Category Archives: about me

Joy is…

Joy is_hiking in CA

There’s a small light at the end of a long tunnel; this week has probably been the roughest part of the ride, and it’s high time for a turn-around, folks. My attitude needs a reality-check, and every time I remember this quote it does the trick.

Joy is….

…hiking in Garrapata park with that dude (seen above). It’s right off of Highway 1, close to Big Sur.  In one direction you see mountains on mountains, and in the other, the sea. My Colorado-trained, land-locked hiking brain can’t get enough of this.

…a hard-earned jar of Justin’s chocolate almond butter pairing up with my favorite Love Grown Foods treat.  2014-11-11 19.09.41

…curling up on the couch every Thursday night with the newest episode of Serial  {podcast} and very anxious, curious minds.

….finally purchasing a big-girl swimming suit so I’m not longer that chick with the floatie-belt and a bikini. I went grab-bag, of course. We’ll see!

….reading a novel for the first time in months. There’s nothing better than that can’t-put-this-book-down feeling. “Sycamore Row”, John Grisham. Go.

…(speaking of books) counting down to the WILD premiere!! Reese, you nailed it. I have no doubt.

…the return of fall squash. In particular, squash noodles.

squash and eggplant_dietitian on the run Squash and seafood_Dietitian on the Run

…training him to run what will definitely be a kick-ass marathon, and a huge PR. Two weeks to go!

…and joining this team of rock-star gals. More on that to come!


What’s bringing a little light into your world this week?
Share the wealth!

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In Case You’re Wandering

Well, whatdoyaknow, it’s another rainy day on the central coast! Probably just some sympathy rain for the polar-vortex-sequel hitting most of you around the rest of the country. I’ll take it. And I’ll keep you busy while you’re comfy and cozy indoors!

Some reading and wandering I’ve been doing ‘round the web:



1) “The New Rules of Fitness” –

I’ve learned a lot about hydration in a short amount of time, thanks to some nudging from the Coach to take a second look at things. This list touches on the importance of quality hydration practices, but also a lot of other interesting things that have emerged in our world of fitness recently.
(Of note: this is not breaking news, rather it was posted in April, but a good read nonetheless.)


2) “Affordable Care Act Enrollment FAQs” –

Whether or not you support ACA, I think we can all agree there are questions. And here are some answers.  It affects everyone – read up!


3) “What is your life purpose?”  – (MarieTV!)

first stepQuite a deep question to ponder on any day, but hey, if not now then when? Amiright? Decide where you’re going. Even if it’s just to stick around on the couch in sweats for now, making plans.

Either way, now you know about MarieTV and your Tuesdays just got better!


4) I’ve saved the best for last. If you haven’t watched “New Girl” (Fox) yet, you’re missing one of the most brilliantly scripted characters on television.

Start here (warning: some NSFW words). You’ll see:

slipperiest loafers_buzzfeed

Photo source:


What’s open on your browsing tab(s) today? Add to the list!

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Recovery & Resilience

This year has taken my running+racing ego for a wild ride. Let’s just say this:  I severely underestimated the cumulative effect of taking 2013 “off”.There’s not one single thing I would change about that decision, or any of the other ones I made in that calendar year (‘twas a great one, indeed),  but set me up for peak physical fitness it surely did not. Noted.

2014 started off like a rocket: taking the RRCA running coach certification course, signing on to work with a Coach and subsequently starting to train for a marathon (after a 10 day trip to Africa, of course).  If you’ve hung around for a while, well, we know how that turned out.

Desire to Change_Dietitian on the Run

Right away my name was thrown into the MCM lottery just to see what might happen.  I knew that my body had more to give. I also knew that was a lot more to be learned from MAF, my coach, and my favorite sport.

I ran MCM with a goal to re-qualify for Boston. It wasn’t a huge stretch, but it certainly wouldn’t be easy (and it’s not supposed to be!). I let Katie whoop my butt from July to October, and have never been so happily exhausted.

Aaand, now we know how that turned out, too.

Katie reminded me that I took a huge chunk of time off my spring vs. fall marathons in one year; I did what I did on that day. And it’s up to me how to move forward from that, how to recover.

Resilience_Dietitian on the Run

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this year, it is this:  whether or not you choose resilience will teach you a lot about yourself and your strength. It won’t give you measurable pounds lifted or minutes per mile run or a specific race time. (At least not right away….) But every time you choose it, you run a meter that deposits a lot of emotional energy in a bank with an incredible interest rate.

When you choose to be resilient after your perceived failures, set-backs or let-downs, you’re recovering and coming back stronger.  You’re soaking in a mental ice-bath – letting the sting of the situation-at-hand cool down, become numb, and eventually dissipate. It’s absorbed into your muscle and brain tissue to rebuild and get ready for what’s next.


It took a few days and enough time to accept, absorb and let go of a race day that wasn’t what I expected it to be, before finally giving credit to a few things. I didn’t enter this year with the fitness base I’ve had in the past. I didn’t keep building on the successes of 2012, and because of the year I did chose to have ( think: more fun less fitness, in a great way), I entered this one as a different athlete. I’m rebuilding. And it’s a long, tedious process that involves using a lot of patience that I didn’t think I had (still debatable, I s’pose). 

But it’s way more exciting to be resilient – to chase endurance and strength and speed on my own terms – than to throw in the towel.

courage_Dietitian on the Run



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District: Charged (MCM 2014 Recap)

As with every time we step up to a starting line to see what exactly this race day will bring, it’s over way too quickly. Anticipation fills months, weeks and days before the gun goes off.  Thankfully I know every mile on this course; I needed that small dose of familiarity and comfort. Otherwise, I’ve never been so nervous to go out and test the systems…

2014-10-25 21.09.46

I stayed with Anne & Matt on Saturday night so the trek to the starting line was very easy (pre-race pumpkin carving is one way to take your mind off the nerves!).   We arrived to the Rosslyn metro around 6:35 a.m. and parted ways. They hopped on the train to the Smithsonian stop (10K start); I followed crowds of runners in sweats on their way toward these familiar arches.

2014-10-26 06.58.50

Coach K and I worked out a very specific plan. I know from experience that you have to be careful in the beginning of this race, even more so than other marathons – I’ve never fully mastered the art of it. Even though I’d have to average out to 8:00 min/miles, the plan started with 8:30s. “There is more elevation gain in the first 2.5 miles of the MCM course than there is in the 5 mile stretch through Newton Hills on the Boston Marathon course.”  Round 3, and I still forgot how rowdy that Lee Highway hill is! Going up OR down too quickly will wreak havoc; take it easy. Save it. (Had a brief conversation about this on the plane coming back to CA last night; a fellow racer complained about how quickly/hard he went out on those hills, and the detriment it caused later. I hear ya! I’ve been there.)

This year was different; stuck to the plan, even though it felt a little slow, and put faith in what my legs are well trained to do with fatigue.

2014-10-26 07.56.22

Other tools in the game-day box: rainbows and a few mantras. This race wasn’t gonna go down without a lot of mental stamina.

Miles 1-8 were pretty unremarkable. We had beautiful fall views throughout Arlington and into Georgetown. It was warming up to the high of 65+ and everyone was happily in summer-style running gear.

A few things have changed since 2012, but the best upgrade was skipping MacArthur and turning right off the Key Bridge. We immediately headed into my stomping grounds: Rock Creek Park. You can’t have a bad run in RCP. The crowds were loud and dense, runners were happy!

Around mile 9 I needed my thoughts to calm down and the pace to feel a little easier. I needed mile 20 to be a little closer*, and I needed to zone out for a little while.

None of that really happened, but somehow I did manage to keep putting one foot in front of the other just fast enough to maintain an 8:00-8:15 pace.  I managed to carefully barrel my mind behind the wall, keeping it with me, not against me.

Choose courageNot comfort. 

MCM 2014_haines pt MCM 2014_mile 17
Photo credit, obviously:

There’s no explaining needed here – I think those faces speak for themselves.  I also think miles 10-17 of most marathons will always fall similarly along the spectrum of “uncomfortable”, no matter how the day is going.

In these moments: Your focus shifts from miles, paces, nutrition and frequency of aid stations to pour all the energy you can mightily muster to shut off the mind. It’s ready to quit long before your legs are trained to.

Right after we passed the Capital I briefly walked through the water station to dump blissfully chilled H2O on my head. That would be the last luxury of a  ‘break’ my legs got.*Kate was waiting for me right where I expected her (mile 19.5), with all the energy she reliably carries on the run.

Kate’s mission would be to pull me through 7:30-45s during the last 10K. I refused to verbalize that those numbers weren’t in the cards (not that I had the energy or lung capacity to speak, anyway), or concede to any thought that it wouldn’t happen. Physically, I knew. But when you give up mentally, it’s a different kind of failure. She’s a smart cookie – I knew she would know, and we’d do what we could with what was left.

We’ve done this before, she knows the drill! BEAT. THE. BRIDGE.

That freaking bridge….

Miles 20-22 are too familiar; people are suffering to tackle the undulations of the 14th street bridge. If they’re in my head, they’re also trying to fathom HOW IT IS SO LONG and hoping with all hope that it ends soon.

As we came down and off the ramp, we were joined by two strangers. Jeff was wearing the same TAD visor and accompanied by his friend, as instructed by Katie. He immediately said “We’re here to pace you to Boston!!”. Oh, man. I WISH that’s what you were going to do, Jeff, but that math is not working in my favor at this point. This was the moment I realized there would be none of the usual mile 23-25 intermittent walk breaks – not a chance of letting down any guard, even though there was also not a chance I was hitting my goal. When two strangers and one kick-ass friend give up their morning to run with you? You put on your tough-girl pants and you run.

Those three. They should probably never know what was going through my head, but they SHOULD know that they did an incredible thing. The success of the day: there wasn’t a single point in the last 10K that we stopped, paused or mentally quit. Instead, we ran a pace that felt like walking but was actually, miraculously, pretty consistent.


And then there was the “Mile 26” sign. And the crowds couldn’t possibly have been any thicker, louder or more amped up for us! And there was the hill this race is famous for.

And then it was done.

MCM 2014 Finish

MCM 2014 splits


I’ve had to let this one sit and sink in, and am still not completely done processing it. But a lot of strong people have been quick to remind me there is always something to pull from any race day, and this is no different. The about-to-puke finish feeling , some HR data and my barely-moving-today legs have plenty to say. I ran exactly what I could and I did it well enough to keep running through every mile. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it’s how this day played out. I got to charge through my favorite city on one of my favorite days and with one of my favorite people. Success!

2014-10-26 12.12.56  2014-10-26 12.19.40


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{MCM} Running: The Gear

There are a lot of pieces that go into any endurance training regimen, and the right gear (for you), collectively, is a BIG piece. Huge. I’ve trained for marathons with and without a watch, changed shoes multiple times, run with and without tunes and experimented with all kinds of foods (or non-foods, depending on your opinion). I don’t think there’s only one way for each person to put the puzzle together. It doesn’t matter how you make the pieces fit, they just have to come together by race day!

For marathon #6, Marine Corps #3 (swoon), this is what works for me:

Marine Corps Marathon Gear_DOTR

SHOES: Mizuno Wave Rider – 17

I was first introduced to these kicks last fall, courtesy of Fitfluential, and haven’t veered far from them since. I’ll occasionally give my toes some breathing room with my Altras, but for comfort and distance, the Mizunos are my go-to. They also happen to have some purple, and that happens to be lovely. These shoes are light, neutral, flexible and ready for game-day.

EYEWEAR: Guideline Sunglasses – Spray (Polarized)

These are new to the MCM-training-gear family, having just popped in my mailbox a few weeks ago courtesy of the Guideline crew. I was in need of some run-friendly eyewear* with a lot of time now spent on the trails and staring into the sunrise, and these fit right in! You can barely feel them resting lightly on your nose, they don’t move a bit and are flexible (i.e. don’t dig into your head/ears). Assuming we’re not in for another hurricane warning on race-day (ah, let’s not forget Miss Sandy 2012), these are essential!

*This look is always appropriate, too.


What’s that? Yes, yes I do wear a heart-rate monitor, and watch the numbers closely. Yes, that watch/heart-rate sensor decides a LOT about each run. When I race it’s a guidance, but not a deciding factor. It’s something my coach gets to dissect later and use for future computing and math-crunching. But in the months and miles leading up to this starting line, it has been an essential tool. I’m all for some tech-free running every now ‘n then, but when you want to objectively measure your progress, this is how you do it.

There are some things I love about the Polar vs. Garmin watch: ability to press lap around sections of your choice (time or distance) without affecting the auto-lap, 8 training screens providing different information/instant feedback (half of which I don’t use, but they’re there!) and a better (still not great) website for logging workouts. That said, I think each high-end GPS watch has its perks and strengths. I happen to like this one, and we get along quite well.


Other things I carry with me on-the-run:

- Small handheld water bottle, filled with Skratch Hydration Mix (lemon)
- Larabar pieces (broken up for easy eating!)
- Shot Bloks (Margarita flavor – for easy digesting late in the run)
-  Spotify tunes, sometimes
- lululemon speed shorts (the. best.)


What are some of your essentials?

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