Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Very Rainy Leap Day

I don't know about you, but my Leap Day was far from beautiful. It has literally been raining all day, to the point that we are currently in a flash flood warning. Can't say that I'm too concerned about it.

Recently, I came to discover that St. Patrick's Day is on a Saturday this year. Probably one of my most favorite holidays, I have now taken up the task of finding something epic for Andrew and me to do for this impending Irish Celebration.

Bri has always been a big supporter of the holiday as well.


As the waiting game continues for this job search, I have been managing to keep myself entertained. Today I made myself pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, which consisted of the following:
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
-1 scoop vanilla protein powder
-1 packet of all natural sweetener
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup pumpkin
-1/2 milk of your choice (I used almond)
-3 tbsp greek yogurt

I know some of you may look at this recipe and think to yourself, "gross." But in my opinion, the result was greatness. I love pumpkin so much, and it's a great way to incorporate veggies into breakfast! I'm going to have to start stocking up on canned pumpkin, as it usually goes off the shelves in warmer months.

Today was suppose to be an easy 5 miles, but the rain and a sore foot detoured me to the health club, where I did some elliptical, weights and swimming. I never am pumped about swimming; I always stand at the edge of the pool thinking of excuses not to get in. But afterwards, I always feel great and am glad I did it. I'm hoping to make swimming become more of a consistent thing, as I plan to do a triathlon within the next year.

Anyways, I have another interview tomorrow for a similar administrative position, within a different company. I have no idea what to expect, but I figure I need to keep applying and keeping options open while I wait.

I leave you with some encouragement, which is currently the background on my phone.


Cheers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Waiting Game

Interview #2 was this afternoon, and it went about as well as an interview can go. I feel confident, but know better now never to assume. So, let the waiting game commence.

The weekend was once again stellar. I have to give big props to Andrew, he's keeping us so busy and entertained that I really don't even have time to feel lonely or sad. Friday night we took advantage of Restaurant Week in Annapolis. If you don't know what that is, Google it. Most larger cities offer it once a year, and it has pretty good deals. We went to the Melting Pot, which is a fondue restaurant. It was epic, and a great deal, seeing that it's usually pretty pricey. We strolled around downtown afterward, and stopped at a local bar for a locally brewed beer. It was a great time, and as I tweeted on Friday night, Annapolis is slowly stealing my heart.

The long run of 12.5 miles also went well this past weekend, nothing out of the norm to report. Mileage starts to go up pretty drastically from here, as I'll be doing 18 miles this weekend and loving every second of it. I finally found the trail I've been looking for that loops around a beautiful lake, so I'll be utilizing that more often on my longer runs.

Dinner was this: Super Food Salad. It left me really full, and really happy.

Well that's about it. Hopefully the next time I write I'll have some kind of news...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Interval Training Fun

Before I begin rambling about running, let me begin with this. Today I had an interview! It went really well, and I already got a call that they want me to come back for a second interview on Monday... fingers crossed... prayers are welcome. I'm guessing my pink shirt today was good luck.

Fingers crossed for the awkward bathroom pic.
Anyways, yesterday's interval training whooped my butt, really nicely. I'm going to blame it on the lack of flat land out here, however that's something I'm really not complaining about. In the long run it will help me, but in the short run it's just making me freak out about my times, because I feel like I'm getting slower. Which makes no sense, but hey, you can always count on me to be a hypochondriac.

Other exciting news: last night Andrew told me he wants to run a marathon! I about peed my pants I got so excited. Actually, I stayed pretty calm, although was really excited on the inside, and asked him what brought about this sudden decision. He responded with "It's just time to rock up and do it."

Seems about right.

Here we go. Let the search for fall marathons begin.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Very Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday. An excellence excuse to splurge on some treats. I went to bed Monday night dreaming of starting off the day with pancakes, and I did just that.

Recently I discovered the second next important thing next to the Bible. Kidding... kind of. Chocolate Covered Katie is a "Healthy Dessert Blog", and it surpasses excellence. Every recipe I've tried so far from there has blown my mind, including her famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip. I won't give away her secret ingredient, because you should check out her website yourself:

Chocolatecoveredkatie.com

I whipped up some of her Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes on Tuesday morning, and then decided it was necessary to bake a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake for Andrew when he got off work that night. Except I just couldn't tell him that it was actually healthy. ;)

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With chocolate chips on top, of course.

I then topped off my baking bender by making a Cookie Dough Oatmeal Cake for my breakfast the next morning. I had the ingredients (I'm telling you, that 5 lb bag of oats is proving invaluable) and knew it was either start my job searching for the day, or continue baking, so I chose the later.

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Costco... who knew right?
I then attempted to slim down my Fat Tuesday by hitting the hills for a hill workout. It was rewarding, no doubt, as I found some legit hills back in some of Columbia's neighborhoods that kicked my ass, making me feel a little less nervous of this impending marathon I have coming up...

Anyways, Tuesday night consisted of the Maryland Basketball Game. It was a blast, and needless to say, we consumed enough Fat Tuesday concession treats for a large family. I have no doubt that the fries and popcorn alone helped me to meet my sodium intake for the next week.

As for today, it's been a solid day of job searching and emailing. I had a few interviews earlier in the week, but haven't heard back yet. In the meantime, I will proceed with the search, and keep on harassing recruiters... something I'm becoming quite impressive at.

Hope you all had a very Fat Tuesday! :)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Running Long in Maryland

This past weekend marked a series of firsts out here for me... all which were great experiences.

In general, it was my first weekend living out here. It was great, in short. Friday night was my first time ever trying oysters. I can't really say that I fell in love with them, since it was kind of like eating snot a strange texture, but I'm never one to hate on food. I'd try them again, if the situation presented itself.

Saturday marked my first long run out here.. 16 miles. The city of Columbia has over 90 miles of paved biking/running trails (Yea, you heard me right, 90) so I went into the situation thinking I'd have no problem finding an out and back route of 16 miles.

My gigantic map of the 90 miles of trails

Turns out I thought wrong. I believe what the maps says; there's trails out here up the wazoo. However, they are hilly, constantly splitting off, winding through wooded areas and neighborhoods, so that it is nearly impossible to remember the way you came once you turn back around. However, somehow I managed to do a few random laps, and pushed through a solid 16 miles, just over two hours, sitting right around an 8 min pace. Too fast for what my long runs should be, but whatever. My training has been pretty lax the past week, with the combo of being sick and the move, so I was happy with the result.

I already shared this on Twitter, but for those of you who care, here are my splits.

The rest of Saturday was a beautiful blur as well. Andrew and I headed down to Annapolis for dinner with some of his family at a FANTASTIC Italian restaurant. Literally everything was to die for, from the champagne, to the many courses of food, to the coffee. I just about wept tears of happiness the entire meal. My favorite was probably the soft warm mozzarella served in some find of liquid happiness.  Something along the lines of butter, but better. The night also marked my first time trying clams, and tuna tartar. YUM.

I won't continue to give you a play by play of the weekend, but let me leave you with this. On a whim, we decided to head down to the DC zoo this afternoon, since it's free. As we were checking out the monkey house, one of the apes came right up to the glass, as if to say hello to everyone watching her. She proceeded to throw up, eat her vomit, throw up again, and once again eat it. The process may have continued on, but Andrew and I were so disgusted we had to walk away. Another first for me.

Andrew's favorite part of the zoo by far. His top choice for a pet.

Hope you all had a great weekend as well! Cheers!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Big Move

Let me just start by saying, today I got to run outside in short sleeves for the first time in a long time. It was beautiful. More on that later.



Wow, the past 48 hours have been an absolute whirlwind. The drive out here was as easy as pie. Why pie is easy, I'm unsure, as I'm pretty sure I'd screw it up if I ever tried to bake one. But that's beside the point.

My trip began early Monday morning to the pleasant surprise of me waking up with pink eye. It's a funny thing, waking up with pink eye. My first reaction was sadness, and the second, wondering at what point the previous day had I rubbed poo in my eye. Kidding...but seriously.

Regardless, there wasn't much I could do about it, besides put on my glasses and suck it up. I was too freaking pumped about everything to let it bring me down anyway.
Me being pumped, with pink eye.

5 AM rolled around and I pulled out of Crystal Lake, Shannon (the name of my Honda Civic), packed to the brim.  The 11 hours really did fly by, due to a combination of my great family and friend's phone calls, and my own fantastic DJ'ing ability. In fact, I sang so loudly for so long, my voice still is a bit raspy today.

States and cities I passed through along the way reminded me of friends and memories. As I drove just south of Toledo, Ohio I couldn't help but mourn a bit. It was at the University of Toledo my Sophomore year that I attempted to eat the court during a volleyball match, losing half of my tooth. See below.

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Photo credits go to Lyndi.
The trip as a whole ended up taking just under 11 hours, stops included. My wonderful Civic barely used up 3 tanks of gas for the 750 mile trip, a good portion of it taking me through the Appalachian Mountains. That in itself was a pleasant surprise, as I had no idea that Northern Maryland had mountains. I got into town right around 5 p.m. E.S.T., and had my wonderful boyfriend waiting.

So here I am now, all moved into my cute little town home. I have zero complaints so far, aside from the pink eye spreading into my other eye, forcing me to have to run in glasses today and look like a huge nerd super cute. However, the run revealed miles and miles of running trails, leaving me so giddy and sweaty afterwards I wasn't even mad about my glasses. I was just glad to be back on the trails, and to have not gotten lost.

So far, so good. May just be the runner's high, so to speak, but I'll keep you updated. Now, on to job searching!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dear Illinois

Dear Illinois,

It's been a lot of fun. Honestly, more fun than I thought it would be. It's always good to come back to my roots, family and longtime friends.

Yet very early tomorrow morning, I set out on a new adventure. My Maryland adventure, which will begin with this:

I've been told it can be done under 12 hours...
Where I will then be greeted by my main man, and his famous pesto pasta for dinner. Yes, we already planned what we're eating for dinner.  I'm happy to say I managed to find a guy who loves food as much as I do almost as much as I do.

I'm excited. Nervous and sad are also mixed in there, but mainly I'm excited. It's been EIGHT months since we've lived in the same state and I'm so ready for that time to be over. I'm confident this is the next step, and the right time to do so.

So, here we are. I'm off to Maryland, in search of a job, fresh seafood, sunny days on the coast, miles of running trails and many adventures with a certain boy who stole my heart. (I know, gag)

For now,

Your former Westerner, current Midwesterner, soon to be Easterner friend,

Kait

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Lion King Pal

Today began with a fantastic breakfast of cranberry walnut pancakes, with one of my best friends in the entire world. Who, as of a week ago, is ENGAGED!

Danielle and I met the summer before we went into kindergarten, and instantly became the best of pals.

From soccer and softball teams, to catching lady bugs wearing out matching Lion King overalls, we were one of the strangest pairs around. Still are, as a matter of fact. All throughout elementary school teachers would get the two of us confused, and I believe it was up until 7th grade that we played out elaborate soap operas with our barbies. Is 7th grade too old? Hold your judgement.

We had our ups and downs in our friendship, as anyone does, yet we've always managed to stay close and updated on each others lives. And now, nearly 20 years later, I get to stand in her wedding this summer! I couldn't be more pumped! Congrats again Danielle and Jeff!



Breakfast was supposed to be followed by a 7 mile run at race pace. Unfortunately, when the afternoon rolled around and wind chills were still below zero, I just couldn't get myself to do it. I wouldn't say that I hate running in cold, but it's the wind that gets me.  So, defeated, I headed down into my basement to do intervals on the dreaded treadmill for an hour, while watching The Biggest Loser and listening to the new Dierks Bentley album. Ya win some ya lose some.

In other news, they're forecasting some 50 degree days in Columbia next week, and I couldn't be more pumped about it. Here we go.

Friday, February 10, 2012

For All You Dog Lovers

This post is dedicated to the best dog I know. Maddie, or Meeks as I awkwardly nicknamed her. She's a best friend of mine, and I'm pretty convinced that even later in life, when I have other furry friends, none will surpass her.


Just this morning, at 5 Am, posing with her mouse friend Brenda.

We got her when I was in 6th grade, from a local breeder. I literally wrote my parents a persuasive essay as to why I wanted a dog, and why a Smooth-coat Fox Terrier would be the perfect fit for us. I researched breeders in the area, and even got in touch with the breeder that we got her from.  Pretty impressive for an eleven year old? I know.

She's now 12, and still plugging away. Her health is up and down; she has kidney disease, but my mom has her on a VERY strict diet that is essentially the reason she's still alive. She eats sweet potatoes by the pound and loves it. It's hilarious actually, until you have to pick up her sweet potatoe poo on walks. TMI? Long hair.

Since I've been back home she's slept in my bed with me every night. There's been nights when I want to throw her off of it because she can be pretty restless, and I'm a light sleeper myself. Yet no matter how irritated and sleep deprived I get, I still love having a cuddle buddy. She's the most loyal, intelligent dog I know, and I'm really grateful to still have her around.  So grateful in fact, that when we go to sleep every night I make her come up by my pillow next to me so we can say a little prayer together.  I know The Big Guy is watching over her just as much as the rest of us.


My road trip buddy. She's a fan of the heated seats.

I always tell Andrew how hard it's going to be to lose her. He doesn't get it; his only pet as a child was a hamster, who escaped its cage one night and was never to be seen again. But Maddie is part of our family, she's done life with us. She came to all of our soccer tournaments, oftentimes sat patiently in the car at my volleyball tournaments. She's been to Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa I believe; quite the traveler for a little pup.  There are very few days of her life that she hasn't been walked, and she probably has more coats and scarfs than I do.

She's a gem, that dog, and it's going to be hard to once again say goodbye to her on Monday morning. But I know she's in the best of hands with my parents; I don't think they consider themselves empty nesters quite yet, as she's considered one of the girls.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Craigslist

I have two very legit reasons to be a big time believer in Craigslist. The two reasons are pictured below:


Exhibit A


Exhibit B
Exhibit A: The Kenny Chesney Concert at Red Rocks, July 2011. My friend Karlie and I decided very last minute to go, and therefore had to go through Craigslist to do so. The guy we purchased them from was, for lack of better words, creepsauce, but the concert was EPICALLY AMAZING. I would trade my organs pay a lot of money to be able to do it again this summer. Great memories, all made possible because of Craigslist.

Exhibit B: My amazing roommates from my past year in Fort Collins. We didn't know each other at all, in fact didn't even meet before I signed a lease with them in the summer of 2010. It ended up being one of the best decisions I've ever made, as I got to live with two of the most awesome, solid girls that I've ever had the privilege of living with. Not to mention my furry friend Kai, shown above as well. Two random girls who I found on Craigslist and needed a roommate turned out to be two lifelong friends.

So there you have it, two prime examples as to why I decided to once again use Craigslist in my search for roommates in Columbia. The two girls who I'm moving in with seem great, and have been so so nice thus far. I'm confident this move will provide, yet again, another Craigslist success story.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A blog? Really Kait?

I know, I know. Way to jump on the bandwagon. First I start running, right around that time when running, warrior dashes and races of all sorts started blowing up in epic proportions. Right when running started getting "cool". Don't believe me?

Exhibit A: In 2005, the Boston Marathon didn't even completely fill it's capacity. In 2010, before the B.A.A changed the registration process, it filled it's 26,000 spots in eight hours.

Exhibit B: Red Frog Events, which puts on those ever so popular Warrior Dashes, had an estimated revenue of $50 million in 2011. The company was first founded in 2007.

Exhibit C: Today, registration for the Chicago Marathon closed as it has now filled its 45,000 available spots... these spots were filled in 6 days. This was 25 days faster than 2011.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about jumping on this bandwagon. I'd much rather see these kind of things gain much popularity versus our past unhealthier trends, such as smoking, tanning etc.

So anyways, now I'm going to follow the lead of every runner/exercise nut/health freak I know and start blogging about my own passions in life as well. But I promise, it won't only be about running.

The truth is, I love to write. I often wish I would have pursued the passion more in college, because I like to think I'm good at it. I've found recently that things I'm good at, I enjoy.

I'm not going to go into any extensive depth of my background and how I got where I am right now, you can check out my "About Me" page for more of that. But just to bring you up to speed, here we go:

After living in Colorado for the past year and a half, running my first and only marathon, (and qualifying for Boston) and making some of the sweetest friends I could ever imagine, I find myself here. Back home, in Illinois. Fresh off of turning 24 years old, six months out of Graduate School, and pretty darn jobless.

However, one week from today, you will find me in a fairly different situation. A resident of Maryland, happily reunited with my longtime boyfriend, completely friendless (locally at least), still training for Boston, and (most likely) still very, very jobless.

Stay tuned.