Amberskinner’s Weblog
Just another weblog


Since I’m trying to get back into the shape I was in BEFORE I went to Europe and got lazy, I decided to do both the gym AND go running for Monday’s workout. Hmmmmm, not a great idea (and when I look at all my blog posts together in a list, it appears as though I’ve had a lot of bad ideas recently). Anyway, the gym was alright except I didn’t get on the treadmill (and everybody already knows why). Instead, I opted for the bike, which ended up being a great workout. I usually hate riding stationary bikes but I was so frustrated that day that I took it all out on that machine and had a good sweat.

My best friend is staying with me this week. She and I have a long history of me trying to get her to run and her resisting. That said, she has been a regular runner for about the last six years; she just doesn’t like to run with me or at my pace. Anyway, Monday night she wanted to find the Crescent Trail — but it is very hard to give directions there especially to someone who isn’t familiar with the street names — so I offered to run with her to show her where it was.

I’m sure you all recall the weather on Monday (99 degrees and HUMID). We started out at 8 pm and it was blazing hot still. Even though it was hot as the sun, 100 percent humidity with absolutely NO breeze at all, we finished our entire route. Now, my friend never runs more than three miles but Monday I took her on my five mile run and she did great despite the horrible weather.

How is everyone else doing with their running/workouts/gym-going? Cari, I know, is a boxer now. Chris, I believe is still in love with the elliptical machine. As far as I know, Jen is still logging miles on the treadmill. Scott keeps writing me these silly FAIL notices explaining why he never runs. Boooooooo 😦 Last night’s was something about a little power outage…whatever Scott!


Well, a month off from speed and weight training is NOT a good thing. I was back in the gym for Thursday’s workout. I tried doing my regular three miles at -7:30 minute-mile pace. Wow, that was a struggle. I can’t believe how quickly progress is lost when not maintained.

I moved on to the leg press as usual after my three miles. That was horrible. After 10 reps of leg presses, I could hardly walk. Real talk! I couldn’t even finish my workout. Obviously I was mad at myself, so I did about 1,000 sit ups as punishment. I shouldn’t punish myself so hard…today I can barely walk and it hurts to laugh!

Mr. DeVeau just informed me that it’s going to be nearly 100 degrees this weekend. I’m going to have to modify my workout so I don’t get scorched. It may be time to head back to hot yoga for a while, or I could get up at my normal 4:30 am time to run in the dark before going back to bed.

Sighhhhhh, I guess we shall see. I have nothing exciting to report for this post. Hope you guys do 🙂



Everybody welcome Chris Smith to the fabulous PR Web Running Club! Although he hasn’t yet formally said he would join, I’m quite convinced that he will by the end of the week 🙂

Chris is from Washington state and joined the PR Web family just this Monday. He did say he was hoping to run a marathon sometime and absolutely LOVES running (I may have exaggerated on that last part).

Oh, and Matt graciously whipped up a visual to boost the enthusiasm of our running members! Thanks Matt 🙂


I’ve given up on documenting the week; Tuesday:

Firstly, I have a confession: I slept through the 5K race on Sunday. This is horrible. I must’ve gotten up and switched off my alarm in my sleep and gone back to bed, because my alarm was set to go off at 6 am and when I finally got up at 10:30 am, it was signaling that I dismissed the alarm at 6:05 am. This is a bad thing that I must confess to the running team 😦

Ok, onwards and upwards…last night’s run in the rain was so energizing; I recommend it to everyone! So, I had to get three cavities filled yesterday afternoon. I am, admittedly, a huge baby when it comes to needles and drills in my mouth, so, I had the dentist assistant completely numb my lower head. Anyway, when I got home, the only thing I could do was sleep. I couldn’t eat, actually I couldn’t even speak properly or keep my drool in my mouth.

But at 7 pm, when I woke up again with feeling in my jaw, I saw that it was about to rain. Wonderful! I threw on my running clothes and ran outside just as the sky was opening 🙂 Running soaking wet through DC is the best, especially in the hot summer rain. The only thing to really make sure to have when running in the rain is some good, pump-you-up music. I chose Daddy Yankee’s new CD and was off! Of course the sidewalks are a little slippery and it’s a little hard to see through the rain, but it’s so worth it. Somehow, running in the rain gives me more energy and tugs on my competitive streak even more than running in the sunshine.

I set my pace really fast and did my G-Town/National Cathedral loop in record time 🙂 Ahhhh, the rain! Wednesday is supposed to be sunny and humid so I’m taking it to the gym for some speed work for the first time in weeks.

Runners, what have you been up to lately?


Week #1,000,000; Wednesday:

Tuesday I didn’t run because agreed to do a humongous freelance writing project at the last minute; and so, I tried to make up for it on my Wednesday run.  Monday it felt good to get back into running (to be honest I have no idea why I let myself go three weeks without a single run.  I haven’t gone three weeks without a single run in years).  Wednesday’s run was more or less to quickly get back to pace running.

Nothing funny happened, it was a great run.  I did a steady five and a half miles around northwest DC, which was nice.  The weather is getting hotter, making it harder to run and more important to hydrate (something I sometimes forget to do throughout the day).

One thing that I’ve thought to be true, and now I’m even more convinced, is that Chick-Fil-A is a really great running food.  I love my salads and I would happily eat different kinds of salads all day, everyday.  But salads don’t give me enough fuel to burn to go out at 3 or 4 or 5 pm and finish 5 or 6 or 12 miles.  Chick-Fil-A is that perfect running lunch that gives me enough carbs and energy to burn for a great run later in the day (plus, eating it makes me feel so guilty that running is inevitable).

So, yesterday I had Chick-Fil-A and I had a great run…

The other thing that generally lends to a great run for me is Haile.  My all-time favorite athlete is Haile Gebrselassie — arguably the world’s great distance runner EVER — and I often use him as my excuse to run.  Besides having broken numerous world records from the marathon and down, he is an extraordinary person with an extraordinary story.

Anyway, last week I was watching clips of Haile when he broke Paul Tergat’s world marathon record in Boston in 2007, and during my run I remembered how effortless and fun he makes running seem.  For me, running isn’t effortless in the least little bit, it’s real work, but I do really love it and it makes me happy.  I’ve been running competitively since I was five years old and I can’t imagine life without it.  Hopefully, I’ll be one of those 80 year old grandmothers out at 5:30 am run/shuffling down the sidewalk.

All this to say that the Capitol Crescent 5K is fast approaching and I’m excited about it.  I was nervous since I did just break my running fast on Monday this week and the race is this Sunday. But now, thanks to Chick-FIl-A and Haile, I’m once again excited.


Week #I-Have-No-Clue; Monday:

Well, I eased myself back into running after a three week “rest” by slothing through my regular 5-miler.  Note to self: Trying to get a good run in on the Crescent Trail at noon on Memorial Day is a BAD IDEA! On the one hand, I was thrilled to see so many families and young people out exercising.  On the other, they screwed up my comeback run by clogging the trail and streets with their stupid strollers and pets!  Oh well; the good hand will have to outweigh the bad one today.

But the overall good thing was that I remembered why I love running to begin with.  Running is so liberating and what a total workout.  To motivate myself, I often imagine I’m running the decisive and final leg of a medley relay as my high school track coach (one of the best of all time) is yelling my 200 meter splits to me (a la Donald Sutherland as Bill Bowerman in the movie “Without Limits”).

I will share with you all my best tried and true running fantasy: My old running mates Katie, Leah, and Mandy are the first three legs of the relay.  Mandy opens the race with the first 400 meters, coming in second.  She passes the baton to Leah, who makes up significant ground, but finishes second still.  Katie meets a top class rival in the 800 meters and finishes with a great time, but in third place.  She then passes the baton to me for the 1600 meter finish while our coach is telling me what times I need to make to get to second place.

So, I’m off (oh yeah, obviously we’re running in an international meet and representing the USA).  After my first two laps, the announcer says something like, “And Amber Skinner from team USA is apparently not running for time but rather to win!  Her first two 400s were well below her normal split time!  Let’s hope she can maintain this speed and still dig down for a kick at the end…”

After 1200 meters I’m in second place again with my focus totally on the front runner (from team Russia or something like that…).  The crowd is going wild, my coach is practically running with me to make sure I listen to his advise.  I look up and see my family in the crowd on their feet, cheering (Wow, this is getting corny.  Let me continue…)!

With 300 meters left to go (obviously) “Eye of the Tiger” starts blaring in my ears as I close in on the girl from Eastern Europe.  But wait!!!  “She’s started her kick far to early!  What is she thinking?  Now Skinner MUST kick with her to be able to stay in this race!”  Two hundred meters left! “As they round the final turn, both runners look exhausted!  Their respective teammates jumping and screaming encouragement from the sidelines!  The crowd roars WAAAAAAAAA!” With only 100 meters left, I start my final kick, passing the leader at 50 meters.  She struggles to hold on but it’s clear she started her kick too early and has nothing left to give!!!

And it’s Skinner by 10 meters!  The crowd breaks onto the field.  Clearly, I’m the hero of the millennium…

Anyway, that’s my best running fantasy.  Maybe one day I’ll share others with you all (my little running mignons, mwuahahahaa).

Well, we need to pick another 5K race to run as a team.  The Crescent Trail event happens to be the day after Chris’ birthday party and some of our participants indicated that they may still be drunk for the previous night’s escapades.  This is not ideal, so I will pick another one for very soon.  I am still planning on running the Crescent Trail 5K if anyone is interested.  Details are as follows:

Capital Crescent Run

Sunday, June 01, 2008 – Bethesda

  • 7:30am 0.25mi & 0.5mi young run (YR)
  • 7:45am 5km race (CS)

Join us on a flat, fast, and shaded course for the ever-popular Capital Crescent Run. The race is free to MCRRC members, and $5 for non-members. Register on race day only.

Location & Directions

location map

To get there from I-495 or Route 270, exit at Old Georgetown Rd (MD 187) South. Go approximately 2.5 miles then turn right onto Arlington Road. Turn left onto Bethesda Avenue, and then turn right into the parking lot at trail entrance at the intersection of Bethesda Ave and Woodmont Ave.

Skinner out.


Week #10; Wednesday:

This post has absolutely nothing to do with running!  I’m leaving for the airport in 3 hours and 2 minutes….I will NOT be training for the next ten days or so; but I WILL be sleeping, sightseeing, sleeping, shopping, sleeping, eating, sleeping, swimming, and sleeping in Spain, France and Italy until May 20 🙂

That is all.


Week #9; Sunday:

Well, Sunday’s “Race” for Hope was more of a family-fun-bring-the-stroller-and-dog-Walk for Hope.  According to the email I got afterwards, there were over 8,000 participants who raised $1.75 million; so overall, it was a hit, which is all that counts.

On the morning of the race, I roped my best friend into running it with me, and we went down there expecting a good, fast-paced run.  We got there, located the Vocus team and quickly realized that racing was out of the question.  I think my friend was relieved by that since the only reason she came was because we hadn’t seen each other in about three years and it was an excuse to spend time together.

There were families there (I guess that was the point) with their strollers, toddlers, dogs, etc…The entire road was pretty much clogged with laughing, enthusiastic “runners” who had no intention of running.  Since there were so many people, there was no official gun to start the race, nor was there a starting line.  As soon as I realized the clock had begun, I freaked out, tried to circumnavigate the overflowing crowd, and jumped onto the sidewalk and grass and started sprinting.

About a mile and a half into the race, I realized that there were so many participants that I would never pass enough of them to get to the front and get a clear running path.  After that, I abandoned my hopes of a real race and just ran.  I dodged the walkers and the kids and the balloons and the groups of people.

In the end, I’m sure my time sucked.  There were people who walked the entire 5K in flip flops, with their pets and still beat me!  I don’t know what I was expecting, but that was certainly not it.

BUT, it was fun! I got a Popsicle and lots of juice after I finished.  I ran back and finished again with my friend.  And watching the brain tumour survivors cross the line was such an inspiration.  All in all, it was a great event. I was so amazed to see the support and encouragement the participants gave each other.

I went in with the wrong mentality; I was ready for a race. I was set for competition.

Brindisi took pictures of the Vocus team, which I will post as soon as she circulates them around.  I am pretty surprised that out of the entire Vocus staff, only six of us signed up! Hopefully next year, we can improve on those numbers 🙂

Next up: Crescent Trail 5K!


Week #9; Friday:

Thursday’s run was kind of good. I am totally bored with my normal routes so I decided to improvise on a run around the National Cathedral.  From my house, down Wisconsin Ave., past the National Cathedral, on to M St., back up Wisconsin Ave., around the Cathedral a few times, sprint the rest of the way up the hill, back to my house.

I’m looking forward to the Race for Hope 5K on Sunday.  Saturday I’m going to rest and eat a whole lot of carbs to hopefully have energy for Sunday.  This’ll be the 2008 race season’s first race for me. I’m looking for a sub 20-minute time but with all the people running that day, I’ll be really lucky to get to break from the crowd.  I don’t have a pre-qualifying time that would allow me to start up front, so I’ll have to elbow my way through the people.

Kate, good good good luck this Sunday in Philly.  Let us know how it goes on Monday! 🙂

Cari, have fun doing the Relay for Life. I look forward to hearing all about the millions of miles of walking you’re sure to be doing on Saturday.

As for the rest of you runners, have a good weekend 🙂


Week #9; Tuesday:

Well, Tuesday’s run was not original — quick five miles on the Crescent Trail — but it was pretty cold last night, which made for a good time.

For whatever reason, I have no energy.  I have a feeling that this is a result of my new No Fast Food Diet.  The healthy cooking class I took on Saturday really opened my tightly closed eyes; fast food is just bad.  There aren’t really any exceptions.  According to the cooking instructor, no one should be eating fast food.

On Monday, Cari suggested keeping a log of the days gone without fast food (four so far…), but since Monday I have come to the stark realization that about half of everything I (used to) eat is/was junk and fast food.  This is both scary and liberating.  I feel like I have a whole blank canvas on which I can craft my new diet.  On the other hand, it is depressing that I depended almost solely on Chik Fil A and Wendy’s for nourishment.

Since I’ve been eating considerable less sugar and carbs in past four days, my energy level has not been great for hard training.  I need to find a carb and sugar substitute for empty calorie, starch Chik Fil A burritos and Wendy’s hamburgers.  I love salads but that doesn’t give me enough fuel to finish my 6-mile runs in the afternoon.  What am I to do? Overall I do feel better about my new food choices 🙂

I’m thinking I should make a goal for myself with a little reward at the end! Maybe, if I go 100 days without fast food I could take a trip somewhere or go shopping or something equally as stimulating.  Great plan!

Have a good running day, all.