I’ve missed you.

Dear blog:

What happened? I thought we were doing so well. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together, exploring avenues of thought, reflecting on adventures, trials and errors. And then, as suddenly as you came into my life:

we went our separate ways.

How about another go at it? So much has happened since our last encounter: more vegan recipes, another half-marathon, a wedding, a honeymoon, and more travels. Oh, and all of that other day-to-day life “Stuff” that keeps us preoccupied.

Time to slip on that favorite pair of sweats and ease back into the land of not just my perfunctory words and phrases but returning to those put forward by others (far less perfunctory than my own).

What happened?

Is history repeating itself once again? I have felt so disconnected from the blogosphere, as both a faithful reader (with attempts at pseudo-engager) and dedicated writer, exploring the various aspects of my life that continue to bring adventure, satisfaction, and challenge. Over the last two weeks, I have been struck by various post topics in the shower, in the car, and while at work, but none have actually manifested themselves into the “pages” of online print.

After spending this weekend in a prone position due to the onslaught of germs, I have tried to catch-up on what I have missed, mostly for the love of reading other people’s words. I certainly appreciate the content as well (because what would be the point of reading otherwise?) but I take such pleasure in how other people express themselves.

Overall, one of my current challenges is computer burnout. After spending my entire day in front of a screen, I am coming home to total avoidance. Unfortunately, I have been slipping back into the bad habit of bringing my phone with me to the couch (a habit acknowledged this weekend with Aaron and now that is in the open, can be improved upon again). But, I still have little desire to crack open my laptop.

How do you all find balance in sitting in front of the screen to read, write, work, play, and stay connected? Advice wanted!

Top 10 Highlights from this week (a la #SCTopTen)

Call it the #PaulsonTopTen. This week’s work/life balance was…less balanced. A lot more work and lot less play. One night, I was in bed by 8:10pm, just drained. I’ll get back to my writing ways this weekend, but for now, here are the top 10 key moments from this last week:

 

1) Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables and Ginger-Scallion Dressing:

QuinoaSalad

So full of flavor! Brussel sprouts were a bit expensive, so I opted to substitutes cauliflower and broccoli. You can’t go wrong. Simple, delicious, and tastes great for leftovers.

2) Our new coffee maker has changed our mornings for the better. Smooooooth coffee:

Cuisnart3. Achieved longest held plank: 4 minutes. New goal: 5 minute plank.

4. Actually taking a break two days for lunch and reading “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg. Extremely inspirational and enlightening.

5. Narrowing down wedding venues to the top three choices. Budgets outlined, catering calls in. This thing is slowly, but surely, coming together.

6. Recognizing that I have not bitten my nails in over three weeks. As a life-long proclaimed nail biter, I have tried, and tried, and tried, to stop. This is the first time, in my entire life, that I have made it this far. Childhood bad habits, be gone!

7. Fullsteam Brewery’s Coffee is for Closers (coffee porter) is on point.

8. Took a PiYo class on Sunday for the first time in two months. It’s hard to believe how the tiniest movements can create such lasting aches in muscles for days to come. Good aches, of course, but feeling a bit cowboy-esque nonetheless.

9. An impromptu date night with Aaron on Wednesday made this week. I had to travel to Raleigh (second time that day) to bring supplies for a conference, and Aaron kindly accompanied me for unloading purposes. Post-work responsibilities, we ventured over to Guasaca (seriously, this place can do no wrong, and so much of the menu is vegan friendly) and then a shopping adventure over at our favorite Bottle Revolution.

10. Spent much of yesterday reflecting, listening, watching the world of President John F. Kennedy. He was a tremendous orator with the gift to inspire, to call people to act, to invoke feelings inside of all us and implored us to remember that we are not one; we are not silos; instead, we are all in this together, as people of a nation and of a planet. Rest in peace, President Kennedy, and thank you for leaving such an impact on our world, 50 years later.

JFK_One Person Can Make A Difference

Recap: City of Oaks Half-Marathon (2013)

This is the second Sunday in a row that I have been awake before 4:30am, and both for a particular reason. Last Sunday, I was up in preparation of the City of Oaks Half-Marathon. I ran the 10k in 2012 and earned a PR. This year, I wanted to take it up one step and add the additional (almost) seven miles.

In the last two weeks, post-engagement, my running training fell by the wayside. I believe I squeezed in just two longer runs, with the longest only reaching six miles. But, I felt strong thanks to Bootcamp and Cardio Intervals via the YMCA. So, I went into last Sunday’s race with no expectation of besting my RunRaleigh time. I also did not have my best friend and motivation at the finish line for this race: Aaron was in Missouri for the Tennessee football game, so this was my first race in some time flying absolutely solo.

It was a beautiful morning for a run: crisp and cool. There was good energy at the starting line – a lot of first time half-marathoners and marathoners. There were several more pacing groups for this race, which ended up being my saving grace since I did not befriend anyone on the course as opposed to my RunRaleigh experience.

Now, I knew this was going to be a hilly course – but it definitely took my breath away near the end (really? Another incline??) I heard through the grapevine that the last few miles of the marathon course were brutal. That definitely does not spark my interest of adding another 13.1 miles for this particular race.

I hoofed the first mile to try and break from the swarm of humanity that engulfed the front part of the race. I found it a little overwhelming at times although it did improve after about mile three or four. Keeping my eyes peeled, I sought out the 1:45 pace group after mile two and did my best to maintain that effort. Compared to RunRaleigh, I wasn’t feeling quite as on as I had, but I did bring Goo with me for this race since I had felt wimpy around mile 9.

Sticking with the pace group. we winded our way through downtown Raleigh and made the journey back to the NC State/Cameron Village area. At about the 11.5 mile, I decided to take it up a notch and pushed out in front of the pace group (also trying to escape after I blurted out “Go Heels” upon discussing of the previous days State/Carolina game. Let’s just say that I was a lone…wolf.)

I smile as I saw the last of the course was downhill, and I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:44:12 – beating my previous best just a few weeks before! Without the pacers, I would not have been able to keep up that effort, so a big shout out to them!

Sadly, no photos for this race, which after viewing the professionals photos taken, no one is missing anything. How do people take good race photos? I always look like I’m one step away from collapsing.

This was my last race for 2013! Looking ahead to 2014, there are a lot of options on the table. Bull City Running announced the new Merge 25k, which is a point-to-point course from Chapel Hill to Merge Records’ downtown Durham location. I think that will be a must try for me.

What races do you have on your radar for the rest of 2013/beginning 2014?