I’m typing with my mind…

…because my arms are too sore to lift to the keyboard.

ImageNo, but seriously.

Thanks to that boot camp class yesterday morning, I am officially in the worst shape of my life, pain-wise.

ImageLiterally EVERYWHERE. Even in places I didn’t know had muscles.

The grunts of pain that I let out when trying to sit in the bathroom are most certainly going to get me a bad reputation in the office. And I actually screamed when I shifted my car into park this morning.

I went for a 3 miler this morning because the schedule told me. My body, on the other hand, wanted no part of this nonsense. Especially at 95% humidity outside! But I woke up at 6am, barely got a sports bra on without crying, walked for 1.25 and ran for .75, then tried my best to finish that last mile only walking a bit. I was surprised to find that running temporarily helped the soreness! Starting and stopping both hurt like a bitch and my max speed was somewhere around 5.5mph, but dammit, I did it.

BUT – I’m still sore. I thought flushing that lactic acid out with a shakeout run would do the trick, but now I’m hobbling around my office and people are looking at me funny and it’s not cool.

So tell me – What’s your tried and true anti-muscle-soreness remedy? I know foam rolling is the usual post-run soreness thing, but seriously how am I supposed to foam roll my triceps and my neck? Because pretty much everything from my eyebrows to my ankles are in pain. Do you have a go-to pain reliever or home remedy? Share your wisdom in the comments please – because I don’t know how much longer I can stand this!

Boot Camp “Fun”

Today, just like last Wednesday, I decided to do cross-training instead of running the miles that were on my plan. At this point, I don’t want to subject my knees to 3 days of running in a row just yet. I had a simple 3 miles today, so I opted to take a free 45-minute boot camp class with my friend before work instead of running for 45 minutes.

Which it turns out was kind of like opting to shave my head and setting my scalp on fire instead of combing my hair.

Anyway – I heard about this class randomly on Facebook at 9pm last night and was intrigued: Back in 2010, I’d taken this very same boot camp for about 3 months when the camp was just starting out. Three times a week after work, I’d join 10 other sweaty folks in a garage for an ass-kicking of epic proportions. Then, with wedding planning in 2011, life got hectic and my wallet got tighter so I didn’t go back. Fast forward to now, when I’ve been looking for something fun and intense to add into my training.

So I asked my friend who is currently a boot camp regular if he wanted to come with me, and he said yes (yay!). Then I set my alarm for 5:20, laid out my clothes, and went to bed early. Waking up before the sun was not something I enjoyed, but when I got there I was greeted with the same old familiar face of the class leader (who did not remember me) and the same old ridiculously insane workout.

photoI’m surprised they didn’t give me a mop afterwards to clean up my sweat.

After warming up with 5 minutes of jumping jacks, planks, and stretches, we broke into groups of 6 and jumped into 40-20’s: Alternating between 40 seconds of 2 exercises 8 times at each of 4 stations, with 20 seconds of rest between each set (MATH!). The punishment began immediately with ball squats/wall ball tosses, followed by 24 inch box steps. I purposely wore my knee brace to keep myself under control (and frankly, to get the instructor to cut me some slack if it looked like I was wimping out), but I surprised myself with my leg strength!

The rest of the workout got progressively harder as I got weaker: 44lb overhead bar presses and 10 squats/1 sprint with a 10lb sandbag on my shoulders, TRX cable tricep dips and kettlebell tosses, topped off with sled pushes across the length of the gym and lifting a tire that may as well have weighed a thousand pounds because my jelly arms couldn’t even lift the damn thing. Seriously, I spent all 4 sets of those tire presses with the stupid thing around my neck because that’s as far as I could lift it.

By the end of the 45 minutes, I was shredded. I haven’t done a super-high-intensity workout like that since before my injury in October of 2012, and that fact was very apparent. I started struggling at just 20 minutes in. It was a wake-up call: I’m nowhere near as strong as I used to be. But instead of getting discouraged, I thought about how much stronger I’m going to be in a few months of training! It was exciting to get my blood pumping again, to feel the “totally spent muscles” burn, to gasp for air between sets.

I’m not saying I’m going to sign up for 3 times a week, but it was definitely a win in the cross-training department. What about you? Do you do boot camp (or Crossfit or TRX or anything else that makes you sweat like a beast)? What’s your favorite cross-training workout?

My Epic Babies ‘R’ Us Adventure

In blogging, just like running, consistency is key. So I hereby promise you that I will try to post at least once a day for the next week, even if it’s just a few words and a photo of my cat. Because hey, who doesn’t like cat pictures?


She’s very friendly, I promise.

If I’m going to be writing regularly, that means that the more mundane (read: non-running) details of my life are probably going to get more coverage. I’ll try to make them as interesting and/or funny as possible to keep from boring you to death.

Let’s start with my trip to Babies ‘R Us after work yesterday.

I’ll start right here by saying I do not have children. I do not plan on having any children in the immediate future. My husband and I are in agreement on this, and that’s how we like it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled for people who have kids or are in the process of growing kids. You have my sincerest thanks for single-handedly continuing the human race, one infant at a time. Without you folks procreating, we’d all be doomed and the machines would rise up and inherit the earth. So thanks.

photo 1But I will not be joining your ranks anytime soon.

So I went to Babies ‘R Us to pick up a baby shower gift, after ordering it online and choosing the “pickup in store” option. I did this to save on shipping costs (cha-ching!), and to eliminate the need to spend any longer than I needed to in a bricks and mortar Babies ‘R Us establishment. So after paying online, off I went after work, and I must say, it was a truly magical experience!

Within 5 seconds of walking in, a kind-hearted associate at the front desk must have smelled my fear and trepidation and greeted me, “Hello, miss! How can I help you today?” Wide-eyed and silent, I held up the printed out email with my order pickup info and she immediately swooped in, “Picking up? Great! Come right this way, I’ll walk you there.” Fantastic! A guided tour!

In the roughly half-mile* journey to the pickup kiosk (*I may be slightly exaggerating), I experienced no fewer than 4 children throwing tantrums, 3 very pregnant ladies screaming at said children, 2 befuddled fathers, and a partridge in a pear tree. My guide never showed any signs of fear; in fact, she walked at such a brisk pace that she became my running back (is that the correct term? I don’t know football). She cut a swift path through the bedlam as I followed behind her dutifully.

When she wordlessly deposited me at the pickup kiosk (which was in the back of the store where the crowd had mercifully thinned), I followed the instructions sign, which told me I simply had to scan the barcode on my email and wait. In about the time it took me to check my email, a teenager materialized before me, toting a Babies ‘R Us bag filled with my order. Prepaid, pre-packed, and ready to go! I thanked him and lugged my stuff out of there as fast as I could, and before I knew it, I was back in the safety of my car and on my way home.

And that’s the story of my epic Babies ‘R Us Adventure.

28 Day Handstand Challenge

When a friend of mine showed me a picture of herself doing a one-armed handstand against a wall, I was equal parts in awe and intrigued: I could do that if I wanted, couldn’t I?? I run 13.1 miles for fun! Surely I could just throw myself up against the wall and balance there with my feet against the wall for safety, right?

Well. As it turns out, I most certainly cannot.

SO, being the stubborn Polish girl I am, I took to the interwebs in search of a “handstand challenge” because I will not stop until I get fully inverted too. There were a few interesting plans out there, but I chose the free plan offered by Chris Salvato. He gives you a LOT of information, and I won’t give away all the details (it is free though, so why not go sign up yourself?), but the bulk of his plan boils down to a simple 2-step process:

  1. Wall Planks, progressing into…
  2. Wall Handstands

That’s it! That’s all there is to it. It’s really just about overcoming the fear of being upside-down first, while building up the arm strength to hold yourself up.


At Day 1 I was only able to hold one :55 plank before my lungs felt like they were being crushed. And while I felt like I was in total danger of tipping over and cracking my skull open, the photo evidence above suggests that I was more in danger of falling flat onto my tummy than anything!


Seriously, it’s a real trip to realize how much your body will resist going upside down!

By Day 2 I progressed to 2 sets of :45, but I only made it a few inches closer to the wall. And my lungs were still none too pleased with being compressed upside down. But I kept at it, aiming for a few more seconds or one more set each day. I also followed Chris’s “Never two in a row” rule (never skip more than 2 days of practice in a row) and used my rest days from running as rest days from handstands. I also started videotaping myself to check my form, and I’m loving it!



Keeping my practice to the same area now is a great way for me to see how much faster I can get up, and how close I can get to the wall. I’ve gotten up to 5 sets of :45 and will keep doing this for the next week or so, until I’m ready to face the other way and try kicking up to the door. My main concern now is having an exit strategy: the closer I get to the door, the less room I have for a controlled exit, and the greater my fear of falling out of the handstand. If I face the other way, I’ll be able to just gracefully land out of position when I’m done (in theory).



Wherever this takes me next, I have to say that I’m loving it! I’m working new muscles that I forgot about and finding new courage to push closer to the wall and to hold for longer than the day before.

How about you: are you currently doing any extra challenges along with your training? Can you do a handstand already? I want to see! And how did you solve the “graceful exit” problem I’m faced with now? Inquiring minds want to know! 🙂

Week 1 of 18

Well I’m still here! I know I’ve been quiet lately (ok, SILENT), but it’s been a very eventful first week of marathon training and I’m really excited to share it with you!

So I’m officially following Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 plan, and I adapted it to allow for extra cross- & strength-training (and to accommodate my still-kinda-new-ACL). I started on Tuesday of last week – in this plan, Mondays are rest days. This works out perfectly because I’m usually pretty active during the weekend, and Sunday long runs keep me from going out drinking on a Saturday – so even my liver wins! So after mentally prepping and adjusting my diet accordingly on Monday, I was good and ready for an early morning 3.1 miler on Tuesday!

Image I know that it should be 3 miles, but does anyone else have a hard time just running 3 without the .1 to make it a 5k? No? Just me? Ok then. Moving on!

Anyway, it was hot. And humid. Frankly, it felt like I was running through chicken soup. I was leaking from every pore and slow and kinda hated it, but I kept telling myself to soak it in because it was my first training run for my first marathon. How stinking cool is that? I got to watch the sun come up over the bay as I ran loops around the park, said Hi to some little baby bunnies out for breakfast with their mom on the side of the path, and I got through it with a smile. Winning!

To enhance my training, I also decided to add 15-20 minutes of strength training in each day. Even if it’s 3 minutes at a pop in front of the TV while the commercials are on, I’m getting it in. Arms, abs, back, and legs, no body part left behind (ew). So I did my 20 minutes with some coworkers in the office gym in the afternoon, and topped off my day in the evening with my handstand challenge practice.

Come Wednesday, my knees were extremely achy from wearing high heels at work and the humidity. So I invoked my training plan tweak and opted out of running, choosing instead to get the mileage the plan called for (4 miles) done on the elliptical. This saved my knees a LOT of pain, and it worked out fantastically.

ImageYou can tell it’s working because I look like death!

I still got all the cardio benefits (I was dripping with sweat!) by keeping close to my running pace and loved it. When I added another 20 minutes of strength training and more handstands into the mix that day, I was shredded.

So when Thursday called for 3 miles, I was surprised (not really though) to find that my body was not having any of that. I got my strength training in, but suffered all day through my monthly migraine (any of you ladies experience the same hell as me every month?). By the time I got out of work, I wasn’t even close to motivated to run 3 miles. It was 95 outside, about 97% humidity, and I was out of Motrin. I call that The “Trifecta of Suck”.

BUT – when I got home, I put on my gear and told myself to get out there. Even if I did one mile, I’d call it a win. So I got out there in the soupy weather and walked for most of a mile, threw in 4 sprints of around 8:00/miles just to get my heart rate up, and as soon as that damn Nike+ app said 1.00, I called it. I was just not feeling it. But I didn’t beat myself up – I chose to be happy with my training and chalked it up to good experience, and looked forward to rest day Friday!

ImageInstead of 🙂 or 😦 I decided on the third option, not shown here-  :-/

After resting (and yes, having a slice of homemade pizza) on Friday, I attacked Saturday and Sunday with what I can only describe as an intense desire to KICK ASS. And kick I did!

Image I tackled Saturday morning with an 8-mile bike ride before breakfast, and felt unstoppable. It was my longest ride since before my surgery, and I felt like I could have easily kept on going! Then Sunday I attacked my 5 mile training run in under an hour:

Imageby 32 seconds, but it counts!

And then punished my legs just a little bit more with 2 hours of hiking and trail running at Holmdel Park.

ImageMy legs were so tired I tried to ride the deer home.

Then I finished the day with some more handstand practice and looked forward to resting today!

So that’s my Week 1 (of 18). It’s kind of scary to think that I have to keep this up for another 17 weeks (my god I’m starving and exhausted!) but I’m feeling stronger than ever and very excited to see where this training takes me!

How about you, are you training for anything right now? How’s it going?



First Marathon Training Time

I’m about a week away from starting my first ever full marathon training plan, and – we’re friends right? Good. Then I feel no shame in telling you that I’m about ready to soil myself.

do not wantdo not want.

I can’t lie – there’s a lot of “why the hell did I ever say I’d do this in the first place?” going through my head right now. I’m an idiot. I watched one video about people finishing a marathon and suddenly I’m ready to take on 26.2 miles myself? Come on, 13.1 just became doable like a month ago!

But alas, I made a promise to myself (and paid the registration fee), so I can’t run away from this problem.

200although that sprint might be good training, so on second thought maybe I should?

So now I’m staring down a 16 week training plan that will basically change my life: I’m starting it just as a “runner”. If anything, I can call myself a half marathoner. But at the end of these 4 and a half months, I’m going to be a marathoner. Even thinking about it gives me chills!

Am I scared? Hell yeah. But I’m excited too. And I can’t wait to prove to myself that I can do it. I’m going to start a journey that I never thought I’d ever take on, and it’s going to consume a lot of my life. I’ll have to re-evaluate and shift my eating and drinking habits (oh god my drinking habits) for optimum performance. No more late nights – or late mornings, for that matter. I’ll live and die by the mileage. Whatever the number on the plan, I’m sticking to it and following through. Cross training will be for-realsies, too – biking, swimming, strength training; it’s all going down.

Because come October 19th, when I hit that boardwalk, I want to be as prepared and confident as possible. I will leave all of my doubts in my dust, and I’m going to crush it.

tumblr_static_dumbledorebasically I’m going to be Dumbledore

Now I want to hear from you – what are you ready to take on like Albus up there? Are you training for your first race? A 5k? Your first marathon? Tell me what’s going through your mind – I want to hear it all!