Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

Athens Marathon Training: Signs

23 Oct

I’m running late, tired, and probably going to be hungry for the rest of my life… so here’s this week’s rundown, including Saturday’s AMAZING TWENTY-TWO MILE RUN (!!!!). It is accompanied by random signs I found on the internet, which may or may not be actually related to running. Some other week I may have tried to be wise about the signs– this week, I defer the work to you: find meaning where you see it. 

Athens Marathon Training Week 13: SignsFullSizeRender (41)

Monday: maybe yoga? Can’t remember.

Tuesday: 45 min run + Solidcore Arms & Abs — I have said it before and I will say it again: if you are serious about getting stronger, go to Solidcore.

FullSizeRender (44) 

Wednesday: 90 minute run. Every now and again I get out there and surprise the hell out of myself. This was one of those times– I ran ten miles under 9:00 without even really thinking about it and loved each and every one of them. Also, that new Kesha song is strangely great for running, especially if you are infuriated by abusers who are protected by the system. Eff all of you.

FullSizeRender (43)

Thursday: Rest day

Friday: Run 30. Nothing to say about this except that I love Howard homecoming.

I was a little nervous about this run– my most recent 20-miler had only gone okay, and my darling husband bamboozled me into breaking my usual pre-long-run dinner and routine (8:30 pm: “Don’t run Saturday–go running on Sunday so we can have fun tonight! Have another glass of champagne with me.” 8:37 pm: “Wow, I am so surprised to see you drink 2 glasses of champagne the night before a run. I think I’m gonna call it quits for the night so I can be rested to really go out tomorrow night.”)

FullSizeRender (42)


But I decided to just head out there and see if I could enjoy myself, anyway. I picked a pretty hilly course on purpose so I could mimic the race course as much as possible. Amazingly, the miles just flew by and I just felt stronger and stronger as the run went on. The hills didn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought, and I even had plenty of juice left in the tank for the annoying mile-long slog out of Rock Creek Park at the very end. I ended up negative splitting the run, with my last mile coming in at 8:54. Go right ahead, Chef Kef.

I’m saving lots of emotions for the moment I cross that finish line in a few weeks, but I will say that this run made me so very, very proud of myself. I ran 22 well-paced miles, kicked butt on some of RCP’s toughest hills, kept my thoughts positive, and didn’t let my brain get in my body’s way. A year ago I wouldn’t have believed that I could have even run 22 flat miles at a crawling pace. I have worked really hard this training cycle and –even if it all goes to hell come race day (not tempting you, Fate!) — this run reflected that, and I can be really proud of it. So, that’s what I have to say about that.

Lord Jesus–that post run, though. First I didn’t think I could be on my feet for even one moment longer… but then I found out how hard it is to sit DOWN after 22 miles, and THEN I found out how hard it is to get full after 22 miles. I will be tired and hungry for the rest of my life, it appears.


Weeks to Race Day: 3
Total Miles This Week: 40.05 (!!)
Gains: a new personal distance record (long run and weekly milage) + I am now almost 100% sure I can run 26.2 hilly miles 🙂 
all semblance of energy and not being sore for the next week.

Athens Marathon Training: Other People’s Runs

9 Oct

I’m plum out of even-remotely creative ways to say “I ran a lot and I’m tired.” So this week we’ll intersperse the recap with stories of other people who run a lot and may or may not be tired.

Athens Marathon Training Week 11: Other People’s Runs

Monday: Rest Day after last week’s epic 20-mile trek to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and back. Snuck in some restorative yoga, which is really just napping that ends with “namaste.”

Tuesday: Easy 40 min run. You know who never runs easy because she’s too busy killing it? This woman:


We realized we are basically the same person after about 6 minutes of running together, and I’ve been a huge fan of LifeTwinKef ever since. From 5 am meet ups to Half Priced Wine Nights (and a lot of her waiting on me to get to the damn track in between), she’s the best addition to Georgia Ave since the original Fish in the ‘Hood. She’s speedy and determined, and I’m a better runner for training with her. Plus, we’re snarky about all the same things–and that, folks, is what it’s all about.

Wednesday:  60 min run One of the loveliest runs I’ve had in awhile, even though it was at 8pm or so and I generally hate running at night. You know what I don’t hate? Everything about The Mirnavator.


Teacher, body positive advocate, and amazing ultra runner, Mirna Valerio is pretty much everything I want to be. If this blog goes dark for weeks on end, you’ll know that I am off running all the trails in Western New York hoping to “bump into” Mirna and her XC team.

Thursday: ST and Yoga. Blah Blah Blah.

Friday: 45 minute run, also at night, also lovely. Who knew?


22289665_10102132488906945_2045855092478774251_o (1)

Do not adjust the settings on your screen– JETSETKEF RAN 26 MILES THAT WERE EACH UNDER 7 MINUTES AND FINISHED THE WHOLE DAMN CHICAGO MARATHON IN LESS THAN 3 HOURS. Is that overkill on the caps? Okay. But I was never a more proud Terror Twin than when this alert came on to my phone (okay, maybe also the time we finished off an entire watermelon before MamaKef even knew we had started it… that was an athletic feat nearly as impressive). You go, JetSet!

Sunday: Army 10 Miler. While JetSet was off torching the pavement, I was busy trying not to get torched by the insane humidity that came back to stink up DC. After that disastrous half marathon last month, I had no interest in making it a goal to PR this race. I had two goals: A) to negative split and/or B) to not lose my shit. My race plan was to try to run miles 1-3 at 8:45, miles 4-5 at 8:30, miles 6-8 at 8:45, and then miles 9-10 with whatever I had left. It became pretty clear pretty quickly that that was not going to be the case:

Miles 1-3: 9:08, 8:46, 9:12
Miles 4-5: 8:45, 8:57
Miles 6-8: 9:04, 9:29, 9:27
Miles 9-10: 9:26, 8:40

Here’s what I’ll say about this: by the time I made it to the finish line, the officials had decided it was so hot/humid that they had to convert the race into a “fun run” (meaning they weren’t keeping track of what place you came in) and that they eventually had to re-route people to shorten the course and get them off the road. Although my paces didn’t go as planned, I stuck to perceived effort, and you better trust and believe when I say it felt like I was negative splitting. The best thing was that I really kept my wits about me and didn’t get into any mental ditches, and I’ll take that over a PR on the day, for sure.

Weeks to Race Day: 5
Total Miles This Week: 25
Gains: ran most of the race in just my sports bra, which felt a lot like this
pretty sure I was an unwilling participant in a cooling-station-turned-wet-tshirt contest at the last water stop. Grown ass men who behave like frat boys give me the damn heebie jeebies.

Athens Marathon Training: 20 All Over Again

2 Oct

For those of you crying over the lack of recap last week, fear not: you missed almost nothing. I was on a dial-back week and only ran ~15 miles total and mostly just did a lot of yoga. But it was also FERRAGOSTO week, which must be recapped. Hopefully I will get to it this week but y’all already know not to have any expectations.

This was a great running week, with lots of fall temps and mornings with low humidity. I had another TWENTY MILE run again over the weekend, and so in honor of the big 2-0, our theme this week will be: things that were cool when I was 20 years old but are definitely not cool now.

Athens Marathon Training Week 10: 20 All Over Again

Monday: Arms & Core @ SweatDC. Fresh off the Ferragosto high, I rolled out of bed and walked a few blocks over to SweatDC. It was a nice way to get the blood pumping. I’ll have to take a few more classes before saying whether I like it or not, but I am pretty sure the instructor was the poster woman for the ultimate fashion trend when I was 20: the Juicy Jumpsuit.

~So trendy~

Tuesday: run 45. I discovered that my new job is RIGHT on an awesome running trail in DC, so I had a wonderful run during lunch. Were I still a 20 year-old sophomore, I probably would have been borrowing my roommate’s iPod Nano and listening to “Don’t Cha” while I ran. In other news, that song was my mother’s ringtone for about 3 years. Seriously.

And in still other news, did everyone else know YouTube was founded in 2005? It’s funny to think of all the cool things I used to use YouTube for in comparison to its main function for me now: watching someone else screw Nut A onto Washer B because any “some assembly required” instructions might as well be written in Japanese. #thisis32

Wednesday: Run 60 Another wonderful trail run in perfect weather, this time before work. I work in a high school where staff can use the locker room showers before class… rather than describe my experience, I will just let you each meander back in time to that particular peculiarity of your teenage years. Woof.

Thursday: Solidcore Arms and Abs. Not. I couldn’t get out of work on time and missed class, which really pissed me off. Here’s something that, somehow, became a thing when I was 20 and will piss me off forever:

Even one is too many.

Friday: Run 30. Fall is the best because EVEN AT 430 PM IT WAS AMAZING RUNNING WEATHER. When I was 20, we easily threw away 30 minutes trying to figure out what.the.hell a Facebook “poke” meant.

Image result for you have been poked

Saturday: Rest day is the best day! Went to see my aunts in PA. I thought for sure I would be able to find a picture of us from one of the many family events in 2005 somewhere on Facebook, but it would appear there was not yet the album function, which makes me feel like I was 20 a really, really long time ago.

Sunday: 3:00-3:15 run. I had hoped to get in 21 miles just so I could keep exploring those unknown miles, but when my watch ticked off the 20th mile at 3:08, I surely did not have another 7 minutes of running left in me. This run was both wonderful and a struggle– the weather was PERFECT and I went off on a new route to the Woodrow Wilson bridge and back, and really had a generally lovely time. The way back was pretty tough– my mind was refusing to stay occupied and I had to make a few stops  just to settle back in and refocus. And I hate to stop on long runs almost as much as I hate starched, layered polos. I am still not 100% certain where these other 6.2 miles are going to come from, but I suppose that’s a question for another day. For today, I am just loving that I ran another 20-miler and lived to tell the tale.

For our final throw back, here’s a trend I was TOTALLY INTO– the dress-and-jeans thing. Somewhere is a picture of me dancing on my brother’s Village A coffee table with almost this exact outfit, which is mercifully absent from Facebook:

so let’s just all be glad that I write a food/running blog not a fashion blog.

Weeks to Race Day: 6 (WAIT CAN THAT REALLY BE RIGHT???)
Total Miles This Week: 35
Gains: several new running routes
Losses: any pretense that what I did/wore/listened to in college were stand the test of time.




Athens Marathon Training: Birthdays

18 Sep

Per usual, I’m running late for life, so this post is gonna be a rush job. This week brought the birth of my ανιψιός (nephew) AND punched my ticket for another trip around the sun– so while I’m short on time, I’m long on love.

Athens Marathon Training Week 8: Birthdays


FullSizeRender (39)

Monday: the usual, yoga, tennis.

Tuesday: 75 minute run. My legs were still feeling it from Saturday’s 20 miles + Sunday’s epic birth, but it felt great to shake it all out.

Wednesday: legs were killing me, I was exhausted, fell asleep at 830 and loved every second of it. If this were an SAT question on How Chrissy Spends Her Birthday Week, it would go something like this:
Q– Bed before 9 : ChefKef as…
A– Attention: Kardashians

giphy (28)

Thursday: 6x800s, with a return to slower goal paces (woooo!). 339/336/338/336/337/337. not too much to say about this one.

Friday: Yin Yoga, which is basically the same as laying around on pillows for an hour.

Sat: International Peace Half Marathon

Lordylou,this race did not go as I thought it would. I had a big-but-very reasonable goal of 1:48:40ish, which is about 8:15/mile. I was pretty sure I could get this done without having to kill myself– and wouldn’t a shiny new PR be such a great birthday gift?  Several things went wrong with this estimation:

1) Two weeks of fall running somehow fooled me into thinking that 75F at the start of the race wouldn’t be that hot. Wrong. I made the fool hardy choice of bringing my small water bottle, which was not enough to get me to even the 10k mark without feeling really thirsty. It was a hot and dehydrated decline from that point on.

2) As I have mentioned for the last 3 weeks or so, my watch GPS has been acting up and I couldn’t make sense of the mile splits I was getting in relationship to the bizarre differences between the course mile markers and the distance my watch was showing. If you’ve ever kind of blanked out while driving on the highway and then spent a mile or two desperately searching for a sign to see whether you missed your exit, then you know the bewildering panic I felt trying to figure out where I was located in the time-space continuum.

3) As an answer to the watch issues, I opted to try for an evenly-paced race (13 x 8:15) rather than start slow and negative split the damn thing — do not ask me what I was thinking. I ran the first 6 miles happily at pace, and mainted pace (but not happiness) for miles 7 and 8. Somewhere around mile 9, the remaining 4 miles started to seem insurmountable. In the span of about 0.1 miles I went from, “Oh terrif, I am right on pace,” to “OH EFFING MOTHER EFFER, I AM RUNNING RIGHT AT THE GOAL TIME SO I HAVE NO WIGGLE ROOM THIS IS A DISASTER.” It got so bad that I finally had to make a choice: let the goal go and finish the race or cling to the arbitrary objective and never finish the race because I drowned myself in the C&O Canal out of sheer agony. I chose the former and just stopped running right there in mile 9 and walked somewhere around 0.4 of a mile. I have never walked in a race before. This was both liberating (“go ‘head, Kef–look at you being all zen and throwing away pace expectations”) and friggin infuriating (“if one more of these effing mother effers says, ‘you’ve got this!’ as they run by, I will drown them in the canal.”) But, after a few minutes of deep breaths and a mental reset, I felt ready to run again.

I finally finished, feeling depleted and defeated, in 1:59:28. The whole thing left me in a less-than-festive mood along the lines of:

giphy (29)

I was all ready to blast “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To” on rapid repeat for the rest of the day, but then I got up to BabyKef’s house and got to cuddle with MYFAVORITENEPHEWEVERKef, and things were looking up:


Weeks to race day: 8
Total Miles This Week: 25? No clue, my watch is playing with my sense of self.
Gains: My new favorite reason to try and get good at selfies: THEO.
Losses: the ability to say truthfully that I am 31 years old


Athens Marathon Training: FAQ

5 Sep

First things first: make sure to swing by Thursday for the recipe for the cookies that accounted for 85% of my calories last week… they were just that good.

But for today, we have another thrilling recap of miles. I’m running out of preambles, so here are answers to some questions several people have asked:

giphy (21).gif

Do you run every day? No. Weeks usually break down like this:
— running 3-4x/week (long run, middle run, speed work, short run)
— yoga 2x/week
— spinning 1x/week
— strength training 2-3x/week (Solidcore and then these annoying PT exercises I have to do).
— swimming whenever I get around to it.

Why do you run for time, not distance?A bunch of reasons, not the least of which being that it makes me less nuts– I find it way easier to know that I can be done in XX minutes’ time no matter how far I’ve run, rather than slog through a set number of miles that seem to never end.

Where do you get your training plans? I’ve been working with DC Running Coach for twoish years now. He was kind enough to hook a nurse up back when I was really focused on breaking two hours in the half marathon, and I saw such an improvement in my running that I couldn’t imagine doing my first full without him.

Who do you do your long runs with? I run with the Arlington Road Runners Club, mostly because the people are awesome, but also because all runs over 12 miles have water stops. Also, how the hell else am I supposed to get out the door by 6:00 am (…okay, 6:07) to avoid dying of heat stroke in the summer?

Isn’t all that running boring?

giphy (22)

 Athens Marathon Training Week 6: FAQ

Monday: Yoga + Tennis. I’ve been loving “Happy Hour Yoga” with Andrew at Yoga District, which is a hilarious blend of his musings and stretching all the damn muscles I’m usually too lazy to.

Tuesday: 30 min run + Solidcore Arms and Abs. As always, the question here is: why do I put myself through 50 minutes on this medieval torture device every week?

giphy (23)

Wednesday: spinning @ Off Road.

Thursday: KILLED IT AT THE TRACK. After last week’s shenanigans, my goal was just to get back in a good headspace.  I was shooting for 5x1000m @ 4:21 with 600m jogging rest in between, and I managed to eek it in: 416/420/420/423/421. Which left only one question:

giphy (25)

Friday: the cough that won’t quit came back with avengence and I was tired enough to see that it was perfect running weather, put on a sports bra, and still pass out on the couch for the next 14 hours anyway. Unplanned-but-so-necessary rest days are the best days.

Saturday: 60-minute run. I watched the 15-minute forecast on fanatically and found an hour-long rainless window. It was lovely and I was moving and grooving.

Sunday: 2-hour run. Slept way later than usual (again!) and had to scidaddle out for 13 miles of fun. The really lovely thing was that I managed to pace them all pretty perfectly. While that’s a great running feat, it was even better that I had enough juice left in me to head out on the town with my husband and have a real, live Sunday Funday. Brunch plus two other bars– MrKef was sure his wife had been abducted and replaced with a younger, way more fun model.

Weeks to Race Day: 10
Total Miles This Week: 30ish– my Garmin is acting up and I don’t have the patience for addition right now.
Gains: two glorious nights of sleep uninterrupted by cough, the most fun day with my husband and our friends
Losses: Lord Jesus hear me when I say I really, really hope I lost my cough this week.

Athens Marathon Training: Reclaiming My Time

7 Aug

If are you reading this, you probably have already heard that I am officially Chef Kefi, CPNP. I passed my certifying exam this week and am now a real, live Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.  As such, I spent my week interpreting the meme-inspiring words of Auntie Maxine herself and was reclaiming my time left and right.

giphy (4)

The good news is that I had a really fun week… but the bad news is that I missed a lot of running time. I almost never deviate from my training plans so it doesn’t make me TOO nuts to have an off week, but it certainly makes writing a training recap a little more difficult.

Athens Marathon Training Week 3: Reclaiming My Time

Monday: 60 minute slow flow and meditation at Past Tense — so necessary for the night before the big test!

Tuesday: NO MORE TESTS DAY IS THE BEST DAY! After I passed my test and wept the most genuine tears of joy that have ever been shed, I got right down to the business of reclaiming my damn time. It was 2 pm and HOT, but you think that bothered me one little bit? Nope. Got in a wonderful 75 minute run and loved every single second.

giphy (6)

Then, of course, there was the little matter of celebrating. SummitKef and I couldn’t quite summon the skills to get this shot right, but as I do not intend to reclaim even one second of time working on my selfie game, we just kept the party moving right along.

FullSizeRender (34)



Wednesday: y’all, the people of OffRoad are trying to kill me.  This week’s death sentence included two 10-minute pushes marked by looooong ascents. Dru, you win.

Thursday: meant to run hills, but got caught up at work until 8 pm and then had a ton of party prep to get done so just had to skip it. Womp. I muttered a teeth-clenched prayer to St. Maxine herself that my newly-found free time would not be eaten up by work and reminded myself that one missed run is just the way things go sometimes.

giphy (7).gif

Friday:  was up way late on Thursday night so slept in on Friday.  Planned to get at least my planned 30 minute run in at lunch (plus maybe some of those missed hills if I had the chance) but then — of course– it was the one Friday we were swamped at work and had to work right through lunch. Another missed run– I did not love that, but BabyKef was coming down after work down to help  me with the rest of the party prep, and we turned out about a million cookies that looked like this, so I called the day a net win:

FullSizeRender (32)

Saturday: If you want any evidence that I was plum out of effs to give, I’ll tell you this: I had planned to run for about 2:45 on Saturday starting in Rosslyn at 6 am. At 1015 am, I finally set out from Petworth, ran 60 minutes and then abandoned ship. I hadn’t slept well (see also: too much work, too many party projects) and just couldn’t get into a good headspace. Usually I can work with that and find a phrase to focus on to get me back into the groove, but right around the hour mark my calf was cramping something FIERCE and I was just.plain.done.

All this extra energy left me feeling a little nutty… which I’m sure early arrivals to my celebration noticed (…sorry about that, guys). But then MrKef’s cowboy hat came out and I remembered that I will have allllllll kinds of time next week to make up for those missed miles but I will never get to celebrate the RECLAMATION OF ALL MY DAMN TIME with my dearest friends ever again. So celebrate I did.


Weeks to Race Day: 14
Total Miles This Week: 14 … whoopsies
Gains: William-Wallace-style FREEDOM, several letters behind my name
Losses: uh, the 20ish miles I didn’t run


Three Books I Read In One Sitting

19 Jun

I’m supposed to be studying for my Boards 24/7, but I went a little overboard and put the entirety of the 2016 NYT Notable Books of the Year list on hold at the library and now I have to read all these books before their return date. Whoopsies.

But it’s not procrastinating if you read them really quickly, right? In general I am not a speed reader (we leave that to ThisIsYourLifeNowKef), but these three books sucked me in and didn’t let go until I finished them. Since I should be studying, I’ll just give you the quick and dirty–ask me about my full thoughts sometime after August 1st or so.

When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi

What happens when a young neurosurgeon becomes the patient? This posthumously-published memoir of Kalanithi’s struggle to maintain meaning as he faced the end of his life is stunningly-written and deeply resonant. The book is worth reading just for the final paragraph, which has to be among the most touching words ever put to page.

The End of Eddy – Edouard Louis

I’ve spent more time talking and thinking about this book than I did reading it– the autobiographic novel is less than 200 pages but manages to tackle (among other things): socially-prescribed expectations of masculinity, class-based systemic violence, and resiliency in the face of abuse, isolation, and neglect. Many have called The End of Eddy a French version of Hillbilly Elegy, but I resist the comparison.  Certainly, The End of Eddy aims to connect the personal injustices waged against its gay protagonist with the massive marginalization and humiliation of his working-class family in a factory town, and its US-release was timed with the rise and near-election of a dangerous right wing politician (Le Pen), two similarities to Hillbilly Elegy that make drawing the parallel clean and neat. But Eddy has none of the suggestions for redemption of Elegy— like the author/main character, Eddy’s readers are left weighing the balance of blame and forgiveness for the family and neighbors who torment him.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers – Max Porter

Honestly, I haven’t the slightest idea how to describe this book, but if Gregor woke up a bug on the day of his mother’s funeral, Metamorphosis might have been a it like GITTWF. We meet a father and his two boys just after the sudden death of their wife/mother, and large parts of the book are spent in sparse-but-touching observations of grief and the act of living after the life you once knew is gone. Somehow, an allegoric crow borne of Ted Hughes’ (of Sylvia Plath fame) mind becomes the shepherd of their grieving process, and even manages to illuminate their most poignant moments. To be honest, I couldn’t make much sense of the Crow, but I loved the rest of the book so much I didn’t care. If someone knows a sophomore Literature major, I’d love them to close read it for me and let me know what to make of it.

%d bloggers like this: