Thursday, June 23, 2011

Last Minute Plans

Hi all!

In the spirit of keeping these posts more regular, I thought I'd stop in with an update!

The last week or so has been quite the whirlwind.  Since last I posted, I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off - finishing up my last week in the office for a while (I'll be working from home this summer), packing my Columbia life away, moving back to Lincoln for most of the rest of the summer, and trying to get ready for my upcoming trip to FRANCE!!!
Montpellier is in South Central France

That's right...  I'm going to France.  Next week.  I still sort of can't believe it, but I suppose when I board the plane next Tuesday, it will sink in!  Here's how it all went down...

A few months ago, I submitted a presentation (my thesis work - the polyandry stuff) to two major anthropology conferences - one in Montpellier, France this summer, the other in Montreal in November - and was accepted for BOTH conferences.  Imagine my excitement!!!  However, once I saw the prices of airline tickets to France, I gave up hope on going and set my sights on Montreal.  When I returned to Columbia, a few weeks ago, though, my advisor told me she found a flight I might be able to afford (and also told me she had an extra bed at the B&B she would be staying in, which would help save on hotel costs).  I was PUMPED... until I realized I had already mailed off my passport for renewal.  No passport = no trip to France and there's just no telling how long it will take to get a passport back.  I was able to call and have the process expedited (for some extra $), but then, it was all about the waiting game.  If I got the passport back in time, and if the ticket prices were still low enough, I would go.  But, I wasn't getting my hopes up.

Montpellier square at night
Lucky for me, my passport came in last Friday AND the ticket prices were still manageable.  So, after some internal debate about my $$ situation, I booked my flights!  This will definitely put a dent in my savings account, but it will be a FANTASTIC professional opportunity (my VERY FIRST professional presentation!!!), and seriously, who in their right minds could pass up a trip to Southern France and a chance to see the Mediterranean?!?!?!?!  Not this girl.

Last minute plans for a trip this big are WAY out of my comfort zone, so I'm a little wigged out - worried I won't be prepared, will forget something important, will get horribly lost when I walk off the plane in Marseilles, etc., etc.  I'm also a little nervous about my presentation.  I want to be 100% confident in what I'm going to put out there before I stand in front of a room full of people (I hope!) and tell them how important my research is.  Mostly, though, I'm SUPER EXCITED!!!  At this time next week, I'll be strolling around Southern France...  CRAZY!  (<-- sorry for all the shouting...  I'm excited.)

Don't worry, I'll take tons of pictures and be sure to post all of the good ones on here.  I'll also tell you all about the trip when I get back.

In the meantime, I've been getting some work done, thinking about what to pack (and bought a new outfit that I'll wear for my presentation), and spending some time with this guy:

How cute is he???  I'm a lucky aunt.  :)
Have you ever been to Europe before? (I've been to England, but never mainland Europe!)  Ever planned a big trip on the fly?  Any recommendations for what to pack/wear/see/do would be welcomed!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When Motivation Goes Away

Motivation is a funny thing...  Sometimes I have so much of it I feel like I'm bursting at the seems.  Other times, I can't get motivated to tie my own shoes.  Most of the time, I find myself somewhere in the middle, trending towards feeling sufficiently motivated to do the things I need to do.  I like this.  I am happy at this point.  For the last week and a half or so, though, where my running and fitness are concerned, I have found myself with very little motivation to do anything.  I have been staying up late and sleeping in (well, I should say "sleeping in" because for me, that means anything later than 7 a.m.), going out with friends for dinner and drinks, generally soaking up the couple of weeks that I have in Columbia and through all this, my desire to lace up the running shoes has been zip.

In my experience, some things affect motivation more than others.  For example, heat and especially humidity can majorly cramp one's style.  Also, sometimes not having a specific race to train for can leave a person feeling less motivated.  I believe that I have encountered the perfect storm of motivation-sucking conditions these last several days.  First of all, (let's not lie) the CICADAS!!!  (yes - I am a wimp)  Seriously, the thought of going out for a "peaceful" run, all the while being divebombed by screaming, screeching, nasty cicadas has been a bit unappealing.  The few times I have gone out for a run, I have gone earlier in the day or in the evening when they're not so bad.  This helps some.  Second, that whole staying up late, sleeping in, going out with friends thing...  Enough said there.  Third, I have been earning my "cred" as an anthropologist early, immunizing myself against all sorts of things, preparing for my trip to Bangladesh in the fall.  Yesterday, I had three shots in my shoulders and have been in some pain since then.  Today, I took my first dose of an oral typhoid vaccine, which resulted in a couple hours of major nausea.  (I was not a pretty sight today...)  And, I could literally go on and on with what are basically beginning to sound like excuses.

Truth be told, after a grueling semester, training for and running a half marathon, and the recent breakup, I am emotionally and mentally spent.  Spending my time right now getting some R&R, hanging out with good friends, and generally doing nothing (I am working 5 hours a day right now, but it's pretty laid back) has been really nice.  My normal life consists of schedules for work, sleep, food, exercise, and fun (should I say "fun" if I have to schedule it? haha), and involves doing a lot of what I "should" do or what I need to do.  And it feels pretty good to take some time off of all of that for a couple of weeks.

The thing is, though, I know this won't last long.  Once I get back to Lincoln and back into more of a normal (normal for summer) routine, I fully expect to be right back at it, running, cross-training, lifting weights, and yoga-ing it up.  Because I REALLY ENJOY doing all of that!  And I know that taking a little bit of well-deserved and much-needed time off will actually make me feel more motivated to get back to the workouts that I love and will allow me to enjoy them even more.

For now, I'm going to pay attention to what my mind and body are telling me and just relax.  I'm going to soak it up and I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Hey everyone,

How are you all doing?  Has anyone melted from this crazy heat spell that's hit half of the country over the last week or so?  I nearly have...  I, for one, will be happy to return to the upper 80's and leave the 90's and 100+ degree weather behind for a couple of weeks!

Anyway, in the spirit of positivity, I decided to do something a little different on the blog today.  I got this fabulous idea from one of my new favorite running blogs:  Ali on the Run.  (Seriously, people, running blogs are one of my main sources of motivation - it is inspiring to read about other peoples' running pursuits!)  Every Thursday, Ali writes a blog post about the things in her life she is thankful for, and I decided to give it a go.  **I realize that it may be Friday when most of you read this, but that's ok.

So...  Here are the things I am especially thankful for this week:

1.  My brief return to Columbia.
  After a few weeks at home, coming back to Columbia this last week has been so good for me for a number of reasons.  First of all, it is nice to be sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen (although, with the heat, there has been minimal cooking happening over here), and being around all of my own stuff.  It is quiet and relaxing here in my apartment, and I am enjoying the time to myself.  Secondly, all of this "me time" has given me a ton of time to think and deal with break-up related issues.  When I walked into my apartment on Sunday evening, the sadness hit me like a brick.  I suppose as I get older and relationships become more meaningful and serious to me, the loss is harder to deal with.  However, I realize that these are feelings I need to allow myself to feel and issues that I need to deal with, and this time to myself is allowing me the space I need to do those things.

2.  The fact that the homes in my area were built within the last 13 years.  I am SO not joking about this!  Right now, Cicada Plague 2011 is happening all across Missouri (as well as other more southern states, from what I understand).  I would be lying if I said it didn't totally gross/freak me out.  This particular species appears every 13 years, mating and laying their eggs in trees.  When the eggs hatch, apparently, the cicadas make their way through the trees and come out of the surrounding soil.  Simply put, there are probably millions of them and they are EVERYWHERE.  They are SUPER LOUD and also have a nasty habit of dive bombing everyone that walks by.  When you brush them off of you, they scream.  This is not a pleasant experience!  Anyway, housing areas that were developed in the last 13 years are mostly cicada free because most of the trees are newly planted and the ground was disturbed in the building process.  I am so thankful I am able to walk to my car without being swarmed.  Seriously.

3.  That I own hand weights and an ab ball. (It's the small things, people.)  I'm not able to use the student rec center for free right now, so having this minimal workout equipment at home has been a great alternative!  I am in my first official week of a new weight lifting program (from the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women) and really want to stay on track.  The little home gym has allowed me to keep up with my weight workouts with only minimal adjustments to a couple of exercises!

This brings me to my next one...

4.  My new running outfits!!!  Sometimes, it's all about the clothes!  (Duh.)  I have a few new running outfits this summer and it is making such a difference.  They are cute, they keep me cool (SO important in this heat!), and they make me excited to get out and run.  My very favorite new shirt is this one from Moving Comfort:

And finally:

5.  I am thankful for this morning's hot, sweaty, hilly run.  Mind you, Columbia is no San Francisco, but we have our fair share of awe-inspiring and fear-inducing hills.  Out of fear (read: whimpy-ness) of being caught in a cicada swarm on the lovely but heavily forested trail here in town, I decided to take this morning's 3-miler to the sidewalks.  I ran the route that I drive every day to school (and have run a few times before) and am always amazed at how crazy those hills are!  The thing about them, though, is how freaking good it feels to finally run all the way up one instead of stopping mid hill to cling for dear life to a nearby tree (I have never done that...) and how AMAZING I feel at the end of those runs.  There is always a new challenge, always something new to accomplish, and always a "come to Jesus" moment that occurs on that little 3-mile run.  Today, I got home, sweating profusely and gasping for breath, and instead of going inside, I just laid down on my front step, closed my eyes, and soaked it all in.  When I got up there was a Katie-sized sweat print on the ground.  

Question for the comments section:  What are YOU thankful for this week?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


As some of you know by now, last week the relationship that I have been in for the last two years (since before I started this blog, in fact) ended.

To be frank with you, I'm not even sure why I'm writing this blog post, because I have absolutely no idea what to say.  My emotions are all over the board and I really haven't had more than two organized thoughts about this subject since the breakup occurred.

In the last week, I have felt sad, mad, and scared.  Sad about the loss of this relationship and the loss of someone from my life who has been my friend for the last two years.  Sad that he couldn't see the future the same way I did.  And sad for the loss of all of the good things that came along with this relationship - laughter, vacation plans, family time, closeness, plans for summer fun, shared interests and hobbies, mutual understanding and acceptance of one another.  I have also felt mad about, well, a lot of things that I probably don't need to go into on the blog...  I have felt scared about the inevitable changes that accompany a broken relationship and about the thought of starting over again.  I often feel lonely (although never alone), and occasionally find myself feeling rejected (but, let's be honest - I felt that way when I was in the relationship, too).  I have questioned myself and some of my decisions, wondering how I got to be in this position.

In the past week, however, I have also felt profoundly and unwaveringly thankful.  Thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with myself and to rejuvenate the part of me that has felt such pain and exhaustion over the last several months - trying to make the relationship work, lobbying relentlessly and ineffectively for my own wants and needs.  But, more than anything, thankful for the people in my life who have rallied around me, giving support and showing unconditional love.  My wonderful mother and lovely sister - who was kind enough to lend me my nephew for some "happy time" last weekend - know me well enough to know the right things to say.  My completely amazing friends here in Lincoln, who have taken me out for drinks, dinners, runs, movies, breakfasts, ice cream (yipes - I'd better be sure to get my run in today...), and dragged me along on a highly comical shopping trip; they have run along side me, listening to me babble on and on, offering constant support and reassurance.  And my wonderful friends in Columbia, Indiana, Chicago, Boise, Taiwan, etc., etc., who have offered love and support from afar.  Sometimes it takes something crappy happening to remind a person of just how lucky she is.  And, clearly, I am very lucky.

Overall, the word that perfectly sums up the last week for me is discombobulated.  I am confused and all out of sorts.  My feelings change from one minute to the next, and I seem to be having some trouble wrapping my head around what has happened.  I'm not sure yet what I want or what I should do.  I don't know how to feel or how to act.  I want to grieve, but I want to move on.  I don't want to obsess, but I want to deal with my feelings (so they don't come back to bite me in the a$$ later on).

Mostly, I want to stop feeling so unsettled.  (Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go look up yoga class times for tonight...)