Things have been a little crazy at our house this week. We had a lot going on last weekend, holiday parties and such, and on Monday morning, we found out that Austin’s grandmother isn’t doing well. It’s worst for Austin’s mother, and we’re making plans to do some travel between Charlotte, Florence, and here over the next few weeks.
On Sunday, I was in a really weird mood, and after laying on the couch for a while, I decided to take myself for a really really short trail run so I could reset my horrible mood.
As I was running, and picking my feet up over roots and leaping over a teeny stream that ran through the trail, I glanced down at my watch and noted that the first mile had taken me over 11 minutes.
“Why are trail miles so slow,” I thought to myself.
There’s the obvious answer. Trail miles are more technical. You’re not running on a treadmill or down a greenway. There’s deer, tree roots, rocks, and branches. Falling during a trail run is not at all uncommon.
And then I looked up at the leaves falling from the trees.
Maybe trail running is so slow because you’re supposed to notice the thing around you.
Maybe trail running is this huge symbol for life.
It’s hard. It’s hard on your body. It can be hard on your mind. There is stuff in your way. Rocks, roots. A straight-up body of water. I’ve tripped and fallen down. Hard. But maybe that crap is all there to slow you down so that you can remember to look up and around and appreciate the things that don’t suck about the run.
Or maybe I’m a dumb dumb and just feeling really corny since Christmas is this week.
What is your favorite gift you’ll be giving this week?
It started a few days ago, when a nude picture of Amy Schumer started circulating around the internet.
One of my initial thoughts upon seeing the picture was, “that is not flattering at all. Just, why?”
I immediately hated myself for thinking that, and tried to pretend, every time I saw the picture circulated again, that I didn’t think that the photo was unflattering, or that I’d be too embarrassed to let the world see my tummy rolls. But it sat in the back of my head.
I fought with myself over that picture.
And then, the other day, when I was at a pretty rigorous training, I spied a tall woman wearing a bright pair of leggings. I immediately checked out her bum, because that’s what I do, and was less-than-impressed. I sent a snarky comment about the leggings and the bum to the group chat, and put my phone away.
Thank God for good friends.
I thought the comment was sort of funny, and the others would share in my laugh, but instead, a friend of mine in the chat pointed out to me that not only was what I said unkind, but that the comment made her question what sort of things I might be saying about her and her body.
I was a little blown – of course, she had to understand the comment was meant to be funny, right?
But was it?
And 30 seconds into me trying to rationalize my wretched comment, I realized that she was completely correct, and that I’d made a mistake. A big, mean, nasty mistake.
The woman’s leggings were not affecting me in the least. They didn’t take away from my workout. Her body was a strong, healthy, functioning body. So why, oh why, for the love of all things holy, had I felt the need to snark?
Because I don’t always feel 100% about myself, and I was picking apart in her, the things I don’t love about myself.
I’m preoccupied with my stomach – it’s the first place my body will let me know that I’ve gained weight, and I feel like I’m the only woman in the world who gets the donut when she’s wearing a bikini and bends over. (I know, in theory I’m not, but stay with me). My butt has grown since I’ve started lifting heavier. Though I’m tall and thin, sort of that ecotmorphic shape, I have wild stretch marks on my thighs that have been there so long that I almost don’t notice them any more. My boobs are bigger than I’d like, and I take care to hide them – I was actually (very kindly) told by a photographer for the Y recently to put my boobs away when they’d escaped my top.
And THIS is why I pick other women apart. Because, in a really fucked-up way, I pick myself apart, and when other’s don’t abide by my rules of what’s flattering or what’s sexy, I can’t handle it.
And that’s not right.
I’ll conclude by saying I’m disturbed by my behavior, but that I know I can be better, I know I can change my thinking, and I plan on starting like yesterday. And in making a pure, concerted effort not to pick part the bodies of others, I will start to forget those little things about myself that are, in my mind, less-than-perfect.
I wanted to quickly say hey to you guys. I am in Reston, VA at the DCAC Fitness Conference, and I’m having an absolutely amazing time.
For those of you guys who don’t know, a fitness conference is when fitness pros converge on an area, and we spend a weekend taking classes and learning from master presenters. The goal is to learn, as well as to get some continuing education credits toward our certifications.
I drove up to Reston on Thursday night, and I was really anxious. Even though I can be extremely extroverted, I have trouble coming into a situation where I know no one, and my anxious mind was concerned that the whole weekend would suck, or I wouldn’t know where to go or embarrass myself, or whatever. Well, I monitored the doors yesterday for the conference, and today, I have had a wonderful opportunity to take some classes, and the conference so far has not disappointed.
I took or observed a Barre(less) class, Pound, but, but my favorite of the classes (so far) was a Martial Fusion Kickboxing Cardio Burn.
Here are a few snaps from the weekend so far!
This has been my (incredibly active) weekend so far! What have you been up to this weekend?
I don’t know a whole lot about Chicago. Yoga Kerri, who used to make an appearance on this blog every now and again before she moved to Cali lived there for a time. And I met one of my favorite camp friends, Lindsay, who came from Chicago to grace us with her presence. We spent an entire summer not really showering and talking about how much fiber our favorite meals contained. Both good.
So it seemed like sort of a no-brainer to apply for the Chicago Marathon, especially given the fact that as soon as I got into Marine Corps, we got a save-the-date for a wedding that we really couldn’t miss. So MCM was out (and I’m trying to unload that bib if you’re into it), and Chicago was in. Tuesday morning, when we were due to hear about our status in the lottery, I checked my email nonstop, refreshing it by swiping it down on my phone with no results. I checked Twitter and saw the tweets trickling in, that some folks had gotten their results. I sort of assumed (annoyingly) that I hand’t gotten in, but found out later by way of a tweet that the approvals were being made on a rolling basis.
Anyhoo, so I got tired of waiting, and logged into the Athlete Center, and right on top was a banner with the word “Approved” along the top! I sort of waited to say anything, especially given that that protests in Baltimore were still full-swing, and I didn’t want to come of insensitively. But this came later…
…And just like that, I’m running one of the major marathons in October.
I’m pumped. A little nervous. Already got my training plan together. And taking extreme measures to make sure that we can get my knee back to working order, to where it’s not so stiff.
Have you ever been to Chicago? What should I do while I’m there?
I ran my first marathon 2 ish years ago in Virginia Beach on a cold, rather blustery day. I know what my experience was like, but much like childbirth, you sort of forgot what the actual day is like, and you romanticize the idea of a marathon, only remembering the feeling of crossing the finish line and smiling a lot for pictures while you hold up your medal. Or, as it were in my case, bawling like a baby whilst your husband snapped pictures of your blotchy face.
I thought it was important to talk about Rock ‘n’ Roll through the eyes of someone who’d just done it, and had just done it for the first time. So without any further blathering on, here is my amazing friend, Liz!
Liz is in the pink in the middle, just after completing 26.2 miles in 4:45:06, which was her GOAL!!!
Introduce yourself! Name, how do you know me, and what do you do! Hello!My name is Liz Passannante, I am 25 years old and currently live in New York City. Cheri and I go way back to my freshman year of college when I joined her a cappella group Twisted Measure and we’ve been friends ever since. I work in HR for a consulting firm in NYC, and have been dabbling in running for a few years now.
Liz caught my attention during her audition. She was really cute, fearless, and admitted to fully appreciating Nicole Richie at the audition. I was hooked then!
What made you decide to sign up for a marathon? What running had you done leading up to it? I decided to register for the Raleigh RNR Marathon kind of on a whim – I had run a few half marathons and always felt the ultimate goal would be to run a marathon. I started running after college when I signed up for the More Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon in Central Park. It was really a life-changing day – that race is still my favorite to run. I always hated running in high school and college, but found myself wanting to stay active after I stopped playing sports. Enter running! This past October I really just kind of decided to go for it – I registered and set off on my training plan!
Tell me about your training process? Since it was a spring race, I know you had to do some winter running/possibly modify your training? What did that entail for you? I started running regularly again in November 2014 to build up a baseline before launching into the training program. I started really increasing my mileage in January, just in time for one of the snowiest winter’s we’ve had in recent history. I think the biggest trick with Winter running is to prepare, prepare, prepare before long runs. I would make lists for myself of everything I needed, and it took a few tries to get it right. I usually pushed back the start time of my runs until about noon or 1PM so I could hit the warmest part of the day. On the coldest days I would wear 2 pairs of tights, a thermal layer, my winter running jacket, a neckwarmer, earwarmers and gloves.Keeping all that gear in one place was surprisingly difficult (ex: a few times I left gloves or my watch at work, and would have to swing by the office on my way to the park). I also don’t have a washer/dryer in my building, so it was also a task keeping everything clearn! I did some of my shorter runs indoors, both by booking gym time on ClassPass (best thing ever) or by attending classes at Mile High Run Club (<<<so much fun). My most memorable run was probably when I ran in 8 degree weather in Vermont on a ski weekend – FUN!!! Overall though, I was usually able to find one day of the weekend where it was bearable.
Why did you choose the race that you chose? I chose the Raleigh RNR for a few reasons. 1) It’s always been a goal of mine to run the NY Marathon, and I was advised to run one marathon before tackling New York so that when the time came I could really enjoy the experience of the NY Marathon. I think looking back that was smart – I have a much better idea of how to train and what to expect, and now am genuinely looking forward to when I will (hopefully) get to run that race! No first time race jitters there. 2) I wanted to run a race where I was close to my family, both because I like spending time with them and because logistically it made things much easier. My mom took me to the expo, the starting line and we had an awesome lunch all together after the race. It would have felt lonely without them, and seeing them along the course was such a great motivation. Race day would have been way less fun without them – my sister even hopped in for the last stretch which was a really cool memory for me.
Okay, race day. What were you jittery about? Looking forward to? I think I was most anxious about 1) hitting “the wall,” and 2) not being able to keep up with the pace group. I think I can say pretty confidently that I did not hit “the wall.” As Cheri can attest, there were a few times especially towards the end where I needed to walk, but I was for the most part able to push through. I definitely didn’t feel like I was going to die or anything (although I probably said it LOL). I also for the most part was able to keep up with the pacers, which is good for me because they were amazing. They were so so helpful, and I knew that staying with them for as long as possible would be key to me hitting my goal. I lost them a little during the last mile, but I think I ended up finishing only 2-3 minutes behind them?
Talk to me about your nutrition leading up to/on race day? I kept things pretty normal leading up to race day. I didn’t drink for the majority of the 2 weeks leading up to the race but that was mostly to make sure I was well hydrated. The night before I ate some delicious gluten free pasta, and the morning of I had a luna bar, hot tea and water. During the race I used 2 flavors of Gu: Tri-Berry and Jet Blackberry (delicious). The plan was to take them at 3, 10, 15 and 20. I ended up taking one at 19 because I started feeling tired and I felt like I wanted to get ahead of any potential crash.
Talk to me about the race. What time did you wake up? Talk to me about your outfit (silly, important tho!). Talk to me about the day. How long did you feel good for? When did you start to feel rough (if you did at all)? Did you run with pacers? What factored into your decision to use/not utilize a pacer? Race day I woke up at 4:20AM because we needed to be out the door at 4:40. I tried to pick clothes that I had run in many times before, but it was hard because I’ve been training in cold weather and race day was warm! I wish I could have worn shorts, but it was just risky because I hadn’t trained in them and the last thing I needed was some type of wardrobe malfunction. I honestly felt great up to mile 18. I feel like I looked up and we were at mile 13, and then again at 17 when Cheri joined. At 18-20 I started thinking to myself “this is getting really hard” but overall the race flew by. I could not believe when I crossed the finish line. As I mentioned above I did run with pacers and am so glad I did. I wanted to stay with them for majority of the race because I felt like I would probably really benefit from having a group later in the race. I was confident in my ability to push myself through 20, but felt like having the extra motivation during the last 6 miles could be helpful. It was such a lifesaver. = The pacers were truly amazing – they had an altitude specific pace plan and they did such a great job telling us when we should bank time or when we could dial back and take a rest. I definitely lost them a bit on the last mile but really feel like I was able to stay on target due to their help.
And finally, what’s your takeaway from this experience? Would you/will you do this again? I had such an amazing experience training for and running my first marathon, and I would totally do it all over again (and hope to this fall for the NY Marathon!) I was initially dreading the training process but by the end I really enjoyed it overall. The hardest part surprisingly was fitting in runs during the week – I weirdly started looking forward to my long runs and feel like I don’t know what to do with all of my free time now that my weekends aren’t going to be dominated by training! My key takeaway – if you want to run a race, any length, just go for it! I hated running in high school (ask my parents). When my field hockey coach made us run 3 miles I thought it was the hardest thing in the world. Little by little I trained, improved and learned how to enjoy myself! I also need to give credit to you, Cheri Armour Samples, because you definitely have inspired me to run races far beyond what I believed I was capable of doing (hello, marathon). My race day was so fun and you were such a huge help to me – thank you!!!
And that’s it! An extremely well-prepared marathon first-timer!
So my weekend started long, long before Friday at 5pm.
Tuesday evening, I stayed up until 2 am, getting my ducks in a row for work because Wednesday morning, bright and early, we were headed out for our Annual Director’s Retreat at work. The day kicked off with a scavenger hunt downtown, and then we boarded an activity bus for Lake Gaston in North Carolina.
The home we stayed in was beautiful, and the first thing I did when we got there was hop on a paddleboard, and paddle around the lake, despite the fact that I haven’t really done it before. But I’ve seen it done a ton in the tabloids, so I picked it up pretty quickly.
Because I’m still fairly new in this position (I’m only about a year old), I often feel guilty about taking time away from my computer and my email, but it was so nice to spend time sleeping, running, and paddling around the lake, without my phone going off, or without someone walking into my office with a problem that needed to be fixed then and there.
While I was there, relaxing, I continued to worry about my knee and hip. I was resting (somewhat), taking a ton of Aleve, and hydrating, but some residual knee pain from this bad boy…
…which resulted in a fracture, some crutches, and some physical therapy, started to creep back. After I talked to my friend Google, and then the Physical Therapist, she told me it was most likely that I had a small tear in my right meniscus, and that I needed about two weeks of swimming, cycling, foam rolling, Aleve, and that the tear should take car of itself.
And there went my plans for a marathon.
I was a little disappointed, but relieved that I wasn’t making the pain up in my head.
I was able to pull out some of the braces that Dr. Miller gave me when I was on crutches, healing that fracture, and make use of them for the first time in years. But I made the decision then that I would meet a friend who was running her first full on Sunday, and pace her for a few miles, and that was that!
After working the expo for a few hours on Friday and Saturday, I convinced my hubby to take me to this new place in Raleigh, Pho Pho Pho, since I’d been looking for pho nonstop since I had it from Whole Foods a few years ago, and hadn’t had a great bowl since. It was AWESOME, and I was served enough to save some for lunch on Sunday after the race!
The night before the race, I was able to sign up for text tracking for my friend Liz, who was running her first full in Raleigh. When I got the text that she had passed the 13.1 mile marker, I started getting myself together, and walked down the street from my house, which was right between miles 16 and 17. I spotted her, and we headed out. My hip felt okay, and knee felt good, so my plan to just run a few miles turned into 5, which turned into 10ish. Oops! But I got to see my friend through her first finish line, and she finished her first marathon with an impressive 4:45 time, which was her goal! And I got to test out my legs before going into a two-week break, which is supposed to fix me up. Cross your fingers for me!
I had a nutty weekend. What did you do this weekend!
I did! Let’s lay it out right here in the beginning – I PR’ed at a half marathon on Sunday with a time of 1:55:40, at an average pace of 8:55 minutes per mile. Whew!
I can honestly say today that I am sore and hurting today. But more on that in a minute.
So I started the busy weekend off by heading over to Fleet Feet Raleigh, and working on Saturday, which I do from time to help them out. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that I get to be around a bunch of running stuff and running people. You really ARE the company you keep – it’s nice to be around a bunch of runners and not feel crazy once in a while.
So after my shift at FF, I headed out to Holden, where I spent the night with some friends. I was really paranoid about oversleeping the race, so I figured if I was with three other people who were running the race, it was nearly impossible to oversleep, right?
The Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon
The only thing I knew about this race was that it was flat. Previously, I had run one beach race before, the Shamrock Marathon, and it was a good experience, however, because it was at the beach in March, the weather was chilly and very windy. I was a little concerned that the same would happen this time because in the days leading up to the race, the weather app was looking pretty bad. Bad enough that I had to borrow some rain jackets from some of the staff at Fleet Feet.
So anyhoo, the morning of the race dawned….early. We had to wake up around 4:30am to drive to the shopping complex at the center of everything, and take a shuttle to the start, where we could run back to the center. It was warm-ish, like 51 degrees, and we headed out to the start on a trolley.
There were *ahem* facilities as far as the eye could see when we arrived, and I was able to quickly use the restroom before we started.
The race was flat, and the air was still. Because of how humid it was, I didn’t listen to music, and instead thought…a LOT since the humid air was causing my earbuds were slipping.
After the first mile, I looked down and noted that I was running a little fast. In the 8:20s. I tried to will myself to slow down, but kept things between the 8:30 mark and the 9:00 mark. It hurt – the course was really flat, and with the same muscles firing over and over, my quads and hips started to ache early on. Once I passed the halfway mark, and saw that I was holding that pace pretty steadily, I decided to push on for the following 6.5 miles, and held in there.
I quite obviously chugged a beer at mile 12.5ish, then pressed on to the finish, where I swung around to meet my friends. There was a beer stand, massages, pizza (not for me after a race), and most importantly, places to sit after the race!
The race was good, ran smoothly. Unlike Tobacco Road, there wasn’t the profound congestion on the trail, so there was no need to bob and weave and waste energy throughout the race. Water stops were frequent, and were FUN. My favorite water stop was the ECU stop (they don’t call it a party school for nothing), where they’d rolled out a camper and blasted music for us to enjoy.
I’m sore. I’m happy. And I think I would do that race again.
I’m sitting on my couch, nursing a beer, and alternately foam rolling my hips (which ALWAYS like to act up when I run long). I’m just smiling when I think back on today.
So I sort of sprang it on you guys last minute, that I was running the Tobacco Road Half Marathon. Quite honestly, I knew I wanted to (and needed to run), but I didn’t even sign up until the very last minute – in part due to the fact that I’m being tight-fisted with cash (I just bought a new car cash), and part because I was just nervous.
So Saturday night, after working most of the day at Fleet Feet Raleigh (which is so damned nice once in a while), I went home, watched TV, and made dinner, fully prepped to take it easy the night before the half. Since Austin wasn’t at home, I did my usual, and started to fall asleep on the couch to a movie, then moved to to boudoir when I woke up around 11:30 or so on the couch.
[Side note: I finally watched Think Like a Lady, Act Like a Man. It was not horrid as I assumed it would be. It was kinda cute, even though that title is problamatic.]
I set my alarm(s) for 4:15, 4:20, 4:30, and 4:40 am, in order to jump in the shower, put a little mascara on, and make sure I had everything I needed together for the race. I figured that wasn’t overkill, and went to sleep, only waking up to say hey to my boo when he got home, and then again when I got a phone call from some friends who were out for St. Patrick’s Day, drinking green beer.
What happened next is straight out of a dark comedy.
I don’t remember my alarms going off. All I know is that I woke up around 5:40, a text came from one of my girls at 5:43ish, and that the race was supposed to start at 7am. This meant I had about 20 minutes to jump in my car, get on the shuttle, get to the start line. My husband, the calming force that he is, remained so sweet.
“Do you want me to drive you? Do I need to get dressed now?”
I was determined. I hopped in the Kia, drove to parking (which I was so late that I didn’t have to pay for), and managed to make it onto the shuttle with two other late people, and do the start line with a few minutes to spare before the start.
I didn’t want to be rude, so though I started way in the back, I only managed to make it up to the 2:30 half marathon pace group, and decided to stay put so I didn’t push folks who’d actually gotten there on time. It wasn’t their fault I was running late, so it’s me who needed to suck it up and expend the extra energy once we started running, to make my way to be up with my group. The weather was nice enough that I only needed a light half-zip, and I noted that this was one of the first races that I didn’t feel like I was dying of hypothermia and shivering at the start.
Off we went!
I trotted along, slowly making my way up, up, up, closer to my pace of about 2 hours. The race was relatively flat, and as I trotted along, listening to my playlist, I saw a few people that I knew. I was feeling good! Still, I worked my way up, and started to settle into an about 9-minute/mile pace.
As you’ll remember, I’ve had stomach issues, so I was a little worried about what that would mean for the day, but some of the girls at work let me try some Huma gel, a gel infused with Chia seeds for natural energy, and I popped one at about 4 miles, and again around 8 or 9, and I felt great – no stomach issues before, during, or even after the race, which has never happened to me.
I cruised along the flat trail pretty issue-free, until about mile 9, where I started to feel like I was getting over it, and I felt a little fatigue set in, and really had to push through for the next mile or so until I got back into the right headspace.
I finished, a few minutes later at about 2:03. Not a poor showing for the first race in a long time!
Here are some of the girls I met up with! I work with them all at Fleet Feet.
So my assessment of Tobacco Road was that it was awesome. The course was flat, weather was beautiful, and I would honestly not change anything about it. I would do the race again to see if I could improve my time (which I’m hoping to do with some speed work), and if I had some friends doing it with me again.
What did you do to enjoy the gorgeous weather this weekend?
I ran a half marathon and kissed on my hubby a lot 🙂
Want to hear something that really made me laugh hard yesterday?
This is so so rude, but I was at home sort of in the middle of the day because I’m on duty Thursday nights, and I was sending some emails and such, and listening to E! in the background, when I realized that they were playing all the episodes of KUWTK involving Kris Humphries in Bora Bora. Now the reason why this is so good and so rude is because clearly, Kim is no longer married to Kris (they only made it 72 days, which Austin and I celebrated as our “Kardashian Anniversary”), and Kimmy was the biggest asshole she’s ever been during the Kris era.
Now this particular scenario was really exquisite because Kris tosses Kim into the ocean…
Causing her head to slam against the ocean’s surface and her to lose her $75k diamond earrings. Instead of being a logical human, Kim begins to whimper, then cry, as she runs to and fro on the dock. When she tells Kourtney whats happening, Kourtney responds by telling her…
It must also be noted that the earrings were insured, so the tears were just extra.
The Kris era also ushered in this gem.
Now, I won’t bore you all day with the wonderful things that KUWTK has brought to my life, but suffice it to say, that I was entertained for a full at least 5 minutes.
I haven’t talked about it much here because of my fear of looking like a complete idiot, but I’m racing for the first time in a while on and it scares the piss out of me. Here are my thoughts before a half marathon.
Water?I should hydrate. Yes, hydrate. Water. Now. Water, some tea, some seltzer, more water.
Speaking of water, I should prep my water plan for tomorrow. Where’s my hydration backpack?
I’m not sure what they’re gonna have on the course, let me make sure that I pack some gels. But gel makes my stomach hurt. Maybe I should ask the chicks at Fleet Feet when I work what I should do.
What shoes am I going to wear? I don’t think the Glycerin is doing it for me anymore.
What do I eat for dinner with only a smidgen of fiber so I don’t poo my pants tomorrow.
Speaking of pants, what am I going to wear? I should lay that out.
Do I have any Coke around for after the race? Shit. Shit.
Also, what am I going to eat for breakfast tomorrow?
And then, I commence to not sleeping, or sleeping fitfully all night whilst dreaming that I’ve overslept and missed my race.
How was your weekend? What do you worry about before a big race/event?