[the clan - me, dad, mom, cousin & husband, sister, and friend]
This past Saturday, my family and I woke up at in the wee hours of the morning at 5 a.m. to drive up to Newport, Rhode Island. The day of the Newport United Healthcare Half Marathon had finally come. It was hard to believe that it had already been one year since last year’s half marathon in Newport, which is now becoming a family tradition of sorts.
But this time was different than all the rest. This time I was determined to push myself, to run hard, to get after that PR. During my training runs, I realized something that I hadn’t known before: I could run faster. I am strong. I can do it. You see, I’ve always sort of held back and ran happily in my comfort zone during all my prior runs. I didn’t want to risk burning myself out too soon, and then not being able to finish a run, especially on race day. However, once I realized that I could pick up my speed and find a comfortable stride, I realized I wasn’t giving myself enough credit as a runner.
My first half marathon was in April 2011 in NYC, and I crossed the finish line at 2:09:10. Then, six months later, I ran my second half marathon October 2012 in Newport in 2:06:30. This time, I had my heart set on running strong and hard, and I finished in 2:00:05.
Not only did I shatter my personal record by more than SIX MINUTES, but I almost broke my secret goal of two hours! And, according to all of our running watches, the race was actually a bit longer than 13.1 miles (13.27 according to my watch) so in that case I broke two hours by at least a minute. I’m going to say I did it (even if it’s not officially official), because at least I did in my heart. Plus, what’s five seconds anyway? One less water break and I’d have done it!
It felt amazing to run hard, and feel strong while crossing that finish line. It felt even more amazing seeing my family and The Boy cheering me on (and snapping photos) as I sprinted in. That’s what it’s all about after all. That feeling you get when you finish and can look back and say, “I did it. I really did it.” Nothing beats that feeling.
Ever since I started training for my first half marathon in NYC about a year and a half ago, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with running. It’s hard to believe that I am now just 13 days away from my third half marathon in Newport, Rhode Island. As much as I love running, one thing is certain: it’s all about the music for me. While some enjoy running with nature, I need an iPod to get me through my runs, especially those longer training runs. Fortunately, there’s dozens of great songs out there to make for an extra sweaty workout.
Here’s a look of some of my top running songs right now. Please add your own in the comment section below!
This morning, my family head down to Niantic, CT to run the Half Marathon/5K road race. Since I will be running a half marathon in three weeks from today, I decided to take it easy by doing the 5K this time around.
Well, I guess I didn’t really take it easy after all; I ended up crushing my 5k PR by over a minute at a brisk 25:37. It’s hard to believe that I completed my first 5K just about fives years ago in over 33 minutes!
Someone on twitter had asked me how I knocked over a minute off my time, or what I was doing differently. Honestly, it’s all mental for me. These past couple months of half marathon training have taught me that I can push myself in ways I never thought I could. I can do it. I can run faster. I also give props to the amazing community online, including all the fellow Fitfluential ambassadors. Seriously, can you get more inspired than that?
I was super proud of my PR, but even more proud of my mom who ran her very first 5K for the entire distance. My dad, sister, cousin and her husband opted for the half marathon, so we had a blast cheering them on at the finish line. There’s really nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get from running.
After the run, we loaded up on water, Rhode Island clam chowder (it was a nice break from the heavy cream-based chowdah they serve in Boston) and fresh apples. We then stopped for lunch on the way home, and Starbucks of course.
Later on in the day, my mom, a friend and I stopped at a local farm to see what they were serving up. Well, we were in luck! We got there just 10 minutes before close, and they just made another fresh batch of apple fritters and apple cider. Naturally, we got two bags of fritters and two cups of cider (a cold and a hot). Honestly, there is nothing quite like an apple fritter and a crisp cup of cold cider that says fall.
OK, off to get some work done and cozy up in some PJs while the rest of the world watches football. Days like these make me fall in love with New England all over again.
Today marks day two on the cleanse, and my sister and I are feeling pretty good. Our stomaches feel much flatter and we feel overall “cleaner” from the inside out. The downsides include mild headaches and lack of energy, but I’m hoping that subsides by tomorrow. The first two days are always the hardest, kind of like the first three miles are always the toughest when running.
Speaking of running, today I started my training for the Newport Half Marathon in October. Since this will be my third half marathon, I decided to up my game a bit and train with Hal Higdon’s Intermediate plan which includes interval speed work and tempo runs. I can’t wait to begin running again, particularly the way it makes me feel on the inside, and working toward my own goal of beating my PR.
OK, back to the cleanse. This is what’s on our plates today:
Breakfast: Green Berry Smoothie with kale, carrots, celery, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, flax seed, and banana made with Coconut milk
Snack: Handful raw cashews & almonds
Lunch: Big green salad with collard greens, spinach, mixed greens, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, apple, basil, dill, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and white pomegranate vinegar.
Snack: Roasted seaweed; half banana; half clementine
Dinner: Warm Broccoli Soup* (*WARNING: DO NOT MAKE THIS. I don’t know what it was, but this did not come out the way it seemed in the recipe. It tasted like bland mush, and I would not recommend it for anyone. We ended up forcing half of it down, then throwing the rest down the drain!)
So far we’re both feeling pretty tired, which is normal during the beginning of a cleanse as we release our toxins. Mood wise, I’m feeling great other than the slight fatigue. As far as my body, I’m feeling super lean and 100% bloat-free which is exciting!
To be continued…
Holy hotness! I know you’ve heard it a million times from your coworker and the weather lady, but it’s hot as hell out today in Boston. It’s no lie the city is the worst place to be in the heat – tons of commuters, little shade and barely any water in sight. Ouch.
However, the main reason I’m complaining about the hotness is because I’ve recently started training for my second half marathon. During my first half marathon in April, the training was nice because a chunk of it was during the crisp spring months, and on snowy days throughout the winter I’d just run inside on the treadmill. But unfortunately summer training isn’t as fun.
The solution? Lately I’ve been getting out super early to run before the sun gets too hot, but even then the humidity can be brutal. I’ve also been eating a solid breakfast like egg whites on toast or fruit topped waffles an hour before my run and chugging the H2O all day and night to stay as hydrated as possible during these hot, summer months.
Anyway, I’m writing this post because I’d really like to hear your suggestions and tips for training for a race in the summertime? How do you do it? How do you stay hydrated and fueled? How do you motivate yourself to power through?
I could use all the advice I could get, and I’m sure many other readers can relate too!
Once I got back to Boston last week, and the half marathon was over I got a a really weird feeling. You know, that feeling you get when the holidays end, when you went back to school after prom or on the flight home from an incredible vacation. I can’t believe it’s all over. Now what? It’s an odd thing going from running nearly every day, plus long runs on the weekends to nothing. And I have to admit, now that I’m not training for anything I haven’t been very good about keeping up with my exercise, let alone running.
The other day, I decided I’d end this mood I was experiencing. Even though I knew I wasn’t quite ready to run again, I laced up my sneakers and hit the gym. After a light cardio workout on the elliptical, I hopped on the big, bad treadmill. I ran a mile and ran it fast. Then it hit me: my right shin / knee were in major pain. I had to stop, and at first felt defeated in a way. Last week I ran 13.1 miles, and now I can barely do 1? I was angry.
But rather than throwing myself a pity party, I realized it’s because my body isn’t quite ready to run. That doesn’t mean I’m not strong, powerful and healthy; it’s just a minor set-back. So I shrugged it off and hit the weights. It actually felt amazing to take a little break from running and really focus on my strength training for once. Not to mention that arm definition I noticed in the mirror while doing my lat pulldowns. Damn. Guess all that running paid off.
So the moral of the story is that you don’t have to feel bad when you realize you need a little time…you need a little break. Whether you’re taking a break from running to get your knee back in shape, or aren’t quite ready to give up late-night sweets, or need a little extra time to complete a project at work, you don’t need to feel guilty about it. You will achieve and accomplish these little goals when YOU (and your body) are ready to!
I’m about to go for a long walk outside. Yes, a walk not a run. And I’m totally OK with it! It’s 60 degrees out & I can’t wait to soak it all up…
Have you ever got down on yourself for giving your body a break, or giving yourself a little more time than you thought needed? How did you cope with it? Have a lovely day and enjoy the sun!
Happy Hump Day ladies, and congrats on making it half-way through the week! This morning I woke up and felt like I got stomped on by an elephant, ran over by a train, or straight up beat up on. But none of those things actually happened. In reality, I pushed myself to the limits these past few days with exercise. Up until today, I’ve been following my Half Marathon Training plan to a tee. Yup, you heard that right. I haven’t missed a workout. But today I am doing what I truly believe in: listening to my body. I’m going to skip my scheduled 4.5 mile run and shift it to tomorrow instead, giving myself a “me day” today.
With a long day of skiing, several 4.5 mile runs in the past few days, and weight-lifting mixed in, my body truly needs a break. And that I will give it. Not to mention all the city-walking I do here in Boston. That’s a workout in itself!
Do you give your body a break when it’s telling you it needs one? What signifies “pushing the limit” to you?
Oh my goodness. When I just looked at the seven day forecast two seconds ago, I thought I must have seen it wrong. Did I remember to put my contacts in this morning? But I definitely saw it right, and boy oh boy am I ecstatic. The temps are going to hit 50s today and 60s (YES 60s) tomorrow! I feel like a little kid on Christmas…that’s how excited I am.
No, not just because of the fact that spring is near and I can actually go outside without 500 layers on looking like a puff-ball, but the fact that I can RUN outside. You don’t understand how long I’ve been waiting for this day. Sure I’ve made peace with the treadmill, but there is nothing quite like a long, sweaty outdoor run to really get me movin’. When I run outside, I feel alive. I can zone out, unleash my stress and think…about everything in my life that’s bothering me or simply on my mind! Running outside is the bomb. And that’s just a plain truth.
Now that my half marathon is coming up soon, these outdoor runs are going to be absolutely critical to my training. Today I think I’m going to push my limits since it’s so beautiful outside in Boston, and run an extra mile or two. Then this weekend I have a big, bad 7-miler coming up and it only goes up, up and up from there! Scared? No way. I’m excited to challenge my body and let myself go as I run around the city. When I run, it’s not about anyone else but me, and that’s why I love it so darn much.
For old times sake, check out one of my most popular posts of the past on what inspired me to start running/ the hidden benefits.
Are you a runner? What are some of your favorite outdoor workouts now that the weather is looking up? (fingers crossed)
Ever since I started training for my half marathon, it seems Mother Nature is not on my side. Blizzards and wintery mixes make running outside more like an obstacle course gone wrong than an enjoyable exercise. Since I hate the treadmill so damn much, I even ran outside last weekend when I knew I shouldn’t have. I was dodging three-feet piles of snow, jumping over icy paths and slipping my way along the sidewalk. Not exactly safe, to say the least.
The fact of the matter is I hate the treadmill that much. I hate it so much that I texted my dad after my awful workout complaining to him just how much I hated it. He said, “Yup, the treadmill is hard. No adrenaline.” Exactly, I thought to myself. He also told me to check out “the gym dudes” for a distraction (hehe). However, as much as I hate it, I am making it a goal for myself to let go of all that hatred and attempt to embrace the evil little machine. So yesterday I went to the gym with a positive attitude ready to tackle my three-mile treadmill run. While it still was no run in the park, it was a little bit better than usual, mostly because I came up with some little “tricks” to get me through.
So for all of you treadmill haters out there, read on so that you too can at the very least be friendly with the treadmill. It doesn’t have to be your best friend, but there’s no need for hate.
1. Mix up your running playlists – if you listen the same old tunes you’ve been running to forever, you’re bound to get bored and let your treadmill hatred get the best of you. Rather, mix up your tunes! Borrow some CDs from your friends to add onto your ‘pod or splurge on some iTunes every once in a while. My running faves of the week are “Hey Baby” and “Shut it Down” by Pitbull, “Magic” by B.O.B., “Marry You” by Bruno Mars, and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. So go ahead and mix it up; it’s good for you in all aspects of your life.
2. Change up the pace – Running on the treadmill is much more difficult than running outside because there is no variety. Just one long and steady speed the entire way through. No scenic ponds, ever-so-glorious downhill slopes or other runners passing by. Therefore to keep yourself sane, you must change up the pace. The other day, I sprinted during the chorus of each song, and made sure to adjust the incline every now and then. It made my dreaded treadmill workout a tad more enjoyable for a change.
3. “Check out the gym dudes” – While my dad was joking, he is most definitely right. It definitely doesn’t hurt to scope out the fellow gym-goers for a little extra motivation. I must say the good-looking, sweaty men doing dead lifts in the corner aren’t bad to look at. I also like observing other toned, fit women to motivate me to go farther and faster.
4. Don’t Get Down on Yourself – The most important lesson of all is to not let the treadmill get you down. After all, it’s just a machine, and you will learn to like it eventually, even if it is just a bit. It’s easy for me to get discouraged by the treadmill while training for my first half. If three miles on the treadmill is hard for me, how the hell am I supposed to do 13.1? But deep down I know I will. I also know the snow will eventually melt, and my inspiring outdoor runs will grace me once again.
So, stay strong chickies!
Oh, and here’s a post-treadmill delicious Grilled Cheese treat. It’s heavenly, just warning you!
What ya Need:
-1 slice Ezekiel or whole grain bread of choice
-1 TB Smart Balance butter
-1 slice light Provolone cheese
-a few thin slices of plum tomato
-salt & pepper to taste
1. Heat frying pan to medium heat, and coat with butter. “Fry” slice of bread for a few minutes on each side, or until crispy.
2. Add cheese. Cover and reduce to low heat until cheese is melted.
3. Remove your grilled cheese sammie, and add on sliced tomato, salt & pepper.