The Fairest Week In Review: 5/16

HELLO! I’m coming off an AMAZING weekend. Moon – remember Moon? – she got married! In the same place Will Smith got married if that helps you envision it!


She had the most gorgeous dress and a lovely ceremony and good food and awesome people and a great after-party and I got cake and champagne and made a joint toast with my co-maid o’ honor Elizabeth and everything was magnificent.

I still got my runs in for the week, though! I can prove it:

Sunday | ran 10.27 miles outside in 1:45

Monday | walked 2.41 miles outside in 40 minutes; 60 minute ballet class

Tuesday | ran 5.28 miles outside in 55 minutes

Wednesday | ran 5.17 miles outside in 55 minutes

Thursday | walked 2 miles outside in 35 minutes; 60 minute ballet class
Actually I’m not sure how far I walked because my GPS went haywire and started logging ridiculous speeds, so I just went with the minimum distance I tend to achieve along my usual walking route in the usual amount of time.

Friday | ran 5.3 miles outside in 55 minutesAnd then it was off to Baltimore for wedding shenanigans!

Saturday | rest
I love cake.

Seriously, LOOK AT MOON’S DRESS!!!!


Ugh. Insurmountable. If I ever get married I may as well do it in a potato sack, because why bother?

Wait. What are we doing again? Week in review? Right! To the roundup!

In Which Moon Makes Her Move

GUYS GUYS GUYS you’ll never guess who we’re welcoming back today! MOON IS HERE!

Hellooo!

I’ve been off the map for a long time! In the event that anyone is interested in my life pertaining to running these past months, I’m sad to say that I’ve fallen out of my routine.

Routines are so nice. Structure is so nice. Since 2009, I’ve worked really hard to establish a running routine. I’ve had some minor upsets, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone as long as I have this past year without running. Now that it’s been so long since I’ve adhered to a routine, I can say with all the confidence: starting a new one sucks.

The move to Boston was hard. Reflecting on my decisions to move and start everything anew, I am now firmly of the opinion that perhaps I was too audacious in my resolve. I considered all the things I knew would happen: having to find a new job, leaving friends and family behind, living in a place I didn’t particularly like, etc. I didn’t, however, think of the things that could have happened. You know, such has my kitten becoming very ill while I was in Korea. Ferrang contracted FIP (maybe he was born with it, we aren’t sure), and when you’re faced with so much life at once, the metaphorical gravity of literally flying around the earth and having no place to be really does things to you. We flew home early and thankfully had some precious time with him, but the day after he passed away, we were driving in a van full of miscellaneous stuff and my cat Hoodoo on my lap, up to Boston.

Since landing in Boston there have been a few attempts to start running again. Weather (I say this almost in passing, but ugggghh, the weather) and mood were the culprits for upsetting any new routine. Depression comes from all sorts of places, but I’ve definitely been in a multi-level funk for at least the past year. Though, I think I’m finally getting to a place where I can balance my life again. That’s what I hope for, anyway (I dream of the days when I had my treadmill and the park behind Elizabeth‘s house).

Running was a really empowering element to my existence. It was the result and reflection of balance in my life. It took a lot of maintenance, but it truly made me feel happy, calm(er?), and confident. Falling away from that felt like I had failed somehow. So, now I’m just trying to find that happy balance of psyche so I can run happily again.

It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost been a year since we started our move up here, so we are actually going to be moving yet again! I’m hoping this is the catalyst for Re-start of Life No. 2. I’m currently searching for a kitten to adopt to keep Hoodoo company. Looking for a place with a gym. Took my running clothes out of boxes. Waiting for spring.

Wishing everyone health and happiness!

At the 2015 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.


Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. I
f you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Moon Has Had A Lot Of Caffeine & Wants To Run A Marathon

For the past two days I’ve been asking myself, “Why do I tend to begin all my posts with a preface?” And… this one even breeches into metapreface territory. I’m prefacing my preface with this thought about prefacing. I’m not sure why I do it. Maybe I just don’t post enough. Maybe this is the universe’s subtle hint that I need to be more proactive on the blog (all eyes go to Jenn for that one…).
OK, off I go!
I would like to preface with this (sigh. I even thought about making a pun here, but I’m terrible at jokes): I have had a lot of caffeine.
And I mean supreme amounts.  It’s been approximately 36 hours since the beginning of my caffeine binge and believe it or not, I’m still tired. But also hyper. It’s a bit of a paradox, really.
I started the day around 5 AM with a nice can of Dr. Pepper (cherry). As my student asked me later in the day about my first-of-the-day-beverage-choice, “isn’t that kind of gross?” Yes, it absolutely is. And hey, the soda isn’t that bad, but after an hour and change of sleep, it’s a stark reminder that it’s time to get up. And it’s for that reason that I downed the can. I had some assignments to get done before going off to catalog some manuscripts at work, sooooo of course it was a good idea to grab one more can around 8 AM.
I think there was a strong tea in there somewhere, too.
Now, when I can’t sleep, I usually function pretty well for that first 24 to 48-period before I start acting wonky. But, come 10 AM, there I am yawning my way through a collation. Lunchtime arrives and down goes another soda.
After the museum, I head off to teach violin. So totally want to fall asleep in the car, so… Yay, for soda! Thankfully, it was a rather early day for me, so I was home a little earlier than usual. I’ve got a few more tasks to do, but then the question of what my blog post will be about is still looming. See, I had an idea. However, due to brain and sleep failure, I couldn’t remember.
I fretted about it for a bit and decided that it was best to maybe go running, see if any inspirational tripwires are initiated, and then come back to the computer. Success, tripwire tripped, and this is before I even got on the elevator.
And now for the crazy thought-process (this is going to be a bit stream of consciousness, my apologies): if I don’t get running I’m a failure. Complete failure => my heart rate feels a little out of control, maybe the caffeine? => start running => yeah, I feel weird. Why do I have chills? => this feels GREAT, I LOVE RUNNING <3<3<3, fireworks! => in a super good mood => decision made: I’m so running the Baltimore marathon.
I was in the gym for about an hour? Maybe a little longer? So, it’s not as if I came to all these realizations within minutes. And if you’ve been paying attention to our weekly reports then you know dearest Jenn miiiight be pushing for me to do a marathon. Actually, I’d really love to do one. I’m a really anxious and nervous person, sometimes (most of the time) prone to self-doubt. So, that’s a concern and it’s always looming in my brain. Also, running races requires a fair amount of commitment and goodness knows a lot of training. Oh yeah, and the $$ money. I’m a musician and historian, OK? Not exactly rolling in the cash monies.
Anyway, I was so hyper and exhausted at the same time that it would have probably best for everyone all around had there been a marathon going on outside right then so I could have just gotten it out of my system.
I’ve had some time to think over things. It’s the next day, I’m still on a caffeine binge, but I think I’ve come down from the ceiling. Last week when I was teaching one of my students, they shared with me a personal tale of a goal achieved. My student knows I run and we’ve talked about it a few times, but it was revealed that day that he had run a total of 4 or 5 marathons. I was floored.
He said that the last marathon he completed he set himself a new goal: He wanted to finish it in under 5:30. And then I inquired about pace and all that. Apparently he had run previous marathons and 5:30 was by no means a PR, but it was a new goal for walking the marathon. He realized his body just didn’t respond to running the way it used to, but he still wanted to do marathons, hence the walking. He said that he trained very hard and stuck to a strict schedule. It was arduous work and all that, but he wound up finishing thirty minutes earlier than his best time.
Applause!
So, back to my own marathon contemplation: even if I’m not ready, is it acceptable to settle with the fact that there might be some walking involved? The marathon is in October. I’ve got tons of work to do until then, but I’ve been pretty steady with my workout schedule. I don’t have a terrible amount of time to train, but this is something that has been nagging me for a year. It’s kind of a personal achievement goal, you know? Part of this commitment is seeing if I can stick to it no matter what and the second part is: just do one, already.
Maybe I should start with some basic running procedures: 
 This blog post (for those of you who read the first bit, but then realized how laced in insanity it was and just skipped to the end): I’m hyper, so maybe this is impulsive (blame the caffeine, see above). But, seeing as this is a running blog and one between friends… should I run the Baltimore marathon?
So, should I do it? I’m putting it out there publically, so there’s no backing out now.
P.S. about the “Cruise Control” video: Some of you might be thinking, “Wait a second… Moon supporting Tom Cruise is like Jenn renouncing WDW…” The disclaimer here is… I had no pictures minimal degrees of relevancy, so… >_>
In all non-seriousness, here’s another (slightly updated) video for your viewing pleasure. 
Jenn is running the 2015 Marine Corps Marathon for the Diabetes Action Team. Will you help her earn her bib while fighting diabetes? Click here to make your tax-deductible donation.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Moon Recaps The Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

Let me preface with: for the past three years I’ve been going to the Cherry Blossom Festival in hopes of seeing some BOSS cherry blossoms. Because we’ve had long and stupid winters, however, I’ve been coming out of the experience seeing bare trees. A week before the race I hear news that the cherry blossoms should be in their peak blossoming stage (is that a thing?), so I was pretty pumped!
And then: The sore throat.
I think I posted about it in the weekly review. At first, I thought it was a cold. Two days pass by and the throat still hurts, but I’ve got no other big symptoms, so I think, “Yes! Maybe it’s just allergies!” Wednesday: goodbye voice. Thursday and Friday: ears clogged, headache, and chest congestion. Saturday: It’s a cold. And, it’s a pretty bad one.
I had plans to meet up with Jenn and Pat at the National Building Museum (creative name, huh?). When I get there, I’m first struck by how many people are actually inside. I really didn’t think this was going to be a huge expo. Upon entering, we’re greeted by volunteers shouting directions to pick-up location. Why not use signs, I think.
Pick-up and expo go smoothly. It wasn’t terribly exciting and there were a lot of people, so we all parted ways and went home.
At home: I pretty much fret over the cold and try my best to kill it as fast as possible. Christian and I discuss whether or not I should run the race (I prepared sooo well, I really didn’t want to sit it out). I decide I want to do it and Christian says, “Well, it will make a good blog entry post for Jenn, right?” I don’t know, but mostly my review is: I’m running sick. This is what happened. Annnnyway… I go to sleep, wake up at 4AM and decide I might as well start purging all the nastiness that a cold brings in the morning. I also decide that I should eat as many cough drops as possible.
This resulted in a stomach ache of the ages during the race and for long after. But, hey… If I’m running miserable I might as well take it out for a full-blown test drive, right?
We left at 5:25AM for DC and had plenty of time and arrive on Smithsonian grounds. We see people going both left and right. To our left is a sign that reads, “5k this way!” So, because there’s no sign to the right, I figure that must be the way to the ten-miler start. We follow the crowds heading that direction and eventually run into a giant gathering around the Monument and see a huge sign that reads, “Welcome Runners!”
This is the only picture I had the energy to take…
Okay, so that’s ambiguous. There was also some signs for medical tent, pictures, etc., but they were all gathered together and underneath only said “this way.” Also ambiguous. Where are yesterday’s volunteer shouters when you need them? I need to check my bag and meet back up with Christian. We have about seven minutes before the start of the Orange Wave. The original plan was to meet Jenn and have her sneak into the back of this corral with us, but it was extremely crowded and there were no defined places to really meet. I also ran out of time looking for things I needed to do before heading to the corral.
After reaching what we thought was our corral, we realize that we’re not in fact in the race lane. A white fence blocks us off from the runners, so we squeeze though and as soon as make it to the back of the corral, we briefly look for Jenn at the beginning of the Green Wave, but no luck. While this is all going on, our wave is actually moving to the start line, so we basically made it to the corral just in time for the start. As we’re starting I also hear something about the race being changed due to a personal injury, so part of the race was to be shortened, but they were unsure by how much [Jenn’s note: turned out to be 9.39 miles]. A hurried and confusing experience, but okay. Off we go.
The run itself was probably the most miserable run I’ve ever done. And I forgot my gloves, so my hands swelled and froze. The pacing of the waves wasn’t the best. The wave never really smoothed itself out. I was constantly getting hit by other runners and ironically (even with a cold) getting stuck behind packs of slower runners. Around mile four I landed on my right foot wrong and hurt my ankle, but at this point my feelings towards everything was, “please just finish as soon as possible so I can go homeeeee.” It definitely slowed me down a little, but I’m glad I have enough resolve to keep running.
But, on the bright side: Christian and I stayed together until about mile 7 (he picked up his pace and finished about 5 minutes ahead of me) and it was sunny. The Cherry Blossoms were actually in bloom (yay!). I also didn’t have as bad a finish time as I thought I would. 1:31 is pretty okay with me for a sick run.
The course itself was a lot of back-and-forth running. I think at one point we ran through a parking lot? Yes, the trees were pretty, but I’m not sure it was a positive enough experience for me to want to definitely make this a yearly run (I just asked Christian and he replied with a monotone and short, “no”). If you’re trying for a new PR, I wouldn’t suggest this run. It’s packed on the course and water isn’t found terribly often. I only took Gatorade once because every time I hit a water station I wasn’t sure which side the water would be on and it got backed up because a lot of runners stopped. With a narrow running track, this made finding water a bit inconvenient. 
The other question is: Would I run with a cold this bad again? Probably not. Unless it was my first marathon or something. Breathing good. Congestion bad. 
Post-race it took about a half hour to find Christian and Jenn. I parked myself near a trash station and continued my feast of cough drops. I found some water, but didn’t care to go looking for other snacks I saw runners with. Although, I was pretty jealous of the plastic blankets some runners happened to find.
This is a pretty accurate display of how I felt. Also, my hair was nuts.
(Photo courtesy of Christian’s phone!)
Well, that about wraps it up. I’m sitting here regretting writing this post because I imagined myself two weeks ago writing something to the effect of, “IT WAS AMAZING!! YAY RUNNING AND CHERRY BLOSSOMS!” Instead, I’m sitting here still with a cold and making myself write a review that isn’t cringe-worthy (read: booooring)… I think I’ve moped sufficiently for one post. Here’s to our next run that’s full of health and organization! 
Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Moon Muses On Pre-Race Anxiety

Greetings from your not-so-frequent-solo-poster Moon! I feel honored to be writing today, April 1, my favorite holiday. I also find it ironic that a solo post is due for you, readers, on April Fools’ Day (it’s not a joke, this is a real post!).
Hmm—and this is just a side note—I auspiciously also had a dream earlier this week about Chaucer (from whom we glean our first correlations between foolishness/silliness and the first day of April), the apocalypse (this is a recurring theme in my dreams >_>…), disease, and Disney World. Buuuut, more on that another time. What this really means: it is fate. Write this post. 
What I really mean to discuss today is Pre-race Anxiety. Notice the capitalization of that title. For me, it really should be PRE-RACE ANXIETY! in order to properly emote the proper levels of freak-out.
I’m not sure if anyone out there experiences this like I do, but before races (usually two weeks before until the race is over) I get super nervous. I worry about failure to finish, injuries, illness, energy levels, eating, scheduling, choking on water while running, you name it. It’s a wonder that I even finished my first race at all.
As I’m sure we are all aware: stress really messes with your groove. This is probably the worst consequence of being anxious and running. Here is just a short selection of anxiety-laden incidents that I have experienced:
1. Running with someone: “Ahhhhh, taking in too much air, hyperventilating, what if my running mate thinks I’m slow?! Are they tired yet? I think I’m tired. I don’t know, but I don’t want to look dumb. Do I look dumb?!”
2. Waking up in the night: I can’t sleep. What if I can’t run fast enough? It’s 5AM… Okay, I guess I’m going for a ten-mile run.
3. …I didn’t have enough time to finish ten, only got to 8.5 before I had to get ready for work. Should I run later tonight? During lunch? Ugh, I’ll just have to do another set of ten just to make sure I really can run ten miles without stopping.
4. At the gym: Of all the treadmills in here, WHY did this person have to choose the one right next to me? Can’t breathe, please go away so I can run with some sense of calm ;-;! [Jenn’s Note: Why DO people do this???]
5. THE RACE IS TOMORROW. I NEED TO RUN 13.1 MILES RIGHT NOW.
So, there is a glimpse into my pre-race psyche. It’s not pretty and usually my strategy for dealing with it is over-preparing. This gives me enough confidence to run the race without too much doubt. I’m not sure this is exactly the best way to go about dealing with anxiety, but for now it will have to do. Any advice from other anxious runners?
I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Ummm, calm down there, Moon.”
I can’t calm down, I’m always nervous!! 
Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Moon Recaps The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation 5K Run/Walk

There’s nothing like a crisp and chilly morning by the National Harbor waters to get the blood stirring in the morning… Especially when your name is Christian and you’re wearing shorts (more on this later).
November 16: Friends and family gathered to show their support of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation by running or walking. I invited some of my closest friends and family to run/walk with me. I’m eternally grateful for those who were able to come and participate. All the love to Christian, Elizabeth, Amanda, Clift, and Dad.
Weather is general has a reputation for being unreliable and spotty. We Marylanders were experiencing a rather warm beginning to winter. Earlier in the week the temperatures were solidly between 50-60. However, evening arrived and decided to bring with it cold air and SNOW.
We missed much of the precipitation, but it was indeed very cold. Christian did not have long running pants (and unfortunately we were banking on it staying unreasonably warm). So, enjoy some of our pre-run pictures of the group together. We all look cold (except for Clift and Dad who wore many layers).

Just to throw it out there: I went back to my car after a half hour of standing around to search for my ONE MITTEN I thought might be hiding somewhere in the glove box (no pun intended, although a glove box full of gloves would have been appropriate. Hmph).
Unfortunately, the walkers and runners did not have the same course. Amanda reports back that my dad is quite the fast walker. He is also possesses terrible estimate skills. When I found him at the end we had this conversation:

Me: There you are! I was wondering when you would all get back.

Dad: It was nothing. We went three miles, I’m surprised it took you so long.

Me: What do you mean? I’ve been waiting here for a half hour for you guys?

Dad: We went three miles in about… eh, probably 22 minutes.

Me: …If you walk at 3 MPH each mile will be 20 minutes.

Dad: We were going pretty fast.

Turns out the walkers did a shorter course, although Clift and Amanda attest to Dad’s pants indeed being on fire.
As for the runners! Liz, Christian, and I ran. Christian and I stayed together for the most part. The track took us up a hill and over a bridge and a half. The course was a bit lack-luster, but this is only because we ran halfway then turned around and ran back the same way.
The cold kept me moving, though. Note to future self: NO WINTER RUNS UGH.
Christian and I made good time and Liz kept a solid pace throughout! Yay, team! Can’t wait to do the next one. Jenn will have to join and kick our butts.
Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Moon & Elizabeth Run With Nuns

Guys! Guess what! Two fantastic things happened this past weekend:
1. Moon ran a race.
2. Elizabeth raced, too!
 And one excellent thing is happening right now:
Moon is writing a solo blog post (!!). This, I know, does not happen very often. I’m rather excited to be bringing news other than “Hey, I ran this past week and it wasn’t bad.”
For the past few months I’ve been pondering doing more small races that benefit community causes. I’ve also been scheming to coerce Elizabeth into running. I found the perfect race: Little Sisters of the Poor Nun Run 5k and 1 Mile Run/Walk (and yes, there were indeed some sisters running!).
These humble ladies dedicate their lives to helping those in need and this was their inaugural race. About 800 people were signed up as of the evening before the race took place and I know that there were quite a few who signed up the morning of the race.
The race commenced on the morning of Saturday, September 13. The drive to the race seemed ill-fated with the onset of rain, but for as rainy as the rest of the day proved to be, I’m glad that we made it through without a downpour.
There were a good number of first-time racers and a lot of families and friends running together. It was a great environment for a fun and easy run! The route took us up quite a few hills for such a short distance, but it felt good to have the challenge. I’m hoping next year they expand the route a bit more (10k perhaps?!).
 Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Moon Runs in Austin, TX

As we prepare to fly to the opposite side of the country for a race, let’s check in with Moon about running in a different state.

Hello everyone! Today I am here to entertain you with a tale about a road trip to Austin, Texas. You’re probably wondering why I’m going on about a Texas road trip on a predominantly Disney and running blog, right? Well, as it turns out, Austin is a great city for running.

Looking south on Congress Avenue, I think!

The boyfriend and I went on two runs while in Austin, the first a short 3ish mile run. For the first run we stuck to the city streets, hoping to get a good sense of the city layout. I’m not sure how much of a geographical sense of the city I came away with, but there was a very cute cat mural!

A goal was to find the Bullock Texas State History Museum… But, I think it’s safe to say our run was over when we ran past Whole Foods Market Headquarters.

Our second attempt was complete with many Austin sites. We began in The South Congress Avenue area and ran towards the Colorado River. Once you make it to the River you can follow the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail that contours Lady Bird Lake.

This trail was a great place to run! The paths are wide in most places and the river is quite beautiful. The aquamarine water of the Colorado River was a pleasant contrast to the murky grey waters of Baltimore’s Chesapeake (you’ll be healthy again, someday!). There are a few places to cross over the river, so you can easily size your run appropriately.

There was also some interesting wildlife to be seen. Of course this particular creature is of myth only, but we passed a large monument of a Jackalope. Previous to the Austin excursion, I had never heard of such a creature, but apparently it is a mixture of a jackrabbit and an antelope. It’s has indigenous North American folklore roots, but don’t ask me to get specific. There were many birds. I’m no Ornithologist, but they were quite different from the birds found in Maryland! There are also other sites around the river, such as: a statue of bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The Common Grackle [Quiscalus quiscula] was seen with some frequency.
This is not really important,  but for most of the trip, I thought it was pronounced
“graggle,” thus I spent a lot of inner thought on: What kind of name is
that?!

Okay, so after the loop we decided to head for the Texas State Capitol building. We made it there, but had about 20 minutes to make it back to our hotel before checkout. So, off we went!

…In the wrong direction, of course. In the end we made it back just in time, rounding out the run at about 8 miles.

And for the wrap up: If you find yourself in Austin, Texas, you will have a great environment for running, walking, biking, etc. We had a great time and it’s a great way to see the city. This is unrelated, but we also had really amazing grilled cheese sandwiches post-run. And I’m no fan of cheese.

Okay, that’s all from us for now! OFF TO DISNEYLAND!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon! 

Music + Running: When Headphones & Sneakers Do Not Entertain a Happy Marriage

No doubt you’re sick of Jenn prattling on, so for a change of pace, here’s a solo Moon post! Yay!

Hey gang!

I’m venturing on a new series, here. Hopefully this narrative will get more interesting as we push forward, but bear with me for a bit. But, before I get too preachy, how about revealing what the series actually is.

Music and Running

Let me preface with the admission that I use the term “running” loosely. I know there are many serious runners for and against listening to music while running. Perhaps we can tackle this debate at a later time, but for now let’s entertain the idea that music is a significant part of the running experience.

I must admit that I consider myself first and foremost a musician. I spend minutes, hours, and days thinking about sonic analysis. Considering form, influence, tone, harmony, historical context, etc. of any musical work gets me up in the morning (quite literally. I wake up to my phone radio in the morning). At the same time, in a perfect world I will follow my morning musical ritual with a run. For me this is a seamless balance. There is nothing more soothing that a steady (however elevated) heartbeat and something to ponder while I am keeping a steady pace.

Okay. Here is the plan. Every so often I will tackle a topic within the broad sphere of “music and running.” Today I’m going to go easy. Today is all about when music and running don’t match so well. And what better way to present this than an embarrassing story of pain and failure (I’m sure you’re all loving my stories so far).

The scene: Music room. New treadmill. Full to the max with running ambition. I spent many hours in the room nearly ripping my hair out practicing, studying, memorizing. My parents had just received a piano from a friend and they thought I would really like a real piano. And you know, I would have… Had the piano been in any sort of shape to be played. This thing was awful. It must have been sitting outside in the elements, being rained on by the tears of the gods for the past 500 years with no tuning or maintenance. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

The piano was right behind the treadmill, that’s the point. The debate before setting off was what to listen to. The age old question that delays most runs for at least ten minutes. This day I was feeling particularly romantic and at ease, so I thought what better than Chopin. If you haven’t heard any of these beautiful piano pieces, take a listen.

I absolutely adore Chopin’s nocturnes. So, on goes the Nocturnes. Everything was going steady for a while, but if you’ve ever spent an afternoon listening to Chopin you know that the state of dreaminess eventually sets in. This is all fine and good while on a picnic, reading a book, going for a walk even. Probably not best for running.

Because I became so relaxed and calm that I dozed off.

Annnnd propelled right into the piano. Talk about irony. So, let’s just say I do not listen to Chopin while running anymore. Although, if any of you have seen the Showtime program Dexter then you probably know that Deborah frequently listened to Chopin while running on the treadmill because her man-crush Special Agent Frank Lundy impressed upon her the beauty of Chopin. It worked for her. If only we could all be so lucky.

This man has no interest in your athletic well-being.

Which begs the question: What songs are NOT on your running list?


Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

In Which Moon Touches On Restrictive Dieting

We’ll periodically be putting up solo posts from one or the other of us, just to keep the format fresh. And you know, for funsies. Today Moon tackles a topic that has great meaning to us both…

Restrictive diets: say no.

Let’s talk a little about nutrition and diet. Most of the “diets” I have experienced have been extremely restrictive. So, in other words, they are not diets, but more like a blacklist for your stomach. I would like to take a different approach. How about we not create a diet based on what to restrict from our bodies, but build a balanced diet that gives our bodies what they need (and want!).

I have a lot of experience with weird eating habits and crazy diets, but let’s start with my most current eating concern. All of my adult life I have been a vegetarian. I am a vegetarian who is also lactose intolerant. But, let’s start with vegetarianism. Most of the time I get this reaction:

What DO you eat? And yes, the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding was correct in the portrayal of family members insisting that the leaner meats are not meat at all (That’s okay, that’s okay. I make lamb).

I eat everything except meat, of course! And honestly, I really love vegetables. For the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on with my cholesterol levels. I went for a yearly check-up with my primary physician and a few weeks after the appointment I received a letter that basically read, “You are overweight and should consider a weight management program.”

My initial reaction was amusement, but after going through the test results, I discovered that my cholesterol levels were through the roof. This was surprising to me because my diet contained barely any cholesterol (minimal amounts from eggs, but I rarely ate eggs). Now, I understand that cholesterol has strong ties to the genes you have, but I have NO idea about my medical history because I am adopted. However, I never before showed any high levels of cholesterol. Now, I have another condition that might account for the high levels of cholesterol, but I take medication that should balance that out. Here’s the bottom line: I needed to change my diet to try and lower at least the bad levels of cholesterol. To do this, I started to eat fish.

I cried the first time I ate fish. A small number of vegetarians out there are probably empathizing with me right now, but the majority of you are probably thinking, seriously? Vegetarianism became for me a way of life and while I did not start because I was against eating animals, over time I did feel that going back to eating meat would be in some way contaminating or somehow letting myself down.

I shouldn’t have been upset to eat fish. Sometimes I consider stopping, but I honestly have no negative side effects from eating fish (don’t get me wrong; I am absolutely for better treatment of animals. I am for eating organic and I try to stay far away from processed foods. I think our meat industry is in terrible disarray).  However, in retrospect I really believe that I should have been easier on myself for eating something that was good for me. And the fish has been helping. I am stronger and healthier. My protein levels are getting better and I will find out soon to see if my cholesterol is any better.

Here’s the thing with restrictive diets: it does something to my psyche. I go overboard with removing foods from my diet. I’ve found shortcuts to calorie intake. I think it does something to a lot of us, mentally, and I firmly believe that if your mind and body are not in the right place then whatever you are going for won’t have the best outcome.

And finally, to the point of the post: Eat what makes you healthy, strong, and happy. You might be thinking, Yeah, but I want to eat cake topped with cake. I want to play steak with Jenn. Can I deep-fry the cake? I find that my uncontrollable cravings for sugar are usually because I’m stressed. When I’m stressed I try to run to rid myself of the bad energy and usually it works enough to get me to calm down. I think if we recognize why we crave some of the unhealthiest foods all the time, we might be able to balance the real issue.

The good news is: let yourself eat something you like every now and then! There is nothing wrong with enjoying the sweet, sweet, nectar that is all foods found in a bakery. It’s the extreme desire of wanting unhealthy foods all the time that is usually an indicator of another issue. Be positive in your approach to your nutrition! Above all else, keep your body and mind happy and healthy and things will fall into place.

A lot of our diet is controlled by bad moods, stress, and anxiety. Take the negatives out of the equation and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Restrictive dieting has definitely messed with both our psyches in the past. We’ll be talking more about this subject in the future. There are still so many destructive habits floating around among women out there – but we think it’s great that blogging has opened up a dialogue about it! If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.

Delicious sandwiches from Backlot Express.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!