Only You Can Celebrate Your Running Milestones

Thing about running

Image by Rachel Greenhouse, ilbelfarniente.wordpress.com.

Yesterday, after my long run, I walked up the stairs to my apartment, took off my running shoes, sat down in butterfly pose to stretch out my hips and thought, “Oh my God, I just ran 16 miles.”

In less than a year’s time, I’ve gone from not being able to run a mile, to running a four miler, then jumping up to running two half-marathons and now I’m training for a full marathon.

I still remember the day, back in May, when I ran 6 miles with my cousin along the beach in Maine. It was my first breakthrough with running. The first time I saw “the wall” and just leaped over it like I was jumping over a puddle. We got back to her house that day and celebrated because it was a huge deal for the both of us. During these first few months of running, every little bit further I went was a milestone. It was cause for celebration and reflection on how far I’ve come.

This weekend I hit another milestone by running my longest run ever and logging my highest mileage week ever. When I woke up Sunday morning, I saw my running clothes laid out on the floor with my Gu packets meticulously placed and ready to be ingested and I didn’t feel nervous. I felt excited and anxious about taking on the challenge of running a new distance.

The run went flawlessly but during those two and a half hours on the road I couldn’t help but think back on how much progress I’ve made. With every run, whether it goes well or not, I’m humbled by the results.

I know many runners, much more experienced than I am, who will say they have a long run of “just” 10 miles on a given weekend. I have been guilty of this very same thing saying I “only” have to run 4 miles on a weekday. Well, there are so many runners out there who see 4 miles as challenging and may feel like 10 miles is impossible. I have a good friend who will run a 10-mile race next Sunday and she typically runs 3 to 4 miles during the week. But, on Sunday she texted me, excited to tell me she ran 6.5 miles, her longest run ever. I was so proud of her and how far she has come.

Running is an individual sport and each milestone is relative to each individual runner. What is a huge accomplishment for one person, like hitting a new distance or nailing a new pace, may be routine for another but that doesn’t make each milestone less sweet. I don’t take for granted for a second how far I’ve come already. After my run on Sunday, I realized, although 16 miles is not the longest I’m ever going to run, it’s still a milestone and I will celebrate it as such because it was my own personal accomplishment and no other runner can one-up me on that.

Monday Motivation: Blown Your Own Mind

Well, this weekend, I blew my mind and ran 16 miles- my longest distance ever. If you told me a year ago I’d be training for a marathon right now I would have laughed in your face. Running was never something I thought I’d be able to do but here I am training for a marathon, and not just any marathon, Big Sur! So do it, once in a while, blow your own damn mind. Happy running and training this week!

BLOW YOUR OWN MIND

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Three

#PROOF

#PROOF

Training went really really well this week! I hit some major milestones including my highest mileage week ever and I ran my longest long run ever- 16 miles! This was a really huge deal for me because it hasn’t even been a year since I started running (my run-iversary is March 8). It’s insane to see how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time.

I was also able to maintain my strength-training with boot camp, incorporate more ab exercises, and maintain my yoga practice, which was great. I also tackled the major hill workout again and saw improvement. It’s all up from here! Here are my workouts from this week:

Monday: Cross-training day- Did 45 minutes of metabolic boot camp at the gym and was able to increase the weights I was using from last week.

Tuesday: 3 miles easy in 26:19 at 8:46/mile. I did an easy lunch run with the whole Runner’s World crew after we finished out RW Building Run-Up (in honor of the Empire State Building Run-Up). I was second place female, no big deal. Really it wasn’t a big deal but it was fun.

Wednesday: 5.3 miles in 54:00. This was the crazy hill workout again on 10th Street. I definitely felt an improvement climbing the hills this week over last week. I still had to walk about half of the inclines but was able to run more of it than the first time. Progress is all I ask for!

Thursday: 4 miles easy in 34:40 or 8:39/mile. Ran during lunch with two of the other RW ladies and had a really great run! I always run faster with them which is nice. I also did 45 minutes of a gentle flow yoga class after work. The instructor mixed it up this time and did some newer poses that felt really great.

Friday: Rest and foam roll.

Saturday: 3.11 miles at 9:38/mile. My roommate and I decided to brave the Storm Nemo ravaged roads in PA (they weren’t that bad just really slushy) and go for a run. I was supposed to do my long run on Saturday but because the road conditions weren’t great I opted to switch it to Sunday. There was almost no shoulder on the road because the plows didn’t do the best job of removing snow so we ran on the snow almost the whole time, which slowed us down considerably but overall it was a great run.

Sunday: 16 miles in 2:34:00 at 9:38/mile. This was my longest run ever and I felt surprisingly really good for the whole run. I wasn’t nervous going into the run because I repeated my mantra to prepare myself mentally, “Settle in for the ride.” My legs felt good and it wasn’t too cold so it was a lot better than last weekend’s long run. The route I took was really hilly but I surprised myself and was able to run all of the hills with no problem. The only time I doubted myself was at the very end, during the last 1.5 miles. I think I was just realizing how close I was to being done that I started to realize how tired I was. I think next weekend on my long run I need to fuel better. I only took one GU and some gummy bears, maybe two GUs next time? Live and learn, that’s what long slow distance training runs are all about! Overall, it felt amazing and I was really proud of myself!

Elevation chart for the 16-miler.

Elevation chart for the 16-miler.

Weekly Mileage Total: 32 miles

See all training recaps here.

{Friday Faves} Reads, Runs and Raves

This weekend I’ll run 16 miles, my longest distance ever, as part of training for Big Sur. Sixteen WHOLE miles! That is a lot of miles. I’m scared but grinning in anticipation at the challenge.

If it scares you

Legs Up the Wall Week!

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My legs, up ‘da wall.

I just found out yesterday that this week (February 4-10) is Lululemon’s Legs Up the Wall Week! Confused? Don’t fret- let me fill you in…

Legs Up the Wall is a yoga pose in which you lay on your back, scoot your bum right up to the wall and put your legs up against said wall. You want to lay here for 5 to 30 minutes, or really as long as you feel comfortable. You can put your arms wherever you want too- over your head, down by your side or outstretched. Sounds simple, right? It is, and it feels absolutely amazing!

According to Lululemon’s blog, this pose has several benefits, (especially to all of us runners out there) besides being extremely relaxing:

  • “Your femur bones are dropping into your hip sockets, relaxing your psoas. These are the muscles that help you walk and support your lower back.”
  • “Blood is draining out of your tired feet and legs.”
  • “Your nervous system is getting a signal to slow down. It’s all stress release and recovery big time.”

For runners, this is a really great yoga pose and probably my favorite aside from savasana (which doesn’t really count). As runners, we spend a lot of time on our feet and legs and we rarely give them a chance to full relax and just be still. It’s also a great hamstring stretch after a long run and can help loosen up those muscles. When I do this, I also feel a great release in my lower back, an area that does more work than one might think while running.

I know it’s already Thursday but I’m going to partake in Legs Up the Wall week, will you join me? If you do, make sure you take a picture on Instagram and use the hashtag #legsupthewall to show Lululemon!

While you’re at it, follow me on Instagram here!

Best Tips for Running Hills

I survived my second week of hill running today and while I was pushing up the hill, I thought, there must be some sort of trick to this? As I’m still relatively new to running (started last March) and am now training for Big Sur, a race known for its hilly course, I thought I’d take to Twitter and ask my followers, what are the best tips for running hills? Here’s what they said…
  1. Ok runners, I need your help. What are your tips for running up really, really big hills? #marathontraining #runchat
  2. @FitHappyGirl Short steps, pump those arms, head down, focus on steady breathing, most of all enjoy the process of climbing the hill.
  3. @FitHappyGirl #runchat #believe you can do it for staters!! Pump the arms and push from the knees and also practice hill #sprints
  4. Get a power song “@FitHappyGirl: Ok runners, I need your help. tips for running up really, really big hills? #marathontraining #runchat
  5. @fithappygirl Try powerhiking or run short strides, drop shoulders, lean forward slightly, maintain steady pace. #marathontraining #runchat
  6. @FitHappyGirl Attack it like a knight approaching a dragon. Slow and steady at the base, save your strength for the head ;)
  7. @NMoralesNBC @fithappygirl stay on your toes, slow down, watch your heart rate. If you are heart rate training you might even need walk
  8. @NMoralesNBC @fithappygirl What’s the ‘downside’ in this? Is @ryangosling at the bottom of said hills w/wine & flowers? “Hey girl …”
  9. @FitHappyGirl Lean into the hills and raise your knees up as you stride.
  10. @NMoralesNBC @FitHappyGirl trail runner 4 years, don’t look up, don’t look for the top. You will get there, keep the head down n push!
  11. @FitHappyGirl Fast walking instead of running, making sure my breathing stays steady and then resuming normal pace at the top. #runchat
  12. @NMoralesNBC @FitHappyGirl small, mincing steps; keep your eyes up; power up your arms swing; and mentally break up the hill. #gogetem
  13. @fithappygirl @NMoralesNBC Don’t underestimate walking big hills in terms of saving energy and your legs.
  14. @FitHappyGirl – 1- Get mentally ready for pain 2- slow down and focus on both quads and both calves 3 – endure pain from #1.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Two

try hard every dayWeek two of training went really well. It was a lower mileage week than week one but that wasn’t bad because next week is going to be pretty intense- I’ll be hitting my longest run ever and I think highest mileage week ever.

I did well integrating strength training into my training this week however I would really like to start getting back into doing more ab work, especially planks. Over the summer I was able to do a 4-minute plank and now I struggle to hit 1:30. That needs to change. Here are my workouts from this week:

Monday: Cross-training day. I went to a 45 minute boot camp class at our gym at work. We did a lot of different strengthening exercises. I was still a bit sore from my 14-miler the day before so the instructor, Kari, gave me some modifications.

Tuesday: Easy 3 miles in 26:40 at 8:53/mile. Ok, this was a little faster than “easy” pace but I ran half of it with some of my speedier coworkers and when I left them to run the other half, I felt really good so I decided to keep up the pace.

Wednesday: 5.2 miles in 51:26 at 9:58/mile (hill workout). This was my really, really tough hill workout that I wrote about earlier this week. This hill is no joke and takes no prisoners. I’m going to incorporate this hill into my training as much as possible throughout my training schedule because it will get me in the best shape possible to conquer Hurricane Point at Big Sur.

Thursday: 3.25 miles in 28:29 at 8:45/mile. Again, faster than I should have run but I felt good and it was freezing so I wanted to be done fast.

  • Also, I did a 45 minute Gentle Flow yoga class after work- perfect way to finish off my runs for the weekdays.

Friday: REST and foam roll.

Saturday: 10 miles long slow distance in 1:35:39 at 9:33/mile. This run was probably the coldest run I’ve ever experienced. It was not fun or enjoyable and breathing was really hard. Besides it being uncomfortable, I got the miles in and my pace was pretty good. My hips were super tight though for the rest of the day but I think that had to do with the cold.

Sunday: 4 mile recovery run in 39:00 at 9:33/mile. I’ll admit, I was supposed to run a 10-K today but after my long run on Saturday, my hips were still tight, the ground was blanketed in snow and I didn’t want to risk hurting myself at a race I didn’t plan on actually “Racing” just because I signed up for it a few months ago. So, I opted out and I’m not ashamed. I had a good run (albeit it was SUPER snowy and icy on the roads) with the roomie instead and that was fine by me.

Weekly Mileage Totals: 25 miles

See all training recaps here.

{Friday Faves} Reads, Runs and Raves

  • Although my beloved Patriots are not in the Super Bowl, I’ll still be watching and hopefully munching on one of these treats. – 10 Healthy Superbowl Recipes via Greatist
  • Because I just saw Silver Linings Playbook this week and really, what’s not to love about Bradley Cooper? (But why didn’t any snap a pic?!)- Bradley Cooper’s Abs Terrorize SoulCycle Class via NY Magazine’s The Cut
  • I was featured on Stay Happy Stay Healthy’s blog this week as the Monday Motivator! – {Monday Motivator} Fit Girl Happy Girl on Running via Stay Happy Stay Healthy
  • I thought nothing could top my crazy hill run this week but Oiselle’s Mac {Sarah} one-upped me with this crazy track workout. Basically she’s badass. – Monster via Running Starfish
  • This was one of the best posts I’ve read in awhile brought to us by the one and only Michele Gonzalez, speedster extraordinaire –  Be Your Own Runner via NYC Running Mama
  • And my favorite post-long run yoga pose…

Savasana