Mile 450: Breathing Into a Bag


Miles since last time: *shrug*
Total miles this year: 450

I know. It’s been a while. In my defense. I’ve been training for a marathon. Tomorrow. A full marathon. I’m doing my first full marathon tomorrow. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. It’s tomorrow.

I’m not nervous at all. Not a bit. Everything’s fine here. I certainly haven’t convinced myself that I’ll collapse somewhere around mile sixteen and live in that same spot forever, eventually becoming known as Candles. (Because sixteen? Never mind. The nickname is a work in progress.)


(via giphy)

Like I said. Everything’s fiiiiiiiine.

(Side note—I can’t tell if I’m stress-eating or carb-loading.)

I’ve heard that it’s good to outline your goals for a race beforehand. At the very least, I suppose it gives you something to focus on besides the fear pangs that are slowly getting closer and closer together—so much so that I think I’m due to birth an anxiety baby in, oh, about twelve hours.

To occupy myself until I can get that worry epidural, I’m listing my goals here.

Cross the finish line. Obviously.
They take it down eventually. I’m not fast, guys.

Before my Bluetooth headphones run out of juice.
Fingers crossed. This is why they call it a race.

Try not to look like I’m dying.
A lot of races have photographers taking pictures along the route so that you can commemorate the special occasion. After my first half marathon a year ago, I looked at my photos and learned that, despite my sunny disposition, I have a pretty bad case of RBF—Running Bitch Face. (And Resting Bitch Face. I have all the bitch faces.) I actually haven’t looked at any race photos since then. Now, I realize that maybe I should have practiced not looking like I want to punch a unicorn.

Don’t get attacked by the Lake Hefner monster.
I know that there’s no actual evidence that a monster lives in the lake, but that’s just what Heffy wants you to think.

Find proof of the Lake Hefner monster. Become best friends.
Candles is going to need someone to co-parent feral cats in the area.

Maintain control of all bodily functions.
No vomiting or GI distress here!

Don’t anger the wind gods any further.
NBD, just 20-mph winds out of the north and northwest. Definitely not going to make the first half of this thing feel like dragging a bus. A bus that is me.

Play everyone’s favorite game, Twig or Snake?, as desired.
It’s been raining all night/day and there’s storm damage everywhere. Who knows what you’ll find? Maybe even a shiny new penny!

When finished, replace all bodily fluids with chocolate milk.
It’s a legitimate recovery drink.

Have enough energy to walk back to my car.
This is not a fear I had until just now.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

(Ignore that high-pitched whining sound. I have no idea where it’s coming from. Definitely not me.)

Mile 751: Crying and Jogging


Miles since last time: 121
Total miles: 751

It’s extremely hard to run when you’re crying. 

It’s nearly impossible to maintain a steady stream of inhaling and exhaling when your throat starts to get tight and your chest starts to hitch and you feel an unwanted but familiar sting behind your eyes.

It’s even more difficult when you’re the type of person who tries in vain to hold it all back until you’re not so much breathing as hyperventilating.

Nevertheless, this happened to me no less than four times during my run this morning while I tried to process the election news.

Instead of choosing tolerance and acceptance, we showed that a large portion of us are mad that we have to share the country  with scary brown people and the gays. Instead of choosing a hopeful, inclusive future, we proved that an alarming number of us believe that non-white, non-Christian, non-male, non-cisgender, non-straight people don’t deserve a voice or an equal place in the United States. Instead of listening to logic, we chose to believe that a man who lies 70% of the time is simply “telling it like it is,” and that (somehow, inexplicably) that’s okay–even admirable. 

Instead of Hillary Clinton, we elected Donald Trump.

We chose a bully who gets away with spewing hate because he is rich and white, and who, despite multiple bankruptcies, people continue to incorrectly believe is a good businessman and leader. For some reason, it is easier for 59,611,678 (at last count) to believe that Hillary Clinton is a liar, which is easy, I guess, if you cover your ears and start shouting so you can’t hear me when I tell you that she is one of the nation’s most honest politicians. No, seriously. People who believe otherwise are either misinformed, willfully ignorant, or gifted at blatantly ignoring facts.

Only in America can a man with no experience refuse to lay out any real policy, throw temper tantrums, threaten to sue people he doesn’t like, refuse to release his tax returns under provably false pretenses, refuse to pay people who work for him, and constantly say to “trust him” when he’s asked a hard question–and still be thought of as the transparent, honest candidate. Only in America can a woman be the most qualified and capable candidate we’ve possibly ever had, keep her cool while being interrupted 50 times in 90 minutes, rack up endorsements like they’re Halloween candy, dedicate her entire adult life to public service, be cleared of wrongdoing every single time she is accused of it, and win the majority of the popular vote–and it still isn’t enough.

I’ll say it again for those in the back.

Hillary Clinton got the most votes and it still wasn’t enough. 

Now, instead of spending early, formative years in a country where women can lead the free world, my three-year-old niece and my almost two-year-old little cousin will spend those years with a president who would either a.) be disgusted by them because they are children (and GIRLS, nonetheless!), or b.) wonder if he could date them in a couple of decades. Instead, people I care about are legitimately scared for their well-being. We all deserve better.

I spent today feeling hurt and sad and scared and betrayed and angry and defeated. Quite frankly, I get to grieve for today. In Oklahoma, my vote didn’t count because I’m in the liberal minority. Nationwide, my vote didn’t count because of the Electoral College. In our culture, my voice and time and work count less because of my gender. 

If an intelligent, exceedingly competent woman can win but still not be victorious, what does that mean for the rest of us? What more do we have to do? Will anything ever be enough?

So, yes, I cried during my jog this morning, despite it making the entire process so much harder.

But I kept going.

And I will keep going. And I will join the fight, despite learning today how much harder everything is going to be.

Mile 630: How Not to Be the Runner Everyone Hates


Miles since last time: 320.9
Total miles: 630

Being a runner is a lot like being a woman. It’s fine to be one, but the second you say something about it out loud, most people shout, “JEEZ WE GET IT WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BRING IT UP EVERY FIVE SECONDS GAH.”

And then they hate you.

Since I dislike being hated, I’ve come up with some hip and cool tips to help you not be *that runner* that gets the side-eye and such.

Fall down. Publicly.
Do you run near a busy intersection? Pick a curb and trip over it. At a crowded gym? Fall for no reason. That way, people will know that, despite your unashamed public display of vigorous physical activity, you are so terrible at it that you can’t be trusted to remain upright for an extended period of time. You become an endearing underdog, rather than a brazenly capable individual. Bonus points if someone stops to help you. You may even make a new friend–I hope they don’t murder you for your sweet kicks!


Do NOT go to a natural form running clinic and then later start a sentence with, “Well, at the running clinic I went to, the guy said…”
Jeez. Do you hear yourself? You may as well be from Portseattaustin, slamming poetry all around (that’s how it works, right?). If you do extra credit running, shut your pie hole about it. Oh, wait–you probably aren’t eating a lot of pie. Shut your balanced-mixed-of-carbs-and-protein hole about it.

Don’t sign up for additional races.
Look, doing one is acceptable, but if you’re going to sign up for a second half-marathon–with the goal of determining whether you can do a full marathon–you may be beyond help. And multiple 5Ks? What even. How dare you, you pretentious, masochistic bastard.


Don’t buy a special running iPod.
I know you hate running with your phone. It’s giant and annoying. People probably already hate you for having an iPhone 6plus, anyway. This does not give you license to use birthday cash to buy a tiny, cheap iPod nano just for hitting the pavement. Your laptop is so old that it won’t sync properly because it’s already on the fritz, and you’ll have to start seriously considering getting a new computer to justify the purchase you already made. Think about your life choices.

Things to never talk about: injuries, training schedules, changes to your schedule, dietary plans, shoes, or anything related to physical activity.
Face it. If you’re honest, you’re kind of annoyed to have to deal with that stuff, yourself. What makes you think friends, family, and Twitter robot accounts want to hear about it? No one knows or cares what a fascia is. Let them think you’re limping around because you’ve been kicking immigrants out of the country like a goddamn American.

Don’t read books about running.
You did it, didn’t you? You ordered marathon extraordinaire Hal Higdon’s Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. Well, if you insist on reading it, at least have the decency to put it inside a copy of People or something, even when you’re home alone. Big Brother is always watching.


What running books? I don’t have running books. Do you hear that, Big Brother overlords?!

Don’t write about it, either.
Oh, no. You’re doing it right now. Stop. Stop. I can see you doing–STOOOOOOOP.

Gain weight.
This one’s surprisingly simple because, yes, Virginia, despite things like logic and reason, it’s totally possible–nay, even easy–to gain a significant amount of weight while, say, training five to six days a week for your first half marathon. You may not even realize it due to your love of beautiful, stretchy leggings. Apparently, it can actually be quite difficult to lose weight on a running regimen if you don’t do it right. Because life is weird and the lizard people are conspiring against you.

So just gain some weight. Everyone knows that real runners have a body like Allyson Felix, anyway.


Why don’t I look like Allyson Felix? Oh, right. Allyson Felix is a goddess and a treasure. Source

Make sure there’s a Panera Bread along your route.
Little Caesar’s also works. Or McAlester’s. Really anywhere that bakes anything will do. You know, so you can huff and puff your way through the smell of freshly made bread products for extra torture. You deserve it.

If someone asks you about running, scream, “THE LIZARDS HAVE WON,” turn clockwise three times, stomp on his/her right big toe, and run away backward while doing jazz hands.
People already think you’re crazy. Might as well give them a show.

There you have it. If you don’t want to be a runner everyone hates, then just don’t ever mention it. If you do, make sure you talk about and show how bad you are at it.

You know, also like being a woman.

Mile 309.1: 13.1 Things I Would Tell Pre-Half-Marathon Me


“We won! We won! WE WON! WE WON!”
–“Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down),” Hamilton

Miles since last time: 167 (+ 13.1!)
Total miles: 309.1


Whoa, sorry. I didn’t mean to shout at you.


OKC Memorial Marathon 2016 start line

Can you see me? I’m waaaaaaaaaaaaay at the back. Source

I’m not going to lie–I was a bit worried during the week or so before that it wouldn’t happen. The long runs leading up to it kept getting more and more difficult. The Oklahoma City Memorial Run is kind of a big deal, and I was pretty convinced I was going to die.

I’m happy to report that I didn’t. So, now I go back to not knowing where, when, or how it’s going to happen–what a beautiful feeling!

It turns out you have a lot of time to think as you race (or, in my case, heartily jog and intermittently walk) through the neighborhoods of Oklahoma City, and as I did, I considered what I would’ve told myself twenty-one weeks ago, before I started training.

Here’s what I came up with.

1) Put your Twitter handle on your bib, dummy.
No one cares what your first name is. Self-promote, dammit!

2) Get fitted for shoes NOW.
Sure, Shoe Carnival is going to have a BOGO half-off sale right when you start training. Don’t do it. Those Nikes will do terrible things to your toes, heel, and possibly your sanity and will to live. See a professional early. And then, when you do finally go to OK Runner in Norman, you’re pretty sure that the guy who fits you for shoes turns out to be the male marathon winner. NBD. It’s just probably the closest you’ll ever get to winning a marathon.

2016 Half Marathon Course Map

2016 Half Marathon Course Map

3) NEVER skip a water station.
Sometimes, they’re far apart. You’re going to pass the first one thinking it’s too early and you don’t need hydration yet. You will regret that thought as soon as the last person holding out a wax paper cup is behind you.

4) Get ready to have your ego stroked a bit.
People basically cheer for you the whole time. Even thought they don’t know you, they are so enthusiastic about the race that they happily sit, clap, shout words of encouragement, high-five, and wave signs as they watch you hobble by. Remember the Hall of Gratuitous Praise from Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Plus, no fewer than five people will even be dressed as chickens, so get ready for that sight.

5) Fight the urge to stop and correct misspelled signs.
Looking at you, “Unstopable” guy. Your heart is in the right place, and I appreciate that. Also, I didn’t think to bring a pen.

6) Don’t stress about missing the turn-off for the half.
You’re going to spend a good chunk of the beginning of the run worried that you will miss the split between the half- and full-marathon courses, causing you to accidentally end up on the wrong path, leading you to fall into Lake Hefner out of sheer exhaustion because you were not prepared to accidentally do a full marathon, which ends up making you part of a balanced breakfast for the giant squid monster that somehow survives down there undetected. (There’s a lot of time for your mind to wander, okay?) However, there are spray-painted arrows on the road and at least four people with bullhorns who announce the correct directions for everyone. You’ll be fine. I mean, there may come a day when that giant squid monster gets you, but April 24, 2016, is not that day.

Race results

6,585th place, baby!

7) You’ll start to get a weird cramp in your right bicep and into your shoulder for no reason.
Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you about that. Maybe you should have practiced your arm swing. It seems there’s a wrong way to do it.

8) Running into the wind is a bee-yatch.
The lighter breezes are nice and will keep you from overheating, but there are stretches where you’ll think, “Wait–why is this air solid?”

9) The Hamilton soundtrack, Foo Fighters, Neon Trees, boy bands, and various other dance/pop hits will help you get through.
For a Broadway musical, Hamilton is surprisingly good for running. However, try not to shout, “VOTE FOR BURR!” along the course, or, you know, while Senator Lankford is speaking.

10) No GI distress!
I know you’re worried, but let me tell you that your intestines are the real champs of the day.

11) After you finish, don’t go directly to get your finisher shirt.
Cool down first, because going from jogging/walking for a long time to standing around in a line in the middle of a huge crowd of people is apparently a bad idea. You don’t need the vomit anxiety.

OKC Memorial Marathon Finish Line


12) There will be burgers at the finish line.
They’ll smell amazing and wonderful, but thought of actually eating a burger will make you a little nauseous. Stick with the banana and bagel. And the chocolate milk, of course. Never deny yourself chocolate milk.

13) You’ll finish.
Yes, you’ll have to walk sometimes. A lot of people will pass you, but you will still cross the finish line, and in slightly less time than you predicted. Honestly, aside from the full-body muscle soreness and right heel/arch pain, you make it out pretty scot-free. You are even mobile enough to go to a David Cross performance afterward. Fair warning, though–the show is upstairs, so good luck with that.

13.1) There’s no–
That’s approximately one-tenth of the sentence I would have written. Fill in the blanks yourself.

So, who’s doing it with me next year???

OKC Memorial Marathon merchandise

Finisher swag!

Mile 129: And Now, For My Next Trick


“Where will we go?
I’ve got no bright idea.
Where we go, I don’t know,
Til the last good time.”
–iamdynamite, “Where Will We Go?”

Total 2015 miles: 1068
Miles so far this year: 129

Yes, it’s been a long time. I know. I’m awful. Every terrible thing you’ve ever thought about me is true.

Rest assured, though–my time away from weekly Internet writing about fitness misadventures has not been mirrored in time away away from the gym. In fact, I’ve been remarkably consistent. Here are a few key developments over the last six months:

No more calorie counting apps.
After much thinking, I decided to delete MyFitnessPal from my phone. MyFitnessPal has this thing where it lowers your daily goal calorie intake as you lose weight. The last time the app offered to lower mine, it told me I should only have 1200 per day–which was also the absolute the absolute minimum. If I ever logged fewer than 1200, I would get a big warning about how I hadn’t eaten enough, which I then took as license to have a bowl of ice cream–for health!

MyFitnessPal essentially recommended that 1200 was both the minimum AND maximum amount of calories. I didn’t feel I could trust it anymore. I also didn’t really appreciate it’s little judgmental comments after I entered in some foods.

Yes, MyFitnessPal, I know mac and cheese is high in saturated fat, but I need it sometimes, okay? You’ll never understand.


Yes, please.

Numbers schmumbers.
I haven’t been on a scale since July, which, incidentally, was just a few weeks after I purchased my own scale because my gym doesn’t have one. (Way to plan and spend wisely, Stonebarger.) This wasn’t really a conscious choice–I just got tired of seeing the yoyo-ing every week. I’m sure I’ll dig that scale out of the closet eventually, but not now. At last count, I was still at 100 pounds lost after hovering for several months, and I’m still wearing the same clothes, so that’s good, right? At the very least, I haven’t reversed the last couple of years of work. Better have some celebratory pizza!


Meal planning.
Meal planning and prep make a lot of sense in theory. You work hard for one afternoon, and your food is all ready for you the rest of the week. But you have to THINK and SHOP and PLAN and COOK. I’m currently in a place where I’ll do breakfasts and lunches for the week, but prepping dinners seems like too much work. There’s a line of preparedness that I can’t cross yet. I’ve even obtained some cheap cookbooks to help in the endeavor, although I tend to thumb through them and decide that most of the recipes have too many ingredients and must therefore be extremely complicated.

Baby steps, guys.

My next trick.
Last fall, in a fit of setting goals for myself, I decided that I should do the half-marathon at the Oklahoma City Memorial Run on April 24. Yes, that’s right–despite my repeated promises (mostly out of spite) that I would not ever become a runner, I have signed up for half of a very long race. Probably because I might be a masochist.

Luckily, Jackie Lease of Jackie Lease Fitness has helped me adapt and expand a Hal Higdon 12-week program into one that should ensure I won’t bite the dust before my next birthday (which is in May, if you want to get me anything).


Don’t get too impressed by that half-marathon day that’s marked off. I did those 13.1 miles on the elliptical.



In case you’re wondering why “rest” is already marked off for this week, I completely overslept on Monday and had to take it early. I already feel guilty. I don’t need you adding to it.


I’m back.
It feels good to be back on the blog again. Plus, when I inevitably die of plantar fasciitis or toe cramps, I’m sure you will all cherish these mile logs with something like indifferent resignation.

You’re welcome.