Archive for the ‘Three Things Thursday’ Category

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Three Things Thursday: Billy Goat

March 22, 2012

High on a hill is a lonely…Billy Goat Trail. Well, not as lonely as I thought. I had the day off from work, and since there’s more to fitness that running, I went for a hike on one of the best trails in the DC area. Even midday on a spring Thursday, there were plenty of folks out there. Some reviews of this trail indicate that it’s good for beginners…I disagree. Section A has a lot of climbing and hopping on rocks high on a cliff above the Potomac. And today I had the shit scared out of me good fortune of seeing 9 snakes! And hearing the rustling in the grass of at least 3 more, but I didn’t hang around long enough to find out!

So today’s Three Things are some pictures from the hike. If you’re in the DC area and you’ve not been, get out there. You won’t believe you’re mere miles from the Beltway and downtown. Well, except for the weekend crowds…be prepared.

Those nice Carolina blue blazes mark the trail...much of which goes over big rocks like these.

You can park across MacArthur Blvd. from Angler's Inn for free (although they are doing construction there...hopefully that doesn't mean the free parking is going away), or head down to Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center (NPS). You can access the C&O Towpath and Billy Goat Trail from either, but if you go to the NPS visitors center, you walk past these gorgeous falls to get to the northern Billy Goat trailhead.

Sometimes your feet just want to break free of the confines of running shoes. Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend Chacos on the Billy Goat...too many snakes way too close to my feet, and I felt a little less stable on some of the rocks than I typically do when I go out in hiking boots. But totally worth it to get started on my Z tan.

I hope that, wherever you are, you’re getting to enjoy some sunshine this fine spring.

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Three Things Thursday: Pre-Racy Thoughts

March 16, 2012

With less than 36 hours until the start of the Rock ‘n Roll USA Marathon and Half Marathon, it’s time for some pre-racy thoughts!

1. You can’t always get what you want. I already know that this race won’t be what I wanted it to be when I registered. I imagine I’ll probably learn soon enough that that’s not an uncommon feeling. And I don’t say that to sound defeatist, just realistic: I was out of commission for a few weeks of training, and in the last few days, I’ve developed some inflammation in my hip/pelvis area. I’m managing it (and in what will surely be a joyous occasion, I have a doctor’s appointment next week), and I’m going to try my best on Saturday, but I’m trying to take the long view and not push harder than I can. There are other halfs out there, and I intend on enjoying my first one, a little pain or not!

2. The weather is here, wish you were beautifulIt’s damn nice in DC these days. Hot, even. I went for a last, short run this afternoon and wanted to die. Then I Skyped my parents and learned that today’s record high of 84 at Dulles had nothing on Abu Dhabi’s 100. Fine, fine. But it’s truly quite nice. Wednesday afternoon was so nice that I wasn’t sure if my co-workers were calling out sick or “sick” (I work at an organization that tries to get people outside, so verdict is out on that one). But I wouldn’t be surprised if people are actually sick, too. My boys at CWG report high pollen counts Wednesday and today. So if you’re coming into town for the race and you’re from some place that isn’t a-bloomin’ yet, bring yer drugs.

Oh, sure, they're beautiful, but that shit'll invade your body. Hide ya lungs, hide ya sinuses, hide ya eyes.

3. When Irish eyes are smilin’, sure ’tis like the morn in spring.  With the race being on St. Patrick’s Day, I clearly need to rock a green shirt. But a friend got mad at me because she says I’ll be hard to find, what with my insanely bright red hair and incredibly slow pace what with probably lots of other folks participating in the wearin’ o’ the green. So I’m adding a little sparkly bling to my outfit, sort of a beacon of Irish spring for my admirers friends.

Just trying to be a nice piece of lass.

Best of (Irish) luck to all the folks running on Saturday! Rock on and race hard!

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Three Things Thursday: Turn, Turn, Turn Double Edition

March 8, 2012

On my awesome afternoon run (low 70s, sunshine, not in the office…), I thought about how, even though DC had a ridiculously mild winter, the seasons are changing. Here’s my double Three Things edition: three things I’ll miss about winter running and three things I won’t…

The Glories of Winter Running (or…what I’ll miss!)

1. Not overheating. No matter what time of day I go out (oh, hey, 2pm Saturday runs…), I can usually stay pretty cool during winter. I love it. I tend to get hot pretty easily (or all the time), so the natural A/C will be missed.

2. I’ve never swallowed a fly while running during the winter. True story. But on today’s very spring-like run? Mmm…extra protein. The bugs are back out!

3. Wide open spaces. Cold outside? Fewer folks on the trail. I’m not a misanthrope, but when you live in an urban area, it’s kind of nice to get out there without bumping elbows with a million people. [The flip side of loads of people: there’s constant motivation to get out there. Sometimes it’s just the boost I need on a day when motivation is a little low.]

Be Gone, Low Temps (or…what I won’t miss!)

1. Dark mornings and dark evenings. I have a really hard time getting out of bed and getting out of the door when it’s dark. And when I leave work and it’s dark…also not especially motivated to get outside.

2. That age old question: What the hell should I wear?? When it’s warm, it’s pretty easy: lightest layer possible. But when it’s cold, I second guess myself…is this going to be warm enough? Too warm? Is it windy? Bring on the simplicity.

3. These guys. My saggy baggy running tights. Don’t get me wrong: I’m really happy that they are saggy baggy. I wear them as a badge of weight loss honor, but they’ve gotten ill-fittingly uncomfortable. In March, though, I’m not willing to invest in a new pair. So, I’m happy to welcome the warm temps and leave behind ye olde running tights.

Peace out, sag ass!

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Three Things Thursday: Fashion for Losers Edition

March 2, 2012

Losers of weight, that is.

Disclaimer: I have very little good fashion sense. But I have been losing weight, and I do want to look presentable and nice…sometimes I even surprise myself and look pretty damn good. I also have been in career transition since starting my weight loss journey, and while I’m a good gardener, I have yet to figure out how to grow a money tree.

I remember emailing a friend and saying, “Losing weight SUCKS!” because I was frustrated with my wardrobe. Obviously, I don’t mean it. I’m really happy with my progress, and I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I describe the ill-fitting clothes and need for new ones as my good-bad problem.

Apologies to any male readers out there, but here are three things geared toward lady losers who aren’t sure how to tackle the good-bad problem. These tend to work when you’re between sizes or maybe have lost 10-15 pounds. Once you start losing more, you may need to just suck it up and buy smaller sizes. When that happened, I bought cheap: jeans from Old Navy? Yes. Running clothes from Target? Absolutely. [Who am I kidding? I’d buy those things anyway, but the point is: save your $$ for your dream jeans when you’ve hit – and maintained – your weight goal.]

1. Skirts and dresses > pants. YMMV, but for me, skirts and dresses seemed to “fit” longer and look less frumpy than pants did. It may be because skirts and dresses don’t do that terrible thing that ill-fitting pants do: give you saggy ass. I also noticed that I could pull my pants off without unbuttoning/unzipping them. Slouchy pants? Not cute. But dresses that were a little big? Belt ’em.

2. Shrink and deflect. I shrunk the hell out of whatever I could. If that didn’t work, but things seemed almost close to what I was going for, I deflected with accessories. I was the queen of scarves this winter. With a few basic, solid color, inexpensive tops, I could mix and match jewelry and scarves to have different outfits. And if some of my older shirts were a little big or frumpy, the fun accessories deflected attention from saggy shoulders.

3. Borrow! I’ve received overwhelming support from my friends, including material support. When I first brought up my good-bad problem, a friend offered that she had a ton of stuff in storage that she’d saved from when she was smaller. She lent me some good work pieces, and in the process, remembered how much she liked her old clothes, and is now on her own journey. Aside from her generous offer, I’ve also become bolder about asking. I needed some nicer things to wear for a work event, and I asked my roommate if she could help. Most folks usually have some extra things they don’t have in rotation now, and I’ve been touched with the help my friends have provided. You can also glam it up with a [healthy] brunch or cocktail hour at home and invite friends over for a clothing exchange.

Bonus #4: If you find a good tailor, have things taken in. This also tends to work best with skirts, or any item of clothing with simple seams. If you’ve got complicated waistbands or seams, it’ll cost more, and you may find yourself wishing you’d just bought something new. If blouses still fit in the shoulders, but have extra material below the bust, a tailor (or your mom…who gave me these pointers) can add darts, making the shirt fitted to your new rockin’ bod.

Yeah, I said it. Rockin’ bod.

For more tips, WebMD of all places has an article about it.

What are your tips? How have you fashionably shown off your in-process weight loss without breaking the bank?

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Three Things Thursday: Running Mantras That Apply Elsewhere Edition

February 24, 2012

By the time I was well into the second mile of my pre-work run this morning, I felt great. That first mile, though? Pretty rough. So I kept repeating a few mantras in my head, and before I knew it, I didn’t feel so sluggish and was nearing my turnaround point.

This isn’t some big magical, mystical revelation, but these three mantras that I tend to use when the going gets tough are pretty universally applicable to other areas of my life. I like when my motivation points me generally toward one path, and I think these are all saying: Suck it up, buttercup.

Probably a little more poetically.

1. “Someday you won’t be able to run, but today is not that day.” Credit goes to a lot of people…I have no idea who the original source is, but my favorite marathoner told me this prior to my December 15K and it stuck. I’m especially reminded of this mantra outside of running when I take special time for myself – maybe just relaxing with a book and a cup of tea or visiting antique shops for hours on end. Someday, I may not have the free time to do those things, and I’m grateful to savor that now.

2. “This doesn’t feel bad, and you don’t have any reason why you can’t do this.” It’s usually easy for me to conjure up some reason why something hurts or I can’t do something. So when a run is going well, it’s good positive reinforcement for me to remind myself that it doesn’t feel bad, and there’s no reason why I can’t keep going with the run. This was my mantra for my first mile today, and it kept me from stopping to walk. The “no reason why you can’t do this” is something I remind myself of when I’m at work and the task seems overwhelming at first.

3. “Look how far you’ve come.” On Saturday’s 7 mile run, I started to lose a little mojo around mile 5.5. Then I thought, Self, look how far you’ve come! What’s 1.5 miles when you’ve already done 5.5? No, seriously? Barring injury, it’s nothing.  And the same is true of other areas in life. In particular, when things generally don’t seem to be going well, I think reminding ourselves of the obstacles we’ve previously overcome puts the ones we face in perspective.

And thus concludes the cheeseball portion of the evening.

Got a favorite yourself? Hit me up!

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Three Things Thursday: Bike/Ped Nerdom Edition

February 3, 2012

Well, it was a tough day for bicycle and pedestrian advocates today, as the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee voted down (by a narrow margin) an amendment that would keep funding for such programs as Safe Routes to Schools, Transportation Enhancements (think bike/ped infrastructure, landscaping, re-use of historic transportation facilities and more), and rail-trails. What will likely, and hopefully, happen is that the bill will not be passed anyway. It’s not, in my opinion, a good bill for our transportation future.

But! That’s neither here nor there. Trails are a great option for people to get out and get fit, and, in more urban areas, great alternatives for commuting.

For all you folks in the DC area, here are my three things for Thursday: rail-trails you should check out.

1. Capital Crescent Trail – Through the mid-1980s, a slow-moving freight train traveled from Bethesda to Georgetown every day. Now you can enjoy a nice run or ride between the two above the Potomac River and into the urban areas of Bethesda and Silver Spring (connect to the Georgetown Branch Trail to take you into downtown Silver Spring, and, eventually, to the Metropolitan Branch Trail).

2. Washington & Old Dominion Trail – Hop on the W&OD in Arlington and you can ride (or run!) west for 45 miles to Purcellville. Numerous trails connect to the W&OD from local neighborhoods and towns, making it accessible to a large segment of the Northern Virginia suburbs. It’s one of my favorites, and I did most of my training for the Hot Chocolate 15K on parts of the W&OD.

My parents' old neighborhood was also close to the W&OD. I'm getting ready to head out on ride during Summer 2010.

3. Baltimore and Annapolis Trail – So it’s a little trip from DC, but you can hop on this trail in Annapolis or Glen Burnie, and the trail is a solid 13+ miles, with options to connect to another trail near BWI.

I went out on a run tonight for the first time in about two and a half weeks. I walked a little, but had a pretty good 2.5 miles, part of which was on a trail that connects to the W&OD. I made it a good run, I guess out of my own little personal protest. Should you find yourself wanting to protest…or just get in a good workout, there are probably some great trails to explore, wherever you live.

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Three Things Thursday: The Toolkit Edition

January 27, 2012

Three things for this Thursday? Here are three sites that I like to think of as being part of my virtual toolkit. If I’m looking for ideas, inspiration, or information, here are my go-to sites. I hope to add more to this toolkit, but without further ado, the first three:

1. Greatist – So many good, dare I say great, things about health, nutrition, fitness, and more on this site! I love the lists of things: easy swaps you can make in your life, foods that aren’t as healthy as you think, myths about stretching, and more. I’ve only known about this site for a few days, but I am hooked, hooked, I tell you. When you need a wealth of easily digestible information, you need Greatist. They are up for a health blog award, so if you also gets your kicks at Greatist, vote for ’em here.

2. Pinterest – Sure, you can log in to Pinterest and find an over abundance of wedding ideas, perfectly polished nails, and more cupcakes time to make them. But if you look past the “Everything” category, you’ll find some inspirational quotes (Are some of these cheesy? Yes. Do some of them make you want to get out there on a run or to the gym and kick some ass? Give it a shot, you may be surprised), some great recipes, and some time-saving ideas (like my Salad in a Jar!). So if you’re willing to get sucked into a black hole the first few times you log in, give it a spin…

Pinterest

3. Fit Bottomed Girls – Again, plethora of information, personal stories, and a variety of topics to keep you informed, entertained, and inspired to migrate from a fat bottomed girl to a fit bottomed girl. Love this site.

Fit Bottomed Girls

What’s in your virtual toolkit?