Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Why I Run

Happy last day of 2014! I thought it would be fitting to end my year of blog postings about a topic that has to do with my New Year's Resolution* to run a marathon- why I run in general.

* By the way, I don't agree with resolutions- you can change your life at anytime, not just for the new year…and you should ADD things to your life as a resolution and not take them away. Making changes is part of a lifestyle overhaul and not a single goal. Remember, DO YOU and find a balance on what changes will work in your life. Don't compare yourself to others.*

While meeting a friend for drinks this weekend, we got to talking about the deeper things in life besides daily life, what TV shows we watch, and how much we miss college (ha!). We got to talking about life and religion and finding/maintaining happiness. Her and her husband have found a great church in their state that has brought them a new sense of purpose and intellectual fulfillment. I am not at a point in my life where I attend church regularly, but I have found other methods of intellectual, emotional and physical fulfillment (besides school, which is obviously a big part). My method is running.

I started running because I fell in love with the high at a race. I had friends who ran in college and, though they tried, they could never  convince me to run. I would occasionally run to the gym, but my choice of exercise was either in sports, like soccer, or the elliptical-esque machines. It did the trick for a while.

I began to feel bored and unchallanged by it all. When I was in grad school, while I still enjoyed going to the gym, I was not getting the high I once had.

I started running to get that high again. To reach goals I set out for myself- from running a mile without stopping to running 2, 3, 4, 13.3, ect. It was such a gradual build that I never gave it much thought nor had lofty goals all at once. As I started running, I signed up for races and my distance goals stemmed from that.

Before I knew it running was in a way my religion. It gave me time to think; to zone out and explore; set goals and meet them; take control of my body and health and nutrition, as well as appreciate the power of what my body can do; develop a holistic approach to health, wellness, and how I want to live my life; to realize what is important and what is not.

I have run in different cities, states and countries...and explored areas I otherwise would not have. I have realized that running is a commonality we all share regardless of culture or lifestyle. It is a time where I prepare mentally and physically for what life has in store. I do some of my best thinking when I run, and often make many decisions while doing so. Even when I dont want to do it, I never regret a run. How many things in life can we say that about?

I have met and become involved in Massey (cancer center) through running and have reconnected with old friends. I have met new friends near and far. Their life stories have inspiried me, challenged me and motivated me. I have become a better person through these people.

When I am ever in a challenging run, I run for all the people who can't. I run for those we have lost, those who are struggling, and for the times I have and will. I run because my life is in my control. Because putting one foot in front of the other through good times and bad shows me that we can make it through anything. That I am capable to overcome difficulties, and therefore should take risks and persevere through them. That my time on this earth is short, so my happiness and well-being are my priority.

These are thoughts the elliptical and gym equipment never could do.

I run because I can. I hope you find something that gives you this power, too.

Also- Check out a blog post I did a few years ago about this topic.

Why do you run? What are your resolutions for 2015 (if you make any)?! 

***Happy New Year!***

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Books

I read a lot of books this year, but I did loose some steam after I started back in school. 

The ones with asterisks (*) are recommended. Enjoy!
  1. Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  2. **My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni
  3. The Women of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan
  4. The Beast by Faye Kellerman
  5. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
  6. **The Rosie Project by Greame Simsion
  7. **Hello, Darkness by Sandra Brown
  8. **Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
  9. **Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  10. We All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
  11. The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  12. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
  13. **Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  14. The Second Wives Club by Jane Moore
  15. Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
  16. **The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
  17. Deadline by Sandra Brown
  18. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
  19. The Other Woman by Hank Phillipi Ryan
  20. The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin
  21. Otherwise Engaged by Eileen Goudge
  22. **A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
  23. Queen of Babble in the Big City by Meg Cabot
  24. Four Friends by Robyn Carr
  25. **The Silver Star by Jeannette Wells
  26. The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
  27. Another Piece of my Heart by Jane Green
  28. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
  29. **Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  30. **Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  31. Ellen Foster by Kay Gibbons
  32. Family Portraits by Jane Green
  33. **Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
  34. Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding
  35. Return To Sullivan's Island by Dorthea Benton Frank
  36. **The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah
  37. **This Is Where I Leave You by Johnathan Tropper
  38. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  39. One Summer by David Baldacci
  40. Bleachers by John Grisham
  41. Downtown by Anne Rivers Siddons
  42. **Princess by Jean Sasson
  43. Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell
  44. Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan
  45. The Price by Joan Johnson
  46. **On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
  47. The Collector by Nora Roberts
  48. Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood
  49. Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  50. After the Darkness by Sidney Sheldon
  51. **Orphan Train by Christine Baker Klein
  52. **The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  53. Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
  54. **Early Decision by Lacy Crawford
  55. **Belong To Me by Marissa de Los Santos
  56. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
  57. The Guest House by Erika Marks
  58. Always Something There to Remind Me by Beth Harrison
  59. Love Anthony by Lisa Genova
  60. **The Promise of Stardust by Pricille Sibley
  61. **Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
  62. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
  63. **Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
  64. **The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose
  65. Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer
  66. **What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  67. **Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  68. Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston
  69. Smoke Screen by Sandra Brown
  70. **Low Pressure by Sandra Browm

Did I miss any great books this year? I love recommendations!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Shamrock Marathon Training Week 4

I got so much rest this week due to time off and not traveling for the holidays. My runs overall felt ok but not as good as one would expect with all the sleep I got! You just never know what you're gonna get with running-> not bad but not great!

Monday: 3 mile walk  (weights)

Tuesday: 6 miles @ 9:18 (abs)

Wednesday: 3.1 miles @ 9:40 (Treadmill was AWFUL but it was pouring outside-> weights)

Thursday: 4.1 Christmas miles @ 9:11 (abs)

Friday: 40 minutes elliptical (weights)

Saturday: 13.3 miles @ 9:18 (my friend and I need to slow down...our legs tire after mile ten at this pace. Run was VERY hilly miles 4-9).

No time for Starbucks this week but Gatorade taseted good!

I'm trying to show you here that my face is salty...oh well.

Yay over a half marathon and only a few minutes faster than my PR (I calculated we hit 13.1 at 2:01 and my PR is 1:58...). It's amazing what can change in two years from when I had never even run my first and got a 2:05!

Sunday: 5 miles @ 9:08  (National Harbor run across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Alexandria-> abs)

Total: 31.6 miles + 3 walking

This was less than last week because of the weather and because I ran more than I was supposed to last week. Thankfully I am feeling good!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas! I started the day with an easy 4 mile run, opened gifts, went to a movie (Theory of Everything- it was wonderful!) and had a delicious dinner. I went back to my place last night to organize and get some gifts set up. My favorite gifts of the day were a fitbit and some running stuff, but everything was great!

I am tempting to take more pictures so here is the hogdepodge from my phone! 

Oh how times have changed...running before breakfaat and gifts are opened!

Cats live such a tough life watching gifts being opened...

My awesome stocking:)

The tree before the festivities began!

I am heading to see "Into the Woods" this afternoon before a low key night of resting up for my long run tomorrow! I have slept SoMUCH this week...I am hopeful I can kick my butt into gear tomorrow for a great run before heading to the National Harbor! Sometimes if I get too much sleep I have a hard time running...who knows why!

How was your Christmas? Favorite gift or food? 

Do you have a harder time running when you have been lazy or get too much sleep?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Early Christmas Gift

Nothing like a day of laziness to get myself in the Christmas spirit! Yesterday, after a busy weekend and out of town short trip, I was EXHAUSTED. I rarely have a day of nothing because I usually can't stand to sit still, but I stayed in my sweatpants all day yesterday (well, until 6 PM when I had a condo association meeting) and watched too much TV. My friend and I were scheduled to meet up, but we both felt too lazy, so we just texted. #firstworldproblems 

After my morning run (yes, I did do that at least), Santa aka Amazon came to my door with an AWESOME Christmas gift- a Roku!

Now I can watch Netflix on my TV! Score. Perfect for my lazy day and super-easy to set up. Thanks to my bro and sis-in-law!

I hung out with this cutie on the couch all day. He is an awesome snuggle buddy.

I watched 90210 (Christmas episode marathon) and The X Files...David Duchovny, why won't you love me? Any fans know what season this picture is from?

I feel much better today in terms of energy. I think I needed a day to rest from my increased running, traveling and busy holiday schedule. Socializing is exhausting even for an extrovert. I will head over to my parents this afternoon for a low-key Christmas. Just us this Christmas as my brothers are with their in-laws. Adulthood changes things! I am excited for a visit to the National Harbor this weekend, though,

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Misc.

Hey there! Lots of happenings have been...happening...lately, and because I am currently off work for two weeks and lazy, here are some pictures in reverse order!

My parents and I went to visit my bro and sis in law outside D.C. this weekend at their vineyard...

On Saturday I went to a party and smartphones interfered...

My coworker gave me an awesome card on Friday...(she knows me so well)

Best gift ever all set up at home...

Some more fun  happenings this evening, but I am excited for days of sweatpants, sweatshirts and TV binging on the's rainy in Virginia this week and I am TIRED! Hopefully I can get my runs in and not in on the treadmill.

Any last minute shopping for you to do?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Shamrock Marathon Training Week 3

I ended up running a lot this week...I guess this is what happens when I don't have classes two nights a week! Time is a lovely thing:)

Monday: 45 minute elliptical + 2.1 walk  (weights)

Tuesday: 8.3 miles @ 9:20 (split up before (4.3)  and after (4) work-> abs)

Wednesday: 6 mile run @ 9:32 (I was not feeling this run-> weights)

Thursday: 4 miles @ 9:13 (abs)

Friday: 2.3 mile walk at work (weights)

Saturday: 12.2 miles @ 9:19

Made it to a Starbucks for a Vent Skinny Mocha- best recovery drink!

Sunday: 5 miles @ 9:05 (abs)

Total: 35.5 (!) miles + 4.4 walking

I ended up running more than scheduled, but I feel great! Enjoy the last few days before Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2014


Some days I did not think this day would ever get here. Fortunately, winter break has arrived! This year I am so thankful for the break because it has been my first time working during the summer at the school. This week has been fun with a work luncheon yesterday and a celebration this afternoon with coworkers, but I am so looking forward to two weeks of NOTHING related to work. January is a very busy month for me at work, so I will enjoy the relaxation before the storm hits!

To further get in the holiday spirit, friends and I visited some (tacky) holiday lights in our area (Richmond's West End) on Wednesday. I have done Tacky Light Tours in the past, so it was nice to get back out and see some of the lights. It is so nice to have the internet and mapping on your phone to go and make your own tour! I always think about the neighbors, though. They must get annoyed with all the traffic and brightness on the street! And what is their electric bill?

I have some parties this weekend, but things wind down after Monday. I have loved all the socialization (and eating), but I have been lacking on sleep AND reading. I have about three books to read over the two weeks- I think I can manage it:) Enjoy your Friday! I am hopeful to get out of work early and get a good night's sleep before my COLD 12 miler tomorrow morning!

What are your holiday plans? Any tacky lights in your area?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Work & Wine

I have been MIA from the blogging world this week because work and evenings have been busy. It got me thinking about how much of how work is depicts my feelings in other aspects of my life. For instance, when work is busy- I feel busy and rushed all the time; when work is slow- I am bored and aching to do more. I try to keep work very separate from other parts of my life, but my overall mood does roll over. Just an interesting thing to note. At least it is almost winter break!

Between busy days at work, I have had more free time in the evenings for fun activities since classes are over! Last night I went to a 'Wine & Design' party for a coworker who is getting married. She has a calendar of her dog, with the dog being in a themed picture each month. Naturally we decided she needed paintings of these to rotate in her house! It was a riot and such a fun concept! I will have to go back.

My attempt at graduation Petey

Up close

The whole group!

I have more holiday events the rest of this week, so the spirit is running high. I am contemplating moving my long run this week to Friday since the weather looks cold and rainy on Saturday. That is basically the most stressful part of my life at the moment:) Have a great week!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shamrock Marathon Training Week 2

Week two went well! Mileage is slowly increasing (I actually ran an extra day this week so it jumped more than usual), but so far, so good!

Monday: 6 miles @ 9:55 (weights)

This was the Holiday Light Run with Richmond Roadrunners. I was slow to start due to crowds/stoplights. I used this as my long weekday run- it was fun seeing the city lights and running with a big group. I have a hard time waiting until 6 PM to run, though! Stomach was also off due to poor snack timing.

Tuesday: 60 minute elliptical + 1.5 walk (abs)

Wednesday: 4.15 @ 9:12 (before work-> weights)

Thursday: 4.15 @ 9:14 (before work->abs) + 3.2 mile walk after work

Friday: 2.3 mile walk after work (weights)

Saturday: 10 miles @ 9:25 (started faster but settled into a good pace...could have gone longer!)

No Starbucks this week but still smiling after ten! I was perfectly clothed this week, which was also great!

Sunday: 5.6 miles @  9:07 (abs).

Total: 29. 9 running + 7 walking

Woo hoo! Looking forward to hitting 12 miles on my long run next week and good looking weather for the week! Almost winter break:)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My morning routine

I keep commenting on other blogs how much I love hearing about people's morning routines/day-to-day lives. I need to remind myself to post on that more in case other people are like me:) And if you're not...I am sorry!

I will start this by saying two things. First, I am a morning person. I hate being out in the dark and/or cold, so most nights I am in my PJ's on the couch by 8 PM at the latest (some days this scene develops at 5 PM...especially since classes are over for the semester). I am at my best from 6 AM until lunch. Then I hate life and want the day to be over. I hate having late evening plans and having to go back out looking presentable once I have come home and unwound. So, keep that in mind while reading:) Secondly, I don't have kids. So that makes my morning much easier than most!

This routine is based on my increased amount of running in the morning. When I don't run, my routine takes about 25 minutes!

5:20: Alarm goes off. I get up right away or within the minute- no snoozing (it's just easier that way for me).

5:22: Bathroom, brush teeth, make my bed, and put on running clothes I laid out the night before,

5:30: Clean the kitty litter, give my cat food and have some water,

5:33: Set up my Garmin in my condo's hallway and put on my shoes,

5:35: Head out for however many miles...I usually run 3-5 and if I need to do more I will get up however many miles more x 10 minutes. Today I ran 4 miles.

Some things about morning runs:

  • I live in an area (the city) with a lot of street lights. 
  • I face traffic when on the road or run with traffic on the sidewalk.
  • I see about 10-15 runners every morning. Most are in groups. I also see lots of dog walkers.
  • There is no traffic to stop for, which makes morning runs so much nicer than afternoon/evening runs.
  • I can run many different routes from my place, so I don't worry about people figuring out my routines.
  • I do wear headphones, but I am cognizant of those around me. I have never felt unsafe.
  • I am never more than 2 miles from my house at any given time in case I am having a bad run.
6:20: This is the latest I like to get back from a run. I drink water right away and rinse off my body in the shower (I do not typically wash my hair unless it is the summer and I can go to work with wet hair).

6:25: Get dressed (I lay out my clothes the night before).

6:30: Do hair/makeup. Hair usually involves dry shampoo, a quick blow-dry if sweaty and a straightener.

6:38: Get my lunch (I make it the night before) and head out the door!

7:00: (Hopefully) Arrive at work!

I eat breakfast and drink coffee once I get to work! It's a quick morning that doesn't leave me a lot of time to get behind, but for the most part I am never more than 5-10 minutes late if I do get behind:)

What is your morning routine like?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Buckeyes, Balls and Bad Tipping

First off, GO BUCKS! I am so excited and surprised that Ohio State got into the first college football playoffs! Their huge win on Saturday was totally unexpected, and while I do feel bad for TCU and Baylor, I hope this example will have them expand the playoffs from four to eight teams. I honestly am a low-key football fan, but I do love this time of year when big wins and championship games happen!

Sunday I spent the whole day with two good friends of mine. We hit up a local grocer, Ellwood Thompson's, for lunch and then went to the mall (Short Pump) and out to dinner later in the day. This was my first (and probably will be my only) time at the mall for the holidays since I normally buy all my gifts online. It was fun to go with people when not looking for anything specific AND it was a Sunday evening, so it was not very crowded.

The mall was decorated very impressively, too. I think outdoor malls look so classy in the evening!

I got my first foam roller at Dicks (and was tempted to buy more Under Amour gear...they have so much awesome stuff)! I was still sore after my weekend 8 and 6-milers, so while in Banana Republic, and after I had looked awkward carrying my foam roller around for about an hour in all the stores, I tested it out...and couldn't keep a straight face! Felt so good! 

I don't think anyone noticed me....

We ended the evening a local Italian pizza place in the Carytown area of Richmond. The food is GREAT, but we had the WORST waiter. He had an awful attitude from the beginning. I ordered a pizza gluten-free, and when my bill came I was charged too much. I politely asked what the cost was for gluten-free crust, and he begrudgingly went and asked someone and then told me that all pizzas were the same regardless of toppings in gluten free (which is not true and he even stated didn't make sense but "that is what the price it"). I had been charged $6 bucks extra and had only had a cheese pizza, so I again, in a nice way, stated that I thought that was incorrect compared to what my friends had been charged. He got an attitude, practically ripped the bill from me, and gave me a discount (the computer was right by where we were sitting). I said I was not trying to be difficult but was just asking, and he had a snarky remark. He even rung up my friends' bill with attitude- slapping the credit card all over the machine and entering everything in aggressively.

I left him a dollar! I was so surprised and angry and almost wrote a note on the bill to "check your attitude" but felt bad. I ALWAYS tip 20% since I used to wait tables, so this was really hard for me to do. However, I was not difficult, and it could have been handled in a totally different way. I demand respect if I am giving you respect, which he was not. I know how to address a customer asking a question, and his attitude was awful.

So this is my question for you all...What do you do when you are treated poorly at a restaurant? How much do you normally tip?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Shamrock Marathon Training Week 1

Marathon training has begun! I had a GREAT first week! Of course, this is only the beginning...but I am loving the routine of training thus far :)

Monday: 3.55 miles @ 9:16 (before work-> weights)

Tuesday: 45 minute elliptical (abs)

Wednesday: 4.1 mile walk at work + before class (weights)

Thursday: 5 miles @ 9:12 (before work-> abs)

Friday: 4.2 mile walk at work (we got to leave work early as a treat :))

Saturday: 8.2 miles @ 9:03 (this was a SPEEDY training run...I need to watch it in the future but my friend and I went out fast and just kept with it since it was a shorter run-> weights)

New routine- Starbucks after my Saturday training runs! This week a Venti Skinny Peppermint Mocha.
Best recovery drink EVER!

Sunday: 6 miles @ 9: 13 (abs). My hamstrings were pretty sore from the fast run Saturday, but I am really going to try to stick to the long recovery runs my training plan has in place on Sundays for as long as I can.

Total: 22.75 running + 8.3 walking (I am logging my walking so that when my mileage gets higher I can use walking in substitution of runs when I am sore).

I am starting to slowly increase my carb intake and focus on properly fueling for my long runs (with recovery food as well). When I go to the store today I am going to stock up on more larabars (I use these as fuel during long runs), trail mix, bananas and gels (to try out).

It was a good first week! Have a great week-> T-10 days until winter break for me:)!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

NGN Update!

I realized today that I had dropped the ball on my "No Gluten November" updates, so I thought I would fill you in on how it went!

Overall, it went great! I enjoyed feeling less bloated and blah-ish. I did not notice any huge improvements in regards to energy or how my skin looked, but the bloating going away by itself makes it worth it. I did not have a hard time getting enough carbs- I just made sure I was eating more real food as opposed to processed snacks and food products. I was not strict either- I realized mid-way through the month that some nuts I had been eating could have been processed with wheat, and I did not ask waiters specific questions at restaurants regarding 'hidden' gluten- but I never ate anything that blatantly had gluten. I know people with a gluten insensitivity have to do all those things, but luckily I am ok not being as strict. I do feel for those people, though! You have to be VERY's in so many things!

I didn't worry as much about it on Thanksgiving or while I was away for Thanksgiving, but I ate much less of it than I normally do (and nothing scary happened when I did eat it again like I have heard can happen...I was fine- just bloated!). I have been pretty good this week and am planning to keep it pretty much eliminated from my diet (at least from the obvious sources) for the future. However, I will allow myself a Christmas cookie or two:). I will need to be careful while marathon training and make sure I am buying gluten-free bread products so I can get enough easy carbs before and during my training runs. I think I will use larabars as mid-runs snacks and the Gu products.

So if you are thinking about trying it- do it! It's a nice way to check in with your body and see how it makes you feel.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

PhD Semester One- DONE!

I officially finished classes last night and turned in all my papers/assignments for my first semester of doctoral studies! Woot woot!

It overall went really well, and I am enjoying being back in school. Some weeks it was overwhelming, but I think the amount of work is do-able with my full-time job and also having a life (aka running)! I will have classes Wednesday and Thursday evenings next semester (with some Monday supervision required for graduate students), and I am excited about getting into new coursework and working on teaching and supervision! I have heard that the workload next semester can be intense, but I am lucky in that my work is very busy in January when classes are only getting underway. My professors have also been great with flexibility when life gets crazy. I may have some weeks where I need to do more schoolwork in the evenings/on weekends than before. Good thing it doesn't always feel like work and I usually enjoy what I am doing (even when it is writing papers:) )!

Over the break I am working on an article with my dad, and I may submit two manuscripts I wrote this semester for publication in educational school journals (one at William and Mary and one at VCU). I will get my feedback from my professors and go from there.

I am excited to begin teaching (!) next fall, so only one more semester (and a summer STAT course) until then! I think becoming a professor is my ultimate goal as long as I can find a research area I feel passionate about. I think the teaching and mentoring parts come more natural for me- just gotta get back into the swing of researching and writing! I feel better about it now, though, than I did just two months ago.

1 down- 7 (?) to go!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Marathon Training

I promise I won't be talking about my training ALL THE TIME, but at the same time this is a big deal for me and I want to share! I am training with a local group for my long weekend runs and hopefully for some of the longer weekday runs as well. We meet at a Gold's Gym about 2 miles from my house, and the runs should go around the area I live in and further into the city/fan (for those of you who know Richmond). I have a full schedule that they gave to us, and I adapted it slightly for my needs. I am going to take one extra rest day from the training plan since it is an intermediate plan, and I am going into it with the mindset of scaling back runs if it becomes too much and I need more rest. I just want to finish! :)

Also, one of my favorite blogs just did a post on how to train for your first marathon, and she had  great tips! Here are some of my favorites:

-Don’t look too far ahead on your training plan.  Take one day at a time!!!  When you first start training for a marathon it is scary to think that in x amount of weeks you will be running 20 miles!  Don’t think about that yet!  You will gradually build up to that distance so there is no need to stress yourself out about those LONG runs before you get to them.
-Forget about time!  Just go run it.  Focus on completion rather than a time goal.  You will have many more marathons after your first one to stress about the time.
-Use some smaller races as part of your training.  These are great dress rehearsals for the big day!  You can work on your fueling, what to wear and pacing during these races to find what will work for you on marathon day!  You can train yourself to avoid going out too fast… going out too fast and wasting all of your energy in the beginning is easy to do in races with all of the excitement and adrenaline!
-For your first marathon, sign up for a course where you will have some fans.  I always get the biggest boost of energy whenever I see any family members or friends along the course.  Choose a course that is close to family/friends so that you can have a little cheering squad there to help you get through some of the tough spots.  
-It is also helpful to choose a course close to home!  This way you can practice parts of the race on your own and know what to expect.
-It’s okay if you miss a few days on your schedule.  I remember when training for my first marathon that I was scared to death to miss a training run.  Over the years and after training for more and more races I have stopped worrying about that.  Things come up… you get sick… you don’t get enough sleep… it’s okay if you need to take a day off every now and then!  You will still rock your marathon!
-Read about it.  Knowledge is power!  HERE and HERE are great books for beginner marathoners to learn all about nutrition, training and mental training!
-Don’t forget—>  Recovery is just as important as training!  Do the ice baths, the rest days when your schedule (and body) tell you to, get enough sleep and foam roll/stretch!
-Go into it knowing that it is going to be tough but that you are strong and it is so worth all of the work (and crazy/painful faces).
Any other tips you think I should keep in mind?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cyber Monday

I feel that I did my part in assisting the economy yesterday on some cyber deals. In addition to buying for other people (I love my Amazon Prime membership), I found a GREAT deal on new running shoes! Since I have my marathon in March, I need to replace my current shoes that probably have about 400 miles on them...oops!

I got the same pair again in a different color (yay bright pink!)- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14. This shoe has been great in keeping blisters at bay and helps my stability/arch support (I also use an insert). I also noticed from my current pair that I have not worn the soles down like I did in my Asics, so I think this has been a good switch. These shoes normally go for $120 and I got them on sale for $90! Score! 

I would have bought even more things, but I did not have a full Christmas list for all my family members yet. I also want to wait and see what I do/don't get for Christmas before I add to the list!

What deals did you score on Cyber Monday? If you are a runner, what shoes do you use?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekly Workouts (11/24-11/30) & Cincy Turkey Trot

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I enjoyed my time in Ohio with family and away from blogs and social media! It makes me want to step back a little on my blog reading and social media is great to be lived :)

This was my last week before marathon training begins (and included my first race since May)! I enjoyed all my runs and loved running in new areas in Ohio and with my brother(s).

Monday: 40 minute elliptical (abs)

Tuesday: 4.05 miles @ 9:52 before work (weights)

Wednesday: Off (travel day!)

Thursday: 6.2 miles @ 8:56 (Cincinnati Turkey Trot 10k) (abs)

This was a freezing race (upper 20's, windy and cloudy). We had to wait by the stadium for about 30 minutes in the cold for the start. That really sucked. Once the race started (over 17,000 people took a while to get going!) I felt fine, and it was a GREAT route, albeit hilly, and the whole family had fun. This also went across a bunch of bridges, which caused some of the hills (and we even went into Kentucky)!-> that was the first time I have crossed state lines during.This was a much different Turkey Trot than the small race I am used to, but was a great way to explore a city I don't know much about. It was super crowded, and I had to dodge walkers for the first two miles, so my time wasn't a PR, but not too shabby, either! Definitely earned my turkey this year!

Running up a hill on Vine Street at the start.

City in the distance.

Final time (per my watch).

First time seeing the Bengals stadium!

Warming up and all smiles back at the hotel after the race.

Friday: 3.1 miles @ 9:17 (arms)-> SORE today. Nice Cincinnati neighborhoods.

Saturday: 7 miles @ 9:11 (ran through OSU with the tailgaters for their big game vs. Michigan with my brother) (abs)

Sunday: 2.15 mile walk before car ride back from Columbus!

I felt pretty sore after the race on Thursday, but I do feel strong and am excited to start increasing my mileage! Have a great week easing back from the lovely break :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Travels

I am excited for the two day work week! Can every week be like this?

I started off my day early with a 4.05 mile run. It is warm and humid in Virginia today, so it was a little odd adapting to the temperatures when it has been so cold lately. I do not miss humidity in my runs, that's for sure. I don't love being cold, but once I warm up I do so much better in those temperatures. Even though marathon training officially starts next week, I am using this week as a prep for the schedule of running/cross train days. I think it will work out well!

Due to the snow forecasted for the east coast, our travel plans have slightly changed. Instead of leaving for Ohio tomorrow morning, we are beginning our drive this evening. Hopefully we will make it to Charleston, West Virginia, which would set us up to be out of the storm tomorrow. Driving in the mountains in the snow is not fun. I am bummed I have to miss class tonight, but life happens. I don't think I will be penalized, but missing class in a PhD program when they're only three of you makes it harder. I can't just pretend I'm not there! We also are catching up on material I hate to miss.

So this is starting the whole trip off on a sour note, but all should be good once we get there. We will be gone until Sunday, so it'll be a long time but a nice break from work and day-to-day life! It will also be nice to see my brothers and extended family (grandmom, aunts/uncles and cousins from both sides). I think the race on Thursday morning will be cold (maybe some flurries!) but fun to run.

Oh, and I decorated on Sunday! I figured I had an excuse to pull out the Christmas stuff early, since I will be out of town the rest of the week! I put up a tree, some wall hangings, tinsel, and candles/bowls for the tables (speaking of bowls...HA!)

Grandmom's pillow

Small tree for the single, condo-living gal :)

Old boy snuggling on a pre-Thanksgiving Sunday.

Safe travels for all your plans! I will be back with an update on Friday (hopefully) to talk about my race!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekly Workouts (11/17- 11/23)

Pumped up for my upcoming marathon training season, so I got in some longer runs this week! I am going to start incorporating my pace times, too. Just for fun:) I still can never seem to skip a whole day of exercise- I just hate sitting, but I did ok with cross training this week.

Monday: 40 minute elliptical (weights) -> Started using weight machines instead of body weight

Tuesday: 4.35 miles @ 9:11 before work (abs)

Wednesday: 35 minute elliptical before work (weights)

Thursday: 7 miles @ 9:08 at sunset (abs) -> This run felt AWESOME!

Friday: 2 mile walk at work (arms/legs)

Saturday: 7.1 miles @ 9:24 (abs)

Sunday: 4 miles @ 9:28 (arms/legs)

Excited for my Thanksgiving Day Race (it might be snowing in Cincinnati)! No time goals, just hoping to enjoy the sites and running with my brothers.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


A lot can change in just a few days!

Whereas a week ago I was gearing up to watch the Richmond Marathon, thinking there was NO WAY I would run one myself...this week I am so motivated by watching the race and talking with my friends who ran that...


Now that it feels like winter, and I have more of a handle on my doctoral classes, I know that I have time to do the training. I am also a fan of winter running. Despite my HATRED of being cold, I like running in the cold (yes, I'm weird). I think this is because I hate to sweat and have a hard time breathing in the heat- cold weather does not hurt my lungs and picks up my pace! The past few weeks of cold, cold, COLD weather for November in Virginia have been great! I also have trained in the winter for the Shamrock Half Marathon for the past two years, so I know how it will work. My runs will just be a little longer on Saturdays (though I got up to 14 last winter for the half), and I will need to incorporate one semi-long run during the week. My goal is to run four days a week and crosstrain another, with two full days off each week.

I have a tentative training plan set up, but I am open to suggestions! Luckily, there is a training group very near my house (at a very reasonable price), so I will meet up with them for my long runs on Saturdays. I will have a solid 16 weeks to train (give or take potential inclement weather affecting some days). I plan to run Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday of each week. That will work out with my spring class schedule (I have class Wednesday and Thursday nights) AND only requires me to do one morning run before work during the week :) It will feel weird sleeping in a little more, because now I get up early probably 2-3 days a week!

I may be crazy, but I honestly feel like there is no better time to do it. I have my training motivation back (after taking about 8 months off from racing) and am excited for the experience. I have no time goals and just want to finish (cross that off the bucket list!). I also will be able to stay at a hotel right next to the start and finish line, so I don't have to worry about race day parking and can get help mid-race if needed (not that I am planning on that). That's awesome!

Wish me luck- running has done such tremendous things for my body/mind/spirit, and I am excited to learn more about myself through this training :)

Who else is winter training for a marathon or big race?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekly Workouts (11/9- 11/15) & No Gluten for 15

Didn't do well on my goal to get more rest days...that will begin THIS week, I promise! I did begin using the weight machine at my complex's gym this week, though, so I got good arm/chest workouts. I will keep up with this!

Monday: 40 minutes elliptical + 2 mile walk at work (weights)

Tuesday: 3.5 mile run (abs)

Wednesday: 3.15 mile run + 2 mile walk at work (weights)

Thursday: 3.2 mile run + 2 mile walk at work (abs)

Friday: 50 minute elliptical (weights)

Saturday: 3.5 mile run and watching the marathon!!! (abs)

Sunday: 6.2 mile run

I had SOOOO much fun watching the Richmond Marathon on Saturday! I stationed myself at miles 5 and 18.5. I may have gotten the bug...:)

I also registered for the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race for Thanksgiving morning since we will be in Ohio visiting family for the holiday! Both my brothers will be running it with me. Should be fun and the first race I have done since May! It will be very cold, though...hopefully no snow:) It will be a nice way to spend Thanksgiving, though, since we will be in a hotel for the first time EVER over the holiday.

And...I am officially 15 days into no gluten! It's been easy and I feel great. Bloating is gone and my energy seems more stable. No huge notices on the skin front, but I am enjoying simply feeling better. It has also been very easy and I have not felt deprived at all. I have been eating much more REAL food. It is amazing how easy it is. Just requires a little bit of planning and understanding from friends (sometimes if going out to eat with a group, I eat ahead of time if the menu looks limiting...but I still have drinks)! And it's a nice way to save some money:)

Have a great week!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Walking @ Work

I am very fortunate that I am able to take "wellness time" at work now. Our students leave when I have about 2 hours left at work, so I save my lunch break for a walk in the neighborhood behind my school.

You can see the clearing field ahead that leads to my school!

I have recruited a few people to walk with me, so most days I have people to chat with. We aim to get out three days a week if possible. Sometimes meetings get in the way.

Paths through the woods!

The neighborhood has great paths and goes along a reservoir, so we have lots of options! We also can walk on the streets. It makes for differing routes most everyday. We try to stay out for 2 miles. It has been great in getting me out of my desk and sitting. I feel so much better getting in the quick walk, and I don't feel pressured to do other activity in the evenings when I am busy. This walk coupled with morning workouts has been great at splitting up my fitness!

Do you get to walk or workout at work?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Quick Days, Dark Nights

I would say "Happy Hump Day," but I have felt like it is Thursday all day, so there is nothing happy about that!

Now that the time has changed and it gets dark early (which I am not complaining about because I appreciate the sun shinning earlier in the morning), I feel like days go by quickly. However, I feel like I do a lot less! I typically do not do much in the evenings, especially the nights I have class until about 7 PM, but even on days when I don't, I am finding low motivation to do things. It's not that I don't want to, but I get lazy and don't reach out to other people. I also feel like I have spent a lot of money lately with travel and random things I have bought myself, so doing things would be an added expense. That coupled with the darkness coupled with me not knowing what any of my friends are doing, leaves the evenings long and uneventful. Blah.

I have been running in the mornings again simply because I like getting the run out of the way, so that frees up my evenings, too. I don't run great in the afternoons before dinner, and now that it gets dark early there is no light after I eat, so running in the morning vs the evening is all darkness. I can access my complex's gym in the evening to catch up on shows, so I sometimes do that or I just watch TV. Though, my TV watching is less than usual because I am not in to many shows right now and find myself just wanting to go to bed at 9 PM :) !

Where am I going with all this? No where really...just that this is a transition time of year, and I am hoping my social life can pick up during the week and not just exist on the weekends! I have isolated myself a bit with being back in school in terms of reaching out to friends, but the truth is that everyone is busy or low-key in the evenings. Spring and summer are definitely better for social gatherings after work- even front porch sitting :)

I am working on new "traditions" to start with friends! I have book club once a month and I volunteer once or twice a month, but what other fun events can I incorporate into my day? Any ideas?

Monday, November 10, 2014

10 Year Monacan High School Reunion

My high school class had it's 10 year reunion Saturday night at Triple Crossing Brewery (which a classmate of ours co-owns)! I prepped for this event by digging out my senior scrapbook on Friday night...

Senior Parties

Show Choir 2004...

In 2014... I think we aged well!
More senior events with my closest friends.

Senior Day at school- I think we had an awards ceremony this day.
I love this note... :) P.S. My handwriting still looks exactly this way.

Center Stage (show choir) senior year- we were very good that year! 
Senior Pic in Maymont!
I think we look pretty good for 10 years!
The reunion was fun and went by very fast. It was hard to chat with everyone and there were certain people I didn't see until the end when we had to leave (and lots of people I didn't recognize)! We had the brewery from 8-11 PM, and I was with the last group to leave at 12:30 AM (I am sure the workers were annoyed)! Everyone is doing great and was so nice. It was interesting to hear people's opinions of me after 10 just makes you realize how so much of what you worry about in high school are things no one thinks/cares/notices about you (or they think the opposite of what you would expect). I like to think I was pretty much friends or friendly with everyone- I was always in the accelerated/honors classes, but I had popular friends (surprisingly a lot of the popular students in my grade were good students) and friends who weren't, and I hope people think I was nice. That is what is most important to me. You can read about my views on high school here.

 It was refreshing to reminisce with everyone- they are all just the same! I wish we had a daytime event as well, but we can always do that at the next one. Now with facebook and social media, it is easy to keep in touch so reunions are probably less structured than they used to be. But it was great to see those who came, especially those I don't see on a regular basis (I keep in touch with a handful from high school and run into more occasionally from living in the same city). I think the next one will be even better! 

I am glad I reconnected with old friends that I grew up with (many since elementary/middle school- such an interesting time of life...definitely links you to people in different ways) but am happy that I am no longer in high school and am living the life I am today with my amazing friends, recent and old!