Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is less really more?

I had my GPS all set and ready to take me to the Tidal Basin to meet my Team Challenge group. We had an hour and a half run scheduled, and since I haven’t actually run with them yet, and the Cherry Blossom is over, it would be the perfect weekend to finally meet the whole team.

However, this location is not easy to find. And I’ve only ever taken the Metro there-I’ve never driven.


I could SEE it, but I could get there without jumping over the median or something. You see where it says Maine Avenue? Well, the meeting spot is supposed to be right off of that street. It’s actually where the big P for Parking is.  But it’s a 2 lane, one-way road that takes you around in circles, so there was no real way to get to that parking spot. I drove around in circles for about 15 minutes before I accidentally ended up on the highway going south back to Alexandria. Screw it, I thought- I guess I’m just running at home….and now I’m just annoyed.

I decided to run by feeling. I wore my Garmin simply for mile tracking purposes, but I made it a point to just RUN and not worry about time. And since the watch beeps at every mile, I knew how far I was going.

I was running at what I thought was a pretty slow pace, but my legs were on fire. I kept wondering why I felt so tired-and why the hell am I breathing so hard? OK, I’ll just slow down. Here comes a hill-I’ll just jog up that hill. No worries, just run.

After the third “Beep,” I decided to turn around. 6 miles will be fine. Remember, I took most of this entire week off so I didn’t want to push it TOO much. So I turned around and made my way back home. The last 1/4 of a mile or so of the route back is uphill and I was honestly dreading it. I thought – there’s no WAY I’m making it up that freakin hill. I slowed down and took a quick walk break before making my way back up the hill, and then I dragged my ass up. Finally, the top of the hill came and my run was over. 

And when I looked at my Garmin and saw that I just ran 6 miles in just under 53 minutes, and I almost crapped myself.

I looked at it and thought, there’s no WAY I was running that fast. I literally did the whole, “Is this thing ON? Can this possibly be right? Did I really just run 6 miles in 52:58 ? How the hell did I do that?”

Mile 1: 8:42
Mile 2: 8:10
Mile 3: 8:11
Mile 4: 8:08
Mile 5: 8:23
Mile 6: 9:47 (with walk break and up the hill)

How the hell? Did taking that time off really help improve my time by that much?

So there you have it. Taking the week off from running worked. What does this mean? That my dear HEAB and miss Polly must be right: Less is more. Do I need to workout 6 days a week? Do I need to run 5 days a week and clock every damn workout I do to make sure I’m in the best shape for my 1/2 marathon or any other race I run? Do I have to be tired and cranky and be pissed off when I miss a workout? Well if this is not a fluke, then obviously not.

What does this mean? I haven’t figured it out yet. I’m not sure exactly what to take out of this, but one thing’s for sure-I don’t want to screw it up. Let’s see what next week brings me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I suck at softball….


I hate sucking. I know, who doesn’t? But when you’re an athlete, chances are you’re competitive. And if you’re like me, you hate to lose. (Hence the name of my blog) And the kicker? Softball was the first sport I ever played. Granted I gave it up in high school to run track, but I still was pretty good when I decided to play my freshman year in college. (I ended up getting hurt and not playing the whole season out, but I still made the team and played in the first few games.) I got hurt because I’m an idiot and couldn’t stay away from playing indoor soccer with my soccer team. Needless to say my softball coach was pretty pissed at me…and I wasn’t asked to play the following year. But that’s an entirely different story.

My game was at 7:30, so I decided to go for a walk after work to kill some time. Although I had planned to take a full week of from running, I decided it was just too nice of a day not to run. The weather was perfect-sunny and 72*. Although I purposely didn’t pack my new running sneakers or my Garmin OR my normal running attire, I still ran. And I was happy. It was only for about 45 minutes, so it wasn’t too long of a run, and I headed to the field feeling ready to swing a bat.

After striking out at my first at-bat, I grabbed a ball and yelled to one of my teammates, “I need to practice hitting. Here, pitch to me.”

I kept whiffing and I was getting SO.PISSED. So finally he said, “Nicole, you keep looking at me, not at the ball. Keep your eye on the BALL and I promise, you’ll hit it.”

“OK,” I thought, “Keep your damn eyes on the BALL!” and low-and-behold, I hit it. I made him pitch it to me about 10 more times to be sure it wasn’t a fluke, and it wasn’t. But I still never made it on base. I grounded out three times.

AND I suck in the field.

The ball was hit to me in the outfield, and it was hit so hard and fast, I just froze. I had my glove up in the air ready to catch it, started back stepping, and I don’t know what happened but the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. I slid across the grass with my arm stretched out and the ball went flying past me.


I was so embarrassed. Everyone just laughed at me and I had no choice but to get up and wipe the dirt off. “Sorry guys!” I yelled, but it was too late.

My competitiveness has been compromised.

I’ll just have to put it back toward something I know I can do…run anyone?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This week, I reconnected with an old love:

My have I missed my oats. Thank you HEAB for reminding me that these are availabe. Overnight oats? My breakfast love. So glad to have you back.

It's been two full days since I've been to the gym and I have to say I'm feeling pretty good. I almost got up to run this morning but I feel like one more day will do me better. My body is definitely thanking me for taking this break so far. I thought for sure it would be a challange mentally but it's actually been a relief. You know how sometimes you feel like you know you need to do somoething but you're afraid? Whether it's fear of change or fear of repercussion? That's how I felt. I am working on reconnecting my love for running and achieving my goal toward 13.1.

Oh and another thing I'm reconnecting with is girl time. I went over to a friend's house for dinner last night. I spent two hours laughing with two of my newest girlfriends and it definitely helped to brighten my week. This is something I wouldn't have done two weeks ago since I like being in bed with my bags packed and breakfast/lunch made by 8 so I can be in bed by 9. This is something I need to change, and it started last night.

Enjoy your day and try reconnecting with something you've been neglecting. It will make you smile, promise!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The big Hiatus

First off--Happy Marathon Monday!!! My friend Jess is running the Boston Marathon today and I want to give her a HUGE shout out. Jess--you're awesome and I can't wait to get my email updates along the way! GO JESS!!!

Ok, so if you enjoy reading this fabulous blog regularly, then you've noticed I've been slacking in the post department. So I figured I owed you somewhat of an explaination.

I wanted to give you all an awesome race recap from last week's Cherry Blossom 5 miler but I didn't bring my camera to the race. I was afraid something would happen to it, so I thought I'd rely on some friends or even the photo pros that would be snapping shots along the way. Well, my friend and co-worker Bri---who not only PR'd at this race, but chose THIS one to be her first race EVER (you ROCK girl!) is currently in the hosptial (she'll be OK but I don't want to disclose information about it without asking her permission) so I had to hope for pics from Marathon Foto to share with you. But when I got their email telling me that the cost to download one photo (yes ONE) would be $40, I said, "Oh HELLL no" and then I got lazy. So that's excuse number 1.

The other excuse is that I think I need to take a break.

My body has been trying to tell me for weeks that something is wrong and I haven't stopped long enough to listen. I have been busting my ass for 4 1/2 months training for this 10 mile race and the Team Challenge 1/2 Marathon (coming up in June!) and I think I'm ready for a physical and mental break.

For the past few weeks my morning workouts have been terrible. I've struggled through every run, haven't had the energy to make it through the day without some kind of caffiene intake, and have been very grumpy at night. I've been giving all of my energy to my job-so much so that when I get home, it's like I've turned into my complete opposite: I don't wan to talk, I don't want do blog, I don't want to read blogs, and I barely want to eat dinner. I just want to get my butt to sleep.

Saturday morning I ran with my running group and about 3 miles in, I knew I had to quit early. I was running with a guy who was chatting my ear off (usually that's me!) and after we got to the 4 mile water station I said, "I'm really sorry but I have to turn around. There is no way I'm making it to 10 today." I ran back to the 3 mile stop and asked the wonderful volunteers for a ride home. I ran 5 miles but felt like I ran 20. I was exausted (and cranky) for the rest of the day, although I did a pretty good job of hiding it, and was passed out by 9:30.

That's when I decided that if I don't take a break, I will get seriously sick or hurt.

I'm going to try to keep this week limited to walks and maybe a few yoga sessions, if anything at all. I need some R&R if I'm going to make it through this 1/2 marathon training. It seems as if I've hit some kind of wall and I need to just take a step back to breathe.

On a positive note, I joined a co-ed softball team and my first game was last Thursday night. I had a blast and I'm so glad I joined. Watching me swing a bat, I'm sure, is hillarious---a soccer player playing softball?? Ha! There WILL be more on that.

Also I bought a new pair of kicks. Can't wait to share that with you either.

What I plan to do this week is blog about how I'm feeling while taking this time off, and also focus on other topics that are important to me. We'll see how this goes. I think I'm going to need all the help I can get!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

10 down…version one

I’ve neglected you all. I’m so sorry. I’ve been kind of off all week, suffering from allergies with the insane amounts of pollen that has been floating around, so all of my energy has gone into work.

But today, today was a good day. The Cherry Blossom 10 miler that I’ve been babbling on about for the past five months has come and gone – I can’t believe it’s over already!

Since I didn’t bring my camera, I don’t have any pictures…yet…my friend and Bri and her friends took some pictures so I have to wait until they email me. But I wanted to pass along my thoughts on the race.


First, there was a massive amount of people running this race…which would have been fine if there was enough space to accommodate everyone. I spent the first half of the race dodging people…running up on the curbs and sidewalks and in the grass trying to get around people. I know this is normal but it’s very frustrating, especially since sometime around mile 4 I twisted my ankle trying to stop short for someone who wouldn’t let me get around them. Don’t worry, I’m OK, but I was nervous that it would swell up and get bad, especially since I had more than half the race left to go.

However things cleared up and I made it to the end injury free and feeling pretty strong.

The weather was perfect-75 and sunny. The crowd cheering us on was awesome. The course was beautiful-even though all the cherry blossoms were way past their bloom.

I’ll give you more of a full re-cap when I get some pictures…and a full night’s rest.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hot ‘n Sweaty Fiver

I love waking up early on Sunday mornings. It’s so peaceful. There aren’t many people out on the streets at that time except for those who have the same idea as I do. (and those who are going to church of course)

I decided to take Friday and Saturday off from running since my body was telling me to stop and take a break. I’ve been working out 6 days a week, getting up at 5:30 every morning to get to the gym. After three months of this, my body said “Sleep in woman!” So I did. This left me ready for a nice run today.


I decided to run 5 miles today since this is the start of my taper week for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler next Sunday. I can’t believe it’s only a week away!  It was a nice run, but there were some hills that really kicked my ass (which I really needed) and my knee and hips are really bothering me today. I’ve been doing so well without any pain so I’m a little disappointed. I kept around an 8:30 pace up until the last mile when I ran mostly uphill. That made my pace drop to a 9:37. I have to figure out how to keep my pace up when I’m running hills without killing myself. And since it was so warm this morning, it was a good test of what I might et next weekend. I bought some Clif Shot Bloks and coconut water for the race to be sure I’m properly fueled and hydrated.

When I got home I used my foam roller, stretched, and fueled up with my new pancake obsession: peanut butter and jelly pancakes from yesterday. I’ve been messing with the recipe so when I get it to be perfect I will let you know.

I’m watching opening day baseball right now, the Yankees vs. Red Sox. If you’re not aware of the rivalry between these two teams, you’re either living in a bubble or from another country. Dennis and I are team rivals, so watching these games together can get crazy…nothing a glass of wine can’t fix!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

(Accidental) Peanut butter and jelly pancakes

Or maybe they were more like crepes. You can be the judge of that.

And why are they accidental? Basically because I tried to make alterations to an already successful recipe and it turned out to be a total fail. Let me start at the beginning.

I think it was last week that I was reading HEAB’s Sunday pancake post. She made some Pimp My Protein Shake’s Low Carb Blackberry pancakes but changed things up to suit what she had on hand. I couldn’t believe how good both recipes looked so I decided to give it a shot. However, I didn’t have the key ingredient on hand—coconut flour—but thought I’d try with what I do have, which is Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour. 

Needless to say the key ingredient is exactly that—KEY—and the mix was very watery. I reluctantly added 2 more tablespoons of flour and it was still really watery. I decided to try it anyway, pouring the batter into my pan and thinking, “Oh this looks so gross. This will NEVER work.”

They came out looking very eggy, not fluffy or pancakey at all, so I started boiling some water to make a bowl of Teff  instead. But something told me to try one.

I hate wasting food, and I’m really impatient in the morning. So if I throw something away, it’s because it is totally and completely inedible. So I had to at least try.

Holy crap were these friggin good.

Here’s what I did. I used:

  • 4 tablespoons Bobs Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1 egg, 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (plus a tiny bit more when I added more flour)
  • about 1/2 cup thawed blueberries
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened soymilk

I mixed everything but the blueberries together first, then added the blueberries at the end. Pour onto your griddle (or greased pan) and cook until brown.

So you can see how thin these were. Crepe looking no?


I slabbed on some PB


Rolled it up


And the yummy goodness of peanut butter and sweet, gooey blueberries just exploded in my mouth.


I seriously was on my way to throw these bad boys out! I’m so glad I decided to try them first. And it also reminded me of how much I love blueberries. I just added them to my grocery list. I find though, that I like them much more when they’re cooked. I do enjoy them raw and fresh, but when they’re cooked—oh they’re so good.

This recipe made four crepe/pancakes. I can’t tell you what the calorie content was since I screwed everything up, but here’s how I broke it down:

  • 4 tbsp flour ~ 75 calories
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites ~100 calories
  • 1/2 cup blueberries ~ 50 calories
  • 1.5 servings of PB ~ 300 calories
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened soymilk ~ 25 calories
  • Total: 550 calories

TONS of protein kept me full and satisfied. I will definitely be making these again!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Not again!

Yes folks, my car broke down again. On the highway, of course, in rush hour traffic, of course. I called AAA and handled it like a pro. It overheated….again….so I’m just waiting until tomorrow to hear what’s up.


This is not my car but this is what it looked like. And can you believe that a cop actually had the nerve to come and ask me what I was doing (you didn’t see my flashing lights? Maybe that’s an indication that something’s wrong??) And when I said I was broken down he said, “What, did you run out of gas or something?”

After biting my tongue-hard-I said, “No I didn’t run out of gas. The smoke that’s coming out of my hood would mean I’m overheating.”

He looked at the hood and made a face like he didn’t see it (???) and then said, “Well ma’am, I’m going to have to let someone know you’re here because this is a pretty dangerous area to be. Good luck ma’am.”

First of all, I hate being called “Ma’am.” I do realize it’s a southern thing…I just don’t like it. It makes me feel old.

Secondly, yes I know it’s dangerous. It’s the freaking highway. Next time, I’ll try to plan it better.

Thirdly, why can’t you just hang out here and be sure nobody hits me? Why do you have to ride off into the sunset and call someone else for help?  And no other cop came back to protect me. I was saved by the AAA man.

Luckily I was able to get it to my mechanic, where Dennis’s vehicle was waiting for me to drive home. He had some work done on it this week so it worked out perfect…for now.

Hmmm what else happened to me today? OH. I went for a run outside this morning since it was gorgeous out today, and took a wrong turn. So a quick 30 minute run turned into a 65 minute run and a ride back to work  from the concierge team at the Westin hotel. Awesome!


Is it 5 p.m. on Friday yet???