March 28, 2013

Hey It's OK

...that despite my pure and utter exhaustion from this week, I still stayed up wayyyy too late to go to Trivia Night with Leanna and Jenna (who are *awesome*)

...that I am probably not going to work out today.

...that I'm totally dreading my long run this weekend because The Pilot is going to be home. If he wasn't going to be around, I probably wouldn't care so much.

...that I have had an insatiable sweet tooth lately. Maybe it's not ok, maybe it's getting a little out of hand... give the stink eye to the guy at the gym who finishes his workout and then 'cools down' and stretches on the treadmill for 10 minutes while you're eagerly awaiting your own sweat fest. 

...that the hall closet looks like I've had it for 4 years when it's only been 4 months and to still not have gotten around to organizing it. 

...that for inspiration to this point, you checked out Glamour Mag's Hey, It's OK Pinterest board. reaaaaaaaallllly dislike Beyonce. plan on watching Les Mis this weekend because you really need a good cry. really need a good cry. 

What are you saying "Hey, It's OK" to today?

March 27, 2013

A Runner's Rambles

I am exhausted.

Every day this week has started with a 30 minute battle with my alarm clock before I finally force myself out of bed. Thankfully The Pilot hasn't been home this week and had to put up with it because I'm pretty sure his number 1 issue with me is that I snooze 5 times a day. This week though, it's been more like 11.

Last week, I hit 40 miles for the week - my highest of the training cycle. The truth is, I've never been in marathon training with a full time job. We can thank grad school for that. Last year? My mornings started at 10am and usually ended by 4 - giving me ample time in the morning and afternoon to workout before work or before class.

Oh man did I have it good. I think it's time to quit the working world and reenter academia. I can apply to PhD school in the Fall right?

Dear God, no. The simple act of typing that left me even more exhausted than this week. I need a serious break from academia. Yes, a PhD is within sights but not any time soon. Can I just have the schedule I had when I was in grad school and still make the same amount of money?


I've officially given myself the green light to resume marathon training after that minor hiccup I had with my foot, which means I'm bouncing from 2 weeks off to Peak Week. I KNOW I KNOW I'M BEING CAREFUL.

I'm still exhausted.

Yesterday, I had 4 miles planned. I decided to run home from work and ended up with 6.2 because well, the run home is 5 1/2 miles and I wanted to just even it out to make 6 (because I have major OCD with numbers and if I ran 5.5 yesterday, I would have to add .5 to a run later this week...I know, I'm crazy) but I ended up running 6.2 because I miscalculated my turn around.

Which means I'm going to have to add .8 to one of my runs later this week. I told you. I'm crazy.

In other running news, I decided against running the Crystal City 5k Fridays. I had been toying with the idea of running this series but the fact that I'll be out of town for 2 of them and I'll be in Peak Weeks, makes me think it's smarter to not run them so I think I'm going to volunteer at the two that I can be at. It's all about giving back right. Plus, there's another one in August, so I'll probably sign up for that series.

I had been considering a triathlon in August but lately, I've realized that I really have no desire whatsoever to do a triathlon. I really don't enjoy bike riding as a workout. That may change once if the weather ever gets nice enough for me to start using the Capital Bikeshare but we'll see. 

Also, Rock 'n' Roll cancelled the Oslo Half-Marathon, so my trip to Norway is out, but there have been recent developments on summer travel plans, so we shall see.

So that's that. Rambles about running. How are you this week?

March 26, 2013

Marine Corps 17.75k Recap

Most random distance ever.

17.75 kilometers equates to about 11.03 miles.

New race distance = new PR though so I'll take it!

The race was out in Quantico Manassas Prince William County, somewhere, I'm not sure.

They claimed they didn't have Race Day Packet Pick Up so The Pilot made the trek all the way out to Quantico on Friday to pick up my packet.

He was less than pleased when we got to the race on Saturday morning to find Race Day Packet Pick Up. Rude.

Anyway, we got to the race around 7:15 for the 8am start time and stayed in the car keeping warm until about 7:50 when The Pilot walked me over to the start and I met up with Emily. We chatted for a few minutes with Rebecca before crossing the start.

The first mile and a half or so were a long stretch down the highway before turning into Prince William Forest Park. When we first entered the park, we took a short, steel hill up before cruising into a steady downhill for about a mile.

The early parts of the Park were trail, which I had known going in and in those early stages, my mind set was very clearly shouting, "This is AMAZING! I LOVE TRAIL RACES! OMG I'M GOING TO SIGN UP FOR A TRAIL MARATHON! WOOOOOO! I LOVE THIS!"

The park was pretty desolate (it wasn't open to spectators) and I had my music in to just kind of tune everything out, but everything was just so pretty that I kept it on very low and turned it off at several points in the race just to enjoy everything around me.

The course was rolling hills, winding up and down through the park. There was no running the tangents on this one!

Yea, Mile 8? No picnic.
The course was a fairly even mix of trail and road which definitely made for an interesting dynamic. IT was mentally more challenging because you never really knew when the landscape was going to change. Mile 7 brought on an unbelievably steep downhill that I thought I would start rolling down at any minute. I had a hunch - and I was right - that this downhill was going to be met by an equally challenging uphill and I was right.

Mile 8 was brutal. Everyone around me stopped to walk. I remembered some advice that Katie has given to me during Richmond - power up the hills, recover on the the downhill - and it worked. I powered up that hill, knowing full well that what goes up, most come down, and enjoyed the recovery that was Mile 9.

I knew from the course description that the course finished on an incline. I didn't know how steep or how tough that incline would be but when it hit, man did it hit hard.

The last mile was up a very narrow, winding trail with layers of rock so thick under my feet that I felt like I was running on sand. There was absolutely no sprinting out the last mile. It was brutal. In the last stretch, I managed to pick off a girl I had been piggy backing the entire race and that felt pretty awesome. The whole mile, I was cursing my earlier declaration of love to trail running and thinking, "I HATE THIS. This is so stupid. Why do people do this? Trails? Seriously? Stick to ASPHALT!"

I crossed the Finish Line, grabbed some Gatorade and a bunch of snacks and headed over to get my Access Granted pass so that I could register for Marine Corps.

Best part of the Finish Line?

Foam rollers! Seriously? What a genius idea! My hip had been bothering me from Mile 1 and I was dreading getting in the car without being able to foam roll!

Access Granted. 
All in all, it was a good race and I'm excited to tackle Marine Corps again in October. I have revenge to seek on that damned 14th Street Bridge and I'm ready for it.

Oh and I'm still up in the air about trail running. 

March 25, 2013

Love/Don't Love

1. This morning's commute was absolutely horrific. Walking a mile in the snow was really not what I had in mind for the day. Don't love.
2. Explain to me how a little bit of rain merits a Snow Day for the Govt but actual snow does not. Don't love.

Ok I'm done ranting.

Hello folks, it's Monday. It's still winter in DC and no one is happy about it but today I'm going to try and shed light on some positives.

via DCist
1. Opening Day of baseball season, aka my favorite day of the year, is 7 days away. Love.
2. I had a great time on the course of the Marine Corps 17.75k this weekend. It was an extremely challenging course that I felt very strong on leaving me with every ounce of confidence to tackle the marathon in 6 weeks. Love.

Access Granted into this year's Marine Corps Marathon!
3. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler is next weekend! I've had plans to run this the last two years and both times, something has happened within 36 hours that has kept me from toeing that line. Here's to the third time being a charm and hoping to toe the line this year. Love.

4. Earlier this year I submitted my thesis to a conference at NYU on International Education in Emergencies and it was accepted! I'll be presenting part of my thesis, along with my research on Rwanda, at NYU next month and I'm pretty pumped about it! Love.
5. This weekend, I got into a scuffle with a kitchen knife while chopping some scallions and lost half of my finger nail in the process. It was awful. Im pretty sure that if my finger nail hadn't been there I would've cut off the tip of my finger. Don't love.
6. After a few months of church "shopping," The Pilot and I found a church that we really like and joined it this weekend. Love.
7. Excuse my language, but my bracket has gone to total shit. I shouldn't have listened to my colleagues when they said I was crazy for putting Oregon in my Final 4 because my bracket has gone to shit. So much for getting into March Madness this year. Don't Love.
8. I'm officially registered for the Marine Corps Marathon. This was my first attempt at sub-4, and I'm praying to God, that when I toe the line at this year's race, it's with the sub-4 beast already off my back. Love.

I'm not registered for the marathon I'm supposed to run in May, but I am registered for one in October.
Totally normal.
So there you have it, that's my Monday for you!
Hope your weeks are off to a great start! 

March 21, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. March Madness - Basketball is the one and only sport that I pretty much hate. I just can't seem to get into it but my boss is a HUGE basketball fan and lives and breathes March Madness, so when I came to work this morning and she told me I had to join her brother's pool and make a bracket, I spent the better part of my morning finalizing said bracket and stressing out over it. So, now I guess I have to be all into college basketball this year and pay attention to the 'Big Dance.' I feel like my mom's boyfriend will thoroughly approve (Hi Rich).
2. Two-a-days - Yesterday, after my morning 5 mile run I was planning on going to yoga after work. After contemplating whether I wanted to sit in a hot, crowded room for 90 minutes and risk being pummeled mid-pose, I decided against it and planned to do yoga at home. Instead, I did Mile Repeats on the treadmill. Oops. 11 miles total for the day, no foot pain. My legs are absolutely shot in a way they haven't been in weeks and I love it. I'll take today off and do yoga when I get home. No running today. Promise.

3. "Trendy Races" - First, it was the color run. Then, something about foam. Today, this popped into my Inbox:

I'm sorry but this is quite possibly the most ridiculous addition to the running scene and I mean that in the worst way possible. While I have never done a color run or a foam run, and really don't have much intention to, this is just ridiculous and I'm slightly insulted that such a thing exists. The Color Run...I guess I can understand...but not really. This just seems ridiculous. If I want to physically exert myself while wearing glow sticks, I will go to a rave. Also, it's Glow. Not Glo.

So, there you have it.

Now tell me: Do you get into March Madness? Have you made a bracket? What are your thoughts on two-a-days? Do you run "trendy" races? Would you run the 'Glo Run'?

PS: Check out my feature on Kisha's blog today!

March 20, 2013

Baby Steps

Guess what? This morning, I ran 5 miles.

I woke my butt up at 5:30 this morning and managed to run 5 miles before work. I'm starting to realize two things:

1. I am not a morning person.
2. I would really like to be a morning person.

No pain. I had a weird niggle in my left ankle that wasn't there before, but I think it's because my shoes are super run down...which may be what was causing all of my foot pain.

Good thing for VIP Zappos because these babies are coming in the mail today:

I'm not crazy about the color, but they're the same shoes I've been running in and I don't want to try anything new until after this training cycle is over...which, pending this week goes as planned - or unplanned since I'm on the 'no plan training plan' - I'll go ahead and finally register for the marathon and resume training with 6 weeks to go.
These are my last 5 weeks of training.
It's actually not horrible. Especially if I can keep running this week. 
But first I need to get through this week. Baby steps.

You know what, today is Wednesday. I didn't understand why people called Wednesday "Hump Day" until about my Senior year of college. Say what you will, but when I thought of hump, I thought of the other hump...the less PG version. Oops.

In honor of spring, DC (or the powers that be) have turned on the water of the C&O Canal. My office is right on the canal and this makes for a very pretty walk to work...especially since I thought that the canal had probably been dried up since about 1902.

Too bad it's 42 degrees outside and doesn't look to get any warmer in the next 10 days. Gross. So that's that, I'm gearing up to run the most random distance race ever this weekend: 17.75k in order to secure entry into the Marine Corps Marathon and avoid fighting the masses on the internets next week.

I can safely say that even though I may do MCM again and again because I love that race, I probably won't go with this guaranteed entry option again. There is no Race Day packet pick up and packet pick up is on Thursday and Friday in Quantico, which is 45 minutes away without DC traffic. If The Pilot didn't have a car, I really don't know how I would get out there twice.

So that's that. It's been a pretty slow week at work, which I won't complain about!

Tell me: Have you ever dealt with a minor injury during training? How did you bounce back? Did you actually know what Hump Day meant or am I just crazy?

Happy 'Hump' Day!
PS: On doing a Google Image search of "Hump Day" I have found that no, I am not the only one. 

March 18, 2013

DC Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Recap

Let me tell you guys a little lesson I learned this weekend.

Pacing is hard work. You are essentially running a race for two and trying to battle all of your own mental/physical weaknesses while doing so for the person you are pacing.

Ally was having a tough day and I was doing my absolute best to keep her motivated and positive. It became really difficult to do that around Mile 8 when my foot started hurting again and I started panicking about what that meant for my marathon training season and worrying about whether I should drop out.

All Smiles. Clearly this was before the foot pain kicked in.
Ally kept insisting that she could finish alone and I knew she could, but that wasn't what I was there for. My foot pain wasn't as terrible as it has been, so I pushed through. In all honesty though, if I wasn't with Ally, I would have dropped from the race at Mile 10 where we saw The Pilot and Metro'd home.

The race itself was fine. I don't remember much about the the course last year but I remember liking it better. Ally and I had fun reminiscing about all of the races we've run together and had fun out there.

I kind of love this picture of us cruising to the Finish. 
I had a few complaints about the race itself.
- Water Stations: There definitely weren't enough. It looks like the volunteers for the Mile 7 aid station never showed up because there was 1 poor girl there trying to hand out water and gatorade. Then, the next station wasn't until Mile 11.
- The medal: The medal was nice, but seriously? Every Rock 'n' Roll medal I've gotten is exactly the same. It's getting boring.
- The shirt: Identical to the shirt from Philly. These races are close enough together that you would think a number of people would run both, so I wish they would have at least chosen a different color (which is saying a lot since it's my favorite color).

The signs though were awesome. "Due to sequestration, there are no porter potties. Unload at Capitol" and "Run like a Kenyan, drink like you're Irish" were my favorites.

As far as my foot is feeling...yesterday, I had pain in the morning and felt fine the rest of the day. Today, I feel fine. I'm planning to run after work to see how I'm feeling because, after all, I have another race this weekend.

And a marathon in 7 weeks which I've missed 3 weeks of training for.

I don't want to talk about it.

I do want to talk about how amazing this story is. Runners are truly an amazing bunch of people.

Happy Monday!

March 15, 2013

The Big 10

This is not about college football.

3 years ago, I read an article in Fitness Magazine titled, "Yes, You CAN Run a Half-Marathon." I followed the training plan to a T and toed the line of my first Half in May of 2010.

#1 - Katie Lynch Heartbreak Hill Half
I wore a brand new shirt, a brand new fuel belt and tried brand new gels. I also pinned my bib to my boobs, instead of my stomach. Newbie much?

Tomorrow, I will toe the line of my 10th half marathon. I couldn't think of a better way to run my 10th than to just go out and have fun. I won't be trying to PR. I won't be stressing about pace. Instead, I'll be focusing on Ally and how she's feeling and pacing her, instead. I've learned a thing or two in 10 half-marathons and made some amazing friends along the way. Here's a look back at those races.

#2 - The Diva's Half
#3 - NYC Half (first sub-2)
#4 Great's Great Gallop...and a new PR 
#5 Staten Island (worst race ever)

#6 Philly (current PR)

#7 Cowtown
#8 Philly Rock 'n' Roll

#9 MDI
My running journey has brought me to the start of 9 half marathons, 5 full marathons and numerous other races. I've changed a lot as a runner and learned quite a lot along the way, but I still consider myself a new runner. Maybe I'm not making 100 mistakes on race morning since I'm a little bit more seasoned but the feeling I get every time I hit the pavement for one of those oh-so-perfect runs, is enough to make me feel like I'm running for the first time, every time.

Here's to my 10th half-marathon and to many, many more. 

March 13, 2013

Overcrowded Yoga

Yoga is an ancient practice that is defined as the union between the individual self and the divine. With its roots tracing back to Hindi philosophy, various traditions of yoga practices can be found throughout history in Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.

The spread, and subsequent boom, of yoga to the Western world has continued in an upward spiral since the 1980s with studios popping up throughout the US in a constant rise since the early 2000s.

I don't consider myself to be an expert on yoga (by any means) and I've only very recently gotten into practicing regularly. Lately though, I've noticed an upward swing in higher prices and overcrowding at yoga studios which I've found to be extremely frustrating.

When I was in New York, I used to practice at Yoga to the People, a donation-based studio that I stopped going to after a particularly overcrowded class left me banging my leg up against the back wall of the room every time I kicked my leg up.

I stopped going to the studio because I had gotten tired of smacking arms with someone whenever I switched into Warrior 2 or kicking walls and just not having enough space.

Yoga to the People via
I attributed it to the fact that Yoga to the People is donation based. Their mission is to make yoga available to everyone and I both respect and appreciate that...but the popularity just got a bit overwhelming and it wasn't for me.

Enter my move to DC where I recently purchased a monthly unlimited pass to Downdog Yoga, a hot yoga studio in Georgetown. The classes at Downdog are a whopping $18, which I was hesitant to spend, but they had a special going and the monthly pass only cost me $50 so I figured it would be worth it If I went to the studio at least 3 times.

Last night, I went to the studio which was a bit hotter and more crowded than I've seen it before but I didn't think anything of it. There was the usual smacking arms, kicks in the face, but nothing out of the ordinary* and I progressed through the class, not having a great class, but feeling pretty ok throughout it. (*The fact that I consider this to be 'nothing out of the ordinary' is an issue in itself.)

With about 15 minutes to go, the instructor gave us free-for-all time to get into whatever inversions we wanted to. Not being terribly advanced, I popped into shoulder stand and was focusing on going further into the pose and controlling my breathing in the 95 degree room. All of a sudden, while I was about a minute into the pose, the girl behind me, who had been in head stand, came crashing down.

As she fell, she bent her knees leaving her feet to come crashing down into my chest and her butt to come right down on my face. She came down on me so insanely hard that I blacked out for about 10 seconds, having gotten the wind blown out of me. 

I spent the next few minutes in child's pose, feeling too dizzy to get up and the only reason I finished the class was because we went into savasna right from there and I needed the time to just lay down. When I came home, I had a splintering head ache and a huge red bump on my forehead. I felt absolutely awful and had to take some aspirin and put an ice pack on my head.

This never should have happened.

This picture, which I borrowed from Meaghan's review of Downdog, shows just how close together the mats are.

Downdog's Bethesda studio via
The Georgetown Studio via
The girl who fell on me felt absolutely terrible and I kept trying to assure her that this wasn't her fault. The issue at hand is that we never should have been that close together. Is she now going to limit herself from trying to go into headstand in the future for fear that she'll fall on someone again? I know that I've skimped on poses in the past for fear of hitting someone. Doesn't that defeat the entire purpose of yoga? And at $18 for a drop-in rate, it just seems absurd to not close classes once they've reached maybe 2/3 of the number of students they currently let in.

In a class this crowded, can the instructor actually...instruct? Can they really see what's going on with each of their students, making sure poses are being done correctly, making adjustments as necessary? Whenever I've gone to a class that is this crowded, I've never heard the Instructor ask if there are any injuries or beginners. These are questions that are important for an Instructor to know so that she or he can gauge the class and lead it accordingly.

This post isn't meant to be a rag on Yoga to the People or Downdog, but it does pose a question: should yoga studios limit the number of students to a class so that students have more space to freely flow through poses - without having to worry that someone is going to fall on top of them mid-class...or that they are going to fall on someone.

I wasn't seriously hurt yesterday, but I definitely didn't walk away from class feeling refreshed and cleansed. Rather, I walked away bruised and a little shaken. Who's to say that that couldn't have been worse? Someone trying headstand - maybe for the first time - should have support so that they don't fall. She could have broken her neck falling out of that pose.

I understand that yoga is gaining widespread popularity and I'm very in favor of yoga for everyone, but at what price? Are yoga studios risking the safety of their students in favor of earning an extra buck?

How do you feel about this topic? Have you been to a yoga studio that was overcrowded? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


March 12, 2013

Kitchen Experiments

Lately, I've been on a make-everything-homemade kitchen kick.

My first experiment with homemade Greek yogurt went ok. I think I know what I did wrong and am planning to try another batch this week which I'll post - if I get it right.

Currently, I have a bowl of dough rising in my kitchen, which I'm hoping will turn into homemade bread. I'm following a recipe I found on one of my favorite blogs: (Never)Homemaker.

We'll see how the bread turns out.

I've already made my own taco seasoning and am planning to experiment with Ranch dressing and Velveeta cheese (two of The Pilot's favorite processed foods, which I cringe at the thought of having in my kitchen).

I've been cooking so much more than I ever have, mostly because I'm still recovering from moving expenses, but I really like it. I love coming home and cooking dinner. I hate coming home and making lunch so I'm really going to try and get into the habit of preparing all of my lunches on Sunday so that I don't have to worry about it as the week goes by.

Speaking of cooking, last night I was making an avocado egg salad to bring to work for lunch today and as I was boiling my eggs, I went to throw in some salt...except, I had forgotten to put the cap back on after putting salt in the dough mixture and emptied out the entire bottle of salt into the pot of boiling water.

Oops. Thank goodness it was an egg and I didn't ruin anything, but now I'm out of salt!

Dinner last night was a delicious bulgur corn risotto that I made from a recipe in Self.

I toasted the bulgur in some garlic and oil before adding the boiling water!
It was so good!
You know what else I did last night? I ran! 5 whole miles with NO foot pain! I wore an older pair of shoes and I'm wondering if my shoes are just out of commission. I had to really fight the urge to run today because I'm feeling great, but with Saturday's Half coming up, I don't want to take my chances so I'm heading to yoga tonight and planning to hit the trails tomorrow!

Wish me luck!

March 11, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like spring time!

The first spring day of Daylight Saving Time, when it doesn't get dark at 4pm is one of my favorite days of the year.

Second only to Opening Day of Baseball Season...which is only 21 days away. While my loyalty will always be to the Mets (sigh), The Pilot and I bought Partial Season Tickets for the Nationals and I can't wait to start going to almost weekly baseball games!

This picture is almost 3 years old. Crazy!
This weekend, my mom and her boyfriend came to visit. It was his first time to DC and while they were only here for a short visit, I did my best shuffling them around the National Mall. We popped into the Air & Space Museum, took a stroll through the Smithsonian Castle, walked along the Vietnam War Memorial and visited Mr. Lincoln.

Mama <3
The Pilot  <3
For dinner, we headed to Oyamel.
Oyamel - I definitely recommend this place!
The food was amazing. The margaritas? Even better!

After spending the day roaming around the greatest city in America, we Metro-d home and I went to bed.

Sunday morning, I got up and, despite how stunningly gorgeous it was, dragged myself up to the treadmill for a test run to see how my foot was feeling. I didn't want to venture out onto the trail and then have to hobble home if my foot started hurting. Sure enough, I made it just past 2 1/2 miles and was feeling great. Just when I decided to go for an extra mile, I felt like someone stabbed me in the foot and that was that. Run over.

I was in pain for the rest of the day. Today, I'm actually not having any pain and am planning on trying a run again later tonight. I did manage to get my health insurance straightened out over the weekend, so I'm planning to get a doctor's appoint soon but my optimism is rapidly waning.

The rest of my Sunday was pretty low key. Right around sunset, I headed over to Capitol Hill to meet up with Meaghan at Sweetgreen for a wine tasting/salad tasting.

I will never get tired of this view.
I had already had their March salad a few times but the night didn't disappoint! We spent the night drinking wine and talking about all things related to running, racing, fit crashing and of course, DC with Heather and Anne.

Sweetgreen's March Salad: Mesclun,  Baby Spinach,
Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Candied Pecans,
Bacon (not for me) and Balsamic Vinaigrette. YUM!
Overall, it was a great weekend. I'm really starting to stress about my foot but there isn't much I can do until I see a doctor. Fingers crossed though!

What have you got on tap for the week? I'm crashing a pilates class with Emily and hoping to get in some more miles! Ally is coming to town on Thursday and well, the DC Rock & Roll Half is on Saturday. We'll see what happens!  

March 8, 2013

International Women's Day 2013

Once, in grad school, I got into a heated debate with a classmate about the 'point' of a day like International Women's Day. She said that having one day to bring attention to global women's issues wasn't enough and that we should be bringing attention to these issues every day. While I certainly agreed with her, the sheer number of articles, tweets, blog posts, etc. that have popped up in my email, newsfeeds, etc. are enough prove my side of the argument - Yes, we DO need days liked this...when a wealth of information on a given subject is provided and shared so that people not normally engaged in these issues can taken action.

If you're new around here and wondering why I'm bringing this up: here's a quick back story. I wrote my Master's thesis on providing opportunities for adolescent girls in conflict and post-conflict societies. My undergrad capstone focused on human trafficking and my professional career has been focused on the rights of women AND girls.

So, since it's Friday, when we're all just a little bit checked out - and it's International Women's Day, I thought I'd share some of my favorite pieces around the web highlighting the issue.

Websites and Videos
1. Girl Rising - Leanna and I went to the screening of this film last night. Check local listings to see if it's playing near you and go check it out. Incredible film highlighting important issues with all proceeds going to Girl Up - a campaign of the United Nations Foundation. Check out the trailer:

2. Because I am a Girl - One of my absolute favorite initiatives from Plan International and the source of inspiration for my Master's thesis.

3. The Girl Effect - Sponsored by the Nike Foundation, this video is one of the first to make viral the plight of girls.

4. Ending Female Infanticide in India - "A Fight to Save Baby Girls"

And here, in our own country, yesterday's Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, signed  by President Obama is not, as Democrats and the media are calling it, a win for Obama, it is a win for women across the country.

Let's hope that acts like this are passed in countries across the globe and let's hope that the attention brought to women and girls today marks a continued fight for progress for global women's issues.

Now go out and spread the word. 
Happy Friday!

March 7, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. Foot Update  - My little brother (who is not so little) is in college studying to be an Athletic Trainer and he coaches wrestling at a middle school. He just learned all about Plantar Fascitis in school and read my blog post on Tuesday and called me up to give me the digs on my latest ailment. He's pretty sure that that's what it is. Thanks to his advice, my foot has been feeling better over the last 2 days. I taped it up with some KT Tape Pro (seriously, buy the Pro the regular is absolutely useless and I was hesitant to spend the extra $8 but it's worth it), have been regularly icing and was rolling it out with a tennis ball (key word: was) over the last few days and I'm slowly getting there. I'm still not running but looking to get on the treadmill for some easy miles tomorrow to see how I'm feeling. I'm taking this ailment one day at a time and focusing on cross-training and resting until I can get back on my feet (literally).

Little Brother!
This is why I was rolling my foot out on a tennis ball.
Peyton ate it. See that face? No remorse. Sigh. 
2. The Races - I feel like all of the races I have coming up are hinging on something. Ally is coming to town next Thursday and I'm supposed to pace her through the  DC Rock & Roll Half. I ran the Full last year and absolutely loved it and really don't want to not run it this year. The following weekend is the Marine Corps 17.75k which I need to run to secure my guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon and two weeks after that is the Cherry Blossom. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you'll know that I had plans to run Cherry Blossom in 2011 and 2012 and wasn't able. This year, I will run the Cherry Blossom. As far as the marathon goes? I'm not even worried about it right now. I haven't even registered for it yet. It's a small enough race that I'm confident it won't sell out and I had already paid for Eugene so I'm holding off. So we'll see what happens.

3. Runners' World Guide to a Fitter, Faster You: March - As you know, I've been following this handy guide that Runners' World put out at the beginning of the year. The plan has you focus on different aspects of running month by month to make you a better runner. January was to plan out your race year. February was to commit to cooking and March? Build an Injury Proof body...which is kind of funny given that I'm dealing with some kind of ailment right now. It includes different stretches to build strength in your core, glutes and hips. I haven't done any of them yet, but yesterday after a not so sweaty session on the elliptical, I spent some time with the weight machines. If I am injured, I'm at least going to go about this the right way and work to build up strength end endurance so that I can get back into training without missing a beat.

This was a bit of a run-heavy post considering I'm not running at the moment, but there you have it! 

March 6, 2013

Foodie Pen Pals Package Reveal

Oops. I'm a bit late on this.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was in Philly for work on Thursday - the designated Foodie Pen Pal blog post date. But better late than never right?

Last month was my first time participating in the program, which is hosted by Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. It's pretty amazing - there are over 1,000 participants each month who are matched with fellow bloggers, tweeters and foodies. The spending limit is $15 and you can include any kind of fun, foodie treats to send to your swap partner! The person you send to, and the person you receive from is different, which makes it fun!

I was partnered with Abbey (who doesn't have a blog) and she definitely spoiled me with my package last month!

When I opened the box, the first things I saw were Celestial Seasonings tea, a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Luna Bar and Ghiradelli chocolates! YUM!

Digging in some more, I found some local honey that Abbey shipped from her native Ohio and some Raspberry Chai tea! I love tea and chai is one of my favorites, so I'm excited to try the Raspberry flavor!

The rest of the box included Vanilla Bean Granola Chips, Cran-Blueberry Crunch (amazing!), homemade sweet pickles jarred by Abbey's family, Wild Berry Herbal tea, and adorable Food Network dish towels!

I haven't dived into everything yet since I was away the last two weekends, but everything I have tried is amazing and I can't wait to try everything else!

If you want, you can hop over to Allyson's blog to check out the package I put together for her!

Have you participated in Foodie Pen Pals? If not, I highly recommend checking out Lindsay's blog and signing up!

March 5, 2013

Philly, Florida and back to DC

Hello! Oh boy, the last few days have definitely been the kind where life goes full throttle and you don't get a minute to slow down!

Last Wednesday, I boarded an entirely too early Amtrak train for Philly for a conference for work. On Thursday, after the conference, I boarded an entirely too late train to New Jersey to get in a few short hours of sleep before waking up on Friday to catch an entirely too early flight to Fort Lauderdale for the nuptials of The Pilot's best friend.

Planes and trains, for sure.

Unfortunately, there was minimal running. While I packed just about every piece of running gear I own, the only sweating I was able to do was a 30 minute pool running session in the hotel gym in Philly and a 2 1/2 mile run in Fort Lauderdale that did absolutely nothing for my still aching foot.

It had been feeling a bit better up to that point, and I was actually feeling fine post-run...then I walked a mile in high heeled strappy sandals from the ceremony to the reception and have been in bad shape ever since.

Preliminary googling has left me stymied. Plantar fascitis seems like it could be an option, but there are a few things that leave me hesitant to think that's exactly what it is. Unfortunately, a small screw up in my transition from one health insurance carrier to another is temporarily preventing me from seeing a doctor, but I'm hoping that another week of rest, ice, KT tape and flat shoes will do the trick. Fingers crossed.

Seems about right. via
In the mean time, I'm getting desperate for a serious sweat session. Yoga is out...the elliptical is out...walking is out. So what's a girl to do? I might have to suck it up and start spinning this week, just to get in a decent sweat until I figure this whole thing out!

By the way, Florida was terrible. Not really, but it was cold the entire time we were there and that was infuriating. Cold in South Florida? Not cool. But the wedding was a ton of fun. The Pilot's friends from college are some of my favorite people and it's always a good time when they're around. Somehow, my boyfriend managed to get extremely sunburned, despite the fact that the sun wasn't out the entire time we were in Florida.

Dress? Robert Rodriquez for Target's Neiman Marcus collection.
I'm kind of obsessed with it.

So that's that, a whirlwind week/weekend and I'm back to DC awaiting Snowquester, which we all know is going to blow over because of how badly I want a snow day. 

Have you had plantar fascitis? I'm really not sure if that's what it is, but I'd love to talk to someone who has had it. This was our first wedding of the year, next little brother's! Do you have a big wedding season ahead of you this year?
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