Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Foodie Friday

something "borrowed" from the Daily Mail

Did you really think I was going to let this week go by and not mention the Royal wedding? I admit it, I'm one of those that's been all over the coverage and totally woke up at 4am to tune in. No big deal really, it's only about one hour earlier for me to wake up than I do most days of the week.

I took this special occasion as an opportunity to try out another Ina dish I've had my eye on, a roasted vegetable frittata! I figured if I was going to spend 4+ hours watching the pageantry, then a breakfast fit for a queen was in order, no canapes for this girl.

So there we sat (Tallulah and I) coffee in hand (wishing it was a mimosa...stupid work) eating my frittata and watching a "commoner" transform into a princess.

Best dressed guest was clearly socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, in my humble opinion.

However, no one could upstage the future "Mc"Queen. She was stunning. I've never seen a dress fit so well, Sarah Burton must have sewn her into it this very morning at the Goring.

It's obvious that my invitation was lost in the mail, but had it made it to its intended destination I would have donned a fascinator (preferably designed by Phillip Treacy as I'm sure he would have had time to make one for me personally), maybe one like this:

Or this...smaller with a little feather flare:

Oh, who am I kidding - I'd have to consult my personal stylist, I can't make any decision without her. *sigh*

So, without further ado, the "royal" roasted vegetable frittata:

1 small zucchini, 1-inched-diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1 1/2-inch-diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1 1/2-inch-diced
1 red onion, 1 1/2-inch-diced
1/3 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
12 extra-large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 scallions chopped, white and green parts
1/2 cup grate Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the zucchini, peppers, and onion on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and toss well. Bake for 15 minutes. Add the garlic, toss again, and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

In a 10-inch ovenproof saute pan, melt the butter and saute the scallions over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add the roasted vegetables to the pan and toss with the scallions. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat without stirring. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the frittata for 20 to 30 minutes, until puffed and set in the middle. Sprinkle with the Gruyere and bake for another 3 minutes, until the cheese is just melted. Cute into 6 or 8 wedges and serve hot.

Even though I enjoyed this as my breakfast, I will definitely be having the leftovers throughout the weekend as my lunch, maybe with a mixed green salad on the side.

What made this dish even better was the farm fresh eggs I got last weekend from Eastern Market. I didn't realize the difference between farm fresh eggs and your regular grocery store eggs...let me tell you - there is one! I don't know if I could ever go back. So next time you have a special occasion, splurge for the farm eggs, huh-mazing.

And they lived happily ever after...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hearts Go Out to Alabama

As most people know, our home state was tormented by tornadoes. The devastation is unbelievable and what's worse, the death toll keeps rising. Below are some videos of one of the largest twisters as it tore through Tuscaloosa.

Stay safe, Bama (and everywhere else in the country currently being tormented by twisters). Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Muck Yeah!

On Saturday afternoon, I'll be knee deep in a pit of muddy muck... by choice... running the RunAmuck 5K & obstacle course in DC with my bro, sis-in-law and this guy. To be perfectly honest, we're not really even sure what we signed up for. None of have ever run one of these before, and the description seems to be intentionally vague:

The RunAmuck Run is a unique and incredible 3-5 mile run with terrain and outlandish obstacles that can include hills, river crossings, walls, obstacles and mud pits. 

We're racing as a team, Team Shake 'n Bake, and we'll be paying homage to Ricky Bobby in our Nascar gear. Meet our mascot, Wilson Bobby...

Will it be pretty? Not a chance.

Will it be fun? Sure hope so. If not, there is supposedly a beer garden at the end, so I feel fairly certain that we'll find a way to make the most of whatever we've gotten ourselves into. 

If you ain't first, you're last.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hop! Hop! Hop!

Happy Easter everyone! Liv + Sal are both enjoying a post Easter service brunch here. Tabbard's own freshly fried donuts...yes please!

And maybe for some cross-training after brunch, we can get a group of people together to do the bunny hop. From the likes of this video, the family that hops together, stays together.

Note: We have no idea who Emily is - but Happy 3rd Birthday!

We hope you all have an eggcellent day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Elite Pressure

Monday (as many runners know) was the 115th running of the Boston Marathon. The holy grail for marathoners. A course I'll likely never step foot on, as more and more runners are bitten by the Boston bug, forcing the Boston Athletic Association to tighten qualifying times to maintain the allure and exclusivity of the premiere event.

Come Monday and I'm at work, per usual, and unfortunately D.C. is a bit too far away from Boston to receive the free the local CBS online coverage of the race, but I'm following along with twitter and constantly refreshing for real time updates. Never before have I cared in the past what happened at Boston or have I ever followed the progress of a marathon from work - but I guess the goal of completing one myself, and me being tuned in to the world of running, has me thinking differently.

My interest was piqued after my aunt and uncle in-laws, Jennie and John's visit to DC when they recounted their own Boston experiences for me. I was further intrigued as one of our favorite running bloggers, Jim from 50 After 40, was making his debut at Boston. I loved that I could track his run as the race went on seeing how well he was doing and that a PR was in his reach. The minute I realized he had finished AND PR'd at Boston - I was so excited for him and his accomplishment - congrats Jim! And finally there was the whole allure of the two American women I kept reading about, Kara Goucher and Desiree Davila, and the real chance they had to win the women's race. No American, man or woman, has won Boston since 1985.

I was so glad I tuned in as both races had thrilling finishes. Sadly Desiree Davila was beat out at the last second by Caroline Kilel, (from - you guessed it - Kenya) yet she still ran a personal best by 4 minutes, and the fastest marathon by any American woman. Kara Goucher also ran a personal best, and finished 5th - all a mere 8 months after having her first child.

Today I realized that Kara's post-Boston blog entry was up. I couldn't wait to read it, as she was the media darling leading up to Boston. Davila wasn't covered nearly as much. Kara graced the covers of both Competitor and Runner's World the month of the race and was very open about her desire to win - I can't imagine that kind of pressure, the pressure of the elite athlete.

Her recap of Boston was great, and she was especially complimentary of Desiree and her accomplishment. The underlying theme of her performance was that her body was tight, she was just having one of those days, wasn't feeling it. This comment struck me the most:

"Every runner has these days occasionally, so you probably know what I’m talking about. There’s no real explanation for them, just as there’s no explanation for those special days when you feel incredible. All you can do is hope you don’t have one of those unexplainable flat days in your most important races."

Bingo! It's so true - I have good days and bad days and I have no idea why my good days are good and the bad ones are bad; however, the difference between Kara and myself is that it doesn't really matter if I have a bad day that just happens to fall on race day. Obviously I would prefer for the days I feel incredible to fall on race day, but if they don't, it doesn't hold the weight of me not winning Boston - because I won't win any race...ever. Even if I don't feel the best, I'm going to power through, because my real goal for now is just to finish. I guess in a way that's kind of freeing for me. It doesn't mean the difference of setting a record, or obtaining an endorsement deal, or winning the cash - it's just about finishing and reaching this goal of doing something I've never done before.

I can't imagine that kind of pressure, because it was still a marathon. Kara invested 2 hours and 24 minutes of her life into that race. Unlike short distance events that are seemingly over before they even begin, a marathon is an investment of time and strain on your body. She couldn't wake up the next morning and try again like she could with a 400 meter race. She'll have to wait at least weeks, even months before her next marathon (and another year to try again at Boston). So for an elite athlete that's been training for months for a marathon like Boston and on race day to have one of the unexplainable bad days - that's got to be an awful feeling.

With my new found respect for elite marathoners, I'll wrap this post up. I realize training is their job and they get a lot of perks, but if they aren't winning - they aren't making money or getting endorsement deals. Even if Kara had felt the best she's ever felt in her life on Monday, we have no way of knowing if that would have been enough for the top spot on the podium, but sometimes it sucks that it all comes down to a bad day coinciding with race day.

Footloose and pressure free,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Great Grete

Today marks the far too soon passing of a running icon - Grete Waitz. She embodied everything that is great about running and inspired those around her. We'll let this New York Times article do the talking, but we'll leave you with this comment from George Hirsch, chairman of the New York Road Runners:

"Every sport should have a true champion like Grete, a woman with such dignity and humanity and modesty. New York adopted her as one of its true heroes, but unlike so many sports champions, Grete was down to earth... She symbolized what was so great about the community of marathoners."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Blues

After recently returning from the Big Easy, I'm fighting a case of the ole Monday blues today. Yesterday's weather was just about as good as it gets in DC, and I'm now facing the harsh reality that my running shoes haven't exactly gotten a workout in the past week. Whoops. 

Now, that's not to say I didn't at least partially participate in Liv's route recommendation for New Orleans. I most certainly strapped on my sneaks and covered part of the course - but I don't really think it counts when I only made it as far as Cafe du Monde to stuff my face with beignets and a cafe au lait. 

My trip to NOLA - entertaining as it was - confirmed that I could never, EVER live there, and here's why...
  1. The humidity. I rocked a constant 'fro the entire time I was there. I tried to make it look intentional - like I was going for the Urban Outfitters hippie chic tousled hair look - but I swear I overheard a few "bless her heart"s in response to my Kelly Taylor tendrils. 
  2. I'm simply not rowdy enough. I'm apparently 27 going on 60 because I couldn't keep up with the New Orleans crew and found myself getting more excited about my bed than hopping to the next bar. And I'm simply baffled by the concept of "roadies" - that is, beers-to-go. Not 30 minutes after arriving in New Orleans, I stumbled upon an open air festival where pretty much everyone was strolling about with a daiquiri in hand. I love the laid-back vibe of New Orleans, and it's mantra is practically foreign compared to DC's antics. 
  3. Lastly, and most importantly, the chances of me ever getting in marathon shape in New Orleans are about as likely as an alcohol-free Mardi Gras. With that much tastiness at every corner, I'd be lucky to make it to the starting line under 400 lbs. I give major props to the runners I saw barreling past the city's most hallowed restaurants without so much as a single drop of drool seeping out of their mouths. It's pretty much impossible to find a bad meal in Nola - and I'm lugging around some extra padding right now to prove it. 
I mean, really NOLA??
One night, I found myself eating dinner next to a Canadian trainer who once held the record for running the 800 faster than any other female in the world... most certainly impressive... though he was a man. He was a bit skeptical of my marathon training and expressed his concern that we aren't training with a coach and are, therefore, putting ourselves at great risk of injury. He made many valid points that I spent some time pondering, and he then asked me what it would take for me to feel successful on marathon day. I thought for a minute about my goal time, and ultimately answered, "Crossing the finish line." 

He scoffed in response to my answer - which I assumed was because that's not exactly the most admirable goal for someone who is an accomplished runner - but then he surprised me with his reply and said, "I think true success is the starting line."

I thought about it for a minute and realized that, if I can stay focused on running and putting my all into training for the big day, there's really nothing to fear come race day. It's a relief to know that I'm doing the best that I can to enjoy the entire process and not just the finish line. 

So peace out, Monday blues! Time to hit the trail. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Foodie Friday: Mashed Cauliflower = Mashed Potatoes

Yay though I've walked through the valley of limited legumes, I shall fear no vegetables...anymore. How come no one told me, in my entire life, that mashed cauliflower might as well be mashed potatoes, yet with half the calories?

Thanks to a co-worker who brought a taste test in to the office, I have seen the light. After she sent me her recipe, and I stumbled upon another online, the below is a combination of the two and my own addition of goat cheese (because it's the cheese I had in my fridge). But really it's so easily adaptable, I don't think you can mess it up by adding anything that tickles your fancy. For example, my co-worker's recipe called for 1/2 cup 75% reduced fat Cabot Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded), and the online recipe I found called for Brie - don't both options sound delicious?

Here's what you need for about 4 servings:
1 large head of cauliflower
a 32 ounce carton of vegetable broth
1/4 cup skim milk
1 Tbsp butter
2 ounces of goat cheese
3 clove
s of garlic
S + P
Chives or scallions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic cloves on a baking sheet and roast for at least 5 minutes (or more if you have time and want to get the full roasting experience where the cloves can easily be squeezed out) - mmm...roasted garlic.

Pour the entire carton of vegetable broth into a large pot and boil.

While the broth is heating, cut into the cauliflower head. Leave the stems and chop up the florets. Throw all florets into the boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes until tender.

Drain cauliflower, reserving 1/4 a cup of the broth. After drained place cauliflower back into warm pot and add the butter and goat cheese to stir together and allow to melt. Spoon cauliflower into food processor or blender. Add roasted garlic, milk and reserved broth. Pulse or blend until smooth - it's that easy! Add salt and pepper to taste and bam...might as well be mashed potatoes.

If you want you can serve with chives or scallions - but why wouldn't you? It only makes it better.

Then serve it to your husband and watch as he finishes his entire portion right after having come home to find you chopping cauliflower, saying "ew, I don't like cauliflower."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Purple Nails

This post is all over the place. I just wanted you to know that I know.

I ran this morning, a nice 5 miler, first time back since our race this past weekend. I was planning on a run yesterday morning but when my alarm went off, it was pouring rain. So I ended up going to the gym for some much needed yoga. But I think having three full days rest was for the best- even today my legs still felt a little tired.

April, I've already had enough of your showers. Over the past 3 weeks your rain has really messed with my running outside, and at this point - I don't even bother with the treadmill because I know how the story ends...sick of it after a mile. Maybe your point is to make me truly appreciate sights like these

on the gorgeous days we do get. I was running our go-to five mile route, on the Capital Crescent trial portion when there was a break in the trees and I could see the sun coming up, illuminating the key bridge. I had to stop and snap a pic. At least three bikers whizzed by as I was doing this and I'm pretty sure thought I was crazy.

I treated myself to a little more of this beautiful day by going out for a manicure and pedicure during lunch. I had my toes painted this lovely lilac color:

and I have to say - I am digging it. I think I'll polish them purple more often. I tried in vain to snap a picture of my actual toes to share the real life result with the internet. You can thank my iPhone for the color not turning out like I wanted for you being spared that picture. Oh, and I also finally tried the new gel polish. You know - the one that is supposed to last at least two weeks. Unfortunately they do not make Essie gel polish yet so my nails did not get the same purple treatment.

As one more tribute to Spring, I share this picture I snapped while out walking Tallulah yesterday evening:

It's currently my favorite yard in Georgetown (if you can even call them that for row houses). With the garden in full bloom, it finally matches the brightly colored house, no? Maybe the purple flowers in the foreground were subconsciously my inspiration for my polish choice.

Sal is working in the Big Easy for the rest of the week. In honor of of one of my favorite cities in the U.S of A - I thought I would create a route for good 'ol NOLA and share a FEW things from my personal "best of" New Orleans list. [Disclaimer: this list is not all encompassing - that would require an entire post of its own]
  • Best running route (I haven't actually run it myself , but I could only imagine it's the best because it's begins in the Garden District so you can see the beautiful houses, includes a cut through Audubon Park, finishing through the quarter and ending at Cafe Du Monde for coffee and beignets. Hey you earned it, you just ran 8.7 miles)
  • Best place for a Po' Boy - Domilise Sandwhich Shop
  • Best restaurant that I want to try that I haven't yet tried - Cochon (how do I know it's the best if I haven't been there myself you ask - well I have it on good authority...and I have been to it's sister, Cochon Butcher for lunch, and it was amazing)
  • Best place for Chargrilled Oysters - Acme Oyster House
  • Best B&B in the Garden District to stop and have a drink in their bar or on their glorious porch - The Columns
  • Best place to spend entirely too long at lunch (and possibly see someone famous) - Galatoire's
  • Best Bloody Mary - John Besh's Luke
  • Best carousel bar (not that I've ever been to another) - Hotel Monteleone
  • Best bar if you have ever wanted to dress up like a pirate - The Funky Pirate - go see Big Al sing and request the song "Take Your Drunk Ass Home." And if you want, you can literally spend like 17 dollars for your very own sword, eye patch, and a bandanna or something (and no I haven't bought the pirate get-up - but I just might know someone that has).

That is all,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Race That Almost Wasn't

First of all, can I call your attention to the countdown ticker to the right? Yeah that ticker... the one that now says Marine Corps Marathon 200 days! I know that we were ready for our 10 miler - so ready that we actually could have run a half marathon. Hopefully we continue on this path and we'll be equally as prepared for MCM in a mere 200 days (eeek). 

 But I'm getting ahead of myself... back to the race that almost wasn't... the Parkway Classic 10 miler we completed Sunday - 10 weeks to 10 miles....check!

As we've mentioned over the last week or so, the fate of this race was intertwined with the fate of our national government. Okay, maybe a bit of a melodramatic statement, but the long and short of it was the George Washington Parkway is a federal parkway manned by the National Park Service (i.e. "non-essential" government workers); therefore, federal government shutdown = no NPS available to blockade the race course from traffic.

The race directors had hopes of receiving a waiver so that if the federal government did actually shut down, the race would go on as planned because it was a special event, organized way in advance (thus, deserving exemption from the government's inability to function). Well, as we tweeted late last week, no dice - "no exemptions granted for special events on NPS grounds." Cut to Friday at 11:45 PM and we still had no idea if we were going to be running those 10 miles on Sunday and we had 16 minutes before the deadline was up. Despite the nail-biting situation we were in, I couldn't stay up late enough to hear the final word, but woke Saturday morning to a text message from Megs, "Wooo hooo!!! Race on!"

Phew - such an emotional roller coaster of "will we or won't we" - now it was time to focus and get into the right mindset. Saturday morning, my mom, (who was in town for a fabulous visit), hubs and I headed to one of my favorite places in DC, Eastern Market. I did an easy 20 minute run per training plan, then it was a wonderful lunch here, followed by vegetable lasagna for dinner and to bed by 10:30. Thankfully my nerves didn't keep me from getting to sleep - and as another good sign, Sal didn't have any of her crazy running dreams.

We were all picked up by our wonderful chauffeur/photographer at a very early 6:15, where he carted us to Old Town Alexandria to catch the shuttle to the start. (Thanks Pat, for getting up before the roosters). The race is a point-to-point, starting at Mt. Vernon and ending back at Old Town. After a 15 to 20 minute easy shuttle ride, we were dropped off among a sea of runners (4,618 to be exact), and we quickly realized this was no local 10K Turkey Trot. We found our way to the line of Don's Johns and then headed for the space blankets. D.C. had been swallowed in cloud coverage for a solid three days, so it was a bit chilly (but it ended up being a perfect low 50s and once we started we warmed up quickly).

As with every race, it was crowded at the start, but once we got going I realized why everyone loves this race and its access to the entire width of the Parkway. I can't imagine starting a race the size of the Cherry Blossom with its ten to 15 thousand runners (and definitely not the MCM with a cool 30,000 runners). We started with great pace of about 9:10 (a little faster than we would on a normal training run) but it was race day, the adrenaline had kicked in. I was pleasantly surprised with how fast the 1 mile marker popped up on us, and then again we seemed to be at miles 2 and 3 in no time. I heard about the "rolling hills" on this course - and they aren't lying - it was constant rolling through about the first 4 miles, but I found that as soon as you made it to the top, you were going right back down again so they weren't so bad.

It is such a beautiful course resulting in a scenic, peaceful race. It follows the Potomac the whole way, and amazing houses line both sides; however; since the Parkway is closed off, there is little spectator access which yields thin to non-existent crowd support... hence the peacefulness. As you're coming into Alexandria, the crowd is there waiting - which is a welcome change during the last few miles when you need that pick-me-up the most. The race ended at the waterfront park where we were welcomed with our significant others and families, music, bagels, bananas, granola bars and the beer tent (which unfortunately, the line was too long to justify waiting in so we just opted to head to our brunch for Bellinis and mimosas). At brunch we kept on burning calories from laughing (even as we stuffed our faces) from the live entertainment provided by these two adorable guys:

The Wilsonator
(who just turned one)

Megs' significant other and most hilarious person in the history of ever (aren't they precious)

As to be expected, there was no course record setting, no age group placing, but we all had a 10 mile PR (compared to our 2 other 10 mile training runs). There is nothing like a race to spark your motivation, just something about running with a herd of other people that picks you up and keeps you going - not to mention the nerves and adrenaline.

I give Parkway Classic two toes way up and would recommend it to anyone. It was so well organized - from the shuttle to the start, to the water/Powerade/porta potty stops that were basically every 2 miles. The volunteers were friendly, the course was roomy and scenic - what's not to love?! So keep your eyes peeled for 2012 registration opening this fall.

Sal, Megs, Liv at the finish
(mom says I have to wear a bright color next race like these two because she couldn't find me).

So what's next? Now we're in a little bit of limbo before full on marathon training program commences. It could be fun to run one of these 5Ks to keep the spirit. I definitely don't want to lose any progress I've made through this training. It's so amazing to really see improvements in my running. What would you recommend the footsy girls tackle next? How do you stay motivated in periods of downtime where you don't lose ground or motivation?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Live It Up Like It's (Still) the Weekend

Lace up your kicks and hit the trail - you'll be good to go with Wiz Khalifa's 'No Sleep' [WARNING: those with sensitive ears may need earmuffs for this one]

Wiz Khalifa - No Sleep

Let's party alright.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Combo Workouts

I get super giddy whenever my new issue of Runner's World arrives, and usually (like last night) end up staying awake way later than intended, ignoring the fact that it will still be there to read the next day. It gives me new ideas to vary training and work outs, and as an added bonus, breeds blog posts (which is helpful when I'm coming off basically a 2 week haitus and have writer's block).

In this issue there is an article on combo workouts and how these certain type of workouts can address specific training needs. The article states that "doubling up is great for targeting different systems in one workout-speed, strength, mental toughness and more-which makes you fitter and better prepared for race day."

Although I won't be trying any of these workouts this week while we're in the midst of tapering for our ten miler on Sunday, (the "government shut-down pending" 10 miler) I think tackling a few of these over the next month would be a good addition to our training and a way to mix things up.

The first one mentioned, and the most applicable to those training for a half or full marathon, is the long run + goal pace. To start, begin your long run at a pace about a minute slower than your race goal pace. Once you are two-thirds into your run, speed up to goal pace or even faster and maintain through the final miles. The benefits of this workout are that it allows you to practice race pace with less risk of injury since the faster portion is shorter, and gets your body accustomed to running harder on fatigued legs.

Run + Strength + Run is the workout I'll likely try first. Sandwich a lower body strength workout (squats/lunges/leg extensions and curls) between two easy two to three mile runs. In this workout you will create the "heavy leg" feeling and simulate race day muscle fatigue without having to put in the long mileage. The attraction here for me is that it breaks up two workouts that can sometimes feel monotonous to me, but I know are necessary.

Hills + 800s are great to improve form and fitness. Pulled straight from the article: "Combining a hilly route with half-mile repeats elevates your heart rate, which can improve your aerobic capacity. Plus on long slow runs we can get sloppy with our form; short, fast ones' clean up our form by teaching our bodies to find the most efficient way to run." Yes please. I often times worry that my form is lacking as my distance increases, hoping this can create some muscle memory for those longer runs.

The article (which can also be found online here) goes on to mention a few others that I won't continue to regurgitate here. I'm more interested to know if you've found success with any of these specifically mentioned, or perhaps you have some others to share that work for you? I'm coachable....even if I might not fully understand the lingo of "hill repeats" (pretty sure it just means you run up hill, rinse, repeat...)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gladys the Gladyator

My Aunt Cindy (whose father recently completed 50 marathons in 50 states at 71 years young!) shared with me this story of Gladys the Gladyator... and consider me humbled. My only goal for age 92 was to be able to sit partially upright and watch a full episode of Golden Girls without falling asleep, but Gladys is putting me to shame... many times over. She ran her first marathon at age 86, and before that, she was a pilot, mountain climber, desert hiker and horseback rider.

I'm starting to feel bad about myself, so maybe I'll just let her story speak for itself...

'Gladyator' aged 92 breaks marathon record

A 92-year-old woman from Hawaii has broken a world record when she completed the Honolulu Marathon.

Gladys Burrill, nicknamed "the Gladyator", power-walked and jogged the length of the 26.2 mile route in a time of nine hours and 53 minutes to become the oldest person in the world to complete a marathon.

She undertook the feat in December, but Guinness World Records has finally confirmed her accomplishment and the Hawaii House of Representatives has honoured her with a certificate and lei at a special ceremony.

Ms Burrill ran her first marathon aged 86 and regularly walks 45 miles a week. A former pilot and mountain climber, she trained for the Honolulu Marathon by walking 2,600 miles.

Her achievement eclipsed the previous record held by Jenny Wood-Allen of Dundee, Scotland, who was 90 years old when she completed the 2002 London Marathon.

Burrill said the secret to longevity and fitness was to "get out there and walk or run.”

"It's so important to think positive. It's easy to get discouraged and be negative," she said.

"It makes such a difference in how you feel and your outlook on everything."

She has completed a total of five Honolulu Marathons.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On On!

"A drinking club with a running problem"...where do we sign up?

We're considering HHH, but we're feeling entirely too intimidated (and slightly under-qualified... if there even is such a thing in the world of running + drinking). Any veterans out there with some insight? Could this perhaps be a final jaunt of fun before serious marathon training begins?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Day Without Shoes

TOMS is once again challenging folks to go one day without shoes to better understand what it's like for hundreds of millions of children in developing countries who are forced to walk for miles without shoes in order to access life's essentials like water, food, school and medical help. As you may have expected, doing so is not only painful and exhausting, but it exposes them to a host of soil-transmitted diseases that they cannot afford to treat. 

If you're familiar with the TOMS brand (which most people are, considering they are literally EVERYWHERE), then you know that TOMS will buy one pair of shoes for a kid in need for every pair that is bought. While I absolutely love that concept and TOMS' commitment to keeping children healthy and safe, I couldn't help but be a bit skeptical when I first heard of the "One day without shoes" campaign. Knowing the brand and the people it attracts (which includes myself), it's hard not to immediately picture a bunch of hemp-necklaced hippies soaking up the opportunity to go all day sans shoes while feeling superior to the rest of us who are required by our jobs to wear shoes. After all, while it is certainly an educational tool to better understand how grueling it is to go barefoot all day, is it truly helping the kids in need? 

Truthfully, the campaign really only works (in my opinion) if unsuspecting folks participate - the people who wear full business suits on their way to work for "the man" and are dressed to the nines... right down to their bare feet. At that point, I think this method actually works...

While the concept is simply not feasible for most of us that work in offices with dress codes, I'm going to attempt to test it out at some point during the day. I find the whole campaign particularly amusing from the perspective of runners who adhere to the "minimalist movement" - who oftentimes pay upwards of $100 for shoes that simulate running barefoot. I can only imagine how confused the kids in need would be if we tried to explain that concept to them - that runners actually CHOOSE to run barefoot. [And just a sidenote here: Not that I know from much experience, but I think the minimalist movement is pretty cool as a runner and I am, by no means, hatin' on it. Just simply pointing out the irony with respect to the TOMS campaign]

Even if going shoeless isn't your cup of tea, it's always nice knowing that TOMS will make the charitable effort for you each time you buy a pair of (absurdly comfortable) shoes. I'll be giving the barefoot running thing a try - maybe while sporting one of the "One for One" tees? Anyone else going to give it a go?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just Another Musical Monday

So I ended up getting a lil' April Fools Day surprise after all, but thankfully, it wasn't one of the predictable pranks usually associated with the day. Rather, I got a surprise visit and long-awaited return home from a certain someone in my life (who wasn't due to return to DC for several weeks from now).  He + Liv spent weeks planning the surprise, and somehow they managed to pull it off. Though my reaction was probably not what both of them had anticipated (I just sat there with my mouth open for 20 minutes without saying a word), I am beyond excited to have this kid back Stateside.

The good news is that I've been on cloud nine for the past few days and I had pretty much the best birthday a girl could ever ask for. The bad news is that he is highly detrimental to my training, and my running shoes are experiencing feelings of abandonment right now. That will all change today though - I'm playing hooky from work, and we're running down to check out the cherry blossoms and soak up a little sunshine.

And I also got a replacement ipod from my bad a$$ parents this weekend (not to mention, some itunes gift cards from my brothers and sisters-in-law), so I'm back in action with my running music. I will admit, I kind of enjoyed the solitude of running music-free - it was nice to know I actually am capable of running in silence. But at the same time, I'm ready to put a little pep back in my step.

Megs recently tipped me off about DJ Earworm, and though pop usually isn't my favorite thing, I've been known to get a little Gaga when I'm running. It's amazing how many of the songs sound EXACTLY like the next - and that becomes glaringly obvious in these mashups - but it all comes about in a delightfully entertaining tune that's just right to get your run on (and you can download all of the tunes for free).