Friday Faves | Long Runs, Babies, and Beer

These are a few of my favorite things… from this week:

  • Beyond adorable and spot on via @FitHappyGirllarge Which reminded me of this gem that is the definition of a few of my summer runs:
  • Took the words right out of my mouth:
  • Lauren had her baby this week!!! Some people might care more about Kate Middleton’s baby, but RUNNERS care about Lo’s cutie pie, Jude:IMG950202 Congrats Lo and Jesse! Couldn’t be happier for ya!
  • There are few things we at RW care more about than running shoes and beer, which led to this tweet after our summer beer-tasting last week:

    And this:

  • The fact that I kept up the #RWRunStreak by logging a mile in my apartment’s parking garage yesterday morning to avoid getting struck by lightning. Hells yes. Day 18!
  • We saw Spirit of the Marathon II on Wednesday! It was freakin’ awesome and basically, I need to run with those Italian cousins (and also just run in Rome in general). Kudos Jon!
  • Finally, I added a few photos to my About Me page from way back when. Check it out! =)

QUOTE OF THE POST: “Running is in my blood — the adrenaline flows before the races, the love/hate of butterflies in your stomach.” – Marcus O’Sullivan

I’m Going #RWRunStreak-ing! (Because…Why Not?)

runners-world-rwrunstreak-pardon-my-streakingIn case you missed my tweets over the weekend and the super-snazzy badge at left (and at right and down a tad), I’m officially going to attempt the summer edition of the #RWRunStreak. After an unfortunately delayed flight home derailed my winter streak last year, I’m determined to finish at least one of these dang things. Thanks to my strong aversion to heat and humidity, I know this 39-day streak will be tougher than the winter one. But for that same reason, I want to use it to get my butt out the door during my in-between-marathons training lull. I’ll be updating this post throughout the streak to track my progress between now and July 4, so check back to see if I’m (hopefully) still on the bandwagon! And let me know in the comments section if you’re streaking, too! I’d love to have someone to vent to about the ungodly about of laundry that’s inevitably going to pile up!

So, to kick the whole thing off…WE’RE GOING STREAKING!

Day 13 Update: 62.25 Miles To Date: I’m going to kick-off this recap with wow, this streak has surprisingly gone much more smoothly than my winter streak! Heck yes! I haven’t once seriously considered quitting (granted, it has been pretty mild weather-wise, so that’s helping), and it took next to no time to just expect to run every day, no questions asked. The first few days, my absurdly inflexible hips and weak butt hurt like a mother f-er (pro tip: don’t take a week off, then do a 7-mile hill run) to the point where I woke up a few mornings and immediately felt the need to stretch out. But I mixed in a few “recovery” 1-2 mile days, and so far I’ve been in the green. I’ve done a couple 7.5-mile long-ish runs and did an impromptu 5-mile tempo run–my first in a long, long time–yesterday. Considering I haven’t done any genuine speed work in a while, it actually didn’t go half bad! So far, this streak is shaping up to be good off-season, maintain-my-strength-before-my-fall-marathon training. =) If it weren’t for my broken washing machine and the ever-growing pile of dirty running clothes (a side-effect to this streaking business), I’d couldn’t be more glad that I decided to give it another go. Until next time!

photoDay 23 Update: 103.25 Miles To Date: Hot damn people! We’ve surpassed/plowed through/cruised beyond the halfway point! Just 16 days left until the finish line. Unlike my previous update, I finally (and not really surprisingly) had some days where I thought dang, I’d really rather NOT run today. My hips have been sporadically tight (but I rediscovered my love for hurdle walkovers – had my first date in over a year with them last weekend) and my left knee has been achy, which is weird. But I’ve iced a bunch and done a few easy one-mile recovery days, and all seems to be more or less in working order. I’m trying to be smart and not hurt anything, but I’ve come too far to quit this now. On the bright side, I finally got a hard 5K effort out of my system today! I had to push my run to after work but squeeze it in before an impending flash flood. I thought about doing an easy mile and call it a day, but I felt good and decided to push it. Won’t lie, I love, love, love those days when you unexpectedly feel good! Now I need to do a real 5K! And thankfully, the washing machine is fixed. Thank. God.

Day 39 FINAL Update: 164 Miles Total: Ahhhh the streak is OVER! Can’t really believe I made it, and if anything, I emerged on the other side more motivated than ever to run. I capped off the streak with a four-mile run (for the Fourth of July, of course) in the blazing summer heat. Had I not been streaking, I likely would not’ve run at all. I even began integrating some speedwork, AND I became a member of the gym downstairs! Between my super fit roomie, watching nationals, and the fact that Marine Corps Marathon training starts on Monday (!), the need to regain some measure of upper body strength and speed has finally returned. It took over a year, but it returned. Heck. Yes. (More on this later – stay tuned). So to cap off the streak, here’s a bit of what I learned along the way:

  • Even if it was only a mile, breaking a sweat every day was wonderful and I began to crave it. Doing something physical every day was easily better than doing nothing at all.
  • Speaking of those one-milers, on days I would’ve normally “taken a zero,” seeing the sunrise over the bridge and feeling my creaky, tired legs loosen up in just 10 minutes was a surprise benefit of the streak.
  • I HATE summer running. I’m sorry, but suffering through a run in sauna-like conditions is just not appealing to me. But thanks to the streak, this summer has sucked a little less. Traditionally I take the full month of May off to recover from nine months of being in season, leaving me to deal with the heat while being out of shape. Ooof. This year I swore, never ever again. The streak helped me maintain my conditioning and make a smoother, less painful transition into the summer. I’m feeling fit and motivated to get even fitter. BAM. Suck it, summer.
  • As much as my “secondhand training” has worked for me thus far, imposing a no-excuses-you’re-running-today regimen was a much needed change of pace, especially because I was in training limbo. It kept my laziness at bay at a time when laziness could’ve easily killed my fitness.
  • The streak has proven yet again that it’s an excellent way to get back on (or stay on) the bandwagon. Before I started this streak, I said it would likely be my last, a means to redeem myself from the failed winter streak. Today, I’d say there’s a good chance I’ll do it again. I didn’t resent my committing to do it as much as I thought I would, especially since it took place during my least favorite time of year to run.

Looking forward, I hope this streak serves as a solid springboard for my next bout of marathon training. During the streak, I started integrating some speedwork and lifting. If hitting the track and gym becomes a habit, I’d be thrilled because I know both can only help in my quest to drop my marathon PR. I’m ready to get full-body strong, and the streak inspired me to really want it. And to that I can only say, “Thank you RW Run Streak!”


Friday Faves | Reunions, Graduations, and Streaking

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been a bit M.I.A. over the past couple weeks – I moved and had an epic reunion with my Lehigh cross country ladies after my crazy race month. But I’m back on the blog bandwagon now! WHOOT! Here’s the cool stuff I came across this week:

  • As previously stated, I had a reunion with my LUXC girls last weekend! We haven’t all been back together since graduation last year, and it was incredibly special seeing everyone again. Man, a year flies by fast!967021_4656175372885_1101014926_o
  • The RW Run Streak starts on Monday! If you don’t know what that is, you run at least one mile every day between Memorial Day and Independence Day so you can power through the summer slump and stay in shape. I almost completed the winter streak last year, and I’m tempted to have a go at it again. But…I HATE the heat (why force myself into the summer inferno for 39 days straight?!?). At the same time, I can’t…resist…the challenge! (And I want to add this nifty badge Pavement Runner made to my blog). Decisions, decisions… runners-world-rwrunstreak-pardon-my-streaking
  • A runner on the RW Facebook page shared his super-creative running-inspired typeface project, and I wrote about it here. Can’t tell you how much joy this brings to my inner-graphic design and run-nerd. letterc
  • We received the pre-print of the July Boston Marathon issue of Runner’s World this week. Can’t share anything yet, but I can tell you that I couldn’t be more proud and impressed with what our staff produced. Seeing the juxtaposition of the heartbreaking, horrifying tragedy with the heartwarming, uplifting stories of the worldwide running community coming together is powerful and tearjerking. I can’t wait to see how our readers respond.
  • In a similar vein, I love this:
  • And finally a BIG CONGRATS to my fellow blogger Meggie, who graduated from med school! I will never, ever be able to understand how exactly people can successfully survive what sounds like school on crazy steroids (my brain’s just not wired that way). But her honest, enlightening posts offer a little peak into that world, which is awesome especially because it’s something that’s always intrigued me because it’s SO far out of my comfort zone. Kudos girl! =D

QUOTE OF THE POST: Because it’s just so well-written and hysterical – “Apparently misfortune now radiates outward from the jogger, invisibly, like free wi-fi. Every single jogger you encounter is a mobile hotspot of calamity.” – Mark Remy, from his recent Remy’s World post “Curse of the Jogger, Part II: The Curse Widens”

That’s It, I’m Putting My Foot Down!

It’s a bit early for my February recap, but…

This month has been too darn full of excuses – I forgot to plan ahead, I’m tired from yesterday’s trip to NYC, I’d rather do an easy run than that scheduled workout, I need the extra rest day, I’ll do it tomor…ENOUGH! Enough, enough, enough.

Whenever I bail on a workout or a core session, I get this bitter taste in my mouth and it lingers until I get myself back on the road again. Yuck. It never fails. February was my first month trying to follow a training plan to prepare for Boston, and I’ll admit, I’ve done an absolutely crappy job following it so far. Rather than finding ways to fit in each key workout, I’ve found excuses to justify skipping them. It has been an unusual month, but just because I’ve been thrown a few curveballs doesn’t give me a free pass to let my training go all willy nilly. What happened to getting serious about Boston?

Not to mention my February Believe I Am goal is to get into the habit of doing more core. To make it more obvious in my journal, I’ve decided to highlight any core/yoga session in pink.

Do you see much pink this month?picstitch

No? Yeah, I don’t see much either. Grrrrrr…

So, because it worked so well last December, I’m self-imposing a “run streak” to get myself back on track. Since I’m in marathon training, I’m modifying it because rest is important: rather than running at least a mile every day, I’m requiring myself to do at minimum 15 minutes of core on every rest day and (at the very least) a plank session 5 times per week. I’m not allowed to take two rest days in a row – that’s when the laziness really starts to kick in – and ALL scheduled workouts need to happen. Period.

I’m not giving up all hope on my ability to follow a training plan, and I have an itching suspicion that the structure itself has me rebelling against it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t work find a happy medium. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right?

Here’s to a strong finish to February and an even stronger March!

QUOTE OF THE POST: “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” –  Jordan Belfort 

Committing to the #RWRunStreak – Here Goes Nothing!

As a part of “Operation: Get My Butt In Gear”/start training for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January (I might not be “racing” it per se, but I need to at least get through the darn thing), I’ve decided to commit to the #RWRunStreak. This means I have to run at least one mile every single day until January 1. I think my longest “streak” capped off at around 10 days, so running for 35 days straight sounds downright crazy. I’ve considered trying a streak before, but I cherish my off days for the mental and physical downtime too much (and I like getting to stay clean all day!). I like my off days so much so that I got into the habit of taking a few too many of them post Steamtown. The race sucked the life out of me more than I anticipated–I felt like I was out of shape for an entire month–and although I needed the rest, I got into a slump. If I’m ever in a bad running mood, it’s when I’m out of shape. Not fun. After running once (once! gah!) while I was at home for Thanksgiving, I realized I needed a serious kick in the butt.

Enter… the #RWRunStreak. I hope that by making my commitment public via this blog and Twitter, I’m going to stick to it! (I even wrote it in pen in my training log–I just started my fourth consecutive book!–and I can’t back out on that!) I’m also going to start strengthening my core so that come Boston, I’ll be primed for a PR. I’ll be updating this post throughout the streak every week or so with my progress, so check back often!

Update on December 2 (Day 7): Before I say anything else…it’s absolutely amazing what a little kick in the butt can do! I was able to string together seven incredible runs – between a stunning eight-mile trail trek up a (small) mountain and an epic solo 15-miler today, I feel like I can really say I’m out of my slump. =) Let me put it this way, my 15-miler felt easier than my six-mile run I did over Thanksgiving break. Seriously. I ran a couple loops on my old Lehigh XC “stomping grounds,” which was refreshing in and of itself, AND I hit a few 7:30s-7:40s mid-run. Mental note for next time I’m in a rut – get back on my favorite roads, blast some music, and go. Shaking things up is a good thing every once in a while!

photoUpdate on December 10 (Day 15): Whoa – I can’t believe it’s been FIFTEEN days so far! I think that’s my all-time longest run streak! (Talk about Monday Motivation!) The highlight of this week of streaking was running in NYC all weekend. I ran in the NYRR Jingle Bell Jog with a few Lehigh cross country alums. And yes, we ran with bells on our shoes – it was definitely a neat way to get in the Christmas spirit! I also completed my first real run in Central Park on Sunday, logging about 13 miles total. I ran one big, six-mile loop and a couple laps around the reservoir. I ran alone and without music, and I loved it. I spent half the time chasing down other runners, which turned my run into a mini fartlek, and I enjoyed pretending I was a New Yorker for the morning as I wove through the park with hundreds of other runners. Yeah, I seriously need to do that again sometime.

Update on December 16 (Day 21): Yesterday I ran 20 miles (20 miles on Day 20! – heck yes!) on my own, just me, my music, and the roads. After doing all but one long run with coworkers in my training build-up for Steamtown, it’s been an eye-opening experience knocking out those runs solo in my abbreviated build-up for Disney next month. I tweeted post-run about how I realized that the hardest part about getting out for those runs (especially alone) really is the hardest part. Once I got into my rhythm a few miles in, I was golden, especially when “Sail” came on! =) For newbie marathoners, I would definitely recommend finding a buddy to get you through those long runs. But I have to admit that once I finished that run yesterday, I’ve never felt stronger or more confident in myself and my running. There is something truly empowering about voluntarily going out for a nearly three-hour run. Try it–it’s worth it.

Today I rewarded myself with an easy, one-mile recovery run, some core, and this post-run yoga session from my girl OmGal:

Keepin’ the #RWRunStreak alive! Over halfway to the finish line!

** Final update on December 26: So…due to a holiday travel debacle that left me suitcase-less (and running gear-less) in Chicago for a full day, my #RWRunStreak came to an unexpected conclusion on December 22. =( I made it a full 26 days–which is ages longer than my longest streak on record–so to be honest, I’m thrilled! The streak got me back on track for Disney (which is just a couple weeks away now!) and I strung together a few surprisingly solid long runs that left me confident in my fitness level. Even though I’m a bit bummed I didn’t make it all the way to January 1, all in all it served its purpose. I took four days off (learn why “none” miles every once in a while can be a good thing here) and had my first run at home today. It wasn’t pretty–the higher elevation kicks my butt–BUT I got to break in my shiny new pink Garmin Forerunner 10, which is freakin’ awesome! It  works exactly how I hoped it would – it’s super easy to navigate, and it tells me only what I want to know (i.e. pace, time, and distance) sans bells and whistles. I have a feeling we’re going to log many, many happy miles together!

Anywho, kudos to those streakers still streakin’! It’s certainly not easy yanking on those kicks when it’s dark, drizzly, and cold outside. But fighting past those moments of weakness to come out on the other side mentally and physically stronger is worth the extra loads of laundry (I almost broke my washer mid-streak!) and lost sleep. Committing to the streak was one of the best decisions I’ve made all year, and I think it’s a training tool I’ll pull out of my back pocket the next time I need a shot of motivation. I’ll close this post with a motivational poster that I thought complimented the streak that read, “Summer body earned in winter.” True that.

QUOTE OF THE POST: “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” – Unknown