Yoga: A Training Necessity

When your yoga instructor hands you a towel that smells of lavender for your final shavasana, you know it’s going to be a good class…

Despite the fact that my injured IT band is feeling much better today, I did everything in my power to NOT run. Let me tell you, this was incredibly difficult on such a gorgeous fall day. Like I have said before, running is my therapy.

Today I knew I needed an alternative way to exercise. I chose to attend yoga at my gym. I knew I needed a good stretch and a way to just simply relax (work has been incredibly stressful & has grad school). Unfortunately, the class went by so fast! I am used to taking yoga classes at a studio down the street from me where they are 90 minute classes. This class was just an hour. It was simple vinyasa yoga with a lot of twists, downward facing dog and plank.

The best part of yoga? Shavanasa. This is where you take 10 minutes (or longer depending on the studio/instructor/class) and lie on your back, with your eyes shut, and relax. You are able to let all tension out of your body, your mind shuts down, you may even fall asleep. It is the most necessary part of your weekly routine.

My biggest regret looking back at my training was that I did not do yoga enough. I only started doing yoga once a week this past month. Ever since then, I have felt more relaxed, stronger & at peace with my mind and body.

If you are scared of doing yoga, do not be. It is the most acceptable, forgiving & open practice I have ever been involved in. You are able to adapt every position to your own needs and it is truly a judgement free zone.

I challenge you to try an exercise out of your comfort zone just once sometime this next month. See how it makes you feel. See if it is something you like. I didn’t think I would like yoga. I now love it.

xo. P

The Importance Of Listening To Your Body

I’m officially less than two weeks away from my half marathon. If I said I wasn’t nervous, I would be lying. I kind of can’t believe I am this close to a goal that I have worked so hard for, and nearly dreamed about. I set this goal for myself about a year ago when I signed up and I started training heavily just about 4 months ago. In just two weeks, I will prove to myself that I can run 13.1 miles…it excites me!

But, here I am, two weeks out & injured.

I woke up last Saturday refreshed. I may have been mentally exhausted from a long week at work and a late night dinner date on Friday, but I felt refreshed in the sense that all my muscles felt really GOOD. So, I set off for my typical route down Beacon St to the Charles River. I had the goal of running 10 miles that morning & decided this would be my last double-digit run. It was a gorgeous fall morning, a little brisk, but perfect. I was running along the Charles when I had to stop at a red light. At that moment, I realized my right leg was in the most pain it had ever been in. I was confused & instantly upset. At this point, I was on mile 6… 4 miles short of my run goal. I decided to continue walking, hoping maybe it would shake out. I even stopped to stretch it out. Nothing worked. I thought about running through it, I needed to finish 10 miles, I NEEDED to. I thought about walking the rest of my route to at least get the mileage in on my muscles. All bad ideas.

What did I do? I turned around. I swallowed my pride and turned around. I walked to nearest T stop & took the T home. This was a painful walk physically and emotionally. I was beyond upset that I was unable to complete my long run goal. I was also visibly upset because I was in pain. A lot of pain.

This may have been one of the most difficult things I have ever encountered in my training program. When I set my mind to mileage goal for a long run, I stuck to it. I made sure to tell some family and friends of my weekly long run goal in order to hold myself accountable. I never ran short of my long run goal until this past Saturday.

Despite the fact this may have been the most difficult decision, it was the BEST decision. It is very important to listen to your body when training for a fitness goal. You MUST listen to your body. If your muscles are screaming at you in a bad “ow this hurts” way, stop. You do not want to overwork your body and end up injured. My injury is due to being overworked. I kicked myself into high gear the past few weeks with some taxing long runs & I neglected to properly foam roll after a few of these runs. I don’t want to blame myself for this, I can’t blame myself for this. Your body is only capable of so much and when you push its limits, it gets mad at you. My body got mad at me.

I will be taking the next few weeks VERY easy. I will be taking one Aleve with breakfast & one Aleve with dinner to help with inflammation. I will be foam rolling every morning & every night. I will NOT run more than 4 miles at once. I will be heating my quads before every walk/run/spinning class & icing them after every walk/run/spinning class. I will apply Salonpas adhesives to both quads every night for the next two weeks.

I will recover and I will run this half marathon.

Listen to your body. If you feel pain, your body is trying to tell you something. Listen to it.

xo. P

Confession: I haven’t worked out since Monday.

With the change in seasons comes a change in my exercise routine. It is hard to adjust from summer to fall, and then the WORST is from fall to winter. It takes time to find a new routine and become comfortable with it. But, a routine is IMPORTANT. If you do not have a routine and if you do not schedule your workouts, I can almost guarantee you will not workout.

Take this week for example for me; I have not worked out since Monday. Today is Thursday. I can feel the anxiety, stress, and unsettled feelings coming on… if it hasn’t already hit me.

It is incredibly difficult to fit in training time while working full time and being a full time graduate student in the evenings. Sometimes you have to find a way to squeeze it in. I hate to make excuses, but I just simply couldn’t squeeze it in Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

I set my alarm for 5:30am this morning with the intention of going for a run. I looked outside and it was still pitch black. If it was the summer and if it was light out, I would have hit the pavement by 6am for a solid 3 to 4-mile run. Unfortunately, that is no longer an option with the days getting shorter. The idea of running through the city, in the dark, all alone does not sound smart or comfortable by any means.

So with this change, comes an earlier wake up call. Bring on that 5am alarm that gets me up just in time to catch the first T and get to the gym as the doors open.

I’ll miss you Beacon St. You were always there for me in the morning. I just think we’ll have to see other people Monday-Friday since you become pretty sketchy before sunrise and after sunrise. Don’t take it personally, I’ll still visit you on the weekends.

Tomorrow would make day 4 without working out. Don’t worry, I’m going for a run after work before I indulge in a delicious dinner with a good friend. I never go more than 3 days in a row without working out if I can help it.

If you can, workout tomorrow. It’s Friday. It’s the best way to end the week and start the weekend!

xo. P

12 mile training run….

Hi!

When you are training for any run whether it be a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon – you have to get your weekly miles in. Some races require more miles than others. The longer the race, the more miles…

As you know based on my fitness goals, I am running a half marathon on October 5th. Right now, that puts me 3 weeks out from race day. Needless to say, I am getting VERY nervous. I have cut out all alcohol & dairy from my diet. I am also only drinking water and one cup of black coffee a day. I have significantly increased my carbohydrate intake as well. Yesterday was my longest training run to date at 12 miles and will be my last longest training run. After this, I will slowly taper off on my long run (10 miles & then 8 miles) and pull back on my total weekly miles.

On these long runs, you come across some funny scenarios, interesting people & really interesting thoughts. This is especially the case when running through Boston. I go through almost 4 zip codes on my long runs. What else do you have to do while you run for 2 hours? May as well people watch.

So, here is how my morning went on 9/13…

7:00 am – Alarm went off. Really, Paige? What you are thinking? Press snooze.

7:15 am – Second alarm I had set for myself went off. Ok fine, I’ll get up.

7:30 am – Water is boiling for oatmeal, coffee is on, emptying dish washer. I could still go back to bed if I wanted…. nope, nope – you told yourself you would run 12 miles today and you are going to do it.

7:45am – Relaxed on the couch to eat my oatmeal, drink my coffee, and drink a lot of water.

8 am – Made sure to pick out the cutest running outfit I had to make this long run a little more pleasant. Debated between shorts and a long sleeve, long pants and a tank top. It was cool day in Boston at 55 degrees, perfect running weather. They always say dress like it is 20 degrees warmer for a run – so I settled on capri spandex and a tank top. Not that you care….

8:30 am – Out the door. Camelbak running belt ready to go full of water, Honey Stinger gummies (review to come), chapstick (I literally cannot go anywhere without it), my Charlie Card (in case I change up my route and get lost), iPhone & apartment keys. Looking back, I should have probably put my ID in there. Oh well, next time!

Now begins the run…

Mile 1 – I think to myself, what am I doing? I’m tired, I would rather be in bed. But I guess I should keep going. By the way, the first mile is the hardest. There is something about getting your muscles up and running (literally) & helping them wake up. Your body is not into the motions yet.

Miles 2 & 3: I think I saw every young couple along Beacon St. making out. It looked like every guy was leaving his girlfriends, one night stands, or hook up buddies apartment. They all sealed the overnight deal with a kiss for ALL to see. I run by each of them as the sweat starts to run down my face. Considering I have the worst poker face ever, the look on my face probably told them exactly how I felt.. disgusted. Oh, that’s why I’m running at 8:30am on a Saturday, I went to bed last night at 10pm and didn’t do anything crazy to result in that fun Friday night… well, at least I can run? Who needs those fun Friday nights anyways, training is SO much more fun… 

Miles 4 & 5: This is where you body gets into auto pilot. At least my body does. I start to get into the motion of things and really warm up. I think that I can totally do this. I am motivated, and pick up my speed a little bit. I pop in a few Honey Stingers to give me the necessary carbs & take a swig of water to keep me hydrated. At this point, I am down by the Charles River. It was busy for a Saturday morning. I have come to expect that though. The running community is dedicated here in Boston.  It felt good to not be alone. Even the little smiles people throw at you when you run by them keeps you going.

Mile 6: This is my mental block. Up until August 30th, the longest road race I have ever run was a 10k. Mentally, I know I can do 10ks. But, my mind just shuts down at that point. I pop a few more Honey Stingers in to see if that will distract me. I start to lose motivation, especially when running alone…. What should I wear tonight? Wait, what’s going on today? Oh, MixFest! Oh.. he’s cute. Wait, did they just finish their run? I’m jealous.

Mile 7: Thank god for these babes to keep me going… the MIT crew team. At this point I had run the length of one side of the Charles, and then over the bridge into Cambridge, MA. I look to my left as I start to swear to myself & questioning my sanity and see about a dozen shirtless men rowing on stationary rowers. Let me tell you, I think mile 7 was my slowest mile… because I was looking left and wanted to slow down to stare a little longer. What if I just yell my number out to them? Will they look? Hm.

Mile 8: Oops, I have to go to the bathroom. I thought I went before I left. Well, I did. Oh, yup, I have to go to the bathroom bad now. Starbucks won’t let me in without buying something, those are probably locked. 7/11? Worth a shot. I literally ran into the 7/11, asked the clerk if I could use the bathroom, he pointed the back of the store & sweet relief. Probably too much information, but for you runners out there, I think you know what I mean. There is nothing worse than going for a long run and having to go to the bathroom so bad that it hurts and you think you can hold it but you can’t.

Mile 9: Really? They are still doing this? My pace picked up since I went to the bathroom and was MUCH more comfortable. As it picked up, I ran right through a Planned Parenthood protest. I got yelled at for simply being a woman. Head down, keep running, don’t look up

Mile 9.5: Oh sweet Jesus, a hill? There is no freaking way my legs can handle this right now, my hips are on fire. But what do you know, “Work Bitch” by my girl B.Spears came on… I could not have asked for any better timing. Not only did I dominate that hill, it got my heart rate right up which is great for endurance training.

Mile 10 & Mile 11 : I could turn left and end up home. I’m sure that would be a good idea, I could start to settle in and start homework. I should probably do that. My toes hurt.. oh and that toenail that looks like it is going to fall off just might fall off.. or so it feels. No, Paige. Keep going. So, I did. I continued to the Chesnut Hill Reservoir. One loop around is just about 1.5 miles. I knew if I ended at that, I would be able to hit my 12 miles….

Mile 12: Just let me finish.

Training for a  half marathon is not exciting, but it is exhilarating. But above all, it is rewarding. I enjoy those long runs and the time I have to myself. I enjoy the satisfaction that comes with finishing one of those runs. Despite how much pain you might feel, it is worth it.

Do I want to put my body through a full marathon? Running & training for a race is addicting…. so maybe, just maybe, that will be my next goal. Anyone want to join me?

Now off to yoga to stretch out those hips!

Keep training. Keep smiling. You got this.

xo. P

Goal Update

Hi All,

Now that I’m back in action, I would like to update you on the status of my goals! Despite my lack in blogging, I have not lacked in my goals…

Let’s see… here are my goals for 2014:

1.  Complete 7 races in the Dover NH Race Series (running the race series with my sister in law makes it even more fun!)

I have completed 4 of these races & I have 3 to go! I will be done with the whole series by the end of October. Can’t wait for my series jacket 🙂

2. Dominate the 10-mile race in August in preparation for….

I can say with confidence, I dominated this race. I ran this race with my good friend Evan (who is also training for the half marathon). It was by far one of the most challenging races I have ever done. Just about every few miles, there was a new hill staring us in the face. At one point I turned to Evan & said, “I’m not looking up, just tell me when the hill is over…”. We conquered every hill with confidence & talked each other through it all. There were many high fives exchanged to keep us going. I never thought I would say running 10 miles is fun. But, when you are running it with a good friend who keeps you motivated & makes you laugh through the pain, it is so fun. It proved that I am ready for my half marathon and that my body is capable of things I never thought were possible. I have to say, I am proud of myself.

3. Run the Smuttynose Half Marathon in just about 2 hours (10/5/14 is the day!)

Let the countdown begin…. less than a month away!!!!

4. Lift weights 3-4 days a week

I can say that this suffered. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to fit in weight training when you are also trying to run 20+ miles per week. Part of me wishes I kept this up, but part of me is really happy I focused on my cardio training & endurance training for my half marathon. I hope to revisit this goal and kick it in the butt AFTER October 5th. I’ll be needing to lift weights, swim & start riding a bike because I THINK my next big goal is a triathlon…. more to come on that. 🙂

5. NEVER MISS A MONDAY.

I can say with 100% confidence, I have yet to miss a Monday.

How are you doing with your goals? It’s the perfect time to revisit your goals with the summer coming to an end and the fall approaching. With a change in season can come a change in motivation. Why not let the changing leaves help you change your habits? No one is stopping you but yourself.

xo. P

I’m baaaaaack….

I’m back! I’m sorry for being so MIA recently. The end of last semester was maddening, resulting in me choosing to study, work, food prep & exercise over blogging. At least I was practicing what I preach, right?

So, let’s try this again! A new semester has started up and I’m ready to hit the ground running. I’m a firm believer in that the busier you are the more productive you are.

I must say, I am pretty excited about getting back into this blogging scene. I am going to try my absolute best to keep up with it.

Here’s to eating clean, training dirty & kicking ass.

xo. P