Category Archives: Running

One Year Later…

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Today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings.  One year since lives were lost and others forever changed.  One year since the city of Boston changed in a multitude of ways.

I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to say today.  I’ve thought a lot about the experience I had, the emotions I’ve felt and continue to feel and how that day affected me.  A huge part of me wanted to say nothing at all today but ultimately that doesn’t feel right.  I’m sure there will be a lot of different point of views on the day and I think it’s important to remember that everyone will react and feel in their own way.  In the end, there is no right or wrong feeling today.  There is hope and strength, and grief and sadness and even anger.  And whatever it is you may feel today, that’s how you feel and that’s ok.

I wasn’t physically harmed when the bombs went off but like so many others I was in the area and was affected in some way.  In the months that followed the bombing I suffered from nightmares about bombs and death and terror threats.  I’d wake up scared, with tears streaking my face.   To this day I still panic if there are a lot of sirens and can immediately feel the fear creeping in.  When you live in a city, there are a lot of sirens which means this happens more than I’d like it to.  Most of all, I’ve struggled to find my own peace with the events.  Reading the news, and seeing stories related to the marathon makes me sad and quite honestly is just too upsetting for me.  Personally, I was dreading this day.  For me, it brings up so much emotion and I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it.

Perhaps what is most significant is how the events have impacted my relationship with running.  When I ran the B.A.A. Half in October a bunch of fire trucks zoomed by with sirens blaring as I was approaching the finish line.  Rather than enjoying the last quarter-mile I was panicking, and wondering what was going on.  It’s with that feeling that I’ve shied away from races.  I’m just not ready to toe the start line to a major marathon with 40,000 other people.  I’m sure I will again, but right now I need more time.  So many runners have found peace with the events through running.  Countless runners have run races to raise money for the victims of the bombings- they’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons and even across the country.  It’s amazing to see how much they’ve accomplished, and how much money they’ve raised.  But I’m not ready for that and as a result I feel a bit disconnected from the running community and I’m sure I’m not alone.  A year ago, I never thought I’d be saying that.  But it’s true.  For me, running solo with my thoughts is what I’ve needed.

Beyond my own feelings and emotions, I’ve noticed how much kindness the world has shown our city and those affected.  It makes me happy to see victims standing strong, running this race and experiencing genuine acts of kindness.  I followed a dream wedding created for one couple thanks to The Knot, countless fundraisers to help pay medical bills, friendships of a lifetime created as a result and so much more.  And while all the good does make me happy, another part of me feels sad.  Sad that we have to see such kindness come out of such a horrible act.

It’s my hope that Marathon Monday will be a day of healing for this city.  I hope that it’s our chance to take back the city, and return Marathon Monday to a day of community, hope, resiliency, strength and all the good a marathon stands for.  I hope it’s a day for us to heal and move forward.

For today, I’ll be thinking of those we’ve lost, those harmed and honoring the strength of the city that I proudly call home.  

#bostonstrong

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Life in 2013!

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It’s hard to believe that today is the final day of 2013.  It seems like just yesterday I was bundled up, running through the snowy streets and listening to Ellie Golding’s Anything Can Happen and feeling excited and hopeful for the year ahead…

January started with the completion of a long time goal…becoming a certified yoga instructor!  It felt so good to finally complete my goal.   I spent most of January and February teaching my first classes and finding my way as a new instructor.  January also brought my year of being a sponsored athlete for Athleta, which was all sorts of fun and exciting.  I even went outside my comfort zone and modeled in a fashion show for them! Michael and spent most of the winter hibernating and we even watched as we got 30 inches of snow in one storm!  It was a long winter, and having ran outside all winter I was happy to see spring arrive!

The spring brought a lot with it.  Most significantly we endured the Boston Marathon bombings, and the days that followed.  It’s still a memory that brings back many emotions and thoughts. Unfortunately it is something I’ll probably carry with me for years to come.  I’m grateful for my safety and glad I was just far enough away and most of all  I was relieved that all 150+ Team In Training runners were safe.  I’m also incredibly proud of how our city has moved on and the strength we have shown.

I traveled a lot for work this past spring, attending the Inaugural Nike Women’s Marathon Half in Washington, D.C. and the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon!  It was my first trip to DC so I made the most of every moment and saw everything from the Smithsonian to the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and all of the monuments at the mall in addition to a trip to the Newseum!  My mom came with me to San Diego and my first trip to California!  We had a great mother-daughter trip exploring Coronado Island, the San Diego Zoo (amazing!) and enjoying lots and lots of delicious food!

Summer started with a trip to NY to see my parents and a staycation over the 4th of July.  I managed to go to the beach almost everyday, explored the World’s End Reserve in Hingham and the South Shore with Michael, and took a day trip to Newport to tackle the Cliff Walk and head to the beach!  I also started to think more about yoga and what I needed from my practice.  I signed up for 2 fall half-marathons and started training.  I was feeling really good with all of my workouts and training and loving it! In mid-July we lost our love, Brandy.  It was such a sad day as she was truly our little friend who greeted us when we came home with loud meows, snuggled with us whenever possible and followed us from room to room.  You were never alone with her by your side.  She was always little spoon and loved to fall asleep next to you.  Michael and I were heart broken and terribly sad.  As Brandy would have wanted we kept our best to keep on living and loving.  We spent the day together in Manchester by the Sea, tried Stand Up Paddle Boarding, had lunch by the ocean and spent the after at the beach.  We went to the track in Saratoga with Michael’s family and enjoyed many mornings at the backstretch (my favorite).  We headed to the Cape the following weekend for another adventure!  We explored Hyannis, spent my birthday eating pastries, exploring Provincetown, eating oyster and seafood ocean-side in Wellfleet and even watched Planes at the drive-in!  We worked the Falmouth Road Race and watched 35 Team In Training runners cross the finish line!  And to complete our tour of the Cape we spent the night in Martha’s Vineyard at a super nice hotel, enjoying a fancy dinner and exploring Vineyard Haven! We even saw President Obama playing golf!  We closed out the summer with one final weekend at the track in Saratoga!

Fall came quickly and was in one word, BUSY!  I got promoted at work not once but twice! We went to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania so I could be the bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding and watch her and her husband say I do!  And we welcomed this little one into our lives!  Twila brought lots of laughter and happiness with her funny little ways! We headed to Newport again to go the Wine and Food Festival.  It was a pretty amazing day in one of the mansions trying food and wine and loving every minute of it! The last weekend of September brought one of the most exciting things of the entire year…our engagement!  Michael proposed in our Sunday morning yoga class!  We celebrated over brunch and with our family and friends!

October brought back to back half-marathons!  We headed to Portland, ME for the Maine Marathon and Half where I had an incredible race and loved the scenery!  The following weekend I ran the BAA Half Marathon yet again and had another fun race!  We celebrated both with lots of delicious food!  At the end of October my parents came to help us choose our wedding venue.  We set our date and began planning for our November 15, 2014 wedding!  In November we met with caterers, went to multiple tastings and picked ours!  My mom, cousin and I found the dress of my dreams!  We celebrated Thanksgiving with Michael’s family and yoga! December brought christmas trees, work travel and holiday shopping!  I celebrated the holiday in NY with my family and even went skiing last week with my Dad and brother!

Beyond all the activities I managed to scale back in my commitments and started to really live by the idea that less is more.  I refocused on my yoga practice and even stopped teaching in an effort to reconnect.  I’ve also scaled back my running and workouts to give my body a chance to rest and recover a bit…the first time in years.  I finally feel like I’m in a great place with work and life balance and put my time first.

It’s been an amazing year and we can only imagine what next year will bring!  We can’t wait to get married and become husband and wife and hope to see so many more amazing things come our way!  Thank you all for following my life and journey, even as I’ve stepped back and have been blogging less.  I’m hoping to be writing a bit more in the year to come!

Happy New Year Friends!! 

Life Lately

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Life has been busy.  So busy in fact that I checked my blog to see the date of my last post…surely it was in December.  Wrong!  How could it be that I haven’t posted since November?! I’ve been MIA but I guess you already knew that. 

Let’s talk about life lately, shall we?  It seems like a fitting topic since I haven’t been around much.

You may or may not remember that I was promoted in September at work.  It has been quite the transition from manager to director.  No one really tells you how challenging and humbling that transition will be.  Instead most people tell you congratulations and that you’ve earned it.  The last few months have been equal parts challenging, frustrating, exciting and rewarding.  I finally feel like I’m starting to find my stride, my ideas are being heard and things are moving forward.  All good things.  My weeks have been particularly busy- filled and focused on my job.  Truthfully, it’s tiring to make the transition.  I certainly feel like it’s challenged me as a professional, there have been some incredibly hard days, lessons and decisions to make and simultaneously some rewarding and fulfilling moments as well.  In fact, I think this job has given me a whole new perspective on what a job can offer you and that definition of a “good day at work”.  As each day passes, I’m feeling more and more comfortable in the role and thankful for this challenge and opportunity to grow and develop.

Beyond the job, M and I have been busy planning our wedding!  It’s been so fun to choose our venue, set the date and bring our vision and ideas to life!  Choosing the caterer was one of the most fun parts.  I loved going to all the tastings. Trying and tasting all the food was a blast and I loved hearing all the wedding day tips and tricks from the catering managers.  My mom and my cousin (she’s my maid of honor) made a special trip to Boston just before Thanksgiving to help me find the perfect wedding gown.  That experience was pretty amazing and all that I’ve ever hoped and dreamed it would be.  We found my dream dress pretty quickly and I’m so in love!  I seriously can’t wait to walk down the aisle!  We have lots to do in the next 11 months but we’re taking it one thing at a time and enjoying the process.

I know you’re probably thinking…what about yoga and running?!  After all that’s what this blog is about!  I’ve been staying active but in a new way for me.  It feels so good to be mixing things up and the best part is that it feels so much less stressful and so much more enjoyable!

I’ve been spending a lot more time on the yoga mat, I’m still not practicing as much as I’d like but it’s enough for now.  Every Sunday I head to one of my favorite studios for a Sunday morning flow and during the week I focus on my home practice.

Side Crow Pose

Side Crow Pose

I’ve also introduced barre workouts into my weekly workouts and I’m in love with the class.  I look forward to it everyday Friday morning and the results I’m seeing in just 4 weeks are awesome.  My arms and abs are more toned and I feel like my legs are slimming down as well.  It’s really fun and I leave the hour class feeling the burn!

Here and there I’ve been getting to the gym to get in some low impact cardio on the elliptical and treadmill.  I haven’t been running outside more than a handful of times since October which is probably the biggest change for me. It’s not been a focus for me right now and that’s ok.  For the last 6 or 7 months I’ve been experiencing pain in my right hip and low back.  All summer I trained through it but after my half marathons in October it became really irritated.  Resting it has definitely been helping and the barre has been strengthening it which feels good.  I’m still not 100% with it so I’m trying to really rest and recover.  Beyond my hip I’ve been experiencing a lot of wheezing and breathing issues when I try to run outside that I have really hindered me.  The cold air and I are just not getting along.  When I was in high school and college skiing and racing I struggled with cold-weather induced asthma.  I seemed to out grow it in my early 20′s and trained for Boston Marathon 2 years ago without any issues.  Towards the end of last winter it started to bother me but before I knew it the weather warmed up and I felt fine.  This October it came on the vengeance as soon as the temperature started dropping.  It makes running outside really frustrating and discouraging.  I have a doctor’s appointment in the next week or so to get both things checked out.  I’m hoping that I can get these issues resolved and hopefully start running a bit again!

Despite my hip and my breathing issues I’m feeling really great.  My body is appreciating the change in workouts and I feel stronger and more rested than I have in ages.  I’m only working out 3-4 times a week which is a lot less than normal.  I think I just needed this break.  Surprisingly I haven’t gained any weight and am actually feeling really lean lately.  I’ve definitely noticed that my appetite has adjusted.  I’m a lot less hungry than I was just a few months ago and find myself snacking less and skipping the second helping more often.  I even find myself reaching towards the sweets less!  I’m not sure how long this little change-up will last but I’m certainly enjoying it and in no rush to get back to my normal routine.

I’ve also been thinking a bit about this blog lately.  I feel like I’ve evolved over the last few months and the blog needs to as well.  I’m still not quite sure what that looks like or what the focus will be but I can tell you I want to keep writing and sharing my passions of running and yoga with you all.  And I’d like to share them more often too! I’d love if you’d tell me what posts you’ve been missing from me lately, or if there is something you’d like me to talk about more often!  I want to be sure I incorporate that too!

So that’s life lately.  It’s been crazy busy, challenging, fun and filled with love.  All good things in my book!

Tell me, how’s your life lately?  What posts have you been missing from me lately?  What would you like me to share with you more often?

Slow Down and Listen to Your Body

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Two half marathons, two weekends in a row.  You’re probably wondering what I’m up to next?!  Good thing I’m here to fill you in!

While I absolutely love training for a race or chasing down my dreams (like becoming a yoga instructor last winter), I’m also human and from time to time I get tired.  And right now that’s exactly what I am.  Tired.  My body is tired and sore and mad at me for running too much.  Mentally I’m tired from being on the go and doing too much.  The truth is, I’m ready for a break.  I’m ready to SLOW down.

If you know me well, you know that I don’t slow down much.  In fact I rarely sit still.  But this feeling, this need, this desire to do less has been gnawing at me for months and I suppose it’s because I’m not giving myself what I truly need.  I started to listen back in August by blogging less and giving up my weekly yoga classes I taught.  Those decisions weren’t easy but in the end I think they were right and still continue to be the right decisions.  The problem is, that isn’t enough.  And this feeling hasn’t gone away.  You could argue that now it’s not just my mind telling me to slow down but my body is too.  So I’m going to listen.

What’s next for me is a week off from working out.  No 5 am runs in the dark and cold.  No long runs.  No yoga.  Nothing.  Just rest.  And Friday? Friday is a MUCH needed (and well deserved) massage to work out the tightness in my neck, shoulders, low back and piriformis.  It’s a chance to let go and reset both my body and mind.

Next Sunday Michael and I will head to yoga (the class where we got engaged!).  From there I plan to take more, and do more yoga.  My practice has been scattered since I became certified.  I’ve either been teaching or practicing at home, or just not practicing at all and it’s time to change that.  Plus, I think yoga is exactly what I need.  My body will appreciate the stretching, the lengthening and the strength building and mentally it will be the quiet, reflection I feel I need.  It will be an opportunity to nurture myself and restore myself.

Beyond yoga I plan to join the gym for the winter.  Last winter I toughed it out and ran in the dark and cold everyday but I just don’t have the motivation this year.  My body could use some variety so I plan to utilize the elliptical, bike and pool.  I also really want to take some classes to mix things up.  Quite a few winters ago I took classes all winter and loved it…body pump was one of my favorites.

Running will always be part of my routine so my goal will be to run once or twice a week this winter.  It’s not a lot but just enough to stay in it while giving myself a break.

I think some time off to rest and having a variety of workouts will be perfect.  I don’t plan to follow a schedule or have a set routine but rather listen to what my body and mind are telling me and adjust accordingly.  One day that might be yoga, another it may be a run or it might be a class at the gym.  And sometimes it might just be to rest and that’s ok too.  I’m truthfully really looking forward to all this.  It will be nice to not have a training plan to follow or runs that need to be done and just go with the flow.  No goals.  No plans.

How do you plan to stay fit this winter?  Will you be running and training or going with the flow like me?

The B.A.A. Half Marathon!

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Today I ran the BAA Half.  This has always been my favorite half marathon and I look forward to it every fall.  What set today apart from past years (this was my 3rd time running it) was that I ran the Maine Half- Marathon last weekend.  I’ve never run races back to back weekends and I’ll be honest I didn’t really know what to expect and was a little bit nervous.

This past week was kind of crazy with work and things going on home so it wasn’t as restful as I’d hoped it would be.  I slept in a few mornings to get some extra rest and my only workouts were yoga on Tuesday morning and an easy 3 mile run on Thursday.  I did try to stretch as much as possible as my hips and hamstrings have been incredibly tight and uncomfortable.  I knew going into today that my legs didn’t feel as fresh as last week but still hoped for a good race!

Michael and I headed out this morning around 7am, I brought my oatmeal to go and fueled up on the way there.  I was cautious to not drink too much water and Gatorade as I over did last week and had to stop and use the bathroom.  We scored a great parking spot and were at the field very easily, I picked up my shirt and then waited.  The line for the Porta Pottie is really long at this half so I didn’t ever bother to try to go.  In the past I’ve always just made a quick stop in the first mile or so and since I’m running for fun I don’t mind losing 45 seconds.  We headed to the start and I got into Wave 2, the 8 to 8:59 pace per mile corral.

The B.A.A. did a really nice job with the speaking portion before the start and the National Anthem was gorgeous.  They certainly touched on the events of the Boston Marathon but they didn’t dwell on it and recognized how many people came out to run and show their support.  Before I knew it Wave 1 was off and we were making our way to the start.  I crossed the line and started running.  I knew right away I was going to have a challenging race.  My legs felt a bit tired and achy.  At the half-mile mark I tried to quick run in and use the bathroom but there was a line so I kept going.  At mile 1 I decided I’d just wait for the guy in front of me.  He took longer than expected and by the time I was back out running I’d lost about 2 minutes.  I was pretty bummed but told myself I was running for fun and my time wouldn’t matter in the end.

The course was VERY crowded the first few miles and it was really hard to navigate your way through people, there was a lot of weaving on my part!  One of my mental tricks for running a half is to not pay attention to the mile markers until mile 4, and by then it’s less than 10 miles to go.  So today that’s exactly what I did.  I focused on the people around me and scenery and truly felt thankful to be out running on a gorgeous fall morning.  Just before mile 5 was a u-turn and I knew the course would start to get hilly then.  I took my first shot blok and some Gatorade and tried to relax and enjoy the easy terrain.

The BAA Half Marathon!

The BAA Half Marathon!

Mile 6 is where the hills start and mile 7 has some real good ones.  I love hills (a product of being a nordic skier) so I just pushed my way up and over them.  My legs started to feel really heavy and the hills were definitely a challenge but I just stayed mentally tough and told myself I was over half way there.  Mile 8 is pretty flat and it was a welcome break to my legs.  It gave me a chance to rest before we’d go back up again.

At mile 9 I saw Michael which gave me an extra jolt of energy, he’s the best cheerleader!  I grabbed some Gatorade right after I saw him and took another shot blok.  I knew the challenging part of the course was coming so I started to mentally prepare.   Mile 9 to 10 is pretty much uphill the entire way, it’s long and gradual and it does a number on your legs.  I set my pace, stayed mentally tough and pushed through.  Right after the 10 mile mark is another u-turn before you head back down.  I welcomed the downhill but was getting frustrated as the course really narrowed and became congested.  It was so hard to pass people and run freely.

Once you pass the 11 mile mark you hit another challenging uphill.  It’s again long but steeper than the hill at mile 9.  I was ready for it and I knew it’d bring me closer to the end.  Thankfully the course opened up a bit and I had a little more room.  I set my pace and chugged along.  Almost to mile 12, I saw Michael again and was thankful for his enthusiasm and encouragement.  His sister was volunteering at the water stop and was full of energy! The two of them gave me the push I needed to get up and over the hill.

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Smiling at Mile 9!

Mile 12 is my favorite.  It’s winds through the Franklin Park Zoo.  I passed an aviary and wound through some narrow paths. Before I came back to the road I saw the camel taking it all in!  There is only a half mile to go after the zoo so I started to pick up my pace.  The crowd was cheering and I knew I was almost there!  As I entered the stadium and saw the finish line I pushed the pace and crossed with a strong finish and a time of 1 hour 52 minutes.

It certainly wasn’t my fastest half marathon but it was worth it!  I’m bummed I lost almost 2 minutes going to the bathroom but it happens.  I am proud of myself for making it through two half marathons, two weekends in a row.  My legs felt it today and it’s quiet obvious I need some more yoga.

I learned a good lesson today when it comes to running…I’m more about quality than quantity.  I realized that running two races didn’t make me feel better about all my training or the time I put in, it’s just that I ran 2 races not one.  I definitely think I’d rather run one race…feel good, have fresh legs and give it my all than say I ran 2.  I don’t run for the medals or the swag or to say I did a certain race.  I run races because it gives meaning to my 5 am runs and it gives me a reason to go run 10 miles before work on Friday mornings.  To me, races are a celebration of months of training and I’m content with one really awesome celebration.

I also learned that I really love the smaller races.  Today 8,000 people were out running.  Last weekend there was 3,000.  I have to say I’d rather run with 3,000.  I don’t want to wait in line for the bathroom, or give my warm clothes to Michael 30 minutes before the start so I can get in the corral and I don’t want to worry about the course being crowded or how I’m going to get around all the people in front of me.  I just want to run my 13.1 miles, and have some fun!

All in all, I’m happy and proud of my races and the lessons I’ve learned.  These races have certainly made my months of training complete worth it.

How were your fall races?  Any thoughts or reflections?