I’m still here!

I haven’t posted much lately, which isn’t to say a lot hasn’t been going on. But since this blog is about running… and I haven’t done much of that lately… the posts have become slim. What I HAVE been doing, however, is moving out of NYC, buying a house, having a baby (hopefully very soon), and working on my career.

So this is a post to start the posting again! With spring on the horizon, races being planned and a whole new structure to my running with the little one, I’ll be posting more and sharing my journey with you again soon.

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New York City Marathon Photos, 2014

It took me months to work up the courage to hit the “Cancel” button on the NYC Marathon website, but I finally did. Knowing I wasn’t going to have the time to properly train, it was the right decision, but that doesn’t mean I wanted to do it. I did, however, make it into the city to watch, cheer and take some pics to share with you all! Congrats to everyone who did an amazing job on this windy Sunday on one of my favorite days in NYC! Enjoy:

 

 

Curried Lentil and Rice Salad

Dressing
2T fresh lemon juice
3T balsamic vinegar
1T honey
1 1/2T curry powder
1/2T cumin
1/4 cup olive oil

Salad
1c lentils
1c brown rice
2 roasted red peppers diced (fresh red peppers work equally well, if not better)
4 scallions sliced thin
6 dried apricots soaked in hot water, 30 min, cut into small strips
1c fresh cilantro leaves

shredded chicken breast (optional)

Mix salad ingredients in large bowl, top with dressing and mix in. I add chicken breast and topped a bed of romaine with this mixture and it’s great for dinner. This is also great to make the day before (salad ingredients in one bowl, dressing in another) and mix right before eating for a quick dinner option or to bring as a side to a party.

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9 Summer Beach Reads… And not the trashy, turned off brain kind

Summer Beach Books

I love reading. No, it’s not dorky, it’s awesome. And to make it even less dorky, I have a list of books to read for the summer that are not trashy, fictional, brain dead beach reads. Maybe because I’m older, maybe it’s because I’m trying to figure out my life path, maybe because I’m a mature responsible adult (no, no, definitely not the last one)? But whatever the reason, here’s my list. It’s a combination of Business, Girl Power and Runcentric.

  1. #GIRLBOSS by Sophi Amoruso – the CEO and Founder of NastyGal’s book about her story from dumpster diving and petty theft to running a $100 Million fashion powerhouse.
  2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling – I loved her in The Office and I’m obsessed with The Mindy Project, so why would I not want to read her story.
  3. BossyPant by Tina Fey – Because we’ve all seen Mean Girls, 30 Rock and pretty much think this woman is brilliant. Reason enough to read her book. Plus her and Amy Poehler should host every award event ever.
  4. 25 Mistakes I Made at Work by Jessica Bacal – A bunch of high-achieving woman tell their stories of failures & mistakes and how they learned from them.
  5. Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running by Dagny Scott Barrios – because you can never know too much!
  6. My Life On The Run by Bart Yasso – If one of the biggest icons in running writes a book, you read it.
  7. Going Long by Runner’s World, David WIlley – a collection of stories of “Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures” from the pages of RW mag. All those stories that are really hard to read because they make you want to cry, I’m guessing they are all stuffed into this book. I’ll let you know how far I actually make it through this one.
  8. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic of Disguise by Ruth Reichl – As an anonymous food critic and former editor in chief for Gourment Magazine, Ruth’s book is about changing her look to try food and stay anonymous, how it affects her character, expectations and the way people treat her. Apparently it is very funny and smart!
  9. The Forgotten 500 by Gregory A. Freeman – In 1944, the OSS set out to rescue 500 airmen who were behind Yugoslavia enemy lines. The information was classified for over 50 years, this is the full account. I love historical books, fiction and non. And WWII books… This is right in my wheelhouse.

Who’s reading what? Who has things they can recommend? Throw ’em at me! (full disclosure, I made this list a while ago and never posted, I’m about half-through the books now).

I’m on goodreads if you want to be friends.

Alysia Montano Running Pregnant

Alysia Montano takes on the 800 while 34 weeks pregnant, and it’s wonderful!

I don’t care what anyone says, this is freaking awesome!

Alysia Montano Running Pregnant

“I just wanted to do what my heart and my desire wanted to do.”

 

I’m sure we’ll see all sorts of opinions on her running while pregnant, like the CrossFit woman who lifted while preggers and everyone and their mother came out of the woodwork to comment. Everyone seems to love having opinions on other peoples lives and bodies. From my point of view, Kudos! I’ve followed Alysia on Instagram from before her pregnancy announcement and have seen all her training posts as her belly grew. As a runner or an athlete in general, woman have to worry about pregnancy and what it does to their bodies and how it will change their lives. If you’re anything like me or a lot of my friends, it’s a baggage you carry with you. Worrying about all that time you’ll have to take off, the changes that your body will go through and how you’ll have to pause your life.. albeit for a wonderful reason, but still. It’s a massive change and it’s something guys don’t ever have to worry about, think about or will ever understand.

Having someone like Alysia keep on keepin’ on while she’s 34 weeks pregnant is amazing! Not that everyone will have the same type of pregnancy (she had approval from her doctor) or the ability to keep up to her activity level, but it’s a great representation of how life can go on just the same. That women’s bodies are amazing and you should always do what you love! I think this is such an inspiration and I’m happy the crowds response was a well deserved standing ovation!

Long Beach Run

Finally did a beachy boardwalk run

Ever since I moved, whenever I brought up how difficult running in the suburbs is, people around here kept telling me to go try running on the boardwalk. So I finally did and here’s what I have to say:
Yes, it’s a nice path to run on, yes the ocean is awesome and the smell of saltwater and the breeze off the water, yes it’s by far the best option. No, it’s not nearly as good as Central Park (spoiled much?), no, there is no shade, and it’s only a 4 mile run (2 down and 2 back). Plus it’s a 15 minute drive from my house, on top of the 3.5 hour commute to work I’m already doing, I don’t think it’s an option. Not a daily one anyway.
My search continues! The boardwalk is definitely my favorite so far. Maybe it’ll be a weekend thing, followed by some surfing. The search continues. The lack of sleep continues. And the blog posting continues.
Keep checking back in to see what I find!

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Advice for New Runners

New Runners – Tips and advice to help get you started

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, and huge disclaimer right upfront. I am in no way an expert on running, I don’t have any certificates that can tell you how smart I am or make me actually qualified to give advice. What I do have, however, is thousands of miles logged and the fact that running makes me really really happy. And any of you who are new to running, that’s how it should make you feel as well. So here are my tips that I hope will help you love it as much as I do:

First, I must state you will also HATE running sometimes. You will want to sleep through your alarm, you will regret signing up for races and you will curse the day you read this post. With that said, suck it up! We all feel that way. But those days become less and less the more you run. Soon the days you don’t run will be the days you’re grumpy. You will actually LOOK FORWARD to going out and running miles upon miles. Sounds crazy huh?

Social Media

I use any trick I can to get my ass out the door and running. Social media is a HUGE motivator for me, and a lot of other people. Let’s be honest, if you tell everyone on Facebook you’re running a half marathon and then don’t do it, you look like a quitter. No one likes that feeling. Or else you don’t train enough and you have a terrible and slow race. That also creates a wave of embarrassment. (Note, sucking from a lack of training is not the same thing as getting injured or having unavoidable issues).

Here are some of the ways I use social media to my running advantage (and links to my Twitter, Facebook, Instagram if you want to be best buddies):

  1. Track your miles -Make a goal for each month or for the year and keep track of the mileage you log. I am on like a billion sites including these: DailyMile.com, MapMyRun.com, Nike+ and Strava (to name a few, ha)
  2. Tell people what you’re doing – If you’ve signed up for a race, Post it! You can’t back out once you’ve told people (and one or two posts will do, don’t fill your feed with gym selfies please, you’ll give us runners a bad name. Use instagram for this and keep it reasonable)
  3. Find like minded people – If you do want to fill your Facebook with running post, find a group that is dedicated to running and post in there. You’ll get great feedback and advice as well as being able to really gloat about your running accomplishments.
  4. Blog – Let’s be honest, there are about a billion blogs out there about running. Mine is just an excuse to let me focus on my runs and motivate me to keep doing it, so join in the fun!

Music

I know not everyone agrees with the running with music philosophy, but I’m a huge proponent of it (not if you’re on any dangerous roads or high traffic areas, always remember to be safe). I make playlists for my long slower runs, for my speed work, for my tempo runs… I think it has a huge effect on running. I also think it helps to pass the hours when you’re out by yourself for a couple hours doing long runs. So take a couple minutes and put those songs you love on a playlist and jam out as you go! (You can find all my music, don’t judge, on Spotify)

Goals

Make a goal to get you going. You’ll be a lot less likely to slack off if you know you have to run a half marathon! Start small (small is relative) and do a 5k. Also make sure you make your goals realistic, don’t sign up for an ultra when you just start running, that’s way too big and you’ll be exhausted just thinking about it. Do something you can achieve and then build up your goals little by little.

Friends/Running Groups

There are two reasons I think running with others is helpful

  1. You won’t skip your workout – I’m a solo runner mostly. I don’t need the group run to motivate me to get a run in, some people do. If you know you’ll let down a friend or a running group if you skip your run, you’ll be more likely to get out and go.
  2. You’ll work harder – This one totally applies to me. If I’m with a group of people running, I try harder. I did a class with NYRR while I was training for the 2013 NYC Marathon and I did more speed work than I ever would have done on my own (I know this is the part of my running I slack on). I also tried a lot harder in my workouts… which is to say I ran till I felt like I was going to die vs when I’m by myself and I only run till I feel like I’m going to puke. (If you’re super new, wait until you have a nice running base before you go total balls out, you won’t burn out or injure yourself that way.)

Gadgets

I’m a sucker for gadgets. I think anything that makes you want to get off your ass and go running is money well spent. I can also justify any purchase… Say a new GPS watch… $150 is like a night out in NYC, I’m actually saving money with all the mornings I’ll go running and all the nights I will skip out drinking… See how that works! Here are the things that I think it’s OK to spend money on:

  1. GPS Watch – I finally invested and bought a TomTomRunner. It’s my first one, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. They keep updated the online site, making it better and better and this was one of the few that fit my birdlike wrist that I didn’t find too clunky to run with. I love the thing! I nailed my pace with it in the NYC Marathon. No excuses with this on your wrist!
  2. My Phone –  I used to run with an iPod, now my iPhone pretty much does it all. You can find me posting Instagram pics, tweeting, using gps apps, all my music is on here, etc. It’s pretty much my life bread.
  3. Running Clothes/Shoes – The running clothes everyone is making these days are super cute and so comfortable. I have no problem investing $130 or so on a pair of running shoes. Unlike heels that I’ll wear a handful of times a year, I spend hours upon hours in my running sneakers. It’s worth the investment and there are so many specialty running stores, find one in your area and get a pair that fits you correctly. And with the clothing, if you feel comfy and badass, you’ll be more likely to lace up and go show off how great you look running. So go on a shopping spree when you need a boost, I approve.
  4. NikeFuel/Fitbit – these are just other gadgets that get you moving more, which can never be bad. If you’re mindful of how active you are throughout the day, you’ll incorporate better habits into your schedule. (nikefuelband & fitbit)

Training Plan

Have one. There are plenty online that you can search for, depending on what your goals are, your race distance, and your fitness levels, just do a little research and find one that’s right for you then stick to it.

Other Tips

  1. It’s going to SUCK when you start – I’ve been running for years, and when I take a couple months off and then try to get back into it, I even think it sucks! Stick it out. Once you get into it more and more, it will suck less and less. Parts of you will hurt that never hurt before, you’ll think it’s boring, that it’s hard, that you really could skip it. But keep going, it gets better, I promise.
  2. It’s going to HURT – Duh, right? But it has to be said. Your tolerance will increase. You’re threshold for that sucky running feeling will increase. And once you get to that runner’s high feeling, you’ll know why people love the pain just as much as they love being done.
  3. Walking is OK – I walk on my runs still. Sometimes you have to and it’s actually good. Think of it this way… Is it better to run a mile and not walk at all? Or to run 3 miles and take a quick walk break after each mile? Exactly. Throw a walk in there, go longer, don’t hate your life.
  4. Food – Don’t think because you ran 3 miles you can eat an entire pizza. That’s not how this works.
  5. Race yourself – And by this I do not mean that every race is a PR. Race from where you start. I know what my PR is for all my races and my fitness level is not always at PR status. But I’ll know what my potential is when I go out to do a race, and I’ll run like hell to reach it. Take my recent Brooklyn Half Marathon race, I knew I wasn’t going to beat my PR from last year of 1:34 in it, I had taken 2 months off from running and had only been back to training for a month. But that doesn’t mean I can slack… I laced up and ran a 1:38. It wasn’t my best, but by God I tried my hardest. So go out there and always try to kick your own ass.
  6. Rest – This is a big one if you don’t want to get hurt! Recovery days are important. I know I constantly have problems with my IT Bands and if I don’t rest and take the time to foam roll like a maniac, I have some serious issues. It’s more important to stay healthy than it is to run those couple miles.
  7. Post Race Celebration – I am a big fan of doing something after a race, it makes all your hard work seem like nothing when you’re having a beer with friends talking about how awesome your run just went. Plan a brunch or a day at the beach or a BBQ for after your race, it’ll make your weeks of training seem less gruesome when you have a carrot at the end of the stick.
  8. Have Fun – Find what makes running fun for you and do it. I always think of that Friends episode when Phoebe and Rachel go running in Central Park, you know the one, where Phoebe runs like she’s a little kid because that’s when running was fun for her (don’t slack on your form, this is just the spirit of it). So go out there like the crazy person you are, run like a little maniac!

 

Phoebe Running

 

Do you guys have any tips you want to share? Post away!

 

(this is also more general ideas vs training. Maybe that’ll be in a different post 😛)

Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap

Another Brooklyn Half Marathon has come and gone! This is such a great, cool race, that I’m barely allowed to run it. Between the pre-party, the awesome merchandise, the fact that everyone and their mom does it, and the amazing times people post, I’m waiting for them to tell me that, like going gluten free or blending all my food, I’m just not trendy enough to be involved. But until that happens, here’s the fun from this years Brooklyn Half:

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I haven’t been training much in 2014. I’ve had some other significant life events happening, plus the winter was a tundra even for my standards (read, I’m lazy), and my running has been slacking. I did get about a month of training in before this race, and ended up doing a bit better than expected.

The Pre-Party
This is always fun! It’s basically and excuse for people who love to talk about running to all be in the same place to talk about running, and drink beer… oh, and pick up your race packet. But did I mention the beer:

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Race Day
The only sucky thing about race day is the fact that it starts at 7 am, in Brooklyn…  I luckily had a husband who wasn’t racing and was able to drive, drop me off, and then continue on to a location that would actually have parking. Due to my chauffeur, I must note that I did not deal with the bag check area, which I heard was a bit chaotic. And I feel for those who had to wake up at 3 am to get ready and head to a train to make the commute. Not ideal. But us runners are known to do these types of things.

I thought the porta-potties in the corrals were a great idea, until I was in a huge line that stood still as they opened the corrals and thousands of people tried to push past us. Minus that stressed out moment, everything else went great (and there was no real reason to stress, I’m just known to freak out about being in lines 5 minutes before start). The weather was perfect, the course is so fun, the people cheering are super enthusiastic and take some serious pride in their signs.

Recap
I started off a bit faster than what I had planned in my strategy. I took friday off completely from working out and my legs felt nice and rested. Knowing I felt good, I let myself run at a comfortable pace even though it was faster than planned, not pushing it too hard as to not burn out in the end, but not so slow I would regret my run. It was a good comfortable pace and then around mile 9 I finally felt like I started working for it. The lack of long runs and a lot of slow runs were to blame, but I threw a couple of Gu’s down my gullet (mile 7 and 10, the second one was just for fun really), focused on my form and kept cranking away. Finishing with a time of 1:38:12, a 7:30 pace, I was pleased. Not a PR here, but still not bad for where I thought I was at.

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Brooklyn Half Marathon Brooklyn Half Marathon

Post Race
We didn’t have time to stick around long (family party going on), but enough time to have a couple beers. They have electrolytes, right? We headed over the the Coney Island Brewing Co.’s Beer Garden, which was awesome! It wasn’t crowded yet and we ended up talking to a group of other equally awesome runners, the people working from Coney Island Brewing were super fun and nice and it was a perfect way to end a perfect race!

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More Bling to add to the Collection

More Bling to add to the Collection

Our new friends

Our new friends

Can’t wait till next year!

Race week – Brooklyn Half Marathon

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Going into any race, I like to have a game plan. This is a little break down of the things I mentally & physically prep the week of a race.

After last years race

After last years race

Course – hopefully you have an idea of this a little before race week, but if not, take the time to look at the course. Not only should you know the main details, start time, location, etc. Know the elevation of the course. Brooklyn is a net downhill run, but that doesn’t mean it’s all one slopping decline. There is a nice hill in prospect park around mile 5 and some other minor rollers in the first half and the finish is up a ramp onto the boardwalk. Be ready for these and don’t burn yourself out not knowing your elevation (you can burn yourself out up the ramp, you’re done shortly after there!), this is a great course to get negative splits on because once you’re out of the park it’s a gradual downhill towards Coney Island.

Link to last years race on Strava (includes my pace and an elevation chart)

Pace – plan out your attack. I’ll share with you mine: based on my lack of training for this race, I’m not shooting for a PR (unfortunately). But I am planning to run at the best capacity I can, and to do that I know I need to be smart. My longest training run was 9 miles, and just sub 8 min. miles (vs the 7:12 min pace I ran the bk half in last year). My plan of attack is to keep the first 8 miles relatively easy, however nothing slower than a 9 min mile. I haven’t run on fresh legs in a while, looking forward to that feeling. When I get to the last 5 miles, the race will start in my mind. Up to that point it’s a controlled run, making sure I don’t burn out.

Travel – parking in Brooklyn is especially challenging, and if you live in NYC or the Burroughs, weekends are always filled with subway construction and delayed trains. Plan out your transportation before the morning of, look into possible delays and know where you’re going. Last thing you want is the stress of being late or possibly missing a race you’ve trained for.

Clothing – most of you know this. Know what you’ll wear. Don’t try out anything new, and equally important, know where you need to put your body glide!

Food – another one you probably know. Know what you’ll eat, I always make oatmeal the night before so all I have to do is wake up and pop it in the microwave, make coffee and my breakfast is done in 10 minutes. Same goes for pre-race dinners. I know greasy food bothers me, I don’t overload on cheese, etc, the night before a run. Know what works, don’t get crazy.

Port-a-potties – I bring those little packs of tissues with me to races…. Just in case… You know why.

Post Race Fun – I love to celebrate after a race! Whether it’s just brunch and a mimosa after a race with the hubby or a full on post race outing, I love my reward bash. I think mid-run of what kind of beer I’ll have when I’m done and the faster I’m done the faster I can have that beer. Find what works for you. Is it a good meal, a beer, a pair of new sneakers or heels you’ve been eyeing? Pick a reward that motivates you and you can focus on that instead of the pain, a carrot at the end of a stick.

Rewards!

Rewards!

Refueling options :)

Refueling options 🙂

 

Any other good tips, would love to hear them. Good Luck to everyone running!!!

CityRow

My introduction to CITYROW:

First things first… I don’t usually take classes outside my gym, I pay enough per month to feed a small family to belong to a gym in NYC, so when I do go to a class outside my normal brick and mortar, I’m usually really excited about it! I also am coming from the viewpoint of a runner, I like high octane, sweet my ass off, make it hard for me to walk tomorrow kind of workouts. With all that being said, CityRow is awesome!

I was fortunate enough to take a class the other week! Our instructor, Beth Lewis (follow her on instagram here), was superb, keeping us motivated and being a little buff bit herself. My ass (turns out rowing is a great glute workout) was sore 5 minutes in. And don’t be disheartened if you’re thinking this is just 45 minutes of rowing, it’s not! You hop off your machines and do some leg work, arms, abs… I wasn’t expecting such  full body workout from a rowing class, but they give it to you!

Some photos from the event, and I’m now totally into this CityRow thing! (Photo credit goes to super star Matt Ryb)

Signing in before class

Signing in before class

Pre-workout posing

Pre-workout posing

Photo Booth!

Photo Booth!

Our awesome instructor

Our awesome instructor

Here...

Here…

We...

We…

GOOOOOO!!!!

GOOOOOO!!!!

CityRow Workout

The result... Dunzo

The result… Dunzo

Never too tired for a photo op!

Never too tired for a photo op!

Never too tired for a photo op!

Never too tired for a photo op!

 

Big thanks to Under Armour for putting this on for us!