me, actually

i’ve never been a morning person.  i thought i would grow out of it, and eventually love waking up at dawn, chipper and ready to kick serious ass at 6am.  i’m almost forty years old, and i love sleeping in, so…nope–thats a negative, my friend. if left to design my own schedule, i would sleep in until noon, and i would eat breakfast for dinner. this isn’t to say that i haven’t tried waking up super early, and regularly.  when i first started running in 2013, i would run in the morning.  before i had coffee!  this baffles me.  if i remember correctly, it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t awesome.  after logging in the miles over the last year or so, i’ve evolved into being more of a mid-day/night runner, and it suits me just fine.

i often bundle up and run home from work in the evenings.  the first part of the run is a westward mile across the dense, kinetic sidewalks of 26th street. i break my rules by making this mile the fastest one of the run, by dodging and darting around people, dogs, ice puddles, poop, and taxicabs.  it’s not the most graceful mile of the run, either. i look as though i’m hotfooting it across piles of garbage, my arms flapping like a chicken, but i like the challenge. i like to turn the street into an obstacle course that nobody knows they’re taking part in, except for me.

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at the end of 26th street, the west side highway hums predictably with evening traffic.  here i can run easy because it’s just me and a few other runners and an occasional cyclist.

there’s two ways to deal with bad weather as a runner.  you either stay inside, or you lace up and do it.

when you do, you’re probably one of the only runners outside.  if you do see other runners while you’re out suffering the elements, you can take comfort in the fact that there’s other people that are just as batty as you are.  solidarity!

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when you stay inside, there’s the internet and snacks.  you’re all alone.  also, there’s the sun that is shining through the window, tricking you into thinking that you should have gone outside.  the lackadaisical inert part of you (who forgets in the moment how ambitious you can be) thinks: who runs outside when it’s windy and cold with slush absolutely everywhere? 

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well…that would be me, actually.

bittersweet

nothing like a blizzard snow storm to slow this runner (who hates the treadmill) down.  it’s a good thing, though.  i’m keeping it easy, remember?  and easy it has been!

on saturday, todd and i went out for a 5k run around the hood.  i dialed it down this time, and lo! my hip was like, thanks, dude! i don’t feel a thing!  we did negative splits.  the last mile’s time ended up being what i would have normally run for the first mile.  not bad.  good job, us!

because of the snow storm, i’ve been working from home the past two days, watching the snow fall from the comfort of my dining room table.  oh boy, having that extra hour of sleep in the morning is awesome.  no commuting!  no having to pay attention to my appearance!  the only drawback?  looking down this afternoon at myself and realizing that i’ve been wearing sweatpants since saturday.  the same pair.  by night i looked pretty much the same, except i wasn’t at my dining room table, but on my couch across the room eating panic-pringles and sipping on fear-booze while watching movies.  j/k about the panic-food and fear-booze (kind of), but man did NYC go nuts on monday!

tomorrow’s a new day (and an opportunity to wear real pants and some kind of intentional hairstyle).  my dull of commute in the morning will be brightened by some of the songs i just added to my running playlist.

i’m stoked about this one, for sure:

i hadn’t heard this song in almost 20 years until a few nights ago.  i have to warn you though…only listen to this one track because the rest of the songs on this album reeks of 90s jam band.  that being said, this song really is lovely and reminds me of my junior year in high school (1993).  this was a time when jeans only had one cut/style.  this was a time when i tried (and failed) to hide my botched at-home nose piercing from my mom. this was a time when it seemed that my full-time job was to hide in my room, wear pajamas, stare out the window, and dream of leaving my small town for the city.

funny how things turn out.

a slow approach to 13.1

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last week i did something pretty awesome–i registered for the brooklyn half marathon!  i wasn’t ready to do it last year (nor was it on my mind at the time) but now i’m ready.

running this half is almost a no-brainer because:

  • i live in brooklyn
  • i’ve been running longer distances in the past 6 months
  • i’ve got friends and todd running it with me!
  • the start of the race is less than a mile from my apartment so i can just roll out of bed and trot over to the starting line
  • prospect park is my regular jam (we get to complete the loop for the first part of the race)

the only obstacle in the way of finishing this race is the fact that my hip flexor has been bothering me.  i strained it while sprinting like a maniac on a treadmill before the holidays.  since then, the nagging pain in my left hip has been off and on.  if do any speed work, or start out with cold legs, after the third mile my hip will suddenly blurt out curmudgeonly obscenities like grandpa simpson.  i limped home on christmas day, guys.

friends have been urging me to slow-it-the-heck-down. i have a hard time doing that. every time i head out for a run, i tell myself that i’ll have a slow and steady one.  nope!  i find myself pushing low 8’s and 25 minute 5ks with my hip hurtling toward a real injury.  the struggle is real (within the struggle)!

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invisible hip pain selfie

i assume that at this point, i just have to stay out of trouble until february 21st.  that’s around the time when i should be starting some kind of 12-week half marathon training program.  until then, i’ll be strength training (pilates, barre and weights) and running (short distances at a forced, cartoonishly slow pace).

i also have to pick an actual training program.  there’s so many!!  thanks to the internet, you can find at least 56,984 plans out there for novice runners, and at LEAST 54,092,009 plans for beginning runners.  once i find a plan, i’ll lock it in, but for now i’m going to ask around.

so…do you have any recommendations?

IMG_7596in the meantime, i’ll be eating delicious pizza and putting together a new playlist in preparation for the miles i’ll be logging in this spring.

something > nothing

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Brooklyn Bridge Park, Christmas Day

i have to say, i totally surprised myself by running almost every day during the holiday break.  maybe it was all of the baked mac and cheese, chips, dip and whiskey that motivated me to get outside and run fast and far (both as a reward for and repentance from).  perhaps it was all of the awesome new gear i got.

cold weather running requires way more accoutrements than warm weather running does.  gone are the days of sunblock and running tanks.  getting ready for a run in the nowadays feels like i’m preparing for a five day survival excursion out on the tundra.   thick socks?  check.  gloves?  check.  wooly hat that looks like a tea-cozy?  check.  long insulated pants with reflective thingies on them?  check.  skin tight, moisture-wicking base layer top?  check.  windbreaker?  check.  chapstick?  snot rag?  check!

lately i’ve been running in brooks running shoes.  both the glycerins and the pureconnects have been oh-so-supportive of my forefoot striking on the cold hard pavement of brooklyn and on the squishy trails of beacon.

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Denning Point, Beacon, NY

so yeah, todd, nolan and i spent half of the holiday break in brooklyn and the other half upstate in pine bush.  while up there, todd and i worked remotely during the day, noshed on delicious home-cooked meals by night, and inserted a bunch of chilly five-mile runs in between.

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pine bush, ny

this is one of our favorite local five-mile routes.  it has a combination of picturesque rolling hills winding through farmland and about a mile of flat road where at any moment you could get clipped by a semi going 60 mph.  i love a challenge!

in brooklyn, you have to slalom around uncurbed dog poop and errant trash, but in pine bush you get to dodge a rotting roadside deer carcass and a flattened cat in a ditch!  who said the rural life was boring?

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Riverfront Park, Beacon, NY

we wrapped up our time upstate with one last run up in beacon.  as beautiful as this picture is, it was probably the worst and weirdest run of the week. let’s just say i drank too much water before we left the house–a grim realization i made while we pulled into the parking lot.  there are no public restrooms on the riverfront of beacon. the only restroom i know of is located in the boathouse by the docks.  the restroom is located at the top of the stairs outside of the building and is usually locked by a padlock. i was relieved to see that the padlock wasn’t there, but when i went to open it, it wouldn’t budge.  i figured i didn’t try hard enough the first time, so i yanked on the door again.  turns out it was locked from the inside because the next thing i knew, the door knob rattled on its own and a gurgling voice behind the door yelled “GO AWAY!”  my legs went weak with terror.  i clumsily trampled back down the stairs to todd, unaware of what was happening because he had already put in his headphones. confused by my frantic gestures, he followed me as i scurried away from the boathouse.  i’m laughing now about it, but i really did get quite a scare.  what the heck was in that bathroom?!?  i’ll never know.  probably a good thing.

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Beacon, NY

since coming back from upstate, i’ve been busy with work.  january is a very intense time for the fitness industry, so it’s been difficult keeping up with the miles.  only 30 miles run so far this month.  i can’t be too hard on myself.  i was just thinking this morning about how far i’ve come, and how much has changed in the last two years.  i went from nothing to something great within a short period of time, really.  can’t wait to see what the next two years will bring!  but for now?  i’m in a good place.  just need to keep moving is all.  and i will.

 

boo hoo?

when i’m not running, i think about the fact that i’m not running.  a sour twinge of guilt washes over me each time i think about it.

it’s a drizzly, cold december weekend in brooklyn.  while i would normally just up and go to the gym, i have no desire to go today–twinge.

i have to give myself a bit of a break though. i’m coming off of having been extremely ill–i passed out on the floor just two weeks ago!

i haven’t been completely inactive.  once i felt better last saturday, i pushed all of my courage into a pile, laced up, and went out for a run.  i ran with mild caution throughout. in the middle of the run, i felt a little pukey and had to stop for a few seconds to collect myself. surprisingly, i ended up running a sub 30 5k.  the following thursday, i went to my regular spin class at the gym and felt pretty good.  i gave it 80%.  not bad.

Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 4.01.44 PM this afternoon, todd and i peered grimly out the windows of our apartment at the outside world getting rained upon.  for a hot moment, we thought about running outside in the rain, but after seeing that the cars down below had their windshield wipers on at their highest settings, we decided to nix the idea.

fine. no running today. twinge.

but you know…i have to remember that i didn’t run for 37 freaking years!  it took me no time to become a runner, mid-life. i guess taking two weeks off from running isn’t the end of the world.

in the meantime, the world has a billion other things to offer.

like books.

and nachos.

and quality time with my awesome dog.

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right?

when you’re sick

i’ve been propped up weekend at bernie’s-style by flu meds and gatorade since monday evening.  i fainted for the very first time in my life that night. i’d gotten up too quickly from the bed to get a glass of water in the kitchen, and apparently my fever broke at that that very same moment.  thankfully, todd woke up (from hearing the thud of my falling down) and picked me up off the floor right away and carried me back to bed.  i was a sweaty mess!  he made sure i was settled back to sleep after drinking plenty of water.  scary.

since then, i’ve lost a few pounds, several days of running, and my usual voracious appetite.  today, i’m feeling 75% back to health.  it’s an improvement, but not nearly where i need to be so that i can lace up and go running again.  and i’m bummed out about that!  like seriously bummed out, man.

one thing i’ve noticed this week is that i know my body’s rhythms more than i did before i started running.  on sunday, the day before i came down with the worst of my symptoms, i felt a slight soreness in my lower back while running through the park and thought, well…that’s weird.  in a way, i could feel my body boarding up in preparation for a hurricane.

the next morning, i took a running class with my coworkers in the village, and afterwards, i noticed that i couldn’t stand the taste of water.  i couldn’t even appreciate the delicious spread of goodies that my colleagues brought in for our friendsgiving feast.

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i mean, come on!  it killed me to not be able to chow down along with everyone.  my stomach straight-up wouldn’t have it.

after we wrapped up our meal, the soreness and the nausea hit me hard, so i packed up and headed home at a snail’s pace.  not my usual jam, since i’m a fast walker and tend to zoom around people as i pass them on the sidewalk.  i was practically in tears by the time i got home.

i’m not going to lie.  i’m jealous of everyone who did their turkey trot races today.  i’m bitter about not having been able to run or workout since monday.  i’m annoyed that i can’t drink up or eat the way that i want to.  HULK MAD!  HULK SMASH THINGS!  HULK LAY DOWN UNDER THE COVERS, EAT CRACKERS AND SIP WATER!

the good news is that next week is a new week.  i’ll be out and about and feeling 100% by then, but for now i languish in my own anguish.  such is the life of an enthusiastic runner, no?

the long and short of it

the good news?  i’ve been adding more distance to my runs (8 miles in SF <–).

the bad news?  i’m not running as often as i want to lately (although my mileage per week remains the same).

this isn’t to say that i’ve been sitting on my tuchus.  i’ve been cross training, doing new kinds of workouts, and staying ahead of the daylight savings blues which is muy, muy, importante.  

here’s a rundown of my workouts this week:

on monday night, i hightailed on over to a 90’s music themed ride at peloton cycle with marion berrian roaman.   i always leave their studio a sweaty, exhilarated mess.  spin classes like these make me feel ready to take on the rest of the week!

on tuesday afternoon, i went to SLT in their flatiron location to take a complimentary group class.  also in attendance?  my awesome, fellow co-workers at dailyburn!  according to their site “…(SLT) is largely based on the holistic principles of Pilates, but also emphasizes the strength training and cardio elements not inherent to Pilates…”  and how!  my obliques have never felt so sore.  on wednesday, i was clutching my sides and hobbling around like james brown exiting stage left.

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on wednesday night (the coldest night of the week, it turns out), i decided to run 4.5 miles after i got out of work.  oh boy, that was a mistake. there were NO OTHER RUNNERS on the west side highway, and the windchill was 23 degrees with the wind rushing at me at 25 mph. this coupled with feeling sore all over, my pace slowed down by 1-1.5 minutes per mile.  all i could think (bittersweetly) about was the writing on the wall at the SLT studio: better sore than sorry.  by the time i reached the brooklyn bridge/city hall train station at the end of my run, i’d broken up with running and made up with it a thousand times.  while on the crowded train ride home, my sinuses, traumatized by the cold, acted up like WOAH.  i snorted and slobbered helplessly within inches of visibly disgusted commuters.  should have gone to gym!

thursday morning, after waking up super early with a mild sinus medicine hangover, i zombie-commuted to equinox in soho to take a my first barre burn class with the talented lindsay brooke davis.  she is a wonderful instructor, and her class was just what i needed after that regrettable run the night before.  i danced ballet (and tap!) from ages 3-17, so the movements felt familiar and like home to me. now i’m not saying it was easy!  the class was challenging and made me sweat like crazy.  i’ll be back again.

today?  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  i’m keeping my people clothes on!  no sweating, no nothing.  just resting up so i can go on a long run this weekend.  i’ve been trotting around in some new kicks these days which make my legs feel fantastic.  they’ve been great on short and fast runs, and even greater for those long and steady runs.  these brooks are my new jam!

next week? i’m looking forward to spending quality time with the ones i love.  good eats.  good workouts.  warmer weather.  can’t wait!