When in Pittsburgh

Last week I mentioned I was going to Pittsburgh for the weekend. KBT has friends from school there and I have a few blog friends so when he asked me if I wanted to go, I jumped at the chance. It was an exhausting weekend, but so worth it. Let’s back up.

Friday night I picked KBT up after work (we drove my car because I can’t drive stick shift and I wanted to be able to do my own thing while we were there) and we made the four hour drive to Pittsburgh. Sitting in a car for that long after working at a desk for 9 hours is not recommended. We got there around 11, dropped our bags off, and then took an uber to the club his friend was DJing at. Lupe Fiasco was there. I was standing next to him without realizing it. We ended up staying until it closed at 2 (!!) and then spent another hour talking to KBT’s friend when we got back to his house. I held up surprisingly well for having woken up at 5:30 for November Project.

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We slept in until 10:30 and then began our whirlwind of a weekend. First stop: brunch. Except the restaurant we chose, Waffles Incaffeinated, had an hour and a half wait so we did some errands and he showed me some other parts of the city until our table was ready. This place was so cool- not only do they TEXT you when your table is ready, the menu had a few specialty waffles and a “create your own” section. Think Coldstone, but waffles. I got cinnamon in mine and topped it with whipped cream and strawberries. It was good, but I’m not sure it was worth the wait.

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After breakfast (which was really lunch by the time we were done), we did some of the touristy sightseeing. I could not get over how gorgeous the waterfront is. It’s one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. From there, we went to another one of KBT’s friends houses for awhile until I ditched them to go hang out with Heather!!

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from Sunday’s run. I should probably be a photographer

We made plans to get milkshakes at The Milkshake Factory and I was so excited for some girl time. We chatted for a couple hours even though it took us maybe 10 minutes to finish our milkshakes. We probably could have kept talking for days. The milkshake itself was good (I got cookie dough and ‘piece of cake’ mixed together) but it wasn’t the absolute best one I’ve ever had.

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She also made me some chocolate chip cookies which were amazing. KBT and I had one to tide ourselves over for a very late dinner. He approved. We made sure to take an obligatory blogger picture before we left. I didn’t want to leave!

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I went to meet KBT and his friends and we hung out at their recording studio for a few hours. When we finally went to dinner at a trendy place called Industry around 8, the wait was 2 hours. I was beyond hangry at this point- and starting to hit the wall after Friday’s late night- so there was no way I could wait. We were with a big group so we didn’t have much choice but luckily we ended up finding seats at the bar. I ordered a burger and it was gone in 5 minutes.

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After dinner we went to another club called The Flats where his friend was DJing and stayed until a little after midnight. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open but we still had fun.

Lupe Fiasco ended up at this club too...after we left. Source

Lupe Fiasco ended up at this club too…after we left. Source

We got up around 8 Sunday morning to go meet Caitlin down by the water for a run. We were planning on 6 miles but ended up doing 8.5. It went by so fast while we caught up. I didn’t want the run to end but Caitlin had to go to work and KBT and I were getting hungry. We’re not going to let this much time pass again without seeing each other. I could have run down by the Pittsburgh riverfront all day!

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We met up with his friends again for brunch where I ordered the cheapest french toast ever ($4). We took some obligatory pictures at the Mt. Washington Overlook where they have the best views of the city and then headed back downtown to meet his other friend. It was a relaxing day after the previous 24 hours and after a long walk and splitting a small pizza at an artsy restaurant, we got in the car to drive back to Baltimore. I was really craving some vegetables yesterday after eating out so much!

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the only picture where our heads aren’t completely cut off

I promptly fell asleep at 9pm. No shame.

It was one of the craziest weekends I’ve had in a really long time but it was so nice to get away. I’ve really grown to love Baltimore, but I love exploring new cities. I’ve been to Pittsburgh before but I’d never been to this side of town and we’re already planning a trip back this summer.

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if only I could keep my eyes open

What’s your favorite city?

3/22-3/28

This week I didn’t plan any workouts. I didn’t know when I was going to run, how many days, or how many miles. I knew I’d be at NP on Wednesday and Friday but beyond that, I didn’t care. It seems like whenever I do that, everything falls into place perfectly. This week was no exception.

Sun- OFF

Spent from 7am-11am in the car driving my brother from DC-Delaware and then back to Baltimore, then worked at the store for 5 hours which was FAR from a rest day.

Mon- OFF

Ended up sleeping in until 7:30 (late for me) so it turned into another rest day. I almost went to spinning after work (we got out at 5) but I didn’t really want to and I refuse to force myself to work out anymore.

Tues- 8 miles + 1 hour yoga

Forgot to set my alarm and woke up at 6:59 instead of 6:40 which meant cutting my run a mile short. oh well. For the first time since before the race my legs didn’t feel dead so it was a pretty pleasant run, albeit slightly chilly. We also now have weekly yoga in the office so that was a great way to stretch out after sitting at a desk all morning. It wasn’t a physically taxing class at all, but I was a little sore the next day.

10335822_10202156534217937_790241136_nWed- 8 miles (6 commuting, 2 miles at November Project)

The last Wednesday of the month is PR Day at November Project. Admittedly it’s not my favorite day of the week as I don’t go to NP to race, but I do go to catch up with friends, so I use the 2 mile time trial as a social run with Kristine and Lauren. We hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks so we had a lot to talk about. Then we did a few sets of stairs and squatted to Sally.

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in my element

Thurs- 6 sunset miles

I was planning on Thursday being a rest day but it was 70 degrees and there was no way I wasn’t taking advantage of that. I also looked at the weather for the weekend in Pittsburgh and saw how cold it was supposed to be Saturday… nope. Running in a tank top and shorts felt AMAZING even if my legs were tired from running 3 days in a row.

Fri- 9 miles November Project (5 hill repeats + 4 miles commute)

It’s been awhile since I’ve completed a NP Friday workout. Two weeks ago I was sick and only made it through 2 hill repeats and last week I was in DC, so this was the first time I’ve fit in 5 hills in a long time. It was a tough workout and my legs felt like lead so I took it easy and skipped the last hill (I usually do 6).

Sat- OFF/walking around Pittsburgh

Well-deserved rest day.

Total- 31 miles

As long as I’m staying in between 30-35 miles, I’m happy. I would have liked to have some days between my runs but it didn’t work out that way. My legs felt okay-albeit really heavy and tired by Friday- but I don’t want to make a habit of fitting all 4 of my runs into 4 days in a row. That’s how I end up injured. Hopefully they’ll be more spread out next week but we’ll see.

Do you like doing all of your runs in a row or do you try to space them out?

I need a break.

Happy Thursday! Another week, another Thinking Out Loud post. These are my favorites to write because I just write down whatever is going on in my head. And usually there’s a lot.

1) This week has been pretty uneventful at work. All of the account managers are at a sales conference in Texas so it was pretty light on the work-front. Which means next week is going to be chaos. But it was nice to have a quiet week before the end of quarter. Last night we got out of work at 4 and went to a happy hour at Boathouse Canton. It was pretty much my dream restaurant- right on the water, decorated with anchors… and the name alone is pretty much a dead giveaway. I’ll be back. Next time I need to celebrate, I know where the party is going to be.

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2) On that note, I realized how badly I needed a break last week. I was so burnt out. Taking a half day Thursday and Friday off was beyond necessary. I came back to work so refreshed Monday morning. Now I just need to make it through the next few months until I take a real vacation.

3) We’ve had a lot of “fun” events at work this week and we’ve gotten out by 5 almost every night. They brought in an acupuncturist and there are various community service activities today and tomorrow that anyone is welcome to partake in. They’ve also added weekly yoga classes into our Tuesday afternoons which is awesome. Nothing better than unplugging for an hour after staring at a computer all morning.

10335822_10202156534217937_790241136_n3) When I first found out I was moving back to Baltimore, I decided I was going to work 7 days a week- 5 days at my “real job” and 2 days a week at my “fun job” aka the running store. Well, that lasted all of one week before I realized there was no way. I was okay doing a full day on Saturdays for the first six months before cutting back to half days. After a few months, an increase in hours at my other job has made it feel like too much again. And now? I’m taking a break from the running store. I’ve been really torn for a few months now, especially as we enter the “busy season” which is my favorite time of year, but I’m running myself into the ground trying to balance my “9-5,” weekends at the store, family, running, a relationship, and a social life. I’m going to miss it so much but I’ll be filling in occasionally). It was my happy place last year as I struggled to make it through senior year. It became my home away from home.

10617798_10202772305811842_514342483_n4) November Project. Super fun. Reunited with Kristine for the first time in a few weeks just in time for Sally and Race Day. We didn’t exactly “race” (okay, we ran conversation pace the entire time) but we still got in a good workout between the running, stairs, and Sally. I love that I have people I look forward to seeing each week. November Project is a huge part of my social life.

11070632_898603083536864_2837528248087993213_n5) Lauren got me the cutest ice cream socks and earrings for my birthday. She knows me ;)

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6) I need a new TV show. Pretty Little Liars ended Wednesday (OKAYYYYY WHAT WAS UP WITH THAT FINALE) and KBT and I only have 2 episodes left of House of Cards. I think we’re watching Scandal next since that’s what everyone talks about at work and I always feel like I’m missing out.

7) I really like my running schedule right now. I run Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and one weekend day. It’s working for me and gives me ample recovery time. I would like to get back to spinning once a week, maybe, but I haven’t worked that back into my schedule yet. It’s hard to wake up in the mornings but those sunrises are beyond worth it.

11060458_898602980203541_1229561849134710135_n8) Have you seen the new Pro Compression Socks? They’re heather colored and I really need to stock up on some. Right now they’re just the SOM but if they’re popular enough they may become a permanent addition to the lineup. We all know I love Pro Compression (and my massage therapist recommends them too because they’re one of the few “graduated compression” socks on the market) so I HIGHLY recommend them. Use the code HC15 for 40% off!

11072538_10153708011214466_3671782007788598892_n9) We’re leaving for Pittsburgh tomorrow! I haven’t been since I went with a few friends sophomore year for a SAAC conference so I’m excited to go back now that I actually know people that live there. And, you know, going for fun instead of for work.

Does your office do “wellness activities”?

What shows should I add to my list?

Never Enough Time.

Well, the weekend has come and gone once again. I had no idea just how badly I needed it until I walked into the office yesterday morning feeling refreshed rather than exhausted for the first time in a very long time.

This weekend was everything I hoped it would be. I left work at lunch Thursday and drove straight to my mom’s hotel in DC. The place was so big and swarming with healthcare professionals that it took me a solid 20 minutes to find her, but I was so, so happy when I finally did. Two months is way too long for me to go without seeing my family.

We walked to Georgetown to get cupcakes at Baked & Wired while catching up on life. I don’t talk to her as often anymore (meaning we exchange maybe 1-2 texts a day, instead of 24/7 plus phone calls). Probably because I actually like my life now, so I’m not calling her every other day for that comfort. It was about a 5 mile walk and it felt so good to be outside in the sunshine.

jpgFor those of you who don’t know, my mom is the CFO at a local health center and she goes to various conferences throughout the year. This particular one was the 50th anniversary of the National Association of Community Health Centers and there was a gala Thursday night. I’ve accompanied her on business trips for as long as I can remember so this was nothing new to me. I usually hang out in the hotel room while she’s in meetings and occasionally attend events. We were at the hotel bar beforehand with my childhood best friend’s mom who works for the same health center and someone my mom knew from previous conferences had an extra ticket so I threw on a dress and went with them. It wasn’t the most exciting night, but the dessert was good. We left early and were in bed by 9pm.

unnamedFriday we woke up early so my mom could go to a breakfast meeting and deal with a work crisis. The weather wasn’t the greatest but it wasn’t awful so after another brief meeting around noon, we walked to DuPont Circle for a late lunch. My mom has been obsessed with Chop’t since I introduced her to it last spring and we always go when we’re in DC. She and my brother went again on Saturday after I left.

After lunch I met up with a friend to get our nails done and we stopped at Shake Shack for a snack. I got a caramel shake which was so good but I was too cold so I gave the rest to KBT when I got to his office. We killed some time before heading to Ruth Chris to meet my mom for my “birthday dinner.” I’ve never been there before but had been wanting to try it for awhile. It was really good, although I think Stoney River is pretty comparable and nowhere near as expensive, so I wouldn’t rush to go back again.

IMG_5733After dinner we walked back to the Marriott Wardman (where we were staying) and I grabbed my bags and said my goodbyes. The rest of the weekend was tough. I was so happy I got to see my mom, but leaving was really hard and I was definitely struggling. I have no idea when I’ll be seeing her again. I’ll be seeing my brother a lot this spring at his lacrosse games, but she has a conference next month when my dad’s planning on coming down so it could be another 2 months unless I go home.

Saturday morning KBT made waffles and then we went to pick up my bike! We took it for a test ride around the block and I couldn’t get over how much smoother it rides than the bike I currently have (aka the one with broken gears and brakes). That was the only riding I did this weekend but I’ll be using it soon. That afternoon we went for a 6-mile run with one of KBT’s friends and then met some of his other friends out for dinner at a place called Johnny Rad’s.

bikeThe pizza was SO good. I’d been craving it for awhile and it hit the spot. We got an appetizer of “huf puppies” which are really like hush puppies made with cornbread. I was skeptical at first because there were chunks in the whole wheat ones, but they were SO GOOD. I’m learning to try new things, slowly but surely ;)

johnnySunday I was up early to pick up my brother at the airport and drive him back to Delaware. I’m glad I got to see my mom one last time but man was it hard. Not having summers off and living so far from home is going to really test me. Thank god for unlimited vacation days and a Boston office. I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time there. After I dropped him off I went straight to work at the store. It was one of the craziest days I’ve ever experienced there but it proved to be the perfect distraction. We opened the doors half an hour early and the rush didn’t stop until we closed at 4. I was practically falling asleep when I went to meet friends for dinner.

ccrWoah that was long. Long story short: It was a great weekend and exactly what I needed, but one day will never be enough time with family.

What did you do this weekend?

How far do you live from family?

3/15-3/21

I didn’t realize my body would be as tired and sore as it was after Sunday. On Thursday I was still a little sore and sluggish from last weekend so I decided to make that my last run of the week and take a long weekend off any physical activity besides walking with my mom around DC. Except then it was really nice out saturday and KBT wanted to run with one of his friends so I joined them bringing my mileage for the week right back to my sweet spot. Overall, I got my miles in and I can’t complain about being able to run in shorts.

Sun- Shamrock 5K and 6ish miles walking

I recapped this earlier in the week, but I PRed (20:46) despite 25mph winds and a lot of walking before the race. KBT and I walked from my apartment to lululemon for an R+D Appreciation Event, and then from lululemon to his apartment (about 3 miles total) before the race. Then we walked to the race, and after the race walked back to my apartment before wandering around Fells for the afternoon. Lots of time on my feet.

CaptureMon- OFF

Couldn’t wake up. Seems to be a trend lately on Mondays.

Tues- 9 miles

My legs were still really tight but running loosened them up a lot. It was almost 50 degrees when I went out and I was overdressed in long sleeves and shorts. It felt so good and the sunrise was gorgeous. I love morning runs.

Wed- 7 Miles + November Project

It felt good to be back in full force. I even got some birthday love at the end. We did a few sets of stairs, lots of planks, burpees, box jumps, pushups, sprints, etc. The only downside to the workout was the Kristine was out of town and it was too cold for shorts.

10989369_894932673903905_1278019482666551149_nThurs- 9 miles + 5ish miles walking around DC w/ my mom

Got some miles in before work and then left at lunch to drive down to DC to spend a few days with my mom. We walked over to Georgetown for some cupcakes and shopping. Perfect afternoon.

Fri- 6ish miles walk w/my mom around DC

I thought about going to NP DC but it didn’t work out. I’ve been really tired and sore this week so sleeping in was more important.

Sat- 6 miles

Picked up my bike yesterday! It was supposed to be a rest day but that didn’t work out so I’m expecting my mileage to drop a bit this week instead. It was gorgeous out and I enjoyed every second, but I definitely felt tired.

Total- 34 miles running

I was really sore after the race on Sunday and was with other people so I didn’t get in a warm up or cool down. The walk turned into both of those things. I’m guessing my mileage will be lower this week since I definitely pushed myself more than I should have. It was more of an “active recovery” week with all the extra walking but I should have cut my mileage back more than I did. I had planned to until I ran yesterday, so I won’t be running as much this week. I have another race in a little less than a month so I don’t want to push myself too hard and burn out before I get to the starting line.

last week wasn’t the recovery week I expected it to be so I’m planning to give my legs a rest in the next few days.

Today’s the day!

How is it Thursday already? I seriously thought this week was going to go by super slowly but it didn’t. Not that I’m complaining, I’ve been waiting for this weekend for 2 months now. I don’t have a ton of time but I did manage to put together some random thoughts for Thinking Out Loud.

1) Remember that time I was sad I was only going to see my mom for less than 24 hours? Well, I decided to take a half day off today to squeeze in an extra 8 or so hours with her. Which means I’m leaving work at lunch this afternoon to drive down to DC and spend some quality time with her and catch up with a friend while she’s in meetings on the Hill.

a little #tbt for you... luckily i didn't inherit her photogenic-ness

a little #tbt for you… luckily i didn’t inherit her photogenic-ness

2) We’re going to a ball tonight for the conference she’s speaking at. We’re not staying for long. Neither of us are “ball” people. Actually, neither of us are really “dress up” people.” We’d rather go eat burgers and milkshakes. Which is probably what we’ll do. I have a few places in mind. I pretty much use my mom’s visits as an excuse to go to all the restaurants I’ve been wanting to try. That, and to eat as many cupcakes as possible.

3) She couldn’t wait to give me my birthday presents, so she sent me a box filled with homemade pumpkin bread, a card, my latest Runner’s World (my subscription is delivered to my parent’s house), and some birthday money. Of course it was in a Sperry shoebox and there were bags for Vineyard Vines to fill the empty space inside. She gets me.

Capture24) I pick up my bike Saturday! Lots of excitement. If only it was warm enough to actually use it…maybe Sunday. I would say I’ll give it a shot next weekend, but I’m going to Pittsburgh to see Heather and Caitlin. Well, that’s my reason for the trip, but not the real reason we’re going…

5) How is there SNOW in the forecast for tomorrow? I thought we were done with it, especially when I was walking around in a skirt and sperries Tuesday without a jacket.

Capture46) Lately I’ve found myself on the computer less and less. I used to be one of those people that was glued to it at night, but having a desk job will do that to you. At night, I do spend time watching The OC on my laptop and reading Thought Catalog, but no blogging happens at night anymore. And I haven’t touched my laptop over a weekend in months. I prefer it that way. Especially as the weather continues to warm up (minus aforementioned snow) and I want to spend all of my time outside.

7) Speaking of outside, the one downside to my apartment (minus the lack of heat in our bedrooms) is that we don’t have any outdoor space. There’s nowhere to grill, but more importantly, there’s nowhere to sit and read a book outside. Aka why I’ve made friends with several homeless people that hang out on the benches near my apartment. Sometimes I just want to sit and read a book on the water, and the only place to do that is in public spaces.

This is literally the view from every window in my apartment

This is literally the view from every window in my apartment

8) 3/12 day weeks are infinitely better than 5 day weeks. Fact. I’m not upset at all about missing our “kegger” at work Friday night (we hit our goal for 4th quarter so they’re rewarding us with a happy hour #advertisinglife). And yes, they did build a bar with taps connected to several kegs, so it’s actually a legit “kegger.” It can get frustrating when we have happy hours on Fridays because it takes 100x longer to get work done, so I’ll gladly miss it in favor of dinner in DC.

9) November Project was a good one this week. Whenever it’s someone’s birthday we do this little chant thing for them. And because mine was Sunday, we celebrated this week. I missed it last year, so it was kind of cool to experience it for the first time even though I’m one of the original NP_Bal members.

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10) We did a few sets of stairs, lots of “sprints,” and a bunch of planks, burpees, squats, lunges, etc. I’m still feeling pretty sore from the race Sunday so the entire workout was a struggle. I ran this morning though so I’m taking Friday and Saturday (and possibly Sunday) off running entirely to give my legs a chance to recover. We also realized there’s a mizuno trend among the tribe. I dig it.

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That’s all from me! Enjoy your weekends!

Shamrock 5K (20:46)

So I ran a race on Sunday. And I PRed for the first time since I ran the 2012 Turkey Trot in Towson. I wasn’t sure how this race would go. I was sick all week, we walked a lot more than we should beforehand, the weather was iffy, and the start time wasn’t until 1pm. By noon, my desire to run was fading quickly. I’m a morning runner, and I was irritated that I had to wait for hot chocolate until after the race. I pretty much gave up on running a fast race.

Due to logistics of parking, KBT and I walked from my apartment to Mt. Vernon where the race started which is about 3 miles. The race finished closer to Fells Point where I live, so we wanted to have a car there.

Around 12:15 we went to Warehouse 518 which is a nearby restaurant we’ve been to a few times. I was growing more and more concerned with my outfit choice and regretting not bringing arm sleeves with me. It was 49 degrees out but felt like 40 thanks to 25mph winds. We walked to the starting line at 12:50 and gave our extra layers and phones to our friend that was watching the race. We probably shouldn’t have done it so early because the race started about 15 minutes late and I was freezing!

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clearly a little chilly

When the gun went off, I got SO excited and took off. Probably too excited. The course starts on a downhill which is great, but not if you’re someone like me whose race strategy is “sprint the first mile, maintain the 2nd mile, hang on for dear life the 3rd mile.” I was flying down the hill (luckily we started close to the front so I didn’t get boxed in with 5200 runners) but my Garmin is broken so I ran watch-less and had no concept of distance or pace. I was fine for the first minute or two but then my legs started feeling really heavy and tired and my head was fuzzy (which is how I had felt all week leading up to the race). Luckily, the wind was behind us for the first mile so I wasn’t cold and I wanted to use that to my advantage to make up time I’d lose when we were going directly into the wind. I crossed mile 1 at 6:05.

Mile 2 I was cruising. I slowed down, but I settled into a comfortably fast pace. The only way to describe the way I felt was strong. I kept replaying all of the runs I’ve done in the past 4 months and how well-prepared I was. I was confident and I know running longer daily helped me mentally get through a 5K without freaking out at the halfway point. The wind was still working in our favor for most of mile 2 until we turned around and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I almost got blown into other runners several times and legitimately almost fell over. I pushed harder through the wind and came through mile 2 at 12:50.

Mile 3 went fast. The wind was absolutely brutal and people were starting to pass me but I was hanging in there. The wind did subside briefly but then we were back into it again and there was nothing you could do but keep pushing through it. When I passed Shake Shack in the Inner Harbor I tried to kick it into gear but I’m one of those people that can’t really turn it on until I see the finish line, which is too late. As I came around the corner into PowerPlant I saw the clock and knew I would have to really sprint to PR. I ended up finishing in 20:46, which is a 5-second PR.

The race was huge (5200 runners) with a lot of really talented runners so I didn’t place in my age group (I believe I was 6th) and was 19th overall female. After I stopped feeling like I was going to pass out, I found Lauren and KBT and then attempted to take a picture. Somewhere in the middle of it I saw my track coach from Goucher and stopped to have a conversation so it took about 8 shots to get a semi-normal one.

Capture4We didn’t stick around for the free beer (I don’t drink beer, I wanted hot chocolate, and we were supposed to meet people for lunch right after we finished), and we walked back to my apartment which was the perfect cool down.

I’ve never run a race on my birthday so to be able to do that and PR was the best surprise ever. I was just so happy to be running and outside with friends that the PR wasn’t my main focus. That’s always how it happens for me though- when I don’t stress about a race and I just run for the pure enjoyment of it, I surprise myself. My smile after the gun went off was a dead giveaway. I’m confident I can run a sub-20 again in better conditions as long as I stay out of my own head.

Two days later and I’m more sore than I’ve been in a long time. Yesterday’s long run did help loosen me up a bit at least so I’m not waddling around quite as awkwardly.

Where was your 5K PR?

Did you run a St. Patrick’s Day race?

23.

Wow.

I don’t have a lot of words to describe this weekend. Sunday night Suzie texted me to say she hoped my day was “magical” and I realized that was a pretty accurate description. It was definitely one of the best birthdays I’ve had. At least in my “adult” years.

We had a discussion at work the other day about what the “best” age is. I’m the youngest on my team (not by much- I work at a very young company) and have to say, 22 was a lot better than 18, 19, 20, or 21 which is what a lot of people consider to be the “glory days.” College was not the time of my life by any means. I spent most of the four years counting down the minutes until I was out and in the “real world.” It was worth the wait.

But 22 was pretty good to me. I graduated, got my health fully under control in terms of food and exercise, moved into a gorgeous waterfront apartment, started a full-time job that matches my skill set and interests, settled down in a relationship, and really allowed myself to let go of so many fears and self-imposed restrictions I’ve had for years. 22 was a year of change, but it was all good change.

22nd birthday

22nd birthday

And so far, 23 is off to a pretty great start too. I already have my life in place, now I get to enjoy it. My birthday weekend started Friday morning at November Project but unfortunately I was still feeling a bit under the weather and after 2 hills, decided to run home. At work Friday I got a card signed by all of my coworkers. I got home and my roommates had bought me a whole rainbow cake from Harris Teeter (and a matching rainbow cake birthday card). I am not exaggerating when I say that was one of my favorite surprises this weekend (if you’ve been reading for awhile, you know I have a legitimate obsession with rainbow cake).

CaptureI went over to KBT’s for dinner and brought my cake with me. I pretty much didn’t let it leave my side all weekend. We (okay he) made burgers and we watched House of Cards before calling it a night. I’m a party animal Friday nights. I also opened my birthday presents from him- new shoes because apparently there’s more to life than Sperries and a fancier raincoat that I can wear to work.

IMG_5710Saturday morning KBT made us French Toast before we drove up to the bike shop where I finally picked out my bike! I love the color and we pick it up next weekend. Fingers crossed the weather is nice so I can actually start learning how to ride a bike with super skinny tires.

IMG_5698I spent the afternoon at Charm City Run fitting customers for shoes amidst the chaos that is packet pickup for big races. The Shamrock 5K is their largest race (5200 runners) and the store was swamped all day which made for a very entertaining day. KBT stopped by with a friend who needed to get fit for some shoes after it slowed down and it was just one of those days that made me remember why I love working there.

Capture3We got back to my apartment and made chicken pesto pasta (my favorite) with SNEAKER PASTA that I got in my swag bag from the Runner’s World Half Festival in October. I’ve been dying to make it for months now so the night before an important race seemed like a good opportunity to do so. We also used my George Foreman grill for the first time. The jury’s still out on whether I think it compares to a real grill, but it’s a decent compromise. My friends from school came over later to eat pie (I ate rainbow cake) and catch up and then it was another relatively early night.

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You can’t really tell but the pasta is shaped like sneakers and runners

Sunday morning we walked to Lululemon because they were having an R+D appreciation day. I didn’t buy anything (bikes aren’t cheap) but I definitely was tempted to stock up on my favorite tanks. Then we walked back to KBT’s to get ready for the race and went down to the start for 1pm.

The race itself was crazy. I loved every second of it. I’ll recap that tomorrow but the second the gun went off it hit me that I was running a race. On my birthday. Alongside so many friends. It was really windy (25mph winds) but I somehow managed to PR despite being down for the count all week and throwing any hopes of a solid time out the window. A birthday PR. My first PR in 3 years. I have always wanted to run a race on my birthday, so this was extra special.

I saw my cross country coach from Goucher and got a little distracted...

I saw my cross country coach from Goucher and got a little distracted…

We stopped at 7-11 so I could get my weekly free hot chocolate, showered, and then headed out to Waterfront Hotel for lunch with Lauren and her boyfriend who had also run the race, and a few other friends. I ordered a GIANT burger and I finished every last bite, but only made a small dent in my fries. We went to a few other bars and walked around Fells Point for awhile before calling it a day. I spent the rest of the night watching House of Cards again and eating yet another slice of rainbow cake.

The only thing missing from this weekend was my family (and a few of my best friends), but my mom will be here in TWO DAYS. And I certainly felt the love from afar. My mom sent me a package filled with some of my favorite baked goods. It’s a good thing I like to run a lot…

 

And of course all of YOU blew me away with your tweets, comments, emails, texts, facebook posts, etc. You certainly know how to make a girl feel special.

How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

3/8-3/14

Happy Sunday! Depending on when you’re reading this, I’m either still sleeping, eating a bagel, running the Shamrock 5k, or out with KBT/my friends because today is my birthday!

This was supposed to be a lower-mileage week and at first it didn’t seem like it was going to be… until I got knocked out by some sort of weird stomach bug. I didn’t feel like I was “sick enough” to take time off work, but I definitely didn’t feel okay at all from Tuesday morning until I woke up Thursday morning. Which meant a lot of quality time with Seth Cohen.

Sun- 11 miles

I set out to do 6ish miles but the moment I walked out the front door I knew that wasn’t going to happen. It was 55 degrees, sunny, and perfect running weather. I spent the first 20 minutes on the phone with my best friend and then ran into Lauren somewhere between mile 3 and 4. We did about 7 or so miles together and I ran the last mile home. The time flew by while we were chatting and it was one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time.

Pretty crazy that just 2 days before this was my run

Pretty crazy that just 2 days before this was my run

Mon- OFF

I was going to run but I couldn’t get out of bed. Daylight savings killed me.

Tues- 6 miles

Usually I do 8-9 miles for my runs but after running way farther than planned on Sunday, I made myself take it down a notch. I also wasn’t feeling awesome (but didn’t realize I was sick until a few hours later and I ended up going home from work early) so it was one of those runs that you just get done. At least it was warm enough to wear shorts.

Wed- OFF

My roommates thought I was dead when I didn’t wake up for November Project. Full disclosure- I did set my alarm for it but when I sat up in bed dizzy I knew I wouldn’t make it to the workout. I wanted to run so badly after work but I still felt pretty terrible so I just soaked in the warm air during my walk home.

CaptureThurs- 5 milers (plus 1 mile walk)

I woke up feeling pretty good so I decided to give running a shot. I made it about 40 minutes before I was feeling fatigued (but not sick), so I walked the last mile. The fresh air made me feel so much better. I didn’t have a fever or a cold and I was keeping food down, so I didn’t really see a reason *not* to run, but I told myself I’d stop the minute I felt like I was overdoing it, and I did. Side note- apparently twitter really likes half pictures of running outfits.

CaptureFri- 6 miles (#HillsforBreakfast November Project)

I usually do an extra hill before the workout and shoot for 5 hills with everybody, but due to being sick for most of the week and racing today, I took it easy. It’s 4 miles to/from the workout and I was planning on doing 4 hills, but after 2 I wasn’t feeling well so I cut it short and ran home. Finished off with 7 minutes of planks. I need to get back into core work.

Sat- OFF

Total- 29 miles

And today I’m racing. KBT asked how I wanted to spend my birthday and I said all I wanted to do was run this race. I’ve always wanted to do one on my birthday so this is my chance. The fact that I’m running it with all of my friends makes it 1000x better.

I had high hopes of PRing today but because of this weird stomach bug (I didn’t have a high fever and I was able to eat food, but every time I did, I felt nauseous, and I was dizzy/lightheaded/completely exhausted all the time), I’ve thrown that goal aside and I’m just going to see how it goes. Not exactly what I had in mind, but it’s not in my control so I’ll make the best of it and have a good time running with my favorite people for my favorite store.

TOL: 1 week

Thursday has turned into a countdown post lately. If that’s what gets me through the week… then so be it. Because I’m trying to be positive these days (easier said than done since I subscribe to the “expect the worst and you will never be disappointed” motto), let’s come up with a list of (mostly) good things for thinking out loud.

1) In ONE WEEK from today, I’ll be in DC with my mom. Something tells me this week is going to feel like 10 weeks. But it’s okay. Because in 7 days, I’ll be staying in DC. And going for long walks, eating really good food, and doing everything you’re supposed to do with your mom. Plus, I really like DC, so it will be a good (and probably way too fast) 24 hours.

2) On that note, my birthday is in 3 days. That really snuck up on me.  This year is flying. I’m not really big on birthdays (my family always put more emphasis on Christmas), so I don’t really have any plans except running a race in the afternoon and probably getting ice cream with friends. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. 22 was a pretty good year, we’ll see if 23 can top it.

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last year’s birthday

3) Our apartment finally isn’t freezing cold. I can go to bed without sleeping on a frozen pillow (it’s memory foam so for most of the winter I would go to bed with it still frozen). I don’t have to wear 19 layers of clothing to keep my lips from turning blue. I can actually sit in my room and have a conversation with my friend on the phone (we have a weekly phone date- usually Monday or Tuesday nights) without feeling like I need gloves to hold my phone. It’s kind of nice to not feel freezing cold all the time. I forgot what that felt like.

10613969_10202769737787643_554995236_n4) Running in shorts feels AMAZING. There is such a difference when you don’t have to plan out how to dress just warmly enough that you don’t go numb but not so warm that you overheat. Long sleeves + shorts is by far the best running weather there is. I won’t complain about running when it’s 95 degrees outside, but there’s something about spring/fall that I love.

Okay…. and a couple not-so-great things that I didn’t have on the list when I first started this post.

5) I never get sick. Ever. I can’t remember the last time I caught sick a stomach bug. It’s probably been 8 years. Until Tuesday. I started feeling really nauseous and getting chills at work, so I went home in the afternoon and slept for the rest of the night. I still felt pretty awful yesterday but I got up and went in anyways because I was able to eat relatively normally and was brought up with the belief “if you’re not dying, you’re going to school.” Same rules apply now.

6) The biggest problem with getting sick when you’re not at home anymore for your mom to take care of you is that you have to rely on other people. I’m extremely independent and hate feeling like other people are going out of their way for me. I was perfectly capable of going to the store on my own to get gatorade/toast/etc. My coworkers kept asking how I was, I had friends texting me, my roommates were asking me if they could get me anything, and my mom pretty much thought I was dying. While I was blown away by the support, I don’t like the attention, especially when I didn’t really *need* anything except a lot of sleep.

7) That did mean I was smart for once and decided to skip November Project. My alarm went off at 5:45, but as soon as I sat up in bed and felt dizzy I knew it was a bad idea. It’s unfortunate, because I think they did a pretty legit stair workout, but it’s better that passing out on my way there.

8) It’s almost Kilwins weather! I haven’t been back to see my friend (I don’t know his name, but he knows my order) since October and now that it’s warmer I can finally convince my friends to go with me. So that will be making a regular appearance once again. My wallet might hate me but I’m okay with it.

it's pretty much my favorite

it’s pretty much my favorite

Do you make a big deal about birthdays?

What’s your favorite season?

Do you have a hard time accepting help from others?