Fit Friday: Managing Work & Running

Well, Labor Day has passed and the summer marathon is completed. A new semester just started and it’s time to get back into the grind. Now some of you don’t get to enjoy the “lazy” days of summer (and I say lazy in quotes because I know many of us runners use the summer months to ramp up the mileage), but fall still seems a good time to re-assess how to balance our work life and running life (and family, friends, etc.).

Being a college instructor means my schedule has some flexibility. This can be a good and a bad thing. Some days my only real “commitment” is being on campus to teach for an hour and a half. But then I need to work on lecture notes, grade, and, in a perfect world, make a dent in my dissertation. It’s easy to put all of that first and brush off my running. But then I remember how much better I feel and how much more productive I am when I include my runs. But where to put that run? How to make it all happen?

Yep, I name all my different alarms... this is only a few of them!

Yep, I name all my different alarms… this is only a few of them!

I have a couple of tried and true methods. First, I schedule my runs. Usually I’m training for something, so I have some type of specific runs I need to get in during the week. I put them on my calendar – the same calendar I use for work and home. This way I know that a portion of my day is dedicated to my run and if something comes up and I can’t make that time, I need to reschedule. Also, I try to make plans with friends for tough runs: long runs, early mornings, etc. Ok I try to run with friends whenever possible, but these more difficult times/distances are priorities for including running buddies. My running ladies keep me honest. When I want to hit snooze at 4:40am, I won’t when I know I have a girlfriend waiting for me. And let’s be real, if you need to run in the dark (which is more likely as our days get shorter), there is safety in numbers! Finally, I keep races on my calendars. Like many runners, having goals keeps me focused and keeps my runs happening.

Awesome running friends!

Awesome running friends!

So what are your tricks to balancing multiple schedules? How do you make sure you get in your daily workouts?

Encyclopedia of Meg: B

B is for baking! Or books… how does one choose?

I can’t! So I’ll write a bit about both.

I love baking, especially this time of the year

when the weather cools down. While I try to bake healthy food to save us money and eat better, I love making desserts and mostly cookies. There is something wonderful about sweet cookies backing in the fall. And thanks to my stand mixer, I can whip delicious treats quickly. I want to try to make my first pie (by myself) soon too. I just finished some tasty pumpkin pie and am looking forward to making one myself.

Part of the reason that fall brings out the baking besides the cooler temperatures and falling leaves is that it also marks the beginning of another school year. Somehow all that work increases my cravings for buttery, sweet, delicious, home-baked goods. And hence there is a connection between my two B encyclopedia entries.

The school year brings not only the desire to bake more but the piling of books to read over the next 10 weeks. Recently we added a new bookshelf to the office (thanks Mom!) and it is quickly filling up with new books and library books to try to tackle soon. While I read all the time for school, I do love books. I love the feel and the smell of a book, new or old. You know the feeling. You buy a new book, you run your fingers along the pages, and flip through. You can smell the new paper and ink. I realize that environmentally and economically, ebook readers make more sense… but they lack the romance of books. Yes, it’s easier to bring [insert your ebook reader of choice] with you on a plane but is it as nice to curl up with a cold screen? Absolutely not! I love holding the book, with a steaming cup of coffee, and a fresh-baked cookie curled up on the couch with the fireplace crackling (I don’t have a fireplace, but I imagine having one some day).

So baking and books – they belong together and they represent B in my encyclopedia.

And So It Begins Again…

Some of this quarter's reading

The fall quarter has officially started. I have so far attended one of the classes I’m taking (Readings in the American South, 19th Century) and attended the class for which I am the teaching assistant (History of Sin).  I have to say I already love History of Sin. I look forward to working with both the lecturer and the students. In addition, I am also taking an Introduction to Visual Studies (my second field) and a 2-unit reading with the lecturer I am TAing for focusing on gender and sin.

Oh, and I’m taking dance again! My friend talked me into taking Jazz 2 and I’m equally scared and excited. Hopefully, I don’t fall down on the first day, haha! I’m sure it will at least provide for some interesting blog posts.

It’s always nice to be back in classes, with structured reading after my attempts at research through the summer – but at the same time I dread it. I know the workload that lays ahead. And the small paychecks (that don’t begin until November 1, October will be a lean month). Despite all the work and little pay, I do think this will be a good quarter. The classes look positive and I will have the chance to work with a whole new group of people. Plus, this year I’m a second year (woohoo!).

And of course, the return of the school year also brings one of my favorite things: beer Friday! Last year, we usually went to Joe’s on campus but this past Friday we visited Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing (one of my new favorite places). They have great beers and

Devout Stout on a Friday evening

good happy hour prices. Summer has finally come to Santa Cruz, so I hopped on the beach cruiser and headed over. Quickly, the place filled up. But the people all seemed friendly and unlike a regular bar, hanging out at a backing brewery lacks much stress or claustrophobia. Earlier in the week, the cohort (+ Kevin) also got together at 515 Kitchen & Cocktails. I love that place! They had a cocktail named Holly Golightly (and yes, I ordered it! For those concerned, it was very good, although a bit too sweet at the end.).  These are definitely the perks of being back in school – the cohort members are all back in Santa Cruz and the socializing has picked back up.

But since the quarter has started, I know my blogs will become shorter (and perhaps sweeter) and possibly farther apart. I do plan on keeping up the Encyclopedia of Me (tentatively on the 10th of each month) and I have some upcoming races, so look forward to those posts. But mostly, I’ll be reading, which I’m off to do right now. Happy fall everyone!