A few of my favorite things….


No, not inspired by Oprah.  More like Fraulein Maria.

I just thought I would share with you some of the “things” that I have become somewhat attached to in my running.  Not that anyone cares what I’m eating, reading, smelling, or even listening to, but I thought I’d spread the love anyways.

My faves:

Energy drink: Tangerine ginger NU electrolyte tablets in my water

Recovery drink: CHOCOLATE MILK.  Never knew this would be considered a healthy option to include in an athlete’s diet (laughable, yes, but I am considered an athlete by some standards…very low standards, apparently), however, I have read about its recovery benefits all over the place.  Thanks to its mix of carbs and protein and deliciousness, its perfect to re-fuel right after burning 1500 calories on an absurdly long run.  It has now kicked my beloved fruit smoothie to a shameful second place due to the fact you have to MAKE it.  Chocolate milk: open fridge, open container, pour, drink, done.

GU flavor: Chocolate extreme.  Like a mouth full of frosting.

Energy Bar: Cliff chocolate chip

Running shoes: Nike Dual Fusion.  Ran the half marathon in these but am running in Nike lunar somethings now…nice shoes but just not quite as perfect as my faves.  Both have been landed in their fair share of presents at the park and have fared quite well.

Carb-loading meal: oooooohh….the chicken lasagna recipe from Runner’s World magazine.  FABULOSO!!  Absolutely delicious and easy to make.

Place to run: Out by Big Woods lake in Cedar Falls, IA.  Natural prairie reserve, pretty lake, tons of butterflies and grasshoppers in the summer and huge Iowa deer grazing at twilight.  Can’t beat running around a frozen lake just after sunset, seeing deer eating in the moonlight.  Quiet, lots of stars and no fear of being mugged.


  • Finishing my last long training run before my half marathon just as it started to downpour .
  • Running past a dad and his little toddler who were walking on the trail and hearing the little boy say, “Daddy, I want you to run like her!!!”
  • Seeing more 6+ deer jump across the trail startled as I ran toward them in the dark.
  •  Each time I finished 18, 20 and then 21 mile runs.  Never in a million years would have thought I could have done it!!
  • Seeing some guy running in a speedo.
  • Running my first 14 mile run on Christmas night.  All was clear, all was bright.

Songs on my iPod:

  • Pump It.  Thank you Black Eyed Peas. Thank you.
  • Let’s Get it Started.  Again, Thank you Black Eyed Peas.
  • Move by Mercy Me
  • Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (careful….you may find yourself shadowboxing when you think no one’s looking)
  • Switch by Will Smith
  • It happens by Sugarland…somewhat of an anthem for me.
  • Born to Boogie by Hank Williams Jr.
  • Thank God I’m a Country Boy by John Denver.  Did you ever imagine running to “the song’s best friend”?  Oh, it’s possible

Running gear:

  • sweaty bands!!!
  • my electric blue running tights
  • reflective yellow jacket

Funny moments:

  • Running around mile 12-13 and just about stepping on top of some large unfortunate animal that was laying on its back with legs straight up in the air, swarming with flies.  I jumped so far and kept hopping and yelling as I ran away from it that I’m sure the cars passing me at the time thought they had a true nut case on the loose.
  • While jogging along the trail at the park behind a guy who was probably about 100 feet ahead of me, I was calmly enjoying the peace.  Then the guy, who had been walking, suddenly took off in a dead sprint, ran off the trail and leaped over the fence surrounding the park!  When he landed he just started walking again like it was completely normal.  The, about a minute later, he suddenly bolted and leaped over the fence again landing back on the trail, and continued walking. Really???  I was excited to see him again a few weeks later leaping over picnic tables in the park.  Good entertainment.
  • Getting caught far from indoor plumbing with a nasty little intestinal virus.  This story is one for the books but I am going to assume that not too many people want to hear the sordid details of my bout of intestinal malfunction.  It started out as a beautiful, COLD run but ended in disaster about 4 miles in.  When nature calls, or in my case, SCREAMS bloody murder, you gotta answer.

Time to run: Early morning on the weekend (who would have thought I would enjoy an early morning anything?!?!?) or evening when it’s still light out, just before sunset.

Motivational movie:

 I would love to tell you it’s something like Chariots of Fire, but no…it’s ROCKY.  Always will be.

Rationalization for stuffing my face full of carbs day and night:    I’m running today.  And getting chased by a thousand little kids.


About virginmarathoner

I'm 32, about to be 33, and realizing that I only have one life to live. This gradual but recent epiphany has inspired me make choices to face the things that I thought I could never do, but secretly desired to accomplish. The first of these was to train for my first half marathon, terrified that I would never be able to run past 7 miles (my longest run prior to beginning training). The first day I ran 8 miles, I cried the entire last mile...with a smile on my face. I'm sure it was a curious sight for any one of the hundreds of soccer moms and little toddlers crowding and blocking my path that morning at the park. Each time I ran a new distance, I felt empowered and proud of my determination and dedication. The day of the half marathon I knew I was addicted. Running gave me clarity, discipline and a renewed passion for living. Now I am about to embark on a new adventure, running my first marathon, and hope that others will be able to relate to my adventures, struggles and mishaps along the way. Afterall, we've only got one life to live, so we better get on it.

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