4 Years

It’s over. It’s really over. Somehow, in the blink of an eye, 4 years flew by since I felt this same oddly deflated feeling after the London Olympics and now here we are saying goodbye to another summer Olympics and starting the clock on another four years of waiting.

For many athletes, the Olympics really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and across the board from swimming to gymnastics to the marathon are athletes who closed out an incredible journey in Rio.

But for many athletes – some who were the babies of their 2016 teams, others who didn’t exactly have the Olympics they trained for and didn’t even make it to the closing ceremonies before starting to think about Tokyo, and even more still who are working in the shadows just to get to an Olympic level – this is the start. I can just imagine them, looking at the 4 years ahead with hunger, raring to fill each of those 1400+ days with hard work and a perfectly-crafted training build-up. So while there is a feeling of emptiness when a 4-year build up and climax has come to an end, there is also a little bit of magic in the promise of a new journey and a blank slate.

My favorite sport to follow is women’s gymnastics, so if you are not a fan, bear with me for a moment.

The Olympics are an exciting time for gymnastics fans because the sport is getting so much attention, the athletes are in the best shape of their lives and we get to watch more gymnastics in two weeks than we normally do in an entire year.

Well, another incredible Olympics for our dominant USA girls is over now, and any fan will tell you that following gymnastics in the year after an Olympic games isn’t terribly exciting. Usually the Olympic stars aren’t competing much in that following year, as they have retired, gone to college, or are taking a well-deserved break to finish up touring and professional opportunities. That means that competitions are now flooded with up-and-comers and seniors who weren’t quite ready to make an Olympic team the year prior. Also, after each Olympics the FIG makes changes and updates to the Code of Points (which decides how valuable certain skills are), so gymnasts and coaches are now adjusting routines or creating totally new ones. Basically, it’s a rebuilding year, and it has a reputation for being competitively weak since most gymnasts are just emerging on the scene, starting their build-up, and debuting new routines.

But there is also something enjoyable about watching gymnastics in the early years of a “quad”. With the Olympic and veteran stars out of the spotlight, fans get the chance to see new faces and emerging talent and start following the careers of the sport’s future stars. It’s admittedly hard to get excited because it’s way too early to make Olympic predictions; there’s a good chance that the stars of the Tokyo team won’t even be on the radar for the next 2-3 years. But I like the freshness of it all, the feelings of a blank slate and a new chapter that permeate each competition.

One person I’ll have my eye on is young senior Ragan Smith, who was an alternate for the 2016 team. While Ragan dazzled at Trials and showed the world how much talent is in her tiny frame, she was just a little too green to make an Olympic team this time around. But you can tell by watching her perform that she is bursting at the seams with potential. I imagine how wonderful it must have been for her to go to Rio for the Olympic experience without the pressure of competing. The inspiration from that experience plus all the potential she has will make her one to watch in the build up to Tokyo, for sure!

The closing out of another Olympic quad makes me reflect on my own journey, as well. This Olympics is unique in that for the first time, my life is basically the same as it was 4 years ago during the London Olympics. I’m in the same city basically living the same life as I was in August 2012. I actually got offered my job the same day Gabby Douglas won the all-around – August 2, 2012 – so that date will always stick out in my mind. I’m still at the same job although my duties have evolved since then. I’ve moved to a new apartment but I’m still in Milwaukee and have been living in the same duplex for 3.5 years now. I’ve grown up a little, gone through several haircuts and wardrobe changes, and picked up this little “running” thing, but that’s about it. 2012, however, was a huge change from 2008, when I had just wrapped up an internship in DC and was getting ready for my senior year of college, George W. Bush was still president, and we still lived in our old house back in Iowa.

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Summer 2008: Livin’ that intern life, hangin’ with senators.
Summer 2012: Livin' that Milwaukee life, hangin' with statues.
Summer 2012: Livin’ that Milwaukee life, hangin’ with statues.

So now, naturally, I’m looking at the next 4 years ahead, wondering if, when the Tokyo opening ceremonies commence in all their firework-y glory, I want to have the same realization I’m having this year that nothing has really changed in the last 4 years. Maybe that’s part of growing up – the older we get, the less our lives change, with fewer big milestones to break up the general monotony of adult life.  Or maybe this is a great time to ask: where do I want to be when I’m watching the Tokyo games in 4 years? Who do I want to be?

10K Training Week 3

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Oh, this week. Literally nothing happened in my life outside of running so we can skip right to the training stuff. This week I upped the intensity a little bit, with a tempo run hard hill repeats as my workouts for the week and my long run now up to 8 miles.

My “low” for the week was…I don’t know…most of it. My head was just not in it this week. I felt like I was on another planet and I just did not want to run or train or care about my fitness at all. Both of my workouts for the week – my tempo run and my hill repeats – were in that murky territory of “well, nothing went wrong so I can’t call this a bad run, but it didn’t exactly make my day.” I was tired, I didn’t want to be out running, and all I could think about each time was being done.

Which conveniently brings me to my next point:

I am ready to give up on early morning running. It’s just not working out for me. There are things I absolutely LOVE about morning running – namely, getting it over with for the day and not having to worry about squeezing a run in after work, which is SUCH a good feeling – but early morning exercising is not a good fit for me. I hate it. I’m way off the paces I need to hit, running doesn’t feel good, and I’m getting increasingly afraid that I’m not having effective workouts and thus sabotaging my training. I’m tired of waking up earlier than any human should have to wake up simply to go out and have a mediocre workout. Mad props to all my friends who can do their training this way, but I’m throwing in the towel as soon as the temperatures go down a few degrees. It’s just not for me. As much as it sucks to run after work sometimes, I think it is better for me. I need that jolt of energy and invigoration after a long day of sitting on my ass in front of a computer, and when I run in the evening I feel great, my muscles are looser and I typically run really well. When I got off schedule last week and had to run in the evening/late morning, my paces at the same effort level suddenly plummeted. I gotta do what I gotta do to avoid gnarly heat, but otherwise I need to stick with what works. There will always be downsides. The body wants what it wants.

As of now the temperature forecast is looking marginally better for next week, so I’m hoping to do my weekday workouts in the evening. Next week is also a cutback week which means I’ll do more easy running and softer workouts. That should make any late day heat a little more manageable.

My “high” for the week, somewhat surprisingly, was today’s 8-mile long run. While admittedly I haven’t really been enjoying my easy runs lately, it was actually nice to just relax and cruise along at an easy effort this time. It ended up being a fitting way to cap off a good weekend, and the weather was wonderful!

Once again my long run was the longest I’ve run since the marathon, and reaching the 8 mile mark brought me to one of the routes I used to frequent during marathon training. It was…oddly sentimental. The last time I ran this route was when I was cranking out long tempo runs during my Pittsburgh build-up, and I’m just now building back up to running that distance as a long run, let alone at a fast pace. I’ve been super anti-long distance lately, but I have to admit, being on these roads made me a little nostalgic for the days when I was regularly busting out 10 mile tempo runs on a Tuesday night like it was no big thing. It’s not enough to make me throw all my plans to the wind and rush to a computer to sign up for the nearest half marathon, but being on the other side of the coin now, I can really see how when you’re in the thick of marathon training it’s easy to forget that you’re doing some pretty badass things on a day-to-day basis. No, running 10 miles at your race pace on a random weeknight is not something everyone else does. It’s kind of intense, actually!

Another fun development from this week is that I am now registered for 3 out of my 4 races (registration hasn’t opened for the last one yet), which made all of this start to seem slightly more real. Here is my race schedule:

Sunday, October 30th – Pumpkin Run 10K (Lighthouse Events Winter Series Race #1)
Sunday, November 6 – Milwaukee Running Festival 5K
Sunday, November 20 – Elf Run 10K (Lighthouse Events Winter Series Race #2)
Sunday, December 4 – Badgerland Striders’ Indoor 10K (Pettit National Ice Center Track)

There was a slight snag in the plans, as the Pumpkin Run was originally scheduled for October 23 but they had to move it back a week. This will give me an extra week to train, but it also means that there is only one week in between my first and second races. This isn’t a huge deal for me – the MRF 5K was always going to be more of a workout/shot in the dark type race since that is not the distance I am specifically training for. But it may require an adjustment in strategy for one of both of those races.

I have my eye on race 4 being my peak race and using the other ones to build up to it. In addition to having the most time to train and prepare for this one, racing on an indoor track (perfect weather conditions, 100% flat and no course surprises) should enable me to crank out some hella fast miles. But hey, if a giant PR is meant to happen sooner in the season, I’ll take it. I’m taking each chance to race seriously because you just never know what’s going to happen over the course of a season!

In other news, I am also signed up for a 10K in a couple weeks. My hometown in Iowa hosts a half marathon/10K race as part of its annual New Bo Arts Festival every Labor Day weekend. My mom and I ran the New Bo 10K last year and I had such a fun time (despite oppressive heat and humidity) that I just had to come back for another round! Obviously I’m not in racing shape yet, so Laura and I have talked about using this as another time trial. I really want to see how I’ve progressed with a month of training now under my belt, and I’d love a shot at an age group award again this year. Normally I wouldn’t care, but the awards for this race are ceramics hand-crafted by local artists and they are sooooo cool! I won one last year when I came in 3rd in my age group:

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As I said earlier, this coming week is a cutback week. Unlike marathon training where cutback week = less miles, my cutback week is about the same mileage but the running is easier. I have a progression run workout but everything else is easy running and strength training.

10K Training Week 2

Well, there isn’t that much to say about this week. It was kind of a blur of heat and humidity and Olympics. Some workouts happened somewhere in there.

But the fact that I don’t have much to say about a week of training also probably means it went well, which I think this one did. I didn’t have any bad days and the frustrations from last week seem to be subsiding. Running in the heat (or at least in the humidity) is getting a little easier, and my paces are already starting to get better while my heart rate at the same effort is going down a bit. I’m letting go and making peace with the affect of external conditions on my running. Ironically, it was when I started to accept slower running that my running stopped feeling so slow, but doesn’t it always work out that way?

This week I had a speed workout (a fartlek), my long run went up to 7 miles at an easy-moderate pace, and the same recovery running, strength training and strides from last week. I also did a progression run, which was more like an easy run with an uptempo (I wouldn’t even call it “fast”) finish. This week was all about starting to wake up my legs. My long run was the farthest I have run since the marathon, which was well over 3 months ago. It went well but it was in the low 80s and I was pretty tired.

My low for the week was getting off schedule, sleeping through my Friday morning run and having to move it to the evening. Mornings at the end of the week are always tough for me, and I let the fatigue win this time. I also couldn’t get up for my long run early Sunday morning, so I had to put it off until later in the evening.

Honestly, this week – particularly this weekend – was just tough for me. (TMI) A monthly visitor put me in a “blah” mood all week, I just generally felt out of it at work and that caused me to slack off a LOT and get really, really behind.

Also, I don’t know if you all have been following the news this weekend but if so, you know that things are pretty rough here in Milwaukee right now. I’m fortunate that it’s not affecting me personally, but it’s been stressful and sad. I slept about 4 hours Saturday night, which is why I didn’t get up early to run, and my entire day Sunday was busy as we had a new piece of furniture arrive, Kevin broke his phone, and I had to do a ton of work at home to get caught up for the week. Honestly, it’s a miracle I went out to run at all. It took a lot of mental muscle not to skip, because I just didn’t want yet another thing to deal with. I’m very glad I went though, although it quickly became apparent why putting off your long run until evening on a hot Sunday isn’t a good idea.

I mean, whatever, I got it done. Shit happens sometimes, but it is frustrating to fall out of your routine.  On the plus side, running in the evening meant my legs were more awake and the paces didn’t feel like a slog.

On a more pleasant note, my high for the week was my first workout, the fartlek on Tuesday. It just went so well and felt really good. I always feel so much better during my workouts than I do during my general easy runs, which makes me wonder if maybe I’m more well-suited to short distances than I give myself credit for. If the instant pace on my GPS watch is to be trusted, I was hitting some pretty good paces on those fartlek intervals, which really boosts my confidence. Plus, the workouts just make training more fun.

Well, one fun thing about this week was that I got to watch the women’s Olympic gymnastics competitions LIVE on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. I wore my Feat by Aly socks to commemorate the occasion.

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I thought being able to work from home those afternoons would break up the week, but it actually seemed to go by slower. Why does it always work that way?!

All in all, nothing remarkable about this week of training but I am really starting to feel more like myself with each run. It feels great to get back in the swing of things and start reawakening my fitness.

Since I don’t have anything eventful to report on in either my training or life this week, I thought I’d muse about something that’s been on my mind recently as I embrace the short distance life.

I’ve never been able to put my finger on exactly what changed inside me after the Pittsburgh Marathon. But what I do know is that it’s been over three months since the marathon and one thing hasn’t changed – I still wonder if I ever want to do another marathon again. Even as I watch my friends tackle their training for 26.2 glory, I have no desire to do that for a long, long time. And I wonder if it’s because on some level, I feel like I’ve gotten everything I’m going to get out of that distance. Maybe what I really felt after Pittsburgh was a bit of closure. I conquered the distance for the first time and joined the marathon club. Then I went after it again, this time in search of big improvements, and I achieved that. Then I challenged myself to a difficult course and achieved that, AND got a PR in the process. So what’s next? It’s just so much work and dedication to put myself through simply to shave a few more minutes off my finish time. I don’t need or want to BQ – qualifying for Boston has never been motivating for me, personally. I’m wondering if Chicago next year will be my last marathon for several years. And it’s weird – so many friends of mine who are injured would love to trade places with me, while I’m healthy and just…don’t have the heart. I know it’s premature to bring this up but I have been wondering about my future in running after this training cycle. I guess we will see.

Anyway, back to the here and now: looking forward to another good training week. Things will get a little more intense as I take on my first tempo run and another set of hard hill repeats. My long run will go up to 8 miles, but I’ll keep it at an easy effort this time.

Outside of training I really don’t have anything on the agenda for this week yet, just hoping that it is a little better all-around than this week was. I have a feeling that work is going to be really busy and I am already looking forward to the sweet release of 5:00 PM on Friday.

My Week in Objects 2

I follow the Reading My Tea Leaves lifestyle/simplicity blog and every week she does a “my week in objects” post. I think it’s cool so obviously, I am stealing borrowing it for my own blog. So here are the 5 little things that made my week. TGIF!!!!!

1) Patriotic Feat by Aly Socks

A happy Olympics present from Kevin, perfect for watching her and Simone dominate the all-around competition yesterday afternoon. I think I brought her good luck😉

2) Flowers

Left over from another work event

3) Yarn Graffiti Street Art

To raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease

4) New Necklace

From the Kurafuchi Etsy shop. I may be doing a 180 – I used to be all about the bold statement necklaces, now apparently minimalist jewelry is my thing.

5) A greeting from an anonymous city window

7 Ways Summer Redeems Itself

Summer sucks.

How’s that for a clever “hook” opening? I have been in a really bad slump this summer, not just in running but in general. I’m still waiting on that “summer magic” people talk about, because if that does exist (I’m doubtful), it seems to have skipped over my little corner of the world. It’s so bad this year that I get irrationally and selfishly annoyed any time I hear someone say “I love summer and I don’t want it to end!!!” Unless they are a teacher, in which case I forgive them because if I got to take an entire season off from my job, I wouldn’t want it to end either.

Summer allergies. Crowds. Crime rates go way up. Cat fur EVERYWHERE. Super slow running. My blog friends disappear. I spend more money. I don’t sleep as well. Unrelenting heat and humidity. Living in a 2nd floor poorly insulated apartment with no air conditioning, meaning even more unrelenting heat and humidity invading what is supposed to be my sanctuary. Lack of fresh air since simply stepping outside means insta-sweat some days. Need I go on?

But I don’t like being negative, so we’re going to go in a different direction today. No one likes to listen to whining, after all. I may never like summer, but maybe I can try to be a little more positive about it.

For as miserable as summer has made me this year, I do have to admit it has a few things going for it. So I have wracked my brain for ideas in order to present you with today’s post featuring a few things I actually can’t help but enjoy about my new least-favorite season.

  1. Easy dressin’
    Summer is sundress season. I have a few light dresses, and getting ready for work is simply a matter of which one of them I’m going to throw on after my shower. I do love how simple it is to dress this season! Not to mention that they can double as casual weekend clothes, making dressing simple all week long
  2. Earlier sunrise
    AKA, more daylight on my super early morning runs. I have noticed though that the sun is already starting to rise a little bit later in the morning. I can’t even be sad about it though because it just reminds me that fall is coming and I get happy…oops, sorry, this is supposed to be about summer. Ahem. Back to the topic.
  3. Olympics!
    Granted, this isn’t an every-summer treat, but it’s here when I’m needing it most and it is a huge positive for this summer.
  4. The bus is less crowded
    It’s the little things, right? With all the college students and school faculty gone or not working for the summer, there are way fewer people on the bus in the morning and it is pretty awesome. I never knew so many people in the education world were bus-ers until each year when June would hit and I could suddenly get a seat to myself on the bus every morning.
  5. The farmers market
    One of my absolute favorite things about summer in Milwaukee. Getting up early on a Saturday morning (we’re not early risers so yes, getting up before 8 AM on the weekend qualifies as “early”!) so we can go to the farmers market a mile from our house, in the park on the lake, and load up on produce, have a coffee and a crepe or a breakfast sandwich from one of the vendors, browse through produce and watch the people and dogs move along with the wafting scent of kettle corn. Even though the produce isn’t really good until mid-August/September and the market technically goes into the fall, this little slice of Saturday morning serenity abruptly ends in mid-October making it, for all intents and purposes, a summer thing.
  6. Heat training = better running
    They tell me that training in the heat will just make me even stronger as a runner when the temps cool down. It seems hard to believe these days, but even if it doesn’t work out that way and and my fear that I’m just going to be this slow forever ends up coming true, I have to admit it does make me feel a little bad ass to train in tougher conditions.
  7. Drinking on patios
    It really is refreshing
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And now, I do solemnly swear that I will not complain about the cold and ice and snow this winter. Really! Actually, forget it. I probably will. There’s no law that says you can’t hate both seasons, right?🙂

10K Training Week 1

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One week of training is now in the books! I’d love to say “it’s already flying by and before you know it I’ll be racing”, but…this summer is mercilessly dragging and shows no indication of picking up its feet any time soon. October feels like it is a year away. In a way that’s good, but I’m just so anxious to be back in shape and run in cooler weather!

Every week in these recaps (I’m gonna try to do one every week), I’ll give a general overview of what I was up to and how I felt, a “high” and a “low” for the week, and some thoughts looking ahead to next week. I’ll also share a little about what else is going on in my life, Ariana-style. Since Laura created my plan for me, I want to be respectful of her services and not broadcast every little workout detail on here like I used to.

 

Laura is doing my plan one month at a time, so right now we are just focused on the first 5-ish weeks of training. This first month is an introductory phase that is mostly fitness-building and getting my feet wet with different types of workouts. My mileage is actually fairly low during this phase, but I’m doing a wide variety of different workouts to work on my overall conditioning while still building a good mileage base. In short, the emphasis for now is on harder workouts rather than time on my feet.

Every week I will do exercises and drills to work on my form and cadence as well as twice-weekly strength training sessions. Sprinkled throughout my training weeks are hills and various types of introductory speed work. And of course, the obligatory easy, recovery and long runs for aerobic conditioning, although those are all pretty short distances at this time.

Unlike longer distance training where the focus is typically “throw more miles at it and see what happens,” this training cycle is very much focused on the fundamentals, at least in this first phase, and it makes me excited to keep going. It’s fun, and I like knowing that I can get really fit without feeling pressured to cram a ton of mileage into every week.

As you all know, summer has been brutal this year, so to beat the heat I have officially made the switch to early AM running for this training cycle. Early morning does mean more humidity (gross), but honestly it is worth it to get out of the blazing sun. There really wasn’t an option here – I simply cannot effectively complete workouts in the heat we’ve had lately. Exerting the necessary effort level for some of these harder workouts is just dangerous and counterproductive in hot conditions, so it was necessary to move them to a time of day when the paces might still be slower but I would at least be able to push hard without feeling like I was tempting heatstroke.

This week I did three easy/recovery runs, a set of hard hill repeats, a long run of 6 miles at an easy/moderate pace, some strides and drills, and two core work sessions.

My “low” for the week was my easy/recovery/long runs. They weren’t bad, but the combination of thick humidity + running before my body is awake has dealt a massive blow to my run times. Many of my easy miles have been well over a minute slower than my normal easy pace. It constantly feels like I’m working hard no matter how slow I go.

I will admit – it gets under my skin sometimes. I know it shouldn’t, because heat affects running and it is what it is, but I’m human. It gets on my nerves. I’m so tired of going out there knowing I’m going to be slow and sweaty and draggy every damn time. It just won’t let up and it’s hard to get excited about running when you know the heat and humidity are going to slow you way the eff down and, as if that’s not enough punishment, make you feel miserable in the process. I get a little freaked out by some of the early morning easy run splits I’ve been seeing, since by the end of this cycle I’m hoping crank out some miles that are 3 minutes faster than that. Yikes! Sigh – Patience, Hanna, patience. Fitness takes time. Fitness takes time. FITNESS TAKES TIME. And summer takes time. Because it’s awful like that.

Sorry for the whining, but I needed that rant out of my system. Otherwise I’m trying to stay positive about things, and other than those slow splits that occasionally rattle my confidence, things are going fine so far. I’m sure that once I get in some good workouts to wake up my system again, and my body gets used to regular mileage, things will (hopefully) start to look up.

My “high” for the week was my hill repeats session on Friday morning. Honestly, it was the only run I did this week where I felt like myself. I didn’t hit sick paces or feel on top of the world or anything like that, it just felt good to be running hard again. I’ve missed it. Actually, I would say that this workout plus all the other strength I did is my high for the week. While it’s true there’s nothing like the feeling of a good run, there’s also nothing like the feeling of getting STRONGER. I’m really happy to be doing regular strength work again and I can’t wait to see the results down the road.

As for the rest of life, this week paralleled my training in that it started off slow and cumbersome but then got a lot more fun toward the end. The first few days were uneventful and a little “blah” and Thursday I had an after-hours work event that got me home late. But then Friday came along  – I got a much needed new haircut after work and then we watched the Olympic opening ceremonies! So exciting! Saturday and Sunday we didn’t too much but I got to watch the men’s and women’s Olympic gymnastics qualifying rounds (and lots of other Olympics). I can’t believe that after this week we will crown new Olympic gymnastics champions. I feel like Gabby Douglas and the Fierce 5’s London wins were just yesterday.

Saturday evening after-dinner drinks at Enlightened Brewery
New hair


All in all, not a particularly memorable week but a solid start to 10K training. After a typically hot and miserable long run to cap off the week, I had a come-to-Jesus moment of realizing that this is just how things are going to be during this training cycle. This is not going to be an easy training. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be gritty. It’s going to test me – a lot. This isn’t going to be one of my training cycles where I’m gliding from week to week snapping up fitness gains left and right and feeling on top of the world 90% of the time. I’ve chosen to train during a season that I do not thrive in, and that’s going to present some challenges for me. So, I must accept that there are going to be a lot more weeks like this one, and I need to just suck it up and tough it out. Right now it’s hard, almost impossible, to believe that this heat is making me stronger and this training is going to to pay off and I’m going to be fast again when temperatures cool down. But what choice to I have? I just have to believe that it will get better, and that I will get better.

I am looking forward to this week, when I’ll do my first speed workouts. I have a fartlek and a light progression run on the docket, and I’ll do another long run where I get to push the pace a bit. I’m glad that I’m starting to do more hard running, because those are the runs that restore my confidence and help me feel like my old self. I am also looking forward to watching more Olympics and having a little time off work.

My Week in Objects

I follow the Reading My Tea Leaves lifestyle/simplicity blog and every week she does a “my week in objects” post. I think it’s cool so obviously, I am stealing borrowing it for my own blog. So here are the 5 little things that made my week. TGIF!!!!!

1) Sweet Banana Peppers

The first thing we harvested from our fledgling community garden plot this summer.

2) Monarch Necklace

I’ve been missing this necklace for months. I thought I had lost it. I was digging around in one of my backpacks, actually hoping to find a different necklace – and there it was!!

3) Dunkin’ Donuts


Because I really have been running on Dunkin’ this week. We are out of coffee filters at home and keep forgetting to buy them, and this week I will be 5/5 in morning runs to the DD on my way into the office.

4) Sunrise

On my first run of 10K Training this week. Welcome back, AM running…*yawn*

5) Champagne Flutes

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Some fine cham-PAN-yuh (mad props if you get that reference) at last night’s work event.


What are you most looking forward to this coming week?

As for me: OH. MY. GOD. Next week IT’S OLYMPIC GYMNASTICS TIME!!!!!! I’m an avid gym fan and I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve been waiting four years for this. I actually took off work on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons so I can watch the women’s team and women’s all-around finals, respectively. I’m looking forward to that time off for its own sake as well, even if I end up doing some work from home out of guilt. I’ve been feeling really burnt out on office life lately, and it will be nice to take a couple little time-outs. I’m battling an increasingly bad case of I-need-a-vacation-itis.