Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A LOOK BACK (through K's eyes)

Last year on New Year's Eve, K and I spent some time talking about her favorite things from the last year. This morning I asked her the same questions. Looking back at the past two years, so much has changed; yet some things remain the same (look at her favorite foods).

At the end of 2012, here is a list of K's favorite things (in her own words):

Book: Curious George

Game: make stuff (mom translation: doing art projects)

Song: First Noel

Animal: Sea lion

Food: mac 'n cheese and pizza and clementines

Color: bright, bright, bright, bright, bright, bright, bright yellow

Outdoor activity: play at park

Indoor activity: backing with mom

iPhone app: Draw Something

Favorite Christmas gift: new shovel (again, another great buy from the Dollar Store)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Memories from a successful marathon training cycle. Richmond 2012.


The past two months have FLOWN by...

Seriously, I feel like I blinked and we went from September to November. In the past two months, both of my kids celebrated birthdays (yes, my baby is 1), we completed the Richmond Marathon, work has been busier than ever, we've had play dates; made an embarrassing number of trips to the National Zoo; watched our crawler become a walker; welcomed friends to town and visited others out of town; and had a total of two dates - both of which were 20 mile runs. (Yes, we paid a babysitter so we could run 20+ miles together).

Over the course of this holiday weekend, I hope to get caught up on all that has happened in the past two months. There is much to be thankful for and so many memories to capture and catalogue.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


At the beginning of the summer, K and I made a list of everything she wanted to do during the summer of 2012. We kept track of all that we did. This past Tuesday, we made our way south to the Georgetown Spray Park and completed our last summer activity.

The summer of 2012 was one to remember!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I officially started training for the Richmond Marathon during the first week of June.

Since then I have run a total of 335 miles.

Aside from two major falls: one resulting in a sprained ankle and the other resulting in a major blow to my pride (nothing like falling on your face into mud and coming up a bloody mess), my training has been spectacular.

My longest run to date was an 18 miler two weekends ago. It was a fantastic run (minus the fact that on the out-and-back run I didn't go out as far as I needed to and ended up having to tack on an extra mile at the end).

In two weeks I'll do my first of three 20+ mile runs.

I'm feeling great.

I'm also surprised that I've run so many miles. I'm thankful that I'm not injured.

Here's to two more months of excellent, injury-free training...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


That's right... we saw the pandas!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


C -

It's hard to believe that you are nearly a year old. You've grown so fast - where has my little baby gone? You've been crawling since late spring and in July you started pulling yourself up into a standing position. These days you are constantly on the move - crawling, climbing, and standing again any object that will support you.

You are now capable of: climbing unassisted onto your sister's bed; jumping on said bed; climbing all the stairs; climbing onto the toy box; climbing into the toy box; lifting the toilet seat, holding it open, and playing in the water; removing the toilet paper roll and unrolling it; pulling the water table over when there is not sufficient water in it to support your weight; and moving the little table and chairs around in the sunroom.

You are one busy little man.

It's pure joy to watch you motor around the house.

You continue to be one pleasant little fellow. Everyone remarks about how smiley you are and how expressive you can be. You have a wonderful pout-y face and when you put your lips together to say "oh, oh" I get the giggles. Your double (triple) chin is still soft and adorable. Watching your personality develop is delightful.

As of today, you:

-- have eight teeth
-- have survived four ear infections
-- weigh about 24 pounds
-- enjoy eating carrots, sweet potatoes, black beans, peas & broccoli, and all kinds of fruit
-- are sucking in the sleep department
-- continue to nurse well
-- like bottles with rice milk
-- cannot stop biting
-- have a nearly full head of hair, which looks to be a light strawberry blonde.

You are a wonderful snuggler. You also love to be held, which can be exhausting. However, the muscle definition of my arms is improving. You love swimming and bath time. You also love anything that belongs to or is being used by your sister (must to her dismay). You are finding your voice and are often heard yelling noises like "di-di-di" or "da-da-da".

We are teaching you to sign. Hopefully that will help you communicate more effectively.

You are such a delight. As you enter your eleventh month of life I pray for no more ear infections and some better nights of sleep. This whole waking up around 2am thing needs to end TONIGHT.

I love you,

Monday, August 20, 2012


Marathon training is going well.

On Saturday I met up with my running group a little late. I started off slowly and started catching the group around mile 2. I ran solo for about three miles. When I approached the trail that runs along the Potomac by the Watergate and Kennedy Center, there was a group of runners and bikers stopped along the trail. I thought I saw someone in the water. As I approached, I did see someone in the water. He was a leisurely biker just in need of cooling off. He appeared safe in the water an the police were in route. So I took off running again.

I started off with another runner, who I found is also part of my running group. He is a nine-time marathon finisher and Boston Qualifier. We ended up running the remaining 11 miles together. I picked his brain about everything from nutrition, training, pacing, and what races to run if I want to set a PR.

With all the chit-chat, the miles flew by. And before I knew it we were sprinting our final half mile.

It was a great 14 mile run.

With two great long runs under my belt these past two weeks, I am ready for this coming Saturday's 18 miler.

Bring it!

Friday, August 10, 2012


The last time I water skied I was 21 years old. It was the summer between my junior and senior year of college - some 13 years ago.

Last weekend we went boating with family friends, and we had a great time.

And, I got up on skies. It is just like riding a bike.

So much fun!

Monday, August 6, 2012


*** Written Monday, July 23, 2012

We arrived in Pittsburgh for a two week vacation at my parents' house on Saturday. And by we I mean me and the kids. D is working at home and will join us later in the week. So we left DC after my long run and lunch with girlfriends on Saturday. After settling in on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, I felt the need to get out and do something. My dad suggested going for a bike ride on the rails-to-trails trail along the Allegheny River.

Riding a bike was the perfect way to recover from my run the day before. It was also a beautiful ride. Unfortunately, we hit a bunch of traffic along the river after the Pirate Game ended. That little interruption aside, it was a great ride. Great exercise, pleasant company, and a fantastic stretch for my legs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012


This past Saturday I set out for a 12 mile run.

The plan was to meet my running group at 6am. I got in the car at 5:40 and before I had driven two blocks the rain started to fall. I braced myself for a soggy run (and was SO glad I wore my old shoes - don't want soggy new Mizunos). By the time I got to the starting point, the rain had stopped. Unfortunately, it rained again before I reached the 1 mile marker. I was wet from the beginning of the run until the end.

Our course was an out and back on the Mount Vernon Trail. It was a pleasant run despite the rain.

I ran all but the last mile alone. It was an enjoyable run.

I ran without music until mile 7. I decided I wanted to try to pick up the pace for the last five miles and needed some music. I turned on my music and took off. With a mile left to go, I realized I may be able to average less than 9 minutes/mile. So I really started to pick up the pace. At this point, I ran into two others from my running group. I ran past one guy and caught up to the second. I mentioned to him that I was close to running my fastest long run ever. Excited for me, he encouraged me to pick up the pace again.

Running together, we got faster with each step.

We approached our stopping point, stopped my Garmin, took a deep breath, and looked down. This is what I saw:

Fastest training run EVER.

So excited that my training is going so well.

Bring on 16 miles this weekend!

Friday, July 20, 2012


First, my new Mizuno's arrived yesterday. I them. 

Second, the Albert Einstein Memorial was Yarn Bombed last night.

Photo credit

According to the,

The National Academy of Sciences' memorial of Albert Einstein was covered in yarn from head to toe, resulting in a colorful oddity that greeted researchers and other staffers on their way into the office. 

The surprise shroud is mostly pink and purple, with splotches of black and teal, turning the the bronzed image of Einstein sitting in repose into something resembling a pastel monster.
The likely culprit is the yarn-bombing artist Olek, a Polish-born crocheter and sculptor whose principal motif is to drape large objects and public installations in colorful yarn. Her best-known example of this came in 2010 with "Knitting Is for Pussies," in which she covered an entire Lower East Side apartment in yarn, right down to the mannequins standing in as tenants.

I hope to visit Mr. Einstein tomorrow.

Third, both my kids are sleeping. I am soaking in the quiet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Today I left work early -- don't judge me. With a 9 month contract I don't even have to work during the summer.

So I left work early. Allowing myself time to get downtown, park, run 5 miles, drive home, and be on time to let our nanny leave. Everything was going according to plan. I even scored an excellent parking spot (without a meter). As I sat on a nearby bench to put on my shoes, I heard the first rumble of thunder. It sounded far away and the sky wasn't too dark so I decided to run.

Exactly 0.98 miles into my run H-U-G-E raindrops started to fall; 0.02 miles later I spotted cloud-to-ground lightening. I realized I wasn't going to finish my run before the storm. In fact, I started thinking I couldn't make it back to my car before the storm hit.

So I decided to seek shelter with our 16th President.

And about half of the tourists in DC.

The Lincoln Memorial is a great place to wait out a storm. It is high enough to provide great views of the Mall and Arlington. It was also relatively dry. And it is a solid structure. When the winds picked up. I felt safe along side good old Abe.

The Memorial also gave me plenty of time to people watch. I chuckled (out loud a few times) listening to tourists talk. My favorite overheard conversation was of a guy on the phone with family/friends who were riding out the storm in one of the museums. The guy kept insisting he was at the Jefferson Memorial. Seriously... there are four Presidential memorials/monuments on the Mall (Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, and FDR). It is not that hard to keep them straight!

I left my shelter at the Lincoln after about half an hour. The storm looked like it had passed. About half a mile into my second attempt at a run, the skies let loose and I was soaked by the rain. This time there was no shelter in sight - so I ran.

I ran 3.0 miles in the pouring rain. Not the 5 that I had planned, but I'm proud of myself for just getting out there. We are expecting more storms tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see what adventures that brings...

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Being THREE years old is hard work.

Our days are truly the best of times and the worst of times. K can go from being a delightful fun-loving child to a monster at the drop of a hat. And by monster I mean a tantrum-throwing, unable to communicate, sometimes inconsolable child.

Let me tell a little story about Friday afternoon...

Neither one of my kids napped particularly well on Friday. We got to sleep a little late, and K had a hard time getting settled before falling asleep. She woke up in a foul mood. She was grumpy and whiny. I offered to go back to bed with her - a little more rest never hurt anyone. She refused. I offered food; thinking maybe just maybe she was hungry. Again she refused.

About 15 minutes later - after much whining - she was back to her fun-loving, adorable, three-year-old self.

We went upstairs to put some clothes away and play.

I was putting away some things in our room when K came running in speaking a mile a minute.

She locked C in their room. I tried using a bobby-pin and a pair of tweezers to open the door. That failed. I then instructed K to talk with C while I looked for a screwdriver. I ran down the stairs and found the first available screwdriver. When I got back upstairs, I found out the screwdriver was too big to fit into the door. By this point C was SCREAMING. I ended up taking the doorknob off.

Within minutes I had the doorknob off and C was rescued.

K showed little remorse for locking C in their room; however, she was distraught over my putting her in a chair (with instructions to not move a muscle) while I took the doorknob off.

After C was rescued, we all went down to the basement. I had some laundry to do and we needed a change of scenery. Upon getting downstairs, C wanted to be held. I had to put him down to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. Upon being put down, he started crying. And so I started moving at lightening speed. K decided at this point that she wanted to help. By the time she expressed interest in helping I was nearly finished and I told her her help was not needed.

And she lost it.

She stood still for a moment. She dug her heals into the ground. And she screamed.

I'm talking top of her lungs, ear piercing scream.

And as she was screaming our house alarm went off.

It took me a minute to realize that the alarm was going off. I told K to stay in the basement as I ran up the steps to determine why the alarm was tripped. As I ran up the steps, it occurred to me that K's scream could be the cause of the alarm. We have a glass break detector in our basement. Is it possible that her scream was so loud and so high pitched that it resembled glass breaking?

After determining no one was in our house, I turned the alarm off. The follow-up phone call from the alarm company came within a minute. Sure enough, they confirmed that the alarm was tripped by a loud noise in our basement.

K's scream was so powerful she set off our alarm.

My ears have not stopped ringing from the alarm. And now every time K raises her voice in protest we are able to remind her that she needs to lower her voice unless she wants to set off the alarm again.


This week I was back training with my running group (after a week in Pittsburgh visiting family and recovering from my sprained ankle). It was a terribly hot and humid morning. We set out for a 14 mile run...

This week's run took us through Georgetown (where I was rudely kicked off of Wisconsin Ave by a movie crew -- they were about to start shooting a film). From there we made our way to the Capitol. We back-tracked along The Mall and then headed over to Haines Point. After rounding Haines Point, we crossed over the Potomac and reached our starting point.

It was a good run. 14 miles. And I maintained my sub-4 hour marathon pace.

Unfortunately, like my last long run in DC, I fell during this run.

This time I was running along the Potomac, right in front of the Watergate, when I hit the ground. I believe I slipped in some mud along the path. I slid along the path. Thankfully both my ankles were ok after the fall. I have some brush burns and bruises, but I'm ok.

It was a great run -- longest since I ran the Philadelphia Marathon in 2010!

I'm planning to crush Richmond.

Monday, July 9, 2012


We planted a garden this year. In our 10 x 3 foot box, we planted beans, tomatoes, snap peas, regular peas, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach. A few days after planting an animal started munching on our tomato plant. At one point the plant lost all of its leaves. Same thing happened with our wax beans. And then our garden dried out - I failed to adequately water it. Our spinach died (mostly do to no water, but animals munching on it also lead to its demise). In mid-May, we got a sprinkler and we started tending our garden with care. We also covered our garden to prevent animals/rodents from munching on our harvest.

And our little DC garden has thrived. 

Today we harvested wax beans, green beans and snap peas. And our little nearly dead tomato plant is thriving. We have nearly a dozen green full-sized tomatoes growing.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Last week I went to Med Express Urgent Care TWICE.

I made my first trip after I tripped on my run last weekend. With the swelling and the bruising, I knew I needed to see a doctor. My trip to Med Express was fantastic. I was checked-in in a matter of minutes. I was then seen by a physicians assistant, who was AWESOME. They took some x-rays to rule out a break. Thankfully my bones looked good. I was fitted with an air cast and sent on my way. I was in-and-out in a half hour.

I made my second trip to Urgent Care with C. Several days before our trip, C was grumpy. He wasn't sleeping well. We also noticed him was pulling, hitting, and laying down on his left ear. We thought he probably had an ear infection. So to Urgent Care we went...

Less than half an hour after entering the center, C was registered, seen, diagnosed, given a prescription, and filled a prescription. He has a "raging" ear infection. He is on an antibiotic (though it is terribly hard to get a 9 month old to suck down a nasty tasting liquid medicine).

Both C and I are on the mend - I'm up and running. C, however, is struggling lacking with sleep these days.


At the beginning beginning of the summer, K made a list of all the things she wanted to do this summer. This past week we checked two of the many things to do off of the list: she swam at the pool by my parents house and caught fireflies.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Last Saturday I had a 10 milers on the schedule. On Thursday I got an email from my coach saying it would be a hilly 10 miles. And it was! The course was also an obstacle course. On Friday night a terrible storm ripped through DC. The trail we were running on was covered in debris and there were numerous trees lying across it. Trees were up-rooted in some cases and in others they had just broken in half. Not only were there hills to conquer, but I was also dodging trees, branches, leaves, and other debris. It was a killer run.

At mile 6, I tripped on a crab apple. My ankle gave out. The pain was so intense. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach; the wind was knocked out of me. I cried instantaneously. 

After the trip, I walked a bit, got my breathing under control, and ran the remaining 4 miles.

My ankle didn't bother me too much. As soon as I was finished running and I took my shoe off, my ankle started to swell. I ended up going to urgent care. Three x-rays confirmed that I did not have a broken bone, but I did sprain my ankle. I got fitted with an air cast and was given instructions not to run for a week.

It has been five days now with no running.

I know my ankle is healing, but it still needs some more rest.

The chances of me getting my 12 mile run in this week are slim to none.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Last Friday K's best friend, A, came over to play. It was a wonderful day. Together they played with pretty much every toy in our house. They also went to the spray park for a little water play. After lunch, A, who is an avid baseball fan and knowledgable about every aspect of the game, tried to organize a baseball game between himself and K.

K knows nothing about baseball.

A started by explaining how one person is responsible for throwing/pitching the ball and the other hits the ball with a bat.

K, who has a dominant personality and can at times be a little bossy, had enough of listening to A. She wanted to play, and she wanted to be in charge of how the game would be played.

As soon as there was a pause in conversation, K shouted:

"A, you be the batter; I'll be the gooder."

And that is OBVIOUSLY how the game of baseball is played.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


This week is is our first "take your wrap to work" week. All the credit for creating these yummy wraps goes to D. He was inspired by a wrap he had for lunch last week.

Our menu this week looks like this:

Monday -- avocado, cucumber spear, spinach, pine nut, tomato, pesto wrap

Tuesday -- avocado, cucumber, chick peas, humus, red bell, carrots, spinach wrap

Wednesday -- shrimp, cilantro, red bell, spinach, tomato paste wrap

Thursday -- tuna, corn cucumber, onions, pickled jalapeno wrap

Friday -- black beans, corn, cilantro, tofu, shredded carrots wrap

Saturday -- stacked zucchini, carrots, red onion wrap

It has been and will continue to be a yummy week!

Monday, June 25, 2012


This past Saturday I ran 12 miles (before 8am).

Picture taken when I arrived home post-run at 8:46pm.
It was a hot morning. The majority of our run was along the C&O Canal. Thankfully it was shady for most of the run (until the sun came up over Georgetown). I also had some great running company. I could not be more grateful for my running group. The last few miles of my run I was averaging a 8:50 pace. Rock on --- that is faster than the pace of my 10K (run the day before).

Good company definitely results in faster more confident running.

I'm looking forward to next long run on Saturday!

Week 4: bring it...


This past week I participated in The Welcome to Summer Virtual Run. I ran both the 5K and 10K races. I figured it was a good way to get in some mileage and some speed. It also allowed me to set a baseline for my marathon training. I figure I will run a 5K and 10K again at the end of July, August, and September.

Both of these runs were completed in temperatures greater than 80* and with high humidity. At the end of the 10K, I had sweat dripping from every part of me. At the end of the 5K, I was a little whoozie. I sprinted down a hill to end the race and it knocked me out; too bad I didn't 26 minutes.

Next time...

My next 5K is on July 4th; the Firecracker 5K.

I've also set goals to break 50 minutes in the 10K and 1:50 in the 1/2 Marathon distance this summer. All in route to a marathon PR and sub-4 hour race in November.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


My marathon training plan has me easing into the mileage. (PTL)

Yesterday I ran another 10 mile loop -- this time past Iwo Jima, across the Key Bridge, along M Street in Georgetown, along the waterfront, around the Mall, and across the Memorial Bridge. It was a great route. Unlike last week when I ran alone, this week I found another runner at the same pace. We're both gunning for sub-4 hour fall marathons.

We chatted non-stop for 10 miles. Before we new it we were finishing our route at a sub-9 minute per mile pace. It felt SO good.

My recovery from this week's 10 miler was much smoother (and less painful) than last week. Last week I was plagued with some severe muscle soreness in my quads and a wicked headache (brought about by dehydration, I think). This week I drank more before, during, and after the run. I also ate two pieces of toast with butter and sea salt before heading out for the run. I think both eating and drinking better/wiser made a huge difference in how I felt during and after the run.

Note to self: salt and water make me feel good.

Next Saturday: 12 miles (and then we are going blueberry picking).


We've decided we're going to fill this summer with a lot of family fun. There are SO many things to do in the DC area - from museums to zoos to parks to swimming pools; and everything in between. Our Saturday goal each week is to get out and do something. Prior to this past weekend we've been strawberry picking, shopping at the farmer's market, to a local park with a carousel, and firefly catching.

This weekend we drove out to a wonderful nature preserve in Fairfax County.

We also made our way down to Yards Park.

We went for a walk along the river, ate a picnic dinner, and played in the water. Best.evening.ever.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I am planning to run the Richmond Marathon on Saturday, November 10, 2012.

My goal for this marathon is to break 4 hours. That means I have to run the full 26.2 miles at a 9:09 pace. This is more than 30 seconds per mile faster than my best marathon. It is going to take a great deal of training to cut that much time off my current PR, but I'm game for at least trying.

To help me meet this goal, I joined a running group. We meet every Saturday morning at 6am for our weekly long run.

This past Saturday we ran 10 miles.

After one run, I am on pace to reach my goal!

Next Saturday we are doing another 10 miles (this time hills).

I can't wait.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Today is my Grandmother's 95th birthday!

She's one amazing lady... in addition to living alone and still driving. She leads one healthy life. She has a wonderful circle of friends. She is a wonderful cook, hostess, and entertainer. She is a loving and doting grandmother and great-grandmother.

I am so happy that my children have gotten to know her; that they have played at her house; that they have been loved on and hugged by her.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I blinked and May is just about over. The spray park is over, summer school is in session, summer weather is here, and marathon training begins THIS week.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Q: What do these three things - a fox, a hawk, and a bunny - have in common?

A: I saw all three while out for a run yesterday morning.

Yesterday morning I met up with PC, a new running buddy, at a marina along the Potomac River. After a few pleasantries, we took a quick walk and picked up a nearby trail. Our run took us along the River to Arlington Cemetery. We then ran up the hill by the Iwo Jima Memorial. Afterward we ran through Rosslyn and picked up the Capital Crescent Trail from there.

The Capital Crescent Trail took us west along Route 66 and into Arlington.

About 3.5 miles into the run I looked down into a ravine and there was a fox. He was just walking along. He looked to be wounded; limping along. But seriously. A fox. Three miles from downtown DC. Another mile later, close to our turn around point, we saw a bunny just hopping along the side of the trail. Cute as can be.

On our return trip as we were coming down the hill by Iwo Jima, we spotted a hawk. He fly right in front of our path and perched in a tree.

In my ten years living and running in DC, this was the most wildlife I've ever seen.

And, obviously, I forgot my camera in the car.

All in all, it was a great run. 10 miles all before 9am. A new running buddy. And a great new hilly running route.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This morning we found out that neither D nor I got into the NYC Marathon. This is the THIRD year in a row that we've both been shut out of the race through the lottery. However, we will both have automatic entry into the 2013 NYC Marathon. I'm already looking forward to running through the 5 boroughs together.

In the meantime, we need to run another marathon together. And we need to run it in less than four hours.

Therefore, we will be running the Richmond, VA Marathon together on November 10, 2012.

Eighteen weeks of training begins Sunday, July 8. Cannot.wait.

Watch out Richmond - we're coming to town to kick some a$$.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Only 45 minutes until the madness begins.

Photo credit
Today I will know whether I'll be training for the NYC or Richmond Marathon this fall. Either way, this girl is running a sub-4 hour race this year! And I'm so excited.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Photo credit
Yesterday, like most Mondays, I went to my spinning class at lunchtime. I've found that when I'm working long days (teaching in the evenings) I need to break my day up into chunks. Working in the morning, then spinning at lunch, returning to work in the early afternoon, office hours in the late afternoon, and then class - seems to be a schedule that works for me.

And I SO enjoy spinning.

Yesterday the regular instructor, who was away the past couple of weeks, returned. And she worked us so hard. We warmed up and then didn't stop working HARD for the next 50 minutes. We did sprints, climbs, and dances (basically standing up and down and changing positions every couple of seconds with the beat) again and again and again. There was no recovery.

After half an hour, people - regulars to the class - started leaving. It was that hard.

It was a spin class on crack.

It was so hard. I pushed so hard.

Our instructor, G, kept saying, "Dig deep. Go faster. Make this one your best." And I tried. I worked so stinking hard.

This morning when I heard C wake up around 5:45 I went to get out of bed and it hurt. Really hurt. I hobbled into the kids' room and picked up C. It wasn't pretty. It was painful.

But the bad feels SO good.

I'm excited that I'm free to take the Thursday lunchtime spin class - also taught by G - this week. I'm looking forward to her kicking my butt again!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I like having a plan in place. I like knowing what is going to happen in the next hour, day, week, month, and year - if possible. And that is why I am SO looking forward to next Wednesday, April 25.

Months ago I entered the lottery for the NYC Marathon. Yesterday I received this email:

This time next week we will know if D and I got into the marathon. If we don't get in, we'll have automatic entry into next year's race (lottery denial three years in a row). If we both get in, we'll be running in NYC in November. If we don't get in, we plan to run the Richmond, VA marathon.

I'm looking forward to the wait being over.

I'm ready to plan and to train. And to ultimately run a sub-4 hour marathon in November!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Did you know the Olympics begin in just 100 days?

I'm super excited. We're making plans with friends and family to watch all the events. I'm prepping K for all the excitement by discussing the different sports and athletes. We've also discussed all of the flags that will be displayed during the Opening Ceremonies and the torch relay.

Let the countdown begin!

And, to add to the excitement, the swimming Olympic Trials begin in less than 70 days.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Celebrating Easter.

We don't do baskets or bunnies in our house. Instead we dye eggs and ice cookies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Literally. Snapped.

These are/were my glasses. I went to clean them this morning and they snapped - right in the center of the nose-piece. They are beyond repair.

Thankfully I have an old pair of glasses (frames from 2002, but updated prescription) to wear.

Not sure when I'm going to have time to go eye glasses shopping; I didn't even have time for a shower today.

Maybe in mid-May - when classes are over - I'll have time to pick out new frames.

Lesson learned from this experience: with such a strong prescription I need more substantial frames.

Monday, April 9, 2012


In case you haven't heard, Nuun is sponsoring THREE all female, all blogger teams for the Hood to Coast Relay. Running HTC has been a dream/goal of mine for several years now. And what better way to take on The Mother of All Relays than to do it with a bunch of enthusiastic female runners/bloggers.

This is my creative application, which was submitted today (at noon -- get it -- PDT).


A Portrait of an Athlete as a Young Woman
A coming of age story of a young swimmer afraid to race more than 200 yards to a fearless, marathon-running, working mom of two, ready to race Hood to Coast.

 Chapter 1: The Value of a Team

Yes, that is me in black. 37 weeks pregnant
Once upon a time and a very good time it was I was a competitive swimmer. I'm talking practicing six to ten times a week; going days without dry hair; constantly smelling like chlorine; and eating, breathing, and thinking swimming all.the.time.

I loved every minute of it.

In September of 2011, I was inducted into my high school's Athletic Hall of Fame. Truth be told, I was a good swimmer - All-state, All-American. Even Academic All-American.

I was and still am a nerd and a jock.

I began my acceptance speech at my hall of fame induction ceremony by reflecting on the fact that being a member of my high school swim team made me not only a better swimmer, but also a better person.

Through swimming I found that I loved the team environment; loved focusing on a goal with a group of like-minded people; loved encouraging my teammates; and loved excelling together.

After high school, I went on to be a member of my college swim team. And there, I also excelled as both a student and an athlete. I credit all of my success to my teammates who loved me, pushed me, encouraged me, challenged me, and accepted me when I was at my very best and during the times I was far from it.

Being a member of a team and serving in the role of a teammate is part of who I am. It has defined me since I was a young teenager. I bring a love for teamwork and being on a team to the Nuun Hood to Coast Relay Team. I have years and years of wonderful experiences encouraging teammates, commiserating with teammates, competing with teammates, and becoming lifelong friends with teammates.

I can share all of this with my Nuun teammates!

Chapter 2: The Best Thing Ever: Relays

As a swimmer, I was a sprinter. I loved to race - mostly butterfly and freestyle - hard and fast. I loved the nervous thrill of stepping onto the starting blocks before a race began. I loved coming from behind and winning a race. And I loved winning medals and setting records. But most of all, I loved relays. Nothing can match the thrill of stepping on the starting blocks with three teammates behind you. Nothing can match the thrill of inching up swimmer-by-swimmer on a team everyone thought was unbeatable. And nothing can beat standing on an awards podium with three of your best friends!
My high school coach instilled in me the importance and value of teamwork as well as the desire to be a successful relay team member.

My love for relays stayed with me in college. I loved relays so much that I forfeited one of my individual events at conference and national championships so I could participate on all FIVE of our team's relays.

I believe my dedication and success as a relay swimmer will serve me well on a Hood to Coast relay team. I know how to race well while others are depending on me and at the same time, how to encourage my teammates to be the best that they can be. I am also an expert in relay exchanges (with years and years of experience). I'm willing to coach my teammates through exchange drills and practice exercises to give us the best exchanges of any team at Hood to Coast.

I also love wearing matching outfits with my teammates and hope to contribute some matching style to the Nuun Hood to Coast relay teams.

Chapter 3: You Must Work Hard

My career as a competitive swimmer came to an unexpected end in mid-February 2000. Three weeks before I planned to close out a stellar 13 year swimming career at the NCAA Championships, I found out I did not swim fast enough to even qualify for the meet.
This was a meet I had qualified for - in multiple events - for three straight years.

I was heartbroken, disappointed, humiliated, humbled, and so stinking mad at myself.

On the surface, my heartache and anger were the result of not qualifying for my final national championships. Deep down, in my gut, I knew I had no one to blame but myself. I knew I could have trained harder. I knew I should have pushed myself harder. I knew I should have been swimming faster; lifting more weights; and not cutting a single corner.

But I did.

And it cost me my final trip to the NCAA swimming championships.

It never occurred to me that I wouldn't qualify for nationals a fourth time. And so I trained as if qualifying would magically happen. I definitely didn't train like someone who wanted to earn a spot at the national championships.

And, I didn't qualify.

The afternoon I found out my swimming career was over (cut disappointingly short), I vowed to never cut corners again; to never assume I could get what I wanted without hard work and dedication.

I promised myself that I would work hard - in every aspect of my life - from that moment forward. I promised myself that I would be dedicated and fully committed to living my life. No short cuts; no resting on my laurels; no pretending to work hard.

So work hard I did.

Chapter 4: Transitioning from Sprinter to Endurance Athlete

Post-college, I did some running and swimming to stay in shape and maintain my weight. In 2003, a friend asked me to join his team for the Columbus Day 10K in Washington DC. Craving to be part of a team again, I immediately said yes. I remember crossing the finish line of that race - with teammates cheering me on - and I knew I had fallen in love with racing again.
The following spring, I joined Team in Training and completed my first triathlon.

There was no doubt that I had officially caught the endurance race bug.

In March 2005, my then-boyfriend, D, suggested that we train for the Marine Corps Marathon together. We trained long and hard together. We even got engaged during one of our long training runs in September!

As we toed the starting line of my first marathon, I found myself full of nervous energy. Here I was: a former swimmer, who never raced more than 200 yards at a time, ready to take on the marathon. I was well trained, focused, determined, and so stinking proud of myself.

D and I finished the race TOGETHER in a little under five hours. It wasn't pretty. In addition to all the normal aches and pains associated with running a marathon, I had fallen near mile 21. I was cut and bruised and an absolute mess.

And I could not wait to do it again...

Chapter 5: Finding Balance

Since completing my first marathon, my life has changed dramatically. Five months after the Marine Corps Marathon, I got married. A year and a half later, I began a PhD program. I had my first baby a year after that. I completed my PhD in September 2011. Seventeen days after my defense, I gave birth to my son. I also started a job as a full-time professor in the fall of 2011. (Do you see why I didn't apply for the 2011 Nuun HTC relay?!?)
In the midst of all of that, I have completed three more marathons, several half marathons, and a handful of races of different lengths.

I do nothing half-way. I set goals and then accomplish them.

I strive to be the best wife, mom, professor, researcher, friend, and athlete that I can be.

I do this by setting goals, establishing priorities, making time for the important things in life (e.g., bike rides with my daughter, spinning classes, long weekend runs, time with my husband, cuddling with my new baby), and staying well fueled and hydrated (with Nuun, of course - I have my water bottle with me at ALL TIMES).

I have found that I am performing at my best when I am training for a big event, have scheduled activities for me and the kids, and am actively encouraging others to be the best that they can be. As you can see, I am actively encouraging my daughter to lead a healthy, active lifestyle - through activities and by setting an example.

I am a focused and fearless working mom of two.

I want to share my love of teamwork, relays, hard work, determination, and running with other women at the Hood to Coast Relay. I am also a PhD epidemiologist, who would love to conduct scientific studies (pro bono, mind you) to demonstrate the value of staying well hydrated with Nuun while running Hood to Coast (my research plan is currently in draft form). I believe combining work (research) and pleasure (running) helps me to maintain balance and consistency in my life.


I hope my epic tale will include running Hood to Coast with Nuun in August 2012.

This application for the Hood to Coast Relay Team as well as Nuun (both the drink and the water bottles) have been approved by me and my family!

Saturday, March 31, 2012


This morning we took off for some family fun in Rock Creek Park. Not much makes K happier than running water. We spent most of our time throwing stones into the creek and watching a mommy and daddy mallard swimming. We also did a little bit of hiking/running. C just tagged along in the ergo.

The rainbow dress K is wearing has become her favorite. She's worn it for more than 24 hours now.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


These are my new running shoes.

I completely forgot that they were black and pink (not blue and pink like I mentioned in my last post). I bought these shoes on super-sale at Christmas time and put them in the back of my closet until they were needed. When I busted them out a couple of days ago, I realized I completely forgot what they looked like.

Blue or black... I love the way these shoes look.

I went out for a 2.5 mile walk with my favorite two little people on Tuesday to break these shoes in.

I really like how minimal the shoes are. I like feeling my feet on the pavement; as opposed to on an air-filled cushion. I also really like how these shoes look. They are striking!

That said, the side of my left foot hurt while I was out walking in these shoes. Most likely I tied the shoes too tight and my foot just wasn't comfortable. But I am going to be take it easy/slow breaking these shoes in. I'm planning to get an 8 mile run in today - and I'm going to wear an older pair of shoes. I don't want to hurt myself or injury my foot.

Time will tell if these shoes feel as great as they look...


On a completely different note, I won a copy of Train Like a Mother from the wonderful folks at Marathon Mommies. Yeah me!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Good-bye, old friends.

It is time to say good-bye to these shoes. 

These shoes have been with me for quite some time. I bought them the summer I started training for the Philly marathon. We've spent a lot of time together. Miles and miles together - through Rock Creek Park, all around Washington DC, into Virginia, around Baltimore. 

I also wore this guys throughout my pregnancy with C. I wore them until the day they stopped fitting (when my feet were too swollen to get into them).

I then put these shoes back on in November when I started to get my run back. I wore them throughout my training for the DC RnR 1/2.

They have been good shoes to me.

We went out together for one last muddy, wet run yesterday. 

When I hit the pavement for my next run, I'll be wearing a bright blue pair of kicks with pink trim. They are spectacular.

Thank you, yellow Nikes, for so many amazing runs together.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I love DC in the spring - cherry blossoms, sunshine, warm weather and memorials.