07-11-2013

Why I Needed A Break From Running

I love running. I do. But after the Brooklyn Half Marathon, I needed a break from running.

Towards the end of half-marathon training, I wasn’t looking forward to runs anymore. It was more of a task than fun, and that’s how I knew. I wanted the half to be over so I could take a break and go back to lifting. I knew I needed to start marathon training towards the end of July…and I could have and probably should have kept running a little bit to keep my base, but I just needed to get away from it.

I love running and I want to feel excited for runs, and I just wasn’t there anymore. So I took a month and a half off and did other things, like cardio/strength workouts that focused on different forms of cardio, like burpees (hate). I loved seeing my improvement in lifting and reps.

Then, once I picked out my half marathon training plan, I started getting excited about running again…and all of a sudden, I couldn’t wait for training to start again!

I’m only in week 2 of training but I am excited for each run so far. My goal is to PR at the New York City Marathon, so that will fuel my runs as well.

I definitely needed that time away from running to feel this excitement again. Because, honestly, after the half I was like ugh I have to start MARATHON training now?!?

Isn’t it funny how it almost sounds like a relationship? ;)

Marathon Training

Speaking of marathon training. I started my day off with an easy 3 mile run today. Well, it was certainly at an easy pace (slow) but it did not feel easy considering it was 80% humidity. WHYYYY??? Can this go away anytime soon? I had to stop and walk a few times because I just felt so out of breath, but I felt good finishing the run. I also ran in my Pro Compression socks for the first time…not bad! And I love this color…and I swear I didn’t mean to match my outfit :)

Then I made myself a nice breakfast…egg white scramble with mushrooms topped with salsa, and an apple with almond butter. Yum!

This is the first week I will be running Thursday-Sunday! Hopefully it goes well and my body adjusts to running in the heat.

Have you ever needed a break from running? Or any sport? Or can you run all year round?

 

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02-06-2013

4 Mile Run = Longest Run in Months!

Yesterday I had my half-marathon training class, in which I am one of the assistant coaches. It’s our second week, and for the intermediate group we ran 4 miles. This is the longest I have ran since beginning of December probably!

I was a little nervous actually, even though I really had no reason to be. I have been doing 3 miles consistently, so 1 more mile would be fine.

But then I was warming up and could already tell my shins were going to be hurting. When they are sore as I do jumping jacks and stuff I know it will be a tough run! Sigh… #runnerprobz

I ran with one of the girls in the class which definitely helps the time go by. Also, had she not been there, I know I would have made a million excuses and ended the run at 2-3 miles, and told myself I’d make it up later in the week. I’d think, “my shins hurt…my calves are so tight…it’s really cold…” It was just one of those days where you’re not really itching to run but you just gotta do it.

Which is why I’m so glad I had a running buddy! We chatted and talked about races we’ve done, and before I knew it we were done. I also ran at a faster pace than I’m used to, because I wanted to keep up with her. It was tough, but I could still hold a conversation which is good.

What I learned from this run is that even when your brain is telling you to quit and just do it another day, your body will surprise you. You have a lot of gas left in the tank, and you are able to push past that tiredness or what have you to finish your run. Same goes with lifting. The other day I was on my last set of pullups and thought I could only do 6 reps…then I heard a personal trainer motivating his client with “Come on! You can do it!” and imagined him yelling that at me…and lo and behold I finished the full set! I found this quote that relates perfectly…even if you’re not a runner the message is the same:

Conquer your mind and you will surprise yourself. Can’t wait to see how our 5 mile run goes next week…I actually am nervous for that!

When has your mind told you to quit but you kept going…and felt awesome after?

11-06-2012

ING New York City Marathon *1 year anniversary*

I cannot believe today is exactly 1 year since my mom and I ran the New York City marathon. Our very first marathon. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

On Nov. 6, 2011, we woke up at 4:45 am (?!?!?) rushed to get coffee and a bagel, and get on our bus that would take us to the starting village.

We had prepared for months for this moment. We had also worked for months to raise $8,000 for the Christoper Reeve Foundation.

Back of my Team Reeve Shirt

We trained in the cold. We trained in the blistering heat (I’ll never forget our 18 miler which we could ONLY do at noon on a 90 degree day). We canned for hours in front of grocery stores asking people to donate. We sacrificed a lot for this moment. I stayed in on weekends when friends went out because I had to train in the morning. We endured sore legs and muscles…but were rewarded with long, post-run naps :)

I just can’t believe it’s been a year! I never in a million years thought I would run even a half marathon, let alone a marathon. The year before the marathon I started following more health and fitness blogs, and seeing what people were accomplishing. That is what motivated me to set this goal. My mom and I had a ton of support from family and friends, and it was amazing.

Our wave went off at 10:40, and we were beyond excited. I don’t think we could even really process what was happening. Before we knew it we were running over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. As everyone always says about the NYC Marathon, the first 1-2 miles are all uphill on the bridge, but you barely notice it because you just can’t even believe it’s happening.

The first half-marathon basically is through Brooklyn and all flat (thank god). We met up with my dad, brother, sister and boyfriend at Mile 6.

Candid that my brother and sister took

We got to the half-marathon marker at about 2:30. I figured we could finish in 5 hours, maybe less because at that point I still felt strong. At mile 15 we trekked over the Queensboro Bridge which was tough. It was all uphill and never-ending. As people always say, there are also no spectators, so it’s eerily quiet.

But you can see Manhattan in the distance! As you come out of the bridge, it’s mile 16. Only 10 more miles to go! You round the corner and onto 1st Avenue, which is booming with all of the cheering. It really is a “wall of sound.” You’re like, “Ok, I got this! 10 more miles? That’s nothing!”

Still feelin’ great

But then you start to the notice the slight incline that doesn’t seem to be ending…and that’s where I started to fade. This was the point where I first started walking. My mom still felt great, and I felt really bad holding her back. This was also the point where I started feeling SO thirsty. I couldn’t stop drinking water. Later, I would find out this is what would do me in. Yikes.

So we trek up 1st Ave and I knew my family would be at mile 18. I wanted to look strong for them!

Then it’s pretty much a blur to me until I get to mile 20. I knew my best friend was there, and that’s what pushed me through to at least get to that point. I found her and she cheered me on and told me to keep going. We shared a picture and a laugh and she sent me on my way.

After this, I was majorly struggling. A lot of walk breaks. My pace fell to the 12-12:30 minutes per mile range. I was not looking too hot. At mile 23, we entered Central Park AND my brother and boyfriend joined in for the last 3 miles. They tried to joke with me and get me going, but I was extremely cranky at that point, and walking for the most part. My brother grabbed my arm at one point and made me run!

Who made me do this again? LOL so embarassing

Doesn’t Dan look like he’s our bodyguard or something with his shades?

The last 3 miles would NEVER END. At mile 26, we stopped to take a picture with the mile 26 sign. I literally didn’t even have energy to smile.

The last 3 miles were honestly a blur. I didn’t get that feeling of excitement that we were almost finishing our first marathon. I was nauseous, dehydrated and angry with my time. I wish I could say we crossed the finish line and cried and hugged each other, but we actually got our medals and then I threw up and landed in the emergency tent. Oops.

But I certainly was glad to be finished. We walked out of the park and 10 blocks to wear Team Reeve was gathering. We got free stretches, and ice bath and miso soup to replenish sodium :)

And of course we were proud to be walking around in our mylar blankets!

This experience is one I will never forget. Of course, upon finishing I said NEVER AGAIN. But 1 week later, my mom and I signed up for New York Road Runners in order to complete 9 of their races to qualify for the 2013 New York City Marathon. We just finished race #8, and have one more to go, along with 1 volunteer session. I cannot wait to come back and conquer the course. I just need to learn how to properly hydrate this time!

New York City 2013, here we come ;)

Watch my video montage/recap here.

10-25-2012

Who’s running this weekend?

This weekend will be an eventful one. Saturday is the Rutgers Homecoming game, so obviously that will be a ton of fun! It’s also Halloween weekend, but I won’t be going out Saturday night after the game. Why? I’m running the NYRR Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5 mile race in Central Park.

So, I’ll be waking up at 5 am Sunday morning. I’m definitely not a morning person, but I’ll do it for a race! I almost didn’t run this because I did want to do something for Halloween, but I need to get my 9 races in for next year’s New York City Marathon, and I’d rather run a race now than in December when it’s freezing.

Is anyone else running a race this weekend? Have any of you done any of NYRR’s 9+1 races for entry into the marathon?

I’ll leave you with a little running humor…love this:

10-18-2012

Fall running is seriously the best

I’m so excited that I was able to run 5 miles yesterday! No shin issues, no pain…felt awesome!

I am an assistant coach for a running class on that meets once a week. They are training for a half marathon, but due to my shin issues (and because I just need a break from long distance) I don’t run as far as they do. They did 9 miles yesterday, and I definitely am not ready to do that kind of distance!

Anyways, it was a beautiful, crisp, fall afternoon…perfect for a run. I ran along the Raritan River on the Canal Towpath. You can’t beat this scenery:

The path is 34.5 miles long so it’s perfect for running. During marathon training last year my mom and I did our 20 mile training run on this path. Looking back on it, I have no clue how we ran 10 miles out and 10 miles back…I cannot fathom that now!

I finished at an average of a 9:50ish minute/mile pace. I can’t wait for my next run tomorrow. I seriously love fall running!

Another picture I took on one of my runs.

Are you a runner? What is your favorite season for running?

09-25-2012

Race Recap: 5th Avenue Mile

The 5th Avenue Mile was amazing!!! Seriously, I still am feeling runner’s high from that race. It was my first time running it and I had a great time.

This was the first race where my mom and I were running separately. Since it’s a large field, they split runners up into age groups. My race was at 8:55 am and hers was at 10:10 am.

As some of you may know, I am NOT a morning person. But my running coach, Marc, sent me a race-day game plan earlier in the week where he urged me to get there with enough time to get my bib, warm-up, etc. Usually I’m running late and get there with just enough time to pick up my bib, run a few strides and line up. Miraculously, I made it there before registration even opened! I had enough time to register, do some pre-race stuff, and then do a 1 mile warm-up in central park. I was so early that, even once I finished my warm-up, the starting area was still empty :)

About five minutes later they called my age group in. I lined up closer to the front because once the gun went off, I just wanted to bolt!

Nervous before starting!

They counted down letting us know we had 5 minutes…2 minutes…1 minute…30 seconds…10 seconds, ah! I had so many butterflies because I had no idea what to expect. I had never run a mile on the roads before and had no idea how fast to go out. Once the gun went off I just ran as fast as I could!

My sister got one picture of me running and I’m in the corner, so I decided to be artsy and highlight myself:

I felt like I was going too fast, but again, I had no clue. At the quarter-mile point there was a slight upgrade apparently, but I didn’t really feel it. Those are the perks of living in a rural town with lots of hills…lots of hill training on daily runs! After the 1/2 mile point it was all downhill but I didn’t know if I should speed up. I looked at the clock and couldn’t believe my time so I figured I was going way too fast for my own good. At 3/4 of a mile I kicked it up until the finish. I finished in 7:07! My fastest mile time since high school! If only I could keep that pace for a 5K race…

Runner’s High

I feel like it may have been possible to run closer to 7 flat, but I am super happy with my time! The good thing about this race starting and ending at different points is that I was forced to do my mile cooldown. I jogged back up to the start to tell my mom about the race and course, and wish her luck. She ended up also running a fast time of 7:20 which she was very happy with.

Post-race with my mom

After her race, we stuck around to wait for Kara Goucher…my running idol! Since we were already in the area she’d be signing we ended up being first in line to see her. She was giving a special gift to the first 25 in line, which ended up being her book (which I already have…and she already signed). I told her about that when I went up and she laughed and said “I love it! This is old news to you then” so she signed my bib. I asked her why Shalane (her training partner) wasn’t there and she said she was supposed to be but her parents came into down. Dang! I would have loved to meet Shalane Flanagan. Anyway, we then chatted about her strength training and she told me she lifts 3 times a week on her easy running days and does a lot of core work. Good to know!

So excited to chat with Kara!

Afterwards, we headed back to 5th Ave. to watch the professional races. I was excited to see Jenny Simpson…especially after she replied to my tweet earlier in the week asking if she was running the race!

Sadly, I didn’t catch her during the women’s race – they’re so fast!

BUT, I did run into her after the race!! This seriously made my day. I met a World Champion!

Me with Jenny Simpson

On our walk back up 5th Avenue to our car, we caught some of the pro men’s action as well.

Overall, it was an awesome day. I had so much fun. The streets were lined with people cheering on runners. The race was short and sweet. I will definitely be running this again next year. Only 8 more races to go until we complete the NYRR 9+1 program and are heading to the ING New York City Marathon in 2013!

I’m going to end this on an inspirational note.

See that man up there? I believe he ran in the 60-69 age group. Just look at his finish time! Talk about inspiration. That makes me believe that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to achieve great things.

Next NYRR race? The Poland Spring Kickoff on Oct. 28.

Are any of you running a race soon? What’s your favorite race distance?