Being Present

We have an epidemic in this country of people not paying attention. Instead of just watching TV, they have the two screen experience and are tweeting while watching. When out to dinner, instead of talking with their dinner companions, everyone is checking in on Foursquare and reading Yelp reviews. I am sadly guilty of all of these things and really do want to learn how to be more present in my life.

I did something unusual last night.(No, it was not only stepping away from my TV on a weekday night, as unusual as that was.)  J, our friend Steve, and I had tickets to see Bruce Springsteen. The concert took place at the MidFlorida Amphitheater in Tampa. We had lawn seats and not wanting to take my purse with me, I decided to leave my phone in the car.

I love Bruce Springsteen and have seen him many times in concert. It is always an amazing show. The kind where I end up dancing (poorly) the entire time. Even then, at first I kind of missed my phone. It felt strange not having the constant contact and updates, even just knowing what time it is. Yet, most of my life there wasn’t even the internet. I didn’t have a cell phone as a teenager and was fine. (I did have a pager so my Mom could get ahold of me when I was out of the house and that was kind of annoying.)

I noticed during the concert, people taking selfies, recording the show, and checking their email. I realized that I was having so much more fun actually experiencing the concert, that I really did not miss having my phone. Being present in the moment and paying attention to what was going on around me was actually letting me enjoy the concert even more. I know I spend more time than I should ignoring what is going on around me, in favor of reading the latest news or catching up on Twitter.

Moving forward, instead of trying to get the best picture of Bruce Springsteen doing an acoustic rendition of Thunder Road, which he closed the show with and it was amazing, I will sing along and enjoy the experience. I plan to unplug and be more present.

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.
Henry David Thoreau

Half Marathon Training Week Two

If you would like to follow my other weeks of training, they can be found on my Workouts page. I break my half marathon training down by week to make it easier to follow.

This week really ramped it up! I did most of my runs on the treadmill at the gym because it has rained nearly everyday after work and the heat is still pretty killer. I am finally watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Netflix. Not sure why I missed this show when it originally aired because I am in the target demographic for it (female and was in High School when it originally aired.)

Week Two Half Marathon Training

As I mentioned in my first post, I am following this plan by Nike Coach Magness. It is a plan designed to get you a PR. After running two Half Marathons last year and spending the summer experimenting with speeding up, I am ready to concentrate more on time rather than just finishing.

So how did I do versus the plan?

Total Plan Miles: 36

Total Actual Miles: 29.82

Strength Training: 1

Cross Training: 0

I did pretty well based on the plan minus the missed long run. I planned on running six miles after my 5K on Saturday but decided against it. This early in my training, missing one long run is not much of an issue.

Things I learned:

  • It can take some time to get back into higher mileage
  • I need to spend more time stretching
  • Running on a treadmill can be kind of a drag but watching TV on your phone makes it much better

Next week I would like to concentrate on getting my long run done and doing more strength training.

Quest For A Sub-30 Minute 5K Number Three

I can’t believe I already ran the third race of the four race Watermelon 5K series by the Lakeland Runners Club. It seems like it was months ago that I started training for a sub-30 minute 5K. (Links to the Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Race One and Two if you are interested.)

This race, like the others in the series, took place at Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland. It is a beautiful place to run and if you are in Central Florida, I highly recommend making a stop.

The packet pick-up and parking went very smoothly. I am really getting the hang of navigating the area which may be a benefit from racing a series. (This race I even remembered the street I parked on and did not need to wander around searching for my car.)

The weather was more pleasant than race number two, which was rainy and humid. It was still pretty hot but typical for Central Florida summer weather. Almost all of my recent training has been running on a treadmill at the gym, I know that not being acclimated to running in the heat and humidity is hampering my performance. I do not know how much of an effect it has but I know running feels harder than it did last summer. I will freely admit to being a huge baby and  preferring to run in the a/c. Until I start base building for my fall half, most of my runs will continue to be inside.

The race started smoothly, I felt rested and had plenty of time to warm-up. Everything was fine until just over the two-mile mark where I got another monster cramp (ala race number one.) I do not know why this keeps happening, if it is my pace is too fast or the humidity is making it more difficult to breathe? I was forced to take a few walk breaks and I knew a sub-30 was out of my reach.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number Three Race Splits

The splits are not completely awful, if each mile was a little bit faster I could have come much closer to my goal.

Clock Time: 33:04

Chip Time: 32:46

The first race had a clock time of 31:21 and race number two of 33:01. At least this race my time is going in the right direction.

I do kind of love the finish line photo courtesy of the Lakeland Runners Club.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Number Three

So with one race left I have still not made my goal of a sub-30 minute 5K but the races have kept me running despite the sweltering summer heat.

Race Number One To A Sub-30 Minute 5K

Last Saturday, I braved the rain and fog for my first attempt at running a sub-30 5K. This is the first of four in the Lakeland Runner’s Club Watermelon Series.

The race is one loop around Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland.

Lake Hollingsworth Lakeland Florida


Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Map

It is a popular running and biking route surrounded by beautiful homes and the Florida Southern Campus.

The race start was a little stressful. There was not a packet pick-up other than race day, so I had to wait in line to get my bib and another line to get a timing chip. This left me with zero time to use the bathroom or warm-up before the gun went off. Lesson learned here, I will need to get to the other three races much earlier.

Even with the lack of warm-up and the full bladder, the first mile felt comfortable. I even held back a little to maintain a 9:30-9:40 pace.

Heading into mile two, I felt that I was on pace to make my goal. I walked through the first water stop. I am so uncoordinated that drinking and moving, don’t really work for me.

Lakeland Watermelon 5K 2.5 Finish Mark

(I am just ahead of the guy with the awesome mustache.)

Somewhere in the middle of mile two I got a cramp. Anytime I get a cramp, which only happens during a race, it is always in my diaphragm. Normally a little walking helps but I have never been able to get rid of this kind of cramp. I am also a big baby who at the first feeling of difficulty breathing, I start to panic. This led to a minute or two of walking and hoping that this cramp would go away.

No such luck. At the 27 minute mark, I needed to walk again. At this point I knew that the walking was going to cost me my goal.

I finally pulled myself together and ran as fast as I could for the last few minutes of the race.

Sadly, it was just over 30 minutes.

Lakeland Watermelon 5K Finish

(Not sure if you can tell, but I wanted to die by this point.)

Clock Time: 31:39

Chip Time: 31:21

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K Garmin Splits

The good news is that it is a PR by 3 minutes and 28 seconds. That tells me that the hard work is paying off. That training with speed work and tempo runs weekly is helping me get faster. I know in one of the next three races I can drop my time by 1.35. I will just have to keep pushing (and pray for no cramps.)

All photos unless otherwise indicated are from the Lakeland Runners Club website.

What We Leave Behind

The Book Of Jonas A Novel By Stephan Dau Book Review


The Book Of Jonas by Stephen Dau is a powerful and haunting novel that exists in a place where there are no good or bad guys and where the effects of war are given a human face. Jonas is a teenage boy when his village is attacked. He survives by fleeing to the mountain where his father tells him to go in case of an emergency. A US soldier named Christopher follows him into the cave and offers him first-aid. Throughout the book, the story of Christopher and Jonas become forever intertwined.

Jonas is given an opportunity to live in the US. An aid group arranges everything, including a college scholarship. Jonas struggles to fit into this new world and is forced into therapy. He reveals bits and pieces of his life to the therapist but he is unable to face the truth until the very end.

This book is beautifully written and expertly executed. Stephen Dau is able to take a subject that is highly political, such as how soldiers could target the wrong village, and takes the reader through the desperation and longing of loss. Even going into this book with a preconceived notion about US occupation in foreign lands, which I did, it is difficult to pick a side. Impossible to say what is right. The characters are fully formed but vague enough that they could almost be anybody. It could be your neighbor or son. The toll that war takes changes everyone around it.

To join in on the discussion, visit the BlogHer Book Club.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

November: The Month I Ran My First Half


Women’s Half Marathon St. Pete: November of 2011 will now be known as the month I ran my first half. Seeing all the planning and training pay off, all while having a great time running, was really the most wonderful part of the month.

Florida Hospital Celebration Health 10K: I learned what not to eat unless you want to run a 10K with a brick in your stomach.

Food Rut: Talking about my recent food rut was a catalyst in actually seeking out new recipes and planning out my meals. When you have a husband (looking at you J), who has a great need for variety, it’s important to keep dinners interesting and varied while at the same time trying to keep it healthy and cost-effective.

Epcot Food and Wine Festival:The Epcot Food and Wine Festival was filled with fun (and beer and food). Even though it was cold and crowded, J and I ate from one country to another. I love Epcot, it’s always interesting to be drunk at Disney and I can imagine it is much more fun to do that without kids.

Biggest Failure:

F Is For Failure: I took a day off of work to see the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn and fell asleep at 8PM.

Favorite Pictures:

Cat Stare

Sleeping Cat Gives The Evil Eye

Cute Cat Ready To Attack

The only picture of me at the Women’s Half Marathon. My number was scrunched up under my FuelBelt which I did not notice until I saw this picture.

St. Pete Women's Half Marathon 2011


Women's Half Marathon St. Pete Bag

What are your highlights for November?

Healthy Living Summit

Healthy living is putting whole, local when possible, foods in your system and moving most days. It is taking the time to enjoy life and learning how to mitigate the stresses that we all face. Being attuned is being aware of how your choices effect those around you. How your example of healthy living can inspire those to make strides for themselves.

I have a coworker who has a health issue which is in part hereditary but is also greatly affected by diet. Being passionate about eating well and exercise, I love to give him easy tips for ways he can eat better without drastically changing his life. He even told me he thought about me when he saw spinach in the grocery store.

Bloggers are people who are so passionate about one (or many) things that they just cannot help but share it with those around them They want to help and build communities. I like the idea of being part of that. Even though my blog is small and my reach is minimal, the more I can learn, the more I can make change.

So why should I win a free ticket to Healthy Living Summit? I want to learn and grow. I would love to meet the women who inspire me to live healthy with balance. To have an experience to share with those people who enjoy reading about my life here.

Are you attending the Healthy Living Summit?

Do you find inspiration from other bloggers? Has anyone been inspired by your example?

Memorial Day

Last night J and I went to a Memorial Day cookout with some friends. I had a good time (maybe too good) because I do not think my stomach can handle a workout today. I tried to take pictures but beer + camera equals awesome shots of feet and (my) fingers covering the camera lens.

It is always nice to spend time with friends especially when said friends have a boat and the weather is beautiful.

So here is to a day of TV watching, couch sitting, and book reading. Hope everyone enjoys the holiday as much as I have (and will).

Breakfast and a new friend

Good morning!

I am up bright (it is actually still dark out) and early for work. I go in at 7:30, so I usually get an early start.


Coffee Black

05 23 11_0369

Shredded Wheat, Uncle Sam’s, Wheat Germ, Banana, and Strawberry Kefir.

05 23 11_0370

J made a new friend when we were running errands this weekend.

Bird 1 bird 3 Bird 2

I have to finish getting ready for work. Hope your have a great day (even if it is a Monday).

Race Day Morning

I already had my one cup of coffee because I cannot leave my house without at least one in the morning. We will be out the door by 6:30 to head over to Reunion.

The weather looks perfect. Only in Florida would 90% humidity at 6 AM be perfect.


The 5K is for a really great charity if you are looking to donate. Please check out The Sunshine Foundation, they work with sick children.