Thursday, July 18, 2013

15 Reasons Why Annie Is Not Okay

My favorite comedic blogger Awesomely Luvvie posted about the #BlackBuzzFeed trending topic that took Twitter by storm yesterday. The posts were incredibly smart and hilarious. Hours after the trending topic circled the globe, Luvvie also challenged us to capitalize on our own genius and create content rather than always being a consumer. In her twitter rant, she implored us to actually write posts about these topics we cleverly imagined. So I read through her storify of the funniest #BlackBuzzFeed tweets and immediately decided on this one from @KBLXkimmie:

#BlackBuzzFeed 15 Reasons Why Annie Is Not Okay

I am a huge MJ fan and thought this was oh so funny and perfect for me. Clearly, Annie was not okay. At. All. Here's why ...

1.  A man broke into her apartment. (Annie, you in danger, girl)
2.  As he came into the window, there was a sound of a crescendo.
3.  He left blood stains on the carpet.
4.  She went underneath a table?
5.  We could see she was unable.
6.  She ran into the bedroom (the past is prologue).
7.  She was struck down.
8.  It was her doom.
9.  It was Sunday, what a black day.
10.  Someone tried to resuscitate her.
11.  I don’t think they found a heartbeat ... and they might have been intimidated (by whom,   we'll never know).
12.  The police want everyone to clear the area right now.
13.  She never told us that she was okay.
14.  She’d been hit by; she’d been struck by a smooth criminal.

What's your favorite #BlackBuzzFeed or BuzzFeed list? Write about it. We'd love to read it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday List: Travel Thoughts

I have been traveling a lot over the past few months (since April, actually). I received my Delta Medallion statement today, and I earned 10,609 miles last month. As I write this blog post from 37,000 feet on a flight from Las Vegas, I realize that traveling allows lots of time for reflection. So today's Sunday List are things I have learned about myself while traveling.

1. I have met some amazing people. Getting seated next to a random person on a packed flight to [insert destination here] can be akin to the weirdly interesting freshman dorm room assignment. You never know who you'll be seated next to (especially since I travel alone), but the experience can be both wonderful and strange.

2. I need alone time. I like going to conferences and vacationing with friends, but no matter who I'm with or the purpose of the trip, I need time alone. To sit and be still. To relax and not say anything. Please respect that.

2b. My need for time alone has nothing to do with you. I posted this article on my Facebook page that very accurately explains my plight.

3. The longer the stay, the more I'll need my own room. I love the idea of traveling with friends and sharing all aspects of the travel experience; however (comma) because I need alone time, it is best for me and everyone else that I be able to retreat to my own domicile to regroup and refresh.

4. I hate indecisiveness. Make a decision and stand by it (or change it as the situation deems necessary). I am highly annoyed by those who can't decide or don't want to make a decision because they don't want to be blamed for disappointing the group. Just provide an option or at the very least, let us know what you don't want.

4b. I especially despise those who can't or won't say what they want until they hear everyone else's decision. Do you not have an opinion of your own?! Although this annoys me, I understand that the latter behavior is likely a result of #4. Note: understanding it in no way makes it easier to deal with. In fact, I'm doubly annoyed by it.

5. I love running in new places. I love lacing up my running shoes and exploring a new city on foot, or revisiting a beloved route (here's looking at you, Chicago).

6. Because of 2, 3, 4 and 4b, the following needs to occur in the future:
i. If a trip lasts longer than two nights, I must book my own room.
ii. If you continually exhibit the behavior in 4b when making travel decisions (e.g. Restaurant, shows, plans for the day, etc), I will institute a blind voting decision process in which everyone will write down their choice and a moderator will discuss the options with the group. Or you will be left behind. It's your choice. Good luck with that.
iii. If you leave the restaurant choice to me, we will always eat either Mexican (puerto rican and/or Cuban included as regionally appropriate) or Japanese.
iv. You must provide an option in order to veto an option. You may not disagree without putting your oar in the water.
bonus: saying "it doesn't matter to me" is never a valid response. Ever. It matters. Say so.

7. I still suck at packing. Inevitably, on every trip, 30% of my bag will go unused. I'm trying to do better. I promise. I even pinned a few packing strategies [pin 1 and pin 2], but free checked bags on Delta only exacerbate the problem. Le sigh...

8. Because of number 2, I feel this is why l go on solo long runs and have not been more eager to join regular group runs. I enjoy this quiet time with my thoughts and beautiful scenery. I don't necessarily want to talk during a long run or listen to stories. I just want to run. Running has become my favorite thing to do on the road because no one wants to come with. It's the only "quiet time" people seem to respect without question. It's the only time they don't take it personally that I want to do something on my own. Perhaps I should join group speed runs. Yeah, you can't talk much during speed work.

9.  Lastly, I love visiting new places. 90% of my travel has been for work so I have the fortunate ability to see many new places for free (and with a per diem). However, I do need to vacation more. I have done a good job lately at making the most of my work trips, but there's nothing like traveling strictly for vacation. I'm going to do that more.

South Beach fun.

Safe travels,


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sleep don't come easy: Marathon training week 2

About that marathon training plan I put together a few weeks ago... while it is good in theory, real life application, however, is a horse of a different color (name the movie). This week, I have only run once. Once. Who's marathon do I think I am going to run with only one run a week? Before I beat myself up too much, the reason I have not run much this week is because of an abysmal few days of sleep. I have always had trouble sleeping (both falling asleep and staying asleep) and recently purchased a Jawbone UP band to help me track my sleeping habits. Jawbone is the bees knees. You have to try it. It not only tells me how much I've slept, but it also calculates how much of that time is spent in deep, restful sleep and how much time is spent in light sleep. This was my sleep on Sunday evening:

I'll give you a minute to soak in the data ...

I slept less than five hours and woke up 6 times. I only had 59 minutes of deep sleep. Needless to say, I woke up feeling terrible. This was not a good way to start the week. I had a huge presentation on Monday afternoon and I think that is what contributed to my sleepless night. I was supposed to run 3 miles after work that day, but there was no way I could bring myself to lace up my shoes. I had to get ready for work trip the next day and had yet to pack a thing so I thought it best to go home, pack and get some early shut eye. I did, but my sleep wasn't better. I got up early Tuesday morning with every intention to run 5 miles. I had my clothes laid out and jumped out of bed as soon as the alarm went off (you know get up and get er done so that I didn't lose another battle with the snooze button). I felt terrible after another night of restless sleep, but was determined to get out there. As I was putting on my clothes, it took me 2 minutes to put on my sports bra. That's when I said to myself: "this is stupid. there is no way you can run well right now. go back to bed." and so I did ... sad to have missed yet another run, but content in knowing that it is the right thing to do. Trying to push the body through such things does not enhance performance, it actually detracts from it and puts me at greater risk for injury. That morning, I got a few more hours of sleep and hopped on a plane to Las Vegas for a conference. Now I have to deal with the time difference. Great [insert sarcasm]. One positive thing about going from East to West coast is that I could go to bed early (local time), sleep for 8 to 10 hours and not miss a beat, events wise. So that was the plan. Go to bed, finally get a lengthy, restful sleep and resume running the next day.  That worked.  I got a great 6-miler in on the treadmill (hell if I'm running outside in the Las Vegas heat).

I can't say that I am back on track, but I am happy to have been able to perform well on a run this week. Getting that one run in has helped me to feel better about the nonexistent exercise all week. This morning I participated in a Yoga for Athletes workout that was ahh-mazing! Tomorrow, I plan to get out for another 6-miler and yoga class.

How is your training going? How do you adjust when life happens?

Happy Running! (or whatever it is you need to get back to running)


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday list

Things I've been obsessed with this week ...

Reading this book by Hal Higdon. I want to become a student of the marathon.

Boudro's guacamole. 

It is thee best guacamole that I've ever tasted and they are gracious enough to share their recipe with us. This recipe is for the table-side, smaller portion version, but click here for a recipe that serves 6 - 8 (or in my case, 1). 

Did I say how much I love avocados? I have even dedicated a Pinterest board to them.

Kombucha. I was skeptical at first, but I have grown to like this fizzy, probiotic drink. I have self-diagnosed IBS so this has helped me out a lot lately. I wish it didn't cost so much. Georgetown Market has a few flavors on sale every week so I pick up the flavor of the week (and my fav Gingerade).

Cliff Bars were on sale too.

Don Draper. I started watching Mad Men on Netflix at the beginning of June and a month later, am already on Season 5. Clearly, I have nothing better to do.

Lastly, I love this quote from the Cookie Monster. 

Great way to get through life's unpleasantries. I prefer Oreos or soft baked chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Independence Day Freedom Run

Yesterday was Independence Day and of course I celebrated it with a run. I even earned this cool badge from Nike+

I love to celebrate holidays, birthdays and special occasions with a run. It brings a freedom and clarity to it, which is why I call it a Freedom Run. I also made a pact to run in every city I travel. I travel a lot with my job and it is fun to put away the emails and itinerary (I include run 'appointments' on mine) and go for a run in a new place. My favorite places so far have been Seattle, the San Francisco Warf, Chicago's Lake Shore Trail and the creme de la creme was running in Central Park with the New York Road Runners. Honorable mention: I went on a jogging tour of New Orleans that was awesome!

Also to be celebrated on this Independence Day, I reached another Nike+ milestone: 2,000 miles. *throws confetti.

My average pace over my lifetime with Nike+ running is 10:18/mile. Ironically (or serendipitously) that is my goal pace for the Marine Corps Marathon. A steady 10:18 pace will help me cross the finish line exactly at my goal time of 04:30:00. I think its a sign ...

With all of this running that I have been doing, I have amassed quite the running shoe collection. My running shoe closet (yes they have their own closet. judge not) is getting out of hand.

Anyone know of a good cause I can donate them to? I heard of places that will accept your used running shoes to create a playground or, if they are in good condition, give them to kids who don't have running shoes. I'll kick my feet up, enjoy my newest pair (Brooks Pure Flow) and figure it out this weekend.

First marathon training long run in the morning...


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MCM Training Day 3

I crafted a grand marathon training plan and am realizing already (barely 3 days in) that I need to make some adjustments. Work is very very busy right now (I actually don't know of a time when it is not) and running after a long hard work day isn't my favorite way to wind down. Yesterday, the plan was to run 5 miles but after working 12 hours, the thought of those five miles made me weary. Knowing that I shouldn't put additional stress on my body, I decided to have a great dinner, go to bed early and pick up where I left off in the morning.  That worked out well. I got up at 4:30 this morning to make it to the gym by 5 ... I was two seconds away from not running at all when I realized I didn't have my phone and thus the means to track my run. Why are we so reliant on technology? I was already at the gym at 5 am no less, feet on the treadmill and I nearly called it quits. Luckily, I had an extra nike+ shoe pod in my gym bag and was able to carry on. Whew!

Where was I? Yeah ... (shot out to BIG). Back to the plan. The basics of my training plan are:
Mondays: An easy 3 - 5 miles + strength training
Tuesdays: An easy 5 - 8 miles
Wednesdays: Another easy 3 - 5 miles + strength training or speed/hill work
Thursdays: Rest
Fridays: An easy 5 - 8 miles with a tempo run at race pace every other week
Saturdays: Long run starting at 9 miles upward to two 20 milers (dear God)
Sundays: Cross training (which will likely be the 8 am yoga class at LA Fitness).

So, I made an adjustment to the plan and am glad that I did. Tomorrow is Independence Day (I personally abhor people calling it 4th of July, I mean thats the date, not the holiday but I digress ...) which would have been my day off, but I wanted to run anyway so that I can receive the Uncle Sam badge on Nike+ I am one mile away from logging 2,000 miles on Nike+ so I definitely take my tracking seriously.

Even though I am ready for this and I am ready to train well (hard & smart). I can see that it is going to take a lot of adjustments. My ultimate goal is to be more consistent in my training. If I do that, I know that I will  reach my secondary goal of completing the Marine Corps Marathon under 04:30:00.


Monday, July 1, 2013

MCM Day 1

Today, I started a 17-week training program for the Marine Corps Marathon. I adapted the program from Hal Higdon's intermediate 1 marathon training plan. With two marathons under my belt, I don't consider myself a beginner anymore. I ran my first marathon in 4:55. My only goal was to finish on my feet. Mission accomplished. I ran my second marathon ... well, we won't talk about that one. I have since blocked it from my mind and only choose to revisit the enjoyable experience I had at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Let's just suffice it to say that I completed a second marathon. Mkay?

I have built a strong base for marathon number three. At the beginning of this year, I set a goal to run 1,000 miles. That is a consistent twenty miles per week. Every. Week. I was derailed a bit when I hurt my back mid January, but after rehab and a better understanding of how I am going to fit this into my busy schedule (I travel a lot for work), I slowly but surely worked to get back on track. I had to increase my mileage from 20 miles per week to 25 miles per week or at least 100 miles a month (I like options) in order to get back on track. Doing so has provided me with a strong base for marathon training. I had been running more miles during the week and still incorporated a few long runs. You know, for fun.

Today's workout was an easy 3 miles plus strength training. I easily completed the workout and resisted the urge to push the pace. After it was over, I sat on the floor with an incredible peace (something I had been feeling all day today).
I am ready for this.
I am ready to train.
I am ready to train hard.
I am ready to train smart.
I am ready to be more consistent.
I am ready to set a PR.

This feeling is reminiscent of my collegiate track days when I started the season ready to run, knowing that I put in the work all summer (which was hard to do since I went to school in Myrtle Beach where distraction and temptation abounds). I am excited to see where it takes me. Not anxious, but patiently excited.

See you at the finish line,