Monday, February 21, 2011

I survived!

Camping was actually a lot of fun. Of course, we were car camping in a brand new state park with really clean bathrooms and a huge tent. We also had an awning that went over our picnic table, a camp stove, and lots of hammocks and chairs. Stephanie even brought an air mattress for me and her to share. So my first camping experience was pretty luxurious. Nonetheless I feel like I've overcome my fear of sleeping in a tent and would definitely go camping again.
The Bogue Chitto State Park itself was kind of boring- all of the camping sites had both tent pads and RV hookups and there were a LOT of RV's. Since it was so new, the foliage was pretty sparse as well. In a year or two, I think it will be a lot prettier once nature has a chance to kind of take back over (unless of course you enjoy seeing nothing but RV's and scraggly pine trees).
There is a 7 mile hiking trail that is really easy- most of it is gravel packed. I really wanted to run it, but I don't think that the other people hiking with me would have appreciated that! The portions of the trail near our campsite were really boring but once we hiked down near the Bogue Chitto River, it got much prettier. That area was called the bottom lands and the camp sites there were prettier as well. Of course, it was sold out when we called, which is why we stayed in the less picturesque lowlands.
So my review of my camping trip is that camping is fun and s'mores are awesome, but the state park we chose needs a few seasons to get back to nature, and the one trail is way too easy if you are looking for a good hike.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Camper

I'm going camping for the first time ever this weekend! (In fact, I'm blogging when I should be loading up the car.) I'm actually fairly terrified of sleeping with nothing between the great outdoors and myself but soft tent walls, but I guess there's no time like the present to conquer my fears. Also, I love hiking so I'm looking forward to doing some of that. The best part of going out into the wilderness this weekend is that the wilderness is going to be a lot cleaner than my apartment. The charm has struck again! My entire bathroom is being ripped out and replaced because the tub (and a concrete slab that was inexplicably poured below it to level out the floor) has apparently been sinking through the rotten wood below it. Our handyman has expressed wonder that I didn't fall through the ceiling and die. Awesome.
So anyway. Camping is probably less scary than bathing in my house.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I did it! I finished my first marathon in 4:53! The first 16 miles flew by like they were nothing. I had a bit of an upset stomach around mile 16 (I'm starting to think that caffeinated gels don't work well for me on long runs) but then miles 16 to 20 were good and strong. After mile 20, I was in unfamiliar territory and I definitely felt it. My feet started getting really sore and I slowed from a 10 minute to an 11 minute mile until around mile 23, when I started having a lot of trouble with my left hip. I'd never had an issue with that hip before, but it would get tighter and tighter until it burst into a sudden stabbing pain that would make me gasp, curse (I hope I didn't teach any young spectators any new words today!), and walk until it loosened back up. Around the 25th mile, we crossed a little bridge in the park that had enough of a hill for me to widen my stride and stretch my hip out, and after that I was able to run to the end and even sprint at the finish line. As I was sprinting towards the finish, I got really excited and a little choked up, which somehow translated into my airways closing up a bit and I when I finished I really needed some albuterol that I didn't have. I made myself stop and calm down and breath through my nose for a minute until my chest loosened back up, but in the future I will definitely run with my inhaler.
Looking back, I think there were a few things I could have done differently. I think if I were to do this again, I'd choose a training plan that included two 20 miles runs rather than just one, especially since my 20 miler didn't go very well. I'd also have either avoided running on the neutral ground or started running on it prior to my 15 mile long run because I think the switch from asphalt to dirt is why I injured my foot after my 20 mile run (the neutral ground isn't very level and I don't think my body was able to adjust to the instability when it was already getting used to running so far.) Finally, I'd have been better about getting in my short runs. I ended up doing a lot of cross training rather than running at night because I don't like running at night and because lifting weights helps insure that I'll look nice in my wedding dress.
Overall, I had an absolutely wonderful time. When I look back on this experience, my main feeling is one of gratitude. The volunteers supporting the marathon were top notch (and many were in costume!), there were a lot of great bands playing, and there were tons of spectators cheering us on! I really thrive on the energy of a race, and the energy of this race was amazing. I really want to volunteer at a water station in the future.
I'm also incredibly grateful for the support I got from my friends and my darling fiance. I had several people standing on the sidelines cheering me on, and even more friends who ran with me. One highlight was my friend Larissa who ran 20 miles with me in preparation for her marathon in 3 weeks and was a source of constant energy and optimism. Someone called us the happiest marathoners they'd ever seen. Another highlight was that my darling fiance ran the last 4 miles with me. Those were my hardest miles and having him there meant the world to me! It made such a difference because even though I was in a lot of pain, it really lifted my spirits and I spent most of the race looking forward to running with him.
And finally, I'm grateful for my running buddy Margee who's been working out with me for 2 years and inspiring me to push myself every step of the way. I'd never had run a half marathon, much less a whole marathon, if it weren't for her encouragement.
Overall, I'm happy, proud of myself, tired, and stiff- and I wouldn't trade this feeling for the world.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 11, 2011


I can't decide if the guy in this Zappos video really loves or really hates his job....

My big news is that my marathon weekend is finally here. I've been preparing all week by going to bed early, eating lots of pasta, and drinking tons of water! Wish me luck- hopefully I'll go fast. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011


I am a nail biter. I don't bite my nails every day (more like once a month), but my habit is still pretty awful. In my case, I am fully capable of growing my nails out, but once they are long and pretty- they are in imminent peril. Sometimes I bite them out of boredom or nervousness, but what usually happens is that one nail will inevitably break. Of course, it will break when I have no access to a nail file or clippers, and I'll bite it to make it as smooth as I can for the time being. But once I bite that nail, I want to bite all of my other nails too so that they'll be "even." This of course leads to a downward spiral ending with me having gross nubs for fingernails.
Right now, my nails are nice and long and I'd really like to break the cycle. I think I might try to get a manicure today if I have time.
I'm kind of busy today because I'm getting a "trial" wedding updo after work. Today's gross weather is horrendous for hair- cold, rainy, and windy, which is perfect because if my updo can withstand this weather, it can withstand anything! I am also attending Tulane's Med Prom, so my hair and I will be out and about. Other plans this weekend are to run a few miles (I'm tapering since my marathon is in 9 days! Eek!), go to the Vietnamese New Year's Celebration in New Orleans East, and get croissants with Steph and Sarah on Sunday. Should be fun!

Does anyone have any good tips on how I can stop biting my nails?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Things I'd like to have for my Honeymoon

Now that I've finally gotten a good bit of the planning done (I've only got one hotel left to book, but I still have to do bus/train/museum tickets), I'm starting to think *even* more about things I think I need for my honeymoon.
1) A backpack- I'm thinking that this will be more convenient than my giant wheeled suitcase.
2) Shoes- (I'm sure y'all saw this one coming.) I think that along with my naturalizer flats, I'd like a fashionable-ish dark colored sneaker like a puma or maybe a pair of Adidas. I need to replace my beat up pair of black Saucony Jazz's anyway- so this could ultimately double as a casual Friday shoe.
I'd also like a pair of sandals that are actually comfortable to walk in. I'm awfully partial to the Birkenstock Gizehs.
3) I'd also like a fairly secure bag that I can either wear cross body or just under my shoulder. I really think that Lesportsacs are adorable, but I'm also sort of looking at the Baggellini bags (I think I saw some of these the last time I went to TJ Maxx so I'll have to check them out the next time I go there). I've heard that map-case type bags are good, and I also like the Kavu Kicker Bag.

Of course, these are all the type of things that it's better to look for in person, so this online browsing is completely in vain. It's a nice way to get my thoughts in order at least.

What are your travel necessities?