Monday, May 30, 2011

Race Recap: So You Had A Bad Day

Yesterday, I ran the Great Hyannis Road Race - a half marathon.  As noted in my earlier posts, I was extremely nervous for my first race back in almost a year, but I was also very excited! I have been training harder and faster than ever and really thought this would be the day that I could PR.


For those that don't want to read the full re-cap (and its a long one). No such luck.  I ran it in 1:50:38, came in 189/637 overall and 30/133 in my division.  Ultimately, knee pain/IT Pain, Foot pain, and calf pain slowed me down. The last five miles were so painful I can hardly remember anything else but the pain Ok now from the beginning with some more upbeat, positive views!

Now back to the very beginning...("a very good place to start," ok I could not help myself for those of you that get the musical reference, what can I say I am a dork)

Since we last spoke, I have been prepping for yesterday's order to do so

1) I went on a panic mission to find the perfect socks (see this post)....I officially bought more socks in 24 hours than I know what to do with (can we say nerves?).  With the help of my wonderful running buddy and Erin from Until You Tri I found these socks! My running buddy gave me a pair of his clean ones (hey, don't judge me!) that were too small and I wore them on Friday's elliptical stretch out workout and they were great - I of course ran to City Sports and bought two more pair, yes in men's.  Making my grand total of buying socks to 6 different types of socks in about two weeks, but at least that is FINALLY settled haha.

2) Then I got to fueling - started early on Friday with dairy products galore.  This totally goes against my rule of trying not to consume too much dairy pre-race weekend but honestly I am a sucker for Pinkberry and Berryline and Captain Frostys (softserve on the Cape), so I had them both on Friday....needless to say my stomach was not my friend on Saturday, oh well.
Pinkberry on Newbury - yum!
 Captain Frostys

3) But I continued to fuel on Saturday night with a hearty runner's dinner - the number two thing I was worried about. But I did get my fish, pasta, sauce, and salad (and OJ and an orange). It was the perfect meal. Thanks everyone for the suggestions!!!
Notice the amount of liquid - orange juice, lots of water and seltzer - hydrating much?

4) I made a new playlist. Every few races I like to make a new one, because I get soo bored of the old ones. Aaron is amazing at helping me find the perfect songs for the different moments in the race. This one rocked! I loved it...unfortunately, most of the time I was in too much pain to notice how great the songs were...

5) I did extra PT on Friday (stim and stretch galore) and had Aaron stretch and rub my muscles on saturday before the race (what a trooper he is).

6) Friday, we rod the course in the car to see what it was like, hill, hill, hill, hill.  Again, running buddy was like no hills and again our definitions differ. Ok, yes, you look at the Garmin and the stats on the Garmin say only an elevation gain of 196 ft, I swear the garmin lies! Nothing like a few hills to get your nerves rattling. I felt fairly confident though because I have been running more hills than ever but worried about my IT band on them....We finally also picked a spot where Aaron would be waiting for me with Shotblocks and water and left the worries behind

So yesterday, we drove over nice and early to Hyannis for the race.  The weather was perfect! Not too hot, fairly cool actually and grey (and it did not rain). They said it was deceptively humid but it felt good to me.   I did my normal prep - multiple bathroom trips, stretching, and warm up. And before I knew it we were off!

 Getting Ready - super serious
 My in the zone pictures
Me and the running buddy - pre-race.

Running buddy and I stayed together for about, oh 3 minutes and then he took off (and did awesome, coming in 42 overall and 16th in his division, crazy!!).  I settled into my plan the goal was first three miles slow - 8:15, 8:10, 8:00 and then keep at 7:50s for the remainder of the race....well....
Here we are all smiles!
Hi hubby!

The first three miles were great. I remember thinking how wonderful and easy this felt. Things felt great and I was soaking up being back in the races. People were passing me left and right but I did not mind and kept to my plan as close as possible - 7:54, 7:56, 7:55

The playlist also hit on exactly and at the end of Mile 3, the hills and my pump up music began and I sped up, feeling strong on the uphills and passing people with ease! I kind of made it my goal to pass one person on each hill - what can I say I get competitive.  The next three miles were not bad either - hilly and tough but I kept on moving - 7:37, 7:53, 7:57.

At mile 6, about, Aaron was waiting for me. And I know people will feel different ways about this...but it was a small race, I am only racing myself, and people have others run with them sooo don't judge me!!!  So, yes Aaron was waiting there with his rollerblades to rollerblade along side of me for a while and give me fuel. I promise you, he never was in anyone's way.  Some might think this is cheating but I don't see much difference of having someone jump in and run with you. And honestly, things are suppose to be fun. I am not winning any medals here, so yea for me it was great and what I needed. Aaron rode with me for the next two miles and supplied me with shot blocks and water.  People loved it! He chatted with people and helped me along. Mile 6 and 7 - 7:57, 8:13.

At Mile 8 was when the pain began.  I remember Aaron leaving and me saying to him I am not going to finish this and he said something along the lines of yes you are, you are doing great.  And for the next few minutes the song of Galaway Girl got me through.  But after that, things went down hill fast, or should I say up hill fast. The hills increased and got longer and steeper.  People were passing me again and people who I had passed were passing me!  It was pretty disheartening. There were so many times when I just wanted to give up and was thinking if I would ever run again.  I kept thinking, am I last? But I kept going as my times slowed even one point I leaned over and almost cried, someone passed me and said keep going, so I did. I tried to remain positive thinking about my husband, my running buddy, my PT all encouraging me and pushing me.  I thought about the Ultra marathon Man and if he can run a marathon on the South Pole, I can do this. I thought of quotes like "it is just putting one foot in front of the other" and "if this is easy, you are not trying hard enough."  But unfortunately, for the most part I just thought of PAIN and focusing on how many miles I had left.  At that point, the pain from my knee/IT band had traveled to my calf and my foot and the pavement was not helping!!!  Mile 8-11 - 8:17, 8:24, 8:47,8:55.

Somewhere in those miles, Aaron appeared again to take pictures.  I screamed to him in pain "AARON,"  he quickly stopped taking them when he realized through the lens that there were tears in my eyes...I can only take sooo much pain...

Aaron did not even want me to post these, can you tell how much pain I am in here?

At Mile 12, it was tough going....I saw Aaron again and yelled for him to come run with me but he could not keep up with the rollerblades off, I saw Aaron's family yell for me, I tried to look good but it was hard, I saw the running buddy who yelled to finish strong, as I yelled about the pain....but I took his words and the support of my family and finished as strong as I could. 1:50:38, 8:25 pace, 189/636 overall, 30/133 in my division

Aaron, G-d Bless him, had cold packs and ibuprofen waiting at the finish. As I collapsed on the stairs and savored the ice and some food, I felt so disappointed in myself.  I really wanted to PR, I knew I could do better and it just did not happen!  I felt like I should have been able to push through the pain (as the PT says there is really nothing wrong with me and I can do it), but I could not.  Everyone was so encouraging and said I did great and that it was my first race back, everyone has off days, and not to worry!  I, of course, was negative nelly...and I guess my competitive side of me just wanted to do better, I had trained harder  become faster and was so pissed that my knee held me back YET AGAIN.

Driving back from the Cape yesterday, the song "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter came on and Aaron remarked this is your theme song of the day. Mainly so what, you had a bad day. It really is OK.  This helped a lot. I really have to be easier on myself and realize the victories of the day.

1) I finished!!!! I did not think I could but I dug deep and did it!
2) I made it about 8 miles without pain - better than weeks past!
3) I am a faster stronger runner than ever before
4) I had fun and remembered how much I liked racing (well at least while I was not in pain)
5) I am lucky to have such amazing supportive family and friends - thank you!!!
6) I made an amazing new playlist - a big plus for me
7) My socks worked out great (but my toes are still black and felt the pounding, bah)
8) My fueling plan worked out great!
9) I did not have to battle the heat
10) I actually did a pretty amazing overall  job and can't wait to be ready to go at it again!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday and that all your races went well and if not, be positive, there is always another race and so you had a bad day, oh well, maybe tomorrow will be a better one....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Slish Slosh in my Socks!!

First, thank you for all the advice on dinner and encouragement.  As you can see below, I took everyone's advice and pasta and sauce here I come!!!
Pasta, sauce, roll, salad, oragne and maybe some fish...and lots of water

And lots of bananas!
Meanwhile, a while back, my socks that I have been using for what seems like forever started "acting up."  Aaron mainly diagnosed the problem as lint socks - too many washes and the socks were old and overused.  Now these socks were not anything special, no particular runner's sock just a basic adais short sock that worked pretty well, but it was time to replace them.  When I went to City Sports to get news ones, I discovered dri-fit socks, I thought I love dri-fit for tee-shirts, why not for socks as well?  Aaron's remark was well, where is the sweat going to go - into your shoes? I shrugged at him, figuring that the magical dri-fit would do its job. And things were going well for was not until this past week when the gym became a sauna, fun - why is it that there are no fans under my elliptical? I think someone is discriminating against my elliptical - no fans, no tvs, oh well it also means less users to contend with - let others take the "easy" ellipticals, I am hardcore runner, I will take the no tv, no fan one (a story for another time)!!

Anyway, this week I have noticed that my new "magical" socks are...uh...not so magical.  They have been slipping (i.e., I keep having to pull them up) and yesterday I noticed I was "gripping" with my toe! oh no!! Now, I am not sure if this is due to my knee/IT band injury or if it is the socks.  But I am thinking hoping it is the socks, which creates  a problem.

The culpruits - i have tried multiple types - adais, under armor, nike....maybe it is me!
Having to try a NEW sock for race day?!? Hmmm...I don't know, what is a girl to do!!! Right now the plan is to try and find my original socks at a store and go with them, but if not, if anyone ever experienced this or has any good suggestions on socks that would be great!

The other issue that has arisen due to warm weather is a need for body glide - "runner's deodarant."  Problem again, never used it before. I went out and bought some this week, but I am not sold as of yet.  It feels a bit "sticky" and not sure if it is really helping or hurting.  Any other thoughts on body glide?

Finally,  yesterday I received a belated birthday present from my Spine Doctor!!! Well I guess it is not really a present, but it is too me.  The below is a prescription for anti-inflamattory cream and it is amazing. It is for my neck but the doctor said I can use it elsewhere (or at least try, because it is not made for joints but muscles and is fairly new) - and I have been - my knees, my hip, my hammy, you name it, if it hurts, I tried it! And it is doing the trick!! I am no doctor and can't recommend it professionally to others, but I am personally loving the stuff!

Happy Thursday!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Last Supper

So Sunday is race day! It is the first race back since last August. And I would like to tell you that I am super excited and ready to go. That I can't wait to cross the starting line and that it is going be nothing but the best thing ever!  And it is true I AM really excited, but there is this other part of me...this part that begins to creep up before any race, a part that I can never seem to quash and especially if I have not run a raced in almost a year!!! It is none other than the "worry wort"  in me.  Yes I will admit it, I am nervous nelly.  I noticed my nerves creeping up on me last night as I started to analyze my diet for the next few days before the race, most importantly the night before and the morning of!
My meals pre-race are always so important to me. That important that I plan days in advance.  I worry that without the "perfect" meal, everything will go wrong. I won't be able to stay properly hydrated, I won't have the needed fuel or my stomach will go the other direction and have too much food in it or feel water sloushing around or worse yet it will be porta-potty city!! So what is a girl to do?  Lauren from Failed Muffins recently mentioned letting things go.  And while I have learned that I cannot fix and change everything and that I must let many things go and accept it, that does not mean I am not trying to obsessively plan for this week's event.  I know to many of you a half marathon is pretty much a walk in the park, but it is a pretty big deal for me, so yes I am gearing up early on!

Specifically in the past few days I have been focusing on my pre-race meals.  Since I won't be home and  I will be on the Cape, things are a bit more complex.  Luckily, I do have a beautiful home to go to on the Cape so I do have the option of cooking or eating out.  Unfortunately, I am still nervous, and still not sure of the "perfect" meal.  I tend to really like having pasta and fish the night before a race - little protein and little carbs, great combo.  But this week I find myself second guessing - what fish? what carb? Hmmmm....oh well, it is here I realize, I will just have to try something and go with it and see if it worked!!  

Any good pre-race dinner suggestions from a perhaps overtly nervous runner?

In other news, my knee is doing "ok."  Yesterday I stuck to the elliptical and treadmill doing 10 minutes on the elliptical, 3 miles on the treadmill (23:02), and 10 minutes on the elliptical. Everything felt tight and I felt the knee immediately, but after a little bit the knee felt better, but running felt awkward.  

Today, an hour on the elliptical really helped, but it was SO boring. Why is it that all the other ellipticals have the hook up to the TV but the one I like to use does not :( :( Oh well totally worth it and between that an anti-inflammatory prescription cream (which is actually for my neck but I got the ok to use it on my knee) I am not feeling that bad!! PT tomorrow and some more running, so we will see, fingers crossed!!! Because as you can tell from above, my other number one worry is my numerous ailments :(

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

Not every run can be your best run, right? So you should not feel bad when a run does not go as planned, right?  Especially when you are overtired (from moving all week), dehydrated (despite the massive amount of water consumption), and feeling pain everywhere, how can you be upset with yourself, right?

This all makes perfect sense, and yet why do I allow myself to get so caught up in the fact that this morning's run was not everything I planned it to be.  I know that I am too hard on myself and need to take a step back and realize that I have had a great series of runs, pushing my body harder than it has ever been pushed before and now it is time to give myself a little bit of a break/rest, literally and figuratively.

Today, was the day I was finally going to get to run along the Charles again and I was psyched to run the 8 miles.  I woke up nice early but could already feel that I was still too dehydrated and that my nagging knee pain was still present.  But, of course, I was not letting this stop me, although I probably should have just given in and taken a rest day (G-d forbid, we runners listen to our body's and take the rest day even when our schedule does not call for it!)  So on we went and actually the first four to five miles were great. no pain whatsoever and despite the fact that the dehydration was awful and I was huffing and puffing a bit, I felt pretty good.  We ran 7:48, 7:35, 7:38, 7:49, 7:54.  But then we hit the dreadful stairs (up and down) followed by a long ramp down, my IT Band and knee would not have it = PAIN! The next mile, I felt it a long 8:17 mile. It was at that point that running buddy was like "I will meet you back here and I am going to run 2 miles fast" and proceeded to run two miles at 6:45 pace (yea, no problem! WOW!)  I meanwhile ran hobbled another mile, of 8:56.  It was more like run, stop, pain, ow, run, pain, eek!  Oh well, I knew it was time to stop, no 8th mile for me.   I am officially blaming all this on the move, more intense running, and my nagging knee (that's my story and I am sticking to it).  Oh well they can't all be great runs - earlier in the week had some decent, but tired runs (Monday 8 - miles in 1:02:15 and Thursday 5 miles in 38:45 - not my best but respectable).

Anyway, I need to take from this and learn.  Learn to listen to my body and when it wants to rest, REST and not be so hard on myself. I have been running faster and harder than ever before. So what if not every run is the best run. Oh well, that's life MOVE ON.

So that is what the goal is for today, plus lots of refueling, water drinking, and resting.  I am running a 1/2 marathon next weekend and it is my first race since Falmouth last year (for many reasons) so I would love to set at PR with a 7:50 pace, but if I don't, oh well, and move on!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Go Forth Grasshopper: A Runner's Dream Night *

Yesterday afternoon I sent Aaron the following email:

"My dream night"
1) trip to Newbury street - lulu lemon, pink berry, north face galore
2) stop by PT to question multidue of injuries
3) massage and cuddles

And even though we had sooo much to do with the new house and it would mean a crap load of traffic getting into Boston, the reply I got back was pretty much:

Let's do it!

So at 5:00, Aaron was waiting outside my work and we made the trek into Boston getting ready to deal with traffic.  Luck may have it, it only took us 45 minutes to get in, without traffic it would have been about 20 mins.  A success at rush hour if you ask me.

We headed straight to Newbury Street and Aaron's streak of finding a spot continued. 
Fist Pump for finding a spot on Newbury at 5:30!

Aaron skillfully parking

From that moment on, I was in runner's heaven. 

First, we stopped at North Face so I could buy another two pair of running shorts.  I bought these shorts at the Boston Marathon Expo and I loved them, they are sooo light and airy.  It is so hard to find good shorts that I love, so I knew I wanted back ups!  And now I don't have to do laundry every 5 minutes to be able to run in these all the time as I have been doing. YES! 

It was here that Aaron realized that blogging would now mean tons of picture taking, what can I say? He is being a great sport about it!

From there we went on a search for "yoga pants."  It was not so much a need for particular yoga pants but just a black pant that I could wear around instead of just sweats, but I did not want something too tight as they tend to hurt my knee or whatever ailment I have thought up of at the moment.  So, we headed to Lulu. I tried on a few pairs and yes they did make my butt look amazing (according to the dutiful, loving husband), but they were not absolutely perfect and I am sorry but for $100 I had to say no for the time being.  Instead we continued the hunt and ultimately found a great pair at City Sports along with tons more socks (I had bought some socks at City Sports a few weeks ago and I have been wearing them non-stop, which meant laundry every 5 minutes again!  But now I am stocked and ready to go!)  I really love City Sports, there are always great deals and I can get tons of stuff for a great price, for instance my pants where marked down by $16. (YES!)

We also stopped at Berryline.  I spoke about Berryline in an earlier post, but pretty much I am absolutely obsessed with Berryline, really how can you not be?

Our last stop was one of my favorite places in Boston, my physical therapist's office.  A word should be said here about my PT because he is such a huge part of my life, my training, and my well-being.  In a nutshell, when I first started running, I did not do it safely, I was running too much without cross training and ultimately I got injured.  I had Pattellofemoral Pain Syndrome, which is mainly an overuse injury.  But to me it was crippling.  I could hardly sit in the car or walk from one side of the room to the next, let alone run. It took three agonizing months of searching to find a good PT to help.  When I met him, I told him I just wanted to be able to walk across the grocery store again, he promised I would be running again.  And he got me running in three short easy long, grueling months.  And you know what? He cut my time down by a minute and a half.  From that point on, he continued/continues to be my PT/coach.  There always seems to be something amiss with me, and he is always there to help as well as provide advice on running and running safely.  He runs a Sports Medicine PT Practice and they are open 5 days a week 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and it is drop in.

So last night, I waltzed in around 8:30 and the place was buzzing.  My PT greeted me with enthusiasm "Whats up Stephinator" (everyone at PT has nicknames given by our PT, I got mine by the second day). I asked if he could look me over as while the good news is I am running faster than ever, everything hurt - my foot, hip/hamstring/butt, and IT/knee.  He did a double take at my new and improved times (which to me was the biggest compliment ever) and after examining me, gave me some advice and declared me good to go for the rest of week's running and to check in on Monday after to reassess and gear up for the Hyannis Half Marathon next Sunday.  

Even more exciting, he gave me the green light to run the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon in December.  I wanted to check with him as I will be doing Marine Corps Marathon a mere 5 weeks earlier.  But I am cleared to go, which means Las Vegas and Blogger Convention, here I come!  I know I am new to the blogging community, but it has been love at first sight for me and I can't wait to meet so many bloggers and what a better way than in Las Vegas!

Aaron and I LOVE Las Vegas. We are not big gamblers, but we love the relaxation of Vegas - the food, the shows, the spas, the amazing hotel room, the sun!  We have been twice in the past year or so, and actually ended up having our honeymoon there - a story for another time!

Out on the strip on ourhoneymoon!
 Just got to Vegas, and really excited to be at M&M World
At our amazing hotel, the MGM Grand Signature.  They had a beautiful Christmas trees, we are Jewish, but I could not pass up such a great picture.

So all in all, an amazing night! Really? What can be better? Thank you Aaron!

Any of you out there planning to come to Las Vegas in December or DC in October? Hope to see everyone there!

*the title was inspired by another fellow blogger who recently had a post entitled "Patience Grasshopper" (awesome movie reference).  I have to majorly apologize though as I can't remember which blog it was from, sorry! As soon as I do, I will post it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Deep Breathing…And RollerBlading!

 I don’t do a ton of yoga (although I do want to start and would love some good recommendations on places because I am sore and need to stretch), but I do practice deep breathing.  It is really an amazing exercise in calmness and taking just a moment to relax.  Try it sometime it is really easy! When I first learned it, I thought this is ridiculous and never going to work, but the exercises really do bring an air of serenity in a crazy day.

If you are interested here is a basic exercise: Sit with your eyes closed or open. Now repeat in your head :
I am inhaling one (and inhale)
I am exhaling one (and exhale)

Now try to keep going up until 10. Every time you get distracted by other thoughts and worries start over. Go for as long as you would like. It may sound crazy, but I swear it works wonders.

Anyway, after all the craziness of this weekend, I have been doing A LOT of deep breathing.  I woke up this morning in our new home!  It is so exciting to be new homeowners especially in a place that I absolutely love.  Even better the place has an air about it that makes it feel like we are at my husband’s family’s Cape house, which I truly love (pictures to come).  Can’t get much better?  The only downside is the massive packing and unpacking.  We spent all weekend moving ourselves (with the help of some very very nice friends and an amazing father) but we are wiped out with so much more to still do. I am trying to keep this in perspective.  Really, if the worst thing I have to complain about is unpacking into my new beautiful home, I have got it pretty good! But nonetheless, here I am  complaining.  We have tons and tons of boxes to go through and tons of people coming Saturday night for dinner to celebrate all the wonderful events in our life, most notable my husband who will walk at graduation from law school Sunday already a lawyer (he graduated in December, took the bar in February but commencement is this Sunday).  Thus we will have family and friends coming to stay for the night and for dinner.  I think we are up to 14 but hopefully it will be less.  I love entertaining but I wish we were a little more settled first. Oh well, who cares, I am happy to share the new house.

 Me in my HUGE walk in closet - all i can see is YAY!  Aaron is currently building a whole Closet Maid set up which I am sooo excited for ...
Me after the closing. Finally, we are in!

In the meantime, for anyone that was wondering, Saturday’s blading/run was a major monumental success.  On Friday, we went and bought Aaron new Rollerblades that were particularly fashioned to not feel the vibrations of the road and Saturday morning we woke up at 5 before the big moving day to run 12 miles on Minute-Man (which we thought would be the smoothest area for Rollerblades. I had such a blast.  What a great birthday present (Saturday was my birthday)!  We started out and I instantly realized how special it was to finally share such a big part of my life with the love of my life.  We share everything and Aaron is so supportive of my running but he never runs with me he is more of a hockey boy. So off we went, joking and running and blading.  Aaron was like my own pit crew.  You would hear me shout:

“water stat” and he would roll pass with the water bottle”
Cliff Shots in a ¼ of a mile
Rocky Music Go (cue iPHone)
Encouragement now

It was a great 12 miles.  I told my husband, he may he in trouble as I gear up for the 20 mile runs.  The icing on the cake was that I was able to keep pace without my running buddy.  It took us about 1:34:16 mins and a 7:50 pace.  Usually I feel the dreaded incline of Minute Man and I hardly felt it – thanks running buddy for pushing me through hills! So ultimately is was a MAJOR success.  And then we spent the rest of the day/weekend moving, lets just say by Sunday night I could hardly move I was sooo tired.
Aaron taking a picture with his Iphone, it is blurry but it actually looks pretty cool!

Post run!  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sans Running Buddy!! What's a girl to do?

What do you mean I have to run alone?!?! That was my immediate reaction this morning when I found out my running buddy (who I think I will officially call RB from now on) could not run with me tomorrow, on my birthday of all days, due to a very unhappy hamstring.  So my birthday run has gone from running on the Charles to running in the neighborhood (due to logistics) to running by myself. L This makes me really sad. For a long time, I have run by myself but lately I have been become very spoiled and have run with RB and others and I have loved every minute of it and frankly don’t want to go back! The thought of running 12 whole miles alone, well kind of sucks in my mind right now.  Who is going to push me? Who is going to encourage me?  If this was real life, my description of this situation would be “double, triple tear!!!”  
So what is a gal to do?  First, I tried contacting some other bloggers in the Boston area. But no luck.  BUT if anyone out there is listening and is interested, please please speak up!

Otherwise, my husband and I came up with another idea.  He would run with me…well I will run, he will rollerblade.  There is a lot standing in the way of this and we are not sure it is going to work. For one, he does not have rollerblades anymore, so we need to buy them.  Another issue is that the ground has to be pretty smooth and we are not sure if Minute Man will do it.  Then there is the question of whether he can hold up for the 12 miles and finally there is the issue of keeping pace and running next to each other with his blading stride.   Now, these are all various issues, but it would be completely AWESOME if it actually worked! I would love to “run” with my husband. He would be great for encouragement and perseverance.   He could carry the water and supplies (sorry hun!) and he would be a great companion. Plus, I often think of him when I am running alone waiting for me diligently and how if I can get through, he will be there for me.  Actually having him at my side, would be so wonderful.  So we shall see….but what a wonderful birthday present if it works!

Meanwhile, today should be the big day of the closing of the house.  We have not heard anything from anyone on blips so we hope hope hope hope that we are good to go. It has been quite a crazy process, which is why I am so tentative to this closing but it seems like it is happening!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Quest for the Perfect Running Shirt

I did not start running like some other runners who have been running all their lives.  Rather I had just started it as a form of exercise.  Thus I was not in-tune with all the amazing running gear that I never knew I needed and now have decided I must have.   So when I started running, I started running in just any other tee-shirt.  Unbeknownst to me that there were amazing shirts called dri-fits. Instead, I just went along in regular tee-shirts that I got along the way from different organizations etc.  how naive....

Thus in the beginning, you could see me at races sporting my favorite "Pasta Night Tee-shirt."  I liked this shirt the best because it was very light and airy, maybe that is because it is from my high school senior fundraiser in 2002.  But in my mind, it made sense.

You might have also caught me switching shirts, which annoyed my husband to no end in races because he could never find me.  At Falmouth road race, he dropped me off and I was wearing all red. But then I received a team teeshirt and all of a sudden I crossed the finish line in blue, so he could not even see me.

But it was not until December 2009, when my first dri-fit tee-shirt that I truly fell in love.  This should have been a clear warning to my husband that from this point forward we would now be going on crazy shopping adventures for running gear!  This dri-fit tee-shirt that I received in the mail was compliments of the Rally Foundation, the team I ran the Disney half with.  I loved it!  From that point on, there was no turning back, it was dry, airy, and it allowed me to aovid the inevitable "cold sweat" feeling that I hate so much when you sweat and then cool down in regular shirts.  I wore this shirt for everything!!! And looked everywhere for ones comparable.  I bought tons of different ones, but nothing compared! 

Last winter though, tragedy struck, I grew out of the washer shrunk my favorite shirt!  Oh no!  Luckily, City Sports came to the rescue!  I found on clearance (YES!) white running dri-fits, they fit, they keep me dry and are light!  I took all they had (well it was only 4, so I am not that crazy).

Unfortunately, they are not sooo pretty.  So now I am continuing my quest...I really want to get some awesome race shirts with my name on it.  I know tons of runners do this and it is a great idea for races!  But I don't know how or where to go.

Does anyone have any good advice on where to have these types of shirts made?

This week has been a full week of running and resting and I am psyched for my rest day tomorrow and 12 miles (EEK) on Saturday.

My running buddy has been pushing me onward and we had two awesome runs this week.   Monday we ran 6 miles.  He asked me what I wanted to do - I replied flat and fast. Well...his and my definition of flat differ highly.  In the end, I told him JOKINGLY I wanted to kill him. His reply - was it the hills, the extra for minutes at the end, or the pace? my answer, all of the above.  But ultimately we are running faster than I have ever run and it is exhilarating and pretty amazing for me to put up these times.  I feel a very large sense of accomplishment and really want to have the goal of running a half marathon at some point keeping between a 7:30 - 7:40 pace.  Anyway, this week we ran 6 Monday and 5 Thursday (today). I rested on Tuesday and crossed trained on Wednesday.  Tomorrow I rest and gear up for 12 on Saturday. I am nervous, it is the longest i have done in a while and I really want it to go well, but it will be what it will be and I will go with and try to have a blast:)  It is my birthday on Saturday after all.

Monday - 45:53, 7:35 pace

Thursday - 37:55 - 7:33 pace

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Splendor and its only 8:30

This morning, my running buddy and I set  out for a run on Minute Man.  If you have never used it, it is a great running path. It is about 11 miles from Bedford to Alewife.  Some parts are pretty flat but depending on which way you are going you may have a steady incline or decline at other parts.   Also at the end of Minute Man in Bedford is the Narrow Gauge Trail which is also an awesome addition for those really long runs on a beautiful trail.  I have to say that last year, I was very guilty of running from Lexington Center to Alewife and having my husband pick me up there and I would make awesome times, but the truth is that, that it was all a steady decline.  I know, I know...BUT in my defense, it really taught my legs to move faster and harder so when I was not running Minute Man I became faster.

So this morning we headed out for a 6 a.m. run, I had to make a decision to go with the pain reliever or the allergy medicine, I chose the former although as I started the run we both felt the pollen and regretted it. My buddy suggested some Sudafed but i thought that would not be a pretty combo, so I dealt.  But otherwise it was the perfect running morning, hardly any wind and the perfect 50 degree weather after rain and the trail was coated with trees and signs of life (have I mentioned how much I love spring!!)  With my running buddy, he was not going to allow us to just go for the steady decline, so we tackled both (inclines and declines) and I could not be more thrilled with our times. For him, he was just trotting along easily but this is my fastest run in a long time and by the end I was huffing and puffing and quite red, but he got me there, yay!!

Mile 1: 8:07 (warming up pretty flat, which for me is usually a faster pace)
Mile 2: 7:50 (still warming up, but still would be a fast pace for me and gradual downhill)
Mile 3: 8:02 (time to turn around and go up that gradual incline)
Mile 4: 7:56 (the incline continued...just getting through to the water break at the end of this mile)
Mile 5: 7:27 (yay for the gradual decline)
Mile 6: 7:26 (more decline, but feeling it, how will I make it back?)
Mile 7: 7:37 (turn around and up we go, feeling too much water, running buddy points out encouraging chalk writings on the pavement "You are amazing" "Positive attitudes change everything"
Mile 8: 7:29 (no talking, repeat mantras, that I can't remember what they were now, and gear down to the finish)
Total: 1:01:57

Here I am bright red after the race at home bragging about my run to my husband. I could not be happier.  This was really a great run for me and everything felt good (FINALLY, besides my stomach, with too much water in it). I really wanted to push and I did and running faster made my knees feel better.  I have really found that more mantras, more running with others, and more encouragement helps me move quicker and do better. 

The other thing that I have recently signed onto is making sure to learn how to fuel correctly, before, during, and after runs!!  I was always an early morning exerciser, even more I started to run. I never liked how food felt in my stomach if I ate right before I exercised and I convinced myself of the same during the runs.  But now I work with an amazing Sports Nutritionist, Nancy Clark

Nancy quickly taught me the error of my ways!  She explained "food is fuel" and encouraged me to start training with food and more hydration during runs and before.  And it has made all the difference!!! I almost feel it is like cheating, it makes such a difference hah. We stopped today for water after mile 4 and even though it was the harder part of the run we went even faster, Nancy wins again!!! I would think I would get slower from having to stop, nope!! And I ate a banana and english muffin with PB and 16 oz of water about an 1 hr and 15 mins before the run and it gave me the fuel necessary to push it.  

I would love to hear what everyone else does for fuel???

So now recovery...

I got these Moji icepacks at the Boston expo and I instantly fell in love. The grey one is especially made for your knee and the black one will ice 9 different body parts and will also do heat. I got an AWESOME deal at the expo for both of them and could not resist.  I apparently have very sensitive nerves so it is VERY important that I ice accordingly and do religiously.  These are awesome, I just put the icepacks in the freezer and then take them out and velcro them into the wraps and I am good to go. I can even walk around with them (although the black one was not meant to be moveable).  I even bring them to work on days when I need to ice more and they really do wonders!!! I highly recommend them, worth the investment!!

So, today we were suppose to move.  And up until 8 p.m. last night, we thought that we were at least moving our stuff to the new place. But turns out, things will be delayed so for the next week we will be living literally in boxes.   No biggie, although that means we move next Saturday on my birthday and no time for birthday run along the Charles.  But it does leave me today to go to temple and attend Tot Shabbat. This is one of my favorite services of the month.  It is an hour each first Saturday of each month and it is services for toddlers and babies.  It is soooo cute.  I can't get enough.  I don't have a toddler, but that does not stop me, I have friends with toddlers and I am totally there:) :)  Oops gotta go less than an hour and a half till tot shabbat!
This is was our living room 

Here I am trapped in the bathroom closet! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moving and Running

So for an update to where we are in packing world, see below….

As you can see, we are living among boxes and more boxes. It is completely insane that we are trying to pack and move in 5 days and I am loving every minute of it and am not stressed at all. In fact, this morning at the gym (despite my lack of sleep) I was smiling and happily singing along with the music.  One of my more elder gym buddies remarked, where does all this energy come from?  On a side tangent, one of the things I love about the gym is the random friends I make there, I may never know their names but we have this great rapport without ever really even knowing too much about each other and some times it becomes more.  Recently, we joined Planet Fitness. Say what you may about it, but it works great for us, its cheap and has what we need and is right around the block from work.  Anyway, I met two new gym buddies. One is a man who is about hmm 75 is my guess who is there everyday with a smile on his face.  We always wave and exchange cordial remarks. He is like a sweet grandfather.  I love him. Today I went to have my banana and he was like “I did not want any, anyway…how cute….He is always mystified by my workouts which also kind of gives me a bit of a boost, what can I say.  Then there is another middle age adorable gym dude, when I asked his name, he just said, call me Fred.  He saw that I carried around just a plastic marketbasket shopping bag with my gym stuff in it during my workout (it usually has a towel, some exercise bands, and food).  The next day he bought me a cute Pink nike gym bag so I could put it on my back and use it instead.  I have tons of these from runs etc. but it was soooo sweet, and it has been really useful.  Do any of you have these types of gym buddies?

Lately I have noticed so much good in people and it makes me feel better about the world and life.  Such as 
1) the gym dude bringing me a bag even though he does not know my name
2) everyone helping packing us. I have friends who have offered to help me pack and move.  I mean wow, I hate packing my own stuff, and people are volunteering their time to help me. And all on last minute notice.  I even have a friend with a 2 year old giving up Friday night to help pack!
3) My dad coming all the way from NJ after working in PA for the week to help us move on last minutes notice
4) My aunt who is voluntarily giving up two new beautiful couch chairs
5) My cousin for selling us for table for too cheap
6) Everyone at my temple who has sent us multiple replys to our requests for packing materials
7)  My work and my cousins who have donated packing materials to us…

People are truly amazing!!!

In other news, work has this 10,000 steps a day challenge. I of course signed up because I am easily running that.  As part of the challenge, they have small challenges each week.  This week was sign up for a race.  I signed up for Falmouth and the Hyannis Half on Memorial day.   I was entered into a raffle (and since no one else signed up for a race) I won and guess what? I won a gift card to Lulu Lemon (JACKPOT!)  It came in this cute change purse that has awesome sayings on it like:
1)    Do one thing a day that scares you
2)    Breathe deeply and appreciate the moment. Living in the moment could be the meaning of live
3)    Stress is related to 99% of all illness

I love LULU!

I had a cortisone shot for my neck on Tuesday and this is my second one and it was a lot easier and I feel great today.  I felt amazing the second day of the last shot too but then the next day awful, so here is hoping that does not happen again. I really think it is working though as I have been doing much better since the first one (knock on wood).

Because of the shot, I did not work out Tuesday or Wednesday. Today I ran.  I did 10 minutes on the ellitipical, 3 miles (8:06, 7:41, and 7:41) and there was no knee pain yes!!!! Then I did some weights, I could feel minor knee pain but more tiredness and soreness.  I think/am hoping I just need adequate rest and of course a massage. Here’s hoping!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good Things Come in Threes...!

Lying in bed last night, my husband said to me, we need a third thing because good things come in threes!  He was referring to:

 1) the fact that we just got word that we got financing for our condo and would be moving in four days! (that means packing up our life in four days and moving and being out of our apartment by Sunday EEEK!)
The other two were the problem....
2) would be my hubby's potential passage of the bar; and
3) three was unknown!

That was what worried him. Four years ago when we graduated from college the good things came in threes - graduation, engagement, and a job (i believe). So in his mind, he needed a third. (maybe superstitious, but you are waiting for the results of one of the most grueling tests ever, how can you not be?) Without the third, he would not get the second. Then he thought of it, his graduation from law school. Today, I got a phone call, he passed the bar!!! I can not tell you how excited, relieved and overwhelmed with joy I was/am, I almost cry. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! Instead, I did the obvious (since my hubby already posted the news on facebook), I text messaged everyone we know with the news!

So to say this week may be a little crazy, is an understatement.  We need to pack by Saturday morning when the movers (e.g., Aaron's friends and my dad) come to move us; we need to clean our apartment and be out by Sunday; we need to buy closet units, a washer/dryer, and a fridge; and we need to show our apartment (if anyone is looking it is a pretty amazing place to live and reasonable but it is time for something bigger for us).  Oh and did I mention that I can't really help with any of this because I just had a cortisone shot in my neck to help with my neck pain.  But, no worries I will still fit in the 8 mile run on Saturday morning (very early prior to the move, because thats what runners do right?).

Here's hoping that everyone else is experiencing the magic of good things coming in threes whether related to running or life in general!

In running news, I ran yesterday I did 5 minutes on the elliptical, 1 mile at 7:47 pace 5 mins on the elliptical and repeated this for two more miles.  I was pretty happy with it but still pain in the knee.  I spoke with my PT and we decided the plan for the week would be to rest today and tomorrow and Thursday do 10 minutes on the elliptical 3 miles fast and 10 minutes on the elliptical and then another elliptical workout on Friday and 8 on Saturday. Today the knee was pretty good but still signs that running will hurt. My fingers are crossed that rest will help and that I will be up for the Hyannis half at the end of May. Here's hoping!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Weekly Recap

So, I have had this blog for a week now and I have not actually posted about my runs.  So it seems like it is about time.  I write this from my planted space on the couch as I sit with my icepacks and try to heal from this week....Lately my right knee/IT band has been acting up meaning massive pain.  And due to that my left hip flexor and IT band has also been hurting as I try to compensate.  My PT says there is nothing wrong....mainly my biological makeup does not like running and in other words my nerves fire quicker and i get to experience more pain quicker even when I play it smart, cross train, not running two days in a row, and lots of rest but still lots of pain for me about every six months there is something new, some new injury. Not that I complaining or anything..ok I am kind of complaining. It just sucks that every six months something else is wrong with me but I try to realize that I am lucky to run and that I just have to take one day at a time and listen to my body.

So this week I tried to run and ice and rest, run and ice and rest and REPEAT again and again.

Last Sunday, I ran 6, I was suppose to run 10 but it was bad news, I was in so much pain and it was the first time the pain got so bad so I stopped.  Luckily I did loops.  Sometimes on my long runs i just do loops so I can stop by my car for fuel and drinks but it gets so boring. Anyone have an advice on how to fuel and hydrate without loops or wearing those belts?
TIME: 50:29
Mile 1: 8:30
Mile 2: 8:08
Mile 3: 8:27
Mile 4: 8:26
Mile 5: 8:27
Mile 6: 8:36
Monday, I rested and iced!
Tuesday, I ran with my running buddy. We did four and I was psyched by how well it went and the knee behaved alright.  The workout was suppose to include hills so added those in as well.  Again i can't say enough about running with someone who is so encouraging. I really pushed myself.
TIME: 31:14
Mile 1: 7:53
Mile 2: 8:06
Mile 3: 7:41
Mile 4: 7:32
I then went and did weights to try and calm down the knee.
Wednesday I headed over to PT who did a lot of exercises to calm it down further and confirmed nothing was wrong and to keep at it.
 Thursday me and the running buddy did 5 flat and fast.  The goal was two easy and three fast.  I was limping by the end but the weights and elliptical after helped!
TIME: 39:23
Mile 1: 7:40
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 7:55
Mile 4: 8:00
Mile 5: 7:54
Friday I did some upper body and elliptical and it was ok as well.

Yesterday, Saturday, the plan was 11.  The first five felt good, the next two = major pain, the next 3 were great and fast (post Gatorade and granola bar refueling) but the last one was awful, so much pain and i slowed down by more than a 1 minute and a half!
Mile 1: 8:24...warming up and feeling good
Mile 2: 8:29...still doing good..
Mile 3: 8:34....not bad, stop for some water and bite of granola bar
Mile 4: 8:28...feeling ok still
MIle 5: 8:23...still ok
Mile 6: 8:56...decided to turn around, feeling the wind and hurting majorly! 
Mile 7: 8:47....still hurting really badly!
Mile 8:8:15....stop for Gatorade and granola bar and now feeling great!
Mile 9: 8:14...feeling even better
Mile 10: 8:27...still doing ok! even with major hills
Mile 11: 9:39 ....massive pain, almost did not make it! but did it....

 Needless to say, I am sitting on my butt today hoping that tomorrow's run will go ok and that i can get into PT this week...Stay tuned!  Any advice for the limping runner here?

Ants and ice cream and running....?

I woke up Friday morning at 4:30 a.m., apparently the new time that my body likes to wake up.  I am usually an early to bed early to rise kind of gal but lately it has been getting ridiculous, I have been going to bed later and getting up even earlier.  Pretty much means that spring is finally here and I can’t wait to get outside and enjoy life and the nice weather!!! Has anyone else here in New England noticed how the trees seemed to have blossomed over night? Everywhere I look there are signs of life!!!!  I think I have missed this completely while I was in law school.  I mentioned this to Aaron, my husband, about how I never realized how beautiful spring is (I go crazy over fall, but never spring). he replied because I always miss it because I am studying for finals, another benefit of no more school, enjoying the beauty of spring!

So I woke up at the nice hour of 4:30 and was going past the bathroom when I noticed an ant, I proceeded to step on it (sorry!) but then looking down it was still there, so I tried again, but it was still there…it was then my 4:30 a.m. groggy self realized, that my one ant had many friends.  Yes, we have ants!!!  Oh joy…!  To my credit, I did not freak out, but proceeded to decide that this warranted waking up my husband and a mass cleanup of the apartment!  My husband and I set to work cleaning, I took at little break to do a quick elliptical workout where I was hoping to losen up my knee for tomorrow’s long run and came back to it while my husband then took a hockey break (he plays hockey as a goalie a few times a week).  It was then that I discover where all my new little found friends were hiding…they had come in through the walls into our office and were hiding under all of  “our stuff” that we keep in the back part of our office….for who knows how long…c’est la vie!

Because that part of the post left such a good taste in your mouth, I will continue with what I originally intended to write about – frozen yogurt and icecream!  Since it is getting warmer out, I felt it was warranted to give a top 10 of the best fro yog and ice cream places in MA. Now I am no critic, but I have had a lot of ice cream in my time and for me cold weather is by no means a reason to stop having ice cream but with the spring some of the best places are reopening (and being the ice cream freak I am, the reopening dates have been on my calendar since who knows when)!  Thus, thought it was necessary to divulge from running for a few moments to talk about one of my greatest love affairs…my love affair with that cold yummy dairy product that we all scream for!


10) Cabots - This place has crazy sundaes!! A s'more sundae, a PB sundae, candy sundaes, waffle is intense to say the least. i always eat too much because they give you soooo much and i can't help myself when it comes to icecream
9)Emack and Bolios - I love that this place has homemade waffle cones and whipped cream....I am a sucker for both treats immediately pushing shops that have them to the top 10 list
8) JP Licks - This used to be my ultimate favorite before i was introduced to some other more homemade places but it is still absolutely awesome. They have a set menu which include one of favorites, oatmeal cookie. But then they also have specials each month which I love too.
7) Kimball Farm - -  This place serves you soooo much icecream. I love the PB Cup because there are real PB cups in it as well as fudge and PB if I recall correctly.  The kiddie cup here is like a large elsewhere.  Also they have fun things to do if you go to the one in Carlisle, like bumper boats and mini golf. 
6) Racatore’ s  I have recently become more fond of rancs.  They have homemade waffle cones of different varieties and homemade whipped cream, an immediate plus.  They also have pretty interesting flavors. For a while, I did not think they were too great but I have got to say that I have been really enjoying this place lately
5) White Mountain Creamery -  Again homemade waffle cones and whipped cream yum.  Their oreo is really yummy!  They are open year round which is a major plus in the winter!
4)Bedford Farms - This place is amazing!!! They also give you soo much icecream and I can't get enough.  Their tollhouse cookie is my absolute favorite, it has actual soft tollhouse cookies in it. YUM! Also they do customized icecream cakes which I often get for my birthday.  This one has oreo and tollhouse cookie, again it was a bit intense but soo good.
3) Captain Frostys Located in Dennis on the Cape, this little fried fish stand serves amazing soft serve.  It seems pretty basic but it is absolutely amazing.  I was never a big soft serve person but this place totally changed my mind.
2) Berry Line So i have only been recently introduced to this fad.  And I love it.  This is soft served frozen yogurt that is tart. It actually tastes more like yogurt and they have different flavors - original, raspberry, nutella, mango...depending on the day and then all sorts of toppings, fruit, granola, candy.  I love this stuff!!! I can't decide which one i like better pinkberry or berryline they are both pretty similar in my mind but some people have a pretty strong opinion about...any thoughts?  There are also tons other places like it. recently did their own review:  I had this for lunch yesterday.  I meant to take a picture, had my camera and everything but it was sooo good I just dug right in and forgot about the camera, a testament to how good this is!
1) Cape Cod Creamery  Also on the Cape this place is my favorite. Enough so, that I have gone through the difficult process of bringing back pints for the winter from the Cape back to my place north of Boston.  It has everything from amazing flavors: oreo, twix, pb cup, softserve to all the good add ons rainbow sprinkles (which apparently not all MA icecream shops have), huge homemade waffle cones! YUM, a Cape visit is not complete without stopping here. 

I would love to hear what your favorite places are....Stay tuned for this week's running recap and my apparently bum knees and IT bands eek...trouble is brewing....but that is not stopping me from registering for Falmouth - today's registration day!