Resolved: 2012

02/01/2012 § 10 Comments

Photo via George Eastman House

“Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account”
Oscar Wilde

In referring to my often-neglected journal to find my resolutions for 2011 and 2010, I saw a few repeats, a few things I achieved, a few things I failed miserably at, and a few things I completely forgot that I had resolved to do.  With this in mind — along with Oscar’s words above — I’ve decided to pare down my list for this year, from its usual ten or eleven item list to six.  Thus, here are the six things I can achieve, and will achieve, this year:

  1. Travel to at least one new country.  I’ve managed to keep my streak alive for the last three years, and I’m definitely committed to continuing this year.  Currently thinking my new country for 2012 will be somewhere in North Africa, Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe, but this is definitely not nailed down yet.  Have any suggestions for me?
  2. Run two half marathons.  I ran the New York Marathon in 2010, and have run plenty of road races of shorter lengths over the past 4 years (view my running posts here).  Admittedly, after the marathon, I suffered from a bit of burnout and my training has been uneven ever since.  This year I resolve to run two half marathons.  I will give myself extra points for sub-2 hour finishes, but I will be more than happy with two uninjured, smiling finishes.  I’ve got a former international competitor as a training partner (eesh!), but she assures me she needs just as much training as I do.  We’ll see about that.  Have any races you’d suggest I look into?  Even better, would you like to run with me?
  3. Cook some things.  My friends frequently point out that I blog about plenty of interesting things, cocktails and whatnot, but I almost never mention food.  Were you to look into my refrigerator, you might understand why.  It currently holds water, condiments, booze and two oranges.  And the oranges are for making Old Fashioneds.  I also cannot honestly remember the last time I used my oven or stove.  So in 2012, I’m resolving to actually buy myself groceries and cook at least once a week.  (Sidenote: Please do understand that “cooking” shall be construed quite liberally.)  Have any ridiculously easy, yet nutritious and delicious recipes for me?
  4. I’m on a horse. This was actually a 2011 resolution that I did not achieve, and so it’s getting carried over.  For as horse crazy as I am, I really have no excuse for not riding anymore.  I grew up taking all different kinds of lessons — even mounted drill team…yes, I am that awesome — and I still feel the need to get on a horse almost daily.  Admittedly, it can be a bit difficult doing so, living in New York City, but this just can’t keep being the reason I don’t ride.  This year, be it lessons, a trail ride, or perhaps even a dude ranch, I will get myself on a horse.  How do you make time for your interests?  Do you ride?
  5. To read twelve books.  I’ve always been a rather voracious consumer of all sorts of information, but I have found that in the last year my reading of books has been a record low.  Not acceptable.  To that end, I resolve to read twelve books — hopefully, one a month — in 2012.  Read any great books lately?  How is this best accomplished?  Do you think I need an e-reader?
  6. To live with purpose.  Rather abstract, I admit, but 2012 will definitely be my year of living with purpose.  Making decisions, choosing actions to make sure I achieve my goals, focusing on the immediate as a way to get to the eventual.  My life is best lived when I grab it by the horns, summon up the courage and blaze my own trail.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have ever lived in Italy by myself, travelled alone in Europe, moved to New York, or gone to law school — and who knows what else.  No sitting on the sidelines this year.  No letting life meander on without making affirmative decisions of my own.  Live like that, and life will pass you by.  How do you put your words into action?  How do you live with purpose?

Lastly, I’m excited to see what 2012 will bring for ye olde blog.  A big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read, email me, comment, Tumbl, Tweet, Pin and otherwise share the rather random stuff I post about.  I’m deeply grateful for your indulgence and I look forward to learning more from you in 2012.

Here’s to having our best year ever.  Cheers!

This one’s for Grete…

13/06/2011 § Leave a comment

At the start corrals.

This weekend, I got myself up extra early on Saturday morning to run the 40th annual New York Mini 10k in Central Park, my first road race since running the New York Marathon in November.  Joined by more than 5,000 women, the experience was not only personally rewarding (I was satisfied with my performance, even though I did not seriously train) but quite unique.  I hadn’t ever participated in a women-only race, and running alongside women of all ages, shapes, sizes, colors and running styles on the 6.2 mile course was an amazing feeling.  The winner was Linet Masai of Kenya, who finished the course with a time of 31:40.  I came in second.  Just kidding.

The Mini 10K debuted in 1972, founded by New York running guru Fred Lebow (who also founded the New York Marathon), as the first strictly women-only race.  The race was held this year in honor of Norwegian marathon legend and 5-time Mini winner Grete Waitz.

Grete Waitz in 1977

I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with Grete’s story until after the race, where I noticed many of the runners and supporters wearing shirts that said they were “running this one for Grete.”  Grete Waitz was truly a ground-breaking athlete and I am quite in awe of her story.  Not only because of her amazing athletic achievements, but mainly because Grete ran at a time when female athletes were not as well-funded and supported as they are today and when female marathon runners were a distinct minority.

A highly decorated runner, Grete won races and broke records all over the world.  The first time she ran the New York City Marathon (in 1978), she won it and broke the world record — and then went on to win it 8 more times after that.  Grete advanced women’s long distance running through her excellence on the road and her dedication behind the scenes after she retired from competitive running.

Grete died of cancer in April of this year and was given a state funeral in her native Norway, only the sixth Norwegian woman so honored.  Her husband, Jack, honored her memory by running the 10k this Saturday (after visiting a deli for breakfast — their tradition when visiting New York).

And so, I ran this one for Grete, too.

28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things: Day 9 – Move It

09/02/2011 § Leave a comment

**QC’s 28 Days**
In February I will be bringing you daily tips
to cultivate more classiness and fabulousness in daily life!
Image via LIFE, by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Day 9: Move It
Life is neither classy nor fabulous if it is spent feeling anything less than energized.  You will soundly fail to carpe diem if you cannot summon the physical strength and mental fortitude to pull yourself from your gorgeously upholstered Louis XIV chair and set out to conquer the world.  This is the main reason to take today’s tip to heart, but of course, there are countless others — illness prevention, weight control, reduction of stress, and the like.

As someone who has gone through phases with her own fitness routine — ranging from completely nonexistent to running the New York Marathon last November — I have a few ideas both on how to get started with a new regimen and ways to refine one you’re currently committed to.

  1. Join a gym, hire a trainer, sign up for a series of classes: The beauty of exercise is that you are born with all the equipment you need to get a good workout — your body.  (Okay, maybe you also need some shoes.  And maybe some pants.  Semantics.)  However, most people fail to compel their bodies to get that good workout on their own.  This tip will motivate you to exercise with the threat of wasted money hanging over your head.  Gym memberships and classes exist in practically every price range, so I’m definitely not accepting the “too expensive” argument here.  You may not be spinning in the Sports Club/LA, but your local Y probably has some stationary bikes free at this very second.
  2. Set reasonable goals: To mark your progress, you must set goals.  Most importantly, your goals must be reasonable for yourself or else you run the danger of finding yourself in a tailspin of perceived failure and you will lose any momentum you have built up.  A good way to find reasonable, bite-sized goals, is to find a big goal and then examine the steps that it will take to get there.  For example, if I wanted to run the New York Marathon again this November, I know it would take me about five months of concerted training to be ready, meaning I would start in May.  From now until May, I have about three months to maintain a general base of fitness to build upon later.  Since it’s February now, I can set a reasonable goal for myself to go to the gym or run or do something physical at least four times a week.  If I miss one weekly workout now, the marathon isn’t lost.  I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and simply focus on getting to the gym four times next week.
  3. Change it up: Nothing is more boring in life than monotony.  Keeping yourself engaged, interested and challenged by your routine will make you so much more happier than if you just did 45 minutes on the same elliptical machine every other day.  Try new machines, try new classes, try windsprints and hill repeats — your brain will thank you and your body will show the results of your hard work much quicker.
  4. Fabulous outfits!: First, can we please give credit to the ladies in the above picture doing push-ups in their heels?  J’adore! I have always found that I am more motivated to get sweaty if I really love my workout clothes.  I am a big fan of lululemon, but I definitely recognize that their clothing can be a bit spendy — always a good idea to keep an eye on their sales.  Lululemon has great apparel and equipment for the running/yoga/Pilates/gym set.  If I had to recommend you pick up only one essential piece, I would choose the Wonder Under Crop.  I’ve worn them running, to yoga, to gym classes, to Pilates, and around the house — it is a great pair of tights with just a touch of compression (keeps them from loosening up and getting all bunchy at the knees — also makes your bum look great!)
  5. Find something you love: Through my training for the NYC Marathon, I came to realize that running was not something that I loved to do.  Running is something that I enjoy.  I don’t find it torturous but I don’t feel compelled to run very frequently (and especially in the winter!).  Through a fabulous and classy friend of mine, I was introduced to IntenSati.  A “practice for body, heart and mind,” IntenSati fuses a number of fitness regimes — kickboxing, yoga and dance — with spoken affirmations.  Positive thoughts are focused on and spoken out loud as a group, premised on the belief that your mind can only hold one thought at a time and that if you choose to make that thought a powerful thought, you will be uplifted.  Now, I bet you’re probably picturing this as some kind of softly-lit new-agey yoga-y class.  It definitely isn’t.  Patricia Moreno has created a high-energy cardio class that engages the mind and challenges the body.  We’re talking fogged mirrors and breaks to mop the sweat from the floors, people.  While I don’t feel compelled to run, I do feel compelled to “Sati.”  I encourage you to find your own love, and definitely recommend you try out IntenSati.  Find the IntenSati schedule here and New York Equinox members can learn more here.

I’m sure that you have plenty of your own ideas on how to get moving – would love to hear them!

Earlier: Quite Continental’s 28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things

0 Weeks to the NYC Marathon: Nov 7, 2010 Here I Come…

05/11/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal over the last year: To somehow morph from total non-exerciser to actual runner and run the New York City Marathon

Actual progress: Hundreds of miles, multiple races, new friends, increased strength, two pairs of running shoes

Goal this week: 26.2 miles through the 5 boroughs of NYC!

So here we are.  Just hours away from my first step on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge as I prove to myself that I can run the NYC Marathon.  I have a myriad of feelings this close to the race.  I am proud of how far I have come over the past year.  I’m excited to run with thousands of people through the streets of New York.  I’m nervous about the weather since it’s been raining a bit.  I’m anxious to see if I can actually run 26.2 miles. I am a little stressed out about all the things I have to remember for Sunday.  And, a small part of me is looking forward to a change of pace and not being in training…

It’s been a fun year.  I’ve seen how easy it is to become a runner and then become a runner that can run upwards of twenty miles.  When I say “easy,” I am of course laying aside the amount of commitment this much training requires.  Lacing up your shoes and jogging around the block once is easy.  Whats difficult is getting up and doing it over and over again.   It can be addicting, but don’t get me wrong – I remember how much I disliked the early runs.  Getting through just 30 minutes took serious effort and I attribute most of my success to having great Team in Training teammates.  Training for this marathon has been a little different.  I have not had the same support network this time around and in the beginning I privately doubted that I would be able to log the long runs all by myself.  Surprisingly, with a strong foundation I was able to summon the strength to go it alone and actually grow to like it.  While nothing beats a Central Park loop with your girlfriends while catching up on the latest dating disasters, I came to find running alone an important time for me to reflect.  As my time alone on the road stretched upwards of three hours, my mind had more and more uninterrupted space to fill with ideas and schemes and plans.  While I never once have felt a “runners high” – I have to think that this is the next best thing.

Running is a solitary sport, but when you become a runner you kind of join a huge team.  Whether you are just starting out, or training for your 30th marathon, so many people will share common ground with you and will love to talk about everything from clothes to food to strategy.  When you are out on the road, if you run somewhere a lot of people run (for me Central Park or the Hudson in NYC or along the bike path in Santa Monica), you feel a solidarity with your “teammates” even if you don’t really acknowledge each other — and when you do talk to someone at a water fountain or tell a beginner “great job!” that connection feels even stronger.  I can’t urge you enough to start running.  Or jogging.  Or walking.  Just get out there.

Back to the marathon.  So yes, I am a little jittery.  I am supposed to already be asleep, actually.  But I decided to polish my nails first — OPI’s “Big Apple Red” seemed like the perfect shade.  I’ve already started laying out my clothes and all the necessary bits and pieces for race day:

  • Bib (that’s my number), d-tag (the little electronic chip I attach to my shoe), safety pins
  • Running clothes:  It’s been a little chilly the last few days and they are forecasting that it will be in the 30s in the morning on raceday, and possibly warm up to 50.  As of right now I am planning to wear a short sleeved shirt with a long sleeved shirt underneath and full length tights.  I’m also planning on gloves because my hands get ridiculously cold and then turn numb — always fun.
  • Throw away clothes:  The time between arrival and start is more than two hours.  It’s best to wear clothes that you can throw away along the race (don’t worry, they are collected and donated!)
  • Rain poncho or (even more alluring) garbage bag to wear/sit on if it is rainy or wet (and it always is)
  • Tissues
  • Race food
  • Some kind of plan or strategy

Crap.  A plan.  My plan?  I really don’t have one, aside from wanting to finish.  I don’t want to fixate on beating some specific time because I really need to focus on harnessing my energy and running efficiently, but when I hear that Oprah did the Marine Corp Marathon in 4.29, I get a little itchy to beat her.  My PR on a half marathon is just around 2 hours and you are supposed to multiply your PR for a half by two and then add 10 minutes for your marathon time.  So maybe…  Anyway, Katie Holmes did the NYC in 5.29.  I’m definitely sure I can do better.  Maybe.  Don’t hold me to that.

I am enjoying my farewell to carbs tour and will top it off with the traditional pre-marathon Italian dinner tomorrow night.  Pasta, adios.  You were always good to me.  Brown rice and sweet potatoes, I’ll see you around.  Potato samosas and naan, I am going to miss you most of all.

When I am out there I will be thinking about how far I have come and everyone and everything that has helped me achieve this goal.  I am deeply indebted to my family and friends who have tolerated non-stop racing talk and my crazy strict dieting and imbibing rules.  I owe eons of gratitude to a very special person who helped secure my entry into the race, even if I wasn’t sure at all times I could do it, or wanted to do it.  Millions of mercis to Patricia Moreno for creating IntenSati (and Erin Stutland and Natalia Petrzela for spreading the gospel), Michelle Taylor at Pilates on Fifth, Keren at Alycea Ungaro’s Real Pilates, Equinox, coconut water, Clif Bar & Co, Pump Energy Food, Smartwater, and lululemon athletica.  Last, but not least, muchas gracias to my mom who is here to see the race, to my special team of pacers who will be jumping in with me for a few miles and to those of you who will be cheering me on (wherever you might be).

Alright, here goes nothing.

Happy running!

5 Weeks to the NYC Marathon: A Machine Fueled by Brown Rice

08/10/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 28 miles (5 miles, 20 miles, 3 miles)

Actual mileage: 28 miles (5 miles, 3 miles, 20 miles)

Goal this week: 28 miles (3 miles, 5 miles, 20 miles)

After having a bad few runs over the last two weeks, due to various factors, I found myself having a renewed sense of commitment to my training program.  I only have 5 weeks left!  I can’t believe it!  Just kidding, I definitely can.  I have been in training for over a year at this point and while I am thrilled at my progress and am proud of my accomplishments and even consider myself a runner now, I am definitely looking forward to the time when I can run as much as I want, whenever I want.  I’m looking forward to doing fun runs with my friends with lots of conversation and catching up and being able to have a normal nightlife where I don’t have to be worried about what I am drinking and how early I have to be up the following morning.

Don’t get me wrong though, I am definitely looking forward to this marathon.  26.2 miles.  I mean, really — if you had told me last year that I would be gearing up for a 26.2 mile run this November, I would have laughed my ass off.  Seriously.  I actually used to make fun of my old roommate for going to the gym every now and then.  Now, I go more than she does (and she makes fun of me, of course).  It is really amazing what I have discovered I can make my body do, with a little bit of effort and discipline.  And spandex.

More after the jump…

« Read the rest of this entry »

6 Weeks to the NYC Marathon: You Are What You Eat – Don’t Bonk!

30/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 27 miles (5 miles, 19 miles, 3 miles)

Actual mileage: 20 miles (17 miles, 3 miles)

Goal this week: 28 miles (5 miles, 20 miles, 3 miles)

Dear readers, I must ask your forgiveness as I skipped a week in detailing my training and progress.  I am faulting my mismanagement of my diet for this lapse in training and posting!  As I noted in an earlier post, I did the BluePrintCleanse last week for 3 days.  While I completely believe in the benefits of detoxing and will do it again in the near future, it was not the best idea for me to try to do this in the midst of training.  In order to prepare for the detox, you have to make changes to your diet – remove dairy, meat, processed foods, and eventually cooked foods – and you have to slowly phase these foods back in when you come off the program.  It is definitely an aggressive removal of carbohydrates and additional calories, which would be okay for someone just working out a few times a week, not someone trying to run close to 20 miles in one go.  So this meant that I attempted one long run during the phase-in period, and another in the phase-out period (and in between runs, the only thing I “ate” were the juices).  Both runs were bad, and it was rather discouraging.

I have belatedly realized I am much too close to race day to try to fiddle with my diet.  Right now, I should be concentrating on maxing out my carbohydrates, fluids and salt – having only juice for three days is just foolish.  This last weekend, I actually attempted to run 20 miles, but I estimate I only managed to run about 17 of those miles and walked the rest.  My energy level was low to begin with, and when I attempted to remedy that by eating my energy gels, it immediately upset my stomach because I had not had any processed foods in my system for over a week.  I then tried to drink some Gatorade (side note: always carry some money with you on your long runs in case you need something you didn’t think to bring with you!) and that didn’t help at all.  The day was warm and I was out much later than I wanted to be because I wasn’t running…  So I bonked, and bonked hard.  I completely walked the last mile, I felt woozy and weak, I tried to sit down for a moment but that made me feel even worse, somehow.  It was an awful run and I decided to never repeat it.  The only bright spot was the fact that I did see Ethan Hawke running along the Hudson River complete with stoller, kid and dog.

This week, I have put new emphasis on eating enough food — and the right balance of foods — to keep my feeling strong for my long runs.  Lots of whole grains, lean proteins and good fats.  I went on a 5 mile run on Tuesday and I felt great!  I am sure that my body is strong enough to run 20 miles, the question is if there is enough gas in the tank…

Stay tuned as I attempt 20 miles this weekend!  Happy Running!

8 Weeks to NYC Marathon: What’s Worse Than Being Bored? Being Sick.

15/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 27 miles (5 miles, 19 miles, 3 miles)

Actual mileage: 12 miles (8 miles, 4 miles)

Goal this week: 27 miles (5 miles, 19 miles, 3 miles)

I feel a little uneven in my training — I’m up and then I’m down, I’m focused and into it and then I’m bored and frustrated — but this last lag wasn’t the fault of my own motivation or lack thereof.  Instead, I got sick!  I don’t frequently get sick, but there was/is a nasty bug that went around my office and took out my entire team.  The kind of sickness that completely zapped my energy and gave me a horrible cough.  The kind of sick where I spent the better part of a day zombie walking around my apartment and mainlining orange juice.

On Saturday I set out on my long run and I decided to just do as much as my body was willing to do.  I felt great until about mile six…and then my body said no more.  It kind of snuck up on me so it was tough getting back home.  I had to stop a few times to rest and needed extra water throughout.  So aside from feeling kind of scummy because of being sick, I end up feeling scummy because now I feel kinda like a slacker too.  But I guess that it could be worse.  I could have not done anything at all…

This week I focused on getting better and taking it easy so that I would not lose too much training time due to being sick.  Lots of water, lots of sleep, a little cold medicine and orange juice!  I am glad to say that I am almost back to feeling 100% and I am looking forward to my long run on Saturday — I’m going to try to go right back up to 19 miles.

Tip #8: Going Dry

Drinking alcohol, while socially fun and awesome and whatnot, can wreak havoc on a run (especially if you try to run while drinking, which I definitely don’t recommend).  As I increase my mileage, I avoid drinking the night before.  I’ve learned the hard way how much alcohol dehydrates you and contributes to and increased feeling of sluggishness.  And it’s kind of embarrassing in the gym when you will stink of the gin and tonics you drank last night.

I can have a glass of wine with my Friday dinner, but anything more than that will just make me feel like crap the next day.   If I have a race coming up I get a little bit stricter.  In the past, I have gone dry for the entire month before my half marathons, and that worked well for me, so I will do that again.  Only four more weeks to drink myself silly!

9 Weeks to NYC Marathon: The Grind

09/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 25 miles (3 miles, 19 miles, 3 miles)

Actual mileage: 25 miles (3 miles, 19 miles, 3 miles)

Goal this week: 27 miles (5 miles, 19 miles, 3 miles)

And, we’re back!  After a bit of a stumble on my training program, I jumped right back into it and I am feeling better about my progress.  Related to the topic of motivation that I discussed last week – I find myself in a period that I call “The Grind.”  The Grind is that point where your training program really pulls a lot of your attention from your normal life.  Up until the last few weeks, I could have pretty much eaten whatever I wanted, stayed up late, and drank as much as I wanted.  These days, I have to be more careful with my schedule and what I put in my body.  And it is a grind.

In general, I always have my long runs on Saturday morning.  As I get up around 20 miles, that means I will be out there running for over three hours.  If I get up late, that means I don’t get done until even later, and there goes my entire Saturday.  So that means I have to go to bed pretty early on Friday, to wake up around 7am on Saturdays, after getting 7 hours of sleep.  I generally need to keep hydrating myself throughout the week, but on Friday especially.  So I am drinking water constantly, avoiding coffee and all alcohol — and spending a lot of time in the bathroom.  Naturally.  I also add a bit more carbohydrates into my diet on Fridays and also have to make sure that I have my almond butter and whole wheat bread for Saturday’s breakfast and that I am stocked up on my running fuel.  Throughout the week I now have to map out my workouts much more rigidly.  I can’t strength train too close to my long run anymore and I schedule a day of rest for each week.

My schedule looks like this:

Monday – Strength training (IntenSati)

Tuesday – Short/easy run

Wednesday – Strength training (BarSculpt) and/or short/easy run

Thursday – Strength training (IntenSati)

Friday – Day of rest

Saturday – Long run

Sunday – Strength training (Pilates) and sometimes short/easy run

As you can see, this means I’m supposed to work out 6 days a week.  But please remember this is in a perfect world.  Sometimes I miss things.  In the past, when I would miss things I could just switch a strength training workout for a run, but these days I really have to respect my long run.  There is nothing worse than having to drag already exhausted legs for 20 miles.  While I am proud to be this far along in my training, I definitely miss the freedom of being able to do whatever I want in the gym.  I also miss having time to devote to my other interests.  It sucks.  But anything that’s worth doing is hard to do.  If just anyone could run 26.2 miles, it wouldn’t be as awesome an achievement.  So I keep reminding myself that every time I might feel a little bored.  It’s only 9 more weeks until I run this thing.  I’m placing my nose firmly to the grindstone and grinding this one out…

My long run was pretty uneventful, except for the moderate winds that made it even harder.  Over the weekend, NYC braced for a tropical storm but all we got was a lot of humidity and wind.  Hurricane Earl was a no-show!

Tip #7 Stay hydrated by using a really really big bottle of water
This might be a Los Angeles thing I have brought with me to New York, but I am very very rarely without a bottle of water in close reach.  If you don’t see it on me, it’s probably in my purse and it’s usually a gigantic bottle.  My car in LA used to be an empty water bottle graveyard.  I find that however much water I surround myself is how much I can drink.  If I have a cup of water, I can just drink that and be satisfied.  Or I can have a 1.5L bottle and take it down in less than an hour.  So when you are trying to drink more water, buy the biggest bottle you can find and just keep it on your desk.  Be like those fish that grow to fit their tanks.  Grow to fit your new, larger water bottle.  Once you finish one off, fill it up again, and on and on…  I favor the 1.5L smartwater – not really sure why – but I usually make an effort to finish one whole bottle before lunch and another one before I leave.  On Fridays, I try to finish three.

10 Weeks to NYC Marathon: Just a Little Stumble…

03/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 25 miles (5 miles, 17 miles, 3 miles tempo)

Actual mileage:  22 miles (3 miles, 19 miles)

Goal this week: 25 miles (3 miles, 19 miles, 3 miles)

This week was challenging for me.  Due to a business trip, I was out of town for a few days and for some reason I was unable to get back on track with my program after being taken out of it.  So I didn’t get in my second run in for the week, I missed my cross training and just felt kind of put out and loser-ish about the whole thing.  Compounding my slight funk about the week is the fact that summer is drawing to a close and opportunities to enjoy drinks al fresco or a stroll along Fifth Avenue are evaporating, so time spent after work in a gym or even running outside is not as fun as it was a few weeks ago.

As with anything that takes a lot of hard work, motivation during a training program can lag at times and it can strike at any moment.  I could try to blame it on the beautiful summer, but when I was training for the Miami half, I tried to blame it on the horrible winter (side note, I will take running in the heat any time over running in the cold — even though running in the snow does makes you seem like a badass to non-runners).  It takes work to pull yourself out of these doldrums, but you have to do it!

My long run was an adventure.  I started out intending to do 17 miles, but when I got to my turnaround point at 125th, I felt so good that I decided to keep going — so I went to 158th and did two extra miles.  Doing an out and back can be tricky.  When I get to the point where I am going to add mileage, I’m in the midpoint of my run — so of course I feel great and ready to keep on going.  Fast forward to the last two miles of my run, during which I am proud to say I did not slow down or stop, were extremely difficult.  My body was tired and the internal whining (When on earth are we going to stop?) was exceptionally loud but I kept at it.  I reminded myself that building endurance was an uphill battle and the tiredness I was feeling would make my body even stronger for the next run.

Tip #6:  Stay motivated, stay focused and forgive yourself.
When you stumble a bit with your program (and you will have a few) you have to forgive yourself.  Don’t focus on the fact that you missed a run, or 5 runs, or had a bad run, or didn’t pay attention to what you ate or how much water you drink.  Whatever.  Just keep it moving and tell yourself the next day is a new day.  Focusing on what you’ve messed up on is a slippery slope.  Just bypass all that by completely forgiving yourself and renewing your commitment the following day.

Tip #6.5: When all else fails, trick yourself into running.
Trying to make yourself get up and run in the morning?  Go to sleep with your sports bra on.  You won’t want to wake up and then take it off after doing absolutely nothing.  Not sure how well this works for men, though…

Happy running!

11 Weeks to NYC Marathon: Just Keep Swimming

25/08/2010 § Leave a comment

Goal last week: 24 miles (4 miles, 16 miles, 4 miles)

Actual mileage: 25 miles (5 miles, 17 miles, 3 mile tempo)

Goal this week: 25 miles (5 miles, 17 miles, 3 miles tempo)

I feel really strong coming off this last week.  Instead of running 4 miles easy, twice, I changed it up slightly and did a slightly longer easy run and added a tempo run.  Admittedly, I have been ignoring any interval or hill or tempo training thus far.  Now that I am only 11 weeks out, I don’t think I can keep that up.  So, I started visiting Equinox Wall Street for my evening runs.  It is super close to my house and always seems to be empty after work (I guess all the bankers go at lunch or before work).  I highly recommend it, if you are already a member!

For my 3 mile tempo run, I pushed the pace an additional .5 mph faster than my easy pace — just under a 9 minute mile.  My body was immediately skeptical.  Cue the internal dialogue:

I’m not really sure that I can do this…

Sure you can, we can just try for a few minutes.

I think I might be hurt.

Really?  Well, my legs don’t hurt…my knees are okay…my ankles are fine…

Okay fine, I’m not hurt, but maybe I might be tired.  It’s hard for me to breathe!

Yeah, you’re exercising!  Come on, just a little while longer.  Let’s just get to 2 miles and then we can slow down.

Okay, that was 2 miles.  Are we slowing down now?

You totally just did 2 miles, you can do one little mile more.  I know you can!

Okay, fine.  Also, I hate you.

I always have conversations with myself when I am running, and they have definitely changed over time.  In the beginning, they were a lot like the one above, where one half of me would be whining and the other half would be a super cheerleader.  Now, for the most part, I can let my mind wander and I mull over all sorts of things when I run — I’ve worked out lots of problems that way!  As I beginner, I can remember being skeptical when hearing from more experienced runners that the time they spent running was a great opportunity to just think, but now I’m a believer.  I think for all beginners, definitely work on finding that inner cheerleader and focus on what she’s saying.  She will pull you through.

Now, let’s talk about this ridiculous long run I had.  I meant to do 16 miles, but due to a (typical) math error, I did 17!  I ran from Ground Zero to 125th and back.  For those unfamiliar with how faaaaaaar this is, here’s a map.  I started out with a good friend, who stayed with me for my first 3 miles and then turned around, as she only wanted to do 6 miles.  No worries, I thought, I’ve got my iPod.  Which then refused to work.  I was already 3 miles out and I didn’t want to turn around, so I decided to tough it and I ran the entire thing unplugged.  I have to admit, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Instead of having my music to sing along with, I got to hear birds and people and the river and…everything!  Also, without the music, I had a wonderful sense of internal quiet, which made my thoughts even more clear, even more vivid.  I’m actually debating if I will listen to music for the marathon now!

Tip #5: Get a mantra
For beginners, an easy way to ignore all those nagging thoughts that get stirred up when you run is to adopt a mantra.  Around the time I started running, I read an article about a woman who swam the English Channel in her 50s.  She said she owed her success to a little mantra she picked up from the film Finding Nemo. Her mantra was Dory’s “just keep swimming” song.

When the going gets tough, I still remind myself to just keep swimming.  Even though I am actually running.  You get the point.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with Health at Quite Continental.

%d bloggers like this: