GBN: Week 3

Week 3 did not get off to a good start. I mentioned rolling my ankle on Wednesday’s run. It was still not back to normal by Saturday morning so Friday and Saturday (partly due to my ankle, and partly due to poor planning) were rest days.

The rest of this week looked a bit better.

1. Sunday-4 miles. Armed with a new sports bra, naptime and sheer determination, I was ready to take on the world.  After a morning at church, an afternoon of eating way too much and lots of napping, I was ready needed to run. Farmer Ben and I walked for a few minutes (about 3/4 mile) for a warmup and then started-slow and steady. With less than a mile to go, I was hot. Really hot. Wanting to stop hot. Thankfully, the sky decided to open up and let loose the most wonderful shower a girl could ask for…it was exactly what I needed to finish strong.  Upon reaching the driveway, I looked like a drowned rat but I felt great. I felt even better after I realized that I had averaged 9:36 minute miles. 

Running In The Rain

2. Monday morning-2.54 miles. Due to overindulgence and napping, I didn’t sleep well on Sunday night, but that couldn’t stop me from getting out and hitting the pavement! I managed to get in a little over 2.5 miles at a solid 9:15 min/mile pace. I would have gone longer, but I remembered that I had to be to work early…oops!


This is my “So Not Awake” face.

 3. Tuesday-Rest day. Life and work were crazy so I chose sleep.

4. Wednesday Evening-4.0 miles.  I went down to my mother’s for the evening and decided to tackle her road. My mother lives in the boonies and is surrounded by hills…Turning out of her driveway, I was faced with a big  uphill, and then mostly downhill for the second mile. Running back was mostly uphill with a big downhill finish. It was a hard run and pretty dark out so I stuck around a 10:15 pace. It was nice. All I had was a flashlight and my trusty watch… no headphones, no music, no apps. Just the woods, the sky and me.

And then I played with Griffin. He’s such a mush.


I love this dog.

5. Thursday-4.8 Easy-medium pace. Eek! This workout was done after work. It was rough, but so worth it. Average pace: 10 min/mile


Total Mileage: 15.34 miles

Summary:  I think it was a pretty good week in spite of the hiccup with my ankle and not getting more mileage in… but I AM getting better at waking up in the morning! And I am feeling stronger every day.

Goals for next week: I still need to get those miles up!

How was your fitness this week? Let me know!

Until next time…Happy Running!

GBN: Week 2

Here we are again. Has it really been a week already?

Before we start-Special shout-out to Zee Lemons for hitting me up on MFP! I hope you find it as helpful/borderline addicting as I do!

When I left you in my first GBN post, I was a little nervous about showing off all of my super attractive post-workout shots…but now, I think I am embracing it.

Now, here we go!

1. This was a Friday morning run (3.4)  with the hubby. We started out slow but finished strong. I was worried about being tired throughout the day but I made it through feeling great!

Friday Morning, 7 am.

2. Saturday: A run-walk. Liz was visiting from Virginia, so we decided to venture out on a 4.4 mile route. Although we didn’t run the whole way, it was great girl time and felt good to get out in the sunshine! We followed with a delicious (local) breakfast made by Farmer Ben.  

Liz is all about GBN Photos!

3. Sunday Solo Run. This was a quick 3.34 mile route. I ventured out at 1:45 pm and quickly realized that I hadn’t had enough water and it was a lot hotter than I anticipated. Needless to say, this was rough. I also managed to get a little bit of a sunburn. No big.

Self Portrait

4. Monday-Hill/Fartlek-4.64 miles. This was so much fun! I love running with Farmer Ben. I admit, the hills were a challenge, but I definitely enjoyed checking out a new road and shaking up my routine. I think I have a new go-to route!

Stronger Everyday!

5. Rest Day.

6. Wednesday Morning Hill-3.2 miles. Per usual, I had a hard time getting out of bed and-in my bleary-eyed state-decided to tackle the same hill I ran the other day. Still a challenge. When I got back to my apartment, my legs were burning but I felt good.

I love back road mornings!

7. Thursday Confession: I rolled my ankle on yesterday’s run and it was pretty sore today, so  Ben and I opted for a walk (2 miles). So…another rest day.

Summer Mornings make me happy.

Total Mileage: 20.98 miles

Summary:  I think it was a pretty good week… I still need to get up earlier to get some mileage in–the time factor is huge! I discovered a new route, did some hill-work and was able to soak up some Vitamin D. Hopefully taking today off will help my ankle. 

Goals for next week: Up my mileage and do some speedwork, conquer that hill and my alarm clock!

Did you have any workout milestones this week?  Or mishaps? Let me know!

See you next week! Happy Running!

Gross But Necessary: A New Leaf, Turned Over.

 I’ve got a problem. I am terrible at getting out of bed in the morning. Seriously, it’s super difficult. I manage to make it to work on time… most of the time. But anything earlier than that requires a small miracle. And it’s hit or miss as to whether or not my hair is brushed.

My snooze button and I have a long-standing affair… Farmer Ben grins and bears it, but hearing that ever-present beep (not so) secretly hurts his brain. And his soul. I worry that one day I will wake up to a broken alarm clock…or even worse! A shove out of bed. He’s a man on the edge.

So, why–besides the obvious issues– is this a problem?

  • I’ve got a few races coming up. Big exciting races that require training. More training than I have been doing.
  • I’m at a stand still. I’ve managed to take off 20 lbs (16 since joining MFP!)…but as of late, my scale hasn’t moved. I know that I am healthier, but I can stand to lose a few more…and to tone up!
  • I’m tired all the time. No matter how much sleep I get, it’s not enough…I can’t explain it, but there is something about that runner’s high that gets me through the day. Even if I am running on too little sleep, that run gives me the push I need…I’m feeling the lack of energy–and motivation.

It’s time to get moving.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my work schedule doesn’t allow much time…period, and working out is especially a challenge. I go directly from job 1 to job 2… so I really only have time to run late at night or–you guessed it!–the dreaded morning.

Late at night would be fine, if I didn’t have to be to work at 8 am and if I got out any earlier than 9 or 10 pm. My sleep schedule is wacky enough and I fear that night workouts will interfere even more.

So what’s a runner girl to do with all of these excuses obstacles in her way?

Publicly commit to training.

I know. That doesn’t seem very exciting… or motivational. Anyone can write “Going for a run!” on their Facebook wall. And a lot of times that public commitment doesn’t last.

But this time, there’s a catch.

There will be photographic evidence. Of me.

Embarrassing. Sweaty. Gross. Red-faced. Photos for your viewing pleasure… if you so choose.

I’ve been contemplating doing this for some time now and honestly, I’ve been scared… But there’s no time like the present, so here’s the plan:

I am going to take a photo after every run/workout I do. I’ll post them once a week (every Thursday!) until my races in a special series called “GBN,” meaning Gross But Necessary!

The meaning behind this phrase? My wise friend Pato coined the term in honor of taking necessary photos, regardless of appearance. Thanks for the inspiration. Major props… I’m stealing  borrowing it.

So, in honor of turning over a new leaf, here is my first installment of GBN:

1. After a long interval run. This is me celebrating the fact that I am still standing!

Notice the car coming… No big deal.

2. It was really hot. Please don’t judge this entire photo. And me. I have a feeling I am going to regret this…

This is what running in 90 degree weather looks like.

3. This may be a little worse than number 2… Again, just happy that I made it through the run in the heat.

If I smile, does it cover up the fact that I am past the point of glistening?

So, now that that’s over with, here are a few more ways you can help me get my butt out the door!

1. Join me on MFP! (My Fitness Pal) you can either click the icon on my homepage or go to and look me up. My username is nre820. The more people I know are watching, the more accountable I am held.

2. Send me an early morning email to get my butt out of bed (they come to my phone)! Or just something motivational… if I love it, I’ll post it!  My email is noellesnotebook at gmail dot com!

3. Tell me, what gets you moving? I want to know! A favorite song? A race? Friends? Fill me in, please!

Happy Running, I’ll see you out there!

Some First Dates Are Better Than Others…

I remember my first date. It was the summer of 2001…I was 13, super awkward and had told the older boy I was hanging out with that I was 16. No big deal. His name was Matt and I had met him ice skating with my friend Fauna (Side note: I miss those days!) back in January. I had been stalking him at the rink and via AIM and we had even instant messaged each other a few times (Holy cow, this makes me feel so old!)! I found him so dreamy…

Anyway, it was now August and we had decided to “hang out” in real life! We went to a block party in the town where he lived. Again, I was super nervous and worried that he wouldn’t like me-or worse! That he would discover my real age… We ended up going and walking along the river, where he gave me my first kiss. I could have fainted. It was magical…until he tried to put his hand up my shirt. Because I was still an awkward 13-year-old pretending to be a cool 16-year-old, I just brushed his hand away…In later years, I would have slapped him. Boys, take note, don’t get grabby on the first date! Not classy!

Sadly, things with Matt didn’t last (we remained AIM buddies)… A few months later I met Marc, who would become my mostly on-again boyfriend for the next 7 1/2 years. Our first date was in December of that same year. It was still awkward but had a better first kiss… After all, I was 14 and had so much more experience (I was a bit delusional as a teen).

Looking back, I realize that I was NOT ready to date. But no one could have told me this at the time.

First dates-and first kisses- in my later (and off-again) years were a bit better, but there was always that awkwardness…and more fighting off unwanted advances. I was not impressed and I was not that kind of girl. I’m sure everyone has similar stories…

Fast Forward to January 2010. I was living in Arlington, VA as a totally together single gal but was talking to a guy from home. Ben and I had known each other for a long time through mutual friends but it wasn’t until now that we were really getting to know each other. We had been talking daily for about a month, but hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving. I happened to be going home for a few days to visit my mom and he asked me for a date. A date? Here I was again,  so nervous I could puke!

This date was different from the get-go. First off, I got ready at Vanessa’s house and he came to pick me up. I was expecting to just run out when he got there, but he actually came into the house, and opened every door for me. Not that I’m complaining, but this was something new. We went to the local pub for drinks. After sitting down in a quiet booth, we just sort of stared at each other. I was clutching my glass so hard I thought it would break…I couldn’t find a topic of conversation to stick with. We bounced back and forth from the weather, life in DC, the drive up, traffic, our friends and then just… unsure silence.

“Oh no,” I thought, “this is NOT going well…what should I do?!” 

So I did what any normal girl would do…I started to tell embarrassing childhood stories. Ben, by nature is a pretty quiet guy. This made me more nervous, causing me to tell more embarrassing stories. Most of these stories involved vomit, more specifically, me throwing up at inopportune times; projectile vomit down a long table full of my fellow classmates in the library during a story time, puking while sitting in a circle during show and tell, driving down the road in the family (two door) Ford Festiva and being trapped in the back,  singing in church on Easter Sunday, singing in church on Christmas Eve, during a presentation…

Yup, I went through my entire childhood collection of barf stories…I couldn’t help myself. When I find myself in an uncomfortable situation, I let out all of my verbal vomit. I just keep talking until I talk myself into a comfortable subject…on this night, that subject was barf. So romantic. But overall we had a great time and a lot of laughs.

I was feeling pretty tired (running on about 3 hours of sleep), so we decided to go to his house and watch a movie that we had been talking about. I made it through the first half hour and started falling asleep. Ben, being Ben, let me sleep.

At about 3:30 am I decided that it was time to go..unfortunately I didn’t have my car. Taking it in stride, Ben bundled up and went out in the bitter January night to drive me back to Vanessa’s. He then got out of his car and walked me to the door. Again, this was new.

The door.  It was absolutely freezing outside, but it didn’t distract me from how nervous I felt. We stood there, kicking at the snow and glancing around nervously. Finally we locked eyes and just looked at each other for a moment.

Then he smiled at me and said, “Goodnight, Noelle.” And walked away.

I stood there for a moment, completely dumbfounded. This had not happened before and I wasn’t sure what to think.

I hurried into Vanessa’s house, trying to be quiet as it was past 4 am. This was pointless as Vanessa and Tina were both still awake. We finally got to bed about an hour later.

I woke up at about 8:30 that morning, a message from Ben waiting for me. It said, “would it be selfish of me to ask to see you again?” He came over that morning before he headed to work. We saw each other that night-I guess you could call it a second date…and when he finally kissed me, it was perfect.

I remember driving home with a big smile on my face, thinking how crazy this was. But it was crazy enough that it just may work.

No Regrets. Part I

Hi Friends!

So, I was all set to tell you about my adventurous weekend in Philly, including the untimely demise of a smartphone, but something better came up!

I was sitting in church yesterday morning, listening to my pastors talk about being thankful, the spirit of Thanksgiving, and how to live-truly live. This got me thinking, “what am I thankful for?” There are so many things that I can’t even begin to make a list, so I’ll just tell you about one, for which I am extremely grateful:

Being dumped. I know, you’re thinking, “what?!” But being dumped was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Here is the very short-handed version; it was the summer of 2009. I had been out of college for 8 months and engaged for a year and half. After I graduated, I packed up my VW Jetta and moved my entire life to Northern Virginia. I was working at a job I hated in DC. I had a few friends, but otherwise,I didn’t really know anyone outside of my fiance’s circle. I had started out living with him and his roommate, but had moved into my own place, thinking that he would be moving in when his lease ran out. I was living the dream, right?

The ex and I, right after Graduation (I had to search for this photo on Facebook because I don’t have any)

Maybe not. Nothing against my ex, he really is a good guy, but after seven and half years together, we had both changed. A lot. And honestly-even though I was deep in denial about it-we were both pretty miserable about 90% of the time. And I was a mess 110% of the time. Thinking about it now, I couldn’t really blame him for wanting out.

We had just driven back from a funeral. We got back to my apartment. He said he couldn’t do it anymore. It was over. I was dumbfounded. Broken. Needless to say, the next few months were…rough. Really rough. I remember sending him a letter in November. Basically getting everything out that I hadn’t been able to say to him.

About two weeks later, and having no reply to the letter, I saw him in the grocery store, he was standing in front of the lettuce (we lived 5 minutes from each other), I was by the melons. He turned around and went the opposite direction.

In my oh-so-cool-and-collected state (ha!) I headed him off -after being with someone for that long, you know their shopping habits-in a different section of the store. Let’s just say, I lost my cool. And ended up really embarrassing myself. I drove home in a blind rage, stewed for about an hour and called him back up to finish screaming at him. It was ugly. Looking back, I have NEVER been so mortified at my own behavior. I guess you could say that he took the breakup a lot better than I did.

That was about two years and a week ago today. Looking back, I find it hilarious. I was totally that girl. A friend of mine jokes that I threw a cantaloupe at his head, and if I had confronted him in the produce department, I probably would have…only in the heat of the moment, of course.

I know, you’re probably still wondering how this experience is something I am grateful for, click here for part 2.