Is It a Training Update If I Don’t Have a Race Planned?

So I don’t have any big race coming up but I’ve still been working out pretty consistently and have been getting lots of questions on Instagram about what I’m doing so… is it a Training Update if I’m not actually “training” for something?

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I’m going to take the Regina George approach and say whatever. I’m calling it a Training Update and wishing I had cheese fries.

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I’ve been running lightly – not like on my tiptoes, but like, sparsely? Infrequently? You get the idea. The point is, the 6-week plan that I’m currently just about to wrap up Week 3 of is focused much more on strength and cross training, so I just don’t have the time to spend on running, writing, working, and running a house/marriage/social life at the same time. I would have thought the lack of mileage would turn me into a babbling lunatic, but on the contrary: the strength training has me feeling unstoppable.

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Also, this Laughlete shirt that I won from their Instagram contest is making every workout even more fun, so there’s that.

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But really, the daily, no-excuses, HIIT workouts of the Biggest Loser Last Chance Workout DVD kicked my ass at first, and are now helping me fit into clothes a little better and keeping me from getting winded when I take the stairs at the gym.

My logic behind this whole easy-on-the-running-but-heavy-on-everything-else plan was simple: lose weight, get stronger, get faster.

The expanded version of this thought process goes something like this: I have gained weight since 2018. It was a rough year both physically and mentally, and now that I’m 36, weight loss is harder to come by. But by making smarter decisions and really focusing on weight loss in the past month or so, I’m finally starting to see results, as I noticed yesterday when I got the dailies of my most recent on-camera work for my day job:

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Yay for weight loss AND a lighting upgrade, good lord.

So, with weight loss dialed in, next comes getting stronger. This is pure self preservation and wisdom imparted to me by my physical therapist who laughed at my pathetic attempts to engage my gluteus on day one of my therapy back in April.

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You see, since 2017, my #runallthemiles attitude landed me in physical therapy and/or the chiropractor’s office on 3 previous occasions with injuries to my piriformis, achilles and psoas, so perhaps it’s time I wise the f*ck up about my training. Meaning, stop JUST running and actually strengthen all the other muscles that running doesn’t use, especially if I’m not running AS much.

Combine that with the fact that there are only so many hours in the day, and a plan that involves 6 weeks comprised of 6 days of working out for 35-45 minutes per day MAX, and I was sold. “I can do anything for 6 weeks,” I told myself.

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Thanks, Kimmy.

And wouldn’t you know it, here I am halfway through Week 3, and I’m seeing it and feeling it. It’s extra motivating knowing that I’m only halfway through this and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. I also know from past experience that once I DO run consistently again, this weight loss and strength training/muscle building is all but guaranteed to have a positive impact on my running, so that’s even more exciting. I’m not planning on breaking a 7 minute mile or anything ridiculous, but I’m at least hoping things will feel a little easier with less weight on my joints and stronger leg and core muscles to support me while I run.

How is your training going? Are you training for nothing in particular? Have you ever done the Last Chance Workout or any other workout DVDs? Share in the comments!

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Behind the Instagram Curtain Part 2

A few years back I wrote a post that I probably enjoyed more than you readers did, where I broke down some of the more popular or entertaining shots on my Instagram feed and let you in on what it took to get the shot. Going through my own feed and remembering the lengths I went to – or what was just out of the frame that you couldn’t see – was pretty entertaining for me, so here it is: Behind the Insta-Curtain, Part 2:

Europe, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.
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This was taken on our first morning on the Channel Island of Jersey during our Eurotrip this past May. While Jersey was everything wonderful and Euro-chic – and we had an incredible time and can’t wait to go back, hopefully next year around the same time – do you see that little dark spot in the brown dirt just under and to the right of my bag?

Yeah that’s pee. A man had just taken a leak directly under an old WWII bunker that we were exploring and I had walked “in” on him. I asked Mike to take a picture of me, but this photo is of me actively saying, “Please don’t get the pee in the shot.”

It didn’t work.

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Sure, it’s an inspirational pic of a couple of friends showing off one’s new Momentum wrap. But in reality, we were hunched under our hoods as the skies opened up above us, and Liz’s coworkers (my ex-coworkers) watched us from the windows above us, wondering what the hell these two chicks were cackling like bog witches about.

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After this run, I took my stretch to the little dock in the center of the park, which is apparently a favorite spot for toddlers and toddler parents alike. Just out of frame to the right of this photo, a particularly inquisitive child was screaming to her mother behind her, “MOMMY, WHAT IS SHE DOING?” Right after this photo, I burst into laughter and the mother profusely apologized. The things we do for Insta.

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For my first Flat Runner in a while, I decided to take advantage of the light coming in through my front door, and laid my race shirt and bib out on the floor there. My cat, Sam, decided this meant I was making him a bed because he repeatedly tried walking into the shot and laying down on top of everything. He got so fixated on this shirt that I had to have my husband hold the cat out of frame just to get one picture.

And then I let him have the damn shirt, I’m not a monster.

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I did genuinely collapse on the floor when I walked in from one particularly hot run in this shot; that’s not made up. But even though we clean our floors semi-regularly, you don’t realize just how filthy a floor can get until you collapse on it in a sweaty heap.

So there you have it – a peek behind what goes on behind the scenes of my Instagram feed! If you want more ridiculousness like that, be sure to give me a follow there if you aren’t already. I promise, I sing badly to 70’s classics and complain about the weather at least 3x a week on my Insta-Stories, and you’ll get a lot more footage of my cat being obsessed with me, too. It’s a win-win.

Race Recap: 2019 Seaside Semper Five 5K

Every September I run the Seaside Semper Five 5K with the Marines down the shore in Seaside, NJ, and every year I have a blast. It’s my only legacy race, meaning I’ve run it every year it’s been held since 2014, and I hope to continue that tradition as long as my legs will carry me.

Clockwise from top left: 2014, 2016 (the year a bomb went off on the race course), 2018, 2017 and 2015. 

This year I went into the race with a good attitude; I’d just come off the high of crushing the Fifth Avenue Mile the week before and while I was a little sluggish from focusing on strength training in the week leading up to the race, I was ready to test myself out at this distance again.

We rolled up to the start area at the  boardwalk at about 7:45 after finding easy parking as usual in the streets along the beach, and met up with our crew to get our bibs and shirts and hang out. It seems every year our gang gets bigger – this year we had a total of 7 runners/walkers and 2 support crew.

Having had success with my pre-race fueling at the Fifth Avenue Mile the week prior, I tried to capture lightning in a bottle a second time and packed a half a PB&J for about a half hour before the start. Spoiler Alert: it didn’t go as well.

But it did make for a hysterical photo series that Liz should probably win some awards for. Pulitzer-level stuff, this is. 

We killed time before the start, then mashed into the boardwalk with everyone else. Liz continued to document the experience with her camera, and caught a moment she calls “WORDS”:

Clockwise from top left:

  1. Group selfie!
  2. John thinks there’s too much Jess. Remedies situation.
  3. Jess has some WORDS with John.
  4. “Go ahead, get in for another photo, I dare you.”

So we had like, zero fun while waiting, as you can see.

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Another fun fact: Ed here (left, with the race bib) and my husband Mike have this uncanny ability to unintentionally match, like… 90% of the time we all get together. I’m not kidding:

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It’s a game we play now. And the best part is, no matter what, we always win!

But back to the race…

The morning was cool, but the sun was blazing so by the time the gun was about to go off, we were all a little schvitzy.

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Mike also caught some fun candid shots of me doing… something?… while we waited. 

Where the pre-race PB&J worked for the mile the weekend before, the one I housed before the start of this race wasn’t sitting well, and once the gun went off, I developed a side stitch about a half mile in.

Through the years, I’ve gotten better at reading the signs my body throws me, and this morning, my body was telling me it wasn’t going to be one of those inspirational, kick-ass races like I’d had the week prior. The boardwalk was crowded with more than a thousand runners (yay for supporting a great cause but boo for overcrowding the race course) so it was tough to get a rhythm going, and my body felt heavy. No matter. Instead of letting it go to hell like I’d done in years past (see 2018), I still resolved to keep an eye on my watch and push as hard as I could.

The first 3/4 mile or so was on the boardwalk, and I ran until the only course water stop at around mile 1.5 on the road, where I took two cups – one to shotgun and the other to sip – as I walked for about a tenth of a mile or so. Having run the course twice already since they changed it in 2017, I knew there were some twisty turns before we hit the out and back turnaround at the farthest point, and I walked some more. It’s fun though, to see the groups of runners and Marines out on the course.

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At the turnaround, a large pack of Marines caught up to me, chanting as they marched – and their chanting was exactly at the same pace I would need to stick to for a 12:00 mile.

 

Oorah! So I decided to latch onto their group and shuffled ahead of them for about a half mile or so, until they picked up the pace and got onto the boardwalk for the final 3/4.

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I told myself to crank it up at the giant ice cream cone and did just that, powering past my friends for a solid finish-line sprint and a 39:58 finish.

 

Thanks, Liz, for being the best videographer and cheering squad leader on the course!

It was nowhere near my best time, but it was a solid effort. I pushed in places where I previously would have just said screw it, so I’ll take it as a win. And as usual, I can’t wait for next year!

Hitting the Reset Button

Running and I were not best friends there for nearly 2 years. We weren’t even like… friends you ask to pick you up from the airport or help you move a couch.

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But that’s because I was doing it for the wrong reasons.

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Is this wildly-popular-on-instagram sweatshirt one of those reasons? Maybe.

I was running because that was what I thought I should be doing, as a “runner”. And I’m not using quotes because I don’t consider myself a runner – I am. But that’s not all I am.

After the NYC Marathon, I took time off from running, lost my job, and then injured myself when I tried to get back into running just for the sake of running. I stopped paying attention to what I ate. I ran races I didn’t want to run, just because other people wanted me to. And by forcing myself to push through it and run all the miles for appearances’ sake, I neglected everything else and my body and mind paid the price. Instead of running to feel better, it made me feel worse.

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I ran from one Instagram-worthy photo to the next, while behind the scenes, my body and mind were being held together with duct tape and crossed fingers. And I can’t ignore the fact that I behaved the way I did in part because I felt the pressure of nearly 16,000 people on Instagram “watching” my feed. To ignore that would be irresponsible.

So instead of ignoring it – or imploding like I’ve seen others do – I quietly worked on myself. Behind the scenes, in fits and starts, for nearly a year now. I stopped taking photos and posting about every workout on social media. I ran. I didn’t run. I tried yoga. I gave up yoga. I turned off all social media notifications on my phone. I connected with therapists and people who could help me get stronger physically and mentally.

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With the false sense of wisdom that only time can provide, I’m comfortable saying the Fifth Avenue Mile was a turning point for me. It was the first time in a long time that I felt confident and ready, in mind and body, to race. My unexpectedly stellar performance is the proof I needed to know that my work is paying off.

Don’t get me wrong: the work to get back to 100% is ongoing, and always will be. I know that now. But this is the first time since the 2017 NYC Marathon that I’m enjoying the work. And while I don’t have any race plans on the horizon, I’ve got other plans.

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I’m currently 2 weeks into a 6-week program that is already paying dividends in terms of how I feel. I’m less bloated and have more energy. The goal is to get back down to my pre-marathon weight and strengthen my body top to bottom so that when I do race, I’ll be as strong as I can be in that moment. At age 36, that’s not an easy task, and 6 weeks is just the beginning. But it’s refreshing to think that you can always hit the Reset Button.

Race Recap: 2019 NYRR/NB Fifth Avenue Mile

It’s a wild idea: shut down one mile of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and let thousands of runners take it over. Invite world-famous athletes. Televise it. Magic.

I first ran the NYRR/NB Fifth Avenue Mile in 2015, where I nabbed my personal best mile time of an 8:51 and then ascended to Heaven when Meb himself was standing at the finish line, practically waiting for me to take this picture.

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I still believe that I actually died at the finish line after running, and this photo was taken in Heaven, and then they kicked me out, but that’s just conjecture.

In the past 3 years, I consistently missed the mile for one reason or another: conflicting races, travel, life, etc. Also, if I’m being honest, it’s a LOT to go into the city just to run one mile. The $27 train tickets ($54+ for me and my husband), on top of the subway costs and the 4AM wakeup time, just to run for like 15 minutes?

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Exactly, Mike.

This year, however, I’d toyed with the idea of doing the mile while I was in physical therapy for the nerve issues and Achilles tendinitis that forced me to DNS at the NJ Half Marathon back in April. One mile was just long enough to really push myself, and it would also give me a good baseline idea of where my fitness was if I really focused and trained for the weeks leading up to it.

So, with the blessing of my physical therapist (what up Dean), I convinced my running and injury recovery buddy Kevin to sign up with me and we headed into the city to see how fast we could run one whole mile down Fifth Avenue.

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Nearly head to to Altra Red Team gear *devil horns* Bonus: the race premium was a sweet pair of race-branded shorts!

Friday before the race, I came down with food poisoning that kept me up all night, and then Kevin and I and our friend Jess went into Manhattan on Saturday to pick up our bibs and check out the Camp exhibit at the Met, while I ran in and out of every bathroom that museum had to offer every half hour. Needless to say, by Sunday’s 5:37am train, we were already done with the day.

We managed to pull it together and look cute, cause that’s what we do. But we DID take a cab to the start though, because reasons.

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We did the usual pre-race stuff: warmed up by jogging up and down the closed off streets behind the start area, made friends in the line waiting to take the photo you see up there,  and fueled up while waiting for our heats to begin.

Because we wake up so early and travel so far for some of these races – sometimes upwards of 4 hours from wakeup/breakfast time to start – I get hungry before a race. And I don’t perform well on a completely empty stomach. So I tried something new with this race and ate half a PB&J at home before the train and packed the other half for the race, which I devoured on the sidelines while waiting for my heat to start.

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The results speak for themselves, just like the pic that Kevin snapped of me looking like an angry squirrel while I housed my half-sammich.

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There’s only so much space on Fifth Avenue for the runners, so they break down the race into heats based on age and gender, then let them go every 10-15 minutes. This meant that my start time was 8:10AM, followed immediately by Kevin’s heat at 8:25AM.

After polishing off my sandwich and sipping on some water, I wished Kevin good luck on his race and slipped into the corral for my wave.

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My previous performance here in 2015 was literally lightning in a bottle: I’d run some 10:3x’s during training and in a few really good 5K’s, but never cracked the sub-10 mark, so 8:51 was mind-blowing. Fast forward to 2019: nearly 2 years of on and off injuries and depression (that led to a roughly 20 lb weight gain that I’m slowly chipping away at) had me convinced that a 12:xx was more likely. I could consider an 11:xx a celebration-worthy finish. Little did I know.

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In the corral, this was the first race in months – maybe even since the marathon – where I actually felt like a live wire, twitching and ready to run. My whole body was primed for the gun to go off.

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the view from the starting line

I had prepped a race-specific playlist of just three songs at the same bpm of my sprinting pace to last the whole mile:

  • Bonfire – Childish Gambino
  • Apesh*t – The Carters
  • Ass Drop – Wiz Khalifa

I hit start just as the gun went off, and immediately knew it was going to be a great run. Everything just felt easy. The weather was perfectly cool, the folks cheering on the sidelines were super pumped, and my legs just kept moving.

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While it was a mile on Fifth Avenue, the course still had some slight elevation changes that I mentally prepared for. You start on a slight downhill, then hit a very slight uphill between 1/4 and 1/2, and peak just about 3/4 of the way through before finishing on another slight downhill. The elevation is really negligible – you only gain about a total of 7m – but when you’re staring straight down the barrel of the street and see that wave of runners rising in front of you, it helps to know it doesn’t last forever.

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So I glanced at my watch when I saw the incline coming, and saw that I was running 9:5x. Too fast. I kept moving my legs in time with my music, but eased off the gas ever so slightly for the uphill. By the time we hit the halfway point, the course clock read 5:xx and I laughed – I really was going faster than anticipated, but I still felt good. I kept an eye on my watch and when I hit .65, I turned my music up louder and said f*ck it. If I puke when I finish, I puke. I wanted to see how fast I could go.

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if you look closely you can see the 2 safety pins I used to make my shorts tighter since I picked a too-large size and couldn’t return them

The resulting sprint looked horrible in race photos, but damn if it didn’t feel incredible. It had been so long since I opened the gate and let loose for a finish. My legs were moving so fast at one point that I briefly thought I might trip, but I stayed upright and crossed the finish line at 10:53 by the course clock and 10:12 by watch time.

I was ecstatic. Even if my official time turned out to be more like 10:30 once I factored in the time it took me to cross the start mat and official results were posted, that was amazing, considering I had an A goal of 11 and B of 12.

It took a while to get my breathing under control, and I refused all food at the finish, but gulped down a cup of water and headed to the sidelines to cheer on Kevin as he absolutely CRUSHED his mile in 8:24!

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After we reconnected at the finish, we decided to wait for a pic with our official finish times and met up with my friend Jenny who is currently on her way to finishing the NYRR 9+1 Program for entry into the 2020 NYC Marathon. We killed time by catching up while the line moved, but everything stopped when I stepped up to the monitor and the race volunteer typed in my bib # for my official time to pop up on the screen:

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Fam, I cried. I cried big fat baby tears because I never expected to see 10:08. After hours  upon hours of physical therapy, crying in MRI tubes because I didn’t know why my legs would give out on me during long runs, and wondering if I should even keep running, 10:08 may as well have been 6:08.

I felt like I floated the whole walk back to the Tick Tock Diner for a post-race nosh before heading back to NJ – PS, get the avocado toast benedict, it’s TO DIE FOR.

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Now that I’ve continued to ride the wave after this race, I can see that it was a turning point for me and my running, and I’m excited to see where this momentum carries me into 2020!

#MyFavoriteAltra: The Altra Torin 4

It’s no secret that I’m an Altra girl: I’m a Sponsored Altra Red Team Member. But even if I weren’t, I’d still shout about their shoes from the rooftops. Their Footshape toe box means my toes aren’t squished into that painful V that happens when I run in other brands, and the Balanced Cushioning means that there’s no drop from the heel to the toe. I had lots of problems with numbness and tingling in my toes in other brands, but it completely disappeared once I started running in Altras.

Since discovering them back in 2016, I’ve run in a lot of different models:

Lone Peak: These were my first pair of trail shoes – if you can believe it! I’d never found a pair of trail kicks that worked for me and wasn’t too bulky, but these are my go-to’s not just for the trail but when I’m on rocks or ice, too.

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Torins: Way back when I first got into them, I got myself a pair of NYC Marathon Torins and have used them sparingly – only because they’re so COOL looking. I mainly wore them on weekends and sometimes on runs only because I didn’t want to junk them up. Silly, I know, but they actually got a lot of good wear at my last job where I could wear sneakers every day. It was nice having that comfort every day and knowing that I wasn’t putting more miles on my running shoes:

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Paradigm: When it came to running, though, the Paradigm was my first and favorite Altra. I’ve run in almost every model and color way of the Paradigms. I even ran NYC 2017 in them, and that’s the only pair of them that I won’t ever toss. They’re still caked in mushed-up, dried Poland Spring cups from running over them for 26.2 rainy miles.

Escalante: More recently, I switched to the Escalante and liked that they felt so much lighter and grippier. I’ve logged a lot of racing miles in them and still swap them into the rotation when I just WANNA GO FAST (shameless Ricky Bobby reference).

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But the drop from the super cushioned Paradigm to the almost racing-flat-like (for me) Escalante was a bit much, and I found myself feeling like Goldilocks for a bit. The Escalantes had gotten me more comfortable with less cushion, but I still needed something more padded for consistent training. And my old faithful Paradigms now seemed to be TOO thick for my everyday, shorter runs, and I missed the feeling of the road under my feet.

Enter the Torin 4 – aka #MyFavoriteAltra:

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I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t tried the Torin sooner, to be honest with you. Most of the folks I know who jumped into the brand at my recommendation tended to gravitate towards it, and it seemed to be a solid workhorse shoe.

So when they were in stock in my size, I picked up the pair you see here, and I fell in love. Again, I’m a Red Team Member, which means I do get them for a discount, but like I said before – I would be taking out ads in the paper and telling every runner about these babies even if I weren’t an ambassador for the brand.

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If the Escalantes weren’t cushioned enough, and the Paradigms were too cushioned, these Torins are (Goldilocks voice) juuuust right. They cradle my foot and give my toes enough room to breathe so I don’t get smushed, cramped toes after longer runs, and they’re light enough that I don’t feel like I’m plodding as my mileage starts to build.

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Right out of the box, these shoes were comfortable. First run, 4 miles, no pain at all. They didn’t require breaking in like other shoes have, and run after run they keep springing back like they just came out of the box.

They also offer a Plush version of the Torin that I’ve heard good things about. But while I haven’t tried them out personally, I don’t even know if I need to. They could be another good option just under the thicker/slightly heavier Paradigm, but so far I have yet to have a bad run in the Torins, and as we runners often say, why mess with a good thing?

Do you have a favorite Altra? Share in the comments!

 

Race Recap: 2019 FRNY/NYRR Pride Run

Just like we’ve done in years past, my good friend Kevin and I hopped on the 5:37AM train into midtown for the FRNY/NYRR Pride Run 5 Miler and let me say before I go any further: I was SO unprepared.

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Not unprepared in terms of forgetting sneakers or gels… I mean I had been in physical therapy since May for an Achilles issue and nerve problems that make my leg give out on me, and I’d only run about 4 miles in the lead up to this race.

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Per my therapist’s orders, this was going to be a fun run (no sh*t), and it was also going to be my first run in the heat, which made for a pretty miserable time once I hit mile 2.5-3. BUT ANYWAY…

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We arrived at the start area at around 7:30 or so and killed time by posing for photos and covering ourselves in sunscreen until our other running buddy, Stephen (aka Lady Champagne Bubbles), arrived.

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We ran into a few other friends doing the race while we made our way into the corrals and hung out waiting for the starting gun, and the sweat we’d broken into before even starting the run should have told me what I had to look forward to. I say again: I was not prepared.

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As we crossed the starting line, we took off at a pretty solid 12:00-ish/mile pace. Stephen cantered off ahead because he’s in MUCH better shape than me, but thankfully Kevin hung back and took it easy with me. Every quarter mile or so we’d catch up with Stephen who waited for us, but by about mile 2.5 I realized I had pretty much used up all I had in the tank.

It was a miserable feeling. I’d run these hills dozens of times before. In much worse conditions. Hell, I ran the goddamn 2017 NYC Marathon in rain for more than 6 hours!! I really should just listen to the universe and pack it in. Why should I bother when all I do is finish after all my friends and get injured anyway?

All those negative thoughts you get in the middle of a race? I had them.

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I mentioned my insecurities to Kevin at one point and he talked me through them – saint that he is – but while he helped my mental game, my physical game was just too far gone. My therapy had been focused on isolating the muscles that were causing me pain, working them gently and slowly strengthening them. The lack of running while focusing on those smaller, foundational things really sucked a lot of conditioning out of me.

Thankfully, I wasn’t SO far gone, and we made it to mile 4 relatively soon. Kevin made deals with me to get to the next light post, the next stop sign, the next tree. It worked, sort of. There was a lot of walking. But once we got to the final half mile or so, I realized I’d done it. Kevin asked if I was OK with he and Stephen taking off and finishing strong, and I said go for it. The only thing that makes a miserable race worse is knowing you held people back.

So off they went and I hunkered down for the final sweaty, breathless half mile. The nice thing about the Pride Run is that in the final mile, all of the local running clubs come out to cheer you on in the final mile or so. And because it’s Pride, the music is bumping, the energy is high, and the love is on full blast. All I had to do was shift to the side of the course and hold my hand out as I ran, and I was rewarded with high fives and screams and cheerleaders galore.

All that excitement was just what I needed to get down the last hill and over the finish line – and for Kevin to snap this hysterical picture of me thanking the running gods that the damn thing was DONE:

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Afterwards we all hung out for a bit eating the rainbow ice pops they handed out at the finish line and taking pics – of course I can’t let Stephen take a nice photo just one damn time – before heading home to recover in the air conditioning.

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As always it was a great race that I highly recommend, especially for first-timers. It’s high-energy and a wonderful way to support a fantastic cause that is dear to my heart.

I’m Still Here

Haaaaaaaaayyyyy…..

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Remember me?

It’s been a minute, I know!

Yes I haven’t posted since February. No I don’t have any good reason for my absence. Or at least nothing dramatic.

The short version: Life got busy.

Long version: The injury I was flirting with before the NJ Half turned scary in March. My leg started giving out on me in double digit runs in the weeks before the race. I got up to 10 or 11 miles in training but they were junk miles, and frankly, having my leg give out on me because of electric shock numbness? Figuring that out was more important than a medal. So rather than risk further injury, I dropped out and have seen two orthopedists and have been going to physical therapy for all these issues basically two times a week since May.

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My issues turned out to be a combination of Achilles tendinitis and a nerve problem that we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of, but I’m living with it and running with it. I still feel numbness and tingling when I turn my foot in a certain way or overextend it while walking. This is just something I have to get used to (according to both orthos). While I’m not running the distances or times I used to, I’m still running.

And I’m feeling much stronger now thanks to the work I’ve been doing with my physical therapist Dean at Twin Boro Physical Therapy. No, seriously, Dean is like, invited to my Christmas Eve party from here on out because he’s been so incredible for me. He’s a runner and gets the neuroses that come with that title. He went on vacation and I was despondent. We share Netflix recommendations and trade our favorite Bill Burr comedy bits while he works on me, and he’s learning how to ride a scooter now that he and his girlfriend have purchased one together.

But I digress.

OH I also took the European vacation of a lifetime with my husband to Jersey and the UK.

It has been a long time and a lot of other stuff has happened, all of which I promise I’ll write about soon. But I just figured now that we have a new, more powerful wireless router that reaches into my back office and makes it easier for me to write, I may as well send out a quick carrier pigeon here to let ya’ll know that I’m not dead.

I may have had to reset my wordpress password because it’s been that damn long, but I’M BACK BABY!

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Just Do It. No, Really.

After a few weeks of pretty solid base building after the New Year, I started officially training for April’s NJ Half Marathon – and, drumroll please – I’ve stuck 100% to the plan so far!

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la la la la, la la la la, training time!

I’m feeling myself. I no longer have to make that horrible noise when I get up out of a squat (you know the sound, we’ve all made it) and I can comfortably run about 4-5 miles without any lingering pain. I’m not about to crank it up to 10 just yet, but I’m getting there.

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YAY ME

Looking back on the last few failed attempts at a – and I hate this word – *comeback*, I keep searching for reasons why this time is different. There are a few, mainly the fact that I’m not injured or coming back from an injury, and I’m mentally in a better place than I was the last 2-3x I signed up for a race and didn’t even make it to the starting line in the past year.

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I’m also feeling about 1,000% sassier thanks to a great job and having other fulfilling hobbies outside of running

But while I was getting dressed in the gym locker room the other night after a full, draining day of work, the last piece of the puzzle finally came to me: I’m shutting up about it and getting it done.

Or, to paraphrase the most popular sports company slogan in history: I’m just doing it.

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Fact: the post-work runs are hard because I have to get through a whole day of work before I can do them. [And before you say “run in the morning!”, just know I’ve tried it time and time again and it just ain’t happening. I’m 35 years old and if I haven’t learned to love losing an hour of sleep to get a workout in yet, I’m not going to. Go bark up someone else’s tree about how *magical* it is to wake up before the sun and let me sleep while you get your sweat on. I’ll have the coffee ready for you when you’re done, I promise.]

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I’ll even be SMILING by then because I GOT MY FULL 8 HOURS OF SLEEP

Fact: The weekend runs are tough because I have nothing really lighting a fire under me to go and just get it over with every morning.

In the past, I’ve skipped weekday runs because I’m tired after work and convince myself on the drive home to treat myself to a rest day. Or I spend a half hour in the gym locker room on a Saturday morning scrolling through Twitter or Instagram looking at other people’s workouts when I could have been done and on the way home already, just because I can’t psych myself up to get out there.

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*thinking* I wonder if they give medals for procrastination…. 

This time, I’ve made a point as soon as those “maybe I should just skip it” thoughts creep into my head to simply… stop. Stop that thinking, consider the workout non-negotiable, shut up and JUST DO IT.

If it’s quiet in the locker room, I resist the urge to sit on the bench before I change and scroll through Twitter for another 10 minutes. I just put one foot in front of the other and change and get up those stairs and on a treadmill and JUST DO IT.

When I wake up on a Saturday morning and lazily make my coffee and plop down at my desk and start scrolling through Twitter, I allow myself 15 minutes before I make myself stand up from the desk, shut up and JUST DO IT.

Yes it’s a pain in the ass to schlep 14 pounds of gear from the house to the car to the gym locker room, to change into cold running clothes while surrounded by a dozen screaming tweens who just got out of swim practice, and to get onto the treadmill. Yes, it’s easier to lay in bed, and it’s more tempting to skip a run and read a book or catch up on Netflix.

But once I run, man does it feel good.

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like, “the hills are alive” good

Yes, it’s good to talk about running with other runners online. It’s good to read blog posts with titles like “how do you get motivated?” and “top tips for getting started with running again”. But more often than not – and this is going to sound harsh but I mean it in the most encouraging way possible – it really is as simple as shutting the hell up and JUST DOING IT. Get up off the hiney, put the sneakers on, get the keys and GO.

I’ve gotten harsh with myself MANY times in the interest of getting my miles in. If you’re lacking motivation or find it hard to get up and moving, I invite you to do the same. It gets easier the more you do it. Once you stop thinking about it, you’ll have so much more time to just do it.

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And I promise you’ll rock it when you do. Nicolas Cage in Con-Air style.

New Year, New Outlook

Good lord, will this website even still let me log in? I am a terribly inconsistent blogger and for that I am sorry. BUT – it’s 2019 and we made it to Day 21!

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When we last left off, I was getting my running mojo back in a pretty big way. And I’m pleased as punch to report that it’s still going strong. I’m running consistently 3-4x a week (even if I’m not sharing every one of those runs on social media) and have worked my way back into the high-mid-11:00/mile pace range, which is huge for me considering I took nearly all of 2018 off from consistent running due to injury & mental health issues.

I even ran a 10K in Central Park on one of the rainiest, most miserable days I’ve had the privilege to live through in recent memory – and I didn’t die!

A few things have kept me sane and focused on the running:

  • Not sharing every run on social media. This is a big one for me. I’ve talked here before about the pressure of sharing my running journey on Instagram. And once I realized the chicken/egg analysis paralysis I was putting myself through by stressing about IG and just ran for me, boy howdy did I start to enjoy it again.
  • Weight loss is back on the table. Taking a year off from working out in general – and not adjusting my eating habits – has led to a mildly significant weight gain (for me). By focusing on what I’m eating, I’m finding my running improves, which makes me want to eat healthier to keep that good feeling going. It’s a fun cycle that feeds itself, and I’m enjoying that I can control it – it’s good to feel in control when other parts of your life are anything but normal.
  • 2019 is The Year of No. Other folks might aim to say “yes” more, but I’ve learned that when I say “no” – to people, places and things that exhaust me (physically OR emotionally) – I am a stronger person in all arenas of my life; as a wife, a writer, a runner, everything. So I’m making it a priority to end the mental clutter before it even begins. By limiting my time on social media. By not agreeing to do things because it’s “the nice thing to do”. By recognizing that I don’t owe anything to anyone outside of my immediate family and friends – and even then, within reason, and after I’ve served myself first.

Aside from that, I don’t have much else to update you with aside from the fact that I’m still here and running, except for the fact that I’m still planning on running the NJ Half Marathon in April [insert fingers crossed emoji here]. I don’t see anything huge preventing me from this race as long as I stay consistent with my training.

Once I get into a solid training plan you can probably expect to hear some more from me here so stay tuned – and in the meantime, stay warm and keep running happy!