Gearing up for the last race of the year

It’s been an incredibly boring week as far as getting activity in goes. It was my last week of recovery and I took full advantage. Although, Henrik and I did walk quite a bit. I was planning on running today but it’s been completely disgusting in Pittsburgh for the last 2 days so I decided to stay in bed and watch Netflix pretty much all day. I don’t feel bad about it either.

My last race of the year is next Sunday and I’m really excited for it, last years finishing time was 2:27 and I’m shooting for a 2:10-2:15 this year. I’m planning on running 5 days this week, nothing too crazy just a 3-5 miles a day at an easy pace. I won’t need to carb load or anything for this one (it’s only 10 miles), which thank God, I’m really trying my hardest to eat healthy.

There isn’t much else to write about this week, so here’s a picture of my sweet Henrik. IMG_7231

 

Till next week!

Lose the weight.

I’m still in “recovery” from the marathon, I have another week off before I’ll start running again which will put me at a week out from the 10 miler. With that being my last race of the year the idea of an offseason is getting so close. I had a lot of plans for last years offseason, then I got sick with bronchitis for almost 2 months. It was miserable. I only have one goal this time around and that goal is: lose weight.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I am an overweight runner. It can sometimes be very uncomfortable running with the extra pounds, but aside from running, I’m just very uncomfortable in my own skin. That’s no way to live. The discouragement of this past marathon was amplified by receiving my finish/race photos. I hated the way I looked and I immediately thought, I am not going into another training cycle looking the way I do right now. Also, I know I can be faster if I am lighter.

I’ve done several things to lose weight in the past, most of the time they were unhealthy methods, and I always ended up gaining it back. This time I’m going to going to take a different approach and be more relaxed about it. Instead of tracking every bite of food I take and counting every macro and calorie I am going to consume real whole foods, work out for an hour 5-6 days a week in addition to walking Henrik everyday, and enjoy an occasional night out. My nutritionist mentioned wanting me to do “red, yellow, green”. I’ll be keeping a journal of how my day went, nothing too fancy,  just simply green if it was a great day across the board, yellow if I slipped up but nothing too bad, and red if I completely destroyed my diet that day i.e. ate a whole gobblerito. After acknowledging how my day was I’ll reflect on that and write how I can be/do better the next day. I think reflecting on each day will help me significantly to stay in tune with my body, and seeing the different colors throughout the week will really help me understand where I need to make improvements.

As the focus of my writing shifts from just running to running and weight loss for the next couple months, I plan on sharing my workouts with you all and some healthy recipes. Losing weight is so hard, especially with the holiday’s around the corner but I am determined to make some big changes this offseason.

If you’re interested in doing this with me, please let me know! It’s always easier with a support system.

Post marathon recovery and plans for the rest of October

I cannot believe it’s already been a week since the marathon, where is time going?! I’ve done a lot of reflecting, stretching, sleeping, and eating since last week. I like to celebrate for the entire week after a big race before I get my life together and make healthier choices. You put your body through a lot during training so splurging is always welcomed. I’ve also been sleeping every chance I get which Henrik hates me for because all he wants to do is go outside and play.

Monday-Wednesday were pretty rough. But once I finally got through that and I could finally move normally again, I’ve been walking during lunch and after work (with Henrik of course) and I’m glad I’ve been forcing myself to get up and move. I made the mistake last year of not doing anything for the 3 days after the race and the recovery took so much longer. I’m also so ready to start eating like a normal human again, carb loading gets old real fast and this last week has just been an excuse to stuff my face any chance I get. I went grocery shopping on Saturday and I’m so excited to get back to healthy eats and focus on losing some weight.

As far as what my plans are for the rest of the month they include mostly resting, spending time with Henrik, and exploring our neighborhood. I won’t be doing any running until the last week of the month to give my body a decent break until my next race, the EQT 10 miler, on November 5. It’ll be my 3rd year doing this one and I absolutely love it, it’s not too long and it’s not too short, I highly recommend it if you’re in the Pittsburgh area. This will be my last “real” race of the year. I always participate in the 5k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving but that’s more of a fun run.  I’m so looking forward to having a social life, or at least the option of a social life, for the next couple months. I’ve literally been training since February with a 6 week break in between the Pittsburgh half and training for Chicago so it’s much needed.

I have a lot of plans for next year that I’ll be discussing in the coming weeks but in the meantime I’ll be documenting my weight loss journey, pupdates on Henrik, and ways to be active that don’t include running since it’s almost offseason!

 

Until next time…

Race weekend recap

Coming to you live from Chicago for this weeks post. I’m currently enjoying a matcha latte and kombucha at The Goddess and the Baker, this place is so cute, check it out if you’re ever here.

Alright, so back to what you’re all here for…a recap of my marathon weekend. I landed Thursday night and enjoyed dinner with my parents so not too much excitement. We went to the expo on Friday and ended up spending like 4 hours there, seeing all of my favorite companies: Vital Proteins, nuun, Brooks, Honey Stinger, and of course Nike to get some official marathon gear. Friday night my little sister flew in and we went to the team dinner for DetermiNation (American Cancer Society). It was beyond inspiring and emotional to hear and see why people chose that charity and who keeps them going.

Saturday morning was the Chicago International 5k, and if you ever want to bring people together from all walks of life, this is how you do it. There were so many people from different countries and it was amazing to see people come together for a common goal. I didn’t race this 5k, it was simply a shake out run and it was very enjoyable. Chicago has some seriously stunning views. After attempting to nap for a little bit, my dad and I took a bus tour around the city. We went up to the John Hancock Tower for the 360 view, I still can’t get over how beautiful that was, afterwards it started pouring so we headed back to the hotel. I enjoyed my last carb load at Pizano’s which wasn’t that great but it got the job done.

Now, onto the big day. Sunday morning I didn’t need to get up until 6 since my corral didn’t close till 8:10. I was a ball of nerves as usual but you kind of learn to use that as fuel. I enjoyed my usual pre race PB&J with my parents before heading out to the corral. After some dynamic stretching and making friends with some ladies in corral L, we finally crossed the start line at almost 9 am. We were suppose to go out at 8:35, so that was a little annoying but what are you going to do? I started off pretty strong, holding onto a 14:30-14:45 pace. The wheels fell off for me around miles 12-14, the heat became too much to push through. No matter how much Gatorade and water I drank I never felt like I was properly hydrated. At that point I abandoned the time goal I had and the only goal was to finish. I met a lot of first timers along the way and gave them some advice for recovering, helped them to push through, and really enjoyed the remainder of the race. I cried going over the last bridge, partly because the view was so beautiful but also because this wasn’t the time I had trained for. I ended up finishing 10 minutes slower than last year and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t disappointed but I finished and really that’s all that matters at this point. I’ll get that time I was training for eventually but in the meantime I had such a memorable weekend in my favorite city.

I’m really looking forward to a month off from running to spend with my puppy, family, and friends. I have some things planned for the future but I need to process everything that happened on Sunday before I make any crazy decisions.

Until next time Chicago…

One week out!!!!

Holy smokes, where did this training cycle go?!?! It feels like it took forever but flew by all at the same time. I’m so excited to get this done and have a nice rest period once I get back home to Pittsburgh.

I’ll be in Chicago from Thursday afternoon to Monday night, and for the most part the entire weekend is already filled. Friday morning I’ll be at the expo, that afternoon I’m hoping to do some kind of tour of the city, then that evening I’ll be at the team dinner for Team DetermiNation- I’m running through the American Cancer Society this year. Saturday, the day before the big day is going to be limited to the Chicago International 5k in the morning and resting most of the afternoon/evening. Monday is for exploring before I head back home to my puppy.

I figured I’d share my travel essentials for a trip like this. My parents are driving out again this year so I am leaving all of my stuff with them and just taking a purse with me on the plane (thanks mom and dad!). Obviously your race outfit is super important to pack; mine includes a tank and capris from Lululemon, feetures socks, Brooks running bra, my Brooks ghost 10s, and my flip belt.

Aside from the most obvious thing to pack, I’m also bringing along a ton of other essentials. In my bag will be:

  • My vital proteins collagen peptides, I do not drink coffee without it.
  • Foam roller, because no one likes a tight back and hamstrings before race day.
  • All of the snacks! I’m bringing a few rxbars, epic bars, and gomacro bars.
  • My own bread, jelly, and PB for my pre race PB&J sandwich. I eat one of these before every long run ever and it totally throws me off if I don’t have it.
  • Imodium! I see a lot of people waste a lot of time at the port a potties, I take a couple before bed and a couple when I wake up the morning of the race and I have yet to have a problem.
  • My TENS machine, compression socks, and magnesium. All of these are for after the race to help me recover.
  • Honey Stinger chews and nuun. The chews are for during the race and nuun is for before and after. Hydration is so important these next 6ish days.
  • Note cards to writing inspiring messages to myself to put around my hotel room.
  • Lastly, I’m bringing along my Clean Sport Collective temporary tattoos to put on my shoulders for Sunday morning. CSC’s mission is to end doping in sports, although I am only an amateur/recreational runner, I still want to do my part to help end doping in running (and all sports really).

 

Next time you hear from me will be after the race! Good vibes are much appreciated!

Two weeks out

Two weeks from now I’ll be in Chicago eating deep dish pizza and having a beer at Lou Malnati’s while proudly wearing my medal. Visualizing the finish line and afterwards always help me get past the anxiety of race day.

This year I’m doing a two-week taper, as opposed to last year’s one week taper. Tapering is such a weird feeling, you’re still as hungry as you are during the weeks leading up to peak week but you aren’t doing anywhere near as many miles. I’ve found it’s very important to be extra mindful of your diet at this point, you don’t want to over eat for two weeks and show up to race day bloated. Not fun.

I find that I also get crazy emotional at this point. You put in so much time, effort, and work and you’re getting so close to showtime. It’s very easy to let the emotions get the best of you and turn you into a crying mess (not that I’ve been doing that or anything).

There’s a few things I’m doing during taper this year that I wanted to share with you. Now is the time to really take care of your body and make sure you’re good to go for the big day. (Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, you should speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.)

  1. Increasing my collagen consumption. Collagen is a great supplement for us runners. It helps with your joints, bones, tendons, cartilage and so much more. My favorite is from Vital Proteins. You can find more information about their collagen on their website.
  2. More Iron! Did you know runners lose iron through their heel strike? I’ll be eating more red meat and spinach, in addition to taking an iron supplement every other day.
  3. Better quality sleep. I’m aiming for 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. Sleep is so important for muscle recovery.
  4. All of the hydration. Obviously don’t go overboard here, but I’ll be increasing my water consumption over the next 13 days and adding nuun tablets in for extra electrolytes.
  5. Calf compression sleeves and TENS machine. Compression socks/sleeves have been a game changer for me in the last year. I’ll usually wear them while using the TENS machine on my quads. I like to do this before bed a few nights a week to keep my legs feeling fresh.
  6. Stretching, stretching, and more stretching. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. Tight muscles are no good.
  7. And lastly, carving out time for myself to do something non running related. It’s so easy to obsess over race day being so close that we can forget to step away for a moment and take a mental break. For me this might include doing a face mask, taking a hot bath, taking Henrik to the dog park. Whatever you want it to be, but it’s always nice to do something for yourself that’s outside of the sport to keep you mentally sane.

 

What are your tips for tapering?

Why running?

As I continue to introduce you to myself, I figured I’d explain why I chose running several years ago and why it’s become so important to me. I get asked this question several times a week, in fact my dad asked me again last night, “Why do you torture yourself? Cycling is so much easier.” My answer was something about how I like a challenge, and that is true but it goes much deeper than that.

Prior to this point in my life, going back to high school here, I had a really warped view of myself. I was constantly trying to lose weight and going to extremes to get there, this peaked the year after I graduated when I started to restrict my calories to maybe 700 a day and working out for 3 hours a day at minimum 5 days a week. I was miserable. I eventually got burned out and turned to drinking to quiet that negative self talk. After I turned 21 (and finished my first half) I really relied on alcohol to self medicate and fell into a funk of depression. A year later my weight had peaked to over 200lbs (I’m only 5’3!!) and later in the year I had gotten sick and discovered I had fatty liver.

Things changed after that. I slowed down my alcohol consumption considerably, went to a psychiatrist for medication and started seeing a nutritionist. We worked on getting over my disordered eating habits and getting back to eating healthy. Once I got my diet in order and I lost some weight I worked on getting comfortable running outside again. The more races I signed up to do the less I “fell off the wagon” because I just didn’t have the time to go back to old habits.

It’s been a few years since all of that happened but I now run 4-5 days a week, I’ve learned to control alcohol consumption to 2-3 drinks a week (if that), and as of July I came off of all my anxiety and anti depressant medications. Running helped me through all of this. It’s helped with my self confidence, my mental health, my diet, and made me a better person all around. I’m so glad I picked this crazy sport as my passion.

 

Why do you run?