Sunday, September 29, 2013

I cheated on sleep

I love sleep. It's like just one notch under family. It might even be tied with coffee and chocolate.

Eric posted this on my Facebook wall.

I couldn't agree more.

It was perfect because I'd finally added one of those cute motivational sayings to my phone's alarm clock like I always see on blogs.

I had to set the alarm to go off while writing this post
because I'm not coordinated enough to take a screen shot
when I actually wake up.

If asked, I would definitely say I love sleep more than running. My actions this weekend didn't reflect that.

Friday morning, I was up at 3, and Lily and I hit the road running at 3:30am. We were aiming for 20 miles, but ran out of time and only got 18.75. Still, not bad before sunrise. I even found a new neighborhood to add to my home turf long run repertoire. There was a portion where I was pretty positive I would have to tell her to go ahead and call Eric to come pick me up, around mile 12. I took a salted caramel Gu, which helped, but what really did the trick was Lily being nice enough to listen to me rant about all the people that really pissed me off this week. Nothing fuels a run better than anger (although anger and salted caramel Gu might just be the ultimate combination).

You might think I would have gone home directly after work and headed to bed, and I normally would have, but there was something preventing me.

That's right. Ke$ha.

Ke$ha was performing at Pier 5. Being cheapskates, we opted to watch from Pier 6. Here's what I mean.

Pier 6 is pretty close to us. Only a 20 minute drive and then another 45 minute parking spot search.

From Pier 6, we could hear perfectly, see decently, and enjoy our Chipotle dinner (purchased for only $10 with a BOGO coupon). Our friends who had amazing seats updated us with pictures (like the one above) so we could actually check out the outfits.

Our view - those screens they put up basically did nothing.

When I walked over to get our dinner during the opening act, I'm pretty sure Ke$ha's limo suddenly pulled up on the sidewalk in front of me. 

She's in there. I felt the strong presence of glitter.
I demanded a selfie to brag on instagram. As always, I got some bonus pictures before I could wrestle my phone back.

The only thing detracting from our experience was the people next to us. It was a mom and her daughter who couldn't have been more than 7, yet had every word to every song memorized and was singing along loudly and doing what appeared to be pre-choreographed dance moves with her mom. Neither batted an eye while Ke$ha pretty consistently dropped f-bombs and discussed sex and drugs in between songs. Now, I'm not a parent, I'm not trying to judge anyone for their parenting. All I'm saying is it's a little unnerving to hear a 7 year old talking about brushing her teeth with a bottle of jack.

We walked the glitter filled streets (literally) back to our car, and I immediately fell asleep on the way home. Wild.

Saturday, I was up at 6 to host a group run and man the Charm City Run water stop at the inner harbor. I barely survived through 4 miles, and then did another 3.25 on my own after my shift. It was at a 10:20 pace and made me want to quit running forever.

I needed all the help I could get staying awake on Saturday. I went out to lunch with my BFF Casi, and one of the sandwiches we shared had coffee rubbed marinated beef. I couldn't taste the coffee, but it was still a really good sandwich, and I stayed up until like 10pm.

Except I couldn't because we had a football game. The games are 40 minutes, and most people play around 25-30 minutes of them, and it's exhausting. I'm sure any NFL player would back me up on this.

A minimum of three girls is required, and this week our team had two show up. You're allowed to play with 2, but your team has to play with only 7, instead of 8, and obviously both girls get no breaks. It gets more complicated and tiring. Every third play is a "gender" play, meaning the quarterback has to throw to a girl. The pressure is on us while the boys get a break (they aren't even allowed to cover girls). So essentially, while the guys play 2/3 of the time, girls play all the time. This was a further problem, because we had two girls, yet only one girl who could actually catch the ball (hint: it wasn't me).

I somehow managed to survive and even tagged several people on defense, which is officially the first and only time I've done anything to help the team. We lost 40-19, which is significantly less of a point deficit than our loss last week.

Sunday was another 6am wakeup. I met my friend Jen for a 12 mile run. The weather was perfect, and this run was a huge confidence boost. I'm off my antibiotics, and for the first time since getting sick, I felt like myself. Our overall pace was even under 10 minute miles (9:21!). I managed to run, go grocery shopping, prep breakfast and lunch, clean the apartment, and shower all before the Ravens game at 1pm.

If there was ever any doubt that in a marriage, you rub off on your spouse, we proved it so hard today. I was sitting on the couch, watching the game, eating a (Wegmans) sub packed with salami, and Eric was out doing a 10 mile run. If you had told me that would happen any time in the first two years of our marriage, I would have laughed so hard.

In other news, we tried a bacon chocolate donut.

I had high expectations, but I gave the whole thing to Eric after a bite, and his response was "it wasn't too bad". Donuts are pretty low on the dessert continuum for me to start with. I realize this may come as a surprise to most people who are in my phone contacts. You people are probably wondering "then why did you blow up my phone about the free donut at Dunkin on National Donut Day"? Obviously, donuts are still dessert, and it's been scientifically proven that anything free tastes at least 10 times better. But when you break it down, donuts are like less sweet cake without frosting, and therefore kind of useless.

Still, it looked really good (when I originally bought it, not so much in the picture). I want to replicate it with a fresh donut and freshly cooked crispy bacon and then see what's what.

Who would you stay up to see in concert after a long run at 3am? Obviously Katy Perry, and also Lady Gaga, I may have even shelled out for real tickets for them, Britney Spears, (laugh all you want). Also any grunge/rock band from the 90s (except Dave Matthews band, ew), but only if they have all the original members or use some sort of time machine (ex. Nirvana).

What's at the bottom of your dessert continuum? Generally fruit based desserts, unless they are seasonally appropriate (ex. apple pie on Thanksgiving, blueberry cobbler on the 4th of July, etc), and donuts, and Snickers. I've probably given this too much thought.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A major change in my life

I can sum up running this week pretty easily. It's sucked. I've felt completely healthy and back to normal at all times, except while running I feel totally sick again - exhausted, hard to breathe, headache, etc. I managed two pathetic 5 milers and finally made the decision to take today off, even though it really pissed me off. I woke up with a sore throat again, so it was probably the right choice. Not that I can't run through a sore throat, but that's how this whole thing began, and I'd rather not go down that road again. Plus, I'm using the time I would have spent running to blog, so you're welcome.

I appreciate all the advice on my running dilemma - 6:30 pm tonight or 3:30 am tomorrow? I'm surprised how many people said do the night run! I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, because clearly most people are leaving work with significantly more energy than me. Some nights I bypass the couch and just go directly to bed at night. 

We'll be attempting the 3:30 am run. If I had to do my long run at night, I'd just spent the whole day fretting about it, plus I have no idea how to eat for that. Do I eat dinner first? What would I eat? The questions are endless. Plus, I've done 20 miles before work in the past. So let's hope this rest day cures me.

Onward to more exciting topics - I made a huge change in my life last night.

That's right.
I've never been a "sleep outside the apple store" type, or even on my game enough to pre-order new phones or anything. I heard the new phone was coming out, and we were eligible for an upgrade. My previous phone was the 4s, and worked fine, except for one major flaw. When I got it, I thought 16G would be SO MUCH ROOM. 

It's not. Also, when I got it for Christmas 2011, I had no idea I was about to become an aunt. So a good chunk of that 16G is taken up with baby pictures. I know some (ahem 2-3) of my readers are still back in the dumb phone era, so let me explain - once you choose a memory size, you can't ever add more. I was stuck. It had gotten to the point where I actually had to delete pictures to take more pictures, like some sort of peasant or something. That's no way to live.

I figured sometime this fall I'd look into upgrading, but I wasn't in any hurry. Then the iOS 7 came out, and everyone was talking about how great it was. You needed like 3G of memory for it, and I probably didn't even have one of whatever letter is less than a G. 

Because my mom is awesome, she decided to call around for me yesterday to see if any 5S phones were available in my area. She texted me at the end of the school day that she found one place but didn't know if it was close enough.

It was less than a mile from the grad class I was about to attend. Class also got out early. If that isn't a sign from the universe, I don't know what is. 

I got to the Best Buy at 6:30 pm. I left at 9:10pm. In retrospect, I really wish I'd brought dinner, but I was able to avoid flying into a hanger rage because I brought my kindle so I could read more of Orange is the New Black, and I was too excited about my new phone. If you are getting the new iPhone less than a week after it hits the shelves - you clearly need to expect a wait (please note that, angry lady muttering to herself and being a total bitch to the salespeople). 

I don't consider myself a total social media addict. I don't even go on instagram some days. But I'll admit, even before I went to Best Buy, I considered the problem of how I could post a picture of the new phone (since our camera is most likely still in Grand Turk). I guess I could have done a mirror selfie, or had Eric take a picture on his phone. But I don't feel like wearing makeup today, and the bottom line is it looks like an iPhone. If you really want to see it, just go anywhere in public and you'll probably see like 5 people on one. If not, the box will have to be sufficient.

When I finally got home about 9:30 pm, my night got even better. I had a gift from Eric waiting for me.

This is coming on all my runs now.
I really wish I could take a sick day to play all day on my new phone, but I've already wasted them actually being sick. (KIDDING, I would never really do that). So far, it's super fast and really pretty and thin and light and I love it so much.

Anyone else get the new iPhone? What should I check out?

If not, what first world problems have you faced lately? I realize that my problem of having to delete pictures to take pictures and not having space for the new operating system will be hard to top.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Despite some setbacks, it's a great day

Since I could barely even function after my whopping ten miler yesterday, I started to think maybe I wasn't completely 100% recovered from my illness. After struggling all afternoon to stay awake, I finally gave up and fell asleep at 6:30 pm. I didn't wake up until 6:30 this morning. 

I had a lot of work to do, so I arrived at school at 7 (the earliest we can enter the building). I can get from bed to work pretty fast - it's a combination of not caring about my appearance, and only living 3 miles away.

The joke was on me - apparently the key card thingie was broken, so I was stuck standing around outside until 7:15. Awesome.

I figured it was a good thing I'd slept through my run though. Even though my work wouldn't let me in, they frown upon things like falling asleep periodically. I'm proud to report that with my 12 hours, I managed to avoid that!

Before I fell asleep, I did manage to see a life ruining tweet.

26 years. Let that sink in.

I'm not thrilled with already "wasting" my rest day, when it's only Monday and I only ran 14 miles last week. Of course, I'm clearly not too upset either, since I could have ran after work but had absolutely no energy or desire too. I think I'm normally pretty good about prioritizing training, but at some point my health/job has to come first.

Today is a wonderful day (missed run and wasted time outside school aside). First of all, How I Met Your Mother is finally back with a new episode! The first few weeks of school is a horrible purgatory. Summer is over (I don't care what the calendar says, if I have to start dressing professionally, summer is over). Yet my reason for living, aka new episodes of all my favorite shows, is still on hold. It's a very difficult time in my life, and this signals that it's coming to an end. 

Second, an exciting new clothing development. Not in terms of actual clothing, like the type people wear to look good, because I would never know about any new developments there. No, obviously this is in running clothing. I've posted many times about my beloved aspaeris pivot shorts. They finally have extended to the capri length! Just in time for real fall, the weather kind, not school year kind. I got to try them out awhile ago (apparently around my birthday).

That's quite a beautiful post run pic right there.
The capris are amazing. The knees can be quite a problem area for runners, so it's all the awesome thigh compression plus some for your knees.  

Check them out - you can get 40% off with the code CAPRISALE. This sounds like a commercial, but trust me, I'm getting zero kickback, except that this just reminded me that it might be cool enough to wear mine tomorrow.

Here's an important running related question. Lily and I need to do a 20 mile run this week. Our only options are Thursday after work (beginning around 6:30pm) or Friday before work (beginning around 3:30am). Please vote which is the more appealing option.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It doesn't take much to make my weekend

You know how laying in bed on a cool fall morning with the breeze coming in and no alarm set is basically heaven on earth? I may have found something even better. Doing that after already having run 10 miles.

Lily and I ran 10.5 miles at the harbor this morning. I came home afterwards, had some cereal and coffee, and then felt pretty sleepy. I was considering laying down on the couch, but then I thought "why half ass things?", and just went all in. Eric was still in bed anyway, so it was like I'd never left.

After spending Thursday night feverish and miserable, I was pretty nervous about going to work Friday, especially since I had to work at the running store Friday night and Saturday morning. I'm all about taking off when I'm sick, but there was no way to do that without totally screwing my coworkers.

Hallelujah, the antibiotics apparently worked their magic Thursday night, and I woke up Friday feeling like my normal self. Good thing too. This weekend is three weeks before the Baltimore Running Festival, which meant all local runners are doing their last long run before tapering. There's a course preview of the full and half marathon put on by a different running store that attracts thousands. So work was the busiest I've ever seen it - like I didn't even have a second to take a sip of water. Luckily, I felt fine, except we were putting away shoes until nearly 10pm, and my lunch of soup, string cheese, and an apple at noon was the last thing I'd eaten. The world was dangerously close to meeting Hangry Alyssa, and that's something no one should have to experience.

Saturday, I was back at work at 6:45 am to host a water stop for the course preview. I managed to lift lots of heavy coolers/tables and to run 4 miles (by far the most physical activity I'd had all week) without dying.

After that, we had a football game, which we lost by like 36 points. That was fine, because it's touch football and the point is to hang out and drink after the games. I am a horrendous player at my best, and I was far from my best yesterday. Usually, no one takes the game seriously enough to care. So, I missed catching a pass by like a mile because I have the worst spatial sense known to man.

Apparently this was incredibly amusing to one of the larger ladies on the other team. She threw back her head, laughed uproariously Wicked Witch of the West style, and loudly proclaimed to all her other teammates "we sure got lucky on that one!". I really wanted to choke a bitch, but they are super strict on sportsmanship in the league, like, if I'd muttered "I f@#$ing suck!" under my breath and had been overhead by the ref, I could have been booted. So I just allowed my anger to take over my brain and make me even worse of a player. Pretty solid plan.

In my last post, I talked a lot about my new obsession, Orange is the New Black. An anonymous comment informed me that the show was actually based on a book, which turned out to actually be a memoir by the main character! I was like WEEKEND MADE.

If you are the goddess who brought this into my life, please step forward.
It was especially exciting since most anonymous comments look more like this.

So helpful!

I don't know if I'm still fighting the bug or whatever but I've been so tired, like to the point where it's a struggle to stay awake. It's really putting a damper on my reading and TV watching. It's clearly preventing me from cleaning, but let's be honest, I'm not actually too broken up about that.
We watched about half an hour of "This Is the End" (the movie about the party at James Franco's house) last night and I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. I demanded we switch to House of Cards, since the last Netflix series I watched worked out so well and everyone says its awesome and part of it was filmed at my friend Matt's house. I'm not hooked after the first episode, but I'm intrigued.

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this weekend was finally getting the ring from the diamond candle that Eric gave me for my birthday.

You know how people try to sell you crap for their fundraiser and you're like "no thanks"?
Eric is not familiar with that response.

Just as I finish this post, the Ravens game is about to start. It's just that perfect.
What was the last show you binge watched? How about the last book you read?
P.S. If you finished this post feeling like "that's just not enough of Alyssa's writing for me!", you're in luck. I have a guest post up on Logan's blog!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rosaryville did it again


The entire blog world has been on the edge of their seats with nerves wondering about me, right? I did something so clearly blog worthy - run a full marathon distance training run in the woods with Kara. Then ..... radio silence from my blog for a full four days after Kara's recap was up.
Well, as you probably feared, the run was back at the site of our infamous 50k where Kara nearly died from heat stroke this summer. This time, Rosaryville got me.
This weird display is always on the trails - no idea why (and this time it was Hawaiian for some reason).
The weather was actually perfect this time around, and I felt pretty great during the run (as great as anyone can feel during a 26.2 mile run). On the way home, I was rocking out to my audiobook and even listened to some of the Ravens game on the radio. And then I got sick. Note: I'm a huge baby when I'm sick, and I like to dramatize everything as much as possible in order to garner maximum sympathy and pity. So if you don't want to read an account of a run of the mill illness told in the whiniest way possible, well, sorry, this isn't for you.
Let's back up, because I actually have an exciting story to tell from way back even before my illness. Friday morning, I was all jazzed to run 10 miles outside (the previous two days had been crazy hot/humid and therefore treadmill runs). We live in an apartment complex, and our particular building has 6 apartments, 2 on each floor, and we are on the top. So I opened our door at 5:30 am, and I see two people on the landing right below our apartment. Like....15 feet away from me. One was a woman sleeping, and one was a man, staring directly at me. So, I did the only thing, which was slam the door and inwardly panic. I watched through the peephole and they immediately left, so I didn't see the point of waking up Eric or calling the police. I used my fear to fuel a 10 mile treadmill run.
Saturday morning - same exact crap, except this time they were on the stairs, even closer to our door, and this time they didn't leave after I shut the door. I was meeting two of my friends to run 6 miles before hosting a group run and working at the running store. AKA, the treadmill was not an option. So I had to wake up Eric to walk me to my car at 5:45 am (he called the police after I left). I ended up with another ten mile run, finally outside.
After my shift, we had our second football game (a loss). After that, we hung out with the team for awhile at the bar. I started to notice my throat was getting sore, but I told myself it was just from talking/yelling all day.
Sunday, I woke up, gargled with some salt water, felt fine, and the hallway was weirdo free! I drove about an hour to Rosaryville State Park. Kara and I ran about ten miles with her speedy friends, then we cried uncle and slowed down.

This is our "so sad we got dropped" face.

We ran 26.2 miles in about 5 hours and 13 minutes and I had zero falls, so I'd say that's a solid Stone Mill 50 training run.
No trip to Rosaryville is complete without a horse!


I felt fine on the way home. I wasn't back in time for the Ravens game at 1pm, so I even listened to part of the game on the radio! That's a huge development in me becoming a football fan.

My general attitude towards sports

In the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, I got hit with a fever. I took to my bed and didn't emerge until it was time to go to work Tuesday. I made it just over an hour there before the school nurse sent me home. I kept hoping that I would start feeling better with rest, fluids, etc, but every time I checked my fever was just a little bit higher. By 2am, it was 100.8, which meant my head hurt too much to sleep and I hung out on the couch with some ice packs and Louis C.K.
Thank goodness my doctor is awesome and saw me Wednesday before the practice even officially opened. She said I have sinusitis, which I've had before, and never had such a bad fever with. She also said it was caused by a bacterial infection. That may be the cause of the fever - I can't say for certain because it's not in the first 3 paragraphs in the Wikipedia entry and I'm banned from WebMD. You'll just have to draw your own conclusions.
The important thing is she gave me antibiotics and my fever didn't spike again last night, and this morning I didn't feel that standing up required monumental effort.  I went back to work today, mainly because I was having a panic attack about being out for so long. I came home at 5:30pm feeling horrible and discovered my fever was back up to 101. Moral of the story: I'm good at life.
Since I could barely manage to sit upright to drink tea this week, blogging was clearly on the back burner. Running was also pretty low on my priorities, like, right under solving the world's energy crisis. Maybe it's the wisdom of now being in my 30s, maybe it's just having no spare energy, but I couldn't care less than I've run 0 miles so far. I was due for a stepback week anyhow - I ran 68 miles last week!
I haven't even told you the worst part of my troubles. Three full days in bed, and I finished the entire season of Orange is the New Black by 11am Tuesday. I haven't found any other show I can get on board with (I tried two: Weeds and Heartland). Reading hasn't worked out so well because I have enough trouble staying awake to watch TV. 
Are you a complete baby when you're sick or do you bravely forge on?
More importantly - can someone please talk to me about Orange is the New Black? Literally not one person I know in real life watches it (that I know of).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The obsession is still strong

My years as a barista are over, and I've traded my green apron for a running outfit (to work at a running store, there's no uniform so I couldn't really make an analogy there). Still, I've been obsessed with Starbucks since before I could even drive myself there, and the obsession is still strong.

Here's an iPhone photo of an photo from my Starbucks heyday in 2005.
Side note - isn't it weird to look through a box of photos to find an old picture rather than Facebook timeline?

Last week Starbucks was giving out double stars after 2pm to celebrate labor day and it felt more like Christmas. This semester my grad class is right across the street from a Starbucks and that makes my life infinitely better. I'm pretty sure my classmates now think I'm crazy (ha, kidding, I'm sure they started thinking that the day we met) because I sent an email out reminding everyone to go and get their extra star (no one did, not sure they even knew what I was talking about). Everyone continued the email chain about, you know, the actual class we were taking and I somehow found a way to drop another mention of the extra star (which I got, btw).
Thanks to that, I've now accomplished another milestone in my life.

I will now save this for at least 6 months waiting for the exact perfect time to use it,
and go to Starbucks and pay at least 45 times.

In other news, I've reached a blog high point. Or low point. I'm not sure.
Yesterday, schools closed early for heat, and no one better say one word about "lucky" or "jealous" because I'd trade two hours off for AC every single day in a heartbeat. Some fellow teachers and I decided to cool down at an air conditioned establishment. If you're a blogger, you know how you always wonder who in your "real life" reads your blog? Suddenly everyone started quoting mine and imitating it, but in a really funny way so I couldn't get mad and was secretly flattered.
It feels so good to have the secret out about the Stone Mill 50! Next step: training plan. Or at least schedule my long runs. One thing at a time.
Monday, I ran 10 miles before work. I don't have a training plan yet, but I know for a 50 mile race I need to get in a double digit run after a long run (and mine was Sunday last week) to practice running on tired legs. Surprisingly, my legs felt decent on Monday. Not surprisingly, eating about a half pound of candy (a combination of candy corn and chocolate) in bed Sunday night didn't leave me feeling great for a 5am run Monday. It ended up being a 9:40 pace. Not impressive, but it got the job done.
Tuesday was a rest day. My legs were sore from trail running. Sad but true.
I left my running store job at 9:30pm Tuesday and the temperature was still well into the 90s, so I didn't even consider running outside and looked forward to a morning date with my treadmill and Buffy. It was a good call. Wednesday was like living on the sun's surface. I did 7 miles at a 9:03 pace. Thursday was more of the same, except I hit snooze a little more and only had time for 5 miles (8:50 pace).

Do you have an obsession that you find yourself talking to other people about and making yourself look like a weirdo?
Bloggers: Do you wonder who reads your blog from your real life? Is it weird when you find out?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Confessions

1. I finally like a show that everyone else seems to like. 

I rarely seem to get on board with popular shows. Not in a hipster, I'm too cool way, just in a "I'm picky and have a short attention span and would rather just watch episodes of The Office than learn new characters" kind of way. It's quite annoying, really, because it would be much easier if other people could just tell me how to amuse myself. But on my trail run Sunday, people were talking about how good this show is, so I watched about half of the first episode while folding laundry that night (would have finished but got a phone call and then it was time for bed).

Last night, I left work just before 7 and suddenly started feeling awful on my way home (which isn't even ten minutes). I got home, made a cup of tea, washed my feet (they were seriously just as dirty as after my trail run), got in bed and watched until bedtime (not that long, but still). 

2. My upper body is so out of shape, my arms were sore from carrying a couple water coolers like a quarter mile on Saturday. 

Sad. Just sad. I know it wasn't from football, either. I followed my fool-proof plan of never touching the ball. I like the camaraderie and excitement of football, I just suck at the actual game. If I can get through all four quarters without impeding my team in any way, it's a win in my book. Although, I didn't quite make that goal Saturday, because I got a penalty for waving my arms in a girl's face while trying to cover her.

3. (This is the big one.)
I'm doing some races this fall.

Thursday, Eric and I signed up for the Baltimore Running Festival (him for the half, me for the full) on October 12. I did  Baltimore for my first half (so did my sister!), first full, and first sub-4 marathon, and it's my favorite race of all time. Plus, the start line is 20 minutes from our door. It's expensive, but I am getting paid to run for 3 Saturdays in a row, so it's like I'm an elite and it totally evens out.

Amazing sign by my parents.
You may have noticed I've been doing some unusual running - hitting the trails Sunday, doing a 10 mile run the day after my long run, signing up for a marathon when I'm clearly quite a long way from being in marathon PR shape. 

Ha, just kidding, I laugh to myself when bloggers say "you may have noticed....". Look, I may enjoy your blog, but I have my own life to "notice", I'm not sleuthing out what every little nuance and subtle hint might mean.

Anyway, I'm doing a 50 mile race in November. And not just any 50 mile race, the race where it all began, over 55 long ass miles back in 2011.

I swore never again. 
Before the race - half asleep and no idea what was coming.
But, I really liked the race - while the sun was out. It was well organized, had just absolutely fantastic volunteers, nice trails, an inexpensive registration fee and most importantly, the best food of any race I've ever been to.

How can I resist this?

 I just hated the surprise extra distance. However, I have it on good authority that last year this problem was fixed, and it was actually about 50 miles. 

This sign better be accurate this time.

I signed up as soon as it opened, not really sure I would do it. It sells out quickly, so I wanted to keep my options open. I'm glad I did, because I'm actually pretty excited about it. Especially since Kara will be running with me! We've only ever run 32 miles together before, so I'm sure she's just as excited as I am about the extra 18+ miles of bonding we will experience.

What did you swear you'd never do again, only to do it again? Shots don't count. That's just too obvious.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

More than a third of my shopping list is candy

This has been my motto for awhile now.

Thanks anonymous stepfather for the meme!
This weekend I finally felt ready to venture out into the big wide world. I had a few plans. All of them required a sports bra, running shoes and no makeup, so it was really ideal all around.

Friday and Saturday mornings were the type that runners dream of - cool, low humidity, just a hint of a breeze. It would have been perfect for me to get my runs in then, but I like to make things difficult for myself, so I didn't.

Thursday night was the beginning of the NFL season (I say this because Alyssa from one year ago would have never known that fact) and I really had big plans of staying up to see the Ravens play. The game didn't even begin until almost 9, so a Friday morning run was out. I made it all the way until halftime at 10:30, and apparently the game took a dive into the crapper after that anyway.

I ran 8 miles (9:19 pace) after work and even then the weather was tolerable. By the time I was done and showered, it was nearly time for bed, because I had an early wakeup call Saturday.

Replace "party" with "internet" and that's me.

Baltimore has a free wellness series going on downtown at the Inner Harbor. There's free workout classes every Saturday and Sunday morning. My running store is getting involved by setting up a water stop (tons of runners training for the Baltimore marathon next month do their long runs there) and hosting a free fun run. I manned the station and hosted the run yesterday with my BFF Casi, and it was awesome. We did about 4 miles at an easy pace, and runners were super appreciative of the unexpected water stop.

It didn't hurt getting paid to stare at this view either.
After that, I finished my shift working inside the store and stocked up on my new favorite running "food" ever.

I could actually just eat this for dessert.
I had to rush out the second I my shift was over because just like the NFL, our touch football league began this weekend too!

Check out that gorgeous pink shirt.
We're playing with most of the same teammates that we played with in the spring. Our team is awesome, and everyone was super welcoming, but we'd never met any of them prior to playing, so I recruited my friend Mandy to join me this time. I actually became friends with her the old fashioned way (aka not on the internet). We work together, but less together this year now that I teach fourth grade, so I forced her to play football so she would remain in my life.

Our football game had the best possible outcome. I exaggerate a lot but I challenge anyone to find something better in any sporting event. The other team didn't have enough players show up, so they were forced to forfeit. Which meant that our team won just by showing up. It also means we get an extra $50 bar tab at the end of the season. We still had the field and referee so we played a 30 minute game just for fun, and with the pressure off, it actually was fun (sometimes I get a little stressed about my lack of skills regarding throwing, catching, and occasionally remembering which way we are supposed to run). I was so relaxed that we even went out with the team for drinks after our victory!

Since I'm hosting the fun runs at the harbor for the next few Saturdays, I'll be doing my long runs on Sundays. My friend Jen agreed to do 10 miles of my run with me this morning and offered to show me some cool new trails. 

I woke up at 4:40am all excited to finally try out this gorgeous running weather. My phone claimed that it was 70 degrees with like 88% humidity, so I kept refreshing, because I was half asleep and positive that couldn't be right.

It was. I struggled through 6 incredibly slow (10:18 pace) miles from 5-6 am, and then did a complete outfit change (hoping to avoid chafing yet completely unsuccessful) before hopping in the car. I met Jen at her house, and we ran just under 2 miles to the trails. I know that taking a break and drinking coffee in the car while driving to a friend's house doesn't really mimic race conditions, but I mimicked race conditions on my long run last week with an actual race, so we're good.

I was really, really nervous about this run. Not only did Jen really school me last week (I mean that as a compliment), we were meeting her friend Emily. I've run with Emily before and she's super nice, but also a really strong, fast runner that doesn't need to walk up hills on the trails (like me). We used to meet for bike rides followed by a 2-3 mile trail run and just that kicked my ass. 

But, I figured I can use speedwork to get faster, or I can run on unmarked trails that I've never been to with no cell phone with fast people. When your options are "keep up or die in the woods", you're forced to speed up. (They would never have really left me, it was more like my options were "keep up or embarrass yourself by begging for mercy and slowing everyone else down", so it was really shame that kept me moving).

I ended up with a total of 16.47 miles, and about 6.5 were on trails. 

The trail portion was miles 2-8ish.
Jen lives practically around the corner from Wegmans. I'm not sure how widely known this is, but anyone originally from upstate NY now living in a new state is unable to resist a nearby Wegmans. It's physics. Law of attraction or something.

Wegmans is amazing. I tweeted them last week about the lack of Chorizo in the store near me, and look what I found today.

Last week they were also out of mellocreme pumpkins, much to my dismay. They distracted me from my horror by giving out free ice cream samples. This week there was no free ice cream, so thank god my pumpkins were stocked.

Eric and I are now 33 and 30, respectively, but sometimes I wonder if we are really adults. My shopping list had three kinds of candy on it. Because what am I supposed to do, replace the 1,400 calories I burned with broccoli?

FYI - choc = chocolate because I'm that lazy
Speaking of lazy, I was planning to put off my shower when I got home for like 2 hours while I drank coffee and stuffed my face. I'd changed into dry clothes after my run, and most of the sweat had dried from my hair while at the store. But then I took a look at my legs.

This forced me to shower before breakfast. #sobrave

 Stealing Logan's question: what do you refuel with after a long run/workout? What percentage of it is healthy? I'm trying to learn that whole "one treat, not an entire day of eating crap" idea. I'll eat my leftover hatch pepper grits before I dive into my half pound of candy tonight.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Beer, collard greens, and grits


Only 30 minutes or so after publishing my sob story about losing my special insulated camelback running water bottle, I got this text from my stepfather.

My mom has a rule that the only way to find a lost item is to finally break down and replace it, and I had just filled up my new bottle and stepped on the treadmill to begin my run when I got the text. I'd been looking for that thing for over a month too. Thank god I take the time to complain about mundane inconveniences on the internet though, or that would still be an unsolved mystery. At least this way I have some closure.
Thursday was Rosh Hashana and I work for a glorious school district that closes for Jewish holidays, so I got to do my absolute favorite thing ever - stay up as late as I want and stay in bed as long as I want. The party continued when I could take my sweet time and not go for a run until I'd had plenty of delicious fancy French press Dean and Deluca coffee and breakfast. I could have ran outside but I really wanted to watch Buffy and not put on sunscreen. I did an 8 mile progression run on the treadmill, starting at 9:41 and ending at 8:34. I don't know that I've ever really done a progression run on purpose. I liked it because just when a pace was starting to feel too easy, it was time to get faster.
Once again, I had to waste my free time on grad work. I haven't really been doing a great job this way of trying to focus on the positive side of things, so I'll take this as an opportunity. I tend to clean a lot more when the semester is in session. If I'm procrastinating on work reading Buzzfeed or something stupid, then I feel like a piece of crap. But if I'm procrastinating by cleaning....well.... that's not really procrastinating, is it? It has to get done, right? I actually cleaned most of the apartment putting off work! Plus I went to the farmer's market!
I'm not exactly sure why, but instead of honoring my Jewish heritage on my dad's side I used my day off to honor my black heritage on my husband's side. I cooked collard greens and grits for dinner. Eric LOVES collard greens, and it's one of the few vegetables that I really can't stand. It's right up there with kale.
I came across a recipe for beer braised collard greens (ugh, yes, on Pinterest, but in my defense I have to use it for work and maid of honor duties). It seemed like a match made in Eric's heaven, and I love beer bread and beer soup and basically everything made with beer except beer itself. They had to simmer for hours and it smelled so good.
It still tasted like collard greens. Even covering it with salt and hot sauce didn't mask it.
I've never made grits, but I also found a recipe on the same site for roasted poblano grits with chorizo. I used my elusive hatch peppers and Andouille sausage.
I was going to only post the picture from the recipe because I thought mine looked terrible, but actually even the Pinterest one is kind of gross looking, so I posted them both. (Hint: mine is the one artfully posed on a leopard print snuggie). Like so many good foods, this isn't photogenic.

You can see a little of my purple shirt! Go Ravens!

Ok, I guess this one looks a little better.

It was amazing but wow I did not realize how hot those hatch peppers are. I sampled stuff made with them at Wegmans but apparently they used a lot less than me. I typically like mild salsa to be the hottest thing I ever eat so this was a change for me. Even Eric, who loves hot things was impressed. But I'm nothing if not devoted to eating, so with the help of like 5 glasses of crystal light I finished my grits like a champ.

Are you a glass half empty or glass half full kind of person? I'm a glass half empty who desperately wants/tries to be glass half full.

5 things thursday

Tuesday I had one of those soul crushing runs. I couldn't get out of bed, and when I finally did, I barely made it through 3 miles. I'm not even sure what I did could be called running. I guess doing a 20 mile race Sunday and running 10 miles of tough hills Monday hadn't done my legs any favors. I had this idea that since I used to do that stuff all the time (aka - a year ago) I could just jump back in with no build up. Clearly I was wrong.

Wednesday was a little better but not much. A funny podcast got me through six miles and then I timed things poorly and got back right as Eric was getting in the shower, so I went back out and did another mile. No Garmin which was probably for the best.

It's also tough getting used to this whole working full time thing again. It is exhausting. I want to whine that I've worked at least 10 hours most days but most of my friends work 50 hours a week OR significantly more and would consider that a light week. So I can't even complain.

Ok here are my five things (running stuff doesn't count because it's a running blog).

1. Grad class started up again last night. It was pretty exciting though because it turns out the instructor is a fellow SUNY Geneseo alum (my alma mater, aka the greatest college known to man). It's kind of a big deal because it only has about 5,000 students and most people haven't even heard of it 400 miles away. My excitement took a dive though when he told me he graduated a year AFTER me. AKA I'm officially old enough to be in a graduate school class being taught by someone younger than I am. Ew.

2. I somehow lost my good, insulated camelbak water bottle and it's ruining my life. I've either been going without water or using a tiny fuelbelt one that broke before I even used it ten times. So yesterday I was carrying just a regular, cheap plastic reusable water bottle and it was making my hand way too cold. I know, first world pains and all that, but it was really annoying me and I was already not feeling the run to begin with. Just before the two mile mark I hid it in the bushes and wrapped the water bottle holder around my arm (it's a "fancy" ironman brand one, aka more than 50 cents to replace) and the run really improved. Miraculously, the bottle was even still there on the way back and hadn't been poisoned or anything! I like to live on the edge.

3. Does anyone else feel like twitter is trying to trick them? Several times now I have found myself following something I don't even remember clicking "follow" for, and I could swear I've never even heard of it. I've ruled out sleep twitter following, so I blame twitter itself.

Here's an example. I found myself following "healthyfoods". At first I thought, well, ok, I like to make healthy meals to balance out my dessert addiction, that's fine.

Then they posted this.

Excuse me? Fruit is not cake even if you shape it like one.
I left a comment saying that if someone gave me that on my birthday I would bitch slap them and immediately unfollowed.

4. I got really cocky the other day and was bragging in an email about how I didn't get burned the entire time I was in the Caribbean. The universe put me right in my place and I burned my finger taking dinner out of the oven. They sure showed me and now I have a blister.

Well, I guess it doesn't show up well in pictures, but it's there.
5. Much like I did with Mockingjay, I'm taking my time on the fifth Game of Thrones book because I don't want it to end. I mean, technically the end of the 5th book isn't the end, but it is for the foreseeable future.

This is actually from GRRM's twitter.

Luckily, to give myself something to live for, I just booked a trip home to Rochester. The officially reason is to get fitted for my maid of honor dress for my sister's wedding! And of course the unofficial reason is to hang out with my family and stare at Harrison as he runs around (not hold him, at least last time he was having none of that from me).
What was your alma mater, and on a scale of 1-10, how much did you love it? What was your favorite thing about it? Mine was everything, but you can't use that.
How many hours a week do you work? Please only answer if you are actually employed.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day weekend without the labor

This labor day weekend has been just how I like it - filled with very little labor, and a whole lot of couch time. And that's really only if you consider basic household chores "labor", which I don't, because I'm not pathetic.

It was really another shining example of an introvert's paradise, but that was mainly because here in Baltimore, everyone is obsessed with "the beach" (Ocean City) and leaves town on holiday weekends. Also, Eric got the flu or something and was deathly ill.

Friday, I was practically peeing my pants with excitement over my evening plans: silence and sleep.  I had nowhere to be, no one to talk to, nothing to set the alarm for, and it was glorious. I'm actually getting a little concerned typing this because I feel positive that I once had a social life, but now I have no more desire for that.

Saturday morning, two of my students on opposing football teams were playing against each other, so I went to the game. It was pretty awkward trying to cheer for both teams at once, but otherwise fun. In retrospect, it should have been a sign that Sunday's race was going to be a hot mess when my clothes were soaked with sweat after just five minutes outdoors while standing still.

Saturday afternoon I went to work, got sent home from work, and then enjoyed another evening of sitting around. Life is wonderful.

Sunday, I ran the race, then went to Wegmans for like 2 hours. It could have been a quick trip, since everyone was out of town for the holiday, but sometimes I just like wandering around, looking at stuff. My upstate NY friends will understand.

Did you know it's Hatch pepper time? Apparently there is some super special kind of pepper only grown in New Mexico that are only in season for 5 weeks a year! Wegmans only gets them for one week! At least that's what the lady working there told me.

They were sampling all sorts of stuff with Hatch peppers, and it seemed pretty good, and ok they sucked me in with the "only available 5 weeks a year" part. But you could buy them already roasted and I'd already planned a recipe for Thursday's dinner that required roasted poblano peppers and the lady assured me that Hatch peppers were better so it was just that perfect!

Ok, seriously I need to get back to a social life.

Today, I met my friend Jen at 6:30am for a run at Loch Raven reservoir. We became friends through daily mile. I heard a rumor that there are ways to make friends besides the internet and running, but I've yet to see proof of that.

I didn't take any pictures, but I found some from a previous run there.

Loch Raven is a notoriously hilly running route. Can you tell?

The picture above shows the hill at mile 4. Let's not even speak of the hill at the end. It was so intense that I didn't even care that we ended our ten mile run at only 9.7 miles.

The humidity was still out in full force and Jen is super speedy so even though she took it easy on me with an average 9:40 pace, that run kicked my ass.

After a race, I always love having a nice salty bagel the next morning. I even had a dream that a Brueggers opened up locally! (Another upstate NY reference - sorry everyone else). Obviously that was too good to be true, but I was still excited for this amazing bagel place by our house.

After all that build up, it was freaking closed for the holiday. The worst part is, the same thing happened to me after my race Memorial Day weekend. I don't learn.

I managed to rally and still enjoy a pretty awesome breakfast.

I need to always cook my eggs in bacon grease.
I could tell Eric was feeling better because he asked for the rest of the pack of bacon, along with eggs and toast for breakfast. The pack was 1.25 pounds, and I'd only eaten two pieces. Like I explained yesterday, we are big proponents of "go big or go home" when it comes to eating.

Not to brag, but I made an amazing dinner too. Sweet potato and chorizo (but really Andouille, because Wegmans didn't have chorizo) enchiladas.

With special salsa cheese

 They aren't nice and rolled up because I like corn tortillas better than flour. And not in that "I just like almond milk better than real milk, it's totally not because it only has 30 calories!" way, corn tortillas are just way better. (BTW, if you do claim to drink almond milk for any reason other than it's low in calories, I want a doctor's note. I do drink it, and I like it fine, but that's the ultimate reason).

I would really like to say I'll get out in the real world next weekend, but I just can't promise that.

Does anyone else prefer corn tortillas like me?

What's your strategy for running with someone way faster than you: ask them to slow down, just skirt death and attempt to keep up, or fake an injury? I asked once to slow down but I was too embarrassed to ask again so I just sucked it up and in the end it was probably good for me. It's just really not fair that some people are born naturally fast.