I Bet You Never Thought Your World Would Come to This.

As cliché as it may sound, if there’s one thing I’ve learned during the course of my time in college so far, it’s that this really is a time of self-discovery. If you had told the straight across bangs-sporting, ballet dancing, high school version of myself that once I went to university, I would quit ballet, start running, drastically change my diet a few times, wear some weird outfits (which make me cringe just thinking about them), and, just days before the second semester of my junior year is to begin, change my major, I would have never believed you. Alas, that is what’s happened. I favor running tights over pink, mesh Capezios now. The products of food science terrify me, so I eat plants instead. And, as of Friday, January 11, 2013, at around noon, I am no longer a dietetics major double-minoring in chemistry and biology. Rather, I am now a biology major, single-minoring in chemistry.

My winter break was pretty weird, thank you. It all began with a trip down memory lane that left me sad, confused, and more emotional than usual (I blame the influx of white sugar in my system for these feelings, however, due to too many holiday treats, but whatever.). After my finals, I drove back home to watch my old ballet school perform “The Nutcracker” as is done every other year. My old friend Lauren, who’s a senior this year, was dancing the lead of Sugar Plum, as I had my junior year in high school. As soon as she got out there, I burst into tears for unknown reasons. After the show, I continued to cry and hug her, like an insane member of her fan club or something. For some reason, anytime I thought about the show during the following weeks, my stomach began to churn. I lost my appetite, and almost lost my stomach contents as well on more occasions than I care to recall. I cried. And I couldn’t understand why.

I quit ballet my freshman year in college. There was this tiny voice in my head asking me, ““Hey Carly, do you really want to spend three days a week in a leotard surrounded by skinny twelve-year-olds who can fouette circles around you when you’re supposed to be a mature college student?” I was at one of the most prestigious ballet schools in St. Louis, and, because I wasn’t as good as the other dancers, was placed in, I kid you not, the twelve-year-old level. (They’re THAT good.) Something wasn’t right though. I wasn’t happy. I wanted to skip class. I wanted so desperately to move on with my life. So, feeling scared, I took the leap and left.

Fast-forward to my junior-year self, happy with my decision to leave ballet. I loved to run! I loved to bike! I loved food! I was a spectroscopy superstar (don’t be jealous)! Oh, what fun it is to discover your true self! But things weren’t all perfect. The little voice inside my head was back, as I worked on my dietetics homework. As I met with a partner for a group project. As I thought about the upcoming semester and the dietetics classes that I would be taking that I was secretly dreading. “Hey Carly, don’t you think you’d be better off doing something else?”

So over Christmas break, I began flirting with the voice yet again. It tempted me: “You quit ballet, and look at all of the good things that resulted. If you quit your major, who knows what good would result?” The voice hadn’t led me astray the first time, I reasoned, so why should I doubt its wisdom in this case? So, that Friday, I made the leap. Friday night a different voice led me to send a panicky email at midnight to my old advisor (titled “SOS” and marked with the urgent red exclamation mark…I was so not going to regret that message…) telling her I had made a mistake and, could I please come back to the dietetics department? But then, after days of crying and worrying, I’ve come up with an awesome list of all the things I’m passionate about and all of the dreams I hope to pursue as a professional someday. And I know that once again, the voice has led me back down the right path.

So. I’ve learned over the past five to seven weeks or so that it’s okay to question your path. I spent weeks feeling depressed about the fact that my time as a ballerina is over. I could go back to dancing, yeah, but I don’t want to, really. I love to run and I love to do yoga and bike. I’ve also learned that, while it may not be apparent at first, once the stress of making a major decision clears, things do begin to fall into place, and you become the person you’re really meant to be. I may have been worried at first about becoming a biology major once and for all, but now I feel really, really good about it. I can’t wait to see what adventures the semester brings! I can’t wait to see who I can become and the things I can do! I trust myself now. As one of my most favorite Thoreau quotes goes:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”

I have a feeling that the life I’ve imagined is getting closer with each risk I take…

Welcome back and happy New Year, everyone.

-Carly

“All Figured Out” by: Tanlines

Hello is anyone out there?

I am selfish and self centered.  But I am curious, does anyone read my blog posts?

I love to write but don’t write often enough. Writers write, so that is why I have undertaken the task of contributing to this blog. Really I should not care what others think, but I totally wondered, is anyone out there in the Fontbonne world reading my blog?

I want to write topics that others can relate to, I want to be helpful, I want to share the Fontbonne experience with you all.

If you are out there and would like for me to blog about a certain topic. Let me know, I would be happy to oblige. A little bit about myself. I am in the Masters program for Theatre Education.  I have my undergrad in Theatre and Communications from Fontbonne. I am recently engaged and work as the House Manager for Mustard Seed Theatre. I like running and yoga and I am a cat owner. I believe God has a plan for each and everyone of us and by taking the right action we live out God’s will for us.

Anyone else out there enjoy theatre?  If so, what are so of your favorite plays? Or do you have any St. Louis venues you love to go see productions at?

Anything else you would like to know?  ASK ME!

Post Half-Marathon Thoughts.

If you’re a loyal follower of my blog, surely you remember my overjoyed post about my first half marathon, which I ran in April. My time was a disappointment, but the experience definitely wasn’t. And I think of all the obnoxious pictures of me as I’m crossing the finish line are proof that, although I wanted to quit at some points, I still had a blast and was super proud of myself.

I ran my first with minimal training (meaning, one Long Slow Run through the hills in my neighborhood at home, usually on Saturdays, supplemented by five or six days on the stationary bike at school). This time, I decided it would be different. I decided I would drag my butt out of bed and head to Forest Park, even if I was intimidated by the Wash. U boys’ cross country team. Yes, I decided, I wanted to use the weeks leading up to my race to make myself into a real runner, not just a weekend runner. And what do real runners do? Well, easy! They run.

My first few nights back at school for the semester were a disaster. I hate living in a dorm (have I ever mentioned that before? I have a vague feeling that I have!), and honestly, I just wanted to go home. I had my alarm set to get up and run long that Tuesday morning, and when I woke up, I seriously wanted to go back to bed. But I knew that if I made that choice, I would be angry at myself for skipping a workout on top of being miserable and homesick. Sooo, I laced up and dragged my butt out to Forest Park as planned.

And that’s when the most amazing, beautiful thing happened.

You may read this and think, “BALONEY!” (or in my case, “CHEAP, PROCESSED, FAKE BALONEY!”, but I digress), but I swear, it’s true. When I came back from that run that Tuesday morning, suddenly, I was no longer homesick. After that magical run, I began to crave my time out there (oh, and seeing those Wash. U runner guys helped a lot, too, actually…HA) and the inevitable runner’s high that was sure to follow. Seriously, one day after the Long Slow Run, I was so gosh darn happy that I almost started laughing. Instead, I just ran with a cheesy, “I love running!” grin on my face. (Cute.) I had finally achieved what I have so desperately wanted to achieve: I came to love running, to need running in my life. It just made everything feel better.

Fast forward to today. The past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get myself out there, but it’s been hard since it’s still dark and kind of cold at seven in the morning. This morning as I stood in my corral waiting to go, I contemplated jumping over the little fence they had surrounding our corral. I was, for some reason, extremely nervous, which translated into a stomachache and weak feeling legs. By about mile three I had my mind made up: I couldn’t do it. In my mind, it was all downhill from there. The course, however, was the exact opposite. I had traded my once a week runs through massive hills for nearly daily training runs in a park with very few hills. So, I hit the infamous wall. And my Clif energy gel never really helped me recover.

I finished about six minutes faster than my first. Which is great! I’m glad! But I felt miserable the whole time. My legs were dead. I was feeling nervous and unconfident, and I almost let myself walk on more occasions than I’d like to admit. There were no obnoxious, happy pictures of me as I crossed the finish line. Instead, I pretended I didn’t hear my dad as he yelled for me, loud and clear, as I passed, when obviously, I did.

So. You know how they say that it’s the journey, not the destination that matters? Is that true, or is it a bunch of cheap, processed baloney that I’m feeding myself to make myself feel better? Because, looking back on it, the training was the best part of this for me. Like I said, I came to love running. I’m taking tomorrow off, then getting back at it on Tuesday (looks like I need to find some hills this time). Running feels easier and more comfortable to me now. I know what I did wrong training-wise and what I can do to make myself more prepared for my next half in April. But the mental blocks…are those things I can get over? I hope so!

“Okay, so your race didn’t go as planned. How does this relate to me?” My answer: “Sorry, it probably doesn’t. I just wanted to make myself feel better.” But that’s not to say there’s not a lesson you can learn from this long post. What really screwed me up was getting nervous and worked up about making a certain time on my watch. I was so focused on the number that it ended up sabotaging the race for me. I guess the lesson to be learned here is that sometimes, it’s okay to just relax and not let such forms of external validation mess you up. Like with grades. Caring is vital, but if you get so freaked out about making a 100% on everything or being perfect, the heat of the stress and pressure will probably just make things worse (unless of course you are one of those people who thrive under such conditions. In that case, sorry, this post actually does not relate to you whatsoever. If you want to stop reading now, I get it.). If you honestly put in the effort and the work, all you can do is relax and trust that your studying (or, in my case, training) will help you get the score you want. Maybe if I had done that, not only would I have shaved six minutes off my time, but I also probably would’ve had a lot more, dare I say the “F” word? Fun. My race would have been so much more fun.

Until April, then…

Have a good week!

-Carly

You Set the Tempo, Set the Pace.

You Know You’re a Runner When…

1.)  You can devour a whole stack of pancakes (and the side of bacon you requested, too) from Crepes Etc. without feeling like a total fatty because, hey, you just ran 13.1 miles and need to “restore your glycogen reserves.”

2.)  Hills don’t intimidate you whatsoever.

3.)  Your runs are so long that your mother purchased a Road ID bracelet for you which has all of your emergency contact information on it, should you suddenly collapse during a workout.

4.)  You think hydration belts are cool (if only one would actually fit you…).

5.)  You can eat and eat and nothing seems to stick to you.

Yes, today was a big day for me: after months of training and running up monstrous hills in my neighborhood so steep that I feel like I’m not even running and that my lungs are going to explode, I finally took to the streets of St. Louis for my first half-marathon: the Go! St. Louis. Originally, my brother was supposed to run the full (which I totally respect him for!), but since his knees have recently been giving him trouble, he decided to drop out a few weeks ago. So, with my mom, who normally races, out of town and my brother out of the picture, I was alone at the starting line!

I like to say that after you’ve been running for such a long time during those really long training runs, you start to have weird, out-of-body experiences and you kind of forget that you’re even still moving. Here are some of the weird things that came to my mind at various mile-markers:

1.)  “Soulard would be such an awesome place to live! The houses are so cool and it kind of smells like pancakes with maple syrup around here.” (That may have been the pancake craving speaking to me.)

2.)  “Labradoodles seem to be a popular breed of dog in St. Louis.” (After passing three different people with Labradoodles in a row on the sidelines.)

I was super excited to see that I was maintaining a nine-minute, thirty-second mile pace during the first half of the race. Once I got to the hill by The Firebird (where I went to see Youth Lagoon in concert a couple of weeks ago), though, I started to slow down and never really regained my speed as I began to fatigue.

As I was about four minutes away from the finish line, I really began to think I was losing it. My legs were saying, “Okay, we’ve had enough, thank you,” when to my left, two Wash. U-esque guys started cheering, “Yeah, Carly! You can do it!” And then, being the super awkward individual that I am, I turned to these guys, flashed them a huge smile and waved, like I actually knew them or something.

Em-barrassing!

I think my embarrassment motivated me to keep going, seeing as I wanted to run far, far away from them after my geeky response to their cheering.

*Big, exasperated sigh.*

And while the start of the race wasn’t totally exciting like my mom and dad said it is, the finish was pretty awesome. I can finally say I’m a real runner now! This is most definitely the first of many half-marathons for me, and who knows, maybe I will be able to do a full someday. For now though, I’m going to focus on training for my next event: my dad and I are taking on our first triathlon on June the 10th, and my swimming needs some help…

Well, I suppose I better start on my homework (as if I can focus on that now!).

Have a great week, everybody!

-Carly

“Jam for Jerry” by Holy Ghost!

Reckless and Relentless

If someone had told me last Friday night that I would be running in the Go! St. Louis Marathon on Sunday, I would have had a hearty chortle and dismissed the idea as preposterous. Why, I’ve just finished a track meet! I’m not even registered to run on Sunday! Sure, it sounds like a good time and all, but really the idea is simply ludicrous!

However, Saturday night came around and I got a phone call from my friend Kathy. She was supposed to run the marathon relay with three of her sorority sisters, but now only one would be able to make it. Would I be able to fill in a position?

So, I found myself rather recklessly deciding at approximately 10pm that night to run the 3rd and 4th legs of a marathon relay the next day at 7am. A little impulsive, perhaps, but that’s not important.

Anyway, the way a marathon relay works is that (ideally) 4 people commit to running a segment of the 26.2 mile race, and their individual times are added together for the “marathon” time. In this case, the segments were 6, 7.2, 7, and 6 miles.

So, long story short, I ended up running the last half of the marathon this Sunday, and it was nothing short of spectacular. The volunteers and even the random strangers were friendly and encouraging, and I got to run through some places I had never run through before (the highway, for instance). I saw a handful of Fontbonne students, too! Overall, I was very happy that I got the chance to run through the beautiful city of St. Louis and help out a friend to boot. Plus, I got a nifty medal. Can’t go wrong with that!

Running in St. Louis.

My wife and I started running in January. We decided we wanted to run a marathon, so we signed up for a half-marathon in Cincinnati in May, and we signed up for a full marathon in St. Louis in October! The marathon is a rock ‘n’ roll marathon, so it will have live bands playing while we run.

So… in the mean time, we have been running. Always running. We have found a lot of nice places in St. Louis to run. The obvious nice place to run is in Forest Park, especially in the winter since its trails are the best kept in St. Louis. In South St. Louis we sometimes run on the Katy Trail. More recently we have started running on the St. Vincent Greenway Trail and the Ted Jones Trail. These two trails are up in North County by UMSL. There are plans in the future to connect the two trails, and the Greenway trail will eventually run all the way down to Forest Park. Since we live in Normandy, it will be really nice to be able to run or bike all the way down to the park without running on busy roads!

For now, we’ll just keep running everywhere we can.

Real Love Had Not Quite Yet Found Me.

Okay, so I’ve decided to procrastinate out of sheer frustration with my chemistry homework. Currently, we are reading chapter 14, which is creatively entitled: “NMR Spectroscopy.”

Enticed? I knew you would be.

Quite frankly, I don’t understand how to identify chemical compounds utilizing IR, NMR, or any other acronym, for that mater. Give me a chemical synthesis to do or something; anything’s better than trying to identify a compound by looking at some crazy graph thing. So, to get to the point, I’ve decided to do something more fun and write my blog for the week instead of working on my online homework assignment, which consists of twenty-three headache-inducing NMR problems. Some of the problems even incorporate NMR, IR, and Mass Spectroscopy for a triplet of fun (that was a little NMR humor. A triplet occurs on the spectrum when…I’m not even going to explain it.)

So. This all got me thinking on my run today: “Wow, some people would really hate to be me.” I mean, going out and doing a 10.5-mile run only to finish and have to do Organic Chemistry homework isn’t exactly a fun way to spend a Saturday. But for some reason, I still put myself through those things anyway. I mean, Organic Part Dos isn’t required for my major, but, call me crazy, I wanted to take it. And sure, by the time I had only thirty minutes left to go during my run, my legs were about ready to quit and my stomach was not too happy (fun fact: this was likely due to the fact that blood is shunted from the skeletal muscles to the digestive system, which is why you shouldn’t work out after eating). But I somehow managed to keep going anyway, simply because I like a good challenge and will often go to extreme measures to seek one out for myself.

I guess the point of my little rant here is the fact that, while you’re going through something particularly challenging, whether it be running up a hill that’s so steep it feels like you’re walking up it or trying to motivate yourself to sit down and really focus on your chemistry homework even though it’s not clicking, it may not be fun but it’s all totally worth it in the end. Yes, your stomach may hurt the rest of the day, and yes, your eyes may never want to see an NMR again. But when you stop and reflect on what you’ve accomplished, it feels pretty awesome.

So. Because my two best blogging buds (note my use of alliteration here) gave me shout-outs on their blogs, I’d like to do the same:

*Courtney: I hope this blog was more positive and not so whiny and complain-y as my blogs usually are. Also, those two girls in that picture you posted look like the epitome of awesome. I wish I were friends with them.
*Elizabeth: I hope you get over that strange (cough) you have.

Anyway. Enough positive thoughts for one day. NMR is calling my name once again and I must heed its call!

Have a good week everyone, and remember to push through those challenges!

-Carly

P.S. Hmmm…somebody gave me a hot tip during Organic Lab that nobody listens to the music I put links up to on my blog. So, FYI, this week you are missing out on a lovely piece titled “July” by the amazing Youth Lagoon, unless of course you click here. I’m in love with this guy’s music, and I can’t wait until he comes to St. Louis. April 3rd can’t come soon enough!

Running Down a Dream

Well, I had my last cross country meet of the season last weekend, and I must admit I miss it already. Waking up and running solo just isn’t the same as waking up and running with my team (although I must admit, not waking up quite as EARLY to run is a huge plus). But, we had a meeting with our coach today, and we are well on our way to preparing for next season, with indoor/outdoor track in between. So I may be running on my own for now, but I know that I have plenty of time with my team to look forward to in the future!

Being able to run with a team that I love is just one of the many things I am grateful for at Fontbonne. To be completely honest, Fontbonne wasn’t really my first choice school, but one of the things that won me over (besides the stellar dietetics program!) was the fact that I was being recruited by the cross country coach. He persuaded me to come visit and meet the team. Once I spent more time here, I was really swayed by the small size and friendly people. And when I look back on it, I couldn’t imagine myself happier at a different school. So yes, when I sit down to my plate at Thanksgiving (although it won’t have any turkey on it!) I know I will be thankful that I go to Fontbonne. 🙂

Happy Trails!

If you’ve been reading my past few posts, you probably know that I’m (deeply) involved with the Environmental Club. But here’s something I also love – perhaps even more – that I haven’t talked much about lately: RUNNING!

I am a proud member of the Fontbonne Track and Cross Country teams, and to me they are one of the best parts of being at Fontbonne! We’re a very diverse group of people, and I’m sure we all run for different reasons, but I love everyone on my team.

We usually run in Forest Park, and let me tell you, being roughly .85 miles away from such an awesome place is phenomenal!! When I run at home, I’m usually confined to my treadmill, because the roads by my house aren’t really safe. But when I’m at school, a whole new world of running opens up, and it’s super. The park’s not just for runners, either! Biking, walking, roller skating- all would be great things to do on the web of trails there. Not to mention the Art Museum, History Museum, Zoo… I could go on and on!

So basically, if you haven’t yet taken advantage of the wonders of Forest Park, I hope you will take advantage of this fabulous weather and find the time to do so soon!