11-19-2013

7 Tips To Aid Muscle Recovery

I thought of writing this post today because currently I can’t straighten my arms from being soooo soreeee. I did a chest and back workout yesterday which included pull-ups…which I haven’t done in months! The first few days of lifting after a long hiatus are always the worst in terms of soreness.

While sometimes you can’t avoid soreness or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), there are ways to promote muscle recovery, and feel back to normal faster. Here are tips that have worked for me, and may help you to avoid the DOMS!

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  • Have something with protein after every workout. I usually try to have a protein shake as soon as I get home, or if my workout is timed right, I get home and just have dinner. Protein aids in the repair of exercise-induced damage to muscle fibers. [1] Every time you go to the gym, you are damaging and tearing your muscle fibers. What you do after the gym is what matters, because once those fibers heal is when you will see your gains (i.e. – lift heavier). Active states:

Heavy resistance exercise increases the rates of both protein synthesis and breakdown in muscle for at least 24 hours after a workout. Unless a protein-containing meal is consumed during recovery, breakdown will exceed synthesis, resulting in the loss of muscle mass.

I usually try to get around 20-30 grams, and within 30 minutes of my workout ending.

  • Stretch. I always try to stretch after every workout. Your muscles are nice and warm, and this is the perfect time to stretch them out after they have tightened up during your workout. According to MIT:

When you stretch, the muscle fiber is pulled out to its full length sarcomere by sarcomere, and then the connective tissue takes up the remaining slack. When this occurs, it helps to realign any disorganized fibers in the direction of the tension. This realignment is what helps to rehabilitate scarred tissue back to health.

  • Ice, use heat, BioFreeze, etc. If something feels swollen, like a joint, ice it to decrease inflammation. I’ve also tried “contrast therapy” after long runs or hard workouts. Get in the shower, use cold water for 30 seconds, then switch to hot water, and repeat 4-5 times. If a muscle is just plain sore, applying a heat pack can help it relax. My physical therapist also recommended BioFreeze for times when ice isn’t convenient. It’s like Bengay or IcyHot but with less chemicals…and definitely makes whatever area you’re using it on feel nice and cold! I was applying it to my shins and calves before bed.

  • Foam roll/self-myofascial release. I don’t think I need to talk about this too much. Foam rolling has so many benefits for your muscles, despite sometimes being painful! It helps release muscle adhesions (knots) in order to help muscle recovery, and allows your muscles to move much smoother. If you don’t have a foam roller, use a tennis ball or lacrosse ball. I like it better anyway because it’s smaller and can really get into those hard to reach muscles. When you hit a tender spot, stay there for 20-30 seconds, and/or also try flexing and unflexing the muscle (similar to ART). Foam roll first, then stretch.
  • Take supplements. Magnesium is something many people don’t get enough of, and it helps greatly with muscle recovery, nerve function, and also helps you get better sleep. [2]. I also take L-Glutamine and have taken BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) before. L-Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that helps to ease trauma, and halt the breakdown of muscles.[3] BCAAs support muscle protein synthesis and also can decrease muscle soreness such as DOMS. Read more benefits of BCAAs on Charles Poliquin’s website – he’s a well-renowned and respected trainer.

So there you have it folks. Those are just some ways that I help my muscles recover. It really is important to remember that what you do OUT of the gym matters more than IN the gym. Make sure to get enough sleep, hydrate, etc. to take care of your muscles and you will see the results you want.

What tips would you add to this list? Which of these haven’t you tried yet?

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11-18-2013

Motivational Monday!

Can you believe next Thursday is Thanksgiving? Who else loves Thanksgiving??

So today instead of a motivational quote, I thought I’d start Monday off with some humor. A few of my guy friends and I were talking this weekend and they told me how when they go to the gym they mainly do chest, back and arms. I was like whaaaaat?! So that’s what inspired this:

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I saw this on Instagram and immediately sent it to them. The caption was, “Don’t skip leg day!” I love it. :)

1) Do you ever skip leg day, or do you love leg day?

2) Favorite Thanksgiving dish? I need some ideas for this year!

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11-15-2013

Get Pumped At The Gym

TGIF! I can’t believe the response I got to my running post yesterday…thanks everyone! :)

Are you heading to the gym today to kick off the weekend the right way? If you’re looking to try something new, here’s a workout I created that hits all major muscle groups and adds a cardio component. If you weren’t planning on going to the gym, I think you should go ;)

getpumpedInstructions:

Do 10 sets of each exercises, and repeat 3-5x through depending on how much time you have/how challenging of a workout you want.

For pull-ups, use an assisted pull-up machine or band if necessary.

For the benchpress, use dumbbells if needed (if barbell is too heavy or not available at your gym).

For the kettlebell squat, hold the kettlebell up against your chest, elbows tucked in.

Use dumbbells for the “squat,curl,press.”

If you don’t need to do cardio today, or plan on doing it after, you can omit the burpees from the workout.

Let me know if you decide to try it! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you prefer to workout at the gym or at home?

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11-14-2013

“OK, You’re a Runner, Get Over It.” My Response

I read this article last night after seeing it posted on Facebook. Its tagline is: “Running a marathon is hard enough without also patting yourself on the back every step of the way.”

Hm…

Well…duh ;)

People have commented on the article and on Facebook saying people shouldn’t even bother responding because it is only spreading the author’s piece to a wider audience. But I did want to respond, because I want people to see my side (a runner) of things, especially those who may not share my passion (and I have a lot of friends who don’t) but may read his article.

He basically writes about how people only run marathons and half marathons to boast about it and put those 26.2 and 13.1 stickers on their car. Yes, I have those stickers, because I ran a freakin’ half and a full marathon, I think it’s certainly something to boast about! But to say that people train for 5-6 months solely for a sticker is absurd.

Runners train for many reasons. We train to feel fit. We train because it’s a stress reliever. We train because we want to compete against ourselves. We train to get over hardships. I don’t know of any runner who runs day in and day out, or trains for a marathon or half marathon solely to brag about it.

“But the clothes—well, that’s a different story. Many of the shirts on the racks have running logos, motivational slogans and images of stick people running.

Like the 26.2 and 13.1 bumper stickers, this apparel serves a clear purpose: We can look at them and immediately know that the person wearing it is a runner—perhaps even an accomplished one.”

I like buying these clothes with quotes on the front because it motivates me. I also see plenty of people at the gym who LIFT and don’t run wearing this type of clothing. What’s wrong with wanting to buy clothes that motivate you as soon as you put them on?

“I have a theory. There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running. When runners are dashing down a street in the middle of town or through a subdivision, they know that every driver, every pedestrian, every leaf-raker and every person idly staring out a window can see them.

These days, people want more than ever to be seen.”

So basically, we should stick to working out in the gym, because if we exercise outdoors, it’s only because we want attention?

I run because I like being outside and feeling the different seasons. I love feeling the heat and humidity in the summer. I love seeing my breath in the winter. I like that you need no equipment to run outside. All you need is your body. What’s wrong with that?

I suppose what bothered me about this article is that it lumps all runners together, stating that we all just want attention. Yes, I’ve been told by my boyfriend that I post too much about my running on my Instagram or Twitter (he isn’t a runner), but on the flip side, I have gotten so many inspiring comments from followers, as well as tips and advice from fellow runners. We are a community of people who help each other, and the same can be said for any fitness related community (lifting, CrossFit, spin, fitness in general).

I never post things because I want to brag and get a “like.” I certainly don’t run for that either…trust me, there are many days where I hate running and being out there.

And time out, runners are the only one posting on Facebook? What about statuses or tweets about “I’m going to the gym,” “I squatted X amount today!” etc. etc. Those don’t bother me at all, and sometimes they even motivate me to get my butt to the gym.  What’s so bad about that?

It’s like, you can’t win. If we don’t exercise, people write about how lazy/obese America is becoming. When there is a running boom in the US and more runners than ever who are being active, people write about how they only do it for attention.

Sigh.

Update: You need to read this hilarious rebuttal by Runner’s World.

What are your thoughts on the article? I’d love to hear them!

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11-13-2013

Eat This, Not That

Yesterday, I was able to attend a nutrition seminar held at the college I work at. I almost didn’t go but am glad I did because there was a lot of great info, which I knew I wanted to share with my readers.

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The seminar was geared towards busy college students, and the goal was to show them what choices they have when eating out at places like McDonald’s, Applebee’s, etc. We all know what’s healthy and what’s not, but if you’re faced with a few not so healthy choices while out, would you know what to pick?

The nutritionist gave us 4 things to look out for when buying “fast-food” or dining out:

  1. Type of food
  2. Size of food
  3. Prep
  4. Accompaniments

Food Prep

I’m sure you know that grilled chicken is better than “crispy” chicken sandwiches (aka fried), but do you know how much the difference is?

A KFC grilled chicken sandwich isn’t too bad…250 calories

A KFC extra crispy chicken sandwich is…510 calories!

Still not TOO bad compared to the stuff I’ll talk about in a bit.

Accompaniments

This conversation started with mayo. I love mayo. My mom has been buying the olive oil Hellman’s recently in an attempt to get a “healthier” mayo. Well, guess what…it isn’t that much better! Mayo is made from soybean oil (the cheapest oil they can use) and the mayo that says “olive oil” actually only has a tiny, tiny bit of olive oil, and the rest is soybean oil. They basically put the minimum they can in it so that they can put “olive oil” on the label.

The good news is, she stated that, “unless you’re eating jars at a time, don’t worry about whether you get olive oil mayo, low-fat mayo, etc. They’re all basically the same.”

Next, let’s go through options for each meal of the day. Some of the stuff I will outline, you may already know, but it’s good information for those who may not know, and a good refresher for those who eat out!

Breakfast

The nutritionist said, “muffins are donuts for rich people.” They really have no nutritional value, even bran muffins, which you may think it does. You will eat it, and you will still be hungry, and that’s how your day goes downhill (eating wise).

Oatmeal > Muffins. A medium sized oatmeal is about 260 calories, and a bran muffin is 480 calories.

Next, ham > sausage. Always. Why? because it has less fat. Even 2 pieces of bacon is still better than sausage. An Egg McMuffin = 300 calories, and a Sausage McMuffin = 450 calories. She said that if you need to get breakfast while at a McDonald’s (obviously oatmeal is the best), the Egg McMuffin actually isn’t that bad.

SIDE NOTE: She told us that the Egg McMuffin has the ham on the top, and the Sausage McMuffin has the sausage on the bottom (of the egg) due to scientific research by McDonald’s about what the best way for the egg and meat to hit your tastebuds is. So weird…

PicMonkey Collage

Okay, lastly, let’s talk about omelettes. I believe this is from Applebee’s, but a Simple and Fit Omelette is only 330 calories. Not bad at all. But if you get the regular spinach and mushroom omelette, it is……….910 calories! I couldn’t believe that. I have ordered omelettes many a time at diners, thinking it can’t be that bad because it’s just eggs and stuff. The killer is the cheese. That is what adds a ton of calories. Think about that next time you want to order an omelette!

Lunch

So you’re at Burger King..which do you choose? The Original Chicken Sandwich? Or the Double Hamburger?

If you’re like me, you may have thought the hamburger would be worse…but it’s actually half the calories of the chicken sandwich. 330 calories vs. 630.

Also, she talked about how fries really aren’t THAT bad if you get a small, and if you are really craving them. A small only has 230 calories. A large, however, has 500 calories.

Other great fast food options are:

  • oatmeal
  • fruit & yogurt parfait
  • side salad
  • fruit dippers
  • fruit
  • Wendy’s chili
  • Wendy’s baked potato (not loaded)

If you’re going to a deli for a sandwich, the top 3 deli meats are:

  • turkey
  • roast beef
  • ham

As she mentioned, “if you can see the fat, then don’t eat it,” referencing salami.

Snacks

“No 100 calorie snack pack will make you feel like you ate anything. You’ll just eat more snack packs.” Truth!

Here are some points she made on snacks:

  • Nuts are good in moderation
  • Lays will not fill your stomach, which is why you could eat a whole bag of them.
  • Nature Valley granola bars are a great option. But any granola bar that has chocolate or yogurty dip/base is not.
  • Fig newtons aren’t a bad snack option when in a pinch.

Keep a stash of these at home, at your desk, in your car if possible:

  • Crackers
  • Bars, such as Larabars which you can keep in your car for a while.
  • Peanut butter
  • Chobani
  • Hummus
  • Carnation Instant Breakfast. Not the best breakfast, but it’s something for on-the-go when you need it quick.

I love Larabars. They are all natural and have a lot of great flavors. I like having them when my sweet tooth strikes.

Dinner

“Healthy sells.” Restaurants know this. They know you want to eat healthy, but that doesn’t mean the dishes are, in fact, healthy.

Let’s say you go to Applebee’s and get a salad. They actually have a salad on their menu that is 1,200 calories!! That’s almost as much as some people need to eat in an entire day. And that’s a salad. Make sure to check the ingredients. If it contains cheese, it will most likely have a lot of calories, because restaurants load it up with cheese to make it taste better. This applies to any dish.

She suggested also getting a sirloin as opposed to a chicken dish if you’re dining out. A sirloin can be served plain with a side. When is grilled chicken ever served just plain? It usually has cheese, sauces, it’s breaded, fried, etc.

What about if you want Chinese food?

The Good

  • Dumplings if shell is thin
  • Egg drop soup
  • Sichuan dishes (less fat)

The Bad

  • Egg rolls
  • Spare ribs
  • General Tso (or any of those types of chicken)
  • Sweet n’ Sour Chicken
  • Lo Mein
  • Fried Rice

How can you make it better?

  • Skip the rice
  • Steamed veggies

Dessert

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know that Ben & Jerry’s is WAY higher in calories that normal ice cream. But it’s so good =(

A 1/2 cup of Eddy’s ice cream is 130 calories. A 1/2 cup of Ben & Jerry’s is 360 calories! And who eats only a half cup? I certainly don’t…

Here are some good dessert options if you have a sweet tooth like me:

  • Luigi’s Italian Ice
  • Klondike bars
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Skinny Cow ice cream
  • Fudgesicles
  • Slim-A-Cow ice cream

So there you have it folks. A key thing I will remember when dining out is cheese! I actually wasn’t aware it was so high in saturated fat and calories.

Another key point to remember, that the nutritionist stated as well, as that eating things in moderation won’t kill you. Indulge if you want, just don’t eat the whole bag of chips or the whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Though I know that’s hard ;)

I thought her seminar was very informative, and feel like I can make better choices if I’m out at a Burger King (which is rare but sometimes my friends want to go), or out to dinner.

What did you find interesting about this seminar? Did you learn something new? 

What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I love Half Baked!

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11-13-2013

Health/Fitness Links To Get You Through The Day

I didn’t get a chance to do this last week, so I’ll include a few extra links for you today ;)

Here are your health links:

Do you have a set grocery list each week, or do you go to the store and fly by the seat of your pants? I do the latter ;)

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11-12-2013

Hansons Marathon Method Review

As many of you may know, I used the Hansons Marathon Method as my training plan leading up to the ING New York City Marathon. I was really apprehensive about using this training plan, but really wanted to have a good race this year, as opposed to 2011.

I honestly don’t even remember where I found out about this training plan, but once I read reviews about it online, I immediately bought the book through Kindle.
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After reading it, I was seriously so nervous about training. It would be way more than I have ever ran…but I knew that would help me get faster and fitter as well. The book comes with a “Beginner” plan and an “Advanced” plan…though even with the beginner plan, you should probably have a good base before starting it.

Cumulative Fatigue

One of the main principles of Hansons Marathon Method is cumulative fatigue. Cumulative fatigue is, “the accumulation of fatigue over days, weeks, and even months of consistent training.” It doesn’t allow for full recovery between hard runs, though that doesn’t mean you wont’ have recovery days…more on that later.

The Hansons have 5 components that will result in this cumulative fatigue:

  1. Mileage
  2. Intensity
  3. Balance
  4. Consistency
  5. Recovery

Mileage

The difference with this plan and many others is that the bulk of your weekly mileage will not be on the weekends. They say many plans have you running only 3-4x per week, and then running your long run on the weekends. That means 50% of your weekly mileage is done within the span of 2 days. That can lead to overtraining and injury. You will be running 6 days a week. They state that this could freak some runners out in the beginning…I didn’t think I could do it, or run around 50 miles per week like they asked me too…but as they say, have confidence, and you will slowly build up to it. The great thing is that in the first few weeks, you get 2 rest days per week.

Intensity

This plan includes tempo runs, track workouts, and your usual long run. But most of your days will be easy run. While many runners think easy runs are junk miles with no real benefit, according to the Hansons, they are the runs that will really help you in the marathon. Why? Because you are running on tired legs. Do you know how many days after a tempo or track workout I really did NOT want to go out for an easy 5-6 miles? But I did because I knew running on tired legs would help me succeed in the marathon. Also, they stress that in those tempo and track workouts, proper pacing is KEY. If you go out faster than you are told, your body will take even longer to recover from a hard workout.

Balance

As I mentioned above, this training plan emphasize balance in all runs. Your long run shouldn’t be the bulk of your weekly mileage. Instead, all of your SOS (Something of Substance) workouts should be equally as important. Which is why during the week you could be running anywhere from 8-12 miles in your SOS workouts. That also helped me not be so nervous before long runs, because I was already running a decent amount during the week! The good thing about it too is if you must miss a run, all of the workouts are balanced and equal, so missing 1 long run will not totally ruin your entire plan. BUT, you really should try not to miss runs because it will throw your training off and put you behind. I think I only missed about 2-3 runs before I got injured (and had to miss a whole week).

Recovery

“When it comes to cumulative fatigue, you walk a thin line between training enough and overtraining.” Incomplete recovery allows you to perform well, even when you’re not feeling 100%. SOS runs are followed by easy runs. You will not go into a long run with fresh legs…because what’s the point? At mile 20 of the marathon, you won’t have fresh legs. The Hansons want you to get used to that feeling. The good thing about their recovery is that you can run 1-2 minutes slower per mile than your goal pace. It should truly be an easy pace. Enjoy these runs as leisurely runs where you don’t have to worry about time.

Other Key Points

If you look up Hansons Marathon Method, you will find the first thing you read about it is that you will not run 20 miles in training before the marathon. What?!?! Yup.

Not gonna lie…it’s awesome. I loved it. I did not feel like running 20 miles in training before the race. It takes up so much time, and they argue that it also requires a lot of recovery time too.

They are not saying, however, that everyone should not run 20 miles in training. Their rule of thumb is that your long run shouldn’t be 50% of your weekly mileage and that a long run shouldn’t take longer than about 3 hours to complete. After 3 hours, you’re hurting yourself more than benefiting yourself. Your body will need a lot more recovery time, which may lead to missing a run because you’re not feeling recovered.

I actually ran 18 miles in training, as opposed to 16, because I would finish right around 3 hours. If you need longer mileage for mental confidence, then go for the 18. Generally speaking, this plan has you running one 15 miler, and 3 16 milers before the race. And a bunch of double digit weekday runs.

What I Liked:

  • Very structured…took the guess work out of my training plan. Everything you do is explained by science and facts, which makes you feel more confident.
  • Tempo runs (though I also didn’t like them at times haha). They really help build your confidence since you are running at goal pace.
  • Not having to run 20 miles. Maybe once my average pace is faster, I will run longer…I hope one day I can run 20 miles in around 3 hours but that is a long time away!

What I didn’t like:

  • Honestly, there isn’t much I didn’t like. Running 6 days a week is tough. But you’re training for a marathon, it’s going to be tough.
  • Some days, getting in those easy, recovery runs is harder than the SOS workouts. 1) Running 5-6 miles after a hard workout is hard. Your legs feel like logs. 2) Running 8 miles before a long run the next day can be intimidating, but you know it will definitely help you in the marathon.
  • That’s really it!

Overall, I would highly suggest this plan to someone looking for one before their next marathon. It makes sense, has good information, and outlines everything you need to know, along with paces for each workout. They also include nutrition tips, taper tips, strength workouts, and more.

I ran NYCM and got a 33 min. PR! I really attribute this to the plan. Honestly, I never hit “the wall.” My energy never waned. Yes, my hips got tight around mile 24…but I ran 24 miles with ZERO problems, and was able to finish a marathon with only 1 walk break to stretch. It felt amazing to be passing people at the end, instead of being passed.

As I was finishing the race, this Hansons phrase stuck out to me, “We are training you for the last 16 miles of the race, not the first 16.” The cumulative fatigue aspect of this plan is what really helped me.

Would I use it again? Definitely! I already am trying to figure out a way to modify the plan in order to use it for half marathon training. If I run a marathon again next year, I will stick to the beginner plan again, since I couldn’t complete all the runs towards the end. If I can stay healthy, I wonder if I can get another huge PR!

You can order the book on Amazon, or order it to be sent right to your Kindle (or Kindle app on an iPad).

Have you used Hansons Marathon Method?

Would you consider it?

If you use it, please let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I’m open to any questions you may have!

Here’s a basic outline of their Advanced plan, taken from their website.

**Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you order through Amazon…hey, it’ll help me save up for my next marathon entry ;)

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11-11-2013

Motivational Monday!

I’m back on track today…with blogging, eating, exercising, etc. I apologize for the lack of posts last week, but I was enjoying having some free time with no marathon training ;)

After the marathon, I thought about what do I want to do next…it can be easy to get the “post-marathon blues” since you no longer have a training schedule to follow. But I’m really excited to make a new training schedule revolving around lifting. I can’t wait to get back into the gym.

In the past, after big races, I have taken at least a month off and done nothing. Then, I’d have to build back up from zero and that was frustrating…and my own fault! Now, 1 week after my key race of the year, I’m ready to continue building upon my foundation.

I will be getting back into lifting, while continuing to cross-train to maintain my cardio fitness. As the quote says, you need to put in effort day in and day out to achieve your goals. And I already have a few goals laid out for 2014!

Do you know what you want to accomplish before 2013 is over? Or in 2014?

How do you go about laying out goals and the steps you will take to get there?

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11-07-2013

Best Race Ever – 2013 ING New York City Marathon Recap

Ok, this may get long…so bear with me :)

The 2013 ING New York City Marathon was amazing. I don’t know how words can do it justice but I will try to describe my day!

First, I want to thank everyone who wished my mom and me well, commented or tweeted with advice and support, and to those who were at the race as spectators, especially my family and friends. We couldn’t have done it without your support, especially me since I was freaking out about my whole shin problem…

So where to begin…

We woke up at 6 am because luckily we didn’t have to get on a ferry until 8:30 am (though this actually would turn out to not be so lucky).  I was so nervous. I was nervous about not having run over 5 miles in the last 2 weeks, I was nervous about the wind…I was really scared it wouldn’t be my day. But having a bright, fun outfit did make me feel better ;)

marathon outfitWe got ready and drove into the city. We waited for the 8:30 Staten Island Ferry, though in hindsight, we should have just gotten on the 8:15 one that was there right when we walked in. I didn’t know they wouldn’t be checking your bib to see your boarding time.

Anyway, we got on the ferry around 8:40, and I attempted to eat my breakfast. I had a piece of toast and 1 egg before leaving the house, then had oatmeal with PB, honey and a banana/1 more egg on the ferry. I was so nervous it was honestly hard for me to get this down!

Once we got off, it was a long wait to get on the buses to the start village.  It took probably 30 minutes to get on a bus, at which point we had to stand because there were no seats. Now I was worried about my feet/shins from standing so long. The bus ride took an additional 30 minutes. This was probably the most annoying part of the day.

on the bus

on the bus

We finally got to the starting area at 10, and needed to be in our corrals by 10:40. We sat down in the starting area and started putting on socks, numbers, taking our jackets/sweats off etc. and the next thing I know it is 10:30!!! We had 10 minutes to get our bags to the UPS trucks and go to the bathroom, then run to our corral. Now I was really cursing myself for not signing up for the 8 am ferry…why did the man at the expo say we’d have plenty of time?!

The UPS truck literally started pulling away and saw my mom running after him so he took our bags. We ran to the porta-potty, then started running to our corral. We looked behind us and we were actually the last runners going in lol. Oops!

Whatever, once we got there it was fine. We relaxed and made the walk to the base of the Verrazano Bridge. We actually got there when they were singing the national anthem, and were quickly trying to set our watches, put phones away, make our fuel belts comfortable etc, last minute. Then the cannon went off! I had to pull to the side before crossing the starting mat because I was having issues with my Garmin…but after a few seconds we were finally off!!!

startline

Miles 1-2: Like they always say, you really don’t feel the incline of the Verrazano Bridge. It’s a mile uphill but you’re too busy feeling excited! Mile 2 is all downhill so you have to make sure to rein yourself in. Once you get to the other side, you start hearing the crowds and bands and know that your journey is about to begin.

Miles 3-6: Last time I ran, I wasn’t a big fan of the Brooklyn portion of the race, because it seems never ending (you run about 13 miles in Brooklyn), but this year I loved it! As soon as we got off the bridge, there was a marching band playing and people screaming your name. Mile 3-6 few by and we were averaging about a 10:30 pace. I got my first comment about the back of my shirt :) A girl came up to me and said, “We’re following the leader!”

Miles 7-10: Seriously, the crowd support in Brooklyn was phenomenal. It felt like everyone was screaming out “PATTY!! TINA!!” to us and we loved it. I high-fived people, waved and fist pumped…it was great. Our pace had dropped to 10:35 but I was okay with it. I wanted to say in the easy zone until after mile 15. We met up with my family and Dan around mile 7.5. Dan surprised me with a sign that said, “Run Like This Wind.” :) We took a quick pic and then continued on our way.

Waiting for us to arrive

Waiting for us to arrive

Miles 11-13: There was a good thing and bad thing about being around mile 10. The good thing was, we ran this portion of the course twice in practice (mile 10-finish), so we were finally in familiar territory on Bedford Ave. The bad thing was it was pretty narrow and we were so crowded at one point I was forced to stop and walk to try to get around runners! I know there were 50K runners this year but this was not fun. I was glad once we got closer to the Pulaski Bridge because it opened up. The Pulaski Bridge is at mile 13, and I remember this being challenging in 2011, but this year we cruised right on over it. I was so happy to be in Queens!

Miles 14-15: I don’t remember much of running through Queens because I was mentally preparing myself for the Queensboro Bridge. Around mile 14.5, we saw my family and Dan again, yay! Though this threw me off here…my dad was supposed to hand off some GUs to me, but I forgot! So I waved, kept running, then remembered and sprinted back to grab them. Thankfully my mom remembered, but I think this is where my pace got all wacky, because once we got onto the bridge, my breathing and rhythm were off. The bridge wasn’t bad at all, and once again I was happy we had practiced it in training. We were still feeling strong!

Miles 16-20: People talk about the crowds on First Ave. but I definitely prefer Brooklyn. The road here is really wide so it doesn’t feel as if you’re running through a tunnel of people like on Fourth Ave. But don’t get me wrong, there are still a ton of people. We were feeling good though our pace had dropped to around 10:45 after the bridge. Around mile 18 I told my mom we could probably pick it up a bit. I was just looking at the street signs, counting them down (or up?) until we could get to 126th and cross into the Bronx. I got another comment here about the back of my shirt -this woman came up to me and said, we are following you because you’re such a nice girl! Then wished me luck…put a smile on my face.

Mile 20-22: We crossed into the Bronx and finally got to mile 20! I vividly remembered in 2011 how much I was struggling here. It felt so good to be feeling strong and going steady. I asked my mom how she felt, and she was fine too, so we tried to speed up a tiny bit, and even though it felt like we did, according to splits, we actually stayed the same haha. After mile 22 we saw my family and Dan again! I told my mom I couldn’t stop for a pic or anything because if I did it would be too hard to start again. We just waved and gave them a thumbs up.

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Mile 23: Uh oh…the pain has set in. Here, my hip flexors started feeling really weak. It was such a weird feeling. It was weak, or tight, I don’t know but I felt like if I ran faster, my legs would give out. I slowed down to what felt like a crawl, but according to the splits, it was only a 10:59 pace at this point. I felt guilty for holding my mom back yet again, because she was totally fine, just like in 2011, but she stuck with me.

I think this is where the hill on 5th Ave starts? It’s almost a mile uphill, and in practice I remember thinking, OMG this hill will be killer on race day! Actually, I was so thankful for the hill. I wanted a hill at this point because I figured it would take pressure off my hip flexors and allow me to use different muscles. It kinda did…

Mile 24: We’re in Central Park! This is the one and only place we stopped the whole race! I stopped to stretch my hips for 30 seconds then we continued…albeit slow. I started to play a game where I’d speed up from light pole to light pole and slow down in between. Right before miles 25, I pulled over to stretch real quick again and spectators started chanting PATTY! PATTY! PATTY! Once I got up to run, they cheered so loud and a woman put some grapes in my hand. I smiled and went on my way. PS-why is it taking so long to get to mile 25 at this point?!

Mile 25: Ok, the last mile. I CAN DO THIS. I told my mom, Let’s go, and we sped up. I kept repeating to myself, “Ignore the pain. Pain is temporary. You want to finish by 4:50.” I knew 4:45 was out of reach but I really wanted 4:50. I looked at my Garmin and it said we were going around 10:45/mile (as opposed to the almost 11:30 I was doing at mile 24).

We ran up Central Park South which seemed neverending, but I knew my family and Dan were waiting at Columbus Circle to see us one last time. We were actually passing a bunch of people here which felt great! In 2011, I was walking this part, I was dead. This time I still had all the energy in the world and was waving to people who were screaming my name. We saw my family and I gave them the thumbs up and a big smile, and kept running.

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Mile 26 (!!!!!!): We saw the sign and it felt surreal. My mom was like we finally made it! I said ok let’s pretend this is a track workout and speed it up! We went as fast as we could (after 26 miles), and were all smiles. Someone yelled, only 400 yards to go, you got this!!! We threw our hands up in the air and crossed the finish line: 4:50:49. A 33 minute PR!!!

nyc marathon finishWe hugged and were so happy. I was cherishing this moment, because the last time I crossed this finish line, I immediately ran to a bush and threw up, and then ended up in the medical tent. Seriously, this race was a far cry from 2011…look at this picture that says it all…

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Now, I honestly felt like we had just done a long training run. My energy levels never waned. Our fueling was spot on…and I’m glad I discovered S!Caps which helped regulate my electrolytes and salt…especially since my face was covered in dry salt at the end!

We picked up our medals and heat sheets, and started walking to the UPS trucks. I had to sit on the curb for a little to stretch because my legs got so stiff, I couldn’t bend my right knee. I also stopped and sat in the truck for a bit, though it was hard to get back up…

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We got out on West 88th, and my family was on West 63rd, so there was NO WAY I was walking that far. We hopped on the subway (well, slowly walked down the stairs with a bunch of other runners lol) and finally met up with them around 2 hours after finishing. This part of the race sucks too but it is what is is. I’ve read people say that they will never run NYC again because of the long march after the finish but come on people, there are 50K runners, NYRR does what they can!

We finally met up with my family, Dan and my best friend Nicole :)

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I couldn’t walk Sunday night (actually almost cried trying to go up the stairs, not gonna lie), or Monday…but I am finally back to normal now! My dad said, “Hey you did this to yourself,” and I would do it all over again!

Here are our splits, in case you’re curious. I’d say we stayed pretty steady the whole race until around mile 23-24 when my hips got all weird. I’m really proud of our pacing!

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My Garmin was pretty spot on too…so glad I invested in one finally:

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Although our A goal was 4:30, we are so happy with our performance. I knew going in that 4:30 may not be feasible due to the time off I had to take because of my shin. Our B goal was 4:45, and our C goal was anything under 5…so we’re pretty happy!

It was truly an amazing day. We had a perfect race…PRed, and the spectators made us feel so special. I have been thinking about the whole day since Sunday, and replaying it in my head. I can’t believe it is over! I definitely have the post-marathon blues, but I’m already thinking about what spring races to do :) I wish I could complete 9+1 for 2014 NYCM, but it’s too late. Oh well, we’ll be coming back in 2015, New York!

Did you run NYCM? Is it on your bucket list? What’s the best race that you have ever had?

Read my 2011 NYC Marathon Recap here.

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Follow Reach Your Peak:

11-04-2013

We did it!!!

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I’ll write up a recap soon but today = relaxing on the couch and being lazy since I can barely walk =)

It was a truly amazing day!!!!