Busy bee…

I didn’t mean to have a whole week go by without writing again, but this past week was a pretty busy one.  In addition to a crazy week at work, I had something to do after work every evening last week.  Tuesday was JLW Langley Literacy Club and a meeting about our spring event afterwards, Wednesday evening I met with my JL Capitol Hill book club – we went to Sona Creamery & Wine Bar, which is a nice spot on the Hill and very cute!  Plus, they have Happy Hour until 8 which means, with my schedule, it’s one I could actually attend.  It was great catching up with those ladies.  Thursday evening, my friend Ellena’s husband, Carl, threw her a belated birthday party and we all met up at Maggiano’s in Tyson’s Corner (very pleasantly surprised with this restaurant too – I had discounted it as chain restaurant Italian).  I actually had not be able to see her since her wedding last summer(!!) so we spent a while catching up and I didn’t make it home until close to Midnight that evening. 

When Friday finally came around, I was looking forward to a relatively empty weekend in which I could cross of most of my to-do list.  E had different ideas and invited some of our college friends to come over.  We met up at District Chophouse in Chinatown since the three of them were coming from a Caps hockey game.  I had a chicken salad and was pretty underwhelmed by it.  Our friends stayed the night since they were both actually running the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in the morning and they live outside the city.  Saturday afternoon we all went to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Verizon Center with complimentary suite tickets (definitely the way to go!).  I loved being in the suite because there were tons of fresh veggie platters, vegetarian sandwiches, etc. that I wouldn’t have had access to in the stands.  The Globetrotters were cool to see – I actually had no idea what they were about prior to going, so it was a new adventure.  It was an afternoon game and afterwards we were able to run a few errands, etc. the rest of the evening.  Sunday was finally a free day and I was able to cross a lot off that to-do list, which relieved so much of my anxiety. 

Today ended up being a snow day and, while I had to telework for an 8+ hour day today, it was still great to just be able to stay home in sweatpants all day.  I’m such an introvert and just need my “me” time. 

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Well, maybe not that much, Audrey, but I definitely like a couple hours of not having any commitments each weekend. 

This upcoming week is looking pretty busy too, but I am going on a trip next weekend so at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as having a few days off from work!  Looking forward to getting away, even if it certainly isn’t to a tropical location.

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That time I had a tough run

It’s so funny how you never know how a run is going to turn out.  The morning of last weeks 8 miler with my TNT group, I literally turned my alarm off and talked myself out of going.  After a minute or two of tossing and turning, I decided to just go and do it.  Then, the run went amazingly well!  I ran 8 hilly miles on the Custis trail and felt I could have done another mile or two more.  I wasn’t sore at all after.

This week, I hoped out of bed and drove myself to the meeting spot.  We were doing a 10 mile run that had a few small rolling hills, but nothing big.  I found myself running with a group of girls at a 10’44” pace, which they admitted was fast for them (and me too!) so we slowed down a bit.  I didn’t have my garmin on and was struggling from the beginning.  I didn’t know how far we had gone and, since half the group was doing 6 and the other half was to do 10, well, when we came to 6, I thought I was done, too!  Those 6 miles felt so long that it felt like 10.  At that point, I told myself if I just did 8 (same as last week), I could quit.  At that point, I was doing a good bit of walking too, and I went for the 10.  After, I came home freezing and just wanted to go to sleep.  E made me get showered and eat something.  Silver diner coconut quinoa pancakes to the rescue!

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Weekend Wrap Up

Hi guys!  It’s been awhile, huh?  I’ve been meaning to bring this blog back to life.  I would love to have it just for myself, personally, to be able to look back upon.  So, without further ado… here’s my post.

Friday began with a hectic work day.  At lunch, a coworker and I slipped out to grab what we thought would be a quick lunch at Pinstripes, which just opened near our office.  It ended up being nearly two hours, by no fault of our own.  The good news is that the manager recognized the issues and our lunch was on them.  The food was good and the space looks really nice, so I would definitely return, just probably not when short on time.  Friday evening, I headed to the mall with E, who needed to go suit shopping.  Then, after a few episodes of House of Cards, we were off to bed at a reasonable hour because…

Saturday morning began with a 6am wake up call for me.  I’m partnering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to raise money through Team in Training, and we had an 8 mile, very hilly run on the docket.  It was 25 degrees out and I very seriously debated not going while laying in my warm bed, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go.  I had a busy week and didn’t run at all during the week, plus I wanted to get to know more of the others doing TNT this season.

Go hills or go home!The 8 miles went by pretty quickly and I haven’t felt sore at all since doing them, which is a really good sign.  It’s the longest I have ran since last years half marathon (which was nearly 10 months ago). Looking forward to next weeks 10-miler!

After showering, we headed out to Silver Diner.  I was craving the coconut quinoa pancakes!  So good!  From there, we headed to Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and Costco.  I didn’t get to look around Nordstrom Rack as much as I wanted to, but I was able to find these!

Brooks and RaybansBrooks Pure Flow and RayBans!  I had been wanting new sneakers for awhile.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep the sunnies yet – still thinking about it.

Sunday was a busier day with a bunch of errands.  I woke up and had to finish organizing stuff that was to be dropped off at the Junior League Tossed and Found sale later that afternoon.  Then, I had a nail appointment in Alexandria, dropped off the JLW Tossed and Found things in Arlington, and picked up a few grocery items and prescription before heading home to drop it off.  I had to pick up my Jrink juices later on in the evening (more on that later).

We had a snow day today (and I’m really hoping for one tomorrow!) as the federal government was closed and, though I work for a private firm, we follow their schedule.

capital hill snow dayThis has meant doing a lot of tasks that have been on my to-do list forever!  I’ve made good use of the day – doing some LLS fundraising, cleaning my inbox of 300 emails, cleaning, laundry, etc.  I didn’t really spend a lot of time at home Saturday/Sunday, so I’m thankful for the extra day!

 

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2011 Hershey Half Marathon

Let’s not talk about the fact that I haven’t logged in for so long that I nearly forgot my wordpress password.

Instead, let’s talk about the Hershey Half Marathon that I participated in on October 16.  This was the race that I signed up for while on a running high the day after the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  But, after feeling a good bit of pain in my left hip, I pretty much gave up on training and just ran occasionally.  I tried unsuccessfully to sell my bib online.  So, I’m not sure what came over me when, the day before the race, I decided I signed up for the race because I wanted to do it and, that if no one else was going to take my bib, I should do it even if my time is horrible and I walked more than ran.  I packed up my stuff, drove the 3 hours to Hershey and found the one hotel that had an opening.  To be honest, it was on the shady side and I think I slept with one eye open.

Sunday morning, I woke up super early to get to the stadium and pick up my race packet.  Packet-pick-up went flawlessly and, since the race began and ended at the stadium, there was plenty of space to park, restrooms, etc.  Good idea on Hershey’s part!  Hershey was a much smaller race than my last half, Pittsburgh, and the half was the only race – no full marathon offered.  I ate a peanut butter sandwich and sipped on tons of water and Gatorade.

The race began right on time and the first mile or two was just getting out of the massive parking lot.  My experience with this half was the exact opposite of my experience at my last.  For one reason, unfortunately there were almost no spectators or cheering at Hershey (even though Pittsburgh’s began in the rain, there were SO many people out cheering for everyone, even me! a complete stranger!), and I didn’t realize until this race just how much that cheering can help you along.  We ran through the park for probably a mile and a half, and I have to say I don’t see the appeal of this, although I know it was really hyped.  After exiting the park, we ran along some residential streets (even in the grass at one point!) before turning and running down main street (past my shady hotel, too).  At one point, we came across a “chocolate station,” where some hershey’s chocolate was handed out.  I could not imagine eating anything, let alone chocolate, so I just ran right by before we headed back into the stadium parking lot to finish off the race.  The entire race was VERY hilly, and I was definitely not used to that.  By mile 11, I was pretty tired and wanted to be done.  Quitting even ran through my mind, but since my car was at the stadium (mile 13), that obviously didn’t make sense.  My longest run before halfs has always been 8 miles, so I think I need to up that to 10 or 11.

The finish was in the stadium which, again, was a great idea.  Once we entered the stadium, I started sprinting towards the finish line.  I had done some rough calculations during the previous few miles and thought I would be able to take 10 minutes off my previous time, but ended only taking 8 minutes.  I did “PR” (although I’ve only done 2 half marathons now) and I was happy with my time, given how hilly the course was (Pittsburgh’s seemed completely flat).

One nice thing about Hershey’s Half Marathon is that they offered mini massage sessions right there after the race.  I got in line quickly and only had to wait about 20 minutes, which was equal or even greater to the time spent on the massage table, but it was so nice.  I used the time waiting in line to really do some good stretching.   I hadn’t done anything after Pittsburgh’s race, and I spent a good 4-5 days being super sore.  This time, I felt pretty good within 2 days!  Stretching is so key for me!  Afterwards, I was able to hop right into my car since there was little traffic.  Another difference from my previous race was my hunger afterwards – last time I was starving and wanted to eat everything in site.  After Hershey, I wasn’t hungry at all, but I did force myself to eat a 6″ veggie sub and plenty of water since I had just burned tons of calories and had a 3 hour drive by myself ahead of me.  I stopped twice on the long drive and made sure to do a few minutes of stretching.

This was only Hershey’s second year of hosting a race, so I think I will probably wait a few years before doing it again.  I’m really glad that I did decide to do it!  This was my first half by myself… I didn’t even have any friends spectating and I’m proud that I was able to push myself to finish.

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Pittsburgh Half Marathon Recap

This post sure is a long way coming!  I completed the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 15, 2011… so at this point just about three months ago.  I’m glad that I didn’t write about it immediately after, because I was certainly on a runner’s high for a few days, even a few weeks, and my prospective has changed a bit.

It all started in August ’10 after I had been reading other healthy living blogs for a bit.  I saw that they were all training for and running half marathons (or marathons!) and since I had already done some 5k races and had been running up to 8 miles by myself, the half seemed like the logical next distance for me to attempt.  I really wanted a training buddy and I asked one of my best friends, Cari, if she was interested.  I knew Cari would follow through with the plan and also that she would be a great motivator.  Since she lives in Pittsburgh, we signed up for the Pittsburgh Half.  Their great, low-humidity weather was a bonus in my book!

“Training” with Cari didn’t exactly work out, since we live 200 miles apart.  Because of this, we only did one run together when she came to visit.  To be honest, I didn’t follow a training plan at all.  The basic idea was just to do a “long” run on the weekend, and do two 3-4 mile runs during the week.  Two months before the half, I had my wisdom teeth out and while I had been running pretty frequently before that, the surgery had me out for a week and then I had an allergic reaction to my antibiotics and painkillers which took me away from training for another week.  Then, two weeks before the half, I went on vacation to Mexico.  I had every intention of doing a few short runs there, but never did.

I wasn’t very strict about training because my only two goals for this half were one, to finish, and two, to not injure myself.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to run the whole 13.1 miles or do it in any less than 2.5 hours, but I was ok with that.

Unfortunately, I missed the convention the day before due to some issues with the Bolt Bus, but Cari is a great friend and picked up my packet for me (an issue that I had nightmares about prior to the race… ).  We got to the race bright and early – normally a good thing, but it was pouring rain that day and we were soaked by the time the race began.  I’m curious to see how this affected my racing, but I think it actually helped.  At no point during the three hours of running did I feel overheated.


One of the things that I was cautious about was hydrating.  I drank a LOT of water, and thus had to pee a lot, too.  One of my mistakes was hitting up all the early porta pottys on the course.  At the earlier ones, the pack had not spaced out yet and there were lines.  I waited in line for 5 minutes at times!  Obviously this is something I’d do differently next time.

I was fine until mile 10, then I began walking a bit more.  My longest run before the half was only 8 miles, and I think adding 5 miles onto that is a bit unrealistic.  I should have done at least a 10 or 11 miler before the race.  At mile 10, I hit my mental roadblock.  I was tired, wet, and over the race.  I just wanted to be done.  I walked at least half the last 3.1 miles, which i’d guess added 15-20 minutes onto my time.

Cari and I didn’t race together the whole time – it’s really hard to race for that long of a distance with another person, but we stuck within 5 minutes of each other the whole time.  She’d pass me, I’d pass her, etc.  It was good motivation for me when I wanted to walk!

I finished after 3+ hours of running.  I was exhausted and while I wasn’t happy with my time at all, I was so ecstatic that I had finished the race!  Whether you can do it in 1.5 hours or walk the whole thing, 13.1 miles is a lot and you should be proud of completing that sort of mileage at all!

Aaaand, it’s fitting that this post comes out now, since the registration for the 2012 Pittsburgh Marathon just opened this past Tuesday, and I’ve registered for it already!  The race was organized so well and I really can’t wait to do it again.  I learned quite a few things that I will work on next time, such as having a better training plan, getting better rest the night before, and not using porta pottys until the crowd is thinned out!

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Weekend assignment

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Whatever you’re doing this holiday weekend, I hope you have a great one!  I do have one thing to ask of you, however…

Please get yourself some of these and try them.  Heaven in a bag!

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Lunchbox lunch

Hello friends!  I’m going to make this short since I’m feeling pretty sleepy.  Today’s lunch was a mixture of foods that I had in the fridge and at my office desk.

Peanut butter and smashed banana sandwich, an apple, and a string cheese!  I felt like I was back in school and as if my mom had packed my lunch.  An oldie but goodie!

I worked late tonight – till 8, getting a project done with my boss and once I got home I was tired and hungry.  I wanted something simple that I could make on autopilot, but also something that held true to my goal of not eating carbs all day long.

I thought about not eating dinner at all and just hopping into bed but in the end scrambled eggs with onion, green pepper, and my mom’s homegrown tomato won.  On the side, a sweet slice of cantelope.  It was super simple and tasty!

Ok, off to read a little bit and then sleepy time!  Goodnight🙂

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