Does anyone else feel like Thanksgiving was sooo long ago! The week after a holiday or vacation always seems to drag for me, so I am happy it is almost the weekend…and the start of December! Every weekend is December is packed with fun events (some of which include running), so I cannot wait for all of the festivities to begin. I am also planning a small way to celebrate all the days leading up to Christmas with Dean, inspired by one of my favorite bloggers Tina from Carrots ‘n’ Cake. More to come!
Running lately has been a little bit sporadic and I feel myself both craving a new training plan and also enjoying the flexibility to run morning or evening, short or long, slow or fast. My mileage has been in the high 20s or low 30s. I also ran the Cambridge Half Marathon with Sarah and a very fun Turkey Trot with Dean and friends on Thanksgiving. These photos pretty much sum up my attitude to racing right now…have fun and plan yummy treats for afterward.
But I do need to start increasing my mileage and workouts up as I prepare for….
I signed up for the New Jersey Marathon, with my friends Sarah, Caitlin, and hopefully Robin. This will be Sarah and Robin’s first marathon, so I am so excited to make it a great experience for them. And I am hoping to really work on my own speed and performance to get a new PR.
If you are looking for a spring marathon, you can save 20% on New Jersey with the coupon code NJMCyberSocial by this Friday!
I have to decide on my training plan and I am thinking of going with something more challenging and with higher mileage. I have a few options in the mix and I will definitely share once I figure it out.
In other news Dean and and I also got our first Christmas Tree! I love Christmas trees so much and having our own really feels special. Now we can start our ornament collection, which already includes a few pug figurines (Meg) and a bicycle (Dean).
Anywho…happy Friday Jr. and I hope you have a great end of the week!
I hope your week is going splendidly! Now that the cold weather has settled into Boston I am working hard to adjust to runs in the dark AND cold. Dean and I made it out for 6 miles yesterday, which required a best, hat, and gloves! Since I am really just trying to maintain my fitness rather than train for a goal race I am not putting too much pressure on myself to stick to workouts, but doing my best to get in 4-5 runs per week.
So I have been meaning to write this post for a while since a huge part of being successful at any sport or hobby is having a great support team. Dean lovingly refers to himself as my “sherpa” whenever I am doing a race and he is helping do all the other things that get me to the starting line.
The term “sherpa” broadly refers to an ethnic group from Nepal (according to this wikipedia page, which is definitely not the most accurate place to get information, but handy for quick reference :). The image that most often comes to mind for me when I hear the term “sherpa” are the incredible mountaineers who help visitors climb dangerous peaks like Everest. These skilled guides make incredible athletic adventures possible for visitors.
In this spirit, I have learned that there are several things you need to do for friends or family who race in order to be a great sherpa. Here is my list, inspired mostly by Dean’s example.
Be enthusiastic yet calm
Race jitters definitely affect people in different races and if you are new to your sport or to racing it can be really stressful getting to the start line. A great sherpa is there to keep the mood light and positive. Lola exudes calm at Dean’s cyclocross races!
Have snacks or “fuel” on hand
When you date someone like like Dean and “hangry” sets in quickly you learn to ALWAYS have snacks on hand. Gus, granola bars, water, etc. are all good to keep with you while you spectate. Make sure your racer knows what works for him/her and do not try anything new on race day! You need quality fuel to get through a race feeling your best. As well as some treats for after :0
Identify the best spots for race photos and cheering
This is one I am still working on, especially for spectating cyclocross races. But I suggest looking at the course ahead of time and figuring out where to snap photos. If you are able to say high to your athlete, like in a road race, also let them know where you will be during the race. This way your athlete can benefit from the encouragement. This always helps me in long races when I look forward to seeing friends and family.
Be at the finish with a big smile, not matter the outcome
This is super important! As an athlete we all have good races and bad ones. There are so many emotions wrapped up in competing and it is easy to beat ourselves up when things do not go according to plan. Alternatively, when you have a great race you want others to share in your joy. Great sherpas are there to encourage or celebrate.
Brag about your racer, especially when they will not
It feels amazing when others praise you for a job well done, but some of us do not like to talk about our accomplishments in public . This is where your sherpa gets to sing your praises! Letting others know how special someone else is will help inspire your athlete to keep putting in the hard training work required to be a success!
A big hug goes out to Dean for not only being my number 1 sherpa, but also teaching me the tricks of the trade 🙂
I hope your week is off to a great start. I had such a wonderful weekend filled with races, birthday parties, and lounging. My dear friend Ali turned 30 over the weekend, so we celebrated with an amazing Dance of the Decades party. Soooo fun! Definitely feel like I need more dancing and dress up in my life.
After a late night of fun Dean and I woke up bright and early (thank you daylight savings for the extra hour of sleep) to run the South Shore Half Marathon. As part of my goal to hit 30 halfs by my 30th birthday, I wanted to get a few of these races in for November. And even though we have a lot of events going on most weekends we always make time for a run 🙂
So I got ready in my new Oiselle Spandos! #obsessed
Ate my oatmeal prepared by Dean!
And we made our way to Hanover Mall! Since Dean had just finished a cyclocross race the day before (a post on this coming soon) we both were saying “let’s just jog this one…” Well if you know me you know that I LOVE to race. I get amped up with the people and being amidst great runners and I just cannot phone it in. I realize that this is not always a good thing (i.e. listening to your body when you need a break to prevent injury), but if I am feeling good I like to push it.
Getting to the start was super easy! I had picked up our bibs the day before, so we just parked the car at the mall and hopped on a shuttle school bus to the start by Norwell High School. Once we were in the corral it was time for some selfies…which Dean endures. I love that the guy in front of us was planning a friend selfie too!
Of course we started off at a sub-8min/mile pace even though I was like “Dean, let’s ease into it.” But Dean was feeling ok in spite of a sore foot, so we just went with it haha. The first few miles felt pretty challenging because we were just warming up, but then we settled into a good pace. I’m a great uphill runner, but Dean blasts through the downhills and I had to work hard to keep up.
About 7 or 8 miles in we saw the leader sprinting past us on the out-and-back portion way ahead of the others. In fact, we didn’t see any women in the front pack, so Dean thought we should try to push it and see if I could get in the top female group. At this point I was kinda dying. I haven’t really done any speedwork since MCM and we only slept about 6 hours after a night of drinking and dancing. But, I just kept thinking if I can stick with Dean who knows.
After a few brutal hills around mile 10 we were in the last 5k and slowing passing the few women in front of us. I saw another Oiselle lady out there just as we were coming to the 12 mile mark who was totally killing it! (I felt bad passing her at first, but we later chatted after the race 🙂
Thank heavens mile 13 was a nice long downhill to the finish. We race it in with a final time of 1:38:08! Good enough for 11th female overall and 1st in my age group!
Here are the splits!
The post race party included some awesome medals and a beer of course!
Overall Experience: 4/5
Race Swag: 4/5
*Great medal and cute long sleeve. The hats also looked great, but we didn’t sign up early enough.
Race Logistics: 4/5
After the race we popped home to shower, walk Lola, and then went out for breakfast! My favorite part of racing besides running is planning my meals after hahaha. We went to Deluxs Station Diner in Newton, which I had totally forgot about! It is set in an old train station and has fantastic brunch! Dean got a veggie omlette and I had an egg, goat, cheese, and spinach sandwich. We also split some sweet potato pancakes, which were AMAZING!
After breakfast we went over to Wegmans to shop and finally take a stab at meal planning. I make a whole chicken and was very pleased with my chef skills!
The rest of the evening included movie watching, puppy snuggles, and some relaxing. Perfect way to end a packed weekend!
Wow it is hard to believe it has been almost a year since I have blogged. During my Betty the Boot phase and injury I just wasn’t motivated to write. Life was in a bit of a transition (good part being that I was getting to know Dean!) and blogging about not running just did not seem appealing.
But flash forward to now and I have an awesome race recap to share! I completed the 2017 Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday, October 23rd and it was such an amazing experience! I think a race recap is a perfect way to re-launch the blog 🙂
We decided to fly in Saturday and take Monday off, so we could enjoy the day after the marathon (and do something Dean wanted to do haha). So I started off Saturday morning with a quick shake out run. I don’t always do shakeouts before races, but I wanted my legs loose before the flight.
The flight into DC was really quick and easy and we then just made our way over to the expo on the metro. I have to say DC really has Boston beat on public transportation. Dean and I both wished the Greenline could hurry up and get faster!
The expo was a little crazy, but I did get to see my friend Becca from Boston, whose dad was also running! So awesome connecting with people at race expos. We toured around a bit and I bought a new running hat and some gu.
After finishing up our expo fun we made our way over to the Air BnB in Crystal City. I cannot say enough good things about our spot! It was a private “cozy bungalow” in a very sweet neighborhood, with easy access to the metro. We had our own little kitchen, which was great for prepping my breakfast and storing snacks (total musts for a marathon). I would highly recommend this area if you are thinking of running MCM in the future!
After several episodes of The Office and a few Spindrift setlzers it was time for bed!
Before I knew it was race morning! I was definitely a little nervous, but not as much as previous races. Since my injury I have the attitude that any day I get to run and race is a win, so the expectation jitters are a lot less intimidating. Good attitude to adopt if you get really anxious before races 🙂
We made our way to the start of the race, which was SO EASY! Honestly, if you are intimidated by a long race start (aka New York and Boston) this is your race! I obviously loved my previous big city marathons, but this was such a great pre-race experience. Dean literally came with me all the way to my starting corral! Number 1 Sherpa!
After a quick pic I maneuvered my way closer to the front. I had heard from others that MCM can be really crowded and slow to start, so I was glad that I moved my way up a bit.
It was a perfect morning and the energy was really special with all of our Marines out there providing support. I chatted in the corral for a bit with another Oiselle lady named Sarah who just moved to Boston! Definitely hoping we can connect back here in our hometown.
With the gun shot we were off!
I wasn’t really sure how my pacing for this race was going to go. I knew if I wanted to get a BQ I had to stick to 8:00min/mile pace, but I also didn’t know if I had this in me. My training had not been stellar, with moving, PMC training this summer, and just being busy. So I figured I would settle in around that pace and just see what happened haha.
MCM is also a great race for spectators, so Dean was able to see me at mile 6, 10, 18, and 20! I could have probably used him at 23 when I was dying, but having him at the finish was perfect.
Of course I was sporting my Oiselle tank and roga shorts. And I heard a few birds out on the course cheering. Love all the lady support!
I was keeping a pretty strong pace with miles just above or below 8:00min/mile pace. At about miles 18 when I saw Dean for the 3rd time I thought I might just get a BQ! I didn’t think a big PR was in the cards, but I was really excited about re-qualifying.
Most of the course through DC was flat and had good crowd support, so that kept me feeling strong. But around mile 21 we hit the 14th Street Bridge and I started to really feel like “Oh crap, this marathon hurts!!” Getting to the end of that bridge was a godsend! For those last three miles I just keep repeating my mantra “hold your pace” as best I could, hoping not to loose too much time.
Once we were back at the Pentagon I knew I had just the last hill everyone talks about to get to the finish. My legs were pretty smoked, but I wanted to try and come in strong.
Well, that sorta happened haha. The hill is no joke a quick climb straight up and I had no gas left to pick it up. But I powered through to the end as was so excited to see the clock under 3:30! I had requalified with a 3:29:04 time and a 4 second PR!
As happy as I was my legs were completely dead. Dean and I sat on the grass for a bit and then slowly made our way through the finish area toward the metro. As we walked a bit my legs loosened up and I was very happy to have a relaxing afternoon with a hot shower, icy hot, and my iced coffee 🙂
Later that night we ventured into Georgetown for dinner at the The Sovereign, which was fantastic! It is a German style gastropub with great food and a really nice beer selection. I would highly recommend it and while it is right in the heart of Georgetown it is a little off the craziness of M Street.
The next day we checked out some museums and relaxed around DC before flying back. Overall it was a fantastic race weekend and runcation! Here are my ratings:
Overall Experience: 5/5
Race Swag: 4/5
*I loved the medal and longsleave shirt, but was not super impressed by the items at the expo.
Race Logistics: 5/5
Thanks for taking time to read my re-cap! Definitely let me know if you have any questions about the race!
P.S. Lola had a lovely staycation with her Uncle Mark, so she likely didn’t miss us at all!
As I have mentioned on the blog before I am a huge fan of podcasts. Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to music when I work out and often have Spotify playlists going as I work on my weekly spin playlists. But since I have a mostly walking commute I like to mix it up with podcasts. Here are a bunch (many running-related) in my current rotation.
There are more in the rotations, but these are the top ones right now. I use a free phone app called Stitcher that I would highly recommend. I think podcasts are also great for easy runs especially if you are someone who struggles with boredom on the longer workouts.
So the idea for this post came while I was listening to an interview on the Runner’s World Podcast with Kristen Armstrong. Kristen is a writer of the column ‘Mile Markers’ in Runner’s World, a mother of three, a marathoner, and also the former wife of Lance Armstrong.
In the interview Kristen shares how runner saved her after a very difficult divorce and became a way for her to find inner strength and community (with fellow female run buddies). I love these kind of stories because I identify so much with those who find running has healing powers for your inside as much as your outside.
One comment Kristen made that really struck me was her desire to apply grace to her running and her life. She says that grace is something ‘so mysterious and transcendent…the gift of letting yourself and letting others off the hook…” She says it is about learning to see ourselves as enough.
I was blown away by this idea. I’ve definitely struggled during this injury to appreciate my body right now and be patient with the recovery process. But I love this idea of trying to incorporate grace into my thought process. When people use the common adage, life is a marathon not a print, I think about that idea that running is a journey and process not just a finish line. While we each chase PRs and individual goals, it is the process of pushing ourselves, building a healthy routine, and being part of a community that really makes running a great sport.
So my challenge to myself and to you is to figure out how to bring more grace to your running or any other aspect of your life. If you need some inspiration to get started, chek out Kristen’s interview here.
I’m coming back from a long hiatus from the blog, which in some part goes hand in hand with my forced break from running. About 6 weeks ago I found out that I have a metatarsal stress fracture in my right foot, which resulted in my newest BFF, Betty the Boot. I’ll go into the entire story of Betty below, but the biggest lesson I have learned through this process is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!! I am actually pretty terrible at this, which has been reflected in my history of disordered eating as a teenager and adult, overtraining, stress, etc. We all have our own personal struggles and challenges, but this experience has definitely made me more aware of the incredible power of our bodies to tell us when something isn’t right. As I hopefully return to running (one of my biggest loves!) in a few weeks, I’ll need to work on this “listening to your body” business even more.
The Betty the Boot Story
Phase 1: Denial
It all started the week of September 12th…I had completed an awesome 20 miler a few weeks ago and was doing really well with my workouts, finally feeling like my plantar fasciitis was under control. But early that week I started to notice some pain in the mid-to-top portion of my right foot. I figured it was just sore, so I cut back on my runs. An easy 5 miler Tuesday of that week still hurt and it was bugging me on my walks to work. This should have been clue #1, because if walking hurts then running is not going to be good. I had a quick 5k planned for Thursday, my last day of work at BC. During the day on Thursday I was planning to skip the race, but I think a combination of emotions with leaving and other things going on in my life (aka lingering relationship feelings) made me just want to run.
So….I ran. And a mile and half in at about 6:50 pace I knew something was wrong.
Here is the place where listening to your body would mean…quit the race! A dinky 5k means nothing when you have big goals like a marathon. But my pride got in the way and I pushed through. This is something that we runners with. We are so used to pushing our bodies through pain, which often leads to great accomplishments (aka qualifying for Boston!). But this can also lead to injuries, of which I have had my fair share.
Following the race I knew something was seriously wrong. I hobbled home, put ice on my foot, and prayed that my PT would say it was just a stress reaction and I needed a week or so off. There was no way I would have to cancel Marine Corps or Philly…how could I be that unlucky?
Phase 2: Diagnosis
I woke up Friday morning with a very swollen foot that could not bear any weight. I had PT scheduled for that morning, so I figured I would see what Adam said and go from there. I limped my way to the office trying to keep the tears at bay and not think about the worst case scenario (STRESS FRACTURE!).
Adam took a look at my foot and was pretty confident I had a stress reaction. He massaged the area for a while and asked me some questions, but when he told me to walk and could see that the foot couldn’t even support my weight he was worried. I knew at that moment that Marine Corps was out and likely Philly as well. Ironically, Friday was also my day to register for Boston 2017, which luckily I got into! Silver linings 🙂
So with this information, I knew I needed to go to the hospital and confirm the diagnosis. My wonderful sister Kate drove over to pick me up and take me to Faulker Hospital where my podiatrist is. He ordered me an x-ray, which confirmed an actual stress fracture, not just a stress reaction. This is like a death sentence for a runner because it means absolutely no running for 6-8 weeks. So Kate and I made our way over to Orthopedics to pick up my Cam Walker Boot, which I affectionately named Betty.
Phase 3: Embracing the Break
I got home from the doctor and had a few hours before my mom was picking me up to go to the Cape for the Weekend. Sitting alone (with Lola and Louie nearby) I broke down. I cried out of anger for not pulling back when I felt something was off and for working so hard in PT and my training to have all of that derailed. I was able to defer the Marine Corps Marathon, but that was not an option for Philly…so I lost a few hundred dollars between fees for races. I also cried out of fear knowing that something I love so much, that has gotten me through pretty much every challenge in my life for the past 8 years, that has become a key part of my identity, would not be possible for 6-8 weeks!!!
After about 15 minutes of feeling really bad for myself I realized I had two choices. I could remain angry, frustrated, and negative for the next 8 weeks or I could use this time to recharge and invest energy in other things are equally as important. I know that running is something that brings me joy and connection, but at the end of the day it is just running. In focusing on distance and time goals I often forget how lucky I am to be able to run. To have a body that allows me to do something I love and that will recover and be stronger.
So I decided that Betty the Boot was going to be that annoying friend who tells you to get it together and refocus your priorities.
Phase 4: Moving Forward
Since getting Betty I have dug into my new job at Northeastern which is going really well! I love the challenge of a new environment and imagining new projects and ideas. Having a more creative professional space and new people to meet has definitely helped me stay positive. I have also been exercising as much as I can, doing some Beachbody workouts (which are actually pretty great and super convenient to do at home).
And over the past few weeks I could finally return to spin! I missed the high-intensity cardio so so much so this has been an absolute blessing. And as much as I miss running and addictively listen to my running podcasts, it has been pretty nice to give my body a rest.
I have so many fewer aches and tight spots, which also proves that I need to be better about recovery and cross-training down the road. I also started seeing this great guy, which has brought new joy into my daily routine. I cannot wait to get out there for some hikes and runs with him and prove that I’m not all talk as an athlete haha.
So all in all, this break has both sucked and been a gift. This is probably the longest I have gone without running in years, but I would never have given my body a true break without being forced. And while I am absolutely dying to get back out there and just jog at a snail’s pace, I also want to come back healthier and stronger both physically and mentally!
This week’s hug goes out to my dear friends Annie and Brian, who are getting married tomorrow! Woohooo!
Annie was one of my first friends in Boston when we met as new office mates at the Lynch School Grad Office in Boston College. Annie helped me get through my master’s program and the good and bad days at work. She provided endless entertainment over gchat and is one of the most vivacious, giving people I know. She and Brian are one of those couples that you instantly see are better together than apart. I’m so excited to celebrate their special day with my partner in crime, Lindsey, for the weekend!
Congrats Annie and Brian!
While I’m at the wedding in New York, Lola is spending the weekend with her buddy Louie at my parents’ house. They were a little sad to see me go this morning, but a treat quickly fixed that problem!
These two will get plenty of relaxation in while I’m gone. My sister always teases me that Lola loves being with Louie because they factor in lots of naps and snuggles…and shorter walks 🙂
Running this week has been a little haphazard, but I have a 10 miler planned for tonight (fingers crossed it isn’t too hot) and then two shorter runs over the weekend since I’ll be away. But hopefully next week it will be back to a routine!
This is really only my second workday this week (yes, I’ve been a bit of a slacker with this quiet summer schedule at work), but I’m still happy it is Wednesday! Yesterday I took the day off just because and got my long run that I missed from the epic heat wave done. I realized that these fall marathons are creeping up and I need to get into a long run cycle. My goal is to complete 3 20 milers before Marine Corps, with the first one next weekend. So yesterday I got out and did 16 miles at about my old marathon race pace. It felt pretty good, but I definitely have some work to do in order to set a new PR.
The good thing is that I am staying pretty consistent with my pace on these long runs that are mostly flat. I definitely need to get some additional hill work in though to build more muscle and keep up my PT exercises.
But onto my new, tasty project…cooking recipes from Run Fast, Eat Slow! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this new cookbook from one of my running idols Shalane Flanagan and her good friend and nutritionist Elyse Kopecky. So I decide my new fall project is going to be to try and cook every recipe in the book.
Not only do I love to cook, but I also really want to be thoughtful about my nutrition and reaching the best possible weight and fitness level for my two marathons this fall. Yesterday and today I tried out two smoothies as well as a kale and farro salad with a lemon miso dressing. I’m going to try and leave recipe reviews as I go so check back (and buy the book because it is awesome!).
Can’t Beet Me Smoothie–A+
I LOVED this recipe and will definitely keep making it for post-run recovery. It is a little sweet, but you can still taste the beets. I also love that it has coconut water for hydration.
Kale, Ridicchio, Farro Salad with Lemon Miso Dressing–A+
I made this salad last night and it was fantastic! I didn’t have the exact miso it called for but the dressing was still great. It is a hearty salad and definitely a good balance of veggies and carbs. Farro is also one of my favorite grains because it has more texture.
I did modify this recipe a bit and threw in some blueberries, but overall I thought it was good just not super thick. I chose the option with honey instead of dates, so next time I will try dates to see if that helps the texture. But, I love the coconut water for the liquid.
I’m not sure what I will be making next since I am out of town this weekend for a wedding, but I’m sure next week will feature some winners!
What are your favorite cookbooks or blogs for recipes? Any recommendations for recovery fuel?
I am happy to be off work today and on my way to my cousin Dave’s wedding to his beautiful bride-to-be Ashley!
Ashley already feels like part of the family, but I am so excited to celebrate them and the start of this new, exciting chapter in their lives. We have such a fun family that I know the wedding is going to be a blast! Here we are at Ashely’s bachelorette a few weeks ago…
Mom and I are heading to Providence today to get the weekend started. I’m hoping to get a long run through the city in tomorrow, but it is like swamp central here with the weather! Not fun at all! My 9 mile fartlek run yesterday left me sweaty in all the places if you catch my drift…
Lola and Louie are spending the weekend with one of their favorites, Jose, so I know they are not going to miss us at all. I’ll be back with more recaps from the weekend!
So I’ve been on a bit of blog hiatus lately. I’ve just had a lot of different things going on that have left me feeling a bit scattered and unmotivated to blog. Truthfully, this is really just an outlet for me to keep track of my running and life at this interesting 20-something junction, so I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it. That being said, I have read other bloggers talk about the ebbs and flows of their writing, which makes me feel a little better about my recent slacker status!
But onto running updates…
This past Saturday I completed the Triple Threat Challenge in Rockport, MA. The race included a 1 mile sprint, 5k, and half marathon, which rounded out my summer goal to complete a half marathon per month (check!). Last year, I completed the 5k on a whim and then the half, but this year I decided to run all three and test out both my endurance and speed. I ran with my friend Caitlin, who is also doing the Philly Marathon this fall! Cailtin’s husband Jon and our friend Allen took care of the cheer squad along with Lola.
Going into the race my goal was to do the mile under 6:30, the 5k around 7:15 pace, and the half around 7:45 pace. I haven’t felt super speedy lately, but I know that I had the endurance. I finished up with these results!
1 mile: 6:45 (watch said 6:17)
I ended up placing as the 2nd female in the mile and 3rd female overall for the three-race challenge, so I felt pretty good about that! The rest of the weekend involved great time in some floats, delicious food/beer, and relaxation with friends.
After all the excitement of the weekend though Lola and I have been dragging this week to get out of bed!
This week is also technically my first week of marathon training, but I’m still trying to let my body recover a bit. I have two weddings for the upcoming weekends, so it might be a little challenging to get the long runs done. But I’m hoping to attempt a 20 miler the last weekend of August and see where I am at pace-wise.
I think a fun fall project might be to cook (and eat) my way through this entire book. There are some delicious looking recipes, so I will absolutely report back with my favorites. The beet smoothie is definitely one of the first I plan to try.
Have a great rest of the week! I’ll be back with a weekly hug and some training updates.