Category Archives: things that make you go Hmmmm

Up Next: THE Runners World Festival

This year has been more about satisfying my wanderlust vs. adding to my PR list. It was time to give my mind and legs a little break from the grind. After three straight years of being in all-out marathon-mode from August – October, I wondered what a DC summer might be like when I’m not obsessively stalking humidity levels, desperately rehydrating with Nuun or mapping out 20+ milers around the Mall.

From what I’ve gathered, the no-marathon summer looks more like this:

Hilton Head Beach headstands 2
Kayak 7.25Paradise Winery 2

And these summers fly by when there’s no training plan deciding your weekends! Fall is fast approaching, and when I got a note about joining the Runners World Half & Festival, my first thought was “FINALLY! I. can. run. this.” (i.e. I don’t have anything else on my agenda).

But why just “run”? Why not go all out? 2013’s attitude checked in.

So, for my next trick….

RW Festival_home
RW Hat Trick_2013
RW Festival_home

I have no races on the schedule yet, so why not cram three of them into one weekend? And why not do them with the Runners World team?!


If you want to join, RW is happy to help! Use these discount codes to register and come join the party. The more the merrier!

RW_Discount Codes

Photo credit:

Alright, time to talk: who has done a double-race weekend before? Two races in a day? Spread your knowledge, stories, brags, lessons-learned, I’ll-never-do-that-agains!

And more importantly, who wants to join in?


Filed under challenges, Goals, new things!, Races, running, things that make you go Hmmmm

Friday Five: Thinks & Links

Every week seems to end with a long list of bookmarked pages, articles and blog posts that I really want to remember, to go back to, to absorb. Some weeks I think if I went back to school there would still be enough information to fill another four years, and I will enroll in a heartbeat!

Some weeks I just decide to share them with you, too.


This week…

I think there is more to know about Saturated Fat, where the recommendations came from and why we’re so terrified of it. I think – strongly believe – there is a difference in saturated plant fats vs. animal. I wonder about the “Saturated fat is always bad” mantra.

Friday read: 8 Reasons Not to Fear Saturated Fat
(Not saying I agree with this 100%, but I appreciate the sources listed.)


I think DC has decided to stick with this windy semi-winter, not giving us snow but instead plenty of gusts, rain and cloudy days.  I think my skin has noticed, too.

Friday read: 4 Essential Oils for Natural Winter Skin Care
(Does anyone actually know where things like “Sandalwood” are sold?!)


I think junk food might finally be on the way out the door. Sure, it could take decades before we can slam that door behind it, but we don’t mind screaming until that happens.

Friday read: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
Insanely long; cancel your plans, grab a comfy couch and soak this in.


I think I’d rather make progress.

making excuses

No matter how much time that takes.


I think these posts are invaluable – entertaining blogs, amazing videos and hilarious tweets, all in one….

Friday Read: Stuff {Dooce} F0und While Looking Around
Let’s end on a mindless note – it is Friday, after all.


What are you thinking?


Filed under about me, food, new things!, random, things that make you go Hmmmm

Month by Month: Being SMART

Almost exactly two years ago I found myself in an airport looking for a good-read to take on the plane with me. I wanted something thought-provoking, non-fiction (usually my go-to), but a little bit lighter than the Brian Tracy-esque library I had been browsing at lululemon.

My eyes found “The Happiness Project” (Gretchen Rubin), read the first chapter and kept themselves busy with those words for the entire 3-hour flight.  A former Supreme Court Justice Clerk, Churchill biographer and working-mom-of-two suddenly realized, “The days a long but the years are short.”

Happiness Project

The confession here would be that I have yet to actually read through to the very last page of this book, even though I stand behind its message, approach and lessons. (Yes, I did note that I’d like to finish books. Consider this exhibit A.) But I took something away from those pages that has totally changed my approach to the days the calendar reads “1”: I set goals/focus for every month, all year long. Sometimes the focus-flavor-of-the-month is completely different from the 30 days that preceded it, sometimes it’s a continuation. Regardless, the goals are SMART and keeping me in line.


It’s an old-fashioned approach; I write them with pen & paper, tape it on the fridge and check the box when it’s appropriate! Sure, there are apps for that, but don’t mess with what works, right?

January’s goals seemed to be focused on an attitude, but the measurable stuff included things like this: use the EPIC yoga pass (that had been dormant for a month), cook at least 5 new recipes and run at least 20 miles per week. All boxes were checked, and getting back into that exercise routine helped set me up for February.

This month the mind, motivation and I are all business. I’m looking into a blog redesign, creating a media kit, planning my 2013 races (one confirmation is in!), planning spring travel and trying to learn the acronym language of business.

The idea here is to give yourself some things to work on without completely overloading the list and overwhelming your brain but also putting enough on there that you feel challenged and motivated. The next step is to break down that goal into the steps it will take to get to that check-mark.

Example – my baby-steps: contact blog designers & narrow down options (check!), look into other media kids for an idea of what I’m getting into (check!), look into local & national races to start debating what’s worth all of those dollar bills (check….ish) and reach out to RDs in private practice (check-in-progress).

To get your mind in the right place, remember this:

what you do every day20 seconds of courage
challenge and change


What are you up to this month?

What’s on your bucket-list for this year?

Think about it…


Filed under challenges, Goals, learning, motivation, new things!, things that make you go Hmmmm

Step Out: Climb UP {Earth Treks Rock Climbing}

Last Saturday afternoon took us a little bit out of the District and way out of my comfort zone. I have been on a rock-climbing wall once in my life, almost ten years ago and without much to show for it. I got approximately 3 ft off the ground (let’s be generous here…) before my body froze and wondered why I was testing gravity. Yeah, it works; you will fall!

Earth Treks Rock wall 1

I want actions to come from discomfort (not safety) and experiences to be prioritized over everything else.”

Discomfort is: looking up to the top of a 70 ft. vertical wall that someone can climb using their hands and feet. The Experience: tying my own knots, clipping into the carabiner and climbing the 30 ft. (beginner’s) version without having a complete panic attack.


Our adventures took place in the largest indoor rock-climbing wall in the country. Who knew that was in Rockville, MD? Staying true to the city’s name, I ‘spose…

Rock wall paths
Figure 8 knot. Earth Treks
Rock wall climb

Earth Treks offers a great “Intro” package that D snatched up for us both: $75 for an Intro to Climbing/Belaying class, 15-day gym pass & subsequent Intro to Movement class. You get belay-certified and leave that first step with enough confidence to think you just might come back and give that 5.6 wall-route another try.

earth treks sign

The Earth Treks facility offers:

  • Over 38,500 square feet of climbing walls
  • 40 feet tall (although they actually look taller)
  • Extra, extra large bouldering cave
  • Over 200 top-rope climbs with lead routes interspersed 
  • Four separate teaching areas
  • State-of-the-art fitness area 
  • Pro-Shop
  • Locker rooms
  • Yoga Room  & Yoga classes (alright, fine…I’m in!)

A big-sell for DC’ers is that it’s metro accessible! (This is especially convenient if you’re among those of us in the NW quadrant.) It only took us about 30 min. to get to the gym, though be prepared to come face to face with an enormous furniture store first. Go around the back – bam! Rock climbing central.

We’re heading back this week to get in some more practice and make sure my hands, arms, legs, back and mind all remember to stay on the same page!


 Are you a rock-climber? Indoor or outdoor?
Anyone else find this sport just a little bit insane (in the good way, of course)?


Filed under Goals, learning, new things!, strength train too!, things that make you go Hmmmm

Setting the Tone, 14 miles In

My first “real” long run of this training cycle made sure to set the tone quickly.

Only a few miles into the route, my mind was totes over it. This was not what all systems considered “fun”; it was exactly what DC considered a “summer” day.

Calvert Hill Just Keep Running

The mind (and fluid-excreting cells) were quick to let me know that 10 ounces of water wouldn’t last 8 miles (i.e. the first “water stop”). It was quick to remind me that the chosen route wasn’t a shaded one, and that bridges may be windy but that doesn’t make them cool. It was quicker to suggest that maybe this day wasn’t one for 14 miles, that maybe we stop on the Mall and take advantage of that accessible Metro stop and maybe a huge ice-cold H2O would be the solution to every problem! Ever.

Looking around, you’d never know it was a 95* day, with 100% humidity. You would know that this city is an active one, and you might assume these “fitness types” are slightly masochistic.  You might guess that we’re all out here with a similar goal – fall races deadlines don’t care what the temperature is, or how many more weeks of summer we have left. They just care that we get it done, train well, and ya know, bring more water every time.

The mind knew that my legs, toes, shins, quads, hamstrings, abs and arms were just fine. They would keep the forward motion going, no doubt. They were teaming up, despite the lazy heat-hating inner monologue.


Fourteen miles later, we were done. The first box on that “Long Run” list is checked, and there are 12 more waiting for similar satisfaction.

I know the distances, I know the prep and recovery, I know the fueling and I’m befriending this summer training thing. I know that each run should end on a hill of sorts, to prepare for MCM’s trademark. Regardless, I secretly know that after 26.1 miles the muscles will have already tagged-in the mind.

I know that I signed up for this challenge with a goal, and that won’t be accomplished unless both physical and mental limits are tested, over and over again.

if it scares you and excites you

Image source.

Well alright then. Let’s do this…


What fits the above description for you right now? Don’t let the latter win – decide whether your head or your muscles are stronger on any particular day, and go with it.

Granting yourself the luxuries of shade, cold water and a personal fanner might help, too…


Filed under challenges, DC, Goals, MCM, running, things that make you go Hmmmm, training