Category Archives: George Mason University

Nike Women’s Half Marathon recap {4/27/14}

This race last year was my PR half marathon race at 1:54 (official clock time = 1:55). That put a little bit of pressure on me to run another PR this time around but for many reasons, that didn’t happen. I have mixed feelings on not making it, but it really wasn’t my day, and when it all comes down to it, I am not as well prepared as I was last year. I’ve also been opting more to run pressure-free races because that is far more enjoyable. Then again, when I cross the finish line in a slower time than I’ve seen before, I am not always happy about it, so it’s a balance I am still working on.

Anyway, I LOVE this race. I think this may be my favorite DC race, and it’s only 2 years old! I had a wonderful experience at last year’s inaugural Nike Women’s 1/2 DC, and this year’s logistics and experience were even better. One thing that I didn’t like about last year’s race was that packet pick-up was in Georgetown only, and that is really inconvenient for a lot of people. Nike listened, though, and offered early packet pickup for locals at a few area running stores. This was so much better! Another complaint that I heard from people last year was that the course was so crowded. I didn’t really feel that as much because I was in the second pace corral (and not many were in the first) so we were towards the front, but the people behind were pretty bottle-necked. Nike fixed that, too, by using a wave start this year. They also cleaned up the finisher/celebration area and organized it better, and we got lots more goodies (awesome NWM water bottles that were pre-filled with water, huge bottles of chocolate milk, a goodie bag from Whole Foods, etc)…AND the necklace was a huge improvement over last year’s. I might actually wear mine this time around! AND Shalane Flanagan & Joan Benoit Samuelson opened the race AND ran it – this was less than a week after Boston. Bad ass.

The course itself was really fun and picturesque. The finish line photos with the Capitol in the background underscore that for sure.  I was so happy they revamped the course so that we weren’t hanging around so close to the finish line for 2-3 miles this year, unlike last year – that was torture! Instead, we did that part at the beginning of the race this year. Running through the tunnel at mile 1.5-2 was so fun and LOUD, especially with the drum band there. There was also a lit-up We Run DC sign there, and we got to run through the tunnel twice. The energy was crazy! I wish I had taken a picture, but I am not one of those people who can do that while running. The bands on the course were awesome (including Mason’s Green Machine right before Hains Point!), and little C LOVED the drum band at the finish line – spontaneous toddler dance party? Check!

There were two areas with HUGE TV screens that played personalized messages to you as you crossed a certain point. One was at the halfway mark and the other was at the 20K. It was so cool to see your name up there! There were Shot Blok stations, Luna bar stations, and even a Whole Foods chocolate stop at mile 11…I’m not sure who can eat chocolate at mile 11 of a half marathon when it isn’t next to a water station, but based on the wrappers on the ground, some people did! Nike really rolled out the red carpet for all of the runners. The spectators were awesome, too! There were even some on Hains Point which is so unusual.

I swiped some pictures from the Run Nike Women FB page because they did such a great job capturing some of the fun aspects of the race:

My race was not so pretty, but I tried to enjoy the atmosphere. I thought I had had enough bathroom trips prior to the start of the race (is 2 not enough?!) but ended up veering off at mile 3 to make another quick stop. At this point, I felt like my goal of PRing was gone, but I knew I would end up stopping at some point along the course, and since I was in Wave 1 and towards the front of the pack, I decided to stop when there were no lines. I was also fighting a sinus infection during the race (started w/ a sore throat that Friday night…), and breathing was tough (though definitely not as tough as running w/ bronchitis!) I started getting chills at mile 7 or 8, and ended up taking a walki break because it freaked me out. I didn’t know if it was from dehydration or being sick, but why play with fire? I texted Brian at that point (first time ever texting someone mid-race) to say I was really struggling and not feeling well, but he told me that I needed to get my butt to the finish because I had two sweet cheerleaders on their way! I made it a goal to run until water stops and then take as long of a walk break as needed. I should say I had an awful race, but once I accepted that a PR was not happening and decided instead to enjoy the race, I had a much better time. Final Garmin time was 2:04 and change. Maybe someday this season I will hit my sub-2 1/2 marathon again…if not, whatever! There is always next fall during marathon training! I have two more chances this spring, but they will be challenging halves!


Sorry if this post is disjointed – it feels like it is to me, but I am still in my sinus infection-induced haze, so who knows! Long story short – I love this race, and can’t wait for next year’s!



Filed under Fitness, George Mason University, Marathon, Race, Races, Racing, Run, Running, Washington DC

Workout Wednesday aka Happy National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day! If you are like me, your Facebook & Twitter feeds are blowing up with reminders of what today is. I know many of us “pledged” our miles a long time ago (or so it seems), and hopefully we were all able to follow through!

I took two days off to recover from Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon, but was back at it yesterday and today. The weather was beautiful both days – very little humidity and cooler! Still in the 80s, but after this weekend, it feels amazing. I may have mentioned it before, but I have a gym/recreation membership through Mason so that if the urge strikes, I can get my miles in at lunchtime and still have a place to shower (well, & for cross-training purposes, but I’ve used it mostly as a place to shower lately). It’s so nice to get those miles in earlier in the day & be done with it, especially since I am in summer classes now. I  know this will be impossible during the majority of the summer when it will just be too hot and humid to do anything outdoors, but for now, I will enjoy! I hope you get some happy miles in, too!

May’s total mileage count was 102 miles. I think January was the last time I actually broke 100, so it was sort of exciting to see that.  I know those numbers are only going to start going up, up, up starting in July – yikes!

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Filed under Fitness, George Mason University, Races, Running

Sweet 6 months & Take Your Daughter to Work

Yesterday was quite the busy day for the girls in the family! It was Take Your Daughter to Work day so Audrey accompanied me in the morning and we had a great time. Caroline also happened to turn 6 months old yesterday (!!!!!!) and so I took her for her 6-month appointment and shots in the afternoon.

We’ll start with Audrey’s and my adventure in the morning. It was so much fun to bring her in & of course she was spoiled rotten. She was sugared up and given lots of little trinkets (crayons & a coloring book from one of my coworkers and then tons and tons of bead necklaces and a tiara from some of the academic programs I work with). I got the bare minimum amount of work done and then the rest of the time was spent doing fun things like escorting her around campus. She had a few other little friends to play with as well, and she was so tired by the time we got to the car that she fell asleep before we even got to school. Of course, we couldn’t take our beads off when we sat in our car seat so I think I spent a good 5 minutes trying to buckle around them!

Once we got to daycare, I swapped Audrey out for Caroline & off we went to her 6-month appointment. She is such a little chubby snuggle bear. I just can’t get enough of her! Stats are:

15 lbs, 5 oz (52nd percentile!)

25 1/4 in tall (47th percentile)

16.3 in head circumference (32nd percentile)

Let me just say that I cannot believe we have a child in the 52nd percentile for weight! It is so crazy to me since Audrey never hit that. I love all of Caroline’s little chubby rolls, and the doctor says she is right on track with weight vs. height, so at least her chub isn’t TOO chubby! She seemed to take her shots a little bit tougher than she did previously but it resulted in lots of nice snuggles at home afterwards (but a little longer to get her settled in for the night).

Here are the pics of the day:

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Filed under baby, Family, George Mason University, Kids, Motherhood

Welcome home, Discovery

Just like the rest of the DC area, my colleagues & I eagerly awaited the arrival of the Discovery space shuttle today.  My boss is really into space & obviously we are a space-oriented family, so between the two of us, we were really invested in making sure we saw SOMETHING.  The university campus is pretty close to Dulles, so we really hoped that we’d get to see it flying above us en route to Udvar-Hazy. Armed with our iPhones (for Twitter updates, of course) & our cameras, we ventured out a little before 10am and kept watch. Every plane that flew by us was followed by, “OMG, could this be it?!” and then a disappointed sigh when we realized it wasn’t. About thirty minutes into standing outside, we began seeing tons and tons of planes flying around us. A quick scan of Twitter showed that it must have been all of the planes being allowed to take off again from Reagan. We knew that this meant the DC fly-over had to be over and that we should start being on a serious lookout. After a few minutes of nothing (and no Twitter updates), we started feeling pretty discouraged until we heard someone shriek “THERE IT IS!” and lo & behold, there it was. It was SO obvious that we all felt like idiots for even entertaining the idea that another plane could have been it! It was an absolutely amazing sight but the whole time I kept feeling so badly for Brian who had to watch from inside. It seems like all of the people who deserve to see it flying over the skies in person are the ones who are stuck watching from their super-secret spacey buildings!

Anyway, here are some pictures! FYI: I don’t think you’ll really be able to see the full effect of them unless you click for the full-sized image.

I love DC.


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Filed under Discovery launch, George Mason University

Sneaky chef week 1 & a 5k!

Week 1 of using the Sneaky Chef has been a huge success! I already talked about the Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, but since then we have tried chicken parm & taco soup. The chicken parm included pureed broccoli, peas & spinach (when I was doing it, Brian said, “it smells like death in here!”) but in the end, Brian ended up eating more of it than the rest of us (and that’s partly bc he takes leftovers to work for dinner on the night shift.) Today I made taco soup which includes shredded chicken, salsa, tomato paste and 2 purees: the white bean puree (same one we used in the chicken noodle soup) and an orange puree (which includes sweet potatoes and carrots.) All in all, I am really happy with the book so far, but it involves a LOT of preparation and I’m the only one who will do it because obviously I’m the one trying to sneak the veggies in. We’re taking a week off from Sneaky Chef this week & just going with some recipes from Cooking Light.

Also, I had a big accomplishment yesterday! I participated in my first 5K and ran the entire thing in about 30 minutes. I am not a runner. I don’t really enjoy it at all. I walk 3-4 miles a day, but I can never really get behind running. I was a little skeptical of how well I’d do, but I was so happy & proud of myself. I am SUPER competitive, so of course I didn’t want to be the person who walked part of it! Ha ha 😉


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Filed under Fitness, George Mason University, Race, Races, Racing, Recipes, Run, Running

Back to the grind…

of a full-time job. It has been a little bit of an adjustment, but overall, I am very happy. Audrey probably can’t say the same thing, though, since now she is in daycare more often. We have been lucky so far because Brian’s shift-work schedule has allowed him to spend a LOT of time with her rather than us having to send her to daycare for 8-9 hours a day, 5 days a week. It also makes it easier for me to go to work knowing that Audrey won’t necessarily be in daycare all day long. She has only been in daycare for about 2 days and (of course) has the daycare-induced cold. I know it’s inevitable (it happens every time we put her back there after a break), but it is still sad to see her not feeling well! Top that off with her 6th tooth pushing through, and she is a clingy little girl!

So far I have loved my job…well, maybe not the position as much as the organization. Working for GMU (and the state) has so many perks associated with it. UGF had some of those perks, but take that and multiply it by like, one hundred, and that’s how much better GMU’s are. It helps, of course, that GMU is a state school and is gigantic and has so many more opportunities.

Check out Audrey’s new sandbox and water table!


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Filed under George Mason University