What I’m Loving Lately V

books, daily life, dissertation, food, music

Before I even get started, I should say that what I am loving lately the most is heat and our furnace. I am loving modernity and the industrial revolution, because I feel like I am living in a Jack London novel. I am loving that I have a flexible schedule that allows for me to stay home all day if I want to. Being a graduate student is (sometimes) the best. With wind chill in the -40s in Michigan today (although strangely it will be 48 degrees on Sunday), I am very much loving that I am inside.

Watching: Like everyone else this past week, I watched the Fyre documentaries on Netflix and Hulu. You know you are a total nerd when, you go to Krogers and make lame jokes with your husband about “late stage capitalism” the entire time you picking out what you are about to binge on (peanut butter m and m’s and yogurt covered pretzels for me, Twizzlers for Bruno), probably scaring the other consumers. Ok, back to the documentaries. I recommend and I’ll admit not for the most virtuous of reasons. I definitely have a sort of #richpeopleproblems attitude to the whole debacle. There was one “influencer” who was not even shown for longer than two minutes (in both documentaries) who made me rage (“low, low economy”). I will say though it made me question whether I was part of the problem due to my (probably excessive) use of Instagram, so I pre-ordered Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism to try to temper my social media-addict ways. Sidenote: the Fyre Festival memes on ultrarunningmemes are gold.

Listening: I am really liking Weezer’s Teal Album. I did not initially love their cover of Toto’s Africa, but it grew on me and I was pleasantly surprised with all the other covers on the album. A few favorites: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Sweet Dreams are Made of These, and Paranoid. Weezer covering Black Sabbath may be one of the most fun songs I’ve heard in awhile. I went through a Weezer phase in high school (this is a thing, right?) and listened to plenty of the Blue Album and Pinkerton (just like this SNL sketch), but then never really listened to them again. So, it has been fun to listen to those albums again.

Reading: Confession? Not much. I’m reading True Devotion to Mary as a part of this reading challenge, but most of my reading has been Jean-Jacques Rousseau and dissertation-related as I begin to prepare for my defense next month. So yeah, strangely nothing too exciting here unless you are into the sources of inequality and the great swindle that led to political society.

Eating: I have been having bad cravings again. I made these blondies yesterday to satiate my sugar tooth and they were amazing. But mostly, it has been nothing too exciting — lots of soups made from my favorite cookbook. I switched up my flour from white to whole wheat for my sour dough bread and it was just ok — why does the bad stuff always taste better? I did start making my own yogurt and I will admit, it tastes much better than what you can get in the store.

I hope you all are staying warm! What are you loving lately?

 

 

 

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Twenty-Two Weeks Update

crossfit, daily life, pregnancy, running

As I mentioned yesterday, we went in for our twenty week ultrasound. Our sonographer said everything looked good, but we’ll learn more next week during our regular appointment. While the best part was being told everything looked good (relief), the second best was being told that baby was measuring bigger than they expected. Instead of being due early June, I’m due late May. While I am not sure it makes a difference, it is kind of nice to know things are moving along. It all still feels so far away, but as I told Bruno when we got home, technically if the new due date is right, we only have three full months (February, March, April) sans-baby left. Not only that, but I’ll be walking for my doctoral graduation exactly two weeks before I am due. That might be a long ceremony.

50943337_331896447427239_4665557234875367424_n

But how is it going? I mentioned last week I was dealing with pelvic pain and yesterday that I think I did something to my ankle — probably due to the change in ligaments (I’m falling apart). But aside from that, what is going on?

I keep waking up at 3 in the morning. At least two to three times a week, I am up at three. I have determined it is better to just roll with it instead of fighting it in bed. So, I wake up, do my morning thing. I’m lucky to have a flexible schedule, so I can take a nap later if need be, but I actually try really hard not to so I can still get to bed at nine if I can.

Nightmares. The waking up at 3 is not so bad. It just means more quiet time in the morning and I’m more tired. What is not so fun are the nightmares. Sometimes I do not even know what I dreamt about, but just that it was not good. I get that it is hormones, but I look forward to these stopping whenever they do.

Iron-hard immune system. When Bruno was sick with the flu the other week, I was nervous I would end up getting it too. After all, we live and sleep in close proximity. I figured it was only a matter of time. I braced myself, but never got it. I’ve always had a freakishly good immune system (I get sick — but from migraines and apparently beets and spinach), but this might be one of the more impressive times the system has shown me it won’t let me down.

The nesting has begun. Though Marie Kondo is a little too woo-woo for me (though I might read her book to learn how to fold socks ha!), for the first time in awhile our house is clean. Not immaculate, but clutter is starting to disappear, a rhythm for the days I clean certain things has begun to emerge (today is laundry day), and yes, I’m throwing things out. Of course, I am. It has shown up in other ways too. Though one of our goals was to not eat out in January (unless it is for social event — which has so far only happened twice), I think the urge to cook is probably related to the nesting urge. I like cooking, but making my own yogurt? Definitely a little different.

Running has diminished/strength has improved. One of the interesting things about being pregnant is how differently it affects my running and how differently is has affected my weight-lifting at CrossFit. I had about ten good weeks of running and then boom, slower, painful, and more walking. However, anytime I have lifted weights, I have either been consistent or improved. I have PR’ed both my back-squat and my shoulder press during my second trimester, not to mention a few other movements (although this is a change from maybe the barbell to putting weights on…still a big deal for me). It probably helps that strength-wise I am starting from nothing, so I do not know if it would be the same if I had been doing crossfit for years. But — it does feel good and I cannot help but be impressed with my body. Like holy cow, I am making a baby and pushing seventy pounds over my head. Crazy.

Overall, I’d say things are going well. Like I have mentioned, patience has been key. I want to type-A and do all the things, but physically, especially with running, I have to take a step back. I have to be patient on the days I wake up at three and be ok with the fact that probably after lunch, not a thing will get done because I will be so tired. I can confirm that at least for myself everything I read about the second trimester being better than the first is absolutely true.

 

So What is Good?

crossfit, daily life, dissertation, pregnancy, running

After yesterday’s whine, I must admit I am feeling much better today. Not physically (I’m still in pain), but mentally. I also did not wake up at 2 am, but at 5:30 today — the difference between five hours of sleep vs. eight hours!

So here is what’s good:

I sent my final dissertation chapter to my committee yesterday.  All had read it before, but this was the official and final version. I wrote a conclusion today. All that is left is to make sure formatting and citations are in order and I can officially submit my dissertation.

It is looking like I will defend before I turn 29. Age is arbitrary, but when one of my options was to have my defense on February 4th (my birthday is the next day) as opposed to dates later in the month, I took it. Ph.D. before thirty here I come!

I received a revise and resubmit from a peer-reviewed academic journal. After two rejections, this one felt good! I read through the comments and they look interesting and useful. I will probably not work on it until I’m officially all done with the dissertation — one thing at a time, people! — but I am hoping to get my edits and changes in by the end of February. If it gets accepted, it will be my first academic publication (not a small deal). Huzzah!

Credit at the chiropractor’s office. I will not see my chiropractor until Friday afternoon (get here soon, please!). However, all my visits are financial-guilt free. Years ago, back when I was on my mom’s insurance (thanks Obama!), all my visits were covered, yet I still paid out of pocket for them. Then they would credit me for my next visit, etc. I don’t know, it got confusing, but I still went all the time. I am a real bone-crackin’ believer. Anyway I did not go for several years. Turns out I had a several hundred dollar credit. It is like a gift from past me to future me. Like “Hey future self, you’ll be pregnant, probably in pain, and trying to save in a few years. This is for you.”

Taking a walk outside. Today I did some walking and about a mile and a half of running outside, totaling around three miles. I do not care about the cold. It feels so good to be outside. Yes, I feel stiff and sore and running does not feel lovely, but not being indoors, not being on the treadmill is its own gift. I listened to my dissertation-writing playlist and generally felt joyful.

So yeah, my running is declining. I landed weird (like actually felt a pop) on my left foot while attempting double-unders at CrossFit today and my ankle is swollen (help me ice and ace bandage!). My pelvis hurts. Physically I feel like a mess, but I’m grateful. I’m grateful to just be moving. I’m grateful that I managed twenty-five double-unders today during the work-out which is twenty-five more than the last work-out where I attempted to do them. I’m grateful that today was spent writing and not editing.

So, there you go. That’s what’s good.

What I’m Loving Lately IV

books, daily life, food, music, reading

Tomorrow we begin our annual holiday tour. We leave Michigan for Ohio and then will leave Ohio for Connecticut on Sunday. So today I’m finishing up grading, packing, cleaning — all that fun stuff, because after tomorrow it will probably be two weeks before we are home again. I dislike being gone for so long, but it is the best way to get seeing everyone in.

So it is a bit of a full day, but I figured I would share something I’m loving lately.

Watching: It is an old show, but we’ve been watching a lot of Pushing Daisies lately. I like the whimsical fairy tale-mystery-crime of the week vibe. Plus, the lines are so good. We’ve mainly been sticking to comedy shows, because I have not been able to tolerate anything too serious — just stress, you know? Anyway, tis the season for Christmas movies and I had a few firsts. One — I finally watched It’s a Wonderful Life and cried my eyes out at the end. I was so afraid it would not be as good as everyone said it was and it really is that great. Two — I watched Die Hard. Not as good at IAWL, but good in its own way. I’m not usually one for action films, but I liked this one. And finally, we watched the Christmas Chronicles on Netflix and thought it was hilarious. Kurt Russell should always play Santa Claus.

Listening: When I was not running in September and October, I kind of took a break from podcasts. Now, I’m back to them, catching up on Ultrarunner Podcast, Work, Play, Love, and Rich Roll‘s podcast. It feels good to have these voices back in my ears while going for runs. I find that I miss everyone when it has been awhile. I’m kind of in a music rut. I want something new that does not sound new — if that makes any sense. Like, I want to discover an old album or song that I have not listened to in years.

Reading: I’m reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year I re-read the whole series. It has been pretty slow-going this year, but I’m sure it will pick up once we get to Connecticut. I tell you what, I still have the same reactions to those books as I did when I was a teen. I cannot put them down. I will sit on the couch all day to get through one of those tomes. I’m still trying to finish the Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and reading Atomic Habits by James Cleary.

Eating: Well, you can see some of what I’ve been eating lately here. I’ve been trying to add more snacks to my daily routine (frankly, it is not working. I’m still hungry). I’ve forgotten how good something simple like hard boiled eggs sprinkled with salt can taste, like amazingly good. Another frequent staple is Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce (I’m addicted). I made this crockpot baked ziti on Sunday and it is so good and easy and has so much potential (like I would add a ton of veggies to it).

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

First Trimester Pregnancy Update

daily life, pregnancy

Tomorrow marks the end of my thirteenth week of pregnancy and the beginning of my fourteenth. Depending on where you look, this means I have ended the first trimester and am not beginning the second. Onward, I say, because I cannot believe that I still have six months to go (due date is June 3). It seems like a lot can happen in six months. While I do not want to rush the time, I also just kind of want to get there already.

But the last three months — that is what I am here to talk about. I severely underestimated pregnancy. Or I severely overestimated myself in response to pregnancy. Either works. I spent most of September, October, and the first part of November consistently all-day sick. At a certain point, I became used to the nausea. What I struggled with were the headaches and eyesight problems and the hormonal depression. Frankly, I really did not feel good.

I am happy to say that around the week of Thanksgiving things picked up. I’m still getting sick, but maybe every couple of days now. On Saturday I had eyesight and headache problems, but with declining frequency. And most importantly, I feel like the depression I was in for most of September through November has lifted. I’m regularly anxious Ali again – ha!

But in all seriousness — feeling as down as I did in the first months of pregnancy was not something I expected at all. I know about post-natal depression, but depression during is not something that I knew anything about. Apparently, it is quite common. That helped. Honestly, it helped to tell myself “This isn’t you. This is your hormones doubling at warp speed.” It was still hard, but it allowed for some separation between myself and how I was feeling.

I’m not sure when exactly I began to feel like myself again, but I am still trying to keep an eye on it. I think working out regularly again helps. Not getting sick all the time has helped me keep a regular schedule — something I need to do for my anxiety, but I think also helped how low I was feeling. It is hard to feel ok when you are laying on the couch because one of your eyes is foggy and cannot focus, you have a headache, and every time you move you have to get sick. And while I love Ben and Jerry’s and buffalo chicken sandwiches from the local pizza place, I’m not sure having my diet revolve around them has contributed to a state of mental well-being either. Physically feeling better has helped me mentally and emotionally for sure.

I have gained more weight than what is “recommended” for the first trimester already. Starting a few weeks ago, I started seeing numbers on the scale I have never seen before and those numbers have consistently inched higher and higher. The other week I went into CrossFit and my coach (a female) mentioned my baby bump. I was super excited because I thought I was finally developing one and I was happy to have someone notice. That said, I’m not sure if it that is a baby bump or a Ben and Jerry’s bump. Probably a little bit of both!

babybump

Food baby or real baby? 

On a more positive note — I’ve written about my struggles with insomnia on this blog before. I have had no problems sleeping since becoming pregnant. I sleep like the dead. I fall asleep instantly. I still sometimes wake up in the night, but I fall right back asleep and then proceed to oversleep. This confirms to me that my insomnia is probably hormonal. I know I’ll probably not be getting much sleep soon, so I appreciate all that I can get right now.

I’ll be providing an update on how running and crossfit are going sometime next week, but in the meantime I’m happy that I’m starting to get back on a regular schedule again. I’m grateful to be nearly-finished with my dissertation and do not feel so go-go-go right now, which helps because though I am feeling better, I still feel tired all the time. And most of all, I’m grateful to be starting a family.

xo, Ali

Take It Easy

books, crossfit, daily life, dissertation, graduate school, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, reading, running

Yesterday we had our second prenatal appointment. Everything looks and sounds good. My bloodwork was great and the baby’s heart was beating at around 154 bpm. Week thirteen starts Friday and then it is just one more week until I am out of the first trimester. I was actually really confused by this. I had thought after twelve weeks I was in the second trimester, but I guess it starts in the fourteenth week. Eventually I will figure all of this out, maybe?

Anyway — I was sick most of the day yesterday (and this morning too). Wednesday’s are hard days for me. Tuesday night is when I teach my Constitution class. It ends around 9pm — close to when I normally go to bed. However, I’m usually so amped from teaching I cannot sleep or if I do sleep it is restless. I wake up Wednesday morning feeling all sorts of messed up. Next thing you know, I have a bad headache that just will not go away and a stomach that will not settle down. And though I know and understand why and have tried to account for the fact that “Wednesday’s are hard,” it is hard to not get frustrated with myself anyways.

Like with the fact that I have not worked out since a Monday short ride on the trainer or that not much has been done with the dissertation since I found out chapter five was approved (that changed this morning, but still). After several days of feeling like a not just like a normal functioning human being, but frankly like a total ball-buster, the house is a disaster again, dishes are piling up and my clothes are everywhere. I had that bathroom perfectly clean before Thanksgiving! How do things go downhill so quickly? Just a few days of feeling terrible and it feels like all hell breaks loose.

I know. I know. Take it easy. I’m trying. Yesterday, I finished the first Harry Potter book and read some Bulgakov. I didn’t cave and order a buffalo chicken sandwich (buffalo sauce being my ultimate craving right now) and made a healthy-ish lunch (black bean soup and homemade sour dough bread). Bruno took care of dinner.

Today it is only 9:40 in the morning and I’ve already gotten more done than I did yesterday. I worked on getting the complete dissertation put together (and learned I have no idea how to use Microsoft Word). I submitted a journal article. I will probably actually run today and make it to CrossFit. I know days are like this. I just wish I would have more patience with myself in the process.

xo, Ali

 

 

The One with the Baby News

blogging, books, daily life, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, running

Ok, ok so it has been almost three months since I have posted and with good reason too!

Things have been going on. And I am very happy to say that all of them are good.

I left you September 5 with some thoughts on working from home. Soon after, I ran Run Woodstock 5k and half-marathon. I ran just ok, actually terribly. I ran that race a half hour slower than I did at Run Legend. I knew it would be harder, but that I was that much slower bummed me out. I felt tired and exhausted. I had no idea why. I thought, perhaps, I was over-trained. This is probably true. I took some time off running.

runwoodstock

Me after the Hippie Half-Marathon at Run Woodstock. Probably pregnant here!

I focused on teaching and my dissertation. I only have two more classes to teach right now and all my dissertation chapters are approved — I need do some edits and revisions, but I should be able to defend in February!

A little over two weeks after Run Woodstock, I still felt tired and exhausted. I was starting to get a little suspicious. On a Wednesday morning, I asked Bruno if we could pop by a Walgreens to grab a pregnancy test before we went to campus. Later that morning, I informed Bruno that yes, I was indeed pregnant. Very pregnant. Those lines were dark!

I’ll admit that I was surprised, but very pleased. We had wanted to start having kids as soon as we knew that I would have my dissertation done before baby no. 1 arrived, so the timing is very good (especially now that chapter five is approved). Baby C is due next year in early June. I will be waddling across that stage mid-May to get my Ph.D. diploma. Proudly waddling.

I want to be careful about how I write what I say next, especially because I know that I am very blessed and happy to be pregnant. I do not want to seem like I am complaining thoughtlessly or without compassion for women who have been struggling to get pregnant or who have lost babies.

That said, from about three days after I found out I was pregnant until probably about a week or two ago, I was having a very hard time. Normally, I’m an anxious person, but the increase of hormones made me well, frankly, depressed. I felt like a complete mess of vomit for the last several weeks and felt sick all the time. I could barely eat anything, barely cook anything because the smell of anything sent me running (the only running I did) to the toilet or trashcan. I regularly had severe headaches and was exhausted. I know. I know. All of this is normal. Many have gone through this before me and will do so afterwards. I feel silly for even complaining. And I’m lucky, happy, etc., but I would be lying if I said it was not hard.

The little energy I had was directed to prepping for class and crawling to the finish of writing this fifth chapter. I barely did anything else. I have no idea how women who go to regular jobs do it. There was a week that aside for teaching Tuesday night class, I barely left the house because I was afraid I would spend most of that time in a public restroom getting sick. This did little for the depression problem.

Quick shout out to Bruno for taking care of the majority of cooking and cleaning and having incredible patience during this time. Marry a man who, when you are having a meltdown because of how terrible you feel and how you feel bad for having a meltdown for how terrible you feel, surprises you by taking you to get a professional massage that very afternoon. Then, for his birthday, when you regain your ability to function like an actual human being bake him a layered coconut buttercream cake.

I feel better. I only get really sick every three days now, instead of what felt like every hour. Full disclosure: I worked with an orange Home Depot bucket that said “Let’s Do This!” next to my computer for just in case. I still went to CrossFit about 2-3 times a week, but the week before last I started running again. Last week I ran a Turkey Trot 5k. I am cooking again. I went on a full-blown baking spree last week in the kitchen. I’m doing my holiday re-read of Harry Potter. Rejoice! I am starting to feel, at least for now, like myself again. It feels good.

With that said, I’m hoping to finish the 2018 year of blogging and running strong. I am interested to see how running as a pregnant lady goes. It will be a new chapter in my life, one that I’m very happy to begin.

pregnant

xo, Ali

Thoughts on Working from Home

daily life, dissertation

A couple months ago, at a friend’s wedding a college friend of mine told me that it must be nice to work from home. You do not have to get dressed. You do not have to go anywhere. It seems really easy.

I get it. And I admit to enjoying the advantages of working from home. I can decide when I work out. There is nowhere I have to physically be. The flexibility is wonderful.

Recently an aunt of mine showed up to my house as a surprise. It was 10:30am. I was still in pajamas and the house was chaos. I woke up, poured myself some coffee, and started writing. So, yes, I was doing something, but I was kind of embarrassed to be a 28 year old woman still in pjs on before lunch on a Tuesday.

But I do not love working from home. For one thing, even though being a productive writer makes me happy, sitting around in pajamas all day does not. Being in my house all day makes me agitated, anxious even. Then there is the work/home separation. I wake up. I go to my desk. I work. When I make lunch, there it is, just sitting there. I cannot leave it. It lives with me. There is no end of the day. Even when I’m not working, it is there reminding me that I could be working.

One of the things I’m trying to make more an effort to do this semester is work on campus consistently. Even though I try to do working hours at home, it just is not the same. I need physical separation. I need to have that feeling of coming home from work. I was at work, but now I am home.

I’ve never been one for procrastination or putting things off, but I think going to campus allows for a little bit more order in the day. When I’m home, everything seems to meld together. I’m writing a dissertation and doing laundry. I’m sitting at my desk, but I’m aware, all-too-aware that the dishes need to be done and the living room is a mess. Mental energy.

I have been working in the library for a week now and it feels better. When I go home for the night, I know I’m done for the day. It makes a world of difference.

xo, Ali

What I’m Loving Lately III

books, daily life, food

And yes, I will continue to use Roman numerals for all of these.

This is basically the last week of summer for us. Classes start on campus next week Wednesday which means come this weekend our college town will be filled with undergrads again. Summer hours for favorite coffee shops will be over. It will be harder to find a spot in the library (we are graduate students are a pretty studious school). And, most importantly, I will begin teaching for the first time ever. Hello, anxiety.

I have a few solutions for when I become a bundle of nerves. Here is what is making the end of the summer especially enjoyable.

Watching : I am about ten years late on this bandwagon, but I officially started watching The Office. I have tried to watch it before, but did not like the show at all. I would get second-hand embarrassment over the awkward situations. Bruno loves it though and has had it on as background (he’s watched it several times) while he does administrative tasks. Now I’m hooked. It took three times, but I guess the third time is the charm, right? I also now get this The “Oval” Office parody.

Listening : I’ve been listening to a audiobooks lately. Sometimes all I want to do is listen to podcasts, but sometimes I just get tired of them. I’m currently going back and forth between the classic book on the Charles Manson family murders, Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, and the controversial 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. I’m finding them both interesting, although the Manson book can be at times dry and repetitive. I get it though. Some of the witnesses repeat information and there are a bunch of rules for prosecution and evidence that I do not understand. The whole situation is terrifying and definitely shows the danger of a breakdown of culture, which of course leads me to the Peterson book. In a strange twist, the biggest Peterson fans in my life are all married women. Go figure. I want to get the hardcover version so that I can actually take notes. It can be easy to miss things when you listen on audible. I do not find anything he says that shocking. I think he stretches some things (I’m currently on the chapter where he equates the ancient sacrificing to the gods to sacrificing our present desires for a better future well-being…I get what he saying, put off facebook today and work so you can have a better tomorrow, but how he gets there I don’t know), but I think his overall points make sense.

Reading : A lot of Ryan Holiday. I liked the Ego is the EnemyI am not too keen on the Obstacle is the Way. Both books contradict each other. I’m not sure if this is because they have different purposes. For example, Ego is the Enemy notes that Steve Jobs had to learn to get it together before Apple took him back. His ego was a problem and he needed to overcome it. The Obstacle is the Way seems to praise Jobs’ ego. It was Apple that was in the wrong for firing Jobs. They just did not appreciate his vision. So, ok, is it just ok to maniacal if you have “vision”? Where the first book is anti-workaholic, pro-character, I’m not so sure about Obstacle. Once again Holiday praises Jobs for his excessive demands on other people all in the name of getting a product out. Sure, they produced whatever technology on time, but at the expense of how many relationships, health problems, parents not home with children? Both are worth reading, but Ego is the Enemy is by far superior.

Eating : I have been trying to snack more. I felt kind of weird during a CrossFit work out last week. My head felt slightly woozy. I work out right before dinner, so I figured I was probably hungry and needed to eat more. Enter my two favorite snacks of the moment. From Aldi’s I buy Coconut Cashews. These are magical. I’m sure they are not the healthiest, but they are glorious and probably better than snacking on cookies or chips. Then, from Kroger’s we have been buying the Kroger brand beef jerky. Previously I did not like beef jerky. I thought it was too hard, too chewy, and kind of gross. This jerky has changed everything. I no longer feel like I am gnawing on a piece of dried meat like a dog. It is the perfect texture and I like the smokehouse flavor best thus far.

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

Outdoors People

daily life

Growing up I always thought some people were outside people, some people were inside people. I disliked outside activities. I did not like sports (although I did love swimming). I did not like camping. I did not like fishing. My dad was a dairy farmer, so spending time outside was inevitable, but what I really wanted to do was be inside, preferably with a book. I think Nietzsche makes a joke about pasty intellectuals (if he didn’t, it sounds like something he would say).

I suppose that changed when I started running. I began doing all my runs on an indoor track at my college rec center. When my runs became longer than three miles, I started doing them on the treadmill. It was not until I went home that summer, deprived of rec center and treadmill, that I began running outside. At this point, the most I was running was maybe three or four miles at a time. That year, I trained for a half, so this thesis-writing college senior was forced outdoors. The treadmill became the dreadmill. I now train outside in the rain and in the freezing cold (hello, Michigan winters). Only storms and ice keep me inside.

I suppose this transitioned into other areas. Instead of reading at my desk, I started bringing my books outside on the front porch. Little things, but a big difference from my former self who could only be tempted into spending time outside if beer was involved.

I read Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run and while I remained far away from the ability to run an ultra, most ultra and trail runners seemed to be outdoors enthusiasts. I read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Jennifer Pharr Davis’s Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. I caught the bug. I wanted to go on my own adventure. Of course, I have no idea what I’m doing (still don’t), so we asked for basic camping equipment for Christmas and we took a wilderness survival class in the spring in the hopes that someday we will go on our own backpacking or remote camping trip.

But first, baby steps. I’ve gone camping before, but never on purpose. I went with my parents. I think the last time before this past weekend was a trip with my mom and step-dad to Wolverine, Michigan. I remember liking it, but it was not anything I would do on my own. So, this weekend was a “new” experience in its own way.

We went to a state park, so nothing super out remote or out there. Putting up the tent took us longer than the box said, but no meltdowns occurred. We learned that we may not be completely hopeless at this outdoors thing. I made sandwiches and s’mores over the fire. We were kept awake by loud bugs. I was bit up by mosquitos all over my feet, the only place where I forgot to spray off. Aside for the half-marathon, we did not really do anything exciting. Our legs were tired, so we just sat around and talked and not talked. We walked to the lake and cooled our legs off. Bruno practiced floating and swimming. I posted occasionally on Instagram, but because service was spotty, I mainly stayed off my phone.

Bruno said on the way home that he did not think about his dissertation the entire weekend. He told me it was the most relaxed he had felt in a long time. I felt similarly and was actually sad to come home on Sunday. I did not really want to get back to it. Usually periods of not doing anything, even shorter periods like a weekend, make me anxious, desperate for structure and the grind. Monday is my favorite time of year. Not this time.

So we’re back. It is baby step number one for what will someday be a longer trip. I’m not sure either of us expected that we would end up being the couple that does outdoors things, but now Bruno wanting to learn how to fish and I’m looking into a snowshoe race in January. I do not think the “call of the wild” is going away. We’ll keep making baby steps until we are officially really outdoors people.*

xo, Ali

*I’ll admit it. I feel a bit like a poser. I can’t even read a map, but man, I am so excited to learn.