Diving into the Gene Pool

Just a science nerd with a passion for diving and fitness

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Clarendon Day Double (5K + 10K)

My good friend Courtney convinced me to run this race these races and I figured why not, 5K + 10K after running a few halfs (halves?) will be NBD. I, of course, totally slacked off in the 2 weeks since Navy Air-Force thanks to a pesky cold and a busy work schedule and didn’t run a single mile. I went in with lose plans of, push the 5K and coast through the 10K. 

I’ve raced the last 3 races in my Oiselle single so decided to mix things up a little and bust out my sparkle athletic skirt from Shamrock. It ended up being too hot for the arm warmers but I wore my favorite glovers for the 5K then stashed them for the 10K. 

After being way too rushed for the last few races, Courtney picked me up early and we made it to the race start with SO MUCH TIME. Zero lines at the port-o-poties and easily 30 minutes to spare before race start. Great race organization, zero stress, love Pacers events!

This gave us plenty of time to meet up with Nevie and take a few pictures before lining up to start the 5K. 

5K: The race is net downhill for the first 1.5 miles which is fantastic and resulted in some nice mile splits. I started out way too fast and about 5 minutes in remembered that I really should pace myself cause 3.1 miles isn’t actually THAT short. First 2 miles went great (thanks downhill) and last mile was a bit of a struggle as evidence from my splits: 8:22, 8:17, 9:38. I rarely run 5Ks and my previous PR was 29:01 which I felt fairly confident I could beat. My official time was 27:46 for an average pace of 8:56 for a nice 75 second PR :) 

I didn’t realize that it was a decent hike to get from the finish line back up to the start but we pretty much crossed the finish line, grabbed a water and started hiking back up the hill. A solid 25 minute walk (1.5 miles) and we made it to the start of the 10K with <1 minute to spare. I quickly stretched my calves, questioned whether I really wanted to run 6 miles and before I knew it the gun went off and I was starting the 10K. 

10K: The courses are identical except you go out a bit further before turning around and finishing at the same place as the 5K. I once again really enjoyed the downhill but really tried to dial in my pace and not go crazy after a fast 5K (a relative term). At the bottom of the hill, we entered the open stretch of the highway and the sun was in full force. At this point I had lost Courtney so stepped to the side to pull out my headphones and start up Pandora. I felt pretty good up until mile 3 then the heat and the fatigue of the 5K hit hard. I ended up run/walking the last 3 miles. Splits: 9:30, 9:43, 10:05, 10:52, 11:26, 11:29 - perfectly executed positive splits as the temp increased and the wheels fell off. I had no goal for the 10K so tried to remind myself that it was a no pressure race and just to power through and then there would be brunch at the end. I ran into Kathryn on the course and we ended up flip flopping during our run/walk and finishing at almost the exact same time. Official time was 1:06:04 which is far from a PR but that wasn’t my goal. 

Afterwards we met up with some of the other local run bloggers for a quick photo (Courtney, Me, Sue, Kathryn, Mar):

Pacers graciously handed out metro cards for the hike back to the start so we hobbled over the metro and hitched a ride back to the start which was so nice. We grabbed our checked bags and headed over to brunch with the other local Oiselle girls (hostess failed at photo taking). It was so nice to meet some new local running ladies!

I then proceeded to take a rockin’ nap and then spend a small fortune at Costco to round out Saturday. BTW, have I mentioned how much I love Saturday races? It goes along with how much I enjoy getting a long run done on Saturday and having Sunday to recover. Sunday rolled around and I felt like I got hit by a bus, probably due to the lack of running for 2 weeks and the downhill running and uphill hiking. My shins are still super sore so i’m going to take it easy this week and hopefully get back into a regular routine next weekend. 

Oh and I don’t have ANY races on the calendar which is super weird and kind of a relief. I’ve had a very busy race calendar in August/September and i’m going to try and stay motivated through October without a race that I’m aiming for. I want to try and make cross training a priority and work on balancing out my running muscles. Though, i’ll likely cave and have something on the race calendar soon ;)



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Navy Air-Force Half Race Recap

Finally getting around to recapping last weekends race thanks to a picking up my nephew’s cold that left me congested and exhausted all week long. I got zero miles in but a lot of sleep!

I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it as a small local half marathon! Well, this year the rest of DC finally caught on and now it is a bit too large for what the race directors can handle. They moved the packet pickup to a much more convenient location but one that did not accommodate the numbers well at all (45 mins line to pick up bib!). Though, they upgraded to a long sleeve tech shirt (from cotton long sleeve) and a legit medal (instead of warrior coin) which was exciting. 

Race start was 7:10 which meant a 5:00am alarm in order to get down to the start. I always leave all my stuff laid out the night before which helps me in my half asleep stupor in the morning. I quickly got dressed and ready and Kristen and I were out the door around 6:00. My husband was on solo uncle-sitting duty for William and was a champ! Kristen is training for MCM and wanted to use this as a way to get extra mileage in so I hopped a bike share and kept her company on the 2 mile trip down to the race start.

I made my final bathroom stop in the hidden park bathrooms that less people knew about (and therefore shorter line), we met up with Caitlin, checked our bag and finally caught sight of Courtney right before the Navy bell went off. It was SUPER crowded at the start and we couldn’t even fit into our time range corral which I knew was not a great sign.

Miles 1-3: The first 3 miles were super congested which resulted in a lot of awkward weaving around people and added mileage. Nothing like trying to maintain a pace and then getting boxed in by sweaty people. I didn’t really look at my watch and just tried to run at a comfortably fast pace navigating all the people. Splits: 10:05, 9:41, 9:29

Miles 4-6: I kept chugging along and tried to avoid looking at my watch as much as possible. I was worried that whatever pace I saw would mess with my head, either too fast or too slow. We had entered the Rock Creek Parkway portion of the race and were able to see the leaders on their return trek (post turnaround point). I felt very strong in the first 6 miles but was worried about maintaining it for another 7 miles. I took a short walking break to eat 2 Shot Blocks (my new favorite running fuel) and just remember thinking that it felt like a long 6 miles. Splits: 9:33, 9:32, 9:51

Miles 7-10: The wheels started to fall off around mile 8-9 and I was feeling really drained. I knew that I needed to get to mile 10 and then it was the home stretch.  We had entered Haines Point which felt like it dragged on for forever. It’s beautiful and it was surprisingly not terribly windy (and light wind felt nice!). Splits: 10:05, 10:03, 10:26, 9:55

Miles 11-13.2: We rounded the end of Haines point and on the final stretch to the finish line. I started to cramp up a little and felt out of breath so I took a few short walk breaks. I knew that a PR was in the cards, not as large of one as I would have liked but I decided not to make myself sick pushing myself in the final miles. Up an obnoxious little hill and then finally the finish chute was in sight and I set of in a final sprint to the finish.  Splits: 10:57, 10:09, 10:26, 2:12 (.28)

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The course ran long, almost 0.2 miles which when trying to set a PR can be annoying. My watch officially reported back an average pace of 9:59 for 13.28 miles in 2:12:36 which is conveniently my official time as well. Official pace was 10:08 for a ~3.5 minute PR off of my half 2 weekends prior (on a net downhill course). It wasn’t a perfect race but overall I am very happy with how everything turned out. I pushed myself but didn’t overdo it and I’m happy with the result. 

After a summer of speed training I have mixed feelings on my desire to drop speed. I love running at a ~10:00/mile pace and I am content to drop down for shorter distances but I don’t really enjoy racing fast for long distances. I would still like to get a sub-2hr half marathon someday and I’m confident it will happen but if it doesn’t I will still be content being a slow happy runner. Up next is the Clarendon Day 5K + 10K (start 1 hour apart). I don’t have solid goals set yet but i’d like to beat my 5K PR (sub 29). Depending on how I feel after the 5K, I will give the 10K a solid go but don’t think PRing both races will be possible but who knows! 

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Ya&#8217;ll, Fall is almost here and I am super excited! I&#8217;ve been stalking the weather forecast all week and it is looking hopeful that we will have near perfect weather for the Navy Air-Force Half on Sunday. After a hard summer of training, a cool morning with low-to-moderate humidity would be like my race day dream come true. Fingers crossed it doesn&#8217;t rain between now and then to keep the humidity down!
Photo from the adorable Apple Cider Mill in Watertown, NY

Ya’ll, Fall is almost here and I am super excited! I’ve been stalking the weather forecast all week and it is looking hopeful that we will have near perfect weather for the Navy Air-Force Half on Sunday. After a hard summer of training, a cool morning with low-to-moderate humidity would be like my race day dream come true. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain between now and then to keep the humidity down!

Photo from the adorable Apple Cider Mill in Watertown, NY

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Vacation Part 1: A trip to Myrtle Beach

Michael and I ditched the real world for a week and escaped to Myrtle Beach, SC. It was just the R&R we both needed. I took a little hiatus from social media (well I might have checked in on some friends occasionally) and it was wonderful. I watched movies without being distracted by instagram/facebook/twitter/tumblr and even read 1.5 books! I left the condo on more than one occasion without my phone and survived (that’s me making fun of myself)! It was good to detach for a little while and really enjoy every bit of vacation. 

We…

  • Frolicked in the waves
  • Read by the pool
  • Floated in the lazy river
  • Ate some fried food
  • Shopped for tacky beach t-shirts
  • Put putted at Dino Land
  • Watched a bunch of redbox movies
  • Caught up on our sleep

In spite of my social media detox, I did manage to get a few pictures

And now that I have returned to the real world for a week i’m totally ready to go back again. It was a simple vacation but it was perfect!

Vacation Part 2 (Watertown, NY) coming later…



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10 Random Things about me!

Deb from DebRuns tagged me in a little blogging chain and since she’s just about the sweetest person ever I decided to oblige. 

1. I’m a fraternal twin and although my sister is 6” taller than me I am actually 1 minute older than her. 

2. I love the ocean but I’m mildly terrified of waves, hate sand and don’t like getting salt water in my eyes. 

3. I lived in Australia for 6 months in 2008 working with fruit flies at the University of Queensland. 

4. I met my husband on a blind date in high school. We are true high school sweet heart and have been together for over 12 years and married for 4.5.

5. I love to scuba dive and have been half way around the world exploring the ocean. 

6. I have 3 super fluffy cats - Alley, Calley and Abbey

7. My parents lived in Basel, Switzerland for 10 years and it’s one of my favorite places to visit. 

8. I work for a company that specializes in rare genetic disorders.

9. I am not a morning person, generally hate waking up but love coffee so manage. 

10. I’m scared of black and white spotted cows, especially when they are in large herds. 

I won’t be tagging people but had fun participating, thanks Deb!



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Watertown 1812 Challenge Half Marathon Race Recap

After my rough 20K in mid-August I was really hoping that a late August half in upstate NY would be a nice reprieve from the heat and humidity we’ve had in DC all summer. Well, turns out I accidentally brought the weather with me and it promptly went from perfect late summer weather to very mediocre late summer weather. We had overcast skies, rain, high winds (15mph with gusts up to 25mph), temps in the mid 70’s and humidity around 75-80%. It was hot and sticky and for a net downhill course there still seemed to be a lot of uphills. That being said, this wasn’t a goal race and I wasn’t in it to win it so I ran it at a comfortable(ish) pace and managed a few second PR! 

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The race started at 7am and we walked the 1.3 miles to the start which was nice to get warmed up. We then had to check our long sleeve shirts (slightly chilly when walking pre-sunrise but definitely warmed up after we got running). Within the first mile I could already feel the humidity taking its toll, it was sticky and hard to breath. I stayed with Kristen and Caitlin till around mile 6 and then I was cramping a little bit so decided to send them ahead and take it a little slower. I was scared that by going alone, I would completely throw in the towel like I did with the Leesburg 20K. However, I brought my music this time and kept on chugging along and the miles slowly ticked by. Although, maybe not the best strategy I ended up running at around a 9:45-10:00 pace (didn’t check my watch often) and then taking a few second walk break at hills, water stops, etc. I typically try not to fall into the walk/run schedule because once I start walking it’s hard to keep running but this was working for me. My short walk breaks were only about 10-30 seconds and were a nice little breather before pushing on further. This is probably the first half where I didn’t completely fall apart at mile 10 so that’s promising! 

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The miles are kind of a blur of farmland and rolling hills but I do remember at one point passing a guy handing out wet towels and turning around and grabbing one, best decision ever! The support was much better than I expected for a small point-to-point race. The water stations were well manned, they handed out gels at a few different stops and there were even a few random stops where people were handing out mini-popsicles out of the back of their vehicles. We had little bits of rain off and on and then in the last mile it started to full on downpour. I could feel the weight of my wet shoes and I was really glad to be close to the finish line. I wore a visor even though it was overcast and it was great to keep the rain out of my eyes. I actually really enjoyed the rainy part, I felt kind of bad ass running through the rain, soaked head-to-toe. Though, I’m glad it was short lived and I thankfully avoided getting any blisters. 

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Kristen met me in the final push to the finish line and I managed a full on sprint because I knew I was seconds away from breaking my PR. Official time is 2:16:00 for a shiny new 7 second PR. It’s not much but considering I haven’t been close to it in a long time and the weather conditions weren’t great I’m happy. I know I could have pushed it a lot more and plan to for Navy-Air Force but overall the race went pretty well!

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“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” 
-Walt Streightiff


Touring the 1000 islands off Alexandria Bay, NY this past weekend. 

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.” 

-Walt Streightiff

Touring the 1000 islands off Alexandria Bay, NY this past weekend. 

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Change of Plans

I decided to defer my Marine Corp Marathon entry till 2015. As I mentioned earlier, it was not my initial plan to run it this year but then decided to not-defer. I hoped that after making that decision I would get excited about the race, but that never happened. Instead it felt like this huge weight on my shoulders and my heart wasn’t in it. I was dreading the long training runs and was already stressing about a busy October schedule. I have two back-to-back weddings that we plan to attend the two weekends leading up to the marathon and one the very next weekend. I know I could run the marathon and get through it but I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Training for a marathon is hard enough as is but when you aren’t excited or motivated it feels like a chore and that’s what I wanted to avoid. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with running and this just didn’t feel like a healthy decision. I will run it next year and I have a whole year to get pumped and excited for running 26.2 miles again.



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Leesburg 20K Race Recap

This race did not go well for me. I had high hopes of staying around a 9:30 pace (or under) but finished with an average pace of 11:00…far, far off from my goal. I finished the race but it was a mental DNF.

Courtney and I decided to get an inexpensive hotel room for the night to save the hour drive in the morning pre-race. I am so glad we did because it was a hike and it would have been miserable to do at 5:30 in the morning. Even though I thought we left plenty of time, we were still rushing around to park, get packets, port-o-potties and bag check. We manage to quickly catch up with a few fellow run-blogger friends before parting ways to get ready for the race. We started at the very end after the majority of the people had crossed the start. Thankfully it was a small race so there wasn’t too much weaving and it spread out nicely on the trail.

Drying my race outfit that I forgot to wash till an hour before we were planning to leave

The first 2 miles went well but they weren’t easy and I was really struggling with mentally getting around the distance ahead of me. I’m at this weird level where I expect 12ish miles to not be that bad since it used to be a step back week during marathon training. But then I go out for a 12 or 13 mile run and it still feels really really long. I can’t really explain what happened but I kind of gave up after the first 2 miles. I had no real reason, no weird pain, no debilitating stomach issues, no legit excuse other than I was just not feeling it. My legs felt fine but my lungs were burning (90% humidity likely a factor) and I took about a million short walking breaks. I later realized that the whole first half was uphill which was probably a solid factor. It felt like the turn around was never going to arrive and I remember just feeling so defeated by mile 4 that I just wanted to quit. I stopped looking at my pace and just inched along the course because even though I was having a shitty run I wasn’t going to quit just because my time was screwed.

Once I started seeing the lead runners come back around I knew that the turn around was on the horizon. I stayed distracted with the fast runners keeping an eye out for some of my fellow run blogger friends. I handed some gel chews off to Courtney since she had forgotten to pack some and cheered on fellow runners as we passed. FINALLY the turn around at mile ~6.5. The back half was net downhill and it seemed to go by much quicker than the front half but it was still a struggle-fest.

Approaching the finish line - I ran the majority of the miles in my sports bra but put my singlet back on for the finish line photo

Hanging out with Courtney post race

PR puts on an outstanding race. Very well organized, good course, good snacks, fun medals and really nice shirts. Overall I was very pleased with the race and if I wasn’t have a super shitty run day I probably would have really enjoyed this race (well except the elevation). This leaves me very confused (and a lot bit scared) for my sub-2 attempt but i’m going to brush it off and call it good training. I learned most of all that I am mentally very weak so I really need to work on improving my mental game. Enough complaining, the race was great but my run was not.

The super adorable finishers medal - we actually ran by barns and cow and horse pastures - very pretty!

Up next: Watertown 1812 Half Marathon in just under 2 weeks – this one however is net downhill and hopefully not 90% humidity so fingers crossed it goes better than this race.

Overall it was a great experience and most importantly I got to meet meet up with some awesome run blogging ladies JennyKathryn, DoraDeb & Sue. Shout out to Deb who paced first in her age group and Sue who tagged on an extra 6 miles to get her 18-miler in!!



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39th Marine Corp Marathon

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I am embracing my fears and I am officially running my 2nd (err 3rd) marathon in October (MCM). As I mentioned previously, when I signed up I had no plans to run this year and instead had a plan to defer. But then circumstances changed and I didn’t have a valid reason to defer and felt comfortable with tackling another marathon. It’s weird to commit to a marathon by simply not-deferring. There wasn’t the pre-registration anxiety, the intense planning logistics, it was just an act of NOT doing something. Now I am sitting 72 days pre-marathon wondering if this was really a great idea. I’ve got to get my act in gear and figure out my game plan for the next 10 weeks. 

A normal training plan is 16 weeks but I’m already solidly at the half marathon level so I think 10 weeks is enough time to comfortably ramp up to the marathon distance (I say this now, ask me again in a few weeks if that’s true). I’m not chasing any crazy time goal and want to just run it and enjoy it, plain and simply. Sure, I’d love to beat my previous time but I haven’t dedicated months to this race so a PR isn’t a realistic goal. My current plan is to go into this with a more relaxed attitude. By the end of Shamrock training I was kind of sick of running and one of the things I have really enjoyed about this training cycle is that I still want to run. I have enough non-run days that I get that urge to run which mentally makes the whole process way more enjoyable. During Shamrock training I missed a bunch of runs, life got in the way and that translated to feeling guilty for missing runs. I’d rather set a realistic number of runs and actually make the majority of them and if I’m feeling great I can always add on more. So I am going to stray from the standard Hal Higdon plan and instead try my own version of the Hal Higdon + Run Less Run Faster combo plan. 

2 solid training runs during the week - Ideally Tuesday and Thursday, starting around 5 mile range and ramping up to max of 8 miles (very similar to the longest mid-week runs in Hal Higdon). With a long commute, work, errands, cooking, etc. I just don’t have time (or rather don’t want to stress about making time) to realistically fit in 3 mid-week runs. Last training cycle I inevitably missed one a week and just felt guilty, so this time I’m going to drop it and adjust the other two to reflect some of the lost mileage. 

1 long run on Saturday (not to be pushed to Sunday) – I was notorious for pushing my long run till Sunday afternoon because I was dreading it. Because it was over the winter, waiting until mid-day was nice to raise the temperature a bit but it absolutely killed my whole day. Since Courtney has agreed to help me train for MCM (even though she isn’t running it, quite the trooper!!) I’ll have some company for at least some of the miles which is going to be awesome. We’ll stick to our early Saturday morning long run schedule and explore some different routes around DC. I am currently planning to go up to 20 miles but I might not go any more than that. The dreaded 20-miler is always the hardest pre-marathon training run and although getting two 20 milers in or even a 22 or 23 miler would be ideal I don’t know if I’ll have time and it’s not absolutely critical to a successful marathon so I’ll play it by ear. I will still incorporate a step back week to provide a little bit of long run relief. 

1 short recovery run on Sunday (slower pace) – The Hal Higdon plan typically calls for some recovery run the day after a long run and I almost never made these last training cycle. Your legs are sore and you just ran a long ways and the last thing you want to do is get up and move when you are sore. I’m going to make use of my extra time on the weekends and really try and nail these recovery runs down. They will help me get used to running on tired legs and will be good bonus mileage since I won’t be doing as many miles mid-week or as many really long runs. 

Proper taper – I will start ramping down training for the two weeks prior to the race. I felt great going into Shamrock and even with the bonus 8k on Saturday my legs still felt fresh on race day thanks to proper tapering. 

The Marine Corp Marathon isn’t as flat as Shamrock and the weather conditions can be variable so I’m going to keep an open mind. My sister is planning to run it with me just like Shamrock so that will be a HUGE help to keep me moving and pushing through!!

Que the “oh my god I’m running another marathon” panic attack!!!

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Goals and Fears

I am 1 month out from my goal race, the Navy Air-Force Half Marathon. Between now and then I have a 20K local race and another half to get me prepped and mentally ready. I’ve been hesitant to commit 100% to going for the sub-2 goal because it is scary and it’s going to hurt a lot. I’ve given myself an out, a B goal of “just PR” because I’m scared of failing. This goal is a challenging one, I want to try and take off 1.5 minutes PER mile off my average half marathon time and 1.25 minutes per mile off my current PR for a total of a 16+ minute PR….that’s HUGE even for the half marathon distance. I’m slowly gaining confidence and feel that if the stars align and my legs are working with me that I can get pretty darn close to that goal (if not achieve it) but I also know that sometimes my body just doesn’t want to perform and my legs feel like lead and if that happens I’ll be lucky to get a PR.

This training cycle has gone better than most; I’ve made almost all the scheduled runs and all with a solid effort. I think part of my fear stems from the training runs being very challenging, all of them have been pushing pace so it’s been a while since I’ve had a really comfortable run. But, then again, this race isn’t going to be “comfortable” so I guess I’m training to be uncomfortable. I have moments on runs where I am hurting and I think “what’s the point?” and honestly I don’t always have a good answer (especially when I’m hurting and just want to quit). I think the whole “point” of all of this is setting goals and following through, pushing yourself, getting fitter and healthier, learning your limits and bettering yourself. I’ve never been a fast runner and honestly I still really enjoy a more relaxed pace run but there are benefits to pushing hard.

So even if I “fail” at achieving a sub-2hr half I should still hold my head up high because I made a goal and went for it. I got up early many a morning when I really wanted to hit the snooze button. I pushed through the pain and I worked hard. It it’s not in the cards then so be it, I’ve learned a lot this training cycle and it will still ultimately be worth it.



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To Marathon or Not To Marathon…again

The day before running my first “official” marathon (Shamrock), on a whim I decided to jump into the Marine Corp Marathon lottery with the plan to defer to 2015 if I got in. I’ve always wanted to run this marathon and I wanted to run it with my sister so figured if we both jumped in the lottery, we could defer if one of us didn’t get in the first year – use the extra year to guarantee we both got in.

Well of course, a few days later, at 7:30 in the morning I get the, “congrats, you are in” email. Kristen didn’t get her email until later that evening but she also got in! Then they raised the deferral price and it had us thinking, hmmm, maybe we should run it this year after all. Then I think back to those 20 miler training runs and get freaked out and want to postpone it. The deferral program opens today and has limited spots so I need to decide soon – also because the clock is ticking down and I’d need to adjust my training plan. I’ll already be solidly in the 13-15 mile long run range by the end of August with this Run Less Run Faster plan for a potential sub-2 half. So I’d just have to ramp it up and hang in there for another 1-1.5 months of training which doesn’t sound all too daunting. My father was is a Marine and seeing him run the last bit in with my sister in 2012 and up that massive hill has me wanting to run it. It is one of the most coveted marathons and there is so some much energy and support along the course.

I will run it, it is just a question of this year or next year….



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Moving on…

July 24th came and went and I didn’t make a big deal out of the date. I was talking to my sister that morning and I was trying to find a politically correct way to say “I’m over it”. It’s not that you can ever really “get over” the death of a close friend but I’ve moved on. It’s been 3 years and it no longer haunts me. Rethinking through the day still gives me chills but not tears.

On the anniversary of his death, another group of divers went out to the Andrea Doria. I saw pictures of the boat and it brought me back to that beautiful summer weekend in NY that I spent with friends. It would have been an epic weekend…fun with friends and some great dive…had it not ended so tragically. The group that went out had a wonderful and (most importantly) safe trip. Honestly, part of me was jealous. I’m happy that they completed another successful journey to the Andrea Doria but I’m jealous that our trip wasn’t so perfect. I’m sad that I will never be able to step foot on that dive boat again or that I won’t be able to see the mount everest of ship wrecks again. Sure, I could dive it again but it will never be the same and I would never be able to find enjoyment out of it. 

I haven’t gone on a big dive trip in a while and I miss it. I miss diving, I miss taking long weekends with friends and diving deep. I miss the challenge and I miss the energy (and exhaustion) of it all. Diving hasn’t been the same since then and likely never will. He made it real, he made the risk of it all so very, very clear. I know how it affected his family and friends and relationships.

It was his fault but at the same time it wasn’t.

There is everyone to blame and no one to blame.

We all learned a lot but unfortunately, the very hard way.  

Miss you LaPrade!

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My relationship with Social Media - Monday Ramblings

Social media has consumed our lives and it is a huge part of my life but I wanted to address some pros and cons and my overall views on social media.

Social media has allowed me to keep in touch (even if it is just for major life updates) with so many long distant friends. It is a great way to share major milestone (new baby, wedding pictures, finishing a big race, getting a new job or moving cross country).

Facebook - I used to LOVE Facebook, would upload pictures and status updates frequently but I find myself only contributing on rare occasions and spending less and less time on it. My current issue is that it is 90% sharing stupid viral videos and articles that just clutter it up. I have far and away the most “friends” on Facebook but i’m losing interest and seeing less and less value in it as a social media platform. 

Tumblr - Home of my little blog. I don’t have a huge following on Tumblr and I don’t get a ton of hits per day but i’m ok with that. Sure, i’d love to have more influence but I love it for a place to document my life and express my opinion. I don’t have to stress about scheduled posts or brainstorming topics. I discuss what I want, when I want and it is a perfect platform to just write, to express emotion and to communicate to my family and friends. I also like the community aspect and their web building templates are great for html novices like me. 

Twitter - I still don’t “get” twitter - I don’t think in 140 character phrases and I don’t find much point in jotting down my every thought and whim to my followers. However, It’s a great way to connect and meet other people. It can be overwhelming at times and I know there are apps to organize everything but I haven’t invested the time into figuring that out. Twitter is great for up to the minute breaking news (before polished press releases can be drafted) which I find to be its biggest perk. 

Instagram - I love Instagram which is mainly because I love photography and I am a visual person. It’s simple, it’s streamlined and frankly I like looking at pretty pictures (the filters are nice too). I share important stuff and stupid stuff but it’s a nice easy way to document my random happenings. I post almost all of my workout related activities on there, not because i’m trying to gloat or rub it in but because seeing other peoples run photos helps keep me motivated and I want to pass along the inspiration and at the same time it acts as an a method of accountability. I have a handful of fitness buddies that are my main audience, we encourage each other and motivate each other to keep training and keep pushing – whatever our goals might be.

From a totally different aspect, social media has provided me with some pretty awesome marketing opportunities through the Scuba Diver Girls. I have traveled to Finland and the Bahamas, to trade shows and photo shoots. I’ve had input on product design, marketing launches, and color choices. I’ve given feedback and written reviews and it has been so much fun. Operating one of these top ranking social media marketing companies is hard work. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to build a fan base, develop content, and recruit sponsorships. So then the question is, what is the benefit?

Of course, from a readers perspective the number of times I have read a good review or seen a picture of someone wearing some gadget or decked out in a specific brand or raving about this super awesome place they traveled, it sinks in and occasionally I respond by whipping out my credit card. There is a fine line between the in your face, “i’m trying to promote this product because the company is paying me” to the “hey, look at me, i’m having a great time here, oh and by the way i’m wearing this watch while doing this activity”. You have to be subtle while at the same time actually promoting the product. I love a good product review, one that is honest, give a few cons (because no item is perfect) and from a person who has actually used the product more than just once before writing the review. It’s is an art form that I would love to perfect.

However, not all marketing it trying to sell stuff, there is another side, the non-monetary, informational, content creation side of social media marketing. A Facebook page can act as an informational site to educate people and spread awareness about a topic. Sure there are likely some sponsorships involved but if done correctly they can interact seamlessly with the sites overall purpose and do not come across as a “hey, this company paid me to say that I like it so hey buy this”. For example, this photo received 7,800 likes on Facebook (i’m the one in the middle with the green mask on).

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Not only is it a bad ass photo but it helps spread awareness for Tiger Sharks as well as marketing for Ocean Technologies Systems (the full face diving mask). People saw it, interacted with it and it hopefully had an impact on a small fraction of those 7.8K people. The companies that I interact with all have an overall purpose of promoting a healthy ocean, conservation, animal rights, saving sharks, reducing pollution as well as empowering women (cause that never hurts). Sure they might be trying to sway you towards a certain resort that is great for diving a well protected reef or using a certain brand of gear that supports them or buying a certain type of underwater housing for your camera. The dual purpose is often necessary to keep these sites operating, to pay for content creation, site monitoring and server fees.

So where do all the “mommy bloggers” and “baby blogs” and “running blogs” fit into all of this? That’s a good point, I would love for my blog to become a resource for people, to educate people on issues that I am passionate about and to promote brands that I personally love and use daily (and not just ones that people pay me to promote cause that hasn’t happened yet). Honestly, I think there are way too many pointless blogs out there, people who ramble on endlessly and devote hours of time discussing a topic that is seemingly pointless. It’s all freedom of speech and more power to someone who wants to use a blog for whatever reason they want, I just only read a certain niche of blogs that I get valuable information, inspiration or personal entertainment from. I follow people on twitter and Instagram that inspire me and that keep me informed of cool tips/tricks/gear/suggestions. I’ve been on a super fitness kick and I follow a lot of people casually but I don’t make it my job to stalk their blogs and read every single word they post cause I have a job and a life and I really want to find a balance.

The problem is, social media has consumed my life and I need to find a better balance. I love it and I find it extremely useful but I find that I am missing out on real life things as a result. I want to schedule a total social media break, be it one day, one weekend or one week - where I won’t check instagram/twitter/tumblr/facebook and try and reset my normal. All too often I find that I get fidgety if I don’t see what the world is up to. I lay in bed at night and check Instagram one more time to see if anyone else liked my stupid photo of my dinner. I can’t sit down and watch a movie without checking my computer or phone the whole time – i’m literally addicted to multi-tasking and I don’t have a healthy relationship with social media right now.  I haven’t set a date for this detox but i’ll probably pair it with some sort of real life vacation. Stay tuned!



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