Saturday, April 20, 2013

Run Long, But Maybe Not This Long...

I ran 16 miles today, which is kind of an exciting milestone for me. 16 miles is officially the farthest I have ever travelled on foot in one day. The Grige and I did a few 15 mile days when we were backpacking in Yosemite. They were killer, because they ended up coinciding with our biggest elevation changes. Unlike running, backpacking downhill is about the most painful thing a person can do. Our first 15 mile day ended with 8+ miles of rocky, miserable downhill. The views were amazing, but I've never seen the Grige so miserable, and I wasn't much better.

Trust me, you don't want to have that much mountain still in front of you at sunset. Ever. 
I've never forgotten that day, and my last two long runs have proved that 15 miles is indeed a formidable distance for the human feet/legs to travel in one day. last week, I really fought through the last two miles. This week, I had to fight through the last 4 miles. I may have cried a little bit around mile 14, and only visualizing finishing the marathon kept me moving forward (right around granny speed-walking pace).

So here is the deal: It's scary to have the long runs be this hard. I have been unbelievable lucky to have had amazing 50 degree sunny days for both runs. I've also not had a single gastro issue in two weeks (YES!!!). But I still end up collapsing on my porch at the end of the runs before I can attempt our front stairs. Also, I am SLOW. My last 2 miles today had close to 14:00 min splits. That is DEPRESSING. 26.2 miles feels impossible after today.

I'm really hopeful that this is just a tough barrier that my body will push through in the coming weeks. It's been 3 weeks since my last step back, and I think it's time for another. I'm planning to do a slow swim tomorrow for recovery, which brings me to a new gear addition! THE STICK.

Recovery has taken on a whole new meaning for me lately - I'm almost ready to give in on those stupid compression socks. But for now, this thing, in addition to my foam roller, is WHERE IT'S AT. It feels so good. In concert with some backwards running, this has really ironed out my quad issues. My recovery strategy has also expanded to include recovery foods, like pineapple and bananas. For example: I'm drinking a delicious pineapple mojito tonight! It's the ultimate recovery tool.

Here's hoping my 18 miler in two weeks is easier. I need to get a long run winner in before we head to Greece!

Monday, April 15, 2013


The following is the conversation that a 26 year-old woman (who has been living away from home for over 8 years and has traveled much of the globe alone) had with her mother this week.

Mom: "Are you getting excited for your honeymoon? Have you started packing yet?!"

Me: "Yes! I'm so excited, and I can't wait! I actually bought two new dresses for the trip, but I can wear them to work too, so it's a total win!"

Normal so far...

Mom: "Oh, honey. Just don't forget to pack a sweater or something to keep you warm!"

Me: "um... okay. Thanks, Mom...."

Because our mamas, they are always our mamas.

And yes, Mom. I will be sure to pack a sweater or SOMETHING. Today, tomorrow, always.

Happy almost Mother's day. I love mine so much!

Photo: Summer Jean Photography

Oh, Hey!

This morning featured some alarm mal-functioning (likely human error), which I did not handle gracefully. I revoked the Grige's alarm privleges ("No more snoozing for you!!") and generally acted like a total Hulk. And he has an interview today. ugh. Happy Monday to us, more coffee please!

In what can only be described as a karmic oxy-moron, I've had some writing published over at APW today. If you've found your way here via that post - WELCOME! I'm so happy you're here! Here are some posts you might enjoy:




I have to go un-jam a printer for the umpteenth time this morning, proving that the universe didn't totally ignore my alarm-yelling meltdown. I'd be thrilled to hear from you in the comments, and if you live in St. Louis - send me an email and let's totally hang out sometime! (please).

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Life List: Unapologetically wear bright red lipstick

This "project" got kicked into high gear 2 months ago when I got bangs. As it turns out, bangs literally beg you to wear bright lipstick, as does the onset of spring.

Since I'm cheap, and this blog is technically about personal finance, I'll tell you that I started by grabbing a few cheap-o lipsticks at target. The moral of that story is that something like bright lipstick should really be left to the professionals. I love the "makeup counter" one I got a lot more. I'm sure someone with more experience could do better at the drugstore than I did though. So here's the lipstick progression for you:

1. Here's my regular "pumped up" lip look (by which I mean, I bothered to put on something other than Burt's Bees chapstick). It's Bobbi Brown "Nude 9" lip liner pencil and  Chanel #94 lip gloss "Sundress".  I have thinner lips, so the liner pumps them up but the gloss only keeps them pretty neutral.

2. Here's the look I wore for my wedding. It's Bobbi Brown #7 "Rose Petal" glossy lipstick. I like it, because it's just slightly north of my exact natural lip color, but comes off a little heavier than just gloss and liner.

Now, I know what you're thinking. There is essentially NO DIFFERENCE between those two photos. You are totally right, which leads me to the life list item: Unapologetically wear bright red lipstick. It's a little out of my comfort zone, to say the least.

I ended up with a blue-red and an orange-red. The blue red is supposed to be awesome for making your teeth look white. I think they both do a good job of that though.

So first, my Target purchase. This is Maybelline Super Stay 14 hour lipstick in 070 "Enduring Ruby". I feel doubtful that this would stay on for 14 hours, but whatever. I like that it smells good and doesn't require liner (in my totally inexperienced opinion). It also doesn't totally taste like wax/fish scales, which I'm a fan of. However, it's REALLY dark/purple-y and I feel like I have to be really choosy about what I wear it with as a result. So I haven't worn it as much as I wanted to.


And now, for the big finish. I took myself to the mall for some new tights, and found myself at the MAC counter. I ended up with AB2 "Ruby Woo" in Matte with AA2 lip pencil in "Cherry". This stuff is so super matte that you pretty much can't put it on without blending with a light gloss (I just use a layer of Burt's Bees first). lip liner is an absolute MUST. However, that means that it is not going ANYWHERE. I wore this to a wedding and made it through the entire dinner/cocktail reception without needing to re-apply. I LOVE this lipstick. so much so that I wear it at home while I'm cleaning because it just makes me feel that Fabulous. 

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm kind of obsessed with j.Crew. This lipstick really reminds me of what they put on their models (albeit slightly toned down on me). I love putting it on with a broadcloth collared shirt, pearls, comfy jeans and Sperry's. It makes me feel so chic! It doesn't go over the best here in Missouri, but I refuse to give up the east coast ghost just because I live in a place where crocs are considered acceptable footwear. 

I love this red lipstick so much that I actually crossed off my life list item when I used this picture for work (cropped to look less like a selfie, of course). BOOM. If that's not unapologetic, I don't know what is.

Also, I have to be fair and say that the Grige HATES all lipstick on me. I think most guys probably do - it makes the kissing harder. However, that just kind of makes me like it more, because it means I'm doing in 100% for me - because it makes me feel good. 

So I'm wondering, what other fun makeup challenges can I do? I always thought this was a weird life list item, but in addition to being low-hanging fruit challenge-wise, it's been a lot of fun! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Marathon

Yesterday, I registered for the Charelvoix marathon in beautiful Charlevoix Michigan.
I am kind of nervous, especially since my least favorite part of my half marathon was the 2 miles of close proximity out-and-back.  However, I'm hoping that I'll be focused on the views instead of faster runners. If you've never been to west Michigan, you are really missing out. Pristine beaches, nice people, low prices, perfect 70-80 degree summer days. To be honest, I'm pretty excited about running there!

I am also nervous because I ran 15 miles earlier today, and I seriously wanted to die for most of the last 2 miles. All I could think about was lying down in the grass and just taking a nap. So running 11.2 miles after that seems pretty impossible right now. However, running 15 miles seemed impossible a few weeks ago, so I guess I'll just keep plugging ahead!

I have been thinking a lot this week about my healthy goals for this year. Obviously, I'm pleased with how I've done with my exercise goals. However, I could definitely mix it up with cross training. I'll be attempting to attend one fit camp class per week and one yoga class per week. As far as food, it's been hard to balance my running related caloric needs with my goal to eat healthier. I'm trying hard to re-calibrate for this next phase of training by eating salad for lunch on week days. It's been really helpful to add V8 juice whenever I can. It give me extra calories in the form of fruits and veggies.

That's about it from around here today - I'll be cooling my heels on the couch and drinking cider for the rest of the afternoon. What does your Saturday look like?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Few Words From the Bathtub on Marriage and Independence

I write this from the bathtub, where I am sitting, with my shoes on, listening to tornado sirens wail. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be this:

Rule #1 of home disaster preparedness is PUT YOUR DAMN SHOES ON. When it's too late to buy extra water and food, make a family disaster plan, or any of those other things that are so important, please please PLEASE put shoes on yourself and your family. Imagine trying to climb out of a house with a blown off roof and covered in debris (Or run from a zombie) without shoes, and you will see what I mean.

Safety First.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

One of the things I was most worried about before the Grige and I got married was losing my independence. I was worried that there was a "Single Emily" that I would never get to know, or that being half of a marriage would mean that I was no longer a whole person. Most of all, I think I was/am afraid of not knowing how to be alone. In retrospect, you would think he had proposed that we become conjoined twins instead of getting married.

Well let me tell you (alone from the bathtub in the middle of a tornado), this first year of marriage has been a freaking crash course in "aloneness". I'm pretty sure I get my advanced certification after tonight. Perhaps you think I'm being dramatic, and maybe I am. But I was deeply afraid that marrying young would leave me unprepared for moments like this. And here I am, alone, in the candle-lit bathtub on the phone with my mom (WITH MY SHOES ON), and I will definitely survive.

Quite the opposite, our new marriage has pushed me geographically, professionally, physically, mentally and emotionally. We moved to St. Louis, I faced down unemployment and accepted a new job where I'm pushed harder everyday, I ran a half marathon, sought out professional writing opportunities, and learned how to be alone in a new city (WHERE THEY HAVE TORNADOS) while my husband focuses on his graduate program. I also learned how to use power tools, haggle with mechanics and parallel park. Look out, world!

So I'm raising my tornado-bathtub glass of wine (yes, there is a wine bottle and a sippy cup in my tornado bag) to all the independent married ladies out there. Because marriage is not the same as being surgically attached, and sometimes marriage pushes us to more independence than our single selves could have imagined.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Race Recap Part II - Go! St. Louis Half Marathon - The FEELINGS

Running a half marathon has been on my life list for a while (try 5 years). I’ve failed in the attempt a number of times before this, so it’s not surprising that I have a lot of FEELINGS about my finish. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but my biggest struggle with running is definitely mental. As the Grige tells me constantly (and yelled at me during the race – highlighting the reason we no longer run together), “You can go FASTER than that! TRY HARDER!”. I finished my race strong, but I haven’t learned how to push myself to the limit yet. However, finishing was a huge confidence boost, and I believe that conquering a marathon will give me the push I need to start working on speed. So, the FEELINGS:

What Surprised me:

I was totally unprepared for the emotional rollercoaster that goes with preparing for a race. I was SO NERVOUS on Saturday that I could barely sleep. Watching UMich basketball (barely) beat Syracuse in the Final Four did not sooth my nerves (Longest 2 minutes of my life, seriously). But they won! So I went to bed happy. My nerves continued Sunday morning as we sat in traffic at the race exit.

During the race, I felt amazing – elated. I can’t believe how much I actually enjoyed running. There were tons of people, and even though I was hurting, I felt happy. I did not expect that AT ALL. The finish, especially, was really emotional for me. I sprinted my last mile, and plowing through that finish line was just overwhelming. I felt like I was going to cry (luckily, I didn’t). Honestly, the last time I felt that emotional was walking down the aisle at our wedding.

Finally, I was really worried that the fact that I wasn’t used to getting up early/running in the morning would hurt me. I don’t think it actually had any impact at all. I was so nervous that getting up was no problem and I felt fine while I was running. I’m glad to push that worry out of the way for marathon training, because running in the evenings has been working out really well for me schedule-wise.

What didn’t Surprise me:

The logistics of getting to big events on time are always a bit stressor for me, and I planned accordingly. The Grige drove me in so that I didn’t have much to worry about. But I’m one of those people who is always at the airport an hour before I need to be “just in case” and I’m still nauseous the whole time. Race morning was no exception, and I was a ball of nerves. As a result, I’ll be extra cautious about which races I sign up for moving forward. I think that travelling to a race will be nice, because I’ll be able to stay in a hotel close to the start, eliminating a lot of travel stress.

My pace was also no big surprise. I ran at the pace of my best training runs (not 1 minute/mile faster, as some training plans suggested I would be able to). In retrospect, I probably could have pushed it harder. However, I kept thinking about the fact that I’m running 15 miles this Saturday and how I didn’t want to be dead for that. Truthfully, this is just the half-way point in marathon training, and I’m happy to have logged a half marathon time that I can compete with in the coming years. However, I would be lying if I told you I thought I couldn’t do any better. I am stronger and faster than I think, and breaking those mental barriers is one of the great challenges of running for me.

What went wrong

My stomach totally went bonkers on me at mile 4, which meant losing 3 minutes (I timed it) to a port-a-potty stop. Annoying. I was also really sick for the rest of the day yesterday and have been on a liquid diet since the finish as a result. I ate my breakfast with lots of extra time and ate the BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast) diet starting 2 days before the race. I don’t think there’s anything else I could have done, but I’ll continue to try tweaking things. I may give immodium a try before my next long run, just to see if it helps.

Sunday was the warmest day we’ve had so far, and I paid the price for doing all of my training outdoors. Since I’m used to running in extremely cold weather, this is the first time I broke out most of my summer running gear (shorts and tank) this year. The result is some pretty nasty underarm chafing (ouch!), a sunburn, and GIANT blisters on my arches from sweat-related rubbing. Luckily, I didn’t notice any of this during the race except for the blisters. I could feel them forming by mile 5, and I could practically hear them squelching by mile 10. Ugh. I could barely walk to the car after the race. However, I’ve now pierced and drained them and I’m hopeful to be back on the road tomorrow. If not, I’ll be swimming my training this week.

What went right

My training plan helped me feel really prepared. There was never a moment where I worried if I would be able to finish or not, andknowing that I could do it really helped me relax and enjoy the race.

I decided at the last minute to run without my handheld water bottle. It was a good decision – I’m really glad I didn’t have to deal with carrying anything.

Training on hills really paid off! Some of my fastest splits were on the hilly portion of the course.

I can honestly say that I really enjoyed this run. It was fun to run with other people, I enjoyed seeing the spectators and I enjoyed being pushed by the challenge of “racing”. I felt happy and good pretty much the whole time!