November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

God has given me so many wonderful things to be thankful for and this weekend brought all of that together.

I'm so blessed.

I spent Thanksgiving morning eating cinnamon rolls and drinking mimosas with my mom and The Pilot.

I spent Thanksgiving dinner with The Pilot at his grandparents' house. We ate appetizers in their sun room with the most beautiful view of the sun setting on the bay.

We went to Target at midnight with my sister and brother-in-law because well, why not?

Friday, I studied and The Pilot and I went to the movies, went for a run, studied some more, watched movies with my mom and then went out for late drinks with The Pilot and one of our friends from high school.

I spent Saturday working on a paper. I went for a run and then went to my aunt's house with The Pilot. We went to Mass together at my old elementary school and then went shopping.

Today, I studied some more and went shopping with my mom. I worked on a paper and caught up on some blogs.

This weekend was perfect. 
I did everything I love with everyone I love.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

November 21, 2011

Recipe: Quick Minestrone Soup

It's getting to be that time of year where the only thing that warms you up from being outside is a nice, big cup of hearty soup.

It's been awhile since I've delved into one of the recipes from my cookbook challenge, so last night, I decided to make a bowl of the Quick Minestrone.

I amended the quantities of the ingredients a bit, so here goes:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp each minced fresh thyme and oregano
  • 1 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small eggplant, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 32 oz. V8 Vegetable Juice
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta shells
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Make sure you dice the vegetables into bite size pieces. I chopped mine a little too big so it was kind of awkward eating these big clumps of vegetables in my soup. 

Sauteing veggies!
  1. Put the olive oil, onion, garlic, herbs and spices in a saucepan and sautee until sizzling. 
  2. Add the vegetables and stir until they soften...about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour in the V8 juice. *Use left over for nutrient rich, delicious Bloody Marys*
  4. Add the beans, then the cooked pasta. *Note, I cooked the pasta al dente as it continues to cook in the soup)
  5. Taste, add salt and pepper if needed. If the liquid is low, add some warm water. 
  6. Serve with some crackers or bread and enjoy!

Only 10 more recipes to go!

Love/Don't Love

1. I slept for 13 hours last night. It was glorious. Love.
2. Yesterday, I owned my race. My new running mantra (which I developed somewhere around Mile 9) became "Own your race." I didn't put everything out there but I still finished strong and fast. Now, I have my sights set on a winter Half-Marathon that I can truly own and test my limits and see just how fast these little legs can carry me. Love. 

Woo! Look at me! I PRd!
3. I came home last night to find the picture frames I hung on my wall last week on the floor, shattered to a million pieces. So much for posting photos of my apartment this week. Don't Love.

4. I'm starting to get a tiny bit excited for the know, now that they actually start this week and it's appropriate to do so. Love.
5. The Pilot and I have plans to go see Macy's inflate all of the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade but now it's supposed to rain. I swear I feel like it rains at least twice a week in New York. Don't Love.
6. 3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! 3 more weeks! Love.
7. Those 3 weeks involve a lot of paper writing...which is what I will be doing on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and through the weekend. Goal = write 2 of 3 final papers this weekend. Don't Love.
8. I just found out I don't have to work on Wednesday which means as of 6pm tomorrow I'm free! Love...To go write papers. Don't Love.

It's the start of a short week for everyone!
What are you loving and not loving this week?
Who's doing something exciting for Thanksgiving?

November 20, 2011

Philadelphia Half-Marathon Race Recap

Dear Philly,

I don't like your sports teams but I love running in your city.

Love, Christy


Remember when I was all..."I have no idea what to expect and I'm terrified about racing this weekend?"

Well, those feelings brought back to me all of the nervous excitement that I had been missing out on from running so many times this year.

Since Marine Corps, I had run a total of 24 miles before today...2 of those runs, I dropped out of less than half way through my planned run because of knee pain and none of those runs were longer than 5 miles.

My goals for Philly were to:
  1. Have fun reliving the nostalgia of running on the same course of my first marathon. Check!
  2. Run smart and listen to my body. Check!
  3. PR if at all possible. CHECK!
I had a blast at this race.The weather was perfect, I hit all my goals and for the first seven miles, I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. 

I heard that Garmins tend to get a little wonky in Philly so I turned off Auto Lap and then accidentally only lapped my first mile so unfortunately, I don't have splits for this race. Unless you count this as a split:

How's that for positive splitting?
I loved running the course and having, "Hey! I remember this" moments. It was so much fun! Philly was the first course I've ever run twice and I loved knowing what was coming. 

Sunrise at the starting line
I was maintaining a pretty consistent pace of between 8:43 and 8:47 all the way through the 10k and then I just started feeling good so I picked up the pace a bit and was 8:37. Around Mile 7, I started fading a little bit. I was keeping my pace but my legs were starting to get tired so I decided to take a Gu at Mile 7.5.

After the stomach issues I had at Marine Corps which I realized had nothing to do with my dairy intake, I was nervous to take a Gu because Gu is the only thing consistent with my stomach issues and running. I decided to space it out and took it over the course of the next mile. At this point, we started hitting some rolling hills. Nothing serious at all but I didn't remember them from last year and had really only remembered the hill around Mile 9. I kept my pace consistent through them and was really happy.

My plan was to speed it up for the last 10k if I was on target for hitting a PR but that wasn't happening. I was feeling great but I just didn't have it in me to pick up the pace anymore, so I kept my pace steady and made my way to the Finish Line which I crossed in 1:54:14...a 1 1/2 minute PR. 

I was am elated. The hazelnut truffle in my mouth may have something to do with that. Or maybe it was meeting Katie's awesome first-time marathoning husband Thom out on the course at Mile 3. Or maybe it was the fact that I had a 91 second PR in my last big race of the season. 

D. All of the Above.

Only the Hot Chocolate 15k, some final papers and 3 more weeks of school stand between me and a month off from training. I can't wait.

Thanks for all of your support this weekend! I had an awesome time!

November 18, 2011

Friday Rambles

This weekend is the Philadelphia  Half-Marathon.

I'm terrified. Part of me wishes I would drop out. The other part of me is really excited.

Since the Marine Corps Marathon, I've run a total of 19 miles. I'm hoping to turn that into 23-24 tonight. I had planned to take at least 4 days off after the marathon and when I tried to go for that first run, my body was screaming at me not to.

Then, I ran the Dash to the Finish Line 5k and had a great race and started having wild fantasies of running the full marathon in Philly and seeking sub-4 redemption. 2 days later, I went for a run and started having major knee pain which has shortened 2 of my remaining 4 runs this month.

I really want to run Philly, have fun and PR (break 1:55:45) but I know I have to run the race smart. My plan? Start off slow for the first three miles then clock into my goal pace (8:46) by Mile 5, hold that steady through Mile 10 and then race the last 5k.

This all of course depends on how my knee wants to cooperate.

In other news, The Pilot and I went to see tonight's taping of The Late Show with David Letterman.

I scored free tickets through my job so we made our way over to the Ed Sullivan theater where Regis Philbin was outside attempting to learn how to ride a scooter. Regis is really tiny in person.

It's ok Reeg, I feel ya. The Pilot has a scooter and I almost crashed it into a dumpster when he tried to teach me how to ride it.

Letterman's guest was Herman Cain. He's umm interesting. The CBS orchestra is absolutely fantastic though and we had a lot of fun.

After the taping, we had dinner in Times Square and then made our way home for Thursday night TV. Today, I worked and now I'm sitting in a make-up class talking about Occupy Wall Street for the umpteenth time...clearly I'm very interested and paying loads of attention.

That's what's going on this Friday! Tell me: Have you ever been to a live taping of a TV show? What are your plans for the weekend? Anyone racing? Anyone resting?

Have a great weekend!

If you watch the Letterman show tonight, look for me in the audience!

November 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Grad School - One of the things on my 25 Before 25 list is to get my Master's. Last night, I turned in my thesis proposal which is the last step in the grad school process. I'm really excited about my topic (which I'll post more about later in the writing process) and the possibility of going back to Africa to do my field research. I turned in my preliminary proposal last night and I'll turn in an extended proposal in January and start writing. I'm hoping to travel around February-March and write my first draft around the middle of March and finish it up by then. I have to be really strict with setting deadlines for myself and following them which isn't going to be easy but I'm determined to make the process fun!

2. Philly - This Sunday is the Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon. Last Monday I had wild fantasies of running the marathon, going sub-4 and writing an "Oops I Ran a Marathon" post. Then my knee fell apart on Tuesday and I realized that wasn't going to happen. My knee has basically been  bothering me every other run but if I keep a knee brace on it, it doesn't hurt so I'm hoping for a good race in Philly. Philly was my first full so I really wanted to take part in the race again. But it might be a little too soon after Marine Corps. Hal Higdon says you need one day of rest for every mile you ran in the marathon and I think I'm starting to believe that. I think after my next training cycle, I'm going to have to give myself ample time to rest...especially since 2012 is going to be my first multiple marathon year! No matter what happens in Philly, I'm heading down with Celia and Katie will be there too, so it's bound to be a fun weekend.

3. The Holiday 'Spirit' - When The Pilot and I went to Texas in September for my friend's wedding, you would have thought it was December 21. There was Christmas stuff every where. Call me a Grinch all you want, but I hate that Christmas starts earlier and earlier every year. I think it makes people so sick of Christmas by the time the holiday actually gets here, that no one wants a part of it...myself included. I would be so much happier if we just went back to the 12 days of Christmas rather than the 90 days of Christmas.  The more I see Christmas stuff weeks upon weeks in advance, the more I get annoyed about it. I refuse to shop in a store that's decked out for the holidays before Black Friday. I don't understand the one actually buys Christmas-themed items as gifts anyway and no one starts decorating until after Thanksgiving. I read a consumer report that 89% of consumers are dissatisfied with how early Christmas why does it continue to start earlier and earlier every year? Oh and ABC Family's Countdown to the Countdown of the 25 days of Christmas? Not cool. Not cool at all.

So tell me: Have you written a graduate thesis? Did you have fun with it or am I setting myself up for major disappointment? How long do you usually rest after racing? What are your thoughts on Christmas starting earlier and earlier each year? Do you get excited about it? Or do you think it's too much?

November 14, 2011

Love/Don't Love

1. I'm still on a high from my amazing weekend getaway to Maine. Love.

2. Me and this whole Daylight Saving thing aren't getting along at all. Despite getting more than enough sleep every night, I'm finding myself absolutely exhausted by 6pm every night. Usually, it only takes me a day or 2 to switch to the time change around but this time, my body just does not want to respond. Don't Love.
3. I had a really great meeting with my thesis adviser today and I'm submitting my proposal on Friday. I can't wait to be done with classes and spend the next four months writing my thesis. Love.
4. I had to cut my planned 12 mile run short today because of horrible knee pain. This has been going on since Marine Corps and I'm finally sucking it up and going to see someone about it. I just hope I can still run Philly this weekend and Hot Chocolate in a few weeks. Don't Love.
5. I'm finally, for the first time, starting to feel good about this semester. I have 3 weeks left and a manageable amount of work to do. I'm starting to catch up on my work and get my final assignments done and then it will all be over. Love.

That's it for today! 
I'm exhausted!
Hope you're all having a great start to the week!

November 13, 2011

Oops...I went to Maine!

If you're wondering where I've been for the last few days, I was in Maine. Oops. The Pilot and I had been toying around with the idea of going somewhere for our anniversary but couldn't really decide on anything. On Wednesday afternoon, he sent me a text that said "Ok, we're all set for tomorrow." "Where are we going," I asked. "Portland, Maine."

So I set packed a bag and set my alarm for bright and early the next morning and met The Pilot at Newark airport where we boarded a flight to Portland.

As soon as we landed and checked into our hotel, we made our way downtown to start exploring. Neither of us had ever been to Portland and it was my first time in Maine at all. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty crappy, but we still had fun! As soon as he told me we were going to Maine, I typed in "Portland" into my Google reader and came across a ton of posts that some of the bloggers I follow have written about Portland so I had a small list of places I wanted to check out!

First up, the Coastal Maine Popcorn Company.

Lots and LOTS of popcorn!
This place was fantastic! We sampled so many different amazing popcorns like Buffalo Wing, Apple Pie a la Mode, Maine Maple and Oatmeal Raisin. I came home with some Toffee for myself, Maine maple for my Mom and The Pilot brought home some French Toast (Maine Maple & Cinnamon Toast mixed). I love supporting local businesses and we loved chatting it up with the store owner and learning all about how their popcorn is made and how they're expanding their business! If you're looking for stocking stuffers this season, I highly recommend some Maine popcorn!

After exploring a bit more and dipping in and out of the shops, we went for lunch and beer at a local brewpub called Gritty McDuff's which was pretty good. We were planning to get some ice cream for dessert but it was so cold, we decided to duck into a quaint little coffee shop called Mornings in Paris for some hot chocolate! I couldn't not help myself to a few several nutella macaroons that were absolute heaven!
After our hot chocolate and macaroons, we headed over to the Shipyard Brewing Company for a tasting.

The Brewery!
We sampled a few (tasty!) beers, learned about the history of the company and got to visit the bottling line. After our beer tasting, we headed back to our hotel to freshen up before going to dinner at Local 188, a really fun restaurant that had both romantic tables for two and comfy couches for drinking with friends. The beer menu was extensive and so was the wine list. Dinner was delicious followed by a fantastic apple crisp. After Dinner, we met up with Danielle for drinks at the rooftop bar, East End Lounge. I had told Danielle we were coming to town the night before and didn't think The Pilot would mind having her crash our anniversary night for a bit. We had espresso martinis and then headed to a church-turned-bar/restaurant called Grace for some more drinks. 

How awesome is this place?
Well after one drink too many, we decided that a midnight trip to LL Bean was in order. Yes, LL Bean is open 24 hours. Supposedly, the only times they've ever closed are when John F. Kennedy and LL Bean died. They don't even have locks on the door! According to Danielle, the only things to do after hours in Maine are to go to LL Bean or Denny's. Clearly, we chose LL Bean. Holy goodness, drunk shopping at LL Bean is something that needs to happen in my life more often. Especially with Danielle. 

Surprisingly, I didn't mind this place all decked out for the holidays.
Ahh! A moose!

After spending far too much not nearly enough time at all (!) at LL Bean, we headed back to our hotel to call it a night. The next morning, we had a flight to catch...except we didn't get on it because, as you all know, The Pilot and I fly stand by. Since we couldn't get on our flight and the next one wasn't until 7, we decided to rent a car and go where else? To LL Bean. Well, kind of. We headed to Freeport, ME to explore the outlet shops (and of course go back to LL Bean) for a few hours before heading back to the airport and flying home where we showed up and surprised the heck out of my mom at her birthday party. (Yup, my mom's birthday was on 11/11/11...because she's even more awesome than a date with all 1's)

And if all that wasn't enough for you, The Pilot and I spent our Saturday on a morning run around town and then we took my mom and his parents bowling and to the ice cream shop to wrap up a perfect weekend. 

I loved Maine and I'll absolutely go back...but maybe not until the summer when it gets a bit warmer! Have you ever taken a spontaneous vacation? 

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

November 9, 2011

The Story of Us

This morning, The Pilot and I were featured on one of my favorite blogs: Long Distance Loving. Every Wednesday, {AV} features a couple that is in a long distance relationship. The stories that she has featured have been great and I've enjoyed reading every one of them and it was so fun to be featured ourselves!

{AV} referred to us "a jetsetting pair" and that's definitely true. From our first date on a plane ride over Daytona Beach to multiple trips jetting back and forth from New York to Florida, New Jersey to Boston, New Jersey to Florida and now, New Jersey to New York, we've definitely racked up the mileage on planes, trains and automobiles just trying to see each other.

With our anniversary coming up this weekend, I thought it might be fun to tell you some things about us.
  • We met in high school. We worked in the main office together during our free period of our senior year. The secretaries who worked there always used to tell us that we were going to end up together. We both thought that was really awkward.
  • We actually went to prom together...not as dates but with the same group of friends. I went with one of his good friends. 
  • He was the captain of the football team. I was the furthest thing from a cheerleader you could have found at our high school.  
  • It was during our senior year of college that we bumped into each other again and sparks started flying right away. 
  • One of our first dates was to Disney World. On one of our second, he took me flying over Daytona Beach in a tiny little Cessna 152 plane. 
  • Our birthdays are 1 week apart.
  • It took us a year of dating before we went ahead and made it "Facebook official." 
  • We're both huge Mets and Jets fans. The only sport we disagree on is hockey. (Devils suck, just kidding babe...not really)
  • Sometimes it's scary how much we can read each other's minds. 
  • Every year for New Year's, we go somewhere and buy a bottle of wine to drink the following year on New Year's. This year, our bottle of wine broke so we're hunting for a new bottle to replace last year's...I think this year we should buy 2...just to be safe. 
  • We get a long with each other's families really well. In my case, I think my dad likes him more than he likes me. 
  • I love that he flies planes. I think his job is the most interesting thing in the world and I love that he has different stories to tell from work every day. 

So that's that. It's been 2 years since that fateful day when we made our lives public to the world of Facebook and became "official" and almost 3 years since we bumped into each other that night before Thanksgiving. Since then, it's been a blast and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Happy Anniversary babe, I love you. 

November 8, 2011

New York City Marathon: 9+1 Guaranteed Entry Option

This past Saturday, I ran my 9th and final qualifying race to secure guaranteed entry into the 2012 New York City Marathon.

The NYC Marathon is known for being notoriously difficult for getting into. With a lottery that puts approximately 1 in 3 applicants through and qualifying times that are steeper than Boston's, the only other options to run NYC are through a charity or through the 9+1 guaranteed entry option. (There used to be a few other ways but New York Road Runners has done away with them as of a few weeks ago).

Because of the difficulty of getting into the New York City Marathon, NYRR has coined the phrase "I'm in" to celebrate those who are "in" for the next race.


The 9+1 guaranteed entry option is the only surefire way for New Yorkers to secure entry into their marathon if they don't want to run for charity and they can't run a 3:00 marathon or a 1:27 Half. (I kid you not, 3:00 is the qualifying time for women ages 18-39. It used to be 3:23)

When I was in Boston for the Boston Marathon this past year, I remember talking to Lizzie, Lauren, Becky and some other bloggers who said that they wished Boston had a similar program for guaranteed entry into the Boston Marathon. At the time, I completely agreed with them and praised up and down how fantastic I think the 9+1 Guaranteed Entry option is.

But after finally completing my 9+1, I feel a little bit differently about it.

NYC Half 2011
The official rules can be read here but basically you have to be a member of NYRR, complete 9 qualifying NYRR races and volunteer for 1 in the year before the year you want to run the marathon. You must also be a member of NYRR at the time of application to the marathon that you plan to run.

The 9 races I ran were:
  • Al Gordon Classic (4m)
  • NYC Half-Marathon
  • NYRR 4-Mile
  • New York Mini 10k
  • Percy Sutton Harlem 5k (cancelled due to Hurricane Irene but I still got credit)
  • Women Mind Body & Spirit Games (4m)
  • Grete's Great Gallop (Half-Marathon)
  • Staten Island Half-Marathon
  • Dash to the Finish Line 5k
You can read the recaps for all of these races on my Race Recaps page here

While the majority of the distances were shorter and I could have done almost all of my races as 4 or 5 mile races if I wanted, I didn't really have that option since I was gone for most of the summer and missed a lot of those races. Whether I had run my races through the summer or not though, 9 races is a lot and after feeling like I was racing every weekend, I really lost a lot of the excitement that makes racing appeal to me from having to do it so often.
Staten Island Half 2011
What bothers me the most about the 9+1 option is that I missed out on a lot of other really great races because I was running races that I really wasn't invested in just to get the credit for it. A 4 miler in February? In Brooklyn? No thanks. A 5k in Harlem? Definitely not. A Half-Marathon in Staten Island? No thank you. Of the 9 races I ran, the only one I would run again is the NYRR Mini 10k...and maybe the Dash to the Finish if it wasn't $50. 

Speaking of money. Let's talk about how much all of this actually cost me. Membership itself is $40 which you have to pay twice (the year you run your 9 races + the year you run the marathon). Right there we're at $80. The 4 mile races, Grete's Gallop and the Mini 10k were $18 a piece. The NYC Half was $79 (plus a $5 processing fee). The Harlem 5k was $27 and the State Island Half was $25. Add all of that together plus the $156 (plus $11 processing fee) for the New York City Marathon and you're at just under $500. 

Now, that's not a tremendous amount of money and some of the races, half-marathons in particular are a lot cheaper than what other organizations will charge for the same distance it definitely adds up and I probably won't spend much more than half of that on the races I have planned for 2012 but here I've gone and spent almost $500 just to be able to run the New York City Marathon. 

If I had known it was going to add up to be that much, I would have opted to run the race for charity. Now most charities have a commitment of around $2500 but I could have put that $500 in myself and gotten the rest donated by friends, colleagues, professors, etc. That evens out to only 40 people donating $50 each or 80 at $25 each, as someone who has done a lot of fundraising, I know isn't difficult to do. 

Team for Kids - one of the many charities that sponsor NYC Marathon runners
Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to toe the line on the Verrazano Bridge next year and whether I got in by 9+1 or some other option, it's definitely a race I want to do. I think that 9+1 is a great way for runners to keep their fitness all year long and have the chance to run a marathon that's so difficult to get into but I wish I would have known just how much this was going to cost me so that instead of giving $500 out of my pocket to New York Road Runners, I could have taken that money and given it to one of the amazing charities that sponsors runners for the marathon. 

That's my 2 cents. I'd love it if you weighed in: Have you run the NYC Marathon? How did you get "In"? Do you think 9+1 is a good program? Have you run a race for charity? Would you have rather an option like 9+1 or would you do it again?

November 7, 2011

Love/Don't Love

1. Since my last Love/Don't Love Post, I'm feeling a lot better about everything including school, work, etc. Love.
2. There are only 5 more weeks in the semester and I can totally handle it! There are only 2 papers, 1 presentation and a take-home final that stand between me and never having to set foot in a classroom ever again. Love. 
3. Training for the Philadelphia Half-Marathon starts today! I started my morning with an awesome strength training session that included some leg, back and bicep work and then a 15 minute Get Focused ab routine with the Nike Training Club app. Love.
4. I've only used the NTC app a few times but I can't view My Progress or get my workouts to sync to the Nike website. Don't Love. 
5. The New York City Marathon was yesterday and everyone ran a great race! I can't wait to toe the line on the Verrazano Bridge next year! Love.
6. I got my butt kicked this morning and am definitely going to feel it tomorrow. Don't Love. 
7. Lately I've really been into the whole mustache trend. I have no idea why but I think this whole fascination with mustaches is absolutely fantastic. Love.

Maybe I should throw a mustache party to get it out of my system?
8. This weekend was absolutely fantastic. Friday night involved frozen yogurt with these awesome blogger ladies. Saturday involved a 5k race, watching college football, writing a paper and a fantastic 30th birthday surprise costume party for The Pilot's brother. The party was at this cosmic miniature golf was awesome! Love.
The Pilot and I went as elves!
9. This weekend was Daylight Saving Time. I don't understand why they call it "Daylight Saving" because I'm pretty sure that day light ends at 4pm and that isn't cool at all. I miss summer nights when it's light out until 8pm. Daylight Saving Time, you suck and I Don't Love you.
10.. Last week went by super fast and I'm hoping this weekend does as well! I didn't go to school at all last week (oops) so it might be tough to get back into things but The Pilot and I are celebrating our anniversary and it's my mom's birthday so it's definitely going to be a good week! Love. 

What did you do this weekend? Did you run the New York City Marathon? Is it on your bucket list? Any big plans for the week?

Happy Monday everyone!

November 6, 2011

Dash to the Finish Line 5k

Yesterday, I went for my first run since the Marine Corps Marathon and ran the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5k.

I promise this recap won't be as long as my MCM recap.

This race was my 9th and final race to secure guaranteed entry into the 2012 New York City Marathon. I had been planning to go for an easy 2 mile run on Thursday but I was having some pretty serious pain in my knee all week after MCM that I skipped it.

On Friday night, I had resigned to the fact that I would probably have to walk the 5k since 1) my knee was hurting so badly and 2) I wasn't about to DNS my last 9+1 race.

The race started at the United Nations which was awesome. I was definitely happy to be starting a race in front of Dag Hammerskjold about combining my two loves: running and international affairs. We ran down 1st Avenue past the UN to 42nd Street and then from  42nd Street to 6th Avenue where we made a right turn and entered Central Park East before turning left to run the lower part of the park before finishing at Tavern on the Green at the New York City Marathon Finish Line.

That's me with the black/neon green jacket around my waist approaching the NYC Marathon Finish Line!
When the gun went off, I started running. I wanted to see how my knee would hold up before I resorted to walking. My knee was definitely hurting and I started getting a strange pain in the bone right all in the first mile. I stopped for a second at Mile 2 to massage it and then I felt fine! I ran Mile 1 in 8:54 and evened out Miles 2 and 3 at 7:49 before crossing the Finish in 25:16...offshooting my PR by 7 seconds.
I was so excited. It wasn't a PR but hey, to run a 5k just one week after running a marathon and only missing my PR by 7 seconds? I was one happy girl!

The race itself was a lot of fun. I loved running alongside so many people from  around the world who were in town for the marathon and finishing at the Marathon Finish Line was pretty cool especially since this race was my guarantee that on this day next year, I'll be crossing that same finish line after running 26.2.

November 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday

I never post this late but I'm taking a break from writing a paper and wanted to get this post in before Thursday is over so here goes!

1. Back to Normal - I got back to New York on Tuesday morning and headed straight to work. Luckily, things have been pretty quiet this week although I'm struggling a bit to catch up on school work that I didn't do over Marathon Weekend. Surprisingly, I haven't had much of an appetite at all since the race and I'm basically forcing myself to eat my standard 5 small meals a day. I've heard this is common but I'm concerned it might have something to do with the stomach issues I've been having. I went and got a fantastic 90 minute sports therapy massage after work today and already I'm feeling better. I haven't made the return to running just yet though. I've been a little too sore and dealing with a nagging pain in my right knee that I'm trying to nurse before Saturday's 5k.

2. ING New York City Marathon - I have to say, I'm glad I'm not running the New York City Marathon this year. To be perfectly honest, I don't think I'd enjoy it and I don't think I'd run a good race. Don't get me wrong, I would love to run the New York City Marathon and I know it's a great race and next year, I will run it but I think with my unresolved issues with New York and the way I currently feel about New York Road Runners, I think I'll be able to enjoy the race a lot more next year when I'm a bit more detached from it all. Now that's not to say I'm not thrilled for everyone running it this weekend and believe me, I will be in Central Park cheering my head off just like I was last year, but it was a blessing in disguise that I didn't make it into the lottery this year.

3. Philly - I'm running the Philadelphia Half-Marathon in 3 weeks. I registered ages ago and to be honest, I don't really remember why. I loved the Philly course last year and I'm glad that I'm not hanging up my running shoes for the winter after MCM because last year, I didn't run for almost 4 weeks following Philly and it was so hard to jump back into running in the middle of the winter. So I plan to keep running through the winter by racing Philly, the Hot Chocolate 15k and then taking some easy time off but still keeping some shorter distance runs in there before gearing up for my next training cycle.

That's all for tonight!
I'm off to go finish a paper about humanitarian aid distribution in Somalia.
Any big plans for this weekend?
Are you running the NYC Marathon?

November 2, 2011

October Recap

First of all, thank you all for your congratulatory messages on my big PR at the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday! I love reading all of your messages and they're definitely helping me bask in the post-marathon glow!

Now, I think I say this every month but I refuse to be one of those people who is all "Oh my God! This month just flew by!"

October was 5 weeks this year. It didn't fly by.

But that doesn't stop it from being an awesome month.

I had a lot of hiccups this month. I was falling apart with school (still kind of am) and was fighting a lot of stomach issues. But this October, I ran 2 half-marathons and 1 full marathon. I PRd my half-marathon distance by 2 1/2 minutes and PRd the marathon by 5 minutes! I finished out the month with more miles on my shoes than I had ever logged before and logged my highest weekly mileage.

When I started this list and put "Run a Marathon" as my #1 goal, I had no idea that it would turn into this. I love running. I love the fact that while I'm recovering from MCM, I have 3 more races on my calendar to finish out the year before taking it some time off and easing into Marathon Training Cycle #3.

But there's still that matter of my 25 Before 25 list...which I've been doing ok with.

With the end of baseball season, and the Rangers blowing it for a 2nd consecutive year (thanks guys), I'm happy to say that I made it to 15 Major League baseball stadiums all in a matter of about a year. When I started this list, I had only been to 3. I had a choice to make this summer: travel all over the world, or stay local and see a bunch of ball parks. It's obvious which choice I made and while I didn't make it to every MLB stadium, I made it to Half and that is a huge accomplishment.

So until baseball season starts up again, I'm letting this go as one thing I didn't cross off my list. Like I've said before, it's an ambitious list and hey, 15 ball parks? That's more than most people will go to in a lifetime so I'm one happy girl.

Even though I didn't make it to all of the ball parks before my 25th (which is still almost 4 months away), I have done a few things this month to cross things off The List.

  • I read the Books of Matthew, Mark and Luke and am almost finished reading through The Bible. 
  • I read the trilogy "His Dark Materials" by Phillip Pullman which counts as one book off The Book List (even though it's 3)
  • I watched the movie "Spirited Away" off The Movie List...super cute!
  • I finally managed to get my credit balance below 40% of what the initial balance was! I haven't used it since June and am so close to paying it off!
So I'm working on it! The getting my credit card balance down is also a huge part of becoming financially self sufficient...which will be difficult to manage until I get a real job...after I finish my Master's which is all happening soon!
This will be me in a few short months! At Yankee Stadium...gross
Big things are coming my way! Big things!

By the way, this is also my 250th post! I'm so happy I've kept up with this blog and thank you all for reading it every day!

November 1, 2011

Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap

I don't think it's possible to write an accurate recap for this race because there are so many points that got me across the Finish Line with a shiny new PR early Sunday afternoon that I couldn't possibly put into words.

I was nervous about this race. More nervous than I was when I ran my first marathon in Philly last year. I could not have asked for a better first marathon and I was nervous about anything going wrong in DC and how I would handle it since Philly was so flawless.

This race definitely wasn't perfect  but I'm  so unbelievably thrilled with how I did in this race, it's bringing tears to my eyes just writing about.

This was Mile 18 1/2, I took it on my run Friday night. I LOVE running in DC.
I fought so damn hard to PR this race that when I crossed the Finish Line, I collapsed. But before we get to that whole bit of me crossing the Finish Line, we need to talk about the 26.2 miles that got me there, don't we?
I'll skip the details of everything that happened over the weekend leading up to the the race but just know that it involved a lot of Expo, a not-so-spontaneous registration for an international marathon with this girl, a zombified Dora the Explorer, snow, and The Pilot commandeering (well, not really) an Amtrak train to get to DC about 30 minutes before I went to sleep on Saturday night after all flights out of Newark Airport were cancelled.

My bib and commemorative patch
Sunday morning,  Mom  and The Pilot woke up to me bouncing off the walls with energy screaming "It's marathon day! I'm running a marathon today!" I got dressed, ate some breakfast, triple checked to make sure I had everything and headed out the door.

We decided to take the Metro which was nice and easy although the line from the Pentagon station to the actual starting line was at least a mile long...and we were freezing. I got to the Start about 5 minutes before the gun went off which was perfect. I lined up in the 3:45-4:00 corral and we were off.

The second I crossed that starting line, tears just shot through me. From the Marines lining up along the side of the start to the loud cheering from the spectators, it was everything in me to not well up. "Here we go," I thought, "Marathon #2, it's time to kill this!"

The first 14 miles absolutely flew by. I felt fantastic. I was hitting all of the targets on pace for a sub 3:55 and I felt fantastic. I was having fun enjoying the spectators, I was killing it up the hills, I was striking up conversations with people left and right, I felt great! It was truly humbling to be running alongside Marines, especially those that had "Running for ______ K.I.A." or the one guy I saw running with a prosthetic leg, or the woman I saw wearing a USMC shirt powering up the hills in a wheel chair. Running with the Marines made me one proud marathoner.

It took me a while to get warmed up in the first mile but after that I started getting warm and quickly started shedding my layers. We hit the first hill right at about the quarter mile mark and it was a steady climb to Mile 2 and then a pretty steady descent to Mile 4. Miles 4-6.5 were pretty flat and then 7-8 were a pretty steep hill with a pretty steep descent through Miles 9-10. The rest of the course was flat as a pancake until Mile 26.

I took a Gu around Mile 5 and around Mile 10, wanted another one but was worried how my stomach would handle it since I've been having so many issues with my stomach so I held off until around Mile 11. It started bothering my stomach but not too badly so I kept on pushing. At this point in the race, I was absolutely thrilled with my consistency as you can see from my splits below. Miles 5 - 13 were extremely consistent (save for the hill at Mile 7). I was running a smart race and I knew it. I just had to hold on to this through the whole thing and I'd be set. And at that point, I knew I could do it. I came in the Half at 1:56:41 and was ecstatic. Now, it was time to maintain the pace and push through the last 10k to come in with a negative split and a huge PR.

Splits (Miles 1-20)
Mile 1 - 9:10          Mile 6 - 8:41         Mile 11 - 8:38          Mile 16 - 9:00      
Mile 2 - 9:17          Mile 7 - 9:17         Mile 12 - 8:45          Mile 17 - 9:06        
Mile 3 - 8:53          Mile 8 - 8:45         Mile 13 - 8:51          Mile 18 - 10:05      
Mile 4 - 8:21          Mile 9 - 8:42         Mile 14 - 8:56          Mile 19 - 9:00        
Mile 5 - 8:48          Mile 10 - 8:42       Mile 15 - 9:00          Mile 20 - 9:54

That obviously didn't happen. Around Mile 15, my stomach was in knots. I haven't eaten dairy in 12 days, wtf is wrong with you? was about all I could keep thinking. At Mile 17, I grabbed some Gatorade from the Marines and kept going. We were on the National Mall at this point and I loved running through the Mall. I especially loved all of the "That's what she said signs." Whatever works, right? I started cramping up a bit at this point so I stopped to stretch out my quads and hamstrings and jumped right back into the race. I felt fine and eased back into a 9 minute mile but my stomach was just starting to hurt and I needed a bathroom and couldn't see one anywhere.

Then we hit that damn 14th Street Bridge and I realized that "Beating the Bridge" was about a lot more than time. That bridge was the death of me. It was endless. 2 miles long with no spectators and nothing but water around you, I started getting nauseous, my stomach was a mess and I started to just break down. But I was still well on pace for about a 3:55 marathon so I just needed to hold it together. When we finally crossed the bridge, I looked to my left and saw the massive Out and Back that would take us through Crystal City...and then I looked to my right and saw what looked like another massive out and back loop that would take us back to Iwo Jima and I started to fall apart. Everything hurt. My stomach was a mess. I hadn't seen my mom or boyfriend along the course and I was just hurting. I wanted a hug, I wanted to cry, I wanted someone to run with me. I knew that Katie, Lauren and Morgan would be up ahead around Mile 22  so I pushed it to get to them.

Splits (Last 10k)
Mile 21 - 9:07
Mile 22 - 9:27
Mile 23 - 9:15
Mile 24 - 10:24
Mile 25 - 10:05
Mile 26 - 10:16

They saw me before I saw them. I heard Katie scream out "There she is" and I grabbed her and heard Morgan say, "Go! She wants you to run with her." Oops, sorry for throwing that on you Katie! She jumped in with me as I made my way back around and gave me the best damn pep talk I ever heard. I didn't say a word other than, "It hurts, I'm  having a rough time." She told me how smart of a race I was running and how close I was to crushing my PR. She jumped out shortly after and I kept ahead. Around Mile 24, I just lost it. I had to start walking. My knee was hurting, my stomach was in knots and I felt like 2.2 miles at this point could have been 26.2. As I was power walking, I saw a Marine woman up ahead and she just looked at me and said, "Come on, you've got this." And I started running. When I we came up on Mile 26, I started sprinting my little heart out.

Katie made me smile and wave for Morgan's camera and pretend I didn't feel like dying
Except that it wasn't Mile 26. My Garmin had measured true to the course the entire way and every recap I've read has said that this course measured long so when my Garmin said Mile 26 and I didn't see the Mile Marker, I just started sprinting looking for that infamous hill up to Iwo Jima. Then I hit the wall.

By wall, I don't mean the proverbial marathon wall. I mean the wall that was the hill up to the Finish Line. I started running up that hill and just lost it. I got so damn dizzy and nauseous, I completely blacked out, ran into a guy in front of me and had to start walking so I could get my sight back. Everyone around me was literally bent over at a 90 degree angle just trying to climb that hill...and I still couldn't see the damn Finish Line. When I came to, I started running again, I was so dizzy and I could see the Finish Line but I honestly didn't think I was going to make it across. The guy next to me completely collapsed into the barricades. Another person went down. People were dropping like flies, and here we were, 1/10 of the mile from the Finish Line. I wish I could say I hauled ass across that Finish Line but realistically, I shuffled across it and collapsed.

4:03:10. A 5 1/2 minute marathon PR.

I passed out for what was probably only about 10 seconds and when I came to, there was a Marine asking me if I was ok and needed a medic. I told him  I just needed to walk it off and he helped me to my feet and I started walking. I was so dizzy and I felt like I had swallowed a brick. I grabbed some Powerade and swallowed it down, grabbed my space blanket and a bagel and laid down in the grass for about 10 minutes. Then I got up and walked over to grab my medal. The Marine who put it around me said, "Congratulations, I could never do what you just did." I just smiled and thanked him for his service to our country.

By far the BEST medal I have ever received at a race.

My one regret about this race is not taking a picture in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial when I finished. But my only thought when I crossed that Finish Line was finding a bathroom.. Talk about the edge of glory, right? My thoughts should have been reveling in my new PR, finding my friends and family and loving that fact that I had finished my 2nd marathon but in all honesty, I was so unbelievably sick on my stomach for the next 24 hours that I didn't even have time to start thinking about those things until last night.

I could barely stand up straight...good thing I had a handsome Pilot there to hold on to.
 I ran an awesome marathon. I can't complain about a single thing. I may not have hit my A goal and I may not have come in sub-4 but I had an awesome PR and I fought so many things that could have brought me to a grinding halt at this race. I'm proud to say that I'm a two-time marathoner. I'm  proud to say that I ran a 4:03 marathon and I'm  proud to say that I ran with the United States Marine Corps because that was truly humbling.

To all of you who were following me throughout the race and sending me texts and tweets, thanks a million. You all rock my socks.

Marathon the books!

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