The Marine Corps Marathon

Oh, hi blogging world! It’s been awhile. I would explain my hiatus, but who cares? I’m back.

I did something pretty awesome this weekend. I outran a hurricane. No joke!

The forecasters were going back and forth about hurricane Sandy all week leading up to the big race on Sunday. Some stations were calling for DC to get pounded on Sunday and others were saying the weather would hold off until Monday. I was crossing my fingers, toes, hair, eyes (ANYTHING) that we would be dry for race day.

I was REALLY anxious for this race. Even though this was my third marathon, I had a lot of [self-imposed] pressure to do well. I trained harder for this marathon than for my last two and had high hopes for a PR. My family and some friends were coming out since it was a local race, so I didn’t want to make a fool of myself (not that anyone would judge me for running a bit slower- 26.2 is quite an accomplishment no matter how fast you run it). Still, I wanted to beat my previous PR of 4:49:34. At the expo, I also heard that Oprah ran the race back in 1994 and knocked it out of the park with a 4:29 finish. I just HAD to beat Oprah. I was hopeful, but anxious.

Race morning started at 5:00 am when my alarm blared. I was actually able to catch some sleep despite my anxiety so I was feeling refreshed and energized…yes, even at 5 am. Unfortunately, my friend Brook (who was supposed to run as well) caught a cold a few days before the race, so she couldn’t make it. Luckily, I have an awesome boyfriend who was willing to sacrifice some zzzz’s, and whom I forced volunteered to accompany me to the starting line.

The metro (which is within walking distance to my apartment) opened early for runners and was extremely convenient for getting us to the starting line on time. Once we got off the train at Pentagon, it was a longer walk than I expected (probably about a mile) to the start. We got there with plenty of time for a porta-potty break and bag check, and then proceeded to the corrals.

Still dark, so early!

Jim was able to stay with me until literally 5 minutes before the race, which was great because otherwise I would have been a nervous wreck (although, if you ask him, I already was…) I started in the 4:30 – 5:00 corral which was probably a mistake. I underestimated how crowded the course was going to be and wished I had started with a faster group. When the gun sounded, it took about 10 minutes to reach the actual starting line. There were masses and masses of runners. However, this was one of my favorite parts of the whole race. I high-fived no less than 10 Marines who all wished me luck as I thanked them for their service, it was awesome and touching!

Prior to the race, I had glanced at the course map once or twice so I knew the first few miles were hilly. I trained on hills, so I was confident. I felt really strong going uphill, but going down was causing some side-cramps, which I assumed was due to my poor carbo-loading the day before. My stomach was doing some weird things during the first 5 miles and I was nervous that I was going to have to stop and walk. Around mile 4 I felt my first blister forming. <– I know, mile 4….REALLY?! I ran the first 10k in 1:02:09, exactly a 10:00/mile pace.

I knew this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I pushed on. Miles 6-15 were all a blur. The race was so crowded that I was weaving in and out of runners, which I never enjoy but I started to feel strong and wanted to go faster. We ran through Georgetown and around the Lincoln Memorial. I looked for Jim and my parents around mile 11 but didn’t see them. It kind of bummed me out, but I pushed on in hopes that I would see them around mile 16. We ran around a peninsula where we hit the half-way point and the crowds began to thin out a bit. I still wanted to go faster, but decided I should save some juice for the last half of the race. My pace for 20k was 9:48, I was trucking along!

I was to thankful to get off that peninsula and back into the city. I saw Jim and my parents near mile 17 and almost tackled them I was so excited. I was still feeling great at this point and only stopped long enough to give them all hugs and continued on my way. A few yards later I saw my co-worker, Amy, who cheered me on. I get so pumped up when I see people I know, there is no greater feeling than having friends there to support you.

Miles 17-19 were awesome because we ran along the National Mall. This was where my legs started to feel heavy, so I was thankful for the touristy distraction. By the 30k mark I was running at a 9:42 pace, hello negative splits!

Miles 20-24 were rough. Like, really, really rough. I wanted it to be over. All I could think about was drinking a beer and eating a bacon cheeseburger. I tried to tell myself, “The rest is cake, you run further than that EVERYDAY.” But, my mind-games weren’t working, I kept countering myself with, “Yeah, but you also don’t run 20 miles before it.” I tried to zone out and listen to music, I’m sure everyone loved hearing me sing along to BBMak (remember them?!). Running makes you do strange things.

Around 40k my pace slowed down a bit to a 9:52 min/mile, this was okay with me. I quickly realized that I was not only going to beat my PR, I was going to absolutely crush it. My super secret goal (really, I think I only told one person) was to break 4:30. That would require knocking 20 minutes off my previous PR time. Once I hit mile 25, I knew I had it in the bag and thought I might even have a chance to break 4:20. I went for it!

That last mile was EXCRUCIATING. I just kept saying, “Less than a mile, you can do it. Less than a mile.” But my legs barely believed me. I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other, because that’s all my body could handle. My friend Meredith spotted me at 25.5 and cheered as loud as she could. I was sooooo excited to see her and my adrenaline kicked in hard, seeing her meant I was almost done.

My friend Colin snapped this picture of me approaching the finish line. Look at the sheer PAIN on my face.

As I rounded the last corner, I saw my mom and up a few yards were my dad and Jim cheering me on. I don’t think I’ve ever been more thankful to see them. From my experience running the 10k race a few years back, I knew the course ended on a painful uphill. Those jerks! I gave it my last bit of energy, encouraged the people around me, and sprinted (or what I felt was sprinting) through the finish line with a 4:19:52 finish!!

Not only did I beat my previous PR, but I beat it by 30 whole minutes. ANNND I beat Oprah! The best part about it all? Absolutely perfect racing conditions and not even one drop of rain. Someone was looking out for us!

After the race I found my walking, talking marathon support kit and he gave me my cell phone and Ibuprofen (sooo necessary):

Meredith also found us after the race, I thanked her probably no less than 1,000 times for coming out!

And my amazing family whom, I swear, didn’t even plan to all wear the same shirt but did anyway!!

Post-race, we ended up walking about a mile (uphill) to the Courthouse metro station, since the line for Rossyln literally wrapped around the block. Once we finally caught a train, we headed into Chinatown for an early dinner at Clyde’s where I finally got a bacon cheeseburger and a beer. Yum!

I seriously can’t thank everyone who supported me in this race enough- from being there in person, to text and facebook messages, your words of encouragement were felt. Having friends and family out there cheering for you is the greatest feeling for a runner. Each of you helped me get through at least one mile of this course. So, seriously, thank you!

Another epic 26.2 in the books!

Why Runners are Misunderstood

We runners are a breed of our own. We enjoy crazy things like taking an ice bath after an 18-mile long run. It’s great to be surrounded by a community who understands those tendencies; however, 90% of my friends are non-runners. If I had a nickel for every time someone gave me a strange look while I was talking about running habits, I’d be at LEAST a thousand-aire by now!

(Source)

Here are some helpful tips for our non-marathon-running friends to better understand us:

When I talk about the various races I’ve done in the past, I’m not bragging.

Runners love to talk about races. LOVE IT! Put a couple of runners in the same room, and we could go on for hours and hours because it’s something we can connect with on all levels. So many of us have run the same ones, so it’s fun to talk about things like “can you believe how crowded the course was, I was weaving in and out the whole time!”, “I can’t believe they charged $60 for entry and didn’t even give a medal!”, and “Really, who decided it was a good idea to have the bag check 6 blocks away from the starting line?!” I’m telling you, I could talk about races for hours, but I’m not trying to brag. I don’t even pretend to be a seriously hardcore speedy racer, because I’m not.

The same holds true when I mention I’m training for a marathon.

No, really. I’m not bragging. I’m actually giving you an excuse for why I am always tired and limping. But, bragging, I am not.

I might tell you that I need to go to bed at 9pm on a Saturday night.

And it’s totally true, I do. Especially during the hot summer months, when I need to get up super early to run way too many miles before it reaches 105 degrees. Knowing that I’m not a morning person (and that I need at least 8 hours of sleep), an early bedtime is my only hope for actually getting out of bed. It’s not an excuse to get out of hanging out! Seriously, you try getting up at 6am to run 18 miles after staying up past midnight and drinking. Yeah, get back to me on that.

I plan my life around my training schedule.

I don’t plan my training schedule around my life. It sucks, but sometimes I can’t do certain things or go certain places because I know I have to fit in those miles. Don’t take it personally, I’d much rather be hanging out with you!

I can’t go out for tapas the night before a race, sorry!

Gonna need something more substantial, like pasta.

I’m going to talk your ear off about all things training and racing, NOT sorry!

Running is my hobby. It takes a lot of time, sacrifice, and dedication. So I’m going to talk about it, I want to talk about it, and I want you to want to hear about it. I love it all from the blisters turned callous to the runny-nose snot rockets. It’s part of my favorite sport, so don’t be surprised if I go on for 15 minutes about my mid-race emergency porta-potty break. Don’t worry, you can get me back by talking my ear off for a few hours about sewing or video games, if you’re into that kind of stuff.

(Source)

In which ways is your favorite hobby misunderstood?

What’s In Your Wallet?

Let’s start this post the way I start out all of my posts.

I ran 16 miles this weekend. It sucked, but not nearly as badly as I thought it would. Marathon. Running. Blah, blah, blah.

It was hot as balls.

It’s always hot. You can go away now summer. Blah, blah, blah.

Post maniac-run chill pool time. Hey, I have a summer tan to maintain here.

Blah, blah, blah.

So, now that all the typical stuff is out of the way, I figured I’d go in a different direction with today’s post.

The other week, I was at lunch and pulled out my wallet. It was observed how much stuff I carry around in there on a daily basis, half of which I don’t even need. I’m pretty sure that if “Carrying Random Crap in Your Wallet” was an Olympic competition, I’d win the gold medal. This sparked a conversation about all the random things we carry around in our wallets. Strangely enough, I think my wallet gives a bit of insight into who I am, so I thought I’d share.

Meet my wallet. It’s Coach, and I got for Christmas a year ago. I love it!

Here is a broad peek inside. I’d describe it as organized clutter, which goes along with my style perfectly. My room may look a little cluttered, but everything has a place and, trust me, I know where everything is.

You will rarely ever find me with any cash. So, for the most part, this side compartment remains empty. I’m just so poor!

In the front card organizer, I have my most used/most important cards: ID, debit card, credit cards, AAA card, and health insurance card.

In the middle pouch, I have random change (mostly pennies since the quarters, dimes, and nickels typically go into paying metered parking, grrr) and some coupons to Smoothie King. I do looove my smoothies! Oh, and $10 off The Melting Pot which I completely forgot I had. Who wants fondue!?

The back card organizer is where things start to get a little random. I have a Blockbuster card (are they even in business anymore?), my Rockville Sports ID (where I don’t play anymore), an empty (I think) rebate card from Acuvue, my CVS Extra Care Card, 1 expired Disney World Park Pass (from my marathon in Jan 2011), and 1 expired Disney World hotel key (from the same trip).

There’s a mini, hidden compartment in the back of my wallet. This is where everything else goes and the randomness continues. There’s a VCU basketball ticket, an old picture of Brook and me, a Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball ticket, a John Mayer ticket stub, a Foo Fighters ticket stub, 2 JMU Football tickets (one for the Virginia Tech game <– best game EVER!!), a few business cards (including my bartender from Babes, my tattoo guy, a cabbie, and Jim…I don’t know why I have his business card), and finally, a Magic the Gathering playing card. WHO KNOWS why I carry this around with me? It’s been on my person since middle school when a friend of mine gave me the card as a joke, and ever since then I’ve always carried it in my wallet. So random.

Anyway, you should see the card holder I keep attached to my key ring. There are football tickets and flyers in there from 2005, I kid you not.

What’s in YOUR wallet?

Marathon vs Social Life

Finding time to train for a marathon is tough. I don’t know about you, but I am by no means running at Olympic speeds here, so when I have an 18 mile run on my docket, I need to portion out a solid half-day to knock it out. All of my long runs tend to fall on weekends which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because I don’t have to worry about it interfering with work, but a curse in that most of my family and closest friends live out of town. Since I am traveling almost every weekend, finding time to fit in my long runs has proven to be challenging.

You read A LOT about my social life on here, because I love doing fun things. If I don’t have plans, I tend to go stir crazy! Yet, I still need to run if I want to make it through my 26.2 in October without keeling over. Finding a balance between fun and serious training is difficult, but necessary.

Here some tips that I have implemented to ensure that I’m still training even on weekends where I am busy having fun:

Get a GPS Watch

I debated buying a GPS watch for years and years. I am SO glad that I finally have. A GPS watch is absolutely necessary for anyone who loves to both run and travel. I can literally run in any city now! I love that this watch tells me how far I’ve gone since I have to hit certain mile markers for each of my long runs. For example, I recently used this watch while at the beach. It’s so refreshing to run on the beach in the morning before it burns off. All I had to do was turn on my watch, run until I hit half of my distance, then turn around and run back to my hotel. Perfect!

Pack Your Running Shoes

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually a really helpful tip. If I bring my running shoes with me, I am more likely to go for a run (instead of having that last cocktail) just because I went through the effort to pack them in the first place. I hate wasting space in my bag, so I better use them if I brought them. Simple, but effective!

Plan Ahead

I love to be spontaneous. Really, I do! But, training for a marathon makes that tough. Making last minute plans is something I’m willing to give up (until October) for my own sanity. These days, I need to have my days planned out far in advance to make sure I fit everything in. I generally try to not make plans to go out the night before a long run, drinking + no sleep + 16 miles on the schedule = not happening. I can’t do it all!

Fuel Correctly

(Source)

Everyone always talks about how important it is to fuel your body correctly the night before a big race, but what about fueling correctly the night before a long run? It is just as important to eat the right foods during training as it is on the big day, so I try to be very careful to eat well(-ish) before all runs. Have you ever eaten a huge burger and fries the night before a 12 mile morning run? No? Well, take my word for it…that thing will sit in your stomach like a pound of bricks and you will NOT be comfortable. Avoid greasy, heavy foods and alcohol before long runs. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.

Don’t Eat Back All Your Calories

In addition to my last point about fuel, it’s important to avoid eating back all the calories you just burned…PLUS some!. This is something I have always struggled with, and is a common issue for many marathon runners. The mentality becomes, “Well, I just ran 15 miles, so I can eat WHATEVER I WANT TODAY!” Not true. I love to go out to eat, especially when I’m traveling and visiting my friends in different cities. Running gives me an excuse to order the least healthy (but most delicious) thing on the menu. Try to resist!

Remember to Have FUN!

Don’t get so sucked into marathon training that you don’t have a social life at all. Go out with friends, travel, visit new places, try new foods, and enjoy life! When I’m visiting friends, I try to get them in on the action too. Even if they are only willing to run 3 miles with me, that’s better than nothing. It’s always more fun to run with friends than by yourself! And you know what, enjoy that occasional margarita and don’t feel bad about it. Chances are…you’ve earned it!

How do YOU balance fitness goals with your social life?

A Very Merry…4th of July?

Obviously, I’m getting all of my holidays crossed. I wanted to wish everyone a “merry” 4th of July yesterday, I think I’m going to make that a thing. Regardless, happy birthday America!

Yesterday, since I had the day off from work, and they had the day off as well, I spent the day at my parent’s house. I know, I know, I spend a lot of time with my family. I started my 4th of July out right (at 7am! Ah!) with an 8-mile run around the neighborhood.

This is my first week of marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I have a schedule that I’ve drawn out for myself and so far I’m sticking to it. I’ve already run 20 miles this week and let me tell you, my legs feel it! I probably should have been more consistent with my running for the past 2 months. Live and learn, right?

Anyway, after a ridiculously sweaty run, I took a breather while my dad made us pancakes for breakfast. I don’t even remember the last time I had a pancake, but they were SO good! I swear every single house on the block must have been cooking bacon at 7am when I started my run because I kept getting whiffs of the delicious scent. I think I finished my run that much faster just so that I could get home and request it. Will run for bacon! <– someone put that on a t-shirt for me, please.

After breakfast, I “assisted” my dad with changing my car’s oil. By “assisting”, I obviously mean that I played on my phone and handed him tools while he did all the dirty work. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Then, my dad got dinner in the smoker! He bought a smoker last year and we’ve been using it non-stop. He does smoked chicken, salmon, ribs, etc. But my favorite is the smoked brisket which is what we had last night. He spices it up with a marinade and then lets it sit in the smoker for hours and hours until it basically falls apart. Mmmmm, so good!

Once we got dinner started, there was more work to be done. Washing the cars! Once again, I “assisted”, meaning I was in charge of the hose and spraying the cars down while my dad did the tough scrubbing work. Washing cars is my least favorite chore of all time. My life is so hard. As my dad says, “At least we have the choice whether or not to do it. But, someone needs to do the work.” (he says this all the time) Thanks America!

The heat became too much for me to handle. So then this happened for a few hours:

They joined:

For the record, yes, that is a kiddie pool that we have on our deck. It’s huge and can easily fit 3 adults…probably even 4 if we tried! I highly recommend that every adult own a kiddie pool. Best. Idea. Ever.

Once I decided that I’d had enough of the sun, I went inside for a bit of mead tasting! My family has recently become obsessed with mead, which I definitely don’t mind. It’s a sweet honey-wine with a strong alcohol content. Trust me when I say that a small glass of this stuff packs a pretty strong punch!

After some delicious mead, dinner was finally ready! Smoked brisket, onion potatoes, and CORN ON THE COB (my favorite food EVER!…for right now).

For dessert, WATERMELON!

This was the juiciest slice of watermelon I’ve ever had. My mom bought a whole melon so I think my family will be eating the leftovers for like 3 days straight. I hope they like fruit!

The only thing missing from this holiday were the fireworks. I saw a few shows going on from the highway on my drive home, but most places around the area cancelled their shows due to the insane storms we’ve been having and the excessive heat that seriously just won’t go away. Heat is such a party pooper.

Happy 4th of July! Did you get to see any fireworks?

Becoming a Morning Person

I am NOT a morning person. In fact, when you take a mental image of what a morning person consists of, I am pretty much the exact opposite. I always joke that my internal alarm is set for 10am, but it’s true. When waking up, unprompted, by my own free-will, I will get up at almost exactly 10am every single time. Sometimes getting up at 7:30am for work is a serious struggle…I’m a big-time snoozer-till-8 kind of girl. I’ve been like this my whole life, and I just can’t kick the habit.

Typically, it’s not a huge problem. But lately…it has been. Why do you ask? Because of THIS:

It’s SO effing hot.

This weather has been seriously hindering my running schedule. The only time it’s even remotely bearable to step outside is at 6am, and even then it’s already 80 degrees! Personally, I think it would be unsafe and irresponsible for me to try to run after work in 97 degree heat. It’s just too hot and I’d risk exhaustion! Seriously, who decided to sign me up for a fall marathon? Why didn’t I think about the fact that I’d have to train for it in the dead heat of summer? Marine Corps Marathon, you will be the death of me!

So anyway, here’s my question to all of you morning people:

HOW do you turn yourself into a morning person?

(Source)

I get the whole go to bed early, wake up early concept. But in reality, that just doesn’t work for me. I go to bed at 9pm and STILL have trouble waking up at 8am. There was a stint in college where I actually did wake up every morning at 6am and go to the gym. I loved it, but I also hated it at the same time. When I graduated, that plan went totally out the window because I had to leave my house at 7am, which meant I had to get up at 4:45am to exercise, and that just wasn’t happening. I honestly feel like I could (and SHOULD) start getting up early now to exercise before work. But how?

Here’s exactly what happens when I try to wake up early:

  • At 10pm I set my alarm for 6am and get SUPER pumped about waking up early to run.
  • At 6am my alarm goes off and I feel groggy and far too comfortable in my bed.
  • Most of the time my stomach hurts (I’m probably just hungry) and I mentally decide that I’m just not ready to get up and move.
  • Reset my alarm for 7:30am.
  • Alarm goes off at 7:30am, but I could probably get another 30 minutes of sleep if I don’t dry my hair.
  • Decide that’s a great plan and reset my alarm for 8am.
  • Alarm goes off at 8am, snooze until 8:09. Sometimes even 8:18.
  • Reluctantly get out of bed.

I just don’t understand you morning people. Teach me your ways!

Happy National Running Day!

With no hesitation at all, I will admit that I’m a crazy runner.

When I found out that today was National Running Day I actually got a little giddy inside. I’m a weirdo, I know. I decided to celebrate by strapping on my best running shoes,

my favorite running t-shirt (sensing a color scheme here),

my new Garmin (it locates satellites super quick, btw),

and hitting the pavement for a glorious 4 mile stroll. Running = endorphins = happiness.

Today on RunningDay.org, there was a featured section on 10 Way to Celebrate National Running Day. I think they’re fun, so I figured I’d share!

(Source)

I’m working on a few of these:

#1- I love running because it’s my “me” time. It’s the 1 (or 5) hours a day that I have to gain clarity and remove myself from everything else going on in life. That being said, I run races solely for the beer at the end. True story!

#2- Race t-shirt. Check!

#5- I decided to run through Rock Creek Park today instead of my usual route down 16th street. Parks > Busy streets! Parks also = sketchy, so I don’t know how often I’ll be doing that.

#8- Today seems like a pretty good day to get my running goals in order for the Marine Corps Marathon coming up in October. Training schedule – Check!

#9- I hate the treadmill. So this is nothing new.

#10- Any ideas on how to treat yourself like a champion? I’m having shrimp pasta for dinner with my family. Yum!

Annnnnd since I work for Discovery and my friend posted this on my facebook wall, here are some do’s and don’ts of running via the Discovery website! Thanks Colin. 😉 [edited to add: Upon reading these closer, I’m not sure if I agree with all of them. Especially the ones about landing on your heel and the running shoes. Different discussion for a different day.]

How are you celebrating National Running Day?

Time Yourself

For the past few weeks, I’ve been debating back and forth about whether or not to invest in a Garmin (or other brand, doesn’t matter) running watch. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and I’m still at a stalemate, so I thought I’d see what you guys think.

I’ve never been one of those runners who cares much about time. I’ve always been a pretty average/moderately fast runner, but I never worked hard at making myself quicker. I always ran just to…run. Recently though, I’ve had dreams of increasing my speed. It all started a few weeks ago when I PRed at the Shamrock Half Marathon. I liked setting a goal (albeit a very loose goal, but still a goal nonetheless) and achieving it. I realize that if I do interval training and apply myself, I can (hopefully) make myself faster. My marathon times have been pretty mediocre thus far: close to 5 hours for both, and I’d like to improve GREATLY upon that time for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. If I can run a 1:55 half, I’m thinking that I should be able to run a 4:30 marathon. Easier said than done, of course. It’s going to take some tough interval training and I will have to start paying attention to time during long runs. Which is why I’m thinking about buying a Garmin watch.

(Source)

Pros of buying a Garmin:

  • Can finally time myself and figure out what my average pace is/should be.
  • Improve on my speed for the marathon.
  • Be more accurate in my distances. Right now I use google maps, and perhaps this isn’t the best judge of running distance.
  • With that, I can try some new running trails since I won’t have to map them out beforehand. This would be great in marathon training since I tend to get bored of the one I do everyday.
  • Be more of a “real” runner. Don’t all the real runners have these things?

Cons of buying a Garmin:

  • It’s expensive! Ahhhhh!!!
  • Will I become one of those people who is constantly looking at my wrist during races? And the anxiety that comes with that.
  • Clunky, extra weight.
  • Waiting for satellites, I’ve heard fun stories about this.
  • Will it take the fun out of running?

The big con that I’m worried about is that last one on the list. Will it take the fun out of my favorite sport? Thoughts? Should I get the watch or not?

I’ve got some time to figure out if this is a smart investment for me. No better place to contemplate such things than here, which may or may not have happened this weekend:

Happy (belated) Cinco de Mayo!

-ism’s

We all have “-ism’s”, as I like to call them. Those things about you that make you, you! I consider myself to be a quirky person. I’m not talking about the Zoey Deschanel kind of quirky, but more in the literal sense of the word: my personality has a lot of quirks in the form of weird habits, thoughts, and views on things. I like to call them Caitisms.

I try to let my personality shine through in most of my posts, but sometimes when talking about food, running, and whatnot, it can be difficult to show that. So, I figured what better way for you guys to get to know a bit more about me than to just list out random Caitisms.

25 Things You [Probably] Don’t Know About Me

1) I’ve woken up every single day this week with “Rack City” in my head. It’s a weird song to have stuck in your head first thing in the morning, but at the same time it kind of gets me amped up.

2) I generally hate talking on the phone. I find it to be SUPER awkward, just because you can’t see the person and their facial cues. I enjoy text messages though, which seems sort of backwards even to me.

3) I have a really, really good memory of faces, places, and events. If I meet you once, I will likely remember your name. I can also remember specifics of mostly any conversation I’ve had.

4) Crafting makes me happy. Sometimes I go a little overboard when someone approaches me about a possible craft project. For instance, I made this cool t-shirt for this weekend, so excited!

5) I’m a romantic, but I’m also a realist.

6) It makes me uncomfortable when someone I don’t know sits next to me in a movie theater, regardless of whether or not it’s crowded.

7) I hated high school with ever fiber of my being. It was the worst 4 years of my life and I’m so happy to be past that stage. Yet somehow, I managed to walk away with friends who I still see today!

8) I just discovered that I like oatmeal! As long as it has a big scoop of peanut butter in it.

9) I have lived in 4 different states: Pennsylvania, Washington, Virginia, and Maryland.

10) I genuinely like being a “real adult”, having a regular schedule, and regular working hours. I like my job and the company I work with, which I think is a big factor.

11) At the same time, I miss college. I ❤ JMU!

12) I am not typically attracted to men with super dark features (tall, dark, and handsome?). I think they look too similar to me!

13) Sometimes, I forget that I bought a particular clothing item and then find it in my closet months (or years!) later. It’s like shopping at home! That happened with the pants I’m wearing today:

14) I drink a TON of water. Probably 8-10 big cups (the picture below) a day. Still, I’m always dehydrated…

15) 3 years ago I thought running a half marathon was my greatest accomplishment in life. Now, I’ve run 2 full marathons and I’m relatively certain that even those aren’t my biggest accomplishments.

16) <— This is my lucky number!

17) I really like the band Fun. but I won’t tell anyone because I’m worried that’ll make me look like a hipster.

(Source)

18) My favorite forms of humor are sarcasm and puns.

19) My co-workers call me Caitness and I like it because it sounds like Katniss (from the Hunger Games) and I secretly wish I was her!

(Source)

20) I talk about my family too much. I’ve always wondered if that’s annoying? I can’t help it, they’re the coolest people I know.

21) My 21st birthday was on Thanksgiving. I spent it in Vegas!

22) I don’t feel heat in my mouth.  Seriously, I don’t feel it. I will drink an entire scalding hot coffee before you can take your first sip.

23) If I could, I’d eat FroYo everyday. I exclusively go for the chocolate flavors.

24) I’ve seen John Mayer 5 times in concert and I’m dying to go to another show. He’s so talented and my favorite live musician!

25) I have a double jointed thumb. See:

What are some of your -isms?

The Post-Marathon Slump

What is the post-marathon slump, do you ask? My fellow runners can most likely relate to me on this. The post-marathon slump is a period after any race (it doesn’t necessarily need to be a marathon) where you take a physical and mental break from all things running. It’s like, “Hey, I just ran 26.2 miles, so I probably don’t really need to run again for another month or so, right?”

Wrong.

Yet this thinking prevails. At least it does for me. Ever since my marathon I’ve been struggling with finding motivation to run. I don’t have anything to strive for, so what’s the point? Since my big race, I’ve only run once and it was painful. It’s crazy how quickly I get out of shape! The 4 miles I did on Saturday morning hurt worse than the 26.2 I did last month. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point. There is a huge difference between my fitness level now and when I completed my marathon 3 weeks ago. All of my hard work is going down the drain. It’s kind of sad.

You want to know the worst part? It’s that despite everything, I have zero motivation to get out there and change. I know that I should. I read so many other blogs written by such motivated runners and I know that I should lead by example. But I’d much rather go to BDubs with my friends or catch up on episodes of How I Met Your Mother (best show EVER, for the record).

(source)

For me, exercise is an absolute necessity. It really isn’t an option. Thanks to my luck (or lack thereof) in the genetic lottery, I failed to inherit any kind of metabolism. It’s not that I think weight loss/gain has everything to do with metabolism, but how can you explain the fact that my male roommate (who doesn’t exercise) can eat the same exact thing that I do and stays super skinny while I blow up like a balloon? It’s just not fair. If I stop exercising completely, I gain weight pretty quickly. I may or may not do a longer, more detailed post about my (and my family’s) battle with weight and genetics, but I have yet to summon up the courage. This blog is supposed to be me exposed, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to be that honest with you (and myself) yet. Soon. Maybe.

I digress. What I really need are motivators for getting back into running. How do I kick-start this exercise routine again? Now that it’s dark and dreary out by 5pm, how do I muster up the energy after a long day’s work to go for a run?

I’ve already decided to sign up for another race. I’m going to run the Shamrock Half Marathon in March. But I’m worried that a half still won’t be motivation enough for me to brave the cold, and I’m not ready to run another full just yet. It’s a Catch 22 at its finest.

Have you ever experienced the post-marathon (or any race) slump? Any tips for overcoming it?