Summer in St. Louis

On this Memorial Day, we remember all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country.


Summa timeeeeee (almost officially)!!

Meanwhile, I’m still listening to my “winter grooves 2019” playlist on Spotify.

After finishing up the semester, I spent a week at home in NY with the family for Mother’s Day and couch time down time. My body probably needs 10 hours of sleep per night to make up for my lack of sleep this semester, but anything >7.5 hours is a MIRACLE, because this brain of mine can’t shut down for much longer than that. I’ve been a fan of using a blindfold to sleep at night so the light doesn’t wake me.

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despite our insistence, she is still washing dishes in her beautiful red dress as we speak 🤦🏻‍♀️ happy Mother’s Day, @yeungvictoria500 I love you very much and am so grateful for your life of self-sacrificial love —————————— a prayer for mothers (adapted from a prayer at Mass today): For all our mothers - for those who are joyful and those who are mourning; for those who are strong and those who are weak; for those who are loved and those who are unloved - thank You, O Lord for the gift of mothers who share in the gift and the power of creation. Bring them closer to the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Virgin Mother and to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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Moves and grooves have been happening, just a little less intensely and less frequently these days. I’m just pooped. I’ll probably write a post about fitness/food life these days, since it’s been a minute since we have discussed!

But I still love getting in some good ol’ burpees. Forever and always ♥︎

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“be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9) has been the theme this week - in final exams, maintaining prayer life, choosing the good, exercising, sleeping after watching a scary movie (#regrets; still traumatized). aka normal things. but I’ve found that I need the most strength and courage for the most mundane and small things in life, because I’m a naturally lazy, procrastinating, fearful person. the Lord, our God is with us always though, so be not afraid!! hop to it! 🐰 —————————— 3 rounds (I took lots of breaks) • 10 tuck jump burpees • 10 squat cleans • 10 strict presses • 10 triple lunge jump kicks • 10 inclined clapping pushups (you can see I took a break halfway thru) • 10 prisoner squat jumps (#ouch) #moveandgroove

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So the situation for summer: I’m doing my second PT clinical in St. Louis!! I’ve completed my first week already, and I am grateful to say that I am loving it so far. I am here with three other friends from my program, which has made the transition a lot more enjoyable and comforting. You can see the Boston University crew on the top right corner of this nifty collage.

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The scrubs lifestyle is superior to all work attire. No question. Except for the fact that we also have to wear a lab coat with pulse oximeters and gait belts in the pockets too, so it’s a hefty uniform.

The gym that is affiliated with our hospital is LIT. It has a sled (see bottom right of collage), pull-up resistance bands, free fitness classes, a tire, and TOWEL SERVICE INCLUDED. I actually have only used the towels once so far, but there is something bougie about having the option, I feel. The student rate is also great!

Speaking of fitness, I did a Tough Mudder Classic Race with one of my uncles (who lives in STL) last weekend. It was a relatively impulsive, last-minute decision, but it was on sale via Groupon and my uncle kindly treated me to it as an early birthday gift (thanks, Uncle P!!). I figured it would just be for fun, and since I am missing the Spartan Race in Boston this year with my friend, Ben, I thought this would suffice as a substitute, despite not being trained at all…

It was a blast!! It’s less of an athletic race than the Spartan Race, IMO. The obstacles overall require less strength and conditioning, but if you’re claustrophobic or afraid of heights / cold water / electric shock, the Tough Mudder helps ya get over those real quick, haha! I would do it again with friends!

I got to hang out with my uncle, aunt, and cousins before starting clinical, which was fantastic. These kids are so fun and fit, man.

We even did a tabata together!

Throwback to our first tabata together ever (before their 4th child was even born!):

In other news, there was a big tornado watch in STL last week, as some of you might know. It seemed legit enough that we moved from the third floor of our apartment building to the first floor lobby entrance with our plates full of dinner (see far left second row)…priorities, ya know? Girls gotta eat. Thanks be to God, we were all okay in our area. Praying for those who were not as fortunate.

I’m actually standing in LaGuardia airport right now because after my first week of clinical, I already got a four day weekend (#spoiled). I took that opportunity to join my family and relatives in Maryland to witness my uncle being ordained a deacon! I flew into NY and then drove down to Maryland with my family on Friday. Then we drove back up to NY Saturday night after the long day of festivities and now I’m headed back to STL. Good grief.

But GOOD > grief. What an incredible, blessed weekend to be with the whole family, especially those who I had not seen in ages, to witness my uncle’s ordination. My uncle who was ordained, as well as his family, were beaming the whole weekend. There were lots of happy tears shed. It’s difficult to explain what his ordination means to each of my family members, including myself, but the best I can say for now is that we are all filled with deep joy and gratitude.

That’s the update for now! Keep an eye out for more posts this summer; I’m hoping to do a day in the life and some chats about recent fitness/body image thoughts soon!

Hope you are doing well 🙂 Thanks for reading along.

(I almost just signed, “Best, Alison” lol.)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to STL? Tips on what to do / where to eat / how to stay safe (jk but not really)? 

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder? What about a Spartan Race? Both (if so, which do you like more and why)?

What are you up to this MDW, Americans?

A highlight of your weekend otherwise!

 

 

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Summer Catch Up {Part 2}: Spartan Race and Bachelorette Party

I meant to write this, like, two days ago.

This is my week off and my days have already been full enough to not have time to blog. SCHOOL IS COMIN’!!

It’s been full of mostly fun things though. Example: Last night I went out to dinner with my good pal Zoe and her family at Sweet Cheeks BBQ. We ate al fresco in the cool summer eve, noshed on giant honey-buttered biscuits, and ate lots o’ scrumptious meat. I truly don’t deserve this life.

Spartan Race

Rewind to…THREE weekends ago ALREADY. My friend Ben and I ran a Spartan Super race in western Massachusetts!

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It was 8.2 miles of epic fun. Well, the first 2 miles were miserable for me. Running felt really difficult at the beginning, and after the first wall obstacle, I told Ben, “Not gonna lie, I feel pretty damn terrible.”

But somehow I caught a first wind at around mile 3 and felt great for the rest of it. I owe Ben a lot of credit for leading the way at the beginning when I just wanted to go back to Boston to sleep and for lending his knee to help me up all of the tall walls. And just for being the greatest Spartan buddy.

FAVORITE MOMENT OF THE RACE:

So at last year’s Spartan Sprint race, I was *this* close to reaching the top of the rope climb, but I didn’t know how to use my feet for leverage, so my arms became super fatigued. I was a pull and a reach from the bell, but instead I slid down and got a rope burn on my ankle (in front of many spectators) that I still had by the Spartan Race this year. Since then, I’ve been determined to complete the rope obstacle, buuuuuut I don’t know where to find a rope for practice, so I’ve never trained for it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anyway, at the race this year, there were some Army men/women standing at the rope obstacle (idk, moral support?). I was struggling to even START climbing the rope, so I asked one of the Army guys, “Do you know how to do the foot thing to climb the rope?” Army man coached me through it, and after a couple of failed attempts, I finally got the hang of it and started my way up the rope. At half way I wanted to quit because I was already fatigued and felt like I wasn’t using my energy efficiently, but Army man said, “You’re halfway there, don’t give up.”

Fine.

I kept inching my way up (literally like an inchworm), and when I was at about the same place as last year, I reached for the bell but missed. But I honestly had to just think of Jesus Christ on the cross (#dramatic but whatever, He’s always relevant) in order to not let go. So the tired leggies and the super tired arms did one more pull, and then I rang the bell!

…and then I slid down and rope burned the same part of my ankle as last year, except five times worse (it’s still scabbed and healing). And when my butt made its grand touchdown to the mat, I thanked Army man and all his friends as if they had just saved my life. It was a proud and humbling moment all the same.

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had to assure people that I am safe and not being harmed by myself or anyone else; “it was just a spartan race”

Hardest obstacle: The bucket carry. It just felt so bad for my back, no matter how well I tried to maintain my body mechanics and use my core.

Honorary mention obstacle: Dead ball (maybe around 50-75# for the women?) carry with burpees.

The weather was overcast (which was actually lovely!) and slightly rainy towards the end, but everything was a cow-manure-smelling, soggy, muddy slip and slide. I almost ate it at least ten times. Monkey bar obstacles were complete fails, 30% due to the conditions, 70% due to my lack of grip strength.

But we did it! In 3 hours, 18 minutes.

Our post-race meal (besides the free banana/protein bar/electrolyte super water they gave us) was ramen and ice cream. A fine celebratory meal, I say!

We’re already thinking of doing another one next year.

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Rachel’s Bachelorette Party

If you didn’t know, my bff is getting married in a couple months, and she asked me to be the maid of honor ♥

This was just F U N. Part one was a surprise party complete with some of Rachel’s favorite foods, a gold fringe curtain, polaroids, booze, some G-rated question games (since pinterest bachelorette party ideas are really gross, tbh).

Then we went out on the town and danced up a STORM at a couple bars. We were living. Also, I learned that people are so dang generous and enthusiastic to bachelorette parties. Free drinks and hugs left and right, man!! Creepy men left and right, too, but we held our ground.

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The collage obviously shows our ~tame~ side as well. Part two of the weekend was a quiet getaway to an idyllic farm Airbnb in middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts. Rachel requested this type of weekend for just her and her bridesmaids, so we delivered! It was wonderful in every way. The Airbnb hosts were great (we stayed here — highly recommend if you wanna stay on a peaceful farm lol) and sold us a whole fresh chicken that we roasted for dinner. They even set up a bonfire for us, which we used for s’mores at night as we chatted under the intensely bright moon.

Ugh, it was just phenomenal. It was “glamping”, essentially — all the perks of camping without having to sleep outside nor deal with camp stoves.

Most importantly, Rachel loved it, so it was a successful weekend 🙂


School starts on Tuesday! Hope you all have a delightful weekend. Do we feel that fall air coming on yet!?

So tell me:

Have you ever done an obstacle race before?

Have you ever been to a bachelorette party?

 

 

 

We Finished the Spartan Sprint Race!

This weekend was all kinds of wonderful!

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for one, Friday started with overnight oats in an almond butter jar — always the best

And I hope you all share the same sentiment. Shoutout and prayers for your fathers and all fathers, alive and gone. Super special shoutout to Pop! Much love to my hero.

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I think this is from Father’s Day last year!

Friday

I posted this “half a week in the life” vlog in the morning! Then I worked all day in the lab, with a nice outdoor lunch break in there. Lunch was a hodgepodge of snacky foods because my fridge stockpile is depleting.

carrots and hummus, three hard boiled eggs with sriracha, Mary’s Gone Crackers, grapes

Coming home from work was just a wee bit rainy…

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All I needed to do was shampoo and rinse.

Soon after coming home, I quickly ate leftover roasted brussels sprouts straight from the fridge before a FaceTime date with one of my best friends, Emma. She’s one of those people who you can’t help but love and admire — truly a sweet and holy soul.

I wanted something sweet but also somewhat nutritious afterwards, so Amanda’s banana bread mug cake with extra peanut butter and lots of Greek yogurt came to the rescue.

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Saturday

On our last day before the Spartan Race, Ben and I did a short and simple 16 minute workout with some foam rolling in the morning.

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Next on the agenda for me was spiritual direction, which was more beautiful than I expected it to be, as it always is. I went to Mass directly after, and then walked to The Clayroom for a date with my girl Colby, who’s in Boston for the summer!! I ate a ham and cheese sandwich + grapes on the way there.

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I ♥︎ sandwiches – delicious, filling, portable, versatile

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The Clayroom is a pottery painting studio that Colby found after we decided to do an indoor activity given the rainy forecast on Saturday (it never even rained). We loved it!

First you choose your own piece of pottery (varied prices depending on the piece, plus a studio fee).

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And then you paint it as you please, pay for everything, leave your piece there, and pick it up a few days later after they’ve fired it in the kiln!

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Colby chose a big plate to paint for her dad for Father’s Day. Apparently he likes to grill, so she made him a very impressive “King of the Grill” plate. How sweet!

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I chose a pasta bowl (functional for the many things I eat in bowls) that I decorated with some doodles on the outside and something that might look familiar on the inside…

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The colors will be more vibrant once they’re fired in the kiln. We’re going to pick them up later this week, so I’ll show you our final products after that!

It was great catching up with Colby and having some good ol’ arts and crafts time with her. 🙂

At night, Casey, Ben and I had a slumber party so that Ben and I could carb up and also be ready to leave early in the morning the next day.

Ben made us a delicious dinner of cacio e pepe, cured meats, caprese, and toasted focaccino bread.

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I LOVE CARBS.

No slumber party is complete without braiding hair.

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We were planning on turning it in early, but we didn’t get to sleep until around 11, with a 5:15 AM wakeup just around the bend.

Sunday

I was on breakfast duty in the morning, so I brought all my favorites for a nice pre-race meal.

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Two slices of pb banana bread for all.

Casey wished us luck, and then Ben and I departed for Treasure Valley Scout Reservation, which was a little over an hour away. We were both feelin’ excited and nervous on the way! I said I would have nervous poops, but Ben thought I said “foops,” so now we’re dubbing nervous poops “foops.”

I’ve talked about bowel movements a lot here recently, I’m sorry.

When we arrived, there were already racers from earlier heats trekking through the obstacles, and the festival portion was bumpin’.

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The weather was pretty perfect for a race — overcast, not too hot, not too cold. Maybe just a little muggy, but not too bad.

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We warmed up, made sure we were just hydrated enough, and then lined up in the corrals for our 10 AM start time.

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so happy and clean before the race

Ben: “Let’s do a serious face.”

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Me: “This is as serious as I’m gonna get because I can’t stop smiling.”

Ben: “Oh c’monnnn!”

Me: “Fine.”

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The thing to shout at a Spartan Race is “AROO!” so the start line announcer rallied us up to chant “I AM A SPARTAN” and “AROO AROO AROO” several times before he yelled “GOOOOO!”

Guys, this race was so much fun!! The volunteers and other racers were enthusiastic and encouraging, the trails and obstacles were challenging yet fun, and there were just enough water stations.

The course was 5.1 miles, filled with:

  • muddy and rocky trails through the woods
  • GIANT hills
  • deep and sticky mud pits + giant hills up which you had to carry sandbags and buckets of rocks
  • barbed wire crawl
  • short and tall walls to climb over
  • an inverted wall
  • a traverse wall
  • a tire flip
  • a couple sets of monkey bars
  • a spear throw
  • a sandbag pulley
  • a rope climb
  • muddy water pits
  • a line of burning rocks to jump over at the finish!

For every obstacle you fail, you have a 30 burpee penalty. #yikes. I only had to do 90, which I’m proud of, considering I honestly thought I would have to do 300.

I was most concerned about the running because of my hips, but running through the woods was slow enough, and the damp soil helped absorb a lot of impact, so my hips felt great! What didn’t feel great were the uneven paths that torqued my right knee quite a bit, but I think I just need to ice and nurse it a bit this next week.

My favorite obstacles were actually the big hills, traverse wall, and the one set of monkey bars that I surprised myself by completing. The spear throw was my least favorite because I’m bitter about having very little hand-eye coordination.

The rope climb was another {bittersweet} favorite. I hadn’t climbed a rope since elementary school, I think. In the race, I used way too much arm strength since I didn’t know how to do the J-hook with my feet properly. I was *this* close to ringing the bell at the top, but my arms were absolutely fried (I was on that rope for a good two minutes), so I just started slipping and rope-burned my way down in failure. Womp womp.

It was sweet though, because the rope climb is one of the last obstacles on the course, so a bunch of people were watching and cheering me on from the sidelines. I mean, it was humbling to disappoint all of them when I didn’t make it, but it was still awesome to have people cheering for me.

Two hours and two minutes later, Ben and I crossed the finish line, muddy, sweaty, but full of joy! We downed water, a banana, and a Clif bar while beaming at the fact that WE DID IT and neither of us died/needed hospital assistance.

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In order, my goals for this race were to:

  1. glorify God
  2. have fun
  3. not injure myself seriously
  4. finish the race
  5. finish the race in good time

And I think Ben and I accomplished these goals, praise God!

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We got some swag upon finishing, including a nice medal, a T-shirt, some free food samples, and a beer. We hosed ourselves down, but Lord knows we would need a real shower later. Some of that mud was definitely commingled with some animal poop.

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Me: “I’m still really thirsty, which makes me want to drink this beer really quickly, but maybe I shouldn’t do that.”

I am so grateful that I got to run the Spartan Sprint safely and happily with one of my best buds. What a great experience!

But the Spartan Race was the second best thing of the weekend. Mass that evening was the best thing.

After Mass, a bunch of us went over to our friend Austin’s place for dinner since he had a bunch of leftovers from a party. Free food is better than gold for us college students.

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delicious chicken drumsticks + sausage and peppers

Ben and I had been half-joking about ordering the Vermonster (a 20-scoop ice cream sundae) at Ben & Jerry’s with a bunch of friends after our Spartan Race, but we decided that our stomachs would much prefer a more moderate amount of ice cream (still recovering from Scooper Bowl, TBH).

Back to White Mountain Creamery then!

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I went here on Memorial Day with Casey and Ben, but I needed to come back with Rachel since the “Cookie Monster” (cookies and cream with cookie dough throughout) was on our food bucket list. IMG_9130

This stuff was dreeeeamy. As was the scoop of blueberry white chocolate underneath.

I went to bed last night feeling quite tired and achy, but my heart was so full.

Monday

I woke up later than usual today because a) SLEEP; b) I took the bus instead of walking because my knee is hurting, but I was still rushing to get out of the house. Breakfast was leftover green pancakes with PB&J, eaten on the way to the bus stop.

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I’m working until around 6 today, and then I desperately need to go grocery shopping!

Hope you all have a kick-butt Monday! AROOOOOO! (← I actually find saying that very dog-like.)

So tell me:

Have you ever run an obstacle course race?

Have you ever painted pottery?

One delicious thing you ate and one fun thing you did this weekend!