Saturday, December 22, 2007


This is disturbing.


Friday, December 21, 2007


So I just went shopping after having a great dinner with my roommate, which I felt justified in doing after having completed one of the crappiest semesters of my academic career. I tried stuff on, it looked great, and then I realized...I am broke. We shopped at Express where they are having a massive sale and where my roommate had like five coupons that will give you $25 off for each $50 you spend, and I still couldn't justify buying two pairs of sorely needed pants and a shirt. At least not when I still have to pay rent, fees to Columbia, and other assorted bills. There is something about not being able to buy something for yourself that can just make you feel really, really awful. It is silly, too, because in the end it is just two pairs of pants and a shirt. But I sort of want to cry about it.

Things didn't really work out the way I was hoping they would today. I had planned to do laundry, pack, go running, and clean up my desperately and disgustingly messy room. None of these things were accomplished and I am now sitting here with dirty laundry that I have to pack (a daunting task) and a profound sense of disappointment in myself for not fitting a run into my day. I feel like my marathon training has been so half-assed this time around. I mean, I just feel so disconnected from it. It isn't a good feeling and I am not quite sure how to get around it.

I guess I just feel sort of disappointed in myself overall today. I should have done a better job of pulling everything together, and somehow I just let things slip by instead. It makes me feel like a loser. Not a good feeling. And now I feel really rushed, stressed, and panicked about the fact that I have a 9-mile run tomorrow morning and a huge amount of stuff to do tonight. I guess I can always sleep on the train on the way down to Philadelphia and then in the car from there to Maryland.

Here's another pretty song that I love and that I don't hear enough.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Caloric mythologies

Another really interesting article by Gina Kolata. This one is about misconceptions about caloric intake and caloric burn--it is constantly surprising to me how little people know about health issues like this one. For instance, I am really shocked to hear that a spinning instructor would tell their class that they just burned 900 calories in 45 minutes.

I guess people will believe what they want to believe about health-related things. And I will probably continue to be surprised by it. In the end, it all makes sense, I guess. Our country didn't get its high obesity rate by having a thorough comprehension of diet and exercise.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mr. Yuck

There is always this shift that occurs in my thought process between the evening before I go to sleep and the morning after I wake up. Evening usually consists of the following: "I am going to do x, y, and z and start feeling so much better about w!" Morning is this: "Ugh, I don't see how x, y, and z are going to have any effect on w. Plus I just feel kind of crummy and I don't have the energy to do any of those things anyway."

I just pulled on a pair of jeans and now feel like someone turned me into liquid form and poured me into them, only to find that I am overflowing a little bit. It is a pretty gross feeling, and to be honest I don't really know how perceptions of one's body can change so quickly. Then again, I must have known that this feeling of overflow was coming because I have been avoiding putting on certain pairs of jeans for a couple of weeks now, choosing dressed, leggings, sweatpants or more forgiving pants instead. Just coming to that realization makes me feel pretty gross about myself, and I am really wishing I had some alternative to these jeans that I am wearing right now.

Today is a pretty yuck day, I must say.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Detox time!

I just finished an exam an hour ago; my room is a mess; I haven't gone running since Saturday; my stomach doesn't function anymore; I don't think I have really had several consecutive days of healthy eating in a loooooong time; what is going on? Is my life falling apart? This and other existential questions will be answered in this extra-special blog entry.

Except not really. I don't have the answers to those questions! I really just sort of feel like I want to spend several days eating nothing but fruits, vegetables, and yogurt (maybe I will make my own since I have the magical powers to accomplish such a task) and doing lots of running and yoga...good thing I have a long vacation coming up!

My brain is so tired and I kind of guiltily feel like I don't actually deserve to be tired. Sort of like I didn't do enough to really warrant being so tired. While studying for this exam I took today, I fell asleep three times. That never happens to me! I guess the reason why I am sitting here writing about it is because I am a little worried...this sort of fatigue doesn't seem too normal to me, and I sort of wanted to take an informal poll: does anyone else feel this way sometimes? any identifiable reason why? any theories (I will put it out there--I don't drink enough water, I don't eat well these days, but I do take my vitamins) about what might help? would it help to go for a vegetable, fruit, yogurt detox arrangement over the next few days? I kind of get the impression that my body is reacting to something I am doing wrong, otherwise I wouldn't be so tired and my stomach wouldn't be, like, revolting against me.

So, to sum up: what's wrong with me? Comments, please!

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm so proud of you!

It's sort of funny, when I was training for the Philadelphia marathon, I kind of forgot what I was doing. Over the course of the time I spent training, I did 13-, 15-, 18-, and 20-mile runs, and it took me a while to put that into perspective and really understand that running those distances meant running a pretty considerable amount. I mean, it wasn't until I thought about what 20 miles looks like on a map, and the fact that I would never say to someone who lived 20 miles away, "Oh, yeah, let me just get my shoes on and I'll run right over". I mean, that would be sort of absurd. But while I was doing those long runs, and even when I ran the marathon, I sort of didn't think about how long it was. I just sort of ran it knowing that I would be stopping after a certain point. It was kind of like as long as I was running, I wasn't finished, so when I stopped running, I would be done. Distance and time factored into it on a certain level, but ended up not being quite as big a deal to me as I thought they would be. People who heard about the amount of running I was doing were always amazed, confused, or impressed, which I also had a hard time understanding. I guess that was just all part of the not really comprehending what I was accomplishing aspect of the training.

People's reactions were really interesting to me (and continue to be interesting to me), on one hand because I never expected to do anything in life that would provoke reactions of that kind, and on the other hand because I never really felt like what I was doing was all that special. As far as I am concerned, anyone can run, you just have to want to do it. But people seemed (and still sometimes seem) a little embarrassed, like in running a marathon I did something that sort of put them to shame, which was never my intention, and which never even crossed my mind.

A few people told me that I had really inspired them, and more than anything, that meant a lot to me. The truth of the matter is, though, that those people who said that have also ended up being inspirations to me! These are the people who somewhat sheepishly tell me how far they have run and seem almost apologetically proud of themselves. It is cool that they have started running in part because they felt inspired to do so by my decision to run a marathon, but I think that what is most important is that they have made a commitment in their own lives to do something amazing for themselves--it is hard to start running, and it is even harder to continue running. A lot of people don't even bother. So when my sister tells me she can now run for a certain amount of minutes at a time without stopping, or a friend of mine says he is trying to get to a point where he can run anywhere he would normally go on foot, it really almost brings tears to my eyes. I wonder if those people who are so careful to let me know that they feel like their accomplishments pale in comparison to mine realize how much of an impact their accomplishments have had on me.

I know I am not expressing myself very clearly here, and I am having difficulty saying what it is that I really want to say. I guess that what it boils down to is that most of the time, when people tell me how proud they are of me, all I really want to do is respond by saying, "I'm so proud of you!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Days off are dangerous

Yesterday was a day off of running. I really shouldn't do that anymore. By the end of the day I just feel so listless, lazy, and lethargic (I rock the alliteration). It also doesn't help that I am feeling pretty discouraged about the lack of response I have gotten toward my fundraising efforts. It takes a long time to write letters, print them, address the envelopes, distribute them, or gather email addresses for everyone you know, write an email, and send it. I don't mean to sound whiny, I am just worried. I am not sure what to do to get through to people since what I have been doing doesn't seem to be getting much of a response at all. I really, really appreciate the people who have made donations, and I know that there are family members who are going to be making donations in the very near future, but as for everyone else...? The whole thing has got me feeling a little down, I must say.

So here is my keep your head above water song for the day, which I think will probably cheer me up a little bit:

Love. It.

Monday, December 10, 2007

There's a place for us

This is a little weird, but every time the #2 train pulls away from the station, the sound of its wheels starting up against the tracks sounds to me like the first three notes to "There's a place for us" which although I really can't stand that musical or movie, has always struck me as a really pretty song.

So that is my slightly non sequitur segue into what I am posting today, which is this song:

I think it is ridiculously pretty, I love Mark Knopfler's voice, and I hate that I didn't know it existed before this past year.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Joe Kleinerman 10k

This morning was the Joe Kleinerman 10k in Central Park. Joe Kleinerman was a great guy: he founded the New York Road Runners (which is an amazing organization) and helped Fred Lebow (whose statue in Central Park is probably my favorite landmark) found the New York Marathon, and he did amazing things for the world of running in general, such as encouraging women to run and coming up with the idea of age group racing so that 20 year old upstarts and 65 year old veterans weren't competing against each other to the same degree. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 91. You can read an obituary here. As in all races, I got a shirt, but this one is special. It is printed defectively. There is even a piece that sort of hangs way off--it is supposed to be the lower right corner of the design on the shirt, and instead it is sort of falling off into the white cotton abyss. I guess someone forgot to smooth the wrinkles out when they were printing up this batch! I like it, it gives the shirt character :)

Races are a funny thing. On one hand, it is great to be out there with a pack of runners. On the other hand, it is awful to be out there with a pack of runners. I ran the 6.2 miles in 56:36 (that's an average of 9:07 per mile!) and spent the first mile just trying to thread my way through groups of people who were not running nine-minute miles in spite of their starting in the nine-minute mile pace group. I'm not entirely sure why people do that. As a result, my splits went from 10:00 for the first mile to 8:20 for the last one, when I finally managed to not get sort of stuck behind people who were pacing slower than I was. All things considered, though, I am really happy with my time and my mile splits, and I am not going to walk around thinking or saying, "Yeah, well, I would have been able to run faster if I hadn't had to weave in and out of a crowd." I feel like I really accomplished something, and I am proud of myself!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

In gear

I have hit the late afternoon/early evening slump and a nap sounds really, really tempting at this particular moment in time. This poses a dilemma, though: take a nap and risk not sleeping too well tonight or wait for about 9:30 or 10 (those are decent hours to go to sleep, not obscenely early) and go to bed then? Do I have the energy to stay up for at least another 4 hours? I guess I will see how it goes.

This is a big running weekend, with a Team in Training run this morning and a 10k tomorrow morning. No sleeping in when there is running to be done! TNT this morning was a nice easy 6 miles, which is the longest distance I have done since the marathon. It felt good, I am happy to report. On the other hand, my body just feels really run down so I know I wasn't in tip top form. And that's fine.

With Christmas around the corner, my mind is on presents for other people. Of course I have to admit that I am not so virtuous that I don't occasionally think about the odd present that I would like. More and more, I find myself wanting running-related stuff. I think I may have a true addiction problem. Sometimes, when I am bored or I need a break from working, I like to browse sporting goods stores that sell running apparel and drool over the things I could get. Like tights that would keep my legs warm on the cold days, long-sleeved moisture-wicking shirts, and half- or quarter-zip long-sleeved pullovers. Ah, warm. But I digress. At any rate, I thought I would share a few of the things that I have been drooling over lately. Then you can declare me insane and lock me away.
  1. This is a bad habit and a confession all in one: I have a tendency to run in the dark in Central Park. Don't get at mad at me for doing something that is admittedly stupid! I am not doing it as much anymore! However, TNT Tuesday night workouts are in the dark in Central Park. The difference is that they involve about 50 or so people, maybe more, so it is probably a lot smarter to run like that than alone. My point is that something like this half-zip pullover from Brooks looks so enticing because I would no longer have to worry about not being seen by an errant driver or biker. The best part is that it is on sale on the wonderful 'net, so it is currently nearly 50% less than its regular price.
  2. One of the problems I encounter pretty frequently is keeping my body temperature relatively regular. That is why a base layer like this one really appeals to me. Plus it comes in a variety of pretty colors. Oooh, ahhh.
  3. This jacket/pullover is like #1 but with more awesome.
  4. These tights, though they may make you look a bit like a bumble bee, will keep you warm while ensuring that you don't get hit by anyone or anything. These, on the other hand, are not reflective, but look really comfortable and drool-worthy.
  5. I have a pair of these in ankle-sock form and I love them. These are perfect for cold weather since they are a bit longer than the ankle-length, thereby ensuring that your poor little ankles and the inch or two of potentially-exposed skin do not get too chilly!
Maybe someday I will have lots of dollars in my bank account, and I will be able to indulge my running fashionista. Until then, I will keep internet window-shopping!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mind over "mind over matter"?

I love reading Gina Kolata's pieces in the New York Times, and this one was no exception. Pretty interesting stuff.

Last night I had a greatly disturbing dream in which a rabbit was destroying people's Christmas trees and leaving only the very tops of them. This rabbit had a problem with the size of the trees, or something. I think it was really a metaphor for doing away with American excess, but I could be wrong.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


I wanted to add that my new cold-weather running accessories arrived today.

I wanted to point out a few things about this great picture, that I think my mom in particular will appreciate.
  1. How pointy is my chin? That should be illegal. Someone could get hurt.
  2. I think the hat is great. It brings me back to my swimming days, when swim caps were de rigueur.
  3. Jazz hands!!

Victory is mine

Lately I've been feeling like running is sort of my best friend. In an environment where the "cool" thing to do is go out and drink (lots) on multiple nights in a week (fun), it is sort of hard to get people to relate to what is going on in your life. Even harder is trying to relate to what is going on in theirs. As a result, I think I've started investing more in running than I have in relationships with the people I interact with face to face on a daily basis. This excludes a few choice individuals and mostly refers to people that I would qualify as acquaintances.

The good news is that this week, Running and I have been having a really good time together. Last night was what turns out to be the first "official" Team in Training workout. I thought it had been last Saturday, but I was wrong. Apparently it was last night, at which point I ran back and forth from E 96th to E 85th to practice my speed and running intensity. It was fun, actually. A good break from the usual evenly-paced loop around the park (or the indoor track at the gym...yawn).

Another thing about this workout was that it showed me what it was like to go hang out with a bunch of runners. This was a cool experience for a few different reasons. For one thing, I didn't feel like I didn't fit in, which is somewhat rare in these days when most of my classmates are still hung over at 2 p.m. I'm not saying that I am completely BFF with all of these people, but it was comfortable to feel that I was surrounded by other people who had chosen to pile on the layers and brave the cold just to run. No one looked at me like I was insane. Even better, though, was that I felt like a runner. This has been a real sticking point for me--the inability to feel like a runner in spite of logging what may add to thousands of miles over several years. I have finally made it to a point where I feel like I am part of this club, and not someone who is just clamoring to get in anymore. This may sound cheesy, but I think of it as a real personal triumph, and I feel really good about it. Moreover, it has helped me to realize that there's nothing wrong with not going out on drinking benders several times a week (or at all, for that matter). Personally, I would much rather be a runner.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Marathon that keeps on giving

You read the title and thought this would be another attempt to get you to donate to Team in Training, didn't you? Go on, you can admit it. I won't hold it against you, and I won't rub it in that I was right.

Well, this is actually about the Philadelphia Marathon which is still fresh in my mind even though two and half weeks have passed. Apparently, though, this is not unusual because it seems like the Philadelphia Marathon folks are still sifting through the debris of that glorious day that was November 18, 2007.

This morning at 3:41 a.m. I received this little gem:


Congratulations on finishing the 2007 Philadelphia Marathon, Half Marathon or Rothman Institute 8K. Attached please find your certificate link. Your certificate is also available on our website.
Please plan on joining us for the 2008 races on Sunday, November 23. Registration opens April 1.
Thanks again for participating.

And even though this does not reflect my time as corrected for pee-pee break at mile 10ish (which apparently took eight minutes--who knew?!), I still think it is pretty amazing. At the same time, I don't see myself replacing my current desktop picture for this certificate. My more-amazing-than-finishing-a-marathon niece wins that particular competition, and I don't think anyone can argue with that.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Reading and running. My life in a blog entry.

On a note unrelated to running and marathon and my super exciting life, I am not sure how I feel about this. Call me old-fashioned, but I sort of like holding a weighty tome in my hands while I read it. I mean, this certainly has potentially interesting implications regarding the printed text and forms of publishing, but I think it really removes a lot of the charm from reading. Besides, who wants to curl up on a couch by a roaring fire on a cold, rainy day with some electronic device in their lap? I hate to say it, but I hope this goes nowhere. Any thoughts?

In other news, I had a great run yesterday averaging 8:40 minutes/mile for four miles. Of course it will be interesting to see how much endurance I have with this newfound speed, but it is rather satisfying to know that all those months of training did help me to run a marathon and drop more than a minute off of my mile time. I used to be happy to run four miles in 38 minutes, so this is a definite improvement regardless of whether I can maintain it for more than four miles or not. I am running at 10k this weekend so at least I will get a chance to see what sort of splits I am capable of over the course of six miles. I know you will all be waiting with bated breath to hear the results of that race.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Marathon #2: It's official

This morning was my first group run with Team in Training, and it was great to get back to running in the park. This morning's workout was only about 5 miles, but I kept a good pace and met my coach and training group, which consists mainly of women (go ladies!). A couple of them have run marathons before, a couple of those who have already run a marathon have already run one with Team in Training, and there are also a couple who are just runners and haven't yet done a marathon despite the fact that they run pretty frequently. This information might make it sound like I actually talked to a number of people. Really, I didn't talk to anyone other than my coach, I just overheard other people's conversations. You get pretty good at eavesdropping after a certain point, especially when you are sort of a wall-flower.

It was extremely cold this morning (and it is probably still extremely cold, come to think of it). I managed to avoid the post-marathon blue lips of death, and I was fine while I was running, but it was pretty painful to be outside while not moving at a good clip. The subway was also a little wonky, so getting to the meeting site was an adventure. A trip from 116th to 72nd (this should take fifteen minutes, tops) took about 45 and we even had a Seinfeldian moment of the train stopping and the lights going off. I <3 New York.

So I have taken precautions against the cold, or at least taken steps toward taking precautions, by buying myself some new gloves, a hat, and an ear band (for less cold days) that I can wear while running. My bank account is mightily sad, but I think my body will probably be happy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things

Okay, healthful, you win; however, I still maintain that as a word, you are pretty useless (as opposed to useful, ha!) and even if you do date back to the 14th century I still refuse to incorporate you into my vocabulary because healthy is a much better word and conveys the same meaning as you. So there.

I feel better now, not only because I can still claim some sort of ambiguous moral superiority by not using a word that I loathe, but also because I have acknowledged that the word exists, which makes me fair and balanced. Thanks, Rebecca, for making me see the error of my ways.

So healthful is not one of my favorite things. But being healthy is. I just love it. So I set a healthy goal for myself in order to increase my daily amount of health: try to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day. This is so much harder than it sounds, but I am making a healthy effort.

In other favorite things news, Team in Training running starts tomorrow! This is a favorite thing for a number of reasons:
  1. It involves running. Enough said.
  2. Meeting new people! I cannot wait to meet other people who are training for a marathon or a half-marathon!
  3. It is raising money for research on Leukemia and Lymphoma. Don't forget that you can be a part of this too, just click here!
Today is also a yoga day. Ahh, yoga. I don't think there are words that could possibly express how much I love yoga. There is really nothing that is quite like it. It is truly amazing. So yoga this afternoon, and then a nice run. I finally got a run in yesterday (thank you, Nike clock for kicking my butt into gear) and felt good immediately afterwards. Actually immediately after I started. I also realized something that makes me really happy and proud of myself: I have dropped about a minute off of my per mile pace. That's right, old Emilie "Ten-minute mile" Littlehales is finally speeding up! It's amazing what a little marathon training will do for you. Now, this is not to say that the next time I run 20 miles they will all be nine-minute miles. But I have definitely improved in a way that is quantifiable, and I think that is worth a huzzah. So huzzah!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another day...without a run

Okay, this is getting ridiculous and at this point I guess I don't really have anyone to blame but myself. I did end up finding the clock I was referring to yesterday, and here it is just to confirm that I don't dream things up and then run off at the mouth about them on the internet. I'm not that far gone.

I also found this neat little feature. I guess if that doesn't get you moving, nothing really will and you just have to accept the fact that you are sort of a loser.

So I guess now I have no excuse not to get my butt in gear...except the reading for my class at 2, and the reading for my class at 4, least I managed to get my laundry done and plan today's class. I call that a win. Victory reward: a nice, long, worry-free run.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Do it.

Just for you, Mom.


Exercise withdrawal

Two new things I learned today:
  1. withdrawal is not spelled withdrawl. I always get confused about this. And then when I realize it is not withdrawl I wonder how I could have been so stupid as to think that it would be spelled that way anyway. I mean, English can be pretty strange as a language, but it is generally not that strange.
  2. withdrawment, though you would not think it was a word (it probably isn't. It is probably an error made on the part of some vacuous and yet wildly popular person that somehow made it into our--admittedly flawed--vernacular. I am thinking of words like 'healthful'. Not a word, people. The word is healthy. Please stop with the healthful already. I mean it)...anyway, though you would not think it is a word, it actually is.
At any rate, exercise withdrawal is lou-sy. I haven't had a chance to go running since last Thursday, and I don't understand how it is possible to take a break after a marathon and still manage to maintain your mental health and personal relationships. Personally, I feel a little bit like biting the head off of anyone who casts a sidelong glance in my direction. Somehow I don't think that sort of reaction most people expect (let alone want) when they look at someone.

Solution to the problem? Simple, right? Go running, you silly girl. Easier said than done. All of a sudden, there is not a single five-minute period in the day that I have to myself. And a good run would require at least a good thirty minutes, minimum. There was, at one point, a Nike ad that had one of those "Be back at..." clocks that you see hanging in shop windows and the point was basically, "Hey, go running, the world can wait for you to get back." I guess Nike is right. I need to just do it. Unless I want to start biting heads off of people. I think I'll leave that to someone else, though, to be honest.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

So I have finally decided to join the legions on bloggers, all those people out there with computers, internet connections, and important things to say. Why shouldn't I be one them?

In November of 2007, I accomplished a lifelong goal by running the Philadelphia Marathon. Throughout my training I repeatedly thought to myself that it would be fun to have a blog and record what I was going through while preparing to run 26.2 miles. Well, that blog idea never panned out; however, while I was training, I decided to choose a second marathon. I chose to train with Team in Training, and I am hoping to run the Paris Marathon in April 2008 (provided I raise enough money to do so. If you want to donate, go to this website: This time, I want to try and record all the ups, downs, and in-betweens. That way I will have more than just pictures and memories to look back on when I am in my thirties and my knees no longer function!

I hope you'll check back often.