New Year

There is nothing more cathartic than starting a new year. The misfortunes of that past 12 months fade away and are replaced with hopes, goals, and resolutions for the best year yet!

My New Years was no different.

2015 was a difficult year in the Bush household – our apartment flooded in April, forcing us to move in with my in-laws for nearly 2 months. While we were living with the in-laws, their house was broken in to and our computer and professional photography gear was stolen. In May I suffered a miscarriage and then closed out the year with an ectopic pregnancy just three days before Christmas.

I don’t list these things as a way to show how difficult we have it, because we really don’t “have it bad”. Some really wonderful things happened in 2015 as well – through the mess, Dan and I grew much closer in our marriage. I ran my first half marathon in Walt Disney World, and we visited Las Vegas and Disneyland for our 4 year wedding anniversary! Pretty amazing.

Lately I feel myself turning a page, lifting the veil of fog that has made it’s home in my mind since last March, and looking at things a little differently. My goals for 2016 are aggressive, but not out of the realm of possibility.

First, I will be resuscitating The Forever Learner blog. I ignored it in 2015 but am now ready to jump back in and document my return to running, as well as a few other exciting things we have planned for the year. Speaking of, my second goal is to start running again. I’ve set my sights on the Get in Gear 10k in April – fitting, I think. Depending on how our journey to parenthood goes, I may expand that to include another RunDisney race…we’ll see what the new year brings.

I hope your year has started on a positive note and if it hasn’t, I hope that you can see through the fog to your goals, because they are mighty. Happy new year!

Mourning

It’s taken me a little over a month to be able to put into words my feelings about my first half marathon. I knew going into it that it wasn’t going to be exactly as I had pictured, and who would want that anyway – to know exactly how something is going to turn out? No thanks.

But I had dreamed and envisioned my first half marathon so many times over the past year that I felt completely prepared (minus the hip pain that came on the week of the race, and the bronchitis that plagued me the entire month of December). I expected it to be the most magical adventure of my running life.

Weeds...

It’s no surprise that I’ve been avoiding – avoiding this blog, avoiding running, avoiding living a healthy lifestyle all together…if I’m being completely honest. Since the Princess Half Marathon I’ve only gone on one run and been to the gym twice. Healthy eating has been sporadic at best – a drastic difference from the previous nine months of training.

Like so many others my body likes, craves even, routine. And when routine is thrown out the window and replaced with heavy meals, sweet snacks, and less time in the gym than I’ve ever spent, well, it results in some pretty bad things…a 6 pound weight gain for one, and a herniated disk in my lower back for another.

I had a sports massage last week and got to talking to my therapist about my experiences with the Princess Half Marathon. He suggested that perhaps I am in mourning. I had a vision of what that race would be like and what I would be like afterward – happy, exhilarated, and ready to take on another half marathon. Well, the result was completely the opposite.

Our greatest glory

Much of this is self-pity, I know. So many people would give anything to do what I did – go to Walt Disney World for a week, run a half marathon, and generally have a ball. I don’t take for granted those experiences. But I am willing to admit that it wasn’t the most magical experience (the race, anyway), and that it has somewhat tainted long distance running for me.

Will I run another half marathon in the future? I don’t know. Will I get back to running as a means to a healthier life, not a race medal? I hope so. What I know right now as I sit in the most agonizing pain from a bum low back is this: my mourning is over. The moment I woke up one morning only to find that I couldn’t walk from the pain was the moment I yearned to lace up my running shoes and head outside. “The grass is always greener” as they say.

You are capable

I will write a full race and vacation recap, but for now I’ll leave this here as a reminder to myself to not take your health or ability to do great thing (like finish a half marathon!) for granted.

So…about my lack of posting…

Life has been crazy busy lately – work, school, this little upcoming event called the Princess Half Marathon. I’m really feeling like I’ve been spread thin. Unfortunately when that happens, TFL is the first thing to be put aside. I’m working on it.

Speaking of the PHM, it’s just days away and I couldn’t be any more excited…or nervous for that matter. I was feeling so great just a month ago and then injury struck. First it was my knee, then I pulled a muscle in my upper back, and now my right hip feels the need to freak out with every step. At this point, I’m just praying that I make it to the finish line.

In other news, I’ve accepted a new position with Capella University so on top of planning for vacation and trying to keep up with grad school, I’m finishing up my contract with BSC. All of this = crazy Jewell. Thankfully warmer weather and Disney are right around the corner.

To all those running PHM, I hope these last few days before the race are good ones. Happy racing everyone!

Princess Half Marathon Training Update – 11 miles baby!

I feel like all I write these days are Princess Half Marathon training updated. I guess with less than 4 weeks to go until race day, that’s all I can think about! I promise content will diversify soon!

Last week was an OK week in terms of training. For starters I got to a yoga class AND did speed work – that’s an accomplish for me. Plus, I ran the furthest I’ve gone since knee surgery – 11 freaking miles!!! I’m not gonna lie, I teared up a bit as my Garmin read 11 miles.

11 miles baby!

Amazing!

I received my 2015 Runner’s World calendar and immediately flipped to February. There it is…my first half marathon!

I didn't even have to write it down on my calendar...there it is!

We had my husband’s company holiday party on Saturday night. Lots of fun with great food and a great bunch of peeps. Lots of fun, food, and drinks were had by all.

Unfortunately, I felt it the next day. Not hangover bad, just really tired from the weekend (and my 11 miler I suppose). I took a nap and did some work around the house. One thing I did not do was work on the paper I have due TOMORROW NIGHT. Procrastinating grad school student here!

To top off my weekend, PHM bib numbers are out! Based on last year’s corrals, I’m in J – a little further up than where I thought I would be. This gives me a good amount of cushion between my corral and those wonderful yet dreaded balloon ladies (and the sweeper bus).

After my run on Saturday morning my knee was really bothering me and hasn’t stopped since. I decided to take today off (or do some upper body strength training if I can get my paper done) and then scheduled a sports massage for early tomorrow morning. Hopefully this will loosen things up a bit so I can tackle my 7 miler this weekend. Then it’s one more long run (12 miles) before my two week taper.

I can’t believe it’s almost here!

This run taught me…

Don’t drink so much Gatorade while running. I think my stomach ache during my run was due to drinking too much Gatorade and not enough water. Noted.

Do you taper? If so, how long before a race do you start tapering?

Princess Half Marathon Training Update

First off, let’s start by saying it’s LESS THAN ONE MONTH UNTIL THE PRINCESS HALF MARATHON!

One more month to go!

Now, that I have that out of my system…

Have you ever had one of those runs that made you think, “I’m back!”? Well, I had one of those runs on Sunday. I’ve been trying to gain back the cardio I lost during my month-long struggle with bronchitis, and it hasn’t been easy. I really felt it after those first few runs in January, but as of Sunday I can officially say that I know I can get through those 13.1 miles.

Beautiful 9 mile run.

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that I’m ready for the Princess Half Marathon, but I at least know that I’ll make it to the finish line, major disaster withstanding. That’s an amazing feeling – despite all the hurdles, all the aches and pains – I will make it to that finish line and get that beautiful medal.

GEtting excited for WDW in one month!

Our niece stayed over at our house this weekend and it was all about Disney movie marathon in preparation for our upcoming trip. She still can’t believe it’s really happening, which makes the excitement that much sweeter. Then on Saturday we received these in the mail…

Disney Magical Express swag!

Perfect timing! It’s starting to feel more real with each passing day. If you’re training for an upcoming race, I hope it’s going well!

This run taught me…

I’m ready for the Princess Half Marathon! Bring on the bling!

When do you know you’re ready for a big race?

This is the first time I’ve ever tuly felt ready for a big race. It’s a wonderful feeling!🙂

 

Princess Half Marathon Training Update

Another week closer to the Princess Half Marathon, and I’m starting to freak out a bit. I had to take three weeks off due to bronchitis so this week’s training was all about getting back in the groove.

Getting back in the groove

I had 7 miles on the schedule for my Saturday long run. I started strong but was feeling a bit out of my element. I was trying to find my pace but started too fast, especially considering I hadn’t done a long run in nearly 4 weeks. I hit mile 4 and was already feeling the fatigue in my legs. Miles 4-6 were painful so as I closed out mile 6, I decided to call it a day. It’s more important to stay injury-free this close to the race, rather than push it.

I felt pretty bad about this, as if I had cheated on my goal. But after reflecting on it for a while, I came to the conclusion that running smart is what makes a good runner, not necessarily how far you go or how fast you get it done.

Then today I took my first ClassPass class at Kula Yoga. It was my first yoga practice in a long time and while I was pretty sore from yesterday’s run, the burn and stretch felt absolutely amazing. If you’re unfamiliar with ClassPass, it’s a new concept to the world of gym memberships. The idea is that with a monthly membership, you can attend classes at a number of studios that sign on to participate in the program. Studios include yoga, pilates, barre, and strength training.

If you’re interested in a membership-based gym but are having a hard time settling on just one, this could be a great alternative to the traditional gym memberships. This was my first experience with it and so far I like it.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Happy 2015, and a Very Merry Disney Surprise (video)!

Happy 2015!

Since the end of last semester and the start of the holiday season, I’ve been a little out of touch, blogging wise. I wound up with one heck of a cold, which turned into bronchitis over Christmas – no fun! But I made the best of it and had a lovely Christmas and New Years.

Christmas 2014

New Years 2014

I hope you did as well!

The best part of our Christmas was finally revealing to our 12-year-old niece that she will be traveling to Walt Disney World with us in February for the Princess Half Marathon. Boy, was she surprised. Click on the video below to watch the magic unfold!

Here’s to an amazing 2015!

One more semester done! And a PHM training update.

The last two weeks have been CRAZY! With school and my new work contract, life has been extra busy. I’m not one to glorify busy but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally started to feel focused again. In fact, it took a 10 mile run to get there!

Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Training Update

As I mentioned, this weekend marks the first time I’ve run double digit miles since high school cross-country. I got a little teary-eyed as my Garmin displayed 10 miles, but I was thankful as my legs started to seize up at mile 8. I think it’s due to my lack of water intake the day before…noted.

10 miles done!

It has been unseasonably warm here in Minnesota so I opted for an outdoor run – best decision ever! It was absolutely wonderful out, a little cool but perfect for a long run.


This week was a little better in terms of training, although I didn’t hit all of my scheduled workouts/runs. I did try my hand at running on turf. All I can say is no good! There is an indoor dome near my office that offers runners the chance to run along the outside of the soccer fields. I was only 10 minutes in when my legs completely seized up and the muscles were so tight that I couldn’t even walk. I had to stop along the side to stretch them out.

Turf-tastic? Not so much.

I went another 10 minutes and stopped after only 20 minutes. I was looking for an alternative to treadmill running during the winter months and unfortunately, this is not it.

Then today, the hubs and I took Kippy for a long walk along one of the nearby lakes. It was a wet but mild walk with TONS of fog.

Family walk with my two favorites!

If you’re training for a particular race, I hope it’s going well! As of today, we are 67 days away from our Walt Disney World trip and I’ve been working furiously on our daily plans since our date to make FastPass+ ressies is fast approaching. More to come on this as I finalize plans.

Have a great start to your week!

Princess Half Training Update and Fantasia Concert Review

Can you believe we’re closing out week 12 of Princess Half Marathon training?!?!?! It’s going by so quickly! I ended week 12 with a 9 mile run – my fastest thus far. On Thanksgiving my husband and I ran the Turkey Day 5k race (review coming soon) so come Saturday during my long run I was particularly tired.

I run for Turkey!

I hit 5 miles and considered stopping there but kept going until I hit 9 miles. I started with 9/1 intervals at an incredibly slow pace. I knew from the get-go that it was going to be a tiring run so I kept my pace between 13:00-15:00/mile. By the end of my run I was at 2/1 intervals…

One thing I’m really frustrated with lately is the huge difference between my Garmin footpod and the treadmill. I’ve mentioned this before but this week’s long run was even worse than past treadmill runs in that the difference between read-outs was over a mile! I decided to go by the treadmill because I knew I wasn’t running 20:00 minute miles! Ugh…

9 miles!


On Saturday night, the hubs and I had orchestra tickets for the Minnesota Orchestra – Disney’s Fantasia. Oh…My…God…it was AMAZING! I hadn’t seen the Fantasia movies anytime recently so it was awesome to see the Minnesota Orchestra’s take on such a classic. Plus, it gave us a great excuse to get dressed up and do dinner downtown at the Bucher and the Boar – also amazing!

Date night! AMAZING!

And an artsy-fartsy picture of our tree, which we put up today. Tis the season!

Tis the season!

Overall, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I hope you had a great holiday!

This run taught me…

Don’t focus so much on the numbers. Rather, focus on the feel.

What are you thankful for this year?

I’m thankful for my very loving and supportive family, my awesome dog, Kipper, and all the wonderful things happening in my life, both professionally and personally. Life is good!

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner all by myself…and nailed it!

I’m 30, married and can handle myself in the kitchen, but up until this weekend, I had never cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal on my own. The hubs and I traveld up to Grand Marais on Friday afternoon to have Thanksgiving with my dad. I love Grand Marais and am always sad to leave it, but thankfully we’ll be back in 3 short weeks for Christmas!

Now, to give credit where credit is due, my dad and husband assisted me with minor things like peeling apples and potatoes, and pulling the turkey out of the oven for basting. But I was on my own in terms of setting the menu, prepping, and cooking.

My turkey brings all the boys to the yard....

Since this was my first attempt at roasting a turkey, I decided to give it my own personal touch (with inspiration from Pinterest, of course). I chopped up garlic, rosemary, tyme, and sage, mixed it in with more butter than I care to admit, added a dash of fresh ground black pepper and sea salt and then slathered it all over the turkey.

Butter makes everything better! image

I then made stuffing – from scratch! – cream cheese and chive mashed potatoes, roasted green beas, and dinner rolls.

Roasted green beans Now that's a beautiful sight!

Hungry yet?

To top of dinner I made apple pie. I was too exhasuted to tackle the crust so that was store baught but I did make the filling from scratch. It turned out great!

Homemade apple pie!

After dinner, dad was on dirty dishes duty so Dan and I went out for a post-meal walk. I was too tired to care about how I looked, plus it’s Grand Marais so who cares anyway… I sported this amazing look. Jealous?

I'm bringing the 80's back!

Overall I think my first Thanksgiving meal turned out great. I never was that into cooking but have found great joy in trying new recipes lately. Next up – Christmas dinner with ham, wild rice salad, and something really awesome for desert!