about that one time i ran 20 miles on the treadmill...


Training for a marathon requires a specific kind of dedication that borders on completely insane. Find a marathoner, and you will find someone who refuses to take no for an answer. Someone who will not accept defeat. Someone who not only agrees to put their body through torture but pays good money to do it, along with literal tears, sweat, and yes, even their own blood. All for a t-shirt.

Basically what I'm saying is, find a marathoner, and you should probably run away because they're crazy, and if you aren't careful they'll lure you into the madness.

After doing it myself, I do not recommend training for a winter marathon. It's hard, and it's cold, and it's just kind of crappy. How's that for an endorsement? Also, if an icepocalypse hits, it just might mean you are forced to do your long runs inside on a treadmill, which is really hard and crappy, although not as cold.

One Saturday in mid-December, I found myself heading toward the gym, trying to pump myself up for a long 20-miler on the dread of runners everywhere. I didn't want to do it, but I could not run outside. There was ice an inch thick covering everything in sight, and I did not want to risk slipping and hurting myself three weeks before my second marathon.

I sincerely hope none of you ever have to do it, but should you find yourself in this kind of situation, here's what I did to make it, if not my favorite run ever, at least bearable.

1. Think Positive Thoughts

Accept the fact that it's going to be terrible, but don't focus on it. Motivate yourself with an inspiring pep talk on your way to the gym so that by the time you get there, you're in a good frame of mind. Trust me, you'll need it.

2. Stake Out Your Spot

You know you're going to be in there for at least a few hours (or if you're me and you're running 20 miles, try four and a half), so make sure you get the best spot possible. Try to face the TV straight so you don't have to twist your neck sideways while you're running. Also, spread your stuff out everywhere. People need to know this is your area.

3. Start Slow. I Mean Really Slow.

This isn't a sprint to the finish. You're the tortoise in this scenario, and your only goal is to finish. It's not going to be pretty, but you're going to get it done. I don't know about you, but for me, running on the treadmill at the same pace I run outside is nearly impossible. Outside, a 10-minute pace feels slooow, but on the treadmill, a 10-minute pace is almost too fast!

When I do long treadmill runs, I completely remove time from the picture and focus on the mileage. DO NOT think you are some Olympic sprinter and try to race the dude on the treadmill next to you. It won't end well for you.

Hypothetically speaking, of course. I've never tried to race anyone on the treadmill.

4. Break It Up

This is, in my opinion, the MOST important part of long treadmill runs. I did not go into the gym thinking about running 20 miles on the treadmill. If I had, I would have never gone in the first place. 

Instead, I focused on running 4 miles at a time. After every 4 miles, I got off the treadmill, took a drink of water, took a bite of my protein bar, texted Jordan my progress (this was not because he cared but because it felt nice to tell someone), and then got back on. It was a short break, maybe 1 minute or so, but breaking my 20 miles into 5 chunks of 4 made a 100% difference in my attitude and really is what kept the run from not being quite as terrible as I anticipated (this was also probably due to my amazing pep talk [see #1]). I couldn't fathom running on a treadmill for 270 minutes, but I could certainly do it for 40.

And so I did.
If it ever came down to it, I know you could run long on the treadmill too. (In fact, Jessica did it just last weekend!)

See also:
10 Tips for Beating Treadmill Boredom (Mile Posts)
Treadmill Workout: 5 Miles in 50 Minutes (from my archives)

What's the farthest you've run on the treadmill?
Do you have any good tips for surviving a long treadmill run?

I Ate Brussels Sprouts and Liked It


One of the things I enjoy doing is cooking. Washing dishes are annoying as crap, but cooking is usually fun for me. I love watching shows like Top Chef and Chopped (which I hardly ever get to watch since we don't have cable), and Jordan and I will often watch America's Test Kitchen on Saturday mornings. PBS for the win!

For the past three years, I've gotten the chance to attend an annual celebrity chef cooking event hosted by Saint Anthony's Hospital downtown OKC. Jordan's dad works at the hospital and has been nice enough to get me a ticket. Attendees get to eat a meal prepared by the chef, who actually shows you how to cook it while giving cooking tips and answering audience questions AND we all get a little booklet (shown above) with all the recipes for the food we've eaten. I've never made any of the food myself yet, but it's nice to know it's there if I wanted to use it.

It might be the closest I'll ever come to eating at a fancy top chef restaurant. It's also much cheaper. (aka free. Holler!)

The first year, I saw Iron Chef Cat Cora. I actually won her cookbook in a raffle drawing and got it signed by her after the meal. This is where I discovered the deliciousness that is enchilada pie (recipe here).
Last year I saw Rick Bayless, who is originally from Oklahoma and now lives in Chicago (woot!). He is one of the top American Mexican chefs, and that meal was goooood. I remember the dessert was some type of chocolaty pie thing. Yum.
This year, the guest chef was Anne Burrell, also known as the lady with the crazy hair.
And, you guys, she is CRAZY. But lots of fun.
The Menu

rack of lamb
frizzled brussels sprouts
pancetta & walnuts
with cheesy polenta

lemon curd tart with almond crust

It's so fun to be able to watch a celebrity chef cook, and it's really fun to eat fancy foods that I only hear about on TV. I had never eaten brussels sprouts or polenta before, and let me tell you: I am SOLD. Seriously, I don't know what she did, but the brussels sprouts were delicious. I might have to actually try this recipe out, and if it works, I'll be sure to share it.

UPDATE: I will definitely try the brussels sprouts recipe and share it with you if it's successful. I had no idea so many of you guys were fans!

Have you ever been to an event like this?
Do you like brussels sprouts?

[Book Review] Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald


Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald is, not surprisingly, a novel about Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald of The Great Gatsby fame. (Fun fact: F. Scott is a cousin to Francis Scott Key, the author of "The Star Spangled Banner.")

Z is a relatively new book, being published just last year in March, and is a fictionalized account of Zelda Fitzgerald's life basically from the time she met F. Scott to her death. (Spoiler alert: yes, she dies.) From what I can tell from reading the acknowledgements and author's note (because I am one of THOSE people who reads every single page of every book), Therese Anne Fowler did a ton of research before writing this book, so although it is fiction, it's largely based on fact.

This was a quick, interesting read--I'd say the kind that's perfect for a beach and/or vacation book. It's long enough that you won't finish it in a day and "meaty" enough that you feel like you're learning something, but it won't bog you down with tons of dates and facts.

In many ways, this was a good book to start off my 2014 reading list, because I now have zero aspirations to be rich and famous. Apparently they all have terribly depressing personal lives. But I guess that's Hollywood for you.

Ernest Hemingway makes a cameo in the book as well, since he and F. Scott were close friends, and all in all this was a great book. I most likely won't read it again, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it to you fine bibliophiles, and that certainly doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading it in the first place.

If you're a fan of historical fiction and/or a fan of famous people and/or want to feel better about your own life by reading about people who made a nice mess of theirs, it's safe to say you'll like this book.

Related: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

It Might Make You Feel Better to Know...


On my post 13 things you should ask yourself before the end of 2013 from a few weeks ago, I admitted that I am terrible at keeping a cleaning schedule. Two real-life friends of mine left me a comment to tell me how much it meant to them that I am bad at cleaning. 

I can see how, with all the running posts and the general hilarity I bring to your lives during the week, you might find yourself holding the incorrect belief that I am without flaws and keep my apartment perfectly clean whilst I cook fabulous dinners and simultaneously fold laundry with my feet. Which is actually kind of gross, so nevermind. That was a bad example of multitasking.


Just in case you hold this belief as well, I thought I should set the record straight. I am, in fact, a regular human person who doesn't have it all together. And it just might make you feel better to know...

...I don't floss. Except when I have corn in my teeth. I count these occasions as "sometimes," which is what I tell my dentist when he asks if I floss.

...Sometimes I forget I washed a load of laundry and let it sit, wet, in the washer for a few days, wherein I open the washer to do a load of laundry and find wet, musty clothes. Then I get sad.

...Sometimes when I actually remember to put the clothes in the washer, I forget to take them out of the dryer, in which case I wonder where all my underwear went, only to find a full load of dry, wrinkled clothes that's been sitting in the dryer for a week. Then I get sad.

...I do not own a mop.

...My cleaning schedule consists of speed cleaning when I know someone is coming over. 

...I eat a lot of peanut butter directly from the jar with a spoon. A lot of peanut butter.

...I always choose the larger size spoon over the smaller size when peanut butter is involved.

...When I make chocolate chip cookies, I always save some of the dough in a separate jar to eat later. And by "some" of the dough, I mean a lot of the dough.

...Last year, I didn't take down my Christmas wreath until July.

...This year I'm well on my way to breaking that record.

...Once, I woke up early before work to do a Jillian Michaels video and then fell asleep in the middle of the floor.

...I can't seem to ever remember to replace the toilet paper. Jordan and I fight about this on the daily, as kids these days like to say.

...There's a jar of something weird in the back of my refrigerator. It's been back there for a while, and now I'm kind of scared to touch it. I think it's growing things.

...Sometimes (read: all the time) I say things that I think are really funny, and everyone just stares at me. It's awkward.

...The first time I tried to put my bookshelf together, I built it backwards.

...I took it apart and built it again. Backwards.

...I only recently discovered that there's such a thing as dusting your ceiling fan.

...Speaking of dusting...
Actually, I'd rather not talk about it.

...One time, I had to say the alphabet out loud so I could figure out where Z was. That is a 100% true story, and I honestly can't decide if it's more hilarious or horrifying.

I could go on, but I think I've been honest enough for one day.

What should I know about you that will make ME feel better?
Do share.

Runners Tell All: Announcing a Monthly Linkup for Runners


Today I'm kicking off a project that I'm really excited about!

Starting in February, Beka from Sunshine to the Square Inch and I will be hosting a monthly "Runners Tell All" linkup. I know a lot of you are runners and/or fitness junkies, and we want this to be a time for you to connect with other like-minded crazies.

The linkup will go up on the 21st of each month in 2014, and you can see all the topics listed below! We hope you join us. The only rule for participating is that you must visit the blog that linked up before you and leave them a comment. We really want this linkup to be about building community, not just adding our link to a list.


February 21 - How and Why You Started Running in 250 words or less.
What's your running story? Give us the short and sweet version. (Click here for the post!)

March 21 -  Favorite Running Gear/Products
Include links and pictures if possible! (Click here for the post!)

April 21 - Share a Bad Race/Training Experience and What You Learned From It
We've all had bad days. Write about one of those days and what you learned from it. Or, you can even write about a time when you lost your running mojo and how you got it back. (Click here for the post!)

May 21 - Share a Running Picture 
This can be from a training run or a race. It can be an official race photo or a snapshot (or a selfie!). Just show us a running picture and tell us about it. (Click here for the post!)

June 21 - Your Favorite and/or Proudest Running Moment
Crossing that first finish line? Running a mile without walking? What's your proudest running moment to date? Brag on yourself! (Click here for that post!)

July 21 - Nutrition/Fuel
What's your go-to fuel to optimize training and get you through race day? Do you have a race-day fueling strategy? What about training runs? Do share! (Click here for that post!)

August 21 - Training: Favorite Person to Train With/Training Routine/Tips
Give us the scoop on your day-to-day running routine. Are you a social runner or do you like to take it solo? Do you run in the morning or evening? Pass along any handy training tips or advice about making sure you get up in the morning or how to safely run at night. (Click here for that post!)

September 21 - Race Bucket List
What races would you love to do if you had the time/money? These can be as realistic or unrealistic as you want! (Click here for that post!)

October 21 - Most Memorable Running Experience
Crazy, sad, awesome, surprising, or anywhere in between. Can be from a race or just a training run.

November 21 - Who is Your #1 Running Fan?
It's not as much fun if there isn't someone waiting for us at the finish line. This post is a nod to the family and friends who get up early to chase us around the city, make signs, and cheer us on to the finish. Who is YOUR #1 fan?

December 21 - A Reflection of 2014 Running and Goals for 2015
Pretty self-explanatory. Talk about your year of running and list a few goals for the next year.


We're also going to have running-related giveaways (socks, itunes gift card for running tunes, etc.) throughout the year, which you can definitely enter even if you aren't joining the linkup. I don't want you non bloggers to feel left out!


To make this linkup even MORE fun, we'd like you to join us! Each month, we will have 2 sponsorship slots available, which will help pay for the giveaway prizes. Sponsorship will get you a sidebar ad on both of our blogs from the 21st-21st of the month, plus you will get entries in the Rafflecopter for that month's giveaway. Again, we are only accepting 2 per month, and it's first come, first served.

$10 = 2 links in the giveaway + a 1-month sidebar ad on Sunshine to the Square Inch & The Lady Okie Blog
$15 = 3 links in the giveaway + a 1-month sidebar ad on Sunshine to the Square Inch & The Lady Okie Blog

If you're interested in being a sponsoremail 
Beka at < sunshine2thesquareinch@gmail.com > She will be handling all the sponsorship details. You'll send her money through PayPal.

If you have any questions/concerns/feedback, feel free to email either me < theladyokie@gmail.com > or Beka.

We're really excited about this and hope you are too.
Grab this button and add it to your post, and we'll see you on February 21!

365 Days of Prayer


You may have noticed that we are halfway through January, and I have yet to mention any personal goals for 2014. That's partly because I don't have as many as I did last year. No running goals or reading goals or goals to give up dessert (who are these people that feel compelled to give up dessert? *she says as she eats another bowl of ice cream*). But I do have a few things I'd like to focus on this year, and one of them is prayer.

Over the past year, I've become more aware of the lies we tell ourselves about how we spend our time and the things we choose to do during the day. We say we don't have time for this or we're too busy for that, but the real truth is that we always have time for the things we want to spend our time on.

I get up at 5:15 in the morning to go running because running is a priority for me. It's a priority over sleep and often a priority over putting on makeup or having time to blow dry my hair. I go to church on Sundays because it's a priority over sleeping in (although I usually do want to sleep in). I cook meals at home because eating healthy and saving money is a priority over greasy takeout (most of the time; I am still human).

We spend our money and our thoughts and our time on the things that are important to us, and in 2014 I want to make sure prayer is something that's important enough to me to be intentional about for all 365 days of the year. I want to be someone who says, "I'll pray for you," and then actually do it.

So this year, I've started a few different prayer guides, and I wanted to share them with you.

Prayer for My Husband
I found this list over at a blog I enjoy reading on a daily basis, Elizabeth from Oak and Oats. I bought a stack of plain index cards at the store and spent one Saturday a few weeks ago writing out 31 prayer cards. Each has a specific prayer and includes verses related to that prayer.

I love that I can pray specifically for Jordan each day. I want to be a wife who prays daily for her husband, but I'll be honest: even though Jordan and I pray together most every night, I have rarely spent daily time in prayer for him specifically. That will hopefully change this year, and I think the index cards will be a good system for me. They've been working so far!

*I also want to add that if you're single, I think these would be great verses to pray over your future husband.

Prayers for My Friends and Family
I numbered a piece of paper 1-31 and wrote the names of my close friends and family next to a number. That number corresponds with that day of the month. On that day of the month, all year long, I will pray specifically for that person.

This of course doesn't mean that I can't or won't pray for them on any other day of the month, but I wanted to set aside intentional time to pray specifically for that person all year.

I'm working on sending out cards to each person (in the mail, cuz it's fun to get a letter that isn't a water bill), letting them know that they are going to be prayed for and what specific day of the month I will be praying for them. I sent out my first letter to one of my oldest friends a week or so ago (we've known each other since sixth grade!), and she just sent me a text yesterday to thank me for praying for her and to tell me something specific I can be praying about.

Finally, even though I don't have a prayer guide for this one, I also wanted you all to know that I pray for you. I don't know if that sounds silly or weird since we don't really know each other, but I pray for the people who come here. I pray that you will be encouraged and inspired. I pray for you to find jobs and have babies and recover from an illness or injury. 

I want you to know that I take prayer seriously. I think it's important, and this year I want to make sure it's a priority for all 365 days of the year. If you have anything that I can be praying for you about, please let me know. I would be honored to pray for you.

Other posts to check out:
Prayer guide for your husband
Daily prayer topics
Make your own mini prayer book

Happy Hump Day Giveaway


Today, I'm excited to bring you a fun giveaway that I'm hosting with Jenna.

She's giving away this super cute chalkboard cheese board:

And I'm giving away this infinity scarf that was crocheted by yours truly:

I bought the yarn to make a scarf for my cousin for Christmas, and I had some left over, so I made a second scarf. To be honest, I love how it turned out and really want to keep it for myself, but I'll be nice and give it away.

One winner take both!

Enter to win using the giveaway tool below.
Unfortunately, this giveaway is only for those of you in the United States.
Sorry to my international and Canadian friends.
Be sure to head over and say hello to Jenna. She's pretty great.

*Giveaway will be open from 1/15-1/22*
Winner will be contacted via email.
Entries will be verified.

On another note, here are the winners of my magazine and CD giveaway:
*Winners have been emailed*

Ali, Andrea, Brittany,
Courtney, Ivayla, Ivy, 
Katie, Kaysie, Jordan, 
Lauren, Lindsey, Stephanie

Thanks to everyone who entered!
I really wish I could send every single one of you something.

Awkward + Awesome: The Chunky Milk Christmas Edition


We're still talking about Christmas, right?
Okay good.

Here is another edition of awkward & awesome,
brought to you by the 2013 Christmas season.
* * *

So, every year my immediate family (mom, dad, jordan, me, 2 brothers, and 1 sister) exchanges names for a secret santa. For the past few years we've used a group message on Facebook to send out gift ideas. Here are a few notable parts of the message thread. I feel like all of the following fits under both awkward and awesome, but I guess I'll let you decide. There's a slight chance than none of you will think these are as funny as I did, but there's also a slight chance I don't care.

Geoff Reese
Geoff Reese
Larceny whisky. Your mom keeps drinking mine.

  • Austin Boof Reese
    Austin Reese
    Dress socks with STRONG toe durability that don't get holes in the toe after only a few times wearing them




We were with Jordan's family, and I set up the tripod so we could all take a picture together in front of the tree.

You might say I misjudged the self-timer...

* * *

On Christmas Eve, my family played a round of Farkle for a $5 gift card.
My brother opened up a Starbucks sleeve to find $5 in breakfast coupons.
Let's just say my dad thinks he's hilarious with his jokes, and my brother was not amused that his $5 prize involved him spending money.

* * *
Apparently the milk had gone bad. Like, really bad. Chunky bad.
My dad noticed immediately and spit out his drink.
This was AFTER my brother drank an entire glass.
His words: "I thought it tasted weird!"
Apparently he was too busy dipping his cookies in the milk that he failed to notice the chunks. What a sucker.
* * *

The "optional gift wrapping" for my brother's sleeping bag was definitely a huge Santa bag.
Most certainly worth the extra 5 dollars.

Finally, I will leave you with some of our attempted tripod shots on Christmas morning.
It was a good day.

Oh, and yes, my brother is holding an axe.

[ You might also like... Awkward + Awesome Vol. 1 ]