Monday, November 29, 2010


I've needed the past week to recover and gain some perspective on my run in Philadelphia. The bottom-line is I had a great race. I enjoyed running with D; although at mile 17 I wasn't acting like it. At mile 16-ish I made a mental note to never run a marathon again. I decided that running 13.1 miles was good enough for me from that moment forward. However, as we closed in on the finish line, I knew that my days as a marathoner were far from over.

There is something so unforgettable about crossing the finish line of a marathon.

Words cannot explain it. You just have to experience it.

And to finish this race in an 8 minute PR. Well, that is just icing on the cake!

My official time at the Philadelphia Marathon:


D finished in 4:14:58 - I had an awesome final kick! (Read: he totally let me cross the finish line first.)

The race started with some inspiration words from the Philadelphia Mayor, who was awesome. We then heard the horn officially start the race and Rocky Theme Song was soon playing. The first half of the race went wonderfully. We enjoyed the sights of Philadelphia - South Philly looks like a great neighborhood. I totally missed running past the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. We enjoyed the crowds on Chestnut Street and really enjoyed the Drexel University frat boys who cheered us on around mile 8. Most of them looked like they had yet to sleep that night. Their dedication to cheering on the runners was appreciated.

We then ran past the zoo and up a little hill (which did not compare to the monster hill on 13th Street I'm used to running). After the zoo we ran through Fairmont Park. It was a perfect fall day - perfect for running, perfect for being outdoors, perfect for spending time with your husband. At this point in the run, I was completely enjoying myself and was envisioning a great race.

After passing some of the most animated fans in the Park around mile 11, we were on pace to run a sub-4:10 marathon. I had dreams of having a killer second half and finishing under 4:05.


At the half-way point, we were at 2:02 - my second fastest half marathon EVER.

By mile 17 I was not feeling so good. We were passed by the 4:00 pace team that had started after us. And the pace leader had the most annoying voice EVER and she wouldn't stop talking. I slowed down just to let her pass us. Around the same time, I felt the strong urge to use a portapotty. Seriously, I just needed to go to the bathroom and there wasn't a restroom in sight. I saw several women run into the woods to relieve themselves, and although I knew I would have felt better if I had done the same, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So I held it for the remaining 9.2 miles.

The last miles of the race were hard. At one point, I was running 11 minute miles. It was pathetic.

When we finally reached the turn around point (it was an out and back for the final 13 miles), my legs were tired, my bladder was full, I was missing the crowds of NYC.

BUT... I knew that I was going to run my fastest marathon ever. I just had to keep one foot in front of the other. It wasn't pretty, but we kept on moving forward.

Finally we saw the "MILE 25" sign. With each stride forward the noise from the crowd grew louder. Strangers started cheering me on by name; telling me the end was so near; encouraging me to run with a smile on my face.

I knew we were close when I spotted the museum. D grabbed my hand and held it.

We had done it. Marathon #3 TOGETHER was nearly in the books.

As we came down the hill with the finish line in sight, a mom ran over to the sidelines and grabbed her three or four year old son and they crossed the finish line together. I got a little teary-eyed; wishing K was there and able to run across the finish line with us.

We finished strong.

We grabbed some food and drinks, a free moisturizer sample, and our gear and walked back to our hotel. D secured us late check-out and we made the most of it. I took the longest and hottest shower of my life. And then I enjoyed watching the Steelers game!

We grabbed some pizza before heading home to DC.

All in all, it was a great race. But I have to admit that after running NYC and experiencing the city and the crowds, nothing can compare to it.

Here's to getting a spot in the 2011 NYC Marathon...


At the top of tonight's "I'm thankful for..." list are our new toys. We have a very generous benefactor, whose children are outgrowing their toys just as K is old enough to play with them. This past week we became the proud owners of more Fisher Price Little People and puzzles than you could imagine. We've had to order one of these to keep things under control and out of sight.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The weather has turned cold, the smell of pine is in the air, wreaths are up, candles are lit, and we now read by the light of the Christmas tree.

She makes everything more joyful. A simple walk down the street is a memory that will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I love Christmas cards.

My parents made us take a picture each Christmas every year. There were times when I hated posing for the annual shot. There are some Christmas card pictures that I love and others (especially those during my awkward middle school days) that I'd like to forget. But I love the tradition. I love that I have a little photo album of just Christmas card photos from my childhood. I love looking back and seeing how my brother and I grew and changed from year to year. I love reflecting on what we were doing in the pictures --- there was the soccer year where we wore our soccer uniforms, the year with our dog Bandit, the years of swimming where we wore our Hampton Dolphins uniforms, and the unfortunate years where we tried to pose in our Sunday best. Our family Christmas cards tell the story of us as a family. And I love them.

So it is important to me that each year we take the time to design and send out Christmas cards to friends and family.

This year getting a family Christmas card together was a little bit harder than it has been in the past for several reasons. First, getting a quality family picture with a two year old is challenging - to say the least. And second, my camera was stolen when our house was robbed last month and we did lose some pictures from the computer that was stolen.

I have been feeling a little stressed about getting our card designed and the cards printed in time for the holidays.

Plus there are so many choices when it comes to designing and printing your Christmas cards. This year I decided to use Shutterfly for our Christmas cards. We've been using Shutterfly for several years now as our online photo album and I've always liked their services and products. Their Christmas card designs this year were fantastic (we spent considerable time deciding which one we liked best out of five or six choices) and I really like that the cards can be printed on cardstock. Shutterfly's prices were also reasonable and their holiday savings coupons and deals were unbeatable.

We have coupons for a free photo calendar if we spend $50 or more AND I am also participating in a promotion where you post a blog entry about your shutterfly card and you get 50 cards for free.


Shutterfly is also offering 30 percent off all cards ordered before December 1st. And free shipping.

We hope to have our cards ordered in the next 24 hours and mailed to friends and family before December 20th. This also poses a huge challenge because my dissertation defense is scheduled for December 20th. We also need to bake and deliver more than 15 plates of Christmas cookies to neighbors and friends. And do some Christmas shopping.

Here's to getting into the Christmas spirit, checking everything off of my to-do list, and celebrating the creation of a wonderful Christmas card...

Monday, November 22, 2010


We did it; we finished the Philadelphia Marathon.

It was a good race. We went out hard and held on for a strong finish.

It was beautiful, but I missed the crowds of NYC and DC.

There was plenty of water and food, but when I needed a port-a-potty there were none to be found.

When all was said and done, it was a great race. I finished 8 minutes faster than my previous best time.

Here's a shot of me and my running partner/husband the day before the race.

It was a great weekend in Philadelphia. More details to come...

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I'm three days away from towing the line at the Philadelphia Marathon.

And I am CRAZY nervous. I've been fighting negative thoughts and self-doubt for nearly a week now. Getting a nasty stomach bug a week before the race has not helped.

Before the sun was up this morning, I was trying to imagine what it was going to feel like on Sunday morning... and I got super nervous again and started thinking I might not be ready for this race. I cannot remember what I felt like last year before NYC. But I'm sure I wasn't this nervous. I quickly spiraled into a lot of negative talk about my training, my preparation, my strength to run another marathon.

Then I jumped into a cold shower - literally.

Standing under the cold water (which was slowly heating up) I washed away all the negative thoughts.

I am SO ready to run this race.

Since training began on July 12, I have:

-- run 512.71 miles

-- run 3 x 20+ mile runs

-- run more than 10 runs of a least 10 miles

-- hit repeats consistently and even managed to descend sets

-- nursed a very sore heal, successfully, and have NO PAIN

-- maintained my weight and feel light on my feet

-- conquered the hill on 13th Street so many times (and to think in early spring I could barely reach the top without stopping to walk)

-- run to National Airport and back home again with D

I am ready for this race. Yes, I've skipped a couple of runs here and there. And this week, I've opted for sleep over running. But I've listened to my body. I've trained hard and smart.

And I'm freaking ready.

I've held a pace of under 10 min/mile on EVERY long run I've run. I've held a sub-9 min/mile pace on several 10 mile and 1/2 marathon runs.

I'm going to rock this marathon.

And I'm going to look good doing it.

photo credit

Monday, November 15, 2010


D has been contributing to the blog run by our CSA for the past couple of months.

This past weekend he came up with this yummy salad. Unfortunately, I was too sick to be anywhere near the kitchen while he was cooking. I'm hoping he makes it again SOON.

There are other original recipes by Triple D on the blog. Head over there and check it out.

And congratulations to my husband for creating such a great recipe and publishing it.


photo credit
In case you've missed it, let me be the one to tell you.


How do I know this? Well, it took down each member of our family one-by-one this weekend. K was off beginning Thursday. Her appetite was small and she was fussy about everything. She refused a fried rice and veggies dish - and she love her rice (she's a quarter Asian!!). On Friday she was a little fussier, much snottier, and her diapers were full of loose, loose, loose poop. It was almost more than I could handle.

She went to bed Friday exhausted. She didn't sleep soundly.

But it wasn't K that kept me up for more than half the night. It was D. He was hot; then cold. He wanted more blankets; then less. He was feeling dizzy and sick to his stomach. Around 3am he starting hypothesizing that he was hung-over from the single drink he had with dinner. He was convinced this was the case until around 11am when we determined that his temperature was 102.

I was able to get up and run early Saturday. Last long (8.3 miles) run before the marathon on Sunday. D had great plans to run on Saturday morning, too, but that didn't work out.

D slept most of Saturday. K and I read a lot of books, made some pumpkin muffins, and took a brief walk to the park. At dinner time, she seemed to be feeling better and had a huge bowl of rice, two pumpkin muffins, and some English muffin. I was convinced we were all on the mend and that quite possibly I had avoided the whole sickness all-together.

D gave K a bath on Saturday night. She got really fussy towards the end and bite him on the shoulder as he was taking her out of the water. As he was getter her jammies on, she started to cough. He picked her up and she threw up EVERYWHERE. All over herself; her jammies; the changing table; the floor; D. I came up and took her to the bathroom. She threw up on me and herself a little more. She took another shower to calm down and rinse off. Thankfully she slept through the night and did not throw up again.

I woke up yesterday feeling great, but by mid-morning wasn't feeling so good.

By noon, my temperature was 102 and I was ready to go back to bed.

No one slept well last night.

I'm working from home today nursing a headache and upset stomach.

My goal: start feeling better and rebuild my strength before the end of the week.

PHILADELPHIA MARATHON is just six days away!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Yesterday K and I hit up the local Fleet Feet store to see if they had one or all of the shirts I was considering for the marathon in stock. They did. And plenty of other cute tops. I tried on several and with a little bit of help from my fashion-conscious, girlie-girl daughter landed a great top to complete my marathon outfit.

Next Sunday (11/21) I'll be towing the start line at the Philadelphia Marathon wearing:

Lucy capri running pants

My trusted purple and black tanktop (to keep my core warm) - I have worn this top for every marathon and half marathon I've run; it is like my marathon security blankie.

Black BondiBand with a glittery star on the front

A plum-colored Nike long-sleeved running shirt with white accent stripes.

I went with the plum-colored shirt for two reasons. First, the color goes well with my skin tone, but is bold enough that I'll stick out in the crowd (plus I'll have my name plastered across my chest in WHITE). And second, I plan to run in my teal colored sports bra. As much as I liked the bright orange and green shirts I tried on, I didn't want my stripped tanktop or sports bra to show through my outer layer. Nothing can be seen through the plum-color. I love it; K does, too. I asked her to pick her favorite shirt from three different colors and she immediately was drawn to the plum.

I went with the Nike shirt over the Brooks because it just fit better. I have long arms for my height and the Nike size-medium had longer sleeves. It rested comfortably on my hips and was a little softer to the touch.

I really like my outfit and so excited.

Goal for this week and next: get my mind into the game and start believing I can run faster than I did in NYC last year. I also need to stretch more EVERY DAY. And probably should increase my stretching sessions to TWICE A DAY.

Pictures of my race attire will be forthcoming.


Once again this year, I am taking myself out of the running for the coveted Mom of the Year Award. So to the judges and committees who determine who is to win this award, here me now:

After the events of last night, I am officially out of the running.

Yesterday was an off day for K. She was up an hour early - coughing and complaining of being hungry. She did have a little cough and she was plenty hungry. She finished a cup of milk and banana before heading downstairs for breakfast.

The lost hour of sleep left her a little sluggish during the morning. She had a mini-breakdown at the park because another little girl was eating goldfish crackers and I did not have any crackers (of any kind) for her. To my credit, I did have sliced mango, grapes, and cheese for her. We left the park and headed home for lunch. She ate two bowls of broccoli-cheese pasta. (Maybe my little peanut is in the middle of a growth spurt!?!?) During lunch the man from the security company came to install our alarm system (an hour early). In addition to installing the hardware, which involved some drilling, he was all over our house. So K went down for a nap about an hour later than normal. Needless to say, by the time evening rolled around last night she was spent. She actually told me she was tired before we headed off to meet D at the metro around 6:30.

She finished her bath around 8:40 last night. She pitched a fit over who-knows-what before I convinced her it was time to go upstairs to sleep. We went into her room like we always do. She turned on her "music" (the white noise machine) and turned off her lights. Then she hit the floor running for one last game of "hiding". This has become part of our bedtime routine... in the dark room she hides from me, I count to five, and then she runs up to me with a big, "Ahhhhhhhh... found you!"

Last night she decided to "hide" on top of her big pillows. She dove head first thinking she was going to land on her pillows and become invisible. Instead, she dove head first into the metal bars of her crib. I heard her hit a little spring before the crying began. And I knew it hurt.

I turned on the lights before picking her up.

I grabbed her and and encouraged her to breath (because she is notorious for holding her breath when beginning to cry). It was a relief when I heard her begin to cry. She cried and cried. I finally convinced her to pick her head up off of my shoulder and look at me. She had a bloody cut along the bottom of her nose and a brush-burn along the top of her nose.

We went downstairs to get some love from D and to calm down. We returned upstairs for Tylenol and some cream (read: Neosporin). She did sleep soundly and woke up with only a small scratch on her nose. I left home before she was awake. D called me so that K could say hi. When I asked her about her nose, she started to cry.

Hopefully this event will not scar her for life.

Once she was asleep last night, I talked with D at length about what had happened and we decided that I need to be the grown-up and not allow a game of hiding in the dark.

I need to IPDE - identify, predict, decide, and execute - activities at night that will not cause bodily harm to my sweet, tired little girl.

And with those events and a lesson learned, I hereby present yet another reason why I will not be winning the mom of the year award for 2010.

Friday, November 5, 2010


This is Bob, our Halloween pumpkin, on our front porch the Friday before Halloween.

This is Bob a few days after Halloween. He single-handly is feeding all of the squirrels in northwest DC.

Poor Bob.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


The Philadelphia Marathon is 2 weeks and 3 days away!

I'm so excited.

I've trained hard for this race... I've run 1,000 miles this year and close to 500 since July.

I'm looking forward to running a race in a new city, staying in a hotel for a night, running with D (we haven't run a marathon together since 2006), and finishing with a smile on my face!

I am ready. Sort of...

I have everything planned - travel to Philly, care for K, hotel in Philly, fuel for the race, hydration plans, cute capri running pants (black by Lucy), BodyGlide, shoes, socks, and a cute BondiBand. However, I need a shirt to wear during the race. I usually run in a sleeveless tank-top, but I'm going to need something more for a late-November race in Philadelphia.

I've narrowed my choices of race tops down to these three:

1. a long-sleeved Brooks Equibrium shirt in bright pink (to be worn with my "super mom" BondiBand)

2. a long-sleeved Brooks Equibrium shirt in purple (to be worn with either my purple lightening BondiBand or my glitter star band)

3. a short-sleeved Brooks "Girl Power" shirt in pink (to be worn with either my "super mom" or glitter star BondiBand and a black long-sleeved shirt underneath).

Thoughts? Preferences?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


October came and went like a flash. It was month full of celebrations...

K turned two. We celebrated with two parties - one on her birthday with grandparents and our friends and the second the Saturday after with all of her little friends and their parents. It was a celebratory couple of days.

We are grateful that she is so happy and healthy. Her days are full of songs, dancing, piano playing, trips to the park, story hours, metro rides, and playing with her little friends. At her two year check-up, she got a clean bill of health and she gained four pounds (in six months). She's currently weighing in at 24 pounds and is 33 inches tall.

This month was also monumental for me... I completed my dissertation proposal and set a proposal defense date (Dec 20). Three cheers for being that much closer to being done with school. I'm currently working on a paper for publication and applying for jobs. I plan to defend my dissertation in June 2011.

On October 30 during a 20 mile run with D, I surpassed my goal of running 1,000 miles this year. I'm really proud of myself and really excited about the Philly Marathon. I've trained so stinking hard this year and am excited about running a great marathon (and enjoying running another with D). It is hard to believe that the marathon is less than three weeks away now. I only have two medium-long runs left in this training cycle. On Thanksgiving, D and I are planning to run a 5k Turkey Trot together and I'm toying with the idea of running another marathon or the half at Rohobeth Beach in mid-December. We'll see how I feel after Philly...

As fun-filled and celebratory as this past month has been, it has also been hard. Two weeks ago our house was broken into IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. Thankfully no one was home and a neighbor was able to call the police as the "bad guys" were breaking in. We had some big ticket items stolen, but the police and our insurance company have been great. Post-break-in, I've been spending my time trying to be comfortable in our house, worrying about coming home at night, and researching security systems. We've also had to deal with our insurance company, order/buy items that were stolen, and have repairs made to the house. It's been hard, but we (read: I) am starting to feel better about being here.

Several lessons learned from our break-in to share:

1. be sure all of your pictures are backed-up - either online or on an external hard drive. Our laptop where I download all of our pictures was taken and we could have lost everything. We did lose a few pictures, but thankfully have most of the big moments from the past few years saved online and on a separate hard drive.

2. be sure your homeowners/renters insurance covers replacement costs for stolen items. We were lucky and found out after our break-in that we had replacement insurance. Our deductible was high, but we got new everything.

3. write down the serial numbers of all your home electronics and store them some place safe. If you are robbed, having this information will be invaluable.

All in all it was a great month. Halloween pictures are forthcoming. And we're looking forward to a great November - full of birthdays, marathons, Thanksgiving, and Advent.