Category Archives: Motivation

Happy National Running Day 2017!

This is another excellent way to celebration National Running Day.

Happy National Running Day!  This year I celebrated by going for a run in Central Park!  That’s right, I’m finally back in the park after my broken ankle sidelined me for a year.


I also officially graduated myself from the Couch to 5K program, because even though I’m only in week 7 of the 9 week program, I’ve been able to cover 3.1 miles three times now.  The last few C25K workouts are just continuous jogging for 25 minutes anyway, so it didn’t make sense to go back down to long (3 minute) walk breaks.  Thanks, C25K, for getting me back out there, though!

Oh god, run!

Since I’m no longer using the C25K app, I tried the “Zombies, Run” app today for the first time!  If you’re not familiar with the app, it basically narrates a story by playing short clips of people talking to you as if you’re running through a post-apocalyptic zombie-filled world… and occasionally you get chased by zombies so you have to speed up or lose items you virtually “gather” along the way.  I really enjoyed the first episode (especially the British radio announcer) but the zombies scared me exactly like I feared they would, and I ran too fast and was nervous.  Luckily, I was going downhill, so I escaped the zombies and ran the fastest mile (by far) that I’ve run in over a year.  Even better, you can turn the zombie chase feature off, which I think I’ll do because I’m just too agitated by stuff like that.  (Says the girl who would have heart palpitations playing the “PAWS” typing test game in elementary school as she watched the cat’s paw prints slowly chase her text across the screen…) (By the way I looked everywhere online for that game and can’t find it.)

The zombies seriously scared me – in contrast, my first mile was 11:40!

It’s also only 22 short weeks until the NYC Marathon!  I even signed up for the NYRR virtual trainer because I really want my hand held for this race.  And since Nike hasn’t offered me their Tesla pacer car (yet), I needed to look for other support.  Luckily the cute PT is also offering me help along the way (and telling me to stretch my quads and hamstrings to reduce knee pain – who knew?!).


If you missed running today, Global Running Day is coming up next Wednesday!  Hope to see you out there!


Did you notice NYRR doesn’t celebrate National Running Day anymore?  How did you celebrate National Running Day?  Did you ever play the PAWS typing game in school?  Share in the comments!

Anniversaries & Graduations

Today is the 1-year anniversary of when I broke my ankle (I didn’t know I broke it until much later).  And while I’m not anywhere near where I want to be, running-wise, at least I’m running a little again, and for that I’m very thankful.  In fact, today my knees hurt more than my ankle, which made me feel almost normal again.  😉


It’s also springtime and graduation time, both of which make me think about how fleeting everything is (death and change everywhere).  So just remember that wherever you are in your running journey (or school or career or Netflix marathon session), it will change whether you like it or not, so enjoy the moment if it’s good, and take comfort in the knowledge that it will change if it sucks.  I also recommend eating an ice cream cone, because they are delicious.


It’s also Mother’s Day today – Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  Did you remember to call your mom today?   What’s the best Mother’s Day present?  Does your mom run?  Share in the comments!

Clickable Map of the States & Updated Schedule

I’m still suffering from my recent injury (posterior tibialis tendonitis, maybe?), so I’ve been not running, which is the only thing worse than actually running.  When I feel like I’m not making progress on my running goals, I tend to make travel plans and lists and records of when I was making progress.  This time, I made a map and updated my 50 States Schedule!


I’ve been messing around with clickable maps since I created this blog two years ago, but I finally ponied up the 10 bucks to create one that can be saved and edited in the future.  You can make your own free clickable map at various sites online (like here and here) or you can pay about $10 to save it for future editing.  Just think, you could make maps to reflect which states you’ve run a race in, eaten candy in, or where you owe people money.  The possibilities are endless!

50 States Marathon Quest

Green = completed, pink = scheduled but not yet run, blue = not scheduled yet!


I’d really like to knock off that cluster of New England states, but a lot of them only have fall races that I’m interested in.  I’m looking forward to all the western and midwestern states since they are large topographically and it’ll feel like I’m making a lot of progress when I knock off one of those (compared to, say, Delaware).


I’ve also condensed my original 8-year plan to run the 50 States into a (possibly absurd) 4.3 year plan (but really I only shaved off 2 years).  Check it out below.  I included my entire marathon history to help you plan your own 50 States.  As you can see, I didn’t run many marathons the first 9 years that I started running, so I condensed those years into a single column.  The more I look at this schedule, the more I think it’s not do-able, since I’ve always had to drop out of marathons due to injury (and here I am again, injured, while I have 3 marathons in the next 3 months scheduled).  But I guess the upside with this schedule-tweaking is even if I know I won’t be able to make it in 2019, I’ll have two years to knock off any straggling states and still hit my original goal of finishing in 2021.

Schedule to Run 50 States updated Nov 2015

You can also see I’m considering doing a Rock n’ Roll-heavy 2017, even though I’ve only heard bad things about their races (I’ve never actually run one – I signed up for Las Vegas a couple years ago but couldn’t do it due to travel).  Competitor Group (the company behind the RnR race series) offers a “tour pass where you can run any 3 races for $219 (equaling $73 race) or unlimited races for $479 (which, if I did 6 races that year, would amount to $80 per race), plus you get special medals for each additional race you run that calendar year.  Since normal prices are around $90 to $110 for their marathons, it’s not a huge savings, but like buffets or data plans, unlimited always sounds better.  I’ve included several alternatives to the RnR races that year, for your benefit and in case I wise up and realize doing an RnR-heavy year is a bad idea.  I’ve also included various other race alternatives that I might need as my schedule changes, injuries don’t heal, or flights get canceled.  As much as I like planning, gotta plan in some flexibility, too!


What do you do when you’re injured, besides not running?  Do you enjoy making schedules?  Which is your favorite state to visit?  Share in the comments!

Fall-ish in Central Park

I wish I had had a bike.

I wish I had had a bike.

This morning I ran 16 of the most miserable miles in Central Park.  I was exhausted, my knees hurt, and I struggled through every mile.  Sheer force of will got me around those loops – force of will and the promise of eating my body weight in food afterwards.


The day before I had a pleasant enough 3-mile run, so I hope this was a one-off, and/or my last “bad” run before the Twin Cities Marathon in three short weeks.  But I do want to acknowledge that today I really hated running.  Yes, I’m still thankful that I’m not (terribly) injured right now, and yes, I’m grateful for being healthy in general, yadda yadda #blessed, but today I really hated every able-bodied step I took.  And for my long run, that’s a lot of hated steps.  Last week during my long run I fell so hard on a trail I rolled and bruised my shoulder, my legs, and scraped my hand and shin (healing but still scraped a week later – will post about it later this week).  And yet today I hated running more than the day I fell.


And that (occasional?) hate of running?  It’s ok – it’s part of running, I guess.  And life.  But I’m not going to get all philosophical right now because there is still food on this earth I haven’t eaten, and Netflix that needs watching.


Happy beginning of fall, runners.  May you not hate running this weekend as much as I did today (not possible).


How often do you hate running?  Do you ever actually like running?  When you stepped into the shower today, did you discover your hateful run had mercilessly chafed you?  Have you finished any bags of “Halloween” candy yet?  Share in the comments!

Happy National Running Day!

You don't have to look this good while running to enjoy National Running Day.

You don’t have to look this good while running to enjoy National Running Day.

It’s the highest holy holiday for runners, National Running Day!  I hope you celebrated today with a run, and if not today, sometime this week or this month!

NYRR handed out free bandanas across the 5 boroughs to celebrate the day.

NYRR handed out free bandanas & hosted other activities across the 5 boroughs to celebrate the day.


The 2015 NYRR National Running day bandana.  Price = a run to go get one.

The 2015 NYRR National Running Day bandana. Price = a run to go get one.

Also, if someone tells you running is bad for you, or tries to convince you it’s fun (both obviously false!), direct them to this excellent short article from Outside Magazine.


How did you celebrate National Running Day today?  Did you see the news about the 92-year-old marathon runner?  Do you think Marie Kondo would be alarmed that I obtained yet another bandana that sparks joy?  Share in the comments!

I’m still here!

We're still toeing the line between winter and spring here in the Northeast.

It’s been so long since my last post, I don’t even know what season it is.

It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve written a post, and there are a couple of reasons for that:

  1. The weather sucked.  For months, it sucked.  It’s finally beautiful outside, so this is no longer a viable reason to not post.
  2. I haven’t been running much.  I don’t know if you’ve heard, but we had a really sucky winter in NYC.  I was going to post about how crummy it was to run in the cold and the snow, and how the ice on the sidewalks and streets was even preventing me from running, but then I kinda just didn’t run and then didn’t post about it and time passed and snow melted and I still didn’t run much.
  3. I’ve been lazy.  Not just on the running, which is a constant struggle, but on my writing, too.  No excuse for that, other than it’s a lot easier to write blog posts in my head and then not actually write them.  But I have been thinking about it!  Does that count?  [No.  No, it does not count.]
  4. I’ve been traveling, but not specifically for running.  In February I spent a week in Portland with my mom (where I ran twice!), then spent spring break with my family in the Caribbean (where I ran twice!), then spent 5 days snow camping at Crater Lake (where I awkwardly snowshoed more than twice!).  I should have posted something about all those trips, but I didn’t, and time passed, and here we are at Easter.
  5. The more time passed, the harder it was to post anything.  Not only did it become a habit not to post, but it also put increasing pressure on the next post I had to write.  As you see, I’ve attempted to reduce that pressure by writing this stupid, crappy post.  This is a strategy I often use to get my butt out the door for a run, especially if it’s a “long” run – I have to dial it back and promise myself fewer miles and/or more walk breaks, otherwise I end up procrastinating so long the day is over.  So instead of finishing an overdue gear review or one of the many candy review posts I have piling up, I’m posting about not posting.  Problem solved!

All this to say, I’m still here and I’ve been thinking about you, especially when I’m running or not running.  I’ll try not to let two solid months go by without a post again!


What are some of your Easter traditions?  What did you think of The Walking Dead season finale?  What’s your favorite Easter candy?  Share in the comments!

Race switches for the 2015 Houston Marathon no longer allowed.

Houston DQ?

Race switches for the 2015 Houston Marathon no longer allowed.


I know I’ve said this before, but this time I really mean it – I’m totally unprepared for the Houston Marathon happening in 11 days.  My longest run was 12 miles on December 19th.  I only ran once during the 2 weeks I spent with my family over the holidays, plus I was mildly sick for most of those days, so I was more focused on not getting sicker instead of running.  I’m back in the city now, and finally feel mostly not sick, but it’s now negative 1,000 degrees outside and it’s too late to do any training that matters anyway.


It was a hard decision, but I decided to transfer to the half marathon (although I haven’t yet fully admitted I’m changing my 50 States goal to “half or full,” but it seems inevitable).  I logged on yesterday to pay the fee to make the switch, but I was greeted with the message above instead.  Turns out I missed the December 30th deadline!  I called the organizers today and a nice woman explained that the bibs and whatnot had gone to print, and with 25,000 runners they had to adhere to a cutoff.  While I totally understand that, it’s also a major bummer.  She explained that I could simply run the half course which splits from the full at mile 8, but I’d be disqualified.  That means my time couldn’t officially “count” for anything (plus I think it would show up online as a DQ, which is slightly alarming – I don’t want people to think I’m a Rosie Ruiz!).  I’d also only be able to get the full marathon shirt and medal, which again makes sense because of the numbers, but I’d still feel like a super huge fraud collecting them.


Since I’ve already purchased my nonrefundable airline ticket, I plan on going to Houston and making a game day decision.  That’s right, I’m going to decide at mile 8 whether to turn around and do the half and get a DQ (or a DNF, as long as I don’t cross the finish line), or run another 18 miles for the full marathon and all the painful glory that would entail.  Odds are good I’ll turn around even if it means a yucky DQ/DNF.  It’s funny how much a simple official transfer would have made me feel so much better, even though it’s just a meaningless time on the internet.  I guess without the transfer it feels like I’ll just be doing a lousy training run instead of a race, and I’ll feel apart from the other runners instead of heading towards a common goal.  Plus, of course, I would have gotten a legit bib, medal, and shirt.


This whole thing has gotten me a bit down, of course.  2015 was never going to be a good year of marathoning for me regardless, but now it’s going to be abysmal.  I’m slowly coming to terms with a major goal change (from completing a full marathon in every state to completing a full or a half), and that’s also depressing.  Plus of course I’ve been sick, not running, not posting, and now freezing.


My relentless optimism will still get me to the starting line in Houston (my first time visiting Texas!), and I’m excited for the overall experience regardless.  I always learn something new from every race, and I’ll certainly learn a lot from this one, whatever happens.


Did you think maybe this post was going to be about Dairy Queens in Houston?  What’s your favorite thing to get at DQ?  Have you ever cut a race short and/or had a DNF?  Share in the comments!

Seal statues along East River downtown NYC

Beer Before Liquor, Never Quicker?

Sea lion statues along East River downtown NYC

Some sea lions I saw on my last Run & Chug outing. I think even the guy on the left was faster than me that night.

I haven’t posted in a while because I haven’t been running very much and because I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – where you turn off your inner editor and write 50,000 words of some of the worst fiction on the planet).  I’ve also kinda been feeling down about running because the few runs I have done over the past month or so have been plagued with knee pain – nothing serious, just that standard low-grade pain that is as familiar as the back of my hand.


I know running has its ups and downs (and hills and repeats and more ups and more downs) and that it’s not a sprint, it’s a literal marathon, and that I’ll be fine.  But I’m also looking for any motivation I can get, so I’ve been trying to commit going to Run & Chug on Wednesdays more often (where even if I have a terrible run, I can drink beer and complain about it afterwards), and I’ve signed up for the Ugly Sweater Run (check for runs in your area – it’s nationwide!), as it combines everything I love about running (dressing up, being social, getting a fun souvenir, chocolate in some form, and beer).  If it offered medals and pizza, I might marry it.


So even though the Houston Marathon is only a terrifying 9 weeks away, and my “long” run at this point is only 6 miles (instead of the 16 according to my schedule), apparently I’m going to focus on short, social running events featuring beer.  There’s no way this could end badly.


Can you believe there are only 3 episodes left of The Walking Dead?  Unrelated to that, why isn’t Patrick Wilson a bigger star?  Are you participating in any Turkey Trots or other holiday runs?  Share in the comments!

Run & Chug NYC Fun Run mascot

Run & Chug

Run & Chug NYC Fun Run mascot

The Run & Chug mascot – and yet somehow I was intimidated by this group.

After over a year of lurking, last night I finally went to my first “Run & Chug” meetup.  Hosted by NYC Fun Run, a group for runners, Run & Chug happens every Wednesday at a different bar in the city.  Runners meet at the bar, go for a run along a pre-marked route (although you don’t have to run the exact route, all of the route, or run at all), then meet back at the bar for drinking and socializing while sweaty.


I’ve made a lot of excuses for never meeting up with this group, usually related to my injuries but also because of the hassle of actually going to the meetup location (instead of just walking out the door and into the park), and because of my fear that the other runners would make me feel slow and fat and lame.  Luckily, there was zero judgment about pace or distance or anything related to running and everyone was very welcoming.  There were runners who were super serious and fast, others who had just started running, and even some who didn’t run at all that night and just came for a drink.


Overall, it was a beautiful night, I had a surprisingly good run along the river, and I met a bunch of great people.  The bar even had grapefruit beer, of which I’ve been obsessed with since having it for the first time at Hessen Haus in Des Moines, Iowa, this summer.  The can of beer (UFO Big Squeeze Shandy) wasn’t quite as good as the draft at Hessen Haus (Stiegl Radler Grapefruit), but it was still damn delightful.  I’ll be going to next Wednesday’s Run & Chug and crossing my fingers that that bar will have a grapefruit beer as well.


In injury news, my plantar fasciitis flared up a bit last night, but it seems ok today, and I’ll be sure to baby my foot until Saturday’s Pizza Run.  How excited am I for the Pizza Run?  Way too excited.  Irrationally excited.  Pizza excited.


Have you ever gone to other group meetings?  Have you ever had grapefruit beer?  Do you think pizza and grapefruit beer would go well together?  Share in the comments!

Happy Birthday, Where’s The Finish!


WTFinish 1st birthday

Celebrating 1 year with MS Paint.

Happy first birthday!  I started one year ago today, and while I’ve enjoyed having this new blogging aspect to running, I’ve had a pretty bad year in terms of actually pounding the pavement.  From the Polar Vortex to new and (not) improved injuries, unexpected events led me to my first two DNS marathons and my Personal Worst marathon time.


In fact, these last few months (of injury and of being unable to train in even the half-assed way I call training) have made me seriously re-think my marathoning goals.  As of today I still want to run a full marathon in every state, but at this rate I think that desire is going to dwindle due to frustration.  Again, hasn’t happened yet, but I can feel it, and to temper that thought, I have to create some back-up plans.  Just like every marathon should be run with multiple goals in mind (so missing one goal won’t “ruin” your marathon experience), my marathon-of-marathons (aka the 50 States) needs to have another goal besides finishing 50.


It’s always been about the fun, the travel, and the experience, but right now it’s strongly tied to the full 26.2.  But I might have to swallow my pride and lower it to 13.1.  I don’t mean to take anything away from those who have the goal of a half in every state, but for me the real challenge was the full – I always felt that even without much training I could power through 13 miles, and thus a 50 States goal would only be one of travel and scheduling if it were only for half marathons.  A full marathon was (and increasingly is) a serious physical challenge for me, and one that I am never 100% sure I’ll be able to accomplish.


But these weeks of not being able to run at all, and the daunting prospect of needing to finish 37 more states, has sucked some of the fun out of the adventure.  I love traveling to these random towns and seeing the US in a way I never would otherwise, and I love being social with other runners at the pasta dinners and the races themselves, so I don’t want to give up race travel entirely.  I must remind myself that there is no gold medal* for finishing a marathon in every state, and no one besides me will ever care if I do it or not.  It’s really only the Type-A gunner inside me that won’t view the “half or full in every state” as a true accomplishment.  I’m going to have to have a chat with that gunner, show her my plantar fasciitis, my tendonitis, my patellofemoral pain syndrome, and my random hip pain, and try to convince her that halves are good enough.  She might hold out a few more years (especially if the injuries subside), and she might even see me through all full 50, but she might also concede that halves might have to do for now (and then she will promptly justify why that’s a good decision, not only for health but also for sightseeing purposes, and while we’re at it, why don’t we try going for a new PR in that half time?).  Shhhh, gunner, this is all still very tentative, and I still have vague hopes to run the Blerch and plans to run Chicago and Houston.


This was meant to be a “happy birthday” post but I suppose re-evaluating the main theme of this blog is an appropriate thing to do on an anniversary.  I have no plans on quitting the blog (I know you were worried…), but would love to hear any feedback on what kind of future posts you’d like to see – race recaps, general travel info, candy reviews, gear reviews, random posts about my running life, other running topics I haven’t covered but you’d like to see?  Please share your blog desires in the comments, and I promise to consider them as I eat candy.


Also, to celebrate this site’s 1-year anniversary, I’ve signed up for the NYC Pizza Run.  It’s about 2 miles of “running” and 3 large slices of pizza-eating, and, let’s be honest, I would have signed up even if it wasn’t the website’s birthday.  I might only barely be able to run right now, but my pizza-eating skills have only improved with age.  Expect a full recap with at least one photo of which I’m terribly ashamed.


Finally, some random housekeeping – sorry for my lack of posts; they are only equaled by my lack of running.  I still owe you a bunch of Montana photos/posts, and I also took an unexpected cross-country road trip last week, wherein I visited a lot of states but did not run a step.  I will get to those soon-ish, as Blerch is rapidly approaching (6 weeks away!), as is Chicago (only 9 weeks!).


*I just discovered the lucite award that the 50 States Club used to award finishers has been replaced by a paper certificate!  This is both a devastating blow and also oddly liberating, as I was willing to run my knees into the ground to get that damn lucite award, but I’m not willing to do much for a paper certificate (diplomas notwithstanding).


Do you ever re-evaluate your running goals?  Do you like pizza and live in the tri-state area?  Are you outraged by a paper certificate replacing the lucite award?  Do you think it’s ok to eat birthday cake for a website?  Share in the comments!