The Long Run, in GIFs

You can thank a few things for this post:

  1. My caffeine buzz from QuickChek’s new “Harvest Blend” coffee. I refuse to jump on the Pumpkin Spice bandwagon, and my favorite convenience store is right there with me. You can keep your Wawa’s, Starbucks, and Dunkin Donuts. I prefer the slightly alterna-chick vibe I get by being 100% staunchly pro-QuickChek.
  2. This ridiculously long but still incredibly entertaining list of gifs from Buzzfeed.

As I scrolled through the page before work, it occurred to me that many of these gifs represent my feelings before, during, and after a long run. Thusly, I present you with: The Long Run, in GIFs:

I wake up ready and raring to go.

angryOr not really, because I may have had a glass or two of wine the night before and set my alarm for WAY earlier than I really want to wake up on a Saturday, and who’s effing idea was it to sign up for a stupid marathon anyway?

So I stumble to the Keurig, pop in a Jamaican Me Crazy k-cup (thanks, Wolfgang Puck!), and begin the prep process. Fuel up, scrub my face, sunblock it all, and get decked out in my running gear finest then throw open the door to greet the morning with some attitude.

new gearStepping off the porch I remind myself that I should probably do some dynamic stretching; these knees don’t exactly have the get-up-and-go they used to, after all.

stretchBut instead I wait and wait, then take off the second my Garmin has satellite reception, like an idiot.

startOr a pirate.

The first mile or so is touch and go. My music is pumping, I’m feeling fresh as hell, ready to take on this run. But my legs, knees, hips and ankles sometimes have other plans.

fumbleSo I slow it down a bit and settle into a nice pace for a few miles. 2, 3, 4, 5+ miles go by, and it’s all good.

yeah baby

Around the halfway point though, I start to get a little distracted. Sure, I’m running, but maybe this song isn’t what I want to hear right now, let me slow down for a few strides here and find a new one. Oh look, sunflowers! That’d make a really great #seenonmyrun pic. I may even do a little run-dancing to break the monotony.

motorinBut then I catch a creeper at a red light just watching me with a weird look on his face, so I stop dancing and pick up the pace again for a few miles.


Once I pass the halfway point I start to think a little too much about things. Am I going fast enough? Can I maintain the pace that I just kept for an hour+ for another hour+? GOD my legs are starting to get heavy. Or are they? Is it all in my mind? They say running is all mental, so am I psyching myself out now, or am I really tired? Oh hey another red light.

snailThank God. Let me just walk through that.

I glance at my watch and think “OK, 3 more miles. We can do that. That’s just a 5k! You can do that in your sleep. For breakfast. Mmmm breakfast. What kind of food should I eat when I finish this run? Pancakes maybe. Yes. Remember that time you went to IHOP with Jenny for unlimited pancakes and you tapped out after 3? Hahaha what a lightweight. Ugh weight. You know if you weighed less you’d probably be able to run faster. You really are so slow. I mean come on. Maybe you shouldn’t have signed up for this marathon. After all, this is only a portion of what you have to run, and you’re already flagging? You’re kind of pathetic. Just quit. Or don’t, because everyone that you told about this marathon would laugh at you and call you a failure. Maybe you need a new song to motivate you. Not that one. Another one. Another one. Oh my God, WHY DO YOU HAVE A SONG FROM THE LION KING SOUNDTRACK ON YOUR RUNNING PLAYLIST??”

insaneIt is hell inside my mind in those final miles.

Before I know it, all of my mental anguish has brought me to the final mile and my legs are ready to give up. I might have hit the wall by now, or I’m close to it. So I dig deep in my energy reserves and call upon my good friends Robyn, Britney, or Freddie for some moral support and head into the final kick.

final kick

In the last 5 minutes or so of a run, I will make all manner of uncomfortable faces, say some pretty nasty motivational things to myself, run-dance, jump, air-drum, and basically do everything I need to push through the last .5 mile and call it a day. With every step, I glance at my watch, anxiously awaiting the appearance of the magic numbers after my mileage – ##:00.

And just like that, it’s over!

PR danceI stop the watch, do a little fist pump, and maybe bend over for a bit to catch my breath because let’s face it, Brit-Brit knows how to make me work, b*tch. Time to celebrate the fact that I got through it!

ice bathWith a nice cold bath.

After some stretching, rehydrating, and an ice bath (or shower), it’s food time. Sometimes I feel like eating all of the things after a run, and other times I can’t stand the sight of food, but one thing is for certain: after I eat, it is always, indefinitely, without fail:

naptimeNap time.


Marathon Training Week #whatever

I’m not burnt out on marathon training as much as I am… tired.

Every part of me is tired, from my toes to my brain. I can’t think beyond 9pm because my brain is so fried from working and training numbers. My knees – or the places where my knees used to be – are throbbing pits of achy tenderness. My calves burn for the first mile of every run and swell up after I’m done. My shoulders and biceps quiver when I lift anything heavier than an iPhone from daily strength sessions. And I’ve had to rinse out every pair of socks I’ve worn on a run for the last 2 weeks because of all the blood coming from the one or two toe blisters that won’t heal. Not to mention the fact that I only have 9 toenails. In short, I’m a mess.

BUT. Even though I’m tired and in shambles, I actually feel… strong. Fit. Hopeful, even! Where 2 weeks ago I was struggling through a 7 mile long run due to poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and inconsistent running in the week before, I’m now looking forward to my usual sushi dinner/9:30PM bedtime for my 13 miler this Saturday.

So how did I get here? Let’s backtrack.

In my last progress post, I had finished 7 miles (barely) and had a pretty solid training week overall. I was building my mileage back up after an almost 3-week slack period of illness/injury/vacation: a measly 11 miles one week, 14 the next, and I was staring a 22 mile week in the fact. It may not seem like it, but that’s pretty high mileage for this turtle. So I started off Monday with 3 miles and added one mile with each progressive run, and ended every session with short speedwork bursts just for funsies.

So I logged 3 miles Monday, 4 miles Tuesday, a rest day Wednesday for our wedding anniversary …


Capture 1

10636040_10100299220910979_895816366769749988_nyay true love!

… followed by 5 strong miles Thursday and strength/cross training Friday, capped off with a delicious Indian buffet for lunch and lots of bad food for dinner Friday night.

You can see where it all falls apart, right?

Saturday morning I woke so excited to run. 10 miles, yay! New hydration vest, yipeee! New running route, woohoo! Terrible intestinal issues due to 24 hours of horrible fueling… hooray? UGH! I had to stop three (yes, three) times to use the bathroom and my average pace was about :45-a minute slower per mile than I had hoped to hit, all because I can’t say no to unlimited mattar paneer for lunch and disco fries for dinner.

On the plus side: the hydration vest worked out fantastically, the rain held out until I finished, and I can now say with 100% certainty that the folks at the South River CVS on the corner of Main Street and Old Bridge Turnpike are very forgiving if you come running into their store frantically asking to use their bathroom at 8:30AM on a Saturday.

photoDone and DONE.

I also learned that the new running route brought with it a LOT of uneven terrain. I ran on the pavement where I could but there was a lot of space with no sidewalk or pavement space to share with the cars, so I was on and off hilly, spotty grass and dirt for a good 4+ miles. My calves are still paying for that. Live and learn!

Sunday the hubby and I took our bikes out to the local park and banged out a solid 5 miles for some cross training and fresh air, and it was fantastic!photo 3So after that 22-mile week, I rolled right into Monday (yesterday) with 4 miles. They weren’t very pretty because I waited until after dinner and felt my turkey burger coming up every half mile or so, but it got done. It also gave me the opportunity to try out my new safety vest!

photo 4Safety third!

According to my mom and my husband, I am no longer allowed to run after sunset without my vest. I guess they’ve heard one too many horrible stories about joggers being attacked or hit by cars, and I have to say I agree with them. It’s good to be safe. It just feels a little weird at first. Not physically – it’s actually very light and I forgot I was even wearing it a few times. But weird in a more existential way. Knowing that I’m glowing in the night is kind of like announcing to the world (including the planes in the sky above me) that I AM RUNNING, LOOK AT ME AND HOW I GLOW! Which isn’t really my bag. But, I know it’s good for me, so I’ll keep doing it.

But I draw the line at carrying mace. I’m a klutz enough as it is, and the last thing I need is to accidentally spray myself in the face when I scratch my forehead or something. Just NO.

So enough about me. How’s your training going? Tell me everything!

Running: Cheaper Than Therapy

Reality check: My biggest character flaw (ok, one of the biggest) is my inability to follow through and see things to a successful finish.

Without getting all therapist-couch-y on you, I think it stems from being told that I was so great at everything I did when I was a kid, when in fact I was basically just lucky. I got into the Talented & Gifted program in 3rd grade by creating some story about a magical crystal that I’m pretty sure I copied from the movie Labyrinth, and ever since then I kind of coasted. Sure, I was the typical straight A overachiever, but that was because the hardest thing I had to do was create a video documentary on the Wild West for Mr. Szabo’s AP History class with a bunch of my fellow overachiever friends. I was never really coached or told to work harder – things just kind of happened and I was applauded for them.

Cut to adult life, where suddenly there are real decisions that need to be made, and I’m pretty much paralyzed by… lack of motivation? Fear of failure? I’m not really sure what, but everything from saving to buy a house to marathon training has me scared and anxious. Since this is mainly a running blog, I’ll stick with that, but you get the idea. What I’m trying to say is that basically I’m running this marathon, at the very core of things, to prove to myself that I can follow through on something. I can pick a goal and focus on it and execute from start to finish.

So when I feel my motivation start to flag during my training – like during my third (yes, THIRD) emergency bathroom break on Saturday’s 10 miler…

photo 2Thank God that CVS was open…

… I tell myself to nut up and shut up and get it done. It’s a little bit less touchy-feely than my previous happy slappy positive thinking methods, but if I’m going to be successful I need to be a little tough on myself – because no one else is.

Sure, an outsider sees that I ran 10 miles, 13 miles, even 26.2 miles and will congratulate me on that, but they’re not in my head during those runs. They don’t hear the shortcuts that I want to take, or know that I walked for longer than I care to admit and still called it a “run”. I need to earn those congratulations. I can’t keep coasting through everything on the bare minimum just to get the “Ooh job well done!” 

No more excuses, no more bargaining or “maybe tomorrow”‘s. I’m going to earn that medal in October and I’m not going to cheat myself out of any of the hard work it’ll take to get me there.

The Finish Line

Let’s face it: there is no greater sight during a race than the finish line. We love running, the thrill of pounding the pavement is second to none, but that finish line is what it’s all about.

As I reach the halfway point of my training and find myself fighting burnout and negative thoughts, I’ve been trying out some positive visualization techniques and while I usually roll my eyes at the Stuart Smalley school of thought, this approach is actually pretty helpful!

ssmalleybut I’m not about to put on a cardigan and talk to myself in a mirror.

When I start to get down on myself – usually in the final mile or so of a training run – what I do is I envision myself crossing that marathon finish line. It’s easy to do – I’ve run this race before (well, the half), and so I know exactly what the finish line looks like! But unfortunately the last time I crossed that finish line, I was in bad shape. So crossing that line happy is a big deal for me.

Aside from the serious physical pain I was experiencing from my freshly-torn ACL that I earned at mile 12, I was also majorly humiliated. I don’t mention this very often, but I actually crossed the finish line for my half approximately 10 seconds after the female marathon winner. As I hobbled to the line I heard sirens and screams of pure joy and thought “I can’t be the last person, can I?” Then I looked over my shoulder and there she was, motoring past me and through the tape to a huge cheer from the audience. I was emotional to begin with, but this put me over the edge. I started to cry – in happiness, embarrassment, relief, pain, all of it – but I still crossed the finish line with a smile and promptly vowed to never ever run another race again in my life.

ACL-Tear-Race1This just in: I am a stubborn liar.

So now, when I envision myself crossing that line again, I am strong. Sure I’m exhausted and drained and I’m probably wishing for the sweet relief of death. BUT – in my positive, motivational finish line vision, I am strong. Both knees are intact, I’m smiling, and I’m certainly not being clothes-lined by some jackass like this poor soul:

photoWho am I kidding? I’m so slow that there won’t be any other people around to do that to me!

And that positive image has helped me push through some pretty tough stuff. I will trust my training and make every one of the next 58 days (HOLY CRAP) count, so that I can turn my vision into reality come October 19th.

How about you? Do you have any positive visualization techniques, or other things you do to get you through the really tough times? Share your story, because I need all the positivity I can get!

Search Term Hilarity

I know what you’re thinking.

“2 posts in one day? Surely she must be mad!”

Well make of it what you will but I had to post now that I’ve taken a look at some of the wacky search terms that have brought people to my blog. I truly appreciate every visitor and love that you guys take the time to read my random ramblings, but I do kind of worry about you when you’re searching for terms like these and find me.

Here’s a sampling of the weirdest search terms that brought people to since its inception earlier this year (and my thoughts on each one):

  • great stirrup cay sinus infection
    • I’m sorry but I think you need to see a doctor, not my piddly little running blog.
  • i just wanna medal dis yr
    • me too, friend. me too.
  • celebrate jim carrey
    • yes, let’s! let’s ALL celebrate Jim Carrey!
  • swimming caps embarrassment
    • this one actually makes me smile. I’m so glad I’m not the only one!
  • coxsackie happy birthday
    • these two things do NOT belong together, and I pity this poor person if that’s what they got for their birthday.

I don’t know what’s more troublesome: the fact that folks are typing these searches into Google, or the fact that my writing is connected with these terms.

How about you – how did you find Or if you’re also a blogger, what are some of the weirdest searches that have brought new visitors to your blogs? I need to know!

High Five (+2)

photo 1slap it high!

If you’re wondering what the title is about, I ran 7 miles this past weekend! That’s a big deal considering our beach vacation the week before turned me into a jelly-like, suburned wad of cookie dough. But let’s start from the beginning.

I packed two running outfits for the 2 nights we’d spend in Atlantic City. I wanted to run on the boardwalk. It would be great practice. BUT. Vacation (and red wine) has a way of sneaking up on you, and I’m sorry to say that the sneakers didn’t even come out of the suitcase the whole time. I know, bad runner! But I have no regrets, because I hit it hard for about 3.5 miles the night we came back and felt pretty good.

photo 2I mean with this view, how could I not?

Friday I relaxed so that I could run long on Saturday. 7 miles! It was a high, apple-pie-in-the-sky kind of goal, but I didn’t back down. Well, I kind of did when I lazed around too long in the morning and missed my running window before my hair appointment at 11:30am, but I manned up and ran at night. And it was a run. It wasn’t the worst, but it most certainly wasn’t my best either. It was just… a run. Because while my good (right) knee is still achy at times due to runner’s knee, I’m now developing similar pains in my left (ACL) knee too!

You see, for the first mile or so of every run this week, both knees decide to act about 75-80 years older than me. But rather than call the whole thing off at the start of each run like I think I should, I push through every time and have found that with slowing my pace and focusing on my knees, I’m able to get past the pain and correct my form so that it’s not as excruciating as it was last month! So that’s a plus 🙂

Towards the end of mile 5, I started to get those doubts again – “If you can barely finish 7 now, what business do you have taking on 26 in 2 months??” BUT thanks to new positive thinking methods I squashed that thinking pretty quickly, with a promise to take one day – and one run! – at a time. The only way I’m going to be strong enough is by training, and training HARD. But I’ve got it in me. I know I do.

So Sunday I cross trained (the benefits of bumping up my long run to Saturday: an extra day of cross training!) with my Bosu ball, and let me tell you – that stuff is no joke! I took it easier on the squats because of my tender knees but didn’t skip anything, and I’m still feeling it in my core today!

photo 3

And apparently I love bright colors.

Monday and Tuesday I went right back into running mode and I’m finally feeling ready to call myself a “runner” once again.

After 3 sweaty miles with some new on Tuesday night, I iced and prepped for a second straight day of running, which I haven’t done in almost 3 months. I wanted to baby my knees but now that I’m getting more confident in my form and the rest of my leg strength, I’m going to give it a shot. After all, I can’t build up my mileage base without actually putting on the miles. it’s time to shut up and nut up!

My 4 miles yesterday though? Were a total suckfest. I tried a new approach and went while it was still light out, before dinner. The last few weeks of running at night after dinner have been a bit of a struggle – I always rush into the run, trying to beat the sunset to get the miles in but my pace has suffered because I’m still digesting.

The result of this new approach was 4 hot, sticky miles of UGH. I walked a few times, and even had to stop to take off my calf sleeves because they were cramping up my legs (maybe they were too tight? anyone else experience this wtf moment?), and I legitimately fantasized for all 4 miles about a dog at the park breaking off of its leash and mauling me and giving me an excuse to lay down and stop running. It was THAT bad.

photo 5

I AM smiling.

So imagine my surprise when I finally made it to mile 4 and stopped my Garmin: I had clocked an even 12 minute mile all 4 miles! I haven’t seen pacing like that on a run over 2 miles since May!! WTF? Even though I felt like dying the whole time, I still managed to eke out one of my best times in 3 months.

You know, every time I think I understand this running thing, it pitches me another curveball like this. And that makes me love it even more. I can’t wait to see where it takes me next!

Let’s Talk Toenails.

Warning – if you’re squeamish about feet, you can ignore this post. There aren’t any gross photos or anything, but just… Sorry in advance.

Also, I can just imagine the search terms that the title of this post will create to bring people to my blog.


As if the #pedicure posts on my IG don’t already bring out the weird fetishists…

But anyway! We’re runners here, right? Or mostly runners. Or walkers. Or people who wear sneakers sometimes. Just go with me, and let’s talk toenails. 



I’ll start by saying this: I get the creeps from other people’s feet, like our friend up there. I don’t mean any offense, really, to you people with feet. You could be the most gorgeous foot model in the world and I’d still get the willies. BUT I actually really really like my own feet. They’re the perfect foot shape, my toes are all aligned properly (no Morton’s toe here), and I always keep them immaculately groomed. Regular and consistent pedicures, buffing, daily lotion, the whole 9 yards. It’s one of my quirks, you could say.

i feel pretty

…but I’m not cocky about it like Maria here. Tone it down, lady.

However… all that changed when I started running. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say it’s a friggin mess down there. If you’re a runner or even wear sneakers a lot, you’re probably right there with me, yeah? Everything that can possibly go wrong with a foot has probably done so if you’re a runner. Like having to be the boring one at a party the night before a long run and being able to calculate kilometers to miles in an instant, foot issues come with the “runner” title.

Well, the most obvious issue that I’ve got going on right now is a big honking black toenail, which has been threatening to jump for about 2 months now. And it’s really grossing me the hell out.



Seriously – every time I take my sneakers off after a run, I shock myself with that ever-darkening toenail. It’s mocking me even now, as I type this. My feet are propped up on a pillow in front of me, and there it is, laughing at me over the top of my laptop. Just daring me to coat it with another layer of polish, which it will blast right through with its darkness and make a mockery of the rest of my pedicure.

So what’s a girl to do?

dont care 2


Go with it! Instead of fighting the evil scourge of the black toenail, I’ve decided to embrace it. Wear it as a badge of honor, if you will. Sure, I’m going to keep taking good care of my feet with regular pedicures, but I’ll smile when I see that funky nail. I’ll remember the first time I noticed it after that 7 mile run that took me on a new route in the rain and made me feel like a real Runner with a capital R. I might even show it off to the guy at the nail salon when I go for my next pedicure! 

And then I’ll ask him to just paint the skin where there are no nails, and pick a darker polish 😉

What do you think about toenails? Have you experienced the dreaded black toenail of doom? Go ahead, share your story – no judgement here!

Right Back to Where We Started From

I have no excuse for the last 2 weeks.

Well, no running-related excuses. Just a lot of life happening around here. And while I’ve slowly worked training back into my schedule, it hasn’t been my focus. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, I am more than just a runner. I’m a wife, daughter, employee, friend – and lately I’ve found that life is more about balancing those different roles than focusing on one.

However! This is a running blog, right? SO. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on in my running world lately 🙂

When I last left off, I was bouncing back from a bout of hand, foot, and mouth disease (I refuse to call it coxsackie on principle alone) and I was also nursing a tender knee. After my last post, the foot blisters eased up in time for my return to running on my birthday, July 31st!


Full disclosure: I ran just to earn the Nike Plus badge.

My knee felt surprisingly great – the unexpected week+ off from running because of my illness gave the rest of my body the chance to heal up, and while I stayed cautious on downhills and stopping/starting, the sharp pains I had experienced the week or two earlier were nowhere to be found. Score!

Later that day, all I wanted for my birthday was new running shoes and cake, so we went to RoadRunner where I had my gait analyzed again, and discovered that all of my cross training and lifting has helped strengthen up my legs so I don’t need as much stability in my running shoes as I used to! Second score!!

IMG_6261The new babies!

And when I broke in my new Asics Gel Nimbus 16’s on Saturday, I felt like I was running on air! Don’t you just love the first run in the perfect pair of new shoes? There’s nothing like it 🙂

Later that night, I went to a Soundgarden/NIN concert with a group of friends and let me tell you – Trent Reznor is still as hot as ever, and I will fight you to the death over him.

photoI love you guys. But seriously? I will cut a bitch over those biceps.

He was my very first rock ‘n roll crush – and while I was too young to see them live when my obsession was at its peak, the nearly 20 year wait was entirely worth it. So much so, that I matched my running shorts *and* my sneakers to my music as I rocked out to some early NIN on Monday’s run:

IMG_6342I like to think Trent would be proud.

The rest of the week went by, with 3 progressive runs of 2.5; 3.1; and 3.5 to get my knees back into working order, with the goal of a long run of 5 miles on Sunday. Which I succeeded at. Just barely.

Because I set out too late in the day, it was hot. Like 90 degrees in the sun hot. I also only got about 6 hours of sleep, didn’t fuel very well, and drank just a bit too much on Friday, so my system was NOT long-run ready. But I tried a new route at the park near Rutgers, with a nice path that goes along the Raritan River, near the RU Stadium, past a little zoo, and under a couple of cool bridges. I’m all about switching up the scenery, and this did not disappoint – I will most certainly be going back there again!

photo 1I mean, come on! Look at it!

But even though it was beautiful there, I struggled. I took a lot of walk breaks to deal with the cramps and side stitches I kept developing, but I powered through until mile 4.5. I passed a field were a pretty serious soccer game had just wrapped up and slowed to a walk to deal with a new cramp. The teams and their families were all packing up and chatting near the path, when one guy nudged another as I passed, pointing and laughing at me. I had one headphone in so I could only hear snippets, but once those two laughed, the rest of the group they were with all joined in too.

And it really hurt.

I took off running at full speed and kept pushing til I hit my 5 miles, then ran right for the bathroom where I had a little moment. I can usually brush off meaningless immaturity like that, but I was at a pretty low point to begin with, and that just pushed me over the edge into a full on meltdown. My confidence as a runner was tenuous at best, especially after the run I had just shuffled through at a snail’s pace. I was feeling weak and not very prepared, and frankly the thought of running a full marathon in just over 2 months actually makes me laugh because I think it’s that ridiculous and impossible.

But I couldn’t hide in that bathroom forever, so I sniffed it all back and repeated my favorite new mantra a few times: “One run at a time”, snapped an attitude-packed selfie because I was proud of how my legs looked in my shorts (#sorrynotsorry) and headed home for a shower and a big-ass cheeseburger. Because I’m a runner and that’s what runners do. We take it one run at a time and keep moving forward.

photo 2Hi, Haters!

So how was your weekend? Tell me about it – is your training coming along nicely?