Well, that worked out well

The dress drama concluded happily today.  I went back to the little boutique where I first went dress shopping return one of the dresses I originally bought, and saw this hot little number hanging on the rack:

It’s freaking perfect.  Done and done.

Also, here’s a better picture of the strapless one from The Limited that I picked up yesterday:

I actually ended up taking back both of the original dresses.  Lesson learned: go with your gut when it comes to what looks good on you and what doesn’t.  I’m short and musculo-curvy and I really don’t think I can pull off tit-curtain-belted-sacks, no matter how cute and trendy they are.

So that’s that.  And because unless we’re talking about skid marks on Tempo shorts, this is the farthest thing from a fashion blog on the planet…so I promise I’m done playing dress up now.  Thanks for all of your help along the way!

Moving along.  Let’s talk about how it feels to go for a run after a week off.

Um…I guess that’s all there is to say about that!  It was both by accident and design that I ended up taking a long stretch of rest days after the Brooklyn Half last weekend.  This week has been crazy busy, and the weather has been shitty, and well…if there’s ever a time to take a little break, it’s after the last long race of the season.

A couple of people have asked if I’m planning on running while on vacation next week.  Yes!  Most definitely!  Nothing too long or hard, but I’m going to try to get out there each morning, even if it’s just a couple of miles.  Gotta do something to flush the previous night’s Mojitos out of my system!  I’m excited to do some beach running and I’m totally packing my Vibrams.

Okay…laundry calls.  Happy Friday night, y’all!

Today’s EAT: I needed to stop for lunch today between meetings.  And at that exact moment, the skies opened up and released a torrent of rain.

So I hit the drive-thru:

I don’t even pretend that I don’t like McDonald’s.  I love McDonald’s.  I think it’s delicious.

But obviously I know it’s crappy for you.  To keep my Mickey D’s splurges from being total gut-bombs, I usually get a happy meal (or, in today’s case, a Mighty Kids Meal.  Two extra nuggets for only $0.60!)

It came with two Batman figures, one of which did not stand up on its own. Lame.

Today’s DRINK: Leftovers from Wednesday night’s party!

Boxed wine on a Friday night.  Classy.

Today’s RUN: On the dreadmill for 40 minutes, which was good for 4.6 miles. Definitely not my favorite, but better than getting struck by lightning!

Today’s QUESTION: Do you have a favorite fast-food splurge?  Mine is definitely McDonald’s fries.  Suck it, Burger King.

Feast in the furnace

Well, I do declare.  It’s hot.

How low can the gas tank go?  I got it down from 29 miles to 11 before I filled ‘er up today.  Life on the edge.

My tank was empty from driving to the beach and back earlier this week!  We had some guests in from out of town and it seemed like a good excuse to explore a part of the state I hadn’t seen yet.

Wrightville Beach is pretty clean and only 90 minutes from Raleigh.  And home to stingrays that play tag!

I’m not sure if “cute” is an appropriate adjective, but those frisky little fellas were fun to watch!

Anyway, it’s freaking hot here and I had a little dinner party to host last night.  I was thrilled that we’d decided to make it a grill-out affair.  Because 96* + hot stove + apartment full of people sounds like a sweaty mess.

And when you’re cooking for a crowd, it’s hard to beat the simplicity of grilled food.  Salt, pepper and a little olive oil provide plenty of flavor once the grill works its magic!  We had steak and shrimp galore:

Asparagus.  Taste it today, smell it when you pee tomorrow!  Bonus.

And for a hearty side dish, I assembled a delicious salad with red quinoa, grapefruit, arugula, apples, walnuts and cubed gouda.

Recipe: Red Quinoa Salad

It was quite a little feast for a random weeknight dinner party.  And no sink full of dishes to deal with!

This week has been a little hectic, what with all of the guests and mini road trips and dinner parties!  I can’t believe it’s almost Friday already.  I’m leaving for that beach wedding/vacation in just a couple of days…yikes! (Oh hey #firstworldproblems.)

I haven’t decided what to wear.  I’m still kinda torn about the orange dress.   The whole tit-curtains/sack-with-a-belt thing….I’m still just not sure about it.

I did snag another little dress on sale at The Limited today…

Love the cut.  Not entirely sure about the print (in general I like it, but it’s not exactly beachy.)

Gah.  Now I’m even more conflicted.

Can I just wear my adorable new swimsuit to the ceremony?

From WHBM.  On sale, too.  LOVE.  I cannot wait to spill fruity tropical drinks all over it while getting sloppy at the pool bar at 10 AM.

And here’s a fruity tropical drink for you, too, if you made it through this completely random and discombobulated post!  I promise, I’ll be back to whining about my track splits soon.


Race Report: Brooklyn Half Marathon

Alternate title: Speed work makes you faster. But only if you actually do it.

Alternate-alternate-title: There’s a first time for everything.

Alternate-alternate-alternate title: If that tree grows in Brooklyn, it will be because I fertilized it.

So I knew I wasn’t in the best of shape going into this race.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’d run a solid half-marathon at a sub-7:30 pace a couple of months ago, but since then, I’d pretty much been cruising.  No speed work.  Decent mileage, but a total lack of quality work.

But nonetheless, as I hopped nervously in the start corral, I thought to myself: well, maybe I haven’t lost any fitness.

And I still believed that for the first few miles:

Mile 1: 7:17
Mile 2: 7:34
Mile 3: 7:24
Mile 4: 7:17

Circling Prospect Park, I thought about how I felt during the first four miles of Shamrock.  In that race, it felt like I was running easy.  This…didn’t exactly feel like that.

But as I would discover, that was the least of my problems.

Mile 5: 7:49
Mile 6: 8:12
Mile 7: 7:37
Mile 8: 8:11

As I headed in to mile five, two things happened:

One, my pace slowed as I headed up the dreaded Prospect Park Hill for the second time.  Fine.  But, more concerning…

Two, my tummy started to gurgle ominously.

Let me say that I’m generally not one to have running-related digestive issues.  Sure, I can obliterate a port-o-potty with the best of ’em on race morning, but I’ve never had to stop during a race to use the bathroom.

Until Saturday.

There’s a first time for everything.

Somewhere around mile 6, I decided to make a pit stop.  It made me cringe, the thought of pulling off the course, waiting for the plastic bathroom’s occupant to vacate, and passing precious seconds doing my thing.

But you know what really killed me?  Getting in to that plastic bathroom and not being able to do my thing.

Gah.  Frustrated and still full of shit, I headed back on to the course.  I hauled ass, trying to make up for lost time.  But my mile split was on the slow side of 8-minutes.

And with that, I headed out of shady Prospect Park and on to the long haul down to Coney Island.

It was the beginning of the end.

Mile 9: 8:17
Mile 10: 8:24
Mile 11: 8:12 
Mile 12: 8:19

I had a hard time getting my pace back after that pit stop.  I was mad that I’d stopped during a race – something I’d never done before! – and still hadn’t managed to relieve the rumbling roil of discomfort that was brewing in my bowels.  At some point I accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to hit my goal 7:30 pace, and I plodded along Ocean Avenue, seething.

For a couple of miles, it seemed that my tummy-ache had subsided, too.

Until somewhere around mile 10, when it returned with a vengeance.

Gurgling recommenced.  And then the internal spasms.  And then…well, I needed to stop and take care of business.  Like, now.

The only problem was that the next mile marker – and hence, the next possible location of a port-o-potty, was at least five minutes away.  As I saw it, I had three options:

  1. Attempt to hobble at a near-walk while clenching things together until I found the next available toilet-like apparatus.   Could be half a mile, could be longer.
  2. Pull off the course and find a place to let it go.
  3. Shit myself.
A grim situation, no doubt.  But I knew what I had to do.  So, on a wide boulevard lined with handsome brick brownstones, I ducked behind the widest tree truck I spotted and…well, you know.

There’s a first time for everything.  And hopefully a last time.

Mile 13: 8:19
Mile 0.1 + tangent trash: 0.29 in 2:12 = 7:42 pace
Finish time: 1:45:22

Once I’d accepted the indignity of what I’d done, I found myself facing the last mile of the race!  Well, I guess that’s the silver lining to having major digestive issues and stopping to crap on a tree in the middle of a major metropolis.  It’ll really distract you from the fact that you’re running a long race!

I thought about trying to make myself hammer that last mile, but honestly I just didn’t see the point.  I’d lost a ton of time to dealing with stupid shit (literally) and what did it matter if I ran 1:44 or 1:45?  In either case it was several minutes slower than it should have been.

So as I turned off of Ocean and on to the Coney Island Boardwalk, I just tried to enjoy the rest of the run.

Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.

I would say there was a lesson to be learned here, but I’m really not sure what I did to piss my intestines off so royally before this race.   Late-ish pizza dinner the night before, perhaps?  Dish soap in the coffee pot at the bodega where I stopped for a cup on the way to the race?  Just bad luck and karma finally catching up to me?  Who knows.

(I must say that I have a newfound appreciation for those who battle tummy issues on the regular while running and/or racing.  Because damn, that is not a fun feeling.)

I’d hoped my spring half-marathon “season” would go out with a bang and a sub-1:38 performance.  I have to admit that it’s a little funny that I crapped out – both literally and figuratively!

But honestly, even without the stomach issues, I’m not sure if I could have come in under 1:40.  This race demonstrated that if I want to be a faster runner, I need to do speed work regularly – like I did before Shamrock.  I can’t just coast along on base miles and expect improvement.  In order to run faster, you have to practice running faster.  Speed work works – but only if you actually do it.

For now, though, I’m happy to take my requisite recovery week, then shift to focusing on shorter races for the summer!

Because there are always bathrooms at the track.  And I’m probably never going to have to worry about possibly crapping on myself during a 1500.

I miss NYC

You simply cannot get the good stuff down south.

I’m back from the shortest New York weekend ever.  On Friday afternoon, I hopped a quick flight from RDU to JFK, made my way to the UES to pick up my race bib from NYRR, and then met up with Sarah.  We had some time to kill so we practiced our duck face.

Practice makes perfect!

After hooking up with Megan, we got down to business with a little runner-style sleepover.  We ate pizza, laid out our race clothes, watched a little TV and fussed over the procurement of bagels and the availability of coffee at 5 AM in Brooklyn.  Very important!

Everyone was all smiles as we headed to the start line the next morning!

Well, almost everyone.

I’ll spare you the details of the race for now – it was pretty ugly and deserves its own post – but suffice it to say that I was definitely glad to put those 13.1 miles behind me and get on to the important business of the post-race brunch/barbecue. (Thanks, Will and Kristan, for hosting!)

Sunburned, exhausted and desperately in need of a shower, I made my way back to Manhattan to chill with my friends H & J for the evening.  We did something amazing that you cannot do in North Carolina: we ordered delivery Thai food.

Roti roll with crispy duck. I would kill to have this brought to my doorstep in Raleigh.   I. Miss. New. York.

My awesome hosts had a fridge full of delicious beer and I happily sipped on a Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale:

This little guy was making bedroom eyes at me all night…

He and Emmy used to have play-dates when we lived in NYC!

I miss this cat.  I miss my friends.  I miss good pizza.  I miss delivery.  I even miss the crazy smelly people on the subway talking about the rapture.

Even though I only lived there for a year, I think NYC will always feel a little bit like home.


I guess I’ll go load the dishwasher and do some laundry.  And sit on my spacious balcony.  After a leisurely trip to Costco and Target.

It’s too bad I don’t have a lawn to mow.  Because the grass is always greener on the other side.

Off duty

So I was going to post tonight, but you know what?  I’ve been a terrible blog reader (and commenter) lately so I’m going to use the time to catch up on what’s going on with everyone else.

I’m sure your days were all more exciting than mine anyway.  (Laundry, cleaning, laundry, cleaning….)

See you tomorrow from NYC!  Wheeee!

P.S. Be sure to check out this massive raffle over at Walk A Mile In My Boots!  

Brooklyn goals

Uh…I’m not really sure what I’m doing with this half marathon on Saturday.

Way back when, when I registered, it seemed like a good idea to focus on Brooklyn as a spring-season-culmination race.  It was almost exactly two months out from Shamrock, which was on March 20, and I figured I’d have time to build on that and improve my fitness more with some good speed workouts.

*twiddles thumbs and whistles*

Yeah.  My speedwork has been rather absent in the last couple of months.  I’ve kept my mileage about the same, but I really can’t point to a single quality workout where I’ve looked back at the numbers and been like: okay, that’s what I’m capable of.  

Mostly, it’s just been maintenance mileage.  And…maybe that’s okay?  I honestly think it’s possible that I haven’t lost any meaningful fitness over the last two months.  While the course in Brooklyn is, technically, harder and hillier than Shamrock’s pancake-flat route…it’s a walk in the freakin’ park compared to the hills I’ve been training on here in Raleigh.  And also, I should have more company in Brooklyn than I did in Virginia Beach.  So there’s that.

That is the long answer, I guess.  The short answer is: I’m not really sure what my goal is on Saturday.  I do have some rough parameters, though:

For one: I’ll be pretty darn pissed if I don’t at least run faster than I did at Brooklyn Half 2010, considering all of the work I’ve put in between then and now. That means breaking 1:43.  I feel pretty confident about that one.

For two: It would be great if I could finish under 1:40.  I’ve been fighting the 1:40 barrier for a couple of years now and I broke it with two minutes to spare at Shamrock.  I think for me, for this Saturday, this is probably my tipping point between feeling happy or unhappy about my race.  I need to break 1:40.

For three: When I raced Shamrock in June, my one regret was that there was a time, sometime around mile 11, when I was running hard and feeling good and pussed out because I looked down at my Garmin and saw a sub-7 pace and it scared me.  I felt like I lost some time because of my mental state.  And I think, for me, racing this distance is all about the last 3-4 miles.  I know I can go out and hold 7:30 pace for 10 miles.  It’s whether I can take it down in the last three that matters.  I’d like to see if I can do it, and the course at Brooklyn, which totally flattens out at seven miles, it a great place to do it.

If everything else stays the same, and I do that, I should be able to break 1:38.

I’m going to think of this blog post at mile 10 when I’m feeling miserable.  And seriously, I expect all of you to harp on me if I bag out for emotional, rather than physical, reasons.

Okay?  Okay.

Today’s EAT: Awesome grocery pick-up of the day: lemongrass in a tube.

I love lemongrass, but I don’t love buying an (expensive) bundle of stalks for a single recipe.  Also, mincing things sucks.  This tubed paste is a godsend and I barely made a dent in it with tonight’s dinner.

Packed with veggies, lean beef and noodles.  Yum.

Recipe: Lemongrass Beef Lo Mein

Today’s DRINK: Yay, I am feeling well enough to consume something other than Ny-Quil!

But tonight’s wine is under wraps for a little while.  Look for a special post in a couple of weeks, featuring a *real* tasting of this wine!  I can’t wait to share it with y’all!

Today’s RUN: Yeah, it’s probably too late to do any meaningful fitness-gaining work before Brooklyn.  But I’m following Megan’s lead and hoping that a slightly-swift workout a few days before race day will build confidence!

I decided to dedicate the three middle miles to Goal Half Marathon Pace tonight.

GHMP is actually around 7:25, and obviously this was a little faster, but the idea was there.  Faster than comfortable, but still…sort of comfortable.

I guess we’ll see how that feels on Saturday.

TODAY’S QUESTION: Do you use squeeze-tube herbs?  I probably won’t buy the Italian one, because I have all of those things (basil, oregano, thyme)  in abundance in my herb garden, but the ginger, lemon-grass and garlic versions are highly intriguing….

Le schnozzle

There are many things that suck about having a cold.  Among my chief complaints are the lack of appetite and disinterest in booze, both of which are unfortunate conditions for someone who likes to eat and drink.

Then, of course, you’ve got the constant sniffling, snuffling and dribbling of snot all over everything in your path.  And the related trail of disgusting damp tissues.

But my least favorite part of having a cold what it does to my nose.  (Or, “mah dose,” as it sounds right now.)  It turns bright red and raw from those repeated Kleenex assaults.  Then I put lotion on it to try to soothe it and it gets all shiny.

Normally, I actually rather like my nose.  It’s a Swedish nose.  Rather bulbous and slightly upturned at the tip, it’s often referred to as a ski-jump nose, and most people of Swedish descent have them.   (Seriously, I have run in to people on the street and been like….are we related?  Oh, nope, but your grandparents were Holms or Larssons, too.)

Anyway, it may not be petite, but I like it.

Except when it fills with mucous.

Dear cold, I am done with you.  I have a half-marathon on Saturday and I don’t want to have to carry tissues on the course.

Also, you’re making my nose look like maraschino cherry.

Bye, now.

Love, Me

Today’s EAT: Since I can’t taste much at the moment, the only thing that has sounded good has been salty potato chips.

I had my Wavy Lays with a side of sandwich – turkey, provolone. greens and cranberry chutney.

(The bag of Wavy Lays claims that 11 chips is a serving, which is pretty hilarious.  I’ve crushed nearly the entire bag in two days.)

Today’s DRINK: Quil.  Day and night.  I miss beer…

Today’s RUN: A super mellow four miles.  And I felt a little better after an easy run today.  I’m all for resting up when I’m sick, but I do actually think that getting some fresh air can speed up the get-well process!

Today’s QUESTION: Do you love or hate your nose?

You’ll catch a cold out there

I just got back from a weekend in the Chicago area.

When we landed on Friday morning, it was 78*

By the time I got around to going for a run that afternoon, it was 48*.

WTF, Illinois?

Of course I only packed shorts and t-shirts, and of course that should be fine running gear for temps in the 40s, but it’s funny how it’s all relative.  In the winter that would feel balmy.  But this weekend I was longing for a jacket.

Anyway, I’m sure unrelated to the weather, I managed to pick up the sniffles this weekend.

(I don’t actually have a cough, but I’m confident it will have the same placebo effect as regular Day-Quil.)  I’m aiming for lots of rest this week and hopefully a full recovery before the Brooklyn Half this Saturday!

Thanks for all of your comments on my Dress A/Dress B post!  I really appreciate the feedback.  I’m still a little on the fence (with both dresses!) because they are SO not the style I would normally wear, but I’m thinking I’ll wear the first one to the wedding, on your (and the bride’s!) advice.

That’s all I’ve got to say about this sniffly Monday.

Running stats from last week:

M - 7 easy (1:00:32, 8:39 pace)
Tu - OFF
W - 6.1 easy (52:45, 8:39 pace)
Th - 8.5 easy (1:14:45, 8:47 pace)
F - 5.4 w/light tempo (43:13, 7:59 pace)
Sa - 5.2 easy (44:55, 8:39 pace)
Su - 3.5 easy w/hubs (34:57, 9:59 pace)

Total: 35.7 miles.

Later, y’all!


God, I never thought I would do this on my blog.

But whatever.  I don’t have many lady friends here, so….

Do we like Dress A…

…or Dress B?

B actually has these odd cut out sleeves…I tried to get a picture but the flash attacked me:

(B would also need a different belt.)

Neither of these is actually the dress I had in mind when I stopped by the store today.  That dress (which was a hot one-shoulder number that made my waist look the size of a freaking pixy stick) was apparently sold out.  Bummer, but my fault…I should have bought it when I first saw it.  It’s a small local boutique and it’s not like they can just order more from the Old Banana Gap warehouse.

Anyway, the sales girl talked me in to trying on both of these.  I never, ever would have picked them out on my own, just seeing them on the hanger.  I’ve never done the whole belted-shift-tunic thing.  (Because why buy a freaking pillowcase and put an belt around it when you can just buy a dress that already has a waist?  I like waists.  Waists are flattering.  Pillowcase dresses, or tit curtains as the inimitable Maddox called them, are not.)

But I tried them.  And I kind of liked them.  And I couldn’t even decide which one I liked better and they were fairly inexpensive so I bought both.

So, what say you, readers?  Which dress should curtain my tits at this wedding next month?  A, B, or neither?  You can be honest, I’ve got my big girl panties on and I can take it!

(If it matters, and I’m sure it probably does, it’s a beach wedding.  It’ll be held as an upscale resort but in my mind that still means a little more casual than the average outdoor wedding.  The hubs is an usher and he’s been instructed to wear khaki-colored dress pants and a blazer, but no tie, if that helps.)

And then also: what shoes do I wear with these?  When I was whining about shoes earlier this week many of you suggested wedges, which I think would work here?  Or maybe cute sandal-flats of some sort?  But I’m only 5’3″ and I don’t want to be too stumpy?


Today’s EAT: Continuing my no-cooking streak, I ordered pizza for dinner tonight.

And not even good pizza.  Chain pizza.  From a place that rhymes with Pete’s a Slut.  Because that’s all that delivers here.  I miss NYC.

Today’s DRINK: We have a little beer swap thingy going at work, and one of my co-workers passed this on to me:

I’ve been sipping this Founder’s Centennial IPA for an hour and a half now.  I’m digging it!  The flavor is bold and heavy on the citrus and pine, but totally drinkable if you like IPAs.  Which I definitely do!  7.2% ABV.

Today’s RUN: No speed-work, but I did get some decent mileage in.  I ran a little on my own then headed over to the store to meet some people and logged a few more miles before running back home.  Total: 8.5 miles.



Yesterday, I cleaned out my closet.

I wish I were using that as a euphemism for something more exciting, like weeding my unruly Google Reader or de-friending people on Facebook.  But, no.  On the heels of yesterday’s running shoe purge, I decided to just go ahead and tackle the rest of my crap, too.

And that’s how, today, I ended up here:

The Container Store.  The ultimate one-stop solution for your #firstworldproblems.

Seriously: an entire retail industry built on the premise that people have too much shit.  And will readily spend their hard-earned money on plastic containers to more efficiently organize that shit, thus making room for…more shit.

Ah well.  I’m no better than the rest.

Even after filling two huge garbage bags with stuff to donate, my closet was still packed.  (I am actually not sure how this is possible, given that I am really not much of a shopper these days.  I blame race tees!)  So I filtered out the winter stuff.  Not gonna be needing those sweaters and running tights any time soon!

One pack of vacuum-sealed storage bags later:

Under the bed they go.  Now I have room for that new dress.   Ah, the cycle continues.

And of course, I couldn’t get out of The Container Store without an impulse purchase or two.

I don’t know how I lived without this before.

Today’s EAT: I popped open a can of soup for dinner tonight.  Which is unusual because I don’t really like soup.  Or seafood that comes in a can.

This Bar Harbor Clam Chowder was pretty good though.  I think I got it at Whole Foods.  If you’re an ingredient-reader, the list is pretty simple.  (I’m not generally, but am when it comes to soup.)

I topped it with a little pepper and fresh thyme (from the terra cotta balcony farm empire!) and ate it with a hunk of baguette (not made by me, unfortunately).

Not a bad little dinner, actually!

Today’s DRINK: Since I’m taking it easy on TEH BOOZE this week, let’s catch up on a beer from last weekend.

This Kennebunkport Brewing Company Wheat Beer was on sale at TJ’s so I thought I’d give it a shot.  It was okay.  A little on the watery side.  It was still a cold and refreshing treat, but the flavor was just meh.

Today’s RUN: An easy and pleasant six miles at dusk.   It’s been cool enough to run in the evenings this week and I’m taking full advantage!

Stats from last week (a couple of days late – oops):

Tu - AM 4.1 easy (36:20, 8:51 pace); PM 4 mi w/ 3 X 1 mile repeats @ 10K pace (treadmill, 29:35, 7:23 pace)
W - 8.2 easy (1:13:04, 8:55 pace)
Th - 5.4 easy (45:08, 8:21 pace)
F - 4 easy 34:30, 8:37 pace)
Sa - 10K race (45:34, 7:19 pace) + WU and CD, 12.7 total (1:43:34, 8:08 pace)
Su - 6.1 easy (single track trail, 1:09, 11:18 pace)

Total: 44.5 miles.

This week is going okay so far, but I’m still slacking big-time on the speed work.  I’d hoped to get at least one quality workout in before Brooklyn next weekend.  Maybe tomorrow?

Today’s QUESTION: How often do you clean out your closet and donate old stuff?  I feel like I haven’t done a proper purge in a while.  Even though we’ve moved twice in the last couple of years, I’d been hauling around some crap that I hadn’t worn in forever.  Good riddance!