Sunday, December 26, 2010

My 2011 Resolutions

As the New Year quickly approaches, I suppose it’s time to post my resolutions/goals for 2011. Brace yourself, I can’t even believe I’m going to write these down. So far, I’ve got five – a couple that test my will, others that test my fitness and one that carries over from last year.

Before we get to the challenges 2011 will bring, let’s recap last year’s resolutions. They were as follows:

Run a marathon: Did that. Twice! Sugarloaf in May and Maine in October. Two of the most rewarding experiences in my life. It’s actually made me look at a half marathon as ‘an easy, fun run that’s only 13.1 miles.’

Get a six-pack: Ummmmmm ya. Not the Bud Light one, the abdominal one. Didn’t quite get there. Maybe next year?
Chill the F out: SO happy to say I did that. While I’m still super high strong, I learned a lot of things this year and teaching myself to ‘take a step back.’
Make 2010 about me: This was the best decision I ever made. I wasn’t selfish, but for the first time in my life I put myself first. I made it a priority to make myself happy before anything else. It was really hard at first, but I got used to it (maybe too used to it). Haha.

I’d say that makes for a pretty successful 2010.

Alright, back to the here and now. It didn’t take me too long to decide what my 2011’s would be. I’ve actually have been coming up with them all throughout this year, so without further adieu, here they are:

Give up chocolate: I can already tell this is probably going to suck majorly. I love chocolate SO much but I know I can totally go without it for a year. I mean, really, its only 365 days without the sweet confection. Before I go any further, this deserves some additional explanation. I plan on foregoing all candy-type chocolate (Hershey kisses, M&Ms, the like) as well as desert-type (goodbye chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, chocolate cookies). The underlying factor here is that my whey protein powder is chocolate-flavored and I will not be giving that up. All you whey-drinkers know that it is nothing like real chocolate and it’s my post-workout thing.

Give up swearing: While I’ve done a great job keep my blog PG, I can not keep my mouth in check to save my life. I have a mouth like a sailor, a truck-driver and a 21st century rapper – i.e. absolutely revolting. This also deserves some clarification. I really only curse when I’m with my friends and family. I keep my mouth swear-free at work, school and in all professional settings. That’s what the real kicker is – I can do it there, so why not do it everywhere, right? I just might have to make myself a swear jar to be sure I’m towing the line.

Run a 50K: Crazy, right? I know its 31 miles, but I’ve already completed two marathons so that seems like the next challenge. Misty and I will be tackling the Pineland Farms 50K Memorial Day weekend and I’m a bit nervous about this. She has convinced me that we are going to make this fun, a nice long run in which we will allow ourselves to stop, eat and stretch. However, I know Misty and I certainly know myself and I know that we are going to push ourselves to do well. I was at this event last year for my internship and it seemed like a lot of fun. Back on race day, I had committed to do the 2011 10K … what’s another 40? I’m also playing with the idea of completing a half-Ironman, but that may be a bit too much to tackle, so we’ll see.

Take a good race photo: I take the worst race pictures ever. I either look in a lot of pain or really, really goofy. So, this year, I will pose for the camera and get myself a good, or at least decent race picture. This is one of the most hilarious captures of 2010. Sarah snagged this at the 4th of July 10K - also, the most miserable race of the year.

Make 2011 about me: Like I did in 2010, I plan on making 2011 about me. I’m not conceded or self-centered, but I am 22 years old and I’m going to do what I have to to make myself happy. I’m going to continue to put myself first and forget about what others think. In the end, you’re the only one looking out for you and you’re the only one that can make you truly happy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sharing 'Strega Nona'

Today, while I was paying for my 'Craming for the GMAT' study guide at Borders Books & Music, the cashier kindly asked me if I wanted to purchase a book for a less-fortunate child. She pointed in the direction of the wall behind her displaying about 25 different books and a handful of techy gadgets for me to choose from. When I accepted her offer and told her to 'hook someone up with my childhood favorite, 'Strega Nona,' she seemed surprised. Maybe because I'm 22 years old, maybe because I tend to sport a 'don't mess with me look' or maybe because it’s rare that people buy into her offer. Nonetheless, she climbed the ladder to reach 'Strega Nona' sitting atop the highest shelf and rang me up for a whopping ten dollars.

I had already spoken with my mother about how I wanted to donate a toy to a local toy-drive but wasn't sure how I would go about doing it, so I was more than willing when the Borders cashier propositioned me. I don't know why, but ever since I was young, I have gotten great joy of knowing that I'm helping out someone who doesn't get half the holiday experience I get. Every year, I get all giddy and can't help but buy into every 'help the needy' gimmick. Honestly, I can't wait to hit the local retail shop in the coming weeks just to plop a couple bucks into the bright red Salvation Army bucket. I remember ringing that bell in high school for three hours as a part of our community service club and I really appreciated those few people who took the time to reach in their wallet.

In general, I guess I just LOVE to give gifts - to my friends, my family, significant other and especially to people that need it. Not to toot my own horn, but I have dubbed myself 'the all-time best gift-giver,' so if you ever need any assistance, just let me know.

Also, if you've never read 'Strega Nona,' I suggest you get your hands on a copy. Whether you keep it for yourself, give it to a youngster in your life or pass it on to someone less fortunate is your choice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

DUDE! What is going on!?

Just hours after I posted about how I am completely fine with Randy Moss leaving the Patriots for the Vikings, this happens. (A special thanks goes out to Brockman for informing me of this. I lived in meetings, in my books and in my papers all day.) On Tuesday, Minnesota will officially release Randy. Obviously it had a lot to do with his I-run-the-show-Patriots-love-fest post-game press conference. Note: I've watched this a few times now and I'm still in shock.

He looked like a mess - not to mention he is wearing a Boston hat (I hope you all noticed this). Clearly, there is a lot going on in his head that we don't know or understand, but I'm sure we never will. I believe Randy put it best in his message to the Pats, 'I love you guys, man I miss you. I'm out.'

And so the question remains - where will Randy end up?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Whole Lot of Sports Randoms

After watching the Patriots handle the Vikings on Sunday, I realized that there are a couple of things that need addressing.

1. Brady and his Beiber ‘do: Since Tom has let his hair grow, I have defended his look more than once. Needless to say my patience with this issue is growing thin, unlike No. 12's hair. I feel I can no longer seriously and convincingly defend him. While I will always defend him, even if he grows a Troy Polamalu, it’s getting difficult. He is still quite good-looking, but I also think he might be able to rock a ponytail right now. Seriously Tom, I’m not a stylist by any means, but we should chat …

2. Good-bye Moss: I’ll admit, I was pretty upset when I heard the news of Randy Moss being traded back to Minnesota. I felt like we were on the receiving side of this:

I feared the possibility of a less-than-entertaining offense, a vicious string of losses and an insanely dominant Vikings team. Well (knock on wood), none of that has happened yet. In fact, the Pats are doing just fine, and well, Minnesota has a very arthritic Brett Favre. Post-season prediction: Favre will miss his first game since 1992 and will retire for real this year. I mean, he just looks miserable ...

All in all, the Pats will be fine. I highly enjoyed the time we shared with Randy, but we didn't win anything with him, did we? I’m just going to go ahead and say it, I’m glad Randy went back to where he came from and here’s to hoping he grows another one of these:

3. Hello, Celtics: In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Celtics opened up their 2010-2011 season this past Tuesday. That’s right, the Celtics are baa-aaaackk. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a title. With the exception of the loss to the LeBron-less Cavs, the season has started off right. We already beat the ever-so-powerful Heat and set the stage for quite the re-match. As if the Celtics being back isn’t great enough, this guy is also on our team. The guy who stared in Kazaam, asked Kobe ‘how his ass tastes’ and whom my grandmother thinks ‘is well-endowed’ is wearing Celtic-green.

4. Heat, Schmeat: Like I just said, the Heat opened their season with a pretty disappointing erformance for their Miami faithful. As of Sunday, they currently stand at 3-1. I have yet to be as impressed as expected, but then again, the NBA season is long and they have time to prove themselves. They did, however, put quite the thrashing on Orlando last week.

5. No Time for Fantasy: I’m sad to report that both of my fantasy teams – Andrea’s Ironmen and Fitness Freaks – are not boasting good records. I barely have time to blog, let alone update my fantasy teams. It’s made the football season far less entertaining, especially since I usually remember to change it at the start of the 4:15 games.

6. Zero Limits: My all-time athlete crush, Apolo Anton Ohno, just came out with his first book, Zero Limits, last week. I watched intently as he spoke about it Thursday on the Today Show and you better believe I’m hoping for a copy under the Christmas tree. I mean who wouldn’t want to write a book written by this guy?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

E-ST-J What?!

If you’ve ever taken a Myers Brigg’s Assessment, you already know what ESTJ means and you might even be one yourself. If you haven’t, you’re probably wondering exactly what the acronym is all about. Well, here it is in a nutshell…

For my Peer Leadership Seminar, we were all asked to take the Myer’s Brigg’s Assessment – Most of my classmates had taken it before, but this was my first experience so I was pretty curious. It’s about 200 questions that you are supposed to answer ‘without thinking,’ essentially answering with a natural instinct. Despite my skepticism about the whole thing, I answered the questions and predicted my results during the following class meeting. Turns out, when we got the results back, they were just as I had predicted.

E – Extroversion: “People who tend to focus their attention of the outer world of people and things.”
This is the really the only one that I sort of debated between. While I really like to be surrounded by people, I also LOVE my alone time. Going out is fun, but after a long week, there is nothing like a lazy night with a glass of wine, baking and watching some tube. However, like extroverts, I think aloud and readily take initiative, so I guess for now, I am a little bit of both.

S – Sensing: “People who tend to take in information through the five senses and focus on the here and now.”
I often see the trees rather than the forest, meaning that I focus on details rather than the big picture. Totally true. I make sure all the little pieces of the puzzle are complete before I look at the whole. I trust experience, like direction and I’m probably the most specific person you’ll meet. No sugar-coating or adding fluff with me.

T – Thinking: “People who tend to make decisions based primarily on logic and on objective analysis of cause and effect.”
Essentially, I see the world in black and white. I firmly believe there is a cause for every effect and vice versa and that everything happens for a reason. Sure, I can be see as ‘tough-minded,’ but I follow logic, rules and I tend to sway to the objective side of reasoning. Want an example of a famous ESTJ? Remember Robert De Niro’s character Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents? Yup, that’s me. There’s no ‘maybe,’ I prefer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

J – Judging: “People who tend to like a planned and organized approach to life and prefer to have things settled.”
I live by my planner. I write everything down in that thing and while I would probably survive if I lost it, my world would be turned upside-down. I’m sure I drive everyone I know crazy with my need to plan, but I’m never the late one, the disorganized one or the last-minute one. I need closure, have a ‘system’ for just about everything and can’t ‘play’ until my work is done.

I am one of the most extreme cases of ESTJ. My professor said this was the first time he has ever seen someone with such a distinct result. The ESTJ blend is driven by their needs to analyze and bring into logical order the outer world of events, people and things. If they had a motto, it would be “just do it, and do it right.” An ESTJ likes to organize, complete tasks quickly, take their responsibilities seriously and believe other should do so as well. Us ESTJs are loyal, dedicated, motivated and apparently have a tendency to be athletic.

After reading this, you make think that I am a stress case with a super-planned life. Well, I am, but, I like it. I actually love it. I am always on the go, but my ESTJ-ness allows me to balance my day-to-day responsibilities. I tend to be pretty high strong when it comes to meeting deadlines and following schedule, but its how and I am and all I know. I really do feel like taking the assessment helped me to understand how and why I think the way I do and why some of the people surrounding me do why they do. So, if you’re ever asked to take the Myer’s Brigg’s Assessment, do it and take it seriously.
Take a look at this sweet ESTJ shirt I stumbled upon online that made me laugh ...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Second One ... Maine Marathon

Ahhhhhh. Feels good to breathe a sigh of relief. Ran my second marathon today – Maine 26.2. I wanted under two hours, but most importantly I wanted a PR and I certainly got one – by, oh, 20 MINUTES! I’m very happy about this, especially since I know that my third will more than likely bring sub-four if the trend continues. I did swear to take a long break after today, but my friend Misty and I are already making plans for a half next month. She put it best, 'Stupid people think alike, right?'

I was nervous for this race, but not even close to the level 100 nervous-ness I experienced before Sugarloaf. Race morning Jaime and I drove up together and picked up Danielle on the way. Obviously, a marathon is not a marathon without some Danielle in the morning. Roles were a bit reversed this time around – Danielle struggled through training and didn’t want to run today, whereas I was pretty pumped. I should have asked her if she 'felt like P-Diddy.'

We ran into Misty before the race, so a RTB 2010 picture was a must. Van slumber party again? Let’s do it.
Three of my friends, who I know from work thouogh the friendship so goes far beyond, ran the half. This was actually Jaime’s first road race ever! She was so nervous, but I knew she could, so I totally non-violently forced her to go through with it. So proud of her!

Andy, Pauline and Jaime and I pre-race:

Seeing so many people I knew before the race totally put me at ease. I see them almost everyday working out, running races and they have become my fitness family. Also saw Colleen, Erin and Maureen (they ran the half as a training run for Marine Corps in a month) and are like my gym moms, always concerned with my injuries and listening to my complaining.

It was like 46 degrees or just above at the start and since we all know I’m a huge weather baby, I sported a throw away shirt. Totally didn’t throw it away though and gave it to Sarah at the first water stop. Also managed to pull it up high enough to show off the race number. (Fun fact: There has only been one race – road race or triathlon – that hasn’t had a four in it and I was pumped this had one, too.)

As for the actual race, here are the highlights. I started out running with Danielle which was awesome. (She is the one I credit with my marathon obsession, afterall, so I wanted to be there for her, even if just for a little bit.) I wish we could have run together longer but I totally lost her around mile 3. She might or might not have stopped to take a picture. Ya, I know, silly girl.

MILE 6.5 – All the half marathoners turned around. Danielle warned me about this and she was right – EVERYONE out there is doing the half. Needless to say the field depleted quite a bit.

MILE 10 – Met the long downhill that everyone was talking about. Couldn’t help but dread the run back up it at 16. Did see my family near the bottom, which was super fantastic.

MILE 13 – Reached the halfway point in 2:01!

MILE 16 – Met Mark. This was his second marathon in two days – he was one of the crazy people that did New Hampshire Saturday and Maine Sunday. Not to mention the fact that he ran an ultra last weekend (twice around Lake Tahoe) and has met Dean Karnazes a couple of times, so I was quite fascinated. We stuck together until Mile 20, talking about both our past and upcoming races. It was really great to have him with me, the time went so much faster and before I knew it I only had a 10K left. He yelled at me as I crossed the finish line and so here we are:

MILE 21 – Saw Misty waiting to run the last leg for her relay team. She gave me a big smile, a welcomed good-game butt slap and asked me an inappropriate question as she promised.

MILE 21.5 – Kevin rode up alongside me. He was biking along the course and hung with me for a mile or two. I first met Kevin through my internship – he’s one of our super race volunteers. Come to find out, he runs in the Maine Track Club and we have a ton of mutual friends. His first full marathon is Mount Desert Island in two weeks!

MILE 24 – Back onto Back Bay, very similar terrain for me. I could actually see the finish area from here and wasn’t too thrilled that it seemed so far away.

MILE 25.5 – MISTY!! She ran up alongside me and pretty much coached me to the end. I was totally at the I-want-to-cry-because-the-last-mile-is-one-too-many point so her being there was great.

MILE 26.2 – Funny story here, I actually ran into the half marathon finish on accident and had to hop over the barrier to finish the full. You try and hop a barrier after running 26.2 miles, not cool. Mom was right at the end, waiting for me to finish and a hug from her was all I wanted:
The family and I post-race. I wasn’t about to let this photo-op go again (totally missed it at Sugarloaf).

I’ve been joking with my sister’s boyfriend, Eric, about painting a giant ‘A’ on his chest for me. Instead, which I happen to think is so much better, he turned the ‘S’ in the Superman logo into an ‘A.’ Don’t tell anyone, but I think I’m starting to like this guy.

Many props to both my sister and Eric. They got up so early and were there throughout my race with my parents, escorted me to the food tent and to the porta potty, which as all runners know, says a lot.

Ran into another gym rat, Veronica. This was her first marathon and she totally rocked it! Along with Veronica came Jenn, Misty (again, must have been stalking me) and Lisa (I love these gym rats!) Here’s Veronica and I:

Couple of final thoughts and words of advice … always run a marathon with a handheld and have a great sister waiting on the side with refills (the whole hydration belt sucks during a race) ... wear Zensah compression sleeves (my legs feel great) … take a post-race ice bath (it was not pleasant, but I’ll be happy tomorrow) … seek out some sweet shorts because they really do make the outfit … hang out with friends the night before (keeps your mind off things and its good for the running soul, you know, just like pasta) … wear a black shirt if it’s cold out (it’s good camouflage).

All in all, a fantastic race. Definitely a keeper and a ‘you bet I’ll be there even if I have to fly’ for my 2011 race calendar. It’s pretty much like a long run only with people you know every couple of miles. Post race my mom told me that she never saw me without a smile on my face and my family saw me five times throughout! If that doesn’t sum up my day, I don’t know what does.

Just because my father did such a great job taking pictures, I have to include this one of Danielle and I. I was pumped to see her finish and I’m so proud of her!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pre-Race Jitters?

Alright, so it’s here. Well, almost…Maine Marathon tomorrow!!! Pretty excited, kind of nervous, ready to run, so LET’S DO IT!

Five months ago, just two weeks after my first marathon, I was back in training for my second attempt at 26.2. Yes, I know, I didn’t take a break. I have, however, vowed to myself to take a short break after Maine tomorrow. This probably won’t happen, but hey, I did think about it. So, I deserve some credit.

Since June, I have run a total of 558.6 miles in addition to whatever cycling, swimming and lifting I’ve done. So that being said, I think I’m ready for this one, well better than I was for Sugarloaf. Though, I did hear about a huge hill at mile 16. I didn’t drive the course for fear of freaking myself out. Can’t do anything about it anyway, right?

Today was spent recording a radio show for class but most importantly browsing the race expo and prepping with Jaime. She’s running her first half marathon tomorrow. I’m SO excited for her!! We rolled, stretched, ate, shopped and bs-ed about whatever. I wanted to paint my nails, but more important things had to be done. Tomorrow, Jaime will meet me at my house and then we will pick up Danielle. Then, its off to the races!

This probably doesn’t fall into much of an order or even make sense, but that’s all I’ve got for now. Race day tomorrow!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reach the Beach In pictures

Random Reach the Beach anecdotes and pictures that failed to make an appearance in my race recap…

Danielle pre-race at Starbucks … She loves, I mean loves, pumpkin spice coffee. Almost as much as Shipyard Pumpkinhead beer.

I’m pretty sure we probably had THE BEST race guide cover pages. (Thanks Jason!)

This woman was part of the team named ‘The Keg’ and she does not like Magic Hat No. 9. Weirddd.
At one point very early on we saw a van on the side of the road and I exclaimed … ‘HEY! They stole our team name!!’ I was not impressed. Well, turns out it was the rest of our team. Clearly should have taken a picture of this but didn’t. Whoops.

This was seriously stuck to our van at one point … Kind of clever if you ask me.

Misty and I found some carnival rides at one of the transitions and so I had to do my best Vanna White.

A bird ‘dropped one’ on Jason while we were waiting at the finish line.

And finally, this is Sarah … She saw my Twitter promo on the van and I asked who I was. Turns out she was looking for Danielle and since she wasn’t there, we snapped a pic together instead.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Running Faster to Finish Sooner at Reach the Beach 2010!!

I do believe I questioned my participation in this race more than once and even made it known a few times. But in the end, words can’t describe how much fun I had. (Though, I’ll try my best to do it justice here.)

What race you ask? The 2010 Reach the Beach Relay in which teams run 200-plus VERY HILLY miles from Franconia Notch, N.H. to Hampton Beach, N.H. Teams came in different numbers, different costumes and different intensities, for sure. We were a team of 12 and went by the clever name of Run Faster, Finish Sooner. I was assigned the fourth leg, which I thought would be a pretty easy 16 total miles, little did I know it was the total opposite (we will get to that later). I landed myself in Van 1 with a bunch of crazy, complaining, inappropriate-chatting, sleep-deprived, fantastic runners.

Van 1 plus Sandy (from Van 2) met up in York and to head to the start together. The adventure began pretty quickly when we heard Lee so calmly state, “I think our thing just opened.” That ‘thing’ he was referring to was our storage container on top of the van and our stuff that was in it … WAS ALL OVER THE HIGHWAY! Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself:

That provided a pretty good laugh once we had gathered everything back up and off we went to find a bathroom. This is what we found:

Believe me, the outside looks much nicer than the hole-in-the-ground we had to use. But, hey, at least it wasn’t the woods.

We eventually made it, with all of our belongings, to Cannon Mountain where we ate, took pictures and waited for our 12:40 p.m. start time to roll around. Here’s everyone pre-race – clean, showered and ready to roll:

While Danielle was out running our very first leg, I took it upon myself to decorate our mode of transportation. I won’t tell you the other things we considered writing, but it would have been pretty funny. We also added a 'you love it' on day two because obviously, we loved it.

At the very first transition I knew I was going to have fun when I met three triathletes (two have completed a full Ironman) who might have had smoother legs than I did! I’m not sure how exactly the conversation came about, but all three of them completely shave their legs during race season. They were pretty into talking about it and suggested I take a picture:

My first leg was an easy three. Sort of. If you like running down a really steep hill pretty much the whole way.

Totally trashed my quads and the water looked nice so I joined Jason for a chilly soak.

I met a sweet ultra runner mid-way through and he told me how this was his second of three consecutive legs. He was a part of a four-man team – so hardcore, so cool and I’m super jealous of their feat. We kept the same pace pretty much the entire way which made it really fun. Ask anyone on my team – I couldn’t get enough of these guys. Their youngest runner ended up going to the hospital after his third leg with bad dehydration so they finished as a three-man team. Wow.

After our van finished our first legs, we grabbed some dinner at a cute café and attempted to grab some shut-eye before our night of running. That turned into a whole lot of schoolgirl giggling and silly chatter. Super tired because of this, but it was well worth it!
My second leg proved to be pretty tough. I mean look at that elevation chart. Climbing nearly 1,000 feet in my first 3/4 of a mile was not ideal:

My legs were pretty sore from that downhill earlier and I felt it during that first hike and then again on the second. When my fellow runners pulled up alongside to see if I needed anything I let them know just how much fun I was having. (Note: lots of sarcasm here. I was angry! Haha.) While I didn’t really love the whole hiking up a mountain thing, I did enjoy running at night. I had done it a couple times before with one of my friends, but never alone, so it was cool. Even neat, if you will. This 6.54-mile leg nearly broke me, but I am actually considering asking for it again next year. I need to show those hills who's boss!

Once we finished up our second leg, we briefly, I mean briefly, slept at the local community college. I was lucky enough to score the couch for a whopping two hours of sleep. We actually slept this time. No slumber-party-esque behavior.

After a bit of sleep and a quick breakfast we were off for our final leg. Here’s what my third leg looked like. It was challenging, but not nearly like the previous near-disaster that was my night run. I ended up passing a handful of runners who were really struggling – one of their teams had been running since 8 a.m.! I was just pumped to be moving and stretched out after being cramped up in the van.

Unfortunately, Danielle had to depart early after her super hard third leg for her brother’s wedding (who gets married the same day as RTB??) and we definitely missed her. Our sleep-deprivation got to us and we shared lots and lots of stories. We laughed a ton and know more about each other than we probably ever imagined we would. We even decided to give each other mini adult-topic pop-quizzes during our runs. Here we are post leg three and waiting on Van 2!

And here we are at the finish. Down two runners, but looking good. Official time 28 hours, 51 minutes, 27 seconds!

Like I mentioned before, I had such a blast. I'll admit I was a bit concerned with the age difference in the van (I'm 22 and the oldest could have been my father!) but it seriously didn't matter. Can't wait for next year - be on the look our for the 'Vanpires'! Trust me, you'll be able to find us ... our van will most definitely have 'we will SHOCK you' somewhere on it.
Until next year ...