Lacing Up

I was really tired when 6 p.m. rolled around today. I’d gone to work, I’d gone to a Geek Squad appointment, I’d been late to pick up Jack from his after-school activity, and after all of that, Alex dragged me out to pick out a new refrigerator. I was beat.

I mention this because I’d planned to go running today. But by the time I actually had a chance to do so, running was the last thing I wanted. However, I’ve been trying to get back on a regular running schedule and I know that it is so easy to talk myself out of one run and then do it again the next day and before I know it, it’s been a week and all I’ve done is sit on my couch.

I had good reasons to take the day off, but my fitness level doesn’t really care if I have a good excuse.

With sadness, I laced up my shoes and headed out for a two and a half mile loop.

Selfie taken in dusky evening light of me after a run.

After. I was cutting it close with the oncoming darkness, but it was worth it.

I am writing about this because I am struggling. I am struggling with getting out there several days a week. I’ve signed up for a spring half marathon, so I have some motivation, but over the next couple of months, I’m trying to build a solid base and bring my speed back up to where it was when I was putting in decent weekly mileage.

It’s going to be some work.

In an effort to make myself accountable, you might be seeing more Stimeyland Facebook posts that look like this:

Selfie of me after a run.

“Proud of myself for getting outside for a run this afternoon! #runner #sweaty #obnoxious”

Feel free to unsubscribe now.

Or! Feel free to join me there and comment about your exercise victories and struggles. We can motivate each other!

Because I had a great run this evening. I was hungry and tired and annoyed and didn’t want to go, but once I was out there, I was so glad I went. I came home feeling one million percent* better than when I left.

That is a feeling worth chasing—even if I think I don’t want to.


* approximately

Disaster Struck! Running Edition

Photo of me running to the finish line in a pink shirt with a race bib attached to it. It is NOT an attractive photo of me.

It can’t all be smiles and PRs and flattering race photos. (Photo by Ken Trombatore)

This photo was taken at a 10K race I ran in April. I did not share this photo then for obvious reasons. I share it now because I am kind of delighted by its awfulness and also because it sort of eloquently makes the point that sometimes in a fitness journey, you biff it.

Over the past several months, I have very much biffed it.

I went from running 4-5 times a week to running once every couple of weeks. I lost a huge chunk of my fitness base. I got so bogged down by pace and distance that I had to entirely ditch tracking my runs and wearing my Garmin for the indefinite future.

It’s been ugly.

I lost motivation and then I got sick and then I was out of the habit and then I got sick again and I got busy and then I just didn’t feel like running and then I developed this cough that came with decreased lung capacity and all of a sudden, I wasn’t a runner anymore.

I’m clawing my way back though. I’ve been making an effort to get on the road or the treadmill every day and not feel bad if I walk instead of run. I’ve made peace with shorter mileage. I’m postponing the Big Running Goals I wanted to accomplish this fall and not beating myself up about it.

But I went on a run today that felt incredible. (Hooray for increased lung capacity again.)

My new mileage goal for the year is just to keep running. I’m going to finish out the year with no races longer than a 10K. I’m going to aim for a spring half marathon if I can find a good one. I’m going to sign up early for those big fall running events that I originally intended to do this year.

I’m finally feeling inspired to be a runner again and I’m realizing that inspiration is what I was missing. I hope it is here to stay.


* Disaster Strikes! Soda Edition: As long as I’m coming clean about my inactivity, I should let you know that even though I haven’t mentioned it, I am a soda drinker again and have been for months and months. I know. It’s shameful.

Project Stimey Enters Year Three

Photo of me running with type over the top that reads "Project Stimey: Part III"Happy New Year, people. I suppose today is the day of resolutions, which I am in full support of. For me, however, it is a day of reaffirming and evaluating Project Stimey, my multi-year Stimey Improvement Program.

For the past couple of years, Project Stimey has been focused on exercise and fitness, something that I have been extremely successful with. I ran nearly 617 miles last year and ran in a dozen races, including a half marathon. Just today I ran my first race of 2015, a 5K in which I set a new personal record.

I still don’t have the body I want, but I finally feel like a runner.

I still have a lot of goals for my running. For example, I want to run 720 miles next year. That’s 60 miles each month. I really want to run 70 miles a month for a total of 840 miles in 2015, but I’m going to make 720 the goal, with an eye on trying to get 70 miles in during as many months as I can. We’ll see how that goes.

I also want to get faster. I’m aiming for consistent 11 minute or faster miles by the end of the year. We’ll also see how that goes. Although my 5K this morning had an average 10:45 minute/mile, so I’ve made a good start.

Project Stimey’s new aspect this year, however, is going to be a focus on my diet. Alex and I want to work on this together, which is great because we are each other’s worst food enemy.

We also have plans to spend less money, allow our kids to play fewer video games and go on hikes every weekend, but mostly that improving our diet thing.

So those are my Project Stimey goals this year: lots of miles, faster pace, better diet. I think that’s enough to keep me busy for the next 12 months, but even so, there is one other thing I want to keep at the front of my mind this year: I want to keep my eye on the joy in running and fitness.

I have fought for a long time to get where I am and I think it is important to make sure I look up and enjoy not just where I’ve gotten to, but the journey I am taking. In fact, that is why Project Stimey is back for a third year and why I chose a photo of me grinning to represent it. Because at the heart, that’s what Project Stimey is all about: joy—joy in being the person I want to be and joy in doing the things that make me that person.


Per usual, you are welcome to follow along by checking out my race calendar and my mileage log. Not only that, but I want to support you and find out what is going to bring you joy and growth this year. Let me know in the comments so I can cheer you on.

Stimey’s 2015 Mileage Log

Image of me running. I am smiling. Text on the image says "Project Stimey: Part III; Mileage Log"2015 goal = 720 miles Keep running!

Date Distance Time Pace
Th 1/1/15 3.1 miles 33:20 10:45 min/mi
Su 1/4/15 2.38 miles 28:49 12:08 min/mi
M 1/5/15 2.40 miles 31:12 13:00 min/mi
Tu 1/6/15 5.03 miles 1:01:00
Th 1/8/15 3.34 miles 40:07
Th 1/15/15 3+ miles 40ish min
Sa 1/17/15 2 miles 20+ min
Su 1/18/15 5.61 miles 1:05:21 11:39 min/mi
M 1/19/15 4 miles 47:55
Tu 1/20/15 3.46 miles 42:18
Th 1/22/15 3.28 miles 39:19 11:58 min/mi
Sa 1/24/15 5.42 miles 1:02:32 11:32 min/mi
Su 1/25/15 5.91 miles 1:08:29 11:35 min/mi
Tu 1/27/15 2.54 miles 30:56
W 1/28/15 5.37 miles 1:07:28 12:34 min/mi
F 1/30/15 3.87 miles 46:16
January Totals 60.71 miles 12:05:02
Su 2/1/15 3.1 miles 34:57 11:16 min/mi
F 2/13/15 3.57 miles 48:18
M 2/16/15 3.42 miles 40:50
Tu 2/24/15 3.71 miles 45:11
Th 2/26/15 2.24 miles 26:41
Sa 2/28/15 7.76 miles 1:43:47 13:23 min/mi
February Totals 23.80 miles 4:59:44
Su 3/8/15 2.46 miles 31:07 12:40 min/mi
M 3/9/15 2.29 miles 28:04 12:16 min/mi
Tu 3/10/15 2.33 miles 29:18 12:34 min/mi
Sa 3/14/15 9.47 miles 2:01:46 12:51 min/mi
M 3/16/15 2.26 miles 27:31 12:06 miles
Sa 3/21/15 ~2 miles ~24:00
M 3/23/15 3.28 miles 40:27 12:20 min/mi
Tu 3/24/15 5.54 miles 1:09:35 12:33 min/mi
F 3/27/15 3 miles 43:28
Sa 3/28/15 4.46 miles 55:22 12:27 min/mi
Su 3/29/15 3.16 miles 35:15 11:08 min/mi
March Totals 40.25 miles 8:25:53
Sa 4/4/15 2.4 miles 28:22 11:49 min/mi
Su 4/5/15 2.19 miles 28:15 12:54 min/mi
M 4/6/15 1.41 miles 20:22 14:25 min/mi
Th 4/9/15 3.47 miles 46:01 13:16 min/mi
M 4/13/15 2.11 miles 28:58 13:45 min/mi
W 4/15/15 ~4 miles ~1:00:00
Sa 4/18/15 5.69 miles 1:09:57 12:18 min/mi
M 4/20/15 2.39 miles 27:48 11:37 min/mi
Tu 4/21/15 4.71 miles 57:26 12:12 min/mi
Th 4/23/15 2.27 miles 29:00 12:47 min/mi
F 4/24/15 5.89 miles 1:08:33 11:38 min/mi
Su 4/26/15 6.2 miles 1:11:51 11:34 min/mi
Tu 4/28/15 6.59 miles 1:18:23 11:53 min/mi
April Totals 49.32 miles 10:14:56
Su 5/3/15 6.83 miles 1:20:50 11:50 min/mi
Su 5/17/15 2.01 miles 27:17 13:33 min/mi
M 5/25/15 6.22 miles 1:15:06 12:04 min/mi
May Totals 15.06 miles 3:03:13
TOTALS: 192.24 miles 38:48:48

Run Notes:

I am temporarily taking a break from tracking my mileage and pace.

May 25: Turns out I wasn’t back.

April 28: I think I’m back. Thank God, I think I’m back.

April 15: I’ve been having a really hard time getting motivated lately. Today I couldn’t force myself outside, so I just put some random program on my treadmill and figured that as long as I was moving, it was better than sitting or napping.

April 13: Gah. I need to start actually running again.

March 29: This was the Alum Run 5K in DC. It is *crazy* how much faster I ran today than I have run all month. I have no idea what it was. It didn’t feel like much more exertion either. It was definitely flat, but it’s not like I’ve been out running hills all month.

March 14: This was the Gate River Run 15K. My official time was 2:01:44 with a 13:05 min/mile. (Difference due to 9.47 vs. 9.3 miles.) I was really proud of myself and what I did in this race. I ran it really slowly, but, except for water stops, I ran the whole, whole thing.

March 10: I am running a 15K race on Saturday. Clearly I’m prepared. Silver lining: That race will more than double my mileage thus far for March. So there’s that.

February 28: I know how slow this run was. I have a 15K coming up in two weeks and I had to know if I am still capable of running more than five miles. Turns out I am, thank god, but it also turns out that all the sidewalks in the world are buried under ice, forcing runners to walk part of their runs. Also, I haven’t run very much recently, so I’m pretty slow. Dammit.

February 26: My treadmill is dying. This is really bad for me. Please direct your thoughts toward efforts to get the snow to melt so I can run outside.

February 24: In terms of running, February has not gone well. I gotta get my shit together.

February 1: This was the Penguin Pace. I ran it about 3-1/2 minutes faster than I did last year. Yay, me.

January 30: I hit my monthly goal today, but it looks like I’m not going to hit my stretch goal of 70 miles a month. Some people run more than this many miles in a WEEK. I can’t even fathom how they do that. I mean, I guess they’re probably substantially faster than I am, but still.

January 28: Super slow run today because my path was icy. Also I fell at mile 3.5. And then I had to roll off of the ice sheet so I wouldn’t break through to the icy puddle below if I sat up or tried to stand where I fell. All pretty standard, really.

January 25: I paused my Garmin at a streetlight and forgot to turn it back on for a good chunk of time. Maybe a half mile?

January 18: This run felt so great! I haven’t run more than 3ish miles for such a long time that it felt great to know that I actually could still run a longer distance. I did get bitten by a dog, but it only ripped my pants and didn’t actually get to the leg itself, so it could have gone worse.

January 15 & 17: My Garmin was glitchy these days, so I don’t have exact info for these runs.

Stimey’s 2015 Races

Photo of me running. I am smiling. Text over the image says "Project Stimey: Part III; Races"January 1: New Year’s Day 5K
Reston, VA
Official time: 33:20 (PR)

February 1: Penguin Pace
Columbia, MD
Official time: 34:57

March 14: Gate River Run
Jacksonville, FL
Official time: 2:01:44 (PR)

March 29: The Alum Run
Washington, DC
Official time: 35:09

April 26: Pike’s Peek
Rockville, MD
Official time: 1:11:51

May 25: Jeremy’s Run
Olney, MD
Official time: 1:15:05

July 26: Women’s Distance Festival
Columbia, MD
Official time: 37:21:94

September 19: Kensington 8K
Kensington, MD
Official time: 1:02:34

September 27: Rock the Creek Relay
Rockville, MD
28.8 miles
Official time: 5 hours, 2 minutes, 40 seconds

November 8: Across the Bay
Annapolis, MD
Official time: 1:14:19

November 21: Run Under the Lights
Gaithersburg, MD
Official time: 37:55

November 26: Turkey Chase
Bethesda, MD
Official time:

December 12: Snowflake 5K
Kensington, MD
Official time:

Project Stimey 2.0

Project StimeyIt has been one year and one day since I started Project Stimey, which means it is time to stop, assess, and recommit. As I mentioned in my last post, my resolution at the beginning of 2013 was this:

My goal this year is to improve my overall physical health. By the end of 2013, I want to weigh less, I want to be fitter, I want to be a water drinker instead of a soda drinker, and I want to be altogether more awesome.

As I also mentioned, I managed to do all of these things, but some of them not all the way. That, however, was kind of the point for me. Giving myself an end goal, like “LOSE ALL THE WEIGHT” would have set me up for failure. This way, when I lost SOME of the weight, I ended up feeling good about myself instead of wanting to kill myself. Win-win!

As for fitness, I am definitely way better off than I was a year ago. I ran 465.51 miles this year in just more than 100 hours. I ran seven races, including the relay race I spent most of the year training for. I ran an 8k race in September at a three minute per mile faster pace than when I had run the same race the year before.

Also, my body is changing in good ways.

Running photos taken a year apart

I’m not where I want to be, but I’m moving in the right direction.

As for the soda drinking, I’m afraid I haven’t been as honest with you as I could have been. It was February when I told you that I was making good progress quitting Diet Coke. Then I completely regressed without telling you and drank mass amounts of Diet Coke right up until December 29, when I realized that I only had two days left if I planned to quit before new year’s.

It was a sad day, let me tell you. Honestly, though, the next day was sadder with no happy brown bubbles to cheer me up.

I’m on Day Four with no soda and I feel totally fine physically, but damn if I don’t miss it. I know that it is just a matter of getting out of the habit of drinking soda all the time. I’m now getting in the habit of drinking water instead. I should tell you that water is stupid.

I am so fucking hydrated right now that I want to scream.

But healthier! No more phenylalanine for me! Yay! *grumpy face*

As for next year, I really just want to keep moving down the road I’m on. My 2014 resolution is to continue to improve my overall physical health. I will continue to work on running and increasing my mileage and speed, but I really want to work on eating cleaner as well. Per usual, I will plan to increase my general awesomeness again.

I want to run at least one half marathon this year, hopefully this spring, but I haven’t found one yet. My relay team is also planning another fall relay. And, again, we have openings if any of you are interested in joining our team.

Just like last year, you can keep tabs on me through my distance log and my race list.

Let’s inspire each other! Let me know what your goals are and how you’re going to make them happen. We can all be awesomer in 2014!

Stimey’s 2014 Races

Project Stimey RacesFebruary 2: Penguin Pace
Columbia, MD
Official time: 38:25.03

March 2: Reston 10-miler
Reston, VA
10 miles
Official time: 2:09:39

April 5: Ben’s Run
Silver Spring, MD
Official time: 36:15

April 27: Pike’s Peek
Rockville, MD
Official time: 1:08:18 (PR)

June 7: Colleen’s BA 5K
Kensington, MD
Official time: 34:46

July 19: Rockville Twilighter
Rockville, MD
Official time: 58:52

July 27: Howard County Striders Women’s Distance Festival
Columbia, MD
Official time: 33:42

September 14: Parks Half Marathon
Rockville/Bethesda, MD
13.1 miles
Official time: 2:35:11

September 20: Kensington 8K
Kensington, MD
Official time: 55:59 (PR)

October 10-11: Bourbon Chase
200-mile relay
Official time: 32:36:43

November 9: Across the Bay 10K—the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Run
Annapolis, MD
Official time: 1:11:06

November 27: Turkey Chase
Bethesda, MD
Official time: 1:14:18