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This is in no way a comprehensive or serious must-get-it-done list, just a few ideas for what I want to do this winter/spring.

  1. Drop the five pounds I gained at the end of marathon training. Carbs, I love you but you’re bringing me down. Just listen to this while you read the list, okay?
  2. Swim more!
  3. Finally fix my bike and ride it more. The brakes are wonky and I just haven’t touched it in months.
  4. Work on metabolic training.
  5. Try out a more minimal/neutral shoe.
  6. Work on cadence by running with a metronome.
  7. Go to yoga & pilates more often – meaning at least once a week each. I miss them both.
  8. Start strength training regularly again. I started to have some pretty serious DOMS a few weeks ago, so I freaked out and stopped doing it. I could tell this was a bad idea by the end of my taper.
  9. Check for hypothyroidism again – the muscle soreness is freaking me out. A few other symptoms have also surfaced. Stupid thyroid.
  10. Go out with friends on the weekends again!
  11. Work on speed – especially if I sign up for a spring half-marathon.
 
 
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While I have done tapers before, they haven’t been nearly so dramatic. For a half-marathon, after all, you go from 10-ish miles to say, five or six. Cutting back from mileage in the high teens to eight or nine miles feels decidedly strange.

Marine Corps LogoIt’s been three weeks since I have run 20 miles. That run felt amazing, but it will have been a month next week. That’s…scary to think about. I’m just working hard to keep myself healthy and whole and not crazy. I’m going to be fine. I  won’t set any landspeed records, but I will complete the race safely and have fun. I’ll set a PR no matter what I do – it’s my first marathon. So I don’t need to stress out about time.

I set my strategy with my college friend – we’re going to stay together so we can keep each other from going too fast and to encourage each other when we get tired.

I know I can do this. But knowing doesn’t stop me from being scared and trying to plan out all of the angles. What to wear, when to arrive, where my family and friends should watch the race – I’m trying to plan it all out.

What I need to do, really, is just let it go. I need to remember that nothing is perfect and that things can be wonderful and fun and amazing and flawed. I need to remember that sometimes the flaws are the best part – that’s where the humor and serendipity come in. So I’m trying as hard as I can.

 
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Published on October 22, 2012, by meg in 5K, race report, real life.
Pre-race trio

Pre-race trio

Because I haven’t been blogging much, I haven’t talked about my awesome running friends Laney and Kristin! They’re  both a bit faster than I am and have both done a few marathons. Their input has been really helpful at settling my nerves and answering my random questions. (Do you usually have to pee during a race? Bring a change of clothes after? Is feeling really tired and cranky during the taper normal? I have asked all of these and more.)

So when Kristin suggested that I sign up for The Color Run at National Harbor the weekend before Marine Corps, the first question I asked was, of course: Is it smart to run a 5K a week before my big race? Kristin laughed (well, she was on Twitter, but I imagine she laughed) and pointed out that it’s a fun run – untimed and with lots of stopping to take photos. I signed up cheerfully.

This story is really better told in pictures:

Laney and Kristin pre-run
All clean – FOR NOW.
At the start, there were SO MANY TUTUS.

At the start, there were SO MANY TUTUS. It was really cool to see the outfits people wore!

Approaching the yellow color station
You could see each station from pretty far away – there was a cloud of color! The colored powder was sort of chalky and weird – definitely not fun to get in your mouth.
Yellow color station mob!

People would run to the sides of the race where volunteers would spray them with color from condiment bottles. It could get people crazy – some people even dropped and rolled in the color.

Blue color station!

The blue color station was the final one.

Laney and Kristin post-race

Laney and Kristin post-race. Not so clean anymore!

Back of Kristin's head - it's all green

Back of Kristin’s head – it’s all green! Everyone got a color packet for the final ‘color throw’ at the end. Laney had green and got Kristin with it.

Post-run powder and feet

Post-run powder and feet

 
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Clarendon Day 10K ready!

These races seem like they happened so long ago! I got really busy with house-hunting, so I kind of just forgot to write about them. But they were both cool races.

Let’s start with the Navy-Air Force Half. That race occurred on Sept. 15. I had no real plans to race this one, which was good because I was definitely not feeling it. I had gone to look at a house on Saturday with my mom and husband, and definitely didn’t go to sleep super early or eat as well as I should have the night before. I also felt, for whatever reason, incredibly tight and tired in my legs, so I just sort of cruised through it, using it as my long run for the week.

I didn’t look at the elevation chart. For some reason, I expected there to be a large hill at the halfway point so I really held back. There was a slight hill, but definitely not what I had expected.

My time was a perfectly fine 2:26:24, but I didn’t feel like I tried especially hard or really ran my best race. Still, it was a gorgeous day and the race took me through Rock Creek Park and by the Potomac, which was lovely. It was a smaller race, which was nice, though it was definitely a fast crowd. The five milers flew past us at Hains Point, which maybe should have been discouraging but was actually kind of cool to see.

The Clarendon Day 10K was as awesome as ever. It occurred Sept. 22 and was the third year I had done that race. It was hot – maybe not as hot as it had been the first year, but definitely warmer than last year’s race, which was pretty much perfect, temperature-wise. The volunteers were amazing, people liked my skirt, and I ran into a friend (who also had friends with her) at the start.

This was another race I wasn’t sure I was going to race. I had a 20-miler lined up the next day, so I hadn’t really made any plans. I wanted to do well, of course, but I didn’t expect that I would feel as good as I did.

I ran a 10K in 1:02:46, my fastest time at that distance by almost three minutes. And I stopped to walk for two minutes, because I got too hot.

Do I see a 1 hour 10K in my future? MAYBE. Maybe. Marathon first, though.

After the race, I met up with my friend and her friends, who were really cool, and used a few beer tickets. (Three this year, which is the right number. Four is TOO MANY, Clarendon Day!) I only used two, because I had to run out to Maryland for our house inspection, which went well! More about the house when we get closer to closing, but for now: Things are going reasonably well, though not as smoothly as I had hoped.

 
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There has been a lot to say. I haven’t quite known how to say it.

Trying to become fat-adapted two-and-a-half months before your big race? Dumb. I realized that pretty fast, actually, and I had left myself the option of just dropping the whole thing if it didn’t work out. So I did, after a miserable, wall-hitting, no-good, very bad run. It was supposed to be 19 miles; I think I hit 16. And in spite of all of that, it was a good experience. I  know what that wall feels like; I know how to fight it now.

The wall hurts.

Since then, I have had two 20-mile runs, one spectacular and one…less so, but not bad. I ran the very good one in too-old shoes, which caused some foot problems. They seem to be cleared up now. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m considering running a race this weekend for shits and grins – the Baltimore Half-Marathon.  Logistically, it’s a pain, but I’m kind of burned out on running alone and it looks fun.

More updates to come soon! Just have to get back into the habit of writing.

 
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Published on August 27, 2012, by meg in Diet, nutrition.

I’m going to try something radical this month. It’s the Whole 30, a paleo program that cuts sugar, dairy, grans, legumes, and booze.

It sounds extreme, I know. But I’ve been noticing that when I eat, say, a big plate of pasta, I don’t feel good. It’s more than just overeating – it gives me issues for quite a long time. And I’m having issues with sugar of late – as in, eating it and eating it and
eating it to keep my energy up.

So I’m cutting these things out. I won’t freak out if I eat something that has SEKRIT SUGAR in it (it’s really hard to avoid) or even secret cheese, but I want to really get to the root of what’s causing some of my issues.

It might be too much on top of the marathon training, and that’s okay. I can always quit. But I want to try it this month so that I’m as healthy as possible when I run the race. Cutting out the things that make me feel less than stellar seems like a good place to start.

I’ll start tomorrow. I don’t expect it will be easy or fun. I expect I’ll miss my wine and my GU and my Gatorade, but I’ve already cut back on dairy substantially. I intend to write up my experience in a private journal and I’ll write a weekly summary here. I mostly want to get a good, solid idea about what I’m eating, why, and how it makes me feel. I start today.

Fortunately, I haave a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, thanks to reading It Starts with Food. It’s the best explanation of some of the science behind the paleo diet that I have read. Combining it with The Thyroid Diet Revolution has given me really useful tools to manage my diet. I don’t intend to stress out about it, but I feel that the highly restrictive nature of the program will really help me keep my diet on track. And after 30 days, who knows? I hope to have a good idea of what foods are causing me the distress and what I can reintroduce into my diet. 

 
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I keep reminding myself that one bad week isn’t going to derail my marathon plans. It isn’t going to mean I won’t finish, and since I don’t really have a time goal, finishing strong is all I care about.

I’m still stressing out.

I have run exactly twice this week. The longest run was five miles. The other was about one and a half. Oof. I skipped my long run (12 miles) last week because of travel and family commitments. I probably will only run 12 miles this weekend, not my planned 18, because I just feel like crap, honestly. I’ve been eating like crap, which hasn’t helped. Drinking too much beer. Not sleeping enough.

What am I trying to do now? Push reset. Get back on the ball. Be kind to myself and move on. Bad weeks happen. Bad runs happen. Beating myself up over it, stressing out about the race and my goals – that’s not helpful.

So I’m getting up and running tomorrow, then going to work. I’ll have a relaxing evening and the. Run 12 miles this weekend. After that, I’ll feel back on track.

 
 
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Published on August 17, 2012, by meg in Dining out, Food.

I’ve never written much about my culinary expeditions before, mostly because I’m never sure what to say. I like food! And drinks! And I like going out and trying new things!

No, that’s not terribly exciting, is it? But I promise, this write-up will be a bit more fun than that.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Post; Chef Ris is to Julia’s left

I received an email from Tasting Table mid-week informing that RIS, a restaurant where I had enjoyed a delightful brunch about a year ago, was offering a Julia Child-themed Restaurant Week menu. Learning that Chef Ris Lacoste cooked dinner for Child on her 90th birthday only made me more eager to go.

I used to watch her on PBS when I was a kid, at a time when we didn’t have cable. On a steady diet of Gilligan’s Island, Lost in Space, Doctor Who and the happy trees painting guy, Julia’s shows were a standout. I can’t say I really got them, but she remained a comforting presence throughout my childhood. And of course Julie and Julia and My Life in France revealed a new, delightful side to this amazing woman. Her self-determination, independence and fierce individualism are definitely inspiring.

I’m out of town this weekend, so I worried that I wouldn’t get the chance. Restaurant Week and the special ends on Sunday. But a friend kindly agreed to join me and we set off for a culinary adventure.

The Elderflower Collins and the Reverse Martini

I ordered the Reverse Martini.

All of RIS’s cocktails looked amazing, but I had to try the Julia Child special, of course. It’s a Reverse Martini, made up of dry vermouth on the rocks with a tiny splash of gin and a lemon peel. I worried that it would be a bit too harsh – I’m not the biggest fan of vermouth – but it was crisp and refreshing. My friend ordered an Elderflower Collins – consisting of  Hendricks gin, St. Germaine, cucumber juice, lemon, lavender spice bitters and soda. It was also refreshing and delightful and a bit easier to drink than the Reverse Martini!

We moved from the bar to the table, and the hard work of choosing which items from the prix fixe menu we would like. It was a tough call! With this menu, which had three choices for all but the dessert course, we were one person short, sadly. We soldiered on as best we could (it’s a hard life out there during Restaurant Week!).

In brief, my friend ordered:

  • Vichyssoise 
  •  Sole Meunière
  • Almond Vacherin with peaches and cream
I ordered: 
  • Moules Marinière
  • Dueling Meatloafs – one Chef Ris’s recipe, one Chef Julia’s 
  • The Salty Turtle Sundae
It was all, unsurprisingly, delicious. 
The standout, I have to say, was the vichyssoise, which I had never had before. It was pretty much perfect for a nice summer evening – perfectly smooth and creamy and wonderful. It was so nice I forgot to take a picture of it until it was halfway gone. Oops. Bad food blogger. Tasting Table thoughtfully provided a recipe for it and I fully intend to attempt it soon.

Vichyssoise

Mussels

Meatloafs: Ris’s on the left, Julia’s on the right. Sorry, Julia, but I prefer Ris’s in this case! The texture was more what I’m used to. Plus, I love ketchup. I know, I’m such an American.

 

The sole was freaking fantastic as well. Perfectly done and just lovely.

And then, dessert. Both were wonderful and very different, so I was glad we’d ordered both. The caramel was the highlight. It’s a good thing both desserts had some, or else one of us would have gone home feeling like we hadn’t had quite enough of it. It was that good!

Sundae! The perfect size.

Delicious, delicious merengue. I love the way they melt in your mouth.

It was nice to have a good chat with a dear friend before heading out of town for the weekend. That we shared an amazing meal is definitely an added bonus! RIS was, as ever, a delightful experience and paying tribute to Julia Child on her 100th birthday (slightly belated, I know) was a wonderful treat!