Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lazy Saturday... and My Late Night Disaster!

I spent almost every weekend either catching up on homework for my Master's in Healthcare Administration, or catching up on work for my crazy job... not to mention little things like cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping (when did I get so domestic?!) so it is wonderful when I get to spend a whole day having fun!  

I started the day with pilates and a core workout at home, because I was too lazy to get to the gym.  I love my apartment, because it overlooks the Blue Hills with a view of a rugged cliff and greenery from both my bedroom and my living room.  Yoga mat + foam roller = instant workout, just seconds from my bed!  Not half bad! 

This definitely beats the view from my gym!
After heading to my favorite bagel shop for breakfast and a coconut iced coffee, one of my best friends sent me a text message to see if I wanted to get a pedicure.  Umm... sold!!  Spending the morning in the salon was absolutely wonderful - not to mention, we met one of my favorite doctors from work there, and had WAY too much fun together!

After pedis and manis, we bought subs from the Greek shop next door, and then headed to the Irish Cultural Center in Canton for a rugby game.  I had never been to the Irish Cultural Center, but it was so much fun!  It was a beautiful, sunny day to cheer on the rugby players, and spend the afternoon on the terrace.  My friend and I also decided we needed to try out the swing-set in the nearby playground.  It was SO much fun, until we managed to swing so high that the swing-set poles started to tip out of the ground!  Yikes!!

Go Wolfhounds! 

After a fun day outside, I couldn't wait to relax by the pool! (Because clearly I hadn't done enough relaxing all day long!)  I had a lovely poolside nap, and got halfway through a new book.  Life doesn't get much better than that!

Check out my purple toes - I love the new color!
Just when I was ready to call it a PERFECT Saturday, I decided to do a quick load of laundry before bed.  I should have known better.  It wasn't until I pulled my wet clothes out of the washing machine, that I realized that a full roll of toilet paper had fallen into the washing machine.  Everything was absolutely covered in tiny bits of soggy paper.  It was like snow!

Not what I wanted to see at 8:30 pm on a Saturday night!
I tried to shake everything out as best I could, but it was hopeless.  So, I threw everything in the dryer, hoping the lint trap would catch the toilet paper snow, and praying that I wouldn't set my dryer on fire in the process.  I spent the next hour emptying the lint trap every 5 minutes, pulling out huge clumps of disintegrated toilet paper.  It was about as fun as it sounded.  Luckily, it worked perfectly, and my clothes were saved!

Lesson learned... always check to be sure the washing machine is EMPTY before starting a load of laundry!

What laundry disasters have you experienced?  What are your favorite lazy Saturday activities?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My ABC's

Time for a fun post today!  I am borrowing this idea from a blog I love to read, The Pavement PrincessThanks for the great idea!

A. Attached or single?  Single at the moment!

B. Best friend?  I consider myself to be lucky to have so many wonderful friends all over the US.  I treasure my friendships with so many special people, and love that even though I don't get to spend time together every day, when we do get to see each other, it's like we've never been apart!

C. Cake or pie?  Definitely pie!  I love different pies at different seasons - right now I am obsessed with Whole Foods' raspberry peach pie, but in the fall I love pumpkin pie, and in the winter, mince pie is my favorite!

One of my many weaknesses...
D. Day of the week? Definitely Sunday... I look forward to a long run, stop at the bagel shop, then laying by the pool and reading a good book!

E. Essential item? My Blackberry - I would be lost without it!

F. Favorite color?  Green, since I was in junior high!  I love lime green, kelly green, and my latest favorite, mint green.

G. Gummy bears or gummy worms?  Not a big candy person... neither?

H. Hometown? Born on Long Island, NY and lived there until junior high.

I've lost my accent, but I cannot shake my New Yorker personality!

I. Favorite indulgence? Definitely cheese - cheese pizza, fried cheese sticks, cheese and crackers... I could go on!

J. January or July? July for sure - I love summertime.

K. Kids? Hopefully in the future, but right now I am enjoying life on my own.

L. Life isn't complete without? My friends.  I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful, supportive and fun people in my life.

M. Marriage date? Not yet...

N. Number of siblings? Just me - an only child!

O. Oranges or apples? Fruit is not my friend - it tends to send my Crohn's off the deep end...

P. Phobias? I absolutely HATE bugs.  I still freak out when I have to kill a spider or any other creepy-crawly in my house.

Q. Favorite quote? "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."  It is so true, and something that I need to keep reminding myself.

My laptop wallpaper at the moment.

 R. Reason to smile? I feel so blessed to have my dream job, amazing friends, and a really awesome life.  

S. Season of choice? Fall is definitely my favorite.  I love watching the leaves change color, and running in the crisp autumn air.

T. Tag 5 people.  I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet... oops!

U. Unknown fact about me? I was on the fencing team in high school... go figure!

I was not quite this intense.  Actually I was pretty awful at it.
V. Favorite vegetable? Tomatoes - especially cherry tomatoes. 
W. Worst habit? I am SO fidgety in meetings... I really struggle with just sitting still!

X. X-ray or ultrasound? X-ray means running injury and ultrasound means Crohn's flare-up, so neither have particularly good connotations for me!

Y. Your favorite food? Definitely sushi - I could eat it for every meal!

Z. Zodiac sign? Pisces - although I have to admit, I've never really followed the whole astronomy thing.

Take a moment to let me know what we have in common! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hotter Than... Old Port Half Marathon Race Recap

The Old Port Marathon started off so beautifully.  I arrived at the Ocean Gateway Terminal, the main pier in downtown Portland where the race started, just as the sun was rising over the docks.  

Probably wins for best Packet Pickup view ever.
 I spent some time stretching and warming up along the tip of the pier, feeling the cool ocean breeze and enjoying the salty spray of the waves as they crashed upon the dock.  I was ready for a great race!

I loved the red tug boats... so quintessential Maine!
 As the start of the race took us straight down Commercial Street, a flat two miles along the water, straight through the heart of downtown Portland, I was feeling pretty good.  I knew the hilliest part of the race was ahead of me at mile 3 in the Western Promenade Park, but I tried to stay in the moment and enjoy the beautiful views.

I kind of wanted to stop for some shopping and a coffee...
 And then the hilly part came.  And just as the narrator in the race preview video said, the hills were so steep that you could walk faster than you could run.  I actually saw some people have to STOP walking to take a rest midway up the hill.  It was unbelievably steep, and the hills seemed to never stop coming!  By the time I left the Western Promenade around mile 5, I couldn't even feel my quads and gluts.  

Definitely time for a coffee break after all those hills!
 As I ran back down Commercial Street toward the Eastern Promenade and a loop around the Back Cove, the sun was really starting to pound down.  The views of the ocean were absolutely stunning, but the lack of shade along the ocean-side paths made the heat stifling.  As I reached the Back Cove, I could feel myself getting more and more dehydrated as the miles passed by.

Too hot to appreciate the beautiful views
I knew the trail around the Back Cove would be 3.5 miles before the course turned back toward the finish line, and trail had mile markers every quarter-mile.  I counted down each one of those mile markers, which seemed to get increasingly further apart as I circled the bay.  Luckily, after the Back Cove loop, there were 3 water stops over the last few miles of the course.  I stopped at every table, drinking in as much water and Gatorade as my parched throat could swallow.  Finally, I reached the finish line - my legs feeling remarkably good, but the rest of me feeling unbelievably awful.

The awards were actually buoys - so cool!
After finishing, I managed to make it all the way to the line of Port-a-Potties before throwing up every last drop of water and Gatorade I had drank over the past three miles.  If there is anything more miserable than being hot, sore, tired, and violently ill in a 3x3 Port-a-Potty used by hundreds of other sweaty runners, I have yet to discover it.  

On the drive back up north, I had to pull over twice, throwing up things I didn't even remember eating on the side of I-95.  It was pretty fantastic.  Not.  By the time I got back, I was so dehydrated and dizzy that all I could do was pass out on my bed, still in my gross running clothes, that had acquired white streaks stained with salt from sweat dried by the hot sun.  After a long nap, I alternated between chair and bed for the entire afternoon, slowly drinking glass after glass of water, and trying to help my pounding head and churning stomach recover from their ordeal.  It wasn't until dinnertime that I started to feel somewhat human again.

A well-earned victory photo!
Finally, around 7 pm, I was able to get some solid food down, and muster a half-smiling attempt at a victory photo with my medal and race shirt.  At least the medal and the shirt were good-looking, because I certainly was not!!

All in all, not my best race.  Dehydrating then over-hydrating and getting violently ill really detracted from the beautiful ocean views and seamless organization of a race in one of my favorite cities.  But would I do it again next year, for my third consecutive Old Port race?  Without a doubt.  Hopefully next year, I will be smarter about my fluid intake... lesson learned!!

Have you ever over-hydrated during a race?  What are your hydration tips for marathons?  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Way Life Should Be

I am having the most wonderful long weekend in Maine!  Marathon day is tomorrow in Portland (SO nervous!) so I spent the day taking it easy.  We went for a walk at Winslow Park in Freeport, a peninsula jutting into the Maine coastline between the Harraseeket and Casco Bay.  I enjoyed the beautiful views of the blue water that reflected the blue sky, with so much greenery from the forest.  

I would give anything to live right here!

After our walk, we wound down with some relaxation time at the beach, just listening to the waves wash on the shore as the sun started to set.  I could have sat there all day!

Is there anything more beautiful?

It is amazing how just one day away from work can make all the difference in the world.  I feel so refreshed!  

Pretty much loving life...

Now onto stressing about the big race tomorrow!  Watching the course video, the first four miles are SUPER hilly.  There is one point in the video where the narrator says, "You might want to walk this hill, because you'll find yourself walking quicker than you could run."  What have I gotten myself into?!  

More tomorrow, or so I hope... 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Saturday Morning Adventure

On Saturday morning, I had the brilliant idea to break out my bike for the first time in over a year. Don't ask me why a 92-degree morning seemed like the most opportune time for this adventure... logic was not a part of this decision! My tires were a bit squishy (some might have considered them flat) so I set out walking my bike down the road to the gas station next door for a quick air refill.

Unfortunately, when I arrived, I found the air machine to be out of order. (Well, someone had written "this machine sucks" with a Sharpie on a piece of duct tape, and after inserting my four quarters, I found out for myself why the machine did, in fact, "suck"!) So, I had the pleasure of riding my bike with the ever-flattening tires down to the gas station about a mile away, praying all the while that a) I would make it without popping a tire or bending a rim, and b) that the next gas station's air machine didn't "suck" quite as much as the first! I should have considered this start to my adventure to be a sign... but I was determined to make my adventure a success!

Luckily, after a bit of a harrowing start to my ride, I was able to pump up my tires, and set out for the beach! I had sort of forgotten to map out how long the ride would be, so I set out hoping for the best! (Later, I found out that my adventure was over 10 miles! Not far, I realize, but far for my not-used-to-bicycling legs!) I was psyched when I saw my first glimpses of ocean!

Love the sun glistening over the water!
It was absolutely beautiful, breezy and sunny down by the ocean. The path along the beach was full of early morning runners and bike riders, each enjoying their own personal Saturday morning adventures. I rode to the end of the beach (I'll admit it, not because I intended to, but because I forgot to bring a water bottle, so I decided to ride to the beach's water fountain!).
See, my bike and I really did make it down here!
The ride back was a little less easy-breezy than my ride to the beach - I think I discovered my comfortable limit somewhere around 9 miles or so... I remembered the true meaning of "saddle sore" right around mile 8, and then discovered an aching muscle just above my knee, that I never knew existed in all my miles of running. Ahh the wonders of cross-training!
Reason #1 why I love my apartment!
And then, because I felt like I earned it, I spent most of the rest of the day reading a book by the pool. Followed by a drive across town to my friend's house to... wait for it... lay by her pool with a drink! It was a really tough day!

Usually I spend my weekends either doing homework for grad school, or catching up on "work" work, or doing the usual combination of cleaning, bill paying, and grocery shopping - all totally necessary things and part of being a "grown-up" as I learned with dismay after graduating college. But sometimes, it is really nice just to spend a whole day doing things that I want to do. I can't wait for the next Saturday morning adventure to come!

How do you spend your time when you have a chance to do things that you truly want to do?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Beach Living on Quincy Shore

One of my most favorite parts of summertime is evening runs along the beach.  Work has been so busy lately that I've often been getting home after dark, too exhausted to do much of anything but grab a sandwich, watch some amazingly trashy reality TV, and fall asleep on the couch.  But Friday was so quiet at work, since most (normal) people took the day after the Fourth of July off, so I managed to catch up on a ton of projects, and head out by 4 pm.  It was incredible!  So this is how normal people spend summer Fridays...

I spent a couple of hours laying by the pool with a book, waiting for it to cool down a bit, and then decided to head to Wollaston Beach for an early evening run.  I was amazed to find the beachside trail pretty empty - it was like my favorite path had been waiting for me all this time!  

Yes, that's my shadow!
A run from one end of the beach to the other is around four miles, and I loved every second of it.  The best part on a hot summer's day is strategically placed water fountains along the beach, which just make it all the more wonderful!  But the best part?  Collapsing alongside the water for post-run stretching and relaxation.  

Love my snazzy new pink shoes!
I never wanted to move from my perch on the stone wall, but the smells of deliciously bad for me fried seafood enticed me back onto my feet, for a slow walk down the beach to one of my favorite stops.

All of my favorite things, all on one sign...
After buying a lobster roll and a diet Coke, I was back on the stone wall, pretty much loving life.  It really doesn't get much better than that!  The best part was, I was just in time for sunset... and I had a front-row seat!  What an amazing reminder to leave work early more often... I couldn't believe what I had been missing! 

I just loved the light  on the boardwalk!
You can see the Boston skyline in the sunset - too cool!
What are some of your favorite summer night traditions? 

Thursday, July 4, 2013


One of my favorite work-related books, Built to Last, coined the term BHAG - a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal - a long-term goal that has the potential to change the very existence of a business. The author, James Collins, describes a BHAG as nearly impossible to achieve, without consistently working outside one's comfort zone and displaying commitment, confidence, and even a bit of arrogance.  

My BHAG is to finish a 50-mile ultramarathon.  I have wanted to run an ultra ever since I started running marathons, because it always seemed like the natural next step.  When I first started running full marathons, I was captivated by the duality of excitement and sheer terror experienced at the start line.  Could I possibly push my body to finish the 26.2 mile course?  What would it feel like to hit the "wall", and could I push past it?  After running more marathons than I can count over the past nearly ten years, I am far from being able to say that running a marathon is easy, but at the same time, the marathon has lost that sense of terrifying, thrilling uncertainty for me.  I no longer wonder "what if".  I know there will be moments (or miles) of excruciating pain, but I also know that I will find a way to push past my body's physical limits, to the finish line.  

But an ultramarathon?  I have no idea if I can do it.  And that's exactly why I want to do it.

 I want to push myself further than I have pushed before.  I want to experience the feeling of giving everything I have to give.  Every last ounce of me.  And conquering something that at this point seems totally out of reach.  

There is a documentary about ultramarathons called "The Distance of Truth", and I think the title couldn't be more fitting.  Pushing the body's physical and mental limits as a marathoner is ultimately about truth.  It's about finding and knowing your true self - who you are, after everything else has been stripped away, and there's nothing left but sheer determination to finish what you started.  As one of my favorite running quotes from Marc Parent says...

"Running is a kind of truth serum. It brutally strips away everything you put on and leaves you with only yourself. The runner on the road, hunched over or otherwise, knows something that the passenger in the car doesn't. Down to the core, the runner knows who he is. The runner has to. He's so tired, who he is is all that's left... The farther he runs, the more he knows, the more that shows."

Can I finish an ultramarathon?  I'm not sure.  But I do know that the journey to achieve my BHAG will change me.  And I look forward to the challenge! 

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>