Monthly Archives: October, 2012

Pile on the Miles

Woah two posts in one day?? I know right. One of my goals in regards to the blog is to try and link up more often with other people around the “blogging world”. I really want to become a little more involved and see what kind of cool experiences are out there. This month I decided to participate in Monica‘s Pile on the Miles Challenge!

There are lots of cool prizes and giveaway opportunities… but it’s also a great way to stave off a little bit of the holiday weight gain by challenging yourself to exercise more! Here are the rules (there are taken FROM Monica’s site):

Who: Everyone is invited to join

What: Online challenge to walk or run more during turkey month.

When: November 1 – December 1. Winners announced Dec 2nd.

Where: Sign up and Update your weekly mileage on the spreadsheet below

Why: To challenge yourself and encourage others to move moreThis isn’t about weight loss or distance – it’s about doing a little extra this month.

The Rules:

1. Sign up on the Google Spreadsheet by October 31st.

There will be a place for your name, blog address and twitter handle. You must put in a name, but the other entries are optional. If you have a blog please add it so we can create the most epic blogroll ever!

2. Set a goal at the beginning of the challenge to WALK or RUN x amount of miles. These could be miles on the treadmill OR outside/inside walking OR running. No biking or elliptical miles don’t count.

3.  We will be using calendar weeks Sun-Sat, but the first week is Thur-Sat. It’s clearly marked on the spreadsheet. Please update your miles for the previous week by Monday.

4. Optional: Leave a comment on RER Nov 1 and 5, 12, 19, 26 with your Mileage Goal for that week. All comments on those posts will be entered into a giveaway.

Use this spreadsheet to sign up by Oct 31st at midnight:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArBkv0LjyfmxdDA5dUdLTXlGT3ZoUnpxcWp4cDFfNXc

I signed up!! I have my goal as 140 miles in November (I am pretty sure you’re supposed to put your TOTAL mileage goal in to sign up and then you update your weekly mileage every Monday? I wasn’t 100% sure, but that seemed right). In addition to my normal running (which will easily put me over 100 miles for the month) I want to start adding walking miles too! My goal is to add 3 miles of walking every day I don’t run.

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Happy Halloween!!

Hello Everyone!! Hurricane Sandy has made for an interesting start to my week. First let me say thank you to everyone who reached out to see how Mike and I were doing in the storm. Luckily we had no real issues with the storm (we kept power / water the entire time and have no damage… thank God!). I am thinking about and praying for all my friends and family in the New York and New Jersey area who were not as fortunate.

The Federal Government was closed Monday and Tuesday, which means I was home with the kitties. It sounds like a lot of fun, but there are few things I hate more than being cooped up inside for too long. Yesterday, I finally ventured out to CVS at 5 pm because I hadn’t been out of the apartment building in almost 48 hours… I was going CRAZY. I bought the following items:

Never let it be said that I don’t value a balanced diet. I was able to get some amount of work done while at home but I will definitely be playing catch up this week! For the most part, the storm afforded me plenty of time to snuggle with the cats and catch up on my DVR / Netflix. I also did a ton of cooking, so expect some fun recipe posts to appear in the very near future!! My laptop / internet were both being a poopface in the storm so I haven’t been able to get them up yet. For now, here are some kitty-tastic scenes from the storm:

But now that Sandy has passed, it is back to real life! I just wanted to wish everyone a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I hope you are all eating lots and lots of candy today and everyone is wearing a costume. You are never too old or too cool to dress up for Halloween. On Saturday night, we went to a Halloween party at a friends house where Mike and I both dressed as Olympians! (Side note: I don’t do costumes that can be described as “Sexy ____” or “Slutty (insert cliche profession here)”. Not my style. Last year I was a bunch of grapes… as evidenced below)

For your viewing pleasure I present to you our 2012 Halloween Costumes:

Two Halloween Costumes… ZERO dollars spent. We owned every single piece of this costume which made it even better. My Halloween costume today cost exactly the same amount… ZERO DOLLARS. Best Halloween ever. Can you guess what I am supposed to be??

Answer: Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

 

Rock Climbing… Well… Rocks.

I feel like I could’ve written an entire weeks worth of posts just about all the things we did last weekend… and I kind of did! This is the last one I swear. Sunday afternoon, after a full morning at the Army Ten Miler, Mike and I headed up to University of Maryland for an afternoon at the rock wall with our friends Sarah and Evan. I really wanted to try rock climbing this fall (it’s on my to-do list) but it can be really expensive! Luckily, to climb at University of Maryland, all you need is a friend and a $7 guest pass to the athletic center… cha ching! The wall also had climbing shoes, helmets, and all the equipment. Mike decided he wouldn’t climb, since his ankle wasn’t feeling that great. He was my personal photographer instead 🙂

The wall at UMD is great… especially for a beginner climber like me! There were plenty of areas for experiences climbers, but the big face was slightly angled which made it easier to climb. I was pretty nervous… just because I had no idea what to expect. I watched a couple people climb before suiting up myself.

Climbing shoes are ridiculously uncomfortable. Sarah says that more people buy them 1.5 sizes too small. THE WORST. My baby toes were crying. Then I watched Sarah climb… she totally rocked it.

Then it was my turn. The harness was also pretty uncomfortable… but I clearly looked FABULOUS. Sarah was kind enough to belay me and she was awesome. I really had no idea what to expect, so I just kinda winged it. The first go I didn’t follow a route, I just tried to get to the top. I kind of made a deal with myself that if I got to the log halfway up and wanted to come down… I would. But once I reached it, I knew I had to make it to the top. I definitely forgot to breath most of the trip up because I was like panting at the top! I was only a little bit scared, but mostly it was so much fun.

I was pretty psyched when I got back down 🙂 I took a break between trips to let Evan climb. He obviously did a much harder climb than me and he totally rocked it. He didn’t even wear climbing shoes… just sneakers! I think it kind of helps to be taller and have long limbs. Sarah was belay-master general for everyone.

After Evan climbed, I made one more trip up. This time I followed a route (though it was the easiest one on the wall) but it definitely made it a lot harder. I loved it though 🙂 I had such a fun afternoon and it was a killer new experience. I was also kind of sore the next day!! Guess I worked some new muscles. I want to go back really badly… maybe in the spring when the wall opens back up!

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend 😀 My friend Elsa is in town and I cannot wait to see her… I’ve missed her so much! There is a halloween party AND the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend. Can’t wait!!

 

October Date at Kings Dominion

Disclaimer from Christina – my laptop is being really mean to me right now and all my pictures won’t format correctly in WordPress. I’m trying to figure this out and hopefully I’ll fix it soon. Until then, I recognize that the picture placement / spacing is really off and gross looking and I’m sorry!!

This past weekend was legitimately one of the only weekends this fall that Mike and I were both in DC with no special events or visitors. We decided to take advantage of this time, and get in our October “special date”. You can read about some other special dates herehere, and here. I never wrote a post about our August date, but it was white water rafting in Harpers Ferry, WV for our anniversary. Unfortunately, we kind of forgot about our September date because it was such a crazy busy month. We did go see Sons of Bill at U Street Music Hall so we kind of cheated and called that our date. October though, we were ready for something good! Mike and I are more of the adventurous types, so we prefer to make our dates cool activities. Saturday morning we hopped in the car and headed down to Kings Dominion! It’s almost two hour from DC to Kings Dominion, but it is totally worth the drive for a couple reasons. Number one: you get to see the leaves changing in Virginia!

And number two… there are like 5 Wawa’s on the way down!!! If I haven’t made this completely clear… I LOVE Wawa. I grew up in New Jersey, and it is kind of like a way of life. Plus, tickets to Kings Dominion are expensive enough… let alone trying to buy food there! We stopped at a Wawa and got deli sandwiches (also much healthier than the multitude of fried options at the park) and drinks. We ate half of our sandwiches in the car and then headed into the park for the day. Mike and I both felt the same way, we didn’t want to waste any time on so-so rides. We were only interested in the big ones. We both love roller coasters (fun fact: When he was little, Mike REALLY wanted to design roller coasters for a living. He knew all the “big names” in the industry and everything. But then he decided to be a huge slacker and build rockets that go into space instead… WHATEVER!). We ended up riding six rides: Dominator, The Volcano, Anaconda, Intimidator 305, Drop Tower, and Rebel Yell. Totally worth it.

It was really interesting to go to KD with Mike because he knew so much about the engineering of the rides. He knew all the different names for the different style seating (inverted, suspension, etc. etc.) and was pointing out stuff I never would have noticed.

After Dominator, The Volcano, and Anaconda… I needed something to drink (and potentially a snack). I walked around searching in vain for a soft pretzel (seriously KD… not a single pretzel vendor was open!) so we ended up settling for the Coke “Oasis” which sold soft drinks and a surprising selection of very healthy snacks including whole fruit, cliff bars, pop chips, etc. We both got a Coke Zero (diet soda is my true vice… I won’t be judged) and a piece of fruit to tide us over. Then we hopped in line for INTIMIDATOR 305. I could tell Mike was eyeing this ride from the moment we arrived. It boasted a 301 ft drop at approximately an 85 degree angle. This was a serious coaster.


Intimidator did NOT disappoint. It didn’t go upside down, but it was by far the best coaster of the day. Afterwards, we headed over to the other side of the park to finish out the day. First on the list was Drop Tower. This ride did not look that scary, I just thought it was going to be fun. In reality, it was by far the most scared I felt all day!! Once we were strapped into our seats, I felt really nervous that my feet were just dangling there, and I became irrationally scared that my shoes were going to fall off! Then we started going up and it was just SO FREAKY to be up so high (305 feet) and have your feet just dangling! While I was a little freaked out and simply COULD NOT look down, it was an amazing view of the park and the surrounding country side. And then we dropped… and it was awesome!

We finished out the day with Rebel Yell, a wooden roller coaster. I totally underestimated this one. I thought it was going to be easy peasy, not that exciting, but it was so much fun!! Such a fun way to end the day. We were hoping to go on the Grizzly or the Hurler to complete the day but they were both closed 😦

Halloween Haunt was going on that night and right when we were about to leave we started seeing lots of people in costumes. We decided not to stay for Haunt because we wanted to get back to DC since Mike was racing in the morning.

Before we left though, we treated ourselves to some Rita’s Italian Ice. I also LOVE Rita’s so it was the only treat that interested me (Dippin Dots is cool but it doesn’t really taste like anything…) I got Swedish Fish ice and vanilla custard and Mike got cherry and vanilla. Perfect way to end a perfect Saturday.

My favorite thing about Mike (well I have a lot of favorites) is how much fun we have when we’re together. We were at KD for 6 hours and it felt like it flew by 🙂 It was a great way to spend a Saturday together ❤

Army Ten Miler – Race Recap / Review

Hey guys it’s Christina! I’m super excited this is the very first POTR Guest Post!! Coming to you from none other than Mike. He’s a waayyy better runner than me, so I thought you guys might like to hear from a seriously competitive runner instead of just my ramblings. 

Hi POTR readers, this is Mike, the sometimes mentioned boyfriend. I ran the Army Ten Miler last Sunday, so Christina suggested that I should write a guest post for the blog. This was my first time running the Army Ten Miler, after registering for it in 2011 and transferring away my bib upon finding out that it was the same weekend as Ragnar Pennsylvania. I had wanted to run this race for a couple years before 2011 too, but never managed to register in time, so I was really looking forward to it this year. They announced before the start of the race that it sold out in record time this year, at about 9 hours. Needless to say, if you’re interested in running this race you either need to pay attention to the registration date (and hour!) or go through the bib transfer system that the organizers turn on over the summer. I think there’s a special pre-registration period for active duty military people, and maybe other civil servants as well, but since none of those apply to me I don’t remember exactly.

I’ll do the “review” part first, and get back to my personal race recap. Registration this year was way back in May, with a total cost of $58.50 including fees. Normal for a race this size.

Expo, A: I went to the expo at the DC Armory on Friday night right before they closed while it was pouring rain outside, so I was in and out fast. To their credit, it was easy to be in and out fast, which earns the A here, but I didn’t stick around to see anything besides packet pickup and the booth selling cotton throw-away gloves. It looked like a standard big-race expo though with vendors selling shoes, gear, and gadgets.

Swag, A-: The race shirt was a long sleeve cotton tee, with this year’s design on the front, and the usual sponsor logos on the back. Since I’m a regular racer, I have more short-sleeve tech-tees than I know what to do with, so anything other than this gets extra points from me. I know many people like to get a tech tee though, especially along with entry fees that exceed $50.00, hence the minus part of A-. They also gave out hats to the first 15,000 people to use post-race trolleys, but obviously not everyone can get there in time to pick up one of these. The finisher coins didn’t have the ribbon that would turn them into a finisher medal, which was also unusual.

Course, A: The race starts and finishes at the Pentagon in VA, and spends about 60% of the distance in DC. It’s almost entirely flat, with the only “hills” being small and short. It’s definitely flatter than my Garmin elevation track (link below) makes it look, and is good for a fast race. You run past a number of other DC landmarks after the Pentagon, including Arlington Cemetery, Arlington Memorial Bridge, Lincoln Memorial, Watergate Hotel, Kennedy Center, Tidal Basin, Washington Monument, Smithsonian, and Jefferson Memorial. Other than the last 2 miles, there’s almost always something interesting to see.

Crowd Support, Mixed: The majority of the route had few spectators, with one big exception being the section of Independence Ave between 7th St. and 14th St. This makes sense, since it’s right next to both the Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza Metro stops. There were a ton of people in this stretch making lots of noise, as well as a high school band, and a water stop. It was a really nice boost around mile 7 or so when the tiredness is starting to set in, but this abruptly changes, since about miles 8 through 9.5 along Rt. 395 are the least spectator-friendly and least scenic of the entire course. I personally don’t mind having no crowds at all on a race course, so the Independence Ave stretch alone gives this category an A for me, but some people might like a more even distribution of crowds.

Course Support, A+: There were plenty of water stops (at least 5 I think?), with Gatorade also available at each, all staffed by Army personnel in camo pants and the race shirt. For me this was more than enough to cover a ten mile race, especially with the perfect weather, and I didn’t use every available station while also not carrying any extra fluids or fuel. At one of the last stations, I heard some commotion behind me just after I had passed it, and turned around to see some guy screaming his battle-cry while sprinting the (quite long) gauntlet of water-bearers with each one hurling their cup’s worth of water at his chest. Army race for sure.

Pre-Race, A+: The pre-race corrals were inside a fenced off area which required a race bib for entry. I think I’ve seen this before, but it’s pretty unusual. This was a very large race though, with 30,000 registered runners so I think it was a good idea to cut down on congestion. Since I had my own POTR spectator (hehe that was me!), I didn’t need to use the bag check. There were plenty of porta-potties, and with about 45 minutes to go before the start, I only waited in line for maybe 5 minutes at the most. Do this INSIDE the runners-only area, since there were only a few outside with very long lines. The first three waves were staged in the starting corral, and the following waves set up in a holding area inside the Pentagon parking lot. At about 7:15am the Army Golden Knights parachute team put on a show from above as everyone warmed up, stretched out, and lined up.

The call for the starting CANNON (not a wimpy gun) came from Gen. Ray Odierno, the current Chief of Staff of the Army, and the previous commander of all Coalition Forces in Iraq. After a big “HOOAH” from the crowd, the first wave of about 50 runners starting at 7:55am was the Wounded Warrior division, whose bios you can find on the race website. Almost all of them had lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan, and they used a variety of prosthetics, wheelchairs, and hand-cycles to complete the course. It was impossible not to be inspired by everything going on at the starting line.

Transportation, B: The Metro Blue Line did not appear to have extra trains running as of 6:45am, so if we had missed the train we took it would’ve been another 20 minutes before the next one. The Pentagon station was a mob scene getting out through the exit fare, and it took at least 15 minutes to inch up the stairs from the platform and get through the gate. After the race, they provided trolleys running back to the metro from the finish line area. It was less than a mile away, but much appreciated after finishing the race.

Now I’ll get into my personal recap of the race. In the week leading up to the race, I started to have some trouble with my left Achilles and ankle on Tuesday, with the worst of it coming on Wednesday when I couldn’t run even one mile without pain. My goal had been to run a PR of 1:06 at this race, and the Achilles had given me some serious doubt in the last few days about whether this would be either possible or advisable. My real goal for the fall season is the Philadelphia Marathon, so I didn’t want to take a chance at causing a more serious injury in this tune-up race. To this end, I decided beforehand that if at any point in the race I started to feel even a little bit of acute Achilles pain I would stop, stretch out, and walk-run to the finish. Luckily with a little bit of extra rest, it was feeling at least pretty good on Saturday, and mostly-solid on Sunday morning before the race. I decided to go for it, and it felt normal for the first five miles or so. After that it started to gradually tighten up and feel a little weak, but that was all, just a tight feeling, and no pain while running.

The morning started out without a cloud in the sky, and temperatures in the upper 40s before sunrise – perfect racing weather. My first mile was the slowest, as it usually is in large races with a crowd, but it wasn’t a bad thing for me since it opened up pretty quickly and forced me to ease into race pace. By mile 3 or so I had a good rhythm going, and ditched my gloves near a roadside trash can. In miles 5 and 6 I was starting to wonder if my Achilles would hold out, but otherwise feeling easy and smooth. The crowds around mile 7 were encouraging, and by mile 8 it was pretty clear that my ankle would last at least to the finish line, with a PR almost locked in at that point. My previous ten mile best was at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler last spring, in 1:07:32, and I was running faster than my 1:06 goal pace. Before the race I didn’t really think 1:05 was likely, but when mile 8 came out of nowhere at 6:17 on my GPS with a barely noticeable increase in effort, it started to seem possible. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself though, so I waited until after mile 9 to start the real final push.

I wound up finishing in 1:04:49, good for (unofficially) 556th place out of 21,912 finishers, and a huge PR.

Split Time Distance Avg Pace Best Pace Calories
Summary 1:04:51.8 10.12 6:24 4:34 1,287
1 6:34.0 1.00 6:34 5:49 126
2 6:25.4 1.00 6:25 5:29 124
3 6:31.2 1.00 6:31 6:10 129
4 6:27.4 1.00 6:27 5:07 128
5 6:28.9 1.00 6:29 5:57 124
6 6:28.5 1.00 6:28 5:57 129
7 6:24.0 1.00 6:24 5:46 128
8 6:17.4 1.00 6:17 5:04 128
9 6:27.7 1.00 6:28 6:10 129
10 6:07.9 1.00 6:08 5:31 127
11 :39.3 0.12 5:21 4:34 15

Excellent race all around!!! Here is the link to the Garmin Connect entry

Me again… just can’t stop gushing about how proud of him I am 🙂 

When you fall

If you think this post is going to be a deep metaphor for how to handle the trials and tribulations of life… you’ve given me too much credit. I literally meant the title of this post to be “When you fall” as in… down on your face. Also not a metaphor.

On Sunday afternoon after watching Mike run the Army 10 Miler, having brunch on Clarendon and going grocery shopping, I finally went out on MY long run. I left the apartment and headed over towards the Custis Trail. The last time I ran on Custis was at the beginning of an 18 mile training run for the marathon, and I inexplicably cried for the first three miles. That’s right, just big crocodile tears of emotion rolling down my face while ticking away my training miles. I’ve never claimed to be an emotionally stable individual. I decided it was time for me and Custis Trail to make up. It’s easily accessible, and it’s got a lot of great rolling hills. I didn’t have a ton of a time (I was going between 8 – 10 miles) so I wanted to make it as challenging as possible. I hopped on the trail and took it all the way down Route 66 to where Custis meets the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. I had only gone 4 miles to my displeasure (I swear the last time I did this it seemed like it was 1000 miles long). I turned around and headed back home thinking I’d tack on a mile or so once I got back to my hood.

And then it happened. I tripped on an uneven piece of pavement and I went down… hard. I had so much forward inertia going I didn’t even get a foot in front of me to break my fall. I did the dumbest thing possible and stuck my hands out to break my fall. I literally barrel rolled over my head off the paved trail into the grass. I definitely screamed a bad word… I’m SORRY it was a reflex I couldn’t help it. I sat up in the grass, took off my headphones, and surveyed the damage. Thankfully I was wearing running tights, so even though I could tell my knees / shins had gotten hit really hard, they weren’t bleeding. My hands were another story… they were in fact bleeding. I only had 2 bottles on my water belt, but I sacrificed the end of one bottle to wash the dirt off my cuts.

 

Picture evidence of my mortal injury. Ok ok I know it doesn’t look that bad right now but I swear it really hurt!

Mercifully, I was beat up and bruised, but I hadn’t actually injured myself. This was a big win especially when you consider I was 4 miles from home, and hadn’t brought money or my cell phone (I know I’m like a big walking advertisement for how to die while running).

I sat in the grass for a minute or so and contemplated my predicament. I really only had one option. As much as I wanted to just go home and sulk, I wanted to get at least 8 miles in, and I was really far from home. So I sucked it up, stood up, dusted myself off, and took off running for home. I figured at least the burning sensation in my hands would distract me enough to make the miles pass quickly. When I got home (totally didn’t add on that extra mile at the end but hey let’s not get picky here), I was really proud of myself for not giving up. I feel like in the last couple months, there’s been a lot of giving up on the running front. No more!

So when you fall… be a warrior. Put on your big girl (or boy) pants and finish the run. Obstacles only make reaching your goal that much sweeter 🙂 Happy Monday.

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Thoughts of the Week

Happy Friday Everyone!! Every Fall I think things are going to slow down from the summer, but they never ever do. We’ve got a big weekend ahead including dinner with friends, a trip to Kings Dominion, the Army 10 Miler, and rock climbing! Here are some thoughts of the week:

1. Running is awesome. I actually quoted a League of Their Own in my head while I was running this week. I was thinking like, wow running is actually really challenging and hard. And then all of a sudden Jimmy Duggan popped into my head… “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!” Love it.

2. This song has been stuck in my head all week. In fact the whole album I like can’t get enough of it. I’m trying not to listen to it so I don’t get sick of it but it’s hard. Mike has introduced me to a LOT of music since we met, but Sons of Bill is BY FAR my favorite.

3. Nashville is easily the best new show of the season. LOVE IT. I love Connie Britton <33 Hayden Pantierre just like can’t seem to keep her clothes on in this show but I look forward to her developing more as a character. Also Vulture is doing episode recaps… WOOHOO.

Source

4. Me and Tom Haverford have way too much in common. Last night’s episode of Parks and Rec included a lengthy list of Tom’s daily internet visits. And I realized that mine is not that far off (and his is supposed to be a joke!) Daily visits for me include Gmail (and all its affiliates include gchat, gcalendar, gdrive), Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader (for ALL my blogs… there’s a LOT on this list), Washington Post, WordPress, Pandora or Grooveshark… it’s so much!! I don’t feel a particular need to change it… just worth mentioning 🙂

Happy Weekend Loves <33

Check In – Fall 2012 To Do List

Let me just tell you how much I love making seasonal to do lists. Here’s a hint… IT’S A LOT! I missed October 15th but better late than never. Let’s check in on how I’m doing with my Fall 2012 To Do List:

  1. Register for a spring marathon and get a training plan –  I did chose the marathon but haven’t registered yet (I have until October 31st before the price goes up again!!). Also Mike bought the new Hanson Method Book on Amazon so I want to read a bit more but I’m pretty sure that’s what I am going with!
  2. Try rock climbing – Going on Sunday at University of Maryland with our friend Sarah!! Post coming after that I promise 🙂
  3. Develop a home yoga practice – This hasn’t happened yet. But would you believe me if I said I actually planned on doing yoga when I got home tonight?? With moving, I only now feel like I’m back in a routine. I’m running Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday right now, strength training / cardio on Tuesday, Thursday and SOMETIMES Sunday. I need to work the yoga back in though.
  4. Become a morning exerciser (and stick to it!) – I’m making some progress!! I’ve started exercising a couple mornings a week and I’m hoping to gradually up that to every morning. I went to the gym this AM! Yesterday I made the decision to sleep in / run after work and I wasn’t pleased with that choice. It was SO hard to motivate myself to run (once I was actually running, I was fine… weird how that works). All I kept thinking was “I should’ve just done this in the morning” soooo you know… progress!
  5. Floss four times per week – I was thinking yesterday about this actually. There is such a strong link between oral health and overall health that I should stop thinking this is such a chore. It’s just like eating healthy and exercising… it’s good for me! I bought disposable flossers which I love so that’s helping. I also bought pre-threaded floss (thread already connected with the floss, not just the threaders) but the stick is too big to fit between some of my teeth. I might have to go back to the threaders, even though it’s more of a pain. Anyways… it’s going. I’m not at 4x per week yet, but I’m on my way!
  6. Make more running dates with friends and learn to love the running club. Also, try at least one new running group – I have had a running date and I’ve tried a couple other times with some girls (we couldn’t make our schedules work unfortunately). Haven’t been to the group because we’ve been so busy with the move. But I do have a plan to go to the group next weekend and to go to track sessions with Mike on Wednesdays again! That’s a start! I think in general, I wanted to get my running groove back with this goal and that is DEFINITELY happening. I still do want to try a group fun run. Either Pacers in Clarendon (they have a Ladies Run on Mondays or a co-ed run on Thursdays) or Lululemon in Clarendon (they have a fun run on Mondays). 
  7. Try a barre class – If I want the free class offered at Lava Barre by Lululemon, Friday the 26th is my last chance. I may or may not be able to do that depending on a friend coming in from out of town. If I can’t do that, I’m going to research some “first timer deals” around DC and try and bully someone into going with me (trying new stuff is so much more fun with a buddy!)
  8. Go to NYC to visit friends – Going the weekend on November 2 – 4th!! We have secured a place to stay on Saturday night, now just looking for someone to let us crash at their place on Friday night. We are way too poor to afford a hotel in Manhattan on the weekend of the NYC Marathon (if there is even a hotel room to be had!!!)
  9. Stick to the budget (NO SHOPPING) – Doing SO GOOD on this one. Totally sticking to the budget even with the move. No shopping at all… go me, go me! I’m having fun reinventing pieces that are already in my closet. I also purged my closet a lot when I moved, so that felt really good. Made a huge clothing donation.
  10. Take a day trip to Kings Dominion – Going on Saturday for a special day date with Mike!! Woohoo!! Probably going to be a post too… Mike and I forgot to have a September Date Night, so we have to make up for it in October.
  11. Finish Anna Karenina before the movie comes out (and then go see the movie with Sarah K) – I may or may not have kind of given up on reading this book. It is LONG AS HELL. It’s still on my Kindle though and maybe I’ll get more of it read. The movie comes out November 16th so I don’t know if I’ll finish it before then. Definitely the movie date is happening though 🙂
  12. Master a new cooking skill – I’ve decided it’s going to be homemade pasta. I looked up directions and all I need is a rolling pin (I know it’s shameful I don’t have a rolling pin but I’ve never had a surface large enough to roll anything). Hoping to get a collaboration with my brother where he does sauce / meatballs and I do that pasta and we have a big dinner! Perhaps I’ll try and get this on the calendar for next Sunday at Marine Corps Marathon.
  13. Host a dinner party (or a brunch party!) – Nothing planned yet BUT I still do want to do this. Just looked at my calendar and found a good looking Sunday that might just work for a brunch party. May have just created an Evite…
  14. Go to as least three free fun / social events in DC or VA – We went to the Adams Morgan Day Festival which was really fun! I also volunteered for Ragnar which I was kind of counting as a “free event” since I was giving my time as opposed to spending money! We’re also going out for the Army 10 Miler this weekend and the Marine Corps Marathon next weekend (might be working at a water stop with the running club too). I could do better on finding non-running related events though. Someone invited me to go see the girl from Smitten Kitchen at Politics and Prose… so that counts right?? Maybe I’ll try to do one more non-running related fun free event!
  15. Research and consider adult Spanish language classes – A friend told me about some great educational podcasts so I think I’m going to try those. I need to load them on my phone or iPod to listen to on my new metro commute!

Super Fast Spaghetti Squash

Ugh I’m having trouble formating my pictures again!! No big deal though… on to the post at hand! So Monday night I went outside for a five mile run only to discover it was raining! But I was there and I was ready to run, so I just ran… in the rain. I came back looking like this:

Needless to say I didn’t want to put a lot of effort into dinner. Thankfully, I precooked a spaghetti squash on Sunday and picked up some pre-marinated salmon filets at Trader Joe’s over the weekend. Perfecto. The salmon went into the over to broil and I got to work preparing the squash.

I wanted to complement the dijon mustard flavor of the salmon, so I went with something light and citrusy. Approximately one tablespoon of coconut oil went into the pan followed by the spaghetti squash to warm it up (I used about 2/3 of an entire spaghetti squash).

I used the juice of one half an orange, one whole lime, and one whole lemon right into the pan and a little bit of sea salt (not much at all).

Complete the meal with a delicious glass of white wine and in less than 15 minutes, we were ready to roll!

DELICIOUS!! A perfectly light and healthy start to the week with very little effort involved 🙂 I intended to put feta cheese in (it’s in the picture up top) but I totally forgot!! Didn’t need it in the end.

Then the kitties wrestled for a little while hehe

Baltimore Half Marathon – Race Review

If you haven’t guessed already… I like saving money. I also like spending money on fun things like shoes and clothes, but I will go out of my way to spend as little as possible on everything (I sincerely hope that no one in my life would think of me as “cheap”, I just believe in getting the best deal possible and being responsible about money). This was kind of hard for me when I started racing because racing is EXPENSIVE. I love racing, so I’ve figured out a way to make it work in my budget… but I’ve got my eye out at races to make sure I’m getting my moneys worth. FOR example, you pay $40 for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington DC in the spring and you get no race medal and a crappy cotton t-shirt. I paid $25 to run the Charlottesville 10 Miler and I got a finishers medal and a Nike Dri-Fit technical tee. These are the kinds of things that jump out at me.

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So here are my thoughts on the Baltimore Half Marathon including value for the money and logistics. (DISCLAIMER: I recognize how difficult putting races on is, so these comments are more meant to be constructive feedback as opposed to whiny criticism)

PRICE: $90 (plus $7 transaction fee to register online… get you every time!) I registered in August. If I had registered before April 1st it would have been $80

PROS:

Crowd Support: People of Baltimore… you rock. Much of the race was through neighborhoods around the city, which is my favorite (nothing worse than running on a freaking highway). There were SO many people out with signs, kids giving out candy, people playing music from the porches. Some favorites included the group of people in a neighborhood playing “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray, the two guys dancing on their car in tiger suits playing “Eye of the Tiger”, and the kids giving out candy corn on the longest hill of the race. Some of my favorites signed included: “If the marathon was easy, it would be called your mom” “Run a Marathon Today, Law & Order Marathon Tomorrow” and “JANICE – You forgot to sort the laundry” (<– that guy gets 10 points in my book for being hilarious). The crowds and the people are WHY I run races in different cities. Go Baltimore… you guys get an A+ on this one.

Course Support: This was  a big race but the volunteers / coordinators were on point the whole race. Plenty, plenty, plenty of water and Gatorade at every stop. I know most serious runners don’t drink as much as I do while racing, but dehydration is my #1 migraine trigger. After my first 10K, I got such a headache I took medicine and slept for 18 hours straight. I want to run a good race, but I always want to enjoy my life after. So I get water and gatorade at every station. The best part though was the HUGE fuel station they had set up at Lake Montebello. In addition to liquids they had mini Lara Bars, Power Bar Energy Bites, bananas, everything! I had my margarita shot blocks, so I just grabbed a mini Lara Bar for later. It was awesome. A+ for fuel.

Swag: The shirt is a semi-fitted Under Armour short sleeve and it rocks. I got a women’s medium and it fits perfectly. That style shirt retails for about $47.99. The shirts are also different for marathon, half marathon, and team relay, which I like (different colors and the race distance was printed on the back). When I ran my marathon in the spring, it was the same shirt for the full and half and I felt kind of jipped. I wanted a MARATHON shirt so everyone would know how awesome I am when I wore it. The medals were also really sweet. There was a very cool crab cartoon printed on them. A+ for swag.

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CONS:

Post Race Support: After runners finished they were funneled into a line to get space blankets, medals, water and Gatorade. I would’ve liked to have the water / Gatorade first because it took several minutes to get through the line (space blankets can be really difficult to pull off the roll quickly so that really clogged up the line). While they had bottled water available, the only Gatorade I saw was in cups. I took one cup but would’ve loved to have bottle Gatorade available to take with me. The food was pretty standard. No major complaints there. B for post race support.

Expo Setup: The expo was at the M&T Bank Center and I literally felt like I walked around the entire concourse to get all my stuff. You got your bag when you walked in the stadium, then you went upstairs and all the way to the left to get your number, then you walked all the way back to the right to get your shirt. Just felt like the critical stuff could have been closer together. The vendors were ok but not the best selection I’ve ever seen (granted I did get there later on Friday evening so maybe there was more earlier). I didn’t see my favorite… Hippie Runner 😦 B- for expo setup.

Transportation: Parking at the expo was no problem, but the way the races were set up (Marathon started at 8 am, Half at 9:45 am) meant if you were running the half, you needed to either drive in before the start of the marathon, or use public transportation. Not a HUGE deal, but Light Rail stations outside Baltimore are really not equipped to handle this number of people. The parking lots were full by 8 am and the only parking available was metered spots (there really isn’t a way to use a metered spot when you’re going into Baltimore to run a race). We ended up parking on the street several blocks from the Light Rail. We then waited in a long line to get tickets from the ticket machine (of COURSE a train came while we were in line… and then no one checked our tickets once on board BAH!). The trains were packed to say the least. At the end of the day, we got there and it was fine, but it wasn’t the best situation ever. B- for transportation.

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