Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Big Announcement

I've moved!!

Check me out at everystepoftheway.wordpress.com.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sad but then Happy!

Hi all!!

Stephen and I are okay. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about…two Metro trains collided yesterday afternoon, killing 7.) The crash occurred on the red line and we ride the orange line. It is unsettling to say the least but accidents will always happen and everything we do involves some form of risk. You can’t live your life worried about all the accidents and natural disasters that could occur…what kind of life would that be anyways?

With the Metro crash and the news that Jon and Kate are divorcing, it’s been a sad news morning for me. I haven’t seen last night’s Jon and Kate episode (I was already asleep when it started) and I’m debating if I even want to watch it. It might be too sad. I do know that if I watch it, it’ll be the last episode I’ll watch…I have no desire to see those kids put through their parents’ divorce on national television. I used to enjoy the show and thought it was cute but they should turn off the cameras already!! Can you just imagine being one of those kids in 5 years and being able to watch your parents’ marriage fall apart on TV? How psychologically damaging to be able to relive your parents’ divorce over and over.

On to happier things…

Thank you so much for all your comments yesterday regarding my 16 miler on Sunday!! Anytime I checked my email yesterday and had a new comment, I just smiled. You girls are awesome!!

While I was doing my 16 miler, Lynn was running her first 10K! I loved reading her race recap…whenever I hear about someone else’s race, it makes me really want to run another one soon but I need to focus on my marathon training. So I’m living vicariously through any of you running a race in the next few months.

Monday, June 22, 2009

16 mile run

I had a 16 mile run planned for this weekend and let me just say…


I totally rocked it!!!

I always like to do my long runs on Saturday morning that way if I want a glass of wine with dinner on Saturday, I don’t have to worry about my run on Sunday. (When I do shorter runs, I don’t worry too much about drinking the night before but now that it’s warmer and I’m running longer distances, I want to make sure my body is fully hydrated and properly fueled.) Well, Friday night Stephen was coming back from his trip to Chicago. Long story short, he was 3 hours late and his bag went to the other DC airport…so we enjoyed a nice romantic meal in the airport waiting for his bag to arrive (I’m totally kidding about the romantic part. It was not the nice “welcome home” meal I’d envisioned).

We also had plans to help some friends move on Saturday. So by the time we went to bed on Friday night and knowing that we had somewhere to be Saturday morning, I held off on my long run and postponed it to Sunday (which ended up working out well as it rained Saturday morning). We helped our friends move and decided to meet up with them later for appetizers/drinks/dinner since we all wanted showers first. I knew that I was doing my run on Sunday morning so no drinks for me. I did get a little teasing and peer pressure to have a drink but knew that one drink would lead to more and a horrible run on Sunday. I wanted a drink (the place we were at has some great martinis and an awesome wine list) but I know from experience that drinking would cause me to have a hard time on Sunday morning.

I woke up on Sunday morning around 7, ate some breakfast, and headed out. It always takes me a while to get ready for my long runs since I like to let my food settle a bit. At first it was misting which was actually kind of nice but then it stopped. There was a slight breeze which also made running a bit more comfortable.

I won’t lie…it was hard but anytime I wanted to give up, I just told myself encouraging things and kept going. At the end, I almost started crying…partly from exhaustion but also because I couldn’t believe that I had just ran 16 miles! I carried a granola bar with me and as soon as I was done running, I ate that granola bar and drank a lot of water. (Last week when I did my 15 miler, I didn’t eat immediately after and I got nauseous and weak.)

Once I was home, I took a shower and then sat in a super cold bath for a few minutes (as long as I could stand it) and foamrolled. I was a little stiff yesterday afternoon but this morning I feel pretty good. My legs are a little stiff when I first stand up after sitting for a while but after taking 2 steps, they feel better.

Oddly enough, my abs are REALLY sore!! I concentrated on keeping my shoulders upright and having good running form instead of hunching over…that must have really worked my abs!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bullet List Update

Didn’t mean to go off and leave you all hanging. Life has just gotten in the way lately. Here’s a bulleted list of what’s been going on with me (well, I was going to do bullets but blogger does not like them right now so imagine bullet points in front of each of the following paragraphs):

Work is pretty busy. Besides my usual responsibilities, I’ve been put on a literature review panel so I’m up to my eyeballs in academic papers and books (but it’s for an industry that I find extremely fascinating so I’m mostly enjoying it).

Stephen is out of town this week. I always feel a little off when he’s gone…like there’s no structure to my life. He’ll be back in a couple of days so I can make it until then.

I’ve signed up for the Baltimore Marathon in October!! After my 15 mile run this weekend, I bit the bullet and registered. I’m so excited!

So supremely jealous of the Canadian girls getting together last weekend in Toronto…like really, really jealous.

It’s just hit me in the last couple of weeks how sad I am that Stephen and I won’t be going to Canada this year (his family has a cabin in Ontario). I’ve only been the last two years (compared with Stephen’s 15 years) but I still feel so sad and I’m missing the relaxed atmosphere and being able to jump into the lake anytime I want and the boats and the waterskiing and pretty much everything besides the family drama that we got into last year.

I’ve read some really great books lately but want to do more thorough reviews. I’m in the middle of “Master Your Metabolism” and I’m finding it very interesting.

I’ve got an exciting announcement to make soon. Still working out the details but hopefully I’ll be able to say something in the next week.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Annapolis Pictures

Hanging out after the race at Navy Stadium.


An orange to go with all of my orange!!

Almost to the finish line! Not sure if you can see it but I painted my fingernails orange to match my tank and visor.







Last curve to the finish line. I didn't even see Stephen when he was taking this picture.
My week of easy running is going well. I did a short 3.2 (5K) yesterday morning before work. Then yesterday afternoon I went to the work gym where I did this strength routine. I am sore this morning!! I've been slacking off on my strength work during the last month and I'm bored with my usual routine so for the month of June I'm going to do the Women's Health Beach Body workout that I linked above two days a week and another routine I found (can't remember what it's called) on two other days a week.
Anyways, so I did that strength routine yesterday afternoon and it left me feeling pretty sore this morning. I got up at my usual time but felt a little overwhelmed with trying to get things done before we leave for Atlantic City tomorrow plus I have a busy workday ahead. I just wasn't feeling running this morning. And since this is my easy running week (AKA, I'm only running when I want and running the distances I want) I decided to spend the extra time this morning and get a few things done around the apartment instead of running. I plan on leaving early for work and getting off a few subway stops early and walking ~20 minutes to work.
I probably won't get a chance to post again before our trip so have a great weekend everyone!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon May 31, 2009

First things first, this was the most mentally challenging race I have ran. I’ll get to why a bit later but just understand that finishing those 13.1 miles yesterday was so incredibly hard.

I wake up on Sunday morning in our hotel in Annapolis. My clothes and equipment were laid out and ready to go. When I open the curtains I notice something…it’s raining outside. There was no mention of rain in the forecast and it really surprised everyone. I get ready and walk the half mile to the start line. All the while, it’s still raining. I get to the start line where there is no cover and there are huge puddles everywhere. So I stood around for 30 minutes in the rain trying to keep moving so I didn’t get too cold.

The race started promptly at 7 and we were off. There was a huge puddle right at the start line so it took several minutes for me to actually cross the start line because everyone was trying to avoid the puddle.

I wanted to run the entire race with only a couple of short walk breaks to take in Clif Shot Blocks. I did so well for the first 5-6 miles. It continued to rain until about 45 minutes into the race when it stopped.

I ran with my iPod for the first couple of miles but because it was raining I was having trouble keeping my earphones in and then my cord got all tangled and messed up. Close to mile 3 I turned the iPod off and wrapped the cord around my sports bra so it wouldn’t get even more tangled.

At mile 6 I needed to listen to music. So I stopped and walked as I untangled my cord and got my iPod situated. Just to give you an idea of how tangled the cord had gotten, it took me nearly 3 minutes to get it untangled.

After I got my iPod going again I went back to running. About this time my feet started hurting so badly. All the rain had made my socks get wet and I was now getting blisters on the bottom of my feet. Every time one of my feet hit the ground it felt like a thousand needles going in to the bottom of my feet.

Close to mile 8 I was done. I felt like I couldn’t take another step. I started thinking of excuses I could tell the volunteers at the next aid station…my knee hurts, I think I twisted my ankle…so that I could stop running and be carted back to the finish line. A few minutes after coming up with my excuse and getting prepared for a “Did Not Finish”, I thought about what I would tell everyone when I was asked about my race. I knew I couldn’t tell them I quit because I was tired and my feet hurt.

I also thought about the phrase on my Road ID…”Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever.” I knew that if I didn’t finish the race I would regret it.

At this point, I told myself I was going to finish even if I had to walk the rest of the way. My time didn’t matter but I was going to finish. I had to keep telling myself, “You can do this. You can do this. You’re tough, you’re strong. You can do it.” I did not let myself think about how bad my feet were hurting…I just put it out of my mind.

The last 4 miles was excrutiating for me mentally. I was so mentally and emotionally spent. I felt like I didn’t have any fight left in me at all. I didn’t walk the entire last 4 miles but I did a lot of walking/running intervals.

But I finished. My time was 2:31:21, a pace of 11:34 minutes per mile. Not my fastest time but not my slowest. I have pictures and I’ll post them once I get them onto the computer.

Now for a rant…

This race had the rudest non-paying-attention runners in it. I was pushed and ran into at least 3 separate times (not once did the offending person apologize). I was ran off the path and almost fell into bushes (no apology there either). It is courteous when running that if you’re going to pass someone or change your position to look around and behind you to verify that there is no one there! People were just running all over without looking around. So annoying.

And also the paths we ran on were too narrow. We ran for miles 5-11 on a bike path. The turnaround point was on the bike path so there was 2 way traffic. The bike path was way too narrow to have two way traffic! It was ridiculous! I felt so claustrophobic. Very poor planning on the part of the race officials. 3000 runners are going to need more room than a bike path, especially if there’s two way traffic.

Why was it so mentally hard?

After thinking about it, these are the reasons why I think I had such a mentally challenging time:
1) Standing around in the rain before the start of the race. I don’t mind running in the rain as it’s actually refreshing but standing around for half an hour in the rain before I started running was the worst. My socks got wet and that caused my feet to really hurt 8 miles into the race.
2) The 3 minutes it took me to untangle my earphone cord was too long of a walk break. If I take too long of a walk break when I’m running, it is so hard to get my muscles back into running mode. This was too long of a walk break but I needed my music so I’m not sure I would have been able to do anything differently.
3) I’m burned out. 3 races in 7 weeks was too much. My body needed a break and I mentally needed a break. This week will be a light running week (if I feel like running at all)…maybe a couple of 3 milers but no long run over the weekend. I’m taking the weekend off! Stephen and I will be heading to Atlantic City for a weekend away and we’re getting massages!! My body needs some R&R and I’m going to listen to it.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a very inspiring running post but sometimes running is painful and hard. But the thing with running even when it hurts and you scream “uncle” is that you still learn something about yourself. I know that I’m much more mentally tough than I thought I was. Even though it wasn’t fun, it was a good reminder for me that I’m not always going to set a new personal record every time I run and sometimes I’m just going to finish.

Some great quotes from the course

My favorite: “I have met my hero, and he is me.” ~George Sheehan
(Many thanks to Roni for remembering this.)

“Tough times never last but tough people do.” (Thank you Google!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

8 miles and grilled pizza

So glad its Friday. This has seemed like an extraordinarily long week. Big plans for the weekend include a 12 miler Saturday morning, a Costco trip, the usual errands, hopefully seeing “Angels & Demons,” and some outlet mall shopping. I hope that I actually see some clothes I like…for the past month I have not seen anything clothing-wise I even liked well enough to try on. How come I never see anything when I have money I’m willing to part with and when I’m in super-saver mode I see bajillions of things I want to purchase?

Yesterday morning instead of doing my usual 5 miles before work, I did 8! Wednesday evening I decided that I wanted to run 8 on Thursday morning so that’s what I did. I’m completely aware of the fact that I’m a running addict. I had some things on my mind I wanted to get sorted out. Nothing too big…just my father’s recurring un-supportiveness and I needed to think it over a bit. I haven’t even told Stephen or my sister about it yet but I needed to process it first. I felt awesome yesterday!! All day I kept thinking to myself, “I ran 8 miles before 7 am!!” Awesomeness!!

I am pumped for tomorrow’s 12 miler!!

When I was making pizza for dinner the other night I tried something completely new to me…I grilled the pizza instead of putting it in the oven. Fantastic!! So yummy…the crust is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. It was awesome!! Try it sometime, you won’t be disappointed!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Making Lemons out of Lemonade

This past weekend Stephen was out of town so I spent a good chunk of time on Saturday morning in the kitchen playing around.
I started with some bananas way past their prime:


And made banana bread:

Then I made homemade granola using oats, honey, and peanuts:


I finished with homemade Larabars!! I made my version of chocolate chip Larabars using chocolate chips, dates, and peanuts.


They turned out awesome!! (On Sunday I tried making Cashew Cookie Larabars--Stephen's favorite flavor of Larabar-- with dates and cashews.)


All in all it was a perfect Saturday. I spent time in the kitchen and spent time watching girly movies.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pacers Running Festival Half Marathon

Time: 2:24:11
Average Pace: 11.006 minutes per mile

My goal for this race was to finish with an average of 11 minutes per mile and I went 5 seconds over. I'm going to count this as a success though! My friend Kate came and cheered me on (she even had a sign!!). When I saw her, I stopped for 30 seconds, petted her dog and posed for some pictures. I'm so proud of myself! The Las Vegas Half Marathon was 6 months ago and my time has improved overall by 24 minutes!!

At first I was being hard on myself because I missed my time goal by 5 seconds but when I worked it out and my average pace was 11.006 minutes per mile...I couldn't really be disappointed with that! I was way too close to beat myself up about it.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that Stephen is out of town and I don't have pictures from Kate yet (or the official race pictures), I don't have any pics of me running or during the race. So I thought it would be interesting to show you some pictures of how I've been preparing for my races.

First up is my race clothes/electronics/accessories. I like to lay out everything I'll need the night before (way too many dreams of showing up for a race with no sports bra on). I lay out everything in the position it will go on my body. For example, iPod and Road ID go on my left arm and my heart rate watch goes on the right. I put everything in my hydration belt except for my cell phone and I fill up the bottles with cold water/gatorade in the morning. I pin my bib on my shirt and put the timer on my shoe so there are no last minute things before the race. My mental state during the race is much calmer if I'm not running around like a mad woman before I even leave the apartment.



The night before a race I eat like I normally do. I don't have a specific meal I like before racing but I try to have a serving of lean protein, veggies, and carbs. Since Stephen was out of town I wanted to enjoy seafood so my pre-race meal was sea scallops cooked in bit of garlic and onions and lobster ravioli with sauteed spinach.


This was eaten on a TV tray while watching "Gilmore Girls." When Stephen's not home I have a hard time eating at the table...mainly because I don't like sitting on the barstools.

This was my first time cooking scallops and they were delicious!! I only ate 3 of the 6 on the plate...the rest are going to make a yummy lunch later this week!

I got the ravioli from the refrigerated foods section of the grocery store. I simply sauteed the spinach in garlic and onion and used that as a sauce. The ravioli were flavorful enough...they didn't a heavy sauce.
For breakfast before a race I like to have oatmeal with a banana and peanut butter. Since the temperatures are warmer, I didn't want a hot bowl of oatmeal so I made a chocolate chip breakfast cookie.

I used:
1/2 cup oats
1 banana all mashed up
dash of cinnamon
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 handful of chocolate chips
Combine everything in a small bowl. Spread out onto a small plate and put in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning I put on ~1 tbsp of Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter and a few more chocolate chips.
Delicious!! And the perfect fuel for a long run! (Note to self, that was a little too much chocolate first thing in the morning...made the tummy hurt a little.)

My entire breakfast together! Breakfast cookie with cup of coffee (I only drank half...don't want to have to pee during the race) and VitaminWater10. I also drank lots of water. I like drinking Propels or VitaminWaters before a race because the slightly sweet flavor helps me drink it quickly. My biggest challenge before a race is to get hydrated.

Anyways, hope you all enjoyed looking at what I do to prep for a race! I'll post pics of me when I get them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stomach/Food Issues

I've been in a weird food mood lately. Nothing sounds good. For breakfast I'm fine because I'm always hungry after running and I'm always craving breakfast foods. But for lunches and dinners, I've been having problems. I'll be hungry but nothing sounds good. I end up eating something because I am hungry but I don't get a lot of satisfaction from it. I don't know if it's because I'm bored with my food choices or the warmer weather...my guess is the food choices. As the temperature has fluctuated this past week, I still feel uninterested in food. I've looked for new recipes and foods to try but nothing has interested me.

And in other food news, I think I might be lactose intolerant. I've never had a problem with dairy before but over the last couple of weeks, any time I eat dairy I get a horrible stomachache and feel bloated. I'm cutting out dairy for the next 2 weeks to see if I feel better and then I'll reintroduce dairy to see if the pain comes back. It seems weird to me that I would just suddenly be lactose intolerant without ever having problems in the past but maybe it's not weird?? I don't know...no one I know is lactose intolerant.

Anyhoo, that's what's going on with my stomach lately...a lot of strangeness.

In running news, my first half of 2009 is this Sunday. I'm excited!! Weather is still looking good...woohoo!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I am woman, hear me roar!

This weekend’s long run was in the weather I was hoping to have last weekend for the race. Overcast and mid-60s…great running weather which led to me running 10 miles in 1 hour, 48 minutes (average of 10:49 minute miles)!! So even though I wasn’t able to meet my goal last weekend for the race, I did it on Saturday. Now this weekend is a half marathon and my goal is 2 hours, 24 minutes (average of 11 minute miles). So far the weather forecast is good…I hope it holds up.

I had a weird epiphany this morning as I was getting ready for work. I feel like a responsible, happy young woman. A somewhat basic epiphany but let me explain why this is so mind-blowing. Since I graduated college I’ve felt like a kid playing at being a grown-up…I had an adult job and responsibilities but still felt in so many ways like I was still a girl. I let others dictate my life, my ambitions, my moods, and my feelings. In the past year, I’ve pushed myself emotionally and mentally to be me and to be the me I’m comfortable with. Embracing me as I see me has allowed me to cross over the threshold from girl to woman.

When I pictured myself as a woman I saw myself as a financially secure, healthy (mentally, physically, emotionally), happy person no longer tied to others’ expectations of me or my own inner critic. I’m not 100% there but I’m so much further than I was…far enough to call myself a woman.

I’m becoming more financially responsible and am working hard to get myself out of debt;
I’m proud of my body and what it can accomplish;
I look at food most of the time now as just food, not comfort or an act of rebellion;
I have an idea of where I want my career to go and how to get there;
I’m in touch with what I need and know how to get it (whether it’s alone time or standing up for myself);
I know what makes me happy (running, cooking, spending time with my man) and how to defeat my inner critic.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday's Things to Love

1) Thursdays that are Fridays because of an alternate work schedule.
2) Foam Rolling! Hurts when I'm doing it but feels sooo good after. (What is foam rolling? Click here.)
3) Having a friend at work. Kate (a girl in my section) and I have really hit it off. We both like to run and read similar books, among other things.
4) My officemate taking the day off. It's so quiet in here!! A nice change from the usual random chatter I typically listen to all day long.
5) Having a few containers of flowers, herbs, and tomatoes on the balcony. They look so pretty and make our apartment feel more home-y.

What things are you loving today??

Monday, April 27, 2009

GW Parkway 10 miler

So happy to be done and no longer running in the hot sun.
Yea!! A good picture of me running and/or after a race!! Well, as good as a picture can be when you're sweaty and red-faced.

An "action" shot of me putting my phone back in my pocket. Stephen's not the best at taking pictures of me during the race as he's never successfully done it. He gets distracted so this is the best action shot of me on Sunday.

Yesterday (Sunday) was my first race of 2009, the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Miler. Both days this weekend were predicted to be hot and set records for the highest temperatures. Knowing this, on Saturday I made myself carry around a drink all day and drink as much water as I could possibly drink. I was so glad I did this as Sunday ended up being 94 degrees (temperature during the race was in the low 80s).

I started the race with a time goal in mind—I wanted to pace at 11 minute miles which would mean finishing the race in 1 hour, 50 minutes. And I also wanted to run as far as I could before I took a walk break. I made two rookie mistakes at the beginning:
1) I started off way too fast for me. I was doing 9-9:30 minute miles…way too fast for me. At mile two, I felt it and knew I needed to slow down.
2) I was close to the start line with all the faster people which only made me go faster. I was trying to keep up with other people instead of running my race.

I only got 19 minutes (right around the beginning of mile 3) of running in before I had to walk. And I knew I had been going too fast because my legs immediately felt like lead. I couldn’t imagine going 8 more miles. I was already tired and knew that I would have to do my 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking method to finish. I talked to myself and went to the talk that always helps me finish a long run. “Don’t think about how many miles you have left, don’t think about how many miles you’ve done, just focus on the next 4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking. You can finish this race and you can do it in the time you want but just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.”

Miles 3-5 were okay. I wasn’t feeling strong but I kept going and was able to keep pacing at an 11 minute mile.

Mile 5 I lost my iPod. I didn’t physically lose it but my iPod was having none of the heat and sweat and stopped working. I was so sweaty, the sweat had gone through my case and got to my iPod so it stopped. “Great,” I thought, “I’m going to have to do another 5 miles with no music. This officially sucks.” But then I reminded myself that I did complete a half marathon with no music so 5 miles was nothing compared to 13.1.

Miles 5-7 were uneventful. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

At mile 7 I got so hot. When it’s August and I’m acclimated to running double digit miles in the heat, the temperature won’t bother me so much. But since the hottest temperature I’d run in since last summer was 70 degrees, my body (and everyone else’s) just wasn’t prepared for that type of heat. I seriously thought about quitting. I was tired, I was hot, I didn’t want to go on. And then I saw an 87 year old woman running. Well, darn it! If an 87 year old woman is going to finish this thing, I’m sure as heck going to finish it as well.

Miles 8-10 had no shade and it was just hot. People that live along the parkway were standing out in their yards with their garden hoses spraying water so that we could run under the cool water and that helped a lot. (I have no idea who those people were but they are amazing!!) I knew at mile 8 that I probably wasn’t going to make my 1:50 goal but I still kept aiming for it.

My final time was 1:51:24….sooo close to my goal. My overall pace ended up being close to 11:08 miles. Honestly, when I realized how close I was, I was mad at myself. But then I realized how I really had given it my all and with the weather, I’m glad I came in so close to my goal.

I was sooo glad I wore my hydration belt. I almost didn’t wear it but I’m glad I changed my mind. With the temperature, I needed to have water accessible to me whenever I needed it and not just every couple of miles at a water station.

After the race, I foam rolled for 10 or 15 minutes. Today I have a little bit of soreness but nothing too bad at all. I have a horrible burn from my sports bra on my neck but that's the only thing that truly hurts. (It also makes me feel like a true runner.)

I’m proud of myself for finishing. I had talked myself into quitting at mile 7 but I was mentally tough enough to keep going.

Next race will be the May 10 half marathon. Oh boy, that's only 13 days away. What was I thinking?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

5 miles was too much

This morning I just was not feeling running. I got up and got dressed anyways then decided that I had to do at least 3 miles. If after 3 miles I was done and didn’t want to do anymore, I would stop. (Typically I end up doing my usual 5 miles after I get out there and get going.) Today I stopped at 3. My legs seemed super tired and I think it was the fact that Tuesday at work I ended up doing about an hour and a half of walking. Kate and I walked to a sporting goods place to get her a CamelBak for her 62 mile hike (!!!!) this weekend and then in the afternoon we went to Ben & Jerry’s for free scoop day but since the line was ridonkulous, we walked around for a while looking for a place to purchase ice cream instead. Between the two trips, it was an hour and a half of walking. Especially on a race week, it’s important for me to listen to my body and this morning 5 miles was too much.

I picked up my race packet Monday night. As far as goody bags go, it was sucky. Just the shirt and race bib. The shirt isn’t your usually t-shirt, it’s actually a New Balance technical tee so it wicks the sweat away and all that good stuff. I wore it Tuesday morning when I was running and really appreciate how the shirt isn’t the usual cotton tee…I know I’ll wear it a lot more since I don’t wear regular t-shirts when I’m running anymore.

Also, if you’re interested…you can go here and sign up to “follow” me doing my race on Sunday!! It’s a quick registration and then you pick my race (George Washington Parkway Classic—should be the only race listed) and my name (Marissa Crawford). My feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t follow me since we’re blog buddies but just thought I’d do a little self-promoting!

I’m working on a “day in the life of me” post…hopefully I’ll have that next week.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Whew! It's Monday? Already?

I had a great weekend! It started off on Friday by waking up at the usual time (4:30) to drop Stephen off at work so he wouldn’t have to pay $15 for a cab into downtown (he leaves so early for work that the Metro isn’t even operating yet), back home where I read for an hour and took a short nap, to the gym for an elliptical session, into the shower for a quick rinse, off to the library to pick up a book on hold (“The Hour I First Believed” by Wally Lamb), to Marvelous Market for some sushi/lunch, home to put on my ultra dorky bike shorts and pack up my backpack, and off for a great bike ride! The weather was fantastic on Friday! Mid-70’s and sunny. I biked about 4 miles and was hungry so I had my picnic lunch of sushi (where I successfully used chopsticks for the first time!) and laid in the sun and read for a while. I finished the book I was reading (“The Time Traveler’s Wife” which was pretty good…not my absolute favorite book ever but it was still good) and decided to head home. The weather was so nice I really wanted to stay in the sun more but my legs were tired from the elliptical/bike ride and I knew with my long run on Saturday morning it would be better to be cautious. Went to Target for a little bit and browsed around…just took my time looking at things. I didn’t really need anything there but the weather was too nice to sit in the apartment watching TV. Stephen came home and we went to eat and then went to bed early (we were both exhausted).

Saturday morning I got up and headed out for my long run. Again, the weather was fantastic!! But my run was not so fantastic…likely a combination of too much exercise the day before, not really eating on Friday night because I wasn’t hungry, and being tired. I’ve learned though that about every 3 or 4 long runs, I’ll have one that just doesn’t feel great. I didn’t feel strong and the whole thing was a struggle. But the important thing is that I did it and I feel prepared for this Sunday’s 10 miler!! Saturday we went to Costco, ran a bunch of errands, and saw “State of Play”.

Then on Sunday, Stephen went to work (he’s on a 6-12 month detail at another agency but right now essentially has two jobs since he still has to keep up with emails at his home agency so the poor guy has been putting in some major hours) while I did the grocery shopping, cleaning, and laundry. Sunday afternoon we headed out to see the Washington Nationals play the Florida Marlins. The Nationals got a new stadium last year but we never made it to a game so it was our first time at the new stadium. It was nice to be outside even though it was cloudy and the Nationals lost (they have only won one game so far).

And that was my weekend. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s race…I’m going to pick up my race packet after work!!! I hope the T-shirts are nice-looking (I never wear my shirt from the Las Vegas half because it’s a pukey greenish brown color).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eating Intuitively Update

Tomorrow’s my condensed work schedule day off…I thought I would be able to take my day tomorrow since we’re in the middle of running estimates but I’ve got all my work done and don’t need to be here so I do actually get to take my day tomorrow. But now I don’t know what to do with my day. Usually I have a list of things I want to do on my CWS days but this time I don’t have anything! I don’t have anything that has to be done or errands to run…what to do, what to do? What a great problem to have…having a day off and trying to figure out what to do. The weather’s supposed to be pretty nice so I might do a bike ride. I’m thinking about packing up a picnic-type lunch with a blanket and book, riding my bike out to a local park and just relaxing in the sun with my book and food. But that will only work if the weather cooperates!!

To give you all an update on how I’m doing on eating intuitively…overall, it’s going well. There are some days where at the end of the day I don’t feel great about my choices but I don’t let myself feel guilty about those choices, I just vow to try harder tomorrow. I really believe that not obsessing over calories anymore has actually helped me make healthier choices. I haven’t weighed myself (and I’m not going to) and I need to do my measurements this weekend (how about tomorrow when I have no plans?) but Stephen has told me several times he can tell that I’m toning up and that I’ve lost inches (and I didn’t even ask him about it, he just told me out of the blue). I cleaned out my closet this past weekend…I had several pairs of pants that were too tight and I never wore but they were just taking up space. As I was cleaning it out, I tried on every pair of pants before I put them in the donation pile…surprise, surprise—3 of the pants fit! I was excited but not as excited as I was when I finished my 11 mile run that morning!

Obviously, eating intuitively is working for me right now so I’m going to stick with it. I enjoy how much freedom I feel I’ve gained by not counting calories. I also have been eating cleaner since I started eating intuitively which just shows that my body craves the unprocessed healthy stuff.

Honest Foods Giveaways

Honest Foods (Graduate Meghann): http://graduatemeghann.com/2009/04/15/food-cookies-a-giveaway/

Honest Foods (Run to the Finish):
http://runtothefinish.blogspot.com/2009/04/honest-foods-giveaway.html

I'm most excited about the blueberry crackle granola plank with a cold glass of milk!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Running Crazy

Hey peeps! What’s up? How’s life?

Life for me is good. It’s been a while since I’ve written…I just haven’t felt like I’ve had anything to contribute lately so I’ve been silent. This week at work I’m actually going to be busy…it’ll be the first month where I’m running my estimates and publishing my results. I also have a conference this week (Sidenote: it is sooo wonderful to work for an organization that truly values me as an employee/economist and is willing to pay for me to attend conferences where I can learn…compared to my previous employer which did not pay for conference registrations for research analysts.) (Sidenote #2: It’s also fantastic that I’m not planning this conference!!! Which felt like all I did at my old job.)

Anyways, I’m very excited to actually be running my estimates. I’m fully aware that to some people I’m a dork for being excited about estimating GDP. But I don’t care…I embrace my inner dork.

Enough about work, training is going well. This weekend I did an 11 miler and it felt great. Sure I was tired at the end and my legs were a little sore for the next couple of hours but I woke up on Sunday feeling great with no next day soreness. And I felt great when I was running. I’m going to be completely self-indulgent and pat myself on the back here…It was drizzling Saturday morning when I started my run. I had looked at the radar and it showed things clearing up in the next hour so I decided to head on out figuring that the first half would be a little drizzly and the second half would be clear.

I was 50% right…the first half was drizzly but the second half was pouring rain! I thought for half a second about jumping on the subway but instead I embraced my inner bad ass (wow, I have a lot of inner “me”s I’m embracing today) and kept running. My baseball cap was soaked with rain and sweat and water was dripping off the bill, my shirt was soaked and sticking to my arms, my socks and shoes were soaked and making that squishy sound on every step but I kept going! It also helped that I was wearing the most awesome North Face vest Stephen got me for my birthday…it was great in the winter because it kept me warm but it’s also great in the rain because it is completely waterproof so my core stayed dry. I also found a new nature park a few miles from where we live…I love finding locations when I’m running that I would never find otherwise!

My first race of 2009 (George Washington Parkway 10 Miler) is less than 2 weeks away and I’m excited!! Then I’ll have one weekend off, my first half marathon of 2009, two weekends off, and my second half. I don’t have any races planned after that (until the October marathon) but I’m looking for some others…I’ve been bit by the racing bug now!!

I think I may be running-crazy…Kate (a girl at work who I really like…we’re doing a book exchange and she’s a runner) brought me information today on this race. We both really really want to do it…I’m thinking if I still want to do it, I’ll sign up in mid-May. It’s a limited field of 5000 and it sounds so awesome!! (Okay, I know I’m running-crazy because I just said that running a half marathon on a Saturday and running a full marathon the very next day would be awesome.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hodgepodge

Well, no running for me this morning. My legs were pretty sore from the hills yesterday and I just couldn’t get out of my warm bed for the cold outdoors (and it wasn’t even as cold this morning as it has been). Not a huge deal though. I got off the subway two stops away from the stop closest to work and walked 20 minutes to work, I’ll do at least 30 minutes of walking during the day (hopefully more), and I’m going to try to get in a yoga session after work. Honestly, I feel guilty for not going running this morning but I know that my legs are sore and the most important running during training is the long runs. If I sacrifice my long runs for the shorter weekday runs, that does me no good…the long runs are crucial to building my endurance for my races. And I’m getting in extra activity today by walking more than I usually do. Missing my run this morning is not a big deal.

Tonight, I’m going to hear Dick Beardsley speak. From his website:

Dick Beardsley is a champion - in running and in life. Although his competitive running career as an elite athlete ended in 1988, Dick is the 3rd fastest American born runner and he still has the 5th fastest U.S. men's marathon time in history. Best known for his 1982 Boston Marathon "Duel in the Sun" with Alberto Salazar, Dick is also a two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier. He is a two-time winner and course record holder of the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota and has won the London and Napa Valley marathons. But Dick is more than a running champion. He is a fighter. After a series of near-fatal accidents and a journey of self-discovery, Dick has turned his life around. Today, Dick is enjoying his running more than ever.

I’m excited to hear him speak. He’s got a very inspirational story and although I don’t know much about his life, his speech might be more interesting because I haven’t heard it all before.

I’ve been struggling with my food lately. I’ve been eating when I’m not hungry (but just bored) and eating junk. My office mate is the worst eater…Cheetos for breakfast, giant burrito at lunch, soda all day long. I need to remind myself that eating garbage makes me feel like garbage. He is always offering some of his food to me (which is nice) but when I refuse, he keeps asking or acts like he’s offended. I need to remember that even though he gets mad, it’s my body not his and if he wants to treat his that way, fine but I’m not treating mine like garbage.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Hills, Season One

Q: Why are people so tired on April 1?
A: Because they just finished a 31-day March.

My officemate is interesting or annoying depending on my mood. He is constantly talking! Yesterday I even had my earphones on and iPod going and he was still talking. And, nope, I didn’t take out my earphones…he could see I had my earphones on and still kept talking. I don’t mind talking to him but he never asks if I’m busy before he just starts talking. He’s one of those people that talk to hear themselves speak…he’s not looking for conversation so I don’t feel bad about ignoring him. Yesterday he told me that I was secretive and never tell him anything about me…well, it’s because he doesn’t want me to talk, he just wants to talk. Anyways, he doesn’t really bother me too much now because I’ve learned to just tune him out.

I went running this morning and went the opposite direction on the trail that I run on in the mornings. Wowza!! There are some major hills going in that direction. At one point I grunted very loudly but darn it, I was going to get up that hill running!! That is the first time I have ever grunted when running (I hate those guys at the gym that have to grunt loudly so you know that they are working hard and lifting lots of weight). I just didn’t think I was going to get up that hill but knew I could do it. And, again, another reason why I like running in the morning when there’s very few people on the trails…I can grunt without getting embarrassed. (Other reasons: singing along with my iPod, doing crazy dance moves to certain songs, punching the air like Rocky…don’t you guys wish you could see me running in the mornings? I’m sure I look like a crazy nutjob.)

It’s actually a really great thing because the marathon I’m training for is hilly and has a 6 mile stretch from miles 16-22 similar to Boston’s Heartbreak Hill. So training on those hills will actually be helpful in the long run…but I’m anticipating I’ll be a little sore tomorrow. I'm going to try to do the hilly part of the trail a couple of times a week (including my long runs). It'll be interesting to see my improvement as I do them more and more.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Italian Tomato Tart (April 2009 Cooking Light)

I made this last night for dinner and it was so yummy!! Stephen and I both liked it...I love breakfast foods for dinner but Stephen doesn't and this was a great meet-in-the-middle compromise. This would be delicious as a brunch or breakfast item as well. I think the key is to use a good quality cheese and prosciutto instead of the part skim mozzarella they suggest. I put my substitutions in red and you'll see that I prepped the tart ahead of time and all I had to do when I walked in the door was turn on the oven and put in the tart!! Easy-peasy!!

Italian Tomato Tart (April 2009 Cooking Light)

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)
Ingredients
Crust:
1 (10-ounce) package frozen long-grain brown rice (such as Birds Eye Steamfresh)
I used a boil in bag brown rice.
2 tablespoons commercial pesto
I made my own pesto
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
Cooking spray

Filling:
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 teaspoon salt
I omitted.
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground red pepper
1 large egg
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
I used a good quality smoked mozzarella chopped into thin slices.
1 ounce prosciutto, cut into thin strips (about 1/4 cup)
3 small plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare crust, cook the brown rice according to package directions. Combine cooked rice, pesto, Parmesan cheese, and 1 egg; firmly press mixture into the bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove dish from oven.
I created the crust and filled it with the egg/tomatoes/prosciutto/cheese then placed into the fridge. When I came home from work, all I had to do was turn the oven on and put in the tart.
3. Increase oven temperature to 400°.
4. To prepare filling, combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through 1 egg) in a bowl; stir with a whisk.
5. Sprinkle half of mozzarella and half of prosciutto into bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of tomato slices. Repeat procedure with remaining mozzarella, prosciutto, and tomatoes. Pour milk mixture over tomatoes; bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325° (do not remove tart from oven); bake an additional 35 minutes or until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with basil. Cut into wedges.

Nutritional Information (with the same ingredients Cooking Light suggests)
Calories: 279
Fat: 13.9g (sat 4.8g,mono 4.8g,poly 1.4g)
Protein: 18.5g
Carbohydrate: 19.3g
Fiber: 1.8g
Cholesterol: 127mg
Iron: 2mg
Sodium: 542mg
Calcium: 289mg

Monday, March 30, 2009

Walks and the first Long Run

Did I even have a weekend? It sure doesn’t feel like it.

Saturday morning I got up and went out for my planned long run (7 miles this week). When I first walked out the door, it was raining pretty hard. And as hardcore as I like to think I am, running my first long run of the season in a downpour was not going to happen. So I went back upstairs and checked the radar which showed the rain should be clearing off in about 30 minutes. I put together our menus for this week and the grocery list…by that time, the rain had cleared off a bit. It was still drizzly/rainy but not a downpour. And off I went. (My secret for running in drizzle/light rain is wearing a baseball cap…it keeps the moisture off your face.)

I used my hydration belt with 1 bottle of water and 1 bottle of Gatorade (each bottle is 10 oz.). Each bottle had about 2 oz left when I got home. I also took along a package of Luna Sport Moons but didn’t end up consuming them. Pre run snack was a Clif Z bar and a cereal bar. (Sorry…you guys probably don’t care all that much about my fueling pre and during run but I’m using the blog as a way to keep tabs on this stuff so I know what works for me.)

Other than running, we watched basketball (stupid University of Oklahoma lost!!! Woohoo!!! That makes me happy!!) and did our usual weekend errands. We went suit shopping for Stephen and found a few that he purchased.

I’ve started going out for walks during the day. I’m aiming for 2 15 minute walks for my morning and afternoon breaks and then a 30 minute walk for lunchtime (I eat at my desk while working). I’ve also been taking the stairs to my 5th floor office when I come back from my walks. I’m using these walks as a way to explore the area where my office is (it’s on the other side of DC compared to my old office building). Plus my eyes feel so much better when I take my walk breaks…staring at a computer all day really gives me a headache. It’s just a small way to try and sneak in a little extra activity!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sweaty Sleeper

So glad it’s Friday!! I haven’t worked a 5 day week in a long time (probably way back in September or October)! I’m not feeling too tired this morning but that’s because I slept in until 6 and didn’t do my workout this morning. I plan on getting a short one in after work. This was definitely one of those mornings where I needed the extra sleep versus getting in a workout first thing.

I’ve been sleeping weird this week and what I mean by that is I’m getting really sweaty in the night. I’ll be cold when I go to bed but then at some point I must get hot and I start sweating like crazy. And for some reason, I’m not kicking the covers off or anything. I just sleep until I turn over and my clothes, sheets, pillow, and hair are all sweaty. It feels gross turning over so I wake up. And then I get cold because I’m all wet. And it’s this cycle that goes on all night. It’s so weird…I don’t know if I’m running a low grade fever or if it’s hormonal or what’s going on but hopefully, it stops soon because I’m getting tired of washing the sheets, pillowcases, and my jammies every day.

Anyways, not too many plans for the weekend…I do have a 7 miler at some point and there are two festivals (kite and cherry blossom) going on downtown so depending on the weather we may check those out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Confessions of a running addict

I never mentioned this but last Saturday I volunteered at the National Marathon. I worked one of the water stations. I had so much fun!!! Seriously, tons of fun!! The only thing that sucked was it was about 20 degrees outside and I had no gloves…my poor fingers were frozen when I was trying to fill cups with Powerade. But I still had loads of fun!

It was so awesome to give back to the running community, especially with all the races I have planned. I just had a blast cheering everyone on and getting to see all types of athletes…the lead marathoner who was amazing, the everyday people aiming for a new PR, and then people who were just having fun. I really can’t describe how much fun it was!! The timing was very serendipitous as well…I volunteered for the marathon on Saturday and then on Monday started my racing season training. I was all pumped about starting my training after seeing the marathon on Saturday.

We did run out of cups (when we still had about ½ of the runners to come through our station) so we just put out the water jugs and people drank directly from them. What else can you do? If they’re thirsty enough, they’ll drink out of the jug. But it did remind me when I’m doing my races to not depend on the water stations for water or Gatorade…sometimes they run out (which I learned first hand in December at the Las Vegas half). Plus if I have my own, I can avoid the bottlenecks near the water stations.

Total sidenote—I just noticed my desk is uneven. The top has a gradual downward slope from right to left. It’s not a huge slope but it is slightly uneven. And I kept thinking I was tilting my head funny…must be me trying to keep the computer screen even in my head.

I started reading a book, “The Perfect Mile,” that chronicles three runners trying to post a sub 4 minute mile in 1952. It is so interesting. I highly recommend it to any of you that like reading and running (granted, I’m only 70 pages in but it’s very inspirational).

Hmmm…do you think I like to run? I read books about running, volunteer at marathons, watch DVD documentaries on running (“Spirit of the Marathon” being my top recommendation), wake up crazy early to run, get excited when others talk about being excited about running (seriously, I read Lynn’s post about how she’s thinking of doing a half marathon and got so excited my heart started beating fast). Totally and hopelessly addicted.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Marathon Training has started!! Woohoo!!

Officially, my marathon training started yesterday but since Mondays are cross-training days, I did 60 minutes elliptical and 15 minutes weights. This morning was my first official training run for the 2009 racing season (well, my 2009 racing season). I was only supposed to do 3 miles but since 5 is my norm, I did 5. I plan on continuing with my usual 5 miles during my weekday runs even though that’s not following my training plan. I just don’t like doing runs shorter than 5 miles unless I’m feeling sick or doing speedwork…somehow I don’t feel like it’s worth it for me to get up so early to only run 3 miles. Weird, huh?

So basically, until I’m several months into the program, the only addition to my usual schedule will be the long weekend runs. This weekend starts with a 7 miler and the mileage increases as the weeks progress (obviously) but I’ve built in a few Saturdays/Sundays where I can choose to do a long run or I can give my body extra rest, depending on how I’m feeling. I also built in these long run off-weeks in case we take an out of town trip or the weather is crappy.

My 2009 Racing Season (first ever racing season!) looks like this:
April 26—GW Parkway 10 Miler
May 10—Pacers Running Festival Half Marathon
May 31—Annapolis Half Marathon
October 10—Baltimore Marathon (the big Kahuna!!!)

I might add some more races in there from June to October but since the heat/humidity is bad here during the summers, there aren’t that many races in this area during that time. I’ll see how I’m progressing on the marathon training…I may just focus on the full marathon after the Annapolis Half.

As far as my training plan, I pretty much made up my own. I used Hal Hidgon’s plan as a base and changed it for me. For instance, I wanted to add in the long run off weeks and add in other races in the middle of training for the full. So I essentially took his 18 week plan and made it a 28 week plan!! I modified some of the long runs to fit with the racing schedule above but kept the theme of every few weeks dropping my long run mileage. I’m excited for my first long run!! Now only if the weather would warm up a bit so it’s not 30 degrees when I’m running in the mornings.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hmmm...still a bad blogger

Well, so much for being a better blogger. I’m not going to make promises to you or myself I can’t keep…with this new job, I’m not sure how much time I’m going to have to devote to blog reading/commenting/posting. I’ve been good about not spending too much time at work on it and I’d like to keep it that way (for now at least). So please excuse me for the next few weeks if I’m not commenting or posting as much as I used to, I’m still getting adjusted to my job.

On the job front, things are going great!!! Everyone was so friendly my first day and my supervisor took me around and introduced me to every person in my branch. So even if I can’t remember specific names and faces…at least I have an idea of who I’ll be working with on a regular basis. My section or team is taking me out to lunch on Friday so we can get to know each other better.

Plus the work seems somewhat exciting (definitely more exciting than working at my old job). Not only has my direct supervisor (my section chief) been great about checking up on me and seeing if I have any questions but her supervisor (director of my branch) has also checked up on me several times. They are definitely more welcoming than my old job.

On to non-job stuff, I’ve still been getting up at 4:30 to workout. Previously, I would get up and go to the apartment gym and then later in the day run outside at lunch. With my new job, I obviously don’t want to be gone for a huge chunk of the day (for now at least) so I’ve had to combine my running/weights/ellipticalling all into my morning workout. And today, I got up at 4:30 and I ran 5 miles! I’m always scared of running in the dark but I turned my music down on my iPod and ran on the trails near our apartment which are very well lit. I saw bunnies on the trail!! They were so cute! Keep in mind that I live in a very residential, developed area but there were two bunnies sitting by the side of the trail looking like they were just watching the people go by.

I’ve been discouraged with my running lately. I think it was doing two workouts in one day…I’d be so tired by the time I did my run at lunch that I really had to push myself. This morning’s run was fantastic!! Next week I’ll start my half and full marathon training (post to come) so my exercise plan as of now is:
Monday, Friday: workout in gym (weights, elliptical)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: run
Saturday or Sunday: long run

But this mornings run was so great. (This is really cheesy…) In the middle of my run, I thought of how great I felt and my brain thanked my body for getting out of bed and running. It was a really cheesy moment but I felt so glad to be back out there and even though I was tired this morning, I still went and I know I feel so much better because of it.

Anyways, that’s my update for now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad blogger lately...sporadic posting and not commenting. But I'm back to regular posting and commenting. Last week was just crazy with leaving my old job. Here's a quick update on me:

Have left old job. Friday was my last day. I'm so glad to be gone. I'd like to say my last week was fun and made me sad to leave but that would be an outright lie. My last week was horrible and reminded me why I'm leaving. I don't want to get into it too much but my boss was incredibly rude (told me on my last day that I wasn't good at my job...who does that?!) and my colleagues really couldn't have cared less that I left. Again, great reminders as to why that job made me so unhappy and how ready I was to leave.

Friday I also had to have an emergency root canal. My tooth has really been bothering me and Thursday night I couldn't sleep so I found a dentist who could see me last minute on Friday. Ended up having a root canal done and paying $1300 for it as my insurance does not cover root canals and crowns (so why do I pay $60 a month for it?!). Friday was just a horrible, horrible day and in the interest of not spreading negativity, I won't recap the entire thing but I was excited to go to sleep on Friday knowing that Saturday just had to be better.

I was supposed to start my new job today but Friday (part of the horrendous day) I got a call saying my fingerprints did not go through and that on Monday (today) I needed to go get them redone at a location an hour away on the subway. Then I could start my new job on Tuesday. So this morning I go all the way out to get my fingerprints done and I get a call as soon as I get there saying that I don't need to have my fingerprints redone...they ended up getting accepted late Friday night. I also found out that I can't take leave for today (i.e. I won't be paid for today). I am so ticked off that I have to take today as a leave without pay day...I have 90 hours of leave I could use but since I haven't started my new job, I can't take leave from that job. It is so annoying b/c it's their fault...they are the ones who wanted me start a week after offering me the job and then they don't get my fingerprints submitted to the FBI on time so I have to take a day without pay. After having a root canal done on Friday...I could really use the $175 I would have made today. And I was so looking forward to wearing the first day of new job outfit I got.

Oh well, there's nothing I can do about it. It's not under my control. I am going to talk to the HR people again tomorrow about it when I do my first day orientation/paperwork. No use expending energy on something I can't change. Instead I'm going to look at this positively...I have one more day to rest and relax before starting a more stressful job. I have one more day to rest after my root canal.

Well, I said that was going to be a quick update but it ended up not being so quick. I'm off to check up on you all. This blog will go back to running/working out/eating healthy topics tomorrow...no more drama for me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Awesome and not so awesome

Fantastic news on the new job...they are actually going to be paying me more than my current job! I went in knowing I was going to have to take a pay cut but now I'm not!! How awesome is that?!

What has not been so awesome...my eating habits. Carbs, sugar, and more carbs and sugar. I know it's nerves because of the new job and trying to wrap up my old job so I'm trying to be gentle on myself. I need to remind myself that carbs and sugar do not make my anxiety go away. Plus carbs and sugar make me breakout which causes more anxiety.

I am excited about moving on to a different job. I have been unhappy at my current job for a couple of years now and I'm thrilled about moving on to a job with actual responsibilities and a job where I'll be using my degree!! But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. And although I've been unhappy about my current job, I have been able to have a very flexible schedule and have time to do lots of blogging/Facebooking/running at work. I'm going to have give those things up (at work anyways) but the trade-off is well worth it.

I think what I have the most anxiety about is a change in schedule. I like my schedule and I like a routine. Right now, I don't know what my routine is going to look like at my new job.

Anyways, I've got to get some paperwork overnighted to my new job so they can get everything set up for my first day (just 6 days from now!). Off to FedEx I go...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Official

So it's official...I have a new job!! My salary still hasn't been agreed upon but as it stands right now, it will only be a little bit less than what I'm currently making. There's still some negotiating going on and they might be able to match what I'm making now which would be awesome but either way, I have a new job!!! I am so excited to have a job where I will be busy and where I'm going to have actual real responsibilities. And since I'm tranferring between federal agencies, my last day at my current job is next Friday...which is so incredibly soon. Ack!! I'm trying not to freak out.

Generally I don't always handle change well, particularly fast changes. I keep reminding myself that I'm okay, it's going to be alright, etc. I never realized how much personal stuff I have at work until yesterday when I started packing things up...I have a lot of stuff in my office!! My goal today is to get as much of my personal stuff packed up so this weekend I can drive in and pick it up. And then the next step will be trying to figure out where all this stuff is going to go in the apartment, temporarily at least. One step at a time...

I'm so excited!!! I'm also getting really nostalgic about leaving but I know it's the right step.

Off to pack.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Breaking Radio Silence

Hey, sorry I’ve been away so long. I just felt like I didn’t have anything to say for a while and just needed a bit of a break. Two big things happened while I was on my break….

Most exciting news first, I had a job interview last Friday and yesterday was offered the position. I actually did 2 interviews on Friday (same agency, same job just in two different divisions). I interviewed for the job I was there to interview for and the interviewer asked me if I was willing to do a second interview in a different division. Of course I agreed (b/c it would be stupid to not do a second interview while I was already there). Funny too b/c I was asked the same exact questions in both interviews. I left with a really good feeling that I would be offered one of the jobs (several clues doing the interviews) and then yesterday got the call offering me the position. I’m trying not to get too excited yet though b/c I have to wait on a formal salary offer. I would start out making less than what I make now (which I knew when I applied for the position) but I can’t take a significant cut in pay. They’ve assured me that they can get pretty close to what I’m making now so hopefully the formal salary offer reflects that. Otherwise, I’ll have to pass up the position.

And equally exciting but not as recent news…my sister is having a baby!! I actually knew about this a few weeks ago but kept quiet. My sister has been trying to have a baby for a few years now. She has PCOS and they’ve done several rounds of hormone shots and one round of IUI. Oddly enough, she got preggers in the month when they did nothing (well, not nothing but no hormone shots/treatments). She got pregnant the week after her and her husband came out to DC to visit so Stephen and I should be given all the credit. Not really but we are thinking of marketing a Fertility trip to DC business…wonder how much we could charge? I’m excited to be an Aunt!! I’m going to be the coolest Aunt ever! (My step sisters have kids but this is different.)

Other than that, just the everyday workout, run, work, sleep routine. I’m ready for warmer weather…I’m so tired of running in the cold and having to bundle up.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Indecisive

It is so quiet at the office right now...it seems like no one is here. It's almost always quiet at the office anyways but it's even more like a library today.

I'm debating on running at lunch or not. It was windy yesterday and is windy again today...although I did go yesterday the temps were warmer so the wind wasn't so bad but today the temps are at least 15 degrees colder. (And one of two times I've gone running and regretted it was when it was windy and cold outside. But it's not as cold today as it was that day.) But the sun is shining and it would be nice to be out in the sun. Decisions, decisions. Or perhaps I'll do yoga at home...my muscles feel like they could use a nice stretch. Can you tell I can't make up my mind at all??

For an update on not counting...I'm doing pretty well. I'm still rushing through my meals at times (particularly when I eat with Stephen--he's a fast eater and I think that makes me speed up). I have found myself counting up calories in my head a few times but I make myself stop, with the exception of the healthy muffins I made last night. I added those calories up to get a rough idea of how many calories were in each muffin.

My weekend looks pretty open...we will be going to see "Confessions of a Shopaholic" at some point. We also have reservations tomorrow night at a fancy pants restaurant near our apartment that we haven't tried yet. This week is DC's Restaurant Week which means for lunch you can get a 3 course prix fix menu for $20.09/person and for dinner a 3 course menu for $35.09/person. It's a great opportunity to try some of the more expensive and famous restaurants in DC for a reasonable price. We're going to Willow. Here's the dinner menu with all my choices!! Stephen already knows what he's going to get (Ham & Bean Soup, Steak, and Toffee Pudding) but I can't decide!! I suppose it depends on what I feel like eating tomorrow night.

Hmmm, I can't decide about a lot of things, can I? Whether to run, what to eat for dinner, whether to head home early since no one's at work...

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Questions

Here is the dress that I'd like to wear on our cruise in September. It's hard to see what it looks like when it's just hanging there but it really is a fantastic dress.



To answer questions I've gotten in the comments lately...

The not weighing something new I'm trying with the not counting. I get too tied up with what those numbers are...I can feel awesome and be eating healthy, running, working out, etc. but if I step on that scale and it says I've gained or maintained my mood does a 180. And that's ridiculous...those numbers shouldn't control my moods or emotions.


Juice, I get my hair cut and colored at the Paul Mitchell School in Tysons Corner mall (lower level near Bloomingdales). It's definitely inexpensive but the stylists can be a little slow (since they're still students). Overall, though, for the price, it can't be beat!! I started going there 18 months ago when I got tired of paying $65 for a haircut and feeling like my stylist wasn't listening to me...and trust me, I tried so many different places and stylists with the same experience. If you have more questions about the Paul Mitchell school let me know...I'll be happy to answer them.

And finally, here are my interview questions and answers from Heather!! (Please ignore that some of the photos are in the wrong direction...I can't get them to flip and they're not on my camera anymore.)

Q1. You have mentioned wanting to go to grad school...what type of graduate program are you interested in and why?



I want to get my Masters in Business Administration. I've always wanted to get an advanced degree and with an MBA I could move from industry to industry easier than with a Masters in Finance or something similar.


Q2. If you were a kitchen appliance what would you be and why?



I would be a coffeemaker because I associate my coffeemaker with warming me up and perking me up...two effects I like to have on people.


Q3. If you were sent to a deserted island and could only have three things from home what would they be?







First of all, my Chapstick or Burt's Bees lip balm. I can't stand the feeling of my lips being dry so I'm constantly applying Chapstick. Secondly, books. Love em and I could be on that island for a while. Third, I'd want to bring something else comforting and homey but the practical side of me would win out and I'd take a knife or string or something more useful than a picture.

Or I could be like Dwight on "The Office" and take a hallowed out book with matches, protein bars, etc.

Q4. What would people be surprised to learn about you?


That honestly, I don't know what I want to do with my career. I'm interested in so many different things and can't decide what to pursue (hence, why being able to move around easily with an MBA would be beneficial). I think people would be surprised by this because I generally seem very determined and act like I've got a life plan in place that I'm following.

Q5. What is your favorite day of the week and why?


Saturday, because it's the weekend but it's not Sunday when you're dreading going back to work. Although, "Playing Hooky" days in the middle of the week are awesome too.

If you want to be interviewed:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Counting Decision

First of all, I was planning on posting my answers to the interview questions Heather asked me weeks ago but something is wrong with the pictures on my thumb drive...I'll problem shoot this evening and try again tomorrow. :(

My weekend was great! Having a 3 day weekend was fantastic but I was actually contemplating staying home today...seems like the more time I get away from work, the more time I want. We saw "The International" which is a pretty good thriller movie. We're waiting until next weekend to see "Confessions of a Shopaholic"...we have two free movie tickets but we can't use the coupon the first weekend a movie opens so we decided to wait until next weekend for Shopaholic and use the free tickets coupon. We did some shopping at the outlet malls...I did get some new tops at Ann Taylor but nothing too exciting.

My debit card got a ton of use this weekend...long story short, Stephen's account was cancelled without his knowledge on Friday so he couldn't use his debit card (there was suspected fraud/ID theft). I paid for everything all weekend and we kept a tally of what he owes me. No big deal but you should have seen all the receipts! It was ridiculous!!

I also decided something monumental this weekend...I'm done counting calories/points/grams of carbs, fat, protein/all of that for now. I've spent most of the last 16 years of my life in two modes: either on a diet or off a diet. There was never a happy medium of eating healthy but still enjoying food. Mentally, I'm tired of adding up calories in my head and my relationship with food is so wacked. Some days I'm satisfied with 1400 calories but because that's below my BMR (basal metabolic rate), I'd eat more just to get to my BMR. By doing that, it's like I don't trust my body to tell me what it wants or needs. That is absurd!! I trust my body when I'm running to tell me when to stop or when to push further...my body can tell me if it's hungry or not and I should trust it!

This is something I've been thinking about for a while as I've continued to count calories and yet my weight has stayed exactly the same. Emotionally and mentally, I can't keep counting calories to stay in the exact same spot...that is a lot of wasted time and energy. I don't know if I'll lose weight not counting or if I'll gain but I've got to get back to a better place with food. Food isn't a punishment and it's not a reward but I've been using it as both...healthy foods are a punishment when I'm on my diet and not so healthy foods are a reward when I'm off my diet. And when I'm on my diet, I feel like I should eat certain foods and not eat other foods. But when I'm off my diet, I take that opportunity to eat anything and everything in sight. I'm tired of this see-saw way of looking at food.

Here's what I'm doing (which I'll call my guidelines as rules sound way too harsh):
1) No counting. I can look at calorie counts just for informational purposes only. Example: a new product just for an idea of it is healthy.
2) Listen to my hunger cues. If I'm hungry, eat. If I'm not hungry, don't eat.
3) Similarly, stop eating when I'm full. This means slowing down and evaluating fullness at different points during the meal.
4) Eat what my body is craving. If I want chocolate, eat chocolate but make sure it's the good dark kind. If I want squash, eat squash (and, yes, I've actually had cravings for squash before).
5) Keep an eye on portion sizes. This may mean measuring out cereal and weighing meat.

So far, this has been so freeing. It's like all this room in my head that I was using to add up calories is now free to learn other information!! Also, I'm not weighing myself anymore. I'll know if I lose weight...my clothes will get baggier, I don't need to know to the tenths of a pound what my weight is.

There are sure to be some mis-steps along the way but I feel so much happier already...I've got tears in my eyes, I'm so happy to enjoy food again. Plus, not talking about calories and food frees up my blog to talk about working out and running more...which are the more positive and uplifting experiences for me anyways.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conferences and Cruises

I thought I was going to drop kick the person in charge of the conference yesterday (the same conference where I sat at the registration table all day). She is one of those high strung, super stressed out about any thing types of people and I just could not handle her. I've been in charge of conferences before and my thinking is that something is probably going to go wrong but to just try and epitomize "grace under pressure." This woman was the complete opposite. Just one example of her behavior...due to our media team/webcasting team's request, all of the PowerPoint presentations needed to be put together into one long presentation (which was one of my responsibilities). This conference was two days so all of the presentations for the two days were together in one presentation. She comes up to me with one of the media team guys and says, "You two need to get together and find where today's PowerPoints are. They aren't on the computer and I don't know what you did with them."

The guy (whose name I know but cannot remember) and I go into the conference center, open the PowerPoint presentation (with all the presentations together), scroll down, and lo and behold, there's that day's PowerPoints...she didn't scroll down to even see if that day's PowerPoints were there. And of course she doesn't apologize for her outburst earlier implying that I had messed up. So frustrating.

I'm thinking in my head, "If you're going to yell at someone and accuse them of messing up something in front of other people, you sure as heck better be in the right instead of an idiot who didn't scroll down."

Gah, it was like that all day long. It's a bad sign when at 8:30 in the morning, you're counting down to when you can have a glass of wine.

Anyways, on to happier things...

Stephen and I are taking an Alaskan cruise in September!!!! I am so so so so excited!!

We paid our deposit, purchased our airfare, and reserved hotel rooms for the nights before and after the cruise. It is going to be so much fun!! It gives us something to look forward to all summer since we won't be going to the cabin in Canada this year (long story about Stephen's family).

Plus the cruise gives me a deadline for shaping up. I have this dress that I bought for my cousin's wedding three years ago and it would be the perfect dress to wear for the formal nights on the cruise. But since I've bought it, I've gained 15 lbs and the dress won't zip up anymore. My goal is to lose the extra weight so that the dress fits me in time for the cruise which is completely do-able b/c the cruise is 7 months away. I'll have to take a picture of the dress this weekend.

Alrighty...I have a nice 3 day weekend that I'm looking forward to. Hopefully, I can convince Stephen to see Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pictures, pictures, pictures

In leiu of a lengthy word filled post since I've got to sit at the registration desk for a conference today, I'm giving you a picture filled post...I know, don't be too shocked since I rarely have pictures.

So here's my office:

And here's a close up of my OSU bulletin board:
Here's a new hat I bought this weekend...It's actually a men's hat but it looks good on plus it's somewhat trendy since it's a fedora style:

Here's a close up of the pattern...I need a navy blue scarf to match and of course all the stores don't have any winter clothes now...why am I always looking for items when they're out of season?

Here's my new purse (also picked up this weekend)...Filene's Basement was having a going out of business sale so I got this great purse originally priced at $65 for $17!! The leather is like buttah...super soft and plenty of room for all my weekday stuff but small enough to be carried on the weekend.


Now here's a scarf my mom made me...I just got it in the mail two days ago but it's awesome (and my mom is awesome)! She did a very cool design and it's all twisted and stuff (I have no idea how to describe it).




And, finally, here's me with my new hair color (only 2 shades darker)...please ignore my chin area...every few months my time of the month is bad with breakouts, mood swings, and cramps and that happened to be this month. And, man, do I look exhausted or what? Ah well, I'm getting up early to work out so I think the trade off is worth it.






Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I disagree Jillian.

One day last week I was listening to an old Jillian Michaels podcast from November 2, 2008 while running at lunch. I like listening to Jillian's podcasts sometimes when I'm running...sometimes all my music bores me and I want to hear something different. Plus I typically find listening to her no-nonsense approach to be inspiring and motivating. This time was different.

She started bashing marathon running. I literally stopped in my tracks. I continued to listen because I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt but she did not redeem herself, in my opinion. She quoted several studies that showed that after running a marathon, there are increased levels of toxins in the body and that running a distance of 26.2 miles puts a significant strain on the heart. And then she ended with this, "Don't run a marathon. Don't train for one. It's bad for your body." (some paraphrasing here because I don't remember the exact words). I was pissed to say the least.

I've read the studies she quoted. Yes, it's true that there are increased levels of toxins in the body and (no shit Sherlock) running 26.2 miles puts a strain on the heart. However, there was a great article published by Runner's World last year that delves further into those studies and shows that individuals who die after running a marathon (like last year's Chicago or during the Olympic trials) have some prior heart defect. The RW's article also talks about training correctly and understanding your own physical limitations (which Jillian did not mention).

Instead Jillian's suggestions were to train to climb a mountain or train for some long bike event. She does say that you can run races but to make sure they're short distances. I understand that Jillian is entitled to her own opinions and quite honestly I wouldn't listen to someone about running who doesn't enjoy it (as she's stated numerous times).

What irked me was this sense of nonacceptance about running. She may think it's crazy and she would never do it but she shouldn't discourage other people from doing something they love. Yes, there's a risk involved but there's risk involved in everything we do. Training to climb a mountain...I could fall to my death. Biking a long distance...I could tumble head over handlebars. Getting on the Metro...I could fall off the platform and be hit by a train. Running a marathon...I may have a heart attack.

Personally, I'm not interested in climbing a mountain but I'm not going to go out and tell someone who's doing that that they shouldn't...everybody has the things that work for them. Mine is running, Jillian's is obviously not running.

Jillian is usually "Kicking ass and taking names" and I felt that her advice against marathon running went so against who she is. She's not the type to feed into a fear of doing something because you may be hurt but yet, that's what she was advising.

Anyways, as you can tell, I was really ticked off after listening to that podcast. Feel free to ignore me if you disagree or argue back! I'm trying to articulate my points but I don't know that my points are getting across.

Stay tuned the rest of the week...I've got some exciting stuff coming up including posts with pictures (!!!) and an interview with the gorgeous Heather!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Highlights

The weather was beautiful this weekend. We went for a bike ride yesterday and it felt so good to be outside in the sun. The temps were in the high 50s-low 60s…amazing! There were lots of other people out enjoying the weather as well. When the weather gets warmer for the spring/summer (instead of the freakishly warm for February weather now) I’d like to ride my bike to work a few days a week so we basically followed the path I would follow into work and it was about 10 miles. I’ve got to check into getting a bike locker here at work to store my bike during the day.

Stephen and I went to see “He’s Just Not That IntoYou” which we both thought was a pretty good movie. There is a part about the ending that I didn’t like but don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone. After the movie, Stephen actually said, “That movie was really good for a chick flick.” Which is probably the biggest compliment that a guy could give a movie like that.

My hair cut and color was okay…the color I love. Going two shades darker on my hair makes my eyes stand out more and looks more dramatic. The actual process wasn’t too great though. The girl fixing my hair was so rough with my head, I had a headache afterwards. And that’s saying something because I like for them to be a little rough…it typically feels really good. But this person was way too rough. Plus they are supposed to do a 5 minute head massage when they shampoo your hair but the last two times they haven’t. L Oh well, it was only $37 for a cut and color compared to the $100+ it would have been at a real salon.

The weather is supposed to be fantastic all week long…sunny and temps in the 50s. I’m so excited to go running today and the rest of the week!!! Should be wonderful!