Monday, May 31

13.1 what?!

I did it!!!!! 13.1 Miles. Running. the entire time.

wooo-hooooo!!!! I still can't quite believe it. It seems so surreal to me. Then I try to walk, realize how incredibly sore I am, and am quickly reminded that it is indeed true.

(quick editors note: my parents took some fantastic photos but they are on their camera which is not with me, so I will be exercising my patience while I wait for them to be uploaded and emailed. Until then, I have a few taken on camera phones that I will share)

The down and dirty details of the race are as follows:

Distance: 13.1 miles (my Garmin said 13.28 miles)
Official Chip Time: 1:56:27!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Average Pace: 8:49
Rank Results: 1565th out of 4650, 297th out of 1348 in my division- women aged 19 to 29 (I could lie and say it doesn't matter because its personal and it's all about beating yourself yada yada yada, but I'm pretty damn proud that I was in the top 3rd!)

I don't know where to start on the race recap. I guess it should all start 11 weeks ago when I finished my first 5k and decided I wanted to challenge myself and signed up for my half marathon. Back then, I had never run more than 5 miles at a time and the thought of racing filled me with a mixture of anxiety and dread. Over the past 3 months, I increased my mileage and my speed with every training run. As I pushed myself, I also surprised myself. I've realized I really like having a training schedule. I kind of miss it now that it's gone. Also, I am still shocked and amazed to this day that I actually enjoy running (who am I!?).

All of my training led up to this weekend, and then it switched from training on the streets pounding pavement to training in the kitchen scarfing carbohydrates. I took the whole "carboload" strategy to heart and went hogwild. Pizza, french fries, and ice cream qualify as appropriate pre-race fuel right? I'm pretty sure I read that in Runner's World? Yes, yes I DID read that, now I remember. It was followed by an article about how you should recover from a race with mimosas, french toast with home fries, and more ice cream. God, I love running.

At the risk of sounding a bit cocky, the race itself was a bit easier than I thought it would be. Despite being extremely nervous and having to pee like 9340909423 times before the starting gun went off, once the race itself started, I felt prepared. I made sure to keep my pace even and not too fast out of the gate. My goal was to stay between 8:00 and 9:00 minute pace the entire race so that I wouldn't get stuck on the last 3 miles. The course was fantastic as it winded it way through downtown Boston and dumped us out on Memorial Drive along the Charles River.

(photo courtesy of wouldn't it be great if I were so talented as to run a half marathon AND produce photography like that at the same time???)

It was hot yesterday and there were water stops every 2 miles which was helpful. I didn't always drink the water but I sure felt like a badass dumping it on my head and tossing the cups on the ground to continue my run. The first half was pretty uneventful. I was excited and still had that "this is all so new and exciting" momento. Around mile 6, there was a turn around point and we headed back towards downtown Boston. I took my GU at mile 7 and settled into my pace. I was really excited because the race was half over and I was still feeling great. Along the way, I found people whose pace I tried to match and stuck with them to keep me on my toes. Around mile 8, a woman and I were running next to each other but she had no watch on so she asked me if I'd keep pace for both of us, which was a weird honor...someone wanted to use me to pace them!? Does she realize I'm an amateur at this? But we chugged along together for a mile or so before I took off during my "moment". You know, your "moment", that time when everything just falls into place exactly as it should?

My moment took place around mile 9. The clouds had covered the sun making for ideal running temperature. I had the Charles River and Boston skyline to my right and my time was exactly where it should be. As we came to the crest of the BU Bridge, there were a group of people standing on an overpass cheering for everyone and at very moment I headed down the hill, Eye of the Tiger came onto my ipod (cliche as it may be, the song still kicks major butt) and suddenly (dun, dun dun dun, dun dun duuuuuuunnn) I felt like a superstar. I didn't know any of the people cheering above me, I didn't know anyone else running around me, but none of it mattered. My feet felt like wings and I just had the most intense surge of happiness and peace and strength all at the same time; everything clicked for me and it was just....perfect. When I look back on this half marathon, THAT is the moment I will remember the most.

I tried to carry the glow of my moment into the rest of my remaining miles, but towards the end I was getting tired. Weaving our way through the city made the end feel so close but yet still so far. I started to panic, I had never run more than 10 miles leading up to the race and I was deep into mile 11 and freaked out that I had 2 more to go. I started jogging slower and made my way from the middle of the pack to the sidelines to start walking for a few minutes. No sooner had a slowed down than a woman grabbed my arm and said "No no, c'mon you can do this". She was right. I COULD do this. I took off my headphones to thank her and she just said "go on, you don't need to stay with me" and away I went. I never saw her for the rest of the race but she was like my guardian angel. I don't know who she was or where she came from...but to girl in the pink tank top: THANK YOU. I don't think I could've finished the race in such an amazing time if it weren't for you.

At mile 12, I called my mom and told her and my adoring fans (Dad, Laura, Kym- thankyouthankyouthankyou) to start watching for me. The last stretch felt like the longest. road. in. the. entire. world. People lined the streets and were cheering us on, I could see the Finish banner in the distance but it just never seemed to get closer. I felt like I was running in place. But soon enough, I heard my name being screamed and saw my family and friends on the sidelines cheering for me, which gave me the extra push I needed to cross that finish line. and finish I did!!!!!! I was covered in sweat, shaking from exhaustion, thirsty, hungry and nauseous all at the same time...but I was happy. I did it!

Quickly following the race, we walked over the North End for a big brunch. Now that the race was over, I could appreciate the sunny, beautiful Sunday. Sean's mom and stepdad joined my parents and friends for a delicious outdoor feast on the waterfront. French toast, pancakes, eggs benedict, homefries, mimosas, bloody mary' Garmin told me I burned 1,575 calories during the 2 hour race and I think I made up about 1,000 of those within 10 minutes of eating brunch. I think I will continue running half marathons for the pure benefit of getting to eat all the time.

Major bravo if you are still reading at this point and didn't get bored and switch over to Facebook by now. I think this is enough retelling (cough cough * bragging * ) for today. I will write more about the race once I get the rest of the pictures up in a few days. Until then, I am going to leave you with this candid photo of me trying to squat down, sorority style, for a photo:

(I'm pretty sure if you turn the volume on your computer up all the way, you can literally hear my quads screaming in pain)

Wednesday, May 26

You, my friend, are WRONG

Um no. That's not true.

I can think of MANY things that taste as good as being skinny feels, like cheese for example. ANY cheese. Especially when its mixed into things like cheesecake or macaroni and cheese or cheeseburgers

or chocolate. Chocolate DEFINITELY tastes better than being skinny feels. Just ask any woman who is PMSing and they'll tell you its true.

I think this is so sad. and stupid. and demoralizing for young girls everywhere. Our society has such a screwed up image of what healthy means. The message of this t-shirt screams if you want to be skinny don't eat...that NOT eating is the best feeling in the world because once your skinny all your problems will magically disappear and everything will be perfect. HA! I've lost roughly 40lbs and my size 4 butt has yet to absolve myself of credit card debt, fix the dent in my bumper, or prevent bad hair days.

Whatever happened to balance and moderation? Should we all eat McDonalds every day because it's our given right? certainly not, but why does that so often mean we need to starve ourselves instead? Life is short and you only get one chance at it and unless you plan to be buried in your skinny jeans, you should experience it. Here's a novel idea, eat food and then, wait for it....waaaait for it.....EXERCISE afterwards. Go for a run. Walk the dog. Do some jumping jacks while you watch The Hills (that's my personal favorite) and enjoy life.

Ugh. I don't even know what to say. except I hate this stupid t-shirt and everything it stands for.

Monday, May 24

I think I'm funny

This is a card my dad got for me. No, its not my birthday...but it hilarious none the less. Perhaps he's trying to tell me something?

and please don't tell me I'm the only one who finds this card entertaining (and eerily true)

Thursday, May 20

The run that wasn't

According to master half marathoner guru to the stars, Hal Higdon, I was scheduled for a 5 mile run today so after work I came home, got changed, ate a snack, and prepared for my run...all the while a voice inside me saying no.

That voice kept repeating no as I laced up my sneakers, turned on the Garmin and headed out the door. My left calf and knee have been especially sore the past couple days and I haven't been sleeping well but I let my stubborn pride overrule them and forced myself to run. About a mile into it, the voice inside myself went from a polite and quiet no to full force, screaming at myself STOP. TAKE A BREATHE. WHY ARE YOU FORCING THIS?

Running is supposed to fun. It is supposed to be something I enjoy doing, and instead it was painful and out of sorts and just plain wrong. At that point, I decided to take a short cut and head home. I couldn't help but feel tremendously guilty. I was disappointed in myself for stopping and I felt like a could I ever finish a half marathon if I couldn't handle 5 miles?

I wrestled internally. Start up again? Call it a day? And then I stopped myself. I CAN run 5 miles. I just did on Tuesday. I've been working up to this half marathon for weeks and I AM going to kick its ass, but I also need to listen to myself. I need to treat myself better. Taking a day off from the schedule isn't going to hurt anyone. No puppies or kittens will be harmed, the world will still spin on its axis.

So I came home and did "Yoga on the Edge: Sunset" from On Demand instead. The description read "a 30 minute yoga series to wind down at the end of the day" which was exactly what the doctor ordered. I stretched, I breathed, I relaxed. I downward-faced dogged and warrior-posed myself to pieces, all the while imagining myself on a white, sandy beach at sunset

(Let's pretend this is me, shall we?)

and it was fabulous. Feelings of guilt are still simmering, but I am going to shut them up with the Grey's Anatomy 2 hour season finale and some Chocolate froyo...that always makes EVERYTHING better!

Wednesday, May 19

Gucci and Garmin

When I first told Sean I wanted to buy a Garmin, he scoffed at the price tag and said "its just an accessory runners like"

ha! just an accessory? There's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. Are patent leather mary-jane Manolos just an accessory? Is my beloved Louis V. just an accesory? I think not.

While I am a card carrying member of the "accessories make an outfit" club (and yes, that includes running outfits), I sadly realize that my turqouise bangle and ballet flats don't cut it on a 5 mile run. Welcome, running accessories! Since running and I are getting hot-n-heavy as of late, I felt it was time to step up and show some signs of committment...really, it is a win-win scenario. A whole new world of accessories and shopping as been placed before me, and I can totally justify them because "I need them to run". But I must say, while I understand running is much more function over fashion, couldn't they make these things a BIT snazzier?

Like the Garmin for instance. Garmin- I've only used you a handful of times so far, but already we are soulmates. I love you. I need you. I cannot run without you...and yet, you are so damn ugly.

Nevermind the fact that it only comes in one style and color, could it BE any bigger?! I forgot it was on my wrist and almost knocked myself unconscious while trying to fix my headband. Garmin, perhaps you could take a cue from Mr. Karl Lagerfeld?
the stainless steel band says "I'm ready for anything" while the subtle diamond accents add a touch of class.

Moving onto the next problem- running belts. There are lots of different types. Ones with 50 million kiddie sized water bottles, ones for keys, ones for ipods. I am currently rocking the ever prestigious "Sean's second hand belt that was found in his brother's attic". I know, you are jealous.

Ugly as this thing may be, I have to admit, it's pretty darn handy. It holds my ipod, house keys, some money, and id. The belt is wide enough that it stays put and doesn't bounce around or ride up. I actually secretly love it (shhhh don't tell anyone) But for argument's sake, how fabulous would it be to jog about town in this little number instead:

*sigh* a girl can dream. Until then, I will have to settle in with all the routine running stuff out there...don't want all the hardcore running kids to make fun of me on the playground. But you can be guaranteed I WILL sneak a running skirt in there at some point.

and one last running substitution that I deem necessary in my life. How amazing would it be if after my next long run, instead of looking like a sweaty beast with crazy eyes a la Ramona from Real Housewives of New York

I was like this:

Just kidding about the last bit. Victoria Secret supermodel Marisa Miller ain't got nothin' on me


Team Aniston

Brad left HER for Angelina?

He must have been crazy. Homegirl is a-mazing.

Tuesday, May 18

Are books dead?

God, I hope not. For me, reading a book is an experience. It is curling up on the couch on a snowy Sunday afternoon, it is that bittersweet feeling of excitement and regret as you thumb through the last few pages of a particularly fantastic novel, and it is the feeling of the crisp, stark white pages contrasted against vibrant sheen of the thoughtfully-planned cover art and book jacket (and yes, I DO judge a book by its cover- c'mon, who doesn't?)

That being said, I am on the fence with this whole Kindle/iPad business. Now I am a digital, 21st century girl. I love my mac, my ipod, my DVR. I facebook and blog stalk so much I should get paid for it as a part time job, and yet I cannot embrace this idea of digital literature. Cozying up to my kindle next to a roaring fire? using tiny digitized numbers in the lower left corner as my bookmark? oh no no no, that simply won't do.

and the most ironic part of all of this? In the fall, I will be going to grad school in Publishing and Writing...and I wonder...are books dead? am I jumping aboard a sinking ship? The New Yorker just had an interesting article about books making a revival (DIGITAL books that is) with the surging Kindle and iPad markets and yet I can't help but feel like crying out "wait! nooo! But real books are so awesome!"

Who knows, I'd like to think of myself as some vigilante book crusader, arriving onto the publishing scene with a fervor to save the literary world from complete and utter degradation (I'm really pulling out all the big-girl vocab words today eh?), but it is more likely I will be a broke, stressed-out grad student whose only opportunity to do reading will be from textbooks and the only real fervor I'll have will be put towards my time management skills so I can appropriately balance my deadlines with NBC's Thursday night lineup.

In the meantime, I will continue to read my hardcovers and my paperbacks. I will buy magazines and newspapers and cherish all the wonderful, glossy, paper goodness they offer me (but I'll be sure to recycle, I promise. I may hate digital literature, but I do enjoy Mother Nature which is a conundrum in itself)

Meanwhile, here are some of my tried and true favs:

1. anything by Emily Giffin. I just read Change of Heart. I have mixed feelings about it. However, I do NOT have mixed feelings about my excitement over hearing they are making a movie out of Something Borrowed! Starring John Krasinski! yummmmmm....

2. In the Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Incredibly interesting insight (yay alliteration) into the food industry

3. all of Jodi Picoult's books. What can I say? Yes, I know all 20 of her books are pretty much identical in plot line but I thoroughly enjoy them anyway.

4. Harry Potter. read them all. love them. waited in line at midnight on more than one occasion for them. proud of it. 'nuff said
(looks just like Sean and I, no?)

5. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald. Once a detested high-school required reading book, this story climbed the ranks over the years to become one of my most cherished books.

In my opinion, it is one of the best classics ever written, way better than Catcher in the Rye. Love Jay Gatsby. Cannot stand Holden Caulfield. (plus, Catcher in the Rye is infamous because serial killers use it as their Bible to help work out their mommy issues- I mean, really?!)

What are your favorites? Any reading recommendations?

Friday, May 14

Once upon a time...

I am 2 weeks away from my first Half Marathon and this weekend marks my first double digit run. 10 miles. There was a time when I would complain about driving 10 miles, let alone run it.

I've tried writing this post a million times over the past few years...and it never comes out right. Inevitably, I end up deleting the entry and change the subject to something else. Talking about my "journey towards health" sounds SO cheesy and cliche even I want to throw up and I'm the one writing it. I don't want to lament about the jerks who made fat jokes or the inadequacies and melodramas of high school gym class (I swear, I will have nightmares of tapered ankle sweatpants for the rest of my life).

Ultimately, the decisions you make in your life are your choices. Health, exercise, food, and body image are all intensely personal decisions and ones I don't necessarily feel comfortable preaching about. I'm certainly no expert on the topic. Heck, I eat Spongebob shaped Kraft macaroni and cheese because I think the cartoon shapes somehow taste better than the regular elbow noodles.

So instead, I'll just take you on a brief jaunt down my dietary lane.

As quite evident by these photos, the only exercise I did during college was the drunken stumble from the bars to the 24hour McDonalds next door (convenient product placement much?). I also firmly believed that cheese fries and Bud light constituted dinner.

These photos were taken in December of 2006 and were the catalyst for me to change the way I was living my life. Please don't even get me started on the hairstyle...short hair/round face does not a match make.

I went on South Beach and severed all ties with my frenemy: Mr. Carbohydrate. Ohhhhh how I love carbohydrates. bread. pasta. cookies. chips. the list goes on...

I lost 30 lbs relatively quickly. At this point, I also started doing the Couch to 5k running program. But alas, the timing wasn't right. My love affair with running was nothing but a cheap, one night stand.

For the next two years, my weight and eating habits have fluctuated greatly depending on what was happening in my life. Hello, emotional eating! Hello, Mr. Carbohydrate, welcome back! oh how I missed you!

This past year has been the "healthiest" of my entire life. I put "healthy" in these fabulous little "quotes" because I'm not necessarily just talking about food. Do I have Gisele's legs or Jennifer Aniston's hair? ha! most certainly not, and I am still holding out hope they can create a margarita that won't leave me hungover (Gosh, I love tequila). I just have a new appreciation on how I want to live my life. and that includes lots of true friendships, fresh food, and running, minimal amounts of processed food, chemical additives and artificial hormones.

and just so you know, I am not going to run off and hug a tree, start wearing patchouli, or eat granola (well I might eat granola, because it IS delicious when mixed into yogurt)....those are just stereotypes. My cold, evil Republican heart still lives on, it just beats a bit healthier now ;)

Thursday, May 13

Volcanic Lemonade

When life gives you lemons, you are supposed to make lemonade...

sooooo when Mother Nature gave the world an Icelandic Volcano (lemon #1), causing airports across Europe to shut down (lemon #2), effectively canceling my trip to see Sean and spend my birthday with him in Paris (LEMON #398409384290348), I had no choice but to make lemonade with all these spoiled rotten plans

I present you my Volcanic Lemonade (also known as: Thank God for Airline Refunds and Travel Insurance or Spending My Blues Away So I'll Stop Emotionally Eating)

Start off with equal parts Retail Therapy:

1 Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket in Vivid Violet

(even better when marinated for several hours in beers with friends)

1 Nintendo Wii complete with Super Mario 3 AND snazzy pink remote The perfect justification to buy something I've always secretly wanted but was waaaay too embarrassed and proud to buy. No I did not get it for the Wii Fit. Maybe one day I will invest in the Wii Fit stuff but really, I got it for the sole purpose of playing Super Mario Brothers and the occasional drunk Wii Bowling game. Plus a pink remote?! pshhhh sign me up!

1 Garmin Forerunn 305. All the hardcore runners have one. Now I have one too. I'm not good at math, but I'm pretty sure in linear equations that makes me a hardcore runner.

mix that together with 1 cup of amazing boyfriend who skipped his last class of his Master's program to fly to Boston and visit

add a dash of getting dressed up and splurging on amazing French champagne and best cheese plate in the city to make up for the missed meals in Paris

Stir ingredients all together until feelings of bitterness and resentment dissolve. Perfect for any occasion, particularly when having a tremendous pity party for ones self. Served best ice cold. with vodka. and lots of it.


*Disclaimer: All of these items were purchased over a series of weeks (okay, days) with money that had been fully refunded from the various airlines and hotels reserved for the 10 day European vacation I had been saving up months for. I do not regularly go on gigantic spending sprees like this. Usually, I can be found on my couch most nights watching trashy television and facebook stalking. No children or animals were harmed in this making of this. Professional at work. Do not attempt at home.

Identity Crisis

My blog is having an identity crisis. and okay, if I must admit, I am too.

A couple weeks ago I took a writing about fashion course which turned out to be more marketing than writing, but I found it helpful. The instructor taught a lot about branding yourself and your blog and the importance of consistency in both your message and delivery.

Perhaps that is my problem. I cannot place this blog into simply one category while ignoring all the rest. Do I like to run? Yes. but do I want a running blog? No. Do I enjoy food? um heck yes. Do I want to photograph every meal of my life? most definitely not (see previous post on savage, animal-like tendecies towards delicious food). I do not have any adorable babies to document milestones. I enjoy fashion, but it's not my passion (oooohh I'm a poet and I didn't even know it!).

So my message...what is it? I am a jane of all trades, a modern-day renaissance woman if you will. I can conquer the sales at Nordstroms in a single bound and defeat a cheese plate and bottle of red without breaking a sweat. I have the unique ability to categorically list the best TV choices for any given night and Kelly Clarkson makes me sing at the top of my lungs...and yet, I feel this pressure to rise above all these things to make this blog fit into one category or another.

It is this pressure that prevents me from continuously updating my blog. I worry: is it funny enough? are there good pictures to accompany it? Will people even care? and these concerns make me hightail it out of blogworld without looking back.

But lately, I've had a change of heart. I am going to stop writing this blog for the imaginary people I worry about and start writing it for myself. On the days I feel motivated, I'll write. If you enjoy it, and I hope you do, you'll be privy to my innermost thoughts (some intensely deep, too, like my thoughts on Heidi Montag's latest plastic surgery). If not, its okay with me...because at the end of the day, that's really what this blog is about.

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