“Home Mode”

I’m back from a whirlwind 5 days in Rhode Island. This vacation was different than the one I took in July. When I went home with Tim, it felt like a vacation because we were doing so many touristy things and I was trying to show him everything in a short amount of time. This trip just felt like coming home and resetting. I wasn’t in vacation mode; I was in home mode. That might not make sense, but for me there is a distinct difference. It’s hard to explain so instead I’ll just fill you in on the past several days.

I had planned on popping inbut I forgot Block Island has limited cell reception and basically no wifi and I didn’t have any desire to be on my phone. I had a pretty overwhelming bloglovin’ feed when I got back. I definitely clicked “mark all as read.” I missed reading my favorite blogs but I needed to unplug.

Friday night my dad picked me up at the airport on his way to Rhode Island. We arrived in Jamestown and immediately went to bed. Saturday morning we were up early for a quick walk. Every year, our yacht club puts on Fools Rules Regatta. Basically, people build boats made out of “non-marine materials” and sail them 500 yards down the beach. It’s probably my favorite day in Jamestown. When we were younger, we used to participate. Now we just watch and laugh at the outrageous themes and boats sinking as soon as they get wet, winning the “worst example of naval architecture” award.

Fools RulesAfter Fools Rules, we drove down to my grandparents’ beach house. We tried to rent a paddleboard but the place had already closed so I just hung onto the back of my cousin’s kayak while we paddled around the pond. We had a big dinner with my grandparents before saying our goodbyes and heading back to Jamestown.

Sunday morning we sailed to Block Island. It can take anywhere from 4-8 hours to sail there depending on the wind, tide, and sailing conditions. We were lucky on this trip and made it to Block just before lunch. About an hour out, my dad saw a massive water spout and some fins flopping around. There were several whales just a short distance from us. It sounds really cool, but my mom and I also freaked out considering we were heading directly for them. We changed our course to avoid getting too close (whales can be bigger than our sailboat) and observed from afar.

sailingBlock Island is a tourist destination for New Yorkers and Rhode Islanders but very few people live there year round. There is one grocery store, a bunch of very historic hotels, and a few coffee shops and restaurants.  The marinas we stay at are about a mile and a half from downtown where everything is, but the route is really scenic so we enjoy walking back and forth several times a day. When I was younger, we would rent bikes and ride around the less inhabited areas of the island but it didn’t work out this year. I went for a run later in the afternoon because I was feeling antsy after spending all morning at sea.

welcome boatersThe one thing I don’t love about traveling to places like this is the lack of showers. My parents love taking sunshowers (basically a giant bag filled with water that heats up from the sun) on the boat but I don’t feel as clean so I took the dinghy in to a nearby marina to take advantage of theirs. We made an early dinner and called it a night.

this place is gorgeous

Monday morning we set out for another walk. My mom wanted iced decaf coffee which was surprisingly hard to find and I was on a mission to find a frozen hot chocolate. We had a hard time finding a place but after several coffee shops, we finally found one that had it all.

frozenMy brother and his girlfriend arrived on the ferry so we walked downtown again to meet them. Once they got settled and we had lunch, I rented a paddleboard and my mom kayaked alongside as we paddled around some of our favorite inlets for a few hours.

paddleboardWe wanted to pick up a few more groceries for dinner and do some shopping while my dad was on a work call so we went for another walk downtown. I love poking in the same shops year after year that never change.

launchTuesday morning we went for a walk and decided to go home early. We hit a bridge when I was 2 and ever since, sailing has been pretty traumatizing for me, so my parents let me take the ferry one way whenever we go somewhere.

11880579_10205114589127461_4794593683348930296_nI got back to Jamestown a few hours before they got home, so I went for a run, hung out at my old beach with my friends, and met them back at the marina before dinner. We went to Simpatico and got ice cream at Spinnakers after.

ice creamWednesday morning, I went for a walk with my mom and her friend to do some house hunting (side note- while we were on vacation, she accepted a job in Rhode Island and my parents are moving in 6 weeks!!!!!), went for a run, and hung out at the beach with my old coworkers again. I met two of my closest friends for dinner at Crazy Burger in Narragansett. It’s one of my favorite restaurants but the company was even better. I never laugh as hard as I do when I’m with them. My parents met me on the docks when I got home and we got one last ice cream.

jtnAnd then I was up at the crack of dawn to catch my flight back to reality. I mean Baltimore. 5 days was the perfect amount of time to be home- not too short, not too long (if there is such a thing). It was especially hard leaving the island because it signifies the end of summer. I’ll be back in October, and knowing that I’ll be in Jamestown for Thanksgiving and Christmas from now on makes it a lot easier, so I’m excited for the changes ahead.

jamestown sunriseOkay this was way longer than planned. Ooops. I just get really excited sharing my “New England summer adventures.”

Does your family have a “vacation spot”?

Have you ever seen whales?

Training 8/16-8/22

Hello from Block Island!! Actually, I wrote this post Friday before I flew home and prescheduled it to go today. This week was another really good one for me. I struggled with the idea of marathon training at the beginning when I first printed out my plan but once I shifted my mindset, I was back to enjoying every run again. It’s hard to believe after this week I’ll be halfway through with only 5 weeks to go!

Sun– 27 miles biking, 2ish mile hike

I’m more of a beach/water girl, but Shenandoah is gorgeous. No argument there. We climbed 1000 feet on the bikes which pretty much killed me, saw a deer and a few foxes, and took in some breathtaking views. Next time I want to hike Old Rag, but this trip was all about the biking. We felt like we should get some hiking in, so we did the Dark Hollow Falls trail to the waterfall. Also gorgeous.

tim national parkMon– 18.03 miles running

I’ll be honest. I was terrified prior to this run. Until Monday, my longest run was 16 miles, which I had done a few years ago before I began marathon training. So the past two weeks weren’t that out of the ordinary. Then last week my mileage bumped up to unfamiliar territory. I had no company, no phone, no music, and no fuel that I had any desire to eat. I brought a Gu just in case but the idea of it made me sick to my stomach. I can’t get past the texture. Anyways, I paced this run really well, had a few fast miles thrown in during the second half, and felt strong up until the last mile. It was truly the most enjoyable long run I’ve had… in my entire life. I was almost sad it was over (my legs weren’t). That’s not to say it was easy, because it wasn’t. But it far exceeded my expectations.

Tues– OFF

Wed– 8 miles running, November Project, yoga

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been exhausted lately. I was in bed at 7pm Tuesday night and asleep by 9pm. I decided not to set my alarm for November Project because 1) I realized I wasn’t excited about it and 2) sleep was more important. I don’t ever want November Project to feel like a chore and as soon as it felt like that, it was time for a day off. I slept better than I have in months for 10 hours straight, woke up refreshed, and went for my own run a little later. In some ways, it was a mental health day for me. My legs were tired but for once my body wasn’t. Then I went to yoga in the office later that afternoon.

Thurs– 8 miles running

Another solo run. I’ve actually been needing these lately to clear my head. I don’t know why, but I’ve been stressing more than usual about little things that don’t really matter. After running alone, I feel a million times better and ready to tackle the workday. This run was extremely hot and humid (77 degrees and 93% humidity at 7am), I was wear-testing a new pair of the Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3’s for my friends over at Mizuno, and a kid stopped me to ask if I was cold because I was wearing a sports bra. I came back looking like I just got out of a pool.

new mizuno swag!

Fri– 8 miles running w/ November Project

The usual hill repeats. I ran with Lauren for the entire time and Dave joined us at the beginning. They took tons of great pictures of Lauren and I, which, if you go to NP, you know they can be hit or miss depending on the week. This workout included sprints, skipping, and regular running. So even though I didn’t do a speed workout this week, I pretty much got it in through the hill sprints. 4×1 mile hills, 4 miles to/from commuting to Patterson Park. Plus 5 burpees, 10 bicycle crunches, 15 tricep dips between each hill. Perfect way to end my last workday before vacation. P.S. I really love my new mizunos. I’ll talk more about them once I’ve run in them some more!




Sat– OFF/walking with the fam/paddleboarding

Total-42 miles running, 27 miles biking, 1 yoga class, 1 rest day, 1 “active rest day”

This week is my cutback week. Technically last week was supposed to be, but I knew I wouldn’t want to run 18 miles while I was with my family on Block Island so I switched them. I have to get a few shorter runs in (all 8 miles) but most of the time home will be spent walking, paddle boarding, kayaking, etc. It’s been a really rough couple of months mentally for me so I’m looking forward to being home with family again for 5 days.

I get back from being home Thursday morning, work for a day and a half, and then spend the weekend with Tim and possibly my family while they move my brother into his dorm. Oh, and run 20 miles somehow. Life is good this week. That’s all I can ask for.

“Have to” versus “Get to”

**not my normal thinking out loud rambles today, but still important thoughts!**

I’m not known for being the most positive person in the world. No, I’m not always a negative Nancy, but I’m not someone who is sunshine and butterflies all the time either. I’m a realist. I try to keep my blog upbeat, although I do keep it real and tend to write more often when things aren’t necessarily rosy.

This summer has not been easy for me. I’ve mentioned missing home a lot and knew it was going to be tough living so far from Rhode Island for the first summer in my life. It wasn’t so bad at first, but after spending 10 days at home in July, I dreaded coming back. Baltimore, while it’s a city I’ve grown to really like over the past 2 years (out of the 5 I’ve been here), is starting to feel less like home again for a multitude of reasons.


the one place that will always feel like home no matter what

I actually do like my life. I don’t wake up dreading work, I look forward to running, and I truly love my weekends. I’m really lucky to have a life I’m mostly satisfied with. But homesickness is a very real thing for me and my mindset has shifted from “OMG I LOVE BALTIMORE” to “Okay, take it one week at a time. It’s only temporary.” I have a rough timeline in my head for where I’d like to be and that makes things easier.

I’ve had a lot of conversations with my parents, Tim, and some of my close friends about this (aka they’re the ones who have noticed I seem off) and one of the common themes is that part of growing up is living with the decisions we make. I chose to go to school far from home knowing that there was a good probability that that’s where I’d find a job. I also chose to come back after gradutaion and while it’s not necessarily where I want to be permanently, I’m not miserable on a day-to-day basis. Whenever I’m having a tough time (Sunday nights), I remind myself that I “get to” run, go to work, live where I do, eat salad, etc. versus I “have to” do the aforementioned things.

that is not an "I'm miserable" face

that is not an “I’m miserable” face

I get to run every day (well, 4 days a week). I don’t have to run. It’s something I love. At the beginning of marathon training, I found myself dreading runs I was doing for fun just a few weeks before. But because it was on a schedule, I was no longer looking forward to them. So I gave myself an attitude adjustment and started telling myself I “get to” run. Guess what? My 18 mile run went by 10000x faster than the 12 mile run that I felt like I had to do just because a stupid piece of paper said so.


Text conversation from the 16-miler

I get to go to work every day. This started back when I was working at Charm City Run more. I genuinely love working there. It doesn’t feel like work. I enjoy that job, and I enjoy my current full-time job. I really like the advertising world, I like my coworkers, and I like the company. While yes, I technically “have to” go to work every day, it doesn’t feel that way because I don’t let myself see it that way. It doesn’t hurt that when I wake up my first thought is that I “get to” go to work to eat my bagel from THB ;)

The same logic applies to every other aspect of life. I love grilled chicken salads. If I told myself I had to eat one for dinner every night, I’d be willing to bet I wouldn’t be looking forward to them as much. I think I look forward to going home so much because I “get to.” I’m close with my family. But I used to dread going to my grandparents’ beach house for dinner because I “had to.” Now it’s something I look forward to.

Yesterday, I skipped November Project for no reason. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. It’s part of my routine. But Tuesday night I went to bed dreading waking up that early just because I felt like I had to. So I decided to turn off my alarm and sleep in an extra hour and a half. I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it if I forced myself to go. I get to go to November Project each week, I don’t have to go. I slept better than I have in a long time and had a great run. Tomorrow I’ll go back to NP refreshed and in the right mindset.

usually it's something I really look forward to

usually it’s something I really look forward to

It’s amazing how powerful the mind can be. As soon as I start looking at things as “I have to do xyz,” it begins to feel like a chore. I’ve gotten pretty good at getting myself out of funks by reminding myself that I get to do whatever it is. I know that I have a plan that will get me to where I want to be which helps when I’m feeling stuck. When we play mind games with ourselves in running, food, life, relationships, etc., we’re able to see the best of a situation, making it much easier to handle whatever is thrown at us.

Tomorrow I’m heading home until the end of next week. I was home not that long ago, but this time I need to press the reset button, spend quality time with my family, and come back to Baltimore with a refreshed mindset. I have my normal training recaps scheduled and one other post ready to go sometime next week, but otherwise I’ll be totally unplugged (without access to wifi) and making the most of my last real summer weekend on the boat.

Do you play mind games with yourself in life, running, etc.?

Camping Take Two

I mentioned on Thursday that Tim and I were driving down to Charlottesville to go camping for the weekend. It was our way of celebrating 1 year. Camping is NOT my thing. It’s 100% his. When we go, the campgrounds need 1) real showers 2) nearby civilization and 3) cell service for safety reasons. One of my roommates asked before I left if we “pee in a hole.” I have a lot of respect for people who can handle that kind of camping- I am not one of them.

So Friday afternoon I got out of work around 3 (I’m going to be so sad to see Summer Fridays end) and drove down to DC. We were on the road before 5pm and sat in endless traffic. Luckily I packed myself dinner so I didn’t get hangry. What should have been a 2hr drive took over 3. Our fault for leaving during rush hour. We arrived at Heavenly Acres campground around sunset, put the tent together, and made s’mores. Then promptly crashed.

S'mores night one=fail

S’mores night one=fail

Tim woke up before 6am to watch the sunrise, I woke up a little before 7. We wanted to get to where we were biking early because the mountain views are better before the fog completely burns off. We drove to Shenandoah National Park to ride along Skyline Drive. We covered 30 miles- our hilliest ride yet with hands down the second most incredible views (behind Rhode Island, obviously).

11891259_10205068478094714_5472032257270188424_nThe craziest part of the entire weekend– WE SAW A BLACK BEAR! I was riding along minding my own business when all of a sudden a black bear ran across the road about 100 feet in front of us. Luckily it didn’t come *too* close or my mindset would have shifted from “This is SO COOL!” to “OMG I am never coming here again.”

11906799_10205068479054738_6850602730402769161_oI think I’ll keep him around for awhile :)

Tim bikingAfter the bike ride, we went in search of breakfast. Next time we’ll stay in Charlottesville which was a half hour away and had more food options/things to do. Where we were staying, there was literally one breakfast place in a 15 mile radius. We went to Rylie’s Diner both days. Tim ordered typical diner fare (eggs, hash browns, etc.) but because I got hot chocolate on the way, I didn’t want anything sugary like pancakes, which are my go-to diner fare, so I just had a bagel. It was exactly what I wanted.

We got back to the campground and changed into bathing suits. Having a pool was a nice feature, especially because it was so hot outside. We probably spent about two hours at the pool before we decided to do some exploring. The showers were technically “real” showers, but in order to turn them on you had to pull on a rope and there was no temperature adjustment. When you let go of the rope, the shower shut off. Definitely challenging to get clean.

We drove to Charlottesville and walked around for a bit. I should have taken more pictures because it was so cute. We went to Lululemon and explored the pedestrian only Main Street. Huge fan. Per Susie’s suggestion, we went to Citizen Burger for dinner. I had a plain cheeseburger, but Tim was a little more adventurous and went with one of the house specials that served the burger with a fried pickle on top. It was delicious. I wasn’t all that hungry so Tim took most of my fries to go.

CitizenBurgerI was pretty full but I wasn’t about to leave without ice cream (also thanks to Susie’s recommendation). We went for another walk to look at some of the more historic areas before heading to Chaps for ice cream. I had a scoop of cake batter in a waffle cone and Tim had a milkshake.

We got back to the campground and it was still pretty early so we decided to go play some games inside the main building. I kicked a$$ in air hockey and pacman. I guess those weekends in the lodge at Sunday River paid off ;)

Then I decided I needed to redeem myself after my failed s’mores attempt. So I made myself another and finally perfected them. Tim might disagree- he’s way better at it than me.

s'moresSunday morning I didn’t wake up until almost 8am. We drove back to Skyline Drive to do the northern section of the road that we hadn’t done the day before. We wanted to go for a hike in the afternoon so we decided to keep it shorter. I don’t think my legs could have gone much further anyways. We climbed about 1000feet in elevation over the 27 miles. No encounters with black bears, but I did see a few foxes and a deer. The views were breathtaking.

tim bikingAfter going to Rylie’s Diner again for breakfast (okay, lunch), we packed up the tent and to the pool. Then we went back to Skyline Drive again to hike Dark Hollow Falls. There were a ton of people there and now I see why. It was gorgeous! I climbed up a bit and Tim tried to take a picture but you couldn’t really see me. Fail.

waterfallThen we both went to the top and tried to be super artsy. This is what happens when you date a guy who loves photography– you end up with a million pictures of everything you do.

Tim waterfallwaterfallThen it was FINALLY time to hit the road. It took us about 2 hours to get back to DC. We showered quickly, unpacked the car, and drove over to Alexandria for Whole Foods. I got a giant salad with a slice of pizza on the side. Oh, and a cake ball. The greatest.

Monday morning I woke up, said bye to Tim for 12 days, ran the best (and only) 18 miles of my life, and drove back to Baltimore. It was probably the most enjoyable long run I’ve ever done. It flew by and I fell into a groove immediately. I didn’t do so well on the fueling front (read: I didn’t use anything) but overall it was great and I’m feeling more and more confident as October 11th gets closer. I’m extremely happy to have a cutback week while I’m on vacation next week with my family.

4.more.days. until I’m home.

Have you ever been to Shenandoah National Park?

Training 8/9-8/15

This was another really great week for me. I’m glad I had two 16 miler weeks in a row because it gave me confidence to run further distances again. I’m comfortable with 12 mile long runs, but anything longer definitely made me nervous at first. So far I’ve been feeling pretty strong but we’ll see how this week goes with another jump in distance.

Sun– 34 miles biking

I slept in really late Sunday (until 9am!!) so by the time I was on my bike it was close to 11. Aka really hot. I had no clue how far we were going to go, but assumed it would be closer to 25 miles. Not the case. This was also the hilliest ride we’ve ever done.

Mon– 16 miles running

My paces were all over the place for the first 5 miles of this run. It was really overcast and not super warm. But once I mentally stopped telling myself “oh my god you still have 13 miles to go” I felt great. I did this long run way too fast but I wasn’t paying much attention to my watch. I felt like I was cruising the entire second half. That seems to be the theme lately. I take it slow in the early miles and then I just get the itch to go. Hopefully that’s what happens on race day.

long runTues– OFF

Wed– 7 miles running + November Project + Yoga

This was a really good one. Sometimes I’m not in love with the workouts but I go anyways because I just love seeing my friends. This was a day where I really enjoyed the workout too. We did 15×15 workouts (15 reps of 15 different things- like pushups, lunges, squats, etc.). In between each we did a set of stairs or a lap around the field (1/3 mile). I only made it through about half the workout in 40 minutes but I left really sweaty. Mission accomplished. My IT band felt extremely tight at the beginning of yoga but by the end it felt back to normal.

November ProjectThurs– 9 miles running

I woke up and it was 63 degrees outside. Talk about perfect running weather. That never happens here in the summer. I ran without a watch, said hi to my coworker and her dog a few miles in, and didn’t want to head home.

Fri– 8 miles hill repeats w/ November Project

Not a whole lot to say about this one. Ran 4 miles to/from the workout, then did the actual run with my friend Troy who I ran with in college. I love that I have a group to run hills with on Fridays. Otherwise, I’d never do them. We also got some pushups, burpees, and squats thrown in.11896414_972817839448721_3193888754576452491_ohills

Sat– HIKING in Charlottesville!

I pre-scheduled this post because I plan on not using my phone much at all this weekend so I don’t know how far we’ll have gone. Biking is on the schedule for today (Sunday).

Total– 40 miles + 34 miles biking + yoga + hiking

I haven’t run 40 miles in a long time. I didn’t notice a huge difference in my legs. The one thing I do want to start figuring out is fueling. I used to bring Swedish Fish with me on long runs when I was training for previous half marathons but I’ve never actually paid attention to how I felt. It’s been a few years since I’ve fueled on runs and I know that it’s time to try something now that I’m getting into some higher mileage. I don’t think I can deal with Gu but I’m going to get some Honey Stinger waffles and shot blocks and see how that goes. I want to start testing different options so I know exactly what my stomach can handle because right now I’m used to nothing. So that’s my goal for this week.