Monthly Archives: December, 2012

Scenes from Saturday and (Part of) Sunday

If the past two days are any indication of the holiday ahead, I am one lucky girl 🙂 Mike and I arrived at his parents’ house outside Charlottesville late on Friday evening for an amazingly full but also relaxing weekend. Instead of writing a full recap (which would take way too long and I’ve got cookies in the oven and a fire going right now), here are some scenes from the weekend.

Saturday 8 mile run. It was windy as hell but I loved it 🙂

Been using my new Aeropress coffee maker EVERY day. The coffee it makes is AH-mazing.

And of course, topping it off with egg nog.

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Mike’s mom spoils us with delicious veggie scrambles from their beautiful garden… and pickles!


Decorating the Tosto family Christmas tree!

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Curled up on the couch reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Little Mac at my feet


Attending the Rapunzel’s Christmas Party


Where we watched Mike’s mom perform as a member of the Charlottesville Albemarle Flute Ensemble!

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Sunday afternoon watching the Charlottesville Municipal Band perform in town (Mike’s mom on the flute and his brother on the tuba!)


Finishing up last minute Christmas shopping on the mall. And I bought this SWEET hat that is shaped like a koala bear. I am obsessed with it.


Swung by the DoubleTree Hotel to check out the gingerbread house village. Amy, this made me think of you!

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Fig and Mike wrapped some last minute gifts.


And now I’m enjoying a hot cup of kukicha tea and getting ready for a night in with a fire, cookies, some presents, and maybe even a movie 🙂


Catching Up

Helloooo boys and girls 🙂 I’m sure you’ve all been as busy as us this week preparing for the impending holidays! I have a pretty strict (READ: anal) approach to leaving for a vacation. My food purchasing / meal planning is like a science, complete with a complete refrigerator clean out the night before we leave. Today’s lunch features my classic “use it all up” salad, where I basically dump every leftover in the refrigerator on top of a bed of lettuce and call it a day. Today’s lunch includes romaine lettuce, yellow bell pepper, shredded carrot, cucumber, chopped celery, cherry tomato, chick peas, diced ham, and blue cheese… helloooo nurse. If only I had ANY sort of appetite this week 😦 ho hum. I also have to make a meticulous packing list / take my time or else I will most definitely forget something (I one time packed for an entire weekend in NYC with no bra… not a single bra).

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We are traveling with the kitties this week too so we had to start mentally preparing them to get in the carriers. Little Mac is very intuitive, so if he senses we’re about to travel, he’ll just hide under the bed. Therefore, we have to get the carrier out days in advance and then snatch him when  he is least expecting it. Fig has a carrier, but I also have a leash for him. Little Mac will hide under the bed, but once you pick him up, he basically submits to going into the carrier (he cries a lot though and it’s really sad). Fig, on the other hand, will fight you until the end. I actually cannot get him in the carrier alone. The last time I tried to put him in by myself, he drew blood. By the end, he was crying in the carrier, and I was sitting on the floor of my living room crying and bleeding from my hands. I decided to give the leash a try. He doesn’t walk on the leash, but he does let me pick him up and carry him to the car. I use the leash just as a back up in case he jumps out of my arms.


All in all… Christmas presents are wrapped, bags are packed, the refrigerator is empty of any perishable food, and Operation Trick the Kitties is well underway. Hopefully tonight goes smoothly (pray for us).

On the sickness front… the week started out abysmal and is ending on a relatively positive note! Mike was the worst I’ve seen him yet on Monday and Tuesday. It was truly heartbreaking to see someone who I love so much in so much pain. Luckily, he went to see his primary care physician on Tuesday afternoon and got a pretty aggressive course of steroids to help with his symptoms (he had such a bad sore throat / swollen tonsils and glands that the poor guy could barely eat, swallow, or sleep!) After only a couple days, he is like a different person! He’s still not 100% and is being careful to rest, hydrate, and get enough to eat. All in all… a lot of R&R at the POTR household this week.


I was on the verge of a total meltdown earlier this week about my potentially getting sick too (you remember by very dramatic Marathon Musings). I freaked out and went to an urgent care center near my office on Monday at lunch. Luckily, I got an awesome nurse practitioner (I fully support NPs… see them ALL the time and they are amazing) who is ALSO a marathon runner. She did oblige my request to give me a mono test, which, as of Monday, was negative. However, she cautioned me that this didn’t necessarily mean I wasn’t getting mono. She urged me to just relax and try to stay as healthy as possible. I’ve had no appetite this week, and I’ve actually been a little nauseous too. I’ve still been eating relatively normally (me? not eat? surely you jest) but I’m not really enjoying it (except last night we went out for pizza… I enjoyed that very much). I’ve also been pretty tired, so I’ve been budgeting in a little extra sleep every night (I normally sleep 7 hrs per night, this week I’ve been getting more like 8 – 10) I talked to her a lot about training for the marathon and she was very reassuring. Mike read this article that suggested that if you get a mono diagnosis, you shouldn’t run for 10 weeks! This had me TOTALLY freaking out. The NP suggested that I take it easy this week, to not put too much stress on my body. I’ve run some but not as much as my schedule called for. My muscles have been VERY fatigued (on Tuesday evening, I felt like I had just run a half marathon, not a 5 mile marathon tempo run) so I’ve been doing my best to listen to my body. I’m hoping that taking a little rest this week will allow me to come back to normal next week or the week after. She reminded me that I still have PLENTY of time, and encouraged me not to freak out just yet. Sometimes you just need a professional to say these things to you 🙂

Before I sign off… Mike and I exchanged Christmas presents last night! We like to do this privately before we join our families for the holidays. I got Mike this awesome plaque from the Philly Marathon with his finish line photo and his name / time, and I am making him a scrapbook with all of his race numbers. Right now we just have them piled in a drawer. I thought this would be a better way to store them / remember all of the races! Finally, I got him this SWEET camping chair with a footrest. Last year at Bonnaroo, some other people had one and we were all about it.


Mike came up big for me this year too … because he is wonderful and thoughtful and amazing. I LOVE coffee (as I mentioned earlier this week) and I wanted a french press to make better coffee at home. Well, Mike put on his researchers hat and did me one better! He got me a hand grinder for beans (and a bag of Starbucks Christmas blend whole bean coffee) and this AWESOME Aero Coffee Press. Apparently it’s even better than a french press and makes amazing quality coffee. I cannot wait to use it. I’m tempted to bring it with me for the holidays 🙂


Gifts or no gifts… I am the luckiest girl in the world to have Mike 🙂 But I LOVED this gift. It’s very me and I can’t wait to enjoy it. I’m going to bring my laptop with me on vacation, but I doubt I’ll be daily blogging. I am hoping to check in a couple times, but we’ll see how it goes 🙂 I am looking forward to some serious R&R, and quality family time.

If I don’t talk to you… MERRY CHRISTMAS! Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas… it’s a great day to go skiing!

Christmas Survey!

Saw this survey on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and thought it looked like fun 🙂

I’m trying really hard to get into the holiday spirit over here! We’ve been busy and the apartment is basically like a hospital ward so it’s not SUPER festive. We did bake chocolate chip cookies this weekend AND I made a gingerbread cake roll (special post on that is happening since it takes care of one of my Winter To Do list items). I don’t know if many of our planned “Christmas” activities are happening this year (ZooLights or others) since poor Mike is so sick. Definitely not putting pressure on ourselves right now, and favoring nights at home with warm mugs of tea and the kitties 🙂

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1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? I’m probably going to get stoned in the blog world for saying this because everyone like LOVES Christmas music, but I don’t get super super into it. I like traditional Christmas carols but I never really listen to pop Christmas music. The one song I specifically love though is J-i-n-g-l-e Bells by Frank Sinatra. I remember listening to this song when I was little, decorating the Christmas with my grandmother and my dad. It’s a very happy memory for me 🙂

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off? Run or exercise of some kind. I like getting a little sweat in before spending the rest of the day being blissfully unaware of the amount of butter I am consuming! Last Christmas my mom, dad, and I went on a family bike ride on Christmas morning which was really fun!


3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning? First things first… coffee! We are a huge coffee drinking family and I remember as a little kid my brother and I would be dying to get downstairs to open our presents but we had to wait for the grown ups (my mom, my dad, and my grandmother) to get their coffee first. Then after we open our Christmas presents under the tree, we stop and cook family breakfast before heading over to open our stockings (which, for my entire life, have always been filled with personal care products like deodorant… Zimmermans are practical is nothing else!). We cook a pretty standard breakfast of bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs (with cheese… but that’s a given), and toast.


4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition? I used to love putting up the Christmas tree with my dad. Unfortunately, not that I don’t live at home anymore, he puts up his tree and I put up my own little tree. Right now I would say it is baking OR shopping for stocking stuffers with my dad.

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree? When I was little we used to get a real tree. I wasn’t super into picking it out (I mean they all kinda look the same to me) but I loved that every night before bed my dad would crush up an Aspirin and my brother and I would go put it in the water under the tree. See, my dad is a chemist so most of my young life was an extended chemistry lab. Apparently, when you cut a tree’s trunk, the tree will create a seal over the exposed surface. Over time, the tree will not being able to suck up water anymore and dry up. The aspirin dissolves this cap to keep the tree healthy longer! Sweet right?

But then as we got older, we got a fake tree because the dog kept drinking the tree / aspirin water. My dad loves having a Christmas tree up. If he had his druthers the tree would be up from the day after Thanksgiving until Epiphany (which is January 6th in case you weren’t aware). I got my first tree of my own in December 2010 and I was so proud of it (it was also fake). This year we have two mini trees. We originally had one out on the balcony and one in the apartment but the cats demolished the inside tree within 5 hours so that went outside too. Here is my parents’ tree and both of ours.



6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay? I could see myself being into this but I’ve never had any. I normally don’t actually wear “pajamas”. Sometimes I have flannel pants but its usually just tshirt and pants or shorts.

7. Where do you spend the holidays? Well up until this year that was really a no brainer… with my family. I was, as we know, a single gal (well Mike and I were together last year but we weren’t at the spending the holidays together point yet). When we lived in New Jersey we always saw my mom’s brother’s family on Christmas eve and my dad’s side of the family of Christmas day. My grandmother always came and stayed with us for Christmas too, until she passed away when I was in 5th grade. Now that my parents live in North Carolina, I go there and spend Christmas with them. We skype with my Dad’s side of the family to exchange gifts though (we do a gift exchange where everyone buys a gift for one person). This year though Mike and I will be spending the holiday up through Christmas Eve with his family in Charlottesville and then driving down to North Carolina later on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas day and a few days after with my family.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat? So we are Italian… but my mom has PTSD related to her grandmother soaking a baccala (that is Italian for a giant smelly cod fish… in case you were interested) in the bathtub next to her bedroom. So we don’t do the traditional Italian meal of the seven fishes. Which is totally fine by me. We usually eat pasta on Christmas Eve (sometimes its rigatoni with vodka sauce, recently it’s been fettucini alfredo with spicy Italian sausage), and some kind of meat on Christmas day. We used to do a turkey on Christmas but we abandoned that tradition because it’s too much work! We were eating ham for many years… but I don’t actually love ham that much. In recent years it’s been steak, potatoes, and veggie dishes supplied by moi (I like to trick my family into eating brussel sprouts hehe).

Christmas is always about baking with my Dad though. I got him a pizzelle iron a couple years ago so now we make those (with vanilla extract instead of anise because I don’t like anise!). We also make traditional chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. The sugar cookie is heavily debated every year though. My dad insists on making the “easy no-roll option” and cooking them until they are “crispy” which is dad-speak for burnt. I always want to make the kind you roll out, punch shapes, and decorate with icing. No dice though haha. I also added snickerdoodles to the rotation a couple years ago and they’re a big hit! I personally always want to make a chocolate pecan pie for dessert… I think I’m the only one who likes it though 😀


9. Open presents all at once or take turns? Take turns! Even when I was a little kid we had to open our presents one at a time and watch when other people were opening their presents. I love that tradition. It made us savor Christmas morning so much longer. It was also nice that everyone got the attention on them when they were opening!

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? A CHRISTMAS STORY! Mike and I have been discussing this a lot recently because he has… wait for it… NEVER SEEN IT. I feel like that is a complete travesty. I mean the movie is only on 12 times in a row on TBS starting at 8:00 pm on Christmas Eve. 24 hours of A Christmas Story! Mike never had cable though… so that’s probably it. His favorite Christmas movie is The Muppets Christmas Carol. My dad is a big fan of A Christmas Carol too but he likes the super old version. Every year I’d wake up on a Saturday morning to find that he had just watched it (on VHS clearly). The rest of the holiday is typically sprinkled with my dad sporadically yelling out “ARE THERE NO PRISONS??” My dad is such a hoot 🙂

Marathon Musings – Infected Addition

Annnnnddddd just like that… we’re 17 again.

Mike has mono… at almost 29 years old.

Poor guy has been sick now for over two weeks. At first we thought it just was a really bad flu, and I tried to be really careful not to get it too. Then he got tested at the doctor and sure enough… it’s mono. Unfortunately, the incubation period for mono is 4 – 7 weeks (Thank you WebMD). Which means that I was exposed to it long before he started having symptoms. Have I also mentioned that I never had mono when I was younger? BLEH. I thought maybe I wouldn’t get it. I thought my iron immune system would beat the odds. Then yesterday, I started getting a sore throat… and the body aches. Today I’ve got the sore throat, the body aches, the fatigue, and the headache. I’m not full on as bad as Mike is… so a tiny part of me is still holding out hope. Looking at how sick Mike is right now is like a terrifying crystal ball into my future. This is going to suck.

This is all a way of prefacing this post because if I do in fact have mono… I don’t think there is going to be a marathon in March. That part has really been the hardest for me to think about. But mono could mean (at least) a solid month off from training… from running really at all. I think it’ll be too much time off to be marathon ready. So while I’m not giving up all hope just yet… I am trying to prepare myself mentally for that.

That being said let’s talk about this past week. Here’s what it looked like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Rest 4M 5M 4M 6M 4M

I got all of these in except Sunday (when I was feeling sick). I honestly could’ve still gone and run, but I was kinda feeling a little down about the potential of getting so sick. I kept getting in my head like “What’s the point? I’m not going to be able to do the marathon, I might as well just give up now!”

But this morning, I’ve decided to override that tendency for now. I don’t know that I have mono yet. I don’t have all the symptoms yet either and the ones I have are relatively manageable. I need to keep on keeping on. I’m going into this week hoping to keep my schedule going as planned.

I was actually really proud of this week! I got up every single morning to exercise, which was a big deal for me! On Thursday, I had to be at work at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am so obviously that meant I wasn’t going to get my run in in the AM (I just did 30 minutes of yoga at 5 am… what up!). I was really nervous I was going to bail on my run because my work day was going to be so long. BUT I brought my clothes with me to work and went for a great 5 miles after the day was over around the mall. I was really glad that I did it 🙂

Strength training, yoga, and stretching were also ALL on point this week. So I had a great week… I can’t let this mono business derail me before I know it’s happening for sure!! On to the next week! Here’s the plan… things are starting to get interesting this week!

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5 mi Tempo Rest Speed (12x 400M Repeats
w/ 400M Recovery)
4 mi Easy 8 mi Easy 8 mi Long Run 4 mi Easy

Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler – Race Review

So you guys have already heard how my race went on Saturday… PR CITY BABY! But I wanted to give you guys a quick review of the race too. As you know, I love to race but racing gets expensive. My expectations are high and I like to feel like I’m getting enough for my money. I also believe that, when offered correctly, constructive feedback can be really helpful. Races are hard events to put on and everyone can benefit from a little help! You can read examples of my other races reviews here, here, or here (just a sampling). Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler is put on by the racing company J&A Races.  They put on a bunch of races in the VA Beach area including the Shamrock Marathon / Half, the Crawling Crab Half Marathon, the Wicked 10K, and the Virginia is for Lovers 14K. This was my second J&A race (I did the Shamrock Half Marathon in March 2012) so I will refer to that often too in my review. Let’s jump right in shall we?

PRICE: $50 (but we registered early last Spring)


Packet Pick Up / Parking / Pre-Race Set Up (A) : So unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it down on Friday night in time for the expo (it closed at 8 pm which is really standard). We had to go over in the AM to pick up our packets. I normally avoid race-day packet pick up like the plague, so we got there right when it opened at 6:30 am. This was the line.


SWEET. We were in and out (numbers, Tshirts, ID check for beer bracelets) within 5 minutes. Everyone was super friendly and helpful… way to go volunteers! The VA Beach Convention Center had plenty of parking, and there was other parking available near by too. No big traffic jams getting into the parking lot or anything. Bag check looked really seamless (we didn’t check a bag) and there were PLENTY of bathrooms. The bathrooms in the convention center got really crowded because people seemed to want to hang out indoors. I ventured out to the start line and didn’t have to wait in line at all for the port-o-potties. Score!


Swag (A-): Some people don’t like race swag… but I DO. I want to feel like I’m getting something I’m going to actually use (Cotton T-shirt? Probably going straight to Goodwill). J&A always comes up BIG with the swag. This race included an awesome long sleeved half zip that rocks. You also got a Santa hat and jingle bells for your shoes 🙂 Mike was kind enough to model the hat for me. They also give an awesome race medal (this one has a beer bottle opener on the back!) and a finisher’s item (at Shamrock it was a hat and a hoodie, at Surf-n-Santa it was a pint glass that I used just this morning for my iced coffee)


So why the A-? Well… there’s usually some kind of problem with the sizing of things. The shirts are never gender sized and I always forget that. I wear a medium in women’s apparel, but a small in unisex apparel. I always order a medium and it’s always huge on me. My half-zip isn’t as much of a problem because I wear something under it. It’s still loose but I can handle it (I actually wore it out running on Monday morning). Also… my Santa hat didn’t really fit on my massive dome.


Post Race Festivities (A++): J&A consistently brings the party. All of their races are sponsored by good beer companies (Shamrock is sponsored by Yuengling, Surf-n-Santa – Sam Adams, Wicked 10K – Blue Moon, etc.) and they give each finisher a BUNCH of beers. At Shamrock, I was entitled to FOUR beers with my race bib (they just have someone marking off your bib with a marker at the beer tables). Surf-n-Santa… THREE! I can never drink more than two beers after a race though, or I turn into a human raisin. But I appreciate the multi-beer option. We had the option of either Sam Adams Lager, Winter Lager, or Angry Orchard hard cider. I went with the Winter Lager because it is delicious and hard cider is like a one way ticket to hangover-town for me. They also have good music and GOOD food. For some reason, they always serve soup and it ROCKS. Shamrock had this delicious Irish beef stew and Surf-n-Santa had chicken tortilla.



While I loved the race, I did have one thought on how it could be improved next year!

The Indoor Finish: The finish line for the course was actually inside, which was a really nice touch. You ran into the convention center and were then able to walk through the post-race stuff without freezing your behind off. Here’s my one concern. The floor of the convention center was a slick  concrete and it was wet outside. The previous finishers had tracked a bunch of wet footprints in and I was really afraid I was going to slip / fall (I had like ZERO traction on the floor). I think it would’ve been fine if it was dry outside, but perhaps they could’ve put some non-slip mats / carpets down? Just a suggestion!


I honestly can’t say enough about J&A races. I have thoroughly enjoyed both I’ve done and want to try and do more in the future! It is well worth the price (especially if you register early). If you are in the Virginia area I seriously recommend checking out theses races!!

An overdue Housewarming Celebration

So this is REALLY overdue but I wanted to share some photos from our housewarming celebration in November! We had a lovely, small gathering of about 12 friends for brunch on a Sunday. It was really an awesome day! I never entertained more than about 2 – 4 people at a time at my old apartment. It was really small and the kitchen was rough for cooking large meals. With the new apartment being bigger (with a super boss kitchen) I couldn’t wait to get a bigger group together for an afternoon of eating, drinking, football watching, and chatting 🙂

Let’s talk about the most important part though… the food! I wanted to make a “fall inspired salad” so I went hunting around the internet. Interestingly enough, I found this great recipe on the Weight Watchers website. I made several tweaks but used their recipe as my base. I splurged a little and bought pre-cut butternut squash because there are few things that are MORE worth it. Butternut squash is delicious but it is like the demon vegetable. I have almost sliced off a finger, stabbed my cat, and broken up with Mike while attempting to cut / peel a butternut squash. Pre-cut is the way to go! I roasted it in the oven with a ton of rosemary and some olive oil and salt.


I added some additional vegetables to the salad because we had them on hand and I love salads that are loaded with lots of veggies. I included cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber. Fig spent the majority of the morning in the sink. I’m not really sure why, he’s totally fascinated with the sink. How cute does he look here???


The dressing in the recipe called for apricot preserves but I decided against them. I had to buy a whole jar of something, might as well make it something we’ll actually use (apricot preserves… seriously? bleh) TJ’s honey apple butter had a similar sweet / fruity taste, and it’s delicious on toast with peanut butter or stirred into oatmeal. I had to add a lot more apple butter and rice vinegar to the recipe to make enough dressing for all the shallots in there. Instead of adding walnuts, I used a pre-mixed bag of rosemary seasoned pecans and cranberries. Kept with the theme of the salad very well and it was WAY cheaper than buying a bag of walnuts.


All mixed up and ready to go w/ dressing on the side!


I also wanted to include some kind of egg dish because, to me, brunch is not complete without eggs. I decided on a veggie egg casserole. I used this recipe for inspiration. but made some changes. I used TJ’s mini sweet peppers, vidalia onion, a bad of frozen broccoli, and a bag of frozen spinach.


I also added a couple sweet basil pesto chicken sausages we had in the refrigerator.


And OF course a healthy serving of cheese on top! This recipe was a huge success. I used a TON of eggs (like 18 eggs) but it was a super easy way to make eggs for a big group.


Anddd at Mike’s request we also served TJ’s pumpkin pancakes. This mix is so good… we are stockpiling it like it’s the freaking apocalypse. I think we currently have 3 boxes of it. Making pancakes for this many people was definitely hard, but Mike was a master pancake flipper.


Perhaps my favorite part of the day was that I FINALLY got a chance to use my Grandmother’s china. I have had for the past 2.5 years and I have never used it. It just sits in my china cabinet! I was thrilled to have an opportunity to use it.


Then it came time to set up the drink bar! We served bloody marys and mimosas, which ended up looking great! Plus, we got to use all this stuff we never use… like pitchers and an ice bucket! I should totally use pitchers more… they rock. We made the bloodys make-you-0wn style so people could control the heat. Mike basically dumped half a bottle of hot sauce in his 🙂


Food was served buffet style, which was perfect! We all just sat around eating, drinking… and well… being merry! My friend Haley was kind enough to bring Cake Love cupcakes which were a HUGE hit.


I loved having the chance to have friends at our house! When can we do it again??

Marathon Musings – Week 3

I am just not doing well making these appear regularly on Monday am I? Oh well.. TUESDAY!

3 weeks of Hanson Method Marathon Training Down!

Here’s what the week was supposed to look like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Rest 3M 3M 5M 5M Rest

Here’s what the week ended up looking like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Rest 3M 5M 3M Rest 10M Rest

Same # of miles but I juggled some days around. I don’t want to make a habit of that, but life does happen! Monday was an unscheduled rest day. I threw in some light strength training / walking to get myself moving but Mike was REALLY sick. I really wanted to spend time with him (especially because he has been gone all weekend with his friends) so I decided to move the week around. I also lumped my Friday / Saturday runs into one big run because I ran the Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler. I planned to out for an easy 3 on Sunday, but Mike really encouraged me to rest. I wasn’t exactly difficult to persuade! Let’s check in on some stuff!

Pacing: It’s going pretty well! I did my Tuesday 3 miler at slightly higher than marathon pace (10:45). Wednesday’s 5 Miler I wanted to do at marathon pace (10:30). I went out a little too fast (around 9:45) but was able to slow it back to marathon pace for the second half. Thursday I did easy pace (11:00). Saturday obviously was very fast, but I was racing!

Hills: I’m trying to be very intentional about adding challenging hills into my runs. My marathon course will include some hills and I want to be ready for them. My Wednesday run was actually really challenging. Basically the entire second half of the run was uphill and by the end I was definitely tired. I ran that same course again on Monday though because I want to see how much better I can get at that extended hill.

Strength Training / Yoga: Keeping up with strength training a lot, especially thanks for the 2012 Closeout Workout challenge! I will have a recap for that soon… but I did full body strength training on Tuesday and Thursday after my 3 milers. Every night I’ve been doing at least my 75 reps before bed too. I eased off them a little for the race but started back up with those. I did yoga a couple times last week (Wednesday and Thursday) but I really want to get it up to 3 times this week!

Stretching: Apart from wanting to add more yoga… I’ve been SO good about stretching out after runs and I think it’s having a huge impact. I found a good plan for me is to come in from a morning run, get a glass of iced coffee w/ chocolate milk (what up caffeination and recovery all in one cup!) and stretch out for 10 minutes while watching GMA. My muscles are feeling so much better during and after runs… woohoo!

I’m starting to miss my higher mileage runs but I know we’re going to be there very soon. All in all… three weeks in and things are going great. I feel strong and confident right now… so I’m trying to ride that out!

Here’s what this week is going to look like:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
5M Rest 4M 5M 4M 6M 4M

First six day week of the plan! Check back next week and see how it goes 🙂

Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler – Race Recap

Yesterday ended up being just one of those days that got away from me! I feel like I blinked and it was 10:45 pm and I was crawling into bed exhausted. It also didn’t help that I had my eyes refracted at the eye doctor at 10:30 am and spent most of the middle of the day in a blurry fog trying to work without actually being able to see… that was funny! Anyways… here’s my recap of the Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler!

We arrived in Virginia Beach SUPER early on Saturday morning. Driving down after work on Friday night meant we missed the expo on Friday night (no new Hippie Runner headbands for me… wahh). We needed to get our numbers still so we arrived right when it opened at 6:30 am. We were done by 6:33 am… soooo we had lots of time to kill. Mike had not actually run at all since the Philly Marathon because first he hurt his foot and then he got horribly sick. Poor guy was not doing well! He still wanted to run, so we decided to just run together since my pace is very easy for him. We had decided to do 9:30 min / miles for a time of 1:35.

Look how cute our outfits were! (except my sneakers are orange… I didn’t have seasonal footwear!)


The weather was kinda yucky that day… very overcast and humid. But the temperature was really comfortable milling about at the starting line. Mike was assigned for corral 1, but he lined up with me in Corral 2. We were actually right at the front of our corral, which initially made me nervous. I kept thinking to myself “I don’t belong here in the front of the second corral… this is for real runners.” But then I realized that my number was right at the cut off for corral 1 and 2… I was ALMOST assigned to Corral 1… whhhaattt?? I decided to face my fear of being in the front of the pack. Also How cute are people’s costumes? The course bikers were all dressed up like the Grinch!


Before I knew it, we were off and running. I just wanted to run and have some fun. As I mentioned… I didn’t think this was going to be a PR day. Virginia Beach in December is a ghost town, so there wasn’t much to focus on but running with Mike, chatting, and taking in everyone’s funny costumes. The 5K and 10 Miler started together and basically did 3 miles together before the 10 milers went out for another 7. At the 10M and 5K split they had these adorable people in gingerbread suits… HOW CUTE.


Here’s how my race went.

Miles 0 – 3.1: We started out fast. We were hovering between 8:50 – 9:10 for the first 5K. I actually set a 5k PR of 28:43, which isn’t actually that impressive. I’ve only run 2 5Ks ever and both I was just running for fun with a friend. Mike wants me to try racing a 5K but I’m resisting. Perhaps…

Miles 3.1 – 5: I started getting this idea in my head that maybe a new PR wasn’t so impossible after all. My previous PR pace was 9:15 min / miles and I was well under that right now. But then I started doubting myself. I set my 10 Miler PR 6 days before I ran my first marathon. I was in phenomenal shape at that point (if I do say so  myself). I was only at the beginning of my marathon training this time and had not been running / training to the same level. I decided to put the PR in the back of my mind and make a decision at mile 5.

Miles 5 – 6: I decided to go for it! I asked Mike to pace me in for time around the 1:31 range. He happily obliged! We made the turn to head down the boardwalk, which was a long (approx 2 miles) straight away. I also set a 10K PR of 57:15… where was this all coming from??? Maybe I need to seriously start thinking about shorter races more?

Miles 7-9: I really battled these. I was really pushing myself, but I was feeling good. My legs felt awesome, though I was starting to feel a dull ache in my left hip. That was pretty standard for me though… I knew I could push through that. Unfortunately, I started to doubt that I could pull this thing out. I was holding a 9:05 pace according to our watches and it was starting to hurt. I remember thinking to myself “I need to slow down I can’t hold this pace” but then I realized the only reason I thought that was because I was scared. Yeah I was working hard but I was more than capable of handling it. I was gonna do this… even if I killed me. I did have to slow down at one point to around 9:20 because I caught a huge whiff of cigarette smoke from a spectator and almost threw up all over my awesome orange sneakers! Mike was amazing during these miles. He just kept encouraging me and telling me how amazing I was doing. In the back of my mind were two thoughts 1) I need to do this because the pain of doing it will be nothing compared to how disappointed I will feel if I give up, and 2) Mike is going to be so proud of me when we do this together… that alone will be worth it!

Mile 10: Out of nowhere… I busted out an 8:30 mile. Um… I’m sorry, can you repeat that? Yes… an 8:30 FINAL mile in a 10 miler. I’ll be honest, I felt like hell during this mile. I barely said a word (and if you know me you know that is NOT normal) Mike would just be saying encouraging things and I would kind of grunt in agreement.  Literally .1 miles from the finish line, I was just like I CANNOT DO THIS I WANT TO DIE. But Mike was there to push me over the finish line for a 1:31:51 (official) finishing time.

Ignore my “current speed” I clicked off my Garmin after I stopped … so it’s all high and not awesome like my race was!


I’ll be honest, right when I crossed the finish line I was not a happy camper. I wanted to curse and punch someone… I was SO exhausted. But after about 10 seconds, the elation set in. I just took 40 seconds off my 10 Miler PR!!! Mike and I had a super emotional sweaty hug, which was adorable. I love him ❤


I’ll say it over and over and over… I’m so grateful for Mike. I don’t know if I could’ve done this without him. He sacrificed his own race to help me achieve a new goal too, which is a perfect example of how selfless he is. He kept saying that he was having a hard time keeping up with me (so yay! I’m fast when Mike has rested for 3 weeks post-marathon and has the flu… SUPER RUNNER!) But he’s is amazing and I just wanted to melt into a puddle of loving goo because I was so happy.


Then my new bff Sam Adams was like “Yo Christina, I heard you ran a sweet race today… Congrats my dude!” and I said “OMG, that is so sweet of you Sam. Cheers to that! Also, way to go on the Winter Lager man… you totally nailed it!”


But in all seriousness… this race was not just a PR. I won a lot of mental battles here too. I don’t think I have ever really pushed myself that hard. I normally don’t like that feeling, but this race made me realize that it’s ok for it to hurt. I embraced the pain. I realized… I’ve been running scared for most of the last two years. How good could I get if I let go of my emotional and mental baggage, and just let the athlete in my come through? Mike uses this amazing race mantra I wanted to share. “The first third of the race, find your rhythm  The second third of the race, sharpen your focus. The final third of the race, unleash the monster”.

Consider this monster unleashed.

Does this make us weird?

Mike and I bought each other these mugs this weekend from a store in Charlottesville called “The Cat House” which boasts gifts for crazy cat ladies cat lovers… went in as somewhat of a joke. Stayed for 30 minutes, bought two mugs and a Christmas card to send to another cat loving couple.


 I meannnnnn come on how awesome are these mugs??? I know I know… we’re crazy cat people. DAMN PROUD OF IT TOO!

Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler Recap is coming later today so stay tuned… it’s gonna be awesome 🙂

Tomorrow is Race Day!

Tomorrow I’m running the Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler in Virginia Beach!! Hitting the road tonight and staying with one of Mike’s grad school buddies who has graciously offered to let us stay at his brand spankin new house!


I’m really psyched about this race but wanted to spend some time getting ready for it mentally and physically. I felt completely unprepared for the Philly Half even though I obviously finished and did fine. We were planning the weekend in Philly followed by a whole week away with my family for Thanksgiving. Mike was traveling for work and preparing for a marathon. I needed to find a cat sitter and figure out why Comcast wanted $313 from me… the week was insane. I got to Philly and realized I had not prepared for the race AT ALL. I didn’t look up my bib number, I didn’t even look up where the expo was. I brought no fuel with me and didn’t buy any at the expo. Then we got food poisoning and Mike was worried about his ankle injury. Basically, Philly wasn’t about me. It was about Mike and I was fine for it to be that way.

But this time I wanted to be READY, because nothing makes me more crazy cakes than not being prepared. I spent some time yesterday reading the event website, familiarizing myself with the details, and looking at the course. Luckily, a beach race can be counted on to be one thing… FLAT. Woot woot. I set my half marathon PR in Virginia Beach last Spring actually! I don’t think tomorrow is going to be a PR day (My 10 Miler PR is 1:32 from the George Washington Parkway Classic… pictured below) but I’d like to shoot for under 1:40, which I think is very doable.


If that doesn’t happen though, I really won’t be sad. I am training for a marathon right now so I have to remember that is my ultimate goal! This is also a REALLY fun race because they encourage people to dress up! I put together my most “Christmas-y” outfit last night which includes black capris (duh), optional black calf sleeves (want to see how cold it is), my red tech tee from the Country Music Marathon, a white tank, green and white striped arm sleeves, and a green sparkly headband (I am wearing both in the picture below). Everyone gets a Santa hat but I wasn’t sure if that was before or after the race? I have one that I might throw in my suitcase just in case! You also get jingle bells.


I kinda wish I had a better costume though. I see people with costumes all the time and think how adorable they are! I might see if Mike can be persuaded to stop at  Walmart on the way down the VA Beach tonight to go in search of some cheap costume extras…

Happy Weekend Blog Loves <33