Life Update – Busy Weeks, Fun Weekends

I have been silent on my blog since my last post about not running almost a month ago.  I have been very busy with my final semester and searching for a job for after graduation.  It’s true what they say about the job search being a full-time job in itself.  I have been attending career fairs and career mixers, sending out my resume to every opportunity, networking, studying for interviews… oh and midterms are coming up this week and next for that school thing!

I’ve been so busy that I’ve barely even noticed the time pass in terms of how long I have been off.  It was just the other night that I was lying in bed and realized it had actually been five weeks since my last run.  That’s enough time off for some stress fractures, and I didn’t even realize it had been that long!  So, as you can imagine, I haven’t been too torn up about not running.  It certainly helps to be so busy during the week that I don’t even have time to think about running.

Where my weeks have been filled with work, school, and looking for work for after school, I have been able to fill my weekends with wonderful experiences. The weekend before last, Matt and I went camping in St. Ignace and visited Mackinac Island, which is something we had talked about doing all summer.  We had a mild summery weekend, so we planned the trip on a whim the day before leaving. 🙂

Our campsite after packing up to leave on Sunday.

Our campsite after packing up to leave on Sunday.

Me in a rock formation

I don’t remember what this rock formation was called, but here I am inside it.

Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints.

I liked this sign at the entrance to a wetland board path.

Under the Mackinac Bridge

Our ferry ride back to the mainland stopped us under the Mackinac Bridge for pictures.

Last week Saturday, I went to a WordPress conference called WordCamp Ann Arbor.  It was for work, but I really wanted to go and had a lot of fun.

WordCamp swag

WordCamp swag.

On Sunday of last week, I biked out to the cider mill with some friends.

Cider Mill ride!

Cider Mill ride!

This Saturday, I went on a breakfast bike ride to (and back home from) the Dexter bakery, where I had a huge and hugely sweet apple fritter.  As you can see, I’ve been reliably cross training about once a week. 😛

Bicycle Dexter poster

Poster in the bakery

Matt’s birthday was last weekend, so I bought us two tickets to last night’s Michigan v. Penn State football game.  It was an “Under the Lights” game and the atmosphere was incredible.  Our team (Michigan) won and it was very fun to watch.

Matt and I wearing light-up glasses.

They gave us light-up glasses.

Lights during the half-time show

The Michigan Marching Band’s halftime show.

Fun was had!

Fun was had!

My proofs came in the mail for my senior pictures!  Oh, and I cut my hair short.

"Hi, I'm professional."

“Hi, I’m professional.”

"But also fun."

“But also fun.”

Finally, because I should probably update you on my injury… I have been attending physical therapy twice a week and my foot improved drastically after the first week.  Since then, improvement has slowed, but, this past Friday, my physical therapist cleared me to try running ten minutes twice a week, with the stipulation that I ice after, warm up, and cool down.  So, on Friday evening, I stretched, walked for five minutes, ran for ten minutes, probably didn’t stop smiling the whole time, and then walked another six minutes home.  My feet felt GREAT during the run, but they were extra sore after.  They hurt quite a bit on Saturday, and I was worried standing for so long at the game would make them even worse.  However, I woke up this morning with virtually no pain.  It’s confusing and I am of course going to wait until at least tomorrow (Monday) to try running again, but I’m excited to be making progress. 🙂

Quick-Fire Week

I made a really good choice this afternoon when I decided to buy a coffee at work.  I was falling asleep, but now I’m not, and I’m also feeling very optimistic.  I may also be a little hyper, which is making me want to blog, but not put too much effort into writing a well-articulated post.

So, a quick-fire approach to recapping my recent life:

  • I went to a yoga class on Thursday with my friend Katie.  It was a lot of fun and felt really good.  It was my first time ever doing yoga in a studio.  I want to see if I can make it again this week.
  • I did the ice bucket challenge after my brother nominated me:
  • Matt and I spent the weekend with his parents, originally for the Crim, but then we hung out longer and had a fun time.
  • I attempted to run the 10-mile at the Crim on Saturday morning, despite the hip issues I had been dealing with.  By mile two, my hip was starting to get tight, and before the six-mile mark, it was pretty much shot.  I walked the majority of the final 4.5 miles after hanging out with course volunteers for 10-20 minutes.  I finished in two and a half hours and I was pretty bored walking because all the walkers around me had friends to chat with, but I was by myself.  Regardless, I covered the distance, so that is something to be proud of, even though it could have gone a million times better and I could be a million times healthier.
  • On Sunday afternoon, we went shopping at an outlet mall and I managed to get a pair of shoes, plus six pairs of no-show socks, for $32!
  • My final semester of college starts in a week, so I have been preparing for the job-hunting process.  It’s both exciting and stressful, but mostly exciting.
  • My bike is finished being repaired, so I get to pick it up tomorrow after work and I will get to ride it when we go up north this weekend. 🙂
  • Matt and I are seeing the series 8 premier of Doctor Who, “Deep Breath,” in a theater tonight!

Have you been up to anything exciting?  Do tell!

My Life Feels Full: Last Week’s Adventures

The only way I can describe last week is “full.”  My heart and mind (and stomach, hah!) felt full.  It is unusual for me to do anything other than running and relaxing at home on weekdays after work.  I usually try to go out of my way to plan something to do on one weekend day, just so I don’t feel like I’m wasting my weekend by sitting around.  However, this past week, I had something going on every day.  While it made the week feel long, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I always had something to look forward to, and even when those things were errands, I still somehow managed to enjoy them.

On Monday, I got to leave work for a few hours in the afternoon to take my road test.  I finally became a licensed driver at age 21!  I already wrote about that experience here.  Matt and I celebrated with burgers and beer at a restaurant near campus after work. 🙂

Tuesday was pretty uneventful, EXCEPT I had a meeting before work with someone I may be doing some freelance web development for.  I got to drive there on my own AND it was in a part of Ann Arbor I rarely go to, so it was actually pretty exciting.  Especially the part about being able to drive there on my own.

I also got free barbecue for lunch on Tuesday.  Alternatively, I got paid to eat barbecue, since I got it on a work “field trip” to a power plant 100th anniversary celebration. 🙂

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There is a local Meetup group here that does several group run events every week.  I have been wanting to go for a few weeks, but until last week, I hadn’t gone.  On Wednesday, I went to their Wednesday Social Run.  It is at a park I have to drive to because I’m not interested in adding four miles onto their route right now, so I hadn’t been able to go until last week.  Funny enough, it turns out their route passes right by my apartment, as in we run right across the street from it.  Theoretically, I could do the second half of the route on my own to run to the park, then do the first half with the group and return home, but that kind of defeats the whole SOCIAL part!

The Meetup event description says, “4 to 8 miles, depending on your interest,” so I had thought there might be multiple groups doing different distances, or that there would be route options.  However, there ended up being just one route that everyone did, which happened to be 6.3 miles.  Of course, that is squarely in the 4-8 mile range and would normally be fine, but having not run at all the previous two weeks, it was a little rough.  Maybe more than a little.  I was sore for two days after the run.  Two days!  I had fun though and I’m looking forward to going again this week.

Since it was my first time going, I just had to go out with some of the group after.  I had eaten pizza for lunch that day, but when they decided on a pizza place for dinner, I still wanted to go to hang out and make friends, so I had pizza again and it was delicious. 🙂  Hashtag no regrets.  Well maybe ONE regret.  Drinking even one beer after a 6-mile run and having not eaten in 5-6 hours was not one of my better ideas.  I started feeling it halfway through.  Oops.  (I’m not someone who likes to get drunk.  Nor tipsy/buzzed.  At all.)

By the time I got home around 9, it was time to go to sleep because I had a doctor’s appointment at 7:50am the next day before work.  This, like Tuesday’s meeting, was another one of those banal things made exciting by the fact that I could drive to it on my own.  On the way to work afterwards, I was able to stop by a coffee shop I had wanted to visit ever since it opened last year, but hadn’t because it’s not within walking distance and I guess I never really wanted to bike there.  It was nice and the manager knew my mom when I mentioned her. 🙂

After dinner, one of my friends came over to visit before she moves out of state in two weeks to start veterinary school.  We decided to go to a nearby open-air bar to try a drink she wanted to get before leaving.  It’s called Constant Buzz (strawberry smoothie, piña colada, rum, tequila, vodka, gin) and only comes in a 50-oz size, so I invited Matt and we split it three ways.  (Here’s a funny blog post by a Michigan grad about the bar and this drink, by the way.)  It was delicious.  Then, some older ladies gave us the remainder of their sangria after we took a picture for them on their way out.  Also delicious!  (This time I did not get buzzed.  The body is a funny thing.)

Yummy drink

Yummy drink

Silly faces drink

Silly faces drink

Friday was the day I had been looking forward to all week.  Matt and I had made plans for our siblings to come visit.  We all went to dinner at a make-your-own “Italian” place, then spent an hour or two walking around downtown and showing them the university campus.  I hadn’t seen my brother in a long time, so it was really great to hang out.

Siiiibs.

Shiny Happy People

On Saturday, I was feeling achy and sluggish.  When I didn’t feel better after a couple hours of relaxing, I decided to go for a short run (only my second of the week) to see if it would help.  I felt much better during the run, but it wasn’t until Matt and I got a late lunch at Jimmy John’s that I felt close to 100%.  While we were at lunch, Matt’s parents texted him asking if we wanted to come over for dinner.  I didn’t think I would even want dinner, but we didn’t go until late and I ended up being pretty hungry.  We went to an Irish pub in downtown Flint and it was extremely delicious.  The portions were huge and none of us could finish, so I got to take home some leftovers, which I ate for dinner last night. 🙂  With how much I ate out last week and how many times I had leftovers, I didn’t have to cook at all last week…

Finally, on Sunday, Matt and I headed up to Frankenmuth (a historic German town) for an all-you-can-eat German-style chicken dinner at Bavarian Inn.  We ate almost nothing all day (he had a brownie and I had a bowl of cereal and some grapes) in preparation to stuff our faces. xD  This post has gotten very long (I told you last week was full!!), so I will leave you with some pictures from our time spent walking around Frankenmuth while our food digested.

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I thought this mouse/cheese statue was funny.

I thought this mouse/cheese statue was funny.

From "Tiny Town" outside Bavarian Inn.

From “Tiny Town” outside Bavarian Inn.

More Tiny Town

More Tiny Town

Still more Tiny Town.

Still more Tiny Town.

The Covered Bridge and someone handsome.

The Covered Bridge and someone handsome.

More Covered Bridge. :)

More Covered Bridge. 🙂

The One Part of Running Club I Still Can’t Quit

Back in May, I wrote a post titled “What Makes a Runner?” in which I mentioned how I quit my college running club after two years of heavy involvement.  Long story short, there were many things that compounded into it not being healthy for me to remain an active member of the club.  I stopped going to practices, removed myself from the email list and Facebook group, and unfriended some of the members on Facebook.  I am significantly happier now.  However, there is one part of the club that I haven’t been able to let go.  Two, if you count how I like racing in the singlets. 😛

The club has a Google document.  “The doc” as it is affectionately called.  One for men and one for women.  Members use it to track their training.  It’s really very simple–there is a collective homepage with people’s names and total mileage from the current training period (e.g. summer), and each runner has her own page on the doc to track her training.  People like to customize it however they want and it can get very silly, which is part of the fun.

I still have a page on the doc.  I like to post my training there.  I like how it is an at-a-glance view of several weeks at once.  I like looking at other people’s training, although I avoid some tabs because I know that reading certain people’s pages will make me angry, annoyed, upset, or jealous.

My page through this week!

My page through this week!

I have thought before about the possibility of simply maintaining my own doc.  I could have the same structure for my page and I could reset it whenever I wanted, instead of on the scheduled reset dates of the club doc.  However, there is something about the community aspect that keeps me on the club doc, even if that is not a community I necessarily want to be a part of offline anymore.  I do still have a few friends in the club and I like to see their training and imagine they might be looking at mine, as well (my roommate does!).  Something about looking at other people’s training logs is fun for me.  Maybe it’s motivating, maybe just interesting, I can’t be sure.  Of course there are sites like Daily Mile, but something about this doc is different.

I think if I were a part of the exact same doc idea with, say, blog friends instead of runners from the club, I would quit the club doc.  For now though, I just don’t want to.  It might be weird when the new school year starts and freshmen get on the doc who have no idea who I am, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.  And hey, I was on the board last year and still didn’t know who some of the people on the Google doc were.  So, whatever. 🙂

This weekend I am going up north for 4th of July weekend and will be running a Firecracker 5k on the 4th!  I’m very excited, even though I am expecting a slow time (27:XX would be GOOD for me right now).  It will be fun to push myself and run in a new place, plus this is only my second race of the YEAR.  Expect a race recap sometime soon after!

Thursday Night Date Night

Because otherwise my blog is just going to be complaints about my hip until it heals again, let me tell you about Matt and my impromptu date night last night. 🙂

I texted him yesterday afternoon while we were both at work asking if he wanted to go to Zingerman’s for dinner.  Zingerman’s is a well-known, popular deli in Ann Arbor, but their sandwiches are expensive ($13 for a small and $16 for a large) and it is a little out of the way, so neither of us had been there before, even though we have both lived here for four years.  He was very excited about the suggestion and I was excited about his excitement, so he picked me up (in my car lol) after work and we went to Zingerman’s!

I had the Zingerman’s Reuben, which is a classic reuben, and Matt had the Binny’s Brooklyn Reuben, a reuben made with pastrami instead of corned beef and on pumpernickel bread instead of rye.  I didn’t taste his, but mine was fantastic and I’m told his was amazing as well.  We got stopped by some ladies on our way out asking what he had ordered because they thought it looked so good.

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Mine

His

His

He was laughing when I asked if he wanted to be in the picture

He was laughing when I asked if he wanted to be in the picture

Zingerman’s also had this spicy ginger ale called Blenheim’s, which is apparently very difficult to find, so Matt had a bottle and then asked management if he could buy a case. xD  They gave him a 10% discount on a flat of 24 bottles.

Matt’s new job gave him a gift card to a coffee shop literally right across the street, so we sat down and had coffee after dinner.  Then, we went to the food cooperative’s attached cafe, where I bought us an apple cake to share.  No pictures, but it was a lovely time and quite delicious. 🙂

Have you done anything especially fun recently?  Big plans for the weekend?

 

My Last College Summer

Yesterday (Wednesday) at 11:30am, I walked out of the last final exam of my senior year of college.  Commencement (i.e. graduation) is in the Big House in two days.  I will be there… in the audience proudly watching many of my friends graduate and move on with their lives.  I will be at the university as a student for one more semester, working nearly full-time while taking a very light course-load to finish up my requirements for graduation.

I made the decision to be a December grad last year in the fall.  I was enrolled in a prereq course for a higher-level class I would need to take to finish my minor.  Mentally, I just wasn’t ready to take that class.  Sitting with the first major assignment in front of me, I couldn’t even imagine starting it.  I dropped the class and took it during the semester that I just finished, instead.  This semester, I enjoyed it and got a B. 🙂

Because of that, I have one more class I need to take to finish my degree requirements, but I wasn’t able to take it earlier than next fall semester, so I will graduate in December.  And I am okay with that.  It means I get one more college summer.

I work full-time during the summers, but like my boss said, as a student I can just take a day off if I want a long weekend, whereas once I’m a “real” employee, I won’t be able to do that.  My schedule is flexible, my coworkers are great, and I get so much more free time because I don’t have to do homework every night!  Ann Arbor is quieter in the summer and the weather is beautiful.  Lots of my friends will still be around, too.

One thing I will miss about the school year is my meal plan.  I bought an off-campus meal plan last semester so that I could eat in the dorms, which saved me lots of time because I didn’t have to cook or go grocery shopping nearly as frequently.  It also meant there were always healthy options available when I didn’t have time to cook, instead of eating a ton of fast food like I did the semester before.

Now that the school year is over, it’s bye-bye meal plan!  I do want to get more into cooking, so I guess now is the perfect time. 🙂  I’m planning to go grocery shopping sometime in the next two days, so I want to plan out some recipes to make for the upcoming week so I can make a shopping list.  Let me know if you have any recipe suggestions!!  I do eat meat, but I am down for anything–I love vegetarian and vegan options, too.  My only restrictions are that I don’t have a slow cooker nor a food processor (I have a blender though!).  Anyway, I will look around for some recipes, but if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments. 🙂