Sunday, March 30, 2014

Lexington Kentucky's Run the (Wet) Bluegrass

What. A. Weekend, y’all.
Too good for too many words.
Here it is in pictures.
And some words.

I'm always excited to see my name on a race bib.
I'm also always pretty excited to take a selfie.

The line for the porta potties was crazy long.
And it was crazy windy, too.
I think our faces say it all.

Hills. We ran down lots and lots of hills.

This is me trying to take a selfie while running down a hill.

After running down the hills, there were more to run back up!
Confession - I straight up stole this picture from  my friend Karen.

Ok, this is really why I was trying to take a selfie while running. I wanted a pic of those folks!
In the midst of my whining about being cold and running up and down hills, this was happening.
She was even singing.
And she finished ahead of me.

We were all really happy to finish.
And to regain the feeling in our digits.

So, after a long car ride home from Kentucky and a few hours of sleep, I needed to complete the last CrossFit Open workout. Boy was it a doozy.

I took this one after I skinned my knee, finished the workout, almost lost my lunch, and cried a little.
I was pretty tired.

Action shot, courtesy of the hubs.
Apparently I keep a death stare when working out...

In two weeks I have this coming up....

Eeek! An opportunity for more SELFIES!!! ;)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

But I don't wanna....

It’s a Saturday morning, and I’ve planted myself on the couch with a warm cup of coffee and the laptop. I’ve got the blinds open so I can watch the sky change colors as I peck away at these familiar keys. The dogs, Buddy and Gracie, are already up and at it, and I find myself periodically trying to discourage them from fighting – wouldn’t want to wake Adam.

I do cherish my morning solitude.
In a little under two hours, I fully expect to be ready and at the gym waiting for…


 About a week ago, I, for some strange reason, registered for the CrossFit Open. Honestly, the strange reason was (1) peer pressure, and (2) direct questioning from the gym owner. Anyway, the Open is where anyone around the world can complete a posted workout, enter their scores, and see where they stack up against errbody else. Ultimately, it’s to find the best of the best.

I’m not the best of the best.
But that’s not supposed to matter. This is supposed to be fun. I’m supposed to enjoy the camaraderie of completing a workout together.

When the workout was announced Thursday night, I just wanted to give up ---

Workout 14.1
10 minutes to complete as many of the following:
30 Double Unders
15 Snatches at 55 pounds

Double unders are where a jump rope passes under your feet twice in one jump.
Snatches are where you bring a 55 lb barbell from the ground to over your head.

I barely have enough coordination to jump and move my hands at the same time, let alone jump and move the rope at different rates! And snatches…. When was the last time I did one of those? Hmmm…. And this is supposed to be fun?

So last night, I headed out to the sports equipment store, bought my own rope, and high tailed it to the gym to get in a double under cram session.

With lots of help and encouragement, I managed to get a few double unders in the hour that I was there. A few double unders AND some exhausted calves.

Today, I completely anticipate spending the entire 10 minutes smacking myself with the rope, trying to get those 30 double unders. I’ll be shocked if I make it to the weight lifting portion of the workout! We'll see.

So, my coffee's all gone.
The sun is in the sky.
I guess it's time to hoist myself up off of this couch and get my already sore calves moving!

Friday, January 3, 2014


It’s 5 o’clock on a Friday night.
The house is clean.
The fridge is full.
I’ve already had dinner.
And I’m sitting on the couch in some elastic waistband pants (NOT lazy pants – I sometimes workout in them!).

The hubs and I have no plans tonight. Apparently no one wants to go out and play with us.
Sigh. We’re old.

But that’s ok.  I’d rather be here all cozied up with my blanket.
This rare opportunity of downtime has given me time to think – to reflect, even – on the past year.

I’m embarrassed, though, that I had to flip through my phone’s camera roll to remember what we did earlier in the year. “/  Really? Geez Louise.  That being said, what better way to present my 2013 than in pictures!
So without further adooooo:

I began the year by challenging myself to raise money for LLS again and to run a stinkin’ marathon. I mean, who voluntarily signs up to run 26.2 miles? Little did I know that many friendships (and calluses) would be forged on this long and painful journey.
January is cold, y'all. I'm the running ninja on the left.

February was a big month.
 I ran.
A lot.
I had my first 16 miler. And 18 miler. And 20 miler.
My little brother turned 24 (what? I’m just 24… oh wait…).

I got up close and personal with this cow.

But most importantly, my childhood dream of going to Space Camp was fulfilled.
Where this happened…

Biggest story of the month – I put my giant dog in a button-down shirt.
He loved it.

Also, we planned a big kid vacation. One with flying and stuff.
Ah, Buddy!

After MONTHS of waiting, I finally mustered the courage to cut off my ridiculously long hair. Donation time!

Also after months of waiting, my marathon day finally came. My sweet husband and coach drove me and my mutant butterflies residing in my stomach up to Ohio. It was hands down the most difficult thing I’ve done. I mean, I cried.

I hurt for weeks after that bad boy.
However, I learned that I am capable of far more than I think.

In June, the hubs and I ventured to Washington State and cruised to Alaska. This was quite a feat seeing as the hubs can’t stand the thought of flying. I may or may not have told him that I would go with or without him…

We had a good time.

Us and a big chunk of ice.

July was a special month.
The hubs and I started CrossFit.
We spent a week with my sweet family. More importantly, this was a week that I didn’t have to cook my own food, do laundry, or worry about anything. It was amazing.
We also got our first professional pictures made. Photo shoots are easy for serious folks like us.

"Just act natural..."

First day of schoooooool….

I met someone really rad in September.
Well, I didn’t technically meet her. Not yet, at least.
See, when you try to search for yourself in Instagram, you sometimes get other people by the same name. But other Janells? Not likely.
Low and behold – another JANELL HILL!!!
Yeah. True story. She’s into fitness (she does CrossFit, too).
AND she’s married to a man with a big red beard.

Pretttttty cool, if you ask me!

I turned 27 again!
And I also had my first fall while running.
This was on a bridge.
In the dark.
With traffic.
In the middle of some teeniney town in Tennessee.
While I busted up my knee pretty badly, I was more bummed about ripping my favorite running capris. :(

This is well before the great fall.

I honestly don’t know what happened to November. I have virtually no pictures from that month! I mean, I know I ran… I ate… I went shopping…

Each December, I get all teary-eyed thinking about how lucky I am, what a great year it’s been, you know.

But I am.
And it was.

And now I can’t wait for all the special memories my 2014 camera roll is sure to hold! 
On a side note, I found this gem of a picture while thumbing through all of my pictures.
This is from Christmas 2012 when I got a 22 and a stuffed squirrel.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013, in Reverie

Waaay back in 2011 (seems like forever ago, eh?), I happened upon a lady's blog. Ok, ok. I was blog stalking her because she was training for a marathon and read a lot of cool books and I kinda wanted to be her. She completed this interesting questionnaire at the end of the year. So, wanting to be her, I copied.

I got to thinking about it last night when I couldn't sleep.
Now, let's talk 2013...

The Year 2013

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Single best thing...? Uhmmm. That's really tough.
I think that the best thing that happened this past year was going to stay with my parents for a week. A.Hill and I loaded up our dogs and headed to the hills of Tennessee for a week during July. I enjoyed spending my days sleeping in, eating food I didn't have to cook, and getting to see my awesome family.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
My job description changed. Again.
This time, I became a Creative Writing teacher.
For K-5 students.
Yeah, I work with the little munchkins now.
It's really tested my patience.
How do you spell hungry? What time is it? What's the capitol of Arizona? Do you capitalize mom? Can you tie my shoe? When is lunchtime? He looked at me funny. Where are the crayons? 
Holy smokes was it a change. But I love it. They love you unconditionally, and that's something to be cherished. 

Also, running a marathon. That mess was hard.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
I got to vacation in Alaska.
Never thought it would happen.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Buying a new car.
Decisions are hard.
I think we looked at and test drove a bajillion different vehicles at a bajillion different dealerships before settling on one.
Being wishy washy is a hard job, friends.

5. Pick three words to describe 2013

We ate a lot of bacon in 2013.
Not ashamed.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).

8. What were the best books you read this year?
I'm embarrassed to admit that I finished more tv series than books. Watching tv is kinda like reading, right...?
Tear Jerker: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Favorite YA Book in a Series: Divergent by Veronica Roth (and the others, too!)
Didn’t Think I’d Love It but Did: AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller (now I really wanna hike the AT!)

9. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
While I'm by no means really fit, my biggest personal change is a shift from sitting on the couch (a lot!) to working out AND running. In July, A.Hill and I started CrossFit and we love it. It's all about overall fitness and nutrition - how could that be bad?
10. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
For reals.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2014 Plans?

Wouldn't you know it -
My first opportunity to sleep in and I wake at 5 o'clock.

But that's ok.
It's given me plenty of time to think.
Yes, think!

I've been sitting here in my comfy bed, listening to the rain outside of my window for a little over an hour now. While nursing a cuppa coffee, perusing the interwebs, and allowing my mind to wander, I realized that it's been a while since I've done that. I feel like I've been on autopilot since the school year started.

Wake up.
Get ready.

Honestly, it kinda disgusts me.

With that in mind, I happened upon an interesting story of a family who lives lightly. They got rid of their junk and focus on each other. Then I read about another lady who buys nothing new (well, except the essentials).

Hmm...seems pretty logical.
Wonder if I could do that?
I've made it a whole day so far... ;)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I Need MO' Cowbell

It’s 8:30 on a Saturday morning and I haven’t left the house yet.
I’ve only been up for a couple hours.
And I’m still in my pajamas.

This is a rare occasion.

I’ve spent the last 30 minutes trying to start a blog about last Saturday’s adventures. I want to tell you all about the craziness that happened when two of my best runner friends and I traveled to Missouri to run the MO’ Cowbell Marathon and Half Marathon.  BUT nothing I write seems to sound right.  Honestly, I haven’t even had the desire to write a blog entry in a while.
What’s wrong with me?!?!

Have I lost my writing mojo?
In the words Liz Lemon, blerg.

Nevertheless, I will share my adventures via the 8 million pictures I took while on the trip. :D

Surprise cupcake from Karen. That counts as carb loading, right?

Flower pot bread from Patti's 1880s Settlement restaurant.

My race bib for my fourth 1/2 marathon!

Our trip to Grant's Farm.

Riding a camel - best $5 I've ever spent.

We got to see the massive Budweiser Clydesdale horses.
They are around 125 pounds when they're born!

St. Louis Arch photo taken by a nice dude who didn't run off with my phone.


Post-race attire. I know - I'm a real fashionista.

Me, Karen, and Dana pre-race

And now for the best photos of them all: the official race photos. Now, I actually forked over the money to buy these bad boys. Yes, they're that good.

Keep in mind that earlier Dana and I had discussed our finish line poses. I always look super tired (imagine that) or like a complete dork. My intention for this race was to look victorious.

And this is what we have for "victorious."

Flying way.

Next up, a dance move.

Really? I don't even know.

Dance move followed up by cheerleader stance:

Luckily, out of all my fantastic moves, I managed to get my arms up in the air for a proper victorious pose. I'm really glad because, much to my surprise, I set a PR (personal record) during this race.

My previous best time for running 13.1 miles was at the Oak Barrel Half Marathon back in April.

I had hoped to get a sub 2 hour half marathon during this race, but I expected to do so just marginally. I was flabbergasted to see that my time was almost 12 minutes faster than my last 1/2!

Old PR: 02:04:12
New PR: 01:52:40


Monday, September 23, 2013

Counting, Again

A while ago, I wrote about how I planned on counting my blessings more often.
That was July.

Well. I really have no excuse.
Other than there’s just been sooo many episodes of Under the Dome and New Girl to watch…

Nevertheless, here’s some more stuff for which I’m thankful.

Yes, I do realize that smiling is a weird thing to be thankful for.
But I’m still going to be thankful for it.

Anyways, I always make it a point to try to smile – especially when I go out to the fancy Wal-Marks or to work. I just don’t see any reason to wear my grumpy pants out in public; no one needs to be all up in my business prying about what’s wrong or why I’m feeling less than perfect on any given day.

Recently, I’ve had a couple encounters with people asking me why I’m so happy.
Excuse me?
Since when did smiling become a problem?
Is it really so rare to meet a happy person or customer that you have to question motive?

There’s this one bus driver at school who asks me every Wednesday what my secret is to being so happy. I’m not sure if he thinks I’ll reveal my magical secret if he asks enough OR if he honestly doesn’t remember asking me every other Wednesday. Either way, it always puts a pep in my step to know that someone else smiles because of me.

Then, just the other night in Staples, the checker outer, Caleb, asked me why I was so happy. Umm, because I’m pumped that after 5 weeks of school I finally remembered to buy a pencil sharpener? I don't know, dude! Why not?

And to answer your burning question – Yes.
I did listen to Vitamin C’s hit “Smile” like 7 billion times.
Maybe I was just brainwashed….

Believe it or not, some parents are still teaching their kids manners.
However, some adults have forgotten theirs.

Like the whole speak when spoken to thing.
What? You mean you didn’t realize that if I say something to you, you’re supposed to respond? I’m not asking for lot here – just a little acknowledgement that I took a moment to expend my valuable energy on recognizing your presence in my general vicinity.

This really is a pet peeve of mine. I’m finding that it happens more frequently these days, especially when I’m out on my runs.

I try to greet each person I meet on the trails. I also make a point to dramatically wave at each passing car when I’m out on the roads, but that’s another story. ;)
Each time a person chooses not to respond, I have to fight the overwhelming urge to turn around and chase after them, trip them, or anything else to force them into acknowledging me.  Seriously, folks! SAY SOMETHING!!!

On the same token, folks best be glad that my momma taught me to be nice and mind my manners.

The Telephone
“Back in 1876 an ol' boy named Bell
Invented a contraption that we know so well.”

Thank you Reba.
And 1994.
But I really am thankful for the telephone, especially since I live a good 2 hours from family.

I probably spent the majority of my adolescent years on the telephone, so it’s pretty funny how much I hate talking on the phone now. I am glad, though, that my family is just a phone call away.

Whether it’s advice from my mom, a chat with my grandmother, or a call to say thanks to my grandad, I’m always glad A.G. Bell was such a smart dude.
And of course that I was a die hard Reba fan – otherwise I probably wouldn’t remember who invented the phone! ;D
Love hearing Grandaddy's voice on the phone.