Category: Healthy Living

Top Gun Triathlon Spectator Report

About three years ago Hilary and I were participating in Team in Training and one of our coaches asked us to help volunteer for a triathlon that she was organizing. We had a great time volunteering and seeing all the athletes accomplish their goals was a powerful sight. We both vowed that one of our next goals would be to do a triathlon. At this point Hilary has accomplished that goal by completing three triathlons and I’m making baby steps towards completing my first triathlon.

On Saturday Hilary competed in and finished her fourth triathlon, the Top Gun Triathlon on Ft. Desoto Beach, which just happens to be the same triathlon that we volunteered at three years ago.

Even though there was no way I was going to even think about doing Top Gun, both because it was sold out and because I’m not prepared for the swim, I knew I had to go and support Hilary’s efforts. As much as I love racing, and I really do love racing, it’s sort of anti-climactic if there’s no one there to watch you or do it with you.

So at 4:15am on Saturday we both woke up before the sun and headed out the door to go help set up for the race.
Clearly, I’m far too excited to be awake at four in the morning.

SAM_6283

After Hilary set up her transition area she helped with body marking other athletes. I think body marking might be one of the top reasons why I want to do a triathlon. It just seems so hard core to be able to walk around after the race with this body tattoo declaring your athlete status.

IMG_9552

*Cue the Rocky Theme*

IMG_9556

We hung out for about 15 minutes waiting for the swim portion of the race to start. Hilary was in the third wave of swimmers, so we were able to watch the first two waves go out before she had to depart.

IMG_9565  

This race was also like a Team in Training reunion. We ran into both our former coaches and several team members, including Jennifer!

IMG_9575

My sister is a goof and I love her.

IMG_9571

Her face just about sums up how I feel about the swim portion of a triathlon and triathlons in general. Despite her looking nervous, she totally rocked the swim.

IMG_9580

IMG_9590

Comin’ out strong and heading to the transition area!

IMG_9594

One major bonus to being up so darn early and doing a race at Ft. Desoto is the beautiful scenery!

IMG_9608

IMG_9609

By the time Erica and I made it back up to the transition area, Hilary had already taken off on her bike, so we waited to catch a glimpse of her biking from the side of the road. Can you spot her?

IMG_9623

IMG_9639

After the bike, comes the run. While running is the part that I worry least about myself, it also happens last and I think my legs would be crazy tired. It was also about 9am at this point. The sun was out in full force and the weather was very hot and sticky. The announcer people kept says to HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Apparently athletes and spectators were passing out because of the heat.

IMG_9662

And she’s finishes!

IMG_9674

I am so proud of her and hopefully sometime soon we can do a triathlon together!

IMG_9726

And by sometime soon, I mean potentially next weekend. Hilary has grand plans that she will have me ready to do a super sprint tri by August 7th. I’m not entirely confident that I’ll be ready to do the swim portion by then. I’ve only been swimming twice in the past couple of months and it really wipes me out. If we can go swimming at least a few more times this week, then I’ll decide how I feel about the tri. If not, I’m going to try and aim for a different super sprint tri the first week of September.

IMG_0565

Other than swimming, I went bike riding for the first time in many years the other day. Apparently you can forget how to ride a bike, because it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out how to balance myself on the bike and put my feet in the pedals. I did figure it out eventually though.

IMG_9740

Victory!

IMG_9742

Really, the whole point of the bike ride, was so that Hilary could test out her new clip pedals for her new fancy-pants road bike.

As expected, she fell almost immediately.

IMG_9756

IMG_9760

But don’t worry, she was okay and ready to get back in the saddle.

IMG_9765

Success!

IMG_9770

So basically, the past few days have been filled with lots of swimming and biking, and sadly, not enough running.

IMG_9752

Wiped Out and Wordless

This morning I woke up at 4:15am — on a Saturday. It’s been a long day, which was spent in the sun and riding bikes. So for tonight, I’ll just post some pictures and a promise for more explanation tomorrow!

SAM_6281  

IMG_9590

IMG_9575

IMG_9609

Oh, and one more thing… the blog’s going to be undergoing a bit of a face-lift / makeover soon. Here’s a hint as to one of the changes:

IMG_9446  

Master Navigator

[I hope this post makes sense. I’m rather overtired and wanted to get this done before bed, so I apologize if there are more typos than usual. :)]

Fact: Not only am I a master of theatre studies, but I am also a master navigator.

I credit (or blame?) this skill on the fact that my mom lacks a sense of direction and when we went on family vacations and my mom, sister and I went off exploring, I had to figure out how to read a map. Either way, the skill comes in very handy.

SAM_4940

Another fact: While traveling with my dad, I’ve discovered that he snores.

It’s okay though, because as a kid I used to snore so loud that my parents could hear me when they were downstairs and I was sleeping upstairs. When I got my adenoids removed, whatever those are, the snoring stopped.

The morning started in Colorado where I navigated us around Denver and avoided the morning rush hour traffic.

SAM_4935

I’m a bit disappointed. Colorado looks just like Wyoming and Kansas looks a lot like Colorado. Hey states, where’s the creativity?

SAM_4922

We stopped for an early lunch and I got a sub at subway. One of the only veggie friendly fast food places.

SAM_4947

Bye Colorado!

SAM_4948

Hello Kansas!

IMG_0873

The main attraction in Kansas has been the vast fields of wheat and the farmers who are in the process of harvesting it.

SAM_4952

SAM_4963

Aside from the wheat, there were lots of oil refineries.

SAM_4966

SAM_4965

And wind turbines.

SAM_4969

SAM_4975

I was super tired today, so dad did most of the driving as I navigated and read my new kindle in the passenger seat. I think the past few weeks has finally caught up to me and I’m wiped out.

SAM_4970

SAM_4974

We stopped for gas and an afternoon snack at a gas station in Salina, Kansas. It happened to be the most ridiculous truck stop I’ve ever stopped at. Trucks everywhere.

SAM_4988

This truck nearly hit me and my car. Yikes. I made a really crazy face when I realized the truck was coming at me and it apparently amused the driver who just smiled and waved as he drove by.

Picture 2

Then I found a disposal box for hypodermic needles and other medical waste. What the heck?!

SAM_4990

Kansas has some really neat rock formations along the side of the highway.

SAM_4991

After about 10 hours of driving, we arrived in Olathe, Kansas for the night. Yesterday dad scoped out the area and decided that we would be eating dinner at Red Robin. He was excited to try their gourmet burgers. So we checked into the hotel and went to Red Robin.

I have to say I really enjoyed the meal. They offered to sub-in a veggie burger for any of their usual burger combos, so I ordered a mushroom swiss veggie burger on a wheat roll with a side of broccoli. It was delicious and way too much food.

SAM_5007

Tonight’s hotel has a fitness room, so I got up off my lazy bum and worked out for 30 minutes — 10 minutes on the elliptical and 20 minutes walking on the treadmill.

I may be exhausted, but I’m sure sitting in a car for 10+ hours every day can’t be good for me, so I did something, which is always better than nothing.

IMG_0896

Charlie likes the fancy digs too and enjoyed the opportunity to drink some water out of the marble sink.

IMG_0886

Nashville Tennessee and friends tomorrow evening!

I can’t wait! We’re almost home.

Cruising Down I-90 from Washington to Montana

Day one and 562 of 3,225 miles down for my trip.

We didn’t end up getting on the road till around 9:30 this morning because I had a bunch of last minute packing and cleaning to deal with in the morning, but everything worked out.

SAM_4687

Even with the U-Haul box, the car is still packed to the gills. We wanted to avoid bringing a bunch of still with us, but c’est la vie.

Flashback to September 2009 — arriving in E’burg:

IMG_3102

This morning, 2011, departing E’burg:

SAM_4691

My apartment has been restored to it’s sterile white condition.

Packing up my apartment these past few days and watching it return to white made me realize that it won’t take a lot of effort to turn my new place into a space that feels like home. When I see the pictures of my new house, I fear that it won’t feel like “me,” but now I know that’s not the case.

SAM_4693

Around 9:30 I turned in my apartment keys, and before hitting the road we gassed up and grabbed breakfast at Subway.

We narrowly missed being in a minor fender-bender at the gas station when a little old man tried to back his car into the space next to the pump where we were still parked. I honked my dinky horn at him, but he didn’t stop slowly backing up till dad hopped out of the car and knocked on his car window.

After that we managed to escape E’burg without incident.

Once on I-90, which is the only road we drove on today, one of the first sights we saw were these huge wind turbines. I’m pretty sure they weren’t there two years ago when we drove into town. These pictures don’t do them justice. They look so cool and almost Star Wars-esque in real life.

SAM_4696

This was the view for most of the day. Big sprawling mountains with gorgeous blue skies.

SAM_4702

Charlie lived up to his reputation and was the perfect traveling companion. He was a bit confused and a little vocal for the first 30 minutes, but after he explored his surroundings, he settled down into the passenger’s lap or on the arm rest between the driver and the passenger.

SAM_4714

More beautiful scenery!

SAM_4711

We stopped for lunch in Moscow, Idaho where dad grabbed an Arby’s sandwich and I got a side salad. Since I’m trying to eat healthy and maintain my vegetarian status, I was a bit concerned about eating during this trip. When I went to Trader Joe’s I picked up a bunch of snack food for this week, including hummus, string cheese, carrots…

SAM_4671

Lots of trail mixes, yogurt, apple sauce, and of course, some chocolate!

My aim is to go for the grazing approach and avoid eating three large meals. So along with my side salad, I had a cheese stick, some nuts, apple sauce, and sliced strawberries.

Overall, I think it’s a fairly healthy mix and if I can save money and avoid gas station snacks, I should be good to go.

SAM_4659

Although, the exercise front has been slacking. I’m chalking all the packing, moving, and lifting from the past two days as exercise, so today was a rest day.

I’m going to aim to do a short strength training workout at the hotel tomorrow night and maybe the hotel we stop at on Thursday will have a gym for a quick cardio routine. I’m going to plan to do something, but I won’t hate myself if it doesn’t work out. I’ll just pick up where I left off when I get back to Florida.

Anyway, after lunch I became the passenger and amused myself by taking pictures and playing on the internet.

We kept stumbling across these letters on the side of the mountains. Anyone know what they mean?

“M”

SAM_4732

“D”

SAM_4740

My technology manager father is always prepared and we have both internet and a power charger on the trip with us. I was able to check facebook, twitter, and work on a project for a friend as we drove through Idaho and Montana.

SAM_4742

In Montana we saw lots of evidence of flooding. It reminded me of the flooding that happened in E’burg a month ago. The rapid increase in temperatures and the snowmelt wreck havoc in E’burg and apparently Montana.

SAM_4745  

See the house in the middle of the lake? I’m pretty sure that “lake” is actually flooding.

SAM_4757

SAM_4770

SAM_4754

The day came to a close when we made it to Belgrave, Montana around 8:30pm.

On the trip our west we kept gaining hours, but this time we’re going to keep losing hours.

We found a nice, but strangely empty, pizza place right near the hotel and brought it back to the hotel where we’ve settled in for the night.

SAM_4781

SAM_4785

Next stop Fort Collins, Colorado! I’m excited to see Colorado for the first time and cover some new ground on our trip.

Packing, More Packing, and Goodbyes

Note to self: Quit moving so often and never move across the country again. I do not like packing and I do not like moving. Boo.

Thankfully dad is here with my in E’burg and we’ve made some serious progress on the apartment.

Tomorrow I need to vacuum pack my clothes, pack up the kitchen, put all my school binders in boxes, and finish breaking down the furniture. Should be easy, right?

photo (3)

Anyway, let’s backtrack a couple days…

On Thursday I made the prerequisite trip to the liquor store to pick up a bunch of boxes. When I got home my neighbor saw me unloading them and wanted to know if I was either having a raging party or moving. Obviously, I’m not having a raging party.

SAM_4548

I attempted to do as much packing/cleaning/sorting as possible before my dad’s Friday evening arrival, but I was only sort-of successful.

SAM_4535

Progress:

SAM_4539

Can you spot the ever-so-helpful Charlie?

SAM_4556

Hooray! The office is almost completely packed!

SAM_4594

Then, Friday late afternoon, I headed to Seattle to pick up my dad. Before going to the airport I decided to make one last trip to Trader Joe’s before I depart the Northwest.

SAM_4561

I’m going to miss Trader Joe’s. I definitely fell in love while here in Washington.

I stocked up on some healthy road trip snacks. I’m post more about it later, but I’ve been trying to come up with a game plan on how to eat healthy (and veggie-ful) and keep up my fitness goals while on the road.

SAM_4563

After TJ’s, I grabbed some Chipotle for dinner and then headed to Sea-Tac to pick up my dad!

Traffic was insane, but totally worth it to have my dad here.

SAM_4564

This morning I woke up bright and early to have breakfast with the girls and say goodbye to S. She’s going to Chicago for a summer internship before heading back to Lebanon.

SAM_4573

SAM_4578

When I returned home, my dad gave me some belated graduation presents.

A new kindle!

And my Snapshots of Summer book from last year printed.

I love them both! šŸ™‚

photo (1)

Then it was time to resume packing.

Stab me in the eyes, please. The only positive to packing is discovering lost treasures, such as a “Grow A Boyfriend.”

E’burg did not provide a wealth of guy opportunities, so hopefully I’ll have better luck in Florida.

SAM_4549 SAM_4551

I also found this note that I think I typed up for the bank.

Obviously, I didn’t give it to them, but it’s what I wanted to say.

SAM_4537

Actually, if we’re being honest, I would have loved to say “F*** You” to the bank, but I didn’t do that either.

Charlie as usual wanted to be in the middle everything. Always such a big help. Not.

SAM_4591

Packing tip from my dad:

When taking apart furniture pieces, use shrink wrap to wrap screws, parts, etc. to prevent losing them in the move. It also makes everything into a nice, neat package.

SAM_4593

Gah, I hate living in a state of chaos. I’m looking forward to the road trip since it’ll mean everything is all packed up.

Tomorrow, more packing… but for now it’s time for sleep.

photo (4)

Part Three: Reclassification

Wow! I’m thrilled and amazed, because yesterday the blog had a record breaking number of page views. I’m also so grateful for the positive comments and feedback from my fellow bloggers and friends. Thank you. šŸ™‚

So, need to catch up?

Here are the first two posts of this series:

Part One: Healthy Living and Health Issues
Part Two: Putting an End to Being “Skinny Fat” and New Challenges

Did you miss the other recent posts with my exciting news?

Welcome to Adulthood!
Rollercoaster of Surrealism
You May Now Call Me Master
A Lesson in Theatre Etiquette (and Customer Service)

When I originally started this blog my focus was on the transition from being a Florida resident to a Washington resident as I started my graduate program.

IMG_8107.JPG

I planned to blog all about my adventures in Washington, such as:

Navigating the snow.

IMG_8583.jpg

Figuring out rodeo life.

IMG_7427

Surviving graduate school, etc.

IMG_0864

Little did I know that my life out here would be fairly boring or that just two years later, I’d be moving back to Florida.

IMG_2370

It occurred to me sometime last summer that my blog lacked a focus, or perhaps I should say, I no longer liked the original focus of my blog. Sure, my blog is a way to document my life and keep in touch with friends and family, but as I’ve learned in school, any good paper needs a thesis statement and any good blog needs a focus.

So what do I want to blog about? My attempts to balancing healthy living (and get my PCOS under control) while going through a PhD program.

The biggest mistake that I made while I was doing my masters was to get so bogged down in work that my only focus became school. It turns out, that those were the times when I forgot to eat right or get in some daily exercise, and as can be expected, I felt the worse. Plus, focusing only on school means that I don’t make time for friends and that’s not healthy either.

Sometimes I suck at time management and end up with a one-track mind, so trying to eat a balanced and processed-foods-free diet while maintaining exercise routines AND keeping up with graduate work and teaching AND having some semblance of a social life is difficult. My thought is that if I refocus my blog and acknowledge that I need more balance in my life, then maybe I can improve my life all around.

So I am reclassifying my blog to focus on balancing healthy living with PCOS, a PhD program, and having a life.

What should you expect to see? Essentially, more of what I’ve been posting. More posts on training for races (and triathlons!?). I want to pick a marathon, create a training schedule, and stick with it. More posts on healthy living discoveries. Since I’m struggling to lose weight and start feeling better (fatigue, headaches, etc.), I’m planning on playing with my diet a bit to mix things up. I might do an elimination diet of sorts to see if I can figure out what if making me feel yucky and thus, improves how I feel. More posts on balancing school and a social life. In a couple week I’ll be moving to Tallahassee and in August, starting school. And finally, more posts on PCOS.

Part Two: Putting an End to Being “Skinny Fat” and New Challenges

In the midst of realizing that something was amiss with my body and trying to reverse the trend I was noticing on the scale and in my clothes, I started to see another trend popping up on twitter and in the blog world.

A couple months ago Kelly at Beneath It All started posting about her love of strength training and the book the New Rules of Lifting for Women. This caused other bloggers to buy the book and begin their own strength training programs. So I decided, why the heck not, and jumped on the bandwagon. I know that strength training has many benefits for me, but I’ve always been preoccupied with the instant gratification calorie burn associated with cardio. I was looking to lose weight, so doing cardio which will burn calories was my one and only goal. Plus, strength training tends to bore me.

Boredom aside, I do realize that strength training can also help me lose weight. And beyond losing weight…
It will make me strong.
It will help my bones and prevent osteoporosis.
It will help increase my muscle mass, which burns fat.
It will boost my metabolism.
It will most likely help me keep the weight off, once I do lose it.

SAM_4519

Then, I read a great post by healthy living blogger and social media guru Katy Widrick called Weight is Just a Number – Proof in Pictures (and My Dysfunctional Relationship with Weight Watchers). Katy talks about being “skinny fat” and how the number on the scale does not matter if you are strong and healthy. It was further proof that I needed to start strength training. Even at my skinniest, I still had a relatively high percentage of body fat and given my PCOS and tendency towards being insulin resistant, the body fat is dangerous.

My goal is to put an end to being “skinny fat.” I want to be toned, lean, and healthy.

I want the weight loss to be a side effect of my strength training and healthy eating habits.

Beyond my recent weight gain, I have some upcoming motivation to keep me focused on sticking with the exercising.

First of all, there was less incentive to be fit and toned when I was in Washington. In Washington I’m constantly cold, so wearing pants and sweatshirts year-round was the norm. Now that I’m going to be living in Florida I’m going to want to be comfortable with my body, so I can wear tank tops, shorts, skirts, and most importantly, bathing suits.

Second, when it comes to running, especially after a long break, my back hurts. I’ve always known that my core is weak. Last summer I promised myself that I would improve my core strength which will in turn improve my running. If that wasn’t reason enough to add strength training to my routine, then I don’t know what is. Plus, running and marathon training are not about strength, they are about endurance. I want to be both — an endurance athlete and strong.

Third, I think it’s about time I pushed myself outside my fitness comfort zone. Last summer I did the marathon, but I’ve been in a fitness rut for a while. I want to do another marathon in early 2012, but I already know that I can run a marathon. I want to do something that I don’t think I can do. So my new challenge will be a triathlon. It scares me to death and I’m not sure I can do it, which is all the more reason to tri. Triathlon, Try! Get it?! Anyway, since soon I’ll be home with my favorite sister, she’s promised to give me swim lessons. That’s the part that scares me the most. Once I get comfortable in the pool, I’m sure I’ll be good to go. I’m not afraid of dying during the bike or run portions, but I do fear that I might very well drown during the swim.

Now that I’ve put it out there in the open, I have to tri, right?

SAM_4518

Part One: Healthy Living and Health Issues

I want to preface these next three posts by saying that it’s taken me a couple weeks to write them. First, I was hoping that I would lose a couple pounds before I posted anything, so that I would have good news to report. More importantly, as I didn’t lose any weight, I began to realize that the subject of this post really has more to do with my personal medical and health issues than a simple desire to lose weight. These are issues which I don’t typically broadcast, but I’ve decided, I think, to start being more open about them.

SAM_4388

I never got around to posting it, but this series of posts seem like a good time to share my 2011 goals:
1. Try 11 new foods
2. Lose and Maintain 11 lbs.
3. Save $50 each month
4. Try Chinese medicine
5. Exercise 4 times per week
6. Read 11 minutes per day

So far I’ve been working on all of these goals, but this series will focus on the weight loss, Chinese medicine, and the exercise.   

* * *

Over the past two years I’ve found a lot of inspiration and motivation from healthy living bloggers. They’ve inspired me to make positive changes in my own life. Some of my favorite bloggers include: Meghann at Meals and Miles, Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point, and Emily at Daily Garnish. Last summer I branched out of my eating comfort zone and discovered a plethora of new, healthy, but totally yummy foods and recipes. At the time I was also on Weight Watchers and I achieved my goal by losing 13 pounds. By the end of the summer I was back to my “happy weight.”

SAM_1289 SAM_1366

[green smoothies and kale chips]

Unfortunately, after my marathon (and training for it) was over and the stress of school and thesis writing increased, so did my weight. I kept with my vegetarian diet and the healthy food additions that I made over the summer stayed, but some of my “bad” food habits crept back in, like diet soda and portions that were too big. My exercise habits also diminished with the stress of teaching and thesis writing. Overall, it was a recipe for disaster. By about October I had regained about seven or eight of the pounds of I had lost during the summer.

Then, in November I made the decision to stop getting Depo Provera injections (a kind of birth control). I was taking Depo because I have PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome and do not get a regular period. I have no idea when my last period was, probably sometime about two years ago. Basically, my hormones have hijacked my body and are completely out of balance. The PCOS is responsible for a variety of symptoms including: irregular periods, lack of periods, infertility, acne, hair loss, hair growth, weight gain, insulin resistance, depression, and more! Fun, right? Add to that, my body seems to react like a temperamental two-year-old and does exactly the opposite of what everyone expects. Originally, I took regular birth control periods to regulate my periods and I got blood clots. Then, I took depo provera to regulate my periods and I was supposed to gain weight, but I lost 35 pounds. Most recently, I went off depo and then went back on it and my body did nothing. My medical history with PCOS is rather long and convoluted.

So last summer, as I was learning more about the effects of artificial hormones and chemicals in foods, cleaners, skin care products, I decided that I wanted to rid my body of as many toxins as possible. I don’t know what specifically caused the PCOS, but if switching to a natural deodorant and organic foods, then I’m willing to help my body out. The biggest way cut back on the artificial hormones is to stop the BCP. See, the problem with using BCP as a treatment for PCOS is that many doctors believe it’s simply masking the problem and not treating the underlying imbalance. Also, in addition to the PCOS, I’ve been suffering from sleep problems and fatigue for years. Therefore, in an effort to figure out what is going on with my body and to get more in touch with my own body, I decided to stop the depo injections. I figured that if I wanted to try acupuncture and herbal remedies, I need to let my body get back to it’s natural state, however out-of-wack it is.

November 3rd I was supposed to get my next depo injection, which lasts three months, but I skipped it. Since November I haven’t been on any synthetic hormones or birth control and as I suspected I haven’t had a period. I knew it would take some time for my irregular period to come back, but at this point it’s been eight months and I’m starting to get a little worried.

SAM_4394

Then between November and May, I gained ten pounds. Imagine my horror. I started to focus more on healthy eating and exercise habits, but that didn’t change anything. I gained ten pounds — despite increasing my exercising and despite cutting back on calories and crap. I gained ten pounds despite adding in strength training into my routine. I am frustrated.

In April, I started going to an acupuncturist, but I think the stress of my thesis was overwhelming my body because I haven’t seen any changes yet. I’m currently taking an herbal mixture twice a day which is supposed to mimic my cycle and hopefully give my body the message of what it should be doing. Despite the weight gain and despite the lack of a period, I’m not ready to give up on the acupuncture route. For the first time in eight years, since I’ve been seeing doctors for these issues, I feel like someone is actually listening to what I say and agrees with me that my symptoms and issues are not adding up. In the Western medical world, when my body reacted differently than expected it freaked the doctors out and they gave up trying to find an answer. I’m tired of that. So that’s why I’m looking for a natural solution to my issues. I’m convinced that BCP and drugs are not the answer, at least not at the moment.

Although my weight gain is obviously a vanity issue, more than that, it’s also a health issue. Yes, I’m frustrated that my clothes do not fit right. Yes, I’m frustrated with how I look in pictures. Yes, I want the scale, a silly inanimate object to validate my self-worth. BUT. I also realize that the bigger picture clearly show that there is something going on with my body. It does not make sense for me to gain weight so rapidly, especially when I’ve been able to lose it in the past (even if keeping it off has always been a serious struggle). I want to be thinner. I want to have a period, even if I hate it the moment it shows up. I want to know that I’m doing everything right and not purposely harming my body by eating crappy foods and diet soda. But most of all, I want to be healthy and strong.

So I’m embarking on a journey to lose weight, regain my period, and get in touch with my body and figure out what the heck is going on.

Rollercoaster of Surrealism

Did you miss the big news? I graduated yesterday!

SAM_4479

I’ve spent the past two years living in Ellensburg, Washington working on my masters degree and yesterday I was rewarded for all my hard work by officially being granted the title Masters. Technically, I could even add the letters after my name.

Hello, my name is Kate, M.A.

Nah, don’t worry, I won’t being doing that.

Friday, after getting two hours sleep because I was up all night writing a stupid paper and then going to an 8am exam for the same class, I had a long list of errands to deal with.

First up, cleaning my stuff out of my office. I had to drop off student papers and grab my own books. Goodbye office!

SAM_4405

Once the office was cleaned out, I turned my keys back into the lock shop. I no longer have access to any of the classrooms or buildings. I guess that makes this impending change just a bit more real.

SAM_4411

I also went and cancelled my utilities and found out the process for canceling my internet.

I’m nine days I’ll be on the road and E’burg will be a part of my past.

SAM_4413

Grades are done, keys are turned in, and the only thing standing in my way of freedom is this stupid letter.

I got my thesis back and I have a few formatting changes to make. I’m not surprised, but I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I wanted to get this done on Friday so graduation would mean complete freedom, but since I was so sleep deprived I decided to wait till a few days so that I wouldn’t miss anything.

So this will be Monday’s project. I’m planning to make my last trip to Starbucks and finish this beast. Then return home to tackle packing.

SAM_4397

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early for graduation! S and I both decided not to walk since neither of us family to watch us and it costs money! I’m happing about my decision. I think I had more fun sitting in the stands sipping iced coffee and hanging out with C, T, and S.

SAM_4421

Even though we didn’t walk, our names were in the program. Hooray!

SAM_4426

Then we got bored.

SAM_4420

SAM_4443

SAM_4451

This was T’s ideas for what we should do in place of moving our tassels… reversing our sunglasses. Hah.

SAM_4454

After the ceremony we all went home for a bit, before heading over to J’s for a graduation party.

SAM_4468

SAM_4471

J was nice enough to let S and I take pictures wearing her robe and hood. J even hooded me. It was just as a good as participating in the real ceremony.

SAM_4473 SAM_4475
SAM_4478 SAM_4483

Then J hooded S.

SAM_4486 SAM_4487
SAM_4488  SAM_4493

SAM_4491

This whole week has felt really surreal. It’s like birthdays. Technically you’re suddenly a different age over-night, but you never feel any different. So all the stress and anxiety should, in theory, be gone now that I am graduated, but I’m still feeling stressed. I don’t feel graduated either and I can’t quite process that I’m going to be moving back to Florida in nine days.

I think part of it is that I’ve been and continue to be in “go-go-go” mode. I don’t really have a long luxurious summer ahead of me, because I’m going to need to fix up my house and get everything taken care of for school. I also received my orientation schedule and I’ll be in all-day orientation for a week before classes start.

I felt this same way before I moved to Washington. I was working part-time at the bank, working part-time at the theatre and trying to prepare myself for my move. Even then I was go-go-go and I never really stopped to process all the changes happening. To be honest, being in Washington never stopped feeling surreal. I feel like a fraud with the Washington plates on my car and my Washington drivers license.

I’m hoping that once I switch everything back to Florida, am close to my family and friends again, and start classes at FSU, that everything will feel real once and for all.

SAM_4494

* * *

Today’s Snapshots of Summer picture:

SAM_4514

6.12 Despite it being a lazy-Sunday, I’m still trying to take advantage of the gym before I no longer have access to one [at least until classes resume]. Oh and guess what, there was even a guy doing the same bicep curls that I was doing and he using the same 12.5 weight too. I’m happy that I’m able to lift more weight than even a few weeks ago.


Hurts So Good

First off, Happy Birthday to my wonderful, amazing, and totally awesome Dad! Seriously, he’s pretty darn cool. He solves every technology problem that I send his way, he has better taste in music than I do, he is totally selfless, he is very reliable, and best of all, he’s flying out to WA to help me and Charlie move back to Florida!

IMG_4684

Although I couldn’t be there to eat corn on the cob and chocolate cake with him and the family, they did call me up on Skype and we opened presents together. <3 Skype.

The whole family. šŸ™‚
SAM_4208

Dad holding his present. Gee, I wonder what it could be?

SAM_4209

Hooray! An iPad! That’s gonna come in handy on our roadtrip.

SAM_4214

Happy Birthday!

Later on, I headed out for my first outdoor run in FOREVER. There was a new This American Life episode that I wanted to listen to, so I made my goal to run as much as I could and then walk the rest. I ended up running about 3ish miles and walking 2ish, for the duration of the podcast, or an hour. Considering I wasn’t sure I could run a mile, I’m pleasantly pleased with my time and ability. I definitely need to work on building my endurance, but overall, it wasn’t the disaster I was imagining. I even did a bit of strength training went I got home.

Oh. I almost forgot. I ran through this field of swampy-muddy waters during my run. There were signs warning me, but somehow I thought they were lying. They weren’t. My shoes were covered in mud. My legs were covered in mud, and then I had the bright idea to wipe it off, so my hands were also covered in mud. Awesome.

h8c9jjwj

When I woke up this morning my back was in so much pain! Yet one more sign I need to strengthen my core. Ugh.

After class I went to the acupuncturist and I told him about my back pain, so he gave me this really intense mini-massage. It hurt so good. He warned me that I would have some mild bruising the next day and holy cow, he wasn’t kidding. My back looks kinda scary.

I also kept my promise to myself and to the blog and I went to TWO group fitness classes. I did a pilates class, which also hurt so good, and a zumba class. The zumba instructor was great! It was a guy, which seems pretty a-typical and also the happiest, gayest (in both senses of the word) man ever. He smiled the whole time and kept encouraging us. During squats he said that if we were taller than him (and he was well over 6 feet) than we weren’t squatting low enough. He his music selection also didn’t suck. He played Shakira, Janelle Monae’s Tightrope, You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray, and I Whip My Hair Back and Forth.

SAM_4233

Am I the only person who loves to hurt so good? What do you love doing that “hurts so good”?