Category Archives: How To

nyc marathon packing list

It’s almost here! After more than three months of training I can’t believe I’m headed to NYC for the race of my life. I usually put stuff to the side throughout the week so that I don’t forget it and pack basics from a list the day of or night before a trip. We’re leaving in three-ish hours or so and I’m just getting started but luckily my go-to strategy means packing everything I need only takes me about 20 minutes.

I usually go through and layout all the outfits that I’ll need so that I don’t under or overpack. Both can be bad.

For NYC, I’ll need something to sleep in tonight and tomorrow night, something to wear during the day tomorrow, my race clothes and comfy clothes to wear post-marathon. I’ve found it saves space to have your clothes do double duty so I’ll sleep in the next morning’s (clean) gym clothes and wear a sundress for sightseeing because I can keep it on for that night’s dinner.
NYC Marathon Packing ListOnce we get to NYC I’ll stop at a grocery store and pick up a couple of bananas, and I’ll go to a Goodwill to get throwaway clothes for the start to avoid taking up space in my bag. I like a really big puffy jacket when I can find it (because Floridian) and that pretty much takes up my whole suitcase if I were to pack it.

There you have it!

Ah. Now to put all these things in my bag. (Pro tip: roll your clothes). Two sleeps until race day!

Anything I’m forgetting? Last-minute packing tips for me before we head out?

thoughts on my first military ball

J and I went to our first military ball a few weeks ago and it was wonderful. ball1I wish J would smile in pictures.
The night was short but well planned. Food was fantastic and the drinks were even better.
ball2I used Rent the Runway for the first time and it went well. Got a $2,000 dress I didn’t actually have to pay retail for. Always a good thing. You don’t get to keep the dress but how likely would I be to wear a ballgown again in the first place?
My concerns about what I was wearing went away after the first couple of compliments. Apparently I did good. I was worried that I’d be overdressed after hearing some people mention short, cocktail dresses. Negative. Lots of ball gowns, although some chose not to  leave enough to the imagination. To each their own.
Our only bad experience was checking in to the hotel for the night. I work full-time and didn’t have hours and hours to get ready, so we rushed over after I got off from work and got dressed in the car. My hair probably explains that one pretty well. We went to the reception before checking in and went to the front desk after dinner.
Even though I booked the room months in advance.
Even though I called to confirm we’d have an atrium view king (which I would have gladly paid more for instead of using the block rate).
Even though they took my reservation.
Apparently they didn’t know how to keep it. Neither the king or the atrium room we booked was available so instead of viewing this from our reserved balcony:bnago_phototour06Source: Gaylord Opryland Resort

We had a window to nowhere. Literally. There was a window and six inches away from that there was a beige wall. I really wanted to like this hotel despite all of the bad reviews because the resort itself is lovely, but if it wasn’t one thing it was another. Just another thing to add to the list of reasons why I love Hyatt and dislike Marriott properties but lesson relearned, I guess.

Have you ever been to a military ball? What’d you wear?

down with the pounds

scaleTwo weeks ago I weighed in with coworkers for a local, annual weight loss competition. The goal: Lose at least 3 percent of my body weight in six weeks. Totally doable, right?
Last month’s goal was to maintain my weight through a month of yummy holiday treats and baked good temptations. I managed to stay within five pounds of starting weight and that’s OK with me. During the holidays you’ve got to take what you can get.
Since weighing in on Jan. 19 I’ve lost five pounds putting me at goal for the competition. I’m eligible for a door prize which is great because to win this thing I’d need to lose weight to the point of nonexistence. Not going to happen and that’s OK.
I’m realistic. I didn’t sign up with plans to win in the first place. I don’t have that much to lose. Instead, I’m just in it for the 10 free fitness classes.
My problem with weight loss I’m sure is a problem for a lot of people. I’m pretty “good” during the week and then weekends are a free-for-all on every delicious temptation that comes in sight. Seriously. I had a pulled pork and mac-and-cheese stuffed panini in Lexington this weekend. Who puts that deliciously evil combo together? Really, now.
Instead of beating myself up for it I need to realize that weekend free-for-alls are my downfall and fix the problem. Recognizing that is the first step. We all have similar obstacles in our way– bread basket at dinner, running out of time to pack lunch and hitting a drive thru instead, getting home late and not having anything thawed for dinner. All of these things suck but they’re easily remedied excuses. All it takes is a little bit of planning.
For the next four weeks of this local biggest loser competition I really just want to focus on routine. It’s possible to stay on track and even lose weight while away from home/on vacation. See here. But it’s SO much easier when you stick to a routine. Meal plan, eat at home and even plan workouts. It really makes all the difference.

What are your tried and true weight loss/maintenance strategies?