Merrrowwry Christmas!

I completed all my shopping yesterday. Including shopping for some hard-to-shop-for people…

My GBF and I. And we went home last night, and completed one of my gifts (which I can’t picture, in case people see them before Christmas… so I’ll post them after Christmas)

I turned on Netflix, and wrapped them. All but three boxes; then got more wrapping paper this morning, and finished wrapping. This is my earliest completed Christmas wrapping ever (Dec 23). Go me!

$12 from Target last year...

$12 tree

You have no idea what's inside any of these...

So, I had time to take pictures, and post them for anyone lacking holiday enthusiasm. Trust me- you wrap prettier than I do… Just have fun with it! I like to make it a joke- how many pieces of tape can I use? How long will it take people to get the box open? How big of a box is necessary for a giftcard? How many boxes can I put inside other boxes? What do you do when you run out of gifttags?

And my GBF took a picture of me and my cat- Sylvester.  from my house to yours…


Clearly, he loves the holidays so much, he is screaming about it… 🙂 My 18-lb cat cracks me up.

So, as Sly is screaming in this picture “Merrowrry Christmas Everyone!”

(Oh, and I’m at 995 miles for 2012)

hip update

I feel this is premature, since I have a 4-6 miler scheduled with Dan this afternoon, and 6 miler in the morning with Sarah. But, my hip feels a LOT better. Not completely perfect, but the pain is only about a 2 (out of 10). I’m gonna take it easy on both runs- no speed, and I may walk hills if they seem hard.

It is disappointing, because I had been picking up speed again; but it happens, and I’ll get over it.

I also have to finish christmas shopping tomorrow- just a few more items for one or two people. I have today (Friday) through Wednesday off from work, so it will be a nice break, but I think I will get bored pretty quickly. Though catching up with family is always nice.

So now, I’m up to 989 miles. And hopefully, after today and tomorrow’s run, I’ll only have one more run left. I can do it! It’s all about maintenance now anyway 🙂

Happy Holidays everyone!

My resolution for 2013 is to be speedy, but first I have to be strong… I had forgotten that for a little bit. But I’ll get there again 🙂

Another resolution is to budget my running expenses- keep track of how much I spend in 2013. I have a feeling it’s a lot more than I think, and I could save sooooome by doing local races, training Hans-Solo-style, not doing so many (or as long) races. I attempted to add up last year’s expenses, and it was at least $1,200… Best estimate. So far, I have spent $150 for races in 2013 (both will require about $250 of other expenses)- so that’s $650 already. I’m not saying I’m not going to spend it, but I’m going to track it; so that way I can cut it off when I feel like it’s high. I mean I’d say my threshold is probably around what I spent in 2012- but then it’s also an experience. Hence, I am just tracking (Can you tell I am trying to talk myself out of the resolution already? And it’s only Dec 21…)

And! Let the pancakes and christmas wrapping (and music) begin! Okay, the music began like two weeks ago, but wrapping- that’s another issue. Maybe I should post my beautiful creations later today (I suck at wrapping)


Determined to run 1,000 miles!

Last year (2011), I set a goal to complete 500 miles by the end of the year, and reached about 400 when I suffered a minor hip injury. I could still run, and managed to get to 485, but felt defeated by not getting in 500 miles. In 2012, I made a silent goal of running 1,000 miles. I had no idea if I could reach it, so I didn’t start saying it out loud until after I reached 500 miles.

As of this morning, December 19, I am at 986 miles. I have 12 more days to get in 14 miles. As of December 1, I had 49 miles left to go, so I have been making some progress (35 miles).

I ran ~12 miles on Saturday, with a new group of people (who I actually really enjoyed). The first three miles were on a single track trail. That cautious voice in my head was saying Be careful… (that’s how I injured myself in 2011- too much trail running and hill repeats with not enough strength training). However, my hips felt fine, until about mile 11. Then it got my attention- but this time it was my right hip. I guess it was jealous that the left hip always gets my attention, and wanted to crash the party.

Sunday, I planned to run with Dan, before indulging in La Farm. Since I still planned to indulge in La Farm, and Dan gets so enthusiastic about running with me (no matter how slow), we still ran 3 miles, but at an easy pace. About a mile of it was on a trail (I know! I know! …That voice was going off for a good bit, but I love the technicality of trail running, and thought it would be okay)

Monday, I did some strength-training, and when I got to squats, my right hip kept popping audibly (the same symptom that eventually led to pain in my left hip). So I skipped squats. And I scrapped Tuesday night’s run, and didn’t do anything active.

So, now, 14 miles away… My plan is to do a lot of easy runs (and still make it to 1,000). Maybe I am being overzealous… It’s definitely not a full-blown injury, and my pain is about a 4 when walking swiftly, 6 when running, and fine when sitting or standing. Honestly, it dials up to a 8 when I make a sharp right turn (I found this out when my Dad turned quickly and gave me a hug, which pushed me to turn sharply, as I thought he was falling over, so I was hurriedly moving out of his way, so he could fall in peace). Bottom line- as long as no one cuts me off during the group run tonight, I think I’ll be fine. I’ll be running like a car without automatic steering. Besides, it’s an Ugly Sweater Run… How can you not go to one of those?!

Still, I will get 1,000 miles. In 12 days, I can accomplish 5 runs, of 3 miles each… I can do this!

Stretch. Stretch. Stretch. Yoga, yoga, yoga…

Awkward moment of last week-
Dan and I went for a group run (that a few others were supposedly going to). I showed up first, with my headlamp, and reflective gear. No one was at Fleet Feet, except the employees. Dan showed up about 5 minutes later, looking like a ninja in all black. It was 6pm, dark, and raining. They wouldn’t let us go out unless Dan either bought something reflective or didn’t write his name down as being there. No one else showed up. So, on paper, it looks like I went for a group run by myself. Also, it’s not cool to not wear reflective gear at night… It’s just stupid. I made him wear my reflective wrist bracelets before I would run next to him… Even though I was clearly visible and he stayed with me the whole time.

Side note- I really like my Petzl Tikka 2 Headlamp. It works great for a less-than-20-dollar headlamp. Only downfall- every time I put it on, I feel the need to make jokes about spelunking (Maybe that’s just me?). #cornydadjokes

Refocusing and holday challenge update

So, since I ran my marathon (more than a month ago? What the heck? When did that happen…?), I’ve been looking for my “next thing”.

Of course, I would love to up the anty somehow. Run 13 half marathons in 2013. Run an ultra. Or something else new and exciting. Honestly, if someone would fund the 13 half marathons in 2013, I probably would do it, but half marathons can get pricey average $75×13…= $1000, and that doesn’t include any travel expenses… I’d rather save that $1000 for something else. New shoes? (Gosh, not one new pair of shoes)

So I started this holiday activity challenge (do something active every day between Thanksgiving and the New Year). And I knew I wouldn’t completely fall off the running wagon since one of my goals for 2012 was to run 1,000 miles. And I’m almost there- 969 to be exact. So 31miles more in the next 20 days (that should be achievable).

My overarching goal for 2013 is to maintain my speed and intensity, and enjoy running (not that I don’t enjoy it now, but more preventing the burn-out and injury). I’ve been running pretty fast lately, for me. I’d like to keep that going.

So what’s already on my plate for 2013?

1. Palmetto200 Agony of De Feet team (not sure how many miles yet, but likely 18+), April 12-13. Oh, and I’m team captain.
2. Richmond Marathon (sub-4:30?), November 16.

So should I add…

1. St Pattys Run Green 8K. March 2 (5 miles through the historic area of downtown Raleigh, ending at one of my favorite little pubs, with a free delicious adult beverage)
2. Krispy Kreme Challenge. February 9 (run 2.5 miles from NCSU to Krispy Kreme, eat a dozen doughnuts, run the 2.5 miles back; all without yuking and under an hour for a prize. That leaves me ~10 minutes to eat all those doughnuts)
3. Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon. April 6 (one week pre-Palmetto-relay, and not likely to be speedy as a result)
4. Lookout Capital Half Marathon. June 1 (first weekend in June)
5. Mentoring Fleet Feet’s Beginner Half Marathon Training Program. Jan 22- Apr 14 (Which would ensure I don’t skip a Tuesday night workout and a Saturday morning workout, though I will likely go a lot slower and it will test my patience with slower runners)
6. Be a rock star and PR a couple 5Ks.
7. Be a rock star and PR a 10K
(This is assuming my Hot Chocolate 10K from 2012 doesn’t count, as I was pacing a slower friend 5 miles of the way, and finished in 1:12, which is a lot slower than I would imagine I would really run)

Holiday Challenge Update:

Alright, I don’t remember where I left off…
Let’s just say last Wed, 12/5 (Though I’ve done something every day, if you include sitting on an exercise ball to work my core one day at work and the pending headache)…

Wed, 12/5: Quick treadmill run. I was going to make it a “as fast as you can mile” but need some warm-up, and completed 1.5 miles in 11:39 (go me! 7:48 pace). I enjoy speed. And it was a 15-minute workout that burned ~200 calories.
Thur, 12/6: I was in Boston, but managed to walk 0.7 miles with my suitcase in tow (9am). Then walked 0.7 miles to work with my coworkers (11am), then wandered from hospital to hospital with coworkers (1pm). Walked the 0.7 miles back to our inn (8pm). Total miles walked: ~3 miles.
Fri, 12/7: Oh, Boston, how I walked you. I walked the 0.7 miles to work (9am). We then walked 1.5 miles to our lunch destination (12pm), and walked the 1.5 miles back (2pm). Then, walked 0.7 miles back to the inn (4pm). We then walked 0.5 miles to get on the green line (430pm), wandered around downtown, Boston Common, the State Building, the Financial District, and eventually back to Fanueil Hall (Fanueil Hall was about a mile from Boston Common, and about 2 miles from our “wait a second… I thought Fanueil Hall was on Congress” moment in the North End). Then we walked to dinner, maybe another half mile. Then! We walked from downtown Boston back to our hotel, through the Back Bay area, through Fenway, etc. A grand total of ~10 miles for the day. (I swear, that might actually be an underestimation; 1.5 miles for work, 3 miles for lunch, 3 miles wandering, dinner, then 3 miles back to the inn)
Sat, 12/8: Walked through the freaking rain! Ugh. That sucked. But I had scrapped my run Friday night, and had not calculated how much we walked Friday night, so I thought we could walk to Cambridge… 5 miles roundtrip.
Sun, 12/9: 9 mile run with Dan. I went out WAY too fast (probably low 8’s), and that caught up with me on the first major hill. My phone didn’t “start” the app, so I don’t know how fast we went out, but Dan (who runs consistent 8:00-pace) said he was out of breath the first few miles and hoping I would slow down. On the way back, I had to walk a little here and there, but we still managed 10:48 (average) with walking, so I’m okay with that. Next time, I’ll go out slower…
Mon, 12/10: 2 mile loop by my house. I tested my headlamp without a hat. But it was still 65 degrees out. It felt good. After a brief 9:30 half mile warm-up, my legs wanted to go fast, and with no training plan, I let them go nuts. 9:00, 8:16 for my splits. I was holding a steady 7:30 pace for the last mile, but decided I’d rather cool-down some, and slowed the pace for an even 8:16 🙂
Sorry those challenge recaps were so long. I feel the need to justify not running, but honestly, I walked twice as much as I would have ran in Boston, so I think it’s okay. My goal for the next few weeks is to increase my mileage so that my long runs seems decipherable (10 miles this Sat, 12 next, etc.)

Holiday health tips

So here it is, 70 degrees in December. It makes going to all these holiday parties seem silly. But we are discussing this a lot at work this time of year (I work in the weight loss setting), so here are my nuggets of wisdom. Take it or leave it. Maybe one tip will really help you feel successful and not guilty this season.

But, people still make all sorts of goodies that you shouldn’t eat, and don’t even realize it. So here’s my tips of advice:

1. Watch your alcohol intake.Not only is alcohol empty calories (about 150 cals for a regular beer, more for a darker/fuller beer, and usually about 90 for a light beer), but it lowers your inhibition, and makes your brain crave fatty goodness to restore its GABA levels.

2. Plan your indulgences. We all have our weaknesses- maybe it’s grandma’s derby pie, maybe it’s your mother-in-law’s squash casserole. If you plan out what you omigod-have-to-have, then you can develop a game plan. When you look down at your plate, at least 50% of it should be filled with healthy (and filling foods- vegetables, lean protein, etc).

3. The three-bite rule.This one is new to me, but I’ve been practicing it for years, without realizing. This only applies to “bad” foods (high-fat, high-sugar, high-carb), not healthy foods. If after three bites you don’t love it, don’t finish it. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy something fatty? For instance, I hate the “traditional” green beans (canned green beans, covered with cream of mushroom soup, then a layer of fried onions… And they’re not good for you). If you are going to a house where this seems to be improper etiquette, take only a few spoonfuls of each for your plate, then go back for seconds (ie, a real serving) after you have decided which foods you like best.

4. Bring your own dish.This may or may not be possible, depending on your holiday situation. But ask the host/hostess if there’s anything you can bring (a few days in advance). They usually say “Oh nothing”, so then ask if they know what they are serving yet. If you notice they don’t have green beans, reply by saying something like “Oh! I love green beans. Do you mind if I bring my own recipe? …It just doesn’t feel like the holidays without them…” This will also make you more likely to eat them, since you are claiming you love them. And vegetables covered in a creamy sauce, or deep-fried no longer count as vegetables… Just adding some italian dressing, and mixing up the veggies, and throwing in the oven for 5-10 minutes can make a delicious dish!

5. Be as active as possible. Even if this means you and your hubby go for a 10 minute walk after dinner. It can be a great family tradition, and aids in metabolizing your food. Include others in your activity, so it can be a family tradition (maybe even playing football, or walking through the neighborhood looking at everyone’s lights, or a bike ride through the old part of town… If you have an athletic family, maybe every does a timed stair climb to see who can go up and down the most stairs in five minutes, while the ham is cooking). There are so many ideas, and so many things you can do, aside from watch TV with your family.

6. Drink lots of water. This can also be a great practice in etiquette, as it requires you to go in and out of the kitchen frequently to re-fill the water, and you can always socialize with the host, and ask if they need help if they look busy when you pop in 🙂

7. Just maintain.Although a lot of people want to lose weight, or adopt new behaviors this time of year, research shows it’s actually best to maintain your weight loss (or running mileage), as you are changing your environment. People who are successful in the long run, actually plan to maintain their weight from Halloween to the New Year, as opposed to those who have lofty ideas of starting the new year 20 lbs. lighter.

8. Be assertive. If your weight is important to you (or your diet, or your running), tell others around you. When they mock you for waking up at 6am (and going to bed at 10pm), so you can get in a run before the festivities begin, stand up for yourself and your routine. If you explain why running is important, they are more likely to appreciate why you are making time for it. And once you assert why it is important, you will be more likely to follow-through the following morning.

9. No “yolo”. (yolo= you only live once) Although this is true, you will likely have several events to go to, and if you fall into the “it’s just one slice of cake” at the first party, then you are much more likely to fall into those thoughts at the next 10 parties you have to go to. And that’s easily 3500 extra calories (3500 calories= 1 lb). So one cake, not bad; 10 cakes = an extra pound. Fortunately, you probably will live to see that extra pound if you eat the 10 slices of cake… 🙂

10. Forgive yourself.If you do slip, and have 4 slices of pie one night (Can you tell my vice is dessert?)… It will be okay. You don’t have to scrap the whole holiday season, or even that weekend of events. Just keep moving as you had before your slip.

Good luck everyone! Whether you are trying to lose weight, or training for a marathon (or your first 5K), think about those goals. You’ll still have to face them in January! 🙂

(not) running in Boston…

So my first trip to Boston, and I’m hoping it won’t be my last. It was short- a couple days. And I am finally able to put a face to some coworkers I have seen via Skype and speak with on weekly conference calls (for the past two years). All that was nice. Truthfully, I could see myself living in Boston; the history and the culture just fit my style.

I began the trip at 445am, and I think my body just was going on auto-pilot, believing I could only be up for one thing- to run. I had to shut those thoughts out. I had a 7am flight, and that’s why I was up so early, and we got to the airport in perfect timing. And our flight was super short (1.5 hours), and no turbulence. The cabby from the airport to our hotel swore he could not drive down the street our inn was located on. But said he could drive us around to get “closer” and dropped us off about .7 miles away. I am a new yorker through and through. My family roots came out, and I demanded he pull over, and let us out. I was not about to let him keep the meter running, while we (the out of towners) gave him directions to our inn. So, we walked for close to a mile with our suitcases, during “rush hour” when everyone else was headed toward the hospital. Also, the cab ride was $32, I felt he must have driven around the way, because it only took 15 minutes. I guess cabs are more expensive in Boston than other cities I’ve lived (Raleigh isn’t a good measure, since no one takes a cab).

My coworker and I were traveling together, and stood anxiously outside our inn, waiting for “them” to pick us up (imagine a blind date). A quartet of giggles came towards us, and we both thought I think that’s them… I’m not sure… Hmmm… maybe? And they crossed the street, and said our names. As we walked the 1/2 mile to the office from there, two took the lead with me, and excitedly asked me about my running plans, because they were so interested. We were staying out by the Longwood area (toward Fenway/ BU/ MIT/ Harvard Medical Center), and they suggested I run down by the (Charles) River on the Boston side, then cross over to the Cambridge side to run back… Which made me chuckle. I quickly explained I only wanted to do 4 or 5 miles, and they were confused. Didn’t you just run a marathon? And I said I’m not here to run the Boston Marathon… And we laughed about it. Apparently these two were runners, and one even ran home (3-4 miles) on a regular basis (including Thursday night).

Meeting everyone was great. If we pretend it was a first date scenario, it was a great first date.

So we worked up until about 8pm. Our coworker walked to her train, and we returned to the inn, and grabbed chocolate covered almonds, and chips, and cookies, and tea, and went upstairs to decompress from a long, but good day.

And then, Friday, we were scheduled to find our own way to the office, which was pretty easy at that point. Friday’s plan was to get out of work by 3(ish) and head to the inn, quickly change, and go for a short run. But, frankly, I was tired, and it was 4 by the time we got to the inn, and it was overcast, so I thought it was going to be dark in no time at all. And my coworker wanted to go to downtown Boston, and see all the sights. So I scrapped the run. We had walked 3 miles (for our lunch… We walked through Boston a little to get to the restaurant), so we hopped on the train, and headed into the city.

We got off by Boston Common, which we loved. It was so pretty this time of year. And we marveled at the christmas tree, and lights, and the skating pond. And wandered around a good bit. Then, decided to wander over to Fanueil Hall, because everyone said we had to see it. And walked right past it. And into the North End of Boston, and marveled at the brownstones. Then, decided to check my map for Fanueil Hall, and walked over to it (about a mile away). And then walked toward Boston Common to eat, and found a cute place. And I had a beer- Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA- it was delicious! Then we were stuffed after dinner. And the weather was decent (35 degrees and damp). So we decided to walk back to the inn. It was only 3 miles. When I got back to the room- I calculated that we had walked about 8-9 miles throughout the day. So I consider that I did a good bit of cross-training on this trip 🙂

We ran a little- across the streets- jay walking, pretending to be locals. As if locals walk 2-3 miles from point A to point B when there’s a train that will do that… I’m guessing that’s a little tourist-y.

But we decided Beacon Hill was our second favorite neighborhood. I actually loved the Back Bay area, just east of Fenway (maybe?) on Commonwealth. It was there we crossed back to Beacon, and headed that way back to our hotel. We felt we deserved cookies when we got back to the inn, and hot chocolate. It started raining a little near the end. We stayed up and chatted about life. Until it was finally bed time.

In general, I love Boston. I could definitely see myself there. There were tons of runners (which I already knew), and everyone was so friendly, but direct. Though the whole “rushed city” feeling was imminent too. I felt southern, just meandering around the city at 9pm 🙂

It was so pretty all lit up

It was so pretty all lit up

Saturday morning we headed to Cambridge (by foot- because at that point- why not?)… Well, why not? Because it was raining. It wasn’t at first, but soon after we started walking, it started raining, and my shoes were soaked. It wasn’t such a pretty day, and we couldn’t really appreciate Cambridge and Harvard. Everyone had said it’s a beautiful campus, but we found it damp, cold, and foggy. And quickly found shelter for a lunch to-go, and got back to the inn to get to the airport.

So in total, I walked about 2 miles Thursday, 8 miles Friday, and 5 miles Saturday. That’s a total of 15 miles in three days. Although no running, I feel okay with 15 miles… After all, I’m doing 9 miles with Dan Sunday afternoon (and he has been running at a faster pace- about 7:30s to 8s), so it may be a struggle to keep up 🙂


proof that running always helps

Well, almost always.

Today was a blah day. This weekend was so so great. I hung out (slash moved) my gay bestie and hung out with his mom and dad and his boyfriend, all of whom I love. Then, I rushed to a holiday party Dan was having. Which apparently had a strong turn-out, mostly because they wanted to meet this girl he was dating. Is she real? Did she really run a marathon? And ate three doughnuts, immediately following a 9-mile run in the middle of the day, then run 10 miles later that night?! Okay, maybe they had different questions. But, it was good times, all around.

Then, Sunday, we just hung out. We cleaned the 50 or so beer bottles left scattered around the house and yard, swept the floor, ran the dishwasher, etc etc. Dan made me breakfast with some of the leftover veggies from the veggie platter (my idea). We went to the ArtWalk, which was mostly lame, but there were a few legitimate artists and one furniture place that had great (and reasonably priced) hand-crafted furniture. All of that was nice, but nothing extraordinary. Just a great weekend.

And then, I had to go back to work. And I love my job, but something about going to work after a nice weekend makes you wish it was always weekend. And I went for a slow-ish 5 mile run on Monday.

Tuesday, Dan and I went for sushi. And I remembered as I was getting settled into bed that I needed to do my workout for the day, so hello sworkit (a new app I got). I chose Strength Training, then Core, then 5 minutes. And added some penguins and a few leg raises on the end.

And today, I did a “as fast as I can mile”, but decided to do 1.5 miles instead, and completed it in 11:39. Which is pretty good, but shows I need a warm-up before just jumping into a fast mile. That mile and a half helped the funk go away.

I’m heading to Boston tomorrow for work, and am really excited. I’ll be staying by Fenway, and my goal is to get in one run while in Boston. I have a firm belief that you don’t really see a community until you run in. One of my favorite runs is in St Maarten at 530am (it was still 90 degrees and sunny in July), before all the tourists got up. Running those hills, with the quiet neighbors before the morning hustle and bustle.

So, ever since that run, I make it a point to get in one run in each new town. When I mentioned that I ran the Richmond marathon to my Boston co-workers on a conference call, their reply was You should run the Boston Marathon! And I laughed so hard. Ummmm… I will never be that fast. But you guys are sweet. And they said they’d show me a good running route before sending me on my way Friday night. I was thinking Harvard Square or through BU’s campus, or maybe down to Fenway… We shall see… It will also depend on timing.

How do you knock yourself out of a funk? For me, I run a lot of short runs (2-3 milers), and push the speed a lot. Or do a lot of short (5-10 minute) workouts. There’s less excuses, such as: I don’t have time; The sun is setting; But I really don’t have time for a shower (when it’s 40-degrees out, I find a quick rinse-off works fine if meeting someone); I’m tired; etc etc. All of these excuses are thrown aside when I think But it’s only 10 minutes… And I usually feel so much better afterward.

Boston! Here I come! (Except not the marathon… I’m about an hour too slow for that! haha!)