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Well, it’s depressing but true. I have gained 10 pounds since September. My pants are tight. This is Not Good, as I emphatically do not want to buy new pants. I like the pants I have!

All is not lost. The pants still fit despite some snugness, so as long as I get back into my old, good habits (as opposed to my bad post-marathon ones), I should be fine. Old-fashioned scale

This means:

  • Exercising 4-5 workdays
  • Running 20 miles or more a week
  • Strength training twice a week
  • Limiting grains
  • Snacking only on things such as fruits and vegetables
  • Salads – lots and lots of salads (which, to be fair, I love salad, so this is not a hardship. I just have to be better about buying produce and making them the night before work)
  • Meal planning
  • Tracking food (even on days I know I will go over my calorie limit – it’s the habit that’s important)
  • Not drinking (or, let’s be reasonable, limiting myself to one glass of wine a week)

So far, I’m having the most trouble with tracking and meal planning, but I know that all of the other items will become problematic in due time. I know I can power through them. I just have to remember that I can…

 
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RW Running Streak Challenge - runner in a Santa hat To combat my total lack of motivation, I’m joining the 2012 Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. I pledge to run at least one mile every day until Christmas.

My training plan for the B&A Half starts in mid-December, so I can definitely incorporate that into the streak, but mostly I want to make sure I’m in a good place to start training at that point.

I’m a little concerned about my muscles – I’m still feeling more tightness after working out than I think I should. With the Hashimoto’s, it’s a real concern, as muscle soreness is definitely one of the symptoms. So I’m just going to take it easy (and try to avoid gluten, which I think is a real issue for me in that regard) and assess how I feel on a fairly regular basis.

Most people started their streaks on Thanksgiving Day, and I did try that, but I was foiled by a sneaky nap on the couch and a longer-than expected travel day on Sunday. So the streak started yesterday! And will extend through New Year’s Eve! (What, you expected me to work out on my birthday and start the run streak Monday? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Birthdays are for eating cake and drinking champagne, silly person.)

Nov. 27: 3 miles

Nov. 28: 2 miles/strength training ETA – managed only one mile, thanks to getting to the gym a bit late. Still, the streak is on!

I’ll try to run the tally every Wednesday, just to keep myself on track. STREAK!

 
 
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Published on November 23, 2012, by meg in real life, Running.

I’m a day late on this post – but I still feel like I need to post it.

Things I am grateful for:

  • Financial security to buy a house and furnish it to my tastes (slowly, yes, but it will get done!)
  • My wonderful North Carolina and Colorado family -I love you guys so much and miss you awfully
  • My husband – The Man is pretty darn great and I’m so happy we have each other and our stupid faces
  • My dear and beloved friends, near and far
  • My health
  • Being able to run and lift weights and get stronger and more awesome
  • A job I love and coworkers I enjoy

And, on the lighter side, a list from Brooks about what runners are thankful for.

Here’s hoping everyone in the U.S. enjoyed their holiday (and for the rest of you, have a good weekend)!

 
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I’ve been hearing a lot about boxes this year – the kind you have shipped to you. AHEM. Birchbox. Stitch Fix. Tog & Porter. Kona Kase. Julep Maven. WOD Gear. Yeah. Lots of people getting lots of stuff. Some of the reviews have been mixed, but even with the ones I heard nothing but good things about, I just couldn’t commit.

I started out with Stitchfix. I love clothes! It seemed like a good idea! I liked it OK, but realized pretty quickly that part of the fun of buying clothes, for me, is playing around with them at the store. I like the serendipity of coming across the perfect top or jeans rather than having someone pick things out for me based on a style I’m not sure is really my own. Plus, I found the items I liked best a bit on the pricey side.

PopSugar box

Then I tried a Julep Maven box. I love nail polish! I buy too many bottles at Target! But then, after two boxes, I realized I don’t have THAT big a problem. There are still polishes I received that I haven’t worn. Not that I don’t like them! I just don’t like to paint my nails all that often, and when I do, I usually go for the same three colors. So that wasn’t really for me.

I love beauty products, but am pretty damn boring with them. I have one or two colors I wear constantly, a few perfumes in rotation, and maybe two or three lipsticks. I don’t like to think much about my beauty needs on a daily basis, OK? The free samples from Sephora are about as wild and crazy as I get.

So I held off on joining the PopSugar must-have box for awhile. At first, it looked like another thing that was just not for me. I enjoy their website quite a bit, but usually find the ‘must-haves for summer!’ articles to be more annoying than helpful.

But the more boxes they revealed, the more interested I became. When I found a coupon to get three months of boxes for $75, I was sold. ETA: If you’re interested, here’s my referral link

And then I waited and almost forgot about it. But that just made it more fun when the box finally came!

So many goodies inside the box!

You can see the complete rundown of what’s in the box here.

My intial favorites?  The gorgeous, gorgeous bracelet. I briefly thought about giving it as a Christmas gift to somebody I reeeeeally liked, but then my greedy side kicked in and I knew I was going to keep it for myself.

I’m like that sometimes.

The other favorite (so far) is really nice lip gloss. I’m a sucker for lip gloss or balm of any kind – it dates back to being a teenage clarinetist. The reed really dries out your lips, man. So I got addicted to the stuff when I was in fifth grade or so. My standbys are Rosebud Salve, Burt’s Bees (original all the way) and, if I’m feeling fancy, Fresh Sugar Rose lip treatment. It has SPF! It’s practically health food, right? Uh. Anyway. I’m not really that proud, I still have LipSmackers too.

Pretty vanilla lip balm But this lip balm in the box is pretty outstanding. It’s vanilla scented, which is a hard scent for me to wear (sweet scents often become syrupy with my skin chemistry – apparently I just am that sweet, thanks), but I find it appealing. Plus, the packaging is just gorgeous.

I’m excited to try the doughnut mix – I even bought mini doughnut pans, y’all. I’m serious about this. I plan to make them this weekend for my family.

 I’ll definitely order a t-shirt from StyleMint and I can’t wait to pick a photo to have put on canvas for the new house. It’s going to be fun to play with the crazy spices and I never could resist a yoga DVD. All in all, I’d say this box was a home run for me – it was a nice mix of fitness, beauty, style and home items. Much like PopSugar itself! I can’t wait to see what’s in the December box.

ETA: Again, If you’re interested, here’s my referral link

 
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Published on November 19, 2012, by meg in real life, Running.

My nice easy runs? Were apparently too long, because I haven’t felt like running since. That’s right, it’s been three weeks since my last run. And I don’t feel right, because I’m not running, but I think it’s been good for me.

Of course, I haven’t been doing much else, either, and that’s where a lot of the ‘not right’ is coming from. I feel twitchy and weird, but also really, really tired. The Man and I bought a house on Friday, so I have been a leeetle stressed out and busy with move prep, plus there was this election thing, which, since I work at a congressional publication, DID keep me sort of occupied, but there is really no excuse.

I skipped the Run for Shelter on Saturday because I just felt crazy stretched and overstimulated. I cleaned house all weekend – painted, filled in holes, etc. – to get the condo we are in ready for new tenants. Two people are coming tomorrow to look at it! HOORAY. This is my biggest stress right now – we own the place, so must get it rented by Jan. 1 or have to pay two mortgages. It should be fine, but…I still worry.

I feel awful when I’m not working out. This is a weird development, but not unwelcome. I’ve just got to get back on the working out ball before I get to the point where it feels normal to not make time for it. It’s happened before! I don’t want it to happen again.

In other life news, the house we bought is in Maryland, so I will be moving to a whole new state next month! That will be fun. But really, I’m seriously excited. The house has TWO BATHROOMS! TWO. And four bedrooms. The Man and I have been living in a one-bedroom, one-bath condo for four years, so this is a Big Deal. Our guests can have doors! And real beds, not air mattresses! It’s all very exciting.

Plus, new running routes! It’s on the other side of D.C., so I will be exploring new neighborhoods and becoming a Capitol Hill person.

I just have to get my workout habit restarted so I’m good to go when I move.

 
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Published on November 14, 2012, by meg in goals, Running, travel.

My immediate post-race plan was: Take it easy. So I have been doing that. I went for a four miler Thursday and then rested, went for a six miler Sunday and am resting today. Tomorrow I plan to start working on metabolic training with a 30-minute easy easy run. The rest of the week will be yoga, strength training, and working to get back into a regular fitness routine.

But it’s still race season, so I don’t want to stop just yet! I considered running the Richmond half-marathon this coming weekend – I’ve heard really good things about it and I do love a half- but I have a lot of other things going on that weekend and don’t want to stress out with the travel.

So instead I picked a nice 10K. The Alexandria Run for Shelter isn’t the most exciting course – an out-and-back on Eisenhower Avenue – but it’s close to my house and I’m starting to really enjoy the 10K distance. Plus, it’s for a good cause – fighting homelessness in Northern Virginia. I promise a report!

And then I started thinking about spring, because the bigger spring races are filling up/raising prices now. But I ran three giant races this year and I kind of wanted to do something smaller this spring. I considered Rock n Roll USA, but I’m not crazy about the course changes and want to hear what other people have to say about it. The Nike Women’s Half in DC is another option, and I might still do it. It’s for a cause that’s near and dear to my heart, after all. But it’s pricey and I’m sure it will be a mob scene. Fun, but crazy.

I ultimately settled on the B&A Trail Half-Marathon. I read good things about it from other bloggers and Twitterati. It’s small and doesn’t have a lot of crowd support, but after the insanity of the races this year, I think I’ll enjoy the quiet!

 
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Published on November 12, 2012, by meg in 5K, race report, real life.

I felt a little snarky putting “race” in quotation marks after doing the Color Run. I was full of ready-for-a-marathon hubris, clearly.

I’m just going to call these untimed short races “fun runs,” which makes me feel like less of an ass.

My friend Mary and I took part in the Living Social Glow-in-the-Dark 5K on Friday night. I wasn’t sure what to expect – wear all black? It went against everything I knew as a runner. But the course didn’t seem to go on any roads, so I was game.

The event itself was a bit pricey for a 5K – $40 when I registered, $50 later – but I won a free entry from Carly Bananas and Living Social (thanks so much guys!), so it wasn’t too terrible for two that way.

I wore all black as suggested, but it was chilly and I knew we would probably go out for dinner after the run, so I wore regular leggings, a long sleeve tee with the Living Social 5K tee over it and a fleece over that. It was chilly out there! I did wear my Team Sparkle skirt, which, as always, earned several compliments.

Much like the Color Run, there was more waiting around than seemed necessary, thanks to the release of people in waves, but I learned that lesson and stood closer to the front this time. The race was scheduled to start at 7:30 and I think our wave started at 7:50. It wasn’t so bad, but we did get pretty chilly and annoyed waiting around. This is probably the biggest flaw with these sorts of races and the solution is probably simple: Don’t show up more than 30 minutes early.

Because I had a crazy week at work thanks to the election, I didn’t have time to go out and buy a lot of crazy glowing stuff before the race, so we were left with what people dropped and what Living Social gave us. We were not very impressive, but some of the other people there sure were! We saw folks with tons of glow sticks wrapped around their legs and arms, people with light-up wigs, light sabers, and all kinds of crazy stuff. It was amazing to watch and be part of this brilliant, moving sea of color.

There were stages set up where people could dance:

As one Facebook friend said, it was like a “healthy rave.”

Mary and I mostly walked and chatted and watched people. The music was unbearably loud at a few points, but we just speed-walked through them. Once we finished the race, there was one free beer and a dance party set up inside the D.C. Armory. It looked pretty cool.

But it was very loud and we were pretty hungry, so we vacated to go eat dinner in Chinatown.

All in all, it was a really good time!

 
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sole sisters book coverIf you can’t actually run (much), you might as well read stories about people who are running, right?

This book is a collection of short essays – just a few pages, really – about inspirational women runners. A few made me tear up, but most made me smile widely.

My favorite essay was about Cheryl Treworgy. She’s Shalane Flanagan’s mom, and her story is really amazing. She competed in college a few years before Title IX passed and was the first woman to receive an athletic scholarship to a public university. She had to create her own training model and it’s just incredibly cool to read about the work she did and the trail she laid for women in sports today.

There’s something for everyone in this book – stories of Kenyans aspiring to the Olympics, ordinary women creating running support groups and helping each other through tough times, stories of widows of the Sept. 11. 2001 terror attacks running for their husbands – and themselves. It’s a small book, but it isn’t lightweight. It is moving and sweet and a pretty good way to remind yourself why you run, even when you can’t get it in the way you would like.

 
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It’s a week later and I still kind of can’t believe it. I still don’t know just what to say.

My partner in crime before the race

My partner in crime before the race

The first 16 miles were amazing. The five after that, not the worst thing ever. The final five? Torture.

Okay, maybe not torture. But really, really hard.

Me, post-race

I don’t look like I’ve been tortured, do I?

I had a few problems:

  • My shoes were too loose until mile 16; I think this is why I hurt so much at the end.
  • I didn’t give myself enough mileage in those shoes – they weren’t broken in enough and weren’t similar enough to my old pair of Nikes to be okay with that.
  • I didn’t bring my own water.  This was absolutely, no doubt, my biggest mistake. I thought, with the cooler weather and the many water stops, I would be okay, but I was wrong.  My fingers started to swell up around mile 19 and I couldn’t drink enough to help after that. I just know by now that I need a lot of water and plan accordingly.

But lots of things also went well!

Somewhere around mile 18 or 19

Somewhere around mile 18 or 19 – we still look good!

  • The pacing was dead-on perfect throughout the race for the five-hour mark we were  looking to hit.
  • I had two amazing support crews! I saw Team 1 (my parents, husband, and college friend) three times! I saw my grad school friend and her super-cool sister twice! It was so amazing and they are all so wonderful for coming out to cheer us on.
  • I felt absolutely, 100% legitimately great for the first 16 miles. I can’t reiterate how great that makes me feel.
  • I had no chafing and didn’t lose any toenails.
  • I didn’t get sick and I only had to stop to use the bathroom once during the race.
  • It didn’t rain! The hurricane held off until Monday afternoon so while it was windy, it wasn’t terrible and it was nice and dry.
  • My recovery was extremely smooth, thanks to an ice bath, stretching, and Ben Gay. YESSSSS.
Post-race, with my mom and a medal

I SURVIVED! Thanks, Mom!

I also learned a few of really race-specific things. For instance, don’t pee at the runners village! There will be more port-a-johns at the start and they will be less crowded. The overpasses at the end – specifically the ones after Crystal City – are just miserable. Also, when meeting your family at the family meeting area? Always pick the letter A, not the actual letter of your last name. So much less walking, especially if you have a late-in-the-alphabet name.

Tomi made it too!

Tomi made it too! Faster than I did!

Will I do another marathon? I’m…not sure. Other runners have advised putting at least a year between your first and second marathon. I think that’s absolutely sound. While I feel incredibly proud to have finished a marathon, I’m not 100% sure I want to put that much time into competing in another one. I’m thinking about it, but I think it tells you something that my first reaction on finishing Marine Corps was: “I don’t think I want to do that again.” Telling in that I didn’t think I wanted to do it again, but also that I wasn’t sure. So it’s still on the table! But not for quite some time.

Here are some pictures, in more-or-less chronological order:

Heading to the start!

Heading to the start!

We look fresh and ready for the race!

We look fresh and ready for the race!

In Georgetown

In Georgetown

We see our people just before we get to the 14th Street Bridge

We see our people just before we get to the 14th Street Bridge

Blowing kisses

Blowing kisses

We lived! And found our people! And man, are we TIRED.

We lived! And found our people! And man, are we TIRED.

Post-race celebration

Post-race celebration

And a special, enormous thank-you to my family, my husband, my dear, dear friends who put up with all the nights I said, “I can’t, I have to run tomorrow.” You guys are the best and I couldn’t have done this without you.