I, no, My weight, was back up to 195 Monday morning.

I’ve been sick for over a month, on various meds, and my digestive system is off.

After weeks of thinking I’ve gotten past the number on the scale determining my self-worth, I discovered that I was wrong.

I had a great 20 mile run on Sunday.

That number should be the more important indicator of my progress.

As always, I’m still a work in progress.

Coughing, and Crying, and Getting It Done

The past six weeks have been unkind to me.  My laryngitis turned into a nasty case of bronchitis that hit me harder than I realized.  I finally saw the doctor after 4 weeks of coughing and misery and she was quite dismayed by my lungs.  I started antibiotics, plus a ton of other stuff, dialed back my running a bit and just tried to maintain.  I still attempted my long runs but the 17 and 18 milers were pretty much horror shows for the last quarter of each one.  My pace was WAY off and I kept pulling the muscles in my stomach from coughing while trying to run.  It didn’t help that I was a snotty mess, too.  Real pleasant!

I’ve been using the treadmill quite a bit, due to the unrelenting humidity.  Bonus, from Wednesday through Saturday, my stomach was rocking and rolling and making things even more unpleasant (thank you, Zpak :( ).  Saturday had me down for 8 miles.  I was going to meet one of the groups from my MRTT chapter but decided not to because of my stomach.  I finally got on the treadmill and could hardly do 4 miles!  That short time included 2 bathroom breaks, many coughing fits, and a complete breakdown that had me sitting and crying.  I had 20 miles on Sunday!  And company coming this weekend. And a half marathon the next two weekends.  Gah!

If you don't stop crying, I'll keep attacking your feet!

If you don’t stop crying, I’ll keep attacking your feet!

To say I was feeling pretty low on Saturday was an understatement.  I had planned to run the Revenge of the Penguins 20 mile race/training run along the C&O Canal.  I did it in 2013 and it was not my favorite run but I liked the option of not having to think up a course and having a lot of support.  I told my MRTT family late that I was doing it.  I knew there would be a ton of them there but I felt like hiding in my cave.

Caption on my post: Everyone has these cute little outfits and I look like I'm preparing to lay siege to the city. Oh, well. 20 miles, coming up! Team Fisher House shirt, so I can remember why I'm doing this. MRTT visor, so I can remember that my friends support me. All of my nutrition, because I'm a touch obsessive. It won't be pretty but I WILL get it done!

Caption on my post: Everyone has these cute little outfits and I look like I’m preparing to lay siege to the city. Oh, well. 20 miles, coming up! Team Fisher House shirt, so I can remember why I’m doing this. MRTT visor, so I can remember that my friends support me. All of my nutrition, because I’m a touch obsessive. It won’t be pretty but I WILL get it done!

One of my long-run buddies texted me late and asked if she could run with me.  I tried to demure but she said her knee was bothering her so she was okay slowing down if we needed to.  I decided to give it a shot.

I’m SO GLAD that I did!  We had a great run!  The splits were nice and even. The weather was decent. My stomach didn’t revolt.  My lungs behaved.  I took 40 minutes off from my 2013 time!



An event that I was sure would be a miserable walk actually turned out to be awesome!

One of my big problems is last 10K of the marathon.  I feel like I do okay until mile 20 and then I check out and/or start verbally abusing myself.  My goal this year always is to NOT DO THAT!  I am now actively planning to be smart the first 20 miles (don’t go out to fast, fuel properly, fuel early (!), etc.) and keep my wits together for the end.  After Sunday, I think I can actually do it this year!  I’m feeling more positive about this marathon than I have for some time now.

Five weeks to go!

Nutrition Plan: Week 3

I just finished week 3 of my Eat All the Things nutrition plan and my body seems to really appreciate it!  I had a couple off “off plan” meals due to extenuating circumstances but I tried to follow it as close as I could.  Overall, other than this lingering cold that has been going on for two weeks, I feel great!  I feel like I have more energy for my runs and I am recovering more quickly.  I’ve gotten over the feelings of guilt when I eat as planned on a rest day and I’m not feeling as tied to the scale as I was the first couple of weeks.  I also being careful to refer to this as a nutrition plan and not a “diet”. When I’m on a diet, it all about what I can’t eat.  Everything is off limits.  The food is bland.  I can’t have chocolate.  Guess what!  On this nutrition plan, I can continue to have my Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mint every day with lunch and NOT FEEL GUILTY!  And that one is all I need.  I’m not even tempted by the bag of Oreo’s that I buy my son!  Previously, I would definitely sneak one three whenever I could. I think I’m finally getting the swing of the idea of giving my body high quality fuel and not a bunch of junk!

Hardly a deprivation diet

Hardly a deprivation diet

Even though I have a couple more weeks on my free plan, I went ahead and signed up for the 12 week special Max Muscle was offering (buy 6 weeks, get 6 weeks free).  Twelve weeks will get me through the Marine Corp Marathon and into the first few recovery weeks.  I’ll be curious to see how my body reacts when the mileage isn’t quite so insanely high.

The Numbers

Week 0 – 196 Starting body fat: 31.3%

Week 1 -194 / 30.3%  and gained .5 lbs of muscle

Week 2 – no data

Week 3 -191 / 29.3% but lost just a smidge of muscle

Week 1

Week One is done!  I am still struggling with knowing what/when to eat on my long run days but, overall, it has gone well.  It’s a bit odd to not be hungry all of the time and I have not done any mindless nibbling. I confirmed with my nutrition counselor today that the calories consumed and burned are viewed cumulatively for the week so I think I need to cut back a bit on non-run days so I have more for the long runs

My typical menu includes:

Breakfast – granola, banana, protein shake

Snack – 3 hard boiled eggs and almonds

Lunch – meat, rice, 2 cups of veggies.


I often go with a homemade lean hamburger patty and a mix of tomatoes and fermented sauerkraut

Snack – apple, almond butter, jerky

afternoon snack

Dinner – meat, veggies, 1/3 c. beans


Fajita chicken and onions/peppers that I made for my husband. I just omitted the tortilla on mine

Late evening – protein shake

The Numbers

Starting weight: 196 Starting body fat: 31.3%

Week 1 194 / 30.3%  and gained .5 lbs of muscle

A new look at (my) nutrition

I’m still here, running, training, nursing a bum IT band, but I don’t want to talk about that right now.

What I want to talk about is my new nutrition plan.  For the past several years, I have been using MyFitnessPal to stay pretty close to 1700 calories, as adjusted for the day’s workout.  Though I have slowly lost a tiny bit of weight, it’s been pretty stagnant, even with my increased activities.  Honestly, I’m frustrated by my body’s inability to lose fat.  I see people who lose 50 pounds in a year (or less) and I want to scream!  I have always been a super slow loser and my body fights me for every ounce.

Two weeks ago, I won a four week personalized nutrition plan with Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, Springfield as part of my Mom’s Run This Town chapter’s anniversary party.  I was a little leery of changing my diet in the middle of marathon training but Corry, the owner, and Zach, the consultant with whom I would be working, were emphatic that this is a good time to make the change.

My initial consultation with Zach lasted an hour.  He outlined the five “laws”  that they follow: consume protein first thing in the morning, consume 10g of protein every 3-4 hours, don’t eat carbs alone (always pair with protein), drink 1/2 oz. of water per pound of body weight, and stay within 500 calories of your daily expenditure. He then took a body comp reading and went over my typical diet.  Finally, he started plugging in numbers into his massive spreadsheet.  Bottom line – I need to eat more, by A LOT! Huh.

I am on my third day and I am mentally having a tough time with this.  This is a lot of food!  I am struggling with the desire to add additional workouts.  I’m also confused as to how to stay within 500 calories if my daily diet is an average of my exercise for the week.  For example, I did not work out yesterday but I ate the same as I did today when I will run 4 miles.  Yesterday I was within 500 calories but I will not be today unless I eat more.  I obviously need to ask more questions!

I’m going to follow the plan and their advice, to the letter, for a month and then reassess.  For the sake of transparency, I’m letting it all hang out here and will update each week.  I already told Zach that I have very low expectations but he is certain that I will see results.

The Numbers

Basal Metabolic Rate: 1,629

Previous Calorie base: 1,720

Average Caloric need, adjusted for average exercise amount: 2,348 (with 186 g of protein!!)

Starting weight: 196

Starting body fat: 31.3%

6 years


I remember this day well.  We were having my department over for a cook-out and it was HOT.  My jeans were too tight on my stomach and I didn’t have shorts that fit.  I had the Lap Band at this point and I knew I would not be able to keep down most of what I ate.  I was miserable!



Getting ready to do my first open water swim of the season.  I’m scared but not miserable, even in a wet suit that makes me look like the bastard child of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and Bibendum.




I’m a marathoner now.  I can bike.  I can swim. I can sometimes put all three together.  I am a good example for my son.  I never give up, even when it would be oh so easy.

I get comments that people wish they had my drive and dedication.  F that.  If you want it, you will find a way.  Yes, getting up at 4:15 is horrible most some days but you know what is worse?  Being sick and tired and uncomfortable in my own skin.  You don’t have to keep crazy hours or do crazy things (though, it’s more fun!) – just get up and take a walk at lunch!  Seriously, it is the little changes that make the most impact.  You just need to start the ball rolling.  You never know where you’ll be in six year!

Product Review and Giveaway: RooSport 2.0

As you may remember, I’m a big fan of my RooSport!  My original has taken quite a beating over the past (almost) 2 years and still works great!  However, when I spotted the RooSport 2.0 at the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K, I immediately snatched one up!

Brand new!

Brand new!

The new version is larger so it can handle an iPhone 6 (but not a Plus), has headphone access points at both ends of the pocket, has extra water (sweat) proofing, and has additional zippers, including one on the outer flap for little things like cough drops or lip balm.  It also comes in a bunch of fun colors!

Ready to go this morning!  My 6 fits just fine and I didn't even put it in a baggie thanks to the extra water proofing!

Ready to go this morning! My 6 fits just fine and I didn’t even put it in a baggie thanks to the extra water proofing!

I love my RooSport 2.0 so much, that I want to pass one along to you!  But, first, I need to ask a favor…

I applied to be a Race Ambassador for the Asheville Marathon next March but I’m not a big and flashy blogger so I need to get their attention!  This is where you come in :) Please go over to their Facebook page, like it, and comment that Unexpected Runner sent you.  I have never been a race ambassador before so, if I am chosen, you can be certain that there will be some plenty of random shenanigans going on!  Also, early bird registration is $125 until April 30 so hop to it if you want to run it with me!

I am supplying the RooSport 2.0 myself.  All opinions are my own and I have not received any compensation for this post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Race Report: Hot Chocolate Philadelphia 15K

When my Best Running Friend and I decided to register for the Hot Chocolate 15K way back in January, we were drawn mostly by the promise of a sweet hoodie.  I won’t lie, we definitely run for the SWAG!  As the winter progressed and illnesses set in, we began to worry.  We had a bit of a heart to heart early last week and I think one of us said “but think of the hoodie!” So, despite sinus infections, bronchitis, and promises of massive wind gusts, we loaded up the car Friday afternoon and made the trek from Northern VA to Philadelphia.

Or tried.  Mostly we sat in traffic.  Somewhere in northern MD (maybe DE. How can you tell??), it became clear that we would be cutting it close to the 7 PM expo close time.  My friend reached out to the race via Facebook and was reassured that the packets could be picked up until 8 PM and if we missed that, they would get us a bib in the morning so we could run and mail us the rest of our SWAG. We arrived at the convention center at 6:45 and hot footed it to the expo.  We didn’t even stop to pee!  Now that’s dedication to a race!

The bib pick up was super easy and we poked around the remaining bits of the expo.  Everyone was already breaking down but I did get a chance to pick up a new RooSport 2.0!


And shove chocolate covered marshmallows into my face!

And there was time to shove chocolate covered marshmallows into my face!


“What marshmallow?”

Race morning dawned overcast and windy.  We were staying at a hotel near the race start so we didn’t have to worry about parking but we did need to hustle the mile and a half to the start.  We called it our warm up and walked faster. We arrived around 7:40 and employed a “divide and conquer” strategy to handle the port-a-potty lines and get bag drop done.  Brilliant tip: If you are using the draw string race bag that looks like EVERY OTHER ONE, pin something conspicuous, like a lime green sock ;), to the outside for easy visual confirmation!

I think I upped my Selfie game at this race :)

I think I upped my Selfie game at this race :)


Waiting to start

We squeezed into our corral 10 minutes before the start and just hoped our lungs held out!  The race took us toward the city for the first half mile and then we turned around, into the wind, for an out and back along the river.  I adore runs near water and loved watching the crew teams, seeing the water spilling over the dam, the old stone bridges and some historic buildings.

There weren’t any spectators on the course but it didn’t feel very lonely.  There were several well stocked water and Gatorade stations and they had candy stops but we didn’t use any of those.  The idea of a Tootsie Roll at mile 6 was a bit too much.

By the time we turned around, the sun was fully out and the wind was at our backs.  I quickly warmed up and I was seriously looking for mile 9.  We kept our splits very even – within 10 seconds +/- of a 10 minute mile – but I was pretty much done when we finally reached the little up hill to the finish.

At the finish, we received our medals, stopped for some pics, and then made our way to the reason for the race: the mondo bowl of chocolate!



Delicious but my stomach did regret this later :/

Delicious but my stomach did regret this later :/


Hey, I’m not covered in chocolate in this one!

Where's Rocky?

Where’s Rocky?

We hung out at the park for a bit, enjoyed our snacks, did not run up the steps of the art museum, and then meandered back to the hotel.


“And now, Deep Thoughts with Unexpected Runner”

Overall, we had a great time!  We would definitely do this race again!

See you next year!

See you next year!


The Race Director offered options so we could still run even if we didn’t make it to packet pick up in time. They were very responsive to their Facebook page.

Hoodie – I LOVE this hoodie!

The medal is very fun and unique

Very good organization at bag drop and at the finish line. It never felt too crowded.

Oh, and we didn’t die. Always a plus!

Not as Good

It would be nice if the race was on Sunday for those of us coming from out of town.  Traffic is insane on Fridays.


The race offers free pictures but darned if I can find ours!

Race Report: Rock n Roll DC 2015

This describes the race perfectly, including the point-to-point course!

This describes the race perfectly, including the point-to-point course!

Well, if you have been watching the weather, you know that there were a lot of tough races this weekend.  While they were battling high temps in LA, we were completely soaked and freezing in DC!

Oh, where to start.  You may want to get a snack first because this will probably be loooong.


The race expo was moved to the Washington Convention Center from its previous home at the DC Armory.  This annoyed me because I had to switch Metro trains to get there but the metro stop is literally outside of the convention center.  I decided to attend the first day, right when it opened.  It was deserted!  There were no lines, no crowds, and some of the vendors weren’t ready yet.  I moved quickly through bib pick up and then retrieved my drawstring bag (to be used at gear check – a bit confusing since everyone is now used to clear bags and this was a black woven one) and my race shirt.  The shirt is nice and it was a true, gender specific cut.  I also grabbed a Brooks race shirt, a magnet, and a package of Race Dots.  I was in and out in less than an hour.

11000193_10152572309237470_946287432_oRace Morning

Of course, everyone was watching the weather closely.  The days before and after the race were forecast to be decent.  Race day, not so much.  We woke to drizzle and low temps.

Not pictured: throw away sweatshirt, plastic bags for my feet, CamelBak

Not pictured: throw away sweatshirt, plastic bags for my feet, CamelBak

I was hoping that it would taper off but I Body Glided the heck out of myself (plus my KT Tape anti-chafing trick) and headed off to meet my friends at the metro station.  We arrived by about 6:15.  The race didn’t start until 7:30 but by the time we stopped by bag check (which I did not use but I guess some of the higher alphabet names had problems retrieving their bags at the finish) and the port-a-potties, there wasn’t a ton of time to spare.  My wave began at 7:55.

The First Half

The first half of the race was great!  The rain was lessening and there was decent crowd support.  I’ll admit, I didn’t take in too many sights because I was trying to avoid as many puddles, and people, as possible. Many were running with ponchos or plastic bags on and would douse you with run-off water if they bumped in to you.  Not fun!

This race has a notoriously tough hill just before mile 7 that almost did me in last year.  This year, the Blue Mile volunteers were lining it (The Blue Mile is organized by Run Blue to Remember. They post pictures of service men and women who were killed in action and then volunteers hold American flags that are dedicated to additional service members).  I was a little worried about trying to climb that hill while being super emotional.  As it turns out, a lot of my friends were volunteer flag holders so it turned into a hell of a boost for me.

My family was waiting for me at the top of the hill but it was packed and they didn’t see me coming.  I surprised the heck out of them and Little Runner almost spilled his hot chocolate :)

By this time, I was still feeling great but I had to go to pee (it wasn’t hot enough for me to sweat it out, as usual) and my stomach was starting to feel… ominous.  There were a lot of people in the neighborhoods offering free beer and tequila shots.  I didn’t see the sausage guys from last year but I could smell them!  Ugh!

Several of my running friends who were doing the half passed me and cheered me on.  It was great seeing them on the course!

Half Marathon splits - hitting it just right

Half Marathon splits – hitting it just right

The closer we got to the course split, the more dire my stomach situation was becoming.  I knew that there was a bathroom stop after the split so I just had to hang on a bit longer but I was really starting to hurt. The rain was also increasing so I was nice and wet and the wind was picking up.

When we hit the split, it was all I could do to turn right for the 2nd half.  Tons of runners were streaming left but only a small handful took the other lane.  To make matters worse, the volunteers after we diverged weren’t terribly attentive and some runners took the wrong merge and almost ended up back on the half course!  I made it through that section and luckily found the bathrooms, just in time.  This was the first time that I stopped and the first time I really realized how absolutely miserable I already was.  Everything was freezing, my hands were starting to swell, I was soaked through and just tired.  I knew my family was waiting for me just before mile 14 so I got my act together and kept going.  The crowds were much thinner now so I was able to talk to them for a few minutes before going on.  I told my husband I wanted to quit but I knew I had to finish.  By this time, I knew that my time goal was not going to happen.  Now my only goal was to finish.

I won't hit my time goal, but I will have  good picture!

I won’t hit my time goal, but I will have good picture!

Miles 15-17 had us though an industrial complex and around a big power plant.  It was extremely bleak and the speakers that RnR had set up on the course kept shorting out so it was mostly static.  This is when I started to slow considerable and utter a few choice expletives.  After that, it was over the the bridge across the Anacostia River (with open grating, more choice expletives) and a long stretch by the river.  The wind was really strong and we had to run through several really deep and wide puddles of freezing water.  My feet totally cramped when they hit the ice water.

Sad Panda.  Absolutely zero fucks were being given at this point.

Sad Panda. Absolutely zero fucks were being given at this point.

I can’t describe how horrible I was feeling at this point.  I had blisters under three toe nails (that has never happened before) and I feel nauseous and couldn’t bend my fingers.  I passed all of the course cut-off points but one loop had me finishing a section as later runners were being diverted before entering it and I was insanely jealous. I knew my family was waiting for me just before mile 25 so it became a death march to see them.

Mile 24.75

I could see them waiting for me at the bottom of the hill.  Did they see me?  I’m not sure! My eyes are playing tricks.  I try waving but I can barely get my arms up.  I’m moving as fast as I can and I can feel the tears building.  As soon as I can clearly see them, the water works start.  I can’t believe that they stood out in the rain for five hours for me!  1510584_10152577154387470_4490137913792931366_n

"I can't do this!"

“I can’t do this!”

I try to get my act together but it just isn’t happening. I want to stop. I want to go home.  Little Runner hugs me and tells me he loves me and that I’m doing great! Okay, I can do this.

13412_10152577154527470_1700636773585639384_nThe officer at the medical station sees all of this and comes over to check on me.

“Are you okay? Do you need anything”

“No, I just need to be done. This is really hard” (while wiping my tears) <– may be the understatement of the century

10343494_10152577154612470_4341568149536681251_n“Well, I have to tell you, your son is SO proud of you!  He’s telling everyone ‘my Momma’s running a MARATHON!’

You’re doing great!  You just keep going.  But stop crying!  You’re going to make me cry!”

So, I stopped crying.  And I finished strong.second half

No death shuffle here!

No death shuffle here!

Official Time 5:37 - 17 minute PR

Official Time 5:37 – 17 minute PR

I’m crying again so  that’s enough for now.  Tomorrow I will discuss my overall review of the race and some of the things I did well (and not so well!)

RnR DC Training: Week 18

This is it! The last week of training!

Sunday: The weather finally cooperated for a last outdoor run on Sunday.  One of my favorite hill friends and I tackled 8 miles.  We had planned on a 10:30 pace but wound up closer to 10, even with having to mince our way through some icy spots and taking a few detours.

Monday: Rest. Total rest, not even taekwondo (don’t want to break a toe again!)

Tuesday: The Muffin Run rides again!  Over 30 ladies gathered at 5 AM to run through the neighborhood.  I did my 3 and actually stuck around to partake of some treats at the end.


What a bunch a lunatics! We were booted from the school parking lot so we have to hang out on the sidewalk (surrounded by mud pits) instead. It’s an absolute riot!

Wednesday: After much deliberation, I decided to go to swim class but the coach was like “what are you even doing here??” and greatly modified my workout.  I basically just swam laps for an hour.  In the evening, I skipped TKD again but had to drop off LR for his competition team practice.  I knew some ladies were meeting at the nearby high school for track so I decided to head there for some laps but we were foiled by soccer and band.  I finally wound up back in my ‘hood for a quick 3 miles.  The first one clocked in at 8:50!  And I kept running! At a much slower pace but I didn’t immediately stop and puke in the bushes :) #progress

Thursday: Rest again.  I also hit the expo and picked up my bib and a few other goodies.

1891586_427903690690564_1135116906600308497_oFriday: Rest again. Plan called for 2 easy miles but I decided my sleep was more important.  We also have a “fun fair” at LR’s school tonight so there will be more time on my feet than I would like.

And, that’s all!  Tomorrow is the big day!  They are calling for rain but that’s okay, I’m not that sweet ;)  Check in on my Facebook page if you want to follow the race-day fun!

IMG_3883Total miles for the week: 14

Total training miles: 488.6

Miles for the year: 291.7