unlike cats, runners don’t always land on their feet

It was a gorgeous morning today. Sunny and warm, and I was on a nice easy run. But then, at around the 2.9-mile mark of a 3.1 mile run, splat! I was on the ground.

Much of downtown Annapolis has charming brick sidewalks … that over time have warped due to tree roots and wear. I assumed I just tripped over an uneven spot, but people behind me saw I actually stepped into a hole where a brick was missing. Whoops! Didn’t even see it.

I took a few stumbling steps trying to catch myself, but it didn’t work. Fortunately, it was clean fall — I landed on my forearms pretty evenly. Knees didn’t hit, hands were fine … just a little road rash.


In my 10+ years of running, I’m actually surprised I’ve only hit the ground a handful of times. (Knock on wood!). Once I fell on my butt when I made a poor turnaround-point  decision and changed directions on a metal plate, on a misty day. Only a bruised ego that day.

Another time, the sidewalk tripped me towards the end of an otherwise glorious 10-mile run. It was the last long run before a marathon, and we were heading out of town for a cousin’s wedding the next day.  I cut up my knee pretty badly — it left a scar. Those oversized bandaids go well with cocktail dresses 🙂

The worst, of course, was when I fell on my face in the middle of a trail half marathon. I ended up needing six stitches in my chin. But I finished the race!

At least there’s no shame in running clumsiness. Just about every runner I know has met the ground a time or 10 🙂

review: redstar

I’ve received Redstar coupons in race goodie bags before — $500 gift certificates to their site, which sells sunglasses and watches. There has to be a catch, right?


Well, of course there is. You are responsible for shipping and handling, so it’s not actually free. I was tempted to try it out in the past — I figured they were at least worth the shipping cost, which seems to be $14.95 per item.

Since I had heard of the brand and considered purchasing, I was excited to be contacted by the Media Talent Agency for a review. I was able to select a pair of sunglasses to test out, and I chose a pair I could use running, model RS93. The website listed limited information, but showed the glasses with orange lenses, with a gray circle that said “included polarized gray lens.” I took that to mean they came with extra lenses … and I was right. I love that. It was a little disappointing that only the gray lenses are polarized … but I’m still glad I have the two sets.

Glasses with polarized gray lenses
Out for a run with the red/orange lenses on an overcast day

The frames are a little big on me, but that’s to be expected. I’m pretty small, and the sunglasses are unisex. But they are lightweight and comfortable, and they sat nicely on top of my head when I started running before the sun came up.

The quality is good. I can’t say if they’re worth the full $150 since I’m far to cheap to pay that much for something I’m likely to lose, break or drop during a run … but they’re nicer than my $20-30 pairs. I may pick up another!

Want to try them out for yourself? You can get a $500 gift card with code MTA14.

Shop now!


Disclaimer: I received a pair of sunglasses for free in exchange for my review. If you make a purchase using my link, I will receive a commission. Opinions are my own.


mostly i … yoga?

I was first introduced to yoga in 2007, when my office started bringing in an instructor twice a week. Free classes during my lunch break? Yes!


We started shortly after my first marathon, and I remember thinking what a great complement yoga was to running. At the time, I wasn’t doing any other cross-training.

I never went to any other classes until two summers ago, when I bought a Groupon for Bikram. I worried that I would have trouble in the heat, but I was curious. And the price was right — unlimited classes for one month for only $25.

I don’t remember how many classes I made it to that month … but I really enjoyed it. Just not enough to cough up the full price after that first month. But that fall, I picked up another Groupon, two months for $49. It stuck the second time. I first purchased one month, but then signed on for a whole year. You save a lot if you commit upfront! I just renewed again for a third year.

The only time that really works with my schedule is the 6 a.m. class. It’s often hard to get motivated to get out of bed in the morning  and out the door by 5:45 a.m., but it always feels so good to start the day in class. For most of my two years in class, I’ve typically gone Monday/Wednesday/Friday.

Triathlon training has put a wrinkle into my yoga schedule, though. Swimming is Tuesday/Thursday nights, and I usually don’t get home until 10 p.m. Even if I manage to get to bed promptly, I just can’t make it to class the next day. I’ve tried setting my early alarm a few times — only to reset it for a more reasonable wake-up time.

So I’ve switched my yoga schedule to Tuesday/Thursday. I wish I could make it to more classes (maybe sometimes I’ll fit a Monday in), but I’m OK with this format until swimming ends at the end of May.

It does make for very busy Thursdays, though! Our office yoga has since dwindled down to just once a week (we do have bootcamp three times a week, plus a crossfit-style instructor), and of course that’s on Thursday. I don’t want to miss his class … but I don’t want to skip Bikram.  Just once a week isn’t enough!

So that’s two and a half hours of yoga … plus swimming at night, and I often try to squeeze in a run before I hit the pool.


But I love it.


review: sunshine burgers

In the past couple years, I’ve been working on cleaning up my diet. It’ll never be perfect (that’s hard … and no fun!), but day to day, I do what I can to make sure I’m fueling my body with healthy foods.

I’ve greatly limited the amount of processed foods I’m eating, and make sure the ones I still do contain ingredients I recognize and trust.  I’ve really missed the convenience of veggie burgers. Once a staple in my diet, most have been nixed due to their science-experiment ingredient lists.

I was happy and excited when I got the opportunity to review Sunshine Burgers — organic, vegan and gluten-free burgers that come in a variety of flavors.

They are perfect when I’m in the need of a quick mini dinner after en evening workout, or when I don’t have time to cook a complicated meal.


I was sent samples of six (!) varieties of Sunshine Burgers to try. The first one I dug into was Garden Herb. I tried it plain — just cooked in the toaster oven. It came out crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and I loved the taste. I actually didn’t come up with anything creative to do with this flavor, but the next time I wanted one, I added some stone ground mustard. Delicious! And the ingredient list? Nothing to complain about here: organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic spices, sea salt.

I took a suggestion off the box and made “meatballs” out of the Shiitake Mushroom flavor. No, they didn’t taste like meatballs … but they held up nicely and were delicious served with zucchini “pasta” on a particularly healthy-eating day. I just heated up a burger part way, rolled into balls, and cooked for a few minutes in the toaster oven to firm them up.


I liked this idea so much that I did it again with the Hemp & Sage Breakfast flavor.

I also went the breakfast route with the Hemp & Sage burger. I crumbled it into pieces and put into a scramble with kale and eggs. It may not look all that appetizing in this photo (sorry!), but it was wonderful!


I added a Loco Chipotle burger to some leftover chili, a natural match. Once again, not the most appetizing photo … but it was really good!


My chili is pretty simple. I roasted two poblano peppers and a small onion. Then I combined the peppers and onion in a pot with two cans of beans (I used pinto and white beans this time around), a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. Add chili powder, cayenne, salt, cumin and garlic powder to taste.  I stirred in some cooked quinoa when it was ready to serve. That Loco Chipotle burger was a nice addition when I didn’t quite have enough left for lunch!

Similar to the Loco Chipotle is the Black Bean Southwest burger. I enjoyed that one by itself, too, but that could work in tacos and burritos. I also got to try the Falafel burger. Tasty, but it needed a little something. I’m thinking a tahini sauce would do the trick!

My local Whole Foods carries Sunshine Burgers, as do some of the Safeway stores in the area. If you want to find them in your area, they have a handy store locator.


Disclaimer: I received Sunshine Burgers for free through my involvement with the Sweat Pink Ambassador Program.  I was not compensated any other way. Opinions are my own.

changing gears

I only ran 32 miles in January. Less than my 39 from last November, when I was injured.

I’m feeling fine now, though. But my schedule has changed. I’m not “mostly running” at the moment.

I started swimming with a masters swim group twice a week in the beginning of the year. It’s a tough time — 8-9:15 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Nights that I usually run.

I was pretty casual about my running in January. As I got used to this new swim schedule, I’d often skip weekday runs, or do just a short run once a week before a swim class. Running on the weekends has been short, usually just six miles or maybe eight, and at least once I bailed on my weekend running completely due to bad weather.

But I was OK with being a winter wimp a few times. Being a lazy runner. Because I’m getting ready for something bigger.

The first month and a half of this year have been a bit of a reset for me.

And this week starts a 16-week journey as I train for my first half Ironman.


Yup, back in August I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Raleigh … and now it’s time to make it happen!

I put my plan into a spreadsheet this weekend, knowing it was go time. It’s a bit scary looking at everything I’ve got lined up for myself. I based it off of this plan, rearranging things to make the swim days line up where I need them, and expecting I’ll flip many of the scheduled Saturday/Sunday workouts, since my run group usually meets Saturday.

I know I won’t follow it exactly, but it’s a start.

I do know I won’t be overbooking my race schedule before race day (June 1) . I’ll have a few, but so far it doesn’t look like I’ll be too far off my training schedule. I hope to add a few organized bike rides to help with those long-mileage training rides, and I’m doing at least one short triathlon in May.

Scary and exciting!

So what are your big plans for 2014?

If all goes according to plan … this won’t be my only big event 🙂