almond milk. Always almond milk.


So there you have it. My answers. If you feel the need to answer the same questions, do so. Otherwise, and unrelated (well, kind of. Technically it’s related to EVERYTHING), read this:

Katie is the sister of a very good friend of mine, and I loved every single word in this post. Every. Single. One.

Thank you, Katie, for the reminder.

Hi, My Name Is

Hi, my name is Ann, and today I:

…had the first laser treatment to remove the tattoo on my right shoulder blade. You know, the one that means “friendship” but I tell people means “youthful indiscretion.”

…wore my marathon shirt.

…cursed, yet again, that the MLB All-Star Game determined World Series home field advantage. And the DH rule.

…realized that though I’m not yet into the middle of training, I still get runger pains.

…spent far too much time refreshing ebay pages in order to just go ahead and miss the winning bid on Game 4 tickets.

…figured that it might be a little crazy, but I do really like the new Eminem song.

…spent the first inning paying more attention to fixing my suffering fantasy football team (16-team, 16-roster spot keeper league) than I did to the WS.

…bought a friend a birthday present that I am VERY excited to see him get.

…decided to look at my fantasy hockey teams to find that I’ve got multiple people in my starting lineups who are on injured reserve. Maybe I should look at these more often.

…took the big tervis of coffee to work.

…determined that the straw that came with a cup is only to be used for fruit juice and root beer floats.

…should have done pushups…..and didn’t.

That’s What I Love About Sunday

I’m convinced that some days are just meant to remind you that things are good. Life is good. Today is very much one of those days.

As I’m sitting here at the computer, sipping coffee and listening to my fiance snore in our bedroom, I am happy.

Here are some other things that make me happy:

–Almond Joy Creamer

–Setting a date for our wedding (September 26, 2014) and signing the contract/turning in the deposit for our venue!

–The picture of my baby sister in her (newly found) wedding dress

–The waffles I’ll be making once the fiance wakes up

–My imminent return to the Breaking Bad marathon I’ve had going this weekend

–Being invited into a third fantasy football league this year

–Adam’s niece’s reaction to being asked to be a flower girl (pensive look, sip from her Capri Sun, and a big fat “Nope!”). She has since rescinded her no. 🙂

–Knowing that my aunt Melissa and my dear friend Sarah will be in STL in just four short weeks!! (we’ll discuss the fact that there’s been very little training for the Tough Mudder they’ll be here for later)

–That even though my engagement ring is off being re-sized, I have the ring I received on my birthday as an adequate substitute for my left hand

–The Sunday Night Dinner on the agenda for tonight, complete with incredible friends and a cheddar/bacon cheeseburger slated to go straight into my face hole

–The weather we’ve been having lately!! Mid-August, mid-70s to 80s? I’ll take it.


–Love–friends falling in new love, friends still being in love after many years, friends who get giddy and breathless talking about marrying their fiance, and my own love, who is still asleep but who I want to be awake so we can have waffles. I love love!


I Belong with You, You Belong with Me, My Sweetheart

You all know that I am by no means a fan of Valentine’s Day. Not the hooplah, not the expectations, not the hurt feelings, not much of anything. Since I have been with GCB I have had a few people ask me if I was going to change my mind. No. No I’m not. He’s working tonight, and I’ll either be lifting or working through season eight of House.

That said, about a week ago Josey posted a wonderful list about her husband and the ten reasons that he’s the one for her.

I loved every single bit of it.

You see, I have been saying for the last 10 months that every single day GCB says or does something or I experience something that makes me fall even more in love with him. Every single day, without fail.

So today, in a rather abrupt departure from the type of post I would normally put up about this holiday (or the lack of post because really, it’s just another day for us), you get my list about GCB.

10. Because he makes me laugh. Our senses of humor are incredibly similar, and that fact keeps us laughing together every single day. It can be the mostly-asleep snickers that happen when he says something silly as he’s crawling into bed with me after an evening shift, or the silly jokes he makes about Frosted Flakes and dead toenails (just go with it), or even just the way he tells a story. The man’s funny.

9. Because he makes me feel like the most beautiful person in the world. He isn’t stingy with his compliments, and the way his eyes follow me, even if I’m just in a sweatshirt and jeans, makes me strut. He tells me every day that I’m beautiful. Lately I haven’t been feeling like my normal, confident self, which is entirely due to me not working out in four solid weeks, but throughout that time I’ve never had a single doubt that he is entirely attracted to me.

8. Because he is excited to experience new things with me. Training for and running Tough Mudder will be the first time he comes into my running world as more than just a spectator. I don’t play hockey, but he can certainly run. I love that he is not only willing, but entirely eager to get to share this part of my life with me rather than just watching as I disappear into the distance.

7. Because of the way he kisses me. There are the deep, meaningful, passionate kisses that leave me absolutely weak in the knees. Or the soft ones on my temple or top of my head as we’re curled up together. Or the ones when he gets home where he seems to be working on kissing every spot on my face he can get to. The best ones, though, are the ones from when we are reunited, no matter how long we’ve been apart. They are the ones that are so powerful, so staggeringly good at conveying one simple fact. That he missed me.

6. Because of the way he loves his family. I love spending time with him and his family because it is so obvious that he cares so very much for all of them. Family is hugely important to me, and I am so glad to be with someone for whom that feeling is the same. Not to mention seeing him play with his nieces me melts me into an absolute puddle of goo from my ovaries all the way out to my fingertips.

5. Because he is as big of a nerd as I am. Perhaps his nerdiness is in different areas, but we both definitely have a geeky side. I love that I could bring home a Ravenclaw pin for him as a souvenir from Harry Potter World that was meant for the Quidditch bag he had previously bought for himself. I love that he just gets it.

4. Because he is easy to talk to. I can talk to him about ANYTHING. I haven’t ever once felt embarrassed or self-conscious about anything I thought or felt, nor have I ever felt judged for holding a firm opinion. Even if we’re talking about nothing, he’s a fun conversationalist.

3. Because he is my biggest fan. Through Ragnar, through three half marathons and a full that I didn’t train for, he was there, encouraging me on and cheering for me and building me up when I felt low. He’s always so proud of me for the things I accomplish, and he doesn’t shy away from telling me.

2. Because he accepts every single facet of me. My quirks, my oddities, my opinions, everything about me, to him, is perfect. I have never and will never have to worry about being asked (or coerced) into changing one iota of myself. He loves me for me.

1. Because being with him has made me really and truly believe in the heart-stopping, breathtaking type of love that for the longest time I didn’t think really existed. I am far less cynical because of him. As recently as a year ago, I was the type who would scoff at the people who said, “I just knew,” because duh, you can’t “just know.” And then the universe laughed. I have known since our first date that I wanted to BE with him. I have known since very shortly into our relationship that I had fallen and would continue to fall hopelessly, unequivocally, end-over-teakettle in love with him. I have known for a LONG time now that I will marry this man. This love is powerful and real, and it has CHANGED me.


He is my person. He is who I want to share every high and every low with. His are the arms I run to in celebration and for comfort. He has the dimple I hope to one day have passed along to my children. He is who I want to wake up to every single day and whose arms I want wrapped around me every night.

He is the extra shot of espresso in the latte I call life.

He makes me better, he makes me want to BE better.

He is without the slightest hint of a doubt my best friend and the love of my life.

I am so, so happy he’s mine.

Nobody’s Perfect, but You’re Perfect for Me

The other day I was lying in bed with GCB, and out of the blue he said to me, “How come you don’t blog anymore? You used to write about how awesome I was all the time!”

So this is for him.

Reasons my boyfriend is awesome.

1. He’s such a jock. The past few weeks his summer hockey league has been in the playoffs. Last week his game was at 10pm, and he was SO amped after the game (they won) that he couldn’t get to sleep until after 2am. He left yesterday for a vacation while his team was playing for the championship last night which made him nearly delay his flight out so he could play. I totally understand the competitive spirit he has, that desire to actually be out there and play, and I think it’s awesome. It means that he gets me when I’m irritated with my own performance in a race or with a run in general. It means that he’s willing to come out with me and be active (see: Tap’n’Run). It means that he encourages me when I’m struggling to find the motivation to get my ass out the door.

2. He’s also a monstrous nerd. Let’s be honest. I’m a super-nerd. I wear my nerd flag as a cape, rather than choosing to fly it sporadically. I recognize this. He is just as nerdy. This is all made evident by all sorts of things. References to Harry Potter in every day conversation, his level of excitement over a Lego Batman Playstation game, and the fact that his trip to Orlando was specifically in order to attend Star Wars Celebration VI. Apparently I am lucky that he still loves me even with the “large number of passable Slave Leia’s in metal bikinis.” According to Ali and Alison, his jock-dom does not cancel out just how nerdy this makes him, but it makes me feel like my jock-nerd-hybrid lifestyle is comparatively complemented. I like that.

3. He’s family oriented. His sister had a baby girl a couple weeks ago (another A. Marie in the world!!), and we were lucky enough to be able to go over to their house, cook them dinner, and just hang out with their family. He was entirely excited at this prospect. I absolutely melted watching him hold that tiny newborn, and the absolutely love-struck look he gave me as his niece grabbed ahold of his shirt dissolved me into goo. Not only is he willing to do anything for his family, but he’s been such a big hit with mine. My three year old cousin just absolutely adores him, and even asked to snuggle with GCB instead of my aunt when he was ready to take a nap. He sat down and talked with my grandfather for nearly an hour. He made sure to get out of work so he could see my mom while she was in town. And to top it all off, when I tossed out the idea of having two of my cousins come up to the city and play with us all day, he was all about it, suggesting different things that we could do with them. I get to take him out to Arizona in two months to meet even more of my extended family, and I could not be more excited about it.

4. The fact that he brought me a banana and nutella calzone the other day. It was so good I nearly passed out from deliciousness.

5. He and I see eye to eye on both politics and religion. I know that there are plenty of people who are able to overcome opinion differences in these two areas, but the fact that I don’t have to worry about it is entirely awesome.

6. He entertains me. The other day we were trying to figure out what to do for dinner. I suggested that we attempt to recreate a dish from Cheese-ology using just our imaginations. He didn’t hesitate to say yes, and then played me in a best-two-out-of-three game of rock/paper/scissors to figure out which dish to choose to duplicate.

7. He just is. He makes me feel desired and beautiful and smart and funny all at once. He’s hilarious and keeps me laughing on a regular basis. He’s an unwavering support system. He just FITS.

I love you, baby. Come home to me safely.

The Good Stuff

I have been overly dramatic and worrying you lovely people unnecessarily. My apologies.

Good things from the past little while:

-Beers in a redneck pool with incredible friends.

-Being able to talk to all three of my sisters for over an hour apiece over the past few days.

-Three engagement announcements for some friends incredibly deserving of that happiness.

-Asking GCB for Gatorade and having him come back with four different flavors because he “knew [I] liked the purpley-blue one, but couldn’t remember which, so [he] just got all of them.”

-Hugs. From my cousins. My aunts. My grandparents. Some of those hugs came after the stampede ignited from my ringing the doorbell….from five cousins at once.

-Realizing that mine, Ali’s, and Alison’s middle names are all Marie. On top of that? All three boyfriends’ middle names are Michael.

-Beginning my countdown to my trip to Arizona. Smiling because GCB gets to go with me.

-Chocolate cake for dinner with my dad, which of course sparked the “Dad is great! He gives us the chocolate cake!!!” comments.

-The comments and emails from you guys. They honestly mean more than you know.


Last night I went over to Ali’s for some friend time and some laundry time….and some whiskey time. Yes, by Tuesday it had already been that kind of week.

We were discussing upcoming weekends when it dawned on both of us just how busy this summer is shaping up to be. Let’s take a look, shall we?

This weekend contains a baseball game on Friday then a trip to Kansas City to see my roommate from my freshman year of college marry the guy she’s been with SINCE then. I’m pretty pumped.

Next weekend is a 10k race and a winery trip.

The weekend after is Ragnar.

Then I’m taking GCB to Jeff City to meet the parents and baby sister and brother. There has been talk of maybe going to a beer festival this same weekend and also possibly to GCB’s parents’ for Father’s Day.

Then I’ll be in KC for the Cards/Royals series at Kauffman and to see my awesome friend Jamie.

Then there’s a float trip possibility.

Then Portland (I hope…come on flight prices, drop a little bit!) to see my dad’s side of the family (complete with sister/bro-in-law/niece/nephew).

Two weeks later is a baseball game and a Pub Crawl.

Then the Tap N Run.

Then a free weekend (if you’ve kept up, this is the first weekend in August).

Then a trip to the lake.

That brings me to mid-August. When I start training again for the two half marathons (in October and November) and the full (in January).

No, I’m not busy, why do you ask?

Oh Baby, Baby

Bullet points!!

  • My sister is having a BOY. Nephew Watch 2012!!! Gah, SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!!!!!
  • I lifted for the first time today since nearly a week before the half. My legs feel great. My arms? Yeeeaaaahhhh, ouch.
  • It is time for me to refocus on how I eat. Again. The last two weeks have been ridiculous with what I’ve actually consumed, so yeah. Getting back to being good. These carrots and hummus are really fantastic.
  • I’m getting really excited for Ragnar. My last few runs have been REALLY awesome. Tomorrow GCB is coming running with me, which will be interesting. Pretty sure he’ll be able to hang, though.
  • Today I actually took measurements for the first time since early February. The reason I started doing so was to see just how I would change during my training, but as I’ve been balls to the wall training for quite a few months now, it seems as though I am at a decent plateau, despite the increase in the half inch or so around my midsection (which I attribute entirely to hormones at this point). I am more than comfortable in my skin. I feel like I’m at an incredible point physically, and it makes me proud of everything I’ve accomplished over the last year.
  • As I was telling mi madre earlier today, I really don’t think life has ever been any better than it is at this moment.
Life is incredible.

If You Try Sometimes, You Get What You Need

Can I just say I love you all for your comments and emails yesterday? Truly, I do. Seriously, you guys are the bestest (even the Anon, whose identity is still a mystery to me).

I feel, though, that there’s a teensy bit I should clarify.

When I say I know exactly what I want, it’s a list of intangibles, things that are the opposite of stuff I have seen and experienced in my past that led me down some incredibly painful roads. My list is one that may not describe a perfect person, as I don’t think anyone could possibly be perfect, but might describe someone who is perfect FOR ME. I don’t think it’s a bad list either. As my lovely friend Erratic pointed out, sometimes things on the “list” may have to take a back seat if the right person comes along, and while I know she’s absolutely correct, there are things on my list that are flat out non-negotiable. I will not go back to where I was nine years ago. I will never again be subjected to a partner who thinks it’s within his rights to control me. I don’t think I should have to either.

I want someone I can talk to.

I want someone who trusts me.

I want someone who doesn’t use guilt as a tool of manipulation.

I want someone who understands that I have my girlfriends and will spend time with them WITHOUT him.

I want someone who’s ok with that.

I want someone who doesn’t try to change things about me like how I dress, what I listen to, which sports teams I cheer for.

I want someone who’s willing to discuss opinions when we differ in mindsets, rather than getting angry because I don’t agree with him.

I want someone who is willing to admit when he’s wrong, someone who will forgive me when I’m wrong.

I want someone who will listen to me and understand that my feelings are valid, even if at times they come from a source best described as “the crazy part of Ann’s brain.” I’m capable of recognizing that I’ve been crazy, I promise. It just might take me a day or two.

I want someone I want to spend time with.

I want someone who won’t ignore what I’m saying just because it’s something he doesn’t want to hear.

I want someone who will hold my hand during the rough times.

I want someone who’s willing to cheer me on and encourage me, someone who will be my biggest fan.

I want someone who understands that I yell at the TV during hockey games. And baseball games. And football games even when I don’t have a favorite team. And curling. Oh hell, I yell at sports.

I want someone who makes me laugh. And someone who makes me think.

I want someone who makes me want to be a better person.

I want someone I don’t want to live without.

I want someone who loves me for who I am, who accepts every part of me, flaws and all, and is willing to navigate all the bumps in the road along the way. I want someone who is willing to work for it, for US, if it’s right. I want a partner and an equal, and someone who sees me as such.

I think this is a damn fine list.

I’ve Got to Keep on Moving

It has been a rough motherfucking week. This week’s not even over. Yikes.

You’d think that a week started with such a glorious Sunday, wherein I skipped all chore-like activities and went over to Ali’s to drink on the patio instead, would lead to an even gloriouser week. I think it was the awful run that snuck the bad shit in.

Fucking bad run.

You see, since Sunday I have been trying really hard and failing miserably at not letting things get me down. I am still beyond devastated that I am not going to Boozefest this year, but it was made official when I had to message two fantastic friends and tell them I wouldn’t be there.

I struggled mightily with not doing any sort of physical activity on Monday, even though I knew my knee would be better off for it.

I’ve been taking things the wrong way and have been overly sensitive to how coworkers talk to me, and that has made it incredibly difficult to keep a positive attitude when I’m there.

Weeks like this make me wish I still had my roommate Sarah, because I’d be able to come home and get a hug, and then we’d sit around eating chips and watching awful TV, and I would feel better. I could still do the chips and bad TV thing, but really, as is oh so usual, I just want the fucking hug. Sarah gives the best hugs.

This afternoon I have tried to pull myself away from this less than stellar feeling I’ve got going on and focus on the positives. It’s kind of working. Slowly.

Positive: I got my tickets purchased for the Cardinals home opener. I’ve been in STL five years. This will be the fifth consecutive home opener I’ve been to. Tradition, thy name is baseball.

Positive: My run today was pretty sweet. I felt good, no knee twinges, and I was able to run really hard. My time doesn’t so much reflect how hard I did run because stop watches cannot measure twenty-fucking-five mile per hour head winds. Up a hill. That was fucking DIFFICULT. However, the fact that my time today was identical to the time I got on this same course a couple weeks ago when I WASN’T battling monstrous winds is such a good thing. I’ll say one thing about how windy it’s been here lately. I’m going to be really fucking ready for running alongside Lake Michigan during that Ragnar.

Positive: Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Positive: This upcoming weekend. I’ll be spending Saturday driving to and from CollegeTown because one of my very good friends from college is getting married, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for him. He is genuinely one of the best people I’ve met. After that, and even more exciting, one of my bestest friends Nic will be here. Here. To see me. I haven’t seen her in I can’t even remember how long, which I hate, but she will be HERE. We are going to see American Idiot at the Peabody, and I really cannot wait. Having Monday off totally helps that excitement.

Positive: Because Ali is such a rock star, she has offered to help ease the pangs of my not going to Boozefest. During the Boozefest weekend, I’ll instead be spending time at her house day-drinking with my STL crew, people I have come to wholeheartedly and unabashedly love. Our Sunday night dinners have come to mean so much to me. My weeks just don’t feel right if I haven’t played beer pong on Sundays.

Positive: Officially signing up for the Rock and Roll half in October.

Positive: And related. My marathon/Ragnar training buddies across the country. They hold me accountable. I am inspired by them.

Positive: Looking forward to St Patrick’s Day in Chicago. I’ve already been promised that I WILL see that green river. St Pat’s has always interfered with Boozefest. Lose one, gain the other. And I just really, really fucking love Chicago. It has been FAR too long since I’ve been up there, and I know that once I’m there I won’t want to leave. As per usual.

Positive: Running motivation pictures from Pinterest. I am not a member of Pinterest, but that does not stop me from going on there every once in a while and finding new things that keep me going, that push me harder, that make me want to get better, get faster, get stronger. I am helped in this endeavor by my dear friend Miranda who has emailed me these motivators at least three times over the last week. This morning’s post was one, and today’s addition is another.

Positive: That niece/nephew that’s on the way. I’m still beyond giddy. I can’t wait to snuggle the crap out of that little one. And then turn her/him into a Cardinals fan, because that’s the way it’s done in my family.

Positive: Writing. It might seem like gibberish to you, but it’s therapy to me.