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

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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?

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My Travel Wish List

My family takes a vacation together every year. For as long as I can even remember we’ve spent a week (sometimes 2!) down in Myrtle Beach, SC. Even when we lived in Seattle, we would fly back just to go on our beach trip! This is one of my favorite traditions, and I hope that one day when I have a family, I can continue it. Perhaps we won’t always go to the same beach, but I like the concept of a yearly family vacation. As I gear up to head out next week, I got to thinking about the top places in the world I’d like to travel.

So here it is, my travel wish-list:

Bora Bora

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I mean, come on…need I say more? This place seriously looks unreal. After watching Couples Retreat, I vowed that I would go there (if I ever win the lottery) on my honeymoon. I’m a huge beach aficionado and this looks like the ULTIMATE. Can you imagine snorkeling in that crystal blue water? Waking up to that view? Yes, please!

Italy

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Look at me. No, really, just look at me. I am Italian through and through. One day, I would love to be able to visit the place of my ancestors, see the sights, and eat some amazing Italian food. Yep, that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Vale, Colorado

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This might seem weird after seeing Bora Bora and Italy on the list, but I’ve never been skiing before. I KNOW, RIGHT? Hold the phone. Snowboarding, yes. Skiing, no. It’s one of my goals to learn how to ski and eventually go to Colorado to take advantage of the best slopes this country has to offer. Doesn’t it look like the perfect holiday vacation? And if I fail miserably at skiing, I’ll just hang out in the lodge and drink spiked hot chocolate. Either way, I’m still winning.

Australia/New Zealand

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I lump these two together only because I would do them both in the same trip considering they are literally on the other side of the world. I’ve always wanted to explore Australia and see Sydney, especially since Finding Nemo (I’m so cool, I know). More recently, I’ve had an itching to also hit up New Zealand. Two of my good friends have recently taken trips there and said that it’s the adventure of a lifetime! Apparently, everyone is so friendly and the vibe is really laid back, which fits in perfectly with my way of life.

London

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I’ll admit, I’ve already been to London. But what you might not know is that London was absolutely my favorite city I’ve visited. It’s just so accessible; the chunnel from Paris to London was convenient, the Tube was clean and efficient (way more so than the Metro anyway), and the train out of Kings Cross Station was simple to figure out. Plus I got to see the famous Platform 9 3/4, Harry Potter geek much? Not only that, but there’s so much history and culture in this city. Seeing the Tower Bridge, Globe Theatre, Parliament, Piccadilly Square, etc was super cool. I loved that I could get fish ‘n chips and a beer at any pub on any corner. I, obviously, could go on and on but I’ll refrain. I can’t wait to go back!

Now to work on that whole winning-the-lottery-so-I-can-pay-for-all-this thing!

Where in the world is Carmen Sandeigo your ideal destination?

Breakfast of Champions (or mediocre football teams)

In my [humble?] opinion breakfast is the most underrated meal of the day.

I seriously love breakfast. If I could eat it for every meal, I probably would. Imagine this, for as long as I can remember breakfast was the only meal I wasn’t picky about. I will literally eat almost every single breakfast food. French toast? YUM! Hash browns? DELICIOUS! Bacon? Don’t even get me started on my favorite food EVER! Personally, I don’t think breakfast gets enough credit. It’s the most important meal of the day, plus you can eat whatever you want because you have all day to burn it off! You really can’t beat that.

So many people (sometimes myself included) throw breakfast by the wayside due to a hectic lifestyle. However, being on vacation this week allowed me to fully enjoy my fix of breakfast. The best place for breakfast in Hawaii? Boots & Kimo’s!

All week, this was the one place that my friend Molly absolutely insisted we go. We woke up at 7:30 am (which is an ungodly hour for someone like me who loves to sleep) and even at that hour there was a 45 minute wait. Boots & Kimo’s is only open until 2:30 pm and apparently at peak breakfast & lunch times there can be over a 2 hour wait! Yet, people still wait and I quickly found out why.

The decor inside surprised me. I wasn’t sure if the place was a sports bar or a family style restaurant. We stepped inside and all of tables had pro NFL team logos, but the walls were painted yellow and were adorned with tiki decorations. It was confused, but combined 2 of my favorite things (football and the beach) so I was okay with it.

This was the table we were seated at. The (1-4) Carolina Panthers? Come on! I would have rather eaten at the Seattle Seahawks table! Seriously.

NFL rant aside, the food was fantastic! I got a bacon and swiss cheese omelette with hash browns. Me being me, I was relatively concerned about the swiss cheese. If you can even believe it, this was the very first time I ever had swiss cheese. Yes, believe it, because it’s true.

It was SO good. I’ve only recently (ie. the past 3 years) started eating eggs and I’m so glad that I did. Eggs are now one of my favorite foods! And hey, they’re actually good for you too. The bacon in this was real, crunchy, salty, and delicious. The cheese was abundant and I was surprised at how much I liked the swiss. Molly ordered a seafood omelette which was stuffed with cheese and crab.

She was obviously very excited, the girl freaking loves her food. I tried a bite, and if you can even believe it, I liked hers even more than my own! Crab is slowly climbing up my favorite foods list.

But onto the real star of the show. Molly also insisted that we get the pancakes. I saw a waiter bring them out to another table and noticed that they had some sort of sauce poured all over the top. I was resistant, but she was relentless vouching that I just needed to “trust her”. Easier said than done.

We ordered them to split and I can honestly say that it was the best thing I had all week. I don’t really know what exactly the sauce consisted of but it was sweet, creamy, and nutty. No syrup needed on these puppies! The pancakes were fluffy and light and SO GOOD. I don’t even have the words to describe how great these were. All I know is that I was extremely full, but I just kept on eating them anyway until my stomach felt like it was about to burst.

Finished everything. Oops! But it was hard to feel too bad about it when I was here literally 5 minutes later:

Aloha au ia ‘oe, Hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii!

The last few days have been quite a whirlwind adventure for me. In fact, it’s Wednesday morning and I’m pretty sure that I’m just now starting to recover from my jet-lag. The 6 hour time difference is a killer. But it’s totally worth it!

Seriously, you can’t even tell me that’s not worth it!

Let’s start at the beginning. My trip began with a long flight from DC to Seattle where I had a 7 hour layover which allowed me the chance to see Kristina, my best friend from middle school. I only get to see Kristina on rare occasions, so I jumped at the chance to have a long layover in my old stomping grounds.

We went to Salmon Days, which is an arts festival that I used to go to every year when I lived there. Talk about nostalgia! By the time I landed, I had already been up for 12 hours without food and was ravenous. Luckily, we happened across the Issaquah Brewhouse where we enjoyed burgers and beers at noon. Don’t judge!

I wish I had gotten to spend more time, but alas Hawaii was calling my name! I hopped back on the plane filled with good food and good beer, and slept through the next 5 hours. [sidenote: sleeping on an airplane is awesome, it’s like teleportation!]

My trip to Hawaii began something like this:

Are you not surprised? Come on!

This was insanely cool. The best part about it was that on the plane ride to 14,000 feet, you could see the entire island of Oahu and the adjacent island (sorry, I don’t know which one that is) too. I guess the whole tumbling-towards-earth-at-a-soul-crushing-120mph part wasn’t so shabby either. Glad my parachute deployed…what a rush!

There’s been an abundance of sunshine since I arrived which is such a nice break from that relentless rain that was happening back at home. I’ve spent most of my time on the beach (don’t mind if I do), and so far my only physical activity has come from a hike up Diamond Head, where only <sarcasm> the most serious of hikers venture </sarcasm>. No, but really, there were 80 year old grandmothers and tourists wearing flip flops doing this hike, so I can barely even classify it as a work-out.

However, the views were amazing and definitely worth battling all of the tourists for.

Hawaii is such a unique place. It is distinctly American, yet has this great culture all its own. Downtown Waikiki may be the only place you can pass by a luau going on right next to a Buffalo Wild Wings. I appreciate Hawaii for holding on strong to its roots. I actually keep forgetting that I’m still in America (until I look up and there’s a PF Changs on one corner and a Red Lobster on another), it’s weird to think that these little islands in the middle of the south Pacific are actually part of my country. It’s paradise and I don’t even need a passport to get here!

Today, Molly has to go to work and is leaving me to fend for myself. If I don’t get lost it will be a miracle. Although, I could think of worst places to lose my way.

More updates to come!

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