Things I’m Loving Lately

Lately I really like lists [you should see my color-coded to-do list] and I’ve been pretty lazy about taking photos. So here’s a lovely list of things I’m loving lately without any photos. You’ve been warned. But at least I bolded the items, so you can pick and choose what you want to read. What can I say, I’m a giver.

Orangetheory Fitness – I’ve never been a huge fan of group exercise classes. Most of my experience is based on classes offered at my current gym, like Body Pump + RPM, where you have to sign up 30 minutes beforehand. There’s a very slim chance of me making it to the gym 30 minutes prior to a class, especially if it’s in the morning where I value sleep or after work when I don’t have a set “end time” to my day. The classes always felt overcrowded and the clientele was clique-y. Not really my thing. Needless to say, I never went out of my way to get there. Lora had been posting a lot about supplementing her running routine with Orangetheory Fitness so I reached out to pick her brain about the pros/cons. She sold me on it immediately and only a few days later I took advantage of their free class offer. I was HOOKED. Sixty minutes have never flown by so fast. I’ve been a member for three weeks now and each class is completely different. It forces me to do strength training but also lets me run – ahem, sprint – during the hour as well. Sprinting at a 15% incline is absolutely miserable but I’ve seen a ton of improvement in daily runs since incorporating OTF into my workout schedule. Your heart rate [as well as everyone else’s] is up on a giant screen for you to check periodically and make sure you’re pushing yourself enough. Every night walking out of there I want to die from feeling destroyed, but by the time I get home I’m pumped for the next class. You have to sign up for classes in advance and it forces me to leave work at a reasonable hour [this is subjective … I go to the 8pm class, so you do the math] to be able to attend. If you don’t cancel a class with enough notice, you’re charged for the class anyway. This is key in keeping me accountable. I have an Elite Membership which is 8 classes per month, however I want to use them. I’ve been doing Tuesday / Thursday classes religiously and it works great with my schedule. Worth every damn penny.

 

Heart Rate Training – Not going to lie, I’ve always been a slave to the Garmin. For some reason pace is super important to me and as much as I try that whole “running on feel” thing – it doesn’t happen. But once I started focusing on my heart rate in Orangetheory, I realized it would probably be in my best interest to use this on daily runs. I set up my Garmin to only show HR and I begrudgingly wear that damn strap every time I lace up my running shoes. I’ve noticed my pace drop now that I’m more aware of how hard I’m working. This is completely different than staring at my watch and either cursing my slow pace or talking myself out of a faster one. This takes the guessing game out of everything pace-related. I’m a big fan.

 

Saucony Running Shoes – It would be impossible to count on both hands the number of running shoes I’ve been through over the past few years. From Asics to Mizunos to Brooks to New Balance to Skechers, I’ve had [multiple] pairs of each. In 2014 I finally tried the Saucony Guide 7 and they were everything I needed in a running shoe. I added my trusted green SuperFeet inserts and they were perfect. PERFECT. The lower drop helped me adjust my running form and quit the dreaded heel-strike. When I needed a pair of shoes for trail running, I went to the Saucony Peregrine. When I needed a pair of shoes with a little more cushion for long runs, I went to the Saucony ISO Triumph. When I needed a pair of shoes light enough for sprints + strength training in OTF, I went to the Saucony Mirage. Seeing a pattern here?

 

Non-Running Shoes – For some reason, I’ve been really into shoes over the past few months. This could probably be attributed to the number of fashion bloggers I follow on Instagram, specifically Emily Ann Gemma. It’s likely I’ll never be able to afford a majority of the items she owns but the shoes? I can afford the shoes. My current favorite pair is the Steve Madden Keenia, an obnoxiously tall wedge which increases my height by five inches and are surprisingly comfortable. I wore them out for a night of gallivanting around the streets of downtown Austin and for once in my life didn’t feel like throwing them in the garbage by the time 2am rolled around. These come in a close second – they pretty much go with everything. I won’t link the rest of the pairs because… coughcoughjessicasimpsonclaudettecoughcough … the sheer amount of recent additions to my closet is borderline embarrassing. Just know they are ALL fabulous.

 

And most importantly, my friends + family – the last few months have been rough, to say the least. Some have likely heard the same stories time and time again [Mayra, I’m looking at you] but I appreciate everyone’s love and support as I navigate this bullshit disguised as “life”. No one has asked for too many details, judged too hard, or tried to push their own individual thoughts on me. They’ve let me vent and deal with things on my own terms. I’ve conquered many situations and fell apart at just as many, but with the support of those around me I’ve made it through in one piece. This whole damn situation is terrible, but I’ll be okay. Not right now, not tomorrow, and probably not next month – but eventually. It’ll happen. I just need to figure out what’s most important to me and prioritize things according to how they’ll affect my overall well-being moving forward. I am a strong believer in karma and have been focusing on paying it forward with random acts of kindness over the past several months. I try to focus on those who have reached out and contributed to help make me feel whole again. Things would be a lot worse if I shut the rest of the world out and pretended like everything was a-ok, so as much as I hate to break down – it’s good for me. I hate talking about feelings as much as the next person, but I forced myself to do it. I knew I had to be open with what I was dealing with and the most important people came out to give me a shoulder to lean on when I needed it. And I can’t thank them enough for that.

Something New

Since I was able to successfully transfer over subscribers, my WP readers probably noticed ‘Melissa Runs’ is a thing of the past. If you manage your blogs in Feedly or Bloglovin’, it’s quite possible you truly had no idea I renamed and revamped the site.

At the end of 2011, I made the decision to leave a joint blog behind [We Run for Wine – has anyone been around long enough to remember that?] and create Melissa Runs. It filled all of my requirements [running-related, short URL, etc.] and worked out quite well over the past two years. A few months ago I started getting the itch to change the name again. Not so much because I wanted something new, but content was a big factor. I definitely still want to write about races & running shoes [duh], but felt like the ‘Runs’ part of my blog held me back from delving more into my personal life. And to be honest, I kinda grew to hate having my name in the blog title. Seems like a silly little thing, but it drove me nuts.

I had a discussion with this girl about it back in September, but never moved forward with anything because I was nervous about the change. I wanted a clean, modern new look but also didn’t want to pay someone $500 to design it for me. I found a few graphic designers who were awesome and very affordable, but only worked with writers using the Blogger platform. I still don’t understand why people use Blogger – how do you live without threaded comments?! Anyway, after a ton of research and many DMs with Kristin [who was super nice & patient with me while I bombarded her with questions] I felt confident enough to make the switch on my own.

The last weekend in November I purchased the new domain name for So These Are My Thirties. It’s doubtful I’ll still be blogging in my 40s [despite what Paula says] so this new moniker should cover the rest of my existence on the Internet. I somewhat feel like a fraud launching this before actually turning 30, which doesn’t happen until next month and when it does? Please hold me. But I had the free time and wanted to pull the trigger on it before changing my mind. I created a new header, cleaned up the sidebars, found a new theme, and played with a ton of different fonts. There’s still a lot of work to do, like re-categorizing posts and updating old links because not a single plug-in I’ve tried will fix all of the 404s. But I’m happy with it so far and excited about the change!

And with that, I welcome you to…

So These Are My Thirties

Love the Life You Live

There’s a handful of things on social media lately, leaning heavily in the FB direction, that are absolutely making me cringe. As Sarah pointed out yesterday, the ability to block people on Facebook is a feature that has improved my experience on that platform tenfold. And you know I love a good social media rant… Now before you jump down my throat with “maybe you should just unfriend them if you feel that way”, it’s actually some of my closest friends whose updates I choose to remove from my timeline.

I hardly think I’m in the minority when I prefer not to read the “oh my god my life is AMAZING, I’m so in love and everything is perfect” because we know in real life there’s serious trouble brewing but hey – gotta put a face on for social media. Or there’s the friend who makes more money than she knows what to do with and splashes photos of Louis Vuitton purchases and the “oh woe is me, do I want a BMW or Benz? Life is hard.” posts all over my newsfeed. (And FWIW, I’m not jealous. Money can’t buy happiness.) I won’t even touch on the engagement posts, because Ashley from Witty + Pretty covers it much better than I ever could. It’s amusing to me because everyone responds to this with “she is SO bitter and obviously hates being single” but uh… I’m not single – not even close – and I agree with all five of her points. So it’s not single rage.

There’s a Buzzfeed post that’s making its rounds in my feed today: Every Year of Your Twenties Ranked from Worst to Best. I thought I’d take this and run with it, ranking my own years of my 20s since my final year is coming to a close sooner than I’d like. I’ve heard 30s are the new 20s, so ask me how I feel about that statement in about a year.


22. Sorry Buzzfeed, can’t agree with you here. 22 was, without a doubt, the worst year. I started drinking a lot more (partly as a result of the B/D fiasco [see the 21st year] partly because working in a restaurant made it impossible not to) and it caused a ton of trouble. I’ll leave it at that. I ended 22 unemployed, with a newfound appreciation for the Food Network and Criminal Minds. I also learned that despite your parents being six states away, they will still find out what you’re trying to hide from them. And make you learn a lesson from it.

23. This year was slightly better than 22, but not by a whole lot. It took me until about July to rip myself out of a downward spiral and land a job (albeit still in a restaurant) as a bookkeeper. Finally putting all of those finance and accounting classes to good use.

21. This year was… interesting. It was pivotal in my dating life. My serious relationship with D (we’ll just call him that) was strained by an increasing interest in a coworker named Brad (yep, the one and only) and in February I had royally screwed it all up by cheating on D. Once caught, I wasn’t even sure Brad was the one I wanted to be with. D & I had been together for a year and half, lived together, talked about our future… how could I just give all that up? So I cut things off with Brad and went back to D. But I still found myself texting Brad and meeting up with him on the DL. So I had the brilliant (I blame said brilliance on Jager) idea to try to date both in an attempt to make a final decision. Somehow, the two of them started TEXTING EACH OTHER and I was totally busted. D was pissed and he moved away (from FL to MA) for the summer to get a break from the insanity. I changed my mind eleventy billion times between February 2005 and June 2006, at which point D made my decision for me and started dating someone else (who he is now married to). What I learned: shit works itself out in the end. As much as I’d like to say this entire situation didn’t define my 21st year, it totally did.

24. Another critical year for my relationships. Here’s the short version: Brad moved to Texas and I didn’t go with him … I dated a guy, B, from July until November when he showed his true crazypants side and I broke free … In December, Brad came back from Texas to visit family and we met up for dinner and a few drinks. It was perfect and I was like, wait – why aren’t we still together? He felt the same way so we decided to do the long-distance thing. It was exciting, but expensive. But money well spent.

25. This should have been the year of my quarter-life crisis. All of the craziness in my early 20s may have helped avoid that meltdown. Brad and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. I flew out to Austin twice, once for SXSW and once because I had nothing planned and Brad wanted to see me. Brad flew to Florida to visit, for less than 48 hours and again – just because he wanted to see me. Things started to feel more real as he talked about buying a house and the subsequently asked if I would move to Austin. It took about month before I built up the courage to say yes, put in my notice at work and terminate my lease. We went to Vegas to celebrate a few of our friend’s birthdays and our new life together. I learned to love Brad’s dog, Bo. Fun fact: did you know I once hated dogs? Obviously things have now changed since I can’t seem to get mad at that adorable little puppy that keeps chewing holes through our sheetrock. We bought a kitchen table .. with a LEAF! And hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner.

20. SO. MUCH. FUN. I worked in a restaurant and despite not being 21, I had no problem getting served at any of the local bars in town. The first year of my 20s was a blast – exciting, carefree and ridiculous. I stayed up too late, danced often, and laughed until my face hurt on a regular basis. Not damn thing to worry about! I wouldn’t trade these years for anything. Being young was so easy…

26. I learned the ins and outs of working downtown in a big city: spoiler alert – it’s nothing like Sex & the City. When I was 18, I remember thinking “I can’t wait until I’m 26. I’ll work for a great company and go to happy hour with coworkers afterwards.” Obviously 26 was an arbitrary number but there was a fair amount of happy hour-ing at my company. That means I fulfilled my dreams, yes? Running became a part of my everyday life, despite the fact I was never athletic growing up. Brad started a new job that didn’t require traveling all of the time so we got to see each other more than twice a month. Brad’s mom lived with us for most of the year and we managed not to kill each other. SUCCESS. I spent Christmas (and NYE, after an epic snowstorm that dropped 3ft of snow on NJ) with friends and family.

27. I ran my first marathon in Washington DC, with Brad and my family cheering me on. We visited friends in San Diego and went to our first country concert. I learned I didn’t hate country but I sure hated Rascal Flatts. In a surprising turn of events, I found out who my real friends were. Finally grasped the concept of spending less than I earn. Now I may not have put all that extra cash into a retirement fund, but let me tell you this: life is short. If something were to happen down the road, I don’t want to be like “oh whew, glad I paid off those credit card bills!” I want to think about all the fun shit I did and time spent with my loved ones. If we can afford it, we’re going. No regrets, kids. I’ll say it again: LIFE IS SHORT.

28. I got a big promotion at work. I became an Aunt! I mentored a local runner and helped her cross the finish of her first half marathon. Surprisingly, she didn’t end up hating me – we’re still friends (hi, Leslie!) I learned that meeting friends on the internet isn’t as weird as it sounds. And I’m glad I did because my life feels much more complete knowing Paula. Hello, she taught me the trick to avoiding horrific hangovers: always always ALWAYS drink water with your booze. So simple, yet so effective.

29. This was hands down the best year, despite the fact I’ll spend the final days of it in January mourning the end of a crazy decade. I (somewhat) learned what it’s like to be a parent when we adopted a two-month old puppy from Austin Pets Alive. She solidified the fact we’ll never ever have kids and we’re 110% okay with that. I love that sheetrock-eating puppy with every ounce of my being. Sleeping in on the weekends now means sleeping until 7, when we grab some coffee and head out to explore the trails with the dogs. We’ve been to more concerts this year than I can count on two hands and try to visit as many of the amazing restaurants in Austin as possible.  Friends, family, and loved ones are the primary focus in my life. I’ve followed a “no bullshit” policy for quite awhile now and intend to keep it that way. I’ve learned that saying “I’m busy” is a crock of shit. You’ll make time for the things you want to do, and skip out on the things you don’t. And people notice – don’t forget that part.

I have exactly two months to go, but here are my 29th year takeaways: be honest, be passionate, don’t get taken advantage of, don’t keep your mouth shut, and fight for what you want. If you’re not happy, do something about it. Do what you love, pursue your dreams, make shit happen.

Love the life you live. You only get one.

Disconnect, stop saying you’re “busy”, and quit mediocrity

I’ve come across several great reads lately and thought I’d share a few of them with you. Enjoy!

1. “Step Away from the Phone!” While it’s sad there even needs to be an article discussing our smartphone dependency, it’s a great reminder to disconnect on a regular basis. I’m definitely guilty of being glued to my phone on Sundays constantly refreshing fantasy football scores and catching up on Twitter/Insta/Facebook in bed before I fall asleep at night. Apps like Untappd and Mint make it hard to put down the phone when you want to record a new favorite IPA or find out if having another beer is in your budget. First world problems, I know. We’re just too connected.

hashtag phonestack

The phone-stack game is a brilliant idea. The dinner table just isn’t the place for your phone and being penalized for not socializing with those you’re dining with is a concept I can certainly get on board with.

2. “Let’s take the phone stacking game one step further: Ban the Meal Shot” This supplements my Insta-ragey post from a few weeks back. Kimberly echoes my sentiments exactly here:

But believe me when I tell you that no matter how hungry or excited you are about what you’re about to post on Instagram and Facebook, it NEVER looks as good to anyone else as it does to you.

3. #Hashtag with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake. You know my thoughts on excessive and unnecessary hashtagging. (And it’s only going to get worse now that we’ve opened it up to the people of Facebook, who have no idea what a hashtag is to begin with.)

Anyway, this skit is perfect. Hashtag STFU. Yes.


4.
“Are you as busy as you think?” The excessive whining of “OMG SO BUSY” has become a major pet peeve of mine and the WSJ nails it in this piece.

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.

Basically what it comes down to is this: you’re going to do what you want to do and procrastinate on what you don’t. You’re not busy – you just don’t know how to properly manage your time. Get your priorities in order and stop making excuses. Wake up earlier. Stay off of Facebook. Get shit done.

If you’re working 50 hours a week, and sleeping eight hours a night (56 per week) that leaves 62 hours for other things. That’s plenty of hours for a family life and a personal life — exercising, volunteering, sitting on the porch with the paper, plus watching TV if you like. Set goals — maybe three hours of exercise and swapping out two hours of TV for reading — and see where in your 168 hours you could make that happen.

5. This:

Love Should Not Be MediocreTo say I love this would be an understatement. In the past 12 years, I’ve cheated and been cheated on. I’ve stuck around in unhealthy relationships for all the wrong reasons. I’ve said ‘I Love You’ when I didn’t mean it. The way Brad and I ended up together isn’t a fairytale story: it was scandalous chain of events which ended up with me cheating on my live-in boyfriend. We’ve now been together for 8 1/2 years and my ex just got married last weekend to the girl he started dating shortly after we split. I’m not advocating cheating by any means, but it’s kind of crazy the way things work out sometimes. Moral of the Story: if you aren’t 100% happy, get the hell out of there. Life is too short to be spent unhappy in a mediocre relationship hoping that someday things might get better. “Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of time.”

Day in the Life :: A Walk in My Tuesday Shoes

I’ve seen this topic on a few different blogs over the past couple weeks and thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. Personally I find reading everyone’s schedule very interesting because I love seeing the differences and how others manage their free time. Sometimes I feel there aren’t enough hours in a day so this helps me see what I’m spending the most time on and where I could probably tweak a few things.

3:45am: Alarm goes off. Hit snooze once, die a little inside, crawl out of bed, get changed, leash up the dogs, and head out for a run.

4:15-5:15am: Run for 45-60 minutes

5:15-5:45am: Stretch/cooldown & have a protein shake. While Brad gets ready, I watch a little TV, make us iced coffees and get his lunch together if he needs one. He leaves for work at 5:45.

5:45-6:45am: Shower & get ready for work. Pray the indentation from my headlamp on my forehead goes away soon. Try to convince Sox that going into her crate is the best idea ever. Chase her around the house. Finally tackle her and carry the squirming 48-pound puppy to the crate.

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6:45-8:00am: Commute to work. Leaving at 6:45 lately isn’t getting me to work by 8, more like 8:15 or 8:20. Will probably have to push back the time I leave the house by 15 minutes or so. I hate commuting.

Commute

8:00-11:00am: Sit down at my desk, take all of my jewelry off. So weird. I don’t know why I still bother wearing a watch or bracelets. Also, is it obvious I love my dogs?

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The first hour or so I spend catching up on emails while getting some caffeine in my system and eating breakfast. I work in the Finance department for an online HR software company and at this time of the month most of my day is spent processing vendor invoices, billing current customers, and working on collections.

11:00-11:45am: I almost always eat lunch at my desk. If I don’t have something in the fridge or freezer, I’ll head to Whole Foods Express in the building next door. That can be expensive so I try to keep those trips to a minimum. Sometimes I’ll use my lunch hour to draft a blog post. If I finish (which is very unlike me because it usually takes 2 hours and 400+ edits) then I’ll schedule it to post the following morning. If not, I’ll finish it later that night and then schedule.

12:00-5:00pm: More of the same tasks from the morning, in addition to answering emails, returning phone calls, and attending meetings.

5:00-6:30pm: Commute home. Getting out of work is bittersweet: happy to be done for the day but not excited for the drive.

Commute 2

6:30-7:30pm: Cook & eat dinner. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to have dinner on the table by 7, but most of the time it’s closer to 7:30. When we’re done eating, Brad washes the dishes and cleans the kitchen. Always. Without me asking. Because he is awesome.

7:30-8:30pm: We’ll watch a show from the DVR after dinner and play with the dogs for a bit. And most of the time dessert happens in this window too.

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8:30-9:30pm: Time for bed! Yep, that early. Sometimes we’ll try to watch another show in bed but Brad is almost always asleep by 9 (with glasses still on and remote in hand) so it’s rare that happens. If I’m still not tired, I’ll watch Friends at 9:30 but more often than not the lights are out by then. A 10pm bedtime means 6 hours of sleep and it’s just not ideal.

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And that’s it! Now that I look at it, I guess there really isn’t much wiggle room during the day. Pretty much every minute is accounted for.

This is probably the most interesting to me, so I want to know: What time do you go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning?

2012: Goals

racing…

Marathon – 5:15

Half Marathon – 2:15

10k – 59:XX

5k – 29:XX

 

 

running…

12 Races in 2012

Practice negative splitting

Run at least one race NOT for time – only for fun

Volunteer at two races

fitness…

Commit to 45-60 min workouts, 3x per week (excluding long runs)

just go

Focus more on stretching, yoga, foam rolling, and core work

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foam-roller

1000 miles in 2012

2011 mileage

 

nutrition…

Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!

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Take vitamins + calcium supplements every day

Be more conscious of portion sizes

portion-distortion

 

life in general…

Blog consistently, at least 3-4 posts per week

Read at least 15 books

books

Surround myself with positive people to eliminate unnecessary negativity from my life

positive people

Create & follow a {realistic} budget

budget

budget on Mint

and most importantly…

enjoy every.single.moment of 2012

While 2011 had more than its fair share of ups and downs, it’s best not to dwell on the difficulties of the past and focus on the opportunities in the future. Let go of the disappointments and use them as learning experiences. Life is short and every minute should be cherished. Surround yourself with people you love. Take chances, live in the moment, don’t think twice. Appreciate everything you have, as it all could be taken from you in the blink of an eye.

happiness

All photos via Pinterest

Everyone (for the most part) has set goals and/or resolutions for 2012. Which of yours is the most important for you to achieve this year?

I fought the law…

and the law did NOT win!

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Honestly I didn’t expect the ticket to be dismissed since a few people I know tried to fight the same offense and failed miserably. This made my day – $260 I do NOT have to shell out to the State of Texas!

Naturally I celebrated by grabbing a bottle of wine:

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I first discovered this wine while working at Seasons 52 (seriously that place was like HEAVEN for me). It’s nothing fancy, just your run of the mill white table wine. It’s light and refreshing, and best of all – cheap! It used to run me about $4 at Total Wine when I lived in South Florida. Sadly enough, there aren’t any Total Wine stores in Austin. DEPRESSING. I’m like a kid in a candy store there.

Since I had already passed Target on my way home, my next best option for wine purchasing was the nearby Chevron. DO NOT JUDGE. They have a pretty solid selection for a food mart, promise!

wine aisle

They also have a whole other rack behind where I was standing, and also a cooler full of chilled bottles. Not bad for a Chevron, right?

I was about to settle for a riesling, when I saw the Aveleda on the end of the aisle. I got all nostalgic thinking about drinking it on my patio in Florida, grabbed the bottle, and headed to the register. It was about $7, as expected since gas stations tend to jack up the prices where they can.

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Overall, I’m thoroughly enjoying my selection and would definitely recommend it as a wine to sip during those hot summer months.