Monday Motivation: Draw a Map and Run

It’s been a VERY busy last couple of days with the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend I went to with Runner’s World but it was an amazing weekend. I ran the half-marathon (race recap to come later) and hit a HUGE PR! The race gave me the confidence to go forward with the 2013 run resolution a little sooner than I planned (again, post to follow) but I’m feeling good about it and can’t wait to start. Meanwhile, a little Monday Motivation is always good and I saw this graphic on Pinterest and had to share it. Run strong this week!

draw a map and run

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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 has been quite the crazy week for me between traveling back to Massachusetts for the holidays to coming back to Pennsylvania for work the day after Christmas, to a snowstorm, to some iffy but successful treadmill runs- I’ve been all over the place! But, lucky for you, I still managed to find some pretty cool running things on the interweb. So, here they are- my Friday Faves!

  • Last week I found out my blog was nominated for the Best New Running Blog of 2012 for the #RunChat blog awards! Honestly I couldn’t believe it but I felt so humbled and honored to have been nominated. The winners were announced today and although I didn’t win, I was first runner up to a pretty amazing blogger- The Runner Dad. Congrats to him and the rest of the winners in the other categories! You can check them out here- RunChat Blog Award Winners announced via RunChat
  • One of my coworkers, Megan Hetzel, launched her newly designed running blog this week. It’s pretty great so you should definitely check it out –Meg Runner Girl
  • On Wednesday night I took part in a #FitFluential twitter chat co-hosted by the Commitment Day race series. This race series is pretty inspirational and challenges runners and non-runners alike to make a commitment as opposed to a New Year’s resolution on January 1, 2013. Check out the race series and what they’re all about here: Commitment Day
  • Found this great read about how exercise and running will make you smarter (but we already knew that, right runners?)– via New York Times Well blog
  • VIDEO: Girl Power! What if men and women switched roles at the gym? (pretty sure this is already happening)- via Greatist
  • Because I had to drive back to Pennsylvania to work the day after Christmas, my family had to switch around some of our typical holiday traditions. Usually we’ll go to mass on Christmas Eve and then to a family friend’s house for dinner and drinks. This year however, my mom planned a really nice day in Boston and we walked around, took pictures and went to a really nice dinner. I was so happy to be able to spend this time with my family because I have definitely missed them tremendously since moving down the PA. But, it’s precious days like we had on Christmas Eve that really make you appreciate each other’s company. Here’s one picture from our day in Boston.

Christmas

  • I might have some really big news coming next week, so in honor of that here’s a great quote:

Disney quote

Run happy this weekend y’all!

Avoid Winter Running Injuries- Give Yourself a Sports Massage

Winter running (outdoors) is for the truly dedicated runner. This is the runner who leaves the house wearing shorts, a long-sleeve tech shirt, gloves, ear warmers and compression socks when it’s 32 degrees out. Or, the runner who opts to get in a few miles on Christmas Day before the family stops by. This is not to say runners who opt to head indoors for treadmill runs aren’t dedicated- they’re probably smart. They’re smart because sometimes running outdoors in the winter can be dangerous and if you’re not careful, slipping on ice or falling into a snow bank can lead to a sidelining injury that’ll keep you on the couch for the rest of the season- and nobody wants that!

(via Pinterest)

(via Pinterest)

So, besides wearing the right clothes, bundling up and making sure you have all the right reflective gear, watch wear you step and don’t forget to stretch! Running in the snow can help to strengthen muscles in the legs and feet but can also lead to overuse injuries. Some common winter running injuries include hamstring strains, Achilles pain or Achilles tendonitis, lower back pain, runner’s knee and ITB syndrome. Injuries often occur during the winter because it takes a lot longer for you to warm up during a winter run but it also takes a lot less time to cool down so post-run stretching is vital to avoiding tight muscles and cramping.

One effective way to avoid tight muscles during the winter months is through sports massage. The Áhsi’ Day Spa in upstate New York offers special sports massage sessions for runners but they also suggest you do at-home self-massages before and after your winter runs.

“Massage is essential for runners to prevent injury,” said a representative of the spa. “Whether you engage in self-massage or professional massage, it is essential to use massage for a successful training during the winter months.”

Here are three tips from Áhsi’ Spa for at-home sports massages for runners:

  • Foam Roller: Foam rollers can be used to massage certain areas of the body. The lower back, neck and quadriceps are commonly massages with foam rollers.
  • Lacrosse Ball: Lacrosse balls are often used to relieve myofascial pain on hips, legs and other parts of the body.
  • Theracane: Theracane is a self-massaging tool that can be used for the shoulders and back. This tool is a runner’s favorite.

{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

 

Week 6: Sub-50 10-K (and Half-Marathon) Training

try hard every day

(via Pinterest)

I have been really slacking on writing my weekly running round-ups lately. There are a few reasons for this: 1. I’m extremely busy with work; 2. This is a really busy time of the year in general; and, 3. I’m not sure how helpful they are to you guys, my readers.

The reason I started my blog was to document my experience with a Couch-to-5-K program last February/March. I wanted to use my blog mostly as a training log. As I finished the program and came up with new running goals I thought I’d continue doing round-ups of my training runs throughout the week. It also helps me to stay consistent with my writing but when I’m super busy with work, I kind of forget to do them.

But, after asking some fellow blogger friends, many of them said, write what you want to write, your blog is for you, and if it’s helpful to you then do it! So I’m going to continue doing it but I’m going to go about it a little differently. Instead of breaking down my workouts and runs each day I’m just going to do bullet points with distance, time and pace. If you’d like a more comprehensive description of follow me on Daily Mile where I usually go a little more in-depth with my run breakdowns.

Phew, glad I got that out of the way. And now, here are last week’s workouts:

Monday- 45 minutes of Men’s Health Delta Fit bootcamp at the Rodale gym. Involved lifting, squats and plyometrics.

Tuesday- Easy mileage day, 5 miles, 47:50, average pace of 9:33

Wednesday- Intervals with coach, 5 miles total, 37:00, average pace 7:24 (woah!)

–       2 mile warm-up

–       200m, 400m, 600m, 200m, 200m, 400m, 600m

–       ½ mile cool down

Thursday- 3 miles (semi-faster), 25:58, average pace of 8:39

Friday- REST!

Saturday- Long run, 9 miles, 1:24, average pace of 9:20

Sunday- was supposed to do a shakeout and it didn’t happen, oh well

Overall it was a really solid week of training. I hope everyone else had a great week!

Fit Girl Happy Girl’s Gift Guide for Runners

I was looking at my calendar earlier and couldn’t believe Christmas is in less than two weeks (and Hanukkah has already started!). I’ve been wanting to make a gift guide for awhile now but haven’t been able to get around to it until now so I guess this can be a gift guide for last-minute shoppers like myself who are buying for the runner in their life.

Also, this gift guide may look vaguely familiar to my own Christmas list submitted to my mom roughly two weeks ago because well it is. I figure many of the runners I know would also like the same things I like however, I’ve also made some additions to include my favorite tried-and-true running gear, accessories and apparel. I hope your runner likes them! (Sorry boys but this list basically applies to girls only… maybe you’ll find a great idea for your girlfriend or significant other?)

  • Oiselle Roga Shorts – I just ordered these not too long ago and have fallen completely in love with them- honestly I don’t know if I’ll ever run in anything else! The beauty of these shorts is really in the waistline because it is designed similarly to the waistline of yoga pants. Therefore, unlike some other running shorts I have, you don’t get a super sinched in, pinching feeling around your waist when you’re running and they feel like they aren’t even there! Also, there’s a pocket in the back for keys/ID/Gu and built-in undies (I happen to know some runners who go cammando with these- that’s how comfy they are!).
  • Sparkly Soul headband – I have tried many headbands in the past while working out and they ALWAYS fall off my head. Not Sparkly Soul headbands. They have stayed put through some of my longest, sweatiest runs and haven’t budged during my fastest races. Also, they are super sparkly and I get tons of compliments for them all the time!
  • Garmin Forerunner 10 – This is the perfect GPS watch for runners who don’t need all the bells and whistles of a standard GPS watch. This is Garmin’s “beginner” watch and it does everything you need it to – distance, pace, time, calories burned and records. Also, it is $129 which is vastly less expensive when compared to some of it’s more advanced counterparts.
  • Lululemon Hot Cheeks running skirt – I mean this is unnecessary but it’s too awesome not to add. I told my mom I really wanted this for Christmas and when she asked me why I couldn’t come up with any other reason except it’s cute and sometimes my butt gets cold! It’s really for the runner who has everything.
  • Race bib holder – I think this is the greatest idea ever! It’s a great way to display your bibs and accomplishments for all to see and it’s decorative!
  • Zensah compression socks – I’m a huge fan of these compression socks! They aren’t too tight but they feel great while running or after for muscle recovery. I wore them in a recent 5-K and felt great the whole time even though it was a little chilly out. They helped to keep my blood flowing in circulating in my calves.
  • Erica Sara Say It Do It bracelet – I love the whole idea behind the Say It Do It bracelet because it is customizable for your running goals. You can get a goal or motivational saying engraved onto the bracelet and pick your band of choice! This is a great way to personalize a gift for the runner in your life.
  • Believe I Am Training Journal – Super cool stocking stuffer, especially as we are approaching a new year! The Believe I Am training journal was inspired by elite runner, Lauren Fleshman, and it’s the perfect way to keep track of your runs while staying motivated. Also, I just think there’s something amazing about putting pen to paper especially for a running log (no offense, Daily Mile!).
  • Oiselle Flight Kit – The Oiselle Flight Kit is really perfect for any runner on the go. It’s packed with Nuun Hydration tablets, Picky Bars (can’t get them here on the East Coast yet but you’ll get them in the kit!), a Runfinity scarf and so much more! It’s a totally new take on a “gift basket.”
  • Pedicure – Although it’s winter and most of us aren’t strutting around in sandals, a little primping is always welcome, especially when we keep our feet crammed into running shoes and winter boots during the colder months.

Also, because it’s the season of giving, nothing says Happy Holidays to the runner in your life like donating to their favorite charity. If you don’t know what their favorite charity is, or you think they might not have one, consider donating to Girls on the Run or Mighty Milers, two great outreach programs with a mission to get kids running.

I was not compensated for any of these suggestions. Any of the products I already own I paid for myself.

Monday Motivation: I can and I will

Setting goals is always scary, especially when you tell people about them. It takes courage to set goals because if you try to achieve them but miss the mark, it’s disappointing, not just to you but to other people. But it’s important to be confident in yourself and even when you might miss your goal, take comfort in knowing you tried your best and gave it your all. I have some big goals for 2013 and they scare me but that’s okay because I believe I can do them and that’s what matters. Don’t be afraid to dream big!

I can and I will