I've started this blog to document my journey running while balancing motherhood, and eventually if I'm lucky enough, my next pregnancy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


So I've had an insanely busy week and didn't have time to post, but I have been reading a few here and there. Here's a run-down of the craziness (most of which has been awesome!).

1. Last Friday- in Annapolis w/ hubby to eat a full 7 course meal prepared by our chef friend Danny. Holy moly... I've never been so amazingly over the top in heaven over food. Nor have I been so stuffed before but somehow managed to continue eating because I was afraid of what I was missing or afraid of never eating anything that good again. Check out his restaurant, West End Grill if you live in the Maryland area or are coming in for a visit.

2. Last Saturday- still in Annapolis. I forgot all my running gear except clothes and shoes. I had 6 miles planned and since I had no idea how far I was going without a way to track it, I just ran for however long I wanted. I was out for about an hour; it was amazing. I ran through St. John's College campus which was founded in 1697 and all through historic Annapolis. I can't believe I was running on sidewalks that were over 300 years old! I ran around the Gov. mansion and attempted to run through the Naval Academy but was chased down by a security guard... Opps! I forgot my ID. :)

3. Last Sunday- dinner with the in-laws and Pickle. Delish.

4. Tuesday- check up with Doc. He said I was in great health and was pleased with my blood pressure and overall fitness level. After I brought up my concerns with my nutrition, my family history of diabetes and obesity, and my outside body not matching my activity level, he referred me to a nutritionist who specializes in nutrition for endurance athletes! Score! I have an appointment for 2 weeks from now.

5. Thursday- Pickle got sick on his daycare providers doorstep. Gross. Thankfully the hubby was in charge of drop-off. I was supposed to go to my personal training session to work on my core, but didn't due to the little man being sick and the big man being exhausted from cleaning up throw-up all day.

6. Friday- took off of work to stay with Pickle in case he was sick. He wasn't. By 9 a.m. he was jumping all over the couch and yelling/singing "10 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed". He was also screaming out the front door about being a Superhero. Glad Pickle is better. :) So I went to the gym to make-up for my missed training session. My awesome trainer emailed me the whole routine so I could do it. I did her workout and the killer leg/butt workout from several weeks ago. Bad idea. I should have stuck to one or the other. My butt still hurts.

7. Saturday/yesterday- We went to the Rally to Restore Sanity. Wow! I have lived in the DC/Baltimore Metro area my entire life and have been to a number of large events/protests/rallies. I have NEVER seen anything like this. I had to wait in a line for about 45 minutes just to get to the Metro (subway) platform. Again, I have never seen this before. People were jammed shoulder to shoulder from 3rd to 7th street on the National Mall and as we were leaving at 1:30, people were still coming in droves. Despite all the people, the crowds, the lines, somehow people were still polite, considerate, and generally friendly. If anyone bumped into me, most turned around to apologize. People made friends/small talk in the 45 minute line to get on the metro. And it took about 45 minutes to travel the usual 15 minutes into the city.
People made jokes and kept a sunny disposition (especially about the couple making out in front of everyone... We were so packed in like sardines that I couldn't look anywhere but in their direction. My mother-in-law and I giggled about it the entire ride into the city). And even though I couldn't see or hear any of the rally, I had a great time.

8. Today Pickle and I are going out trick-or-treating (it's a football day for hubby. We have an understanding during football season...). I had to include a few pics of him in his costume. He's a fireman... Oh sorry. Fire Chief (his words). Pretty cute, huh?

This should be interesting given his food allergies to peanuts and tree nuts, but I don't want to punish him for his allergies by taking away trick-or-treating. I'm going to use the opportunity to teach him about his allergies and that he needs to ask a grown-up to make sure he can eat the food (until he can read labels himself). We're also going to visit Mrs. Christine at Icedgems for a cupcake. Little ones get a free cupcake if they come in costume. Score!

Happy Halloween everyone!

(and if any of you have ideas about how to teach a 3 year-old about food allergies, please pass them along... run4cupcakes at gmail dot com. Thanks!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Goals

I am a firm believer in goals. Since I started running 2 1/2 years ago, my first goal was to run 1 mile without stopping. I never imagined I'd run and finish a half marathon (let alone two!). I now realize that all I need to do is set little goals to help me reach larger aspirations, aspirations that let me become the woman want to be. The woman who is strong and proud. Fierce and bold. Determined and ambitious.

I had three goals to accomplish with the Baltimore Half Marathon:
1. Get a PR. Check.
2. Have NOTHING left once I cross the finish line. Check.
3. Get faster and get as close as I could to a 2:30 finishing time. Ehhh... not exactly met, but I don't know if I could have reached that goal Saturday. I really did my best, so I'll cut myself some slack.

I was thinking it might be time for some new running goals. Here they are.

1. I want to run the National Half. It will be on my 33rd birthday and I can think of no better way to spend my birthday than running and celebrating my health. Okay... spending time with my family is great, too, but I'd like to combine them. If I get to run, earn a medal, and spend time with my loved ones, that's a great day. Plus, I plan on eating two cupcakes for my birthday, so I'll need to burn quite a few calories. To run the National, I will need to finish in 2:30. This means I will need to shave a minute off each mile. I know I can do it. I just need to come up with a plan. I took a few extra walk breaks that what I needed. It might shave a couple of minutes off my time if I only walk during my water breaks (I hate drinking and running at the same time! What a mess!). I will also need to qualify for the half. I was thinking I'd run a 5K, and will have to finish in 31 minutes. I've never gotten below a 32 minute finishing time, but I know how hard I can push myself now.

2. So this is kind of part of the last goal, but I want to make it it's own category. I want to start running faster. I want to push myself to run a 10 minute mile for longer amounts of time. Sure, I can already run a 10 minute mile, but I can't keep the pace for any more than 2 miles. After 2 miles, I slow down to 10:30 or 11 minute miles.

3. Take my nutrition more seriously so I have better fuel for running. I don't really pay much attention to what I'm eating other than carbo loading. I want to focus more on veggies and lean meats and limit (almost excluding) all processed foods. My hubby says he's been thinking the same thing about his diet. I think if the two of us come up with a plan for our meals, we should be able to do better.

4. Lose 10 pounds by the National Half through eating better. This will make it easier for my body to carry me at a faster pace.

5. Strength training. I need to do it. My muscles are weak. I can feel a potential injury coming in my knee if I don't take this seriously. I'm already in a small personal training group focusing on the core that will start today, and I'd like to add one more day of strength training per week using this deadly leg workout. And this is the same workout I tried a few weeks and nearly killed myself. I'm determined to do this workout so much that I don't even feel any pain.

I'll keep my goals at 5, which might be too much. So I'll simplify.
1. I want to get faster.
2. I want to eat better to lose weight.
3. I want to get stronger.

There. Now I just have to figure out how to achieve these goals. I'm going to take it slow. Nothing great happens over night. I need to do some research about our meals. We need quick and healthy meals during the week (if anyone has any good standby recipes, please share!).

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My first race recap!

Baltimore Half Marathon Race Recap in Photos (and a little extra...)

I felt like I prepped well for this half. I was well rested and hydrated and finished packing everything for the race by Friday afternoon, which alleviated some of my anxiety.

I woke up really early on Saturday morning, 5 a.m., which was far earlier than what I had planned. But I was pumped up, so I decided to get up and give myself a little time to chill out. I loved having a 9:45 start time! I had my coffee at 5 and had lots of time to hydrate before my hour before race cut off time; I decided to cut off my water an hour before the race so I would have enough time to... well... flush out. (Remember, my Thimblelina bladder...). I'm happy to say it worked like a charm! I didn't have any pee jitters through the race. In face, oddly enough, I didn't have too many jitters. I think it had a lot to do with my peaceful morning and not facing any traffic on the way in (it was odd... I think it was a good omen).

Omari, Erin and I met at Camden Yards with an hour to spare before the start. Here we are before we got all gross!

We started strong and I was feeling really relaxed and energetic while running. All three of us stayed together for about the first 1 1/2 miles. Omari and I left Erin (who also got a PR!) and I really pushed myself. I didn't even feel like I had gone too far after my first six miles. I was having a great time. I think those tights really helped. I was getting a lot of crowd support ("Crazy Legs", "Rainbow Bright", "Tie Dye Girl") and it was pushing me along.
After those first 6 miles, I started to feel energy draining from my legs. They definitely weren't feeling fresh (and understandably so!). But one of my goals was to finish with NOTHING left in my tank. So I pushed on without walking too much. I only walked at the water stops. (I can't seem to run and get the water in my mouth yet.) Each time I would start to slow up or if my breathing got out of control, Omari would talk me into speeding up or calming down my breathing. He really is a great running partner (especially given that he can finish these in a little over an hour and a half and he chooses to run with me to give me support).

By the time I got to mile 9, my hamstrings were on fire. Omari asked me not to look at my watch anymore (any runner knows how impossible that is.) I told him he was crazy, and he asked me, "Do you want that negative split?" So I trusted him and stopped looking at my watch. He told me to keep at his hip and given that he's about a foot taller than me, that was tough at points!

For the last three miles, we ran about a 10:00-10:30 mile, and he made me sprint the last half a mile. I thought I was going to collapse. My quads hurt so bad I was sure I was going to get a cramp at any moment (but I didn't). I told Omari I needed to stop; he told me no... so I punched him in the arm. Thankfully he forgives me. I really thought I wasn't going to make it. And then I saw my hubby D near the finish cheering for me. He made me so happy I wanted to cry, but instead I felt a little more wind pushing me (which was all metaphorical because somehow the wind, which was strong, never seemed to be at our back even when we looped back around. How is that even possible?). This is the picture D took; you can see Omari yelling that I'm not at his hip.

My form is horrible. But I'm still plowing through. In fact, I think I ran faster than I ever have to the finish line. I'm not even sure my legs touched the ground. I couldn't feel anything other than pain in my quads. I got through the finish line (alive) at 2:42:54 and I got a negative split. I was totally psyched. Can you tell? I shaved off 22 minutes from my last half marathon time.
And I LOVE that Omari is such a good friend that he always lets me run just a tad a head of him so it looks like I'm a bit faster. That's a good friend! Thanks, O!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Finishing the Baltimore Half

I'm stoked. My official time: 2:42:54. I got a PR by 22 minutes! I'll post a race recap tomorrow, but I'm tuckered out and need a nap!

I stole this photo from Erin. Thanks Erin!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Race Day Outfit

Inspired by my running partner Erin for tomorrow's half marathon...

I decided to tone down my race day outfit a little. So now instead of wearing the florescent orange shirt, and risking people yell, "Oh my god! Here she comes! Put on your shades or shield your eyes!" as I run by, I decided to wear my pink shirt and the other running skirt Erin let me borrow. Now, I look a little more like, "Haha. Look at that runner. Those are some crazy tights."

sorry about the bad photo quality...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Running and Peace

This has been a rough week. One of my former students was killed in a car accident this weekend. Many of my thoughts have centered around his family, what it must be like for his parents, the other students I taught who I know are in pain and suffering at the loss of their good friend. I can't stop thinking about my student's mother and what she must feel like. On top of that, I've been having a little anxiety lately about the half this weekend.

Basically, my hubby told me tonight that I've been in a horrible mood all week. He understood why, but he wanted me to be aware of it.

I didn't get to run earlier this week. I was just so exhausted. I don't know if it was work, or the emotional sadness about my student, or maybe a lack of sleep, but all I wanted to do all week was crawl under the covers and sleep forever.

So this evening, I went for a nice little run. Nothing crazy, just a 40 min run to set my mind right. Wouldn't you know that it turns out my legs do remember how to run. And it turns out that I can still run hills even though my last hill run was two weeks ago.

The weather was perfect; crisp and cool air, chilly enough that I needed to wear a long sleeve shirt. I chose my insanely orange reflective running shirt since it was dusk. I don't really remember what I was thinking about. I just might have been thinking about nothing, which was refreshing. I do remember what I saw though; a whole family of deer ran across the field next to where I run. It was a beautiful sight seeing them leap across the field-- so graceful and elegant. I just made me feel better. I have no idea why. Maybe it was seeing something so beautiful in nature instead of just cars zooming past me. Maybe it was just a connection to other good running days when deer decided to show themselves. Whatever the reason, it brought me a moment of happiness and peace, and for that I am thankful.

Tomorrow I will go to the Expo and pick up my runner's packet. And Friday I will go to my student's viewing. I'm sad to say that I've gone to others and I know how difficult it will be. And Saturday I'm going to run my race. My hope is to do the same thing I did tonight. Take in the sights and find my peace. And just be thankful- for my family, my friends, and my life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

4 Thoughts 4 days before the Baltimore Half Marathon:

1. Once again, I'm panicking (big surprise, right?). I'm a worry wart by nature and this time I have 1,000 questions racing (haha... corny Dad joke) through my mind. Did I taper too soon? Will my body remember how to finish 13.1 miles? Will I still have this nagging pain/feeling right at the point where my knee and quad meet (I forget what it's called) on race day? Will I make it to the race on time... wait. That deserves it's very own thought.

2. Many of my thoughts are revolving around how I'm getting to the race. The issue is that the half starts at 9:45. The marathon, however, starts at 8:30 and streets all around Baltimore shut down at about 8, which means many of the routes to the race will be closed. I also hear that traffic backs up for miles as people try to get to get into the city for the race. I've been driving my hubby crazy about this for two weeks already. He told me he'd just drop me from a plane so I could parachute in. I considered it. I think he has come up with a better plan that throwing me out of a plan now. We're dropping our son off at my in-laws at 7 a.m. and will then drive to the B-more Metro or Light Rail so we can avoid traffic and parking issues. The problem is that it will be a 45 min to hour drive to the station from my in-laws and then possibly 30-45 minutes to Camden Yards and then another 15 minute walk to the Start Line. I'm totally freaking out that I'll be in a mad rush though and won't be able to use the bathroom. Which brings me to my next thought.

3. I hope I don't pee myself at the race. I know. TMI and what am I? Three years old? But two 5Ks ago, I went to the bathroom 2 times before the race started-- I'm talking 20 minutes before the race started. At the halfway point, I got the overwhelming urge to pee, to the point that I had to stop racing and run across the street to the fire house and beg to use their bathroom. Again, that was only a 3.1 mile race and I was 15 minutes from the start. I'm praying my thimble bladder (or Thimblelina as my running partner Erin calls it) will hold out at least to a port-a-potty that isn't disgusting.

4. I'm really excited to meet my goal of beating my last half time, which I feel optimistic towards accomplishing. I trained hard since July, but I'm worried about the last two weeks. I took a few days off running to heal my knee. I hope it doesn't hurt my race. (And I really hope the race doesn't hurt my knee.)

I'm going to try to take a few deep breaths and keep all this in perspective. I know I can finish the 13.1 because I have before. Keeping calm seems nearly impossible, though. I'm an emotional mess for a variety of reasons, but more on that later.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Loving My Family

My brother, me, and my Aunt B before our run

Today I was blessed with a day that reminded me of how amazing each of my family members truly is. I drove to Joppatowne to run in Mariner Point Park (and it was an absolutely perfect day). My mom, brother, sister-in-law (soon to be), nephew, and aunt all joined me. It was wonderful. I thought I'd make notes on why I love them and am so thankful for them all.

1. My hubby: There are a lot of things I love about him, but without him taking care of Pickle for hours on end on long run days, I wouldn't ever be able to run. Today he took Pickle with him to the gym while Pickle was wearing a full fireman's costume--boots, hat, jacket and all. And even though my man was wiped from biking at the gym (he told me he was a little jealous at the amount of calories I burn on a long run and he felt he should
try to keep up. :)) he went with me to the art festival in Baltimore. And he stopped at the cupcake shop on the way home tonight because he knew I needed to get my Long Run Cupcake. I love that man.

2. Pickle: For being the cutest (and funniest) little guy ever. He
decided to show me a mouth full of chewed up Oreos at dinner tonight (as the picture shows. Don't worry; that's not rotted teeth). Apparently he's still working on table manners.

3. My bro, A: He ran 4 of my 6 miles with me today even though I know the shrapnel in his knee was killing him. He's one of my favorite people to run with, and I love him and his big heart. I kept thinking about what he was sacrificing to run with me (and all the sacrificing he's done in the past, especially as a soldier at war).

4. My Aunt B: First of all, she's a hottie. Second, besides my mother, she's been the most important female role model in my life. She taught me to love classic literature, what it meant to be a feminist, how to cook tofu, and apparently taught me to love running. She's been a runner my entire life and is still running in her 60's). She travels all over the world and her running shoes are the first thing she packs. Being able to run with her made today perfect.

5. My mom: She gave me life (and was a great mom to boot). Nothing more needs to be said, but she's always my #1 cheerleader. After we'd only gone 1/4 mile today, she cheered for while we ran the trail as if we were running a marathon. I wish I had her at every quarter mile for every race I ever run. I also really respect that she walked the 2 mile loop to get some exercise. She has MS and walking can be difficult for her at times, but she's been working toward losing some weight and is doing a great job.

6. Sis-in-Law M: I love my bro, but I know he is not easy to live with. I can safely say this because I lived with him for our entire childhood. (I can also safely say that neither am I, so add another reason to why my husband is awesome). Just for that she deserves an award, but she's also an great mom to my nephew. And she waited for us while we ran and kept my mom company.

7. My nephew, P: Seriously. Does anyone need to know why I love him? Look at how stinkin' cute he is... and he's ALWAYS smiling and laughing. He's just a reminder of why we all should be blissfully happy. :)

8. My dad (no picture...): Well, he wasn't there today. He's in NY fishing for salmon, and hopefully bringing home some delicious fresh caught salmon for us. (Hopefully my dad and I will go fishing soon. He made me a beautiful fly fishing rod and I can't wait to use it!)

Here's to always remembering the important people in our lives.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Will I Scare Runners?

So I have my running outfit for the Baltimore Half Marathon. I was super excited about it earlier, but now I'm starting to wonder... am I going to look completely insane while I'm running. Here's what I'm wearing.

I got this great Saucony shirt in orange. So far, I love it, especially the reflective strips on the back.

The bottom portion of my outfit is what I'm now concerned about. I am wearing a sweet little running skirt that Erin let me borrow, much like this one...

but instead of being all orange, it's mostly navy with orange strips down the side (I just couldn't find a pic of it and am too lazy to take my own). That's normal enough. But it's going to be a little chilly for me, so I needed something to wear under my skirt, some capris and my running store was out of capri running skirts... so I saw capris in this tie dye print...

I thought it would be fun and inspire me to have a great time while achieving a PR, but my husband saw my tights and laughed. Hard. And then said I was going to look like a bad acid trip chasing after people.

So is my outfit "extra", as my students would say? (For those of you who do not live in the high school world, extra means over the top crazy. :) )

Monday, October 4, 2010

the Good and the Bad

First, the not so good.

1. I foolishly thought that because I only ran 6 miles on Sunday, it would be okay for me to do a crazy workout for my hips, hammies, quads, and butt. After all, strong runners need strong lower halves. Big mistake. I can't even bend, sit, or walk (let alone run) without wincing. Apparently I'm not as strong as I thought-- I plan on using this in training for my next half (yes, my NEXT half. I am determined to qualify for the National). I highly recommend the workout if you are NOT 12 days away from a race (ouch!). Here it is:

2. My knee is a little achy (okay, more than a little. I actually hurts when I get up and I can feel it moving around) and I'm twelve days away from my half. I'm trying to keep it in perspective, though. I know I'll be okay. I'm going to rest, ice, and elevate as much as possible-- when I'm not running of course. But even when I'm running I'm going to take it easy. :)

3. My house is kind of a wreck and my mother-in-law is coming over tomorrow to spend the night. I'd prefer if she stayed blindfolded all night long. Okay, she can take the blindfold off, but only if we are in complete darkness. (But I am looking forward to seeing her, which goes in the good category...)

Now, the good.

1. 17 out of 29 kids in my Special Ed. Inclusion English class got A's on their vocab quizzes Friday. That's not including the B's and C's. I rewarded the A students with brownies today. One girl was so proud of herself; she typically struggles in English class, and today, she was positively glowing with pride. That's a good teaching moment.

2. While I was reading to Curious George to my son tonight, he told me I was doing it wrong. He then took the book from me and said he'd read to me. He read the rest of the book to me with a very serious little voice (and got most of the story right). He's three, and it was the best book anyone has ever read to me.

3. I'm super excited to have a running buddy. Erin and I did another run at the NCR trail this weekend and we did pretty well. We also saw a family of deer, with three little fawns. Almost everyone on the trail stopped to take in a little Mother Nature in all her beautiful glory.
You can see the little cuties in the middle of the frame...

4. Ah... fall. Runners, need I say more? (For those of you who aren't runners, fall means I can feel air entering my lungs while I run, instead of having the feeling of inhaling fire.)

5. I decided I need to do another half marathon. My goal is to qualify for the National Half. I know that's a piece of cake for most of the speedy runners, but I'm a back of the packer. I need to get my half time to 2 1/2 hours. I can qualify with a 5K time of 31 minutes, which I know I can do, but my fastest time this summer was 32 minutes. So I guess that's a good and a bad?

Here's to a happy and healthy running week!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Food... Lots of it

Today my husband and I took the day off to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary (it's actually tomorrow). It was supposed to rain all morning and into the afternoon, but it settled down and by lunchtime it was a perfect, mild, 60 degree, and blue sky day. The perfect open the window and take a nap kind of day (which we did, twice).

Davey took me to Fogo de Chao for lunch. Dave asked me if I wanted to go weeks ago (he doesn't know all the rules of running and wanted to take me somewhere special), and I knew I'd have to run 10 miles the next morning when I said yes. You see, the problem lies in the fact that Fogo de Chao serves the most delicious spit fire roasted meat, 15 different kinds of meat. Yes, 15. And it's served at your table while the chefs slice it right on to your plate; did I mention is is all you can eat, too? It's practically impossible to say no to juicy and sizzling bacon wrapped filet mignon, top round sirloin, pork spare ribs, bottom round sirloin, beef ribs... the list goes on. Normally, I try to avoid eating too much meat, especially fatty meat, the day before a long run, but this was a special occasion.

I am proud to say I didn't go over board with the meat (but it was a battle to say no). I did however share the most amazing dessert with Davey. It was a chocolate molten lava cake with a scoop of fresh vanilla bean ice cream. I don't know how to describe exactly how good this dessert was to you other than this: whenever I eat something really good, I get giggly and my eyes start to tear up with pure happiness (yes, I cry over food. Again, this is why I have to run in the first place). Not only did this happen to me, but also to my husband. I've been with him for nine years and never seen that before.

Afterwards, we walked around Baltimore and then went to Fells Point to shop. I got Pickle a few finger puppets from a really cool Peruvian shop. Davey then wanted to go to Max's Tavern for a few beers. Drinking beers is also a pre-long run no-no, but what I love about Max's is that you can get any beer you want in a sample size (and they have over 100 different yummy beers).

So to sum up, today was perfect-- meat, beer, shopping, and the love of a good man. I hope I don't pay for it tomorrow while I run, but I think I might be okay. And besides, today was so absolutely relaxing and perfect, it was exactly what I needed.

Happy Friday, everyone! :)