Finally welcoming February

Marina tolerates my amateur photo skills.

I had a nice post in mind that was supposed to be uploaded on February 1st. That didn’t happen, as it turned out last week was productive but holy-crap-stressful.

So I’ll go ahead and share the big non-running news: I passed the state exam for my Life, Accident and Health insurance license.

I went in thinking the test would be more focused on insurance laws and the fundamentals of life and health insurance, since those were the meat ‘n potatoes of my study materials. Imagine my surprise when my weakest areas – federal rules regarding taxation, differences in health care providers and business tax breaks – were featured prettily heavily. I felt like I was back in high school algebra and communication law all rolled into one shot. I even felt like crying a few times during the exam from the frustration of it all, and was surprised to see the notification I passed.

Granted, my final score wasn’t close to what I was aiming for and that’s disappointing, but at least I passed and can have my weekends and evenings back. Maybe in the next post I’ll be feeling triumphant, but for now, I’m equal parts relieved and exhausted. I’m not going to be studying for any additional lines for a long while.

But on the plus side, I’ve made progress with my training during Week 3. My mileage stayed the same at 15, which I figured it would. I originally planned on running Saturday morning to finish my weekly miles at 20, but it turned out running three treadmill miles the night before after taking that exam and getting Mexican for lunch was a horrible idea. Note to me: quesadillas are only your friends post-run. And the migraine I developed Friday morning during my exam wanted to hang out with me a little longer. So my runner friends might be thinking, You’ve ran 15 miles for the last three weeks. Where’s the progress, Al?

I’ll tell you: lifting and flexibility. During my training cycles, I alternate days running with days lifting, aiming to get three resistance training sessions a week. I swear by resistance training more than I do the actual running to keep my endurance up and keep myself injury-free, in addition to loving how a muscular back looks on me for sundress season. Lifting has taken a bit of a backseat, since I usually like to lift in the evenings after work to unwind and de-stiffen myself from my day of sitting behind the laptop screen. However, on Monday morning, Wednesday at lunch (in-office day and we have a gym on campus at work) and Saturday morning I got three resistance training sessions in. My main focus during my sessions is my upper body, as well as some back and glutes to keep my legs strong. It’s early, but I can tell my shoulders and back are looking and feeling better.

I also did yoga last week to alleviate some back pain from a lifting session and sitting too long. During my prime once a week was all I did, but I’m realizing I’m going to have to beef those up to darn near nightly. As much as I love my job (hello, coworkers who might read this!), my body is letting me know loud and clear the sitting eight hours part is no bueno. And I think Marina enjoys her mom doing yoga. If nothing else, me being stuck in some awkward pose is prime time for some attack tail.

I didn’t have too much to say. Last week was productive, and the stress was something else. Now that I’ve got the exam behind me, it’s time to unwind, mentally move into February and start focusing on the next few months of training for my spring races, as well as enjoying each day this month is going to bring. We’re already five days in, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you remember February is only 28 days long.

So my friends, I hope your month ahead is full of love – for yourself, friends, family and nature around you – as well soul care and wellness. For my Christian readers, I hope you have a peaceful, reflective time as we move into the six weeks of Lent on February 22nd.

Yours in reading, running and life,



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