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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


After running a solid half marathon this past weekend, I couldn't help but to plug my time into the McMillan Running Pace Calculator to see what kind of time I could expect if I trained for a marathon.

The results were satisfying.

Basically, this means if I can retain the same level of fitness and train for a marathon with the same speed and determination that I trained for the half I am capable of running a 4:00:26 marathon.

When I saw this one thought ran (no pun intended) through my head:

Running a sub-4 hour marathon this year (either NYC or Richmond) is totally doable.

There you have it --- my reach goal for 2012... to run a sub-4 hour marathon.

My plan at this point in time is to maintain my level of fitness throughout the spring so that when I start training for my marathon in the early part of the summer I'll have a good base - mileage and speed-wise.

My fall 2012 marathon is going to be EPIC.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Fans of endurance races and racers, alike, tend to have great senses of humor. The signs of encouragement and statements made on t-shirtsoften make me smile, and sometimes even laugh out loud.

My favorite sign EVER was displayed at the Philly Marathon in 2010. It read:

That's not sweat. It's your fat cells crying. 

This cracked me up to no end. Nothing like laughing out loud at mile 22.

The DC RnR half marathon was also full of wonderful signs and t-shirts. Prior to reaching our start corral on Saturday morning we saw a woman wearing this shirt (only in neon yellow).

Love it!

Some of the other memorable signs along the course included:

  • You run better than metro! 
  • Kiss me I'm Irish. And single.
  • You make a better running mate than Joe Biden.
  • Toenails are for sissies.
There was also a guy standing just steps away from the starting line yelling, "Twenty-six more miles to go! You've got this." I appreciated his wicked sense of humor. And there was a lady along the course dressed in costume as a container of mustard. She had a sign, but I was too distracted by the costume to read it. I imagine the sign was funny because you need to have a sense of humor to dress up like a mustard container for a race not remotely close to Halloween

Finally, mad props goes to the family and friends who set up a BUBBLE MACHINE along K Street in NE. There is something special about running through bubbles on your way to an epic half marathon finish.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Five months and fives days ago, I looked like this:

Nine months, one week pregnant.

Pregnant with a 9 pound 4 oz baby.

Thirty-five (possibly 40) pounds heavier than normal.

Swollen to the point where my rings didn't fit. My watch didn't fit. I didn't have ankles. I only had one pair of shoes that fit. And that pair of shoes was a size bigger than I usually wear.

I was large.

Walking with K to the park was strenuous. And that walk was four blocks long.

After C's birth, I wasn't sure I'd ever get back into shape again. Unlike my postpartum experience with K, my experience with C sucked. Losing the baby weight has not been easy or fast. My incision has hurt and one of the internal stitches took an incredibly long time to dissolve. As excited as I was to get back to running, I was just as nervous. What if I couldn't get back into pre-pregnancy form? Would I be able to run half and full marathons again? Would I be able to keep a respectable pace? Would my cute running skirt from Lucy ever fit again?

My questions and doubts were too many to count.

I got back to running six weeks after C's birth. It was hard. It wasn't pretty. My cute running clothes didn't fit. I did more runs than I can count in loose fitting yoga pants from Target.

But I ran.

By Christmas I was running five miles at a time. After New Year's I started seriously training for a half marathon. At first, long runs were brutal. But slowly - step by step - it became easier. The runs got longer and my pace got faster. I was consistently able to run 10+ mile training runs at a 9:00/mile pace. The thought of completing a sub-2 hour half marathon five months after giving birth crossed my mind.

After weeks of training, I found myself toeing the starting line at the DC Rock n Roll half marathon yesterday morning.

I knew I had enough endurance to finish the race.

I thought I could finish in less than two hours.

Secretly, I wanted a PR.

My fastest (and only) half marathon to date was the 2010 Pittsburgh half where I finished in 1:58.

So with my new socks and shirt and my lucky running skirt (it now fits!), I got ready to run.

I started the race with D.

About 1/2 a mile into the race, he sprinted off ahead of me. I put my headphones in and started to run. I tried not to look at my Garmin and run by feel.

At mile two, I took a peak at my wrist and saw an 8:30 pace. Oh.crap.

Could I sustain that pace for an entire 13 miles? When we were running up the killer hill on CT Ave, I thought I might quit. Obviously hills were not part of my training plan and I was not prepared for the uphills on the course. But I put my head down and kept running. I looked at my watch every now and then. And realized that sustaining a sub-9:00 per mile pace for the entire 13.1 miles was possible.

By mile 11 I was ready to be finished.

But I kept running.

With less than a mile to go, I realized I was going to PR.

I was relieved to see the finish line. I crossed it with a smile on my face and hit the stop button on my Garmin. And this is what I saw...


Watch out world! This running mama is back and is running better than ever.

I'm already planning my training plan for a sub-1:50 half marathon.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Yesterday I spent the greater part of my afternoon is Starbucks grading mid-term exams. Fifty-one 15 page exams. It was a l-o-n-g process.

The stack of exams pictured here is only a third of those graded.

After I finished grading exams, I put my computer away along with my papers and did some reading (not pleasure; work, but it was enjoyable). A young lady sat down next to me with her plate of hummos, veggies, and pita bread. We shared some pleasantries and then both started reading.

About 15 minutes later, her phone rang and she excitedly talked to the individual on the other end. After hanging up, she shared with me that she had just returned from San Francisco (on the red-eye) after a job interview. The phone call she had just ended was from the company she had interviewed with and they offered her the job. She was so excited. She explained that she HATED her current job and was so excited to resign. Her new job was as a guide on week-long bicycle trips around the globe.

Her first assignments were to take her to France and the southwestern United States.

She was so excited.

And I was so happy that she just shared it with me - a complete stranger. It was joyful being joyful with her. After sharing my congratulations, she stepped outside to call her mom and dad and share her good news.

So to you, new job girl, congratulations! May your bike tours be full of joy. And thank you for sharing your joy with me. It was contagious! 


Portrait of Grandma by K. Commissioned and completed March 9, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Last week the stomach flu (quite possibly the norovirus) came to our house. Unwelcomed.

K woke up from her nap on Friday afternoon screaming. Unfortunately, waking up in such a manner is not unusual for her. D went upstairs to talk with her about her behavior (let's wake up happy, ok?) only to find her covered in vomit. She must have started throwing up in her sleep and then decided to walk across her room while throwing up. She was covered and so was her room. D did the heavy lifting and cleaned the bed, wall, and carpet. I sat with my little sicky in the hall by the bathroom.

At three years of age, K now knows when she is going to throw up. She successfully threw up three more times Friday afternoon into the toilet. At the end of said throw ups, her stomach was empty and the vomiting stopped. She was not feeling better, but at least could lay down somewhere other than the bathroom floor or in the hallway. We decided to move into our bedroom where we watched The Sound of Music and just relaxed.

We put her to bed early - tired, thirsty, dehydrated and still feeling awful. About 45 minutes after she fell asleep, I decided to go to bed - expecting it might be a long night for all of us. As I approached the steps, I thought I heard someone in the hall. When I got upstairs, K was in the hallway sandwiched in between a laundry basket and the open door to our linen closet. She was crying.

When I asked her what happened, she sobbed, "I couldn't make it to the bathroom in time."

I asked, "Did you throw up in your bed."

She replied, "No. I have... poop."

Poor thing had awful diarrhea. AWFUL. So bad that she needed to take a shower. I whisked her off to the bathroom and D started another load of laundry.

K took a nice long shower. When finished she asked if she could lay down in our bedroom so that I could be there with her. Of course I let her. She was very still and calm for about 15 minutes. Then she started to get restless and uncomfortable. One minute later she was throwing up water all over our bed. Turns out she was so thirsty during her shower she drank some water. And it all came back up. After throwing up, she was so tired she laid back down - right in all of her watery vomit.


D suggested I take care of K - get her changed, dry-wash her hair, and get her back to bed in her room. He took care of the sheets. Another load of laundry to do. And some pillows that needed to be washed and Febrezed. I got her back to sleep, and thankfully, it was the last tuck-in of the night. She woke up on Saturday feeling ok - not much of an appetite, sick to her stomach, dehydrated, and very low energy. We spent most of Saturday laying around; watching The Sound of Music for the second time in 24 hours.

By the time Saturday night rolled around, she was feeling much better. I fully expected us to be back to normal by Sunday morning. (I can be so stupid)

C woke up around 2am on Sunday morning. He appeared to just be hungry. As I was getting ready to nurse him, I laid him down on the bed for a brief second. When I picked him up he puked all over me. I yelled to D to get a towel (or two) and by the time he returned C had thrown up again. He then proceeded to dry heave several times - demonstrating that his stomach had been completely emptied. I then rocked him back to sleep and made sure he was sleeping on his side in his crib. Thankfully he and K slept until a normal waking hour after this.

D got up with K on Sunday morning and made her breakfast, which she proceeded to throw up. Probably the result of a little too much food too soon. I nursed C and put him back to bed and then proceeded to go back to bed myself. We all stayed inside all day on Sunday.

Around dinner time on Sunday, all of K's imaginary friends returned. She started telling us endless stories about her dance class (which is imaginary) and we knew she was back - in fine form and over the illness. C was holding down milk and aside from some diarrhea and being a little cranky and tired was doing well. I, unfortunately, felt a little discomfort in my stomach. By the time K was in bed Sunday night, I knew I was going to be sick. I went to bed at 9:15 hoping that some extra sleep would keep the vomits and the 'rhea away. I slept for about two hours before waking up and feeling oh-so sick.

I laid in bed for nearly an hour willing myself not to throw up. I believe I would have succeeded but the diarrhea got the best of me. I yelled to D to get me a bucket set up in the bathroom. When I was ready, I made a mad dash to the bathroom - only to have the vomits and the 'rhea at THE.SAME.TIME.

I was living out one of my worst nightmares.

I was in the bathroom for what seemed like an eternity. I went back to bed (after brushing my teeth) and was woken up by a screaming, hungry C less than an hour later. I nursed him (further dehydrating my poor sick self) and got him back to bed. We all slept until morning.

K got off to school on Monday. I stayed home with C. D worked a half day and then returned home to care for me, C, and K. I showered and left home around 3:30pm - with gatorade and saltines in hand - to go to school to administer a mid-term exam. It was a miserable experience. I was aching from head to toe and feeling dehydrated and sick all at once.

The exam ended late at night and I drove home. I woke C, fed him, and then raced off to bed. By Tuesday morning we were all feeling much better. The sickness had truly left our house.

D avoided most of the illness. He had a little bit of an upset stomach late Monday night, but it didn't amount to much.

We estimate that we did a total of nine loads of laundry as a result of the virus. And three onesies were lost to the diarrhea.

We are all SO thankful that it was only a 24-36 hour bug and that it swept through our house quickly.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The past couple of weeks have rocked me to the core. 

Between a nasty stomach bug, drama at work, and a fractured relationship I feel like my life has been turned upside down. After much crying, complaining, thinking, and laundry (yes, more than 10 loads to laundry this past weekend), I have lost my focus.

I’ve been a mess the past few days (read: week) - I just started eating normally yesterday afternoon. I’m not sleeping because my mind is going a 100 miles a minute. I’m freaking out that being stressed is going to decrease my milk supply. So I am worrying about that, which increases my stress and potentially deceases my supply. VICIOUS CIRCLE.

I’m sick of all the drama. I’m sick of the fact that there are instances where the person who screams the loudest and is the meanest tends to be the one who is heard.

All of these circumstances have caused me to lose focus.

And that feels awful - which is adding more awful to my life.

Yesterday I had a pity party for myself - three actually. Once driving to work (which ended with me crying in my car for a long time), the second in the office of a wonderful colleague, and the third last night on the phone with a friend. This morning I woke up feeling slightly better - both emotionally and physically (I believe the sickness is officially out of our house -- no more diarrhea or vomiting). I got off to work this morning on-time and attended my lunchtime spinning class.

While walking over to the gym I decided I was done with it all.

I am done letting other people’s opinions of me define who I am. I am done feeling sorry for myself. I am done letting the drama keep me from getting my work done. I am done trying to control the people, things and circumstances in my life that I cannot control.

And with that in mind I went spinning.

And I spun hard. Four killer hills. And a 3 minute sprint at the end.

I left all of my frustration, disappointment, confusion, hurt, embarrassment on the bike.

I walked out of the gym with new perspective and new focus.

I went back to my office and printed the following message and tacked it to my bulletin board.
Photo credit
I am going to choose happiness. 

The circumstances in my life, at work, and with friends, colleagues and family members may be hard or even painful. But I am going to choose to see the good things in my life. And to focus on them.

I’m going to focus on me. My future. My goals. My dreams. My loves.

And with that in mind, I am going to spend some time each day for the next week keeping track of all the happinesses in my life. I’m going to keep a happiness journey to help me to be mindful of my choice to choose happiness. Each day for the next week (and possibly beyond) I am going to write down at least three happy events, people, situations, dreams, etc... in my life.

Here’s to a new focus and a week full of happiness.

Happiness journal for today...

Today I am happy that:

1. I have a wonderful husband who prepared and packed lunch and dinner for me this morning.

2. I have a wonderful friend in Richmond, VA who texted me all day to be sure I was doing ok.

3. Next week is spring break.

4. A colleague heard a group of students talking about how much they enjoyed my class.

5. I got to FaceTime with D & K during dinner this evening. If I cannot be there with them, I’m glad Apple allows me to easily join them remotely.