Happy 2013!

I have been an unbelievably bad blogger in 2012. Let’s change that …

I am just finishing up my first official vacation of 2013 … I took 2 days off! The plan was for Josh and I to spend some time in Richmond and then head down to North Carolina for a little sand, seafood, and chilly salt air.

We actually ended up leaving early for Richmond because of threats of a wintry mix descending upon the DC area. That just gave us more time to spend in Richmond.

Virginia's Capitol
It was a rainy day in Richmond …

First we walked past Virginia’s capitol in Richmond on our way over to one of Richmond’s Museum of the Confederacy, and the “White House” of the Confederacy. I put that in quotation marks because that is what they called it, but I feel weird putting White House and Confederacy in the same sentence. The tour we got was really great, and I highly recommend stopping in at this museum if you’re ever in Richmond.

The White House of the Confederacy – which later became the Union Headquarters in Richmond

An impressive number of people have been in this house – including Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Thatcher, Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis (the latter two when they were filming Lincoln in Richmond).

After the history lesson and tour we were hungry. Josh knows me well – and he knows that my belly loves some BBQ. So we headed to Buz & Ned’s Real Barbecue. (Apologies for the subpar photo … I liked their handpainted sign and I am not a great photographer)

Buz & Ned's
Buz & Ned’s was seriously some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had. Program your GPS now.

I feel it’s only fair to disclose my BBQ allegiance. I grew up an Eastern North Carolina style girl. Then in college (with many friends hailing from Texas) I learned to respect and admire the artistry of Texas BBQ. It was during my years in Tennessee that I also fell in love with Memphis style BBQ. What I love about Buz and Ned’s was that it was what happened if all of the BBQ styles got together and made a super BBQ baby with their best traits. That’s a weird analogy, but stick with me here. This BBQ had it all – we’re talking smokiness, subtle sweet notes and that vinegar bite that I still love. Honestly Josh and I were both sad that we didn’t get two sandwiches. It was that good. I have a feeling we might be stopping here again in the future.

We made a few other stops including Hollywood Cemetery, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (amazing collection of art), Carytown (for a little shopping) Legend Brewing (across the river from downtown, but a great spot to catch the sunset and grab a beer) and a quick evening bite at Captial Ale House which we washed down with some local Virginia beers.

It was going to be hard to top all of our Richmond adventures…but we headed down to North Carolina on Sunday … and were greeted by our favorite familiar sights:

Duck, NC
who says east coast beaches aren’t beautiful?
Duck, NC

I love this beach. It’s my happy place. And I am so lucky that Josh loves it as much as I do.

Being back in North Carolina always gives me a new sense of purpose. I love being able to step away from email, twitter, texting and Facebook.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals for 2013, as I’m sure many of you have. I’d like to be a better runner this year. I’ve set the preliminary (and ambitious goal) of trying to PR in a few distances: half marathon, 10 miler, 10K, and 5K. I’d also like t be a happier runner this year. Last year my heart just wasn’t in it, and it showed in most of my race times. I look back and the races that were the most fun, were the ones where I felt like I had the least on the line. I want to get back to being able to just be present when I am running, to relish every single stride.

My first race of 2013 will probably be the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC. It’s the first year the race is being run in DC (it’s had a tremendous following in San Francisco). I’ll be keeping track of some of my progress here.  But mostly, I am looking forward to running a big race with a bunch of women. I think it will be inspiring and exciting. I can’t wait to cross the finish line a little stronger than I am now!

What are you goals for 2013? 



It was a busy week … just thinking back on it makes me a little tired.

There was an election, which in my line of work is like the Super Bowl, Christmas, and the Olympics combined. It’s very exciting, and part of me still feels like I used up a month’s worth of adrenaline between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday began at 6am when Josh and I tried to beat the crowds at our polling place. When we got there the line was already around the block, and it took us about an hour and a half to get inside to cast our ballots. I have to say, in the end it was worth it because I’ve kept my streak of voting in every presidential election since I turned 18!

I had to stay up to watch returns for work, and on Wednesday I had to be into work at 7am so needless to say I was little tired.

I went on my first run since the marathon on Tuesday. I went 4.5 miles on the treadmill. It felt like I hadn’t run in a long time.  I had every intention of running on Wednesday or Thursday but I just couldn’t do it. I was tired, and I needed to try to give my mind some quiet time after work.

So tonight, after going to a double session of barre (that’s 2 hours of thigh shaking, ab crunching goodness) I came home to a brinner egg, turkey bacon and potato burrito and this guy:


and some knitting from my minnow bucket


I’ve planned a couple of other things this weekend – two runs, some more barre workouts, a movie at the newly renovated theatre in my neighborhood (I’m told they have recliners now!), and maybe a nap or two.

What are your weekend plans? 

The Starting Line

It’s been about a month.

I type that, and I have trouble believing it. It’s been about a month since I last ran.

The last time I ran, I ran 26.2 miles. I wasn’t in the best spirit. I wasn’t in as good shape and I would have hoped. It was cold. It was threatening to rain or maybe even snow. There were moments in my second marathon when I felt like quitting. There were miles where I swore I would never run a marathon again, and maybe even never run again. In the end I set a PR by just under 3 minutes. It was a PR but it didn’t change my mood.

So I took time off.

I decided a month would be a great time to continue with my other fitness passion – barre (more on that later). I decided I was going to reassess what disappointed me about my second marathon. I took notes. I wrote down impressions and observations on everything from my training regimen, to what I ate, to what I wore to how I felt. I realized I love running, and I just need to find a way to make it fun again. I need a new challenge that will provide me with the results I know I can acheive. So, I came up with a plan.

My major race in 2013 will be a half marathon and perhaps a few 10 milers. I’d like to work on speed, and really push myself mentally and physically. This is the year to get fast. This is the year to eat well. This is the year to become a lean, mean running machine.

It all begins today…about a month after I last ran. It’s Election Day when people flock to the polls to have their voices heard. I voted early this morning. I waited in a line for well over an hour. This evening I will ease up to another line – the starting line. Tonight I begin training to become the runner I know I can be. I know it won’t be easy, but I know it will be worth it.


I love a good Halloween scare but this is crazy!

We are hunkering down here at Fit for the Finish Line Headquarters for a serious storm. Josh was out of town this weekend, so I did some essential storm prep.


In addition to the usual essentials I whipped up some pumpkin cranberry scones, and some blondies (a personal favorite)


These aren’t exactly distancer runner treats, but desperate times calls for desperate measures! My only hope is that we don’t finish off the blondies before the storm actually arrives!

I’ve also been working on my latest knitting project. Here it is displayed as if it is an essential part of my living room.


Eventually it will be one of those lovely loopy cowls that I imagine will keep me warm. Do you want to see it up close? I’ll answer that. Yes.


This has taken me so dang long to knit! It’s because I am slow, and I haven’t been a good knitter lately (I’ve been infrequent at best) and it’s colorwork (or colourwork? I’ve never been clear as to whether I ought to default to the British spelling) so I’m slow. I started it this past summer with the intention of being able to finish before it gets super cold. Looks like that won’t happen – but oh well! At the very least, even if we lose power I will have something to occupy my time!

How do you prepare for a big storm? 

Running Inspiration

I’m a huge believer in the saying that distance running is 90% mental. It’s what gets me through the training. It wasn’t always easy though.

Getting to the point where I felt comfortable pushing myself was difficult. I had no idea what was too much, and when I got tired or hot and sweaty (which happens a lot when you live in swampy Washington D.C.) I would always think about quitting. So I learned early on that the mental toughness is huge. Combat the negativity in your head and you can train for anything.

So I’m going to share with you some of my big inspirations. I love books. I love movies. I like hearing from people who have done amazing things.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running 

Haruki Murakami’s book “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”

I mentioned to a friend that I had never read any Murakami and a very observant friend passed on this book to me. I devoured it last year when preparing for my first half marathon. The rhythm of Murakami’s writing is at times as rhythmic as a runner’s stride. It’s also an extremely relatable book. He talks about how he stubbornly resisted walking during his long runs and races – I was literally screaming at the book “Me too!” because for a long time I didn’t feel like I really “finished” a run if I took a walk break. The book is as much about running as it is a window into Murakami’s creative process as a writer. So even if you don’t care for running, that aspect alone is worth the read.

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole.”

The Spirit of the Marathon  

I think I watched this after I ran my first marathon last year. Josh suggested we watch it, and I am glad he did. It follows a number of folks who run the 2005 Chicago Marathon. They vary in levels from folks who have run several marathons, to a crop of newbies. Some are hoping to qualify for Boston, some are just hoping to enjoy the run along the way. Olympic Marathoner and American record holder Deena Kastor is followed too (she won the bronze in the Women’s Marathon in 2004). What I love about this documentary is you get the whole range of running experience. There are injuries. There are triumphs. There are tears. Some folks run in groups. Some folks run alone. It reminded me that runners come in all shapes and sizes, all speeds but they’re still all runners

Scott Jurek 

Just me hanging out with ultramarathoner Scott Jurek

I met Scott Jurek earlier this year at an event sponsored by my local running store. He was in town in part to promote his work with the Nature Conservancy (link) and also to promote his book Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness (link). A pretty sizeable group joined him for a short fun run on a local trail and then we assembled at the store for a short Q&A.

For those who don’t know Scott Jurek has many claims to fame in the ultramarathon world (ultramarathons are races that are over the traditional 26.2 marathon distance) and it turns out he was a very engaging speaker. He’s a vegan – so it was interesting to hear about what he eats to fuel up pre-race, during races, and after races. I was also glad to hear that after a busy racing season he enjoys taking time off from running to repair and re-evaluate. This was huge for me to hear from an accomplished athlete. It made me feel great about taking time off from running!

Who and what inspires you?

one of the great loves of my life

I’m going to tell you a little story about one of the great loves of my life.  I want to talk to you about a relationship that doesn’t involve kissing, cuddling or dates to Kate Hudson’s latest rom com. Let’s talk about food.

I love to eat. Truthfully, I look forward to meal time more than anything. In the morning, it’s the way I literally get my body going. In the middle of the day it can be a chance to catch up with co-workers or a break from stress. At night it’s a chance to reunite with my favorite guy and recount the day. Food also has become the way I fuel up before a long run. So what do I eat? The answer: a lot.

I’m not a dietician. I don’t always eat well. I don’t even always finish my vegetables. In fact, I am prone to just as many french fry and big gooey chocolate chip cookie cravings as the next girl. What works for me is the other other golden rule: keep everything in moderation.

This is probably a great time to say again that I am not a dietician. I can’t even remember all of the parts of the food pyramid (or wheel … I think it’s a wheel now. My mom actually printed it out for me once. No joke.) I can tell you that I know when I’ve been bad. I feel bad mentally, and I’ve even started to feel bad physically.

Tonight I got off of work earlier than usual and I decided I’d wing something. It’s fall here and I’m already missing tomatoes so I decided whatever I made had to have roasted tomatoes.

ImageI just drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled them with a healthy dose of salt and pepper. I popped them in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes until they were lightly browned and shriveled. Shriveled is not an appetizing adjective for food, but trust me these ‘maters are goooood.

I basically grabbed other stuff that was lingering in my fridge. (Lingering is also not an appetizing adjective. Thank goodness I don’t write about food for a living.) Here’s what I came up with:


I had a little smoked chicken and turkey sausage, some fresh basil, a little mozzarella cheese (I added some olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper just to liven it up), some chopped garlic and some gluten free pasta. (I know, gluten free? What? Trust me, every now and then we all need to step away from the bread.)

I cooked the pasta and heated the garlic in a pan with a teensy bit (technical term) of olive oil and then added everything into a big bowl and mixed it together. It was pretty darn tasty.


It got high marks from Josh (who I might add is doing the dishes as I type this – he’s a keeper) and I think there are some leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Now I have a confession – when I was training for my last marathon (which I ran less than two weeks ago) I ate out a lot. Sure, I ate some salads, but I also ate sandwiches and occasionally “worse than sandwiches” (the names have been changed to protect the innocent). I am not proud of this, but I put it out there in the interest of honesty. What I loved about this meal was it reminded me that a meal doesn’t have to be piled high with sauces, three kinds of cheese, and come with a loaf of bread to be delicious. I also remembered how fun it can be to cook.

Happy Wednesday night everyone! What did you cook tonight?


It’s my inaugural blog post … who was in charge of bringing the gatorade and post-race snacks?

To be serious for a moment I’m hoping to use this blog to document my fitness journey. A few years ago (okay, two) on a whim I decided I was going to see how far I could run. Now before you click away off to your other blogs let me tell you something I, like so many people, HATED RUNNING. I don’t know what inside me said I should put on running shoes, but I did. At first, I could only run a mile or so. But after I ran that mile – I celebrated. And I I asked myself a simple question – what if I could run just a little bit  farther?

Fast forward to last year – I finished my first 10 miler. I finished my first half-marathon. I finished my first marathon.

Have I loved every minute of it? No. Have there been times where I want to quit running and eat bowls of ice cream and cake? Of course. But something always brings me back to lacing up those shoes.

My point in blogging isn’t that I am some amazing runner. I’m not. By marathon timing standards, I’m a little better than average. But I have learned a lot about myself through working out. I think everyone deserves to indulge themselves in a little challenge.

I’m also hoping that by blogging my friends and family will keep me on track! Now that I’ve run races I want to get faster! I want to eat better! I want to try new workouts! I want to find out ways to encourage those around me to be fit for their finish lines! So grab your virtual shoes and join me for a run. I promise I’ll let you catch your breath.