Marathon madness

View from my run last week.

11 days left, and I’m sorta scared. OK, I’m really scared. Even if dull, the pain is back. First, it’s the neuroma on my left foot. Then it’s the heel on my right. I’ve been wearing sneakers as much as possible, even channeling my soccer mom days from last year when the pain was at its worst (as a precautionary measure) and rockin’ them with jeans running errands on the weekends. So New York chic? Yeah, not exactly. But … it’s necessary. Continue reading

6 days

I signed up for the More/ Fitness Half Marathon within the hour registration opened. I had been fighting a throbbing neuroma in my left foot for a few months time and pretending I didn’t have Plantar fasciitis. I was at a point where I really wanted to believe that it wouldn’t be an issue if I started training. I thought to myself: Self, it’s $80, if you don’t end up doing it your bank account WILL recover. Why the ef not?!

Running in Central Park

The training hasn’t been so bad. But on the days I felt a pain, I didn’t run. On the days I noticed it, I iced it. Also on the days I noticed it, I would get mad at myself for signing up for the race in the first place. Which is pretty much why I haven’t been talking about it here. Because until last weekend when I ran 11 miles around Central Park, I was scared I was gonna cop out.

Well, I’m not. I’ve accepted that my goal for this race is to FINISH, and that there’s a 99.9 percent chance I am NOT going to get a PR. I’m OK with that. I AM OK WITH JUST FINISHING.

It may have taken three months of training for me to be able to say this, but I am proud of myself for getting to this point. Instead of anger, I feel satisfied. I’m proud of myself for not reverting to my old ways and stepping away from exercise all together when I felt frustrated, because believe me — I was 100 percent frightened that was going to happen. Most of all, though, I’m thankful for my friends and family who encouraged me along the way. Maybe even moreso for the ones who will be waiting for me at the finish line Sunday.

Here’s to my last three runs this week, and dreaming of the finish line at 72nd street.

2010 Hartford ING: The Recap

Two words: Personal record.

This year’s ING was a bit different than the last two, for a few reasons:

1. For the last two years, I’ve either started with someone or ran with a partner. This year, I was solo dolo.

 

Looking out onto the crowd, pre-race.

 

I would say that I liked running it on my own because I was able to run at my own pace (I averaged 9:41 minute miles for my first 6, and ultimately 10 minute pace for the entire half marathon).

2. I didn’t stop running, at all.

 

Truckin' along at mile 7.

 

 

… And I was ecstatic. Around mile 10 I thought about it, but I didn’t cave. When I struggled, I just put Chris Brown’s “Dreamer” on repeat (the song that was playing when I finished my first half) and continuously put one foot in front of the other to the beat. I thought about Snowflake and I thought about my boyfriend coming home. I thought about my amazing friends that were waiting for me at the finish line and how lucky I am. And of course, I thought about how hard I’ve worked.

3. The route

The Hartford Marathon Foundation changed things up this year, and I’m gonna say I liked it. Sure, it was nice running by the water the last few years – but this course seemed a lot more even. Where there was an uphill, there was always a down. There was cheering EVERYWHERE. And since there weren’t any drastic inclines and I’d say that for a novice runner, this would definitely be the course to take a whack at.

 

Me and my best friends after the race.

 

This year’s official time: 02:10:56

Great weekend, and great race. I may or may not be a bit sore, but it’s a good hurt. As I crossed the finish line, I felt like I could run at least another three miles. In my mom’s words

The first year, you looked like you ran a half marathon. Last year, you looked tired. And this year, you looked like you only ran three miles.

The first words out of my mouth to my friends? 26.2 in 2011!

For now, I’m gonna get to baking some pumpkin cupcakes for our office cupcake contest tomorrow and  of course, veg out.

Congratulations to all who ran this weekend! What was the last goal you accomplished?

Nerves, Mousse and Carbs: Happy Food Friday!

After seeing the commercial for this, I bought it ASAP. Mint chocolate is one of my all-time favorite ice cream flavors, so enjoying it in 60 calories servings didn’t sound so bad (It’s even better than the original, I think). Meet Jello’s Mousse Temptations Chocolate Mint Sensation, this Food Friday‘s pick:

And that’s all for now. Carbo-loading, laying out my clothes and then early to bed for this marathon runner. Thinking of you Powell.

Do you have any pre-race rituals?

Why I Run

So … I needed a blogging break.

A ton has been going on since I’ve been gone. I went to my first bridal shower and back to my alma mater for homecoming. I’ve been attempting to deal with school loans (headache central) and investing in some more OPI (My name is Emily and I have a problem).

But most of all, I’ve been running. A lot. With three days until the Hartford half marathon, I’ve never felt better about my training leading up to the event. Completing 8, 9 and 10 mile runs throughout the last three weeks — I’m excited for Saturday. I’m taking my fish oil (the boy tells me it’s vital), eating bananas and upping my H20 intake. Oh, and planning a pre-race pasta party - nom nom nom.

 

Dad and me after the marathon in 2008

 

But my number one priority between now and then: Making the shirt for race day. Call me a sappy sorority alumna with a never-ending knack for making tees or just super creative, I’ve never been one of those Under Armour, Lululemon wearing chicas on race day.

I guess maybe now it’s appropriate to explain why I run in the first place.

In my about me, you get a sense of how frustrated I was with my weight my freshman year of college, and how running became a huge part of both my life and my journey through weight loss.  But I’ve never really talked about my first marathon, or October 2008 for that matter.

Fall 2008 was sheer excitement. I had moved into my sorority house for the first time, had my car on campus (remember how much you wanted it when you couldn’t have it?), was super involved and the Associate Arts and Entertainment Editor for my school paper. All the while, I was running everywhere – preparing for my first half marathon after finishing off a huge phase (I had three) of my weight loss, nearly 25 pounds that summer.

As the week of the marathon came closer, I was sleeping more and tapering my runs. On Tuesday morning, October 5 at 3:16 a.m., I was woken up by a vibration under my pillow. I walked groggily into the hallway, looked at my caller ID and answered a call from my good friend telling me that our friend “Snowflake” (that was his pledge name in his fraternity) was in the hospital.

Within 24 hours, I was abandoning my schoolwork, training schedule and responsibilities, driving toward Queens as the news of Snowflake’s passing spread.

The wake was on Friday and the funeral was on Saturday. And Saturday morning, as hundreds came to honor a great man, friend, fraternity brother, relative, son and brother in his hometown on Long Island – I was back in CT, heading toward the starting line of the Hartford half marathon.

When I drove back from the wake the night before, I didn’t really want to talk. My friends were loving and welcoming, and I arrived back to a “we’re so proud of you” sign on my door. I walked in, hugged my roommate for a long time and then focused my energy elsewhere. I sat down on our floor with apink T-shirt and a black Sharpie marker.

As the years go on, the color of the tee may change, but the sentiment’s the same.

I cried for at least five miles during my first half marathon. When I didn’t think I could keep going – I thought of how positive of a person Snowflake was, and how badly I wished that I could of been there that day.  I knew that I had trained for too long, and that this is what he would have wanted. And crossing the finish line, I knew that I would run that race, every year, in his honor.

Why do you run? What keeps you motivated?

If you’re interesting in donating, please feel free to email me for information. Donations will be accepted until Sunday, October 10.

 

Craving – noun \ˈkrā-viŋ\: To desire strongly; to feel an insatiable longing

Today was all about cravings.

Craving #1 was very specific. A Starbucks grande non-fat pumpkin spice frappuccino light blended coffee. Considering I’m in full-fledged pumpkin mode, but the weather is retreating back to summer temperatures – it was wonderful. Actually, it was more than wonderful, it was delicious. And for only 150 calories and .5 g of fat – it was a no brainer.

Craving #2 was fruity.

After getting back from my six miler tonight – I didn’t feel like eating dinner. But I did feel like eating fruit, in abundant quantities. Weird? Nbd.

So – first I went for sliced peach with cinnamon.

… and then, as I was sitting here catching up on my Project Runway I felt a cool breeze hit me through the window. Almost immediately I had a burning desire for apples. Warm ones. ASAP.

Enter Google, followed by some inspiration from my good friend Rachael Ray. With a few modifications my craving was satisfied. Totally.

Just like apple pie, without the calories. In my fall-time quick fix:

  • one sliced gala apple
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

I simply sauteed my sliced apples for six minutes, then added the rest of the ingredients and indulged. The next time, I’d contemplate taking off the skin and perhaps adding some coolwhip. But hey, it can only go up from here right?

What do you crave?

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” [American proverb]

Sorry I’ve been MIA over the last few days. I’ll just attribute it to my Mon./Tues. NYC commute and the food coma courtesy of breaking to the fast Saturday night:

Ever since I was little, my family has always broken the Yom Kippur fast with bagels, whitefish salad (let’s ignore the 14 grams of fat per serving … deal), spreads and shmeer. This year, I added my own flair with chopped Mediterranean salad.

… delicious and easy!

What you need:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 1/3 chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of salt & pepper

Chop and combine all ingredients – best when served fresh. It’s a great alternative to your “average” salad.

After running four miles this AM, I’m looking forward to six tomorrow, five on Friday and nine Saturday a.m. (did I mentioned how STOKED I am that it’s going to be a high of 72 degrees? Perfect running weather). Although I love my running playlist, I’m on the search for some new jams.

Anyone have song suggestions to add to my stride? What’s your favorite bagel & shmeer combo?

Food Friday!

This is the best thing to simplify cooking since … ever. I’ve been meaning to use this gem for the last month or so. Welcome to the world of frozen herbs and spices:

Dorot makes a variety of chopped products, including ginger, chili, dill, cilantro, garlic and parsley. They also have some really cool (pun intended) mixed cubes including Tex-Mex Herb Mix, Stir Fry Herb Mix and Pasta Herb Mix. My favorite? I’m always using the garlic and basil cubes!

… In other news: I am not superwoman. Well, that’s not news. Today – I went for a run aiming to go six miles. And after two, I stopped. Whether it was that I underestimated how hot it was outside, or I wasn’t feeling my iPod skipping (wonderful, another expensive necessity on the to-buy list) – I paused, and started walking.

And then I began to think: Maybe the best thing for me to do when I feel like I’m in a running rut is to talk about it. I’ve been worried about this half marathon lately. I still have yet to run over eight miles and the race is October 9. I know I can do it. My temporary solution? Back to the gym this afternoon to finish the next four, for a grand total of six. There’s more to the tale, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s reflection post in honor of Yom Kippur.

An afternoon pick-me-up, grilled shrimp salad with mango chutney:

What do you do when you feel like you’re in a running rut? Have you ever used Dorot products?

“Music’s the medicine of the mind” [John A. Logan]

Long sigh. So I spent the last hour or so trying to make up this playlist using an online mp3 player to post on my blog, and I’m not exactly satisfied with the result – so I’ll hold off. After an energizing three miles at sunset tonight at a 7:40 pace (LET’S GO!) – I figured I’d share some of my running tunes with ya’ll. I’m the kind of gal that needs something with a serious beat. A former hip-hop and jazz dancer (yeah … I can still busta move, I’ll admit it) I really like to keep time to music. Generally, I enjoy songs that come in around 155 – 165 bpm.

Through the last week, I’ve made some groundbreaking progress with my runs. Last weekend’s “long run” was six miles, and this weekend’s run is eight. After my six-miler Saturday late-afternoon, I only have one thing to say: WELCOME BACK runner’s high. It’s indescribable, it really is. The feeling of comfort when you fall into a good stride, the music beating through the white iPod headphones and the weight lifted off my shoulders. My mind clears and I feel calm. My problems seem to become trivial and everything, for at least that hour – is put on hold. This high, this feeling – it’s reason why I love running, and definitely one of the reasons why I look forward to September.

I’m done rambling for now … check out some of my fav tunes. Here’s the track listing – I’ll work on getting a player up within the next few days.

Anyone have good sites to host music on your blog? What are your favorite running tunes?

“Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson: You find the present tense and the past perfect” [Unknown]

The last few days have been a whirlwind of well … everything.

New York Sunday to Monday, Hartford Tuesday and Wednesday – with a lot going on in between. I got to spend some time at my alma mater Tuesday night, and stop in to recruitment madness at the house. Let me try to help you visualize this in the least stereotypical way possible.

29 The number of girls that live in my old sorority house

8 The number of panhellenic sororities on the UConn campus

420+ The estimated number of potential new members (PNMs) that will be going through the house between tonight and Monday morning.

…It’s Tuesday night, three days before the official “formal recruitment” process begins. Girls are everywhere. There’s girls in one room trading letters to wear around campus the next day, 12 girls in the common room going over what they are supposed to bring each round of recruitment, four girls working on putting bows on the stairs, one girl (my old roommate and best friend) running the show and pondering if the ribbon they put on the third floor is “ugly” (it looks fine) compared to the one on the first.

This best friend tells me she doesn’t remember if she ate today. Bring on operation kidnap. Chica walks out of the house, I charge at her legs, another friend grabs her belongings – we shove her into the back of my 2005 navy blue (UConn appropriate) jetta and hightail it to nourishment.

Do I miss college? Not really. But I miss things like that. I miss feeling like my biggest worry was the bow on the top of the stairs or being late to a Daily Campus meeting (only after I went to chapter and before I went to panhellenic … and people wonder why I’m so organized). I miss meeting up for lunch – and all of my friends being less than 10 minutes away. But well, this is the natural progression of life, right? In the words of Jay Z … on to the next one.

… HUGE announcement coming later today. But for now, I’ll share my yummy creations with you from the last few days. The both of them have one thing in common: Tofu.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about tofu, it’s that it tastes better in small cubes than 1 inch squares. So – I got a little creative with this one: mini bow-tie pasta (usually I don’t use white pastas … but I wasn’t in the mood to head to the store), chopped onions, basil, garlic, green beans, chopped tomato, artichoke hearts, tofu, spinach and a little itty bit of feta (because it tastes ‘beta).  I literally could hardly taste the tofu, it blended right in with the pasta. This hidden wallop of protein – an A+ addition in my book.

And then there was this, my attempt at killing two birds with one stone. The goal: to use the rest of my tofu and leftover refried beans from the other night. So, I did some googling (there goes that word again …) and came up with this. Mexican tofu salad: Tofu, a few small pieces of chicken, onions and chopped tomatoes, sautéed with garlic and three tablespoons of chili powder, atop of romaine with refried beans, two tablespoons of sour cream and salsa to garnish (and act as a dressing).

WOW. Who knew that I liked chili powder this much? Or that tofu could taste good on a salad? Win-win-win-win-wahoooooooo!

Catch ya later tonight for the big announcement! What’s the weirdest thing you’ve tried making lately? What was your favorite thing about college?

Oh … and of course: HAPPY SEPTEMBER!