How to look younger – Part II: I’m really not on the high school track team

I’ve mentioned before that people mistake me for someone much younger than my 23 years. This isn’t usually a problem except for when I’m trying to buy wine and the cashier is refusing me. However, my youth does lead to some awkward encounters.

Monday – before NOVA was hit with the earthquake and then a hurricane – the weather was actually awesome, so I ventured to one of my favorite routes. I’d attempted a sprinting (for me) hills workout on the treadmill the day before and my legs weren’t really feeling a run, so I was just keeping it at an 11:30 pace for about four miles.

I turned on the WOD trail and headed down about 1/4 mile when about 30 high school track runners ran by me going the other way. Unfortunately, I was turning around too. My interest in running sadly and gaspingly behind the track runners was zero, but it was either turn around or make this into a five mile run.

Laziness won, and I turned around, making sure to stay about 30 feet behind the last track runner. The whole team and the coaches had gathered at the intersection up ahead and were waiting for the last few runners to catch up.

“You can do it!” one of the coaches yelled encouragingly as I passed him.

The last track runner reached the stop sign and stopped.

The whole team turned and looked at me, panting and breathless, slowly running towards them.

“Good job!”

“Almost there!”


This was exactly what I did not want to happen. They were clearly waiting for me to continue the next portion of their run, so I couldn’t assume they were just cheering at the slow girl on the trail.

“Pick it up!” one of the coaches yelled.

Gah. I did pick it up, motivated by embarrassment and shame. I reached the group of them, and one of the coaches gave a faint cheer. I smiled and gave a little nod. Then I put my head down and ran past them as fast as I could, ran through the intersection, and turned down the nearest street to get out of their line of sight.

There, unashamed and unmotivated by yells from my peers, I stopped my sprint from shame and walked.



Posted in Running | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Leesburg 10K/20K Race Recap

So I wrote out this whole post about how terribly I’d trained and what a bad runner I must be to have come in a minute over my last PR for a 10k. Except then I woke up Monday with a fever, aches, and chills. And then my attitude went from “I suck at running” to “Dude, I am the best runner EVER!”

However, I still did (awesomely!) run/walk a pretty crappy 10k. It’s cool, I’m not ashamed now that I know I was on the verge of death (according to Web MD, my symptoms indicate I barely survived a near fatal case of lymphoma and/or pregnancy.)

So, for the 10k, in addition to having a terrible disease of some kind, I stayed up late the night before to see Cowboys and Aliens for the second time (totally awesome and worth it, by the way). This made for an Allison with absolutely no expectations at the start line for this 10k.

The first three miles were hilly, but I was expecting that, since it’s Leesburg. I don’t really remember the first three miles except for realizing at Mile 2 that, while I knew I’d finish the race with no problem and not come in last, there would likely be no PRs. And I was really okay with that.

Except I still had to finish this race, which was looking extremely arduous at this point.  Miles 3 – 6.2 actually were faster than miles 1-3, possibly because my legs finally warmed up. We got rained on at mile 3.5, and I was very worried my Garmin would die from it.

Smiling awkwardly for like, 10 minutes at the dude taking my picture

Two complaints about the course – all the race information said that the first water stop was at mile 2.5. It was not. It was at mile 3.1. I spent a very sad half mile thirstily wondering how weird it would be to ask the 20k people for a sip from one of their four mini-bottles they had on their belt. Luckily, the water stop came and I was saved from a hasty friendship built on awkward conversation.

The other weird thing was the mile four mile marker was not the usual one mile away from the mile 3 marker, but about 1.4 miles. This made for a very sad and long mile three, and a lot of concern that it was taking me 14 minutes to run a mile. Then, it took me about 5.5 minutes to run from the mile four to the mile five marker, and I was delighted to realize it wasn’t me, but the course.

The rest of the race went by quickly, and I hit the finish line in 1:13:49, an 11:53 pace.

Aside from the weird mile markers, I enjoyed the Leesburg 10k/20K. Potomac River Running puts on great races, with amazing swag. So, NOVA people, I highly recommend checking out their upcoming races.

Yes, it was good even though, despite the promises in the pre-race literature, there were no cows to see. And for that, I cannot forgive.

No cows casually strolling out of barns in this race. I'm not bitter.

Posted in Running | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Vegan ice cream is not husband approved

I decided that running faster means running more (Yes, there is rocket science being done over here!) so I’ve upped my running to four days a week. Since I’m a heat wimp, that means I’ve been doing all my runs inside on the treadmill. I’ve also planned all of my runs around days when Bones is showing on one of the three channels my little treadmill tv gets.

Booth thinks you should run faster.

I haven’t really actually cooked food in weeks. But recently I used my ice cream maker to make coconut milk ice cream. I was really excited about it. The recipe said some nonsense about “vegan!” but I ignored that warning label because, well, “coconut milk!”

I subbed corn starch for arrowroot starch since I’ve never had a moment before now where I was cooking and thought “Golly, if only I had some arrowroot starch!”

The verdict? I thought it was delicious, coconut-y goodness and ate two bowls.

Christopher, on the other hand, thought the non-dairy ice cream was weird and creepy. I told him he was now living in a vegan household and should get used to it. He gave me the stink eye and made himself two hamburgers. Guess I won’t be putting out my vegan cookbook anytime soon.

Booth would eat my vegan ice cream. And support my vegan cookbook, tentatively titled "Nothing tastes better than cow. But here's some futile attempts."

Posted in Recipes, Vegan | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

People you meet at group runs

Since my motivation is roughly that of a plankton, I’ve been making an effort to run with other people, hoping to shame myself into speed and effort.

I found a local running group that does and out-and-back run for 50 minutes every Monday.  How hard can a 50 minute run be? I thought.  “Runners of all levels!” proclaimed the website.  I figured that even if I was at the end of the pack, I’d be okay at this “all level” run.

Let’s not get into the specifics of the monstrous hills the running group decided to do that day. (“We’re doing speed work on hills today!” really isn’t the first thing you want to hear when you awkwardly wander into the preppy local running store.) We’ll also not mention the part where I rushed to my car after the run when everyone else was doing planks. (“Sorry, I know people who shop at the Wegmans next door!”)  Instead, let’s ponder the local flora and fauna of running groups.


The Track Girl

This chick shows up in bike shorts and a local high school track shirt. She tends to be extremely thin and fit.  She end up completely outpacing the slightly out-of-shape group run leader, sprinting ahead then jogging casually back to the group at a 7:00 mile pace. When everyone else is tired after horrible hill repeats, she goes “Come on! Just a few more! It’s not that hard!” You hate her.


The Encourager

This middle aged dude thinks it’s his job to make sure everyone stays together.  He does this by running from person to person like a hyperactive squirrel, spouting things like “Don’t stop running!” “Keep it up!” “We can do this!”

The Encourager is most irritating when you lag behind the other runners and try take a little walking break, or drink water becuase you can’t drink and run without spilling on yourself.  No matter how far away he is from you or how much you think you’re out of his line of site, The Encourager will teleport next to you and go “No walking! Don’t stop running!” You want to trip him after punching him in the face.


The Talker

While it can be enjoyable to have someone distract you from the torture of sprinting hills, The Talker is not this person.  They attack when you are at your weakest, asking probing questions when you can barely sustain oxygen to your lungs.  Talkers vary in methods of attack, but most Talkers share some of the following characteristics: Long pointless stories, asking you questions breezily while you are wheezing, and, conversely, trying to tell you stories while they are completely out of breath.

That last sign leads to conversations like this:

Talker: “HI! *HUFF PUFF HUFF PUFF* Constance! *HUFF PUFF* You?”

Allison: “*Gasp wheeze* Yay! Constance! Constance in running! That’s deep!”

Encourager: “Don’t stop running, ladies! Hey, what’s your name?”

Talker: “My name is Constance!”

Allison: “Oops.”


Anyone else encounter terrible stereotypes in group runs?

Posted in Running | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

It’s a drugged life

I’m completely unable to function without a cup of coffee in the morning.

Now, I realize lots of people say “Oh, I’m useless without coffee!” or “Can’t start my morning with my cuppa joe!”  (I actually don’t know anyone who says that last one. But surely someone does.)  But when I say I am not a person before coffee, I mean, I am an angry, zombie-like, unintelligent creature.

I used to try to make it all the way to work before drinking a cup of coffee. That’s like two hours, ya’ll. I’d do completely stupid things like shaving only one leg or forgetting to brush my teeth. I finally realized that I got ready in half the time with none of the drama if I drank coffee before I left the house. It also kept me from spending my first hour at work answering every question with “I haven’t had coffee yet. I’ll have to get back to you.”

Last week, through a serious of tragic events, I woke up late and decided to just save the coffee for work. I managed to shower, shave both legs, brush my teeth, and remember all my items. I drove to work without crashing. I even was wearing a cute, whitish dress.

Patting myself on the back for my ability to do simple, human tasks without being drugged, I went about my normal office routine. This involved walked to and from the kitchen several times, past lots of people.

Two cups of coffee later, I was in the bathroom, wishing my office would realize that watering down the soap is good for no one, when I noticed my un-caffeinated self had decided to pair bright yellow underwear with my white, see-throughish dress.

These underwear were like a little welcoming beacon for my butt. “Hello! I am here! I am YELLOW! I am not office-appropriate!” my butt said. I stared, aghast. My underwear had been practically shouting to my co-workers for about an hour at this point.

I tried arranging my dress to poof away from my body. “I AM CLAD IN YELLOW LIKE THE SUN!” said my butt.

The dress had a tie. I untied it to try to make it look like an unclingly sack. “THE WHOLE WORLD MUST KNOW OF MY GLORY!” my butt exclaimed.

I hurried back into a stall. Should I leave? Would going commando be worse or better? How many people had my butt greeted today?

I was suddenly struck with inspiration. I turned my underwear inside-out.

“I am sad and demure,” mourned my butt.

Flush with caffeine and victory, I vowed to never leave the house without drinking coffee again. In the end, it is comforting to know that most of my problems can be solved by just drugging myself.

Posted in Office | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Grains bent on world domination

They’re coming.

They can’t be stopped.

They will infiltrate their way into your mind, heart, and soul by any means necessary.

They will strip you of all personal identity, instead replacing you with a Whole-foods, kale, quinoa, faux-meat, gluten-free, whole-grain zombie.

It’s. . .

Multigrain Cheerios.

See it? Their message of evil and attempts at world domination right there between the happy, shiny people? Here it is again, in case you missed it:

Oh God, I’m so scared. I just ate two bowls of these O-shaped demons. How much of me is whole grain now? Is it my arm? It’s my arm, isn’t it? No! This is wrong!  I don’t want to be replaced with a grain, no matter how whole it is!

 (Must…eat…more…Cheerios…graaaaiiiiiinnnnsss) I’m sorry, my friends.  Grainification has begun. My left arm is now completely crunchy and delicious.


Save yourselves!



Posted in Vegan | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

How to deal with performance anxiety (Give Up Now)

I suffer from severe performance anxiety. I’m awesome at doing things when no one is watching, but if there’s anyone looking at me, I freeze.

With running, I can totally just hide in the crowd. No one’s sitting there going “Oh my gosh, look at her heel strike! What poor form! Her breathing pattern is far too shallow. She is clearly not running for optimal speed. Tsk.”

(Well, maybe some are, but if you’re picking me out of a crowd of people in a race to criticize me, that’s your problem. Although I do wear running skirts sometimes, so that might be a cause of justifiable ire.)

I’m a little overwhelmed by the crazy amount of blog traffic I got this week thanks to Shelby. (Thanks, by the way, Shelby!) Rather than sitting down at my computer going “Eh, what the hell, nobody reads this” I’ve been going “MUST BE FUNNY. BE FUNNY OR DIE.”

This anxiety has plagued me throughout my life. The worst was when I was a figure skater – that  ‘spotlight of doom shining on you while everyone eagerly awaits the moment where you crash on your butt’ thing never really worked for me. Always a people pleaser, I made sure to give the crowd what they wanted: lots and lots of falling on my butt.

This anxiety effects everything I do. Take cooking. I will make amazing meals for a party of two, but if I’m giving people food or having anyone over, I totally freak out.

  • “Oh God, I think my cookies are too crunchy. And the chocolate-chip to dough ratio is too low!”
  • “This spaghetti is a disaster. The noodles are soft, when they CLEARLY should have been al dente!”
  • “The steak is overdone! Underdone! Dammit people, why can’t we all just like pink steak?!”
  • “I only cooked four chicken breasts for four people. IF WE RUN OUT OF FOOD THE WORLD WILL END.”

Let’s not get into the days when I prepare scads of animal flesh only to discover my guests are vegetarians.  (Like, seriously people, when I ask if there’s anything you don’t like, mentioning an entire food group you find revolting seems like a no-brainer.)

90% of why I ran a half marathon. Sadly not joking.

I also inflict myself with anxiety, even when no one is really watching. Now that I have my awesome 13.1 sticker on my car, I’ve totally psyched myself out of running races. I’ve done almost all the distances now, and my 2-ish month running hiatus probably means I haven’t gained speed.

I hope you all don’t have any plans in the next few months – hopes, dreams, aspirations. Anyone planning to get married? You? Too bad. You – pregnant chick – forget seeing your child.

Screw your training plans. Give up your kale smoothies and frozen yogurt bowls, and live it up with some full-fat ice cream.

Because I’m planning to do a 10K soon, in spite of my better judgement.  I will probably not beat my time. And, guys, I’m really sorry about this, but when that happens, the world as we know it will end.

Posted in Goals, Running | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments