Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Books of 2011

In 2010 I set a goal for myself to read one book per week in 2011.  When I got accepted in to grad school, I realized that my reading "for fun" time might be disappearing, so I picked up the pace.  This summer I created quite the book goal cushion for myself, and I completed my goal in early November with 7 weeks to spare.

Now, I know most of you are here for my running antics, but I'd be a bad future librarian if I didn't inspire you to pick up a book in 2012.  The following are my favorite books that I read in 2011 (please note, this isn't a "best of 2011 list, because a good chunk of them have been out longer than just this year).  Also, as you can tell from my list, my preferred reading genres are young adult, running, fiction, and some chick lit sprinkled in for good measure.

Young Adult

To say that I devoured The Hunger Games books is an understatement.  I really loved them, and loved the main character Katniss, even if her role has come under some scrutinize for the somewhat obnoxious love triangle, woe is me, stuff.

 Just when I thought I couldn't get more sucked in to the young adult, dystopian world genre, along came Divergent.  Another book I flew through and quickly became my favorite of the genre.  And by genre I'm stating that as favorite dystopian novel, and favorite YA novel of 2011.

 But to be sure, I did have to read Delirium , which was almost on par with the Hunger Games in awesomeness.  I'm looking forward to the direction that both series will take.

I was definitely not expecting the intensity of The Book Thief from a YA novel.  Such an emotional book, I kept having to remind myself that it wasn't an adult book.  Incredibly good, but very emotionally draining.


Advanced Marathoning is on most runner's shelves.  I'd scanned it previously and realized the programs were too advanced for me, but noted that I definitely wanted to tackle them in the future.  When I mentioned that I was thinking of doing a fall marathon, Danielle sent me my very own copy.  We've become almost inseparable since then.


  The Story of Beautiful Girl is a book that brought me to crippling sobs.  It is a beautifully written, heart-wrenching novel that is a must-read.  Definitely one of my favorite books of all time.

I would go so far to say that The Night Circus is one of my favorite books read in 2011.  Such whimsy and amazingness.  One of the first times I've finished a book and hoped it'd be made in to a movie, because I'm not sure my imagination did it justice.

 I feel like I was one of the last people to read The Room .  My sister in law kept asking if I had read it, so I finally did, and wow.  Definitely worth the time.  It's told in the perspective of a little boy who's whole world is a tiny room.  Very intense.

 Again, I'm probably one of the last people to read Water for Elephants.  I swear I started to read it a few years ago, and I could not get in to it, but when I picked it up, it wasn't the same book I was thinking of.  I read it because the movie was coming out and knew I'd see it at some point.  I was super sucked in to the circus and the love story.

  I was not expecting what I got out of So Much Pretty.  It was a lot darker than I had anticipated, and maybe that's why I liked it so much.  It caught me off-guard.

The Housekeeper and the Professor is one of the first books I read in 2011, so the details are a bit hazy, but I remember that I loved it.  I read it for a book club at the downtown library, and then was ill the day it was discussed.  I should probably re-read it to remember why I gave it 5 stars.  Or you should read it and remind me.

I really loved The Discovery of Witches but felt like the ending was so up in the air.  And then I realized it was written as a trilogy.  And then I felt dumb.  Lots of supernatural fun and intrigue.  Can't wait for the rest of the books to roll out.  I do think it had a bit of a slow start, so beware of that.

There are many other books that made away with 4 stars, so feel free to check out my "Bookworm Page" for a full list of books.

Disclosure:  If you click on the book and buy the book from Amazon, I get like a fraction of a penny.  ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Time I Fell Off the Foam Roller

I got home from work tonight and was putzing around getting ready for my run.  I sat down on the foam roller and sent out a "help me!" tweet regarding what the heck to wear in "feels like" 20 degree temps.  I remember what to wear in crazy cold and above freezing.... the middle... not so much.

a) none of you jerks responded back to me because obviously you don't care if I freeze my petunias off


b) it wouldn't have mattered anyway, because by the time I actually got out the door it was REALLY 24 degrees, and with the windchill it was 13 or something insane like that.

But still, next time I throw out a HALP tweet, you'd all better respond lickity split like, kapeesh?

Anywho, while catching up on my twitter feed (and waiting for you turd faces to NOT respond to me...yup!  still bitter about it!) I decided to get my foam roll on.  Since I'm getting back in the running thing my foam roller and I need to become besticles yet again.  I started off rolling my butt.  And then moved on to my upper butt/hip area.  All the while scrolling through my phone a-catchin' up on the twitterz.  When.....


I rolled right off the foam roller and smucked my head on my couch.

And immediately tweeted about it.  Duh.

And then got back on and continued to check the twittahz because I obviously don't learn lessons.

Moral of the story:  sometimes multi-tasking is good.  Other times it can cause you to crack your skull.  And yet other times still you just feel like a ding dong and then announce it to twitter (and shortly there after...the blog world.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Wishlist + Back on Track

A few weeks back, Kyle asked me what I wanted for Christmas/Birthday.  To which I replied, "WTH?  Don't you follow my blog??!?!  I have a list 2x a month for Chrissakes..."  And then he pressed my mute button.  Or he would've if I came with one.

This is essentially the cutest of the cute.  I'm a cardigan wearing fool.  I've often joked that I only want to be a librarian, because I already dress like one.  This is crazy expensive for a cardi, but you guys... it SPARKLES aka it's meant for me and my glitter fart self.

I don't own an Alabama hoodie.  When I was doing damage at the Alabama bookstore I was sporting two underarm sweat marks, and some significant backsweat, so a hoodie was the farthest thing from my mind.  Turns out, it's still the arctic tundra back at home, and this would come in handy. Plus it's freakin cute.

One of the people I follow on Twitter posted this bag as their Xmas gift to themselves.  So immediately I needed it.  Kyle let me wear my new Lululemon jacket out on Saturday night (our one year anniversary....awwwww) to which I replied, neat so this must be my anniversary gift, you can get me this bag for Xmas!  That... didn't go over well.

Speaking of my new Lululemon jacket, I won't be getting any of the above items, because I already got this beauty.

And I already know that my mom picked out (with my extreme assistance) the two most awesome gifts for my birthmas, so we can probably ignore this post all together.  But just in case I get a huge anonymous check for birthmas, I'd like to have an idea of what to get myself.  Moving on.... ;)

I adore this scarf.  I need to learn to knit, asap.  Just not as many options crocheting!

And this would've been my dream gift as a kid.... annnnd I'd still love it.

And finally these amazing tights.

Moving on to the running front, I've gotten back on track this week.  I did an easy 5 miler and a 5 miler that included some heart rate testing.  Very interesting stuff.  And I managed my first "long run" in the last month knocking out 8 miles today.  No worries, the 8 miles was essentially more difficult than the 26.2 miles in Philly.  Someone remind me of this next time I take a little time off from running.  Oy.

I had to take walk breaks on my run today to get my heart rate to come down, and that didn't really help.  But at least it was a super gorgeous day out.  Capris and a long sleeve at the end of December?  Sign me up!  I was bummed to see two dudes in shorts, but since they were wearing jackets, stocking hats, and gloves I figured I win for net least amount of running clothes.  Yes, it's a contest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Sweetest Words

The other night Kyle asked me a question I've been waiting forever for him to ask:

Will you create a running training program for me?

I squealed and shrieked.  And then started spouting out of a multitude of questions.  And then I think I freaked him out.  Baby steps, Jerbear.

As you may have noticed, I fell off the blog wagon after posting my grand goal for the rest of the month/year.  And that's because I fell off the running wagon as well.  I had some pain in my foot that I started to affectionately refer to as my "stress fracture foot" and after a couple of runs sans knee strap my knee was feeling wonky.  Couple that with upcoming finals, one of which that was 40% of my final grade (NBD, I'm just having a panic attack thinking about it now!), and some possible burn out on the horizon, I decided to put running on the back burner for a bit.

I was a little concerned when I wasn't missing running.  At all.  I was sleeping in on my late days at work.  I was sleeping in on the weekend.  It was... kind of amazing.  I was also studying my little booty off during every second of free time, and it was great not to have to stress about fitting in an hour of running in my already crammed day.

But Saturday I took my tough final, and Saturday night I celebrated, as I think is necessary.  And Sunday I rewarded myself with a run.  Just a measly 3 miler.  But it was nice.  And then I watched Green Bay put up another tally in the win column.  GO PACK GO!

Monday I woke up with more knee annoyance, and I was pissssssssssed.  I complained to Kyle that "I JUST WANT TO GO FOR A RUN G.D. IT!"  And he said... good.  Finally.  And he was right.  FINALLY I was excited to get back in to it.

I did a lot of foam rolling on Monday and Tuesday, and knocked out an easy 5 miler with strides on Wednesday morning.  Granted my "easy" heart rate isn't quite what it was pre-Philly.  But apparently endurance eating doesn't equate to endurance running.  Wish you all would've told me that... jerks.

And tomorrow is me and Kyle's running date.  And I'm pretty excited about it.  Since I'm not begging him to run with me, as has been the case the 3 other times he's ran with me, and it's him requesting it, I think it's a good sign that he's excited to do it.

And as for my first semester of grad school, unofficially knocked out a 4.0, while working full time and training for two half marathons and a full marathon.  ::gives herself 3 gold stars and 2 successive pats on the back::  ROLL TIDE!

P.S.  Have you met my niece?  She's kind of beautiful, no?  Takes after her auntie obvs.  ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Votes Are In

The ballots are closed.

All smear campaigns have been put to bed.

With the Philadelphia Marathon completed, that marks the end of my 2011 racing season, and thus the end of Danielle and my CHALLENGE!  Since I need a 4:21 something er other and ran a 4:26 something or other, she is the clear champion.

Congratulations to Danielle!
(at least she's reppin' TEAM GREEN!)

Interesting fun fact:  As I was checking out my garmin stats, I happened to catch the "moving time" count on the site, so assumedly the times we were "using the facilities" or "waiting for others to use the facilities" the ol' garmin was not ticking away.  What's that time, you ask?  4:19.




I'd be up for a rematch in 2012.  It was a delight to be your competitor while also being one of your biggest fans. :D