Monday Motivation- I’m a Runner Because I Run

(Source: Pinterest)

(Source: Pinterest)

I saw this on Pinterest and really loved it. I’ve been thinking about what makes someone a runner a lot these days and I think anyone who runs is a runner, just like this quote says. I’ve heard so many people say, “Well, I’m not really a serious runner because I only run a few miles a week.” Or, they think because they don’t race often they’re not runners. But I don’t think any of that is true. If you run, you’re a runner. It doesn’t matter if you run 9 miles a week of 60 miles a week. Be proud of it and run with 100 percent of what you have. Happy running this week!

{Monday Motivation} Life is Too Short

I had one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time with some of my best friends and my family. I went back to Massachusetts to run a race and spend the weekend with friends I hadn’t seen since I moved to Pennsylvania. We did a lot of running and catching up and I couldn’t have asked for more. I hope y’all had great weekends too! Happy running this week!

3.18.13 life is too short

Monday Motivation: Strength Will Find You

If you live on the East Coast, especially in the northeast like myself, you probably experienced the insanely beautiful weather this weekend! This weather put me in such a great mood and my 16-miler went better than I ever could have expected because of it. After a terrible long run the weekend before, my long run this weekend left me feeling strong and confident. I hope everyone has great runs this week. Happy running!

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)

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…

NEDA Week: The War on Women’s Bodies Infographic

I found this informational infographic on the NEDA website. It’s unbelievable to read this information and see just how widespread eating disorders are in this country. More so, it’s incredible to learn how misunderstood eating disorders are in the U.S. by those unaffected. But the truth is, everyone is impacted by the culture of negative body image and it’s time to change that. To join the fight against negative body image, disordered eating, and excessive exercising, visit the NEDA website.

NEDA Week Infographic

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: Love Your Imperfections

(via Pinterest)

(via Pinterest)

Perfection. My whole life, I’ve struggled with this word. It was an unattainable standard I set for myself- something I could control. I tried to be my idea of perfect when I was in 8th grade, and it almost killed me.

From about 8th grade until the end of my sophomore year of high school I struggled with a serious eating disorder. For me, my eating disorder was more than just wanting to be thin, it was my means to becoming perfect- something that would always be in my control. What I didn’t realize at the time was my eating disorder had total control over me. My every thought revolved around food, what I was going to eat next, every calorie that went into my body and every calorie I burned. I refused to eat during the day and every dinner with my family was a battle. I was miserable to be around and I hated myself.

At my lowest point I weighed 82 pounds (at 5’6”) and had a Body Mass Index of 11 (a healthy body mass index is between 20 and 25). It was a long road to recovery for me and after almost three years, I was finally back to a healthy weight and learned how to build my self-confidence in a healthy way. Years have passed since I made my recovery and while I am much healthier now, I’d be lying if I said I don’t have negative thoughts towards eating from time to time. I still think about everything I eat, but now, I look at food from an athlete’s perspective, from a runner’s perspective. Food is fuel to keep me healthy, happy and strong for running and for life.

Why am I bringing this up now? I never wanted to write very much about my eating disorder on my blog before because it is not the reason I started running. I also didn’t want anyone who may be struggling with eating or body image issues to be encouraged to run, especially if they are starving themselves. But, the week of Feb. 24 – March 2 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week and the theme is “Everyone knows someone.”

I wanted to call attention to this because it really is true, everyone knows someone, yet sometimes we can be too scared to reach out and help them. You might be worried they’ll reject your outreach or even become angry with you, but it is important to reach out and help. If anything, it’s important to spread awareness of eating disorders because they are on the rise and a very real thing in our society today. This week, I will be donating $1 to the National Eating Disorder Association, for every mile I run and while I won’t ask you to do the same (although have at it if you’d like!), I would ask for your support in raising awareness.

If you know someone, don’t be afraid to reach out. If not, you know me, so spread the word of the fight against eating disorders; you never know whose life you might save. This week is meant to call attention to the battle that is being fought by millions of women and men in the United States every day. With more awareness of the fight against eating disorders maybe we can change the discourse going on in our society today. I don’t think there’s any better community than the healthy living and running communities to call attention to this rising epidemic. Instead of focusing on weight loss, image and calories burned, let’s try to focus on self-confidence, positive thoughts and learning to love our imperfections. It’s our imperfections that make us so unique anyway, right?

To encourage people to get involved in the eating disorder awareness campaign, NEDA is organizing walks across the country. With eating disorders on the rise- in the U.S., 30 million women and men will suffer from a clinically diagnosed eating disorder during their lifetime- it’s important to raise awareness and highlight the importance of early intervention. Research for eating disorders is significantly underfunded but the NEDA Walks have worked to raise over $1.7 million since they began in 2009. I’m hoping to attend the Boston NEDA Walk in April. If you’re interested in participating check out the full schedule here.

If you need help in figuring out how to approach someone who may be struggling with an eating disorder, visit the NEDA website.

If you yourself are battling an eating disorder or having thoughts about starvation, binging or purging, please call the NEDA helpline. It is anonymous, toll free and you can get a lot of information 1(800)-931-2237.

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!

Monday Motivation: I am Stronger

Happy Monday and New Year’s Eve everyone! To me there’s nothing better than New Year’s because it’s a fresh start and a time to look back on the year you had and what you can do to improve in the upcoming year. I’ll do a resolutions post later on this week when I actually nail them down but I want to hear yours! What promise are you making to yourself in 2013 and how will you stick to it? Whatever your resolution is for 2013, I wish you a strong, happy and transformative new year!

Make it count New Year's Nike

{Friday Faves} Reads, Runs and Raves

This week in Friday Faves:

  1. My blog was nominated for a #RunChat award! I’ve been nominated for the “best new running blog” for 2012! If you have two seconds, and a Twitter account, please, please, please vote for me! Voting ends on Dec. 26 at 9 p.m. and I would really appreciate the support! You can vote here: Vote in the 2012 #RunChat Blog Awards
  2. This week in the #slowpokediaries: Favorite run of the week was when I played 5.5 miles of tag with some of my speedy co-workers. They said it would be an “easy” 5, but easy for them is 8:00/mile pace. It was a great run though and one of my fastest yet!
  3. If you haven’t seen “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creak” on the New York Times website yet, you are missing out! They’ve done some really amazing work integrating multimedia and feature writing that just makes my nerd journalism self warm with joy!
  4. The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness in 2012 via Greatist- this included Runner’s World’s own Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso!!
  5. I have to give a shout out to fellow run blogger Ashley of Running Bun for her feature on Fitness Magazine’s Fit Blogger We Love! So awesome Ashley!!
  6. photoI wrote a story this week for Runner’s World about Doug Masiuk, a type 1 diabetic who is about to complete the ultimate running trek- across the United States. Doug is running to raise awareness of the rise of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. and to inspire type 1 diabetics. Check out the story here: Type 1 Diabetic Running Across the Country via Runner’s World.
  7. And this motivation for your weekend long runs:

Go the extra mile

 

Running My Second Half-Marathon

run disneyI feel like I’ve been training since the day I started running, which was not too long ago. I took my first running steps last February when I decided to start a Couch-to-5K program. Now, I’m getting ready to run my second half-marathon, less than a year later.

I say I feel like I’ve been training since I started running because I really have. I began the Couch-to-5K program with the intention of training for my first 5-K. Before I even toed the starting line of my goal race, I was registered for a four miler on the Fourth of July. Then, about a week after finishing that race I registered for my first half-marathon in September.

It wasn’t until after my half, when I decided I needed to cool off a bit, that I felt lost. I did some 5-Ks but I craved the longer distances. In November, as winter started to set in, I decided I’d come up with a new goal of training for a sub-50 minute 10-K. Up until that point, all of my running goals had been based on distance so I figured, in an effort to get faster and bring purpose back to my runs, I’d set a new goal.

My sub-50 10-K training was going really well and before I knew it my average paces were dropping from the familiar and comfortable 9:50/10:00 per mile to 8-minute miles. I was getting faster and I liked it but then I was presented with the opportunity to run the Disney Half-Marathon.

It didn’t take much coaxing from my co-workers to get me to register with the Runner’s World Challenge but I was still a little hesitant because I would only have six weeks to train and my longest run since my half-marathon in September barely broke 7 miles.

But I registered anyways and started to increase my long run mileage on the weekends and my midweek mileage runs went from 3 miles to 5 miles. Last weekend, I did a 9-mile long run and surprised myself with paces around 8:40/8:50 per mile! I couldn’t believe it because when I was training for my first half-marathon all of my times were in the 10-minute mile range.

I’m not trying to say I’m some gifted runner, because I’m not, I’m a very average runner and I still have a lot to learn. But it’s amazing what a new goal, in my case the sub-50 10-K, can do to you. I’m so looking forward to the Disney Half-Marathon and can’t wait to meet the rest of the Challengers to hear their stories!