summer run streak

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you are already aware that I am participating in the Runner’s World Summer Run Streak 2013. My coach, Lisa, told me about the streak right after I completed the Trail/Road Challenge in the Berkshires. The rules of the streak were to run at least one mile every day from Memorial Day to July 4th. Thirty-nine days of consecutive running.

I have made it successfully to day 37. I’ve run in upstate NY, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Kansas, Oregon, in parks, on streets, bridges, and trails. I’ve done plenty of one-mile runs, but also a few longer excursions. I did nine miles with my dad, a quick jog with my brother Seth & Flike (the dog), the Color Run with my family, a long run to Doughnut Plant with Travis, the Pride Run with my cousin, and a few group training sessions with my Brooklyn team. It’s been a good running summer!

I’ve been recording my run streak by posting a photo each day to Instagram and Twitter. (You can use the hashtag #rwrunstreak to find streak-related posts.) I know that my friends and followers are probably slightly annoyed with all my running tweets and photos… I can see how it could look like bragging. But that is not at all my intention! The social media documentation has been a strong motivator. Knowing that I “need” to make a post each day has gotten me out the door when I didn’t want to. Encouraging comments on my posts make my day. And I love my collection of Run Streak photos!

I’ve really been enjoying this type of lower mileage daily fitness… so, I’m going to keep it going!! My friend Alison and I have challenged ourselves to continue the streak through the end of summer. We are calling the second leg of the summer streak: The Summer Heat Streak, July 4th – Labor Day. It will be 61 more days of consecutive running. And still, the only rule is that we must run at least one mile a day. You can join us! I am going to be tagging my related social media posts with #summerrunstreak.

One last thought… running hard every day and not taking breaks can be dangerous. I do NOT run hard every day. During this streak I’ve taken many “rest days” where I do my one mile run at a very easy pace and let my body recover. I actually feel like this lower mileage streak has been healthier for me than the sporadic, super-high mileage I was attempting earlier this year. Always listen to your own body and do what is best for YOU… no matter what your friends are posting on Twitter and Instagram. xoxo

currently :: may 2013

eating… broiled grapefruit. A delicious, but very healthy breakfast or dessert. I followed this recipe, but you can easily modify it and use whatever fruit or nuts you have on hand.

playing with… the A Beautiful Mess photography app. If you like Instagram, but want to add a bit more to your photos, you will love this app. It allows you to add text and doodles and novel borders and then share your creations via Instagram or other social networks. It is a lot of fun and totally worth the .99 cents!

prepping for… the Trail/Road Challenge next weekend. I’ll be running a 15k trail run on Saturday and a 5k road race on Sunday. In between, I’ll be partying with my Brooklyn Team in Training in the Berkshires!

trying something new… swimming! I am taking a weekly lesson with my friend Suzy. It is a beginner lesson geared toward triathlons. I have always known how to swim, but swimming competitively or for long distances is totally new. I think I am making progress…

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What are you currently up to?

running, now & forever

So. Running.

I am still at it, running races and training for my upcoming Trail/Road Challenge next weekend… but I have also been trying to take it easy.

So far in 2013, I’ve run three full marathons and five half marathons (if you count the Brooklyn Half I’m running on Saturday), plus assorted smaller races and trail miles. I am not bragging. When listed out, that race count looks obnoxious and dumb. I am still paying for over-doing it. I am sluggish and slow.

My favorite recent race was the Nike Women’s Half in DC on April 28th. I ran it with Chelsea and I felt good the entire race. Our time was not overly impressive, but it was much better than what I struggled to do at both the NYC Half the month before and the NJ Half the week after. Plus, the Tiffany necklace at the finish and lots of treats in Georgetown made it a fun weekend.

So, I’ve had a few fun races, a few terrible races, and some low key, relaxed training runs in between. Where do I go from here?

I still love Team in Training. My Brooklyn team is just a few weeks away from finishing up our summer season. I say it all the time, but it is the truth, TNT people are the best people. So fun! I mean, look at this gorgeous group! And these lovely ladies. We run for Boston. We run for equality. We train in storms and in the dark. Oh ya, and we all raise money for cancer research. It is a win, win, win. (hint: Join TNT!)

Some of my most fun and rewarding experiences ever have been with TNT… but I am tired. I need to pull back a bit and re-group. My running enthusiasm is injured and I’ve discovered something about myself: I’ll never be hard core about running. Sometimes I think I want to be, but the truth is, I don’t want to put in the work. I’ll never qualify for Boston or win my age group in anything. I’m into running for the fun, fitness, and friends… which are all great reasons, but they are difficult to shape into concrete goals and motivations. Do I want to run more fulls? Try a triathlon? Train for an ultra? I’m not sure.

My short term goal: focus on general fitness, listen to my body, and enjoy it! It might mean walking, hiking, doing more swimming, more cross training… or even running. I don’t have a plan… and that is the best part! I can do whatever I want!

march malaise

The first day of spring is tomorrow… but you’d never know that in Brooklyn. It snowed yesterday! It is rainy, cold, and overcast today. The cloudy coldness is bringing me down, but I really can’t place all of the blame on the weather. I need to make some changes, to my life and to my attitude.

My spring cleaning goals:

  • running – Running is discouraging. It is not fun, not energizing, not empowering. It is only discouraging. I know that it is my fault for over-doing it — three marathons in two months, plus the NYC Half on Sunday, was NOT smart — but my bad attitude is deeper than merely being burnt out. I have this unrelenting feeling that running is completely unfair and no one understands how difficult it is for me. Boohoo. I shouldn’t have such angry feelings about a freakin hobby. I am scaling back. I plan to only run two days a week (with Team in Training) and cross train a few days a week. I usually enjoy exercising, but I need to find a new activity that makes me feel fit and powerful, not sluggish and discouraged.
  • food – I have already been on a bit of a health kick. (Flax seed oatmeal with raisins and bananas for breakfast this morning!) But I want to stay committed. I have not quite decided how I feel about Mayor Bloomberg’s “soda ban”, but I know that for myself, I will always limit my refined sugar intake. I’ll never say that I am cutting out any type of food completely because I want to be a flexible and adventurous eater, but I certainly don’t need sugary beverages or processed junk food. I plan to cook at home more. Healthy dinners and lots of fruits and veggies!
  • swap-bot – Swap-bot is my constant companion and an unrelenting source of never-ending work. I don’t mind. I’ll keep working on it forever if users keep swapping… but I need to reframe my focus. I want to work harder on improving the site for ALL users, not just tread water trying to put out all the many tiny daily fires. I have said this before and I still believe it: art + community = a better world. I want to work more purposefully toward the goal of fostering creativity and friendship around the world via Swap-bot. And I want to make the site look and function better. There is a lot of work to do.
  • self – I plan to focus more on my own feelings and desires. I want to stay home more. Work on projects that improve my quality of life. Watch some tv. Make a quilt. Take it easy. I love socializing (probably too much) and I know it sounds crazy for someone who works alone everyday at home to want more time to myself, but I do. I love going out with friends, but I love hanging out with my husband more. I need to rest and recharge and remind myself that my priorities and ambitions may be different than others, and that is totally ok.

Once the sun comes out, I am sure I will be feeling more upbeat. Until then, I am going to take it easy on myself and do my best to foster my own happiness. What changes do you have planned for spring?

my 8th marathon

Leading up to (and even during the race yesterday) I was composing a manifesto in my head on the stupidity of marathoning. And even now that I have completed my 8th full marathon, the Inaugural NYCRuns Central Park Marathon, I really can’t argue with myself. Except, maybe I’ll change the title of my treatise to: The Stupidity of Running TOO MANY Marathons.

The Central Park Marathon was my third marathon in two months. (Bermuda & Disney being the other two.) Not recommended! It was my fourth marathon on the same pair of worn out Nikes. (Philadelphia being the first.) Not recommended! I ran this marathon without team or coach support. Not recommended! I went into the race without a specific race plan. Not recommended! I also ran this marathon while sick with a head cold and cough. Definitely not recommended!

So, if I knew all of the reasons why running another marathon was stupid, why did I do it? Basically because I knew I could. I knew I would finish. Plus, I felt I had missed out on the NYCRuns Brooklyn Marathon in November and wanted to experience one of their smaller city marathons. Sure, sure. I think I was just being stubborn. And I wanted the medal!

I want to keep racking up my marathon & medal count, but why? A marathon is a cool accomplishment, but at this point, I don’t think they are helping my overall fitness. I skipped a speed, a cross training, and a trail workout all in prep for yesterday’s race. Not smart. Those workouts would have been more beneficial… and I doubt I would be in as much pain today.

I finished the Central Park Marathon just under the 5:15 time limit. Just under! I crossed the finish line at 5:14:30. ha. A mediocre time for me… but actually not bad, considering. Five loops of Central Park is difficult. Especially when you get overly confident on the second loop and go much too fast, and then spend the next three loops alternating between panicing, coughing, and wincing in pain. Stupid!

So, learn from my mistakes!! Your body can handle almost anything you ask of it, but be wise about what you ask it to do. I seriously recommend doing only one marathon a year. And I am going to try to stick to that myself! Quality over quantity.

I do have five HALF marathons scheduled before June… but no more fulls!! What races do you have planned?

currently // january 2013

We are only four days into 2013 and I already feel like it is going by too fast. What is occupying my time and thoughts as this new year starts? This stuff…

obsessing over… my new iphone app, Lumiè. It allows you to add bokeh light effects to your photos and share them via social media.

watching… Homeland! Just finished the first season. It is a lot more about mental illness and EMOTIONS than I was expecting, but it is interesting.

eating… South Brooklyn Pizza. With onions, mushrooms, and pepperoni.

exercising with… the Brazil Butt Lift workout videos. My friend Brian got me the videos (at my request) for Christmas. They are basically aerobics workouts with a lot of lunges.

getting pumped for… the Goofy Challenge in one week!!! And the Bermuda Challenge the week after that!! Wish me luck!

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What are you doing right now? What do you have planned for 2013?

marathon training ftw!

I am happy. And sore. I ran the NYRR Bronx 10 Miler on Sunday. It was the final run in a big 40-mile training week and I had intended to take it really easy. I ran 13 easy miles on Saturday at Team in Training practice and didn’t know what to expect doing double digits again the next day. Surprisingly, it was an incredible and fast run!

The weather was beautiful yesterday. Clear skies and low humidity. We were late to the start line, but not stressed. I started the race too fast, but felt great and decided to see what I could do. Despite the fast start, I achieved pretty perfect negative splits. Nearly the whole race I was thinking, “I can do this on the last 10 of the NYC marathon if I don’t do it on the first 10.” We’ll see about that, but success with these two days of long runs definitely gives me confidence for the Goofy Challenge in January.

I am reluctant to post my time because I really don’t want to compete with anyone other than myself, but I will say that I ended up with my fastest pace in any race this year! Even shorter races! I’m looking forward to finding out what I can do at the Staten Island Half Marathon next month.

I ran the Bronx race two years ago when it was a half marathon. I ran much, much slower then and was just happy to finish. I have been marathon training for nearly three years straight, and although it is slow going, it is working!

But even at my top speed, Brian, Sarah, and Travis finished much faster!

(For the record, I have deliberately and slowly worked up to these training distances and I am doing them for a specific purpose: an ambitious winter race schedule. I listen closely to my body, cross train, and take rest days. I do not recommend or endorse these distances for beginners. Be smart, everyone.)

The Color Run

With a group of running friends, Travis and I signed up for The Color Run this summer. The multi-city race is billed as “the happiest 5k on the planet” and the NYC event sold out within two days, despite the $50 registration fee. The photos and videos online made it look like a lot of fun, so we were excited to try it out.

A 5k is sort of low mileage at this point in our marathon training, so it was a little annoying to wake up early and drive deep into Brooklyn on a Sunday morning for three un-timed miles, but we were still pumped. Many members of our Brooklyn Team were there decked out in the required white t-shirts. We had fun dancing and throwing color on each other before and after the jog through the course on an abandoned air strip.

There were four “color stations” on the course where volunteers sprayed you with colored powder. There probably should have been more color stations, since otherwise the course was completely boring… but there was music and lots of young people acting crazy, so we stayed entertained. After the finish line we were instructed to throw our color packet (basically corn starch and dye) in the air for the grand finale. It made for fun photos. In fact, the photos were definitely the best part of this race.

It was a fun morning. And yes, all of the color washed off… eventually. Overall, I am glad that we tried out The Color Run, but I probably don’t need to do it again.

Have you done The Color Run? What did you think?

IronMan

Somewhere in a box of memories in my parents’ basement in Kansas is a list I made when I was 19. The list was my extreme athletics plan and it went something like this: Marathons > Triathlon > IronMan > EcoChallenge* …and the list may have ended with Olympics. (2000 was a Summer Olympics year, after all.)

Well, I can cross Marathons off the list. And, as of last Saturday, a triathlon and eventually an IronMan have been moved to the top of my endurance priority list!

Saturday was the Inaugural IronMan US Championships in NYC. An IronMan, by the way, is a 2.4 mile swim + 112 mile bike ride + 26.2 mile run. I did NOT participate, but I DID volunteer.

Team In Training and the LLS (my charity of choice) manned an aid station at Miles 22 & 25 of the IronMan marathon course. We arrived early, set up aid tables, chalked the route with encouraging words, then waited to hand out water, food, sponges, and Coca-Cola to the athletes.

Volunteering was thrilling and I would love to do it again, but even more exciting was tracking and cheering for our friends on the course. TNT had an “IronTeam” and three of my Brooklyn teammates (Hi Joel, Yvonne, and Ronald!) were crazy ambitious enough to sign up and spend the last year of their lives training for this huge event.

A group of us got up early to go see the beginning of the bike before our volunteering shift. (The “Go Complete Stranger” sign was a huge hit, btw.) Then, in the evening, we camped out near mile 22 of the marathon and waited for our TNT peeps to run by…

We were there to cheer for all of the athletes, but especially the TNT athletes, and MOST especially Brooklyn TNT Coach Joel. There is legend surrounding the greatness of Joel, but all you need to know is that last fall he traveled to Washington DC on HIS BIRTHDAY to coach me (and a tiny & terrific Brooklyn TNT contingent) in the Marine Corps Marathon. That race day was one of the best days of my life and I needed to repay the kindness. (Also, Joel once gave me an epic birthday gift.)

We saw a lot of exhausted athletes Saturday evening, but Joel was not one of them. He was strong and happy and fast at the end of a MARATHON at the end of an IRONMAN! So strong and happy in fact, that I think I am completely underestimating the difficulty of the event when I say “I want to be an IronMan.” But… stating a goal is the first step in achieving it, right?

I guess I better go buy a bike…

*Travis and Adam agreed to be on my EcoChallenge team and don’t think I am forgetting that even if the adventure race reality show has been off the air for a decade. We ARE doing it!

extreme summer

It has been a BIG summer. It is only half over, but I feel like I have already packed it as full as possible with fun adventures. Including…

Lake Placid

The weekend after I completed the San Diego marathon, Travis and I piled in a van with a few of our friends and drove upstate to cheer on our teammates in the Lake Placid full and half marathons. It was a quick, one-night trip, but we had a great time dancing on the side of the road and eating Purple Cows at Stewies. View the full photo set.

Heather’s Wedding

My cousin Heather was married on June 15th in Rhode Island. The event was beautiful and I had a great time running the cliffs in Newport, visiting with my cousins, and dancing at the reception. View the full photo set.

Mom & Dad visit NY

After the wedding, mom and dad traveled with us by train to New York City. We had three fun days of eating pizza, donuts, visiting the Tenement Museum, and exploring the Cloisters. View the full photo set.

Camping at Mongaup Pond

At the end of June, my friends Joel and Casey planned an awesome upstate camping trip. We had a great, relaxing long weekend of putting up tents, swimming in the pond, making S’mores, and getting shushed by the park rangers for laughing too much. Such a great time. I hope to do it again before the summer ends. View the full photo set.

Fourth of July

The Wednesday holiday started with a seven mile run to Coney Island, a dip in the ocean, Nathan’s hot dogs, and the Cyclone roller coaster. An epic Brooklyn morning. In the evening we had some friends over to watch fireworks from our roof. View the full photo set.

Boilermaker 15k

While Travis was in Kansas City going to the All Star game with his dad, I went on one more quick, impromptu road trip upstate to run the Boilermaker 15k in Utica. The race is a huge small town event and it was amazing. The whole town came out to cheer and there were popsicles and beer and music. I recommend it. View the full photo set.

More and more running

Travis and I are a month into our Fall season with Team in Training, and like usual, we are having a great time. Running has nearly taken over my life, but I couldn’t be happier. My training is going very well (so far) this season. I feel strong. I have ambitious goals. I hope to never stop. View the full photo set.

In between all of this fun, I’ve been working hard on Swap-bot and doing a large amount of volunteer work for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am definitely staying busy. What have you been up to this summer?