Embracing the offseason

Hey there, I know it’s been a couple of weeks but I decided to spend the last couple weekends enjoying my family and celebrating Thanksgiving. Sometimes it’s nice to step back from something for a little while and just live life.

With that said, I’d be lying to you if I said I was running regularly right now. In fact, the last time I ran was on Thanksgiving morning at my local 5k Turkey Trot where I had a 18 second PR and finally held onto a 13 minute pace for more than one mile. It’s a small victory but I’ll take it. Instead I’ve been spending time with my parents, sisters, friends, and of course Henrik. I recently started dating again so I’m allowing that to take up some time as well. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break, sometimes we need to regroup and truly miss something we’re passionate about so we don’t burn out from over doing it.

I’ve been getting my miles in, but in different ways. Henrik and I walk for 2-3 miles every night and 4-6 on the weekends. A couple of nights a week I try to get down to my gym to spend an hour on the elliptical which usually gets me to 5 miles. I know some people don’t really have an “offseason” and train all year round, and that’s fine. But for me, I get physically and mentally burned out by the time November hits. In an effort to enjoy the holidays with my family and to look forward to next years races these couple of months off of an official schedule are critical for me.

This will also allow me to be fresh by the time half marathon training starts in February. I’ll be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon again for the 4th time but this time I’m making it more special by running with the American Cancer Society, the charity I ran for in the Chicago marathon almost 2 months again. I’m really excited to be apart of that group and helping out the other charity runners with their training. If you’re able to, please consider donating at the link below. Next weeks post will touch more on running through a charity and why it’s so important to me.

https://www.crowdrise.com/acspitt2018/fundraiser/christinapier1

 

Till next time..

Training my first athlete

Happy Sunday everyone, can’t believe we’re almost half way through November. It’s been a pretty quiet week for me, trying to get back into a work out routine and really be mindful of what I’m eating because I’m so focused on being better next year.

I wanted to discuss coaching this week and what it’s been like to train my first “real” athlete. As I mentioned in one of my first posts, I got my RRCA certification earlier this year and I’m really passionate about helping others and becoming a resource for them even if they decide to not work with me. This past June my athlete reached out to me via email because he wanted to run a marathon this November, after asking several questions to see if we’d work well together and go over his goals we decided it was a good fit. I’ve trained myself for several races and I’ve helped out family/friends but never had an actual client so I knew I’d also be doing some learning.

It’s been an incredible learning experience over the last few months, I can honestly say it’s probably been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. I’ve learned to give advice based on logic instead of emotion, which is something I usually struggle with because I am an emotional person, and I’ve also learned that I don’t know the answer to everything (shocker). Since working with him I’ve learned so much more about the sport because if he had a question I wanted to be able to answer it correctly. He crushed every work out I gave him, if he had a question he’d ask so he wouldn’t risk injuring himself, and most of all he’s inspired me to pursue running and coaching even more. By watching him never give up and grow as a person it’s inspired me to do the same. His marathon was yesterday and he did so well! I’m so proud of him and his accomplishment.

It’s definitely not easy getting into coaching as someone who isn’t as seasoned as others because you’re asking someone to trust that you know what you’re doing. I’m not going to lie I was nervous that I’d fail at this and I’m so happy it went well. I strongly encourage everyone to either work with a coach or at least seek their advice because they can offer so much insight and hold you accountable. On days when I wasn’t feeling it my coach would reach out to me and give me words of encouragement and just that little boost made all the difference, that’s something I tried to mimic with my athlete.

I’m hoping that I’ll have many more awesome clients next year and that I can make an impact in their lives as well. There is truly nothing more rewarding than helping someone achieve their goals.

 

Till next time..

10 miler recap

First of all, I just have to say that I’m so happy this race was on Daylight Savings, that extra hour of sleep was a God send.

Alright back to what I came here to write about. Since I live in the city now getting to the start line entails walking to the T station to meet up with my parents near the start line. This was a nice warm up in addition to some dynamic warm ups. I found the group I wanted to start out with shortly before we started, the 13:00 Galloway pacer (run, walk, run). We started a few minutes late and it was pretty humid at the start. I stuck with the pacer until about mile 3-4, the group was just going to fast for me so I got into my own groove doing 90:30 run walk (90 secs run, 30 secs walk). That seemed to work really well for me.

Around mile 4.4, the exchange point for the relay, I got a text that said I was going at a 13:06 pace which is just amazing for me. As I got closer to mile 5 a woman in front of me tripped and fell so I stopped to give her a hand and make sure she was okay and then saw my parents cheering for me shortly after that. By the time I got to mile 7 it started raining, at first it was just a drizzle, then it started to get heavier. I hate running in the rain but it felt good at that point to cool down a little. I had done so many runs in the rain over the summer and I knew I only had a couple of miles left so I didn’t let it bother me.

I got to the 15k mark and I could hear the thunder as the rain started to get heavier which made me pick up the pace. I got to the final stretch and could see the finish line and one of my running group friends was cheering people on and it was so awesome to have people who already finished come back to keep the rest of the group motivated. I finished in 2:19:18 with a 13:56 average pace, my time last year was 2:27:40 so I got about an 8:22 minute PR. I’m always excited about a PR because it means I’m improving but this was especially important since I didn’t PR in Chicago after putting so much time and effort into that race. Today was a huge victory for my ego and I’m glad I could end the year on a high note.

One of the officers on the course said to me as I ran by her, “Keep going, you’re what makes Pittsburgh great!”

Congratulations to all the runners out there today, whether you ran in Pittsburgh with me, in NYC, Disney, etc. You’re all amazing. Keep going.

Till next time.

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…