Still lookin’ for a February race

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.

Go buy this book! It is a much better read than the two embassy/diplomacy books underneath it.

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:

February: HELP.

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.)

On Moving.

I moved out.

That sounds so dramatic, right?  Conjures up all sorts of story lines and skepticism of family issues.  But in reality, I’m just a 23-year-old grad student who was sick of her hour and a half commute to school 4 days a week.  I love my parents and living with them is wonderful most of the time, but I needed a change in a big way.  So I made one.

You might remember when I panicked last semester and had a meltdown, but eventually came around to the idea that I actually kind of enjoy getting my Master’s Degree.  But the commute had to go, friends.  I know there are people out there who have much longer commutes than I do, and they are very strong people.  I am simply not one of them.

Back at the beginning of October, I began searching BU’s website for possible apartments close to my college.  The only one that fell into my price range (AKA cheap) and desired location was a 4-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, 3rd floor walk-up a little less than a mile away from BU’s College of Communications.  I went to check it out, fell in love with it, and found myself signing a lease for my first big-girl place a few months later.

Now, I am unpacked (for the most part) and already loving life outside of Lynn, MA.  I have 3 roommates, a good-sized room, still plenty of space to cook and a 3-minute walk to the gym.

I heart my new kitchen. That's my new crockpot already taking up space on the counter.

And while I’m only in here until the end of May, when I have to gear up for my summer in London (still more details to come!), I find it very cool to say that “my apartment in Boston” is the best loan money I’ve spent so far.

No, sadly, Boyfriend is not my roommate.. yet. But the ribbon/clothespin photo idea is courtesy of my cousin Ali.

Not sure what that says about the actual degree I’m working so hard for, but it’s the little things, like my very large schedule board, that make me happy.

What? You mean everyone doesn't have a huge bulletin board dedicated to their daily routine? I don't understand. And yes, the shiny black and silver things on my bookcase ARE pom-poms. Don't judge.

I want to know: Did you love your first real home-away-from-home?  Was it super expensive or was the price just right? How do you feel about my crazy bulletin board?  What craft on Pinterest can I add to my room decor?

Logging the Miles

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 race  rolled 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?

Run Your Hangover Off 5-Miler Recap

Hello 2012!  It’s nice to meet you.  My name is Marie and sometimes I do silly things.  Like take 3 hour-long workout classes at the gym back to back to back and expect to walk to the next day, or register for a 5-miler instead of a 5K for the first day of the new year when I’ve never run more than 3.1 miles in my whole life.

I’m sure we’ll be great friends.

On Friday night, I was sitting in front of the TV with my parent, laptop open, researching the my first race of the year.  I was naively looking for the starting line address when I noticed that the January 1, 2011 race was 5 miles and the accompanying walk was 3.  In a panic, I searched for the January 1, 2012 race and there it was: 5 MILE run.  Not a 5K, a 5-miler.

Oops.

I immediately panicked.  Things like “I can’t run 5 miles!” to “How could I be so STUPID?” came out of my mouth more than once.  But the fee had already been paid so instead of throwing 23 precious racing dollars out the window, I opted for my only other choice: run the 5 miles.

And to my utter surprise, relief and joy… it was great.

Hi, I'm Marie.. I don't always pay attention when I register for races..

The Highs:

Inexpensive, local race.  A $20 race fee for a 5-miler is great, especially when you get a shiny PR and some bright green running gloves.  Plus, Woburn is only 20 minutes away so I got to sleep in, eat my toast with peanut butter, and warm up without having to rush.

First race with the Garmin.  I’m hooked.  I knew when to slow down after I went out way too fast (seriously, seeing a 8:10 on the watch within the first .25 miles was SCARY!!) It also let me see how much longer I had to go which made it less daunting.

Friendly, helpful volunteers.  Because the course went between Woburn and Winchester, there were volunteers stationed at the various streets to point runners in the right direction.  And at the halfway mark, a nice man shouted your time too you.  And every clapped and waved.  It was reassuring to hear “you’re doing great!” on practically every corner.

My cheering squad.  Both of my parents came to see my race.  It was the first time my dad has been to one and only a second for my mom.  It was so great seeing them as I rounded the corner after that last hill and I almost knocked my mom over when I hugged her.

The weather.  Partly sunny, 50 degrees with a nice, cool breeze.  A-mazing.

Automatic PR.  First 5-miler equals 5-miler PR.  55:23 on the Garmin.  Not too shabby!

Distance = 5 miles. My longest run ever!

The Lows:

Only 1 water stop.  I really didn’t need water during the race because I never felt dehydrated but having some to splash in my face, especially towards the end would’ve been nice.

So. Many. Hills.  I’m happy to report that I made it up most of them without having to walk but the last hill right before the finish line was a BITCH!

Overall, I am a happy happy girl.  I keep thinking, “I can’t believe I ran 5 miles today.”  And I realized that I’d rather run longer distances at a slower pace rather than wanting to die from going to fast after half a mile.  Great lessons, great race.

Great way to kick of 2012!

2012 will be BIG.

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.

I feel like this can be referred to in all aspects of life...

2012 Goals

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 Recap & Wrap Up

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.  

NDA friends take awesome photos.

2.  Run 2 more 5Ks.  Done.  I ran 3 more: Run for Ryan’s Cup 5K in SeptemberWitch City 5K in October and the Lynnfield Turkey Trot 5K in November.  I wanted to run one in December as well but since I didn’t get to, I signed up for the “Run Your Hangover Off 5K” on January 1st.  I think it’s the best way to kick off 2012!

I heart bib numbers.

3.  Host a blog giveaway.  Done. I hosted my first giveaway in September for Chocolate and Wine’s 1st Blogiversary!

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.

I, I, I, I WORK OUT.

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.

Dream job.

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!  

Some of my DanceWorks family...

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!

Lynnfield Turkey Trot 5K Recap

November 5K – Check!

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.

Happy pre-race .... even with the sun in my eyes

The Highs:

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.

The Lows:

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.

New running tights = love. Also, I love finish lines!

 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?

November

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.

Best Friends at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grille

This is RD Sahl.  You may know him.  He was an anchor on NECN forever.  He’s now one of my teachers. 

We're his favorites.

This is what we call a Live Shot.  It took a few tries but we got there.

I want to be on TV when I grow up.

And when my DanceWorks friends get together, well, wine and dancing are always the most populat combination.

Is that white wine in my glass? All the red must've been gone.

And we learn dances sometimes.

Check out that pose.

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?

This weekend:

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….)

End of summer, beginning of fall

I categorize the sad ending of summer in two different ways.  The first – when I officially finish my last NDA camp.  This happened on Saturday when I ended 2 back-to-back camps: Shen in New York and Bryant University in Rhode Island.

We work really hard at camp... That would be me as a dead staffer.

The second time I say goodbye to the summer is the first day of September (aka tomorrow.)  After Irene, there is an autumn chill in the air up here in Boston.  As much as I love the hot days of summer, I also bask in the cooler breeze of fall.

One of the best parts living up here in the fall is watching the leaves change colors.  Another is carving pumpkins, apple picking, then cooking with said pumpkins and apples.  I also love when I have lots of things to look forward to and this is definitely the time of year when it happens on a regular basis.

Monkey Trunks.  Has anyone ever heard of this place?  It’s in NH on Weirs Beach.  Apparently, it’s like a jungle gym for adults.  With harnesses.  And heights.  And nets in case you fall.  And medical waivers.  Clearly, this was not my idea.  I’m just being dragged along for the ride.  Could be fun.

School starts.  Hello Boston University COM.  You are a lovely building.  I think we’ll be great friends.  Conveniently located only .87 miles from the beautiful BU gym?  That was really nice of you to consider me like that.  Side note: When my mom asked me the other day “What types of notebooks do you want?” it brought me back to 4th grade when Anne Frank was popular.  Good ‘ol nostalgia..

10K Training.  6 weeks, 6.2 miles.  And I plan on crushing every.single.one.  (I’ll try not to throw up the process… No guarentees though.)  Follow my progress on my new 10K Training page!

Dance.  3 nights a week and I could not be happier.  Choreographing “Hello World” is both wonderful and heartbreaking.  “Sideways” hits home in more ways than one.  “Suckerpunch” and “Superbass” are high energy and just fun.  And “Crazy Crazy Insane” will be sexy as hell.  Keep an eye out of video updates.

Sweaty and happy

Boston Brunchers dinner at Lil Vinny’s Ristorante.  Good thing I check my e-mail 4543 times a day or I might have missed Renee’s invite for a free, family-style dinner at Lil Vinny’s in Somerville with the Boston Brunchers on Thursday night.  Lots of pics and a review will be coming your way!

Boston Brunchers brunch at Local 149 .  Once again, my OCD-like behavior of checking my e-mail wins.  I originally didn’t get the opportunity to be apart of this brunch but since Irene caused an uproar, they moved it and I snagged a seat!

Chocolate & Wine’s 1st Blogiversary.  I started my little blog on September 7, 2010 never knowing that people would want to read it and that I’d get so much support for it.  I am so grateful for all of the friends I’ve made and the different events I get to go to through my blog.  Thank you to everyone for making Chocolate & Wine a success.

Stephen’s 24th Birthday.  Man, he’s getting old.  I like to remind him of it everyday.  He doesn’t mind (much).  However, he is probably one of the most difficult people on the planet to buy a present for so this year, we are doing something a little different.  It includes dinner and Boston.  Hopefully it’s a success.

Yeah, we're cute like that.

Raechel’s Bacheloretty Party.  I mean, who doesn’t love dinner, drinks and dancing with a good friend who’s about to tie the knot?  I’m a big fan.

Turn that martini into a shot and we have Raechel's Bacheloretty Party.

Races.  Run for Ryan 5K on September 17th. Tufts Women’s 10K on October 19th. Witch City 5K on October 23rd.  I’m going to make it rain PRs all over those 5Ks.  And in Salem, I’m gunna do it in costume.  Watch out now.  PS – if you want to run one with me, let me know and I’ll send you the info! (Head’s up – I run slow.)

George & Julie’s Wedding.  After a long 2-year engagement, my cousin George is marrying his fiance, Julie.  Seriously, she could not be more right for him.  And of course, we can expect lots of crying from this girl right here.  Damn emotions.

My Sister’s 21st Birthday.  Finally.  She’s kept me waiting long enough.  Now we can have some real big kid fun.

Halloween.  Candy, costumes, parties… enough said.

That takes us through October.  I also plan on having my first giveaway for my blog’s 1st anniversary.  Lots of people right now are doing “Favorite Things” giveaways and I’m jumping right on that bandwagon.  If you want in, check back around the 7th!   Until then, follow me on Twitter for updates – @ChocoAndWine.

I wanna know… What are you looking forward to most this fall?  Any suggestions for what to put in my “Favorites” giveaway?