Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Monday, February 6, 2017

2017 Reading Updates!

Hey there, readers!  As you can probably tell, I've felt rather uninspired on the blogging front lately.  Not many (or any?) reviews churning out these days.  However, rest assured that I have been reading vigorously!  And I'll be honest, it's been rather refreshing to read without the need for reviewing afterwards.

Even though I'm not blogging about my books as much, I still have big plans for reading in 2017!
First and foremost, I am working my way through the Book Riot Read Harder 2017 challenge.   If you haven't heard of the challenge, there are 24 different types of books that you're supposed to try to read throughout the year.  The categories are meant to push you outside of your usual reading comfort zone. I was fortunate to connect with Sarah over at Sarah Says Read, who is also a book blogger from Rochester (Western NY represent!).  She and some other local readers have created a Rochester-based book-club-type-group (it's all rather fluid right now) based around the challenge. Sarah & co have split the 24 categories into 2 per month, and we are getting together monthly to discuss.  Our first meetup was a lovely 2-hour brunch in January, and we had a bookish good time.  :)  Looking forward to more of this throughout the year!

Second, I am really hoping to read off my shelves...again.  You know, because I say that every single year, and somehow it never happens?  I'm off to a rollicking start, as I've already read 3 library books this year, and have another 3 books out from the library as we speak.  SUPER.  This resolution is full of good intentions but sure to fail, let's just be honest.

Third, I want to attack some of the books on my 30 Before 35 list--no, I haven't forgotten about it!  How is it that I am only like 1.5 years from the deadline for this?  TIME FREAKIN' FLIES.

Fourth, I am making an attempt to read more books about social justice and the political process.  For obvious reasons that we will not discuss in this sunshine-and-rainbows space.  So please, send me all the recommendations you have.  I most recently enjoyed The Democrats: A Critical History by Lance Selfa and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and I am on the waiting list for Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit.  Must arm my brain with knowledge in order to do battle for the next 4 years.  RAWR.
Oh, and fifth: more running books.  YES!  This will be the year of my first marathon (it will not escape me this time), and I am reading books to match it.  I already devoured How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald, which totally amped me up for marathon training.  I can't wait to delve into more reads like that one.

Wow, 5 very big reading goals makes 365 days feel like no time at all.  Ah well...if you're gonna do it, overdo it.  Right?

What are you reading so far this year??  Get me up to date, reader friends!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Reading and Running (& more) in the OBX

Hello, reader/runner friends!  Yes, a long absence around here, but for good reason.  If you saw my Instagram post the other day, you know that the Well-Read Redhead family recently returned from a 10ish day long summer vacation.  Woohoo!  Add in the time required to recover from said vacation (because all vacations with children require substantial recovery periods), and wait a minute, when did August get here...?

Let me fill you in on the trip, especially the reading and running highlights!

(I'll warn you that this "brief" update post turned into a rather long vacation review, reading discussion, and race report, so...just read the highlights that interest you most, I guess?  BEAR WITH ME PEOPLE, I'M STILL IN VACATION MODE.)

Our first stop was at Sesame Place down in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.  We added Sesame on to the front of our summer vacation last year as well, because our kids are at PERFECT ages for it (2.5 and 5), and it's a fun way to kick off a big trip.  This year, we broke family records by staying at the park for NINE HOURS.  My kids are serious troopers for hanging in there that long!!  We had a great day, then hopped in the car and let the kids sleep while we drove to a hotel in Maryland.
The Happiest Place on Earth (for kids who have not yet been introduced to the actual Happiest Place on Earth)
The next day, I impressed myself by getting up at 6:30am to work out in the small, but well-equipped, hotel gym.  I had the place to myself, and ended up doing 30 minutes of cycling, plus a bunch of core/strength work with the free weights and BOSU.  I thought about trying a treadmill run, but one running step told me my right leg was still not okay (more on that later).  Boooo.  Still, this was good for spending 9 hours running around a theme park the day before!
Up in the gym just workin' on my fitness. Pretty sure someone famous said that.
After checking out, we headed to our final destination: the Outer Banks in North Carolina.  We vacationed here in 2012 as well, and fell in love with it.  A return trip was most certainly in order.  We shared a beach house with our 2 good friends and their 2 kids in Corolla, and had an absolutely AWESOME week.  We managed a beach trip (or 2 or 3) every day, as well as a side excursion to the aquarium on Roanoke Island.  It was fun, relaxing, exhausting, and rejuvenating all at the same time.  :)
More of this please.
Reading highlights...well, there aren't too many.  You do a beach trip with two young kids, and you don't end up with much reading time (see: Reading with a Toddler, an old guest post on the blog from 2013...very appropriate here! Sorry for all the broken pic links though. Too lazy to fix right now...).  I packed my book into my beach bag on day 1, and promptly removed it that evening, knowing that the oceanside reading of my 20's was just never gonna happen.  However, after the kids went to bed and during their afternoon downtime, I did often get some pages in on the deck.  My book of choice was Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.  Full review to come, but WOWZA, this was an enthralling mystery, albeit an extremely, horrifically graphic one.
View while reading. Not sad about it.
Running highlights...again, not many, this time because of my injury!  (I still don't have a name for said injury, but I'm finally seeing an orthopedist tomorrow, so stay tuned.)  Other than my hotel biking/strength session, I also got in some sunrise yoga on our deck (AMAZING!!) and on a whim I decided to run a local 5K on the 27th.  I knew it would stir up my injury, but how could I resist a local race along the ocean?  I mean, just one little 5K, right...
My sunrise view during yoga on the deck. Seriously? Stop it.
The Brindley Beach Lighthouse 5K is run every Wednesday during the summer months in Corolla.  I was afraid that a race that is put on every single week would be kind of shoddily done (like, are they going to go all out for something they do over and over?), but holy moly--OBX Running Company has a pretty amazing thing going on!!  Every race employee I talked to was super friendly and helpful, the entire race was smoothly executed, all the little details were taken care of...it was great.  Very nice finisher medals and race tshirts for all participants, plus an email later that day with your official race results, finisher video, and pictures.  Seriously awesome.  They also do a 5K every Thursday in Nags Head, so I highly recommend checking one out if you are ever vacationing down there!

I got to the race site near Currituck lighthouse early to register, then spent some time stretching, warming up, and exploring the area.  The race started a little after 8am, which in Corolla means HOT HOT HOT.  It was 81 degrees with 96% humidity, to be exact.  YEAH.  For an upstate New Yorker, that is literally trial by fire, because I can't remember the last time I ran in those conditions.  Between the heat and my leg, I decided to keep myself going no faster than 8:30 pace, and just push as comfortably as I could.

The race started, and a minute or so in, I looked at my watch to see 7:45 pace.  Nope nope nope.  I dialed it back and fell pretty comfortably into the 8:30 range.  I finished mile 1 at 8:35 and felt surprisingly good.  Mile 2, I encountered the one water station and decided to walk through it.  I knew I NEEDED the water, and the thought of choking down 1-2 mouthfuls while I ran was not appealing.  I still managed to complete the second mile in 8:55.

As expected, the heat was getting to me badly by the third mile, but I still finished it out at 9:03 pace, for a final result of 27:27, good enough for 2nd in my age group.  Not bad!!  Only about 1 minute off a PR in fact, and that's damn good for those conditions.  I attribute much of it to the fact that my legs were very (very very?) well rested from no running lately, and that I put zero pressure on myself, since I did this race at the last minute anyway.
Sweaty me + medal + Currituck Lighthouse
So glad I participated in this race--the whole experience was so fun, and it ended early enough that I still had enough time for a long, fun day with the family on the beach afterwards.  :)

(I did pay for it with my leg afterwards though.  OW OW OW.  Le sigh.  Damn injured leg.)

Anywho, after that 5K, all my other working out for the week went out the window.  I will admit that I had MORE than my fair share of wine last week, participated in a lot of late nights laughing with our friends and playing ridiculous rounds of Cards Against Humanity, and ate a lot of not-workout-friendly foods like Duck Donuts and cookies and ice cream sandwiches.
In case you've never met Duck Donuts. LET ME INTRODUCE YOU.
But hey--no regrets!  Honestly, I'm starting to feel like this injury was "meant to be", as cheesy as that sounds, because it would have been hella hard for me to continue marathon training last week and still have the fun, carefree vacation that I enjoyed.  Plus, it's saving me from heavy training in the hottest months, and I gotta tell ya, all you runners with the hot-weather-running Instagram photos are NOT making me miss it.  ;)

Does taking a running break suck?  OH YEAH.  Watch my face turn green with envy every time a runner goes past my house.  I find it mentally painful to open my newest edition of Runner's World right now.  If it's possible for a Garmin to rust, I'm sure mine is currently doing it.  But if I have to find the bright side, then I will, because I can't let a speed bump get me down.  (More on this in a later post...)

Oh man, are you loving my rambling today, or what???  I have lots of upcoming posts for you though, and I promise they will be better organized!  I owe you a Shoreline Half race recap, I have a bunch of mini-book-reviews to publish, and I have some deep thoughts about running to share in the wake of this injury.  STAY TUNED!

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Midpoint Check-In for 2016

Hello, reader/runner friends!  Today marks the first day of the second half of 2016, so I thought it would be fun to check in with how I'm doing on the reading and running fronts so far this year.  I have also been admittedly absent around here lately, so it serves as a way for me to let you know what's going on in my little corner of the world these days.

Let's start with Reading:

So far I've read 25 books this year, not bad!  I didn't set a goal for 2016, but I've read a LOT of great books in that group of 25, and as such the reading has been easy.  It's nice when you don't feel like you're getting hung up on a lot of slow reads or DNFs.

It's hard for me to pick favorites, but a few contenders for the "best so far" of this year would be What Alice Forgot, Everyone Brave is Forgiven, and Alice & Oliver.


Running:

I went back in my Nike+ history and found that I've run 426.5 miles this year so far--woohoo!  I have never kept track of my yearly mileage or set a monthly/yearly mileage goal, but I went further back to 2015 and found that I ran 364.2 miles in the first 6 months of that year.  I think this Four Seasons Challenge is definitely helping me stay motivated!  Last year whenever I finished a big race, my 70-100 mile/month frequency would plummet down to 25-40 miles/month if I had nothing to train for.  Now that there's always a race on the horizon, I'm getting out there more often and am feeling more consistently race-ready.

Two of the Four Seasons races are done...the next is in just a few weeks (Shoreline Half on July 16), though I'm using it as a training run for the September Rochester Marathon.  Marathon training is going REALLY well, but the July training schedule amps up the mileage quite a bit, so check in with me again in August to see if I'm still so enthusiastic.  ;)
Me at the 19K finish line back in May...yeah, hoping I can look like that at the marathon finish too!
Personally:

My most significant news of late is that I am going back to school.  Yup, again!  A bachelors and a masters didn't seem like enough, so I decided to add an associates degree (haha).  This fall, I'll be starting classes to get my degree in Fitness and Recreation Management (with a concentration in Personal Training).  The eventual goal is to get a job as a personal trainer once Tater Tot is in school full-time.  That's not for several more years, so it gives me time to spread out the coursework.  You can get a personal trainer certification without going to college for it, but doing it that way does not require any hands-on experience, which I would like to get before heading into the workforce.  The degree requires an internship, so I'm pretty stoked about the opportunity to gain experience in the field before I (hopefully) get a job!

This is a huge career change for me (you may remember I was in higher ed administration before), but one that I am extremely excited about!

That's where I'm at these days.  I know I post less frequently, but I do so love my blog and all my bloggy friends--I hope that, as always, you'll stick with me through this new busy season in my life!  :)  While I know I'll have to trade some pleasure reading time for textbook reading time this fall, I have such a long list of excellent TBR books that I know I won't be ignoring it completely!

How's your 2016 going so far??

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What is a TBR pile, anyway?

My wheels started turning last week when I read a post by Allison over at The Book Wheel: This Is What Happens When You Purge Your Goodreads TBR.  In it, she lamented over the unwieldy size of her Goodreads "to-read" list (over 200 books), and decided to delete the whole thing and start over.

I was stricken by this, because I long ago abandoned my Goodreads TBR list.  At the time of Allison's post, my to-read list was at a whopping 1,084 books.  ONE THOUSAND AND EIGHTY FOUR.  To delete the whole thing sounded equally scandalous and liberating.

How did the list get to that astronomical point?  I started my Goodreads account in 2007, o-KAY, so give me a little leeway when I've been adding books to it for 9 years!  And for a long time, I found it useful.  I would troll it whenever I needed help picking a new book to read.  I used to make little goals like "try to read all the books I added to it in 2007" (done!).  I would carefully add only books that I REALLY wanted to read.

Then...I started this blog.  And things just got out of control.
Yeah like, way too many.
I used to be super good about keeping up with other book blogs (like, on the daily, remember those days??), and I would add ANY book to my Goodreads list that sounded even remotely decent.  I figured, better to keep it on the list even if I'm iffy about it, rather than forget about it, right?  Unfortunately, this threw my list into a state of madness to the point where I just stopped using it.  It wasn't helpful anymore.

After reading Allison's post, I considered starting over from scratch.  Delete it all, and begin again with only books I really want to read currently.  However, after looking over the list, I just couldn't do it.  There were too many that I still, now, REALLY wanted to read.  What I DID do is spend some serious time culling it.  I'm now down to 469 on the to-read list, still unmanagably large for some, but when I look at the list now, I see books that I actually do want to read...you know, when I have the time.  :)
Oh yeah, I have this.
But this also made me think about all the other types of TBR lists I pay attention to...

1. The "at home" TBR.  Meaning the 100+ unread books on my home shelves.  (Don't even talk about my Kindle.  If I can't physically see them, they're not there, right...)

2. My 30-before-35 TBR.  I do keep an eye on this list pretty consistently, I am chipping away at it!

3. Year-end "best of" TBRs.  Bloggers come out with all their lists of faves at the end of each year, and it makes me crazy as I try to read all the ones that sound right up my alley.  (Yeah, still trying to get to A Little Life.)

4. Prize list TBRs.  Every year I make grand proclamations like, "I'm going to read the entire Man Booker short list!" or "I'm going to read all the Tournament of Books selections!"  And every year I fail.  But it sure is fun to try!

Sure, many of these lists overlap.  But still...is it any wonder my Goodreads was past 1,000?

At the end of it all, I say: fill up those to-read lists, people.  Pack 'em full.  In the end, you'll always have a book to read, and that's what matters, yes?  :)

Readers, how many books are on YOUR Goodreads to-read list?  Or do you use another kind of TBR?  (Or do you fly by the seat of your pants with NO TBR??  I can't even imagine...)
 
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