Friday, August 23, 2013

Monthly Update

Today is August 23, 2013, exactly two months since my 29th birthday and the beginning of my 30x30 Challenge.  So here's an update on my progress so far!

1. Attend Sunday night church at least one night a month - This happened last month and will happen again this upcoming Sunday.  So far, so good!
2. Clean out and organize the office closet - Taylor and I did an initial round of this a few weeks ago.  So while the closet is not totally cleaned out, much less organized, progress has been made in this area.
3. Complete the coursework for my doctoral program - My last semester of coursework officially started this week.  I'm already counting down the weeks until I am finished with it!!
4. Complete the gallery wall in my house - After at least a month of neglect, I actually plan to work on this again this weekend.
5. Create an implement a safety "plan" for the house - Nope, nothing has happened here yet.  Maybe I'll start thinking about it this next month?
6. Defend the proposal for my dissertation - Still hoping to do this in Spring 2014!
7. Deep clean and purge the house of extra junk - Haven't started working on this either...
8. Finally finish watching "Lost" (Accomplished July 27, 2013)
9. Find and buy the perfect little black dress - Again, I have not done this either.
10. Get pedicures with my sisters - Maybe before Christmas or Valentine's Day?  Or for Anna's birthday?
11. Give blood (Accomplished August 9, 2013)
12. Go on a fancy dinner date with my husband - We'll probably do this for his birthday.  Anyone have suggestions of places we should visit?  I was thinking about Vast, at the top of the Devon Tower, but the more ideas, the better!
13. Go to a midnight movie - This is so happening in November!  Catching Fire, whoo-hoo!!
14. Go to Six Flags with a group of friends - Someday?  I have no idea when...
15. Have a certain amount of money in my retirement fun - Wow, I am 89% of the way to accomplishing this goal!  I'll definitely achieve this in another month or so...
16. Have a certain amount of money in our savings account - And I am 56% of the way to accomplishing this goal.
17. Hold a newborn baby (Accomplished July 10, 2013)
18. Keep a regular prayer journal - Oops, haven't start this yet!  Definitely need to get on it.
19. Make extra payments on my husband's student loans - We are still going strong with this.
20. Make extra payments on our mortgage - And we are doing well with this too.
21. Participate in/practice "Meatless Mondays" - This is also going well.
22. Pass my qualifying examination (Accomplished July 23, 2013)
23. Read the entire Bible in one year - I am actually about two weeks behind on my reading plan, so this is something I should really try to catch up on this weekend.
24. Run five 5K races - Two out of the five are done!  And I may be doing the Color Run in October?  Whatever the next one is, it should be fun!!
25. Run a 10K race - Still not sure when I am going to do this...
26. Run a half marathon - I'm hoping to do this in about four weeks.  Eek!!
27. Start a blog (Accomplished June 23, 2013)
28. Take a Barre 3 exercise class - I have everything I need to do this, I just need to actually get it done!
29. Teach a Bible class at my church - Oh, this will be finished in about a week.  I'll be sure to make a post about what we taught and how it went once the class is over.
30. Volunteer at Breakfast on Boulevard - Maybe I should try to do this around Thanksgiving time?

So while there are several things that I still need to think about and plan for, I have actually accomplished almost 17% of the items on the list.  I'd say that's probably right on track to get everything accomplished before my 30th birthday!

And happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Second 5K: The Midnight Streak

Last Saturday, August 10, 2013, I ran my second 5K race of the 30x30 Challenge.  This race was called the Midnight Streak.  And yes, it was a late night race (starting at 11 p.m.), but no, we did not run naked.  In fact, the tee-shirt that was given to each registrant was a very nice DriFit shirt, so that made the decision to register that much easier. 

To my delight, my husband Taylor and our friend John said they would run it with me!  So we all signed up, I picked up our packets, and we headed to the fairgrounds all decked out in our Midnight Streak garb.

Shortly before 11 p.m., Taylor, John, and I found spots close to the starting line.  But as soon as the gun went off, I ran ahead of the boys and didn't look back.  I don't know if it was all of my half marathon training, or the fact that the sun was not beating down on me, but it was my best-feeling race to date.  I set a good, quick pace from the beginning and stuck with it until the end.  And when I finally crossed the finish line, I was thrilled to see a brand new PR - 30 minutes and 11 seconds!  That's a pace of 9:43 per mile, so I was very excited to get a time that was below a 10 minute mile.

I saw the boys a few minutes later when they crossed the finish line together.  Taylor looked great - tired, of course, but not like he was going to pass out or anything.  So that means he didn't hate me as much the next day when he was sore and could hardly walk!

My next race is the half marathon!  It's scheduled for Sunday, September 15 at 6:30 a.m.  Taylor and John want to run again, but not a half marathon, so I think they are going to sign up for the 5K.  And we've already started talking about our October race.  John wants to do the Color Run on October 5.  Anyone out there thinking of/interested in doing the same?  I've never really done a "novelty run," so I'm not sure if it's my thing.  But it's worth a try, right?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

#8: Finally finish watching "Lost"

Well, I did it.  After (what seemed like) years of watching the TV show "Lost," I finally finished it on Saturday, July 27.  So I guess I can officially cross that item off the list.

8. Finally finish watching "Lost" (Accomplished July 27, 2013!)

So why am I just now writing a blog post about it?  Well, I think I needed some time to process the finale before I felt like I could write about it.  See, when I started the 30x30 Challenge a little over a month ago, I was an episode or two into the final season of the show.  (I know, I was about four years behind the rest of the world and didn't even start watching "Lost" until it showed up as a live streaming option on Hulu Plus and Netflix).  And you know what's funny?  When I told people that I had started watching it, almost everyone said, "Oh, don't bother" or "Just stop now" or "There's no need to watch it after season one or two."  But I didn't listen.  I watched.  I got sucked in.  I cried during nearly every John Locke and Jin and Sun episode.  I finally understood the meaning of "Not Penny's boat."  And I grew fascinated with the elusive characters of Desmond Hume and Benjamin Linus. 

So I kept watching.  And I kept wondering.  Would they ever get off the island?  What would happen if they stopped pushing that button?  Would Desmond and Penny ever be reunited?  Was Ben Linus a good guy or a bad guy?  Was John Locke a good guy or a bad guy?  How did the island keep moving and traveling through time?  What happened to Claire?  Why did they have to come back to the island?  Was John Locke really dead?  How did Sayid come back to life?  Who/what the heck was the Smoke Monster?  WHAT ABOUT THAT DARN POLAR BEAR?  And again, would they ever get off the island??

As I got closer and closer to the end of the series, I hoped these and more questions would be answered.  But fortunately, I didn't hold my breath.  Enough people had told me that I would be disappointed by the finale that I wasn't really sure what to expect.  Then, finally, my husband (who had already seen the whole series) and I pushed "play" and started watching the last episode of the last season.  And it seemed pretty good.  But with 15 minutes of the episode left, as Kate was sitting in the car with Jack and telling him that he can go into the church whenever he is ready and that everyone else is waiting for him inside, Taylor paused the show.

Me: "Why did you pause it?"
Taylor: "Well, before we watch the end, I just want you to remember how good the show has been so far.  And remember how much you have loved the characters."

Uh-oh.  That sounded like a disclaimer to me.

Taylor: "In fact, we can stop it right now.  You don't even have to watch the last 15 minutes."
Me: "What?  Honey, I have to watch it.  I mean, I can't watch six seasons of the show and not watch the last 15 minutes.  Besides, it's on my 30x30 list to finish it."
Taylor: "Okay, I just wanted to be sure..."

And he pushed "play."  In disbelief and total confusion, I watched.  I listen closely.  I tried to take in all of the information I could to figure out what was going on.  But then, it ended.  It ended with little explanation or conclusive evidence of what all had really happened on the island.

Taylor stared at me as my jaw hung open and my brow grew furrowed.

Taylor: "Well...?"
Me: "Uh... well... I have no words."

Almost a week later, I still don't have many words.  I won't say that I hated it, or that the ending was downright horrible, but I will say that I am frustrated.  There were so many questions left unanswered, and what bothers me the most is that I feel like the writers really didn't have any answers for many of those questions.  They just kept creating mysteries to keep the show interesting, then finally realized that they had to end it, but had no explanation to end it.  So they just ended it.

Regardless, I'm glad I watched the show.  The scenery and special effects were great.  I loved the acting and the character development.  And I was intrigued by the mystery and the storytelling.  But it will be a while before I jump into another relationship with a J.J. Abrams TV show.  Because let's face it... when it comes to TV shows, that man just breaks my heart.

For those of you who have watched "Lost," what do you think about the series?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

#22: Pass My Qualifying Exam

Yesterday, after posting a monthly update on my 30x30 progress, I went home to find this:

Well, I didn't find it on the fridge; I found it in the mail.  But I was pretty sure that I knew what it was, and I was right.  It's the official letter stating that I passed my qualifying exams!  So that means I get to cross another item off my 30x30 list!!  So because I love crossing things off lists...
22. Pass my qualifying examination (Accomplished July 23, 2013!)
So one month into this challenge, I am 10% of the way done.  Not too shabby, right?  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monthly Update

Today is July 23, 2013, exactly one month since my 29th birthday and the beginning of my 30x30 Challenge.  (It's also my sister's and brother-in-law's two year wedding anniversary.  Congrats, Kirsten and Jordan!)  So it seemed like an update on my list items would make for an appropriate post.  Here's a look at how I've done so far:
  1. Attend Sunday night church at least one night a month - I promise, I'll get started with this on Sunday!
  2. Clean out and organize the office closet - I haven't even thought about/touched this yet.
  3. Complete the coursework for my doctoral program - I'm halfway through my summer class and have my last two courses in the fall.  So this should be accomplished in early December.
  4. Complete the gallery wall in my house - Slowly but surely, I'm making progress on this one.
  5. Create and implement a safety "plan" for the house - Yeah, I haven't even started thinking about this one either...
  6. Defend the proposal for my dissertation - I'm hopeful that this will happen sometime in Spring 2014.
  7. Deep clean and purge the house of extra junk - This should happen in mid-December, if not sooner.
  8. Finally finish watching "Lost" - I'm actually making progress on this one!  Taylor and I just finished episode 10 (out of 18) in the final season of the series.  So maybe I can cross this off my list in another month or so?
  9. Find and buy the perfect little black dress - I have not looked, found, or purchased this.
  10. Get pedicures with my sisters - Maybe around Christmastime?  Or before Valentine's Day?
  11. Give blood - Yeah, I need to get on that.
  12. Go on a fancy dinner date with my husband - This should happen in October for his birthday, if not sooner.
  13. Go to a midnight movie - The plan here is to attend "Catching Fire" (the second Hunger Games movie) at midnight on November 22.  I've already starting making plans for this!
  14. Go to Six Flags with a group of friends - Maybe in August or September?  For Brian Lair's birthday?
  15. Have a certain amount of money in my retirement fund - I am almost 82% of the way to my goal amount.  Just a few more months and I can cross this off the list!
  16. Have a certain amount of money in our savings account - I am about 51% of the way to this goal amount.  So I need to work on this a little more.
  17. Hold a newborn baby (Accomplished July 10, 2013!)
  18. Keep a regular prayer journal - Still need to get started on this.
  19. Make extra payments on my husband's students loans - Yup, I'm doing this every month.
  20. Make extra payments on our mortgage - Also doing this every month!
  21. Participate in/practice "Meatless Mondays" - So far, so good.  And feeling so much better for it.
  22. Pass my qualifying examination - I'm hoping to receive official word (and good news!) about this by the end of this week.
  23. Read the entire Bible in one year - I've stuck with my reading plan and have read 8% of the entire Bible so far.
  24. Run five 5K races - Ran the first on July 19, 2013 and will hopefully run my second on August 10, 2013.  Then I'll start thinking about which ones to do in October and November...
  25. Run a 10K race - Still need to find and plan for one of these.
  26. Run a half marathon - Hoping to do this on September 15, 2013, so we'll see!  Wow, I get nervous just writing about that!! 
  27. Start a blog (Accomplished June 23, 2013!)
  28. Take a Barre 3 exercise class - Need to schedule this and do it soon.
  29. Teach a Bible class at my church - I'm currently doing this with a friend this quarter.  I'll have to post some information about it before the class ends at the end of next month.
  30. Volunteer at Breakfast on Boulevard - Maybe sometime this fall?
So I've completed about 6% of my list so far, while making good progress in some areas, and absolutely no progress in others.  That's not too bad for the first month, I guess.  But it is a good reminder of the things I should try to think about and do in the coming weeks!

Monday, July 22, 2013

First 5K: Hotter Friday Night 5K

This past Friday, July 19, I ran my first 5K of the 30x30 Challenge.  It look place by the Oklahoma River near downtown Oklahoma City at 8 p.m.  So it was appropriately named the Hotter Friday Night 5K.  (This was part of a "Sizzlin' Summer Series," so the Hot Friday Night 5K was in June and the Hottest Friday Night 5K is in August.)  Of the series, I think this is the only race I'm going to run, mostly because I have plans to participate in some other 5K races instead.

Anyway, my husband and I originally planned on running this race together, but some other stuff came up, so my friend Pam was more than happy to jump in and take his place.  And I was excited to run another race with her!  (Pam and I were on the same relay team at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon this past April, so it was fun to do another event with her.)  So after picking her up around 7 p.m., we made the quick drive around downtown to get to the park.  And Pam laughed hysterically at this:

That's right; I'm too cheap (and lazy) to update the map on my GPS, so it thinks we're in the middle of nowhere, even though we're on the busiest stretch of I-40 right by downtown Oklahoma City.  Good thing Pam knew for sure where we were going!

In general, the race was good.  Since I was with Pam, who is a much faster and longer distance runner than me, we got a spot close to the starting line.  And when the gun went off, so did Pam!  Within a few seconds, she was out of sight, so I worked on setting a comfortable pace and (literally) taking things one step at a time.  After about the first mile, my awareness of the heat really hightened.  (It was about 95 degrees, which is actually about 10 degrees cooler than it was at the same race last year.  Not that I was crazy enough to run that one!)  As I approached the halfway point, I felt really yucky - that is, until I saw that the clock read 13 minutes and 30 seconds.  That was about two minutes earlier than I expected it to be!  So I tried to keep up my speed, just thinking about my previous time (32 minutes and 20 seconds) that I wanted to beat.  Of course, the second part of the run was more difficult than the first part, but at least the sun was no longer in my eyes and I had a beautiful view of the Oklahoma City skyline. 

And to my surprise, I crossed the finish line with a time of 30 minutes and 42 seconds!

Pam finished about seven minutes before me, which I guess was actually a fairly crummy time for her.  (I'm telling you, people, this girl is FAST!)  But she was very happy for me and my new PR.

I think the second 5K I'm going to run will be on August 10 with my husband and possibly some other friends.  My goal for that one is to get my time below 30 minutes, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Half-Marathon Training Highlights

About two weeks ago, my husband and I took a 24 hour trip out of town to celebrate Independence Day with family, friends, food, and of course, fireworks.  After a brief cat nap in the afternoon, I went for a quick three mile run, which was really enjoyable because I was in an area in which I had not previously ran.  I feel like that always makes a run more interesting.  The downside, though, was that I looked like this for the fireworks show that evening...

Yes, my face is about as red as my shirt.  (But my sweet sister-in-law looks great!)  That's primarily because it was hot - at least 90 degrees - and I found myself running a steeper incline than I usually do.  (Our part of the state is pretty flat, but the east part is not, so I wasn't exactly prepared for that.)  It was still a great experience, though.

The rest of my runs have been pretty basic - three miles or so here and there.  (One of my best times, in fact, was three miles in 27 minutes and 49 seconds.)  Then on Saturday, I ran six miles with my friend Pam.  She's a much more accomplished runner than I am, so I was only able to keep up with her because she was fighting an injury.  And even then, six miles was a little more than I was prepared to do.  By the last mile or so, I found myself alternating between running and walking.  But I finished the run (after Pam finished and ran back to "cross the finish line" with me).  So I may have to try to talk her into doing a slighly shorter distance, like five miles, this week!

Pam and I are also running a 5K this Friday night, so I'm looking forward to that.  (Plus, she will be running in the same half marathon as me in September.  Thank goodness because I did not want to do that alone!)  The 5K will be the first of the five that I'm supposed to run this year.  I'm also hoping to beat my PR from my last 5K, which was 32:20.  I was actually kind of disappointed with that time, so I really hope to do better!