It’s My One Year Run-niversary!

Finishing the Disney Half-Marathon with a 17-minute PR.

Finishing the Disney Half-Marathon with a 17-minute PR.

Today marks my one-year run-niversary! I really don’t want this post to be all sappy and cliché about how running has changed my life and all that blah, blah, blah. But the truth is, it really has- and not just because I’m now training for a full marathon, it’s changed my whole way of life.

Literally, a year ago, I kid you not, running a mile seemed like an impossible task. I would make excuses to avoid any sort of running. My cousin would ask me to go out on a 3-mile run with her during the summer and I’d reject the offer every single time. When I look back, I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t think I could run that far, I think it was more that I was afraid and insecure about running.

When I started running, those insecurities did not go away. In fact, they took months to go away. I only ran on the treadmill, at the gym, on a very low speed. I was afraid to run outside because of passing cars, nervous my form was awkward or that I’d get to a certain point and not be able to turn around and run home. I was also afraid to run with other people because I was insecure about my pace, my breathing, and my (sometimes) lack of motivation.

But in a year’s time, all of that has gone away. Now I loathe the treadmill and will do anything to be able to run outside. I went from a run-walk a year ago, to being able to run 18 miles in a single shot today. My paces used to hover around the mid 10:00/mile speed to now the low 8:00/mile and even some 7:00/mile paces lately. All within a year.

In this past year, my running has taken me to places I never thought it would. I’ve been lucky to find support through social media and this blog, and that support is what has kept me logging all those miles. I’ve developed relationships with runners all across the country and people are now turning to me for advice, which is something that continues to humble me every day. I also went from being just a blogger to an online editor at the nation’s leading running magazine, and that’s definitely not something I take lightly.

I think a lot of times, we, as runners, can get intimidated by other more experienced runners. I know I do but I also know the effort, strength and devotion it took for me to get to where I am now with my running. When I started this journey a year ago, I never could have imagined where it would take me. But when I look back at all the amazing gifts running has given me, the one I cherish most and will continue to build on is my self-confidence. Before I started to run I was able to slap on a smile and express faux-confidence but after this year, I know how to truly be confident in my own skin.

One of the first running blogs I ever read when I started this journey a year ago was Dorothy Beal’s blog Mile Posts. Her story was very similar to mine and I admired her drive and flat-out honesty. My favorite quote from her that has kept me going this year is “I run this body.” It’s me. I’m the one who had brought my body across two half-marathon finish lines and countless shorter races throughout this year. I’m the one who brought this body to the track after work on 90-degree summer days just so I could work on my speed. I ran this body through rain, sleet, snow, humidity and wind, just so I could prove to myself that I was strong enough to do it. I run this body and I will continue to run this body until I physically cannot take another step. I’ve still got a lot to learn but so far, I can say with confidence, I’ve enjoyed this journey to fit…

Looking Back on 2012

Today I ran 12 miles to play out 2012. That’s 12 miles more than I could run less than a year ago. Honestly, it’s 12 miles more than I ever could have imagined running before last March. To say this year has transformed me would be the understatement of the century. 2012 did not start out as the easiest year for me, in fact, it may have been the roughest start of any year of my life, but I’m leaving this year stronger and more confident in myself than I’ve ever felt before.

Oktoberfest

I took my first running steps in the middle of last March. I was not in a good place emotionally at the time and needed to focus on something bigger. Little did I know within 10 months it would become my passion and play a huge role in my life.

As I write this, I’m still having a hard time putting to words how much running has changed my life this year. To non-runners this probably all sounds cliché- how could exercising make you a better person, find yourself even? Well, to my runner friends, they know more than anyone that running is one of those things that strips you down to your core. Makes you figure out what you’re truly made of. That’s true for most of my running friends and it has been true to me this whole year.

I started with a Couch-to-5K run/walk program last March and it took me weeks to get off the treadmill and out on the road. Slowly but surely, my confidence began to build and I felt comfortable on the road. Then I got runner’s knee and felt completely defeated. Just when I was starting to feel comfortable, I’m sidelined by injury? Well, that’s the thing about running. My dad always said running builds you up so high one minute and the next minute it can all be taken away. But I guess that’s part of the thrill and it’s what keeps us all coming back for more.

After my runner’s knee healed, I wanted more and decided to train for a half-marathon. Training was going flawlessly and my mileage continued to increase and then a month before the half-marathon I was struck with a terrible case of IT Band Syndrome. I remember the day in August like it was yesterday when I couldn’t even run a mile on the treadmill. I pressed the big red stop button fell to the ground and basically started crying.

Halfmarathon1

After a week off, and complaining on Twitter, a fellow runner, Ryan Knapp, reached out to me and offered to help with my form because he said that was probably the root of the ITBS problem. He was 100 percent right and with three quick changes I was back on the road, running stronger and faster than ever and finished my first half-marathon at the Hampton Rockfest Half-Marathon in September.

Halfmarathon2

That is another thing about running- the running community is so tight-knit, supportive and just plain awesome! I’ve met so many amazing people just through running and I haven’t even met many of them in person! It sounds weird to the non-running blogger but I’ve met some really amazing people through #runchat and other amazing networks and I can honestly call them my friends. I was also honored to be chosen as a Greatist and FitFluential ambassador, my blog was highlighted on the RunChat website during August for Running Blog Month and even nominated for a RunChat blogging award for best new running blog! The running community had supported me through injuries and congratulated me on running accomplishments and I’ve done the same for them. It is their support and motivation that keeps me going and inspires me to achieve more.

Running also did an amazing thing for me this year by landing me an unbelievable job at Runner’s World magazine as an editor. This is something I couldn’t have imagined in a million years but the experience of graduating from college, getting a job as a reporter and then only a few months later landing an editor job is unfathomable in and of itself. But, the fact that I get to write about running, something I’m so passionate about, is just icing on the cake!

Runner's World

This leads me to my final point and the thing that has brought me the most joy this year from running and that’s been connecting with other runners and helping them out. While I am definitely not an expert, I’m a self-proclaimed novice, I only hoped that my running escapades could help other people and now people are asking ME for advice! Some people start running or a new fitness routine to get in better shape. I started running to change my life and find myself and I’ve gotten that and so much more out of it. While my 2012 only consisted of 10 months of running I’m looking forward to what 2013 will bring. I don’t think this post does my year justice but it’s something I’ll continue to reflect on. I wish everyone the best in 2013 and Happy New Year!

{Friday Faves} Reads, Runs & Raves

I spend a lot of time on the Internet during the week- hence, being a multimedia editor – and I tend to come across some pretty cool, weird and awesome things, especially related to running (because I work at the running mecca). I’ve decided I’m going to share these things with y’all every Friday with my Friday Faves. This is by no means an original idea, tons of bloggers do it, but now you can add mine to the list. But, mine will be a little different in that it’s not going to be just about running, but rather things that made me laugh, things I found interesting or just things that I find random and awesome and want you to know about. So, to kick off my inaugural Friday Faves, here ya go!

  1. This will just make you smile- There’s Running and Then There’s High-5 Running via Greatist
  2. I recently took a day trip up to NYC and was reminded how much I absolutely love that city. So, when I saw the NY Mag series about why we all love NYC I had to share – NY State of Mind via New York Magazine
  3. My kind of running playlist! – Sub-4 Marathon Playlist via Enthusiastic Runner
  4. Staying Strong Through Injury- via LV Runs NYC (sidenote: Lora has been cleared to run so a HUGE congrats goes out to her!!)
  5. My very own gift guide for runners! – via Me! (Fit Girl Happy Girl)
  6. “Clipped” by Oiselle- The story of one women’s running apparel company’s quest to make a USATF/USOC/IAAF approved singlet for the Olympic trials. 
  7. This is usually how I feel on Fridays – “It’s astounding how much one’s stress level goes down with the simple act of switching from skinny jeans to yoga pants.”

skinny jeans to yoga pants

Happy Friday y’all! I hope you run strong on your long runs and have a great rest of your weekend!

If you have some extra time don’t forget to connect with me on social media!

Facebook: facebook.com/FitGirlHappyGirl

Twitter: @FitHappyGirl

Instagram: hannahmcgold

Pinterest: pinterest.com/hannahmcgold

I’m a FitFluential Ambassador!

FitFluential Is Fitness Found

Seriously, could these last few weeks get ANY better (knock on wood!)? I am very excited to announce that I have been accepted as a FitFluential Ambassador! This means I will become a member of another amazing community of health, fitness and wellness bloggers who share common goals in spreading the good word of health to their communities and readership.

If you’ve never heard of FitFluential than I suggest you take a look at their website asap because it’s filled with a directory of other amazing fitness and health bloggers! Also, if you’re on social media I’m sure you’ve seen the hash tag #fitfluential used by some of your followers. Well, that is just one of the many ways FitFluential reaches out to the larger fitness community. According to the FitFluential website:

We deliver positive messages of health and wellness, but we also promote maintaining a healthy balance. Too often, people view fitness messaging as restrictive and harsh. We showcase how anyone can incorporate habits that will improve their overall health and well-being.

Fitness is all about fitting in to your LIFE. We’ll focus on four primary areas in everything we do: Eat, Sleep, Move, Enjoy.

I’m very excited to be a part of this community and look forward to connecting with more FitFluential Ambassadors! To stay up-to-date with me and my running escapades, follow me on:

Facebook: facebook.com/fitgirlhappygirl

Twitter: @FitHappyGirl

Instagram: @HannahMcGold

Pinterest: pinterest.com/hannahmcgold

#imagreatist Ambassador!

Phew, is this big announcement week for me or what? I am pleased to announce I have been chosen to be an ambassador for Greatist, a super cool, shiny and new fitness website out of New York City. I’ve been following Greatist since the beginning of my “journey to fit” and they never cease to impress me with their material, workout guides and of course, their amazing infographics.

In fact, one of the millions of reasons I started running was because of Greatist! I found their couch to 5k plan and was immediately hooked on anything and everything the site had to offer. Want to know a little more about them? Here’s a snip-it from their “About Us” page:

Everyone has a choice to be more fit, healthy, and happy. And though our goals and ambitions are often similar, each person is unique, every story different. A greatist is someone who chooses better to improve their fitness, health, and happinessAre you a greatist?

Greatist.com is the trusted health & fitness source for the young, savvy, and social. Health and fitness is hard. We want to make it easier. And, for starters, we believe you deserve better content than what’s out there now. So while our posts are short, fun, and relatable, they’re also as high-quality as it gets: every fact is cited (by a PubMed study), every sentence meticulously verified, and every article expert-approved. So, be inspired and get informed on Greatist. Then, together, we can start informing and inspiring the world to make one healthier choice per week, you know, to be greatists like us.

I am very honored and excited to become a part of the Greatist family and look forward to being an ambassador! If you want to get involved, tell us on Twitter why you’re a greatist by using the hashtag #imagreatist!

Monday Motivation: Success…

Today is a big day for me because it is my first day as associate editor of multimedia at Runner’s World magazine. I had a great introduction to the magazine this past weekend with the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival and am really excited to begin this next journey. While I know this week is going to be extremely busy, I cannot wait to tackle it!

Also my tendonitis seems to be feeling a little better after running an impromptu 5K Saturday night so things are looking up! I hope everyone has great runs this week. Run happy!

Saying goodbye to my home, family and friends and starting a new chapter

I really can’t write about this too much because I will become far too emotional but tomorrow I am moving away from Massachusetts, where I have lived my entire life, to start a completely new chapter of my life down in Pennsylvania where I will begin working as an associate editor at Runner’s World magazine.

This is a huge step for me as I know it will further my career but it’s also a big step because I am walking into the unknown. My entire family, including the majority of my extended family, lives in and around the Boston area. In fact, only one of my aunt’s ventured to move away from the homeland and relocate to California. Besides not having any family in Pennsylvania, I also don’t have many friends. I have one friend who lives in Philadelphia (an hour from where I’m moving), one friend who lives 45 minutes from where I’m moving but she’s about to move to Korea to teach English for two years and a second cousin in New Jersey, again, about an hour away.

Moving to Pennsylvania and taking on my dream job at my favorite magazine is a risk but it’s one I’m willing to take. Although the risk does not come without sacrifice- moving away from my family and all of my friends- I think it will allow me to grow and develop as my own, adult self. I desperately don’t want to leave my support network but if I’ve learned anything in the past few weeks I’ve realized how truly blessed I am to have them in my life. They’ve been so supportive throughout this process that I think they would have been mad at me if I had not taken the job. Of course they want me to stay in Massachusetts for their own sanity but I don’t doubt they will be coming to visit me very soon.

So, in closing, this post is just a huge thank you and see you soon (not goodbye, I hate goodbyes) to my parents, my little sister, my entire extended family, especially my cousin and one of my closest friends Paige who honestly, without her I might not even be where I am with running now, to my two best friends Sydney and Angela, who I know are going to miss me but have been practically packing my bags for me!, and to all of my other friends, especially some of the ones I have only recently met, everyone has been supportive and led me to where I am now.

I also want to send out a HUGE thank you to all of my blog readers who have also been supportive of me through reading and exchanging stories and conversation. You all are truly an inspiration :)

That being said, tomorrow morning I’m off and driving away into the unknown. It’s scary, but I like it. See you soon!

Coming to terms with a running injury

The running Gods haven’t been too kind to me lately. Although I had a great race last weekend, got a new 5K PR and ran my first half marathon a few weeks ago, I can’t seem to shake these aches and pains from running. If you’ve been reading my blog somewhat consistently over the past eight months you know I’ve been plagued with my fair share of running-related injuries- runner’s knee back in the spring, IT Band Syndrome this summer and now self-diagnosed peroneal tendonitis.

I can be extremely thankful that none of these bumps and bruises have seriously sidelined me for any extended amount of time (knock on wood!) they have been extremely frustrating. This latest mishap has me more frustrated than usual. While it doesn’t hurt as bad as the IT band flare-up did, it’s more of a nagging pain. I can run with it, it even seems to go away after the first few miles, but I just want to run injury-free. Is that so much to ask for?

After seeking advice from some friends and going on a Google frenzy in search for stretches and exercises to ease peroneal tendonitis, I came to the conclusion that it might not be a bad idea to take a few days off. I haven’t done that in the past eight months so maybe that will help? Hopefully. I know I sound like I’m complaining but it pains me to “rest” especially when I see my friends and the close-knit virtual running community logging their weekly miles. I want to go running, why can’t I log 30 miles, 40, even 50 miles a week?

Oh, that’s right, I only started running eight months ago. I think my ambition and sheer love of the sport is the real cause for these injuries that keep sprouting up. I love running so much and am always itching to get out on the road or to hit a trail that sometimes I forget to really listen to what my body is trying to tell me- I need rest.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my dad a few months ago. My dad is a 16-time marathon veteran (he ran Boston eight times and boasts a 3:09 PR) and although he hasn’t been a consistent runner for awhile now, he can relate to my recent frustrations. He said to me, “Hannah, running is like a roller coaster. One day you can be high up and feel amazing and the next you come crashing down.” He explained to me that a lot of the time things happen for no apparent reason and you just have to take it easy to prevent further injury.

Old photo of my dad running Boston.

If this means resting a few days for me, so be it. I forget that there are so many people out there who can’t run. I get so down on myself when I get an injury and find myself getting jealous of those runners who say they’ve never been injured, but the truth is, every runner is different. I also need to be more patient with my running. I get overly excited by new PRs and longer distances that I forget I really haven’t been running that long. Moral of the story? I need to be more patient, listen to my body and be thankful for all of the progress I have made in the last eight months. The rest will fall into place over time!

Have you had any running-related injuries? What’s your advice on staying positive through injury? Share you stories in the comment section below!

Monday motivation: if it scares you…

I love this graphic because for me, my goals, whether for running or just life in general, usually scare me before I try to attempt them. But really, like this graphic says:

If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try

So this week, I dare you to go after those scary goals. What’s the worst that could happen? Happy running!

Monday Motivation: me and running

This is a little later than usual today, but better late than never! I’ve been so busy lately as I prepare for my next journey that it’s been really hard to keep up with the blog but I will promise you, there will be some really great things happening on here this week! One thing I haven’t lost track of is running, I’m all over that. I really liked this graphic that I found on Pinterest because it’s always important to remember that even if a run isn’t great, or your body is telling you it’s time to rest, every run is a chance to grow stronger. Whether that means listening to your body and resting, or pushing your limits, every day is a chance to learn something new. Happy running this week!

(via Pinterest)