On Sabbatical

This post has been a long time in coming.  I have probably written it my head 100 times but have never wanted to actually put it down until it was a reality.  It is no secret I haven’t been happy (more so on the job front) since I moved to St Louis.  I’ve been working a ridiculous amount, gained weight, and gotten slower (even though the number of races I participate in have increased).  I’ve gone from a fairly happy person to one who is struggling with bitterness and anger.  And while I don’t believe I’ve become an angry, bitter person, there is a definite edge that wasn’t there before.

I came here with such hopes of breaking out of a rut, of trying something new.  Pretty early on I realized this was not going to happen.  No, instead I was sinking deeper and deeper into a new rut.  I was working more than I ever had before with little to no breaks, in a negative environment.  Weekends?  Forget about it.  Unless I was out of town.  I wasn’t meeting people (unless you count people at work).  I could have been anywhere, I wasn’t exploring my new city.

I shy away from saying the decision to come here was a mistake because I believe any situation you can learn from adds to you, rather than subtracts.

What is all this leading up to?  I QUIT MY JOB!!!  Wow, that feels so good to say.  I quit my job!  Nope, still not old.  And I quit my job without another job lined up.  At some point I expect to completely freak out that I don’t have a job, but right now I am just basking in the fact I don’t have to go to my old job.

I’ve had a range of reactions to my news – anywhere from “I can’t believe you are being so irresponsible to quit without another job” to “You quit without another job?  That is so bada$$”.  I do like to think I’m a little bada$$.  This was not a decision I made lightly and a lot of thought went into it.  Considering how happy I still am, I know this was the right decision.

So what’s next?  I’m happy to say the travel part of Travel With Emily is about to go into full swing.  I’ve got a couple of small trips before heading to Australia.  Yes, Australia!!  Followed by one night in Bangkok (or a long layover) on my way to Sweden.  Wow!  (Any tips on Australia, Sweden or traveling in general are welcome!)

So that’s my big news.  Stay tuned for what is next.

Posted in Sabbatical, St. Louis | Leave a comment

Five Senses Friday

Another week has come and gone.  And what a week it was!!!

Feeling – ecstatic with it being my final week of work

Seeing – my BFF at my favorite place

image

Hearing – the crack of the bat as I went to not one but two baseball games

image

Tasting – fabulous birthday treats

image

Smelling – once again, not much as these allergies are really doing a number on me

How was your week?

Posted in Five Senses | 2 Comments

Five Senses Friday

Oooh, can I do two Fridays in a row??

Seeing – the same balloon!!  It was admin’s day and I was in charge of the balloon.  And then someone else had to give our admin the same balloon!  I told my admin my balloon was obviously better! :-)

image

Hearing – good news

Feeling – the effects of spring allergies

Tasting – a somewhat failed attempt at fancy rice krispies.  Failed how?  The pink layer wasn’t really pink.

image

Smelling – not much, see allergies above

And another week is complete!  Want more five senses?  Check out Mandi’s!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Five Senses Friday

This used to be a fairly regular post, way back when I actually used to blog and I was so happy to see it on Mandi’s blog today so I thought I would reintroduce it.

Feeling – like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  More on this later, but long story short, I quit my job.

Hearing – Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off, I can’t get this song out of my head.  Granted, it’s a little appropriate as I shake off the negativity in my life.

Tasting – I’m looking forward to trying a new restaurant tonight!

Smelling – the beautiful, blooming trees in Forest Park

image

Seeing – a design in my latte!  Sometimes it’s the little things that can make my day.

image

And there you go!  How was your week?

Posted in Five Senses | 4 Comments

2015 GO! St Louis Half

What?  Another half marathon?  This race snuck up on me.  So much so I had no idea what on earth I was going to wear to the race!  On Friday it came to me.  I should wear a Cardinals outfit as this may quite possibly be my last St Louis race as a resident of St Louis.  Oh yes, I have news, but I will save that for another post.

Start line

Start line

Fortunately I had a red skirt because I pretty much have a Sparkle Athletic skirt in every color.  I just needed a shirt and a hat and socks (if I could find socks).  However, after a late night at work on Friday and most of the day on Saturday, I was left with a quick trip to Target with a hope and a prayer I would find something.  I found a shirt and went with my back up of a red sparkle visor.

My outfit

My outfit

Sunday morning came way too early.  I lined up, ready to take on the new course.  But let me back up for a second.  Up until the Monday before the race, I had continued running / walking at least mile a day.  And then I got out of bed Monday morning and my heel was in pain.  I decided to take the week off, in hopes that ice and rest would help, which it did.  I also taped up my foot with my ever trusty KT Tape.

As I started off towards the Arch, my foot was doing okay.  That is until I stepped wrong onto crack in the street.  There was some immediate “I stepped wrong” pain.  Oh great, I’ve got a lot of race left!  I took it easy and was able to shake it off (shake it off, shake it off).

View from bridge #2

View from bridge #2

The course was redesigned this year.  The highlight was the “race within a race” section which involved two bridges and crossing the Mississippi into Illinois (aka East St Louis which doesn’t have the best reputation) before crossing back over to St Louis.  I’m a big fan of bridges in my non running life!  Coming back across the second bridge, I started to feel the bridge moving and started to rethink my love of bridges.  It was a little disorienting to feel the ground shake.

More bridge #2

More bridge #2

The bridges ended and we started making our way back towards the start/finish line.  But wait!  We were only halfway done.  You could hear people finishing as we ran by.

The remainder of the race was a giant out and back.  I could see the giant Budweiser sign in the distance.  Despite studying the race course beforehand, I became convinced we were going to turn around before reaching the Anheuser Busch facility.  Remember, I’m not so good at mid-race math!  I was disappointed when we turned into the facility because that meant we weren’t turning around yet.

That is until I turned the corner and saw the Clydesdale!!!!!  Ever since moving to St Louis I have been enamored with the Budweiser Clydesdales.  So you know I was going to stand in line to take my picture with a real life Clydesdale!

Clydesdale!

Clydesdale!

I had started off the race with a decent pace, but I continued to watch it increase.  Someday I am going to master not going out too fast and be able to negative split.  Today was not that day.

However, I kept trucking along until we turned up Market Street (where we had started). You could see the finish across the way but you had to run up, past the finish, before turning the corner to finish.

And there it was – the finish!  I came across in 2:53.17 – not my best but definitely not my worst.  I was happy to stay under 2:55.

I collected my medal and my Ted Drewes ice cream sandwich and called it a day.

Medal with a side of ice cream

Medal with a side of ice cream

Posted in Race Report | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Happy Easter

I am not a baker.  Neither am I a cook.  I really don’t like being in the kitchen.  Part of it stems from not being comfortable in the kitchen (or knowing what to do) but also, I have never really had a desire to cook.  However, once in awhile I get the urge to do something creative.  Oftentimes, that creative outlet ends up being cooking.  I had seen a picture of a Rice Krispies bird’s nest leading up to Easter and decided that would be my next project.  Should be fairly simple right?

Before we head into the kitchen, let’s pause for a moment.  One of the things that had attracted me to the bird’s nest was the colorful “eggs” on top and the picture.  I may have mentioned once or twice that I am an aspiring photographer.  I do have a “fancy” camera but sadly, I mainly leave it in auto mode on the rare occasions I use it.  On Saturday I took a basics camera class.  At the class we were encouraged to practice what we learned. Colorful Easter desserts would be a perfect item to practice on, don’t you think?

Back to the kitchen we go…fortunately this recipe was fairly easy.  Even better, I got to choose the eggs and of course I chose Cadbury because I do love my Cadbury eggs!!  And then came the hard part.  Remembering the lessons from the camera class.

Delicious!

Delicious!

Testing out program mode

Testing out program mode

Easter goodies

Easter goodies

Posted in What's Cooking | Tagged | 2 Comments

2015 Ramble into Spring 10 Miler

Hello out there!  Winter is slowly fading, basketball is on, and an end (or is it beginning?) is in sight.

I’ve been in St Louis for almost two years now and I still haven’t found a hair stylist I like.   I tried a new place.  I went in with a few requirements – cut my bangs, clean up my layers, but keep the general length.  I came out with interesting layers and 3 to 4 inches gone.  I’m still getting used to it.  I think I had I gone in there expecting short hair I would have been happier.  But hair grows, right?

Shorter hair

Shorter hair

Why yes, that would be in front of the Seven Dwarf’s cottage, but that’s another story for another post.

The next “big” race on my calendar is the GO! St Louis Half .  I’m a big fan of using local races as part of my training.  In scouring a local race calendar I saw there was a 10 Mile race this weekend (combined with a 5K and a 10K).  Count me in!

Then I started reading the instructions.  No walkers allowed in the 10K or 10 Miler.  It went on to say if you have to walk due to a side stitch, that was allowed.  However the time limit was 2 and a half hours.  I knew I should be golden with a two and a half hour time limit, but still the no walkers statement both worried me and irritated me.  Had it said, 15 minute pace per mile and two and a half hour time limit I would have been fine.  Oh well.  I decided I would still participate.

There was a gorgeous sunrise Saturday morning.  I arrived at the race site and picked up my packet.  I loved that in the packet was my bib complete with safety pins attached.

It was a small race (around 500 ish) with the majority doing the 5K and then around 100 doing the 10K and another 100 or so doing the 10 Mile race.  I have this fear of being last. With the field being so small, I had visions of being last before the race even started.

Ready to go

Ready to go

The beginning of the race was through residential areas before heading into open farmland.  I was quickly relegated to the back of the pack, but since all races started together, there was a decent number of us.  I kept trying to surreptitiously look at the color of bibs to see if anyone in the back was also doing the 10 Miler.

Mile 1 clocked in at 10:55 (say what?!) and I banked 4 minutes against the two and a half hour time limit.

The 5Kers turned off and there was still a few people around me.

Mile 2 clocked in at 11:45.  And another 3 minutes was banked!

We were leaving the residential areas at this point and into the rolling farmland.  And rolling it was.  Some flats but a lot of ups and downs.  One of the benefits of the farmland was you could see pretty far ahead and the line of runners extending as far as my eye could see.  The 10Kers split from us and I could then see who else (if any one) was doing the 10 Miler and where I was in relation.  There were three women who passed me just as we turned and I thought there might be one person behind me.  So not the last one (at least not yet).

Miles 3 – 5 clock in at 12:xx.  More time to bank against the time limit.

Rolling farmland

Rolling farmland

At the Mile 5 water stop they had Gu.  My tummy wasn’t really happy so I passed on the Gu.  Not too much further was the “turn-around” or really redirection.  But I was able to see there were 2 women behind me.  But one caught me right before the 6 mile mark.  So now I was second to last (or so I thought).  Mile 6 also came in at 13.25 (I blame the giant hill).

The sun was starting to make its presence known.  I realized that I had been pain free up to this point.  But it wasn’t long after I made that realization that my IT band started acting up.  Wouldn’t you know it?

There must have been downhills during Mile 7 as I came in at 12.25.

We turned back onto the main road.  It was the home stretch!  With about a half mile to go the person behind me not only passed me but did so with a burst of speed.  I had no choice but to let her go.  I would finish last, but I would finish safely under two and a half hours.

At this point we were back in the residential area and finally I could see the finish line ahead.

Early on, my secret goal had been under 2:05 – as I got closer to the finish line I could see the clock turning to 2:04.  I put on what speed I had and came across in 2:04.14 which was a PR for me.

Done!

Done!

All in all, I liked this race – lots of water stops (almost every mile), nice rolling course, and great volunteers.

Posted in Race Report | Tagged | 3 Comments