Tampa Blogger Meet Up

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Afternoon! I feel like I’ve driven all over the state today! But it was totally worth it to see these lovely ladies in person:


Jenna and Lindsay!  Yayyyy!


We met up at the Nordstrom Cafe Bistro, which is actually inside of Nordstrom department store.  It was a really good, affordable (surprise!) cafe with tons of healthy options.  I even found something on the menu that fit the requirements of Crap Free Week!


I had a Asparagus-Artichoke Heart-Tomato-Feta salad that was just divine! I was expecting it to be on a bed of romaine salad, but this salad was pure veggie. 


I’m pretty sure the cold veggie salad was coated in EVOO, but the salad really didn’t need ANY dressing — the vegetables and cheese were so flavorful


Jenna, Lindsay, and I drove from the mall to Greenwise, where Jenna works as a bread baker.  Greenwise is kind of like Whole Foods, but better (can you believe I just said that?).  It was great to see her place of employment and meet some of her coworkers.  I did sample a few  pieces of bread after Jenna assured me it was all organic and basically homemade (and hence, Crap Free).  YUM!


It was great to meet Lindsay and see Jenna again.  Yay for Blogger Friends!


After driving back to Orlando, I made myself a fruit and nut plate that will hopefully hold me over until I eat dinner.


Racing the REAL Race — Against Yourself!


One of the things we discussed on our lunch date was running the right distance for you (if running is your thing at all)!  Trust me, I read Meghann’s blog and want to run a marathon.  But the sad truth is that marathon distances are just not for me due to my knees.  I injure too easily.  It’s important that I remind myself that the real race is against myself, not against other people.


Interestingly enough, the Runner’s World blog had a perfect question and answer about this very topic!  Here it is (from RunnersWorld.com):


Dear John,

I am 42, female, and a runner/gym enthusiast. I tried for many years to run a marathon but kept getting hurt during training. Then I decided to join running groups to help me train properly. The first time I trained with a group, in 2006, I made it to the fifth month of training but developed knee pain. Day of the marathon, I started hurting at the 6-mile mark, so I cut my race in half.

The second year of training with another running group was better. I finished five months of training without incident. But on the day of the marathon, I started cramping at mile 17. The rest of the way was very painful, with me unable to move at times and in tears.

I was tired of not finishing anything, so I just grit my teeth and kept going. I ended up finishing the race an hour over my goal with both hams, quads, and calves cramping.

After training for two marathons two years back to back, I had difficulty maintaining fitness. It seems that after I run these races, my body just bonks. Three weeks post-race, I can hardly catch my breath running just one mile, depression sets in, my resting heart rate is elevated, and I just do not have any energy. This lasts seven to 11 months. I am scared now to train for another marathon.

I have just now recovered from one of these post-marathon "bonks" a year after I ran. Needless to say, I have gained weight and lost fitness. I tried several times to get back to running, but the desire and energy were just not there. I want to get fit again. Can you help me out? – Eileen


Hi, Eileen. Thanks for writing. Some of what you’re describing is fairly typical. There is a “post marathon syndrome” in which we are mentally, physically, and emotionally drained. I’ve run 45 marathons. I’ve had the exact sensation of trying to run a week or so later and wondering how in the world I ever ran 26.2 miles and how in the world did I get so out of shape so quickly.


So, as uncomfortable as you may feel, it’s not something to worry about.


Marathons have become what one writer described as “the great urban Everest.” They seem to have become the standard by which contemporary runners judge themselves. It’s unfortunate, really, because there are so many other great distances that might suit many runners better than the marathon.


The question you need to answer for yourself is, what’s your ideal race distance? What is the distance that you can enjoy both training for, and participating in? Maybe you’re a 5-K runner. You like the full-on, go-for-broke, go-hard-and-hang-on feeling that you get in a 5-K. Maybe you’re a 10-K runner. You like the artistry of finding the razor-edge between too fast and too slow.


I’ve found that I really like the half-marathon distance. It’s far enough that someone like me, who is terminally slow, can feel like we’ve accomplished something special, but no so far that I put too much stress on my body, mind, and soul.


So, find your own joy. Find the distance that gives you that joy and focus on it. My guess is that you’ll be a happier, healthier runner if you do.


Waddle on,



What’s the right distance for you?  Or, if you aren’t a runner, what’s the right exercise for you?  I love the half marathon!



  • Danielle February 6, 2009, 2:48 pm

    Looks like you girls had a great lunch, your salad looks delicious!
    interesting article, I’m so new to running that it’s nice to see that if I can never run a marthon that doesn’t make me less of a runner, I hope to run a 5k soon and then work up from there.
    Thanks for sharing the info!

  • ashley (sweetandnatural) February 6, 2009, 2:57 pm

    Fun blogger meet-up! I wish I could see this Greenwise – better than WF?!

  • VeggieGirl February 6, 2009, 3:03 pm

    Ashley (above) took the words right out of my mouth (err, keyboard) – BETTER THAN WF??!??!?!

    Great article!! I’m a yogi, and benefit the most from a series of Vinyasa and other yoga sequences.

  • Mica February 6, 2009, 3:12 pm

    I think it's great that you listen carefully to your body and don't demand unrealistic things. I'm going to try for a marathon, but I will certainly approach it with your attitude that it just might not be the distance for me–and that's okay! We shall see…

    Good job for continuing to adhere to CF week. (Though without context, your "I <3 crapping" comment freaked my friend Dan out.)

  • Maggie February 6, 2009, 3:18 pm

    yoga is delightful for me 🙂 it makes me so happy.

    yay for blogger meetups!!

  • Tami February 6, 2009, 3:22 pm

    i am REALLy torn right now, I really really want to run a marathon but the training is a lot and i am not sure it’s healthy to run that far. but i want to push myself. i have run 5 half marathons, another one coming up next weekend, I live in New Hampshire, so it should be an adventure.

    i am pretty sure i am going to run a full marathon in october but i need to give it some thought and check training schedules and discuss it with my husband.

    after my half, i am going to start training with a trainer and i will see how i feel after that.

    i had thoughts of doing a tri but i don’t have the right bike and i don’t care to swiw

    i am interested to see what everyone else has to say.

  • Ryan (chasing daylight) February 6, 2009, 3:35 pm

    Yay for blogger meet ups!! I’m jealous you went to Greenwise. I’m hoping I might be able to go there this weekend or when I’m back in Tampa for Gasparilla. Fun, fun!

    I love that article you brought up…it really is all individual!

  • sarah February 6, 2009, 3:35 pm

    i love the marathon, but it doesn’t always love me back. i’ve decided ‘3 strikes and i’m out’ . . . so if i get injured this time around (yep, it would make #3), no more ‘thons for a long long time!

    interestingly, i’ve never been injured training for a shorter race. hmmm. i do love halves . . .

  • Erin of Care to Eat February 6, 2009, 3:38 pm

    That looks totally fun and worth it. 🙂
    I’m a gym rat and I love it!

  • ttfn300 February 6, 2009, 3:39 pm

    ooh, now i want to go to a greenwise! hmm, b/c of my knees and feet, 5k seems to be my new distance (although i was fond of a particular 10mile run in philly). Tri on 🙂 hehe

  • Nicole (anotheronebitesthecrust.wordpress.com) February 6, 2009, 4:14 pm

    It sounds like you guys had a blast!

    I think that 5ks are my favorite distance!

  • sara February 6, 2009, 4:20 pm

    i love running–i’ve raced 10ks to the marathon–but i’m not sure what my favorite distance is. the rush and heart-pounding of a 10k is awesome, the sense of accomplishment from a half is great, the marathon can be so terrible and wonderful … right now i just love them all. i ran my 7th marathon on Sunday and qualified for Boston and am so excited to get back out there and run again. who knows, maybe my thing will be ultras (running my first in 4 weeks). who says you have to limit yourself to just one distance?

    btw, you’ve inspired me to do my own crap-free week (although it might be closer to 5 days, we’ll see how it goes). i need it after my “i qualified for Boston and am going to eat everything in sight” week of gluttony.

  • Sarah (lovINmytummy) February 6, 2009, 4:33 pm

    I love the half and the 10K. But honestly, I think if I ran a marathon tomorrow, I would finish it, even if I was suffering. I just can’t/don’t quit.

    And even if I did, I wouldn’t be writing into Runner’s World about it! “Dear Runner’s World, I’m a quitter, please help. Signed Quitty Quitterton.”

  • ksgoodeats February 6, 2009, 4:39 pm

    Aw glad lunch was so yummy and fun! I’ve heard good things about Nordstrom’s cafe but I’ve never actually been – good to know it’s a great pick 🙂

  • healthybodyhealtymind February 6, 2009, 4:45 pm

    Half marathons are my favorite distance too! I’ve run 1 half, and sadly it will be my last. I’ve had a bad knee from soccer. I took up running and after my first race I had to have my third knee surgery. I’ve come to terms with not being able to run and I’m starting to venture out with new exercises (yoga and cycling).

  • robinbb February 6, 2009, 4:58 pm

    I love marathons and hate 5K’s. I think why I love marathons so much is because of the training plan lasting so long and looking forward to it. Plus they are much more relaxing. Yes, you run for a long time, but it is at a much slower relaxing pace than a 5 or 10k.

  • lilveggiepatch February 6, 2009, 5:22 pm

    That salad looks so good. Asparagus and feta isn’t a combination I would have thought of, although it seems so natural now!

    In my dream I was going to prom with my ex- boyfriend and you were going with your parents. How random is that?!

  • Meg February 6, 2009, 5:58 pm

    How awesome to be able to meet up with other bloggers! Yummy salad!

  • jane February 6, 2009, 7:02 pm

    I totally agree with that letter! I work in a running store, and I get really frustrated when people come in and tell me they are brand-new runners training for a marathon “just because.” Then they end up hating running cause they suffer through training, all the while thinking that to be a “real” runner they have to do a marathon! Like it’s the entry for some exclusive runner’s club. Dumb!
    I like the half marathon for the same reasons the writer in RW does- I’m slow, so I can’t really compete in 5ks or 10ks, and a half is long enough that it’s a real challenge for me! Maybe one day I’ll run a marathon, but it won’t be because “i should.” It will be cause I WANT TO.
    p.s. Thanks for putting interesting things on your blog! I love that you ask for feedback and want to know our opinions! You rock 🙂

  • teacherwoman February 6, 2009, 7:26 pm

    Great question. I think I will truly fall in love with the half marathon distance, or maybe even the 10K. I get bored with the 5K’s, just because I am not very fast and it’s hard finishing at the back of the pack in such a small race. I haven’t done any 10K’s because there really hasn’t been that many around here. But, I will be keeping my eye out for those!

  • HangryPants February 6, 2009, 7:46 pm

    What a fun lunch! I love the Nordstrom Cafe at my old mall in Providence. I am not sure if they are all the same, but they make great salads.

    I am hoping I love half marathons!

  • brandi February 6, 2009, 8:47 pm

    What a fun day!!!

    “waddle on” – that was too funny 🙂

    I honestly don’t know my favorite length yet! I’ve only run 5Ks, and I enjoy them ,but I still get cramps just about every time I run, whether outside or on the treadmill. I want to train for a 10K later this year, and I guess I’ll see how I like that.

  • sweetandfit February 6, 2009, 8:47 pm

    sweet meet-up – I was confused for a second since lindsay was just in colorado I thought… anyhow, I LOVE the nordstrom bistro – there really are a lot of good crap-free options there

  • BOBBI McCORMICK February 6, 2009, 10:29 pm

    what a fun meet up! Well I tottaly agree a marathon isn’t for everyone, you have to run what is right for you. For me I was born a runner, but I dont know about an Ultra that sounds crazy to me!

  • MizFit February 7, 2009, 4:36 am

    (weights weights iron for me)

    SO FUN (blog meetup) and I was able to meet jenna in person as well.

    she’s so kind.

  • Amy February 7, 2009, 6:52 am

    I’m a half marathoner. I ran one full just to say I did it… but I hated every minute of it!

  • Andrea (Off Her Cork) February 7, 2009, 7:05 am

    I’m still finding my distance so I can’t answer that question as of yet. However I agree about competing against yourself! I had this same talk with my muay thai instructor and we both agreed that real athletes are the ones who compete against themselves and aren’t worrying about someone else. Thanks for posting that!

  • Kevino February 7, 2009, 12:48 pm

    You may want to try Urban Dare, http://www.urbandare.com, which combines running with mental and physical challenges. Teams of 2 solve clues to find checkpoints where they must go and take photos or perform dares. It’s kind of like a 1-day Amazing Race. The races are all over the country and the Tampa race is on March 7.

  • tryingforatri February 7, 2009, 7:38 pm

    That’s a really good philosophy to have about distance. I’m not sure what mine is yet, but I intend to find out!

  • Anonymous February 7, 2009, 7:43 pm

    I really need to sing up so I don’t have to comment as anon. Sorry about that.

    I have only done one 1/2 marathon but I think it’s definitely my distance. I’m too slow to ever feel like I’ve done well after a 5K or 10K, and I’m not sure I can manage a full marathon. The half is great b/c it feels like an accomplishment and doesn’t require a crazy training schedule and risk of injury is low.

    Also- your blog is the best of the food blogs in my opinion. You always talk about things other than food and it makes it really interesting. A lot of the food bloggers seem like they don’t think about anything except food and calories and whatever. You rock!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point February 7, 2009, 7:47 pm

    anon – yea, sign up! 🙂 thanks for commenting. that was really nice to hear! and i agree with you, the half rocks!

  • Heather April 21, 2010, 4:23 pm

    hi. remember this time when you thought marathons were not for you?

    ummm…remember that OTHER time, not even a year later when you RAN A MARATHON.

    ok. that is all.

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