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And here they are… Ready or not 2011, Here I come!

Yes, finally time to put finger to key on these new years resolutions. I’m excited about them, but don’t feel the same intense drive as last year. Last year was about change, this year is really about upping the ante.

1. Run a race! And hopefully this race will be the C-ville 10-miler at the end of March. My training has been pretty off and on…so I’m training on the assumption I will run this 10 miler, but am doubting myself a bit (I know, not cool). So, should I fail I still have to run a 10K or half marathon sometime this year. But either way, at some point this year I will pin a number to my shirt and cross a finish line.

2. Practice piano more – I’m hoping for at least 2X a week. It’s good mental detox, and I’m sad I’ve gone so long without playing. I also want to work more on theory/chords so I can do more embellishing and improving.

3. It’s not all about the cardio – I hope to start incorporating more yoga and swimming in my work-out schedule again. Once a week for both would be ideal.

4. Donate blood 4 times – I did it twice last year and found out I am A positive (holla to all the rest of us out there). You do feel a bit wonky for a day or two after, but I also feel good to give part of myself to others. Apparently it’s good for you too?

5. Get involved with some kind of community service – I don’t know what yet….but I really hope to find some organization that inspires and motivates me.

6. Make some kind of financial plan/budget and automate it…incorporate it. Do it?! – I feel like I would just have more peace of mind if I had an actual system. Right now, everything just works out….but I don’t feel zen about it. I want a plan.

7. Blog Revamp – I want to blog more and recapture the fun of blogging for me. And I think in order to do that this blog is going to focus quite a bit less on pure health and fitness things. I want to incorporate more LIFE, fun, and just what’s going on in my head. Basically, I want to stop trying to mold my blog into something I’m not and just….do what I want.

8. Cook something new 2 times a month – I have the tendancy to eat lots of really simple processed kinds of things (lots of Amy’s and Kashi’s meals). Hopefully by encouraging myself to cook a bit more, I will I dunno, like…be more awesome and want to cook more all the time? Here’s hoping at least.

9. Read 30 books this year – Over break I rediscovered my love of reading. I want to keep it coming. Plus, it will help when I inevitable write the YA romance novel that’s outlined in my head….Speaking of….

10. Participate in National Novel Writing Month (November – NaNoWriMo). Yep….it’s happening! I’m excited about the book and the couple people i’ve mentioned my outline to seem interested to. We shall see!!!


Dream Big.

On a chilly Friday night, in Downtown Charlottesville, while waiting for Obama to give a speech supporting a Democratic Candidate for congress, I made a pact with a new friend to complete an iron man in the next 5 years. And now, it is written!

One (LONG) day,  I will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles in succession.

I think as a total n00b at all 3 disciplines, this is a great thing to have in the back of my mind. Because in working to accomplish this goal, I will push myself and bend the rules in my head that dictate what I’m capable of. One day at a time. Just in beginning this journey this year this has already happened. Whenever I’m stuck I’m like: “Karen, you totally conquered hills bigger than this one, just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”

It’s also just fun to crack a smile and tell people, “Hey, I’m training for an iron man (COUGH in the next 5 years COUGH).

Ehhh, I’m a planner 😛

Speaking of pushing yourself, yesterday I ran with an actual living human being! I’ve become such a gym loner – one who enjoys the temperature regulation and solitude of running on indoor tracks. But yesterday I risked it, and ran with someone far about my cababilities. I had to deal with things such as chilly temps, HILLS, dust, and chit chatting while working out. It was a little sad because I thought I was letting him down the whole time. And, when we eventually stopped, I was pissed….thinking….I didn’t even  make it 2 miles!!! GRRR!

Umm, little did I know we actually ran more than I’ve ever run in my life. I mapped the work out as a 3.5 mile run and 1 mile walk. Dude! Once I looked at that map I was so proud and excited – I had trouble focusing on anything the rest of the night.

It’s great having fitness buddies – especially ones that can push you further than your mind let you go before without being a jerk-face. I definitely would have stopped at two miles…..But now I know I can do more . Yay.

Maybe this Charlottesville 10 miler in April isn’t a crazy pipe dream.

What are your fitness dreams that seem unattainable right now?


Food, Friends, Budget Making, and Lunch

The last few days have been cheered by good food and good company! After a hot 18 mile bike ride Sunday, I received an awesome surprise when me and my bike crashed back into the door to my apartment: FOOD and friends. And it was delicious, vegetarian, fresh produce-filled goodness! It was a perfect way to christen my new silverware, tumblers, and apartment. We were even extra classy and used salad forks and wine glasses.

I love fresh basil!

And yesterday night, a friend and I met to work on our budgets! Every one I’ve mentioned this to has given me ‘crazy eyes,’ but I am happy to finally start keeping a closer eye on my finances. I just needed a little accountability to get me motivated. I have been pretty embarassed because I know quite a bit about personal finance through books I’ve read and blogs, but I haven’t implemented a lot of what I know. I need to cut back in areas that aren’t important to me, and start saving more and investing. Even though I don’t make much as a graduate student, I definitely feel like I could be doing more with what I have.

To ease the discomfort of a budget party, we made an elaborately delicious spanish themed meal with tons of fresh produce!

Fresh produce, FTW

cilantro and lime for the rice!

And, I grated cheese for the first time! Haha, whatta fun life aspiration to get out of the way!

Our crazy yet delicious Spanish themed cheese

One of the big win categories we both had when we looked at our spending is eating out. And to help us save more of our current spending there, we have started a little competition entitled: Taking Back Lunch (wait for applause).

Basically, the goal is to pack lunch as many days in a row as possible. Throughout undergrad and the beginning of grad school, I was in the habit of packing lunch every day but I feel like being social in the department has had a bad effect on me in this area. I hope I can at least go a month without eating a lunch out again and by that time I’ll hopefully be used to it and it won’t feel hard…but…like second nature!

Lunch number one was the leftovers from the night before. They were so delicious I couldn’t even wait to eat long enough to take a picture hehe.

Classes started today! I can’t believe Summer is over, it has been awesome! What are some of your favorite things to pack for lunch? I need ideas if I’m going to win this ; )

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010, everyone. I couldn’t be happier to have a fresh year and a fresh start. It seems like every time I get serious about working out again shit hits the fan. December was no exception: I got a cold, I got overwhelmed with finals, I got snowed in at Charlottesville, and then I got a particularly nasty case of strep throat that I’m finally almost completely over. Tomorrow I will be heading back home and hopefully working really hard at being the me I want to be. New years eve pics were surfacing on Facebook today and I am not pleased with what I see. It’s definitely time to fight back. In the spirit of New Years traditions, here are my resolutions for 2010 that will hopefully lead to a healthier, sunnier Karen.

1. Begin a Running Program, and build up to running 10 miles by the end of the year. As a side goal I would like to enter one race this year to help keep me motivated for improvement.

2. Go organic and significantly reduce meat consumption.

3. Move my body in some capacity every day – Even if it’s just for five  minutes. Maintaining a healthy habit is important.

4. Do yoga at least once a week to reduce stress and improve strength and flexibility.

5. Cook one new and exciting dish a week – and blog about it!

6. Complete the 6 basic personal finance foundations from ramit’s book/blog – I Will Teach You to be Rich.

7. Join a club to meet people in Charlottesville.

8. Get out of the house more – ex: study in new places

9. Take more photos and make more time for scrapbooking.

10. Communicate!!!! – Tell people how I feel and quit bottling everything up.