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Making a game out of #RWRunStreak — Week 1 in Pictures

Making a game out of #RWRunStreak  — Week 1 in Pictures

I’ve taken the challenge of the RW Run Streak– running at least 1 mile a day, every day from Thanksgiving to New Years. I’m training to run the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge (remember– I’m raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network! How about you kick in a dollar or two for the sick kids! I’m at 73% of my fundraising goal!!), and so the Run Streak is a nice overlay with my training schedule. On days where I’m not scheduled for a training run, I just do one quick mile. And the fact that the requirement is only one mile– which for me is only about 11 minutes of exercise– I can convince myself to take that little run early in the morning or late at night on days I would otherwise blow off running altogether.

I’ve turned my Run Streak runs into a little game. I snap a picture during each run, and although my dreadmill days aren’t very exciting pictures, I’ve had a lot of fun thinking of neat snaps when I’m out running in the neighborhood. I prefer running outside a million times more than running on the treadmill, and as long as the sidewalk is reasonably dry, I’ll run outside even if it’s very cold (yes, even though I’m a total California girl who CANNOT stand the cold). Hopefully the ice and snow will stay away, and I’ll be able to keep my runs outdoors! I didn’t think much about it at first, but over the last few days, I’ve had a lot of fun looking around my neighborhood for neat, unexpected things that might make a good Run Streak picture.

So lets celebrate finishing the first week of this 36 day challenge, here’s my first week in pictures!








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Today is the day! Celebrating my birthday with @runDisney @CMNHospitals and @PCPgh

Today is the day! Celebrating my birthday with @runDisney @CMNHospitals and @PCPgh

IT IS MY BIRTHDAY.

lolcat birthday

I mean, if you haven’t heard me talk about it nonstop for at least the last seventeen days, well here you go! THE DAY IS TODAY!

office-birthday

And I just know everyone out in internet land has been looking forward to this day every bit as much as me! So here we are! HAPPY DAY!

So what am I doing to celebrate? Going to work. Having a practice group meeting over lunch. Ya know, keepin’ it real. But Mr. Beez and I will also be seeing a 3RFF movie with our friends at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, so that’s pretty cool.

But you know what would be SUPER COOL? Celebrating my birthday with me! I am clearly so shy and reserved. Which is why I’m flat-out unsubtly suggesting yinz get me birthday presents, specifically the birthday present of supporting me as I fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. You know, MONEY FOR THE SICK KIDS!

My family has been so incredibly lucky that Baby Beez has been a generally healthy kid. The worst we’ve gone through is that a couple years ago, she came down with croup. We had to go in to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s ER, and then she had the breathing treatment, and then she had to stay for observation overnight. And even though it was a fairly minor ailment in the universe of childhood ailments, it was still a scary moment. As parents, we felt out of control and scared, and all we wanted to do was make our little girl better but we couldn’t do that on our own. We were so blown away by the attention, care and kindness our whole family received at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Baby Beez was cared for with skill, and we as her confused and helpless parents were cared for so amazingly as well.

We have several friends who have children who have needed much more complex and frightening care. Children who have needed multiple surgeries, children who have been fighters from the day they were born, and children who must and will continue to fight every day. We are lucky that we have good insurance coverage, and that in our visit to Children’s Hospital, we didn’t have the added stress of trying to figure out how her care would be paid for. That’s why I’m asking you to help me raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals– to fund critical treatments, equipment and charity care for kids in our community.

I have committed to raising $1,200 for Children’s Miracle Network. I’ve put my money where my mouth is by contributing toward the commitment myself. I’m counting on you get me over the goal line. So instead of us going out for a drink or cup of coffee, please click on the image below to contribute to my Children’s Miracle Network fundraising campaign!

PS– If you contribute, I’ll write your name ON MY PANCE for the Half Marathon!

princess Half marathon

And since I know you are all looking for every possible opportunity to listen to me narrate all the things I think about all day, I have JUST the opportunity for you! I’ll be speaking at PodCamp Pittsburgh 9 this Sunday at 11am! I’ll be sharing about Finding Your Authentic Voice– how to express your true self, engage with your readers, grow your reader base, and even adjust that voice when the time and need is right. PodCamp Pittsburgh will be this Saturday and Sunday at Point Park University, and best of all– REGISTRATION IS FREE! So won’t you join me?

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HAPPY NOVEMBER 18TH, YINZ.

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Races, races and more races

Races, races and more races

The funny thing about running is that if you don’t run consistently, it sounds (and is) really hard…but once you make a point to be out there several times a week, it gets easier and you can run further, and eventually you stop feeling like you are going to die and instead really like it. 10 Mile races seem to be the sweet spot for me. A 10 mile race certainly is not easy for me, but with a regular but not exhausting running schedule, I can tackle a 10 miler (and usually only be sore that day, and feeling better by the next).

I went in to the Army 10 Miler expecting it to be ugly. I knew I’d finish, but actually brought a Ziplok bag and towel with me, because I knew that I’d need to sit on a bag of ice on the drive home (darn you, achy SI Joint!). I wanted to do the race for 2 reasons- (1) My brother is in the army and was just deployed to Qatar, and I wanted to run this race in honor of him, (2) the race starts and ends at the Pentagon, and I’ve never seen the Pentagon before, so I thought that would be pretty cool. One of my co-workers told me that the Pentagon is a big squat office building and a parking lot, which it really is, but the run also went in and around DC, so it was a pretty cool sightseeing experience.

The race was on Sunday, so I got to DC on Saturday. I went to packet pickup, which was, in expected military fashion, remarkably efficient. The whole thing took maybe 30 minutes, and that includes me weaving through all the shopping stalls at the expo. Afterward, I had a whole afternoon by myself. I could have gone exploring in DC, but I didn’t want to tire out my legs with a big run on the horizon, so instead I treated myself to some QT at Nordstrom Rack (tragically, there is no Rack in Pittsburgh, so this is a real treat), and to a manicure and body polish at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Back at my hotel, I carbo-loaded on some take out See Ew Noodles from a local Thai restaurant, enjoyed some television time with the remote ALL TO MYSELF, and went to bed at an early, sensible hour. #WildWoman

before running ATM

I got up pretty early to head down to the starting line. I stayed at the official race hotel, and let me tell you, I am SO glad I did. It was maybe a 10 minute walk to the start and finish lines, which made for nice warm up/cool downs. I would have loved to take race selfies of all the neat things I ran by in DC, but the race packet said that mobile phones and cameras were FORBIDDEN. And also that earbuds were FORBIDDEN. And that we were going to be going through a security checkpoint. Since this is the Army’s show, I thought it would be all SERIOUS BUSINESS, and I didn’t want to have to walk back to the hotel to put my phone away, so I just didn’t bring it with me. And you know what, out of 35,000 runners, I’d say that 34,999 had their phones, were snapping selfies and were rockin’ out to their own music. I started the morning bitter about it, but then I told myself that it was a beautiful morning, I was in for a beautiful run, and I’m going to focus on the scenery and not tether myself to all the little reminders that I usually use on my phone to pace myself.

You know what, it turned out really well! It was a crowded and enthusiastic course, so I wouldn’t really need to rely on music to keep me energized anyway. And because I wasn’t getting constant mileage reminders in my ears (and a few times wasn’t paying clear attention when I ran by the time boards), I just kept running and didn’t focus on how far I had come or how much further I had to go. This worked especially well at the 9th Mile, where I played a ridiculous mental game with myself, saying “Oh, I just woke up this lovely morning, and I’m a little sore and tired, but I’m just going on a 1 mile run” and as completely stupid as it is, it WORKED. I felt good about every mile of that race, and especially good in that last mile.

Now, after I stopped running is when it didn’t feel so good. I knew from the beginning I was not ideally hydrated, and my usual practice isn’t to drink water until after the race, if I’m running a distance that is 10 miles or less. I did drink water a couple times in the last half of the race, but I really should have been drinking more the days before and in the earlier part of the race. So when the race was over, I had a brief while of feeling very much bad, until I got myself appropriately rehydrated.

The only downside of the race is that, because it is so big, there are a lot of waves and they take a LOT of time to get through. The first wave went out at 8, but mine didn’t start until 8:48. Of course I got to the corral at like 7:15. That is a lot of waiting time before going out on a long run.

I absolutely would love to do this race again. For the next time, I would either like to work on my speed and try to get placed in an earlier corral (no, I will not sneak into a different corral than the one I am assigned, that makes me NUTS), or maybe since I now have an idea of the lay of the land, I might just leisurely drink my coffee and show up a little later to the starting line.

My next big race is the EQT 10 Miler on November 9. I’ve barely run since the Army 10 Miler, but my bronchitis is really on the upswing, and absent any further complications in my life, I plan to be pounding the pavement again on Tuesday.

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October feelin’

Welcome to October! I haven’t felt much like blogging lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve been very busy, using up all my brain and my words during the day. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been more interested than reading words than writing them lately. Maybe it’s just because we haven’t been out to too many new restaurants lately, so that usually abundant stream of inspiration is not so abundant right now. But even though I’m not writing as much, I’m still here, I’m still reading, I’m still kicking. And here are some things on my mind tonight:

Page Dairy Mart’s last day for the season is scheduled for October 24. Sad. Even though the chocolate chip cookie sundae is di-vine (featuring Nancy B’s cookies), my favorite and go to is coffee soft serve with hot fudge and whipped cream. I need to stop on down there to get one last treat before they’re gone for the cold months.

Page Dairy mart Chocolate Chip Sundae

American Horror Story starts again tonight! It’s the only show that I regularly watch. My favorite season was season 1, but this whole circus thing looks especially creepy. I like to think I like scary things, but in real life I’m a giant crybaby and get too scared. American Horror Story tends to be just the right level of scary for me (meaning it tries to be scary, but isn’t really scary). Relatedly, my husband has banned me from ever watching a Paranormal Activity movie ever again, because he’s not a fan of being up all night while I cry over nightmares.

american-horror-story-freakshow-ch-2

My birthday is next month. If all yinz guys wanna bake me a cookie table, I won’t complain. Also, I think the fact that 99% of the pictures I pin on Pinterest are baked goods is not helping me any with my (failing) efforts at losing weight.

I’ll be going on a mini solo trip this weekend to Washington DC to run the Army 10 Miler. I’m going to basically have an afternoon ALL TO MYSELF. I’ve already booked a trip to the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, and I think I’m going to go see Gone Girl (yes, because I drive 3 hours to go to see a movie that I could see at a movie theater 2 miles from my house) and go to bed early, because I am a WILD woman. But when you’re running 10 miles around the Pentagon the next day, hiking all over to sight see isn’t the wisest idea anyway.

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Autumn clothes are my absolute favorite. Sweaters and cowl necks and boot socks and all things lovely and warm. Things I want want want:

Want.


Want want.

I just downloaded Hollow City, which is the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and am very excited about reading it. Spooky!

Hollow City

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Run for your liiiiiife with @JJHensleyAuthor ‘s Resolve

Run for your liiiiiife with @JJHensleyAuthor ‘s Resolve

At last year’s Podcamp Pittsburgh, one of my favorite session was a presentation by local authors. One of the speakers was JJ Hensley, and right at that moment, I added his novel Resolve to my “To Read” list. I was excited and honored when he sent me an email a few weeks ago, requesting that I review his book! As a blogger, I frequently get requests to review this or review that (and, as you’ll see from my Note on Reviews above, I generally decline), but there’s something special about an author personally reaching out to you and saying, “I made this, I’d like to know what you think.”

jjhensley

Hensley combines three favorite topics of mine– Pittsburgh, crime writing and running– into a fun, light read. Resolve follows (fictional) Three Rivers University professor Cyprus Keller as he tries to unravel the mystery of the murders happening all around him, all seemingly pointing to his guilt. The story unfolds as he runs the Pittsburgh marathon, which both provides a clever structure to the story, and gives the reader a unique overview of our city.

Resolve

Resolve works well as a light read. The tone is very conversational, and anything that falls into police lingo/practice, Hensley spells out for you. The characters are fun and it’s the kind of book that it’s enjoyable to watch unfold. It’s hard to write about a crime novel without giving things away, but suffice it to say that it ends in a somewhat unexpected but satisfying way.

My one gripe with the story is that when Keller runs through the Homewood neighborhood during the marathon, he describes it as desolate, crime ridden and depressed. Homewood’s a tough neighborhood, but let me tell you, Homewood loves the marathon. I ran that stretch of the relay last year, and there were churches and families and community groups out cheering and blasting music. I got SO MANY high fives from kids. It was one of the best stretches of the run. It was a little disappointing to see Homewood represented in that negative way, when the marathon is one of the events where the neighborhood really shines.

Resolve was a timely read for me, as registration opened on the Pittsburgh Marathon this past week, and I’m all signed up for the Half Marathon. WILL I SEE YOU OUT ON THE COURSE?  Can you tell I’m excited? Resolve is a great book to get you all excited for the run, or even just to feed your enthusiasm for our city.

Also, Hensley’s newest book, Measure Twice, was just released. Measure Twice looks to be another perfect read for crime novelist enthusiasts of this fair city:

Pittsburgh Homicide Detective Jackson Channing is struggling to break free from an addiction. His alcoholism may have cost him his marriage and now threatens to sweep away his sanity.

​ When the body of a city official is discovered in a public location, the entire city of Pittsburgh bears witness to a form of evil that is difficult to comprehend. Channing learns the killer is patient, methodical, and precise. In order to stop the killing, Channing will have to pull his life together and come to terms with a secret that is tearing him apart.

(PS- I declined the offer of a copy of Resolve for this review, and just checked it out from the library instead. So the general marketing disclosures aren’t even applicable here.)