Friday Five: Five Things I Love About Running

Happy Friday! I’m off up north visiting some family but couldn’t miss the Friday Five. Especially with such a fun theme. Five Things I love about ____ meant a chance for me to share a few things I love about running. Coming off a huge PR last weekend, this wasn’t a hard post for me to write! Per usual, I’m linking up with my girls Cynthia and Mar for the #Friday Five. You can read our linkup rules here. Please note that if you don’t play nicely, we will delete your link. Have a great weekend!

Five THings I love about running

  1. It gives me an excuse to travel. I’ve had a chance to race in a number of states – Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Alabama, Washington, Florida and Georgia. I’ve had a chance to run all across the country — from Portland, Maine to San Francisco to Seattle to New York and many places in between. I love seeing the country on my two feet. 
  2. It has given me amazing opportunities. From writing to Women’s Running magazine to meeting AMAZING friends that are gonna be friends for life.
  3. I eat all the bacon I want and never feel guilty. I mean, really need I say more?
  4. There’s always a new challenge. The great thing about running is that you can always set a new goal. Not that sometimes you can’t just run to run (I love those runs). But I also love setting a goal and working hard to achieve it. It gives me such a sense of satisfaction. 
  5. It gives me time with Jesus. Honestly, I spend a lot of my long runs (and sometimes short runs) praying – especially if I’m by myself. There is something about being out there on a trail or on the road, in nature that inspires me and helps me connect with my faith. Nothing like it!

Can’t wait to read what y’all are loving or reasons why you love something! Happy weekend!

What’s Next?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what my next big goal is now that I’ve run my fall goal race (the Navy Air Force Half – if you haven’t read that recap yet, go check it out). I am currently signed up for the following races:

  • Clarendon Day 5k and 10k on September 27. This is a double, where I will run the 5k at 8am and then the 10k at 9am. I ran it last year and while it’s hard running two races back to back it’s really fun. This year will be extra awesome since we’re having a little Oiselle meetup and brunch that day. Y’all know how I feel about bacon post run!
  • Richmond Half Marathon on November 15. Right now I’m signed up for the half, while K is running the full…however…

Decisions, decisions! I’m currently debating switching to the full in Richmond or signing up for the Rehoboth Beach Marathon December 6th. I originally wanted to run the half in Richmond so I could support K (who is running it as his first full marathon) but he doesn’t mind if I decide to race the full, so I have permission to sign up for that if I want. The advantages of Richmond are that it doesn’t require an extra trip (we’ve already planned for and budgeted for this one) and I know and LOVE the course. It would be awesome to finish 2013 with the marathon that was my first. 



The advantages of the Rehoboth Marathon are that I could really race the half in Richmond and try to go sub 2 since I’m so close right now. Also, I could jump in with K as he finishes the marathon, which was the original goal. Also, running Rehoboth gives me a couple more weeks to train. I’m torn! 



I have a little while to decide but I’m going to force myself to make a decision by the end of the week. I think I know which way I’m leaning so be on the lookout for my announcement soon! 

What’s next on your schedule? 


Better Than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice

Sometimes a recipe is SO easy and SO simple that you really just can’t believe you ever paid someone and waited for them to deliver it to you. Y’all, this is that recipe. We had been craving Chinese food so I decided I’d try my hand at homemade chicken fried rice. I’d made it once before but had used frozen veggies and this time I wanted to switch it up. This was so good, it may have ruined takeout for me. I’d be sad if it wasn’t so easy! 

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Better than Takeout Chicken Fried Rice
Serves 4
An easy, quick weeknight chicken fried rice recipe.
Write a review
Cook Time
4 hr 30 min
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
Cook Time
4 hr 30 min
Total Time
4 hr 30 min
300 calories
40 g
24 g
10 g
13 g
2 g
256 g
440 g
2 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 300
Calories from Fat 84
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 24mg
Sodium 440mg
Total Carbohydrates 40g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 2g
Protein 13g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 4 oz skinless boneless chicken breast
  2. Teriyaki sauce
  3. 1 cup chopped carrots
  4. 1 cup chopped green beans
  5. 3 cups cooked brown rice
  6. salt and pepper
  7. 1 oz olive oil
  8. 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  1. Cook chicken ahead of time - I cooked mine in the crockpot on low for four hours marinated in teriyaki sauce
  2. Cook rice as directed and set aside
  3. Heat oil in skillet and then add carrots and green beans.
  4. Let carrots and green beans cook for about 7-10 minutes.
  5. Add chicken, rice and soy sauce and cook while everything mixes together.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy!
  1. Traditionally, fried rice contains eggs but I hate eggs so there are no eggs here! If you don't share my same aversion you probably want to scramble an egg in the skillet before you add the rice.
Eat Pray Run DC
Yeah, it’s that easy! If you like takeout chicken fried rice you will probably like this even more! Especially because you just customize whatever ingredients you want in your fried rice. I think next time I’ll do it Thai style and add some tomatoes and pineapples. Yum! 

What’s your favorite better than take out recipe?

No Barriers

Being a runner, one of the things I’ve appreciated most is the opportunities I’ve had to set goals, smash them and prove that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. I hate the treadmill and firmly believe that the best way to see a new city is on foot. I have had so many awesome runs through the monuments of Washington, DC (where most of my runs take place); Central Park in New York City; the sulty, sweaty streets of Miami; the beautiful shore hugging streets of Portland, Maine and so many places in between. I’ve gotten lost on runs, I’ve made friends while running trails and I’ve found myself on long, solo runs where it is just me and my thoughts. Running has changed me and has made me a fan of living a no barriers lifestyle. 

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Nature’s Valley also believes in living a no barriers lifestyle and is supporting Erik Weihenmayer as he seeks to kayak the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River. Erik is the only blind adventurer to climb the seven highest summits in the world and lives a no barriers life every day.   



This is a pretty amazing feat and I am so excited to follow along with Erik’s journey. You can follow along here. I know I find myself pretty inspired by Erik’s determination and grit.



Here are the deets of Erik’s trip: 

The “No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition” is a 21-day, 277 mile journey through some of the world’s most challenging whitewater terrain in the Colorado River.

· Erik Weihenmayer will be supported by an experienced paddling team, and joined by accomplished kayaker and Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell. Together, Erik and Lonnie will demonstrate the power of harnessing inner strength to overcome challenging barriers.

· Preparation for the Expedition has been extensive, with both Weihenmayer and Bedwell spending the last several years training and developing innovative systems for kayaking rapids with support from high-tech radios and verbal commands from river guides.

· The trip will begin on September 7 at Lees Ferry, nine miles south of the Arizona-Utah border. Erik and his team expect to complete the expedition on or around September 28 at Pearce Ferry, which marks the boundary between Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.

erik pic

How do you live with no barriers? Share your story and take the no barriers pledge today!

note: This post was sponsored via Nature’s Valley through Sverve, but all opinions and respect and admiration for what Erik is doing is all mine.


Navy Air Force Half Marathon Recap

Today was a beautiful day. I’m super excited to get this Navy Air Force Half Marathon Recap done to share with y’all! The weather was gorgeous, I felt good and everything was just hitting on all cylinders. I had been waiting for this race for months and it did not disappoint. I don’t usually recap expos and stuff like that so I won’t spend too much time on this one but to say it was a hot mess. It took about 45 minutes to get my race bib because lines were crazy. It was not awesome. I was underwhelmed with the level of (dis)organization at the expo, but don’t let that discourage you from running this race. 

The course is pretty standard issue for a DC race. We started near the Washington monument (as you can see below in the picture with my colleague Meghan) and it was a bit chilly so I kept my throwaway shirt on until we started moving. The course winds around towards the Lincoln monument and crosses the Memorial Bridge at about mile 1.5. We then ran past the back side of Lincoln towards Georgetown. We followed Rock Creek Parkway up a few miles until the turn around. Then you come back the way you ran up and head over to Haines Point for the last few miles. Relatively flat with a small hill around mile 6.5 and another tiny hill at the finish (not even really a hill but feels a bit like one at mile 13!). 

start of navy air force half marathon

You know I like to recap by miles so, here we go!

Miles 1 -3: The start was incredibly congested and people were not in their appropriate line up spots so the first couple miles were slower than I wanted them to be but I wasn’t too worried. I just keep moving and knew it would clear out soon. You can tell that it did clear up significantly by mile 3, which was great. Even though I had a TON of buddies running this race, I was running solo pretty much the whole way. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — I was able to just focus on my race, which I wanted to do. 9:44, 9:42, 9:21

Miles 4-6: At this point we were running up Rock Creek Parkway, which is an area I am extremely familiar with and spent a lot of time training over there during my last cycle of marathon training. The familiarity helped deal with the tiny, gradual incline as we headed up the Parkway towards the turn around. 9:29, 9:19, 9:36

Miles 7-9: At this point, I knew I wasn’t going to go sub-2 but also knew that I could hit 2:05 if I kept pushing. I tried to just hold pace in the 9:20s and that seemed to work. K was at mile 8.5 briefly, so that was fun. The course doesn’t have a lot of spectator support so if that is something you need, be aware. 9:21, 9:21, 9:27

Miles 10-13.1: This final stretch is mostly on Haines Point which can be a real mental battle. I don’t love Haines Point, but I’ve run it enough that I am very familiar with it and I go into races knowing that it’s flat and pretty boring and am prepared for that. I really thought I was pushing it that final mile, but looking at my times, it’s clear I was pretty done. I definitely left it all out there on the course! 9:28, 9:33, 9:31, 9:52

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With Julie from Diving Into the Gene Pool.

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Mar (from Mar on the Run) and I!

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Julie’s sister Kristen (and Kristen’s adorable baby boy), Caitlin, Julie and I.

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The swag. Love the shirt and the medal!

Oh – so what was my official time? 2:05:49 This was a 15 minute PR for me and I am so proud. I worked really hard in this training cycle and I saw results. I will talk more about what’s next for me soon but overall, I feel like a total rockstar. I know I gave this race everything I had and I’m really proud of myself. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable to say that (like I’m bragging when I’m not) but the truth is, I’m proud. :) 

Did you race this weekend? Tell me about it!

Friday Five: 5 Blogs I’m Loving

Happy Friday! Hope everyone had a great week and is looking forward for a fun weekend. I’m racing the Navy Air Force Half Marathon on Sunday. I wrote about my race goals here so go check that out if you missed it. Okay so on to the good stuff. This week we are sharing five blogs we love and I’m excited to share my five! Per usual, I’m linking up with my girls Cynthia and Mar for the #Friday Five. You can read our linkup rules here. Please note that if you don’t play nicely, we will delete your link. Have a great weekend!

Friday five- 5 blogs i'm lovin right

  • Diving into the Gene Pool. Most of y’all are familiar with Julie, my run buddy. We’ve run a lot of races together and usually run together two to three times a week. But some of y’all might not have realized that Julie has an awesome blog on Tumblr (yes, I’m trying to convince her to switch to self hosted on wordpress!). Go check her out!
  • Run with no Regrets. Janelle is an awesome blogger who lives in Philly. She is constantly doing fun fitness things and blogging about them, as well as her training. I love reading her updates and I bet you will too!
  • Breathe Deeply and Smile. Lauren is a Baltimore blogger who is super speedy and super awesome. Her marathon PR is 3:45 and she is currently training for the Chicago marathon next month. She’s so awesome and has a great, positive attitude — I love her blog! 
  • Marathons and Macarons. Gabrielle is a fellow Oiselle team mate and is an NYC gal training for her first marathon – NYC in November. She is so fun and I love her writing style. Follow her as she makes her way towards 26.2. 
  • Running N Reading. Tara is a new Oiselle flock member and in a nutshell, she’s awesome! She is also training for her first marathon, after she got pulled while running Little Rock. She is going to rock her 26.2! She also has excellent taste in books and I’ll pretty much read any book she recommends. :) 

Who’s your favorite blogger right now? 


Race Goals for Navy Air Force Half Marathon

* I would be reminiscent if I failed to mention September 11th. This is a day that will always live heavy in my heart and I will never forget.*

This Sunday is my fall goal race – the Navy Air Force Half Marathon. I’ve been thinking about this race for awhile and when I signed up, I set an ambitious (one might even call it aggressive) goal: sub 2, baby! I’ve trained really hard this summer through yucky humidity and I’m really excited to go out there and give it my all. That being said, here are my goals for the race this weekend: 

Goals for Navy Air Force Half Marathon

  • A goal: SUB-2! I would be happy with 1:59:59, which is a 9:10 pace. I think this is possible if the weather is perfect and I feel great. My plan is to start a little slower than goal pace and get faster as the race goes along.
  • B goal: 2:05-2:09. This would still be a huge (double digit) PR for me and I feel confident I can hit these times. 
  • C goal: A PR. My current half marathon PR is 2:20 — I haven’t run a half marathon in quite awhile, though so I should definitely PR unless something very bad happens (a la norovirus). 

I feel really good about the goals I’ve set and am optimistic about this weekend. Lots of my friends are running this race as well, so that should be super fun. Fingers crossed for low temps AND low humidity! 

Who else is racing this weekend? Share your goals and don’t forget…tomorrow’s Friday Five topic is blogs to love! 

Wedding Wednesday: The Rehearsal and More

Happy Wedding Wednesday! I’m going back in time a bit to talk about what we did for our rehearsal dinner and all the fun the day before the wedding. Super sad because there are pretty much NO pictures from that day. #FAIL. Oh well. Instead I’ll share a few more wedding photos. :) 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

On Friday, I had a pretty packed schedule…a morning hair appointment, then driving out to Hollow Creek for our rehearsal. Our rehearsal was at 3pm and our rehearsal dinner started at 5pm. The rehearsal was pretty seamless. We had a few late folks and a few of K’s guys couldn’t make it, but all the important stuff happened. After the rehearsal, I rushed to check in to our hotel and get together my gifts for the parents and the bridal party plus my dear my Tiff. We gave our parents nice photo frames which we will be filling with professional pictures from the wedding. I gave my girls luggage tags, bracelets and handwritten cards. I wish I’d taken a picture of all that. Again #FAIL. 

We held our rehearsal dinner at a local Italian restaurant in Frederick that was right across the street from our hotel (literally – it was pretty awesome to be able to walk!). We had preordered  a bunch of food and the whole thing was very causal. It was fun to be able to chat with folks I don’t see as much, like a few of K’s groomsmen. Towards the end of the dinner, we gave out the gifts and said our thanks. I got a little choked up as I thanked my dad because what can I say, I’m a daddy’s girl! And, be honest, how awesome is this guy?

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

After dinner, K and I said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. He hung out with his family and friends, I got my nails done and then — party in my suite!  I had a large two room suite and decided what I really wanted to do was hang out with those closest to me. So my sister, mom, cousin, niece, aunt, grandma, plus four more bridesmaids PLUS assorted husbands, fiances and more met up in my room. We had some wine, some tunes and LOTS of fun. It was seriously the best time — we had a dance part, taught a couple of folks the wobble (in anticipation to the reception the next day) and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. 

Seriously. Such fun! 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

What did you do the day before your wedding? 

Blogger Tip Tuesday: Dealing with Writer’s Block

As a blogger, dealing with writer’s block is something I’ve had to do in the past and something I’m sure I will have to deal with in the future. It can be hard thinking of things to post and so I thought I’d share some of my tips for dealing with writer’s block. 

dealing with writers block

  • Write down everything. I have the wordpress app on my phone and usually have pen and paper with me and so no matter where I am, if I get an idea for a blog post, I write it down. Honestly, just have one or two words can be really helpful in starting a blog post. The hardest part about writing is facing that blank page – having something down is a huge help!
  • Have themed days. Blogger Tip Tuesdays, Wedding Wednesdays, the Friday Five. The only of these themes I do each week is the Friday Five, but it’s great to have a few themed days to help structure my blog posts. By doing a themed day, you aren’t necessarily committing to writing on that theme each week (there are plenty of weeks I don’t do Blogger Tip Tuesdays or Wedding Wednesdays but having that option is great), but it can be helpful in jogging the brain!
  • Don’t be afraid to use prompts. The SITS girls, an amazing community of female bloggers, posts writing prompts for each month and there are always some great ideas there. Check out September’s writing prompts here for some cool ideas of things to blog about. 
  • Solve a problem. That is always my strategy for Blogger Tip Tuesdays. I think about a question I have or had or something that was hard for me and then I write about it. Whether it be how to start a blog, how I utilize Twitter to help grow my blog, how I’ve been able to grow my blog or how to increase your blog traffic, the topics are all things I’ve dealt with and thought I’d share my thoughts. 
  • Share about yourself. Regardless of what you blog about, your readers will want to know more about you. Some of my best received posts have been when I’ve shared ten facts about me or any kind of “get to know me” post. Being honest and real with your readers is always a win and an easy way to do that is share some things they may not know. 

What do you do when you are experiencing writer’s block?

Navy Air Force Half Training Recap – Week 11

Amazingly, the Navy Air Force Half Marathon is HERE! Yes, amazingly, the race is this weekend. I completely thought I had more time — isn’t that always the case? However, I’m happy to report a good weekend of training despite hellish weather (literally. This was one of the hottest weeks we’ve had in DC all summer long. Boo). Here is this week’s training recap: (side note: this will be the last training recap for awhile, until I decide on my game plan for the rest of 2014 – basically, if I will race another marathon this year or not). I am linking up with Tara for her weekend update. Go check out her awesome blog and some of the other great bloggers who link up with her!

Monday: Labor Day! We trekked out to Kings Dominion and spent the day running around the amusement park and relaxing in the lazy river. It was delightful, HOT and definitely a workout! 

Tuesday: Pure Barre. The addiction is real, y’all!

Wednesday: 10×400. It was really hot and it felt like we were running through mud. However, we actually knocked this workout out of the park. With 2.5 miles of speedwork, those two miles averaged 7:41 and 7:50. Boom! Oh, and I went to Pure Barre. 

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Thursday: Pure Barre for the third day in a row. 

Friday: 4 miles, 3 of those being tempo miles. The weather was AWFUL. We decided to just run by feel and not worry about pace. I wanted to keep the tempo miles around 9-ish (really, sub 9). The first one was 9:30 and the next two were in the 8:40s. Given the temperatures, I felt like we definitely worked during that run. 

Saturday: 8 solo HOT HUMID miles. Ugh. Julie (smartly) refused to run in Saturday’s awful weather so I was on my own. I tried to take it easy and just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. I would’ve liked to run it a bit faster, but I also would’ve liked the temps to not be in the 80s with 80% humidity. What can you do! Here were my splits: 

9:47, 10:00. 9:56, 10:10, 10:17, 9:58, 10:32, 10:27 for an average of 10:09. Like I said, not exactly what I wanted (I wanted to be about 45 seconds slower than goal race pace, not 60), given the weather, I have no complaints (well, except the weather :)).

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I was so gross after this run and very happy to be done. I’ll be sharing my goals for the race later this week. All in all, I’m happy with my training and excited to run on Sunday!

How was your training this past week? 

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