Friday, January 27, 2012

Civic Duty

Today I had to serve jury duty for the first time. I was all nervous because the courthouse I was called to is pretty far from my house in a not-so-great area that I would probably never meander into for any other reason (plus I don't own a car and public transit to that area is pretty sketch). But I got there just fine and wouldn't you know it, my panel was called from the pool first thing. So I spent most of my time there in a courtroom watching the jury selection process for a murder trial.

I didn't end up getting chosen for the jury, in fact my group didn't even have to go through questioning, but I'm actually glad that I was forced out of my comfort zone for a day. Sometimes it's good to get a reminder of all the different types of people that are out there, with all different types of professions, life experiences, living conditions and opinions. We get so caught up in our own social circles and class levels that it's easy to lose sight of the big picture and how good your life can be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Running Goals

After putting my post together last week, and thinking about my fitness goals, I realized that I had never written about another big accomplishment I had made in 2011: running a 5K! I actually ended up running two: the Bucktown 5K and the Hot Chocolate 5K. The Bucktown race was a smaller Chicago neighborhood race through my very own hood (the course went just one street from my house!) and the Hot Chocolate was a much bigger race that went through the loop downtown--with chocolate at the end, of course.

My friend Becky encouraged me to run--that and the sweet, sweet goody bag jacket. We had fun encouraging each other since it was the first time racing for both of us, and even though we didn't actually train together, it was good to have someone to talk to that was working at the same pace.

For my training (yes, you don't go from barely running to three miles), another, more advanced, runner friend had recommended the Hal Higdon "Couch to 5K" program. I didn't follow it exactly, but it was a great guide to slowly build up endurance. The best part of racing was challenging myself to beat my first time in the second race--which I did!

This year the goal is to work up to running a 10K and maaaaybe a half marathon! Up and up!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Yogi New Year

Hoo-boy, it has been a while since I updated the ole blog. First off, Happy New Year! I've never been much of a resolutionary person, but it is a nice time to reflect and check in with yourself.

I suppose you could say that is exactly what I was doing for most of December--after all of the parties and surviving a nasty respiratory virus. I took all the time between Christmas and New Years off work, giving me 11 days off in a row (including a couple unpaid days since I had to sacrifice the last of my sick days for that virus). That's the longest I've been away from the office since I started this job (seven years ago, but who's counting). I actually considered going in for a couple of hours for those unpaid days, but I'm glad I didn't. I think I was actually afraid of being bored (or being alone with myself, if you want to take the therapist perspective)! It took me a couple of days to get used to letting myself just relax. Usually when I have time off, I'm always trying to get stuff done, clean this, fix that, and I did some, but I really just wanted to let myself unwind. I feel like I'm running ragged most of the time, like I'm always going places and doing things because I have to instead of want to. I've always been a pretty high-strung person, but my energy level took a big dip when I turned 30, so I've been trying to manage that for the past year (both mentally and physically).

I spent most of my time off at home alone (the bf was at work most of the week) on the couch, and it was nice. I didn't talk to friends or family much, and we even dodged the holiday travel stress bomb. I let myself watch a lot of TV without feeling guilty about it (which was A LOT of the month between being sick and hungover and staycationing). I went to the gym a couple of times and by the end of the week I wished that I had been taking advantage of the free classes that my gym offers--but I guess that's just the realization that the time off was intended to show me. So I hit up a yoga class on Friday afternoon, something that I've been encouraged to do for a long time by my therapist (for the mind benefit) and my physical therapist (for the body benefit), and I loved it. There's always that first-class-hump to get over, but now that I'm over it, I'm hooked and I hope to go at least once a week. I was crazy sore after that first class, but I already hit up another class a few days later, and was encouraged by the instructor to keep coming, which was pretty cool.

Now that we're back at work, I've had a little bit of a hard time adjusting back to the daily grind, but I try to stay positive and think that if nothing else came from my break, I enter 2012 with a clearer mind and a new found fitness goal.