Epic Damned Post. #Werundc

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.   photo-1

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.

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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.


DSC_0450Here 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…

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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.

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photo 2-1This handsome mane delivered me my Tiffany’s.

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My blannnnng!

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My new boyfriends.

The race in review?

The bad?

Seriously, none.  I have nothing bad to say about this race.

The good?

Too much.

  • 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?  

Blogging from the Westin Lobby!

Not even kidding.

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!)

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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.  🙂

What are you doing on this gorgeous Saturday?  

My year of running. #runchat #run

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.

yearofrunning 225x300 How was your year of running?

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….

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And this view of the river we stayed along…
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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.

Moving Comfort

  • 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!

Never in my life have I been so excited to see a charge on my bank statement.

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!

Nike Women's Half


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!

Reader question!!

This one is an excellent question that I got from a reader a few weeks back, via Facebook.  And after getting this question, I had to wonder a lot of the same thing.

A reader sent me a question, via Facebook, that went a little something like this.

Hey lady!! Any good recommendations for plus sized workout clothes? Do any stores carry or is it all online? Have searched for days!!

Had I not worked in specialty retail, I would have never in my life even thought about how irritating it is to find workout clothing in “odd” sizes.  And your sizes aren’t “odd” to me, but retailers often act as though anything over a size 10 is an odd and unsellable size to stock on their shelves.  For me, even with my tiny heiny, I have to shove my tush into a size medium in most tights, because the smalls and the extra smalls make me look like a sausage.  So what’s a normal-sized girl to do, especially when she’s looking for workout clothes that will wick, won’t smell, and will dry quickly?  And I totally understand the not wanting to buy online, I HATE buying online only to realize the clothes make me look like a nurse. So what’s she to do?  Head to your local specialty retail store (A Fleet Feet works) and check out these brands that carry a range of sizes.

  • Moving Comfort.  The maker of the bras also makes flattering technical gear for running.  A lot of ruching, decent colors, and flattering cuts if you have anything you’d like to hide.  Moving Comfort is available in stores, as well as online.
  • Nike.  They make a decent selection of clothing for the curvy lady.  And they make them in super cute colors and cuts.  If you’re young, curvy, and you want to look your age, Nike is the way to go.  Available in stores, technical, and also can be purchased online once you kind of get in your mind what you want.
  • Skirt Sports.  Specifically designed for women, Skirt Sports has skirts, running dresses, and a number of other flattering items for women, and hosts a decent amount of larger sizes.  Can be found in store, as well as online.
  • Finally, if you’re looking to save a little cash, both Lane Bryant and Old Navy, have a performance line available online and in-stores.  But a word of caution.  Though you may be saving some of the cash, the fabric isn’t as technical and performance oriented as you may be looking for, and you may notice it wearing out a little funny, smelling, or causing a little bit of chafing.

Ladies, as you’re on your quest to look for active wear, it whatever size, remember to look for synthetic materials that wick, breathe, and flatter that sessy figure!  Good luck!

Cherisse, what am I supposed to wear when I run?

So this question came in, one sort of cold morning about a month ago from Mollie Cavanaugh.  If you’re new to running….if you’re sort of new to running.  If you’re not new, but you’re kind of broke, so you haven’t really looked into running stuff, you may have questions about what you’re supposed to wear.  On this particular day, Mollie had been running, and she was frustrated because she’d had to hold her pants up that were falling off her ass as she ran.  We’ve all been there.  The worst.  Feeling. Ever. 

So why do you need this fancy running stuff?  You’re more than welcome to run in your regs stuff.  Put on your cotton t-shirt.  Put on your like nasty hot sweatpants.  Put on your cheerleading shoes from like 7 years ago.  And run.  It’ll feel fine for like half a mile, and then you’re gonna be all “Ughhh, Cher, like, why do I have blisters everywhere?!  I hate running!”  So like, just listen to me and trust what I’m saying.  I’m not doing this post for my classic good looks.

Jingle Bell

So I’m gonna tell you what to wear so your pants don’t fall down and so you have a comfortable ride.

Top to bottom.  Peep the picture as your guide.

Antlers.  Sike.

Top.  Stop wearing those nasty cotton t-shirts you got for free during undergrad basketball games.  They’re the absolute worst.  Cotton is great for a dress.  Cotton is great for those swabs you use to take your nail polish off.  But for a shirt?  The shirt will get wet and stay wet.  And it will be heavy.  Opt for one of those tops made of a tech fabric.  They’re light, and they will wick moisture away from your skin.  If it’s cooler out?  Layer the fabrics.  But don’t do cotton.

Bra.  I’ve posted on bras before.  Just drop the $50 on a good bra, and don’t look back.  If you are rummaging around on the table at Target for a bra?  You’re in the wrong place.  The absolute last thing you need is for your boobs to be flopping around.  Stick with that good bra, and you can even prevent that droopy thing that starts to happen as we get a little older.

Undies.  Stay.  Away. From those like, disgusting cotton undies.  Buy some workout ones.  I’ve posted on this before.  Moving Comfort makes undies, full bikinis, and thongs.  If you can’t handle their steep price tag ($16 a pair can be nuts), Hanes even makes athletic underwears for about $10 for the 3.

Pantalones.  Again, stick to the techs.  Not everyone is comfy wearing the tight like I am.  Do you like shorts?  Do the shorts.  Do you like more of a fit and flare type look?  Nike makes that.  Choose what works for you. But again, skip the cotton.

Socks.  Synthetics.  I can’t stress it enough.  STOP.  Stop with the damn bags of cotton socks from Wal-Mart.  You’re not doing your toots any favors.  None.  You will bleed.

So here’s the thing.  The stuff gets expensive, so I’m gonna teach you a little trick.  Get your gear piecemeal.  And buy it out of season.  If your paycheck blows, buy one piece a check, and squirrel it away.  Before you know it, you will have what you need.  Running is seriously one of the most economic sports you can partake in, so you can ball on a budget with this sport.  Questions?  Put it in the comments 🙂

Demystifying the sneaker-guide.

Put down that Runner’s World sneaker guide.  Stop asking your friends on your Facebook status what shoe you should get.  And for the love of God, stop buying $45 shoes off of Amazon.  I’m going to make this really really super easy for you.

Go to a running specialty store.  Get a fitting.  Purchase your shoes.  (And a nice, synthetic sock).  And enjoy yourself.  Here’s why.

  • Some ridiculous percentage of you guys are wearing the wrong size shoes.  It’s not normal to get black and sore toenails.  It’s not normal to lose toenails  in a  race.  It’s also completely abnormal to have space enough by the heel collar for me to shove my fingers in the back of the shoe (which I totally saw at Niketown this weekend).  You’re supposed to go up a half to a full size from your dress shoe size, because when you run, and when you work out?  Your feet swell.  Go get measured.
  • Someone has convinced you you have flat feet/high arches/need some crazy custom orthotic.  Some of you guys have been told but an aunt since you were five you have some weird foot thing.  You buy your shoes based on this and you’re buying the wrong shoe.  Again, let a trained professional look at your foot and tell you what’s going on.
  • You’re not really saving much of anything when you buy a $56 shoe off amazon.  Or at DSW.  Or at Dick’s.  Firstly, running shoes are not the place to skimp on money.  Shoes really shouldn’t cost less than $100 If a shoe is that cheap, there’s probably any number of reasons for that.
    1. The shoe is an older model.  As in, it’s no longer manufactured.
    2. The shoe is a cheaper version of a real shoe.  The company has taken cushioning out of a good shoe, named it something else, and sold it.
    3. The shoe has been sitting in a warehouse for 3.5 years.  Shoes naturally begin to break down after a year, whether they’ve been worn or not.  You just paid money for a shoe that’s already worn out, and you’re risking injury.

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Running shoes are a science. They’re an art. They’re subjective. And using a sneaker guide, asking friends, or just buying the cheapest thing you can find at a Dick’s Sporting Goods is just doing your body, your feet, and your running future a huge disservice.  Go get a fitting.  Drop the $110 on a shoe.  And be your best running self (okay, werq Oprah!)

Oh my gosh! I almost forgot!

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!

We Run DC! The Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Review.

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.

This is one of my best friends, Scott. I stayed with him, and he showed me around beautiful DC.  I'm lucky to have a friend like him.
This is one of my best friends, Scott. I stayed with him, and he showed me around beautiful DC. I’m lucky to have a friend like him.

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!

This is the brunch spot we hit after the Lupus Walk.  The food was incredible.  I fear, if I ever moved to DC, I'd become 500 pounds.
This is the brunch spot we hit after the Lupus Walk. The food was incredible. I fear, if I ever moved to DC, I’d become 500 pounds.

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.

My name came riiiight at the end, so it was split in two pieces.  But Cherisse definitely ran!
My name came riiiight at the end, so it was split in two pieces. But Cherisse (my guh-ment name) definitely ran!

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….

What's our finishers gift?
What’s our finishers gift?

GURRRRLL let me tell you.

That's Tiffany babe.  They gave us a Tiffany necklace.  Handsome boys gave us a Tiffany necklace.
That’s Tiffany babe. They gave us a Tiffany necklace. Handsome boys gave us a Tiffany necklace.

And are you wondering what 15,000 beautiful women look like?

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True beauty. Ladies, you better WERQ.