It’s official…I’m addicted to quinoa.

It all started when I got a free quinoa bowl from Happy and Hale a few months back.

Photo via Bizjournal
Photo via Bizjournal

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.

2015 Events

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

P1160281I 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

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?


What I think about when I’m running.

Long, long ago, long before I even thought about my first marathon, a coworker causally mentioned that she was running a 17-mile training run.  Prior to me running marathons, and contemplating an Ultra (eep!), 17 miles sounded like an absolutely ridiculous amount of mileage.  So I asked her,

“What are you going to think about for 17 miles?”

I don’t remember her answer, but once I started running those distances, it became apparent that I had to start finding some things to think about while I was running.  So here it is, what I think about when I think about running. 

Austin captured this one close to the finish line.
Austin captured this one close to the finish line of City Of Oaks!
  • Prior to us getting married, I often thought about who would marry us. Neither of us was big in the church, and I worried that we wouldn’t be able to find anyone to do it. That fear was unfounded, because I found an amazing female officiant who was just what we needed, and provided us with a little bit of counseling before we got started.
  • “I wonder if I will be able to wear this bra again without washing it.”
  • I listen to a Podcast called “The Read“.  Do not, I repeat, do NOT listen to this podcast if profanity offends you, but I listen to it a lot on runs, and sometimes it makes me laugh out loud.  Then I think that anyone driving by in their cars might think I look like a lunatic because I’m laughing so hard that I’m falling off the sidewalk.
  • I think about my husband a lot.  Like what he’s doing, or if he might think that I look pretty while I’m running.
  • I think about why my thighs are chafing, especially in the summer when I forget my Aquaphor.
  • “I wonder why my stomach is hurting so badly. I hope I don’t have to stop at the Whole Foods (again) to….well…”
  • “Why are they so mean to the women in Mad Men? It’s kind of gross. And by kind of, I mean, really gross.”
  • “When will Justin Bieber/Rihanna/Ke$ha release more music.  I really like them!”
  • I imagine what it was like if I started touring with Little Mix.  I would be the lead singer (obviously).
  • I also imagine what it might be like if I opened my own coffee shop, called The Skinny Café.  I would obviously be part of the logo.  Winking and smiling.
  • I also imagine what it would be like if I narrated my own episode of This American life.
  • Pasta.
  • Nachos.

What do you think about when you’re running?

Kardashian Anniversary + Weekend Updates

So, once again, this weekend was bananas.  Is that what adult life is?  You work during the week, and then you go into your weekends which are packed to the gills with things to do?  I’m starting to feel like it is.

Okay, so first things first, as you read this, Austin and I are celebrating our Kardashian anniversary.  You see, Kimmy K and Kris Humphries were married for grand total of 72 days before they decided to end things, so since we’ve been married, Austin and I have been really excited about celebrating that special day.

Hashtag never forget.

Moving right along…so me and Austin are huge Halloween people, but this year, between the wedding and the purchase of the Merrie home, the holiday snuck up on us this year, and a few days before Friday, I found myself without a costume or without a plan for the day.  After huddling with some friends, and the donation of a costume from a sweet member, I made some plans and ended up as Zoe Saldana’s character from Star Trek.

Star TrekThe costume ended up being a total hit – who knew so many people were secret Trekkies?!  I stayed out way, wayyyy too late, and suffered through Saturday morning’s class and ended the day at a baby shower for my step-sister-in-law.

Sunday?  I raced!  Because of the relay I have coming up, I had to hold back a little and stuck with the 10k.  The start was extremely chilly, and because the marathon started about 20 minutes before our race did, I was able to steal a cheap Hanes sweatshirt from the marathon toss that had occurred, and toss it later.  And luckily, because it was cotton, it was a literal sauna in there.  Cotton is rotten, except, when you’re freezing and you want to create a sauna inside your shirt.  Mile 4, I ditched the sweat, and finished the 10k strong in under an hour.

Here are a few snaps from the morning!

Legs felt strong, and they felt like they could do a lot more, leading me to believe that I am ready-eddy-eddy for this ultra relay end of this week.

My weekend was absolutely nuts.  What were you up to this weekend?

I can fall asleep anywhere.

First and foremost, can we all thank my amazing husband (who’s gotten a lot of love on the blog this week), for doing something to my poor laptop to make it run faster?  I have this adorable pink Dell that my dad got me for my Elon graduation in 2009 – I’m trying to squeeze a few more months out of it while I save up for a Mac, and you guys better watch out for the Mac attack because I will be on that thing, editing photos and writing like a crazy person.

Moving right along.

So, yesterday, I participated in Peachy Keen’s fall fashion show.  Remember,  I did their show last spring?

Because of the fashion show (which was a blast) here’s what my day looked like.

The night before, I stupidly drank two extremely large glasses of wine, knowing full well I wanted to be up and ready to go to work by 6am (ish) so I could work for the day and then head to makeup for the show.  So I woke up, feeling awesome (absolutely not) and sobbed through a shower.  Or at least I felt like sobbing.

I worked for the day, got a 5ish or 6ish miler in, and headed to makeup for the show.

The show was Frozen-themed, so makeup was pretty, blue, and ethereal-looking.  And the second I got done with makeup, I laid down on a bench in the dressing room with a tiny pillow, and fell asleep.  I felt nothing, heard nothing, and have no idea how long I was out for, bout it was just long enough to feel refreshed and walk the show no problem.

I don’t want to spoil anything for when the real shots are done being edited and all that fun stuff, so take a little gander at this backstage…

Peachy Fall Show

Makeup was awesome, hair looks good, and the show went off without a hitch.  I even felt myself moved by the spirit, and danced a little on the runway.

IMMEDIATELY following the show, I kid you not, I asked Austin to unzip the back of my dress, and I faceplanted on the bed at about 8:45pm.  The only other time in my adult life I ever remember going to bed that early was once when I had a Zumba training that I went to after a wedding.  I promptly found myself wide awake at 4am, in a mod dress from Loft, wondering where I went so wrong in my life.

But I digress.

What are your guys’ weekend plans, especially given that this weekend is Halloween?  

Me?  Come hell or high water, I will play with this…

LetterpressThis is my new baby that I have yet to get a chance to play with!  I finally got my L-Press from Charlotte, so I would love to break it out and play with it, and in my WILDEST fantasies, get it up and running in time to shoot off some holiday cards.  I can dream big, can’t I?

Does your significant other support your running?

I try to keep my husband at a minimum on the blog.  Not because I’m not crazy about him, because I absolutely am.  But more because he didn’t ask for his life to be splashed across the interwebs.  But occasionally, I just can’t help it!

I’m running Ragnar in Las Vegas in less than two weeks, and unlike the typical Ragnar relay, we are considered an ultra team, meaning that instead of 12 runners over 36 legs, we are 6 runners over the 36 legs.  I’m so looking forward to it, and yet, a little apprehensive about running over 34 miles over a few days.

But, despite my apprehension, my body, my mind, and my legs feel strong.

In prep for the race, I’ve run at a few odd times – and last night, it was around 9:30pm.  Luckily, I live close to the state university, and can stay pretty safe running on campus during these odd times, or can call my brother to run with me.  And every time I push off at these strange times, Austin offers me a butterfly knife, and asks if it’s completely necessary for me to run at those times, in the most worried and caring of ways.

And this time, the poor thing was in no position to come with me, because he sprained his ankle terribly playing volleyball at the Y.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

But I’m taken with how supportive Austin has been of my running. When we met, I was just doing some running for maintenance.  Despite being an avid weightlifter (which doesn’t  classically mix), he ran my first 5k with me.  Then my second.  He cheered me through my first half.  And then stood out in the cold during my first two fulls.  And now, even though he can’t come to Vegas with me, he’s been so supportive, and making sure that in the midst of all my training, that I’m staying safe and happy.

 So how does running fit into a relationship?  How should running fit into a relationship?  For you runners, weightlifters, triathletes, golfers, how does your sport fit into your relationship?  And is your significant other supportive of how you stay fit?  

For us, even though Austin has never expressed any interest in taking on the challenge of a full or an ultra, running has always been something that we could enjoy and do together.  And it makes me feel supported by him, that we aren’t in competition, but that it’s something we can do side-by-side.  Running can be so solitary, and yet, it makes me feel so close to so much and so many people.


Weekend updates.

While you’re reading this, I’m actually sleeping in my little brother’s room at my parent’s party pad in downtown Charlotte.  I’m in town here only for a day or so, but that’s totally cool, because it gives me a new terrain to run on, and keeps things interesting.

So a few interesting points about this weekend.

  1. My Fitbit is turning me into a lunatic. I don’t think people really believe me when I tell them that my competitive nature has taken me to really really ugly places.  But to put things into perspective, my first summer working at Camp Pocono Trails, I was playing Gaga with the kids, and they would make fun of me for how into the game I would get.  At the top of my lungs, I’d scream that I would be the “LAST. WOMAN. STANDING,” as I picked kids off with the dodgeball, one by one.  They thought it was a game.  I knew better.  Well now that I can see how many steps I’ve taken, a friend of mine and three of her coworkers challenged me to a “Daily Showdown,” so I proceeded to walk to the bar, walk home from the bar, and continue walking well past 11pm.  I came in second, and I can’t really talk about my defeat, that’s how painful it was. Fitbit Competition
  2. We had a shed put in the backyard on Saturday.  So I wake up on Saturday to check out the shed, and it actually was pretty cute!  Then I look over at one of the guys installing it, and he’s wearing swim trunks and no shirt.  No judgement here, I’m just truly curious about his choice in attire.  Shed Install
  3. And finally?  I’m feeling really ready to sign up for something serious.  I got over my running hump, and running is starting to feel like a natural state of being for me again.  I’m playing with a few options – I ran Shamrock a few years ago for my first full, and I’d be interested to try it again to see if I’ve made any improvements.  I also have an entry for Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh set up, but since they haven’t released the full course, I’m not sure if I’m ready to commit without knowing the course.  Raleigh is terribly hilly, and that race can either be really really awesome, or kinda miserable.  I also am playing with the idea of like a 50k or so, to delve into the world of Ultra Marathons, but don’t tell my husband.  We watched a documentary about Dean Karnazes, and for some reason, I still have the itch to see what I can do.  I have zero interest in being a regular 90+ mile a week girl, especially with all of the teaching I do, but once or twice?  I think it would be worth it!

What did you do this weekend?

Sweat Hope 5k – small but mighty

Earlier this month, I told you guys about the Sweat Hope 5k, and this weekend was the big event!

So Saturday morning, after about a week straight of rain, I woke up and the running Gods smiled on Raleigh, and I woke up to nothing but straight sun and beautiful temps.  I headed down to Wake Med Soccer park in Cary, and easily found my way to the race, where Whole Foods, Sola (a local coffee shop), Headbands of Hope (obviously), and a few other local vendors were set up.  I got my bib, and lined up with a little over 300 other runners to run the 5k, which started promptly at 9am.

HoH 5k1

I’m almost ashamed – I’ve lived in Raleigh on and off for the past fourish years, and until Saturday, had never run at Wake Med Soccer Park.  I was surprised!  The trails were really packed down, well-maintained, and ridiculously hilly!  For 3.1 miles, we ran up and and and up and down and up again – easily one of the most challenging 5k courses I’ve run.

HoH 5k

Overall, the race was a blast, incredibly well-done, and I would totally do it again, and hope to again next year!


So in my secret life, I sing and recently recorded a song with an extremely talented local rapper for the purposes of performing it at a show on Sunday night.  So me, the husband, Marc “Franchise” Jusino, and a bunch of spectators hit the stage on Sunday to compete in a show.  Spoiler alert: we didn’t win, but we totally should have, but I have a lot of respect for the guy who did win.  Excellent excellent performer.

ShowBut we totally should have won!

What’s one cool thing you did this past weekend?


I know better.

So a few days ago on my lunch break, I packed up my clothes and my shoes, and headed out for a run with a friend before I had to take off to teach a Zumba® Fitness class.  The weather is starting to get gorgeous here – yesterday, the temp must not have gotten over 80 degrees, and for the first time maybe since the summer kicked off, I didn’t feel like death following the run.

But I made a critical error.

I know so so much better than this, but I grabbed an old pair of Glycerin 11s, a pair from last October (almost a year ago), and did a short run in them.  My feet hurt.  My knees ached.  And as an employee at a running speciality store, I knew SO much better.  I know old shoes can make the difference between a good and uncomfortable run.  I know that they contribute to foot cramping and knee aches.  I know that looking at gross worn-out shoes is probably not helping me to pull out of this running slump whatsoever.

But I did it anyways, and only rethought it when, after only three miles, my feet were aching, knees aching, and when a co-worker from Fleet Feet walked in, took one look at my flattened out shoes, and started laughing.  We can tell these things.

So today, reflecting on my slump and how discouraging my achy breaky run was, I went to the store, picked up a pair of Glycerin 12s, and went for a little under 6 miles with a friend.

GlycerinThey felt really really great, and the just-under-six really didn’t feel as slumpy as all my runs have been in a while.  A few contributing factors to that?  Pretty new shoes, decent fall weather, a good friend to chat with while we powered through the gnarly gnarly hills of Raleigh.

Oh, and I registered for a half at the end of next month.  I’m sure that didn’t hurt my motivation since now I have to show up and kick some ass.

What do you do that you know is no good for you?  


Running Slump

I’ve felt this way once before. Last year, right after my grandmother died, I hit a little running slump.  I was tired, my motivation was low, and when I was running, I felt slow and consumed by anxious thoughts, which really took away from my running.

This time, I think the reasoning for the slump is a little different, but the symptoms are largely the same.

In the span of two months, I got a new job, got married to my love, and we bought a house.  And none of it was planned to all hit at once.

With the job, I got a call in May, interviewed throughout the month of June, and was offered the position in early July.  The wedding had been set for August 23rd for some time, and the home came available, and honestly, the inventory is so low in Raleigh that it would have been silly to have forgone that home.

So we dove in headfirst.  And I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my entire life.

And like I do anytime I’m faced with any major life changes, I felt this exhaustion come over me.  It hasn’t affected my work, as I’m still in that phase where I’m killing myself to impress everyone, but it’s definitely affected my running and my motivation.  Rather than constantly being raring to go for those runs, I’ve had to pull out every trick in the book to make sure that I make my workouts.  I invite friends, I try new workouts, I make sure that I am scheduled to take one of my instructors classes, all in the hopes that I don’t fall behind on my workouts.  But motivating myself to go when ALL I want to to is lay around in the bed and watch reruns of Sex & the City is hard, and I’m really trying.

Honestly, the last time I felt like I was in this slump a year ago, I pushed through it, but had a few tricks to help get me through.

  • I went to a lot of hot yoga.  Granted, one of the times I went, a pose we got into tapped right into my emotional side and I finished out the class sobbing for whatever reason, but I sure felt good after.
  • I ran.  And I revamped my runs.  I listened to Motown the Musical, Les Mis, and sometimes, nothing at all, all different from my usual playlists.
  • I read Dean Karnazes books.  Which is really good cause he’s an ultra marathoner.  So it kind of made you feel like your little 26.2 wasn’t that bad.
  • I vomited my way through the Greensboro Marathon.  But the fact I finished convinced me I was a lot stronger than I thought I was, and rekindled my love for running.

So the slump sucks.  I don’t like the way it makes me feel, and it scares me – makes me feel like I will never love to run again.  But slowly and steadily, I will be back to exactly where I was before, maybe even better!

What do you do when you’re in a running slump?