on running, and my first 5k

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!  

er…day after V-Day!  I started this post yesterday but didn’t have a chance to finish it, so bear with me if some of my wording is off…  🙂

My hubb and I started the morning right with the Amnesty International Valentine’s Day Couples 5K…so fun!!!  What a beautiful morning for a race!


There were probably 200-300 people there, all in their bright-colored cool-weather gear.  The temperature was 25* when we left the house, and it probably climbed to 30* by the time the race started.  My hubb and I stayed together for the first mile, then I urged him to go forward without me once I heard our 1-mile split…9:14!!!  That is fast for me, and I felt like I was going to burn myself out too quickly if I tried to keep up with him.  He pushed ahead and I slowed down just slightly…my second mile split was 18:42!  The first two miles were on a hilly road, and the last mile was on a very hilly trail through the woods that slowed me down quite a bit.  We even had to climb over a fallen tree!  So my final time was 30:20…which I am THRILLED with!  I really wanted to beat a 10 min./mile average and would have loved to beat 30 minutes, but I wasn’t expecting the trail and that totally threw my time off.  If the entire 3.1 miles had been like the first 2 miles I think I would have finished around 28 minutes…

My hubb did really well too for his first race, finishing just ahead of me.  I can’t wait for our next race together!


So…I have been thinking about running a lot lately.  You all know that I had a foot injury a few weeks ago that slowed my training down quite a bit, in fact it completely halted my training for about a week and sent me from a 5.5-mile long run back down to 3-miles because of foot pain at any greater distance. It was frustrating.  Its still frustrating, because even after last weekend’s 4.5-mile push my foot was really sore.  You all know how much I wanted to finish the Charlottesville 10-Miler this year after injury kept me from it last year, and you’ve been an incredible support system, helping me to get through ridiculous cold weather runs and injury and being a great source of advice and encouragement.  I have been dreading writing this post ever since last weekend’s run, because that run was my test.  The test to see how my foot would feel at a distance greater than 3.5 miles.  The test to see how my endurance held up during my training hiatus.  The test to see if it was possible for me to push forward and complete the training for the 10-miler, which is now a mere 7 weeks away.  And…my foot failed the test.  I hope that I don’t get any negative feedback for the statement I am about to write, for my greatest sadness in this whole experience is my fear that I am going to disappoint you all.

I’ve decided to stop training for the 2009 Charlottesville 10-Miler.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who think that going from 4-5 miles to 10 miles in 7 weeks is totally a possibility, and it probably is, for some people.  But I’ve learned that my body doesn’t handle accelerated training and big increases in running distance very well.  I injure myself, and no race is worth me injuring myself any further than I already have.  And, I realized in the last few days that the last sentence in the above paragraph was what was keeping me in the training program, not my intense desire to run the race by my even greater desire to not disappoint you all.  When I went back and read my running story yesterday, these are some of the statements that leapt from my computer screen…

I never liked running, it was hard, I told myself I wasn’t made for it.  But secretly when I would see a runner out on the road lost in their own world or a pair of runners chatting away as they jogged I would think “I wish that I loved to run.”  I’d hear friends talk about how they “just NEED to run, my day’s not complete without it” and I’d think “why I can’t I have that passion for something so good for me?”

…in an effort to find the inner runner in ME, I’ve signed up for the training program again this year. 

To be clear, I am participating in the program to find my motivation, my inner runner and hopefully a few more running buddies. I will be perfectly happy to get back up to 4-5 miles and stay there if I feel like my body can’t handle any more distance. I am determined to listen to my body and slow down if I start to feel injuries coming on.

I remembered that I started this training program so that I could get back into running.  So that I could learn to love to run, whether with a running buddy or on my own.  Through this experience I’ve learned that I really enjoy running 3-4 miles, and anything past that gets boring and tedious for me.  I’ve learned that 5K’s are a lot of fun, and I get a big thrill out of pushing myself to go faster, but not necessarily longer.  I’ve learned that I look forward to a 3-4 mile run with my hubb or a friend, but when I get to 5-6 miles I dread it.  I’ve learned that my body may not be capable of safely running long distances…and I’m ok with that.  So, in my eyes, this training program was a complete success.

I’ve decided to stick with shorter distances.  To run for my health and my enjoyment and to challenge myself by increasing speed rather than distance. There are plenty of 5K’s out there, the C’ville Women’s 4-Miler, even some 8K’s and 10K’s that may be possible.  I may even try a mini-triathlon sometime.  And maybe eventually I’ll try long distances again, if after running consistently for awhile my desire to challenge myself in that way returns.  But I won’t be disappointed with myself if I never get to that point, and I hope that you all won’t be disappointed either.

Whew!  Thanks for sticking with me, if you’ve gotten this far!  I really needed to get it all out there, and I’ll be updating my running page soon to reflect the latest events in my story.

Now, on to food!

My apologies for not posting the last couple of days.  I know you all understand since I have been on a big big big deadline.  Unfortunately, my deadline was pushed from Friday to Monday.  Typically I would be thrilled to have 2 extra days to work on a project, but not when those two days are my weekend!  Argh.  Most of my meals were packed up in the morning and eaten at the office, so they are pretty standard.

Breakfast Thursday:  toasted ezekiel muffin, 1/2 with 1 tbsp TJ’s natural PB and 1/2 with 1 tbsp sour cherry preserves.  And some red grapes.

[415 cal]


Lunch Thursday:  big ol’ salad with spinach, baby blends, red bell pepper, broccoli, cucumber, hearts of palm, black olives, roasted garlic hummus and some TJ’s fat free balsamic vinaigrette.

[207 cal]


Snacks Thursday:  an apple (saved my pear for a snackie dessert bowl once home) and a Clif White Chocolate Macadamia Nut bar, 1/2 before my run and 1/2 after.  I am IN LOVE with the WCMN bar…even more so than the iced gingerbread.  Which is a good thing because the WCMN bar isn’t seasonal!

[321 cal]


Exercise Thursday:  3-1/2 mile run with my friend Kelly…it was fabulous and got me totally pumped up for my 5K.

[-360 cal]

I actually made dinner in the morning and packed it up to take to the office with me, knowing it would be a late night.  

Dinner Thursday:  baked chicken breast with Country Bob’s All-Purpose Sauce, 1 cup steamed broccoli and 3/4 cup Near East Whole Grain Blends, roasted garlic flavor.

[406 cal]


And I know you all have seen this fabulous sauce popping up all over the blog world…  I received two bottles of Country Bob’s All-Purpose Sauce last week and was excited to try it on my chicken.  Let me tell you, it is some good stuff.  Its kind of a cross between bbq and worschestshire sauce, with a smokey tang that truly would be good on most anything I can imagine.  


I”ll be hosting a give-away so that a couple of my lovely readers can try out their own bottles of Country Bob’s, but I need to clarify a couple of things with the company first.  Stay tuned!

Dessert Thursday:  snackie dessert bowl with 1 sliced pear, 2 heaping tbsp Fage 0% yogurt, 1 tsp honey.  No picture, I was too tired.

[149 cal]

Daily Totals: Thursday

  • Calories Consumed:  1498
  • Calories Expelled:  360
  • Net Calories:  1138

Breakfast Friday:  toasted ezekiel muffin with 1-1/2 tbsp TJ’s natural PB and a sliced banana

[423 cal]


Lunch Friday:  1/2 a leftover chicken breast, thawed black-eyed peas and ham from New Years Day on a bed of spinach, and some red grapes.

[360 cal]


Snacks Friday:  a mandarin orange, I decided against my apple because it just didn’t sound good.  Weird. However, when my boss brought in red wine, cheese and crackers for our Friday afternoon festivities, that sounded good.  It had been a long week, and it wasn’t close to being over.  I had a small glass of wine and about 2oz of swiss cheese, with 4 table water crackers.

[402 cal]


I wanted to load up on carbs for our race the next morning, so dinner Friday was a kitchen sink pasta. Saturday is grocery day, so I had some veggies that I wanted to use up.  Basically anything and everything I could find went in.

Dinner Friday:  kitchen sink pasta and lots of water

[548 cal]


This yummy bowl contained:

  • 1 cup brown rice pasta
  • 365 brand marinara sauce
  • onion
  • garlic
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • chickpeas
  • shitake mushrooms
  • fresh basil
  • crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp part-skim mozzerella


It really hit the spot.  Sometimes a big bowl of pasta is exactly what you need after a long week.


Daily Totals: Friday

  • Calories Consumed: 1733
  • Calories Expelled:  none
  • Net Calories:  1733 (yikes!  luckily wine/cheese friday is only one day/week!)

I don’t have many pictures for Saturday…

Breakfast Saturday:  1/2 Clif Iced Gingerbread bar pre-race, 1/2 banana and 1/2 bagel post-race

[330 cal]

Lunch Saturday:  3/4 cup Fage 0%, 1 sliced banana, a drizzle of honey and 1/4 cup TJ’s pumpkin spice granola…it was exactly what I wanted.

[331 cal]


Snacks Saturday:  1 pear and 4 table water crackers while at the office, a ZBar after grocery shopping

[311 cal]

My hubb and I had a lovely Valentine’s Day evening.  We started off at an engagement party for some good friends.  I have a picture of Liz and I, but sadly none of me with my hubb!  Such a shame because he looked so handsome all dressed up…


After the party we went to dinner at L’Etoile, a French restaurant in town that I have been dying to try for quite some time.  They serve food prepared using a lot of locally-produced products, which I am a big proponent of.  Again, no pictures!  So sad because it was really a wonderful evening.

We started with wine (I had chardonnay) and an amuse-bouche from the chef, a bite-size morsel of cornichon, prosciutto and roquefort sprinkled with fresh chives.  It was perfect. Then I moved on to the lobster bisque, which was hands-down my favorite part of the meal, even better than dessert.  I just don’t get enough lobster in my life… My hubb had the duck confit, which I also tried a bite of and loved.  I’m not usually a fan of duck because it is so oily, but this dish was divine.  After our appetizers we were brought the winter salad, which consisted of arugula, apples, walnuts and local cheese with a champagne vinaigrette.  I am a huge fan of arugula, I loved the combination of its spicy bite with the sweet apples and vinaigrette.  For my entree’ I picked the rockfish in brown butter sauce with fingerling potatoes and hericot verts.  The fish was cooked perfectly, but the flavor wasn’t anything outstanding.  And my potatoes were undercooked, still a little crunchy and lacking in flavor.  For dessert we decided on the tasting for two, which consisted of chocolate cake with peanut butter ganache, kettle corn revisited…a sweet/salty combination of cake and ice cream which was truly wonderful, a “french toast” brioche bread pudding with maple syrup and brown sugar, and an undercooked creme brulee’.  It was a lovely evening in a beautiful atmosphere with delicious food and the love of my life.  

And now, I must return to the office.  😦  I am going to take a break mid-day to go to yoga, and hopefully we’ll be having dinner with a friend tonight.  I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!!!


46 responses to “on running, and my first 5k

  1. ANDREA! If anyone leaves you negative feedback – then they have lost their minds!

    You are doing what is right for you and your body – and anyone who cares about you will be supportive! Honestly – I’m extremely impressed and proud of you for listening to what your body was telling you!

    I went through the same thing last year (although I didn’t have the blog yet) – I was signed up to run the Cleveland Clinic half marathon, and because of my gallbladder (put me in the hospital 3 times because of complications from a surgery that should have been a 1 time shot) – I couldn’t do it. I was crushed – but it was the only option! There’s always next year (and if the final verdict is your body can’t handle distances beyond 4 miles – THAT’S OKAY TOO!)

    Phew – sorry that was long winded – but I wanted to know I support you 100% and am so glad to hear you made the right decision for you!

    Also- that dress is muy muy fab!

  2. Congrats on the 5k. That is amazing to get to your goal time. And I agree with Allison, if anyone gives you negative feedback, they are crazy. Do what’s best for you, and that’s the most important thing!

  3. Andrea! Don’t feel bad about stopping the 10-miler training program. May I remind you that it is one of the hardest road races on the East Coast? I totally dropped out last year, and I don’t feel bad at all!

    I don’t think you should be worried about people being disappointed in you. You have such a great outlook and really seem to know your limits and preferred distance. And that’s what’s important!

    Have a lovely Sunday!

  4. congrats on your race! and kudos to you about listening to your body! you are definitely doing what’s best!

  5. Do not feel bad at all for your decision! You’re doing what’s right for you and your body. Like you said, your goal at the beginning was to learn to love running – and you have!

    I love your V-day dress!

  6. Congrats on the 5K! That’s a great time!

    I’m with the other commenters on your decision with the 10 miler. I think it’s a huge breakthrough for someone when she finds “her distance. Now you can just put more focus into a race you know you can enjoy. Otherwise you’d just be stressing and that is not the point of running. Like you said, no race is worth further injuring yourself. I applaud you on the thought you put into this decision!

    Have a great day! 🙂


    You KNOW that I 100% respect your decision to stop training, since I myself stopped training for my ballroom dance competitions (and stopped cardio, in general) – always best to care for your body!! 🙂

    Good luck at work!!

  8. Did you ever have a time where you couldn’t even run 1 mile? Because I know that I did. I remember thinking that it was so amazing when I was finally able to run 3. And the fact that you ran a 5K with a hilly course in such a great time is amazing. Good job listening to your body. I have never pushed myself past 5 miles but I know that my feet start to feel different after the 3 miles mark. I am proud of your successes. Think about how you are keeping your healthy eating, running and YOGA, while stressed from an important deadline at work. Your life style is the important thing, not the mile mark at the end of the finish line!

  9. #1 great job on the 5k!
    #2 Andrea, I am so glad you made the best decision for you! You’ve accomplished your goal of finding a healthy and enjoyable way to work running into your life, and there’s no need to push it beyond that if you feel like it will cause more harm than good. I appreciate how honest you’ve been throughout the process. Your sincerity really comes through and demonstrates that people have different bodies and different abilities!
    #3 i love your party dress. those colors are amazing, and you look great!

  10. Mmmm, your Valentine’s meal sounds so good! Yum.

    It’s great that you are listening to your body. Good for you!

  11. I’m loving the breakfasts (ezekiel muffins!!) and the lunches. Especially that hummus salad, I have yet to try one with hummus dressing!

    Ooo and your so gorgeous in that dress!

  12. Great job on the 5k and for listening to your body!

  13. I love your dress!! Can I ask where you got it?

    Also, I applaud you for listening to your body and doing what’s right for you. I think to many bloggers are caught up with running – sometimes for the wrong reasons. (ie so-and-so is doing a half marathon, therefor I should – and not respecting their bodies.)

    Looks like you had a lovely Valentines Day. 😉

  14. Congrats to the both of you on the 5k!! I’m glad you are listening to what your body is telling you and not pushing yourself too much – that’s a hard choice to make!

    All of your eats look amazing 🙂

  15. Lovely photos of your eats, as usual 🙂

    Congrats on the race, and GOOD FOR YOU for knowing your limits! Like you, I enjoy running – but a marathoner I am not.

  16. as always all your meals look fabulous – as did you on Valentine’s day!

    I think you are doing the right thing by following your intuition and listening to your body – you know yourself best and its not worth injuring yourself over =)

  17. You gotta do what you gotta do girlfriend! You do like running, and if its 4 miles then thats ok! Long running isn’t for everybody and like you said, you really dont want to injure yourself! I’m proud of you!

    All of your eats look yummy as normal. Glad you had a greate valentines day and you started the day off great with a RUN – more power to ya!


  18. Good on you!

    Hope the work load starts to feel under control soon. 🙂

  19. i totally respect the decision you made, and congratulate you on listening to your body and what you really want. i tell people everyday that they are runners whether they do 2 miles or 20 miles. And the main point (which you mentioned) is that you want to LOVE running- so do the amount of running you LOVE!
    p.s. adorable dress 🙂

  20. WAY TO GO on the race and making the right choice for you about running!! 🙂
    Your eats are great and the pictures are beautiful! 😀

  21. Congrats on a great race.

    Just remember that you are running for YOU, not us. You should run what you are comfortable with and it should be enjoyed! That’s what running is all about.

  22. Great job on your first 5K! Also, congratulations on making a running decision that makes sense for you!

    I love your dress from Valentine’s day.

  23. You’re a very inspiring person, Bella…from your beautiful pictures to your healthy choices (both food and body wise), it’s clear that you know where it’s at. Thanks for working so hard on this blog and making it something I look forward to reading every day.
    And I have to ask: where did you get that dress in the Engagement Party photo? It’s FABULOUS!!

  24. Congrats on running your first 5k! It looks like you had a beautiful day. You are doing absolutely the right thing by sticking to shorter races. Do it so that you love it, and you won’t get bored or worse – injured!

  25. Listening to your body is always number one!! I think you are making a smart move, it’s always better to prevent an injury than treat one. Happy belated Valentine’s Day 🙂

  26. I think it is fantastic, not only that you are listening to your body, but that you are listening to your heart and what makes you happy. Even if your foot was well enough to train and run the 10-miler, it sounds like the longer runs are NO fun for you, so why do them? No one said you had to be a runner, nor that you had to be a long distance runner. Do you really think you will look back in 20 years and say, “Gosh, I really wish I would have ran more miles?” (That’s my litmus test for all “major”-ish life decisions). I don’t think you’ll have any regrets.

    I hear you on the WCMN Clif bar. This is going to become a mid-long run snack necessity from now on.

    I love your brown/green dress! So cute!

    I’m glad you are back, I missed you!!!

  27. I think what’s great about running is that it’s so internal and personal. You can be running with a partner or even with thousands of people in a huge race, but the running is all about you.

    So in the end the decision on what distances are right for you (not which ones are wrong!) is all about you. Don’t let anyone else’s opinion sway you on what you know is right for your body. Otherwise you might come to resent it and that’s no good!

    Great job on the 5k!

  28. Andrea – I am so PROUD of you for listening to your body. You ARE doing the right thing…many stubborn people would push through the pain and maybe end up with permanent damage. So, you never run a race more than 4 or 5 miles long? That is 4 or 5 miles further than most people will ever run. Not everyone is a long distance runner…I honestly don’t think any of us were truly meant to run 13.1 miles or 26.2 for that matter, but people like the challenge. Take care of your body, run whatever distance makes you happy, & do lots of yoga. 🙂 As long as you are moving and having fun…that is all that matters.

    OK, lovely eats. You’ve inspired me to try the Ezekiel English muffins. Your b’fast always looks so good. I’m glad you and your husband had such a fun Valentine’s Day – the race, the party, the lovely French dinner. Way to celebrate the love.

    Good luck with your deadline, and I hope you got in your favorite Sunday yoga class today. 🙂

  29. Congrats on your 5k!

    I’m so sorry you won’t be training for the 10 miler anymore, but it sounds like you came to the decision through some tough thinking and that you are happy with your decision. At least you are running and loving it and truly that’s what matters. Its best to just enjoy, then really ush yourself for something that may injure in the end. I’m still behind you 100% Andrea!

  30. Great job on the 5K! I think it’s great that you figured out what you really want. Working on speed is a great way to motivate and challenge yourself and there is no need to do dreaded runs.
    Beautiful eats, as always! 🙂
    Good luck with that project deadline. You’re almost there!!

  31. Awww….you all are AMAZING!!! Thank you for all of the kind words, you have no idea how nice it was to come home after a looooonnngggg day at the office and read your words of support. THANK YOU!!!

    And, for those of you that asked about my dress…I bought it at Anthropologie a year or two ago. The brand is Plenty, and I love it too! Thanks for all the sweet compliments! 🙂

  32. congrats on a great 5k! you are listening to what is best for you with running…it is all about enjoying it!

  33. I really think it is awesome that you attempted something and made a smart decision based on your feelings and intuition. It seems like too often we do things because we feel like we are “supposed to”. I know that personally, I have been driven to do things because I thought that other people wanted me to. Well, way to listen to what YOU want and need. You are such a hard working woman, and your free, personal time should be enjoyable! If you do yoga and run 5Ks, then that’s your thing and that’s great!!!

    All of your food and the photography of your easts are so gorgeous!! It really reminds me of Real Simple magazine … it always looks so clean and appealing 🙂

  34. you did so AMAZING on yout 5k girl 🙂 🙂 and i’m so happy that you are listening to your body, you are doing the right thing for you, and everyone is being you 10000% have a wonderful week!

  35. Hey! Congrats on the 5k!! There are a BUNCH of little races in C-ville coming up and I am planning on participating in a lot of them! I hope you do as well! Its nice that even for a “running town” they have smaller races under 26.2 miles!!! I’m definitely doing the MJH 8K! I hope you can as well!!

  36. You are wise beyond your years to really listen to your body. I’ve been a runner for many years and have lost a lot of time to injuries for not listening to mine! Congratulations on your race, and happy running for many years to come!

  37. I think your decision is awesome! I’m sure it was hard, but I think it’s great that you’re figuring out what’s right for your body. That is definitely not easy to do, and we’re all made for different things. Great job!
    I love your dress for V-Day too!!!


  38. you are doing what is best for YOU! dont let anyone tell you otherwise!!!! you definitely cant force yourself to fall in love with something and if you arent feelin it now- imagine what would happen if you went for the marathon!!!! you would be like Ryan Reynolds said he would be “puking across the finish line”.. blech.. who needs that??

  39. I am always amazed at how you can run like that. I’m so not athletic in any way, shape or form! LOL

    Where on earth did you find a white chocolate macadamia nut clif bar? I have never seen those!!! I want one now. I saw some neat flavors when we were in Utah! Maybe I should have stocked up! LOL

  40. andrea- I must agree with the others about your decision to quit training. i think you did the right thing. as a former college athlete , i can tell you from personal experience that listening to your body is a must. overdoing it doesn’t do you any favors.
    also, i think it is perfectly natural and healthy to adjust your exercise so that it corresponds with where you are in your life at each moment. i used to think that i had to kill myself in workouts to really be fit. as i’ve aged, i’ve realize that exercise is not about beating my body down, but about building me up as a complete person (mind, body, spirit). i now know that it’s ok not to feel totally spent after a workout, or not to be in physical pain. i love finding new ways to workout that revitalize rather than drain. keep exploring your exercise options and i know you will find your true passion! good luck!

  41. My husband runs faster than me and I so wish I could run his pace but I just can’t. I’m a sloooww runner.

    One thing I love about blogging is that sometimes it allows us to open up a bit and discover something about ourselves that didn’t occur to us before. It seems like you have made just such a discovery! Good for you for knowing what makes you and your body happy. Not many people can say the same thing. 🙂

  42. I’m late to the party, but Andrea, good for you! It takes a strong woman to know her strengths 🙂 I too am a slow runner, just starting out doing a training program and I’ve been on the first week of the program for 3 weeks! And that’s okay. Because that’s my body and what it can deal with. Also just learned my body CANNOT snowboard (bad knees) and that’s okay, even though I want to SO MUCH!

    Yoga is about that, learning where your body is and what it can do – RIGHT NOW. In the moment…

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