Thursday, April 29, 2010


I've been struggling with some body image issues.

Truth be told, pregnancy is hard on one's body. And I didn't even gain that much weight. 25 pounds and about 10 of them were water weight. I was so swollen by the end of my pregnancy that my watch did not fit. Today I actually weigh less than I did before K was born, but things just are not right.

I believe every ounce of fat in my body is now in my stomach. My pants still fit, but it's not the same. Shirts that looked good a year ago, just aren't fitting in the same way. I haven't put on a swimsuit since I was at the beach in August. I didn't swim once during the month of March when I was doing my virtual Ironman with Becky. And although I made excuse after excuse for not swimming, the truth is I didn't want to put my speedo on.

My confidence is shot.

In an attempt to lose some weight and start to feel good about myself, I started tracking calories and exercising with a purpose. I have been tracking everything I eat using Livestrong's  My Plate. I'm also tracking my weight and my exercise.

Progress has been slow, but there are signs of progress:

I am comfortable wearing my size 6 pants again;
my running pants are fitting better;
I am not completely self-conscious about wearing my capri pants and striped running top this weekend (I wore this outfit for a little training run back in March and was mortified when I caught a glimpse of myself in a window).

So there is progress.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my body, getting frustrated with my weight, exercising no matter how tired or hurt I might be, feeling sorry for myself, looking in the mirror...

And this has got me to thinking:




Being a parent is hard freaking work. There are schedules and plans; discipline and coddling; activities and nap times; bad habits to break and positive habits to build. There is little sleep, endless laundry, house pants that are watered with everything from tap water to soy milk, other plants that are slowly being dug up and dirt splattered on the floor. There are play dates, story hours, slides, swings, walks, trips to see the metro, etc...

Sometimes when I step back and take a view of everything, and not just the day-to-day activities, I really realize the awesome responsibility it is to be a parent. I'm not just a scheduler, planner, disciplinarian, transporter, provider, and cuddler. I'm also a role mode. I need to walk the walk, so to speak, and not just talk the talk.

When we were in NYC for the marathon in November, we visited with a really good friend (yes, you should read Ray's book). I remember him telling me that I was teaching K so many wonderful life lessons JUST BY LEADING MY OWN LIFE and training for and running the marathon. Through my actions, she was learning the importance of daily exercise, setting goals, eating healthy, striving for something most people would think to be unobtainable.


Seriously, I'm teaching her all of that by doing my thing.

So what I am teaching her (directly or indirectly) through my struggle with my body image?

Again, to be honest, I haven't thought about this much UNTIL NOW. But I am realizing, slowly but surely, that I need to model good behavior related to body image for my daughter. This does not mean that I'm not going to try to lose the 15 pounds I want to lose. But I am going to do it in a healthy way. And I'm not going to beat myself up for not meeting a goal. And I'm going to get up every morning and be thankful for the day; thankful that I can exercise; thankful that we have healthy food in the house; thankful that I have a husband who supports and encourages me.

I want K to see in my a thankful mother, who is trying to lose some weight and be healthy. I want her to see someone who is enjoying life and working hard and taking care of herself.

I don't want her to think of me and think of the cranky lady in front of the mirror who changes her outfit two or three times before leaving for school in the morning.

I'm going to show K that you can love yourself through the good times and the bad; the fat days and the skinny ones.

I want her to see me model a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy snacking.
Healthy meals.
Healthy exercise.
Healthy living.

I am going to love myself and encourage myself through this rough/heavy/awkward patch. I hope to model the behaviors and attitudes I want K to pick up on and incorporate into the little person she is becoming.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I've completed three full marathons, but have never raced just a half.

When I finished the NYC Marathon in the fall, I was fired up and ready to try my hand at some new race distances and really challenge myself in distances I have run. So I signed myself up (D, too) to run the Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon.

And race day is just about here.

I'm really excited about the race for several reasons:

1. it's in Pittsburgh - my hometown, the site of my first race (the Great Race in 1989), and home to my parents (READ: free place to stay, home cooked meals, good company, and free babysitting!!).

2. I'm running with D. We attempted to run the Cherry Blossom together, but that didn't exactly work out. Our last race together was a Jingle Bell 10K in 2007, right before I found out I was pregnant with K. I'm looking forward to some quality racing time with D.

3. I've been training REALLY hard. I've put in 360+ miles of training since January 1st. I've been pushing myself to maintain a pace under 9:00/mile.

I'm ready to go!

I have three goals for the race:

1. finish with a smile on my face.

2. finish with D.

3. finish the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours.

According to the McMillian Running Calculator, the 10K I ran on Sunday predicts I'll be able to run a 1:56 1/2 marathon.

Do you hear that legs? mind? tummy? heart?

You can do this. Under 2 hours is possible!

Friday, April 23, 2010



–noun, plural -lar·ies.
1. the stock of words used by or known to a particular people or group of persons
2. a list or collection of the words or phrases of a language, technical field, etc., usually arranged in alphabetical order and defined.
3. the words of a language.
My baby is now 18 months old. She is one smiley, fun-loving little girl. A couple sitting behind us in church last Sunday called her a FIRECRACKER, and that is exactly what she is. She is rarely still and quite often loud. At the park she is going down the slides, daring to climb the monkey bars, swinging from whatever she can get her hands on, and running, running, running. She cries when we come inside. She begs to walk to the metro each evening to see the trains. She finds it funny to climb on the dining room chairs and then onto the table where she proudly stands and laughs. She loves to draw - on the walls, floor, doors, sidewalk, trashcans, basically everywhere she can reach while holding a crayon, pen or chalk.

But what is most amazing about my little girl at this stage is her vocabulary.

Sweet little thing talks up a storm. She repeats EVERYTHING (which means we have to watch our language lest we have a little girl repeating things little girls shouldn't be saying). 

Most words have an -ie attached to the end of them. We go for walk-ies; each Cheer-ies; take a bath-ie, have rubber duck-ies, put pon-ies in our hair, etc. All of her favorite stuffed animals and dolls are assuming names: her duck is Eli; monster, Martha; doll, Lily. While outside she identifies everything: the bus, cars, air-pane, helk (helicopter), car-larm (car alarm), crane (the construction kind), babies, trains, park, swings, slide. 

She is rarely quiet. 

She says 'bye-bye' to most inanimate objects that pass us by and sometimes she says 'bye bye' to people. She says 'bless you' when someone sneezes and 'love vue' in response to an 'I love you'. 

The days are so entertaining and the moments precious.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Saturday morning I set out to run 12 miles.

Over the next two hours several noteworthy and not-so-noteworthy events took place. This is a detailed account of them which took place on a lovely Saturday morning in mid-April...

I set off from home with a well mapped-out route in mind. I was feeling confident and took off fast. A little too fast. But I was enjoying the run, the weather, the scenery. I wasn't thinking about how the back 6 miles were going to feel.

I jogged past the National Zoo only to find that the bike path around the tunnel was closed. Grrrr. Had to run THROUGH the tunnel, which is loud, stinky, and narrow. It was around the tunnel that I noticed that what was a small hole in the lining of my shorts when I left home was now a larger hole. My favorite and oldest pair of running shorts were beginning a slow death. And the chaffing was starting. I could feel it on the inside of my right thigh. Wanting to prevent as much chaffing as possible, I pulled my shorts up a teeny-tiny little bit, tided them a little snugger, and kept running. Details of my chaffing to come...

I got to the halfway point and turned around. It was apparent from the time on my watch that going out too fast was beginning to catch up with me. I was running at a not-so-fast pace any more. My goal became simple: finish the whole run. ALL. 12. MILES.

So I hunkered down, found a little inner strength and pushed on.

I took a tumbled at mile 9(ish). My right ankle gave out as I made the transition from pavement to trail. Surprisingly the trip hurt my left knee more than my right ankle. Icing said knee has become a way of life post-run.

As I approached the 11 mile mark, I decided I was going to try to pick up the pace on the last mile. I looked up ahead and saw two other runners ahead of me. My goal was to pass both of them.

Ready. set. go...

About 3/4 of the way through my final mile I was on the heels of the first women. Yeah me. I passed her and looked ahead to see if it was possible to catch the second women before the end of my run. She was no longer in sight. Seriously, where did she go? I looked to the left and then to the right. And there she was --- heading into the woods of Rock Creek Park, clutching her stomach. She was nearly bent over in half.

Immediately I knew exactly what was going on. And my heart went out to her.

(Warning: below is a description of one of my most embarrassing and least proud moments of my life. This story involves bodily fluids and is not for the faint of heart. Feel free to stop reading now.)

Last summer, that was me. Clutching my stomach, barely able to stand erect, walking into the woods in Rock Creek Park.

Last summer on my second 20+ mile run while training for the NYC Marathon I suffered from some stomach issues. I knew my tummy was a little unsettled as I turned the corner on the last five miles or so of my run. I passed the National Zoo with 2.5 miles to go and thought to myself maybe I should take the time and run up the hill to the bathroom. Somehow I talked myself out of this - only 2.5 miles to go. With about 3/4 of a mile remaining I was no longer able to run. The stomach cramps were practically unbearable. With 1/2 mile to go (for the run and another mile of cool down/walking before arriving home), I called D. He didn't answer. I left a pitiful message asking him if there was any way he could come and pick me up. I waited two LONG minutes for him to call me back. No such luck. The cramping was getting worse. I wanted to lay down in the fetal position on the path and moan. Instead I assessed the situation. The conclusion was simple: my entire GI system was a wreck; I needed to go to the bathroom; this was an emergency; I was at least 20 minutes from home; I couldn't hold it much longer; my husband was not answering the home; no one was coming to rescue me; Rock Creek Park is a beautifully wooded and densely packed with trees.

I had some protection/cover.

Like the woman I saw on Saturday, I veered off the path and into the woods to end my suffering.

I'm the girl who has trouble using public bathrooms.

And here I was just relieving myself behind a fallen tree in Rock Creek Park.

Although I felt unbelievably better after this event, I was slightly traumatized by the this event (still am).

After it was over, I called D and left him a message saying that the situation had resolved itself and I was headed home; no ride necessary. I did share the details of this event with two VERY close friends who had a good laugh at my expense. I hoped to never have to tell or relive the story again.

That changed this past weekend when I saw a stranger walking into the woods of Rock Creek Park. Although she'll never know me, I feel we share a bond, a commonality. I understand.

Watching this woman enter the woods I finished my 12 mile run.

It was an overall slow pace, but it was a good learning experience. I'm excited for and confident about my 1/2 marathon coming up.

I came home and took a shower. As the salt washed off of me, I felt the burn.

If you've ever experienced chaffing, you know what I'm talking about. Salt washing over raw skin.

In a word, it sucks.

I have extensive chaffing of my right inner thigh from where my ripped shorts rubbed. I also have chaffing below my belly-button where my hiked up shorts rubbed.

These wounds, as well as the memories of this weekend's run, will stay with me for a little while longer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


In a word, I am tired.

I'm talking REALLY tired.

So tired that I fell asleep while holding K as she drank her milk before bed; so tired I could fall asleep standing up; so tired that even though I have numerous papers and a handful of assignments to grade before noon tomorrow I'm going to bed NOW. I didn't even take said papers out of my bag this evening.

The reason for my tiredness is simple: K. K has had two bad nights of sleep. On Tuesday she was up early. 4:37am early. Thankfully a clean diaper and a little milk were enough to get  her back to sleep by 5:30. Last night sweet little girl started moaning at 2:31am. She was quiet by 2:53am. I thought we were in the clear.

Then she started SCR-EAM-ING. I went to see what was wrong and there she was sitting in her crib pointing at her toes yelling, "sockie, sockie-sockie." She managed to lose one sock last night and she was not too happy about it. After a sock change, diaper change, milk drink, and numerous rounds of Twinkle Twinkle and 10 Green and Speckled Frogs she was back to sleep. I, however, was wired. I seriously considered heading out for a 4:30am run.

What is wrong with me?

Instead I went back to sleep. I didn't sleep much; it was more of a lay there and be annoyed by every sound I heard inside and out. It was awful. I finally fell asleep sometime after 5am only to hear the alarm at 6am. I was showered, dressed, and out the door by 7:10am.

It was a long day. I even found the time and energy to squeeze in a run after class. I feel good about getting some exercise.

But I am pooped.

It is 9:30pm. I'm off to bed.

I am praying that K sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG. Is that asking too much?!?!

Monday, April 12, 2010


One word summary of the race: CROWDED

Time: 1:27:59 (8:48 pace)

Five-mile split time: 45:09

Yes, I negative split a ten mile race. My second half was two minutes faster than my first.

Overall feelings: It was a good run. Feeling confident that I can run a sub-2 hour 1/2 marathon next month.


Yesterday morning D and I joined 30,000 fellow runners for the annual Cherry Blossom 10 mile run. It's a great race throughout our beautiful city. The course is flat and the scenery is wonderful.

It was, however, a little too crowded. Due to a minor error during the registration process we ended up in the last start heat with a lot of slower, more casual, and less experienced runners. After about three minutes of running both D and I were restless. We needed to break loose from our fellow runners and catch up with a faster moving group. I told D to sprint/weave through the crowd and I'd follow him. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the legs of another runner and took a little spill. D went out of view for a brief minute, but it was too long. I lost him. We would run the race separately; not seeing each other until the finish line (boo hoo).

In addition to being frustrated by our start position and the need to run around people for the first half of the race, I did (as mentioned above) have a little run-in with another runner. We were both trying to get around a pack of run-walkers. The other woman came around the group from the right. I came around from the left and we bumped each other. As I was trying to regain my balance, I did say excuse me. She snapped back, "Don't run on my heels."


Obviously this woman has not run a race before (or at least that is what I am telling myself). Runners are generally nice people. We may push and shove a little bit, but we say excuse me or passing on your right. What type of person snaps at another competitor as she is following towards the ground? Seriously? Who do you think you are?

This little situation happened before mile 1 and it really irritated me. I ran the next five miles thinking of what I should have said to this woman as I sprinted as far away from her as possible. By mile 5 I was done thinking about her and started focusing on picking up the pace.

My second half of the run was much faster and much more enjoyable. I finally joined a crowd running at my pace. I also took the time to enjoy the scenery. As I passed mile marker 9, I realized I would finish in less than 1:30.

What a great training run for my 1/2 marathon next month!

I finally caught up with D at the finish line. He had a great race, too.

We got some water, a banana, and a muffin. And then headed home.

K and my mom met us at the door. We spent the rest of the morning drawing on the sidewalk with chalk and walking over to the metro to watch the trains go by.

What a lovely way to end the weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


SHOUT OUT: to all the lucky runners who got into the NYC Marathon yesterday through the lottery. I was denied entrance AGAIN. Plans are to enter the lottery for the next two years, be denied entrance each year, and get in automatically in 2013.

Funniest moment: my friend, Becky, sent me this article. I laughed and laughed. Before reading it, I thought I was the only woman in the world terrified of pooping during childbirth. If you run, have children, or just need a good down-to-earth laugh. Take 15 minutes and read this article RIGHT NOW.

Big accomplishment: got a huge assignment turned in last night and was at the computer crunching numbers and running analyses before 8:30am.

Motivational treat: looking forward to an afternoon Cherry Coke Zero

Healthy afternoon snacks: Clif Bar (I am definitely in a snack-slump; definitely need to change things up a bit)

Biggest regret: not wearing shorts or a skirt this morning. It's another HOT day here in the DC area.

Dinner: last night we had pasta with beans (the really good kind that we get from RanchoGordo) covered in a gorgonzola cheese sauce. So freaking tasty. Tonight we are have a cabbage and ginger salad with baked tofu.
Rant: I didn't get into the NYC Marathon. I knew my chances were slim, but I was holding out hope that I would get in. Last year's race was magical. It was one of the best days of my life. I loved every minute of the race experience and I wanted to do it again. THIS YEAR. Since I didn't get in, I am going to run either the Marine Corps Marathon (which I've done twice) or the Philadelphia Marathon. Each race has its pros and cons. I'm planning to make a decision this weekend and get signed up!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I watched the lottery results for entrance into the NYC Marathon live online.

And the results are in... Marathon registration status: Not accepted

Now the big decisions need to be made...

Philadelphia or Marine Corps Marathon?!?!?

Decisions. Decisions. 

Monday, April 5, 2010


K has some killer legs.

The girl has about zero percent body fat and some nicely defined leg muscles.

Look at those quads...

And those calves...

I believe her leg muscle definition is the result of her tippy-toe walking...

I believe she is destined to be either a ballerina or a marathon runner.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Tomorrow we will be hosting our 5th Annual Seafood Easter Dinner.

Our first Easter dinner was celebrated in my Capitol Hill apartment in the spring of 2005. D and I had been dating for about three months and we thought it would be fun to celebrate the Resurrection with our friends and over good food. It was a good time, but looking back I see that we've come a L-O-N-G way.

For our first Easter dinner, we served all the food buffet style and in one course. We ate on couches with plates in our laps. D made enough food to feed three or four-times the number of people we invited. I think I ate pasta with mussels for a week afterward. Our second Easter dinner was held in our first apartment. Again, we ate on the couches or tile floor (we didn't have enough seating for everyone). That year, we did the get the proportions right. Our third Easter dinner was in our new house. We sat down at our wonderful dining room table. Everyone had a seat! We had a four course meal and enjoyed the company of all of our guests. We also announced my pregnancy that day. Last year, we again had enough seating for everyone, including two little ones. We ate a wonderful meal and enjoyed the company of all of our guests.

Tomorrow we'll have a full house - eight adults and two kids. Everyone will have a seat at the table. We also plan to break out Bunny Bowling - a wonderful little game D picked up at some over-crowded furniture store for $1.

For dinner we will be having a five course meal:

1. cheese and crackers

2. carrot-cashew soup with ginger

3. salad - romaine, heart of palm, artichoke hearts and blue cheese with a vinegarette dressing

4. salmon baked in puff pastry with a vegan curry-cheese sauce and spinach. Served with broccoli and roasted mini-red potatoes with fresh rosemary.

5. pound cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I'm saving my pennies for two big ticket items: a new camera and a Garmin Forerunner.

In the meantime, I've decided that I do need to reward myself with little things. Two items that I intend to purchase in the coming days...

1. a "Marathon Mama" t-shirt. I feel I have earned the right to own and (proudly) wear one of these.

2. a Bondi Band. Only problem... there are so many colors to choose from. Decisions. Decisions.


SHOUT OUT: to Carla: Happy Birthday!! And, to D: congrats on passing your certification exam.

Funniest moment: not sure I've laughed yet today. Seriously. There's been plenty of smiling, but nothing funny. MUST.CHANGE.THAT.

Big accomplishment: got out of bed before 5:15am and did not complain.

Motivational treat: a diet-Coke and a break from dissertation primary data analysis to blog.

Healthy afternoon snacks: a clementine and Clif Bar

Biggest regret: opening my diet Coke too soon after it was dispensed from the machine. I've got a mess to clean up.

Dinner: last night we had the pasta, shrimp, cucumber, dill salad that is so yummy. Only this time we forgot to add cucumber and used quinoa shells. I didn't miss the cucumber as much as I disliked this dish with the quinoa shells. Definitely need to use regular pasta.

Rant: not much to complain about today. It is sunny and warm in DC (Baltimore, too). I had a great run this morning. K slept through the night. I slept from 10pm-5am. Tomorrow K and I are going to go to the zoo or maybe the park or maybe downtown to see the Cherry Blossoms. All is well in my little world. No complaining or b*tching today.