Run for a Reason – Drumstick Dash 5k

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As soon as my bestie found out I was coming home, she immediately recruited me for a 5k. I, of course, accepted. Although to be honest, this year has been a rough one in the way of running. It’s been nearly 10 months since I tore my quad and quite the year of recovery. In general, I am looking forward to a fresh 2016. It’s taken me the longest to get back to running, and most days out I feel like I have never run a day in my life. Honestly, this 5k wasn’t much different. But I went out with a goal of running it in under 34 minutes. Slow, slow, I know. I usually feel like molasses running nowadays, especially when a year ago, I was in the best shape of my life – having finished out the year doing several 5ks, relays, 10ks, bike tours, and triathlons and finished the year with a 50 mile bike ride in Hawaii. But, the doc tell me to take it easy nowadays and keep a nice pace – focus on building strength and pretend that I’m starting as a fresh, new runner. Bummer. But its working, slowly but surely.

So I finished the race in 33:57 (3 seconds under my goal!), and was pretty proud of myself. A mile or so into the race, I realized it was the first race I have ever done outside of Alaska. On top of that, the Roanoke Drumstick Dash 5k raises money for the Roanoke Mission, providing services and food for those who are homeless in the Roanoke Valley.

It’s a nice race to end the year with. What will you be running for this season?

Who needs a DJ, anyway?

Another adventure update in wedding planning! There are quite a few! I’m amazed at how far I’ve gotten in wedding planning and we have 237 days left until the big day!

  1. I found MY dress! Unexpected but exciting.
  2. I found the perfect bridesmaid dresses! Also exciting.
  3. We found an officiant who is a friend of the fiance and makes it much more special to us.
  4. 2 of the 3 groomsman have been asked and have accepted. Thank goodness!
  5. We found a caterer that we (well more I) just love! Deposit down! Woo-hoo! Glad to be able to say “we’re not going with you” to the flakey caterer in town.
  6. Engagement photos are scheduled for December and Save the Dates will go out in January. This year, don’t look for a Christmas card from us. We’ll be doing “holiday season” cards because we are lazy and want to save postage when we send out our Save the Dates (there’s a little tip for ya!).
  7. We decided – ain’t no body got money for a DJ!

No money for a DJ, you say? Well, $1,000+ for someone to play music and tell people to get movin’ and grovin’ seemed like a big waste to us in our modest budget. I should, however, give a disclosure here that I do have friends and friends of friends who are DJs. I don’t doubt that what they do is useful and engaging. In fact, I asked a connection I have who is a DJ/Emcee to do our wedding in hopes to get a good price and make it worth it. He is engaging and plays a great variety of music, making him both a great DJ and emcee. However, he was unavailable on our wedding day.

So, that being said, after lots of searching around, getting opinions and seeing what other friends have done or are planning to do – we decided on not hiring a DJ/Emcee combo. You might also ask “why not live music, then?” Well, that would be a lot to agree on and with our varying music tastes, me and fiance could probably never find a live band we both wanted for our wedding. Plus, he was not so partial to the idea of a live band. So, here’s what we are planning:

  1. To use that extra money on my dress and our caterer.
  2. Using Spotify as our playlist. You can add what songs you want and upgrade to skip the commercials. Its like Pandora on steroids.
  3. Enlist a friend to “emcee” the important stuff for us like intro, first dance, cupcake cutting (yes, cupcake), speeches, etc. Of all the people we know, we are pretty sure we (1)have someone willing to do it and (2)have someone awesome enough to do it.

I’ll let you know what our recommendation ends up being depending on how this goes! #brideonabudget

On Second Thought…

I decided to give in and rented a road bike…

After staring out at the sunshine here in Southwest Virginia on Thursday, I decided the voice of the road calling was too loud. I had to go and rent a road bike. So I headed out to Blacksburg to HokieSpokes in the early afternoon, rented a bike for 2 weeks (being their off-season helps to get a good deal), and hoped on my brand new Fuji road bike (new brand for me to ride!) rental and headed up the road to hit the Huckleberry Trail and get my cycling legs back.

A short 12 miles felt great and I kind of liked the thrill of racing the sunset back to the parking lot. It reminded me of a 34 mile ride me and my friend Erin did to end out 2014 season by riding the Goldstream – Steese – McGrath – Farmers Loop circle where we just barely made it back on our Alaska fall ride before the sun set on us. Sometimes you’re just out having too much fun!

Self-Discovery in Practice: Self-Care

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Spending time on the east coast with my friends – and at Thanksgiving next week, my family – has been refreshing. I’ve worked on finding a balance between keeping myself busy and sleeping in until noon just because I can. It’s great to be able to relax and still work on the to-do list I would have even if I were home, and it’s rewarding to help out friends here and to help out at the local shelter here where I started my career in social work.

Driving through my undergrad college town of Radford, Virginia brings back fond memories for me and when I lived here – it seems like such a lifetime ago. I was such a different person then, exploring and learning about life and who I wanted to be. Being active and outdoorsy was not me and was not part of my self-care. Now as I am here enjoying the fall weather instead of the negative temps and snow that we have back home in Fairbanks right now, I am longing for my road bike and wishing I had packed her up and brought her along (anyone have a road bike I can borrow while i’m here?!). I get to enjoy trails here like I never did before – running and listening to the rhythm of my breathing, the light breeze blowing and the creek flowing. Stopping by the river to watch the leaves fall off the trees as they hit the river and float away.

I get to find new Crossfit boxes to call my “go-to” boxes when I’m visiting home. Here, I have Crossfit Radford and when I stay with my Dad, I have South Riding Crossfit. When you move away from a place that always has a piece of your heart, you find new ways to love and appreciate it when you get to come back.

So as I am ever so much watching the sun shine outside and craving my road bike (btw, it rained yesterday – take that winter in Alaska), I am getting out and running. Enjoying the fall drenched trails and getting a few more miles on my feet to run a 5k with one of my closest friends next week, which is exciting and special to me as together yet 5,000 miles apart, the two of us have struggled through our individual journeys in running. Now, we finally get to run a race together.

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Take care of yourself, friends. It’s so important.

A Journey to Self-Discovery: Part II

I’ve been reflecting on the last year or so of my life, and what it was like to balance going to school full time, working full time, interning, and trying to keep up with all the things I love (including my partner). I thought this was a great time to talk about what I find to be great self-care, especially in the workplace.

Practicing self-care isn’t easy, especially when it comes to balancing and managing your work life with your home and social life. The reality is, you need to find ways to keep yourself healthy and happy and focus on those things outside of work. The key word here: Focus.

  1. Stop checking your email when you’re not at work. Unless you’re getting paid to do so, it can wait. Yes, I promise it can wait. It can wait until 8:30 am tomorrow morning. It can wait until you finish your lunch break.. You can wait until the weekend is over. I realize this sounds hard to do (or maybe, it sounds easier than it will end up being), but I challenge you make it part of your self-care.
  2. On the same note, absolutely check yourself out of work when you’re on vacation. I promise you, it can wait.
  3. Don’t befriend all of your work friends on Facebook. Sounds weird, right? Well, this is a boundary you’ll be glad you set. You have to be able to separate work life from your social life. You spend 40 hours a week with your co-workers and unless you are great and oh-so-close outside of work, cut the social media strings. It may feel uncomfortable doing this, but you can simply say that its isn’t personal against them, you just prefer to keep the two worlds separate. I promise, people will understand.
  4. Remember that you do not owe anyone an explanation. Are you too tired for a double date dinner obligation or game night with friends? Maybe you’d rather cuddle up with a good book, watch a movie with your partner, or spend that beautiful and empty Saturday binge watching Netflix. Well guess what, when someone asks you to do something, you don’t owe them anything! A simple no is all you have to say and you’re not obligated to explain yourself. In fact, you don’t even owe them a response. We live in such a fast-paced, technology-driven world that people forget there was a time when you had to wait to get home to check your voicemail on your home phone. Now, there is an expectation of an instant response via text or an immediate call back. You do NOT owe anyone this, but you do owe YOURSELF the freedom to binge watch Netflix without judgement!
  5. Get plenty of sleep. Once you start working on the other self-care practices, sleep might come a little easier without so much work and worry on your mind, but sleep is by far important for your mind and body to re-set.
  6. Find something ACTIVE that you love, and take time to do it. Something that keeps you moving whether its walking, biking, running, crossfitting, skiing, hiking or anything else.
  7. Find something relaxing that you love, and take time to do it. Where I live, you can’t always get outdoors, and something might happen that keeps you from doing the active thing that you love. Find something creative and peaceful to keep you centered. Yoga, knitting, reading, making jewelry, or something else. The list here is seriously endless.

Practicing self-care is so very important, especially when you work in the human services field.