Monday, August 25, 2014

Coconut Oil Hair Conditioner

My hair is extremely fine, and I torture it with heat products. Meanwhile, I am trying to grow out my hair very long, which are conflicting realities.

I am constantly in search of hair masks that strengthen and soften my hair. Like many people, I don't want to put harsh products in my hair. I have never died my hair or permed it, though I did get a Brazilian Blow Out once from a Groupon (truth, I probably will do this again simply because my hair required so much less heat on a daily basis that I think it balances out in favor of formaldehyde, but I'm still torn on this). I avoid products with alcohol (even hairspray) and sulfates. Simply, I know the heat damages my hair, and the products I use are intended to ease or even reverse the damage.

I have a tough time with finding the right mask/deep conditioner, but kept finding articles about the health benefits of a diet and beauty regimen full of raw, organic coconut oil. Luckily, I found this jar at Target for only a measly $7...much cheaper than most deep conditioners with half the quantity.

I read online the melting the Coconut Oil in the microwave for 15 seconds intervals with Olive Oil would make a nice hair oil. Some said to try mixing with avocado, honey, and even raw egg.

I started by washing my hair with shampoo. I only wash my hair every 3-4 days,

had just worked out, and my hair felt dirty. Looking back on it I think I probably could/should have left the shampoo step out.

Since the refrigerator was pretty empty, I combined 2 tbsp Coconut Oil with 1 tbsp Olive Oil and finger-combed it into my hair starting at the ends and working my way up to the roots. It smelled more that Olive Oil than anything else, and next time I will probably use less.

My hair looked nearly black with all of the oil in it. I twisted it up into a bun on the top of my head and went on to do something else for about 30 minutes. Some sources said to wait 2 hours or more, but I was short on time and had somewhere to be, plus I think 30 minutes is a more realistic time frame for a hair mask.

After that time, I rinsed out my hair and let it air dry. It never air dried, not even overnight. I looked like a total grease-ball, and knew I needed to shampoo my hair the next morning before showing up at work like that. This was why that first shampoo seemed redundant. I didn't recondition in the morning.

The whole idea was for soft, shiny and strong hair. After styling in the morning, I am reasonably happy with the results, but not blown away. I worry when my hair is too smooth because it can look extremely thin.

I'm going to try again with only Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil and avocado, and Coconut Oil and raw egg to decide which one is best for my hair. I'm also going to try these on a dry head of hair and see if that changes the results any. Hopefully, I'll be able to incorporate this into my beauty regimen every 2 weeks or so in place of an expensive and less natural product from the beauty store.


I also tried the Coconut Oil treatment on the dog (sans Olive Oil). Human conditioner is not intended for dogs, but I wanted to keep her coat nice and shiny. I assumed organic, natural oil wouldn't be bad for her. It was a total disaster. 

Lucy hated having the oil on her, which was reason enough not to do it again, but it got much, much worse.

Not dandruff.

You know how oil and water don't mix? Well they didn't mix on the dog either, and she had little blobs of Coconut Oil on her as she dried that looked that dandruff (it was definitely oil). Twenty minutes later, it just kept getting worse.

The bathtub needed to be completely scrubbed (oil got everywhere and it was too slippery to safely shower), and Lucy need a second shampooing to get the oil off of her coat and skin.

I also was told not to experiment with the dog again (fair enough...)...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All Gold Everything...

As you may know, I started a new job in May! It's always an exciting (sometimes scary) life change, but I have to admit that one thing I always look forward to is decorating my desk. I also tend to think it is appropriate to have a designated office coffee mug. A mug that says something about me, fits in well with the rest of my desk, and that lives in the office

I found a plain white coffee mug at HomeGoods for $2.00 about a year ago that I intended to makeover as a gift. I lost it until I moved recently, so this was the perfect mug to DIY.

Inspiration came from Pinterest. It was an obvious choice, seeing as how to date I have 216 pins on my DIY...Someday board and only 8 on the Completed Pinterest Projects board. #pickuptheslack

This beautiful gold "dipped" mug from Garland of Grace

Because science is cool, from Tula Tinker's Etsy Shop

In honor of my boyfriend's favorite insurance commercial/office catch phrase/t-shirt...from PickMeCups' Etsy Shop

This one from Whole Wild World's Etsy Shop

Yes Missy's Sharpie Projects...25 great ideas for Sharpie crafts!!

Something personalized from Designer Trapped in Lawyer's Body

I knew I didn't want to do this in black, so I first tried out some gold Sharpies. I found that they dried out pretty quickly, so I opted for a paint pen and got to designing! If you decide to go the Sharpie route, make sure you get the oil-based Sharpies so that your colors are colorful and your blacks are true...and so it lasts more than one wash!!

Ceramic Mug
Gold or Silver Paint Pen (mine was Craftsmart brand from Michaels, $2.29)

Recommended Tools:
Acetone-based nail polish remove
Cotton balls
Painter's Tape (optional)
Lint Free Cloth
Dawn dish soap

  1. Hand wash mug with Dawn
  2. Dry, preferably with a microfiber or lint-free cloth
  3. With paint pen, begin drawing on the mug. I decided on polka dots because I am terrible at drawing and wanted something simple. 
  4. Let the paint dry
  5. Inspect the mug, then touch up any spot that weren't completely filled
  6. Let the mug air dry for 24 hours
  7. Bake at 300F for 30 minutes.
  8. Turn the oven off and let mug cool completely while remaining in the oven.

  • Practice your drawing on paper. If your drawing is complicated, you can sketch it out with pencil. Taping the drawing (pencil-side down) on the mug and drawing over the outlines will create a light transfer onto the mug to guide you.
  • Painter's Tape is ideal for straight lines, but some mug shapes are too difficult to get even tape lines. This was definitely a problem for me!
  • If you make a mistake, dip a Q-tip into the nail polish remover and swirl in small circles. The paint should come off quickly, then wipe up paint flakes with a cotton ball (or the dry end of the Q-Tip)

I think it turned out very cute!

I chose polka dots because it was simple and fun, but also because I am terrible at drawing. I tried to make the handle completely gold, but I could not get the pen into all the crevices. If I had a smaller tipped paint pen, it would have been much easier! The nail polish remover worked like a charm, though!

I really considered writing on the mug, but decided not to with this one, and had I not been too excited to get started on this project I would have likely gone to get a stencil like the example above. I can't wait to make the next one!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Had Enough With Too Much

A few weeks ago, I officially moved in with my boyfriend. I had been staying there most of the time since we got this little squishy face in January, and it definitely didn't make sense for one of our apartments to be uninhabited all of the time.

Most of my belongings are in storage for the time being while waiting for his lease to expire...9 weeks from today (not that I'm counting or anything). Basically, there was not enough room for the stuff that was currently here, let alone more stuff.

Since it will likely still be very hot when we move, I didn't have any need for winter clothes or anything like that. That being said, my clothes/shoes/bags are CRAMMED in the hall closet along with his extra shoes, a cooler, some random doo-dads, the toolbox, etc.

I am using a small dresser in the bedroom as a nightstand for some of camis, tees and unmentionables, but everything other essential I just cant live without is in the closet stuffed with care into bags. Heaven forbid I actually need a bag (like I did last weekend) or something at the bottom of the bag (like I do basically everyday).

10 dresses
8 dress slacks
4 pairs of jeans
6 long sleeve blouses
15 short sleeve blouses
10 sleeveless blouses
6 cardigans
2 blazers
Workout clothes and swimsuits stuffed in my workout bag
Scarves stuffed in a gift bag
Shoes stuffed in a weekender bag
4-5 clutches and wallets for going out

Well that's embarrassing.

The closet was simply too crammed, so I ventured to Wal-Mart (normally, the store is too chaotic for me to stand) and got this little treasure on Roll Back. It was $17, and I knew it would fit well in the small space. 

I first took everything out of the closet and made sure that the dresser would fit  through the door frame: PERFECT! 

Then I got to sorting:

Shoes went first. My clutches and belts fit, too!

Workout gear was second. I will probably move my running shoes into this drawer eventually (you know, so I don't have to work that hard to go workout).

Scarves and bathing suits went third.

I put the toolbox on top of the dresser. While it's a little taller than I had hoped and is brushing against the bottom of my clothes, I didn't even realize this happy mistake...

...I can roll the whole thing out when I need to get to the toolbox! Before, I had to take everything out of the closet to get to the toolbox, work on the project with stuff everywhere, then put it all back in reverse order. It was totally frustrating, and I usually just ended up throwing stuff in haphazardly.

I'm pretty happy with my little $17.00 project that really only took about 15 minutes to get the closet organized. While it may be a fix to a very short-term problem, the closet had been out of control for about 5-6 months and I'm sure we can find a use for the dresser in another closet at the next place!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pinterest Recipe Successes

I love trying new recipes, and I love when I get it right.

I usually end up looking for recipes on Pinterest for things approved by the masses. Over the past few months, almost every meal I've cooked has been new with the exception of your standard baked chicken, Taco Monday (every Monday...) and a Pot Roast I made for New Year's Eve! These are some of my favorites that I can't wait to make again.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken 

I thought it was odd that Southeast Missouri State's Continuing Education Department had a food recipe on their website, but who am I to judge? This meal was incredibly easy, delicious and healthy-enough to cook over and over again.

I'm sure you could try with whatever your favorite wing sauce is, but I love Frank's so I stuck with their recipe. We ate ours Sloppy Joe-style on hamburger buns with tator-tots on the side (not healthy anymore...whoops)

Chicken Rollatini

 Source: Gina's Skinny Taste

The first time I made this meal, I lost it. It tastes too good to be true! Coming from Skinny Taste, I was impressed at how guilt-free this meal is. It's become my favorite meal to make, and one of our favorite meals to eat. The prep work was a little intimidating because I wanted the rolls to be perfect. Even if they aren't beautiful, it will all end up tasting delicious. The balance of flavors is perfect!!

I almost always use Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic if I'm using jarred marinara sauce.

This is pretty filling, so I usually just made a salad to go with it.

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

This stuff is made super fast to make, and filling enough to have on its own. It's basically tomato soup with pre-packaged tortellini (any variety you like) with some Half and Half and sun-dried tomatoes. Even though I normally don't like sun-dried tomatoes, the flavor is just right in the tomato soup. Tastes fancy with hardly any effort!!

Garlic Pesto Chicken with Tomato Cream Penne

This is the best meal I know how to make!! I would make it every other week if it didn't take the forethought of marinating the chicken a night ahead. I have a salad mostly every night with dinner, but no other sides with this entrée because I just can't stop eating the chicken.

All of these recipes are starting to look very similar, but I adore Italian-style cooking.

Parmesan Broiled Tilapia

I almost didn't try this recipe because it uses mayonnaise, which I thought sounded disgusting broiled...but when the recipe only called for a 1 ½ tablespoons (which I cut back to a single tablespoon of olive oil-based mayo), I figured it was worth a try. I also use olive oil based butter from Land-O-Lakes.

It was.  This meal was easy, delicious, inexpensive and healthy. I ate two fillets and served with steamed broccoli, and will continue to use this recipe. I buy tilapia frozen, shhh!

I love seeing friends post new recipes that they love! Please share with me any of your favorites on your blog or Pinterest page!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A New Year

I'm not really one for formal resolutions in a new year. I constantly have goals set, but rarely do they have a timeline associated with them.

December 31st 2010: Traveled to Dallas with my loves. Made no resolutions, but told my friends I planned to move back to Dallas sometime that year.

February 18th, 2010: Moved back to Dallas

December 31st 2011: Made no resolutions. Made no plans. I was just loving life.

January 1st - December 31st, 2012: Loved life.

December 31st, 2012: I was out to dinner with three friends.  I refused to admit that my resolution was to run a marathon, thoroughly convinced I would fail if I said it out loud. Belief in myself is never something I've been so good at

April 28th, 2013: Ran a marathon

Even if I hadn't set concrete resolutions, I'm pretty good at seeing things long as they're in my control. Maybe this is the year to set and stick to a resolution.

  1. Follow a budget. I'm so terrible at this. Money gets spent how it needs to get spent, but I constantly fall behind and leave little wiggle room. I've already got spread sheets set up and I'm ready to get after it!
  2. Just keep running. Running encompassed so much of 2013 that I ended up getting a bit burnt out. I love running when I enjoy it, and I only hope that I stay in decent enough running shape to knock out a 10-miler on weekend when I could stand to decompress. I have a half-marathon planned in February, but I won't attempt another full (this year.....)
  3. Cook new food. I'm pretty good at this, but I want to keep at it! My boyfriend loves to eat, I love to cook, and I don't usually stick with the same 'ole, same 'ole. Pinterest saves me a lot here, but if I find anything exceptional I'll be sure to share.
  4. Sew new things. I would love to sew more.  I'm okay at it, but not great. I'm terrible at finishing projects. I'm terrible at choosing the perfect fabric. This is a big one: one item a month!! I'm already 65% done with January's project, but I broke my machine's needle mending a sweater that had nothing to do with January's project. (Doh!)
  5. Less snappy, more happy!! This is tough to put out there; it's my biggest insecurity. I really am going to try to get my anxiety under control and under wraps this year. I love the people that surround me everyday, but I let the worst little meaningless stresses make them think otherwise. Often, I'm too worried about something else to focus on human interactions. It's understandable, to many people...but it's unacceptable. Particularly since I am extremely sensitive and am bothered when others do this, I should be better about holding myself accountable to how I treat others when I'm under pressure.
Looking forward to all that 2014 has in store!!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

DIY Headboard

I've known for a long time (4 years or so...I'm really good at procrastination) that I wanted to DIY a headboard!! I prefer my bedroom to be dark, elegant and sophisticated, and I've been terrified that it would look cheap. Goal #1: Don't look cheap.

Recently, my interest was sparked again, so I started brainstorming ideas.  Being the control freak that I am, I planned at least a dozen different headboards.  For anyone planning to make one, these are all thing to consider:
  • Upholstered or not?
    • If yes, tufted or not?
      • If yes, square or diamond patterned?
      • Also, how crowded?
    • If yes, what upholstery fabric?
    • If no, then what?!
  • Will a hard surface be exposed?
    • Wood? Stained? Painted?
  • Studs?
  • Shape
    • Squared off
    • Rounded
    • Alexander? Finsbury? Portman? Eccleston?   AHHHHHH....look here.
  • Mount to wall? Or to bed frame...
  • How tall from the top of the mattress?
I must have looked at a thousand different headboard pictures. I'm not exaggerating even a little bit. Eventually, I found this headboard, which I considered to be nearly perfect.

I can't find the source for this.  So so so sorry.  Blogging faux-pas #1. Most likely

I loved the square tufting and detailed 
trim work, but knew my budget required cheap trim.

As far as the design element, I chose (1) upholstered, tufted, in a loose square pattern, (2) with wide, gloss black trim, (3) not studded, (4) squared off, (5) mounted to wall, and (6) tall!!! A great deal of my design decision came from ease...I wanted the hardware store to be able to do most of the cuts! I have a jigsaw, but hoped not to use it. Unfortunately, that was not the case. My apartment kitchen turned into a workshop and I made a big, big mess.

The last consideration was time. I knew I needed to get this done in a weekend or it would take months to complete.  I had no desire to spend an entire weekend making this, but luckily I had a four-day weekend for Independence Day!! Most of my family and friends were out of town, so this was the perfect time to take on a project.

I have a queen sized bed, which measures 60" across. I decided my headboard would be 62.5" x 36.5"...though I wish I had been kinder to myself on those measurements. 2-4" wider than the mattress should be sufficient!!

Materials used:
  • 1/4" plywood, cut to 55.5" x 29.5"
  • 1x4x8, cut to 62.5" (x2) and 29.5" (x2) >>> do yourself a favor and buy the pre-finished/sanded trim work. It's worth the price hike!!
  • Wood filler (I like Elmer's because it dries quickly)
  • Sandpaper/sander (I use a Black & Decker Mouse Sander), 180 grit sandpaper
  • Wood glue (Again, Elmer's)
  • Cordless screw driver, screw heads and drill bits
  • Black gloss paint  >>> I typically prefer Rust-O-Leum, but didn't want to have to deal with the Oil-based paint clean up.  I went Valspar this time.
  • Paint brushes and clean up
  • Upholstery grade staple gun and staples (1/4" so they don't poke through the plywood!!)
  • 1/2" foam, +12 inches wider than your headboard
  • Batting, +12" wider than your headboard
  • Scissors/Utility knife
  • Spray adhesive
  • Button kit (I used 15 buttons, which was 1 cover button kit and 2 cover button refills)
  • Fabric (+12 inches wider than your headboard, extra to make buttons) **
  • Scotchgard
  • Heavy duty sewing needle
  • Washers (same number as buttons)
  • Flush wall-mount brackets + hardware
  • Drywall Anchors to fit wall-mount bracket hardware
  • 4 large L-Brackets
  • 8 straight brackets
  • Level (24-36")
  • Time!! (2 days, minimum)
**The best advice I got came from one of my favorite bloggers, Make It Love It.  She recommended using a curtain panel for the fabric!! I would not have been able to afford the fabric I wanted from a website in silk, and would have questioned how it would look, but the curtain panel (polyester, but who cares) was perfect!! (On sale for $17 at Target)


The first thing I did was layout, connect, and fill the frame. I decided not to go with a mitered edge (diagonal) because I didn't want to screw up the measurement or have a crooked rectangle. There were only a couple of fill spots on the front of the trim, but I did need to fill the ends.  Sand away the filler once it has dried (I'm impatient, 30 minutes was good).

Since I wanted all of my edges to be clean, I first glued the trim ends together, then attached an L-Bracket to each corner. This didn't seem sturdy enough, so I added an additional straight bracket to support.

Once that is done (3 hours later, ugh), I painted the frame with two coats of gloss black. I let it dry overnight!!

Upholstered Insert:

For the upholstered plywood insert, I  measured out my button positions first. I started with my center button and worked my way out, 10" apart on all side. Using a 1/8" drill bit, I predrilled the plywood. FYI: Don't drill through the carpet.

Since I was working on already damaged carpet, I placed trash bags underneath the board and applied spray adhesive to the plywood. Be generous.  This required proper ventilated, so I opened the patio door (see dog). Then, press down the foam until it is secure.  Cut away the excess foam.

Then (I did not wait between layers to let the adhesive dry since it seemed to have a firm hold), spray the foam, place the batting overtop, and press down on the batting until it is secure. Leaving at least 6" of batting on all sides of the plywood will allow you to wrap it around the board. Staple the batting a few times to the underside of the plywood. This doesn't need to be pretty, you'll clean it up later.

Your fabric/curtain panel, at this point, should be cleaned, dried, and ironed (don't leave that out). I placed the wrong-side-up curtain, then the liner to hide all of the green foam, since I had it. Flip the board so the layers are in the correct order (curtain, liner, batting, foam, plywood).

I found it easiest to start stapling the batting/curtain pane at my four centers.  Staple the batting, liner, and curtain to the plywood so it is taught. I stapled at least every inch (you cannot staple too much), about 3 inches from the edge of the plywood.  I then removed the batting staples from Round One and trimmed back the batting. Make sure your corners are pretty so they don't pucker!! This would be a good time to Scotchgard the fabric, since your doors/windows are already open. Let the Scotchgard dry before continuing.

Buttons & Tufting:

To make your buttons, follow the button kit instructions!! This was fun. I basically layered the button bottom from the kit, button top from the kit, a small circle of batting, and a 2" diameter circle of fabric.

Threading the finished buttons through the curtain, batting, foam and plywood was the worst part of the project.  The thread kept tearing up my hands and was very difficult to find the center of the buttonand re-thread every time.  I first threaded the needle through all layers three times so it was secure, then knotted the thread through a washer, another helpful tip from Make It Love It. Sorry, no pictures of the back, but there are some on Ashley's site! I found it helpful for me to strategically pull and staple the washers for the buttons that were not as tight as the others.  If you are a control-freak like me, this kept them uniform and was crucial.  Normal people, you can skip that step.


To connect the frame and the insert, I used the remaining four straight brackets and centered them. Keep in mind, you CANNOT drill through foam/batting.  Either buy your straight brackets long enough to avoid this, or be prepared to re-staple and re-cut your fabric/foam/batting layers.

Isn't it pretty all put together?!

One more final touch that I found helpful was to staple poster board painted the same color as your trim along the back seams between the trim and the upholstered insert.  I didn't want my wall color to bleed through at all, and in would have in the corners.


The final step was preparing to mount the headboard.  I measured 0.5" in and down from the frame so I would know exactly where to position the wall side, then screwed in the frame side wall-mount brackets.  Once that was done, I measured, leveled, re-measured, re-leveled, re-re-measured, re-re-leveled (measure thrice, drill once hopefully), predrilled, anchored and attached the opposite bracket to the wall side.

If you've measured and leveled correctly, the headboard will drop flush to the wall and you can stand back and enjoy your hard work!

I've got to say, this is the best resulting DIY project I've ever done. My room looks so much more grown-up and put together, and I'm completely satisfied with the results!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Things I Learned from Marathon #1

It's been nearly a month since I ran the Oklahoma City Marathon, and I still can't believe that I did it. The day itself was filled with a supreme feeling of accomplishment, gratitude to those who support me, frustration, happiness, and discomfort. I knew going into the day I would be emotional (I was a sob story) and exhausting (I felt like I had the flu the rest of the day), but I had no idea what would hit me after.

I didn't expect to learn anything from this, I just wanted to know what it felt like to do the impossible. For most of my life, this was impossible.

I had wanted to become a runner after high school, but I drank too much, cared little about physical fitness, and had a broken foot for two years during college. After college, I often gave running a try and found that my "wall" came at an impressive .4 miles. In the fall of 2010, I  started jogging a mile at a time around Lake Hefner, but it was uncomfortable and tedious. When I moved back to Dallas in March of 2011, I became slightly more consistent.  That fall, I ran my first 5k and thought I was going to pass out.

Even last fall, I remember telling someone that I wanted to run a Half, but knew a Full just wasn't in the cards for me. I gave up training for the Dallas Half only 3 weeks into training, but settled on the 8 mile Dallas Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving.

I ended up learning so many things, but here are the highlights:

1. I may prefer to run alone, but I can't do this alone.
    My support crew during the marathon weekend was All-Star!!

    • My parents drove up to visit me, and met me at 6, 12, 18, 22 and 26.2 miles.  All along the way, I was able to look forward to my next stop to see them and receive a treat along the way, as well as a hug.
    • My cousin, Jonathan, yelled for me at 13, then 18 with my parents.
    • Laura and Tracy (and Dan and Sally) met me at 16.5 with cantaloupe and a much needed rest stop (thanks, you two!!!)
    • My friend Nicole and her boyfriend hosted me the whole weekend at their house in Moore and met me at the finish line.
    • Every above, plus Jessica and Nick, were able to go to a celebratory lunch at Blu!!
    My favorite mental exercise when running is to think of someone for a mile. I can easily think of 10 minutes worth of fun and special memories with friends and family members, and then I get to run for someone else. I highly recommend it if going on a longer run, and I've gotten to the point that I can't imagine running without this technique.

    All in all, I prefer running at my own pace and without company (though I'm hoping to run with someone the next go 'round), but I never feel lonely.  I run with dedication to the people I love, and couldn't have accomplished this without that support.

    2. Dehydration will destroy your body

    I did not feel well the day of the marathon.  I don't know if it was Wednesday night's Happy Hour that lasted until midnight, the Mont's queso and single Swirl Friday night, stomach cramps all day Saturday or the pasta that didn't sit well from Saturday night. I don't know if it was nerves or if I was battling a mistreated stomach, or if I really didn't have enough water the days prior. 

    When I started the marathon, I already felt like I was ill.  This happens normally before I get moving (nerves), but subsides quickly.  That morning, I literally thought I was going to hurl for 26 miles.  My parents brought me Pepto Bismol and Ginger Ale at mile 12 (won't do carbonation again, but I thought it would help with the nausea), and Coconut Water at 18 (which usually makes me puke instantly, which I desired greatly at that point).

    My biggest culprit, though, was that I stopped sweating.  I didn't realize it until after I was done, but I should have. When I met T & L, T told me I looked "fresh" and pretty and clean...and it wasn't until later that I realized that at 16 miles, you aren't supposed to be fresh or pretty. You are supposed to be worn and sweaty and disgusting.

    Next go round, I'm cutting out booze two weeks prior.  This is going to suck big time, because I'm planning on buying tickets to go see Justin Timberlake the Wednesday night before the Dallas Marathon, but I know it's something I have to do and a mistake I won't make again.

    Look at that face!! Such a lady!

    3. I'm getting old

    I often joke with people our age about how the body doesn't heal so quickly anymore.  I have felt things over the past four months that seem torturous and cruel in retrospect.

    I strained my calf muscle two weeks before the race and thought I was going to half to bail altogether.  Luckily, KT Tape saved the day, but I'm still experiencing tightness when running and walking down stairs.This happens to a lot of runners, but I'd never been in that much pain from a pulled muscle before.

    I have also been feeling a grinding friction in my left hip, and I'm not happy to deal with hip problems in my twenties.  While it seems to be getting better with rest, stairs are still a problem in that area, too.

    It took me a solid week to get my energy level back up to "normal" after the marathon, which was incredible to imagine people that do this all of the time.  Surely, their endurance is better than mine; however, I could not physically move any faster than about 50 bpm per step (nerd speak) even if someone would have offered me $1 million. It simply would not have been possible

    Between all the falls and bumps and bruises and cramps, I'm honestly shocked that people in their sixties (and beyond) can do this. I hear that your bone density will increase the more you consistently run, and I'm hoping to witness this the next time!

    4. Time doesn't matter the first time, but it does the second

    I did not have a set-in-stone goal time, but I did have a rough time I would have liked to meet as a best case scenario.  I was significantly slower than that time.  I wouldn't say I'm happy with my time, but I finished the best I could that with the hand I was dealt (tummy...).

    I learned a lot physically during this marathon that I didn't want to take on for the first one, and I learned what the infamous "wall" is and how it can effect you.  I won't bore  you with all the details, but I'm excited to get started with the next training plan, and this time I will have a goal time!!

    5. Running (really) is all mental

    You've heard this before.  When I used to hear it, I would think it was something runners would tell non-runners to make something that is difficult for most people to do sound easier.  I would lump this with the advice that in order to run long distances, you just don't stop. I thought it was bull. (Both of these are true)

    Truthfully, the mental game is the most difficult part of long distance running.  Endurance is necessary, but that comes naturally with the time put into training.Running is boring, by itself.  Without mental sustenance, I would argue that it is tedious and mentally exhausting for most people. Breaking through mental blocks and finding ways to occupy your brain through discomfort was the hardest part of finishing the race for me.

    6. I am exceedingly emotional

    I am a cryer.  I cry when I'm happy, sad, mad, overwhelmed, or any extreme emotion to speak of. I cried at least twenty times that day.  I knew this was going to happen when I finished.  I knew it might happen once or twice during.  I was freaking out of control the whole time.

    Like this.
    Crying would have just fine if it was just a cute little drip down my eye, but it isn't.  Crying disrupts breathing patterns, which means I was continuously hyperventilating during the run. I forgot my inhaler (stupid, stupid, stupid) and I kept gasping for oxygen with this strained "trying-not-to-cry" face (see image at right, source). Seriously, not pretty.

    I hope this is something I desperately outgrow once the novelty of accomplishing a marathon wears off.  It was exhausting and, a couple of time, really scary. I won't forget the inhaler next time, but I'm also hoping to control my emotions better.

    About to have a serious meltdown, 26.15 miles