Friday, May 18, 2012

Mixed Bag

I'm a total mixed bag of emotions lately. When was the last time that I blogged? Didn't look before I started this post, but I think it was a couple of weeks ago. At any rate, what's been going on?

For starters... This finally happened. FINALLY!!!!!

Cheers! Celebrating with sparkling peach faux champagne. 

20 months of graduate school... DONE! I earned an M.A. in General English Studies from Northern Arizona University last Friday. Now I'm eligible to teach more than basic writing at my community college! ENG 102, here I come!

I can't tell you how excited I was (am) to be finished. You think 26.2 miles is long? This felt like the longest marathon ever, and I can't tell you how many times I wanted to QUIT. Doing homework on planes, in hotel bathrooms (while everyone else slept--didn't want to disturb them), on vacations, during classes that I taught (when my class was testing or writing), when my kids were sick next to me on the couch, etc. There was never really a break until now! I am so grateful that I had the support of my husband throughout it all, and I'm happy that the boys got to see their mother graduate from college (again). Education is a lifelong pursuit, and I hope that getting a glimpse of this academic achievement of mine drove that point home to them. 

Or not. Who am I kidding? They were mostly excited by the non-alcoholic beverages we had before the commencement ceremony. 

Other exciting things...

I've been trying to eat clean. Want to know what I just ate for dessert?

Chocolate mousse made with avocado. What the what?

Believe it or not, it's actually pretty good. I got the recipe from a friend in Baltimore and decided to try it when I got home. Here it is if you're feeling adventurous:

Sheryl Crow’s Decadent Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse
2 large ripe avocados
1/2 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave nectar, plus more to taste
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 pint fresh raspberries, or whatever berry you have on hand
1. Cut a ripe avocado in half. Use a big knife to grab the pit and turn to remove. Spoon out the meat of the avocado and then blend to break it down a bit.
2. Add in cocoa powder, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and almond extract and blend for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure every part is included.
3. Refrigerate overnight and serve in martini glasses with garnish.
This Sunday was supposed to be the Pasadena Marathon, but instead, there is no marathon for me and I'm single-momming it while my husband is schmoozing folks in TX for his next (potential) set of orders. ((Sigh)).
On a good note, I did another test run this am, and it was a roaring success. It was exactly the type of run that I was hoping for. I ran 4 pain-free miles at a little under a 9 minute-mile pace. SUCCESS!
Am I jumping for joy?
I'm happy, but I can't say that I'm wildly enthusiastic, to be honest.
Would you be thrilled running in this for the next 4-5 months?
I'm relieved that my injury seems to be clearing up, but at the same time, I'm bummed that I'm entering survival mode for the next several months. Summer running here is awful. As I've lost some fitness, I'm also unsure of my goals and my direction. There's also the consideration of how I ended up injured in the first place. It's apparent to me now more than ever that I really can't afford to neglect my strength training. I truly was enjoying my ever-increasing mileage... What to do for balance though? I'm not sure that I can do both: lots of miles and lots of weights. Over the past 5 weeks, I've been putting in some quality hours at the gym, and I've really enjoyed the weight training and the new strength classes that I've been doing. I'd love to continue to keep up that aspect of my training, but doing both is a huge challenge. It's going to take some time to figure it all out. Not to mention that my boys are out of school in 1 week, which adds a whole new challenge to everything.
So much to think about... There really is never a dull moment in this girl's life!


  1. A HUGE congrats to you! What a big accomplishment, especially doing it with a houseful of kids. Be proud and enjoy your moment!

    And glad the injury is clearing. Sorry the weather will stink, but think how strong it will make you and in the fall, you'll be ready to rock it!

  2. Congrats! That is huge! Going back to school with work and kids is amazing. Love it.

    I would not be jumping for joy with those temps either. But glad to hear that you are feeling better and getting in some run time.

  3. Congrats!! I've been there! I seem to recall studying by headlamp in a hotel while me kids slept before my friend Terzah's wedding. My husband found it so hilarious that he brought in half the wedding party to gawk.
    Much like a marathon, you've made it. It's all yours and no one can take it from you!
    And isn't it super cool to wear your hood?

  4. Congrats, Allison! Now I know why your posts are so well-written! :^)

    I'm happy for you with the pain-free run, too. And I'm in agreement about the difficulty of balancing running training with strength training (though it's so true about the latter being absolutely necessary). I'm already wondering how I'm going to do it. I have so many PT exercises now that fitting it in is hard already--and it's not like I'm doing 20 milers.

    I do NOT envy you that heat. We occasionally have weather like that, but not as much as you do. It makes being injured almost OK--at least I don't have to run in heat.

  5. Oh my goodness -- CONGRATULATIONS!! That is an amazing accomplishment and such a wonderful example for your children. They are so lucky to have you!

    Ok, and I am going to try that recipe. I can't use the almond extract because my son is so allergic - do you think if I left that out it would be ok? Will is extremely allergic to dairy and egg too, so we eat a vegan diet around here and this recipe will be a fun safe one to try. Never thought of avocado as a chocolate pudding, but the consistency is perfect! Should be interesting and the kids will get a kick out of it for sure!

    I cannot imagine that heat. Yikes.

    Balancing strength training and marathon training is HARD. I take it day by day and try to do a lot of the PT/pilates type exercises at home in the evening when I foam roll. Usually by the tv, once all the kids are in bed. I just try to make it a regular chore, like the rest of my to-do list. Laundry, dishes, foam roll, strengthening/flexibility exercises. It's just part of being dedicated and part of regular maintenance, you know?

  6. CONGRATULATIONS!!! That is so wonderful and I'm so happy for you! You are a fantastic example for your children - they are so lucky to have a mom who shows them such passion and dedication with regards to the value of education. Go you!

    I am going to make that recipe this week! My son has several dangerous food allergies and we eat a vegan diet around here as a result. But he is also very allergic to nuts - can I leave the almond extract out do you think?

    I cannot imagine that heat - yikes. The DC summers are hot and humid enough for me! But Amanda is right, you will be stronger once you survive it!

    Balancing strength training and marathon training is HARD. I do strength training at the gym 2x per week and then every day I also foam roll and do some pilates/pt type exercises at home. I make it a regular part of my routine. Every evening, after dinner and putting the kids to bed, I MAKE myself do a solid 20 minutes of it before I go to bed. I don't love to do it, but I do believe it is so important for me. I'm not sure my body would handle the mileage if I didn't make it a priority. So I make it a regular chore for myself - an item on my daily to-do list.

  7. Oh jeeesh, sorry - I thought my first comment was deleted and didn't publish!

  8. Congrats on your graduation!! I hear you on the 4 months of HOT running...ugh. Not fun at all. And I am forever struggling with the miles/weights balance. I try to do as much as I can of both, which means my mileage hasn't been extremely high, but I am nervous about injury too, so it's been okay for now. I've seen lots of recipes for the avocado choc mousse, still haven't tried it, but I need to!

  9. Super congrats to you on graduation!!! What a super accomplishment! I tell you I would NOT have celebrated graduation with some avocado chocolate sh*t though!!! Bring on the Milka bars! (For the record, I might try this though:)

    Oh my word. That weather just looks awful....I hate heat. I whined and whined and WHINED about my 84 degrees the other day and how it was almost unsafe for me to be out

    So good to hear about your successful test run!!! The strength running balance. Definitely a challenge!

  10. Congrats on graduating! We LOVE avocado chocolate mousse in our house. My husband is shocked every time i make it how amazing it is!

  11. first CONGRATS!!! such a huge accomplishment for anyone--but especially a working mother-runner!! you are amazing. Oh, your weather would suck to deal with all summer long!! Excited for you and getting over the injury hump. Hoping my day comes soon. I always struggle with strength training when my mileage starts getting high. one, because of the time and even more because my legs can't handle the intense strength training and high miles. The weights/squats/plyo fatigue my legs to the point getting the mileage in is extra hard simply because my legs won't do it. IF you figure it out, let me know!! :)

  12. ps. i guess my legs will do it...but the quality of my miles suffer. you know what i mean. :)

  13. What an great thing you have done. This IS really, much more challenging than a marathon. Balancing all of that is incredible. You must be well organized!
    That mousse- well, I just can't imagine avocado tasting like chocolate, but i believe you and might try the recipe. I have heard of black bean brownies too.
    Keep up on the strength training! I know you'll be back to speed in no time :)

  14. And, thanks for all the comments today :) haha.

  15. Great post! Love the graduate advice. In summer school now and one more year to go! That M.A. will feel sooooo good if the day ever comes.