Back into running, thanks to cross-training!

Views from a recent morning run in Miami! A nice escape from NYC.

Views from a recent morning run in Miami! A nice escape from NYC.

Although my last post (quite awhile ago!) detailed my plans to train for the 2013 Chicago Marathon, my attempts at pulling off a 26.2-miler didn’t quite go as planned. After experiencing escalating pain in my right hip, I visited a sports doctor in July who sent me for an MRI and diagnosed me with a “stress reaction.” Ugh, right?

From what I understand, a stress reaction is a precursor to a full stress fracture and my doctor warned that continuing to train could escalate the (already painful) injury into a full break. Not wanting to spend my summer on crutches, I reluctantly – and very sadly – tossed my training plan and signed up for physical therapy.

I completed physical therapy at Finish Line Physical Therapy in NYC – a great facility for runners dealing with full-blown injuries or nagging problems during training. The experience was eye-opening, to say the least. Little did I know that my running-heavy workout schedule had left me with very little strength in my glutes – something that became very obvious when my PT asked me to do a one-legged squat and I nearly fell over! (P.S. Apparently weak glutes have become so common among runners that there’s a name for it: Dead Butt Syndrome. Yes, seriously.)

After a few months of physical therapy, I’m happy to say that my hip feels a lot better and I’m back to running again! I also made a big change after I finished PT: I quit my gym. While that may seem like a counterintuitive decision for someone in desperate need of more cross-training, I realized I was doing a whole lot of nothing during my gym workouts.

Instead, I decided to sign up for the Class Pass – a service that lets you sign up for 10 classes at boutique fitness studios like Barry’s Bootcamp and Exhale for just $100 a month. There’s pretty much no way to slack off at Barry’s without suffering a potentially deadly (I imagine?) treadmill fall, and I can tell the classes are paying off.

Now, I’m training for the NYC Half Marathon in March and despite the icy roads and frigid weather things are going pretty well!

I’m back – and marathon training!

Hello, again! I started a new job in April – just after my previous post – and between that and running the Brooklyn Half marathon, heading to the beach for summer weekends and now beginning to train for the Chicago marathon, things have been busy!

I successfully completed the Brooklyn Half Marathon, my third 13.1, the weekend before Memorial Day. It was the largest race I’ve ever done, with somewhere around 30,000 – 40,000 participants. I really enjoyed the course (Brooklyn’s not bad – who knew? ;)) and the weather was perfectly overcast and cool. And my time wasn’t too shabby either: I finished this race in 2 hours, 16 seconds, which beats my previous best in the Hamptons Half Marathon by about 5 minutes. Even better: the post-race happy hour my friends and I held at Houston Hall, a beer garden in NYC.

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Post-13.1 celebration with gigantic beers at Houston Hall.

After a few weeks off, I started marathon training! I’m using Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan which seems pretty reasonable, as far as marathon training goes. I prefer to run a maximum of four days per week because any more than that is pretty tough on my joints, and this plan fits exactly that criteria. The longest run is 20 miles but I’m toying with the idea of potentially adjusting the schedule to fit in a 22 mile run. For some reason, I think it will give me more peace of mind going into the actual race? Maybe?

Training is going well so far – despite the insanely humid, sweaty weather this week. I debuted my water belt for yesterday’s 9 mile run (I’ve been squeezing them in on Mondays due to busy weekends at the beach). Not going to lie, the belt made me feel kind of like Indiana Jones – but I guess I’ll have to get used to it!

New adventures

Yoga

Oh, hello! I’m in the midst of a 5-day weekend right now (left my old job on Tuesday; starting a new gig on Monday), and as you can tell from this picture I’ve gotten creative with all the extra time on my hands.

On the agenda: an aerial yoga class at OMFactory with my sister (on the left in the picture above). I’m a decent yogi, but this class was a challenge. Throughout the class, you use a giant fabric hammock, suspended from the ceiling, to help you get a deeper stretch. The hammock allegedly holds 2,000 pounds, which was only slightly reassuring as I moved through a series of poses requiring me to flip upside down, do  backbends and attempt crazy-hard aerial planks.

Favorite moment: Being able to do a handstand! The rope helps you find your center of  balance, making it almost easy to pull off this elusive move (I said almost).

Least favorite moment: You rest most of your body weight on the rope throughout the entire class—and it freakin’ hurts! The instructor compared the pressure of the rope to the sensation of a deep tissue massage. Based on that, I will never be getting a deep tissue massage.

Overall, the class really seems to be about trusting yourself and your body. You have to have faith that the rope won’t snap, that your body really is more bendy than you thought—and that eventually you will figure out how to get yourself out of the position in the picture above (it was touch-and-go for a few seconds). Definitely worth a try!

 

 

 

Brooklyn Half Marathon Training…Week 3?!

Week 3?! How did that happen already? Per usual, I pretty much ignored Week 1 of training. I skipped it before my first half because I was at Mardi Gras (priorities)…and have decided to keep up the tradition. But I did pretty well during Week 2 and capped it off with a 6 miler in Central Park on Saturday! The park was packed and I was loving the 50 degree weather and total lack of snow on the ground despite Friday’s random blizzard. 

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I’m using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Training plan this time around, which is actually weirdly  easier than the Runner’s World Beginner plan that I used during the Hamptons Half. The RW plan required 6 milers on weekdays during the later weeks of training—and trying to make that happen pre-work was never pretty. The Higdon plan doesn’t include anything higher than around 4 miles during the week (thank god), but has longer runs on weekends, which I’m OK with. 

I started my third week of training with a 3.5-miler tonight. I gained a whole new appreciation for my Yurbuds headphones when I heard a gunshot in a rap song I was listening to that sounded so realistic that I actually ducked. Kind of amazing. 

 

I signed up for the Chicago Marathon! I think…

I know that running my first marathon won’t be easy—but I never imagined that just signing up would be a challenge, too! After several botched attempts and some severe technological issues with the Chi Marathon’s web site, I’m pretty sure I’m in. And if not, we’re going to have to do something about that $175 charge on my credit card.

Despite the credit card charge, I still haven’t gotten a solid confirmation email and it looks like it could be awhile before everything gets sorted out: Registration | Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Until then, I can totally put off thinking about training plans, right? Or the 18 and 20 mile runs?

On the bright side, I finally order some new running shoes last night, which makes me feel that much closer to approaching my spring goal: the Brooklyn Half Marathon. My go-to sneaks are the Mizuno Wave Creation 13. Pretty, right? ImageWhen these babies show up, I’ve vowed that training will officially begin!

Time for half marathon #3!

I officially registered for my third half marathon yesterday! I’ll be running the Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday, May 18th. I  chose this race for a few reasons:

- The course is supposed to be great and it ends in Coney Island, where I’ve never been

- I see runners in NYC sporting Brooklyn Half tech T-shirts literally EVERY time I run and it’s given me a major case of FOMO.

- This race is perfectly timed to get me a.) in shape for summer and b.) back into running mode in time to start training for the Chicago marathon!

Sign up for Chicago is this Tuesday and I’m finding even the thought of registering for 26.2 miles intimidating at this point. I haven’t been running as much as I should this winter (it’s cold! it’s dark in the morning!), but I think I’m ready to get back into it.

First goal on the training plan, drink fewer of these:

My Galentine's Day margarita.

My Galentine’s Day margarita.

But I will cheers to being weirdly excited to get back into the habit of weekend long runs!

Weekend recap!

I think I’m still recovering from the craziness that was this past weekend. Friday night started off with a little work happy hour action, at which my coworkers and I may or may not have set up a makeshift bar in my cubicle.

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Diving into the office stash of free PR booze.

After that, things really kicked into high gear. I had a bunch of family in town this weekend for my cousin’s engagement party. I met up with a few of them for drinks at The Wren and then dinner at Forcella. After some delish pizza, I rushed off to meet up with a college friend visiting for the night and the rest of our crew. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to bed until late.  Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but on Saturday my roommate and I woke up at 6:30AM to trek out to Long Island for the….LULULEMON SAMPLE SALE!

Me, exhausted from fighting off the intense yogis at Nassau Colliseum for 50 percent off of Lulu. I live an extreme life. (And yes, I did buy that jacket, thank you very much.)

Me, exhausted from fighting off the intense yogis at Nassau Colliseum for 50 percent off of Lulu. I live an extreme life. (And yes, I did buy that jacket, thank you very much.)

Then, I came home from the Lulu sale, took a serious nap…and headed off to the engagement party!

Woerner girls, FTW!

And then, there was the Superbowl. I spent my Sunday brunching with family before they all caught flights, then whipped up a batch of these insanely delicious Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – Martha Stewart Recipes.

Nom, nom, nom

Nom, nom, nom

And after a fun night of friends, football and Beyonce (amazing combo), I pretty much face-planted directly into bed.