July 30, 2015


Feeling... frustrated. I've been trying to get back to Saturday long runs so that I can start my training on Mondays but the last two Mondays, I just haven't been up to running. I don't know if it's that summer heat that makes me feel like I need an extra rest day or what but it makes me feel like I need to cram all of my runs into a couple of days.

Reading... "The Angel of Losses" by Sarah Feldman. I hate this book. It's an easy enough read and I have less than 100 pages but ugh. I think the author had some major family drama...this book reads way too much like a "fictional" account of someone's life...and the main character is insufferable.

Watching... I've been binge watching "Once Upon a Time" all week. It isn't a great show but I really like it. When The Pilot is home, we're still making our way through OITNB and "Mad Men."

Thinking about... marathon training. It's been 3 years since my last long run and I'm really happy about how familiar all of this seems. This weekend will mark my longest run since I got hurt. Wish me luck!

Working on... playing catch up. I'm so behind on my emails, text messages, phone calls, blog posts, everything. I have a lot of friends I need to catch up with, emails to write, etc.

Loving... new friends. It's so awesome to meet people and just connect with them.

Grateful for... nights with The Pilot. He's been working a lot lately so those have been few and far between.

Excited about... weekends. It's crazy how busy this summer is for me at work. Usually the summer is my slow season, but not at this job!

What's on your list?

July 29, 2015

Lisbon Adventures

There are some cities that you travel to and fall in love with - the sites, the food, the ambiance, the culture, all of it, Paris is like that. Then there are cities that you fall in love with because everything just feels right. Sarajevo was like that. Lisbon was even more like that.

In terms of sightseeing, we saw and did just about everything there was to do in Lisbon, but I could have easily spent a month there drinking coffee and reading books in the outdoor cafes, eating pasteles de nata and just getting lost in the beauty and culture that is Lisbon. I love that city and I'm already planning to go back next year!

I didn't really know what to expect...it's a pretty off the beaten path city but I think that's what made it so much more perfect...it blew me away. I flew in from London on a 7am flight and landed in Lisbon about 30 minutes before my mom did. We took the bus from the airport to Marques de Pombal, where we were staying. We picked this area because it was a short walk to the center of the city, but away from all of the business.

We checked into our hotel, popped across the street for a quick lunch and our first foray into pasteles de nata - the delicious custard tarts that are a Portuguese staple, took a quick nap to stave off the jet lag and then wandered into the city to explore.

Top: Rossio Square
Bottom: The river with Cristo Rei overlooking the water and the Ponte 25 de Abril (which looks like the Golden Gate
The Arca da Rua Augusta overlooking the Praca de Comerico

Saturday morning, we were up bright and early for our second (and my favorite) adventure in Lisbon - a food tour! My mom was so intrigued by the food tour The Pilot and I did in Paris that she wanted me to find one in Lisbon! Find one, I did and it was incredible! But you'll just have to wait until next time for all of those details!

Have you been to Lisbon?
What's the last place you went to that you fell in love with?
Do these pictures put Lisbon on your list?

July 28, 2015

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 5

The heat and humidity broke in DC last week which made for some pleasant runs.

I didn't plan to take a step back week but I did. I hate doing my long runs on Sundays and had plans to go to the vineyards this Sunday so I knew I had to get my long run in Saturday. If I wanted to get back on track to running long on Saturdays, this was the way to do it.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 5
Total Mileage Last Week: 23
Missed Workouts: I woke up late Tuesday and cut what should have been 5 miles to 3. Friday I planned for 5 miles but headed out the door and was just too tired. Sunday, I had another 4 on deck but my legs were too tired so I missed 9 miles from last week.
Trouble Spots: Other than the missed workouts, none.

Monday: Yoga (!)
Tuesday: 3 easy
Wednesday: 7 with the first (all down hill) and last 2 at marathon goal pace (all up hill!)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Unplanned Rest
Saturday: 13
Sunday: Planned/Unplanned Rest...I thought I would just see how I felt

Planned Mileage this Week: 36 (I might cut this to 32 since my highest weekly mileage is 29 right now).
Goals for the Week: Get all of my runs in (at least to 32 miles). Do yoga twice.

I didn't plan to take 4 days off from running last week, but sometimes, you just need to listen to your body and I feel pretty good with where I am right now.

How's your training going?

July 27, 2015

My Weekend...as told by GIFs

Good Morning! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I haven't done a weekend post in awhile so I thought I'd do something fun today and tell you about my weekend in GIFs.

Thursday night I stayed out at a work Happy Hour a lot later than I planned and Friday morning came quickly. The day just dragged on and when I got home from work and tried to head out for a run, I made it to the end of the block before realizing that I was way too tired.

The Pilot and I grabbed dinner at District Taco and watched Fried Green Tomatoes before heading to bed.
Umm I loved it. Aside from the amended timeline (the book spanned their entire lives), it was wonderful.
Saturday, I got up and headed out for 13 miles. From the start, I knew this was going to be a tough run. I didn't get started until 11:00 after thinking it wouldn't be too hot out. Big mistake.
When I finally made it home, I just laid on the floor for awhile...partially because I was tired and partially because I couldn't get up.

This was me at Mile 12. No joke. I just stopped and sat on a park bench for a really long time.
Then I laid on the couch and ate an entire block of cheddar cheese and a snack sized bag of pretzel with cookie butter.

When I finally got off the couch and decided to get dinner...and 8:00, I wanted a burger and fries...maybe even a milkshake...so I went to Good Stuff and ordered the "Vegetarians are People Too Shroom Burger" and they were OUT. I was devastated. My only other option was Sweetgreen. Now, I love me some Sweetgreen but when you want a burger and fries and you get SALAD it is NOT the same.

I went home and ate my lettuce salad and then went to sleep.

Sunday morning was wine drinking time! I headed out to the Virginia wineries with a group of girls and we had a blast. I'd been trying to get out there pretty much since moving here and it was well worth the trip.

We went to Tarara  (which I don't recommend), Lost Creek (do recommend) and Fabbioli  (highly recommend).

I bought a sparkling wine from Lost Creek and a raspberry merlot dessert wine from Fabbioli. After our tasting at Fabbioli, we bought some bread and cheese, a few bottles of wine and had a picnic at the vineyard. It was perfect...such a great girls day out!

We wanted to hit one more vineyard but there was a lot of traffic so we headed back  and ordered Thai food and watched "Easy A"...it was a perfect evening to an amazing day!

So there you have it...I'll have a training recap up tomorrow and then finally a Lisbon post! 

How was your weekend? DC friends, have you done the VA wineries? What are your favorites? If you aren't in DC, is there a wine region near you that you like to visit?

Have a great week!

July 23, 2015


Feeling... pumped. I ran home from work last night, a distance of about 7 miles. I had 7 miles of hill repeats on deck but the route is mostly flat. My training plan also called for 4 miles with 2 at marathon goal pace (MGP) so I decided to see what I could do and ran the last two miles (up hill) at a MGP I didn't think was even possible this training cycle.

Reading... "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" by Fannie Flagg. I'm almost done and I love it. I'm amazed that someone could write so much one-sided dialogue.

Watching... "Once Upon a Time" I stumbled on this series on Netflix and really like it. Have you seen it?

Thinking about... our anniversary trip...which we still haven't planned. Unfortunately, The Pilot doesn't get any vacation this year (yea, read that sentence again) and while he can usually turn his typical 3 days off into more, he won't know his schedule for September until mod August so there isn't much planning we can do...but things have been insane since coming back from Lisbon and I need another vacation...preferably of the roast-on-a-beach type.

Working on... balancing training with work and life. This week is going much better than the last few. I still need a massage though.

Loving... baseball. For the first time in years, the Mets are actually doing well. They were in DC this week and The Pilot and I went to see them with our friend Jen. They needed to win the series and, while we got to see them win on Tuesday, they lost on Monday and Wednesday...which isn't great.
Needing... to write my Lisbon posts! I'm so sad that I haven't had time to spend on my blog lately! I've got a low key weekend ahead and plan on changing all of that!

Seeing in DC... the Cuban Embassy. The Pilot and I went to Embassy Row last night to pay a visit to the newly reopened embassy of my fatherland (literally). I had butterflies in my stomach waiting to see the Cuban flag flying for the first time in my life...only it wasn't. After posting about it on Instagram, I've come to the conclusion that they must take it down every night...even though it's only been up for 3 days.

A flag-less Cuban Embassy
Grateful for... really awesome landlords. We went out with them and our neighbors this past weekend and had an awesome time.

Excited about... the fact that it's only the middle of the summer. Stop saying summer is almost over people. We still have 7 weeks to Labor Day and I'm determined to get in some beach time between now and then.

What's on your list?

July 20, 2015

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 4

I grew up in Texas. I love the heat. I want it to be summer all day every day. Winter and I just don't get along and I get irrationally angry in the fall when it starts to get chilly.

This weekend was hot...even by my standards. It was that steamy heat that you can literally see and the humidity levels were insane. This was easily the hottest weekend I've ever trained through.

Let's start at the beginning though. After Weeks 2 and 3, I really needed to have a strong training week this week and I'm pretty happy with what I did but I'm exhausted. I need a yoga class...I need a massage...I need a lot of things to help me reset because 4 weeks in, I'm already starting to feel slightly burnt out. 

This is the first time I've trained for a marathon with a full time job...unless you count my training for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon...which I got injured in the middle of...and that balance is definitely a struggle. 

I found this quote over the weekend and it summed things up perfectly. This will be my first marathon in 3 years...this is the first training schedule I've followed in 3 years...it still feels tedious...it still feels like homework. I know that I will stick with it and I know that it will pay off, but right now, it just feels hard. 

Last week, I followed my training plan to the T...yet, for whatever reason, this week called for another week of running a lot of days straight...which was the last thing I needed, but I couldn't switch things up without missing a day, so I powered through it. 

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 4
Total Mileage Last Week: 29
Missed Workouts: None
Trouble Spots: A {literal} pain in the butt that no amount of foam rolling seems to relieve.

Monday: Off
Tuesday: 4 miles 
Wednesday: Hill Repeats - 5 miles
Thursday: Time Trial with a half mile warm up and cool down. Mile was 8:16 on tired legs
Friday: 4 easy
Saturday: 4*
Sunday: 10

Planned Mileage this Week: 32 (gulp)
Goals for the Week: Yoga. Core Work. Cross Training. It's Week 5 and I'm 1/4 of the way through training...these things need to happen. 

*Saturday, I headed out for my run, made it down the block, turned around, came home and cried. It felt so hard and I just didn't want to do it. 4 miles might as well have been 40 at that point. I have no idea how I actually pulled myself together to finish this run. 

This week was tough. My legs were tired...Tuesday's run was one of the slowest I've ever done. Saturday's was brutal. I'm hoping that with this week under my belt and hopefully getting in a yoga class tonight, I'll get the reset I need. 

Have you ever felt burnt out early in a training period?
Aside from Rest Days, what did you do to offset it?
I'm pretty sure this heat wave is nationwide. How are you handling the heat? 

July 16, 2015


Feeling... accomplished. I really didn't want to run yesterday but I had hill repeats on deck so I made my way to the Capitol and ran down the hill and back up again...and then down...and then up...and so on, and so on until I finished.

Reading... "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe" by Fannie Flagg. I just started it this ll good morning. I saw the movie when I was a kid and the only thing I remember was someone being hit by a train and being mortified but I feel like I should revisit the story. It satisfies the 'book written the year I was born' category of the book challenge I'm working on.

Watching... this Newsies/Uptown Funk mash up is e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

Listening to... my iPod. I haven't listened to my iPod while running since we moved to DC...which means the newest songs on it are "Call Me Maybe" and "Gangnam Style." I wish I was joking.

Thinking about... a lot. I've been extremely stressed out since I came back from vacation.

Working on... my posts about Lisbon. Can I just go back and write them from there???

Loving... that I have lunch plans with Jenn today!

Needing... to get to a yoga class. My legs are in bad shape lately and I feel like a good Vinyasa class is the only thing that will help.

Grateful for... a supportive husband. This week, he biked alongside me on a 4 mile run slog fest in which I felt like I was running through molasses that has been frozen for 12 years and gave me some really great advice about dealing with a tough situation.

Excited about... nothing in particular right now. I'm just happy The Pilot s back to his "normal" schedule again.

What's on your 'Currently' list?

July 14, 2015

Chicago Marathon Training: Weeks 2 and 3

Before I left for Lisbon I planned out my whole week of training. I would get in two runs in DC before flying up to New Jersey Wednesday night, do my long run of 9 miles in NJ on Thursday, fly to Lisbon that night and then finish out the week with short runs on Saturday and Sunday in Portugal.

Here's what actually happened. I did my two runs in DC on Tuesday and Wednesday and realized on Wednesday that there was no way I was getting on the EWR > LIS flight on Thursday so, after a lot of panicky scrambling, I booked a flight from London to Lisbon, packed my bags and left for the airport after work on Wednesday, London bound instead of Newark.

I had an amazing day catching up with friends in London but I landed at 10am and didn't get to bed until after midnight before waking up at 4 to catch my flight to Portugal. I was exhausted when I got there and the next few mornings involved a lot or coffee and long showers to wake me up. Needless to say, I didn't run once when I was overseas. I was pretty stressed about it coming home until I read this article from Runner's World that made me feel way better about my training. 

I'm still bummed that I didn't get to run while I was there but I loved it so much, I just know I'll be back. When I got back to the states though, it was time to pick up where I should have been...except that I was crazy jetlagged so I ended up having another week like Week 1.

How did it go? Not great. 

Chicago Marathon Training Week 3
Total Mileage Last Week: 27
Missed Workouts: A 3 miler. I should have run 30 miles last week.
Trouble Spots: Running 27 miles in 4 days made for tired, tired legs. 

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Attempted double day...3 in the morning, 1 in the evening.
Friday: Planed for 5 and somehow ran 6 after taking a nasty spill at Mile 1
Saturday: 5
Sunday: 12

Planned Mileage this Week: 28 (Step back week)
Goals for this Week: Spread out my runs. Don't miss a workout. Cross train at least once. Get some core training in (squats, planks, etc.)

I was exhausted for all of my runs last week. At first, it had to do with jet lag and then it had to do with my legs being tired. My 12 miler went better than expected but I came home afterward and took the first nap I've ever taken after a long run. I was dead. It was hot and despite leaving early, I hit a lot of traffic lights at Mile 9, which turned it into a roughly 16 minute mile. That plus a steep hill at 10.5 and I was done. I managed to finish strong though so I'm happy. 

So that's it. As I said before, I wish I had run in Lisbon, but I was exhausted every morning I was there. I'm bummed that I missed almost a full week of training, but I got a strong enough base in and picked up almost right where I left off, so this really shouldn't affect my training too much. 

How's your training going? 
Have you ever fallen during a run?
How do you plan training around vacations?

July 13, 2015

Book Reviews: Quarterly Update II

Back in March, I put together a list of mini reviews of all of the books I had read up to that point this year. It was a good way for me to keep track of my progress in the 2015 Book Challenge I'm working on this year so I pulled together this list of everything I've read since that last update. I'm shocked at how much I've read! Between January and March, I read 6 books...since March, I've read 16! Here's a look at what I've been reading!

"The Hollow Man" by Oliver Harris - This was a fun thriller and definitely a page turner but it ended rather abruptly. Throughout the book, I kept asking myself why the main character kept putting himself in the situations he did. There's a sequel but I probably won't read it.

"The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris" by Mark Kurlansky - Do not read this book. I had so many thoughts about this and was so angry after reading this book that I wrote a review rant about it.

"1776" by David McCullough - Boooooooooring. Oh my goodness. Yawn. I don't know how this book won a Pulitzer. It was a bunch of quotes about a bunch of battles leading up to 1776. It wasn't the historical recap of American history that I thought it would be. I also thought that the musical was based on the book. I'm sad it wasn't.

"Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt - I had the biggest crush on Jonathan Jackson growing up so when this movie came out, I had to see it. I didn't even know it was a book until someone at book club mentioned it was her favorite. I picked it up and read it in one night. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I don't remember anything about the movie so I have no idea how it compares.

"Pigs in Heaven" by Barbara Kingsolver - Barbara Kings older woos me again in this follow up to "The Bean Trees." This book was just as good as the first one though I really hated one of the new characters she introduced. I highly recommend these two books. The bond between the two main characters is incredible.

"Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen - I didn't like this as much as "Pride and Prejudice." There were too many characters and I felt like the same things happened to the same characters.

"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak - This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Told by Death, this book gives a fascinating perspective that's so much more different than the typical first person narrative or third person omniscient that we're so used to. I sobbed through the end of this book but not at all for the reasons I thought I would.

"The Giver" by Lois Lowry - This fit into the category of "A book you were supposed to read I'm school but didn't." I feel like I'm the only person who wasn't assigned this book in middle school. I didn't like it. At all. I found it incredibly disturbing and the ending completely blindsided me...especially since there are 3 other books in the series. I completely understand now why my Catholic grade school didn't assign this book.

"Last Train to Istanbul" by Ayse Kulin - I randomly found this book during a free trial of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited and I'm so glad I did. I loved it. Alternating between Paris and Turkey during WWII, the book has a few different ploy lines that are all interwoven...my absolute favorite was about the (loosely based on true) story of how Turkish diplomats tried to get Turkish Jews out of France during the Nazi occupation. I highly recommend this.

"Rose of Sarajevo" by Ayse Kulin - There haven't been too many English books written about Bosnia so I wanted to read this by the same author who I thought I fell in love with in "Last Train to Istanbul." I hated it. I hated the main character. I found her unapologetically selfish in the middle of war. I thought this might lead her on a path of self discovery but it didn't.

"Yes Please" by Amy Poehler - I had really mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was LOL funny...on the other, it made me like Amy Poehler a lot less than I already did. One chapter in particular, when she goes on for the entire chapter berating a man who dropped a screenplay on her lap on a train and goes on to say he isn't hard working and that isn't how things get done seemed overly harsh in my opinion. There were a lot of zingers and one liners in this that just left a bad taste in my mouth for a celebrity whom I really loved.

"The Bully Pulpit" by Doris Kearns Goodwin - This book was so boring it was painful. At almost 1,000 pages of endless biographies of people who haven't been relevant in nearly 100 years, this book seemed to TRY to be as long as possible. It could have easily been written in half as many pages and stuck to what it was supposed to be about.

"The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - This is one of my mom's all-time favorite books and I had never read it so I picked it up from the library and read a few pages before bed every night. I loved it. It was such a beautiful story...a little bit sad, but beautifully so. Saint-Exupery was a pilot and I'm eager to read more about him.

"Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi -  Tahereh Mafi is married to Ransom Riggs, author of the Miss Peregrine series, which I loved. When I found out she was also a best-selling author, I was eager to pick up her book. I kind of hated it...it was basically "Mockingjay."There are 3 (or 5?) books in the series (I'm honestly not sure...the next book in the series is Book 1.5) and I have no desire to keep reading. Half of the book is written with words crossed out which are supposed to be thoughts she's thinking but isn't really...I feel like there's a better, more literary way to convey that.

"The Astronaut Wives Club" by Lily Koppel - I really don't understand why this book got such terrible reviews. I thought it offered a fascinating insight into the first NASA astronauts' lives, how they were chosen and what it was like for their wives, who had just as much responsibility as they did. I'm also hooked on the TV show.

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky - I saw this movie when it first came out and absolutely loved it. The book was just as good. This was one scenario where I think the movie mirrored the book perfectly. I loved Charlie's story and loved the way this book was written. It's a quick read that I'll definitely pick up again.

Have you read any of these? 
What did you think?
What are your favorite reads from this year?

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July 9, 2015


Feeling... really proud of the fact that I got up and ran this morning. It was my first run this week...which isn't a good thing. There wasn't a single part of me that wanted to run hut when I woke up 5 minutes before my alarm, I knew I had to.

Reading... "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. This book has been on my list all year and I'm finally getting around to it after finally caving and just buying the book. It's beautifully written, a little slow, but I like the way it's being told.

Watching... I watched "McFarland USA" and "Cinderella" on my flights this week. I really liked both.

Listening to... "Sugar" by Maroon 5. I freaking love that song.

Thinking about... my summer plans and how I'm going to balance them with training.

Working on... my to do list for this weekend. I've been out of town 3 of the last 4 weekends and my apartment definitely looks like it. I'm also working on my Quarterly Book Reviews post...I've read a lot since my last one

Loving... Lisbon. I didn't really know what to expect when I went there but I loves it so much. If I wasn't so tired, I'd go back this weekend.

Needing... to nail down my training. I didn't run the entire time I was in Portugal. I had grand plans of flying into New Jersey Wednesday night and doing my long run Thursday morning before flying to Lisbon on Thursday night. Then I ended up flying to London Wednesday night and not running at all...not good.

Grateful for... being able to travel. We have the literal benefit of being able to travel whenever and wherever we want, but a lot of things got in the way of that this year. I'm hoping everything is sorted out now and we can start traveling more!

Excited about... this week only being 3 days. I need a relaxing weekend.

What's on your 'Currently' list?
I'll have Lisbon posts up soon!

July 8, 2015

State of the Blog: Back from Lisbon!

Ola! I'm back from an unbelievable weekend in Lisbon and absolutely exhausted. It was totally worth it though because I can easily say that Lisbon is now one of my favorite cities in Europe and I will definitely be back!

I had grand plans of scheduling blog posts and keeping this little corner of the Internet updated while I was away but all of that changed when I realized that there was no way I was going to get on my Thursday night flight to Lisbon and ended up leaving for Europe a day early and spending a night in London. Oops!

I spent less than 24 hours in London and caught up with friends before flying out of Heathrow Friday morning to meet my mom in Lisbon. On Saturday, we went on a food tour (my new favorite thing to do anywhere) and on Sunday, The Pilot flew in to meet us!

It was an amazing and much needed vacation that I can't wait to share with all of you! For now, I'll just leave you with this:

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend! I'll be back when I'm recovered from jet lag!
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