A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Once upon a time... I ran 50 miles

**Believe it or not, I used to be able to run for longer than 10 minutes. (That's right my friends, I am up to 10 minutes now!) I used to run miles and miles on the trail. I still love the trail. I can't wait to get back on it! At this point my knee is going to be better just in time for the warm weather... and the snakes! (DAMNIT!) I'd like to tell you about a time, long ago in 2010, when I ran a 50 Mile Ultra Marathon! Get a cup 'o coffee (or scotch) and sit back. This is a long one. (Or just scroll down and look at pictures.)**

Once upon a time... I ran 50 miles!

When I first started running, I only ran on the road. After awhile, I would dabble in trail running- mostly because my friends ran on trail a lot and I didn't want to run alone on the weekends. At first, I didn't like the trail. I felt like I had to concentrate the whole time to be sure I didn't fall or step on a snake or something equally as frightening. I don't know when I changed my mind, but eventually I loved trail running. I still do.

In January, 2010, I ran my first ultra marathon- a 50k. It was the longest distance I ever ran in my life. It was one of those Fat-Ass, no frills get togethers called the Phunt 50k in Elkton, MD. The race was in early January. It was freezing and the ground was snow covered, but somehow I managed to finish in six and a half hours(ish). No one was even watching while I crossed the finish line- that is how Fat Ass-y this one was. I grabbed two hot dogs (I was starving!) and drove 2 hours home. It was a great experience! Just a loooong day in the woods.

For some reason, I decided to run a 50 mile ultra after that. A lot of my friends I ran with at the time had run ultras (even 100 milers!), so it didn't seem like such a crazy thing to do. My friend Anne and I decided to sign up for the Bull Run 50 Miler in Clifton, Virginia. We trained together and ran the entire race together. That day was one of the best days of my life. I felt so good the whole race. Part of me doesn't even want to attempt a 50 again because I don't think any race could ever turn out as well as Bull Run did.

Some FAQs about running a 50 Mile Ultra

**Based off my experience only- I am not an expert! I only did it once!**

How do you train for a 50? I know I trained too much. I ran too many miles during the week. I should have rested more on those days. I did things right on the weekends, though. We did a lot of back to back trail runs- 20 miles on a Saturday and 12 miles on a Sunday. Stuff like that. Our longest run was supposed to be 30 miles but I got injured and wasn't able to do that one. More on that in a minute...

Did you experience any injuries during your training? Why yes, I did! Several weeks before the race my achilles suddenly got SUPER tight. I had to rest and go to PT. I even missed some important training runs. Somehow, it got better pretty quickly and everything worked out. I have never had an achilles injury since.

What did you eat during the race? Lots of peanut butter sandwiches. 2 pieces of pizza. Water. Mountain Dew (LOTS!!). Peanut M & Ms and a doughnut. I'm sure I ate other stuff too but I can't remember.

Did you run the whole time or did you walk? We walked up every hill and sometimes we walked while we ate. Otherwise, we ran- slow, but steady. We weren't looking to break any records.

Where do you go to the bathroom? All over the woods! The first 35 miles I was sure to go behind a tree. But by the end of the race I was drinking so much Mountain Dew that I had to go all. the. time. And for some reason, after 9 hours in the woods, you stop caring about peeing behind a tree and don't care who sees your bum. So I sort of stopped being concerned about finding a tree at that point.

What did you carry with you? My hydration pack as well as a little pack around my waist. I am pretty sure I had napkins, aspirin, and salt tabs in that. Oh, and I had my phone, too! I remember texting my friend at one point while we were running through a field.

What did you eat after the race? Immediately after, I had a huge grilled italian sausage, some cupcakes, potato salad and a soda. I think some ginger snaps on the way home, too. When we got home later that night, I ate an entire small pizza from Papa John's... including the butter dipping sauce!

Did you have any injuries or blisters or anything after the race? I had two HUGE blisters on the outside of each big toe. They were as big as marbles. I didn't even know I had them until I took my sneakers off. I popped them in the shower immediately. That hurt like a bitch but there was no other choice- they hurt too bad!

Did you and Anne talk the whole time? Yes. We talked the entire 11.5 hours. I have never had a longer conversation with anyone. I am so lucky to have been able to share this experience with Anne. She is a wonderful person, an amazing runner, and a great friend. I wish you all would get to run with her someday!

And now some pictures of our day!!!

I ate a big bagel on the way to the start. When we got there, we stayed semi warm inside
and loaded up on some pre-race coffee. I used wear a bandanna when I ran.

Pre-race pic! Me and Anne. Best trail running partner EVER!

My mother-in-law Deb, Anne, me, and Paul.
Paul looks like a BABY!!!
Deb and Paul crewed for us. They brought a tambourine and a drum so when we
were approaching an aid station, we would hear their music. BEST. CREW. EVER!

This had to have been early, before Mile 11 since we still had on our long sleeves and gloves.
See the blue bells? The course was gorgeous.

Mile 11- Our first (of many) stops for food!

Mile 21. 
PB&J fueled us most of the way.
Most of the pictures you will see are of us eating!


Who are these people? Well, they are the volunteers at the Wolf Run Shoals aid station. This aid station is at Mile 25 and you pass it again on the way back as well. These fun volunteers dress up every year, and that year, the theme was The Wizard of Oz. I was too delirious to understand that they were dressed up because I thought the Tin Man was a runner who was wearing one of those suits the people who run Badwater wear. I said to Anne, "Why is that guy in a Badwater suit?" She answered, "Megan, he's the Tin Man!" Augh, it all came together after that!

Mile 28. I had just started the Mountain Dew. Once I started, I didn't stop!

Mile 38. At this point, we knew we were going to make it!
Notice how my clothes just kept coming off...

We finished together and we finished strong! On second glance, I look a little delirious!

We don't look like we ran for eleven hours and twenty minutes, do we???

Running a 50 miler was an awesome experience. I will probably do one again... eventually... but I'm not in any rush! This race was just too perfect!

Do you have any ultra running goals?
Do you enjoy trail running or prefer the road?
Who is your favorite running partner?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Things I hate that most people love.

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Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Thank you to Amanda @ Running With Spoons for hosting  this Thinking Out Loud link up! 

This post is inspired by one I wrote several weeks ago... 5 Horrible Things That I Love Very, Very Much. It got me thinking... I bet there are lots of things I HATE that most people LOVE.

Hate is a strong word. A more accurate description would be "Things I Don't Care For", or "Stuff That's Not My Cup of Tea".

So here you go.. a couple things I dislike that most people enjoy!

1. Football

Football is something I wish I liked. It's on ALL the time in the Fall/Winter. I mean, it's sort of like having new episodes of your favorite TV show on Monday nights, Thursday nights, and all day Sunday. That would be awesome! Alas, I never liked the game. I didn't even like it when I was in high school. I had to attend all the games anyway because I was in marching band. (Clarinet!)

2. Harry Potter

** I looked for a Harry Potter meme but I didn't understand any of them
because I never saw/read Harry Potter so... use your imagination for an image for this one!**

I am not a fan of fantasy movies or books, so it has never interested me to start reading the series. I do love reading memoirs, true crime novels, and anything Malcolm Gladwell-ish.

3. Disney

Augh, don't hate me for this one! I have just never been into Disney! I've never been to Disney World. And I know what you're thinking... if I went there, I would love it. Maybe? Who knows? I don't like crowds. I don't like children in unstructured environments. I am not into the characters at all. It's just not on my list of things to do. I did love The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aladdin when I was a kid. In fact, I had the clarinet music to Aladdin. Boy I could rock out to Arabian Nights!

4. Smartphones

Funny Confession Ecard: I feel more naked without my phone than I do without any of my clothes.

They take over liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiives!!!!! I still have a flip phone with no data plan. I talk (rarely), text (often), and play solitaire (nightly). I will use this type of phone until my company requires me to get a data plan. Which probably isn't that far off...

Your turn! Do you share my sentiments with anything on my list? Is there something everyone loves that you HATE? Think Out Loud!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


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This all went down Tuesday morning at Planet Fitness around 7:15am.
How exact of me to remember such an epic moment in my recovery!

I do not know what this means. I'm not going to get too excited.

The first minute, I felt fine. The next 4, it didn't hurt, 
but I could feel the "inner workings" of my knee... best way I can describe it.

No pain the rest of the day.

Knee still does not feel "normal" but 5 minutes and no pain? I will take it.

Tomorrow I may try seven minutes.

I started with a 10 minute pace and worked up to a nine.
The faster you go, the more pounding, so I didn't want to push it.

Why did it hurt and feel tight on Saturday but not Tuesday? Well, it may be getting "better".
Or it may be because on Tuesday I was very warmed up (already lifted and did arc trainer), 
I stretched a lot, and I was on the softer surface of a treadmill.

It may hurt tomorrow, who knows?

I RAN FOR 5 MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!

Tell me something glorious!!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The ABCs of... ME!

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I had a new idea for a blog series so you could get to know me a little bit better. I urge other bloggers to join in, too! All you do is go through the alphabet and think of words or phrases that describe you and your life. (I’m sure you had an assignment like this in middle school language arts class, right!?) I’m not going to do the whole alphabet in one post, I’m going to break it into chunks. Check out Part I and Part II of the series. Now onto Part III!

When I work out, I am a git 'er done type of gal. I don't like to talk to people
at the gym, I don't like to take breaks, I just like to go, go go. There is currently a guy
who works at the gym who stops and talks to me several times during a workout.
I am annoyed. I need to think of a nice was to tell him to buzz off. I have shit to do.

I teach elementary music during the day, but 3 days a week, after
work, I teach private piano lessons at my home. I like to keep it to
around 10 students. That way I still have a life, but can also go to Hawai'i and
not feel bad about it!

When I am studying, reading, writing lesson plans... anything that requires
focus, I have to have it quiet. I don't like music or TV in the background. I used to
be able to study with the TV on (waaaaaay back in college) but not anymore.


I cry very easily. Happy or sad, the tears are a-flowin'.
I even cry at game shows when people win a lot of money. I just get so happy for them!

I want to travel more! I am definitely not a "traveler", but I want to be. I need
to hit up a few more destinations before I can say I reached "traveler" status.

Will you join me in this blog series? I'd love to learn more about you!
Describe yourself using the letters above! Write your own post, or leave it in the comments!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Weekend Wrap Up!

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Happy Monday! Boy did I sleep well last night. 7:30pm-6:00am! I am a little sad this morning. My husband is in Tampa to see a concert. I am happy he got to go on a trip, but things just aren't the same without him here.

Thank you so much for your encouragement yesterday regarding my 27 second run. I don't feel like an athlete right now or someone who is inspiring. I feel like a lump. So your nice comments meant A LOT to me. THANK YOU!!

Here's what I was up to this weekend...

Friday was one of those days I had to be ON at work. There are some days when you're teaching that things go smoothly without you having to work hard for them to go smoothly. Directions are followed, procedures are carried out accordingly... Then there are days where as a teacher, you have to be proactive and on top of EVERYTHING so the whole lesson doesn't explode in your face. Yup, that was Friday for me. But I made it to the weekend! Hallelujah!

Friday night was awesome. We met my parents for dinner at Wayne's, a restaurant in my hometown that is now closing. It's sad. I can't believe that was our last trip to Wayne's! I had salad, salmon, sweet potato fries, and merlot. We talked, laughed, and had a blast.

Then we walked back to my mom and dad's house and tried Yuengling's Black and Tan ice cream. Chocolate ice cream mixed with salted caramel ice cream. It was divine. We had to pick one up at the little grocery store in my hometown on the way home.

You know how places you went when you were a kid seemed SO BIG, but then when you go back as an adult, you realize they are tiny? Yup, that's this grocery store. But it brought back lots of memories.

I went running. It didn't work out yet, but I'm going to try again in a week. You can read all about it here. Until then, more lifting, arc trainer, and spinning.

In fact, I had a pretty epic workout at Planet Fitness after my "run". I did HIIT on the arc trainer and then lifted chest, shoulders, and triceps and core. I was ravenous the whole rest of the day. (That's how I know I worked hard!)

That afternoon, a friend came over and I helped her organize a strength training program. I am not a trainer yet, so I didn't do it in an official capacity. We just worked together to figure out a more focused plan for her. I can't wait to hear how she likes it!

The other highlight of the evening? This:

I'm not good at taking food pictures and my camera SUCKS.
Please know that this tasted 1 billion times better than it looks!

It was AH-MA-ZING. A small portion of this with some homemade vanilla ice cream (not actually home made, just the home made flavor) was my dessert and it was worth every gram of sugar!

We got up at the butt crack of dawn Sunday morning so I could drive Paul and his mom to the Philadelphia airport to catch a flight to Tampa. I did not sleep well at all the night before. I think I got about 4 hours. We left the house at 5:50am and I got home at 10:15am. It was a lot of driving! But I managed to not get lost or take any wrong turns.

I did not feel like working out because I was so tired. I was also  feeling like a homebody and didn't want to go to the gym, so I tried my spin bike for the first time since my surgery. It felt great!

This is what I did:

5 minutes spin
1 minute plank
x 6

**Watched Will & Grace the whole time.**

The rest of the day was blah. I watched a documentary on the Titanic (it fascinates me) and about a billion Will & Grace and Seinfeld episodes. I was just sort of lost without my hubby around! We're not attached at the hip, but it's just nice having him in the house. I can't wait until he gets home!

I will leave you with a beautiful picture of Christmas!

I love when he does this!

I hope you had a great weekend!
Ever try Yuengling's ice cream?
Have you ever been to Tampa? I've never been to FL at all!
What's your favorite kind of cake?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

MEG WENT RUN! (& a travel question!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Don't get too excited. It didn't go so well!

After feeling down in the dumps last week, I decided I'm going to turn over a new leaf. I'm not going to freak out about my knee. Who cares if it was aching a little and wasn't 100%? It's not supposed to be better yet. I've decided I shouldn't focus on what my knee can't do. I should focus on how it is improving and what it can do. The truth is, even though it is not 100%, it is getting better. 

For instance...

I can stretch my leg more than ever. Before, it hurt too much to bend it, put weight on it, or even let the blood flow to it. Now, I can do most of the stretches that are good for my hip flexors, hamstrings and ITB.

Because I can stretch it more, that achy feeling only comes about when my leg is still for awhile- like driving or sitting. But when I keep up with the stretches, and move it around throughout the day, it feels a lot better. I am now able to rededicate myself to stretching (2-3 times a day. Whatever it takes!) and do some exercises to take it through almost full range of motion. Wahoo!

I can do body weight squats without it hurting! This is huge!! Because they scoped under my kneecap, it hurt too much to do body weight squats. But no more! (I'm not going to start doing them regularly yet, but it's cool to know it doesn't hurt.)

With Boston less than 2 months away, and it looking less and less likely to happen for me, I decided I had to at least try running on it and see what it felt like. I needed information as to where I'm at running-wise. The only way to get that info? RUN. (PS. Doc said over a week ago it was okay to test it.)

It was a GORGEOUS 50 degrees in Central PA on Saturday. I got out my Garmin and put it on the kitchen island to charge. 

"What's your Garmin doing out? Paul asked suspiciously. 


"I caught you!" he exclaimed.

"I'm running. Don't worry, I'm only going for five minutes," I assured him.

 "Why do you need your Garmin if you're only going for five minutes?" Paul asked.

 "So I can feel like myself again!!!"

He took a couple pre-run pictures of me. Christmas totally photo bombed.

I warmed up with a quarter mile of brisk walking. My goal was to try running, and if it felt good, stop after five minutes. If it didn't feel good, I would stop before five minutes. After my quarter mile warm up, I pushed the start button on my Garmin. "It's do or die," I said out loud. Then I corrected myself. "No, it's do or WAIT." (I like to talk to myself out loud at pivotal moments in my life.)

I ran. I ran for 27 seconds (.05 miles) before I stopped. My kneecap hurt. Not a ton, but it hurt, so I stopped. My whole left leg felt tight too. I'm sure it would have warmed up had I run longer, stopped and stretched, and then continued, but I wasn't going to run longer if my kneecap hurt. I walked .05 miles back to my house, hoping no one saw my pathetic excuse for a run.

While I am obviously disappointed that it hurt, I am happy that it was just the kneecap that hurt. They scoped behind that, and it had been really tender for awhile, so it's not crazy that it's still a little sore. My plan is to try running again in a week. Maybe that kneecap pain will be gone then!

And that's the story of the shortest run I ever did!

Here's a picture of my knee as of Saturday...

I shall never be a knee model. Oh well!

Okay all you travelers out there, I have a question!

Paul and I are going to Hawaii this summer and they keep changing our flights. It is going to take 14 hours to get from Philadelphia, PA to Kailua-Kona, HI. This is not including our travel time from where we live to the Philadelphia Airport.

Our flight leaves Philly at 6:00am... which means we'd have to get there at 4:30am... which means we'd have to leave our house at 2:30am... which means we'd have to get up at 1:30am.

Do you think we should we stay overnight near the Philly airport or just count on sleeping during some of the flights? I'll be taking Ativan to calm my nerves, so I think I will be sleepy from the drugs no matter what.

Staying the night before may seem like I no brainer, but the thing is, I don't see myself sleeping very well the night before our trip no matter what. I think I will just lay awake all night.

What do you guys think??? I never traveled across so many time zones...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Angry Runs... or Planks.

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This is my angry face.
Actually, no. It's Christmas yawning.
(Remind me to tell you about the TWO times he bit me. Like, "had to go to the doctor" bit me.)

On Thursday afternoon, I got really angry. I will not share with you what made me so angry, because it isn't that interesting of a story. The point isn't why I was angry, but what I did with that pent up anger!

Normally, I'd get my frustration out with some fast, angry running. But obviously that wasn't going to happen. So I decided to plank for as long as I could! I thought I would do 5 minutes, but 1 min and 22 seconds into the plank, I started to sweat and realized I probably would not make it that long! I did make it to 4 and a half minutes, though! That is definitely the longest I ever planked in my life!

And what do ya know... it worked. I wasn't angry anymore. In fact, I felt great! I felt strong and ready to tackle whatever else life had to throw at me!

It made me think of a time I went for a run when I was really angry. Did I ever tell you I run so fast when I am pissed off. That fateful, angry morning, I woke up, didn't even EAT or DRINK or take ANY food or water with me and ran the fastest, hilliest, 12 miles I ever ran in my life. I did not need food or water, I was fueled by anger!

I wonder if therapists ever prescribe exercise? Because doing that epic plank made me feel even better than venting to my husband would have made me feel!

Obviously exercise is great to help you relax and get out a lot of pent up feelings and energy. We all know this. I expect it's why most of us do what we do. It's our therapy. But did you ever have a really great exercise session that was totally fueled by ANGER?

Friday, February 21, 2014

A BLAST from the PAST - LINK UP!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... I've been blogging for almost 9 months now, but I don't think anyone (other than my mom) read my blog during the first 5 months of it's existence! But I wrote a lot of great posts during that time that I'm not sure my readers have seen... since I don't think I even had readers back then! So I have compiled 5 blog posts that I either thought were informative or I thought would give you some insight into my life. 

So if you care to look back at a couple posts from the days of yore, here is what I have you this morning!

Believe it or not, I used to run! This post features pictures from a beautiful 9 mile loop I would run. There are a lot of hills on this route, so the 9 miles actually feels like more! If you were ever curious about what beautiful Central PA (where I live!) looks like, here are some great shots!

You all know I love HIIT, but here is my original post where I expressed my love!

The number on the scale doesn't tell me much at all. There more effective ways to track one's progress than what the scale says, and I detail them in this post!

Who doesn't like a good old fashioned rant-y post!?

Many blogs simply give a re-cap of the blogger's day. This is exactly what I did in this post! However, it is a bit more detailed than the normal "what I was up to today" post. If you ever wondered what a day in my life is like- this is a really good example with lots and lots of pictures!

Your turn! Share a post that is a BLAST from the PAST! 
Go ahead an link up by clicking the blue button below.
 I would love to read a post of your's that I may have missed!