It all started when I got a free quinoa bowl from Happy and Hale a few months back.
The place is a really cool concept – a very “Stuff White People Like” deal, with a full bar of fresh ingredients waiting to be combined into your delicious salad. Prior to my intro to the ‘noa, I’d kind of just avoided a ton of rice and grain, simply because the serving size on it is so small and I’d really like to eat more of something else without me getting bloated. But I discovered the incredibleness that is quinoa, and now I just can’t get it out of my mind.
Similar to rice, you can cook it in the steamer, get a ton of fiber out of it, stay full for hours, and it’s SO plain, you can mix it with just about anything that you want. Why I waited so long to be introduced to quinoa, I don’t know. But I love it, and I’m not turning back.
Since I’ve been focusing more on the budget the past few months, even thought I’ve really wanted to sign up for races right and left, I’ve kind of held back, and as a result, I’m only signed up for Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh, and I’m so itching to sign up for something in order for me to keep my motivation and my fitness up throughout 2015.
So here are the options I’m looking at.
Rock ‘n’ Roll DC
I did this race, and since I stayed at the Westin, I ran into some cool-ass people like Carrie Keagan, who used to host Big Morning Buzz on VH1. Still one of my favorite races, except for the killer hill at mile 6.
North Face Endurance Challenge
Since reading Dean Karnazes’ books, I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of ultra marathons (any marathon over 26.2 miles). The idea makes my husband really really nervous, but I’m thinking about doing it just to see what I can do. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing one of these things.
Marine Corps isn’t open, but the lottery opens in March. Which means that if I got in, I would have to train throughout the summer. In North Carolina. Kinda blah, but I hear the race is absolutely awesome. I also did training with a friend end of last summer, and I forgot that I don’t completely hate running long. I just hate the heat kinda.
So this one is just sort of annoying. The past two years, I’ve done the Nike Women’s Half marathon, and love it. Nike canceled their DC event, and have yet to announce a spring event, leading me to believe there is no spring event. It sucks, because these races are definitely one of my top races, but it’s also a total first world problem, and I have clean water and a warm bed to lay my head down at night, so no complaints. Well, not that many.
So those races are on my radar for the year. Any races/events you’re looking forward to signing up for to keep you motivated?
So this past weekend (don’t you dare ask me what took so long to post this), I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC. This post is going to be split up into two posts, one for the race itself and the prep leading up to it, because I don’t want your brain to explode from how awesome all of the deets are. But they are awesome.
Okay, so I drove up to DC last Friday night, and arrived to my place in Georgetown, which, luckily was right down the street from Niketown Georgetown. As SOON as I got settled into my spot, I changed into some running clothes, and made the quick run down to Niketown to see the set up for the expo.
Thanks to insomnia that night, I really didn’t sleep that well (think like 3 hours), and I headed down to the expo super early so I wouldn’t be caught in the shitshow that was the expo last year. The lines were really too nuts for me last year, and I really don’t do that well around all those people in the sun.
I meet up with these beauties for the #runnerslove meetup at Sprinkles in Georgetown after, and unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling great, so I skipped the cupcakes and went for a coke instead to try to settle whatever was going on with my stomach. I will forever be known as “bike girl” in that group because I rode my bike down to the cupcake shop, and had to tote that thang around while we tromped around Georgetown.
I could not eat any of these. How cruel is this world!
We determined this might have been this easiest way to eat the cupcake without making a mess.
Here were all of the beautiful bloggers getting to work. They were a BLAST. A blast, I tell you.
The girls lead me to this amazing spot where I snagged some new bracelets to jingle and jangle my rest of the way through the night…
And finally, we arrived to race day. (Don’t worry, I will fill you in on the rest of the amazing things we did in DC, including this insane hotel I stayed in next post, to come tomorrow 🙂 )
Race morning, I woke up around 4:45, and jumped in the shower, since I wasn’t really feeling well enough to do it the night before. I ate half of a nasty-ass bagel that I found at CVS, and made my way down to the Foggy Bottom metro station and road down to the start line. Once I was there, I tucked my skinny behind in a corner, and called Austin, and observed people, because pre-race chatter makes me really nuts and nervous. And about 15 minutes from the start, I made my way into my corral.
**I must have been smoking crack when I estimated my finish time because even though I finished in just a smidgen over 2 hours, I was in the 10:30 pace group, which proved to be so wrong, because I spent far too long in the race bobbing and weaving and trying to work my way up. DO NOT underestimate yourself.**
And with that, off we went.
I cruised. I cruised, I cruised, and I cruised some more. I ran, I talked to people. I read the signs. At one point, when I was running back through the tunnel, a drummer hit on me by grabbing my arm, and I have to say, it was an awesome race.
This handsome mane delivered me my Tiffany’s.
My new boyfriends.
The race in review?
Seriously, none. I have nothing bad to say about this race.
The Whole Foods chocolate table at mile like 11, staffed by women giving out chocolate.
The course. Tons of entertainment, and tons of people came out.
The swag. A Tiffany’s necklace, water bottles, Luna Bars, Nuun along the course
The friends and family station done by alphabet, where we could easily meet up with our friends and family?
The race was sick.
Anyone else out there do this race? What did you love?
I’m staying at the nicest hotel ever ever ever, and WiFi isn’t free in the room, so I grabbed a glass of overpriced white wine, and I popped a squat in the lobby to read some blogs, do some commenting, and observe all the drunky monkies as they come in from their nights out. I’m not judging them. That hard. ::evil laughter::
Okay, so I’m staying in the hotel, by my lonesome, taking a much needed “break”.
And by break, I really mean that I’m blogging a bunch, catching up on some wedding stuff, and running a half marathon. But I get to do it all while sleeping in a very very comfortable bed and watching Bravo without any cats parking on my face like one of them did last night. Anyone want a free cat, I’m bout sick of that little orange one I adopted last year….(JK freaks!)
So first thing I did, after I wrangled my bags into my room, was to do a super fast run down to Niketown to check out the name wall that they do. Last year, my friggin name was on this split, so I was Cherisse no-last-name-til-the-next-line, and this year, by the grace of God, I’m Cheri full-last-name! Eep! The run felt good, was really short, and was flat. I plan to do the same tomorrow morning, wake up really really early and get down there to get my packet, then return here to do a little more work. I love it here. 🙂
Austin, his sister, and I went to the best sushi place in all of Raleigh for dinner to celebrate his sister’s almost-last class in her rotation at Pharmacy school. She’s really cool, and noted this really odd couple at the bar – an older gentleman and a younger girl, maybe my age. They flat-out refused to be normal and made out for like 70% of the night, making everyone on the bar side of Sushi Blues uncomfortable. Cool….
Anyhoo, despite shattering my thumb into 10,000 pieces, I’ve been a able to at least keep up with my runs for the Nike Women’s Half this weekend, and got a run in some friggin beautiful weather in prep for the big race.
I’m so excited for the Nike Women’s Half for a few reasons. One, having a race to run motivates me to keep up with my running and my fitness. I work out a ton in real life, but having something to work toward, imagining cruising and ticking off miles on Sunday morning is what has kept me going over the last few weeks. It’s cool because I get to do it with a million (okay, closer to 15,000) other women, I get to meet other bloggers in a meet-up on Saturday morning before the race :), and I get to spend time in the city that I really am in love with.
So now that I’ve blathered on and on about what my plans are for my weekend in DC, what are you looking forward to this weekend?
I cannot believe that we’re approaching the end of the year. I don’t know where the year went, but I feel so hashtag blessed that I’m still here. It has been an absolutely beautiful year. I’ve experienced a ton – good and bad, but I’m excited to see what 2014 in store for me and my family.
I stole this fun idea to sum up my year of running from Miss Zippy, and I encourage you guys to go ahead and steal it from me now! I’m nosy as hell, so I’d really like to know about your year – and I’ll post this to my Facebook status so some of you guys can play, and I’ll pull some of your comments into my blog.
What was your:
Best race experience? Hands down, my best race experience this year was the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, which I blogged about back in April. The race itself was awesome. The weather was beautiful, the terrain was flat, and it was just incredibly well-organized, and I feel super lucky, because for the second year in a row, I won my lottery entrance into the race. Eep! Additionally, I am so enamored of Washington, D.C., and spending the weekend there with good friends made the weekend super duper enjoyable. Now I hope this year my ENTIRE name makes it onto the wall of race participant names they plaster the street with in Georgetown. ‘Member this?
Best run? I need to choose a few. One of my best runs was in Asheville, the weekend of Alexa’s bacherlorette party up in Asheville….
And this view of the river we stayed along…
And I’d have to say my second favorite best run was a run I did with my brother the day after Thanksgiving a few weeks ago. It was just fun to work out with a member of my family who kicked my butt. It’s also so nice to talk to that kid, who’s really impressed me with how he’s matured in the past year. Kid gets up at 3:45 to go to swim practice, and still manages to make it to school each day. Like – bye. Amazing.
Best new piece of gear? Geez, that’s hard. I have a lot of good stuff. But I think my favorite piece that I’ve acquired this year would either be my Glycerin 11s, cause that shoe update was so sweet, or this purple Moving Comfort full-zip that work gave us at the company holiday party. I have a problem staying warm, so the fact this jacket can stand up to some of the ungodly temps we’ve had lately around here in the mornings says a lot to me.
Best piece of running advice you received? Put one foot in front of the other. A co-worker told me this as I was training for Shamrock in March, and that’s really all you can do, in racing, and in life. When a race becomes challenging or miserable, you have to tell yourself to place one foot in front of the other. There’s simply not another option.
Most inspirational runner? I cannot pick just one, because working with runners, I am so inspired by my coworkers. Jenny, who I ran Shamrock with, was a mother, a wife, and still found time to run that full with me. Kerri teachers a full yoga course load, works, and trained hard and well enough to qualify for Boston. Kerry runs a big race a month. Fast. Shelly is pregnant and still running. I could go on and on and on, but you get it. My coworkers rock, and when I don’t feel like working at my running, I think of them, and I usually can muster up enough to get moving.
If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Be present. Don’t let worry or anxiety steal your happiness.
Now it’s your turn – fill me in in the comments, on your blog, on my Facebook, or Tweet me little tidbits!
Yesterday, I was scrambling to find a dress for Thursday night’s Jingle Ball, a Ball in Raleigh where the requirements to enter are an unwrapped toy and your black tie finest. I ended up ordering one on ModCloth, and when I went to check my bank statement, I nioticed a charge from Nike, for the low low price of $180 some-odd dollars, which only means one thing!
For the second year in a row, I have been accepted to the Nike Women’s Half! And this year, I’m hoping to be well under 2 hours. Yay for some motivation to actually run in this frigid weather!
I need to give Nike, the Nike Women’s Marathon, and the Half in DC some mad mad props. So, as we crossed the finish line on Pennsylvania Ave, some handsome young men in tuxedos (tuxedos!) handed us our finishers medals, which were those little Tiffany tags. We moved through a little further into a super efficient system for us to pick up our finisher’s tees. And the coolest part? All the vendors that had been crammed into that tiny, miserable expo the day before? Were set up on this big open park. Women were getting $10 Paul Mitchell haircuts, which was pretty brillz considering all of our hairs were jacked up from running around for 13 miles. Nuun was assisting us to slam some Nuun shots to re-hydrate and re-electrolyte. And the absolute best part was bareMinerals was set up out there. So I have this disgusting thing that happens where I’ve got salt that cakes on my face after I run. So this wonderful woman at the bareMinerals tent gave me two pouches of face wash, and lotion, and I was able to wash my face, moisturize, and continue looking as sexy as Beyonce as I continued to find friends who were completing the race. I’ve never ran a race that was so intentionally thought out, and once again, if you can snag a lottery spot in one of these races, I so encourage you to do so. They won’t disappoint!
I’ve been living in my car (my new car!) for like the past week. Not like literally, I still have a beautiful little apartment downtown, but I’ve been riding around like a nutjob for days and days. To the point where I actually thought listening to Rush Limbaugh might be an interesting change of pace. UGH WRONG GURL. First I headed home. Then to Winston to take care of some bidness. And finally, I made the 4-hour trek to Washington, DC, and began my weekend. We did a bunch of un-Nike-related things, some of which included eating my weight in delicious food, losing house-keys in a cab, and participating in a super cool Lupus Walk on Saturday morning.
As a side note, I’m completely, madly, deeply in love with Washington, DC. I live in Raleigh. I’ve had a rough relationship with Raleigh. Story time! I moved here for a guy (and for graduate school). The relationship ended disastrously, and here I was, sort of stuck in a city where I knew no one. So my solution was to take a job in Pennsylvania, attempt to transfer to Pitt to finish my graduate studies, and move on with my life. But my mom, whom I typically don’t listen to (do us kids ever listen?), encouraged me to stick it out. “You can’t run away from your problems. Everywhere I go, there I am. Do you know what that means?” Ugh. She was right. So I came back. Made a few more friends, and began to find my place here. I still have days where I’m not sure about the city, where I’m not sure if I fit it in. The loudness of New York never left me. I teach Zumba. I speak like Hilary Banks, but I wear my locs long and natural. I think I confuse people. So I’m just not sure. So you can imagine my heartbeat going a-flutter when I came to a city where the black girls look like me. Wear bright colors and long Senegalese twists. They ride bikes. They love dogs. Everyone runs. I love it!
So Saturday afternoon, we metroed and hoofed over to Georgetown, where packet pickup was held. The line? Let’s not talk about it. But it moved quickly and pretty smoothly. The expo, held in a tent in Georgetown, could have been super cool, but it was hot, and I don’t do well in small, hot, ill-ventilated tents with everyones breath just like, combining in the same space. I find that absolutely foul, and I think it could have been done better, and in a bigger space. But everything else? Cool as heck.
Nike erected this like, street-length billboard with all of our names on it. So 15,000 women’s names were plastered in Georgetown, and my name was one of them. Super cool to see. And it was doubly cool to see a bunch of women with a smile of their faces. Score 1 for Nike for making us feel special.
Race day. I metroed down to Pennsylvania Avenue, where the start line was. Pre-race chatter makes me nervous, so I put my headphones in, and listened to Gustavo Lima sing me a “Balada” while women buzzed around me, scrambling to get into their pace groups. The way pace groups were done was pretty sweet too. We were identified by these colored bracelets which identified our pace, and getting into corrals was super smooth. I glided into my pace group, and hunkered down to start to run for a long time. My first bought of tears during the race? When the National Anthem was sung. I’m not a stupid emotional idiot either, I saw other women beginning to tear up. It was sung beautifully, and it was a lot of our first races since Boston. We felt…united? The race started. And I became emotional again when I realized the coolness, and the gravity of 15,000 women (and a few guys), running down the streets of the District, with the Capitol building as a backdrop. As we ran, Nike had organized cool bands. A go-go band in the tunnel. Marching bands. A Chinese New Year Themed parade. Beautiful, inspirational signs. A river. It was so beautiful that I marveled a number of times at how lucky I’d been to get into the lottery for this race. And I could not stop smiling.
Here’s where I screwed up, though. I’d wanted to do well in the race, even though I’d lied and told everyone I was just going to take this one nice and easy. I’m competitive by nature, and I’m not sure why I said that. But in my head, I wanted to break 2 hours. So I’d assumed that this race would be like a small-town race, just like how it was in Raleigh. But 15,000 women and 1,200 are totally different. And my plan to start at the back of my pace group and work my way up was a profoundly stupid one. After 3 slow miles, I realized that I’d have to do some work to make it to the finish line in under two hours. So I had to push. And push. And push some more to continue hitting under 9 minute miles to make it to that finish line. So I talked myself through about 10 super fast miles. I told myself I could eat Nutella. I told myself I could go to the medical tent and get hydrated. I told myself I could eat bread. I told myself that people were counting on me. And I did it. 1:59:57, with my fastest mile being a 7:36 around mile 12, when I saw a clock and got a little nervous that I wouldn’t make it. I’m sore as heck from running like I stole things.
My final verdict on the Nike Women’s Half Marathon? Worth it. A stellar race. My only complaint is that the expo was in a frighteningly small space. It was gross in there. But women. The weather. The scenery. The history of DC just existing all around us? Pure magic. So….
GURRRRLL let me tell you.
And are you wondering what 15,000 beautiful women look like?