Presidents Day Thoughts

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Good morning, friends!

Sorry I have been absent for over a month now. Life did it’s funny thing where you think you’re super comfortable and happy and then it pulls out the rug from under your feet and you wind up on your butt, sore, and wondering how to stand back up.

Not going to get super detailed here, but suffice it to say I’m finally feeling like I’m finding my way back to a routine and getting back to a happy place.

I also turned 25 recently, and after a quarter century, decided to ring it in with some fun

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Doors have been opening, and I recently started working for a wonderful little food company in Boston you may have heard of: 88 Acres. They (we?) make small-batch granola bars that are nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and basically safe for most people with common food allergies. They also make a “seednola” from unused edge pieces of the bars, and specialty seed butters (chocolate sunflower, vanilla spice sunflower and pumpkin seed). 88 Acres is very responsible about sourcing and makes sure that all the ingredients come from single-crop distributors to prevent cross-contamination. 88 Acres is all about the seeds, using a blend of pumpkin, sunflower and coarse-ground flax seeds as the base of their products. It’s been very interesting in the short time I’ve been there to learn about scaling a small business with big goals, working with labeling and thinking about the future of food and added sugar claims, etc. What am I doing for them? They want to build out the nutrition library on their website to serve as a resource for their consumers, so I’ll be adding to that with blog posts and topic pages. I’m also establishing a firmer partnership between the brand and registered dietitians, because 88 Acres is serious about offering a nutritious, YUMMY option for people with restrictive diets and wants RD’s to be able to refer to them as a trusted brand in their wheelhouse. If you’re a dietitian and want to learn more about 88 Acres products, send me an email and we can get the ball rolling ūüôā

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True hill running takes Maine Mountains (Pictured at Sugarloaf Mountain in ME)

Other things on my mind: to train or not to train for marathon #2. For so long, it was a no-brainer. Of course I’d sign up for another marathon. I had my eyes on the Twin Cities Marathon because the timing seemed perfect, the course seemed perfect, and I’d be able to get another trip home out of the deal. But as registration opening inched closer, I started to reconsider. Do I really have enough time to train for a marathon? These days I’m barely home enough to cook a solid dinner. With 3+ jobs and part-time school, I’m pulled in a lot of different directions and having flexibility with my workouts has been essential. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add on one more big thing to my plate. Because training for a marathon is a¬†big thing, and this time around, I know I’d want to take it seriously – get faster, get smarter, run better.

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Made history on January 21st in the Boston Common to march for women, science, facts, and common decency

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So on February 2nd, I didn’t sign up. I had until February 6th until the price increased, but I still haven’t signed up. I’ve been getting more comfortable with the idea of sticking to half marathons this year. 2017: the year of 13.1. I feel like I can PR this year if I keep my goals focused. I’m still working with Heather and have a training plan coming my way very soon to begin training for the Maine Coast Half Marathon in May, which I convinced a few Boston pals to train for and run with me.

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I just haven’t been running very much. 5-6 miles feels long, and satisfying, and if I went any longer I still feel like I’m risking injury. Probably because I’m not really running consistently. I think the major difference is that when I was training for the marathon over the summer, I would be running almost every day for about 30 minutes at least. That kept my legs used to the work of running, so when I headed out for longer runs on the weekend it wasn’t such a huge¬†thing. Off-season has been weird. I feel like I took too much time off but then again never really got back¬†on.¬†I’ve been cycling a lot at the indoor studio I work at because it’s convenient. I did a 30-day yoga workshop in January and really stepped up my namaste game. Now, I’m trying to balance everything out with more strength and resistance training, especially since my IT band (I think) has been whining and I want to nip that in the bud as soon as possible.

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Miss You

So, next steps include getting new running shoes, breaking them in, and getting back on the training plan bandwagon. I am looking forward to having more to be accountable to Рto stick to a schedule and train smart, since without a schedule I tend to mess things up for myself.

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Back in Action

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Needless to say, blogging has been the pot relegated to the back burner among the other pots and pans on the range of life at the moment (how’s¬†that metaphor feel going down?)

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After finishing the marathon, I admit I was ready to take a break from structured running and the recaps that went along with it. It was nice not to attach¬†any extra accountability to my running, and to be quite honest, I didn’t do a whole lot of running at all. Of course, the first few weeks were full of recovery and taking it slow, walking mostly and doing quite a bit of easy yoga. But soon I got antsy to work out. My first real¬†run after the marathon felt AMAZING despite only running a short 30 minutes and not even making it fully across the Mass Avenue bridge. My ankle and foot had calmed down quite a bit since the full 26.2 jaunt, and I wanted so badly just to jump back in to a casual running routine, but they weren’t fully back to complete painlessness and I had to remember that I couldn’t expect to just jump back in to where I started pre-marathon training. My body had endured quite a bit of stress, more than I’d ever put myself through at one time before, and I would just have to be patient and avoid making anything worse for myself. Easier said than done.

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Working at the spin studio was a cursed blessing at that time, and I was all to easy to tempt right back into taking classes since they were free. I took a bootcamp class that left me sore for a full week before Thanksgiving. But I did enjoy the flexibility that having no real training plan afforded me and went to spin classes and yoga classes whenever I so pleased.

I didn’t run too much.

Coming off of race day, Heather agreed to put in some training notes in for the rest of the month, which I mostly followed ūüôā During my Thanksgiving trip back to family in Wisconsin, I had agreed to run the 2-mile Turkey Trot with my parents and brother. 2 Miles was what I knew my body could handle, and a totally appropriate effort to be comfortable with. But of course, I couldn’t just sit there and only run 2 miles when there was a 10k option that I had run the year earlier and I knew I’d be vegging out the rest of the day watching football and eating sweet potato casserole. So as anyone probably could have predicted, I ran the 6.2 miles of the 10k, and by mile 4 knew I had bit off more than I could chew. My legs still felt weak and finishing that race brought back memories from mile 24. It felt fabulous to be done, and I’m glad I had that learning lesson that yes – I had to be taking things slower and that would have to be OK with me. I ran a few more times that week – little ones – that still felt a little questionable but overall good just because I had run.

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That was pretty much the peak amount of running I’ve done. After getting back from Thanksgiving, coursework amped up as the semester came to a close, I started working on my new internship with the undergraduate athletic department at Tufts, and work at the dietary assessment unit was as busy as ever. It was nice not to have the added pressure to¬†need to fit in this or that workout in to my day – I could take a rest day and it would be totally fine. I battled a few colds and bouts of the flu that couched me, but a few key yoga classes served as my life elixir, and overall I think just have enjoyed a little less intense exercise regimen over the past¬†month and a half.

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That being said, I am more than ready to start adding some structure back to my running routine. I’ve decided on a spring half marathon with a few friends up on the coast of Maine that I can only imagine will have the most gorgeous sea views. I’ve been off a training plan for the winter, but will start back with Heather in her Spring Training group using a 14-week plan and as a part of a support group of other runners also training for spring races. It won’t be as individualized of training as I had over the summer, but it will be a great middle ground between me just doing what I think I should do to train and having a daily dialogue with a coach to plan each week. I’m hoping to maybe PR the race …?? but really not going into it with any super serious goals. It’s honestly hard to imagine running a PR after growing so accustomed to this 9:30ish comfortable pace that is a full minute per mile slower than my first two half marathons. I haven’t really tried pushing myself or incorporating any true tempo runs into the runs that I have managed – I’ve mostly stuck to easy runs at a low heart rate just to keep my aerobic fitness in check, and build up even more of a base for the future marathon on my horizon… Hoping that these spin classes and bootcamp HIIT classes I’ve been jiving on are building some extra oomph in my runner-muscles and maybe can bring back some speed. To be determined!

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Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going

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Well hello there. Yes, I’m still alive. Yes, I know I’ve neglected this and I could throw a slew of excuses out there as to why (school, work and personal life all decided to ramp up their demands from me at the same time and naturally something had to give – and that was recounting my weekly training). Since my last post, I started my second semester of grad school, this year taking classes part-time to allow myself more breathing room for other life ventures as well as to be able to really dig deep into the classes I am taking if I want to. Last year as a full-time student¬†and half-time employee, I found it really challenging to be able to balance the responsibilities of both. So far, I’m really enjoying the balance of part-time school along with my now two part-time jobs (I found a really awesome gig at a local Cycling + Bootcamp studio that not only pays decently but also allows me to take comped classes during times that I’d otherwise just be sitting around (or managing this blog….) –> WIN. It’s been a busy month of getting used to my new schedule, but the one thing that’s stayed consistent has been my training plan.

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Well, until now.

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For the majority of the month, my training plan was stable: two easy runs each week, one work-out run for speed work or hills, and two strength training days with yoga mixed in and a long run on the weekend. The easy runs were breezy – usually done in the ever increasingly dark mornings (bought a blinky light to save my life) while listening to podcasts or a chill playlist to keep my heart rate down. The work out runs were energizing. I’d end them feeling stronger and really excited to notice how much more in-shape I felt since beginning this whole adventure. The strength training was harder to get in to, but as the weeks went on I noticed it hurt a little less each time. I was a little more stable with each one-legged squat. I could do 50 seconds of mountain climbers without wanting to cry. I felt like I was making progress and my body was working with me. My long runs were great, too. Each week increased intensity a little more. After the step-back week of the wedding in Wisconsin, I ramped up to 2 hours and 45 minutes, then 3 hours. I made it up to 18.5 miles and felt amazing. Some of my best runs. I practiced fueling and found my go-to pre-run breakfast I have no intention of swaying from. I trained my body to handle more real-food carbohydrates on the runs without protest. Long story short, I felt like I was heading in a great direction. Until I wasn’t.

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My last long run was two weeks ago. 2 hours and 45 minutes, and by the end of it I knew something was wrong. It was my first run that was derailed by real GI issues and forced me to stop to use a¬†bathroom (surprisingly, since this happened to me multiple times while training for my half on much shorter runs). After stopping, my body did not want to start again. Thankfully, I had basically completed the entire run at this point and just walked for the remaining 20 minutes back home to cool down. I tried to speed up to a light jog, but it was a no-go. I chocked it up to one too many beers the night before (and perhaps one too many nachos while watching the badger game) and spent the rest of the day eating simple foods. I couldn’t help but notice the nagging pain in my foot that stuck around longer than normal, despite elevating my feet against the wall of my bed as usual. I wore rain boots downtown to work that evening and felt sharp pains with some steps.¬†I figured my feet just needed rest, but the next morning on my short, 30-minute shakeout run I couldn’t even finish 25 minutes of running. My heart rate was sky high for the pace I was going¬†(felt like crawling) and I knew something was off. It was my shoes, I was sure. I know I had put in hundreds of miles on them over the summer and that I was due for a new pair. I only wish I had realized that BEFORE the problem set in. Runners: Don’t ignore footwear. Lesson LEARNED. I made an emergency trip to Marathon Sports that Monday and picked up a brand new pair of the same Mizuno Wave Inspires since they had carried me through most of my training successfully.

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Rest day??

The ankle problem persisted that week despite taking it easier and modifying some of the workouts I had planned. Of course as timing would have it I was going to be running the BAA Half Marathon on the following Sunday, and really didn’t even consider¬†not running it until the day before, when I was on my feet all morning and could¬†tell that the issue had definitely not fully resolved. Basically, on the inside of my left ankle, I have a tightness in what I now believe is the tendon that runs from my ankle down to the bottom of my foot. I’ve tried to ice it and wear a compression brace for as much as I can and that has seemed to help. The problem is that I really can’t let it fully¬†rest. Being in Boston, and used to walking pretty much everywhere while also working on my feet twice a week at the spin studio, I’ve still managed to stay relatively active. Great, except when it’s not. I worked out a plan for the half with my coach the day before the race, and since I had already picked up my bib and gotten excited about it with some friends who were also running, it was near impossible for me to think about skipping it. More lessons learned — let the ego GO when it comes to healing and taking care of your body. I made the decision that I would go to the race mostly to practice pre-race strategy, but pull back and DNF the minute I started to feel pain.

(Eats + Treats from the past month…)

The day of the race was miserable and rainy and cold, perfectly, and though I was able to run a (SLOW) 4.5 miles before deciding that enough was enough, shutting down my watch and settling in to the idea that this weekend was a bust, I couldn’t get back to the starting line without continuing my march forward with the rest of the runners. I stopped at one medical tent to see if there would be sweepers picking up injured runners (hello), but the only sweeper would be at the end of the race – meaning I’d have to wait a full two hours just to be shuttled back to the starting line where most of my friends would probably already have left. I decided to keep walking, but after 3 miles of walking and trying to find a short cut in the pouring rain, I felt so impatient and worn down and I just wanted to be done. I upped it to a jog despite knowing that I was probably making a mistake, and ran another mile or so until I found the branching point where the runners go out and back for a loop – I jumped in on the pack of runners that were coming back and probably bypassed about 3 miles of the course. I tried to sneak back to the finish line without finishing the race – did not feel like I deserved to run through that finish line – but found that the only way to get to where the finishers were was to run through that line. After I finished, I shoveled a hamburger into my mouth and regretted what I had just done. I had to keep repeating to myself along the course that it was OK – this wasn’t my race – New York would be my race, where I would put it all out there and really go for it. It was OK to hold back here, but it was hard to be in that place amongst all of the other runners who had worked so hard to get to this day and this course. The post-race was the worst part. There was nowhere to go to escape the rain and cold, and I ever-so-smartly forgot to pack a change of clothes or even a sweatshirt, so I shivered my way all back home and FINALLY took a hot hot shower once I was back.¬†I prayed that I didn’t do as much damage to my ankle as I expected I did and checked back in with Heather to adjust my plan.

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What it’s looked like this week: Not a lot of running. Yesterday was the first time I laced up for a jog since Sunday, actually. Other than that, I took the two days following the race completely “off,” though both days I somehow managed to rack up 15,000+ steps despite only going to work and class. Wednesday I was able to go to a yoga class focused on stability and stretching big workhorse muscles like the quads and core, and also did some basic core and hip strengthening moves at home. I iced my ankle every night and propped it up whenever possible. I willed it to heal, but it’s been a slow process.

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I was supposed to have my last big push of a run today, Friday, before the national nutrition conference FNCE this weekend. One more 3 hour run to set the stage for my two taper weeks coming up before November 6th. But yesterday on my quick 30 minute run it was obvious things were still not 100% – though they have improved a lot since last week. After a bit of warming up, I could run without thinking about the pain in my ankle but this was just 30 minutes – I had no idea what would lay ahead of me during a 3 hour training run and the last thing I want to do is mess things up even more with less and less time to recover.¬†Moving ahead this week, it’s looking pretty conservative. Trying to agitate it as little as possible and that means little to no real road miles. As scary as that seems, heading in to the last weeks of my training without reaching for high miles, I have to trust this process. I trust that my coach has given me the tools to train myself to be prepared for the race, and I have to take care of my body for all of that training to pay off. The last thing I need is to ignore all the lessons I’ve learned over the years and continue to train on a stressed body in need of rest.

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A true lesson in patience and letting go of the stubborn will to push myself farther. It’s about keeping the bigger picture in focus. I’ll be OK as long as I let myself heal. That’s the important thing right now.¬†The mantra I’ve repeated to myself this whole training season is still relevant: Get Through The Mud. But I need a solid footing to do that, so hopefully by next weekend I have it back.

Current Fave = My Pride & JOY of a Running Playlist – Getting a lot of play time despite the lack of mileage

Have you run through an injury before? How did you handle it? Mistakes you learned from or success stories you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Week 12 NYC Marathon Training + Fundraising Update

Hello friends! Wanted to get this post out there before I head back to the Midwest for a very-end-of-summer trip to Marry my best friend (I am not getting married; I am MARRYING my best friend and her fiance. Right?!) More on that later. But first…

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It really feels like the weeks are flying by. It’s always been crazy to me how slowly some days seem to crawl by, but looking back at the weeks and months it feels like time passes in the blink of an eye. The next class of dietetic interns at MGH graduated this week, which means it’s officially been a year since I graduated and have been living life as an RD (well, plus the one month of studying I did for the exam… but who’s counting that?)

A combination of things last¬†week left me feeling pretty tired overall. Ending week 11¬†with that killer run on tired legs made for a body very much in need of recovery. I tried to pay attention to this and stay on top of stretching, doing the targeted strength exercises and sleeping… but the sleeping part seemed to fall to the end of the priority list with this week packed full of new/fun things that I don’t regret whatsoever, but by¬†Thursday ¬†I was very much in need of an afternoon of naps, and decided to take the afternoon to myself which ended up being an excellent decision.

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Got beets? Got ginger? Got this smoothie. Beet + Beet Greens + Fresh ginger + Fresh lime juice + Greek Yogurt + Frozen Blueberries.

Week 12 NYC Marathon Training Recap

A little note here on my training plan. I am posting the week as it¬†is¬†planned for my own journaling but want to give credit where credit is due. My coach Heather Caplan¬†puts together my weekly training plan fully customized to my needs. THANKS HEATHER. I’m absolutely loving having her guidance, and following such a well thought-out plan each week takes so much stress out of the equation.

Monday: Easy 45 Minutes + Hip Work

Worked in the AM and the temperatures didn’t get crazy high on Monday so I fit this guy in in the afternoon, running around the neighborhood. I quickly remembered why¬†I don’t make it a habit to run in the afternoon, and even though it wasn’t as hot and humid as it had been, the sun was still pretty strong and more oppressive than I find enjoyable. The annoying afternoon heat and end-of-the-day bloated feeling was probably accentuated by the fact that my headphones died and I was left just running alongside my thoughts for the majority of the 4.6 miles I ended up covering. Thank goodness for the hip exercises (and so glad I was honest with myself and told Heather about my discomfort) because I’m already feeling much more balanced and can finally do pigeon pose again without being stopped by pain.

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Life is good when you can stretch on a pier.

Tuesday: Spin Class + Bodyweight Core Work

Made it to an AM spin class at the studio near my apartment which happily focused a lot on core and hills – truly the best kind of cross-training work out you could ask for. Followed this up with the traditional core exercises which I have officially memorized but haven’t grown to love any more. Mountain climbers still kill me every time I have to do them and I just don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

Wednesday: MAF Run (1 hour)

Had originally planned to run this on the Harvard track, but when the day came I really didn’t feel like making the full trek over there since the mile splits weren’t necessarily built into the run and I just needed to run somewhere relatively flat and consistent. It oddly took a long time for my heart rate to get up to speed – I was mostly running at a warm up pace of 10 min/mile and my heart rate stuck right around 135 BPM which is pretty low for me. I felt like I had to push my pace quite a bit to get up to 150-155, my calculated MAF heart rate, which seemed counterintuitive since MAF is supposed to be more lightly aerobic than high-effort… but once I did reach 150 I tended to hover right around there with a consistent 9:10 min/mile pace which was happily much faster than my previous MAF test. According to my coach, my lower heart rate could be due to any combination of increased fitness or stress, and it’s hard to know which of these it truly was since I had been feeling like my body was stuck in a bit of a stress-mode with the previous days of higher-intensity work outs and busy working schedules/minimal sleep. Also fair to expect a lower heart rate since the temps are finally starting to settle down and my body seems to be responding better with the dry air and cool breeze in the morning. OR perhaps I am indeed building my fitness up and my heart is responding with a higher pace threshold at my MAF heart rate. Time will tell with a repeated test!

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Lots of veggies including one new potato + Chicken sausage + Puttanesca sauce + Feta = great night-before-a-run fuel.

Thursday: Yoga + Bodyweight Exercises

I had planned to go to another Wellness in Motion yoga class during the day but was seriously dragging during the morning and all I wanted to do was go home and nap. I was able to leave work a teensy bit early and headed straight home instead of over to the yoga studio. I napped for a solid two hours and lounged around for the rest of the afternoon. Much needed. I ended up doing two yoga videos from Yoga by Candace on Youtube, which ended up providing just the perfect amount of balancing and inversion practice, as well as an opportunity to work on my hip/leg imbalances. I held Crow for 15 seconds! And am getting a little closer to be able to do a headstand. Little victories. Headed to bed super early Thursday night to catch up on allllll the sleep.

Friday: Easy 30 Minute run

Ended up running 2.95 miles before heading in to work, because I had to leave the PM open for the KENNY CHESNEY CONCERT AT GILLETTE! Nothing really to report here. Nice morning, beautifully cool, easy easy run.

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Yes Kenny was wearing a Patriot’s Bro Tank and Yes he sang for 2 hours. No regrets.

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Weird Snacks. Grilled chicken wrap with some sort of tomato salsa and spicy mayo + French fries. Ended up feeling pretty nasty during Kenny because of this so would not follow my footsteps. Also shout out to the weird stains on my boots. #concertlife

Saturday: Active Rest – Beach day + Walking errands

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Sunday: 2:45 long run (no more than 16 miles)

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Hit the 16 mile mark! My longest run to date actually felt pretty dang good. Coach Heather moved it to Sunday since I had the concert on Friday (very happy about the scheduling because I ended up not getting home until after midnight Saturday morning and there was no way I’d be wanting to run 16 miles after that). I decided to run a different route and felt like heading backwards down the Boston Marathon course towards Chestnut Hill. Most of my warmup ended up being on cement sidewalk which wasn’t an ideal surface to pound out a ton of miles on, and it didn’t help that I wiped out about 1.5 miles in scraping my knee in the process. There was nothing to do but keep going, though, and thankfully it was just a little surface scratch that I ultimately ended up forgetting about. Ran two laps around the Chestnut Hill Reserve pond before heading back to the river to finally finish the 16 miles close to home. When I saw my watch buzz that I had passed 14 miles and was still running at pace, feeling good, I knew I would hit 16 within the time I had left. I think the rest day before and the tough run last week really helped prepare me for these miles, and it’s finally setting in that I might really be able to finish the full marathon and not die/feel horrible. Doing 16 miles in 2 hours and 35 minutes, I could potentially run the last 1o miles in 100 minutes and finish around 4 hours?? Not that I have any time goals whatsoever for my first 26.2, but as with everything TIME WILL TELL. For fuel on this run I brought along another KIND pressed bar but didn’t enjoy this one as much (Apple, beet carrot I think it was?) It was just a little bit too hard to chew, and I’ll definitely want something that takes less energy to get down in the future. Also brought along the margarita clif blocks and had one any time¬†I started to feel my energy levels dip – ended up taking two total. Ultimately feeling strong with this run and so happy that all the training is really starting to pay off.

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Total Miles = 30.0  Nice.

Fundraising Update

I AM OFFICIALLY¬†HALF WAY! Soooo many thanks are necessary to those who have been generous with their donations and support of my fundraising efforts with Action for Healthy Kids. Since I have a donor who is willing to match donations up to $1,500, I technically could stop here and be done with it – but I am so motivated by the enthusiasm and support I’ve received I think I can continue to reach up and raise more money on my end before I have my very generous matching donor take on the rest. I have a charity yoga class in the works (coming in October) with my good friend and fellow dietitian colleague, who happens to also be a yoga instructor. There have been a few bumps in the road and lessons learned during this fundraising journey, and had I been writing this post a month ago my tone might have been a little different, but at this point I have been so impressed and motivated by the support I’ve received from friends and family that have donated. It is humbling to remember that I’m running this race for more than myself. It’s an honor to be able to raise money for Action for Healthy Kids and spread awareness of their mission around my social network.

Writing Fatigue + Weeks 7 and 8 Marathon Training

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HOWWwww is it already August? Seven months of 2016 have already come and gone? Truth be told, even though 2016 has been going by in the blink of an eye, I’ve had an absolute blast and I’m really proud of myself for always trying to live “in the moment” (really starting to hate that cliche phrase) because looking back on the previous 7 months I don’t feel an ounce of regret or sadness or like I missed out on anything.

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Helloooo gorgeous sunrise! Major perk of running at the literal crack of dawn.

Having this blog is both a blessing and a curse. I love posting, re-reading my previous posts and looking at my progress over the long-term as a runner and human being. But sometimes it’s¬†hard for me to write. I have the responsibility hanging over my head knowing I really should just sit down and write something today, but reading other people’s posts or that random article that the Washington post just published or the trashy-yet-saying-everything-I-want-to-say bachelorette recap usually sounds way more fun.

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I’ve been mentally wrestling with why it’s so hard for me to¬†keep a blog running when I have no trouble keeping up with other commitments. I never turn in assignments late. I’ve missed maybe one or two workouts in my training plan so far because I didn’t feel well. I like to schedule my time and know when X is going to happen – as much as I like to think I’m spontaneous, I’ve definitely come to terms over the years with how much satisfaction I get from having a plan. I’ve occasionally written “Blog” in fancy lettering in my planner to remind myself to spend part of the day writing a post, but usually something else ends up filling that time. I¬†really don’t know what will kick my butt in gear and make blogging fit in to my life like the rest of it does. Blogging seems to be in the purgatory of priorities in my life now – I know I should do it not only because I like it (I do like it!) but because it helps me practice my writing for when I’m doing this in “the big leagues,” and because having a place to debrief keeps me mentally focused and accepting of whatever is happening in my life. Maybe I hold my posts to too high of a standard – If you don’t want to read what I have to say, I’m sure you won’t! But that fear shouldn’t hold me back from writing in the first place.

alright, blogging rant over. let’s get back to the reason I opened up this¬†NEW POST¬†page anyway.

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Oh-so-lucky to spend a perfect summer evening with family visiting from Minnesota in Fenway watching the Twins beat the Red Sox via incredible seats.

Weeks 7 + 8 Marathon Training

Holy moly I’m already two months in to this thing! I have just under 100 days to go. I’m starting to get really excited, and more confident that I’ll get to the starting line in one piece. So far (I knock on wood every time I bring this up), I haven’t had any real pain or discomfort in my hips, knees, feet or legs like I have previously experienced. A few runs have been, quite literally, pains in the butt with sore glutes/lower back especially during the beginning warm-up stages. But I have basically attributed this to fatiguing during cross training (some spin classes I’ve been to have been utter glute burners), more squats than I’ve ever done consistently before, and being lax about foam rolling. Definitely making it a habit to foam roll after each run and workout and it almost always feels like a good decision. Hurts so good, as they say. I’ve been going to these awesome yoga classes held by a new friend I met at a running club earlier this summer who specializes in yoga for runners. The studio she teaches out of is a Chiropractic clinic as well, with a cozy yoga studio complete with a centuries-old brick wall and complimentary yoga mats. They had a $25 introductory¬†3-weeks unlimited which is basically unheard of in Boston, so I’ve been making a point to go at least once a week when it works with my schedule, and I’ve been absolutely loving the sessions. Shout out to Sarah, who also just finished the San Francisco marathon and rocked it. You go girl!!

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Hello, perfect salad. This bad boy had roasted sweet corn, avocado, blueberry and onion + baked salmon on top. No need for dressing with all those heart healthy fats goin on.

During week 7, I was also taking a week-long class through my grad school that I signed up for on a whim because it was free and sounded fun. #nerd. Hot Topics in Nutrition, and it did not fail to bring up some interesting discussions and I learned quite a bit about a wide variety of topics. If anything, it reconfirmed that there is soooo much going on in this field and it’s hard even for the experts to keep up. Research is so abundant (which is a good thing!) now, but it’s even harder to discern high quality studies from questionable ones, and we are entering a period of cynicism toward nutrition science. Nutrition science is one of the most difficult sciences to draw any conclusions from – there are just so many limitations at work in any given study investigating diets and humans because of the very nature of diets and humans: they are not static chemicals you can isolate in a lab – they are dynamic and pretty much always changing. Even so, the popular press has no trouble taking modest results and churning them into fiery headlines, often missing the entire point of some studies (making me all the more fired-up about pursuing nutrition communication to confront this systemic failure). At the very least, the class was nice because there was the guarantee of free coffee every morning.¬†Can’t complain about that.

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Tried the coconut RX-Bar for the first time during a busy day when I needed a snack to pack to hold me over between meals. I was not disappointed! The ingredient list is no joke and I love that it has protein from egg-whites for staying power. Also a fan of the size compared to lara bars because sometimes those lil things are just gone too soon. Shoutout to the liter of polar seltzer in the back. No fangirl shame here.

I was proud that I was able to fit in all of my scheduled work outs despite the tight squeeze of having 4 hours of class every¬†morning, usually followed by work in the afternoon. Did two yoga classes this week, body weights, and an elliptical workout for cross-training. Running workouts were two 45 minute “easy” runs + one longer mid-week tempo at 10k pace. My long run was a 2 hour 15 minute killer early on Saturday morning, another day of brutal heat that had me up and running at 5am. It felt good overall, but I felt like I was running a little on the slower-side after my hour-long easy warm up. Problem solved after I turned off the podcast I was listening to and went back to some good, old-fashioned techno jam music. Pace = increased. I definitely needed the hydration I brought with me, and it continues to save my life during the heat. I enjoyed the honey stinger chews that I brought with me and these seem to be a keeper for my long runs that aren’t extremely sweaty (for those I love the margarita clif chews that have extra sodium). On Sunday I had a spin class as my shakeout workout and was surprised how good it felt after cranking out¬†14 miles the previous day. It helped that the class was on the easier side (read: didn’t feel like I was killing myself but still a pretty intense workout) and I had a delicious breakfast with visiting family to look forward to. Overall, a good week that I was very happy with!¬†Total miles = 29.5

Week 8 I ended up mixing up my workout schedule because a busy day left me feeling beat, so I basically used it as an unplanned rest-day after confirming it with my coach. Started the week with a one hour “easy” run that ended up not feeling super easy because I underestimated my need for water and felt super thirsty for the first half until I came upon a water fountain. Kept it slow and steady though, ended up with 6.3 miles at 9:40 average pace. Went to another yoga for runners class, and did 30 minutes of stationary bike + elliptical for my two cross training days, as well as the core workout I’ve posted about before (becoming a new tradition over here). Skipped my tempo run because of my unplanned rest day, and used the remaining weekday for another MAF run –¬†warmup plus 3 miles at/under a heart rate of 155. SLOW but necessary. It was hot, so my pace was probably a little slower than it would have been otherwise — on average it was 11:19 per mile.

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My long run was a little step back and was only 1 hour 45 minutes including cool-down. I remember this run feeling great – it was a cool morning FINALLY and I had steady energy throughout. I didn’t eat anything before heading out because I was still full from snacky foods I had eaten at my fundraiser the night before until like 11pm. So I just made myself a cup of coffee and let that ..move through.. before hitting the pavement. Ran my first hour easy and my legs felt a little slow to wake up, but by the time I was running my 3 x 1 mile at half marathon pace I definitely felt good pushing it. Music really makes a huge difference with my speeding up these days – it’s just so much more satisfying to feel like your flying to a rolling beat of a good song. Overall my pace for what ended up being a 10.6 mile run was about 9:39 min/mi, but my half-marathon pace sections averaged around 8:30 min/mi which seems about right! Followed my long run on Saturday with some foodie adventures and enjoying the sun, and had an easy 30 minute shakeout run the next morning.¬†Total miles = 25.5

Favorite Running Jam Lately: Colors by Halsey, Audien Remix (Turn this one up and fly)

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Hot days call for recovery smoothie bowls. This one had a scoop of mint chocolate protein powder + almond milk + half a banana and lotsssss of spinach.

I think moving forward with this blog I’m going to try to post more frequently with shorter posts. I don’t want my only activity on here to be weekly updates because #boring. Expect a post soon chatting about fundraising and some of the lessons I’ve learned so far. I also have a few nutrition topics I want to sprinkle in. Variety is the spice of life and I hope more frequent and shorter posts will keep my commitment to this blog a little less of a drag to maintain.

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Oh, just me with many plates of Persian food. In my happy place (Happiness is only real when shared)

 

How do you stay motivated?

How do you get over writing fatigue?

Why I Run

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“Why Do I Run?”

It’s a question I probably ask myself more than others ask of me, and my answer changes depending on the day. Sometimes, I’m convinced I run because it relieves my stress. Other days, especially on painful runs, I’m not so sure. I don’t even really remember exactly¬†when I decided that I’d keep running except that it was sometime between my first day of Freshman year of college and when I started experiencing pain¬†in¬†what would become tendonitis¬†due to overtraining that I decided I liked running.

I started slowly. I remember running for a minute and that minute feeling like an hour. It was a true breakthrough being able to run a whole mile without stopping to walk. I had no idea what my pace was, or what my heart rate was, and I probably wasn’t even wearing proper running shoes. But I do remember that sense of accomplishment I felt after running a full mile without stopping. And I think that’s really what keeps me coming back day after day.

Running is hard. It’s not something for which I can thank my genes for providing me any talent. When I was in elementary school, I ran¬†an 18 minute mile (jokes on the 7 minute milers, I thought, higher numbers are always better, right?) I participated in sports, basketball, soccer and tennis, but running was never the part that¬†I enjoyed. Walking was much more my pace, and something that¬†did help to reduce my stress during the thick of high school. (I’m still a huge believer in walking, and walk just about everywhere that I can.)

But nothing makes me¬†feel like running does. I enjoy working my butt off and experiencing the return¬†of a faster pace, or a farther distance, or simply not feeling¬†so awful the next time. It forces me to tune in to my body. There’s nothing else there to blame (besides the wind, damn you wind) when something doesn’t feel right. It’s a trial and error sport, and¬†the puzzle of figuring out how to get better is so satisfying – when it works. When running feels good, it feels¬†amazing. Running outside is the best. Breathing in fresh air and getting up-close-and-personal with all the corners of my neighborhood helped me feel at home much quicker after moving to a new city. There’s no better way to learn the lay of the land and the feel of the city than by foot.

Running in races is the cherry on top of an accomplishment sundae. When I felt comfortable enough running and walking a few miles, I signed up for my first 5k. Even at that small county festival race, the feeling of being amongst other runners all preparing to accomplish the same goal was electric. When I finished, I felt like I had just climbed a mountain, but I was already thinking about running another one.

So I kept running. I joined the organization Girls on The Run as a volunteer assistant coach because I identified with the mission to introduce more girls to running at a young age, and met some amazing women. One of the coaches was an Iron Man finisher who told us she had started running a few years ago just doing a lap around the block. I think now she’s completed another Iron Man and countless other Triathlons, and is a true example of¬†simply “keeping at it because you like it and just look where it might take you”. Coaching¬†with GOTR was a huge lesson for me in my own running journey. I learned that running was much more than simple exercise – it opens the doors to a supportive community and builds so much self-esteem it’s ridiculous.

Running can hurt. Like, really hurt. So much that you have to use crutches and walk with a limp for months on end and realize you had been a horrible person your whole life for not understanding what a blessing it is to be able to walk anywhere at the drop of a hat without pain. Running made¬†me¬†realize that it’s¬†not all about running. It’s about everything else. It’s about eating¬†food that makes me¬†feel good not only when I’m¬†eating it, but three hours later when it’s pushing me toward¬†that next mile. It’s about understanding what I¬†can do now, and loving that, but wanting to do more. It’s about getting really good sleep and taking really cold showers. It’s about being realistic. It’s about knowing my¬†own vulnerability, and thanking my¬†legs, and feet, and heart, and lungs, and eyes,¬†and really every single body part for¬†working together to perform small miracles every day.

I run because the constant challenge keeps me focused. I have a goal, and the goal is¬†me. It’s me¬†against myself, only I’m building myself up not breaking myself down.¬†I’m learning more about my own body and mind¬†than I ever have before, and I finally feel confident and¬†able — and that confidence seeps into other areas of my life too. I’m more outgoing now. I trust myself and my own decisions. I fight back when I feel pushed down.

I sign up for a marathon. (And I will finish it)

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Week 6 Training Recap Here

Why do you run?

Is there something else you do that makes you feel this way? I’d love to hear about it ūüôā