I got a book for Christmas called Women Who Run by Shanti Sosienski and it is one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read… and I’m only on page 49.
When it comes to running, I am not an every.single.day runner. In fact, I don’t even really consider myself a “runner.” I run when I want to. I run for fun. I run for fitness. But most importantly, I run for me. I honestly cannot say I love it.. yet. And I’m not yet disciplined enough to lace up my sneakers each day because I know I should. But I do enjoy it enough to register for races and spend money to do something I could do for free. I feel that the bragging rights (more like I-Ran-A-Race-So-I’m-Cool rights) and t-shirt are worth it.
So back to this book. It is full of stories of incredible women runners. Marathon-running mothers, adventure racers, 50-somethings who can run a sub-seven-minute mile. And as different as each of them are from one another, they all have the same message – they run because they love it.
So I get to page 49, right at the beginning of a new chapter and I decide that it would be a good idea to look for more races between the end of January and April. So far, I’ve come up with 3 definites and a big empty calendar for the month of February:
March: Hibernian 5K in my hometown (Lynn, MA). Woo hoo! Finally a race in the city I grew up in!
April: Energize the Earth 10K (Beverly, MA). My first 10K. Gah. Who’s got a rockin’ training plan for this one? Anyone? E-mail me and we’ll be best friends.
May: Beach to Beach 5K (Marblehead, MA). This will be the anniversary race of my first race ever back in May 2011. I can’t wait to crush the crap out of last year’s time.
So, who out there has a fantastic race (5K, 4M or 5M.. ya know, since I run those now..) for February that they are dying to tell me about? (2 catches: It cannot be for Saturday, February 11th… I take the Foreign Service Exam that day(!) or any Sunday morning because I dance.)
When I started running last March, I never expected that I would continue with it. I did the Couch to 5K plan to prove to myself that I could complete something that was completely out of my comfort zone.
Back then, I ran in ancient (AKA gross) sneakers with no knowledge of pace or technique. I just got on a treadmill three days a week and followed the plan. When my first 5K racerolled around, I did it and enjoyed it but not enough to keep track of how many miles I was running.
Now, 10 months later, I have 5 races under my belt and my cardio of choice is running. Though I’m not exactly speedy or particularly great at it, I have come to (mostly) enjoy it. Do I get up at 5 am and pound out 7 miles every morning? Well, no, not yet. But maybe someday.
This year I am adding a resolution to my list. I want to log my miles and maybe even have a goal mileage in mind. But since dance will take over my life once again very soon, I don’t need to resolve to run any crazy number… just enough for me.
I want to know: Do you log your miles? What’s your mileage goal for 2012?
2012 promises to be a huge year for me. I have big ideas, big dreams and big goals.
This year will include a lot of milestones. I’ll turn 24, study abroad in London covering the Summer Olympics, create and present a media thesis project, choreograph for DanceWorks Boston and Kinetic Synergy, work my 4th summer with the National Dance Alliance, finish my last 2 semesters of grad school, run a bazillion more races… the list is endless.
Goals-wise, I am all about the resolutions. I love ’em. Not the kinds that say “I’m going to drop such-and-such amount of weight” but the ones that make you feel good when you accomplish them and make you want to work harder if they slip away from you.
– Run 10 5K races. I know this is attainable. I just need to buckle down and register.
– To go along with my 5K race goal, I want to run the 2012 Marblehead Beach to Beach 5K again this year. It was my first ever race and I’d love to keep running it every year.
– Run a sub 27:00 5K. That’s about a 9:00 min/mile. I can do it.
– Run 5 longer races this year, 5-milers, 10Ks and one half marathon. Holy crap, I can’t believe I’m writing that, but there it is, out there for the world to see.
– Choreograph 3 more dance pieces. It took me until 2011 to realize how much I love choreographing and I don’t want to stop!
– Try out and review 1 new restaurant a month. I want to expand my food horizons and experience as much of it as possible… on a budget.
– Work 3 NDA camps. This one might be tough because of London, but I think three is a good compromise since I usually work 9.
– Ace my study abroad. 6 weeks, 1 class, 1 internship, 1 chance. An internship with a huge news networks could lead to a possible job. I want to kick ass during my time in London; it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and could set me apart from a million other applicants in the real world.
– Rock my media thesis. No specifics just yet but it will include a website where I am happy to say I just buy the domain. It will come with a lot of physical and mental changes and challenges. Stay tuned.
– Finish graduate school successfully. Without too many meltdowns would be ideal.
– Save money. This year will be especially difficult since London alone is very expensive, but I have a number in mind and achieving it at least once this year would be great.
– Love others more. Personal goal. Be nicer also ties in here.
Overall, I hope 2012 will be as successful, productive and eye-opening as 2011 as been. Thank you to all of you who read Chocolate & Wine and support me through everything I do.
I raise my glass (of Asti) to you.
Last question of 2011: What are your biggest goals for the new year?
2011. I feel like it went by so fast. At this time last year, I was a completely different person and I’m happy to report that I’m a better me than I was at the close of 2010.
This year, I achieved things I never thought I ever could. I choreographed three group routines, I started running and ran four 5K races, I got into grad school and survived my first semester, I realized what I truly want in my life and I am starting to become the person I have always wanted to be.
I worked my third summer with the National Dance Alliance, I now dance in an amazing company in Boston and BU has opened my eyes to incredible new opportunities, including an acceptance into a 6-week study abroad program to cover the London Olympics next summer.
2011 taught me to not take life too seriously. To enjoy each day, love whole-heartedly and appreciate myself for who I am. It’s a great feeling to look back on this year and know that I have grown in so many ways.
Back in July, I set some mid-year goals for myself. So let’s recap them and see how I did.
1. Work (at least) 8 NDA summer camps. Done. I worked 9! I traveled everywhere from Kansas to Maryland and loved every minute of it.
4. Stick to Weight Watchers (not playing a numbers game here. Work out, eat right, follow the points, be healthy and let the body do what it will.) Kinda done. I don’t exactly stick to the WW plan but I did manage to drop 12 pounds this year and I am VERY happy about that.
5. Rock the first semester of my grad program at Boston University (all A’s would be sweet but we like B+s too.) Kinda done. 1 A-, 1 B+ and 2 Bs. I am very proud; grad school is hard, man.
6. Try 1 new recipe a week. Fail. Sometimes when I cook, I use the same recipes over and over. But now that I have a beautiful new crockpot, I might be able to achieve this goal in 2012.
7. Dance in 4 DanceWorks Boston fall pieces. Done. I danced in 5! 6 if you include the finale/Flash Mob!
8. Train for and run a 10K. Fail. I chickened out. 2012 will hold at least one 10K and maybe even a half marathon.
9. Take hot yoga regularly. Fail. I probably did it a total of 3 times between the summer and now.
Overall, I think this has been a great year. I achieved most of my goals and really let myself let go of the rest of the emotional baggage leftover from undergrad.
So long, 2011…On to 2012! Goals and “resolutions” to come!
So far this year, I’ve run a 5K in May, September, October and November. And damn, it feels good.
I decided to run the Lynnfield Turkey Trot this month for a few reasons. First, it was super close being in the town right next to mine. Second, it had “Turkey Trot” in the name and we all know how much I love anything holiday-themed. Third, it started at 11am. Hello extra sleep!
The morning of the race, I slept until 9, made my pre-race breakfast (2 slices of light wheat toast with peanut butter) with lots of water, and drove over to Lynnfield at around 10am with Stephen to pick up my race packet and free t-shirt. Fun fact about me: I love t-shirts, especially free ones.
The race started right at 11 and I was ready for it. I made a great playlist complete with the songs “Sexy & I Know It” and “We Need a Little Christmas” Glee version. My strategy was simple: run slow to start, run smart the whole way.
And that’s exactly what I did.
– The weather. It was the perfect day to run. Cloudy with some sun, 60 degrees with a nice cool breeze.
– The course. With the exception of one HUGE hill, the course was very nice. I ran around pretty Lynnfield neighborhoods and there was still enough foliage to keep the sun off of my over-heating face.
– My stomach. Woo hoo, it cooperated!! The only time I wasn’t feeling so hot was when I sprinted at the very end.
– No PR. I honestly thought that I had done enough to get one and when I saw the clock and realized I missed it by 40 seconds, I got upset. Like very upset. I crossed the finish line, grabbed a water bottle from Stephen and demanded we leave right away (I didn’t even know I missed the free bagels!). In the car, I came very very close to tears and almost had an all-out tantrum.
But then I stopped being a 5-year-old and thought about the race. I ran almost the entire thing without stopping. I didn’t think I was going to throw up or pass out. I wasn’t hurting (yet) or want to quit running right then and there. I felt good, accomplished and for once in my whole life, I ENJOYED running. Genuinely enjoyed it. Go figure.
December is so close and at this point, I haven’t signed up for a race yet. Since I’m nervous about running in the snow, I wanted to do the Beverly Reindeer Run 5K on the 3rd and pray that the snow holds off. But now I might have to do shooting for school that day. Dilemma.
Your turn: How do you feel when you don’t PR? Do you throw a tantrum or chalk it up to a good experience? What holiday races in December are you running and can you recommend a good one for me?
It’s been a really long time since I did a Weekly Gratitude post. Sometimes when I’m stressed out or just really busy, I forget about the things that are really important.
I’m thankful for dance. This is a frequent flyer on my Weekly Gratitude list but it deserves to be there every single time. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to choreograph, see my visions come to life, meet some of my best friends, and be a complete goofball (aka be myself).
I’m thankful Thanksgiving is next week. I get 2 Thanksgivings. Stephen and I start at my house, have some dinner with my family and leave before dessert to get up to his aunt and uncle’s house in New Hampshire for pie. We chase it down with Christmas movies because with our families, Christmas starts the moment the Thanksgiving turkey is gone.
I’m thankful for my BU friends (and that our semester is over in 3 weeks). They are fun and I like them. Plus, they understand why I want to rip my hair out from stress, mainly because we are all in the same boat.
I’m thankful that I chose BU. Yes, it’s a ton of work and yes, the commute blows but I already know so much more than I did a mere 3 months ago. I had almost no experience in front of the camera, minimal experience with editing and didn’t even know what a JVC HD was. Now, I’m shooting, editing and putting together all of my own stuff and it’s incredibly gratifying when other people like the projects you spend hours and hours on.
I’m thankful for my AC friends. I don’t get to see them everyday, but the occasions we do get to be together are the absolute best. I’m so excited for Christmas on the Cape and to give my awesome Secret Santa present. But I digress.
I’m thankful for my family. Even though sometimes they drive me nuts, family is family and I love mine.
I’m thankful that I have someone special who loves me. Mushy? Yes. But it’s true so it’s there.
I’m thankful for crafts I can do. I’m not a crafty person. I can’t draw, paint, build, sculpt. But once in a while, I’ll come across something that is “so simple, you can do it with your kids.” Well, if small children can make these Christmas gifts, so can I, damn it.
I’m thankful I have a 5K tomorrow. Did I really just say that? I probably won’t feel that way when I wake up tomorrow but it’s still true. After last month’s rough Witch City race, I’m ready to get back to PR-ing. Here that stomach? Be cool, okay?
TELL ME!! What are you thankful for today? I’ll be thankful you told me!
It’s officially the middle of November.. when the hell did that happen?
I only have 3 full weeks left in my first semester of grad school. That is an amazing sentence. I could do a cartwheel with that sentence.
The beginning of November included lots of filming, lots of editing, some friend-filled parties, more editing, a trip up the the Tonry Tree Farm in New Hampshire, applying for the London Summer program at BU, dancing, running, and some freaking out. There is always a little bit of freaking out. Here’s the first half of my month picture-style:
My best friends from undergrad and I have pulled Secret Santa names and determined a theme (let’s just say it centers around sports). This is going to be an interesting gift swap! I already bought my gift and it’s AWESOME.
This is RD Sahl. You may know him. He was an anchor on NECN forever. He’s now one of my teachers.
This is what we call a Live Shot. It took a few tries but we got there.
And when my DanceWorks friends get together, well, wine and dancing are always the most populat combination.
And we learn dances sometimes.
And this is Fred.
He’s a great snuggle buddy.
That’s been my month up til now. Running has been more of a priority this month and dance has been the top priority in my workout world. The DanceWorks Boston show is less than a month away (only 2 rehearsals left!) and I’m so excited.
So what’s coming up?
I’ll be driving up to Hampton Falls, NH again this weekend but this time, it’s to film for my final project for my Visual Media class. The Tonry Tree Farm (where we get our tree) has agreed to let me capture their beautiful farm and their history on camera. I think it’s going to be the perfect Christmas ending to my semester.
Family dinner to follow that night… my parents, Stephen’s parents. They’re best friends, it’s all very cute. I’ll be going to bed on the early side because I have my fourth 5K race, the Lynnfield Turkey Trot, on Sunday morning. I’m gunning for that PR and my goal is to run it around 32:00 but anything under 32:30 works for me!
Next week is a 3 day week school/work week! 2 days of class + 1 day of work + 1 amazing holiday + Black Friday = Happy Marie.
Next Thursday is obviously Thanksgiving and I will be creating some healthier versions of my favorite holiday foods. Example: Hungry Girl’s stuffing with apples and cranberries. I’ll also be sticking to lots of veggies and some white meat turkey. And probably a small slice of Boyfriend’s apple pie because it’s just that good.
Black Friday is not a typical shopping day for my family. I don’t enjoy the 5am rush to the mall. I don’t enjoy being pushed and shoved for “on sale” items that are still over-priced. I do enjoy listening to Christmas music and driving an hour to New Hampshire. We spend the day shopping for something very special: our Christmas Tree! Together, Stephen’s family and my family go up to the Tonry Tree Farm, find our (very large) trees, make Stephen cut them down, strap them to the hoods of our cars, make a pitstop at Market Basket for some tax-free beverages and then head home to put the trees up and decorate all. night. long.
Well, I’m certainly not going to do that…
Next Saturday means homemade raviolis and my 5-year high school reunion. Strange. 5 years.. seriously? I’m kind of excited though. I get to see people I haven’t seen in a really long time and I think it’ll be fun. And Sunday is my friend Sandy’s 24th birthday which we will be celebrating the following Tuesday night. The rest of the month leaves a couple of paper deadlines, lots of filming and editing and getting ready for the end of the semester/my dance show/Christmas!!
I wanna know… what are you looking forward to most this month? What is your favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving? Is it too early for you to listen to Christmas music? (I don’t think it is….)
Third 5K in historic Salem. With a running buddy. Not my best race but still Halloween-tastic.
The weather. Chilly, yes, but it was a gorgeous morning and the air kept me cool.
The location. Historical Salem, MA during the Halloween season is the BEST. People (not me) were dressed in costumes, the city is adorned with all sorts of fun decorations and the course itself was lovely.
My running buddy. My friend Kim and I started the Couch to 5K programs only weeks apart at the beginning of the year but this is the first time we ever run one together. Seriously, even though my stomach was puke-y and she has somewhat of a bum knee at the moment, having someone running next to you who trains at a similar pace is one of the best motivations out there. And we wore matching shirts. What now?
My stomach. Seriously stomach? I don’t understand why I constantly feel the need to puke during every race I do. Can anyone help me on this? Is it my pre-race morning routine? My pre-race dinner? My pre-race jitters? I don’t know but whatever it is needs to be rectified.
No PR. I was gunning for it too. And I was disappointed. But ya “win” some, ya “lose” some.
Pain. Foot for me, knee for Kim. Aspirin post-race. What can ya do?
Overall, it was a fun time despite the downs.
Well, here’s my debate. I have a goal to run a 5K each month until the end of the year. I rocked one in September, didn’t puke in October and now, I only have 2 months left. I found 5Ks in both months that look promising. But there is a very big BUT staring me in the face.
You may have heard that Massachusetts has already gotten snow. Yes my friends, snow in October. And yes, it is 35 degrees out. I’m not a fan.
Now it’s November and another 5K is rapidly approaching for the end of the month and I honestly don’t know if I’m going to be able to run it in the cold weather. Call me a baby, a wuss, a whatever. If you have tips for me for in heavy, cold air, please let me know.
I’m probably just going to suck it up and register for both. But any advice is much appreciated!
Who can run in this??
I want to know: When it’s cold, what do YOU run in? Hats, scarves, special shirts/shorts? TELL ME!
Like I said in my last life update, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I got my first real kiss on Halloween (I was 15), I’ve dressed up as everything from a cowgirl to a pirate, the pink Power Ranger to a Hocus Pocus witch (Mary Sanderson complete with a floor length black and red cape), and living in the town next to Salem, Massachusetts definitely has its perks in October. Besides Christmas, Halloween is the best day of the year.
On Friday night, a few of my BU friends ventured to Lynn to the first time to eat, drink and carve pumpkins.
Yes, it is okay to be a full time graduate student, drink yummy beverages and cut faces in pumpkins.
I made nachos with homemade guacamole, pizza and Hungry Girl pumpkin cupcakes with my own buttercream and a candy corn garnish. It was the casual, college kid version of a Torto dinner party.
Saturday brought one of the laziest days I have had in while. I relaxed most of the day with a brand new 21-year-old and watched Halloween movies (Double Double Toil & Trouble is one of the ultimate classics.)
On Saturday night, DanceWorks Boston hosted a huge Halloween party at Au Tua Nua in Boston. My good friend and fellow DWB-er, Devlyn, and I headed to our friend Dana’s to have some wine and get ready for the party. For my cat costume, I wore a black, high collared lace-covered dress, black heels, white lace hand gloves, a jingle heart necklace (in place of a bell), cat ears and of course, my bright yellow contacts. I coated my eyes with liquid eyeliner and smoky black make-up. It was pretty cool. Almost everyone noticed, most people freaked a little. Loved it.
I kept my beverage intake to a minimum knowing I would have to wake up somewhat early and do my best on my third 5K: the Witch City 5K in Salem (race report on another day!)
Sunday morning’s alarm came WAY too quickly. And as usual, I woke up to the alarm and said “WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS RACE?” I told you I’m not super positive in the morning. I got up, got dressed, stretched, had my pre-race toast with peanut butter, slugged some water and woke up BF who picked me up from the party on Saturday night and crashed on the couch at my house.
The race, overall, went just okay. Running with a friend is definitely better but my stomach was not feeling it. It was also the coldest race I’ve done to date. But the scenery was lovely and I finished it. A little slower than normal, but ya “win” some, ya lose some.
Sunday also brought about some fun research. Enough said for now.
On the baking front, I made pumpkin snickerdoodles yesterday. I brought them to work today and everyone loves them. They taste like pumpkin pie filling and I could’ve eaten all of the batter myself. And I think if I neglect to post the recipe, I’ll be beaten with something. Enjoy!
Adapted from pagespak.com
1/2 cup softened Brummel ‘n Brown margarine spread
3/4 cup Splenda/Brown Sugar mix (trust me on this one..)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground giner
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets liberally with nonstick spray.
2) In the bowl of a stand mixer (this can also be done with a hand mixer), cream together margarine and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla and then the pumpkin.
3) In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin pie spice.
4) In batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet until fully incorporated.
5) Drop tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 18 minutes until set, slightly puffed but not browned.
Okay, it’s been approximately 3 or so weeks since I panicked about school and I haven’t written since. I hope you are still out there listening to me ramble in my now dust-covered corner of the Internet.
So it’s time to tidy up a bit.
In the past three weeks, I’ve calmed down and gotten through my first few projects for my grad classes. I survived. And did pretty well. Maybe I overreacted a bit at the beginning. Maybe.
A lot has been going on here at Chocolate & Wine. Here are some highlights:
2 weekends ago, I attended 2 weddings: my cousin George married his beautiful fiancé (of 4 years!) Julie, and my friend Raechel married the love of her life, Steve. Both weddings were gorgeous and I cried a lot. Of course I did. I realized how much I can’t wait to plan a wedding of my own!
And wedding #2..
This past weekend, I spent Friday in the North End with Stephen and we FINALLY got to go out for his birthday surprise. I took him to Riccardo’s Ristorante where they put on a “Mystery Cafe” show every Friday night and serve a three-course meal. The show was hilarious, if not a bit cheesy, and the food was as genuinely Italian as you’d expect from the North End. Highly recommended for good food and a good time.
We capped our night with beers at a bar called The Point and goodies from my favorite North End bakery.
Saturday was party marathon day. Together, my two best friends and I tackled a “I’m Pretty Good at Drinking Beer” party (where we consumed no beer or any beverage other than iced coffee), taco night hosted by Alyse (which were de-lish!), a Halloween party and finally, my sister’s 21st birthday celebration at Tequila Rain in Boston.
Did you know Halloween is one of my favorite holidays?
And it wouldn’t be a 21st birthday without a 16-ounce beer in each hand.
Sunday brought another 3 events: the Boston Bruncher’s 1st Birthday Brunch at the Island Creek Oyster Bar on Comm Ave. in Boston, my good friend Miriah’s daughter’s Christening (that little baby is nothing short of an angel) and a 4-hour dance rehearsal with DanceWorks Boston (always a fun time!)
Then on to the Christening…
I made favors… Oreo ball truffles with a piped pink A on each one, individually wrapped with a pink ribbon and a tag.
They came out pretty freakin’ cute.
Along with my jam-packed weekends and filming/editing-laden school schedule, I managed to get in a couple of quick training runs for my 3rd 5K coming up this weekend! I, along with my friend Kim, will run the Witch City 5K in Salem, maybe even dressed up a bit.
This upcoming weekend also brings pumpkin carving with my BU friends and a huge DanceWorks Boston Halloween costume party on Saturday night. I will, unfortunately, have to keep my drinking to a minimum because of the race on Sunday morning, but that won’t stop me from wearing those cat eyes!
I promise not to wait another 3 weeks to post. I have finally pulled myself out of a slight rut I had fallen into, but I’m back and excited.
And I had delicious Bon Me truck food for dinner the other night: a brown rice bowl with tofu, shitaki mushrooms, cilantro, pickled veggies, bean sprouts and mesclun greens. YUM.
I wanna know: What’s new in your life? What would your dream wedding consist of? And what are you being for Halloween this year?