As 2016 comes to a close I thought I’d recap my top 10 favorite runs of 2016. All for different reasons why they made the list and not in any order (although maybe they’re in date order now that I look at it).

1. There was my first time running a 10 miler…

The Cherry Blossom 10 miler in Washington D.C. Jane, Amy and I got into this race via lottery and while it was cold and windy we all did really well and had a fun girl’s weekend. The Cherry Blossoms were post-peak but I was fortunate last year to experience them during their peak so I wasn’t too bummed about that. I left that weekend with this desire to want to run more 10 milers. Of course there just aren’t a ton of 10 mile races so I haven’t run one since.IMG_2267

Found one!

Found one!

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Jane, me and Amy FREEZING our butts off before the race

2. And a half marathon in Philly for the 3rd year straight…

The Love RunI set a PR (in the pouring rain) at the 2014 Love Run, the first year I ran it. This year I had a solid run. My fastest of my 4 half marathons of 2016.finish2016

The medals at this race never disappoint. Last year was a spinner medal. This year was just super glittery.

The medals at this race never disappoint. Last year was a spinner medal. This year was just super glittery.

Good times

Good times

3. A Meaningful run to honor someone’s memory:

More »

I was doing laundry earlier and thought about how erratic the weather’s been lately as I washed everything from light short sleeve T-shirts and heavy fleece pullovers. I was running in 79 degree weather just last week and then just a few days later running with wind chills in the 20s. Today it’s in the 60s but this weekend we’re supposed to get more freezing temps. I guess the life lesson here is just learn to be flexible about ups and downs.

Trying to be flexible with his cone of shame. Poor little fella is really getting frustrated

Trying to be flexible with his cone of shame. Poor little fella is really getting frustrated

I should have gone out for a recovery run on Monday since I spent most of the day sitting after completing the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on Sunday—but it poured down rain all day and I just couldn’t get myself to go. So by the time I set out for an easy recovery run on Tuesday I was tight, sore and stiff, especially in the hamstrings and hip flexors. It was super cold and windy and actually felt worse than it did on Sunday so I was happy to just get in 4ish miles and come inside to warm up.

The cow tattoo still holding strong 24 hours later

The cow tattoo still holding on 24 hours later and my “lucky” 11:11 pace required a wish for sure.

Yesterday I ran another 4 since my workload was light and I had the time. Another cold and windy one.

Forgot about this Adidas hat of mine. I love it. It's got a nice short bill.

Forgot about this Adidas hat of mine. I love it. It’s got a nice short bill.

4 is the new 3 for me lately.

4 is the new 3 for me lately.

There might be one more short run before the Philly Love Run half on Sunday. Otherwise I’ll enjoy the rest and hope that it results in fresh legs for Sunday. I’ve run this race twice before. The first year (2014) I set a huge PR and it was POURING RAIN!!! You can read my recap here. Last year I was still recovering from my wonky knee and just wanted to get through it in one piece. Ironically I had time to realize that the course wasn’t as flat as I thought. It made me relish in the prior year’s PR even more. There is a HUGE hill at mile 6 and another hill at mile 8.

love-run-map

Duncan and I are hoping the next week flies. We’re halfway through his cone/stitches recovery. We ventured out in public and he’s been getting better adapting so that he can play with his toys.

Work it

Work it

Squirrels better not be making fun of me...

Squirrels better not be making fun of me…

How has your week been?

Ever been to Philly?

Ever PR at a race with a huge hill?

Ever run in the pouring rain?

Happy Monday!

The last few days have been quite a blur. Friday afternoon I brought Duncan to the vet. He has had a benign growth on his cheek for a while but it kept getting infected because he would scratch at it. Anyway this time the vet said enough is enough so he opted to just remove it to prevent this from happening again. So before I even had a chance to process anything I was leaving him there for the day for surgery! 5 hours felt like forever. He was sedated for the procedure and when I picked him up he had the dreaded e-collar (#coneofshame)

sad face

sad face

He was not happy and I was a mess. I’m not one to handle these kind of situations well which is ironic considering I was able to care for my husband as he was dying of cancer back in 1999 when I was only 25 years old! I’m in awe of my young self now all these years later. I was stronger than I ever thought I’d be capable of. (Aside: the anniversary of his passing is coming up in 2 weeks and while it’s been 17 years and feels like a lifetime ago, it’s amazing how I still feel the emotions and reminders of that time when the anniversary approaches).

I pulled it together and we made it through the first night of recovery.

He wouldn't even look at me at first

He wouldn’t even look at me at first

eventually he made eye contact :)

eventually he made eye contact :)

Every hour Duncan would jump off the bed all disoriented which left me a bit worried to leave him for the weekend with my sister-in-law to and I almost pulled the plug on my Cherry Blossom 10 miler weekend but in the morning he seemed much better and by the time I dropped him off at my sister-in-law’s on Saturday he was wagging his tail and jumping on her giving her all the love. Then I realized my boy was playing me! He was bilking the situation. Little bugger!

So after the doodle drop off I was on my way to DC via Amtrak which was great because I had 3 hours to get some work done #freelancelife.

window seat!

window seat!

A freelancer's dream.

A freelancer’s dream.

I took the train down and met up with my friend Jane and her friend Amy for the weekend. Last time I saw Jane and Amy was the Big Chill 5k in December. They had already wrapped up with the expo and to my happy surprise, not only did they grab my bib for me but they waited in line to meet Meb Keflezghi and got my bib autugraphed! So awesome! I walked into the expo and met up with them and Meb walked past us so I shouted out “thanks for signing my bib!”. Now everything felt complete!

We spent the afternoon just walking around the monuments, the white house and along the tidal basin. Unfortunately the chery blossoms were pretty much gone but there were a few flowering trees holding out so we snapped a few pics.

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Found one!

Found one!

I’m SO grateful that I was in DC last year right at peak for the blossoms.

Jane capturing the Washinton Monument

Jane capturing the Washinton Monument

Jane, me and our friend Abe

Jane, me and our friend Abe

The White House

The White House

We went out for mexican for dinner (no pics because I was too busy eating #alltheguac ) because Jane says she runs well on mexican. Spoiler: Apparently she’s right because she PR’d by 3 minutes). Then it was back to Jane’s friend’s place where we were crashing for the weekend and we cued up the documentary on the BarkleyMarathons. I didn’t know anything about it and boy was this documentary fascinating. This page has lots of info and stats about the participants and the very few finishers. In a nutshell, it’s 130 miles with elevation to match climbing and descending Mt. Everest TWICE! And Monica at Run Eat Repeat just posted about it today too.

RACE DAY!

We stayed at Jane’s friends place a few stops away from the start on the Metro so getting to the race was really easy. It was super windy with 20 mph winds and gusts up to 35. The race organizers made a few executive decisions for our safety including taking down all signage and split clocks that had the potential of getting blown around and injuring someone. Because of the 30 degree temps and high winds it felt like it was in the 20s. We took a few pre-race shots, dropped our bags at bag check and huddled to stay warm until entering the corrals.

Do I look any taller?

Do I look any taller?

BRR!

BRR!

IMG_2265So when the race began it was hard to find our appropriate corrals. They also did away with the wave start which left the first few miles super congested but I am not complaining. I was really impressed with the amount of communication the race had with the participants leading up to the event. They really were concerned for our safety and wanted us to be prepared for the potential snafus. And they had lots of volunteers working hard to help us out.

The course:

I really wasn’t focusing on taking in my surroundings for the first 4 miles. I know we went over a bridge and then back again. That was one of the windiest spots on the course and all I could do was keep my hat from blowing away and try and get around some runners going slower than me. It wasn’t that I wanted to run fast but I get cranky when I feel trapped. It’s like driving behind someone going slower than the speed limit on the highway. I just like to have open space in front of me. I tacked on an extra 10th of a mile in the first half of the race from all the weaving around people.

At mile 4 things finally opened up and I noticed the cherry blossom tree I took pictures of the day before. I finally started to appreciate my surroundings and the course.

One of the only pics i took while running. Just pretend all these cherry blossoms are blooming mmmkay?

One of the only pics i took while running. Just pretend all these cherry blossoms are blooming mmmkay?

The course is fairly flat and I was having a good day—running strong. Miles 2,3, and 4 were all sub 10 splits! I didn’t feel like I was even working that hard so I decided to keep trying to stay around the 10 min per mile pace and after passing the halfway point i’d re-evaluate. I felt good at 5 so I just kept pushing it at that 10 min per mile pace for miles 6 and 7. But then by mile 8 I started to feel fatigue coming. Since I was way ahead of my goal plan (11 min per mile pace) I thought about just slowing it down but I felt a tap on my shoulder right then and it was Amy. She had started a few corrals after me but was running about 30 seconds per mile faster than me. We stayed together and I am so grateful because instead of slowing down I kept pushing to keep up with her. I finished at 1:40:48 (10:04 pace), well under my predicted 1:50 time. So now I have my first official 10 miler in the books which makes this an automatic PR :)

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Garmin stats and a Cabot Cheese Cow temporary tattoo

Garmin stats and a Cabot Cheese Cow temporary tattoo

My treasured autographed bib

My treasured autographed bib

Finishers!

Finishers!

Water stops felt scarce to me on this course in my opinion. I only saw 2. The first one was about 3 miles in and I skipped it because it was crowded and I was still so cold my hands were numb. I took Gatorade at the second stop which was probably around the 10k mark.

I’m glad I got to experience this race. And I have to say that 10 miles is a perfect distance for me. I’m going to try and run more 10 milers. Congrats to Jane for her PR! She’s got 2 more 10 milers coming up and hoping to shave another minute or so off her time. Go get it girl! And congrats to Amy on her strong race too.

After showering, warming up and having a lovely brunch Jane, Amy and I headed home. I picked up Mr. Duncan and then stopped by Mr. SOTSS’ for a quick hello since we hadn’t seen each other in a week. It was late so I only stayed for a little bit but it felt so good to be reunited. And Duncan got a little souvenir from the Grand Canyon…

Doodle really knows how to work this head gear. lol!

Doodle really knows how to work this head gear. lol!

Next week is the Philly Love Run half marathon and I’m going to try and push for the same pace but of course I’ll be happy with any pace. It’s just such a pleasure to run with no injury and no pressure.

How was your weekend?
Do you have a favorite pre-race meal?
Do you like guacamole?
Do you have a dog? If so has he/she ever had to wear the cone of shame?

Hi there.

I can’t believe how fast this week has gone. I worked in the city Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

the view when I looked up while out to get lunch.

the view when I looked up while out to get lunch.

Tuesday night I was feeling so anxious about some life stuff and I just decided a run was in order. So even though it was 9:30pm I just bolted.

a golden glow thanks to the streetlamp outside my house

a golden glow thanks to the streetlamp outside my house

It was a really speedy (for me) 4 miles. I didn’t bring music because I don’t like to have earbuds in when it’s dark for safety reasons. My neighborhood is very safe and while I wasn’t scared, there’s something spooky about running when there are no other people out.

Yesterday morning my friend Nicole noticed me on TV. I was a block away from the office which happens to be right near where Fox News films.

They were doing a segment about walking and texting. Luckily I wasn’t on my phone. I don’t even know how she noticed me.

I took a selfie when I got home from work and sent it to Mr. SOTSS in case he forgot what I look like since he’s been out west on his family vacation.

Hi boyfriend! I still have a smile but it'll be bigger when you get home!

Hi boyfriend! I still have a smile but it’ll be bigger when you get home!

Then in the evening I went to my niece’s band concert. My mom and dad were going so they gave me (and Duncan) a ride over to my brother’s house where we hung out for a bit before it was time to drive to the concert.

passengers in the back seat

passengers in the back seat

just up to my usual antics

just up to my usual antics

Duncan in the front and Casey in the back.

Duncan in the front and Casey in the back.

My niece plays the saxophone. She makes me proud. She even had a couple of solos.

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She's the cute redhead who's face I didn't blur out, lol.

She’s the cute redhead who’s face I didn’t blur out, lol.

Today I resumed my freelance life working from my sofa. Took a while to get Duncan to wake up.

Shut the light back off please

Shut the light back off please

I took Duncan to the park for a walk and then I logged my final miles before Sunday’s Cherry Blossom 10 miler in Washington, D.C. I’m hoping that although the Cherry Blossom’s peaked bloom last weekend that they’ll still have some flowers still. Last year I was fortunate to be there at peak.

lip smackin'

lip smackin’

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Emjoi Micro Nail review:

I was provided an Emjoi Micro Nail to sample this week. I really liked the Micro Pedi they sent me last year so I was excited to try it out, and today was the day.Emjoi Micro Nail

Wow, I had no idea there was a way to make your nails so shiny they look like they have a top coat on them. Here’s a little before and after.

before

before

After

After

This little gem is going to get a lot of use this summer.

IMG_2113Basically it comes with two different rollers that you pop onto the device: the gray one smooths out any ridges and the white one is like the polisher. I tried going straight to the white but I think i got a better shine by using the gray roller first and then the white. It comes with 2 smoother rollers and 2 polishing rollers.

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ready to turn it on

ready to turn it on

It’s super easy to use and is actually kinda fun too. I shaped the edges as well. Amazon has it for $29.95.

Do you get manicures in a salon or do them at home?

Anyone racing this weekend?

Ever been to Washington DC?

Did you play any musical instruments in high school?