Another Awkward Week [6.20.14]

Guyyys, hi! I did NOT make good on my promise for wedding updates this week, now did I? I hope no one actually died of anticipation.  I don’t know if I could handle the guilt. Now, I know you’re all just aching to hear about the fight I had with my mom about addressing the invitations (I’d make Emily Post turn over in her fancy little grave) and my bridal shower (spoiler alert: it was awesome!) and the long, overly poignant 700 paragraph essay I keep drafting about the complexities and anxieties related to composing the guest list. And I am aching to share these stories, too! What do I love more than talking about myself? NOTHING, that’s what. But sometimes you can’t do what you love and instead you have to work and go to physical therapy and clean your house and do laundry and sleep and be responsible and ugh, being a grown-up is the WORST!

But just stay tuned, ok? I’ll get around to it. I must!

Meanwhile, was my week all work, no play and no weird moments? Of course not! Let’s take a look at what was keeping it awkward this busy week:

This Beverage:

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On Tuesday night I went to a work event and they had a few bottles of wine and a few bottles of seltzer (and cheese!!) for guests to imbibe upon so I decided to get my Real Housewife on and make a little white wine spritzer.

Turns out the seltzer was the flavored kind.

And turns out you can ruin pinot grigo by adding a few splashes of lemon-lime seltzer water.

I mean…I drank it but still, woof.

And while we're on the topic of vino (am I ever not on the topic of vino?)...

This Bottle of Wine:

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Last night I went running for the first time in weeks, after taking some time off to nurse my broken butt cheek and it was SO great. I missed running and breaking a sweat. Pitbull has a new (ish?) song out called Wild Love and as with all things Pitbull it is equal parts ridiculous and amazing and I listened to it four times in a row. HAH. Pitbull is my spirit guide.

ANYWAY, I brought along some cash and my ID in this little runners' fanny pack of Brian's so I could stop at the wine store on my way home and grab a bottle for the weekend. My mom is in town, so I figured we'd need the double bottle, or as I like to call it "family sized."

The wine store in my neighborhood is this tiny little yuppie place that sells all kinds of fancy stuff but I always buy right off their "discount table" because, duh.

On this particular evening, they were hosting a tasting at the front of the store, so a group was gathered around a tiny table sipping and talking about tannins and soil and whatever the fuck else fancy wine people talk about and I barged in DRENCHED in sweat and made a beeline right for the bargain table, grabbed the family sized bottle of sauvignon blanc and plonked it down on the counter. As the snooty cashier run it up, I began digging crumpled dollar bills out of my fanny pack. The total came to $19 which is like, $12 more than I prefer to spend on wine, but they're the only game in town, so you gotta do what you gotta do. Unfortunately I realized I only had $17 on me so I got all frazzled, as I do, and blurted out "I don't have enough cash! I need another one. A different wine. Cancel the order. Cancel the order!" I grabbed the big bottle, raced back to the dicsount table, picked up my go-to regular sized, screw-top sauvy b (still priced at a cool $12...come on, store, would it kill you to stock some Barefoot brand?) and sprinted back up to the register.

At this point I caught myself in the mirror behind the check out. I was straight up glistening with sweat, wearing a fanny pack and waving around a handful of crumpled one-dollar bills.

Did I mention I only had ones on me? I don't know why I had such a big stack of Washingtons.

This guy must have thought I was some kind of frantic, crazed, wino stripper or something. Sprinting in and out of the store, grabbing bottles, throwing around one dollar bills.

I'd say I can never show my face in there again but let's all be real, I'll be back within the week. Ok, weekend.

This Wound:

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Technically this happened last week but who’s counting? No one. Great. My friend reminded me of this story THIS week so it still counts. Hi Ami! Thanks for the reminder!

ANYWAY recently I was at a 30th Birthday Party (June is 30th Bday Party Month round these parts – we have one every weekend!) at Brian’s friend’s gorgeous apartment in midtown. This guy lives in like, a TV apartment – it has a BALCONY. A private balcony! What the actual what.

(To all y’all who don’t live in horrible cities are like, I have 17 wrap-around porches, why are you so excited about a balcony? I know. Just…don’t go there.)

The door from the living room to the balcony was super heavy and hard to open. It felt like when you’re trying to push a door against a heavy gale of wind, but the night was perfectly still. It was VERY difficult!

I was NOT the only person to have trouble opening the door but WAS the only person to somehow get their finger caught in said door and end up gushing blood all over the place.

You 4 real can not take me anywhere.

This Flyer:

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The corner around my office is like a wind tunnel, always blustery and blowy and ten degrees colder than the rest of the city. It is weird and the WORST.

The other morning I was walking the one block from the subway to the office and a gust of wind blew this flyer up and it got stuck on my leg and the wind just kept it there for the whole block!

HAHA this is a horrible story but oh my god, guys, I can’t even tell you how much this made me laugh. I was like peeing myself laughing, walking along the street with this paper stuck to my leg, sporadically stopping to take photos for my blergh.

Even the local homeless man who stands on the corner every day and asks for money so he can take a taxi back to his costume shop on Broadway (aww, it’s sad I know) thought I was a loony tune.

This Drawer:

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Oh, and this one too:

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I’ve now shown you the grotesque hoarder nightmare zones under my desk and inside my purse. Today I bring you: my desk drawers.

If you read any Real Simple magazines, and I read them all, one tip they’re constantly sharing on organization is to avoid drawers. Drawers are the worst. You can just toss all your crap in there, slam ‘em shut and never think about it again.

I am SO guilty of doing this, to the point that yesterday I wanted to put some paperwork in a drawer, thought “oh there’s too much garbage in there” and then THREW the paperwork out instead of trying to file it.

I then realized maybe I could clean out my garbage drawers so I would have room for actually important things. And so I did.

Here are just a few of the tippy top highlights of what I discovered:

  • A Christmas card for my friend and her husband, dated Christmas 2012 (Merry Christmas 2012, Liz and Bobby!)
  • A cutout from Marie Claire Magazine entitled Sex in a Blanket, tips for having sex while wearing a snuggie. I kept this.
  • And a cutout from Glamour with tips about how do do a workout while laying on your couch. I kept this too. Apparently I am the laziest mf-er known to man.  
  • About five dozen photos of myself from various points in my youth. What do you think it says if a person keeps drawers full of photographs of themselves? Don’t tell me. (PS. see below for an especially choice image of a young Liz Ho.)
  • Two Christmas tree ornaments
  • Program to Brian’s school’s 2012 production of Clue
  • A Tiffany pen, my gift upon reaching five years of employment. Per the internet, this pen is valued at $125 or more. It has never been used. It is also the only item I own from Tiffany and Co. WHAT THE HELL, BRIAN! BUY ME SOME DIAMONDS.
  • Two vials of store brand bug bite cream
  • One button
  • One box of sparklers, a gift from the resident office crazy to thank me for giving her a book
  • Saline spray
  • A blonde wig worn for Halloween when I went as, that’s right, Taylor Swift. I’m the worst.
  • One box of old conversation hearts
  • One Half eaten box of Girl Scout cookies. I can’t believe I never ate these! I don’t even remember when I put them in there?! Disgusting? YES.
  • One package of bamboo skewers… you know, for all the grilling I do in the office.
  • One pair of hideous sensible black wedges I bought my first winter on the job (that’d be winter of 2007) in an attempt to dress more mature and professional. I think I wore them twice?  
  • The folder from the first campaign I ever did solo. No paperwork inside, just a manila folder with the author’s name written on the outside. AWWW! I guess I was feeling sentimental? 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, pals. I filled up my office trash can lickety split and had to go get an empty cardboard box out of the supply room, fill THAT up with garbage and bring it down to the big communal trash can in the copy room, where I then covered all of my discarded belongings with a layer of paper because I didn’t want everyone to know how grotesque I am.

I did not pitch everything, so if anyone would like a blonde wig or an expensive silver pen or a box of sparklers, just let me know, I’m sure we can work out a fair deal.

And that, my friends, was my week. How was yours?! What’s everyone up to this weekend?! As I mentioned above, my Schmoopster is comin’ to town! We are going to shop for a dress for her to wear for my wedding. I am so excited. I want her to feel like the beautiful special goddess she is! Love that lady.

On that note, I will leave you here to stare at this beautiful photo found in my desk drawer, of Liz Ho at her 5th Grade Field Day. It's hard to pick a favorite thing about this photo. My height? The Seattle Mariners cap hooked to the belt loop of my Bermuda length mom jorts? The pose? The Jon Lennon sunglasses?!?!

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It always shocks me I never had a career as a child model.

Happy weekend, buddies. And Happy First Day of Summer - it's finally here!!

xoox Liz

Another Awkward Week [6.13.14]

Goodness if I haven’t been the worst blogger in all the land lately. I’ve barely had time to read blogs (save a few of my fave housewives, obvi) much less write one. I’ve felt crazed with work and travel and visitors and I’ve been dealing with this debilitating butt injury (don’t ask) (obviously I’ll tell you all about in just a few moments)  and life is just whooshing on by. Whoosh, whoosh!

Before we know it, it’ll whoosh right on up to August 16 and holy cats, y’all, we have a LOT to do before then. By “then” I mean our wedding in case you for some strange reason don’t think exclusively about my life and the important dates therein. I will update you on many, many wedding things next week, try not to die of excitement before then but for now, the usual nonsense.

A look at what was keeping it awkward this week. Two weeks. Three? Oy!

 

These Paper Boobs:

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I ordered a bunch of brassieres from Gap Body this week and they came stuffed with paper - I guess to help them keep their shape? For some reason these paper boobs made me laugh and laugh and laugh so I lined them up on the floor where they just look like balls of white paper because um, that’s what they are.

Actually they look like biscuits. Now I want biscuits!

Isn't biscuit a hard word to spell? I always want to put a "q" in there.

Which, side note to the sidenote, through working at Penguin I have come to learn just how many people think that Penguin is spelled with a "Q." A LOT of people. GUYS no, just no. There is not a Q in Penguin, are you kidding me?

Biscuit, on the other hand. There is probably a Q in there.

Oh. My. God. Liz. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.

Point of this horrible story: my assistant Margaret came in and caught me taking this photo and was like WHAT are you doing and I was like “photographing these paper boobs, obviously” and she just backed slowly out of my office and down the hall and sprinted out the door.

JK she has yet to run screaming from this office but I would NOT blame her if/when she does. She always catches me doing the weirdest stuff. Licking tupperware. Paper boobs!

Ugh.

BISQUITSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

These Sandals:

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Cute, sure. Cuter still when you learn they are Bass, ordered after I ran an extensive Google search for “sandals with proper arch support.”

29 going on 89, y’all.

This Bootay:

It’s mine!

J to the K it is very clearly Beyonce’s but mine pretty much looks the same in the fact that we both have butts but the similarities pretty much end there.

Anyhoodle, as I mentioned earlier, my booty is currently on the disabled list. But srsly, though. I guess all this running took a toll on my body, for the weeks after my half marathon I started having increasing pain in my left hip and glute, especially when sitting for long periods of time or upon first standing up. After attempting a zillion weird home cures and diagnosing myself with fatal diseases like I never don’t, I finally got myself to a physical therapist who concluded that I had a tight IT band and a strained piriformis muscle.

The piriformis is this weird little muscle that goes from your butt around your hip and is supremely hard to stretch so now I go in to physical therapy twice a week for what basically amounts to 30 minute nonsexual butt massages.

It is awesome. I am not even remotely joking. I’ve never had a back or shoulder massage, I have a sad life I guess, so this is my first taste of the massage world and I am LOVING it. It is the best part of my week! I mean I feel a little strange just laying there, booty up, getting a rub down and I’m always worried I’ll fart in the PT’s face but so far, so good!

My hip is starting to feel better, but I might have to pretend to still be in pain...I’m like, legit addicted to butt rubs.

This Straw:

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Actually it was another straw but I forgot to take a photo of it so this is a substitute straw.

Just don’t worry about it.

So last weekend my cousin Angie was in town and it was the best! Angie is the coolest - she is an art teacher and one of her students won a prestigious national Scholastic Gold Key Award so she was in NYC for the awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall. So amazing, right?

Right!

At one point during the weekend we were sitting around at the bar, just casually hanging out, not even remotely drunk (that came later when, while Angie attended the awards ceremony, her boyfriend Jeremy, Brian and I proceeded to ring up a $200 beer and french fry tab, yikes) and I picked up my glass of water to take a drink straight from the glass, forgetting there was a straw in the glass and as I turned the cup towards my mouth, the straw poked me on the underside of my nostril just CENTIMETERS away from going straight up into my nose, impaling my brain and killing me.

I almost died and Angie just laughted and laughed and laughed and said she thought sometimes I made up my blog stories but she now saw first hand I’m actually that hot of a mess.

Can’t make this up, kids.

PS I ALMOST DIED!!!

(PSS Not really.)

PSSS now I want a bloody with my biscuits. LET'T ALL GO OUT TO BRUNCH!!!!!!!!!

Ok still the worst blogger, even when writing! None of these stories are funny to anyone but me and even I"m like eeeehhhhh? Eh. My brain is mushier than my muscles which are surely atrophying now that I am a sedentary blob with a broken butt cheek.

I'll be back next week with WEDDING UPDATEZ and good stories I swickity-swear.

Have a great weekend! Call your dad on Sunday!

xoxoox Liz Ho

Some Unsolicited Running Advice from a Self-Appointed "Expert"

As I mentioned yesterday in my deeply empowering half marathon recap, I am all in on this running lifestyle. I have drunk (drank?) the kool-aid! Well, Gatorade, if we're being precise. I might go so far as to call myself a runner. Last week a friend of mine asked me how I got myself into running, saying that learning to love the sport is a goal of hers. I adore talking about myself and pretending to be an expert so I figured I'd share my tips for the whole WORLD to enjoy. For the record this is a real person, named Katie. I'm not just making this up so I can continue to brag about my physical fitness.

So! Just a few verbose (as always!) thought below, may they inspire you to love running as much as I have. And I knowwww this is getting boring, I swearity-swear this is my last running post for at least a week.

HOW TO BECOME A RUNNER:

ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO JUST RAN THEIR FIRST HALF MARATHON AND NOW THINKS SHE'S A TOTAL EXPERT 

1a) Sign up for a race. 

Having a goal to work towards gives you a light at the end of the tunnel, a reason to get up from the couch and pound the pavement. There are plenty of races for every level from beginner to pro. Pro races are also known as The Olympics and if you're qualified for those you probably don't need to be reading this blog.

1b) Then tell EVERYONE. 

This step is possibly the most vital step of all. The more people you tell about your race plans, the dopier you'll look if you drop out.  Registering for a race is a big step, but does it even count if no one knows? If a tree falls in a forest, etc? I suppose you could just rely on your own self for motivation but personally I am most moved by the admiration and acceptance of other people, so I made sure to tell literally the entire internet the moment I signed up for my half marathon and then when I trained, I visualized myself crossing the finish line to applause and then instantly uploading photos to multiple social media forums where my loved ones would heap praise upon me.

I am a) barely exaggerating and b) not ashamed and can't stress highly enough how important step 1b is to your success.

2) Dress the part.

Until very recently, I was completely unconvinced as to the necessity of quote-unquote workout clothes. Why would I spend my hard earned money on UnderArmor leggings and tank tops when I could wear a free t-shirt from some kind of college volunteer day and a pair of enormous Nike soccer shorts that I have had since literally 2008 when I purchased because they were part of the official uniform of the US Women's World Cup Team? Girls who wear cute workout clothes can't possibly be taking it seriously. They're just trying to look adorable, unlike me over here in my grungy apparel, holding my shorts up with a safety pin. A true athlete!

My attitude was entirely changed this Christmas, when Brian's parents sweetly gifted me with some warm weather running gear - a pair of black tights with jazzy hot pink pattern zipping up the calves and a matching hot pink zip-up jacket. It was unlike anything I would ever purchase for myself, but it instantly became my favorite outfit and somewhat of a motivational costume. Putting it on I transformed from casual jogger to Hot Running Girl! Fit and fashionable.

I've since purchased a few "running" outfits and they help keep me motivated. Putting on my sweat-wicking tank top and compression capris tells my brain: "NOW WE ARE RUNNING!" Silly? Maybe! But it works for me.

If you're in the market, Marshall's & TJ Maxx always have tons of name brands on supersale and Old Navy, my #1 favorite clothing retailer has a great line of workout attire at spectacular prices!

All this said, don't go too overboard, this is still a workout, not a fashion show. And NO ONE likes the girl who matches  her bellybutton ring to her neon crop-top. A little subtly goes a long way.

3) Make a Plan...and Keep Visual Track of your Progress 

The internet is chock FULL of free training plans for all sorts of races. I've heard rave reviews about the Couch to 5K program for beginners and Runners World has a series of training plans for every level.

I worked with a plan by some guy called Hal Higdon, with a few tweaks by my personal trainer, Brian. I loved this training plan - simple, adaptable and knowing exactly what was expected of me each week helped me to stay motivated and energized.

I made a series of calendars for myself for the duration of my training process, indicating what was on the lineup for each day and also leaving a space for me to write what I actually achieved that day. Most training plans are very general, just Week 1, Week 2, etc and for me, seeing the physical calendar dates was helpful.

For the first month I was diligent about updating with my actual mileage and though I sort of fell off that wagon by month 2, I still consulted the calendar regularly to remind myself what was upcoming. Seeing the long run distance inch up by one mile per week made me feel like such a badass.

4) Reward Yourself

Cheese burgers after long runs? DON'T MIND IF I DO.

5) Have a Buddy

I ran this race by myself, but had lots of buddies helping me prep for it. I had Brian running beside me on all of my long runs, encouraging me every day and standing on the sidelines cheering for me while I raced. My cousin Dani ran her first half marathon a few weeks before I did and we emailed back and forth about how much we loved it and another cousin, Kelly who took up running around the same time and has been slaying it in races all spring, shares inspirational quotes and photos on Facebook, encouraging me to keep it up too . And my friend Mary also ran her first half earlier this spring, so we'd compare training notes, run along the river together after work and bond over our new-found obsession with running. Weirdly enough, Mary and I got basically the exact same times on our first half marathons! How cool is that.

There are lots of local running clubs in my area, but I've been hesitant to join one, the huge group mentality kind of stresses me out and I wasn't quite ready to make that commitment. But maybe it'll work for you! Or find one pal to train with or just see who else in your group of friends/office is a runner and bond with them.  It is fun to have someone to comiserate with and, like my crazy mentality that if you tell everyone you'll be less likely to quit, it helps me to feel like I'm  not alone...I'm running for Brian and Mary and Kelly and Dani and everyone!

In the whole world!!!!!

Grandiose, much?!

7) Rock the Tunes

I never listened to music while running until very recently. I'd either run with Brian and talk to him or run on the treadmill and watch old episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I also didn't know how to play music on my phone because I am the worlds smartest modern human. Luckily, this spring I discovered both Songza and Google Play Music and with their help was able to put together a pretttty baller running playlist.

Running to Songza (or Pandora, I guess) is super fun because you don't know what song is coming next, so it's a fun surprise every time! This helped me to discover some awesome throwbacks from college (ain't no Hollaback Girl!) and then spend most of my run just reminiscing about listening to those songs on repeat with my pals. I then figured out how to create my own playlists, but still like to play on shuffle so I'm always on my toes. This is really boring...why don't I just stop talking and share what I'm jamming to lately: 

  • Lorde, Royals 
  • Pitbull & Ke$ha, Timber (I could basically listen to this song on repeat all day and night both while running and just while going about my day.) 
  • Rihanna, Don't Stop the Music 
  • Danity Kane, Damaged (cue memories of 2008 girls vacation to Miami!) 
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together (LIKE I wasn't going to have some Swizz on here)
  • One Direction, Best Song Ever (I'm an adult!)
  • Katy Perry, Roar 
  • Katy Perry, Teenage Dream
  • Katy Perry, T.G.I.F (I just really like Katy Perry)
  • Nicki Minaj, Starships
  • Kanye West et. al, Monster (I always go extra hard during Nicki's verse. You can be the king now watch the queen conquer!) 
  • Icona Pop, I Don't Care 
  • Austin Mahone, Mmm Hmm Yeah (I have no idea who this person is and I'm pretty sure he might be 12 but it came on my songza one day and features Pitbull and I can't say no to Pitbull and now I love this song.) 
  • Anything Taio Cruz has ever done: Dynamaite, Break Your Heart and my personal favorite song Hangover, which introduces the genius term "shitfaceded" 
  • Flo Rida, Wild Ones
  • Nelly, Country Grammar 
  • Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Sara Bareilles, Brave 
  • Destiny's Child, Bootylicious
  • Jackson Five, ABC 
  • Little Mix, Wings (again, I have no idea who these people are but this song is a jimmity jam)
  • Avicii, Wake Me Up (I don't really approve of Electronic Dance Music or "EDM" as the kids/cools are calling it but I do like this song!)
  • Bastille, Pompeii (heyyydey oh, hey-dey) 
  • Cobra Starship, Good Girls Gone Bad
  • Beyonce, Crazy in Love (obviously always and forever) 

6) Don't Be Afraid to look Dumb

I was talking to someone recently who didn't want to run in public because they were worried they'd look dumb. And as much as I want to pretend to be above that, I totally get it. Fear of looking stupid is one of the main reasons I quit trying yoga so I need to learn to practice what I preach. So for both me and all of you to keep in mind: who cares! Who cares if you stop and walk or run slow or think you swing your arms weird or if you air drum while running and dance at stoplights. Everybody looks weird doing everything and no one is paying attention to you, they're all busy worrying about what they look like.

8) Just. Keep. Running. 

This is a little hippie dippy and hard to quantify but at a certain point your brain is going to want to stop running and you're going to have to tell it to shut the eff up. One of the simultaneously most exciting and challenges for me while training was when I realized that my body could  keep running. That when I felt tired or bored or ready to quit it wasn't my body giving out but my brain giving up. I had to figure out how to shut off the part of me that wanted to quit, walk and go home and just. keep. running.

I don't know what to tell you to do this in your life. For me, it was turning up my music, staring right ahead and literally saying, out-loud (see what I said about looking weird?!): "you've got this, Liz. Keep going." And then I'd keep going.

In the time it took you to think about quitting, your legs probably went two, three, four more steps. You CAN do it.

9) Go Ahead and Brag! 

Proud of your training or your race time? Pat yourself on the back! Go ahead and upload that finish line photo to multiple social media feeds and watch the likes roll in.

10) Always End Lists with Even Numbers! 

And those are my tips!

I am obviously super clearly not an expert but people (one person) were begging for my advice (politely asking about my training routine) and I have to give the world what it wants! I hope this inspires at least one person to get out and start running both because it's super fun and also because I'm DYING to be considered a positive role model.

Now, let me ask you: How do YOU get motivated - to run or otherwise? Runners, anything you think I'm missing? Any workout songs you'd suggest?! 

Thanks for reading this! I have no idea how to end this post. OK BYE!  Smooches!

 

30 Before 30: Run a Half Marathon!

America, guess what?! I did it! First (and hopefully not last) half marathon is in the books and I can check one more thing off my 30 Before 30 List. Just 26 items & 5 months to go. Yiiiiikes. Not the point! The point is I did it and it went way better than I imagined it would! The morning got off to a rocky start, with chilly, damp weather and a potentially dramatic incident involving a lost shipment of porta potties but by the time the starting gun went off at 8:30 AM it was bright, breezy and perfect weather for running. Which was a relief both athletically AND sartorially as it initially looked like I might have to do 13.1 sporting this HOT get-up.

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Thankfully that fashion faux-pas was averted and after some hemming and hawing about what sort of layering/sleeve situation I was going to go for, I made a game time decision to rock just a tank top (and bottoms, obviously) so I looked like a sexy sporty gal instead of an adult Morton Salt Girl slash homeless fisherwoman.

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Ok maybe “gangly and weirdly chipper sporty gal” would be a better descriptor but today is about CONFIDENCE not self-deprecation so let’s go with sexy. (In case you’re curious, this tank top was a gift from my BFF Maureen. In the card she said it would help me combat my STS aka “Sweaty Torso Syndrome” and she was right! What a great top. And an even better friend, one who also sent me tulips to celebrate finishing my race. She’s basically my guardian angel.)

ALSO in case you’re wondering if I yelled mid-run “Hey! Brian! Take my picture!!! While I’m running!” the answer is obviously. Do you even have to ask?

The race itself went totally superbly great. The course was perfectly flat and scenic, taking us under the Verrazano Bridge. The course sort of just looped around on itself so you ran the same path up and back, up and back, which could seem dull but worked for me – I was able to pass Brian 4 times, which helped keep me motivated and gave me something to look forward to and the flat, blank landscape of the course allowed me to completely zone out and just RUN.

At mile 4 I wanted to quit, by mile 7 I was ready to start training for a full marathon and by mile 12 I was just ready to get it over with.

So how’d I do? Awesome! My initial goal was to finish in 2 hours and I smashed that, crossing the finish line at 1:53:04. I placed 110th overall, out of 264 and 19th out of 67 finishers in my bracket of women aged 20-29. This was much better than I could have hoped for and I’m so proud of my accomplishment. I didn’t feel too bad after the race either, minus a horrific stomach ache (TMI as always, but any other runners out there deal with major gassy cramps during/post long runs?! I was dying!) and sore hips and hamstrings. We met some friends for celebratory beers & BBQ and then I passed out by 8:45 PM. It was delightful.

I’d DEFINITELY do another half marathon and would love to try to improve my time and work on pacing myself to run more smoothly and consistently. As for a full marathon? No. Not yet. Mostly I don’t want to put in that much time training and, despite the speed, pride, etc, I struggled through that 13th mile, I don’t think I’m ready to double that.

I’m mostly just surprised by how much I enjoyed this whole process. I don’t know why I decided I should run a half marathon, I just kind of got the idea in my head and decided it would be a good thing to do before I turned 30, and somewhere along the way I came to love running.  I’ve dabbled in jogging in the past, first just as a tool to stay svelte and then as something to do with Brian. He ran competitively in college and running is as much a part of his life as breathing or eating cheese or quoting Liz Lemon is to mine. When we started dating, I’d run with him because I wanted to share that with him and I wanted him to think I was a cool sporty person and sometimes I enjoyed it but other times I just got frustrated that I couldn’t keep up with him and worried I was holding him back and would get weird and dramatic – “just leave me here! This isn’t Saving Private Ryan! I know I’m slow and holding you back and I’m sorry. I never should have come with you today. I’m ruining everything!" – and that was just no fun for anybody.

When I started training for my race, I was in so-so shape. Essentially I could run the 3.4 mile loop in Prospect Park without stopping, occasionally adding on an extra mile here or there, if I was feeling particularly fit. I trained for three months, doing short runs throughout the week and one long run on weekends, adding on a mile per week. Every single week I had a one mile indicator of how much stronger I was getting. It felt awesome. I realized this morning that I could now run the 3.4 mile loop in Prospect Park 3.85 times without stopping. Boom.

Two of my cousins got into running right around the same time I did and we’ve been chatting together about how empowering it is physically pushing yourself to new levels. I usually shy away from that sort of self help-Oprah Winfrey-feelgood nonsense but I can’t help myself. I’m an empowered lady. Hear me roar! Or something.

I also realized that, in addition to empowering me (how many times will she say empowering?!), running calms me.  As you all know, I have some issues with anxiety and a, shall we say, overactive brain. Somehow when I’m in a good running rhythm, my brain just stops racing. I was telling this to a friend recently and she asked me what I think about when I run and I had to tell her I don’t know! I daydream. I sing along to songs on my phone, imagine dancing to them at my wedding or let them pull me back into nostalgic reminiscences. I mentally draft essays I never get around to writing. I focus on my breath, my feet, one step after the other.

I was in kind of a low place earlier this year, emotionally, and I’m feeling worlds away from that dark space. Yes, the weather and general passing of time have a lot to do with that, but I truly think the running did too. I know running isn’t for everyone, I wouldn’t push it on anyone, but I can not more wholeheartedly get behind anything than the importance of physical activity – whether it’s sprinting or Zumba or yogilates or powerwalking. It’s basically free Xanax! Y’all know I love TV as much as the next guy but I think all of us can and should spare a few hours of Hulu Plus per week in favor of getting those endorphins.

Ok now I’m getting a little self-righteous where I just meant to be celebratory! I think this is as good a place as any to cut the rambles. I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more words on running – a friend asked me for my advice on learning to love running, so I thought I’d share some more practical tips, now that I am super totally an expert on all things track and field.

HA!

Thank you all for your sweet encouragement and support while I trained for this little shindig and for not being too harsh on mo while I ramble about running. I know there is nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about their exercise routine (looking RIGHT AT YOU Crossfitters) so I truly appreciate you tuning in. You're all gems. Gems, I say!

 

Xo! Liz

Another Awkward Week [4.25.14]

Hi guys!! How was everybody's week? Mine was extremely eventful. As you'll see below! I only wish it had been a scoonch warmer, you know? It's so hard to get dressed this time of year. It's freezing in the mornings, warm during the day and chilly again at night. It's not warm enough for bare legs, and yet I hate the idea of wearing tights into April. I guess an answer would be to wear tights to the office and then take them off...just maybe not in a public place, like this person did:

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Yes those ARE a pair of ladies' stockings sitting on top of our communal office microwave. Gross? UM YEAH. What the WHAT?! I don't even want to know how this happened. I swear these aren't mine, guys. You know I'd tell you. And even I'm not THAT weird.

What's up for everybody's weekend?  My half marathon is tomorrow morning. AAAAAH! I'm so excited. Slash nervous. But mostly excited. But mostly nervous. Just kidding, I"m excited!' Right now the weather channel is calling for rain during just the exact hours while I'll be running. Adorable, Mother Nature, truly charming. But I won't let it get me stressed. I will race in the rain! If Garth Stein can do it, so can I.

(Fist bump to any nerds who get that reference!)

I'll wait until after I finish to wax poetic about my new found love of running, and how empowered it's made me feel and how I've become the sort of person who can talk about say "empowered" in a totally serious way. But I will state right now, on the public record, that even if I don't finish the race (which I totally will!) (But just in case!) that I am so dang proud of myself for undertaking this challenge. Just in the training, I've pushed myself farther than I thought I could go and it feels so good. I'm shamelessly patting myself right on the back.

You go, self!

Ok enough of this mumbo jumbo. I have to start carbo loading immediately & I have MUCH to share, so let's cut right to the chase and take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week.

This Iron:

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Totally unplugged!

But I couldn't remember if I truly did unplug it after half-assedly ironing a shirt on Monday morning so instead of taking a gym/lunch break, I left my desk at 9:45 AM, took the subway all the way back to Brooklyn, reassured myself I was not burning down the apartment, and returned to the office.

Nuts? Maybe! Possibly yes.  know it seems a little crazy, but I couldn't shake the anxiety and I knew I'd get no work done if I didn't just quiiiickly check. I'm working hard to manage my emotions and not let my worries get the best of me, but usually my worries are totally abstract and insane, like, if Brian doesn't respond to an email for a little bit, I assume he's either dead, or cheating on me. Or BOTH: he's cheating and was just murdered by his mistress in a fit of lustful rage. Or if I have a weird throat tickle, I instantly assume it's, at best, a viral infection, at worst: fatal cancer.

Those sorts of mega-fears, I can quiet, convince myself are not true, but leaving the iron turned on, smoldering my apartment into a fiery blaze? TOTALLY within the realm of possibility.

I have no regrets! Except ironing in the first place. Next time something's wrinkly, I'm just throwing it in the garbage. Ain't nobody got time for this!

This Faucet:

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This faucet spray nozzle thing is an excellent tool, especially when rinsing out the sink or blasting especially hard to clean dishes, like the inside of the reusable plastic straw from your travel smoothie mug. To make it work, you turn on the regular faucet, pull out the spray nozzle and push a button and WHOOSH! Power blast. As soon as you release the button, the water once again runs just out of the regular faucet.

Why am I even going into this? Y'all know how to use sinks.

I, however, do not.

I always wash dishes first thing when I wake up, while Brian's in the shower and the coffee's going, it's all part of my slow wake-up routine. The other morning I must not have been awake enough, or like, at all, because I used the spray nozzle and then tried to put it back in its holder without removing my finger, effectively SOAKING myself.

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Like, soaking.

And once again, may I present a real-life counterpart to a fantasy. I like to sleep in Brian's old button-downs because they're really comfortable and also I imagine that they're super sexy. Like, you know that scene in basically every movie and TV show ever where the male hero sleeps with a new woman and then wakes up in the morning and there she is, wearing his oversized shirt and nothing else, leaning against the doorframe with a mug of coffee, bathed in the morning sunlight smiling like a perfect, sensual angel?

Andd then we have reality: oversized shirt, usually buttoned incorrectly so it hangs crookedly, atop a pair of 1 zillion year old pajama bottoms, messy grease-mop of hair, smeared mascara everywhere because NO MATTER HOW MANY HOURS I spend trying to take off my eye makeup, I always wake up with smudges under my eyes and water everywhere.

A perfect, sensual angel!!!!

This Bus Seat:

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This weekend Brian & I were in Philly visiting my sister for Easter and we took the city bus uptown to the Art Museum area to spend some time outside. When we got on, we found three empty seats together and promptly plopped our booties down. Point two seconds later, I felt a weird wetness seeping onto my thigh, and realized my seat had a wet spot right smack dab in the middle.

I leapt to my feet, touched the now wet spot on my running tights, smelled my hand to assure myself it wasn't pee (it wasn't! I swear. Maybe it was but I say it was just water and I'm sticking to that story) and the three of us moved up to the next row of seats all, mercifully, bone dry.

Our new seats were right above the ones we'd just abandoned and at the next stop a man got on and immediately went to sit in the wet seat.

"That seat is wet!" I squawked, not wanting to anyone to suffer my same fate.

He thanked me and moved to another spot.

At the next stop a young woman got on and where do you think she headed? You know!

I blurted out another warning: "That seat's wet!" and she nodded in thanks before even beginning to sit.

The next stop...repeat! And repeat and repeat and repeat for essentially every single stop on our 15 minute bus ride. I had somehow become the de-facto guardian of everyone's butts. Once I'd warned one passenger, and then a second, the pattern had been established. I couldn't just stop warning them...I knew the seat was wet AND everybody else on the bus knew I knew the seat was wet because I told them when they got on, so not only would I knowingly allow someone to soak their bottom, but everyone would know my deceit and oh, how they would judge.

Being a good Samaritan is exhausting, guys.

Also, just for my own sanity, could you all please reassure me that it was totally just water and not pee?!

This Liquor Store:

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So Pennsylvania has these ridiculously strict liquor laws about how and when and where and in what quantity alcohol can be purchased and consumed. One positive result of this is that the majority of restaurants in the Philadelphia area are BYOB and thus, fabulously affordable. However, a negative consequence of this is that it's nearly impossible to find a place to purchase  said B. In NYC, at least in the yuppie, gentrified neighborhoods I frequent, wine and liquor stores are as easy to come upon as Duane Reades and Chase ATM's and you can buy beer at bodegas, grocery stores, even CVS. But in Philly, there are like three state-run liquor stores, all spread across the city and they're only open from like noon to five on Saturday's and you have to buy beer at a special beer distributor and it's just a whole hot mess. I know this next sentence is going to make me sound like some kind of raging wino and I swear I'm not, but whenever I'm in town I get very stressed about where and how we're going to purchase wine. The pleasure of BYOB dinners are instantly negated when you have to add on a 4 mile trek to the nearest State Store just to get your $8 bottle of Rex Goliath Sauvignon Blanc.

I'm getting stressed now just thinking about it!

So anyway, blah blah, last Saturday we were in Philadelphia with Margerie, like I mentioned above. At about 3 PM we had just finished a 10-mile run (humblebrag) up by the Art Museum and were heading back to her home in South Philly, many miles away. We had 9:30 PM dinner reservations at a (BYOB) Italian place on her block and decided we'd spend the time between sitting on her patio, soaking up the sun and sipping homemade sangria. We just needed to pick up some wine! We figured it would be easier to grab while uptown than back in her 'hood, so we used our trusty smartphones to search for the nearest wine distributor.

"There's one just a few blocks away," Maggie told us, looking up from her Google Maps. "And right by a bus stop, too." And off we went, following the map to the address they'd listed: 1814 Kater St.

When we got to Kater Street, we were dubious. It appeared to be entirely residential, a small alley flanked by identical townhouses. 1820, 1818, 1816...finally we came upon 1814 and it was not a wine store or a store of any kind, but a private residence. The map told us we were standing in front of Vinocity Events but we were quite clearly not.

A man was outside of the house next door, playing with his adorable children. He saw us looking lost and asked us what we were looking for.

"Wine!" we replied in unison.

Totally normal. This man is just trying to enjoy a day with his kids while strange winos dressed in workout gear roam his pleasant residential street.

He gave us a few addresses and sent us on our way, but we decided to just take the bus back to Maggie's and try downtown.

Upon our return, we asked Maggie's roommate where the nearest wine store was located (Maggie doesn't know her nearest wine store? Are we even related?) and she gave us some convoluted directions to walk a few blocks to the Safeway, through the parking lot and "it's right near the Home Depot."

Sure? Marge seemed to understand what she was talking about so off we went! We trudged through Maggie's cute neighborhood, then a sort of shady area full of gas stations near the highway and then came upon the Safeway, nestled among a smattering of strip malls. We walked through the parking lot and scanned the storefronts - FedEx, Dress Barn, Krafty Korner...but no wine. We came to the end of the parking lot and saw the Home Depot in front of us, but still hadn't located the wine.

We were standing on the street corner next to a pop-up tent selling Easter flowers, looking lost, when suddenly we heard a voice.

"Hey ladies. You lost? Looking for the gym?"

We turned around. The flower seller must have spotted us from his tent and assumed from our running clothes that we were headed to work out.

"The opposite!" we replied. "We're looking for the liquor store."

"Liquor! Niiiiiiceeeee" he leered, looking us up and down. "What are you guys drinking? You partying tonight?"

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small child lingering in the flower tent, probably his own son. Real classy, dude. We tried to extricate ourselves from the conversation, and fast.

"Can you just tell us where the State Store is?" we asked, avoiding eye contact.

"Oh yeahhhhh...you just take a left, walk past the safe way and over to the Meinike and you'll find it. If you go under the highway, you've gone to far. You ladies have a great time partying tonight, drink up, yeahhhhh."

First of all: GROSS, DUDE, GROSS.

Second of all: WHAT THE FUCK, PHILADELPHIA!?! Why are you making it so hard to buy wine! Why do we have to wander around in car repair parking lots and under highways just to find the nearest liquor store?! I don't know if the state thinks that by limiting alcohol vendors they'll reduce consumption but this whole excursion is DRIVING ME TO DRINK.

Finally we found what we were looking for, hidden behind a Jiffy Lube. We grabbed a family sized jug of Barefoot and a smaller, more sophisticated Cupcake to bring to dinner and hightailed it out of there.

At this point we'd run 10 miles, walked about 1 more to get to the "Vinocity Events" aka some man's house, then walked at least two more to find this stupid godforsaken liquor store and we still had to get home. We had no water. My legs were cramping, I wanted to cry.

I suddenly understand why Frodo is such a whiny brat throughout Lord of the Rings.  Epic journeys are exhausting!

Next time I go to Philly, I"m B-ing my own B all the way from New York.

Annnnd the end. What a week, you guys. WHAT A WEEK! What's everyone up to this weekend? I hope you have plenty of wine, whatever it may be.

I'm off to eat 36 bagels, refresh Weather.com repeatedly and pretend to be calm. Wish me luck!

xoxo Liz Ho

One (Specific) Awkward Year: 30 Before 30!

Friends! Thanks to all for the sweet birthday wishes, you are some nice people. I'm already feeling older and wiser and maybe just a scoonch wrinklier, too. In the spirit of making the most of my fleeting 20's, I've decided to become a lifestyle blogging cliche and create a 30 Before 30 List - 30 things to try or accomplish before I hit the big, you guessed it 3-0. Corny, indeed, but I do love a good list and am always up for a challenge or thirty. Plus: think of all the writing material!

Also, I know what you're thinking: Liz, why don't you focus on your day-to-day lists and do things like clean your house or mail that wedding gift to your cousin who got married back in July or I don't know your job, and I hear you loud and clear on that one, and I'll definitely consider getting to those things eventually, but eh: boring. I need to reach for the stars, here before my AARP membership kicks in. (KIDDING).

I looked to a lot of other blogs for 30 Before 30 inspiration and stole a few good ones, but tried to focus on things that are actually possibly possible in the next 360 days (already losing time! OH GOD!) Much as I'd like to ride nude on the back of a great white shark off the coast of Bali, I just don't know that it is quite doable on my dwindling time frame.

Some are silly, like getting a bikini wax (why is this even a thing that people do?), some are more intangible like solving my stomach issues and some miiiight be impossible, see "run half marathon" and "pay off credit card debt." But ALL of them are happening. They are! Before September 14, 2014 the list below will be donezo and the whole world will know my name! Or I'll still be entirely unfamous but with less debt and a smoother bikini line. Nowhere to go but up, friends!

Now quickly for the wild card: Number 30. I was realllly stretching for material as we got into the high 20's here and decided it might be fun to take a little audience poll. What do YOU think I should do in this next year? I'm taking suggestions for something that is legal, not weird or perverted, not expensive (unless you're paying, in which case, I'm all ears) and maybe a bit ridiculous to add to my list. Let's hear your suggestions - the best one wins!!

And we're off. I'll do my best to document what is sure to be a THRILLING year, I sure hope you'll follow along.

30 before 30

30 Before 30

1. Run half marathon

2. Pay off one credit card...put a dent in the other. (yes I have 2 credit cards. Proud American.)

3. Get a bikini wax

4. Take photoshop or other online design course

5. Submit something for publication

6. Visit each of the 5 boroughs of NYC (I'm coming for you, Staten Island!)

7. Do a pull-up (yes, just one. Aim high.)

8. Find a regular volunteer program

9. See a play on Broadway

10. Watch The Sopranos

11. Learn to shuffle cards

12. Stop biting my nails

13. Take a trip with my mom

14. Read outside of my comfort zone (looking for suggestions, literary pals!)

15. Visit Storm King

16. Get Acupuncture

17. Roast a chicken

18. Grow a vegetable to a point where it is edible i.e. don’t kill it

19. Zumba

20. Host a classy, adult dinner party

21. Add at least one more state to my list

22. Solve my stomach issues

23. Trapeze class

24. Reconnect with an old friend (I already have one picked out! Lucky person!)

25. Decorate our apartment

26. See the cherry blossoms in DC

27. Take out my navel ring (GREAT ONE, Liz!)

28. Make an IRL blogger connection

29. Hike 5 new peaks

30. Blog Challenge!

Boom. Let's do this thing. Thanks for following along and now if you'll quickly excuse me, I have a LOT to accomplish. First stop: Trapezing! Or maybe I should just get back to work.

xoxo Liz Ho

The Liz Ho-Lympics

I did it! I did it! Not only did I finish the race, I beat my personal goal by four whole minutes clocking in at 26 minutes flat. Booyah! 112th place, baby! I’m very proud of myself for finishing the race and equally proud of myself for finishing the massive BLT I had for dinner immediately following. Brian (who won another gold medal!) said it was not so much a BLT as a Bacon Hoagie. I’m into it. Running is impressive, sure, but slamming a foot long bacon sammy? Medal worthy. Proud as I am of my running skillz, I've realized I’m probably not going to make it to Rio 2016 for any sort of athletic pursuits, I have decided to start my own Olympics, the Liz Ho-Lympics, featuring events I either have a shot at winning, or would just personally enjoy. (Yes, I know I already tried to start an Olympics once and no one wanted to play with me but I refuse to give up. Persistence is a top trait in Gold Medalists, so.)

It is with great pride that I invite you all to participate in...

Featured Competitions:

- cheese tasting

- pun making

- manicure design

- gin rummy

- literal interpretative dance

- a pop-culture quote-athalon

- bar trivia

- French braiding

- omelet flipping

- naptime

 What should I add? What fictional Olympic event do you think you’d win?

 

 

One Awkward Race

Woo! Has everyone been watching the Olympics? I have...not. One of my roommates moved out and with her went our TV and therefore our Olympic watching capabilities. It is devastating. It is no secret that I love watching television, some even might say I live for it, and those people are correct. Life without a television is one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through and I would not wish this agony on anyone. I now know the meaning of that song “We Shall Overcome.” This is my cross to bear and I will bear it with pride. But oh, how I yearn for the Olympics! Second only to sports films, the Olympics are the best way to appreciate athletics. The ratio of human interest drama to actual sports is about 60 / 40, everyone is dead sexy (this guy is my current favorite, yowza!) and they’re over in just a few weeks, right when I start to get bored. Baseball, take note! This is how it is done. Cut down 95% of your games, fire all players with uninteresting personal histories, put a heartbreaking montage in between each inning and we will be in business. Sure I’ve caught up a bit on the internet, scrolled through hundreds of slideshows of Kate Middleton’s Olympic spirit (winner of the Gold Medal for Most Perfect Human) and caught TV at bars when I can, but it’s just not the same. Watching the London Games via GIF doesn’t quite do it justice.

Le sigh.

BUT! Maybe who needs the Olympics? “Who needs ‘em?” I ask!  For today, right here in Brooklyn, New York, a truly momentous athletic feat will be occurring. I, Elizabeth M. Hobags, representing the United States of America, will be running a 5 Kilometer road race.  That’s right. I’m pounding the pavement in the ol’ 5Kathalon. This should be interesting. The women have yet to run the 5K finals at London, but the current national record is 14 minutes and 11 seconds. I’m hoping to finish mine in under a half an hour. Or at the very least, just not die.

This is my first race in I think forever. I’ve been running more lately, half because I’m desperately insecure and want to look good in a bikini and half because Brian’s a big runner and he’s kind of gotten me into it. I’m certainly not advocating to change your hobbies because some may-un might layk it, but I do think it is nice to at least try to share in your partner’s interests, even if those interests involve breaking a sweat and watching middle-distance track races on the internet. You haven’t lived until you’ve watched a bunch of skinny dudes running 25 consecutive laps around a track. I don’t necessarily see it becoming my favorite pastime, but I do like challenging myself and feeling fit and I sure don’t mind watching my boyfriend jog around in his cute lil shorts.

So not to worry, everyone. I’m not going to turn into one of those work-out people, you know the type – shopping at Lululemon and tweeting about spin classes and putting up pictures of myself at the gym. We get it. You’re fit. Go home. Maybe (definitely) I am jealous, but I think there is a special place in Hell for girls who genuinely look good while running. I look like this:

And like Phoebe, I’m damn proud of it. So! If you’d like to se more of that, and who the hell wouldn’t, come on down to Prospect Park tonight and check me out. This race is part of the Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series, a bi-weekly 5K race along the ProspectPark loop, named after a still living, completely adorable (if mildly gropey) 80-something-year-old man. They give actual medals to the top 3 overall for both men and for women, plus medals to the top 3 finishers in smaller age group brackets. Brian has run twice so far and has both a gold and a silver. So, basically I’m sleeping with the Michael Phelps of the Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series. Jealous? Al G. himself goes to every race and he hands out the medals to the winners, making sure to kiss the female winners a little more than might be appropriate. You know I can’t resist a cute slash creepy old man with the hutzpah to get something named in his honor, while he’s still living. You are a hero among men, Al! I hope I win a medal!

Another bonus of tonight’s race, it only costs $5! That’s another thing I never understood about runners and races – they are so flipping expensive. Like, you have to pay THEM 25 or 40 or 50 of your hard-earned George Washingtons just so you can run around in a circle with hundreds of other people. Shouldn’t they be paying you to do that shit? Yes, I know many of these race funds go to charity but still. I am all for curing multiple sclerosis, or helping the homeless or whatever, but no. I will write checks from the comfort of my own couch or obviously go to any wine-centric fundraisers but, mark my words, no matter how into this running scene I get, I will pay anyone more than 5 bones to do so.

And that’s what I’m up to. Screw you, London Olympics! Just kidding, London Olympics, I’ll love you forever. If everyone could please think of me at 7 PM this evening and give a little cheer, I’d much appreciate it. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Once more, just because it is hilarious:

That’s not running, let’s goooo!

Oh Phebester. You slay me.