Thursday, August 16, 2012

Triathlon Training- Post Vacation Edition

I skipped last week's recap because my training while away was pretty uneventful. I was able to find an amazing recreation center in downtown Jackson so I swam twice, and ran once which was exactly what I was hoping to do while away. 

I'm not going to lie, getting back into life this week has been a challenge. I've been in full on panic about school starting mode and I've been having dreams about laminating name tags and bulletin boards. Then I wake up super early and then feel tired all day. I definitely deserve an A in extremely stupid August behavior. The good news is, I've gotten a few important things done this week (plus some not important things- bulletin boards = massive waste of time) and I plan to get more done tomorrow. My hope is I can somewhat enjoy the next two weeks of summer if I am productive this week. We shall see how that goes. 

I started off this week of training (I'm counting a week as Friday to the next Thursday) well, with a run and swim workout on Friday of my vacation. I actually wish some of you were in Jackson to witness the hilariousness of this workout. I decided I would run to the pool, and then swim. Of course the pool was only .3 miles away, so I did a few laps around the elementary school and some of the downtown area to make it about a 2 mile run, which was more than enough in the high altitudes. I probably should've just ran, come back and changed and then swam but I decided I didn't want to keep coming in and out waking Eric up. So, my master plan was to wear a bathing suit with a sports bra on top of it (?), and then a t shirt and shorts. I had my spibelt for my phone and money of the pool, so I stuck my bathing cap in the belt part. Then I took my goggles and wrapped them around my wrist like a bracelet. I considered putting a towel around my neck but I thought that might be taking this absurd outfit too far and decided to just pay the $1 to rent a towel at the pool. It's actually not as uncomfortable as you'd think to wear goggles as a bracelet and my bathing cap only fell out of my belt loop once. 

Last Week Recap

Friday- Ran 2 Miles, Swam 35 laps

Saturday- Off, unless you count paddling while white water rafting...

Sunday- Off, unless you count sitting on a plane...

Monday- Ran 2 Miles, thought being back at sea level would make this easier but it was not!

Tuesday- Biked 14 miles

Wednesday- Off

Thursday- Open Water Swim 1/2 mile

Next week my biggest goal is just to be a little more calm overall, so maybe it will need to include a trip to yoga. But on the training front, I am hoping for 1 open water swim, 2 bike rides, 1 run and 1 swim/run workout. I think. 

Do you keep up your training when you are on vacation? Does it take you a few days to get back into the swing of things after a trip? 









Travel Debates: Where Do You Stand?

I am being a bit slower than expected with my travel recaps because I have had a lot to do at work this week. I don't think it's going to stop in the next two days so I'll get my Yellowstone part of the trip up by Monday. I do still want to talk about travel though :) Here are several travel debates I've been thinking about lately, I would love to hear where you stand on each one.


#1- To Travel or Not to Travel that is the Question: It begins with the process of packing all that you may need into a small suitcase, continues with long lines and hassles at the airport, and seems to hit its peak in ridiculous jet lag and a not so clean hotel room. Do you think travel is worth it?

#2- Plane or Automobile?: There are definitely perks to driving to your destination, including having your own car when you arrive, saving money and the ease of packing into a car rather than a small suitcase. But for me, the time spent in a moving vehicle is the biggest factor. I can't read or do much when moving, so I'd rather sit in an airport than in a car :)

#3- Travel locally or internationally?: Even though I did not get my first passport until I was 19, by the time I started teaching I had visited 8 other countries, but had only seen a very limited amount of my own country. At the time. I was big into the international travel. I loved hearing the different languages, experiencing different cultures and getting a new stamp in my passport book. Since then I have not traveled to any new countries except Canada, but I have seen 8 more states in the US and a very small amount of Canada. The verdict? International travel is still awesome, but local travel is cheaper, easier and I'm still amazed by all the beautiful things even in just the New England area.

#4- Does it count if you only saw the airport?: Eric and I like to keep track of how many states and countries we visited. Yesterday we were tallying up our latest numbers and we started to discuss this: does it count as actually going to a state if I was only in the airport? For example on the way home from Wyoming I had a one hour layover in Denver. Does that mean I can check Colorado off, or not? My initial thought was no because I didn't really see much of Colorado (except for the endless farmlands around the airport). On the other hand, I know some business people who drive straight to their hotel and spend the whole visit in a meeting room with no windows, so where do we draw the line?

I hope everyone is having a great week. What are you up to this weekend?


Monday, August 13, 2012

So Much to Do in Jackson Hole

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I will be recapping my trip to the Jackson Hole/Yellowstone area this week, but also will probably have a few regular posts as well. Hopefully I am as organized as I think I am going to be! A few people have asked me why we did a family trip to this area of the country so hopefully my next couple of posts will answer that question, since even I myself was not totally sure of the answer until I went on the trip. Last summer my dad did a fishing trip to Jackson Hole and thought the area had a lot to offer. I would say he was right. In addition to our successful hike at Jenny Lake here are some other things we did within 30 minutes of Jackson, Wyoming.

Jackson Hole Ski Resort Tram Ride

I'm sure the Jackson Hole Ski Resort is amazing and packed in the winter, but in the summer it has a lot to offer too. We decided to do the tram ride to the summit of Mount Rendezvous which is located about 15 minutes from downtown Jackson at the Jackson Hole Ski Resort. The tram cost $25 so I highly recommend looking for the discounts online and in the tourist pamphlets if you decide to go. The tram is a cool experience and reminded me a lot of the tram at Grouse Grind in Vancouver. The tram itself can carry 100 people and gains more than 4000 feet in elevation in less than ten minutes, and I thought I was having altitude problems before, ha ha! At the top, you are rewarded with hiking trails (you can even hike back down the mountain), homemade waffles in a small restaurant and of course, beautiful views.


We also saw some people paragliding at the top. I don't know what it is but I think other people paragliding and kite surfing etc make the best photos.

Grand Teton Brewing Company

In my family, we enjoy visiting different states and we couldn't let the opportunity to get to Idaho quickly slip away. Seriously, when else will we be in Idaho?! Since Jackson is in the northwest corner of Wyoming, it's only about 25 minutes from the town of Victor, Idaho. It's probably worth mentioning that there is not a ton to do in Victor especially since many of the people who actually live in Victor work in Jackson. But, there are two breweries, so why not visit one and then celebrate crossing another state off the list?

I should also mention that crossing from Wyoming to Idaho is sort of an adventure in itself because it involves a pass through the mountains called Teton Pass, which means yes, you have to drive through the Tetons.

Personally I thought it was pretty safe but according to a guy at the brewery it's the third most dangerous pass in the USA and they typically lose several people on it each winter, so I'd avoid this trip if you are not visiting Jackson in the summer. Yikes. The brewery itself was a small one room tasting room with a bar, tables and some nice outside space. They offer all of their beers, as well as samplers. All the beers have local names, and they distribute to many states including Massachusetts. My favorite was the Old Faithful pale ale.

On the way back to Jackson we got to renter Wyoming which provided more photo opportunities!

Whitewater Rafting the Snake River

Rafting is a very popular thing to do in the Jackson Hole area, and since I haven't been in over five years (since my spring break in Australia) I was very excited to do it again. We used the company Barker-Ewing which has a good reputation locally and positive reviews online. We did a special breakfast tour which involved eight miles of calm rafting ride down the river, followed by delicious pancake breakfast, and then finishes with eight more miles of whitewater rafting. The rapids this time of the year are only Class 2 and 3, but that means that we saw all ages doing this fun trip. It is such a gorgeous area, and obviously also a fun activity that I really think everyone should do. I don't have any photos of the rafting yet, but I do have some pictures of the floating part :)

Hello eagle...


Downtown Jackson

We also enjoyed a lot of fun right in the town of Jackson. The downtown area can be walked across in less than five minutes, but it has a lot to offer as far as restaurants and stores go. There a several stores to get a cowboy hat, any kind of outdoor gear or souvenirs. There is also a place to do old time cowboy photographs, and a playhouse that does shows. Since I was training for a triathlon while I was there, I visited the Grand Teton Recreation Center on Gill Street, right next to the elementary school. It is only $7 to go for the day, and they have indoor basketball courts, and an indoor pool with two water slides and a aqua rock climbing wall. Of course I only swam laps in the poll, but it definitely would not be a bad place to bring kids on a raining or cold day.

The town of Jackson itself has a population of only 9,710 which in my mind definitely makes it a small town. I tend to be more of a city girl than a small town girl, but I think Jackson proved me wrong in this case. There were still a ton of delicious restaurants, things to do and beautiful weather. That's about all I need to make it a great town.

What is the population of the town you grew up in? Are you a city person or do you prefer the small town life?


Friday, August 10, 2012

Hello Wyoming!

I hope everyone is having a great week. I am out in the Wild West with my family, so I thought I'd start recapping some of our adventures. I'll probably finish up the rest of the trip on the plane and post next week. We flew into Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Sunday afternoon. You can't take a direct flight from Boston, but it seems like Chicago and Denver are big feeders into the area. A few interesting facts about the area of Jackson Hole:

1. Jackson Hole is the name of the area, but Jackson is the actual town. Inside the town of Jackson is the ski area called Jackson Hole. Have I lost you yet?

2. The Jackson Hole airport is very small, no need to shuttle to your rental car in this airport. It is right there!

3. Jackson is a fun, wild west tourist town that makes a great base for exploration of Grand Teton National Park which is only five miles north of town. It is also a great place to stay on the way to Yellowstone National Park which is 56 miles away (to the south entrance).

When we arrived in Jackson Hole, we drove about fifteen minutes to our hotel in downtown Jackson called The Wort Hotel. There was a fun cowboy theme throughout the hotel.

On our first night we visited the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar which was a short walk from the hotel (actually everything in Jackson is a short walk, ha). Apparently this bar was called The Cowboy Bar until a fire in the 1950s ruined part of the bar. When it cost a million dollars to fix up, the owners renamed it the Million Dollar Cowboy bar. It's also important to note that the drinks were great and the seats at the bar are saddles. True story.

On Monday morning we started our exploration of Grand Teton National Park with a trip up to Jenny Lake. Hikes in the Jenny Lake area are a fun way to see the Teton mountains and all the beautiful landscape in the area. We decided to do the hikes to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Trail. These are pretty popular and if you want to make them shorter you can take the quick boat ride across the lake. We decided to hike across the lake which is a little over 3 miles, then we took the boat back. Once you get to the other side it's about .5 to Hidden Falls and 1 mile to Inspiration Point. If you decided to hike back, the whole thing would be a little over 8 miles, but I kind of liked getting to see the lake from the water as well so I'd recommend a one way boat ride.

The hike to the other side of the lake was very flat and easy. Other than a minor altitude/my-stomach-is-terrible breakdown about two miles in, it went pretty well. Thank goodness for Advil, my patient family and Eric pouring cold water on my head.


My first reward for continuing the hike was Hidden Falls.

The hike up to Inspiration Point is definitely more of an uphill climb, and it kind of involves some narrow pathways where a cliff is on one side. I thought it was perfectly safe myself, but it's probably not for everyone.

The view is so, so worth it though.

After the climb down, we caught the quick boat ride back across Jenny Lake, which provided more gorgeous views.

I do just absolutely love hiking in cool places and man, does it seem that the US and Canada have so many cool places. I swear I will never be done traveling!


Have you ever been to a wild west town?

Tell me something fun you have planned for this weekend. Happy Friday!




Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Love Boston Project: Harvard Museum of Natural History

It's time for another installment of the I Love Boston Project. 
You can read about my other adventures in Boston here:
Yard House
Blue Hills
Day Trip to Ogunquit Maine

A few weeks ago, Eric and I both had an afternoon free from work. It was a little too hot to do anything outside, so we decided to check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History which has been on our "to do" list forever. We took the T to Harvard Square, which I think is a "must see" for people visiting Boston. Eric and I tried a restaurant called Oggi Gourmet which was a casual sandwich and pizza place for lunch. Here is my pizza, yum that crust was delicious...

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After lunch we walked through the Harvard campus. When I was younger, I took having Harvard fifteen minutes away for granted and didn't find anything that remarkable about it. I think at least ten people that I graduated high school with went there, so I didn't see it as really that interesting. Then, my best bud from Australian came to visit and on her top 3 list of things she needed to see in Boston was Harvard. That's when I realized, it's actually kind of CRAZY how close I live to such a famous place. Sure, my pink sunglasses make it pretty clear that I myself am not a Harvard student, but it's still fun to visit.
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After a short walk, we arrived at the museum and immediately found a giant dinosaur that made Eric look small.
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There was a wide variety of animals from throughout history in each of the different rooms.
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I was impressed to see how HUGE the blue whale is. We study sea animals in kindergarten and many of my students have read about how large these whales are, but seeing the real size in person taking up the entire ceiling of a huge room is humbling. IMG 1087
After seeing all the animals, we went to a room with a crazy collection of rocks. This lead to a whole conversation between Eric and I about collecting rocks as children. God our future kids are going to be so cool. Seriously, I was a pretty serious rock collector at one point. I actually cleared off an entire shelf on my bookcase so that I could display my best rocks, and then I put a reading light that clipped to the end of the bookshelf so it would even have a spotlight on it. The kid in me kind of loved the rock room...
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Before, we left we had to check out the glass flower exhibit. I've heard a lot about this and it didn't disappoint. I have no idea how people do this, but it's pretty amazing...

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We finished the trip with a visit to the gift shop. I got my kiddos a kids encyclopedia of sea life, and a cute little shark stuffed animal.

Overall, quite a successful trip to Harvard Square and a cool museum. I only wish I stopped for Ben and Jerry's on the way home.

Do you have any favorite museums near you? Have you ever been to Harvard? What's the most famous college near you? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Peek into Teton National Park

Hi all:) We are hanging out in Montana right now. I am hoping I'll be able to blog successfully this week but I hate the tiny pictures of Blogpress so I'm testing out something new with a few sneak peek pictures of Grand Teton National Park. If this works, I will post more hopefully tomorrow night :) I hope everyone is having a great week! Also, all pictures below are of Jenny Lake.

When Your Friends Have Babies, Part II

When my friends have babies… what does Kelly do? (spoiler alert: the answer is not have babies too haha)
As I've mentioned (many times, sorry if you follow me on twitter ha ha), a lot of my friends are having babies at the moment. I'm sorry, weren't we just 16? Last weekend was my best friend Katie's baby shower, and it was pretty hilarious when I was writing down what she got for thank you notes. I had no idea what half of the stuff was. She probably got a good laugh looking at that list. I did get to see some lovely college friends though. When my friends have babies, I get to see my faraway friends at the baby showers. Score one for me.
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and awesome centerpieces made by Katie's sister in law :)
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I may not be a fan of baby stuff but I love a good teddy bear, and books. I was borderline too excited about all these books. I've already bought Katie's not-born-yet son more than one book. I have issues.
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So anyway, enough cute stuff… back to the baby world. I have another good friend from high school who just had a baby two weeks ago, who I met last week (adorable) and you've read all about my adventures with Lia, Tiff's baby who won me over right from the day she didn't cry when I held her. She won me over again when she gave me the cutest EVER smile last Saturday when she woke up for a nap and found me staring at her. Not to jinx it, but so far I have yet to make any of my friends babies bawl hysterically. Score two for me.

Ten years ago I worried that leaving for college in different states would make me "grow apart" from my high school friends. That didn't happen. Six years ago I worried that graduating college would make me "grow apart" from my college friends. That didn't happen either. So, guess what else won't come between us? Babies. I am determined not to allow the fact that I know nothing about breastfeeding, the best strollers for newborns or baby wipe warmers make me a bad friend to a new mom. I know, I know, new moms want to be friends with moms. I am guilty as anyone else of letting life get busy and a lot of time go by before I see friends. I know my friends will be busy and have new priorities. That's okay. I will still make sure that I am making an effort when I can, to be a good friend and stay in touch. So last Saturday, I took Tiff out for her first adventure with me without Lia. A sweet 2 hour gossiping session in the form of manicures and pedicures. Wahoo.

So the answer is, when my friends have babies, I get manicures...
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Have you been able to maintain your old friendships through some of the changes of life? 

You can read Part 1 of When Your Friends Have Babies here. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Swimming: My Lifelong Sport

When I was in late elementary/early middle school I spent a couple of summers hanging out with my cousins at a golf club, taking tennis and golf lessons and swimming on a swim team. I had a love/hate relationship with these summers. Love because I had a blast hanging out with my cousins. Of course since I was kind of a brat, I had a whole list of complaints, starting with the super cliquey other girls who took lessons (and by super cliquey, I mean I was not cool enough for their clique) and ending with the fact that I just did not like golf. Yes, Eric thinks my dislike of golf is just to spite him but in fact it began around age 10. I actually like it more now than I did then.

Anyway, when I was rattling off my list of complaints to my parents, they always stressed that both golf and tennis were good lifelong sports. They were forward thinking enough to know that my soccer days would be over (quickly), and in adulthood I'd want a sport that I could continue to do. Of course, this did not sell me at all, but like everything else they said and I disagreed with, they were right.

But it wasn't golf, or even really tennis (though I love tennis, just find it difficult to find people to play with) that I ended up bringing into adulthood. It was actually, swimming. 

My love for swimming goes back as far as I can remember. I don't recall a summer or a winter vacation without it.
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When I was younger, we would go to the Cape for a week and rent a house. We always went to this awesome pool in New Seabury. I loved, loved swimming in it and easily could have spent the entire day in the pool. Therefore, the absolute bane of my existence was "adult swim" which happened for the first fifteen minutes of every single hour. The lifeguards would blow the whistle and ALL the kids had to get out. The worst, I'm telling you.

I actually even loved swimming during my brief swim team experience at the previously mentioned golf club. I mean, I was not fast. I came in last basically every single meet. But, I still liked it- which says a lot because I usually don't like things I'm not good at. Ask Eric.

Swimming saved me again when I worked at a camp the summer after my freshman year of college. The director originally assigned me to a middle school group that went on daily field trips. The idea of getting on a bumpy bus every day with middle school kids made me stomach feel sick (I get pretty carsick on buses as it is) and I somehow managed to get myself switched to pool staff. I was a certified life guard but didn't really have any swim teaching experience. Luckily I did have a knack for getting little kids excited about the water and swimming. By knack I mean I was willing to look like a complete idiot splashing around the pool singing "Swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool…" I was particularly famous for my work with the 3 year olds, who no one else really wanted to deal with and I loved. My experience with them actually made me change my college major from Elementary Ed to Early Chilhood, which lead me to the kindergarten teacher I am today. Crazy how life goes.

I revisited swimming for fitness a few years ago when I trained for my first triathlon. I wouldn't say it was love at first sight, but I've come to really love swimming now. I love that swimming works so many different muscles in my body. I love that swimming doesn't seem to injure me (yay!). I love that I can easily go for a nice swim the more after a late night wedding, when running seems like a terrible idea. I love that swimming is also the perfect cure after an annoying day. I love that swimming provides good thinking time, and has even helped me come up with some good ideas/solutions. I'm still not the fastest swimmer, but I would say it is my triathlon strength. I even love watching swimming the Olympics, especially the girls who I just think are AWESOME. Missy Franklin, you rock.

My 92 year old grandparents were big golfers, but now at 92, what does my grandfather do? Swims. He also eats ice cream nightly, so I think he is on to something. Yeah, that settles it. Swimming will be my lifelong sport.

What sports do you think will be your lifelong sports? 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Training With Friends, Week 3

I'm wrapping up another successful week of Sprint Triathlon Training. What made it particularly successful I think was the amount of training I did this past week with friends. I am not the kind of person who absolutely must exercise with others, but it's obvious that it's really just more fun. I never think twice about whether or not I will do a workout if I plan to do it with others. It can be hard to plan times that work for everyone, but luckily all the friends I have been training with are teachers so we have similar and more flexible schedules in the summer. This week I did two bike rides with friends, and I did my first ever open water swim training. My first sprint tri was in the ocean and I did really no training beforehand in open water, which luckily was not as terrible as I thought it would be. However, I do have a good pond for open water swimming about 15 minutes away, so we decided to try it out on Monday and it was a very successful 1/2 mile swim. I'm hoping to get back there once or twice before our tri in September. 

Week 3 Training Recap

Friday- 1 hour Power Yoga Class

Saturday- off

Sunday- 11 mile bike ride

Monday- open water swim

Tuesday- 14 mile bike ride

Wednesday- 2.5 mile run

Thursday- off


One thing that was different this week as well was my addition of a power yoga class. My knee was bothering me on Friday morning so I thought it would be helpful, which it wasn't in the short term but I think in the long term it will be. Of course my entire body hurt the next day so obviously I need to go to yoga more often! 


Next week is going to be a bit crazy on the training front, but I will be squeezing in a long bike ride, and hopefully at least two swims and a run. We shall see what actually gets accomplished. 

Do you prefer to train with friends or on your own? 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Music, Books, Miles and Looks of July + Goals for August

I LOVE when Lisa does her monthly Music, Books, Miles and Looks of July post. I decided I would steal this and do it this month too since I never got around to creating July goals, oops. 



I am currently obsessed with the song Why You Wanna by Jana Kramer. I clearly can't relate to it right now, but I love the lyrics AND the beat and it's one of those songs I just find myself belting out in the car. Yes, you should really not drive with me. 

I also love the song Cowboys and Angels by Dustin Lynch. Again, belting this out in the car is great. Yes, I spend a lot of time in the car during tutoring summers. 

Drink In My Hand by Eric Church really needs no explanation. It's just fun. That is all :) 


I read 5 books this month yay. Here they are: 

We Need To Talk About Kevin


This book was written from the perspective of a mom of a school shooter. It was definitely interesting, as well as depressing throughout. I read this while on vacation and it was not a good vacation read, but it was a good book. I liked the ending (even though of course it was depressing) but it surprised me which I liked. 



I finally finished the Hunger Games trilogy and amazed many people with my ability to spread them out so much haha. I really liked all 3 books and I even liked the ending even if it wasn't necessarily what I wanted to happen as I was reading. Eric read all 3 books before I finished this one and he didn't like the ending so I think my expectations were also low :) 

Fifty Shades of Grey


Go ahead and judge me, I realize this is not quality literature. However, in my defense, I really just had to know what all the hype was about. Also, I read it with some friends at work so it was fun to talk about. I have to say it actually wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. Again, not quality literature but definitely a page turner. However, I don't plan to read the second and third books but I did look up what happened during them. I was curious!

How to be Lost


This was a great book about a family who lost a child and the effects on the family afterwards. I really liked the characters and was always wondering what would happen next. I think I read this book in like a day! 

The Vow


Another great read this month and also super fast. This is such a crazy, amazing story. As Lisa mentioned in her review, there is quite a bit of religion in this book but that didn't bother me and I imagine that was pretty much the only thing that got this couple through some of the very hard times. 


Since I got Map My Run app on my phone, I've done 57.6 miles run and bike combined. It's probably closer to 70 since I did some while I was away and before I got my app. Still though, it's kind of fun to have it all documented. I'll have to see how I do next month to see if this is actually good for me or not, ha ha. Overall I'm really happy with how my training has been going since I returned from Seattle/Vancouver and hopefully I'll be able to pick it up even more in the month of August. 



I'm currently all about the bright shorts and sunglasses, pink and green specifically...DSC00169






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Sometimes pink sunglasses and green shorts together. 


Goals for August

Getting back to the goals for August, here is what I am hoping for: 

1. Read 5 books. This month I decided to up my year long to 50 books instead of 40, so I have to step it up a bit in the next couple of months. I'm hoping to get through at least 5 books this month. 

2. Incorporate abs or yoga twice per week. I know I won't make it to yoga both times, but maybe yoga once and abs once? Basically I just want to do something other than swim, bike and run :) We shall see if that happens. 

3. Foam roll daily. My knee has been handling all this training well but my calf has been really tight. That's all fine but I know it will eventually affect my knee if I don't keep up the foam rolling religiously. So I will. 

4. Spend 3 days per week not thinking AT ALL about work/school. When August rolls around I immediately get into psycho teacher mode and I don't want to waste away half of the summer in this mode. Therefore 3 days a week I will not do anything (yup even you pinterest) related to school. If I have to tutor that day, obviously that is fine but no classroom stuff. 

5. One post on the family history blog. I've been slacking on that and need to get back into it.

What are your music, books, miles and looks of July? What are your goals for August?