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(Not) 500 Words About My Guest Post Elsewhere

We’ll not get into my lackadaisical blogging of months past (work, dog, friends, running, excuses, excuses, excuses), we’ll just get straight to the point.

My spring marathon training (Glass City Marathon, TOL, 4/26/2015) has been helped along by the good company, navigation, and excellent pacing of THE rundaddio, Wes. With Wes prepping for Boston (yes, THE Boston Marathon), which is run only 1 week prior to Glass City, our training plans have often overlapped and allowed for shared pain and gain during several Sunday LSDRs (runner-speak for Long Slow Distance Run).

During our 21+ this past weekend, we discussed our favorite post-run meals and rewards—from bacon, egg and cheese on a roll to a heaping portion of spaghetti—and the glory that is my Peanut Butter, Cocoa, and Banana (PBCB) recovery smoothie.

Hungry yet?

Check out that action shot.

Hungry yet? Get the recipe and some nutritional whatsits here.

And look out for a race recap, some book recommendations, and other musings… eventually.

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500 Words in Defense of Being a Lazy Blogger

Some very well-respected websites and influencers will tell you, my fellow-blogger, that you shouldn’t apologize to your readers for not posting for an extended amount of time—that this apology just puts more attention on the fact that you’ve been absent when your reader might not have otherwise noticed (I’m being too lazy to find the exact citation here, so just go with it). I, on the other hand, have always/will continue to feel the need to say “I’m sorry” when I’ve neglected to post for a while, and I certainly won’t judge you for doing the same.

Since my last post, it would be an understatement to say that I’ve been “a little” busy. I not only finished that first marathon I had been training for (and in under 4 hours, which I was beyond excited about),

Lansing Marathon bib and finisher's medal.

Lansing Marathon bib and finisher’s medal.

but I also had the great opportunity to represent NYU at the London Book Fair with one of my very best friends, spent a wonderful day trying to take in as many of Edinburgh’s sights as we could, completed and successfully defended my capstone/thesis/whatever you want to call it project and graduated with a Master’s degree (for which I have yet to actually receive the physical proof), showed my family as much of the Big Apple as one can possibly see in 24 hours, walked across a stage with a few hundred other graduates,

Yes, I'm a Master.

Yes, I’m a Master.

toured almost every bookstore in Boston and went partially deaf witnessing some of my favorite artists/band perform at the Boston Calling music festival (this achieved with even more of my very best friends, and even an old friend too), remembered how much I hate said music festivals and vowed never to return, and much more (but I’ll spare you the details on that), read a few good books, and did a bunch of other things in lieu of writing blog posts.

I’ve also very recently been faced with the task of making a very big, very scary, very grown-up decision regarding my next step career-wise. For the last almost-year, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn a lot from a really fantastic group of people at Macmillan—so, it’s definitely bittersweet for me to let the world know that I’ve accepted a position as a Marketing Analyst with the book publishing division of another major media company. I’ll be sad to no longer work in the antique beauty that is the Flatiron Building (even if there are cockroaches), but my new-and-improved 15-minute commute will be pretty fantastic (not to mention all of the ever-important experience I’ll gain in my new role).

So, until the next time I post (which, I’ll be honest, will probably not be anytime this week because I’m going on vacation and have Chicago Marathon training runs to fit in somewhere), happy reading, happy running, and in honor of our impending Independence Day celebrations… God Bless ‘Merica!

 

P.S. If you’re ever in need of a good laugh, ask me about the Cockroach Incident of May 2014.

500 Words About Sunday Morning Movies

The following is the result of a combination of a full night of sleep, a little too much coffee, and the rain that is currently deterring me from going on the 10-mile run my training program calls for (but, I swear, I’m going to make it out there at some point today).

Anyway, E!’s “Movies We Love” flick of the morning is the 90’s rom-com You’ve Got Mail. While watching in my slightly (read: overly) caffeinated state, I start thinking (never a good sign) and …

Movie poster from IMDB.

Movie poster from IMDB.

This classic needs a present-day update in which our cute, blonde heroine who works in book publishing receives a message from her one-in-a-million 99% match on OkCupid—he’s handsome, articulate, well-read… and, naturally, works for Amazon. (Except, probably instead of falling in love, they just continue to hate on each other and he probably bullies her company until it goes out of business and she finds herself jobless in New York City … it’s back to the Midwest she goes!)

We can call it “You’ve Got a Message” … or maybe they’re on Tinder, and we’ll call it “You’ve Got a Match”—actually, it’s probably more likely that they meet on Tinder, because there’s no way they’d be more than a 35% match on OkC. You’d pay to see that in theaters, right? I know I would.

Okay, okay, maybe I wouldn’t, and maybe our heroine wouldn’t be largely based on yours truly (who, in truth, has never actually met anyone who works for Amazon, though I do work with a good number of people who work with Amazon, but I digress).

Annihilation CoverIn other news, a book recommendation for all of my fellow Lost fans out there: the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach Trilogy,” Annihilation. While there is no plane crash, nor are there polar bears smashing around in Area X (that we know of, anyway), the musings of our narrator, a biologist on the 12th expedition in to this wilderness, leave the reader with the same feeling of skin-crawling discomfort and mistrust of the rest of the team on the expedition and of Area X itself that one felt while watching Lost back in its day. I do so love-to-hate an unreliable narrator, and VanderMeer has written the perfect example of such a narrator in this book.

A paperback original from FSG, this book weighs in at just under 200 pages, making it a quick, yet not unfulfilling, read. What’s really cool about this series is that, in a move that is not often seen in print publishing these days, all three books will be published in 2014 (Is this the publisher moving toward a Netflix-binge model!? Perhaps! But that’s a post for another day … And, for the record, I’m a fan of decreasing the time between publication of books in a series *cough cough GRRM*). The next book in Southern Reach, Authority, is out on May 6, just in time for your summer reading needs. In the meantime, you can read a great interview with VanderMeer here (complete with animated GIFs of all three covers in the series) and enter to win a copy of the second book here.

Like this recommendation? Have a book recommendation for ME?? Let me know/leave it in the comments below!

500 Words About Marathon Training in the Polar Vortex and the NYC Half

NYC Half Expo

At the NYC Half Expo.

I’m having a difficult time believing that it’s already the middle of March, but that’s what my calendar keeps telling me and I’m not going to argue with it. As of today, I’m less than 50 days away from the Lansing Marathon—a scary thought—and thus I ran the NYRR’s NYC Half as a “progress report” of sorts, to see how well my winter training (read: running outdoors out of sheer defiance of the Polar Vortex) is paying off.

A sidebar here on running in the high winds, heavy snow, and sub-zero temperatures that winter storm after winter storm has thrown at us in 2014—it has been incredibly difficult to stay motivated to layer up and step out into the arctic tundra that was NYC for the majority of January and February. I spent far more time on the treadmill than I would have liked to, and my knees have been reminding me of this fact every weekend when I force myself out of bed for 8:00am long runs with the group at JackRabbit on the Upper West Side. I will, however, say that, despite the bitter cold and fear of breaking an ankle on not-yet-salted black ice in Central Park, there’s no better feeling than coming home with another 15+ miles under your belt and the reward of a hot shower and hot breakfast followed by a nice, long nap.

Bib and finisher's medal.

Bib and finisher’s medal.

Back to the NYC Half—I was very fortunate to have been able to participate in this race, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity! When NYRR did the first drawing for the half back in January, I wasn’t one of the runners chosen in the lottery—a big disappointment, naturally—but thanks to some help from the city, the field size was able to increase and I had a second, successful, chance to get in. While I wish we could have had Saturday’s 50+ degree weather to run in today, I made due with somewhere between 28 and 31 degrees between the 7:30am start time of Wave 1 and my finish shortly after 9:00am (at least it was sunny, right?). While I was expecting a finish somewhere between 1:40:00 and 1:43:00, I was stunned/excited to the point of near hyperventilation when I passed the 1:40 pacer during the last mile of the race—meaning I was definitely going to set a new personal best time and cross off my goal half time of running sub-1:40 in 2014. My official results from NYRR show a net time of 1:39:51, averaging 7:38 per mile—and according to my Nike+ Sportwatch, I ran a 7 minute mile somewhere in there!

All told, I’m really proud of myself for sticking with training on the days when I would have rather stayed in bed with the dog, and I also owe a huge THANK YOU to my friends for not only being okay with my anti-social behavior on Saturday nights, but also for waking up far too early on a Sunday morning to meet me at the finish line for brunch (you guys are the very best). So, I’ll leave you with some photographic evidence of the day… happy running!

Post-race snap before the warm, dry clothes arrived.

Post-race snap before the warm, dry clothes arrived.

500 Words About My First StrideBox

I received my first StrideBox today, and this is my unboxing post!

A little background: I was introduced to StrideBox by my former roommate, Muffy, who also runs/writes about it here on WordPress. When she first told me about it, I wasn’t sure that StrideBox was the kind of thing I’d be interested in—I had run plenty of races, including half marathons, using no gels/energy bars/drinks, and I was wary of the prospect of getting a bunch of stuff in the mail that I might not even like. Since then, I’ve decided to run a marathon and thus changed my tune a bit.

StrideBox delivers “an assortment of running accessories, gear, and nutritional products” right to the runner’s front door every month for a subscription fee of $15 each month. Each month there  are 6 to 8 products, along with information regarding how to purchase them and whether or not they’re being offered for a discounted price through StrideBox.

Now, for the fun stuff: what’s in my January box?

First up, we have “The Stride Guide” card, complete with motivational-running-in-a-sunspot-girl on its reverse and my new favorite sticker (bottom right).

For edibles, we have a Zing Nutrition Bar (below, top) in Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (my favorite!) and some chewable PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts (bottom). The idea of a chewable gel rather than a “gooey” gel is hugely appealing to someone like me who is big on texture, but I’m not going to count anything out just yet…

…largely because one of the next items in the box is a Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel (below, middle) in Vanilla. The other two photos below are the drink mixes, a Generation UCAN in Pomegranate Blueberry (left—I’m not the biggest fan of blueberries, but hopefully the pomegranate is the dominating flavor) and a Coco Hydro (right) dehydrated coconut water with added pineapple flavor.

StrideBox_collage3

Last up in the edible array is a NoGii Protein D’Lite in Chocolate Caramel Bliss (below), a bar that I’ve actually tried—and really liked—in the past, thanks to the goodies provided in the race packet for the More|Fitness Women’s Half Marathon last April (if you’re interested in running this year, it’s now open for registration!).

Finally, in the realm of running accessories and other miscellaneous items, this month’s StrideBox included a ShowerPill athletic body wipe (left—kills germs and freshens you up when there aren’t showers readily available after a race and you’ve got to ride home with other people who don’t want to smell you) and a neon yellow reflective slap bracelet—yes, I was a little too excited about that one.

An additional note worth making is that nearly everything provided in the box was either vegan, gluten-free, or both, meaning that the runner with special dietary needs will have plenty to choose from.

Needless to say, be on the lookout for my review of these products and for my next unboxing post in February! Until then, leave some encouragement in the comments below, as next week is my first week of marathon training (yikes).

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