my favorite healthy lunch

My standard favorite lunch, by far!

Stop blaming salads for being boring… It’s not their fault, it’s yours!


No, really, though.

Here’s the easy steps, and you can grab and go.

1. Start with interesting greens

spinach and red leafy romaine

spinach and red leafy romaine

Skip the boring iceberg lettuce, or its sister- romaine lettuce. They’re boring, lack taste, lack color, and lack nutrients. Kale. Spinach. Swiss chard. Arugula. Any dark, leafy green, really. They pack more flavor and nutrients than standard iceberg lettuce. Have you ever complained that iceberg didn’t fill you up? That’s no surprise- iceberg is predominantly water, with little nutrients. And a cup of iceberg lettuce is about the same calories as a cup of any dark leafy green. My personal favorite is Trader Joe’s Power of the Greens (it’s $2.99, and includes baby spinach, baby chard, and baby kale). I’ve also been on a “buy a bag of greens from the farmer’s market” kick. Not a bad kick to be on. Spoiler- kale is delicious and abundant in North Carolina- so I buy it a lot.

2. Add something crunchy

The whole bag is like 15 calories!

The whole bag is like 130 calories!

I know, this sounds weird. But that’s because you get to choose your crunchy. Personally, I like nuts and/or apples. Be aware that nuts contain a lot of calories per punch, even just a handful (or 1/4 cup) adds about 200 calories (but just a few nuts go a long way. Motto for life too…) Another thing to remember is you want raw, unsalted nuts (pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pistachios are great!). When choosing nuts, it’s best to choose unsalted. I had no idea I liked pistachios until I tried TJ’s unsalted nutmeats. So so yummy!

Not only delicious because Steven Colbert says so...

Not only delicious because Steven Colbert says so…

    toppings galore!

3. Add something sweet

This is where I typically add a tiny amount of dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, etc). Again, I go to Trader Joe’s because they have so many options, in the $3 to $8 price range. I also like fresh strawberries or blueberries. The key to making this one on the go is pre-cutting the strawberries that morning or the night before, putting them in a separate ziploc, and keeping them refrigerated (or cool in a cooler). Then add them to the salad later. I’ll also include tomatoes in this category, even though they aren’t “sweet”

4. Add something soft

For you, the dried fruit may be soft enough. For me, I sprinkle goat cheese over the top (it’s my FAVE). Bleu cheese can be nice too, if you have enough sweet o even out the tartness of the bleu cheese. Honestly, I need the candied pecans, which can feel extravagant sometimes 🙂

5. Bring your salad dressing

This is a big one, because if you pour salad dressing over in the morning, it can RUIN your greens. The acid in the dressing causes the greens to wilt, and actually causes the greens to lose some of their nutritional value (imagine your high fiber cereal sitting in milk for that long). Instead, bring a small bottle, or small container and pour it on right before you eat it.

all together now!

all together now!

So, you got all the steps?

Here’s what I chose for today (working the steps…)

Power of Greens mixture, handful of pistachios, sprinkle some goat cheese (maybe an ounce), grabbed some strawberries at work, and a few dried fruit mix (blueberry, cranberry, cherry, raisins) on top. All drizzled in a raspberry champagne vinaigrette from Trader Joes. Et voila!



Power of Greens: 30 cals
Pistachios (1/8 cup): 75 cals
Goat cheese: 60 cals
Strawberries (4 strawberries= 1 cup) : 50 cals
Dried fruit mixture (pinchful): 50 cals
Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette: 40 cals

Total:265 calories

Delicious, and packed with nutrients. What more could a girl ask for?

weeknight running dates & dinner dates

Recently, Dan and I re-cancelled cable. Before we lived together, we didn’t have cable.

I have a problem.
I am addicted to bad TV.
So, I had to just go cold turkey. CUT IT OFF! That’s how I got back my life.

I stopped watching the s**t that passes as television. And I am much happier. Dan and I actually cook meals, as opposed to watching others cook meals. I can hear nature outside my window- birds, and cars, and the fountain in our courtyard.

Personally, it’s the best.

But, it also marks a re-birth of sorts. It’s officially getting hotter, and will soon be the dead of summer. And, it forces me to do things with my life. Such as running (but could be other things).


Monday night was great. I got home nice and early (I’m so glad my job has settled back down again, allowing me to head home before traffic), had a Nuun and some easter candy, and went for a little run. My four miles ended up being 4.5 miles. Oh, and I found a cat by a creek.

No, I did not bring the cat home. Even though our apt is no longer the “crazy three cat apartment” (I guess I’ll tell that story soon too).

Monday’s run was light and easy. I felt good, so I stretched my loop out a little further to a “five mile” with intentions of walking the last mile. The 10:00 pace felt like home again, and I managed to go “sub-8:30” on the last half-mile (downhill, but, hey, who cares). I also ran past Dan and Dave, just as some a-hole who was blazing through a red light almost hit me (I had the “white man walking” sign).  I managed to push a little on some hills, and relax on others, but maintain a somewhat steady speed- 9:30 to 10:30 pace.


Tuesday night looked like a bad storm was about to start, and my favorite thing to do when that happens is rush to get in some hill sprints, so I am never too far from safety. I did the closest, longest hill to our apartment. It turns out it was about 200m (0.12-.13 miles) long, and a 50ft elevation change. It was hard enough to feel like a good workout, but not so hard I couldn’t complete 4 repeats.. They ranged from 1:13 (9:30 pace) to 1:21 (10:40 pace). Not bad.

Maybe I’m weak. I had also ran 6 miles Sunday and 4.5 miles Monday, so maybe it was too much. Either way, my ab was a little sore later that night, and continued to tighten up throughout the night, so I gave in, and took a muscle relaxer to loosen things up overnight.

About me and my muscle relaxers… When my ab is sore, sometimes it can manage to loosen up on its own. Sometimes, it seems to just get more and more sore, until I have to forego exercise or just lay in bed all day. I’ve found that taking a muscle relaxer (5mg) helps to break this cycle, and relaxes my breathing and ab overnight. I definitely don’t rely on them, but usually end up taking one every week or two. It’s also part of revving up my training. My goal is to be able to figure out more accurately how much is “too much”, and find the “just right” balance to enhance strength in my abdominal muscle and push it a little further to get faster.


Aka “Date night”

Dan said he really wanted a steak (Maybe he was in Texas for too long), so we decided to head back to Stanbury for a good steak, and a fine liquid libation.

Side note: I love when bars call them Libations. It kind of makes me laugh. Maybe it’s because it’s a little pretentious, but, then it usually means they are good cocktails, so I guess I do really love it. Hmmm… Libations!

Yummy libation (tequila, jalapeño, and other deliciousness, served on rocks with smoked salt on one side). And onto the main dish- I got the scallops  which came with grilled onion and fennel, tossed in a delicious light vinaigrette over a bed of faro (bottom, left, mostly eaten… whoops!). All in all, delicious. Their veggies/sides always are great! Everything on the plate is thoughtfully planned out and meant to be eaten together. As opposed to the ‘oh right they will probably want some mashed potatoes with this’ veggies. Dan got the ribeye (top left, also partially devoured), which is why we went to Stanbury, so that was delicious as well.


We then popped over to Hayes Barton in Five Points for a slice of cake and pie.

The night was perfect weather, so we took a little walk before eating our cake.


Another night, another run. It was a beautiful night, and in keeping with getting back to my old normal, Dan and I went for a little four miler together. All in all, it felt good. Running with Dan always pushes me to run a little faster, and push the pace a little beyond my comfort zone. We have a little, steep downhill, following by a grueling 0.8 mile uphill. So it was slow at first, but the mile splits were 9:43, 9:41, 8:45, and then change for the last 0.64 miles. Overall pace 9:26, so I was happy with that. Hence, a little faster than normal, but not grueling fast speed.

Then, we pan-fried some sausage, kale, and broccoli for a well-rounded diner. Followed by the rest of my Hayes Barton cake.

dan me post-run

A little post-run picture. Red-faced, blurry, and all. You know what they say A couple that runs together, sweats together…

Also, I love that you can see our fully-stocked wine rack in the background, that may or may not have a bottle of vodka on it.


So, Happy Friday everyone!

I’m headed to Asheville for a pre-wedding sleepover with one of my old college besties (getting married NEXT weekend!). I may take pictures and post.





my nail polish obsession

My blog name is “run, beer, and girly things”… Yet, I never talk about the girly things. I don’t feel I am girly enough to deserve be considered a “beauty guru” blogger. But, I do like to experiment with makeup and hair styles/colors. And polishes more so while I still have all my toe nails 🙂

I will also lose all the guys with this one, so just scroll on to the next one, or wait for one that applies to you…

I decided this deserved its own blog post… I am (have always) been obsessed with nail polishes. I used to buy a nail polish every time I went to Target or walk past an Ulta. TJ Maxx also has great selections (for as little as $4 for OPI, Sephora, or Nicole).

Julep is a subscription box that includes your choice (I LOVE that part) of five boxes for $20/month. I’ve heard they are about to increase this price to $25/month or $20 pre-paid three month subscription, but you will get to pick your box (swapping out polished and beauty products). I am at ~1500 Jules right now, and if you use my link, and I get the rewards (1000 Jules, 2000 Jules= free box), I’ll send a box your way. So make sure to comment if you use the link and become a Maven. I’ll pick at random if there are several people.

There are three options with two polishes and a beauty product, one option with just beauty products (usually two, sometimes three), and one option with three nail polishes. Use the code “FREEBOX” to get your first box free. You can choose add-ons from $4.99… And their boxes include some GREAT colors right now- perfect for spring/summer. Here’s a picture of the colors I chose:

I chose to go more "neutral", with pinks.

I chose to go more “neutral”, with pinks.

You can do like I did… I wasn’t sold by first glance, so I waited. And within 24 hours, I got an email, enticing me to try it out- with two polishes for $9.99. So I think I paid $15, and got: a light pink (Helen), a brick red (Claudette), a hoe red (Molly), a navy blue (Char), nail polish remover, and a pedi foot cream (yummy peppermint).

You make your choice between 20-24th of every month. I believe you can skip once every three months, if you don’t like it, don’t have the funds, or just have too much nail polish. If you do “nothing” in the 20-24th window, they give you your default style profile, which you can always change around.

I counted last night… I have 16 (!) polishes total. And six more on their way right now.

I took the picture below in November. I had spent about $50 to get all of these (and there were 4 more not pictured because I gave them away as Christmas presents). These are great nail polishes- stay very well. Great variety of color. They have the basic pinks and reds, but I generally don’t pick those too often. All the colors are named after women, and Julep promotes a lot of “women friendly” organizations, such as battered women’s shelters. They usually hold an event once per month (located in Seattle). You can see more about the company, and learn about tricks and tips for great mani/pedis here.

my Julep

Meet (left to right): Claudette, Clio, Molly, Stevie, Helen, Char, Estelle, Dahlia, Casper, and an oxygen treatment. Below are even more pictures of nail polishes not pictured here…




Here are the beauty products:

Julep products  The Mint Condition Pedi Creme. My favorite foot lotion. It feels great when my feet are tired after a long/hot run. It has a slight cooling sensation, the smell isn’t too overwhelmingly peppermint, and it leaves my skin softer.
The LUXE Serum, honestly, smells kind of weird. BUT, it works great, and rejuvenates my hands in the winter. I’ve also used it on my face overnight.
The Kajal Eyeliner is great. I used it a lot in the winter. Lately, I’ve been more on the natural make-up kick, but the brown shimmer side (as you can see- it’s more used up) is still pretty subtle. The black is great too- very charcoal. If you have oily skin, your skin might just soak this right up. When my skin is oily, it seems to melt and disappear right off my face. And, lastly, the eye shadow cream. I like it okay. I got the plum color, and have used it a couple times, but it is too dark  for every day use, and is liquid, so you have to wait (not blink/open your eye) for it to dry. I’ve used it as an eyeliner (with eyeliner brush), and have been happy with it.

I am not endorsed by Julep. But if you sign up using my link, I do get perks… That’s another great thing- you “collect” points (Jules) as you buy more items, and they are very loyal to their “older” customers. You get 300 Jules for accepting a monthly box, 200 on your birthday, 1000 for referring friends. Every 2000 is a free monthly box; 750 can be traded in for a polish upgrade on a box. The Jules convert to other items too, and usually specifies next to the true price, under Maven Exclusives.

So, my basic thing is this- I wouldn’t recommend something unless it was truly great! I love this service. Their polishes are always on-season and on-trend, great quality, and usually a little different. Since I started this subscription, I also no longer linger in the nail polish aisle. Honestly, it’s like christmas everyday, when you receive a box at the beginning of the month. They are a “small” business (growing every day) based out of Seattle, so people on the East Coast- it usually takes about 2 weeks to get your box, from the 27th, when they send them out. I usually add-on a polish, because it’s hard to choose just the set you are given. They tend to do gift sets with the season too… Halloween was neon colors, black, blood reds, orange. Christmas was reds, greens, golds, whites. In February, everyone got ‘Love’ which is a white shimmer with red and gold subtle glitter in it.

Anyway, you should really try it. If you like nail polishes, it’s very worth it 🙂

You can always cancel, but I have read… You have to call, and sometimes it can be a bit aggravating to have to call a company. Since I joined almost a year ago, I get perks- like being able to skip any month I want, and I won’t have to pay more for the customizable box. I can keep doing what I’m doing (for a little while I hope)

So, now onto the pictures and a little about each one.


Cameron_sparklylavenderCameron_swatch  Cameron was a part of the February box. It’s a silvery-lavender glittery nail polish, with a “stardust” finish, meaning it is rough (think gravel). It’s so sparkly, it’s like the sparkles pop off your color in 3-D. Not for the boring, but has been a spring favorite.



Estelle_blacsparklesEstelle_swatch  Estelle is one of my absolute all-time favorites. I got it in a “Mystery” Box, and wasn’t sure. I don’t generally like black nails. I think they are too emo/vamp. But Estelle’s subtle glitter hits the light and sparkles every which way is the perfect color for fall/winter. It makes me think of New Year’s Eve dresses- black and sparkly.




Not much to say about Joanna. Dan’s favorite- a periwinkle with a little shimmer/ pearl-like frost. I really do like it. And it’s got the Easter Egg theme, so is on my toes right now.





Love_sparkleWho doesn’t love Love? Every Maven got this as a bonus with their February box. This was a great snowed-in polish. I put it over a pretty white, and the sparkles look overwhelming in the bottle, but are ever so subtle in-person, on the nail. It has a golden hint to it, so over gold was nice as well, or on its own. Over a darker color, it seemed to just make the darker color look “gold”






Valerie_huntergreenValerie_swatch  Valerie is a great color for Christmas/ fall. They advertise it as “teal” but I think it is more hunter green, with some golden undertones. It’s subtle, and dark, but very pigmented. I like it.


If you sign up, don’t forget to use the link above, code FREEBOX for your first one free. And, comment which style you chose. I’ll give away a free box if anyone is interested…

lots of work ahead…

Last night was the first ever Raleigh Brewing Company and Fleet Feet team-up for a run. I enjoy Raleigh Brewing Company, and it’s about a 5 minute drive from my house; same for Fleet Feet. And I support local.

Also, I am trying to get back to running more often and more regularly, so a good social run, or making more running friends is a good thing. And, the Hell Yes Ma’am at RBC is one of my favorites. In my opinion, a good training session requires a good beer afterwards. It cools you down, and relaxes your muscles almost as well as foam rolling. But, it’s actually enjoyable. Just one though, more than that and suddenly, it’s a Wednesday night, and you’re calling someone to pick you up because you’re wasted.

Also, be cautious- beer is stronger after a good, hard run.

So, I got home early, changed, grabbed my garmin, and headed out at 545pm. I hit crazy traffic- just getting out of my neighborhood, and the “5 minute drive” took about 20 minutes… So I got there as they were wrapping up the “this is where we are going… This is how far, and yada yada yada…” I know the drill. Also, I saw Kerry, who coached us in 2012 for my Nashville PR, so it felt like home.

And I followed the herd, with no clue of how far we were going, or where the turn around was. But, I trust Kerry. I could accuse him of making the turn-around at 1.6 miles instead of 1.5 miles for an extra umph, but never to just go crazy off-course.

We ran out the Meredith/Reedy Creek greenway, and my legs felt very loose and springy. Not really what I expected after Sunday’s slow race. But, hey, I got in a good shake-out Monday night with Dan (cut to 1.7 miles because the race was coming down so hard it was stinging my eyes). Apparently that must have shaken them out pretty good.

The greenway out by Meredith and the NC Museum of Art (NCMA) is pretty hilly, rolling, and cut off from cars, and kind of pretty in a quiet (but you can still hear Wade Ave and the interstates, and even run over one I-40 at one point kind of way). I estimated I was going a 10:30 in my first mile, so I was surprised when my garmin chimed “9:33”, and I happily pushed myself up each hill.

I was surprised how much pep my legs had, but eventually, my breathing became labored (around 2 miles in), and I had to work for a 29:20 5K time. Up each hill, I kept telling myself I needed to push it. Dropping ~15 minutes from a half marathon is a lot, and it’s going to take 6 months of dedication. I’ve done it before, but it takes strength with every run. Even if that strength is just getting out the door, and pushing up another hill, or an extra mile.

I also laughed at the idea that I needed to be going about 45 seconds (PER MILE) faster, and maintain for 13 miles. But, I’ve been that fast before, and I will get it back.

And I’ll leave you with a stolen text quote (courtesy of the great Runners World)


My comeback to distance running in my hometown

Inaugural Rock n Roll Raleigh Half Marathon Recap


Let me start by saying that it has been a while since I posted anything on here. There are a few reasons, but, honestly, I needed to return to running in private. I was afraid posting about how little I was running or how slow, or how hard it was, and how much it hurt, would only make it hurt more. About a year ago, I ran through an abdominal strain. In general, I didn’t think it was too bad. Eventually, it got to the point where I was in pain (or “high” on muscle relaxers) the majority of last summer. But, I have talked about that enough…

I first signed up for the RnR Raleigh as the full marathon about a year ago, when it was first announced RnR was coming to Raleigh. There was a lot of controversy about it. All of which I find stupid. Some people argued that we had too many races as it is (in my opinion, these people are the lazy people who do not understand or appreciate all the hard work that goes into planning/training or running a race). Others just felt that this particular “big” race would pull away from the smaller races in the area. From my experience, the RnR attracts a lot of beginners, and beginners usually catch the bug, and sign up for other races- even 5K or 10Ks. Also, it challenges race organizers to be inventive to get people out. Raleigh has 8 half marathons I believe- City of Oaks (the biggest), Raleigh Rocks (which has now been changed to the “Rockin Rebellion” to accommodate the #RnRhaters, and is in April AND October), a Turkey Gobbler (in Wake Forest), Midtown (which was so popular, they have one in June AND September), American Tobacco Trail, Inside Out Sports Classic. Also, 3 mid-size full marathons (City of Oaks, ATT, and Umstead) Anyway, the controversy makes me laugh. I just had to note it- because I think the out of towners had no idea their desire to come to Raleigh upset so many haters.

When I signed up I was also signed up for Richmond full last November. I ended up not even showing up for that. In November, I struggled to get through 5 miles. As of January, I wasn’t even sure I would be able to complete the half marathon in April. All of this isn’t to organize a pity party for me, but to point out how far I have come.

In training for RnR Ral, I gave myself a goal to get to 10 miles. Once I got to 10 miles, Dan and I went to Mandolin for dinner (sooooo freakin’ yummy!). That was February 9, 2014. I hadn’t ran that far since April, 2013, as part of a relay race.

I ran with a friend Sheryl, who was training for the full marathon. One day, I had agreed to 12 miles, but she was going 18-20 miles. I ended up clocking 14.5 miles that day (March 8, 2014).  I managed to max out at 20 miles per week two weeks in a row. So, Sheryl and I would meet up, and run a slow and steady 10-14 miles at a time. I almost always picked routes with hills, knowing that Raleigh has hills. There were weekends when our schedules didn’t match up, and we ran apart.



I was so nervous the week before the race, that I just kept taking muscle relaxers to sleep, to make sure that my ab pain didn’t creep back in the slightest. I didn’t run at all last week, except for the race. People asked what my goal was, and it was mixed. Of course, every runner loves to PR. I would say, “I just want to finish”, and genuinely mean it, but I had an idea of 2:10-2:15 in my head. The more runs I did, the more confident I felt. My fastest half marathon on record is about 2:08, though I’d been running much faster when I got injured last year.

I went to the expo Friday afternoon (after work). It was your typical RnR expo- large with lots of sponsors and goodies. I didn’t really want to go through each exhibit- just get my packet, grab a Trophy pizza, and head home. But, it was nice. Brooks had RnR Raleigh shirts in my favorite style. I was tempted to get one, but didn’t even want to look at the price tag, as I figured the typical $25 shirt was closer to $50. To have a NC state outline, and “RnR” or something in it. Still, I wasn’t hatin on people who were wearing them… I was kind of jealous. haha.

I had a few friends running the full marathon. So, all last week, when I got nervous or scared, I made a sign for them. I ended up with 10 signs… 🙂 The full marathon happened to go just past my house, so Saturday night, Dan and I drove around, putting up signs for them by our neighborhood (miles 11-19 for them). I went to sleep around 10pm, setting my alarm for 4:45am.

Race Day

I tried to plan with Dan to account for traffic, and the road closures. We had planned to leave at 5:50am. I got up as soon as my alarm went off, went out to get some coffee (“out” into our kitchen), and started getting my clothes on, and a little SPF 35 CC cream for my face. The weather for the morning- 60 at 7am, 70 by 9am, and about 80 by 12pm. And sunny. I actually think I overdressed (In the second mile, I was tearing my sleeves off).

Flat Chandi RnRRal

I ate a slice of toast with peanut butter. I had stopped drinking the night before, because I had a feeling I was overly hydrated. So, no water Sunday morning. I waited for my coffee to do its thing. I woke Dan up around 540. He was ready to go by 550, as planned. I went to the bathroom one last time (success!), and we left our building by 555.

Some of the road closures took effect at 6am, but most of the “outer” sections were supposed to close at 630am. We met our first closure about 5 minutes into our drive, that was supposed to be closed at 630am. SHIT! Dan and I both panicked- trying to find an alternate route. He kept saying “I’ll take X road”, and I’d shut him down, “nope, that’s closed off”. The ONLY way in and out was from South Saunders. We finally got to S Saunders, and it was clear it was the “only” way, because EVERYONE (10,000 runners and spectators) were on it. It looked worse than a typical weekday rush hour… Hmmm… We looked at each other, and Dan was like, “nope”, made a couple turns (through a random gravel parking lot… mind you South Raleigh can be rough in parts), and got me about 3 blocks from the start. Not sure how that all worked out, but I was to the starting area (Salisbury St) by 625, and headed straight to the port-a-potty, as we all do the morning of a long race. I waited for 20 mins, and by the time I made my way to the corrals, it was 655, and the only corral open to runners was corral 12. I was supposed to be in corral 11, so this was fine. However, you could tell it was the only one open, because I saw people from as low as corral 4 to as high as corral 24. hmmmm… maybe this will be a clusterf*** the first few miles. As the race started, and we starting moseying ahead, I spotted a familiar teal mohawk, and scooted over to start with Darryl and a couple of his running buddies (Teryn and Rachel). They were all running the full, but shooting for a 4:30 time, so I figured it’d be perfect, and my 2:15 would be good, as I’d be with them for 8.5 miles of my 13.

A race photographer found me looking for a corral, and got this shot (I promise, I plan to buy a few, because they are actually pretty good, but wanted to get this post up before I forget)–

RnR beforeWe started off nice and slow and steady, allowing our legs to warm-up, careful not to pass people too quickly. Our first mile was 10:28, and that sounded perfect to me. We all cheered for how “on target” we were. I put my headphones in, and kept my motivation up. Teryn and Rachel slowly started to speed up, but it was downhill, so we went along with it. “9:17” Darryl and I both looked at each other, laughed, and suggested to the newbies that we slow down. Which we did. The next mile was “9:27”, and our first 5K was over, in about 30 minutes (but I missed hitting the pad for an official time). Then, I lost Darryl in the fourth mile. Rachel and Teryn pulled too far ahead, and I lost them too by the fifth mile. I was now on my own, and on target for a 2:10 with some big hills to come. I planned to run the race hans style (solo), so I didn’t mind. I just kept pluggin’ away, as I started to hit some of the first set of uphills.

Going through Oakwood and Mordecai reminded me of times in high school (I grew up in Raleigh), and it was great to see so many people out to support the runners. Raleigh was out in true form. I even saw a few people I hadn’t seen in years (clearly out to support someone else, but it still felt like home). The brightly-colored wave of runners made its way to Peace St, past the Krispy Kreme, and past Peace University, and down our last downhill. My garmin buzzed another mile, and I was still sub-10:00 pace by the 10K.

The fluorescent, sweaty herd struggled to get all the way up Peace/Clark. One man was sitting by the Black Lotus, who said we were done with this hill (at the first plateau, just before Glenwood Ave). I have ran this route before, so I laughed, and shook my head at him. I knew this hill would slowly roll for another mile or so. The wave of people slowed down, some people started to toss aside their goals, and decided to walk. I heard some people discussing their struggles with the hill. I knew I’d soon see Dan, and Sarah, and Will, and was amazed that there was not a foot of the sidewalk where my fellow Raleigh-ites were not out in full swing. Even those who were passively watching because they couldn’t leave their houses… Thank you!

I made it up the hill, with a 9:53, which left me astounded and proud. I came upon Cameron Village, and wanted so badly to see the Flying Biscuit (where Dan said he’d set up camp, before anyone else, as soon as he left me in South Raleigh). We spend a good amount of time in Cameron Village, and I thought of the Bloody Mary’s at Cameron Grill, and chugged on, until I saw Sarah. Dan was hiding behind a tree, Will sitting next to him in a camp chair. Sarah was cheering for everyone passing, and I yelled her name, as they all yelled and cheered me on. They all looked shocked (even though I was perfectly on time- at a 10:00-min pace, as I had estimated, and had even texted Dan when the corral before me left the start). It was a little boost to see them, and I half-pictured them hopping into the van (relay buddies), to meet me a mile or two down the road…

Oh well, onway and upward. The hill wasn’t completely over, though it had flattened a little. I wondered if the spectators knew how long of a hill we’d been going up, as they encouraged walkers to pick it up. I knew the turn-off was up ahead. It had to be, we were almost to 8 miles. I was tired. I was thirsty. Bad sign. You never want to be thirsty during a race. But, really I was exhausted. The thought occured to me that I hadn’t seen the GU station that was supposed to be around mile 5. I glanced down, and I had been running for about 90 minutes. Generally, I use something every 60 minutes. Ruh-roh!

[Also, just a note- they had Gatorade, but gatorade is too syrupy and makes me nauseous. I prefer Honey Stinger chews (or Sports Beans “bean me up”) and Nuun. But, when I am thrifty or running a lot, I will do every other with GU- they also take up less space.]

Finally, we turned on Hillsborough, and we started our return to downtown. Actually, it was kind of nice, because the majority of the time, you could see downtown in the background. And there was the glorious GU station. Gatorade first. Yuck. Water- yay! GU… yay! …Bleck! Gross! and more water… Just to wash it down, splash the rest on your face. That will totally hydrate you. Well, hell, at this rate, I’ll pour it on my head. It’s hot up in her’!

I appreciated the downhill slope of Hillsborough. I’ve ran this before at the end of a race- it’s a great ending- just enough slope to make you feel speedy effortlessly, but not so much that you feel like you are spinning out of control. We rounded the round-about, and turned on Pullen, and my garmin chimed for another mile “10:28”, and I felt great. I just let go on the downhill, through NC State’s campus, past Pullen Park, then turned onto Western.

And I started to feel it. I wondered when the next water stop was. I was feeling so tired. More than I should be, and I just hoped I had enough to get through another 4 miles. Okay, now is the time to ramp it up, right? So I tried to ramp it up, and felt queasy. You can do this I told myself, and then I vommed in my mouth. Gross. You can slow down now. It’s okay. Let the GU fully settle. And “10:03” chimed in, to agree that it’s okay. Okay, new plan- 2:12? I was at about that pace, and there was no shelter from the shade. I turned onto Dorothy Dix’s campus, and was waiting for the beauty to hit me. I love this campus. Instead, I felt numb to it all. Spectators? Didn’t matter. I just wanted to get to Mile 10.5. My dad said he’d be at mile 10.5. I passed by a thankful water station, which helped me feel better. I started to worry that I had missed him. I got over it, and just continued to chug along, running at a somewhat steady 10:30 pace. I had slowed down, but I still had my eye on 2:15, and was convinced I’d feel peppier when I got the downtown area.

Finally, I saw him! Right after the 11 mile, I waved at him on a small downhill from Dorothy Dix campus to Lake Wheeler, and turned into downtown. I feel a little pep, and tried to push it again, as I knew the Boylan hill was ahead of me, and a cushion of time would help. I tried to push it up Lenoir, but “push” was a 10:30 pace, and felt hard. I continued up Boylan, where they forced us onto the sidewalk, which I thought was asinine. This was at mile 11.5-12, and people were walking. And this sidewalk is only one person wide, broken, and has a steep hill on either side, lined with trees. But, every time we runners (sorry, there were a lot of walkers at this point) tried to jump down to the street to run, some volunteer would berate us like a bad dog peeing on the carpet. So I crushed a few people- sorry! Truly! And that was at a 12:00 pace…

Finally we got to the top of Boylan, and I knew we were past the 12 Mile point, whether the course said it or not (I hadn’t seen it, but I did see the Fleet Feet Raleigh love on Boylan Bridge). I felt inspired to run a little faster for the last mile. And vommed in my mouth again. Alright. I get it body. I can go slow, or I can vomit and go kinda faster. I chose to go slow. People were passing me left and right. Fans were cheering to pick it up into the home stretch. And, as I passed Nash Square, dodging to the right, in case I actually did puke, the 2:15 pacer triumphantly flew past me. And I didn’t even care. That’s how I know I was hurting. I am competitive, and anyone passing me in the last mile is bad news. I just didn’t want to walk down the final stretch on Fayetteville, so I kept plugging around, at my slowing pace. I managed to smile as much as I could for cameras. But, one guy got my true shot- as I stopped my watch, I really thought I was going to hurl. I didn’t see medical tent or staffers. I didn’t see a bucket or trash can. So I proceeded to get my medal, a dry towel, and searched for an ice bucket, grabbed some water (shove a Nuun tab in that. Yes, I hid a Nuun in my back pocket), got a banana and protein bar, and by the time I found a spot to sit, I no longer needed to puke. I texted Dan to let him know I was done, and final time of 2:17-something, and told him where I was.

He was there in minutes, and I told him how I had been doing so good, up until the last two or three miles….

The last few miles were a blur to me. I felt awful. I am not sure if it was dehydration, or overhydration, or lack of electrolytes, or if the GU just didn’t settle right on my stomach. I have never felt like that after a run. If I’m overheated, I usually get dizzy/light-headed, sometimes losing some vision (high blood pressure in my eyes), or see spots, once or twice swaying after finishing. But, never feeling 100% sure I would barf.

I have no regrets. I am proud of my 2:17. And once I felt fully hydrated again, I went back to Nash Square to cheer on my fellow runners. Dan grabbed us some coffee and more water, and I kept yelling for them, hoping I’d start seeing my full-ers soon.

Finally, I saw Beth, and yelled my butt off (4:10, oh yeah, and 8th in her age group- WHAT?! That girl is a beast). Then, Rachel, who I met just before the race with Darryl. Then, Teryn, Darryl’s other buddy. I anticipated Sheryl soon, so I walked along the course to the Boylan Bridge to meet her, and spotted Andrea. She was hurting, feeling just like I had. So, I ran her in, and we ran and walked a little, until I patted her on the back into the finisher shoot. And then, I finally got a text from Sheryl- she was on Lenoir. I texted back- I’m on the Boylan Bridge- see you soon! And I ran her in the last mile.

Here’s a few shots her friend got of us (I thought it was so cute, even though it’s pixely)

RnR with Sheryl 1

RnR with Sheryl 3

So, all in all, I ran about 15 miles on Sunday. Someone managed to snap a picture of Sheryl and me, and it makes me happy- a picture of me and my training buddy. Did I mention Sheryl sub-2’ed this spring? Yup! And that’s my next goal- for the fall. I was fast enough for that last year (was training for a sub-4:00 full marathon). Anyway, that’s next- in like 6 months.

That means, this summer will include a lot of sweat, sore muscles, blisters, probably less toenails, chafing, and probably lots of post-run beer 🙂