Monday, January 27, 2014

At-home Yoga Studio

Last week outside…

Rare Snow Sighting

…and inside!

Yoga Studio

Week of January 20, 2014:

Monday: Afternoon walk (untimed)

Tuesday: Bike commute to campus

Wednesday: Another bike commute to campus

Thursday: Off

Friday: Evening yoga (Morning Flow #1)

Saturday: Afternoon walk + evening run.  For the run: 53 minutes total, 30 minutes of running.

Sunday: Afternoon walk around the neighborhood (untimed)

Total minutes walked/run: 53. Total estimated miles: 4.5.

Well, we had our annual snowfall in Texas last week—all half an inch of it.  Still, it’s been an unusually cold winter, even for us, and I admit that the cold weather has had a negative effect on my running motivation.  Tonight I managed to get out for a good run, about 4.5 miles through my neighborhoods, and I’m super proud of myself for that.  I almost, ALMOST talked myself out of it.  Nobody ever says, “I wish I hadn’t gone for that run,” and that’s a motto I’m keeping close at hand these days.

Check out my candlelit yoga studio up there!  It’s just the living room, with candles and Christmas lights providing soft illumination.  I’m trying to get back into a yoga habit, mostly because I miss it after not doing much yoga for many months.  Also, I love how yoga can kick my butt when I’ve been away from it for a while.  It’s a good butt-kicking, one that makes me eager for more.

PS  My new office mate says hello.

My Favorite Officemate

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Link Love: Here & Now

Jess_Poshmina downloaded 1_25_14{Like a Woman, Always Cold}

windowpane_work2 from Jessica_Here and Now{Work, Play, Get It Done}

IMG_3338 eShakti dress_Jessica of Here and Now{Spring Forward & A Giveaway}

I’m a little late with this post, but that’s because I wrote to the lovely Jessica of Here & Now to get her permission to share a few photos!  She graciously wrote back and said yes (“as long as I look good”) to which I would reply that she always looks stunning on her blog.  What really caught my attention though is that she is going to teach high school biology, which I think is awesome.  It takes some serious courage to leave the research world to pursue other things—there is a lot of pressure to stay in research and not a lot of resources and encouragement for graduate students and PhDs to seek their fortunes elsewhere.  I have also spent a lot of time struggling to find the right “job fit” for me.  Even after I left what I thought would be my first and only postdoc position, I have taken two other research lab positions: a short second postdoc and now a lab manager position.  Thankfully, despite keeping a toehold in research, I have made the transition onto a new path, and I’m so, so happy to be tutoring science and writing students.  It is a great job.

So hurray for fresh starts and pretty clothes and science!  Onto the links!

* I love this entire outfit.  That gorgeous dress!  The cute sweater!  Fall colors!

* This dress is beautiful.  Apparently I love every dress made by this new-to-me company, Gentle Fawn.  Where have you been all my life, Gentle Fawn?!?

* Holy moly, there’s a difference between plaid and gingham!  I did not know this!  Apparently I am pattern blind.

* This wintertime outfit is perfection.  I’ve kinda given up on maxi-length anything because it’s not bike-able, but I can still admire.  Plus, Jess is wearing one of my favorite three-color combos here: black, purple, and grey.  So lovely!

* This look is great.  I love a lacy, pretty dress with a vest.  I am now the proud owner of two vests—a cardigan-style sweater vest and a neon-pink sporty vest from Brooks—and I am now plotting to wear them both with more dresses…and skirts + tops!  I gotta get on that.

* GAH, THAT DRESS!  I totally signed up for the waitlist in the event that eShakti starts carrying it again. 

* I am a big fan of shirtdresses, and this windowpane pattern is right up my alley.  I love how black and white outfits make it easy to switch different “accessory” colors in and out.

* Posh’mina wrap?!?  What a brilliant idea!  I think a wrap like this could be a staple for Texas winter and spring weather, where a light layer is wanted and needed.  And you can wear it like a scarf on colder days when you need more warmth.

The irony of writing this post is that a crumb of commonsense would tell me that I shouldn’t be shopping this month.  But the only crumbs I like are cookie crumbs.

Happy Sunday, my dears!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Still Catching Up…

I haven’t been taking many photos lately, so here’s a view of things from the archives a year ago…

Sliced Orange

Elaborate Chalkwork

Snaking Upward


Week of January 13, 2014:

Monday: Evening DIY yoga

Tuesday: Evening walk (untimed)

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Went for a run!  49 minutes total with 30 minutes of running

Friday: Afternoon bike ride with Paul and his roommate Matt

Saturday: Went for another run!  34 minute total with 21 minutes of running

Sunday: Went for an afternoon walk (untimed)

Total timed minutes spent walking/running: 83.  Total estimated miles: 7.2.

I’m still catching up on blogging over here.  Actually, I feel like I’m catching up on life, which is a funny thing to say because I’m not working full time right now.  But last week I was fighting a double-whammy on the health front: a cold plus a lot of period pain.  On top of that, I’m learning how to juggle two jobs.  I like my jobs, but the amount of information that I need to manage and remember is challenging.  I’m still figuring it out.

Plus: the internet.  Since I’ve been feeling stressed this week, I am turning to my favorite lazy comfort: reading blogs and looking at pretty pictures.  My latest find?  Here & Now, a new-to-me style blog written by Jessica, a biomedical research PhD student at Vanderbilt.  I’m super impressed with her blogging ambition, keeping up a near-daily posting habit on top of working the long hours that science grad students are expected to work.  I lack that ambition, which is why I have finally, finally switched paths to pursue something that it is a better fit for me.  But!  I can still admire other people’s work.  I like Jessica’s current goal of building a timeless wardrobe that will take her through graduate school and into life after the PhD.  I certainly did not have that foresight when I was in grad school.  But I was also perfectly happy to buy sweaters for $1 and jeans for $5 at thrift stores.  When those pieces wore out after several years of wear, I could look back fondly at all the days I spent in the lab, wearing those items.

It occurs to me right now, thinking about someone who is still working on her PhD versus me, that perhaps this year is a recalibration of ambition.  I’ve grown sort of used to describing myself as lazy because I’m just not motivated by what my old path (hard-core research) has to offer.  I believe that the business of doing academic science is broken and that things are getting worse for everyone, especially the youngest and most vulnerable members of our profession.  My recent experience in being laid off has solidified this viewpoint.  On the one hand, I’m angry and sad about the reality of what academic science has become, and I feel like I need to stop caring because it’s too painful for me.  On the other hand, I am really motivated to help the new tutoring students who are coming into my life.  It’s fair to say that once I start working with a student, I am willing to go the extra distance to help him or her as best I can.  I’m learning as I go, of course.  Best of all, the feeling of tutoring is wonderful: I am energized by it and eager to make it work.

This post has suddenly become very deep!  I need to wrap things up so I can get to work, but I think I’ll pop in tomorrow and share some of my favorite posts from Here & Now with you.  It will be fun to pick them out from the dozens I read in the last two days!

Happy Friday, my dears!  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Here We Go Again!

Look at that Pretty Belly!

Kitty in a Sunbeam

Week of January 6, 2014:

Monday: Evening yoga (oof, this was a good one)

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: Morning run.  40 minutes total, 30 minutes of running.

Thursday: Off

Friday: To the bank on foot + early evening run.  66 minutes total, 30 minutes of running

Saturday: Short bike ride + evening walk

Sunday: LONG RUN!  65 minutes total, 55 minutes of running

Total minutes walked/ran: 171.  Total estimated miles: 15.2.

I swear, my cat does more than just sleep, but she does spend a lot of her time napping.  She’s so cute that I can’t help but grab the camera so that I can share her cuteness with the world.  Look at her pretty white belly!  Look at how she basks in a sunbeam!

Hurray for the first fitness post of 2014!  As usual, I’m behind in my blogging, but you must be used to that by now.  “Never on time, always cheerful”: that’s my motto.  So far, I’m doing well on my resolution to run 40 miles in January.  I’m ramping up my long runs in anticipation of the half-marathon on March, and I’m striving for three runs per week.  Last week was most successful in all ways, with about 11 miles of running spread out over three runs.  That’s a good running week for me.

I’m going to keep this short, because I’ve got work to do today, so for now, I’ll wish you a happy Sunday and a great start to the new week!

Until next time, sweet friends!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014 Running Goals: Full Speed Ahead!

Reading Date in the Park

I’m still reveling in the fresh, clean feel of a new year!  How about you?  My 2014 has been wonderful so far: a memorable road trip to New Orleans, some much-needed slow time at home, perusing an inspiring cookbook, a slow ramp-up to new work in the new year—I feel restored and ready to go.  I’ve been doing a little running to start training for the Armadillo Dash half-marathon in March, and I’m excited to settle into a running rhythm. 

This year I have a big-picture idea of where I want to go with my fitness, so I decided to lay out some goals to give me a road map.  I only have one race on the calendar for 2014, but I’m hoping to run another marathon in 2015: Toronto! I had such a good experience running Detroit in 2013 that I’m coming back for more.  Friends, if Toronto intrigues you, drop me a line!  I think it would be amazing to have some of you there with me.  At this point, my friends JD, Josh, and perhaps Val(?) are interested in running Toronto with me.  Maybe I can even convince Paul to make the big trip north to spend time with me in that city.  That would be just lovely, methinks.

For now, let’s talk about goals!   

* Run 40 miles or more each month in January, February, and March.

I had set this as an aspirational goal in November and December but fell short.  Now’s the time to make it happen, especially with a half-marathon on the schedule in March!

* Run the Armadillo Dash half-marathon in March.


* Bike commute to campus once a week, just for the love of biking!

I feel like I’ve fallen out of my biking habits, and I want to reconnect with my pedaling self.  I’ll be on campus 3-4 days a week this semester for work, so biking to and from campus is an easy way to get back in the habit.

* In the fall, build a solid running base in order to train for the Toronto Marathon in 2015.

My running book suggests that a solid base for marathon training is four 30-minute runs per week.  I’ve found that running four days a week is hard for me, but three days a week plus activity (walking, biking, yoga, etc.) is a good balance.  With that in mind, three 30-minute runs per week in the last two or three months of 2014 will be my goal.

I know that many of you have already posted your 2014 fitness goals, so I’ll ask you this: how are things going for you? I wish you the best of luck on your fitness journey!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Running Year in Review: 2013

February Sunset

New Blossoms

Shimmery Water

 Tall Trees

{Winter * Spring * Summer* Fall}

What an incredible year of running it has been!  It’s been a wild, wonderful year in many ways, but tied for first place in “Best Experience of 2013” for me is running the Detroit Marathon.  (My other “Best Experience” is meeting Paul.  I think he’s okay with sharing the honor with the marathon…)

My two racing highlights of the year were the marathon and the Armadillo Dash half-marathon.  During both races, I was able to set new PRs, which is always gratifying.  Since the marathon was my first, of course I set a new PR but more significantly, I set a new Personal Distance Record.  What an amazing feeling when that happens!

I ran a third race in June with my friend JD, but we didn’t race it.  Running with JD every time I was in Michigan this year was a real treat.  I love that I can look forward to a good catch-up and solid run with him whenever I’m in the Mitten.

By far the biggest challenge and biggest reward of my running year was the marathon.  Training for a marathon in the midst of other life changes is both good and bad.  As JD pointed out, running regularly is a positive, uplifting experience.  It reinforces your self-confidence and reminds you that you can get stuff done.  It moves you forward, toward a tangible goal.  However, it can be hard to find a running rhythm during life changes, and I think that’s where I really struggled.  My focus was elsewhere: packing, traveling, [ahem] Pinterest….During the first half of marathon training, my goal was travel (SO MUCH TRAVEL!).  During the second half, I was focused on settling into my new job, which took a lot of my personal resources (time, energy, attention).  Marathon training often felt like a puzzle piece that just would not fit into the rest of my life.  It was frustrating and demoralizing.  But amazingly, I was able to run a great marathon.  I think we should always judge our race performances against our own criteria, not someone else’s.  A tiny part of me wondered if I could finish in under five hours.  I didn’t even want to listen to that voice because I feared being disappointed at the end of 26.2 miles.  When my watch told me, late in the race, that an under-five-hour finish was possible, I went for it.  How could I not?  Here was my chance to put everything I had into this race, and I’m so glad I did.  The feeling of triumph from that finish has lingered with me—it was a very sweet end to a long and bumpy road to the marathon.

Finally, it was such a pleasure to interview my friend Josh on his running journey from basement treadmill to Detroit Marathon.  We had a great time chatting about running, health, community, and the life-changing experience that is racing.  I’m tickled to see that this post is among the most viewed for the blog.

I think that I am very lucky to have an enduring relationship with running.  Even when my dedication is waning, I find I am still able to return to the sport and get something positive out of it.  My ability to run is deep within my body and my mind.  I’m happy that I had such a wonderful experience with my first marathon; it makes me eager to sign up for another one (but not until 2015!).  Much of 2013 seemed to center around testing my limits, both personal and professional.  I like to think that I ended the year in a more positive place in all ways.  I may have stumbled a lot over life’s potholes, but I found my footing and feel more confident that I am on the right trail now toward a path of health and happiness.

Onward and upward, friends!