Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The final push

Subtitle: why did I choose to go on a cruise 10 days after the biggest eating holiday of the year?

All week, in addition to feeling meh from the iron supplementation of death (I started taking another brand last night and I have had non-stop raging heartburn ever since... too bad calcium, in Tums, blocks iron absorption... bah) I have also felt icky from a way indulgent weekend. I certainly don't regret having a great time with my family, Nick, and his family, but wow... we pretty much ate and drank (and ate and drank) our way along the mid-Atlantic. I'm a bit of an overanalyzer (read: I'm whiny) about how I physically feel, so I tend to be a little sensitive to the inevitable bloatiness that comes from deviating from my normal eating and workout schedules. Lame. I am just not super psyched about wearing a swimsuit 24/7 starting Sunday, but that is mostly me being neurotic. I know once I get there and get all hopped up on Vitamin D I'll feel way better. Right now I'm just wigging out about a little bit of puffiness.

To combat the puffiness I have been working out extra special and eating as cleanly and consistently as possible. A.k.a. this is not the most exciting week ever. I did some tv workouts on Monday (kickboxing and a toning one), and last night I did intervals on the treadmill! Holy cow, speedwork without a gun to my head? Miracle. I did 10 x 200 at 7.5, not too speedy but they felt comfortable. I actually definitely could have gone a ltitle faster at the end or done one or 2 more, but I'm running tonight so I didn't want to stress out my legs and feet too much. I ellipticaled and biked afterwards.

Tonight is a run with Nick and then errands errands errands! My packing is actually going really well. I only need to get various toiletries and pack my running clothes (which are not clean yet) and shoes (which for some reason are my nemesis).

I'm sooooo ready to be on this cruise. I'm really looking forward to seeing what it is like, since I'm still a little baffled by the whole idea of 10 days on a boat. I'm also excited for the super cool islands we will get to explore, such as a hike to the top of a volcano on St. Kitts. And hopefully I'll come back feeling relaxed and stress-free.


I'm going HERE!!!! AHH!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Whelmed

Oy. So working today is pretty rough. I've got the double whammy of holidayweekenditis and ihaveavacationin6days syndrome. I'm uber distracted.

Thanksgiving was glorious... I had veggie enchiladas with my parents and Nick on Wednesday, Thanksgiving feast #1 with my parents, Nick, and family friends on Thursday, and feast #2 with Nick's family on Friday. The vegetarian friendly highlights? Veggie enchiladas with my family, dolma (stuffed grape leaves) on Thursday, and steamed asparagus with parmesan on Friday. Also, the wine and beer. Those were good too.

Fun fact: not all beer is vegetarian!

Beer (and cider & wine) has everything from:
  • albumin: derived from eggs or dried blood
  • casein/caseinate: derived from milk
  • charcoal: sometimes derived from bone
  • colourings: sometimes derived from insects
  • glyceryl monostearate: an anti-foaming agent that sometimes is an animal derivative
  • isinglass: swim bladders from fish
  • lactose and lactobacillus (lactic acid)
  • gelatin: made from bones, skins and tendons
  • pepsin: a heading agent sometimes derived from pork
  • sugar: white sugar is often whitened using bone charcoal [source]
  • Yikes.

    Also yikes- I ran not one, but two Turkey Trots on Thursday morning before eating. The first was a 5K that my friend's family has been doing for years. It was in downtown DC, meaning Nick and I had to get up bright and early to get to the race. I got a 5K PR!!!

     461 193/918   3709 Laurel          27:44  8:56
    8:56/mile? Hell yeah! I know it's not "fast" but it's fast for me! It was a really fun race. Nick also ran like lightning and finished in under 22 minutes! He's my idol :) Here's a pic I took as we started our run toward the Capitol (faintly seen in the background):


    The second Trot was a 5 miler that started less than 30 minutes after we finished with the first race. We drove quickly (thankfully Thanksgiving morning means no cars on the road) to Alexandria, only to get stuck on side roads with a stop sign every block. It was almost 10:10 when we finally got to the race and got our bibs on. We crossed the start line and were behind everyone- walkers, stroller folks, and even the emergency vehicle that signalled the end of the racers...oops? We started picking people off, and enjoying running together without a concern about time or distance. We finished that race in 51 minutes flat. It was the furthest Nick has ever run in a day, so that's pretty cool. Then we got to go celebrate by eating a lot!

    We stayed up with Nick's family in NJ on Friday night and then headed to Atlantic City. I've never been to AC, and also have never been to a casino, so it was great. A highlight/lowlight was going to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, after being excited to see on their website that they had a special vegetarian friendly food option- choose your own side veggies and they'll plate them nicely so you won't feel silly ordering being delivered 4 different side dishes on individual plates. Nick got a steak that he really enjoyed, and my food was delicious! And then we got the bill and my meal was about the same price as his enormous steak... I didn't think it was fair that my veggies cost $40. After grouching a little about that, we headed to Caesar's and played poker and slots until the wee hours of the morning, then wandered around trying to find somewhere to relax and have a drink or dance before bed. Instead, we found still-busy club with insanely overpriced drinks and headed back to the hotel. We were in bed somewhere around 3am... I am too old for that nonsense!

    Sunday was a long, slow drive home. Today I'm tired and generally icky feeling due to lack of sleep and too much carousing over the long weekend. I'm going to eat extra healthy and sleep as much as possible so I get to feeling at least a little more energetic for the cruise... we leave Saturday! Ahhh!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Twenty Thoughts Tuesday

    Because I'm feeling random.

    1. I get to go to 2 Thanksgivings this week! Yay! First is with family friends on Thursday, and the second is on Friday with Nick's family.

    2. It's also my brother's birthday this week and my mom is making a big dinner for him on Wednesday night... special meals all around!

    3. I'm making this cheesecake for Thursday to take over to our friends' house. It is amazing and I'll glaze some strawberries and throw them on top. It is nice and dense.. I can't stand fluffy cheesecake.

    4. Nick and I made black bean dip for a get-together this weekend. It was completely spur of the moment and it was great.

    5. I've taken 3 days off from big-E Exercise (or big-W Working out) and it's kind of amazing.

    6. Why does "exercise" sound like such a lame word compared to "working out"?

    7. I got laser hair removal done on my underarms and bikini line yesterday and I feel like a hot poker was stuck in both places (you're welcome for the visual!). Not pleasant, but totally worth it for the cruise.

    8. Less than 12 days until the cruise!!! AHHHH!  Here's a countdown page in case you want to countdown along with me.

    9. I have no idea what I'm bringing on the cruise.

    10. Here's a random pic from my run last week. I was wearing a new headband (I usually wear sleek earmuffs), sunglasses and headphones, and I felt like a tool.

    11. Still chugging along with the ridiculous iron intake, we're on day 12... nothing to report really, I feel fine but not different. I've already used up one bottle of iron, this guy:

    12. Taking iron does all the unpleasant gastrointestinal stuff that the internet says it does... I have not felt like myself for the last 12 days.

    13. By "not felt like myself" I mean I have been eating way less frequently since I'm nauseous a lot. I'm not super happy about the nausea but I'm pleased with not being ravenous all the time. Maybe my appetite is back to a normal person's since I'm not running as much? Amazing!

    14. Christmas idea from SkinnyRunner: someone please get me this, made from my MCM bib. So cool! I would use them all those times when I'm sitting on my couch, leisurely drinking a glass of water. Jk, that'll never happen.

    15. Yeah.. still barely sitting on my expensive furniture. Oh well... money shmoney.

    16. I had a book club for work that met this week and we had planned on having finished Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Uh yeah, that book is 1100 pages long, and it is dense. I am REALLY liking it, but it's tough to power through. Luckily, everyone else had either barely started or not finished it either, so I was in good company. We talked about how we're going to finish it before the end of January... hopefully.

    17. Just dropped a baby carrot on the floor and cried a tear because these carrots are rocking my world right now. I could probably go rinse it off but that would make too much sense. Trash it is.

    18. Everytime I go to Whole Foods I just end up wanting to buy everything and make amazing food. But then I realize there's a reason people call it Whole Paycheck. Sigh.

    19. If I were unemployed and had sufficient money and sufficient time (i.e., not raising kids all time) I'd make so much food.

    20.  This week is going slow as molasses....


    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Vegetarian Thanksgiving!

    I was inspired to write this after reading Janae's post about having special food needs at large gatherings/work/whenever.

    I've been vegetarian since college (which ended almost 5 years ago. Sad) and my journey to figuring out how/what to eat has been difficult on my end, but it is complicated even more when holidays and other events come up because my food preferences are forced upon other people (that's how I see it at least). With Thanksgiving coming up, this has been on my mind extra since Nick's family is trying to be super accomodating to my needs, which is great, but I'm left thinking about how far other people should be expected to go...

    After college, I went to Thanksgiving at the home of my then-fiance's family. We had been dating for over a year, and I had been vegetarian for most of that time, so they were aware of my limitations. I asked if I needed to bring anything special and was told no. Still, I showed up to that meal to find I couldn't eat anything but rolls... there was meat in the stuffing, the green beans, the mashed potatoes, seemingly everywhere. They didn't have a salad, and I don't like cranberry sauce so it was bread for me! Needless to say, I was grumpy and hungry and hurt that there was no tweaking of any recipes, seeing as I was going to be marrying into their family. Fast forward to the next year, and I brought huge salad in anticipation of needing something. It was big enough to share, but when it went on the table it pretty much disappeared..so I had a tiny salad and rolls. Again.

    Basic consideration of other people's feelings means, to me, you should be mindful of other's limitations and make an effort to accomodate them, but don't go too out of the way. I would have been happy with ONE dish that was not made with bacon or chicken stock, or even an acknowledgement of "oh, holy cow, how'd we forget that you don't eat animals! Silly us!"

    I'm not bitter. Not at all.

    At work gatherings, I'm known as "the vegetarian" in my 30some person group, and that works for me since I hope it means my coworkers get a few more veggies in their diets as well. "Vegetarian" doesn't mean only vegetarians can eat it, and I think some of my very very very carnivorous coworkers are finding that out, which is super cool. I even showed up at work on Monday and was told "We ordered you a pizza and some salad stuff for lunch on Friday and you weren't here!" There was a whole pizza for me in the fridge!!! They're the best.

    Anyways, with another Thanksgiving coming up, and Nick's family being so thoughtful, I'm trying to let go of discomfort from Thanksgivings (and Christmases... and birthdays) past and enjoy being a little different. I have a hard time doing anything that I feel inconveniences other people, so hopefully I can get past that and just be thankful to have people considerate enough to think of my needs and plan accordingly.

    Plus, I can't wait to eat some pies.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    AnemiaGirl 2.0- the anemia-est!

    Last week I saw the hematologist, gave her my history and had my blood drawn. The whole experience took 90 minutes... not my favorite doctor's appointment of all time.

    I was also not super pleased with the encounter because she said that if she looked at my blood results (which she had not seen yet) and saw that I had low iron, it was most likely from 1) being a vegetarian and 2) donating blood fairly frequently. Really? I got a call on Friday with my test results, and my ferritin level was 5. This is referred to as your "iron stores" and shows that my body is just not getting enough iron, so that's why my red blood cells were low too. Her response was to have me take huge doses of iron (at least 65mg 2x a day) for the next 2 months, then we will look at my test results and see if my levels went up. If they have, it indicates that I have not been taking in enough iron through my diet, so I should keep supplementing. If they have not come up, it means I am either losing iron from something internal (like gastric bleeding from an ulcer) or having absorption issues from something like celiac disease.

    Ugh.

    On one hand, it is not bad to take the iron, although it is upsetting my stomach. On the other hand, it sucks to take this passive approach when I KNOW my iron intake does not suck as badly as the numbers seem to be indicating. Also- I have not given blood in 8 months, pretty sure that's not a lingering effect. But I'm not a professional. Sigh.

     In addition to the high dose of iron, I'll keep my dietary intake high (tonight: veggie burger and big spinachy salad!) and also watch what I am taking my supplements and dietary sources of fiber at the same time as. Example: I used to eat my Cheerios while I drank my coffee, and I was planning on taking my iron at the same time as my multivitamin. Apparently those are both no-no's. I'm going to add orange juice to my morning routine with my cheerios and vitamins.

    I've been taking the supplements since Friday and although some people have written that they feel better within a few days, I'm not noticing a difference so far. I suppose I'll be patient and hopefully feel better soon!

    Guacamole

    Subtitle: Avocados are for weird people.

    I didn't officially have Friday off, but I have vacation days to spend so I ended up taking the day off and Nick and I went to DC. He's was in the Navy for 9 years and the Newseum was having a special where Veterans got in free all weekend. Since I was his guest, I got in free too.. that is excellent because normally it's $20/person! I love cheap entertainment. We had a great time at the museum and were super hungry when we were done (although I brought these to snack on all day... those cookies are so ridiculously yummy), so we tried to grab dinner downtown, in DC, on a Friday. Yeah, poor planning. Luckily, we were hungry early, so we managed to get seated immediately at Rosa Mexicano. I've heard good things about this place. We ordered guacamole because it was their "signature." In the past, I've been pretty unenthusiatic about guac, but I figured I'd give it a try. It was a chunky, bland concoction with some humongous, hard chunks of avocado. Lame. I really don't get what all the excitement about guac is, or how people use whole avocados as garnishes for their salads and sandwiches, I just don't like them. My actual meal was yummy, so no complaints there.

    Saturday was uneventful. Nick and I lazed about, went for a nice walk (the weather was gorgeous all weekend), and got dinner with my folks. We went to Outback and I got a big cobb salad, minus chicken and bacon and plus lots of brown bread. Delish. We also went to Whole Foods, where, for the sake of experimentation (and because I was hungry), I attempted to eat guacamole yet again. I'm such a trooper. It was still unimpressive.

    Sunday is where things got interesting. I had been at Nick's since Friday, and went home to get some cooking supplies and clean clothes. I was sitting at my computer when I heard an animal scurrying around in a duct INSIDE MY HOUSE. I started freaking out a little because although my house is full of weird and annoying noises, this one sounded super close to where I was sitting. I investigated just a little before calling Nick and my dad and demanding that someone come over and find the animal, because otherwise I imagined it either 1) escaping from wherever it was stuck and attacking me in my sleep or 2) dying and making my house smell like dead rodent/bird for the next 8 months I'm living there.

    My dad graciously came to my house and we located the stuck animal in the exhaust vent for my oil heater. After lots of fussing and muscling the vent apart, we discovered this little guy was stuck inside (we had been debating whether it was a bird or a rodent... my dad voted rodent because it wasn't making bird noises. I voted bird because I really didn't want to discover an angry possum when the duct was taken apart):



    So cute! We managed to get him out safely (my dad used a long handled soup spoon.. creative!). Here is his last photo before he got released back into freedom:

    I'm going to talk to my landlady about making sure there's a cover installed on my vent so that doesn't happen again. It scared me, but more importantly the little birds and animals could get hurt.

    Here's hoping for a less eventful Monday!

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Daylight savings

    Since the whole Daylight Savings thing happened on Sunday, I've been confused about what time it is. I know this happens every year and it's disorienting for everyone, but I think every year it surprises me a little, like, hey, I forgot how fun it is to drive to work when it's almost light out. And I also forgot how un-fun it is to leave work when it's getting dark.

    This is just an excuse to write about how bad I want this jacket:

    Size medium. I already tried it on. Do you see the cute thumb things for keeping my hands warm and comfortable? It's for my own safety! Thanks in advance, blogosphere.

    Monday I did the elliptical and bike at the gym then a sort of wussy weights session. Yesterday I tried extra hard to run. I got into work extra early, so left around 3:45 and was home and in running clothes about 4:15... and the sun was already setting rapidly. The official sunset time was around 4:46 yesterday. I wasn't trying to do tons of miles, but 30 minutes is just not a lot of time. I ended up running for 40 minutes (no Garmin, just a stopwatch... liberating). I got pretty chilly towards end. I felt safe enough, since it was basically light out the whole time I was outside, but it definitely would have helped to be a tad more visible (hint hint).

    My legs are feeling about 95% back to good. My right arch still aches but seems to be getting better. As far as my insane appetite, that lingers on...

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    I'm getting faster?


    Nick just discovered this neat site called Athlinks. It keeps all your old race times and catalogs them by race type or sport (e.g. triathlons). Neat.

    Taking a gander at my 5k results from the last few years:

    28:32 (Saturday)- 9:12/mile
    30:15 (May)- lotsa minutes/mile
    ~29something (results nowhere online.. boo)
    26:42 (last December)- 8:41/mile
    29:19- (2009 and 2010 Thanksgiving Day races)- 9:20/mile

    So, clearly my peak was last December, but I also ran on Saturday on some weak legs that still aren't totally recovered. And it was cold. And I was grumpy. So that's worth at least 30 seconds/mile?

    I blame anemia for being "slow" and for feeling draggy during runs, but from the looks of it, I'm pretty consistent/maybe getting faster. So either it's all mental that I feel cruddy during training runs, or 5K is a short enough distance that I'm able to power through. Hmm.

    The 5k Saturday, as you can see, was kind mediocre. My legs were sore, tight, and angry. My left calf still ached (I walked ~5 miles with my mom on Friday and felt fine), and also my left hip, either from sleeping on it funny or compensating for my other assorted aches and pains. My dad and Nick were there, which was great because it was so cold I don't know if I would have gotten out of the car if the choice had been left up to me. I warmed up by bouncing around on my toes. Fact: you get 0% warmer by bouncing around, but you look 150% sillier. The race itself was alright except for a really terrible woman who finished ahead of me, came back on the course, yelled at me "HEAD UP, SHOULDERS BACK" and when I gasped "thanks!," because, really, encouragement is nice, even if it's annoying, she said "NO TALKING!" Are you serious? She then proceeded to catch up with her friend who was right behind me, and cheer her on by yelling about how tired I looked. Ugh. She might have won, but she lost so many points for being a jackass.

    In the end, I ran pretty hard although my level of exertion did not match my time. Nick got 3rd place in his age group!!! That is so cool! He's super quick... I like to attribute that to the long, slow walk/run combos we've been doing lately. They're clearly showing results.

    Saturday night I went and did a murder mystery/ziplining combo with a group of work people. It sounds weird, and it was. Regardless, we won! That means we get a free giant swing or zipline to use at some point in the future. Super cool. I had never done anything like that before. It was a great experience. Nick took pictures but it was dark out, so I don't think any of them really turned out. Bummer.

    And yesterday was yard work, glorious yard work. I'm sore today from all this weekend's activities but looking forward to getting back to a normal, stress free workout schedule that doesn't revolve around racing and involves a lot more cross training... too bad Daylight Savings time will be taking away my evenings. Grumble.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Recovering...

    From what I read on other blogs, it seems like a lot of people suck at rest days/taking it easy. I think I might suck the most though? My legs are still not 100% from the race (not even 80%... probably somewhere in the low 70s). I have been dealing with soreness, which is totally expected and I was totally ok with, but I decided to treat it like every day normal post workout sorness and run it out.

    I'm not smart.

    I went out with Nick yesterday, after warning him that I was tired and sore and not to expect any miracles from me. We sloowwwwlllyyy jogged about 2.25 miles, and the whole time my left calf felt like this:

    Or like this, plus extra twisting and minus the adorableness... PS if I came back to my hotel room to find precious towel swans, but my pillows were tossed about willy-nilly, I would not be pleased.
    The arch of my left foot also hurt. Like this:
    I frowned.

    During the second half of the run, we did some run/walking which I always feel bad about because 1) we were cold and running would have warmed us nicely, and 2) I don't like to feel pokey. Again, I'm not smart. Pain (real pain) is an indicator that you're doing something your body doesn't like. So quit it.

    You're might be thinking, "hey, I really hope Laurel takes a rest day today and gives that calf the TLC it needs!" Well I will do no such thing. I will go swimming, where I will take it relatively easy (just a mile, swearsies), and then soak in the hot tub. See? Soaking! That's rest! I have a fun 5K on Saturday for my dad's birthday, so I won't run at all between now and then. And I'll take ibuprofen and drink water and be a responsible human being. Promise.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Wrapping up

    I swear this is the last 100% marathon focused post...most likely :) I'm going into some minutiae I'd like to capture for future races, but it gets a little boring, just a heads up.



     
    First, there were dozens of photographers on the course, and they managed to captured THIS FACE? Seriously? Also observe my shorts uncomfortably creeping... which brings me to my first topic!
    Attire
    I wore the cute new Nike tech shirt from Megan, deemed a success after one run this week, my usual Oakley sunglasses, some Nike shorts I've had since at least 2005, Feetures socks, my Mizunos, my Garmin, a headband from these folks (they put clips INSIDE the headband... genius), and a Moving Comfort sports bra that has been the shining star of my marathon training. That sucker keeps everything locked and loaded. Since I've lost some weight over the course of training, all my normal sports bras have gotten just a little too big.. which in sports bra-ese means they totally don't do their job anymore. Oh, and very importantly. an iFitness running belt. I did the dumb, rookie marathoner thing of buying something at the expo then relying on it the very next day... thank goodness, the internet did not lie about that belt.. it stayed in place! That is something I cannot say for any other belt in the history of belts. Also, it held 6 gels, which was perfect, and my phone was secure in its cool pocket. So clutch.
    Some thoughts on what I wore: I was alternately hot and freezing in long sleeves, depending on how hard I was running and whether I was in the shade or not. My shorts rode up hardcore for the first 2 miles or so, and after that either I ignored them or they stayed in place, whatever, I don't remember noticing them. My iFitness belt took a lot of adjusting the first couple miles also, but then it stayed in place and was amazing. Garmin was great, well behaved, but minor detail- my race is not on my watch!!! Ummmm seriously? Unless I somehow magically cleared it with all the flopping around I did after finishing, that is just silly. I wish I had that on record.
    Chafing
    Oh yeah, a whole category about chafing. Don't worry, not too much TMI. I put bodyglide under the straps of my bra, around my ribcage, and inner thighs. That's it. Did the trick. The only marks I have are rub marks from my gels/fuel belt on both hips. Minor, pencil eraser sized cuts, nothing major.
    Eats
    The day before the race I didn't eat a lot because I was sort of nervous. I had a big breakfast of crepes and eggs, then some coffee, a pretzel, apple, peanuts, snacks at the expo, and Olive Garden for dinner around 7pm. I had pasta with red sauce, a breadstick and some salad. Nothing too exciting. Then when I got home, I had 2 glasses of wine with Nick and some Reeses ice cream.
    Nobody's perfect. Both the wine and the ice cream calmed my nerves and made me happy.
    Morning of, I had a banana at about 5am, 2 hardboiled eggs and some Cheerios. My normal breakfast.  We stopped for some terribly watered down coffee, then got on Metro. At 7:40 or so I had half a crunchy granola bar and a Gu with caffeine (Jet Blackberry, if you must know).
    During the race drank a cup of water and a Gatorade at each water stop (every 2 miles). I had a Gu every 4 miles and I swear those things saved my life. I could feel myself fading for the last mile or so before eating it. Whether that was mental or not, who knows, they did the trick. I did not eat any of the stuff on the course, even the beer in Crystal City, although I did dream briefly about how fizzy and wonderful it would be. I was a little thirsty a couple times during the race, but I also felt like my stomach was sloshing after each water stop, so I'm thinking my hydration level was just fine.
    Food afterwards was lame, although my appetite is back now with a vengeance.
    Music
    I didn't bring any. I know, how can I run almost 5 hours without music when I had been training with it? Well, I did. I knew there would be sights and sounds on the course, and I really didn't want to miss anything. At the start line they played LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" and Maroon 5's "Moves like Jagger." Full disclosure, I LOVE pop music, and those 2 songs will forever be linked to standing at that starting line with 20,000 other people and bouncing around in the 38 degree weather. That moment is so vivid. I heard those songs a couple other times on the course too, once in Georgetown and once in Hains point and it was like the stars aligned for me. So fun.
    I think that's it? I know I'll have more thoughts, but I just needed to have a thorough brain dump so for future marathons I have some reference about what worked and what did not.
    Here's a picture of me looking like I'm about to cry. I might have been.
    Shameful posture, Laurel.
    Today's soreness level is like a 3 out of 10. I'm gonna run somewhere around 5 miles tonight with Nick, because Monica's Pile on the Miles challenge started this week and I've gotta get 5 miles in before Friday morning! Yikes! I'll definitely walk as much as I need to, but I'm excited to get out and run again.
    Happy Wednesday!

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Things I will miss now I'm not training...

    -Quality time on the treadmill watching the Science Channel (not kidding)
    -Gu! (sort of kidding)
    -Getting out and appreciating the outdoors through training
    -Satisfying sleep (almost) every night.
    -Satisfaction of knowing I'm accomplishing something that is a big deal for me
    -Satisfaction of good long runs and fast shorter runs
    Things I will not miss:
    -Obsessing over the weather
    -So. Much. Laundry.
    -So. Much. Hunger.
    -Feeling busy all the time
    -Feeling like I didn't have freedom to go out and have fun
    -Guilt over missing runs
    -Obsessing over water intake and nutrition

    And here is a picture that makes me think I'd do it all over again!

     Oh yeah... check out that 2 inch ground clearance... does that qualify as running or am I really just a marathon racewalker?