Lovely Lonely Lakefront

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I went out for a lakefront run this afternoon and it was heavenly. I woke up at 6 this morning all determined to get out of bed and lace my shoes up. But then I saw the temperature and the tweets about the 11 degree windchill outside and decided to wait until this afternoon. I don’t always have the time to head out for a late afternoon run but when I do, I take full advantage of it. Looking forward to more runs like this in 2013!

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Feeling Crafty: Wall O’ Frames

Now that the holidays are here and I’m in full ‘off season’, slothlike turkey-gobbling mode, I’ve been focusing more on the state of my small Chicago apartment. I’ve lived in the same apartment for 14 months, which is 2 months longer than I’ve stayed in any Chicago apartment (the post-grade live suits me just fine). When I moved from my last apartment, I ditched and pitched a ton of furniture, clothing, and other belongs that just didn’t suit me anymore. But I mostly got rid of those things because of how small my current apartment is. At 800 square feet, it doesn’t have large, airy spaces that promote afternoons of creativity and inspired thinking. But I’ve managed to keep it sleek, modern, “clean”, and (most of all) just right.

Beyond hanging some artwork and some of my favorite posters, I painted a huge accent wall in my living room bright, tomato red. I absolutely love the color and it does so much to brighten up my living room/kitchen area. But the wall opposite this red wall has been bare for the past 14 months and I thought it was time to change that. So, over the past few weeks, I set out to gather a small collection of frames to cover the wall behind the couch, with the following Pinterest finds as inspiration.

Lovely cropping handiwork by @LindseyPoore1 (http://www.about.me/lnpoore)

I’m all about saving money where I can and I knew I’d be able to find frames that would work at Goodwill and Salvation Army. I bought a total of 8 frames and spent less than $15 total. I knew I’d be painting them so I wasn’t really concerned about the ‘state’ of them or whether or not I liked the color of the wood. The color theme of the living room is tomato red, turquoise/teal, and white. To match the stainless steel appliances of the adjacent kitchen, I chose to add silver as an accent color.

Before pics of the lonely, empty wall behind the couch:

See? Isn’t it sad looking?

So, after letting the project sit for far too long, I took my cans of spray paint out to my building’s parking lot (sorry building management!) and sprayed the frames in each color.

Yes, I smuggled spray paint from Indiana to Chicago this past weekend… Gotta do what ya gotta do!

Again…sorry building management! Hope you don’t mind the colorful parking spots!

I bought Command “easy off” photo hanging strips for each frame to avoid poking holes in the wall, as well. I may be here for the next 9 months (at least) but that doesn’t mean I want to pay to have tiny holes fixed or stuff toothpaste in them to avoid a fine. One of the strips can hold an 8 x 10 frame that weighs 3 lbs so I knew they’d work well.

The next step was to arrange them on the wall. I have the tendency to overthink these kinds of things, but I really wanted to put them up and just see how they looked (another advantage of the Command photo-hanging strips!). It didn’t take long at all to hang them and I think it turned out really well.

It’s only a matter of time before I start collecting more frames to add to the wall. I want to add a lot of different sizes to make it look a bit more ‘eclectic’ or less thought out than it is now.

Ok, back to normal running-related programming… 😀

-J

Running Lit

With the holidays approaching and more “down time” in sight, I got to thinking about what book(s) I’m going to read next. Choosing my next book is incredibly difficult. I most often read fiction before I go to bed each night and while I’m traveling for work. It’s a good way to get my mind off of things and decompress before sleeping. And, without fail, when the weekend rolls around I always have the urge to head to a coffee shop I’ve never been to, curl up in a comfy chair, and read a good book with a hot cup of coffee for a few hours. If I could do that every weekend, I’d be a  happy girl.

I recently joined a book club (what up..old lady status!?) with a group of girls from all over Chicago. We read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green last month and we are hoping to meet up in December to discuss The Forgetting Tree, which I just started the other day (so don’t give it away!).

I go through phases when a good book about running sounds interesting. In the past few years, I’ve read these running books:

I tend to read books about running that are based on a specific person’s experience, as opposed to a book on strategy, tactics, or training plans.

Guess how many books I have on my “To Read” bookshelf on Goodreads?

:drum roll please:

THREE HUNDRED FORTY-ONE. …AND COUNTING.

It’s not a joke. I have a serious addiction to scouring book recommendations and prize-winner lists for my next victim (errr…book). There couldn’t possibly be enough time to read all of them but I feel comfort in the fact that the “next book should I read?” decision will be much easier if I have a narrower selection than the list of every book published by mankind. I skimmed this list of 341 books for books about running this afternoon and have these on the list:

And yet…I don’t feel like reading one of those specific books over the holiday. So, I’m asking for HELP!

What books about running did you really get into? Are there books like the ones I’ve already ready that you’d think I’d like? What’s next on YOUR list!?

 

Climbing My Way Out of Sloth Mode

It’s official. I’ve determined that “sloth mode” is a condition that can be diagnosed and is considerably difficult to cure. It’s been 5 weeks since the Twin Cities Marathon and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve taken full advantage of some down time. I’ve run a total of FORTY-EIGHT miles in 5 weeks, with my longest run being 10 miles. That number seems laughable to me, considering I ran the same mileage during peak week this past training cycle. Numbers really do put my sloth mode in perspective.

The guilt didn’t settle in until yesterday. I spent the weekend in Milwaukee, eating and drinking like I was still in full training mode. Liquid carbs were the highlight, of course (it is Milwaukee, afterall). Note to self: next time someone suggest butter burgers for lunch, it might be a good idea to politely decline or suggest something that will not automatically clog my precious arteries. That is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime kind of meal (although I’m sure there are a lot of Milwaukee locals that would beg to differ with me). After 5 weeks of essentially sitting on my butt and not challenging myself, I could probably sit down and come up with a long list of self-imposed excuses why I didn’t head out the door for more runs, but it would be too easy to continue to psych myself into laying on the couch every evening.

I was in DC last week for three days working with clients. And only one of those days did I manage to MOVE my body. I hopped on the bike for 20 minutes and the elliptical for 20 minutes in the hotel fitness center. It was enough to break a sweat, but not enough to make me feel accomplished.

The first thing I did when I came home last night was start up my gym membership again. I can’t justify a gym membership when I’m in full training mode between May and October , but I depend on it to get my through the winter. Luckily, they offer a no-contract option and a ton of group fitness classes. This morning, I printed the schedule and decided what I can commit to this week.

It feels good to put workouts on the calendar again, as opposed to running when I feel like it. It’s really easy to tell myself that I’ll swap a run for sloth mode because I “will run tomorrow”. If this past month proves anything, it’s shown me that I need to challenge myself in order to feel confident, healthy, and motivated. Running always puts things in perspective and lately I’ve been lacking the latter. I’ve allowed the post-marathon blues (or whatever you want to call it) to eat up my energy. Running a PR in Boston in April won’t happen if my couch continues to win out over my running shoes.

I’m going to focus on cross-training and strength training, as opposed to the number of miles I run each week.

I’m going to drink more water—another reason I’ve been sluggish!

I’m going to try new things.

I’m going to continue to appreciate the little things.