Let's Go For A Drink: Round 5

Read previous rounds here. If we were having a drink right now it would probably be a beer of some sort, considering the Patriots vs. Broncos game currently blaring from my living room. I’m not a huge beer fan however, so I might go ahead and pour myself a glass of red wine instead. I like the juxtaposition of it all.

If we were having a drink right now, I would ask if you recognized me. For the first time in really, forever, I am not a blonde. Nope. Decided it was time for a change. I’ve always been too scared to dramatically change my hair color. People always told me I would never be able to get the blonde back. Psh. So a few weeks ago I had an appointment scheduled with my hair guru. I explained I wanted to go darker, handed her some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, closed my eyes and said do yo thang.

I don’t like to say that I’m a “brunette” because … I’m just not. But right now, yes, my hair is brown and I’m having fun with it. Sometimes when I’m getting ready to head out the door and just quickly glance in the mirror I freak out for a second. And then I remember, oh yeah, I did that.

If we were having a drink right now, I would start stressing about all the training I’m supposed to be doing. A few months ago, I had the brilliant idea of signing up for a half-ironman distance race. That is, 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running. If you’ve kept up with my blog at all, you know I got into triathlon this summer and had a great time doing it. It was fun to start training in three different sports as opposed to just running a lot (I was really starting to get burnt out on the whole running five days a week thing). I felt strong, confident and was eager to keep racing. I seriously couldn’t wait to sign up for Muncie 70.3 when registration opened.

 ironman.com

ironman.com

Fast forward a few months later and...yeah. I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel here for any scrap of motivation. All I want to do is yoga. All the time. Right now I feel like I could easily replace my training schedule with six days a week of yoga classes and that would just be perfectly fine and dandy. The only thing left hanging is a lot of guilt for spending an arm and a leg on the Ironman entry fee. But, who knows? Maybe in a week or two my motivation to eat, sleep, triathlon will return but until then, you'll find me sweating on my mat. Stay tuned.

If we were having a drink I would tell you about my upcoming trip to North Carolina. I’m so excited to get out-of-town, even just for a weekend. I'll get to see my brother, who has tickets to Book of Mormon (score!), and some good friends who have moved to Charlotte since graduating. Fingers crossed for some warmer temperatures, too.

 minnpost.com

minnpost.com

If we were having a drink right now I would definitely offer you this amazing dark chocolate covered caramel popcorn that has sort of been my BFF this weekend. Seriously. Have some.

 This isn't even the one I'm talking about. I've eaten so much of it, the bag looked bad in a photo. I'm sure this one is equally amazing. Curse my aunt and uncle for sending us so much sugary goodness!

This isn't even the one I'm talking about. I've eaten so much of it, the bag looked bad in a photo. I'm sure this one is equally amazing. Curse my aunt and uncle for sending us so much sugary goodness!

If we were having a drink right now I would tell you that I’m chomping at the bit to get started on something. For the past few months I’ve been living in a perpetual state of transition. I quit teaching this fall to pursue writing. I realize now that I didn’t really know what that meant. I had no structure to follow or specific goal to chase and I don’t always do well without tangible direction. I began to feel uneasy about what I was doing and as a result, decided I wanted to pursue something else entirely. So I set off in that direction for a few months and eventually realized no, that's not the right move either (But that's being kind - it was really more of a what the hell? are you serious? type of realization). Instead of being honest with myself I was looking for a quick fix to feeling directionless and scared. I know I’m speaking in vague terms here but there's really no need to give you the nitty-gritty, mostly petty #postgradproblems details.

Bottom line, I’m ready to start working on and toward things I’m passionate about. It's true, life is short, but I'm only 24. There is plenty of time and really, I need to slow down and enjoy it. It's time to feel young and fearless again.

 photo from Pinterest

photo from Pinterest

Let's Go For a Drink: Round 4

Playing catch-up? Here's Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3. Good morning. Let's chat over coffee. Or, if you're like me, some black tea with honey and cream. Decadent, right? I better drink it fast though. Once the clock strikes nine a.m. around here, you can't eat or drink anything but ice chips for the rest of the day. Unless of course heat stroke is something you enjoy. At least finding some comic relief in this heat wave is easy. All you have to do is turn on the news. On Good Morning America this morning, the anchor advised everyone to just stay home. Don't leave your house because "believe me folks, the worst is YET TO COME!" But if duty calls and you simply must leave, make sure to travel with a "Heat Wave Survival Kit." Lemme get one of those, you're probably saying. Well, all you need is a fan, two dozen ice packs, two misting spray bottles (one full of water, the other full of peppermint tea...what?) and drinking water. Sure, I'll just toss all that in my purse and head out. No problem.

teaIf we were having a drink this morning, I would tell you I shouldn't be doing this at all and that really, I should be packing. I'm moving this week. Moving as you probably have experienced, is both a blessing and a curse. Like a lot of young twentysomethings, I've moved every year for the past six years. This is great for de-cluttering purposes. I've gotten really good at just throwing shit away. Haven't worn it in six weeks? Get rid of it. But here's what I can't figure out. The stuff I choose to throw out--t-shirts, shoes, hoodies, the 18,000 pairs of free sunglasses I got in college--is nothing compared to the crap I still keep. I think you'll find nearly every greeting card I've ever received tucked away in shoe boxes upstairs. That, and enough stickers to wallpaper my bathroom. I love stickers. It doesn't matter that I have nowhere to put them (I refuse to put them on my car until I drive something a bit sportier), I'm addicted to them and I can't stop. It's disgusting.

I'm gonna run to the kitchen and brew another cup of tea, maybe brew you some more coffee if you'd like (all the while wishing I had a freaking Keurig machine) and then I'm going to tell you all about how nervous I am for this triathlon I've got on the docket in just over a week. I promised in this post I'd write more about training later - mostly for my own sanity. I could very easily turn this space into one of those health/fitness blogs everyone reads, but I won't. I will, however, tell you I've been swimming, biking and running like a madwoman for the past few weeks and that I'm up to my knees in new gear. Triathlon is not a cheap hobby to take on. I'm getting good use out of everything, don't get me wrong, I practically live in Lycra these days. But if a year ago you had told me I would be dropping Benjamins on lock laces, race belts, bike cleats and open water-specific goggles, I would have told you to get outta here.

But hey, at least once this race is over I can add another sticker to my collection.

Our nine a.m. heat wave quarantine hour is drawing near, so before you go (if we were having a drink, that is) I would tell you about my summer travels. Once this move is done, I'm actually looking forward to staying in the same place for an extended period of time. I just returned from a week spent in Colorado where I hiked my first 14er (Colorado speak for a 14,000 ft. mountain). It wasn't until I was back down in Denver, safe and sound, that I learned I had just summited the third highest peak in the contiguous U.S. (Alaska is clearly in a league of its own). It wasn't a technical climb by any means. We didn't carry a rope, a helmet or an ice axe. So why am I telling you this? Because HOLY COW! Altitude. One day you think you're in shape, then the next day, you go up this mountain where you literally feel like your lungs are collapsing and you're simultaneously going into cardiac arrest. This sensation does not help you calm down, either, as you scale a very exposed, very high ridge where the wind is whipping against your bare legs and hands (because you've never climbed a mountain and you forgot pants and gloves). It also doesn't help you speak reasonably to your boyfriend, who is just trying to help you calm down, so you don't have a panic attack at 14,000 feet and kill him, too. Panic aside, though - what an amazing view.

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Let's Go for a Drink: Round 3

Round 1Round 2

If we were having a drink right now, I’d be drinking Gatorade. Lemon-lime Gatorade, to be exact. No booze for me until after the mini-marathon next weekend. Wait…what? “Isn’t that a little extreme for just a mediocre runner like yourself?” you ask. Although your comment about mediocrity stings a little, I keep a straight face. “Well, yeah, maybe so. But I figure I need all the help I can get, right?”

 the best flavor of all - don't argue

the best flavor of all - don't argue

Runners are obsessive people. We obsess over numbers, training logs, nutrition, hydration, the weather, our feet! We stretch constantly, we foam roll our IT bands in agony, we massage our knotted-up calves with golf balls, we no longer eat but “fuel.” All this stuff, at least for me, is part of the fun—it builds excitement and anticipation up for a race, for a goal. It also eases my mental state (and according to all those motivational posters, running is like 95% mental, right?). If I feel like I’ve done everything I can to try and make sure I have a “good” day, come race-day, I have no reason to feel anything but confident.

Now this is rather annoying, as you can imagine, when the 250-lb man who polished off a growler of Sun King and a Hugh Jass burrito last night barrels past me down the finish line, huffing and spewing all the way. But alas, the universe is not always fair.

 beer run?

beer run?

If we [you] were having a drink right now, I’d tell you I am counting down the days until summer vacation. It’s been a long year. And I will be proud when June 7 rolls by and I can say I survived my first year of “life in the real world” which is what everyone’s calling adulthood these days. But holy cow, I am so ready for some sunshine, some 90-degree Indiana humidity to gripe about, some swimming pools and some ice cream.

 the perfect summer view

the perfect summer view

I’ve offered you my last Gatorade at this point, and now I’m telling you about how I’m trying really hard lately to be a more positive person. Not an easy task if you’ve ever tried it. Yikes…The idea here is to stop allowing ourselves to be controlled by stress—something I know I’m guilty of way more than I’d like to admit.

I am a to-do list person, which is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s refreshing to create a bit of order in what often feels like a world of chaos, but on the other hand, to-do lists can quickly take over your life, your sanity and make a pathetic sucker out of you. This idea hit me in the shower yesterday (where all the best ideas seem to live) and I thought, what if I stop trying so hard to finish my to-do list? I never do anyway. It’s impossible and the stress of feeling like I have to get 25 things accomplished at once is enough to give me stroke. It’s at least enough to make me dwell on how tired I am, again, which is annoying for everyone and is actually a result of negative thinking itself. I recently read that fatigue is not necessarily physiological, but a product of our perception. Fatigue is our brain’s way of telling us we just need to focus our minds on something positive.

This has to be true, right? Think about it. The days I feel so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open are the same days when everything seems hopeless and bad. Coincidence? Probably not. The path toward positivity for me starts with taking some time each day to just focus on what’s good. Like the other day I thought, I’m sick and tired of this stupid rain but wow—look how beautiful it’s made the grass and the trees. Everything is so green, finally. And this weekend, when my legs hurt like hell on my ten-mile run, I’ll try my hardest to remember that I’m so lucky to be healthy and to be able to actually do this when so many others are hurt or sick.

 beautiful blue sky telling you to be positive

beautiful blue sky telling you to be positive

If we were having a drink right now, I’d go recycle our empty bottles (of course) and say thanks for listening to my ramblings on life and have a great weekend.

Let's Go For A Drink: Round 2

(Miss out on Round 1? Click here) Cheers! It’s Friday! Here’s to the 5 o’clock hour wherever you may be.

Woodchuck

If we were having a drink right now, I’d be a little bit embarrassed for you to see me drinking a Woodchuck instead of cold, frothy beer. I would then confess to you that for reasons unknown, I haven’t been able to finish a beer in months and that I don’t know what is wrong with me. I’m dealing with it.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d tell you sorry, I can’t stay long, because I’m going to have another drink with some friends at Broad Ripple Brew Pub soon. We’re meeting for beers (ciders) before going to see a play that I’m really excited about. It’s called Pigeons and is showing at Butler. What's cool about it is that one of my favorite creative writing professors from college wrote it. You should totally check it out, too.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d tell you that I can only have maybe one or two because I’m running a race tomorrow with my roommate and another friend. It’s my roommate’s first race ever! I told her she’s a crazy person for picking a five-miler as her inaugural road race. But she’s been a champ, training for the past few months and I’m really proud of her. After wiping off my greasy hands on a paper napkin (oh, we're drinking AND eating french fries, didn't you know?) I would write down her blog address, smilesgomiles.wordpress.com, and tell you to check up on her post-race.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d tell you I’m going to Houston next weekend and can’t wait to escape this icy cold weather in exchange for some sun, warmth and more importantly, good friends.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d want to have an intense conversation with you about the TV show Girls. I finished Season One last night but only after some serious hesitation on the subject. I wanted to watch the show because it seems like that's all anyone is talking about lately (that is if you're 23 and female). After the first few episodes, I was pretty openly disgusted with Lena Dunham and all of her characters. I felt the show was only glorifying bad decisions made by girls my age and was extremely inaccurate. None of my friends parade around getting abortions like it’s nothing and sleeping with guys we barely know just because the option presents itself. Sure, it’s a TV show. I get that this type of drama and sex, especially, make for “good” TV. But it was painful to watch these girls fall for it again and again, to exploit themselves and destroy any dignity they had left along the way… but for some reason, I kept watching. I told myself it was because I was going to blog about the season later in full analytical form. But the characters, the ones I despised the most, actually, began growing on me. By last night's season finale, I have a definite soft spot for Adam. And I laugh out loud every time Shoshanna opens her mouth. Maybe, I would tell you, taking a sip from my Woodchuck, I just need to relax and be entertained by TV for TV’s sake. It’s okay to laugh at dumb TV every now and then, yeah?

And then I would say thank you for humoring me and listening to me rant about that for the past ten minutes. I would take the last swig of my drink, leave the tip on the table and say it was great to see you. Have a good weekend.

Let's Go for a Drink: Round 1

My best professors told me the best writers aren't afraid to steal. So I guess I’ll go ahead and start stealing now. On another blog I frequent called Eat, Live, Run, the author (Jenna, she’s awesome) writes a series called “Virtual Coffee Date” every so often. These posts are a way for her to “talk straight” with readers and take a break from the food and recipes she normally writes about. Even though I’m not writing a food blog… or really any sort of themed blog at the moment… I want to practice that same sort of concept. Only over here, we’re drinking wine.

Well… I’ll be drinking wine. You can drink whatever. Wine encouraged.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d tell you how much fun I had last weekend in Michigan. To get there, we drove nearly eight hours both ways through snow, rain, sleet and ice, but it was totally worth it to spend a weekend huddled inside a toasty cabin with family and friends. We did venture outside the cabin a couple of times. Once to watch the Butler Bulldogs’ mind-blowing win against Gonzaga in a tiny local bar, complete with coyote taxidermy and Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band, that just happened to be owned by two Butler alum. The second time was to go skiing at nearby Caberfae Peaks. Oh. Yeah. This was also when we lost my mother’s car keys…to her brand new big bad Toyota Highlander...in the snow. It was not a good feeling. But all things considered, it was nothing the town Sherriff and a few Bloody Mary’s couldn’t solve.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d tell you (even though I’d feel bad about it because I know I should stop complaining) that I’m sick and tired of this flippin’ freezin’ weather. I’ve been so proud of myself. I’ve been a big girl this winter and haven’t freaked out about the cold as much as I usually do. I credit that to my new love of skiing and running in lots of sweatshirts but dear lord. I cannot handle this awful, bone-chilling, gray, nasty Midwest coldness. Ew. Get away.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d tell you that I’ve been counting the days until I’m done teaching Shakespeare to my eighth graders.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d brag about my sophomores. We’re reading short stories and they enjoyed Ron Rash’s, “The Ascent” so much they had a discussion about it in homeroom…meaning outside of English class…!!!!

If we were having a drink right now, I’d say thank goodness tomorrow is Friday. Because even though my last post was all about being okay with where postgrad life is taking me (and us), I still can’t wait to see my college friends tomorrow and talk too loud at a nice restaurant and let go of some stress via food and drink and dance.

If we were having a drink right now, I’d top off your glass and say you are awesome, thanks for reading.