September 27, 2011

Off Center, Off Balance

Does anyone else feel like their blogging (subject matter, intent to blog, frequency with which you post, etc.) goes in waves? I'm definitely at some point on some wave right now.  I've definitely lost the momentum I had going with my days-of-the-week posts (which is probably why I never really got into the days-of-the-week underwear either.  They don't make Sunday.  Because of God.).

I haven't run in a week and a half, but I've had some intense rehearsals for Café des Artistes, which I'm occasionally posting about here, but mostly on Sundown's Tumblr.

And those can get really wordy.  And probably overwhelming and filed under TLWR (Too Long, Won't Read) for those who see it on their Google Reader feeds.

Which is fair.

I'm feeling very unsettled and hypersensitive.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I think that it's a direct result of the things we've been tapping into at rehearsals.  My emotions and my feelings are very close to the surface, and we're working to bring ourselves outside our own heads and let ourselves experience different and sometimes new things.  Because then we can channel them into creating the show.

But I need to remember how to compartmentalize these things. 

Not let it affect my relationship.  Not let it make me all emo and hypersensitive in my every day life...or on Facebook and Twitter, where it's real easy to get real emo real fast. Channel them and put them where they belong, for easy access when it's time to use them again at rehearsal.

On Friday, I had a CRAZY day. I wasn't really in the mood to have what I knew was going to be a physically and possibly emotionally draining rehearsal.  So when I got home (we've been having some rehearsals in my back yard), I went ahead and changed into rehearsal clothes.  Pulled everything we've been using out onto the deck.  Heated up some dinner.  Grabbed my iPod and a quick dinner and a magazine.  Laid out one of the quilts under my big tree...and just stayed out in the beautiful early evening until it was time to start.

It was the perfect thing to do.

I read my magazine.  When I was finished, I stretched out and closed my eyes and just listened to my music.

By the time rehearsal started, I felt refreshed and ready.  I felt balanced.

Maybe that's something I should make time for at least once a week.  Just to stay centered and feel balanced. 

My husband teased me, good-naturedly, and told me I'm turning into a hippie.  Maybe that's not so terrible.

September 26, 2011

Thoughts on Thirty

A week from tomorrow, I will turn 30 years old.

It's weird. 

How unfair is it to turn 30 on a Tuesday?  Is this because I had the incredible fortune to turn 21 on a Friday?  Probably.


Let's go to Wikipedia and see some things that were happening in 1981.  Thirty years ago:
  • The Oakland Raiders defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 27–10 in Super Bowl XV.  (Of course they did)
  • President Reagan was shot in the chest by John Hinckley, Jr.
  • President Ronald Reagan nominates the first woman, Sandra Day O'Connor, to the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • A worldwide television audience of over 700 million people watched the Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul's Cathedral in London.
  • MTV (Music Television) is launched on cable television in the United States.
  • The thrash metal band Metallica forms in Los Angeles.
People born in 1981 (besides my awesome self of course):
  • Eli Manning (January 3)
  • Justin Timberlake (January 31)
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt (February 17)
  • Julia Stiles (March 28)
  • Troy Polamalu (April 19)
  • Josh Hamilton (May 21) (He's only 30??)
  • Natalie Portman (June 9)
  • Summer Glau (July 24)
  • Beyoncé (September 4)
  • Tila Tequila (October 24)
  • Britney Spears (December 2)
So...yeah...there's that.

I know nothing is really going to change the instant I turn 30.  Well, I actually hope one thing does change.  I've heard tell in stories that women approach their sexual peak in their thirties, so that'd be kind of awesome.  I'd be okay with that.  I mean I already feel like I'm a cougar/MILF in training because there are so many pretty young things on the story-box that I want to climb like a tree (I'm looking at you, Nathan Fillion...and Chris Evans...and Joe Mauer...and...).

I guess I ought to start thinking about whether or not a baby is in our near future, too, since just about a month after I turn the big Three-Oh, my husband will turn 33.  Hmmm. 

But, let's not jump ahead quite yet.  I still have a week left in my 20s, and I plan to enjoy every last second of my 20s before they are GONE FOREVER!

September 21, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 15

Another BUSY Wednesday, but I have just enough time before I leave work to quickly eat dinner and get ready for rehearsal to write today's Life Well Lived post!

Today I want to talk about my baby. No, I don't have any human children (yet), but I do definitely have a baby. Her name is Carmen, and she's an (almost) 3-year old pitbull mix pup. In March of 2009, we heard a rustling in our front bushes as we were leaving for work, and this sweet face popped right out:

Long story short...we didn't try very hard to find out where she came from. We checked for "Lost Dog" signs/notices and we had her scanned for a microchip.  Then we promptly got her shots and tags and made her ours. 

She is very, very spoiled.

And the prettiest thing you have ever seen in your life, no?

I think we make a very attractive family.  She has her mommy's red hair.

She likes to go visit the dog park, Wiggly Field (and makes the face below whenever you say "Wiggly Field??") and play with the other pups.

She also LOVES to play with her "tuggie."  She has recently figured out how to unbraid them, though, so that's fun.  I vacuum a lot.

I love this dog more than just about anything in the whole world. She is so sweet and good and cuddly and loving and smart and obedient and everything you want a family pet to be.  I can't imagine my life without my baby girl.

She definitely makes my—our!— life WELL LIVED.  Carmen, I'm so glad you found us.

September 20, 2011

When Words Are Your Art

Rehearsals for Café des Artistes  "officially" began last night.  We had a couple of meetings and discussions last week and the week before, but we are officially off and running. 

One of the cool things about doing such a collaborative piece is that we're encouraged to bring in our own thoughts, reactions, ideas for what might be included in the final production, and there's a lot of discussion in these early meetings and rehearsals.

Did I mention that we'll be not only exploring the lives of artists, but also the artistic process(es) an artist goes through while he or she is creating art?  The mediums being explored are music, dance, writing and visual artTashina, the director, surprised me when she put me under the umbrella of writing.  Being a singer, I naturally assumed I'd be picked for music, but...I'm really, really excited to be trying something new and challenging myself.

Last night, at rehearsal, we were reading through some random texts that Tashina had pulled but hadn't yet assigned to a particular art form(s) or actor(s) yet, and we talked about each one after we read through them.  One of them got me thinking about something that I'm still having a hard time expressing, but I'll try...

Remember when I wrote this post and I talked about how much I loved with Kristin Chenoweth said about how we sing or we dance because we can no longer speak?  Because words fail us?  Well...I agreed with that wholeheartedly.  As artists, we're so very lucky because, when words fail us, we can sing.  We can dance.  We can paint. 

...but what about the writers, whose words are their art?  What happens when words fail them?

I'm not talking about Writer's Block.  At least, not really.  I'm talking about when our emotions take over and even words aren't enough to explain or express how we feel.  Let me come up with an example --

Imagine a relationship between a writer and his/her partner...or even a relationship between two writers.  Let's put them onto the stage, in the context of this show, even, so I can create a world that's slightly outside our reality. Their words are their work, passion, and their art.  Imagine the other relationships between the dancers, the musicians, the painters. 

Now imagine these relationships breaking down in some way.  The lines of communication are no longer working as they have before.  It's beginning to seem impossible for the artist to express himself, so he uses his art to express his frustration, his love, his rage, his jealousy, or what have you.  He paints.  He composes.  He releases it into his body in movement.

Can the writer still write?  When he can't communicate with his partner verbally, maybe, can he still use those words, that mastery of the language, to express himself?  Or does that just become more work than art at that point? 

(I'm not expecting answers from this, by the way...I'm just rambling in a stream-of-consciousness thought process trying to explain myself.)

I was mulling this over last night long after rehearsal had ended, and I went back and read through some of the earlier scenes and dialogue/text we read through last week and I came upon what had initially appeared to be a simple back-and-forth word game between two people.  A word association game. I say a word, you come back with a word—the first word that pops into your mind—in reply.  It can be related to the first word, or just another word that the prompt word made you feel like saying.

I had a tiny bit of an epiphany that I hope we get to explore in rehearsals...perhaps the writers just go back to the language in its simplest form.  Perhaps it's a starting over point for them in that relationship, going back to a simple place where the words aren't so heavy-laden with double meaning or allegory or symbolism.  They're just...words. Words that invoke feelings all on their own in their barest form. 

When I re-read the word-association dialogue, it took on a whole new meaning for me. 

And that -- I think -- is the point of this whole process. 

(or at least one of the points)

September 15, 2011

Life Well-Lived, Vol. 14

Better late than never again, right?  I know it's not Wednesday, but seeing as how I've not posted a Life Well Lived post in a few weeks and I was home sick with the plague (a.k.a. "Texas allergy season") yesterday and also seeing as how I've been NOTICEABLY (at least to me) less positive and upbeat lately, I think it's fair to post one today.

Gah.  That was the worst sentence ever. I'm blaming it on the massive amount of histamine-blocking medication coursing through my veins today. 

ANYWAY!  Here's an installment of:

Today's installment will deal with my family.  We all complain about our families...and usually with good reason.  They can be intrusive, nosy, critical, crazy, obnoxious, pick the adjective and they've probably been that way.  BUT -- they are also the people who love you unconditionally (despite how your Mom makes you feel sometimes or how your Dad nitpicks every decision you make or your brother still makes you wanna get him in a headlock and give him the noogie of his life).

No. Matter. What.

As I've gotten older, I've really grown to appreciate my family so much more...especially my immediate family.  Yes, my parents are divorced (and re-married to really amazing people, might I add) and I have one "full" brother and one "half" brother, but these four people—Mom, Dad, Older Brother and Younger Brother—are still tightly knit and bound together.  We all get along (most of the time).  We care about each other. 

My parents still drive me crazy, but when, pardon my French, the shit really hits the fan?  They are still the first people I call.  Sometimes my gut reaction is still to call my Mom or Dad instead of even my husband...which makes me feel like a bad wife sometimes...but I can't help it! There's almost 30 years of habit in there!

My two brothers are my the point where my husband told me once (lovingly, might I add), "You let your brothers get away with SO much more than you let me."  Oops.  I should probably work on that.

The true test of a family, in my opinion, is how they react when things get really bad.  In the past 3-4 years, my family has had to deal with a lot of tragedy: illnesses, deaths of family members, loss of work, marital strain and tests in relationships, etc.  You name it.  But because of our faith and our love for each other, all of these things have made the bonds between us so much stronger.

I have been blessed with an amazing immediate (and extended...but they aren't who I'm talking about today) family, and I'm lucky to have them. 
Younger Brother and me, circa 1986.  Aren't we cute?

Mom, Grandma and me.  If they're any indication of my aging process, I'm a VERY lucky girl.

Dad and me, my wedding rehearsal

Older brother, me and Younger brother at my birthday last year

Younger brother and me, bustin' a move at my wedding.

My very favorite picture of me with my two amazing brothers.

So...there you go. My family definitely has aided in making me the person I am today, and they absolutely make my life well lived.

September 13, 2011

Feeding the Soul

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”
— Anne Lamott
 This morning I was reading my own personal Tumblr feed and I stumbled upon this quote. I don’t know Anne Lamott. I haven’t read anything by her. I did look her up on the always-reliable Wikipedia, and I’m definitely curious enough to check out a couple of her books from the library.

But I LOVED this quote.

One of the things I love the most about it is that it references both the creators of the art as well as those experiencing the art that has been created. “Writing…decreases our sense of isolation” and that writing can restore our sense of buoyancy as readers. “Singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship” despite the raging storms of life that are always present.

This really spoke to me and to what I think we will (and hope to) accomplish with Café des Artistes both throughout the process and once we are in performance.

I’m looking forward to decreasing any “sense of isolation” we feel in our everyday lives by working those issues into our art, as Tashina said at our first meeting, and creating something out of them. I’m excited to “change the hearts and spirits” of each other as we work on this project together and then do the same for our audiences.

Let’s do it.


(Note: this is cross posted on Sundown Collaborative Theatre's Tumblr (please note there are two separate hyperlinks there for Sundown's site and the Tumblr site!), where the cast members of CdA will be posting once a week about the process, our inspiration, and anything else that comes to mind. I strongly suggest you follow that Tumblr and follow Sundown on Twitter!)

September 12, 2011

Friend Makin' Mondays -- All About Me

Happy Monday, lovers!

I know I haven't blogged consistently lately, but I'm happy to start the week off with another edition of:

I hopped on over to see what Kenlie chose today, and it was another survey! Yay for surveys!  I'll spare you a vlog today (but you can go here and see some of the other hilarious(?) vlogs I've posted recently) and just answer them within the blog.  You're welcome.

FMM: All About Me

1. What are your talents?
I sing.  I think I'm pretty good at it.  I think I have a good way with words...I've been told that I'm good at finding the right words to provide comfort for people, which is a huge compliment.  I also think I'm a decent writer when I apply myself. 

2. What is your best habit?
Wow, that's a tough one.  My BEST habit? It's actually probably a bad habit, but I make it work:  I am pretty much always willing to take time for me.  Mental health days, a run by myself, taking rain checks on pre-made plans because I need some replenishment, etc.  I don't like to be too stressed for too long.

3. If you had to be stuck with someone in an elevator for 8 hours, who would you want it to be?
I'm assuming that this is a fantasy and I'd be allowed to pick Harry Connick, Jr. and I'd get to make out with him for just about the whole time.  DON'T RUIN THIS FOR ME.

4. Share one odd fact about you that we’d never know to ask.
I have flat feet.  COMPLETELY flat.  When my feet are wet, I leave a whole footprint.  Yep. 

5. What’s your latest project (work, home, whatever you care to share?)
I just started rehearsals for Café des Artistes with Sundown Collaborative Theatre and I'm really excited about it.  You should follow our Tumblr and you'll see weekly posts from the cast members and production team.  It's gonna be amaaaaazing. 

6. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
I'd have longer legs.  Sigh.

7. What do you do in your spare time?
Normally I do the whole "Spare time?! Surely you jest!" laugh.  But I've actually had a nice break from theatre lately and I've HAD spare time!  What have I done? I started running! I read books! I slept! I had sex with my husband!  I walked my dog!  I had dinners with friends! It's been AMAZING!

8. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Lousy drivers.  Seriously.  The road rage gets BAD in this ginger.  Watch out.

9. Why do you blog?
I don't know.  I've been blogging on-again/off-again since 2005 and I just always end up coming back to it.  I like writing.  I like getting my thoughts down for others to read and comment on or maybe offer insight on.  I like making my online legacy in the technological age.  I'm narcissistic.  Who knows. 

10. Are you tidy or messy?
I definitely err on the side of clutter, but then I'll get SICK of all the piles of crap and I'll put everything away in a fit of tidiness.  Rinse, repeat.

11. What’s the last song that played on your iPod?
It was "Lucky Denver Mint" by Jimmy Eat World at the end of my run/cool-down/stretch this morning.

12. Do you cook? If so, what’s for dinner tonight?
I LOVE to cook!  Tonight we're having leftover chicken spaghetti, which I made during the football game last night.

13. Do you like sports? If so, list your teams.
Um, YES.  Philadelphia Eagles, Boston Red Sox, and Dallas Mavericks.

14. How often do you read and/or watch the news?
I get my news from Twitter.  I watch the news during major events (tragedies, State of the Union addresses, political debates [sometimes], etc) or when I want to know the forecast.

15. Did you stick to your new Year’s resolution this year?
I don't think I made any real resolutions. I kind of think they're stupid. 

16. What are you looking forward to most in the remainder of 2011?
I'm looking forward to the holidays and cooler weather and my show (see #5) and maybe running another 5k

17. Shoes, sunglasses or handbags?

18. How do you feel about sleeping on satin sheets?
I feel fine about it....?

19. Do you sing in the shower?
I actually don't!  My husband does.  All. The. Time.

20. Describe yourself in one word.

September 11, 2011


10 years ago, I was standing in my bathroom at my dad & stepmom's house, blow-drying my hair and getting ready for class.  I heard my stepmom on the phone saying "a plane hit the world trade center."  My first thoughts were "Was the pilot sick or high or something?"  I sank down on to the couch next to her as the second plane hit.  Silently, we held hands.

10 years ago, I drove to class, listening to the radio.  I heard the disbelief and the grief in the DJs' voices.  I didn't want to get out of my car -- I just wanted to keep listening. I finally walked into my political science class, where the giant screen we used for the day's notes was tuned into the news.  My professor, always dependable to have something to say, stood silently with one hand over her mouth.  Before I could find a seat, the building fell.  I sat down in the aisle because I didn't think my legs could hold me up.

10 years ago, my choir director walked past me in the music building, his eyes filled with grief, and said, "This makes Oklahoma City look like a goddamned firecracker."

10 years ago, just before classes at UNT were canceled for the day, I went to my next class -- Theory I with Dr. Cho. He passed out the day's hymn, which he used to have us practice sight-singing. He asked that in reverence to the day's events, we sing the words. In his heavily accented, soft-spoken voice, he asked that if we had a problem singing the words, that we just remain silent. That morning, 100 or more music students sang four verses of "Nearer My God To Thee" in 4-part harmony. I will never forget that moment.

Even as I remember and honor and pray for the fallen and the families of the fallen and the heroes who see all the horrific images when they close their eyes even now...I am heartbroken that we seem to have forgotten the unity and camaraderie that we as a nation felt on that day and in the short days and weeks afterwards.

I log onto Facebook and Twitter and I see lashing out at Republicans and Democrats and names called and jokes made, and it makes me sad.  I see parties trying to beat and belittle the other, rather than a country trying to do what's best for us and future generations. 

Lord, let us remember that unity and patriotism need to happen more often than on national holidays and anniversaries of national tragedy. 

And let us never forget September 11th, 2001. 

September 8, 2011

A Kiss Story on National Kiss Day

I've been told (via Twitter, where everything is true) that it's "National Kiss Day," so I thought I'd honor a day about such a fun activity with a story about one of my favorite kissing memories.  Enjoy.

As the movie ended and the opening bars of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” began to play, he stood up. I sat up and looked up at him, slightly confused. Was this my cue to leave?

He held out a hand, which I tentatively grabbed, and pulled me up close to him again. Before I knew what was happening, he had circled my waist (much smaller at the time) with his right arm and held my right hand with his left…and we began to dance. In the darkened living room, lit only by the credits rolling on the television, we danced to my favorite song.

My heart raced as the cadence of the song was finally reached, knowing what was going to happen next and feeling excited and terrified at the same time. I raised my eyes with great effort to meet his, and the emotion in his eyes made my breathing even more labored than it had been while we were dancing.

And then the world moved in slow motion.

As his arm around my waist pulled me in so close to his body that not even a sheet of paper would have fit between us, I felt his own heart beating next to mine. His left hand dropped my right one and moved to my face. In one fluid, but excruciatingly, wonderfully slow motion, he tilted my chin up towards his face and moved his face closer. By this point I made no attempt to hide the breath catching in my throat. I allowed my lips to part slightly, knowing I needed to keep breathing, and I felt his own breath, mere millimeters from mine.

When his lips finally made contact with mine and his arm around me tightened, my heart exploded into that painfully beautiful feeling that is the first stirring of teenage angst and emotion. I never knew a boy’s lips could be this soft when his hold was so strong and firm. I wanted to laugh, cry, collapse…all at the same time.

The kiss finally ended, and I reluctantly opened my eyes. The hand on my face moved my hair out of my eyes so that I could fully see and melt under the gaze of his.

This kiss was not my first, but it was the first that caused the warm feelings that pool in your stomach and make you wonder what more there is to be experienced...and I will never forget it.

September 6, 2011

My First Race and lots of CAPS LOCK

Hello friends! I apologize for the lack of content over the past week. Last week? Was INSANE. I was SO busy and SO stressed and a lot went down but it's all over now and it's a NEW WEEK and it's currently SEVENTY-ONE degrees outside (it was 57 when I left the house) and I feel like a NEW PERSON after a very releaxing weekend.


So, I want to talk about something really cool that happened yesterday, on Labor Day...


It was the Labor of Love 1k, 5k and 10k races sponsored by Stonebridge Racers in McKinney, TX.  The lovely Sarah over at Sarah Snacks sponsored my entry fee (how awesome is THAT? she has met me ONE TIME), and it was just a really cool experience.  I'm feeling newly motivated after running yesterday, but more on that later.  Let's talk about the race!

The race was supposed to start at 8am, so my goal was to be there by 7am to get my registration and bib, stretch, and just kind of get myself in a good mental place.  So that meant leaving the house by 6:15am.  Here's a brief rundown of how the night/morning before went:

8:30pm -- took melatonin and drank a bottle of water and got into bed with a book guaranteed to not stimulate the mind too much (a biography of Mary Tudor, aka "Bloody Mary," if you're wondering).

9:00pm -- start falling asleep.  Put book down and turn off lights.  Say prayers.

10:30pm -- wake up after a nightmare that I broke an ankle.  Go to bathroom.  Go back to bed.

11:30pm -- wake up after nightmare that I ran the wrong course and got lost.  Go to bathroom.  Go back to bed.

12:30am -- wake up after nightmare that I overslept and missed the race.  Go to bathroom (water before bed may not have been the best idea).  Ask husband to please come to bed so he won't be a grouch in the morning. 

1:30am -- still awake.  Husband snoring.  Get up and go to couch.  Sleep on and off until 5am when alarm goes off. 

5:15am -- get up after updating Facebook status, go outside and nearly cry tears of joy that it's so beautifully cool outside.  Eat breakfast (Frosted Flakes with banana). 

5:30am -- wash face.  Wake up husband.  Tell him it's 60 degrees outside.  Why isn't he more excited to be awake?

5:35am -- stretch.  Watch ESPN while husband eats breakfast.  Try not to nag him to hurry up and go shower so we aren't late. 

5:50am -- physically turn off television and get reprimanded for turning off ESPN during baseball playoffs talk.  Give a Look.  Husband gets in shower. 

6:20am -- leave for the race!

7:00am -- arrive at race site. Get bib and spend at least 10 minutes getting it straight on my shirt.  Take obligatory self portrait:

Then take picture of sweet puppy who is being so good despite being SO EXCITED about seeing other people and other pups:

7:45am -- meet up with Laura (photographer, not pictured) and Sarah (right) and Laura's cousin Jennifer (center).  Take pre-race picture.  Start feeling super nervous.

7:59am -- head to starting line with Sarah (Jennifer would be starting the 10k a few minutes after the 5k started).  Take a quick picture of the lovely view around the Stonebridge Beach Club. (I didn't take pics during the race, even though there were a few LOVELY spots. More on that later).

8:02am -- start race! 

8:44am -- FINISH RACE. Laura takes the most epic finish line pic of me...which was inspired by Caitlin's blog about taking awesome race pics.  No, I didn't hurt myself.  Yes, I made one of the race volunteers laugh.

8:45am -- Find husband and pup (they'd been on a long walk, too).  Get water.  And watermelon!  Take pic together (note that both of our Red Sox hats are getting pretty gross.  I think that's the mark of a good hat.).

9:15am -- get in car.  Put on official race shirt and SMILE that I DID IT!
You guys! I ran a 5k!

Was it my best time ever?  Not hardly.  Was it hard?  At times, yes.  This course had some WICKED hills in it.  I'm not talking about "oh hey, this suddenly seems hard...I must be running uphill."  I'm talking "holy crap where did the runners in front of me go??" hills because they were so steep. 

Luckily I had a rockin' playlist that I custom-made based on previous runs and corresponding shuffles and how certain songs made me feel while running.  That helped a lot.

There was only one time where I got genuinely frustrated, and that was around the 2 mile mark, after all the worst of the hills.  I slowed down to a brisk walk at the water station and, after throwing away my cup, started back to running and immediately had to stop and walk again because I couldn't catch my breath.  I was wearing Laura's Garmin (AND NOW I WANT ONE) and I was frustrated that I was going more slowly than I'd hoped, and I did not want to be walking but I knew I needed to catch my breath if I didn't want to finish the race at a walk. 

Then I told myself to stop being crazy and just catch my breath and get over it and start running again when I was ready. 

My goals were to:

* Take pictures (check)
* Take some pictures along the route (NO check.  There was one point where I wanted to take a pic b/c the view was so pretty, but I was hitting my stride and didn't want to break it just for a picture.  I'm glad I listened to my gut.  Too bad there was nothing pretty to look at during the aforementioned unwanted walk break).
* Finish in under 45 minutes (check. According to my MapMyRun app I was at 42:00 exactly)
* Have a pace <14:00/mile (check.  13:17/mile according to MMR app)
* Get an awesome finish line pic (check)

In the 24-ish hours since the race, I've done a lot of thinking.  I feel SO accomplished, and I'm anxious to run again tomorrow.  However, I looked at a couple of the professional pictures of me along the race and concluded the following:

* I really have let myself go a little with eating, and that's why, despite my run schedule of late, I'm still not losing weight in the areas I need/want to (stomach...)
* I have to start cross-training on non-running days again.  That's why my calves don't look as good as they did last summer, when I was doing yoga AND running AND elliptical-ing.  (I was also tapping during a show, but whatever).

Please be aware, I am not focusing on these more negative thoughts.  But shouldn't we learn some things after a race/event that we'd like to improve in our healthy living aspirations?  I think it's okay that, despite my thrill at having done the race, I have also found areas to improve upon. 

I'm excited and already starting to look towards running another race (or more!) this fall!  Thank you all for your support via Twitter, Facebook and emails yesterday!  You're awesome!