Perfect

So.

Besides swooning, what has Ann been up to over the last month?

Home Opener with the bestie:

Rainy day for a baseball game

Chicago aka Vegas repeat:

Blues playoff games:

The zoo:

Leasburg for Ali’s birthday:

Birthday girl!!

One of my absolutely new favorite pictures
The group

Stupidly happy
What I came home to

Oh yeah, and spread out through all of that was the trip to CollegeTown, meeting GCB’s family….parents, sister/bro-in-law/niece, AND grandparents, JD’s birthday celebration, out of town interweb friends being in town, baseball games, my friend Noelle moving back to STL, and realizing just how quickly I am falling have fallen for the boyfriend.

On deck there is:

  • A cousin competing in high jump at the state track meet….as a freshman
  • My freshman year of college roommate’s wedding
  • Ragnar
  • Taking the boyfriend to Jeff City to meet the family
  • Kansas City for the Cards/Royals series
  • Numerous other baseball games
  • Sunday night dinners
  • Alison’s daughter’s birthday
  • Spending every single day being blown away by how absolutely fucking lucky I am

Perfection.

My Universe Will Never be the Same

I’ve become that obnoxiously happy, ridiculously optimistic, swoony swoon face girlfriends that used to drive me up the fucking wall.

I would always think “there’s no WAY she can be THAT happy.”

Well, as I’ve learned/been reminded/been beaten over the head with, it IS possible to be that fucking happy.

I know, again, who the fuck AM I?

I swear my snark is still there, and I was caught as much off guard with this as you people.

Seriously, that fucker came out of nowhere.

 

So many things have just fallen right into place.

I know I keep saying this, but things are just so motherfucking awesome lately, I can hardly believe it’s all real.

It’s Been One Week

I ran a half marathon yesterday. Today I didn’t go into work. Not because I need to recover from the race, but because I need to recover from this week.

Well, the last week and three days.

Last Friday my girl Steph flew into town. Since then my budget and liver have both taken the most severe of beatings.

Let’s recap! I can’t believe how long this is going to be.

Friday was the final Blues home game, where we celebrated Steph’s birthday and her arrival into town, met up with bunches of fun peoples, and just enjoyed the evening.

Saturday was a Blues meetup for the final game of the season, some spectacular company, an unexpected introduction to a boy, and several rounds of delicious, delicious beers.

Sunday, being Easter, I actually spent down with some of my family, who are awesome, and then there was an unexpected late night ice cream date (!!!!). Yep, a date. I’ll call him Goalie Cop, since he is both of those things.

Monday I met up with my marathon girls for beers and to watch the Cardinals game, and we sat around laughing and drinking and joking about just how poorly all of us were going to do on this race, given how much all of us had slacked off on our training.

Tuesday two of those marathon girls came lifting with me. That’s right. We actually did work out. Go figure, right? But then we had cocktails and watched Goon, and we spread the love of the movie to Goalie Cop.

Wednesday was another date night (!!!!) followed by a meet up for the first games of the NHL playoffs, which kept all of us out late. Thanks West Coast. Thanks a lot.

That’s when shit starts to get crazy.

Thursday was round one, game one for the Blues playoffs. It was the first playoff game of any kind I had ever been to, and guys? I love playoff games. So very much. After the game, the marathon girls (sans one) and I went to a bar where it was ladies’ night and successfully killed 17 martinis between the three of us. No big deal.

Friday was the Cardinals Home Opener with April, which was followed by too many Irish Carbombs at the bar after, but I got to meet Miranda (WHICH WAS AWESOME) and seriously, even though we stood in the rain for hours, it was all so worth it.

Saturday led to some traipsing around the city looking for appropriate balloons and naps, but then more tailgating and the second Blues game of the weekend.

Yes, those are tall boys.

We did great and actually went home and to bed that night. Go us, right?

Sunday we got up far too early and went out for marathoning. Steph and I realized that we had incorrectly thought the race started at 730am. Nope. 700. At least we were there on time. The race itself was ok. I ran with Steph, who was dealing with stress fracture issues, so we didn’t finish at a time I’d expected, but I’m ok with it. We spent the entire race discussing hockey and quoting Cool Runnings, which was thoroughly entertaining to those around us. Now, however, it’s time to focus on Ragnar.

Highlights of the race? Around mile eight and a half, running through the SLU campus, Steph and I at the same time started batting at each other. Why? Because standing on the side of the road were Blues captain David BaCkes and goalie Brian Elliott. We definitely yelled “Let’s go Blues!” at them and got in return some head nods, waves, and smiles. Being that I’ve loved BaCkes for just about forever, I swooned a bit. Running while going weak in the knees is difficult.

AND THEN. Then there was Mile Nine. The bestest mile in all the land. Not only were we floating because of having just seen two Blues, but then we got to the Darth Vader balloon, under which April, one of her friends from grad school, and Goalie Cop were standing to hand us frosty Budweisers. Yeah, we had a beer stop during our run. Best. Idea. Ever. Mile Nine was a good mile.

After the race there was the delicious lunching, the epic napping, and the staying up far too late to watch West Coast playoff hockey games.

And now here I am. Sitting at home, having done just about nothing productive (besides taking Steph to the airport). It’s noon.

I am exhausted and swooning my ass off and wondering just how much of my budget I’ve trashed this week and already missing Steph and wishing April could have stayed longer and finding myself beyond fucking hopeful about this guy. I will elaborate later as I don’t want to jinx this, but allow me to just say quickly that I don’t think this one’s going anywhere any time soon. Not if I have anything to do with it, anyway.

Phew. The upcoming week seems almost boring in comparison to the last.

Until Friday, when I head up to Chicago with April for a reunion with the girls we went to Vegas with last year.

Shit shows. I’m getting really good at them.

Life is really fucking good.

Not What it Seems

I am aware that for all intents and purposes, all over social media, I am one of those obnoxious “You can do it!!” type runners. Like so:

I’ll “like” people’s statuses about completing races, offer my services to friends when it comes to sending motivating emails (much like Miranda does for me), forward along my running/workout schedule as a template for someone looking for their own way of organizing fitness, comment on blogs, etc.

However, for all the benefits of this level of physical activity, and believe me there are TONS of benefits, there are some things that suck. Lots. For example.

-Being “rungry”: This is basically when you’ve kicked your metabolism up to the point where you are ALWAYS hungry. Eat until you’re full, sure! Be prepared to be hunting down the next meal within two hours or so though. Prime example. This morning my friend Timmy emailed me asking for my guacamole recipe. Upon receiving that email, my hunger kicked so far into high gear that all I can think of, still, is getting guacamole into my face. Did I care that it was 10am, which is traditionally not the time for delicious, delicious guacamole? No. AND THEN. Then my coworker decided to bust out with, “You know, I wish I was sitting on a patio, drinking a margarita.” WOMAN, are you trying to KILL ME? At 1115 I couldn’t take the yowling stomach anymore and went and heated up my lunch. An otherwise satisfactory lunch of leftover chicken fried rice has left me ENTIRELY UNSATISFIED and dreaming of chips piled high with the avocado-y goodness. Or a turkey sandwich piled high with it. Or a spoon piled high with it. Essentially, I will heretofore be unhappy with my state until guacamole gets into my system. Full stop. OMGUACAMOLE.

-The blisters: Yep. My poor little footsies are a bit worse for the wear at this point. It’s gross. I will spare you the graphic details, but just know that I have sworn off pedicures until at least three weeks after my Ragnar in order to save the poor pedicurist from what would surely be a frightening experience.

-The breakouts: Not face breakouts. Guys, when I workout, I wear a sports bra. When I workout, I sweat. When I workout, that sweat likes to stick around under my sports bra. Um…ew. Some weeks are worse than others, but still, it’s not the most fun situation. Looks like I’ll be sticking primarily to racerback tank tops for a bit.

-The boobs: Let me be clear here. I’ve never been what you might call “voluptuous” up top. I’ve got hips and an ass that could knock over just about anything, but disproportion has been a fact of my life for as long as…..well, since I got boobs. It was a source of SEVERE self-consciousness when I was younger, and every once in a while I still get those “dammit, I wish I had big boobs” cravings. Becoming comfortable in my own skin to the point of liking my own chest was one of my biggest emotional accomplishments a while back. I know, and knew going into this crazy workout thing I’ve had going for a while now, that the decreasing fat on my body during these workouts was going to make what little curve I had just go right on away. And they have, in spectacular fashion. I don’t think a single one of my bras fits correctly anymore, and those fuckers are EXPENSIVE to replace. Pretty sure I’m going to end up concave here before too long. The thing is? That curve that’s running away from my chest? It’s repositioning itself right back on my booty. Because MORE disproportion is what I needed, right? I mean, really, I can wear a pair of jeans that’s totally tight around my hips and butt and yet still stick out a good six inches from my waist. NEAT.

-Being sore/tired: I’m always sore. I’m always tired. Granted, this might be because I’m running constantly it seems like, and that tends to, oh I don’t know, tear muscle fibers. I am going to do hill sprints and lift today. I know that tomorrow is going to include me limping around work like I spent far too much time on a mechanical bull. And what am I going to do tomorrow? What any normal person would do: run twelve miles. The smartz. I haz them. It’s a constant that is manageable, but aggravating at times.

Even with the negatives involved, yesterday’s run (one of my best in a LONG time) and how I feel today have reinvigorated me. They’ve reminded me just how AWESOME it feels to get to the end of something and go “fuck YES I did that.” The time I spend with my running shoes and a long stretch of road is something I absolutely cherish. It’s MY time, no one else’s.

It’s my release and my joy and my happiness.

That. That is why I run.

We Are Young

My friend Alison sent this to Ali and me as we were on our way to Chicago. Yep. Oh St Pat’s.

I’m going to need a month to detox from this one, yet fortunately enough had all of zero hangover all weekend. I suppose waking up and almost immediately opening another beer helps with that.

I roll with pretty ladies

This is what we call “Ann’s second wind”

I couldn’t tell you the number of bars we went to or the number of city blocks we walked or the amount of booze we imbibed or anything, but I CAN tell you that we’ve already made plans for a repeat next year.

All in all, such a needed weekend. Fantastic friends, ridiculously beautiful weather, and three days of not worrying about anything. Weekends like this are my favorite.

If It Makes You Happy

I really don’t think I could have been more depressing lately. Remind me again why you guys are still reading? If I’d been you, I’d be all “dude, fuck this chick.” Well, maybe not, but you know what I mean.

I have gotten on my own nerves so much this week these last few weeks this month. Whatever.

There is too much good stuff that I am fortunate enough to deal with daily that wallowing will not get me anywhere. I have an apartment I love, a job that challenges me (and gave me a fairly decent raise just a month or so ago), a family who I adore to the ends of the earth, and a group of friends that makes me feel like I must have done something right in a previous life to be lucky enough to have them now.

I have my health and am physically capable of working out like I do, which not everyone can say. I am grateful for that.

Every once in a while I know I need to remind myself of this, that I have so much to be happy about. The following is my way of bashing myself over the head with that knowledge. These are reasons to be happy, and there are so many more. Mental note, take more pictures when out with friends.

Life is difficult, but it is good.

Vegas!

My mom’s side of the family. This isn’t even all of us.

Some of my favorite STL girls

Best friend/It’s-Complicated-With/Glycerine (her name is April)

Best friend uncle. I miss him

Jackie. Her face in this makes me laugh out loud. I can’t believe she’s going to be a mom.

The absolute loves of my life. 

Oldest grandkid, youngest grandkid

Melissa. One of three normal pictures of us.
The Teacher, who I miss tremendously

Michelle (the baby)
I love these three
All my siblings

Cousins at our girls’ weekend in Orlando

Love Hard

Dammit, Kid Cudi. I’m only four fucking songs into this album.

If you love soft, then you’ve already lost,

But if you love hard, you should let down your guard,

And follow your heart.

Many thanks to my beautiful aunt for this one.

I’ve been told a lot lately I have monstrous walls. I am just a teensy bit aware of this.

I’m working on it.

Now Step Up, Step Up. Let’s Do This

Last night I ran four miles. This in and of itself isn’t anything special.

I ran on a treadmill. I HATE treadmills. I always have. During training for my last half, I did spend quite a bit of time on one because it was August in St Louis, and that’s just abysmal humidity to run in. When you break into a sweat walking to your car because it’s so muggy outside, you know running in that heat is going to be horrendous. So I did the indoor running thing. About two-thirds of the way through training, 4-5 weeks before the race, my left calf decided to rebel HARD after every step on the treadmill. It was as though my calf was flexing but not ever releasing. Guys, that HURTS. Every step that hurts. I swore off treadmills for the rest of my training.

This time around instead of being hot, well, it’s February so it’s cold (obviously). Also not desirable running weather. Not to mention all the New Year’s resolutioners who are still sticking around (which, yes, good for them) but seriously, it’s super crowded in the gym every day, which is annoying. Nonetheless, I went knowing that there was a distinct chance my leg could act up again. Luckily, it didn’t.

Maybe I should count it as a good thing that there were so many people there, too. I find myself pushing that much harder if there are people around. I’m not going to let them see me stop.

And I didn’t. Last year my first four mile run was totally weak. There were stopping points and times I thought I was for sure going to die. This time? Nope. Four full miles, non-stop, at an elevated incline. There is something about that kind of sweat, that kind of physical exertion that’s invigorating. When I thought I might need to pause? This song came on.

It’s always a war. A war of wills between two sides of myself. Between the desire to stop and the knowledge that it’s going to feel fucking fantastic if I keep going. It always feels fucking fantastic when I can get through something like that. Every time.

Last night’s run did something else too. It reminded me that this thing I’m doing here is a lifestyle change, not just some passing hobby, that this is something I have always loved to do. It made me realize just how much I’ve fallen in the past few months.

After the plague hit around New Year’s, I swore that I’d get back into the swing of things hard core. I didn’t. Sure, I worked out on a regular basis, but I ran a grand total of four miles in the entire month. One run in January. Pathetic. I spent more time skipping my workouts for things like hockey games and drinks with friends and my own sheer laziness. Yes, sometimes it’s a good thing to give into those things, but not now. Not with my race 66 days away. I plan on cutting ten minutes off my whole time, and that’s going to require a refocus, a rededication of myself to this training.

Going back in my mind over what happened in January, I’ve also come to realize that my own diet habits are, well, shitty right now. I know how to cook, I am good at it, and yet I still find excuses to not do so. I know for a fact I’m not getting enough protein in my diet, and my vegetable intake leaves something to be desired. The thing about running on a treadmill is that it will tell you a ballpark number of how many calories you’ve burned. Four miles, 550 calories. Sunday I start the progression of increasing my mileage. That means the calories I’ll be burning will increase, I’ll logically be hungrier, and then the choice falls to me to make sure the fuel I ingest is good for me, rather than drowning myself in an oversized bag of Pretzel M&Ms.

Last night motivated me in so many ways.

I’m fixing the way I eat. Starting yesterday. Making a point to eat SOMETHING for breakfast, incorporating more lean proteins into dinners. Cooking instead of going out, and then taking lunch to work. Choosing snacks like Wheat Thins or yogurt with granola. Eating more fruits and vegetables. I am going to be better this time around because I know just how good I FEEL, not to mention how good I can look, when I eat better.

Last night also reminded me just how much more I have to give, just how much more I could push to improve myself. I’m clearly way ahead of where I started last time, and I know just how much I improved over the course of those twelve weeks, so I have high hopes. I started tonight with increasing weights on three of my lifts. I can barely walk, can hardly lift my arms up to even shoulder level. I hurt all over so badly, and yet this pain is ADDICTING.

Sixty-six days until the half marathon. One hundred twenty days until the Ragnar. Half marathons in October and November.

Let’s do this.