2018 NYC Half Marathon Recap

This is a few weeks late but better late than never!

I had such a great time running the NYC Half. It was my first time doing this race…not that it mattered because the course was brand new this year.


I didn’t really have any time goals. I just wanted to finish 13.1 miles feeling good. I loosely figured I could do it in 2:30 but wasn’t chasing a certain time or anything.

So let’s dive right into the NYC Half Marathon recap!


I was running this race with 2 of my running group friends. Thankfully one of them was in the corral with me. My parents drove us in (from NJ to Brooklyn), which meant getting up at 4:30 AM. I know a lot of people like to stay closer or at a hotel, but I just prefer to sleep in my own bed, and have my set routine. My mom and I got a hotel for the 2011 NYC Marathon and although it was nice being closer, I feel I do better just sleeping at my place and getting up earlier.

So we drove into Brooklyn and got there no problem. A lot of people were bummed that the new race started in Brooklyn…it is kind of a pain for people driving in from outside of Manhattan. But since it was so early we didn’t hit any traffic.

We got to the start area around 7 AM for our 8:30 AM start.


Bag check and all that was pretty easy and quick. We got into our corral around 7:30 AM, and started warming up around 7:45 AM.

Oh yeah…it was cold! Around 25 degrees. So I wanted to make sure to do a good warm-up. My old running coach Marc, recommended warming up enough that you’re sweating before starting. He also told me to run in just a long sleeve and leggings…which I should have listened to lol. I ended up wearing a running vest because I was afraid I’d be cold.

So I did some drills and strides to warm up and actually felt fine temperature wise while waiting in the corral. My running partner had numb toes but wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or being nervous (it was her first half marathon).

I loved that they had bathrooms right inside the corral. I pee a lot so it was convenient and I was able to go right up until we started. 

The start was 8:30 AM but we didn’t get started until about 8:45 AM. Even though there was wave 1 and wave 2, they had staggered starts within each wave as well.


Time to go!

Miles 1-3

We crossed the start and I pretty much was warm right away. Mile 1 was pretty flat, but then you got to the Manhattan Bridge, which was one of the toughest portions for me…despite only being mile 2!

It was probably a half mile climb up the bridge? Maybe more? I just kept trucking along and telling myself to take it easy. We’re only in mile 2. Nice and easy. Control your breathing. We were trying to keep the 2:30 pacers in sight, but we already lost them on the bridge because of how many people there were. Oh well.

When you get off the bridge you turn right around a corner and are basically at mile 3. That’s where my family was for the first stop. It was so weird having my mom be a spectator vs. running with me! (She didn’t get into the lottery.) I had told my dad they could just do mile 6 or 7 and then finish, but he wanted to catch us at multiple spots…thanks dad!


That’s my mom waiting for us. We’ve been using our Paraguayan flag for big races (like NYC Marathon) because it’s super easy to spot from far away. It’s always easier for the runners to see the spectators than spectators to see the runners.

For some reason I didn’t think to pass my family my vest when we passed them. I was getting hot and ended up taking it off like a minute after we passed them. I didn’t want to toss it so I looped it around my running belt. Should have listened to Coach Marc and not worn it!

Miles 4-7

I was not a fan of this portion of the race. Basically from 4.5-7 you’re running on FDR drive. I think NYRR thought this would be cool because of the views but I didn’t like it because 1) No spectators in this area 2) I don’t really care about views during a race so for my this portion was just long and monotonous and 3) It was really windy since we were by the water.

I just kept telling myself to get to mile 7. Plus, at the strategy session in the expo, they said mile 7-8 is where the race really begins. They said, “You want to get to mile 7 feeling like a caged animal.” I just kept repeating that to myself, though I was starting to get tired and doubting I’d be feeling like a caged animal lol.

At mile 7 we were in Manhattan, and my family was going to be around there. We found them right before Grand Central Station and I gave them my vest at that point. 

Miles 8-10

At mile 8 you’re on 7th Avenue going up Times Square. We had a few of our other running group friends cheering us on there too. I got an energy boost after seeing them, which was needed on the incline heading into Central Park. Because of this energy boost, I was feeling good and even sped up a bit…I was like wow I might actually be able to speed up for the finishing miles! LOL nope.

You enter Central Park around mile 9 and for some reason my energy just totally died back down there. The rolling hills leading to Cat Hill had me tired, so I let my running partner go ahead because I wanted to stop and put some music on. I knew I’d need it to finish strong.

I made the climb up Cat Hill, and my family was right at the top thankfully! I threw them my fuel belt and they cheered me on. I wanted to look strong for them but after 1-2 min after passing them I stopped to take my first walk break. 

I was beat. I gave myself a pep talk and said only 3 miles left. Come on!!!

Miles 10-13.1

I turned up my music and chugged along. I’d try to pick someone ahead of me to catch, or if someone passed me I’d try to stay with them. At this point in the race it’s just mind games to stop telling yourself that you’re tired. 

You turn left through the park, and get to the west side. This is where the “3 sisters” come in. 3 rolling hills. I was familiar with this loop because of all the NYRR races in Central Park. So I knew what to expect. I took a few more walk breaks here after cresting hills, and then would try to speed up on the down hills. 

Check out the elevation at the end in Central Park!!!


Run The World by Beyonce came on and I was like Ok, I got this!!

The last mile or so is pretty flat or downhill which is amazing. I started feeling good again. I think because I was so tired and not thinking, my brain was thinking of the NYRR 4 mile race loops. So in my mind, the finish was farther than it was. All of a sudden, I saw a sign that said 800 meters to go and I think I actually said out loud, “Wait what? Only a half mile to go?” I was so pumped.

I told myself it’s 2 laps on the track, I can do that easily. I tried to speed up but my legs were pretty done. 

I saw my family with 200 meters to go and was really trying to push. Those 200 meters were never ending!! I was trying to sprint…and then I crossed the finish line! As I crossed, I noticed both photographers were looking at their camera…so I didn’t get a finish line photo which is a bummer. But whatever, I ran 13.1 miles!



I finished in about 2:33 I think? Maybe 2:34. I was totally fine with that time, and it was around what I thought I’d run anyway. I got my medal and found my friend. We both felt great!


 It’s funny because this is my slowest half marathon to date, yet probably the best one I’ve ran. I finished feeling great…not tired, puking, with stiff legs, etc. I felt good throughout the race with no fueling or hydration issues. I was definitely feeling that runner’s high after!

It’s funny – despite it being 25 degrees, I still had salt all over my face from sweat. I’m a heavy sweater, and what’s really helped me is GenUCAN’s hydration packets.

Anyway, we took our finisher pics and headed to bag check. Similar to NYC Marathon, you have a long walk out of Central Park to meet your people. We stopped to stretch and roll for a bit (I had my handy Addaday roller) then started walking out. Our meetup for the marathon is always the West Side YMCA, so we went there for this race too since it was close to the finish.

We met the whole group there and took some pics. It was so nice to have family and friends there supporting us. Seeing them on the course really helped! I returned the favor by watching a few of them run the Philly LOVE Run Half Marathon the following weekend. 

Here are some post-race pics:




Overall, it was a great day!! 

Final thoughts:

  • I liked the course minus the portions on FDR drive. I never ran the old course, but feel like I would have been bored with the majority of the miles being on the West Side Highway. I think this course is better.
  • Maybe winter/cold races are for me? It was cold but I felt great!
  • Kinesio taping really helps my shin issues.
  • The elevation at the end of the race was killer but feels that much better when you conquer it.
  • Now it’s time to focus on 5k races and getting a new PR :)

Have you ran the NYC Half Marathon before? Did you do it this year? Thoughts on the new course?

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NYC Half Marathon Training Plan 2018

I know I haven’t written in a while! It’s been a busy past few months. Last I wrote was about my wedding. It’s now been over 3 months and I still wish I could go back to that day! 

We actually just got back from our honeymoon in Hawaii. It was truly amazing and we had so much fun discovering each island. We went to Oahu, Kauai and Maui. Each island is so different, and I’m glad we were able to go to 3. 




Next time we’ll have to go to Big Island! I’ll do a more in-detail recap of our activities in another post. 

So last year around this time I thought I was going to start training for the NYC Marathon. And then I didn’t…and didn’t end up running for about 8-9 months. You can read more about that here. 

I deferred my entry to this year, and this year I am running it! My mom, however, didn’t get in through the lottery again. But 2 of our running group members did so at least I’ll have someone to train with. I wish she could run it with me though but I’m trying to convince her to do the LOVE Run in Philly the following weekend so we can train together. 

In terms of not running for the past 8-9 months…I found some solutions to my health issues (adrenal fatigue cortisol issues), but still haven’t “solved” it. I hate not exercising, and didn’t see much of a change in my body, so I’m going to start running again as well as exploring more options for some health issues. 

Running and exercising are a huge part of my life. I was told that by stopping exercise it would solve a lot of issues. Might be true, but I didn’t feel a significant enough change for it to be worth not exercise. I understand that I can’t go from 0-100 but I want to begin exercising again and feeling strong. 

I’m really excited to train for this half marathon. I’m not expecting anything and although I always want to PR, I know that probably won’t happen. Also because my PR is from my FIRST half marathon and we still haven’t been able to best it lol. 

Here’s my current NYC Half Marathon training plan – very generally speaking: 

-6 weeks of base building 

-4ish weeks of specific training 

-1.5ish weeks of taper 

I really just need to get out and run right now. Base building is super important, and what I preach to my own cross country runners. I plan on starting with consistent 30-45 minute runs and building up from there. Right now, 13.1 miles seems impossible, but I know I can do it. 

Also, kind of nervous about finishing in Central Park. They changed the course for 2018 and it’s pretty different. I think I would have liked the straight shot down West Side Highway, but we’ll see. 

I’m really excited to finally be running the NYC Half Marathon! It’s been on my running bucket list for years. Just really wish my mom could run with me. 

Who else is running NYC Half Marathon? Have you ran it before? Thoughts?  


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A Day In The Life Of A Cross Country Coach

As some of you may know, I coach cross country at a community college in New Jersey. I love it. I love seeing the athletes improve as the season goes on, and seeing how hard they work. This year I’m grateful to 1) finally have a full men’s team and 2) have a committed, motivated team. 


Some seasons (and if you’re a coach you might know this), you get student-athletes who are on the team but not giving it their all. They complain or just seem blah to be there…and I wonder, “Why are you even here?” lol. But this year our team is solid, and our men’s team has a good chance of making it to Nationals as a team. We’ve had runners qualify for Nationals every year I’ve coached, but as individuals. We’ll see what happens!

Last weekend, we had a meet out in Harrisburg, PA. It was pretty low-key but a good chance for them to see where their fitness level is at. It was the first 8K race of the season for the men (the first meet was a 5K). 

I decided to do a little vlog to capture the day and show a day in my coaching life :)

This Friday, we race the Paul Short Invitational, which I’m super pumped about. It is a pretty big meet, and I plan to do another vlog for that one too.

For us, race days usually go like this:

  • Get on the bus and get there about 1-1.5 hours before start time
  • Get to location and set up in our spot. Hang out for a bit.
  • About 30-40 minutes before start time, I send them out for a warm up. We’ll start with drills like A skip, B skip, high knees, butt kicks, cariocas, side skips and more, then they will go on a 10-15 minute easy jog, then come back for more dynamic drills and stretching.
  • Head to the start area with about 10 min. to go and start doing strides.
  • They run, I run around and try to catch them at certain points to give them splits or simply motivation.
  • Afterwards, they go for a 10 min. cooldown jog and then we stretch.

Let me know what you think of the vlog! I want to do more videos again…future topics might be:

  • My dynamic warmup routine before runs
  • Tips for getting faster at the 5K
  • Quad/glute workout for runners
  • My go-to stretching routine

Any of those sound interesting? Or do you have an idea for a video? Let me know in the comments!

Do you have a set routine before runs? Are you superstitious about anything before races?


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Friday Favorites

Hi everyone!!! Long time no see, I know. Things got kinda crazy with wedding planning, and then the actual wedding, so I was MIA. Though now I’m sad it’s all over and I wish I could go re-live that day!

We got married over Labor Day Weekend, and it was such an amazing day. It’s all a blur now, I feel like I don’t remember much, because so much was happening. I can’t wait to get my photos and video back! Here are a few:







I seriously wish I could go back and do it all over. Has anyone else felt kinda sad once their wedding was over??

Anyway, as a way of getting back into the blogging world, I wanted to do a quick round-up of links I found from other health and fitness bloggers. I always love reading other people’s stuff and sharing…it’s a good way to discover new bloggers as well!

Tips For Marathon Training While on Vacation (Lean Clean Brie) - I remember those days! I was actually just thinking about this and how last summer I had to train while in Myrtle Beach. It’s tough but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (Fitful Focus) – Anything chocolate chip cookie dough, I’m in.



Staying Fit During an Off Season (Fueled by LOLZ) - This will be helpful for everyone who’s training for a fall race. It’s easy to get into a slump during the winter, but staying somewhat in shape will really help you for those spring races! As she mentions in her blog post, the off season is also a great time to try new things. Last winter I was going to spin class like crazy :-P

Chicago Marathon Guide (SuzLyfe) - If you’re running the Chicago Marathon, definitely give this a read!

5 Ways You Can Have a Healthier Day (A Lady Goes West) - All great tips! I always try to drink water first thing in the morning…though does anyone else wake up super thirsty anyway?

Next week = more blog posts and perhaps a YouTube video from me. The good thing about the wedding being over is now I have my time back! Wedding planning started to get a bit stressful and hectic those last 3 months.

Who’s running a fall race? Which one?


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8 Running Workouts For Global Running Day

It’s Global Running Day! Although I won’t be running today because I just ran yesterday (read this post on why I need to take it easy), I wanted to share some easy running workouts that anyone can do today. Whether you run a block or run 10 miles, get out there and celebrate Global Running Day!

Here are some workouts I’ve shared in the past:

If you want to start doing more hill workouts or hill intervals, check out my video below on 5 Hill Running Tips:

And here are some ways to make your run fun today:


Fartleks basically equates to an interval workout, except it’s much more relaxed. You can go by time if you want, but if you want just a fun, no pressure run, I would do the following:

Warm up for about 5-10 minutes, and then start your run. Pick an object, either in the distance or close, and accelerate to that object. For example, pick a tree in the distance, and sprint to that tree. Then slow down for however long you want and repeat. You can mix it up by choosing something further away (and running at a moderately challenging page), or picking something within a block or less away, which means you gotta sprint!

This is a great way to make runs less monotonous and also get your heart pumping.

One Minute On, One Minute Off

This is what I’ve been doing the past few days since I’m back to running. It’s great for beginners or anyone getting back into shape like me. Run at whatever pace you please for one minute, then walk or jog for one minute. If one minute is too long, start with 30 seconds. Go for as long as you want.

Run To The Music

If you’ve taken a spin class, you know how the instructors create workouts that go along with the beat of the music. You spin faster during the faster portions of a song (usually the chorus) and slow down after. You can use this premise on your runs. Start slow, then as the song picks up, start speeding up. If the chorus is shorter, do a sprint. If it’s longer, make it into more of a moderate pace. Once the song ends, take a little break by walking or jogging, and then repeat on the next song! For slower songs, you can try to maintain a moderate pace for the whole song (sort of like a tempo run).

I’m so excited to get back to running, especially since summer is here! 

PIN the image below to save these workouts for later :-)

8 Running Workouts For Your Next Run | http://reach-yourpeak.com


Who will be running for Global Running Day today? What’s your workout/how far are you running?


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I’m Back!

…in many ways. First off, I haven’t been blogging. Life’s been busy (less than 3 months until our wedding!), and I haven’t really been doing much since I couldn’t exercise. So I really had no updates.

But…yesterday I ran for the first time in almost 6 months!


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My nutritionist didn’t want me to exercise for the past 6 months because when I started working with her, I had all sorts of issues. Certain neurotransmitters like serotonin were off, cortisol was low from constantly being high (marathon training probably didn’t help), my sleep was a mess, which also contributed to the above, and I had a ton of stomach and gut issues. So basically she said to not exercise and give my body a much needed break in order to get everything back in balance.

It was so hard…and I was so jealous of everyone I’d see out there running or posting about their races. Plus, I missed running and working out with my mom! I’ve regularly exercised and ran since 2010, so it was tough.

Last week, she said I can slowly start incorporating it back into my routine IF I made sure to eat 5-6 meals per day. See, lately I haven’t been eating enough. I got into a routine of smoothie for breakfast, lunch, sometimes afternoon smoothie, then dinner. Really not enough, and my weigh-in results lately reflected that.

I have hit a weight loss plateau. I lost 9 lbs., but haven’t budged for over a month. My basal metabolic rate has also gone down, which means I’m burning less calories while just sitting, aka not losing weight. She said it’s extremely important for me to eat more, and drink more water. If I don’t, and start exercising too, I’ll just stay at my plateau.

I need to get over this plateau because my wedding is in less than 3 months!! I obviously want to look my best, and when I started working with my nutritionist, I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. So there is still a lot of work to be done.

Symptoms wise, I’ve never felt better. I am getting the best sleep of my life. I no longer wake up every 1-2 hours every night. I don’t have crazy stomach cramps after some meals. I don’t have heartburn all the time. 

It’s crazy how some things can really affect your body and sleep.

While I’ve never felt better, I still do want to lose weight. I still feel like I have a lot of fat to lose. Ideally, I want to lose another 10-15 lbs. I have been feeling pretty frustrated that I’m stalled BUT I also know it’s my fault. May was crazy with events (birthdays, a wedding, MDW), which means a lot of “treat meals” and a lot of drinking. I need to get all that in check ASAP.


  • Eat 5-6 meals Monday-Friday
  • I have a girls night out planned for Friday, but will avoid beer and go for lighter options, like vodka sodas. As much as I love IPAs, it’s definitely not the best option
  • Aim for as close to 80 oz. of water per day

Let’s do this!

What are your tips for eating frequently throughout the day? It’s easy to forget to eat/drink when you’re working!

What are your favorite healthy-ish drinks to order at the bar?


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6 Half Marathon Race Day Tips

I’m so jealous of everyone about to run their spring half marathons! I was 2 weeks into training for the NYC Half when I started working with my nutritionist and she advised against it. (Insert crying emoji)

That’s why I’m excited to join the Race Day Tips linkup hosted by You Signed Up For WHAT?!Running on HappyBrooklyn Active MamaOrganic Runner Mom, and Coach Debbie Runs.

Here are my half marathon race day tips (which can be applied to the marathon too):

Read these 6 half marathon race day tips  before your next big race! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Don’t Worry About Sleep The Night Before

Now, I’m not saying don’t worry about sleep at all. Definitely TRY to get sleep. But if you don’t, don’t worry about it. The night before isn’t as important as the week leading up to the race. For a full week, or more, before the big race, you should be trying to get your best sleep yet. I’ve gotten 2-3 hours of total sleep before a 5K before and somehow PRed.

I remember last summer we had a long training run in Central Park with NYRR and I got legit 3 hours of sleep (I’ll explain in a sec), and that was my best paced long run up until then! For some reason when I have a big race or long run the next day, I just toss and turn all night thinking about how I have to get up early and run. And worrying about whether I’ll be able to do it. But as long as I’m well rested from the week before, it has not affected me.

Watch Something Motivational 

I love watching elite runner’s race videos the night before a half marathon or marathon. It just pumps me up and then on race day I envision myself running as smoothly as them. Runners who inspire me are Shalane Flanagan (obv), Jenny Simpson (can’t believe I ran with her once in Central Park!), Brenda Martinez, Emma Coburn, Molly Huddle and Kara Goucher. Go follow them on Instagram to see their workouts and and stuff! 

Here are a few videos I’ve watched to get me pumped in the past…my mentality is, if they can put in all this hard work and gut it out, so can I:

FloTrack also has great videos following athletes in their workouts – those motivate me for races AND every day runs:

Take Lots of Pictures and Video

My mom is great at this – she doesn’t get nervous before any race. She will take photos and videos…be smiling throughout the morning. I’m usually a hot mess and can barely eat my oatmeal. I’ll be like OMG MOM STOP YOU’RE SO ANNOYING. Yet, after the race is over, I’m like “Can I see all your photos and videos??” lol

This past NYC Marathon I told her I’d be less cranky and try to take more photos and videos too so she can be in them. Since I felt so amazing (read my NYC Marathon recap here), I took the majority of video that day, which you can watch in this recap video I made…and maybe use it as motivation too :)

If you have spectators, you can ask them to take photos as well…maybe they’ll capture gems like this one from my first marathon:


I laugh every time I see this photo.

And that’s it too – you will want even the bad photos to look back on! :-)

Focus On Details When The Going Gets Tough

This is a tip my friend, who is a therapist, gave me. She knows I struggle with mental strength when things get hard in a race. So her tip is this: When you start feeling tired or like you’re struggling, start focusing on all of your senses. What do you see? Focus on the details. The bead of sweat on the person in front of you. The waving flag in the distance. Or what do you hear? Focus on the crowd? What chants do you hear? Listen to the breathing and footfalls of the runner next to you. Or the conversation going on behind you. Really get detailed with it. It distracts your mind, at least for a little bit.

Add Intervals Towards The End (If You’re Struggling)

This has helped me in countless races, whether 5K or marathons. If you’re struggling in the last mile or 2, start doing intervals. It will help time go by faster and the changing of paces helps switch things up. Distance depends on how I feel. I will pick up my pace from one light pole to the next, and then slow it back down. If I have a watch, I will pick up the pace for 1 minute, then slow down for 1 minute. If I’m REALLY struggling, it will be more like 30 seconds. But as long as you continue that forward motion, you’re getting closer and closer to the finish.

Take In The Finish Line

It’s so easy to sprint (or try to) towards the finish and want to just be DONE. But really take it all in. This past NYC Marathon was the first time I really did that, and it brought tears to my eyes. Look around you – all these runners are in the same boat, and all of you are accomplishing your goals. You did it! You crossed the finish. Stop and just take it all in, snap a picture if you have your phone. Get a volunteer to take a photo of you. Smile!!!

I hope these tips help! As I was writing these and looking through my race photos, it just made me miss running so much. I can’t wait to get back out there with my mom. 

What spring races are you doing? Do you like taking lots of race day pics and videos?


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My Favorite Foam Rolling Exercises + How-To Video

Do you foam roll? Be honest…because I really should do it more too lol

When I would go to my physical therapist, the first thing we did in our sessions was foam roll. Before he would even do any sort of manual therapy, I had to foam roll. And he’d always stress the importance of foam rolling before runs and exercising.

Make sure you're doing these foam rolling exercises! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Here are a few reasons you should start foam rolling regularly:

  • It reduces muscle soreness. Foam rolling works by massaging away fascia buildup in your muscles, which often lead to painful, sore muscles. Less soreness means less of a chance you’ll skip your workout the next day.
  • It helps prevent injuries. By foam rolling before and after a run, you’re alleviating tight muscles and knots. Think of it as a deep tissue massage. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford a weekly deep tissue massage. Foam rolling can be a pain in the butt (pun intended), but it’s worth it to prevent nagging injuries.
  • It can increase flexibility. I like this paragraph from Breaking Muscle:

Deep compression helps to break up or relax tight muscles and adhesions formed between muscle layers and their surroundings. Imagine you are tenderizing your own muscles. They should be soft and supple like a baby’s muscles. However, if our muscles are not taken care of properly we can experience loss of flexibility, adhesions, and painful movement.

The deep compression of self-myofascial release allows normal blood flow to return and the restoration of healthy tissue. 

I haven’t been able to run or exercises in about a month and a half, so when I got on my foam roller for this video it was painful! Check out my video below for my favorite exercises which hit the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, peroneals, and IT band.

How often do you foam roll? What’s your favorite exercise? I love to roll my glutes!


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My Favorite Stretching Exercises

Hi all – long time no see (chat?)!

If you follow me on Instagram (@pattyrivas13), you’ve seen I’ve been sharing some of my favorite stretches. Well, I wanted to share them here as well and talk a bit about the benefits of stretching.

Try these stretching exercises!


Even if you don’t have time for a full yoga class, doing a few stretches at your desk can help increase circulation, and give you an all-natural boost of energy. (Here’s an article I found: The 5 Best Stretches For Desk Sitters)

You can also do a few gentle stretches when you wake up. I like a cross-legged seated twist or forward fold. 

Increase Range of Motion

My mom does not want to do yoga, even though she’s the most stiff person in the world. I keep telling her to do it, but she doubts that at her age she will get more flexible. This is just not true! Even with sporadic yoga classes and stretching after runs, my flexibility has increased tons over the years. Granted, I’m not like those yogis you see on Instagram, but I’m proud that I can now go all the way down in pigeon pose.

Doing stretches daily after runs, when you’re warm, will help increase flexibility and range of motion. Better range of motion = better mobility = less change of injury. When my PT started giving my exercises to increase my ankle and calf range of motion, it greatly helped my shin splint situation.

Relax The Mind

Doing a few stretches before bed can help you to relax your mind and de-stress. Just like you started the day with gentle stretching, you can end it with gentle stretching as well. Focus on each muscle you’re stretching, and then end with a good savasana/corpse pose :) Or, an exercise I like is to lay down, tense up a muscle group (let’s say your quads), and then release. Really focus on how your muscles are feeling, and releasing all of that tension. Start with your toes and move all the way up to your face.

Cool Down

Lastly, stretching is extremely important after workouts. Stretching and foam rolling (stay tuned for a foam rolling video coming this week). First foam roll, then stretch.

The videos I posted so far on my Instagram are all stretches I do on a daily basis post-exercise. Even if you only do 2-3 stretches afte a run…it’s better than nothing. And if you have to choose one, definitely go with pigeon pose!

Here are some stretches I’ve posted so far – make sure to follow me for a daily stretch through the month of February!


A video posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

This one is an amazing quad and hip flexor stretch. Make it more challenging by putting your back foot on a swiss ball.  


A video posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

This one is a great stretch for your inner thighs. Rock back and forth for a good dynamic stretch.


A video posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Pigeon pose is my absolute favorite! If you aren’t yet at this level, keep an eye out on my Instagram later today for a modification. This is an amazing glute stretch and hip opener.

If you don’t stretch, I urge you to do just a few stretches after your exercises. You’ll feel better, and it’s a great way to cool the body down after a hard workout. 

Next, I’ll be talking about foam rolling and including a handy video :-) Stay tuned!

How often do you stretch?

What are your go-to stretches if you had to pick 2?


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Why I Won’t Be Running The NYC Half

So a lot has happened within the past week or so. First off, we moved AND got a dog!!



I’ve never had a dog, and I knew once I moved into a pet friendly place that I would get one. Dan was a bit apprehensive at first but once he met him at the shelter he instantly loved him as well. His name is Marty and he’s a bit crazy on his walks at the moment but he starts puppy classes this week. Since he was in the shelter so long, he’s really skittish around EVERYTHING. I’m talking people, other dogs, loud trucks, and he’s even afraid of those metal grates on the sidewalks for some reason. He will leap over those like his life depends on it – you’d think the ground was on fire lol. But I know it will take patience and I’m glad we rescued him and gave him a home :)

But in other news - I won’t be running the NYC Half.

It pains me to make this decision, especially since I’ve only not ran a race I already registered for once (Long Branch Half Marathon”recap” here) but here’s the deal:

I started working with a Certified Health & Nutrition Practitioner in December. I had to send her my bloodwork for the past 5 years, along with sending urine and spit samples to a lab. The reason I did all this was because I just have not been feeling my best for the past few years. I’m ALWAYS tired no matter how much sleep I get, I’m always bloated (no joke, looking like I’m pregnant. I even sent her a pic and she couldn’t believe it), and have a lot of stomach issues in general.

So my test results came back, and there’s a lot going on. My stomach isn’t producing enough acid or absorbing protein/nutrients like it should. My cortisol levels are low, which is a result of the levels being chronically high for too long. Basically, she said my body has been in high alert/fight-or flight mode for a while, meaning cortisol and other hormones and chemicals were high, and now my body is just burnt out. Furthermore, it’s what is causing me to not lose weight, hold fat around my belly, and have high visceral fat. Yikes.

Ok, that’s fine, let’s fix it. So we start going over some supplements and a nutrition plan. I asked her how this plan will affect my half marathon training. She was like, “Do you really think training for a half marathon right now is a good idea given the info I just gave you?” UGH!!

Since my body is lacking energy and have been in overdrive, running right now is counter-productive. I could start the program with her and work to balance my levels (lots of things are off-kilter, like extremely high serotonin levels), but if I keep running, I probably won’t see any results since it is going against what I’m trying to do with the nutrition protocol.

I asked her, well what if I start in March?? She was like you can do what you want. I thought about it for a few days, but my friends, parents and Dan were like, “How is this even a question??” haha. They all know I’ve had these issues for a while, and my mom and dad especially were like, you need to pay for it, put your health first and forget the race.

My body fat and weight are high right now – the highest it’s ever been. I know I need to do something. I just hate that I can’t run or exercise for 4 weeks. She wants me to not exercise for that long and then we will re-assess what’s going on. I need to ask her if yoga would be ok – at least something gentle.

This is killing me!! I just moved to a town where I have so many new places to run. I  have my own fitness center in my building. I miss my spin classes! Yet now I can’t exercise. I know it’s for the best. I know I need to work on my body ASAP. Plus, if I am able to lose this excess weight, it will help my running in the long run.

How have you dealt with not being to exercise due to health reasons? 

Have you ever done tests like this to see where your hormone levels, etc. are at?


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