2015: the year of love.

Long time no talk! What better way to start 2015 than with a blog post? I went a little MIA during finals week last semester & then I really took a step back during the holidays from everyone and everything, except my family and dear friends. I needed to “cleanse” myself of everything including work, Boston, social media & just my routine. I am now back in Boston, back at work & feeling rejuvenated!

Ever since 2012, each year has had a slogan. I have tried my best to live up to that slogan. Let me take you on a quick recap of these slogans so you can understand a little bit more…

2012: the year of selfish Paige. I went through a bad breakup at the end of 2011, so 2012 was MY year to do whatever I wanted & guess what, I did. I made some mistakes, mistakes that I learned from. I made some amazing decisions that have put me where I am today. Without this selfish mentality, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

2013: the year of change. I moved to Boston, started graduate school & started a new job. I am horrible with change, but these changes have made me the best version of myself. So, thank you 2013 me, thank you for accepting these changes and killing it.

2014: the year of YOLO. I was kidding when I made this slogan, but it ended up being true. I made the best memories with the best friends this past year from the White Mountains to Boston to New Orleans. I did everything & anything and said “yes” to almost anything I could. I partook in many firsts – first half marathon, first Spartan Sprint, first race series, first best friend vacation, first time my broken heart from 2012 actually felt fixed. Looking back, I don’t regret anything from this past year & that is the best feeling.

2015the year of love. Now, I don’t mean finding love – though, that wouldn’t be terrible if that happened. What I mean by love is loving myself. Despite all of my YOLOing (ha) in 2014, I have struggled with loving myself. I want to look in the mirror and say, I love the way you look, I love who you are as a person and I love what you value. On the outside I may look like I have it all together, but this is incredibly false. This girl still needs a lot of work. I am hoping to achieve this through a few different ways.

Here is how I plan to fall in love with myself in 2015:

  • Eat Clean. I have succeeded with this amazingly & plan on continuing this lifestyle. But, I’ve taken it to the next step already & have started the Paleo lifestyle. This will help me love myself because my stomach will continue to be happy & I will have more energy than ever! More to come on that!
  • Muscle Definition. Through weight training, yoga, spinning & my at home Beachbody workouts, I hope to have defined muscle. With that being said…
  • Do Yoga. In the past 6 months I have added yoga into my exercise routine and it has been the best addition to not only my physical well-being, but my mental well-being. After pounding the pavement for 20+ miles a week while training for my half marathons, my body needed to be exercised differently & now I am in love with yoga and how it makes ME feel.
  • Travel. I’m going to London in May & I plan on traveling a bit while I’m over there, too! I can’t wait! I hope this experience allows me to learn more about myself and allow me to fall in love with myself outside of my comfort zone. I also plan on traveling to the West Coast within the next year to visit one of my best friends who recently moved out there. Let’s go on adventures, 2015.
  • Challenge Myself. This is fairly broad and can be defined in a variety of ways. I did a pretty good job of challenging myself physically in 2014 but I want to continue that into 2015. I want to run another half marathon (or two!), run a Spartan Super (next step up from the Sprint) & compete in the Tough Mudder. Not only do I want to challenge myself physically, I want to challenge myself intellectually, too. I want to continue to grow and learn in my masters program. Most importantly, I want to challenge myself in my career. This may be the most difficult challenge for me & to be honest, I am not quite sure where to start.

This list may change and evolve, but right now, this is the list that makes me want to move forward into 2015 and make it the Year of Love. It’s no surprise that more than half of them are exercise and nutrition related. I guess fitness & nutrition really are my passion. I’ve always known that but re-reading this list just hit it home for me.

Have you thought about the years past and what their “slogans” would be? What would 2015 be for you?

xo. P

Second Half Marathon: What Was I Thinking?

Seriously, who runs two half marathons in one month? This girl.

I don’t recommend it.

I woke up at 5am against my own will this past Sunday morning at the annoying sound of my alarm. I pressed snooze. I wanted nothing to do with running 13 miles on a brisk Sunday morning. I just wanted to sleep. I pulled myself out of bed and started to make my oatmeal. Half awake, I’m pretty sure I even forgot what I was supposed to be doing today until my parents called saying they were on their way to pick me up. Oh, right… I have to run a half marathon this morning. If they weren’t picking me up, I don’t know if I would have gone. I scarfed down my oatmeal, slugged my Gatorade & downed some peanut butter. My dad, otherwise known as my athletic trainer, taped my IT bands & then we were off to Newton High School.

Even if I didn’t want to run it, the nerves set in. I was nervous because I hadn’t been running since I was injured. I was nervous because I was running it alone. I was nervous because I wasn’t confident. All of my confidence from my last race was gone. I had trained so hard for my last race & ended up injured… who said this one would be different?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t different. I ran all 13.1 miles in pain. It takes about 3 miles for my IT bands to “warm up”, then around mile 7, they start to give out right as I become mentally drained, too. I don’t give up though, I’m too proud. Let me tell you, pride isn’t always the best thing to have. I continued to run the rest of the 13.1 miles in so much pain that I wanted to cry when I saw the finish line. I was living for that “finish” sign ever since mile 7. I was so happy to cross and finish my second half marathon.

Despite the lack of motivation, lack of confidence and extreme pain – I feel pretty bad ass. I ran two half marathons within one month of each other. I proved to myself that I could run a half marathon, and then I proved it to myself again for a second time. It’s a rush.

I am nervous though. I am nervous to start running again. I’m nervous that I am going to permanently injure my legs unless I change something. I have started to see my personal trainer for strength training. I promised myself I would add yoga into my weekly routine. I plan on seeing a physical therapist soon. I need to make this right. Running is my passion, running is my drug & running is my happiness.

But seriously, don’t ever run two half marathons that close to one another.

Next up, Fenway Spartan Sprint. What’s wrong with me?

Stay fit.

xo. P

Beer me.

I haven’t had one sip of alcohol since August 30th. Crazy? Ya. I am a huge fan of a nice cold craft beer. The last time I had a beer was right after I finished the 10-mile race in August. It was a Moat Mountain IPA & I was sitting in North Conway on the Saco River. It was picture perfect.

Training is frustrating. You have great runs, you have horrible runs. One day you will run 10 miles and feel awesome, a few days later you will run 3 miles and it will feel horrible. Running is completely unpredictable. You are unsure how your legs are going to feel, how your breathing will feel & if you are in the correct mental state to go for a run. Despite the fact that I find running to be a type of therapy for me, it is still a cause of frustration when I do not have a good run.

I actually found that most of my “bad” runs occurred after a night of drinking alcohol. I have never been one to binge drink often, nor have I been one to pop open a beer on a weeknight with dinner. But, when I did have a few drinks & when I did decide to run a day after drinking… my run was NOT good. I would feel sluggish and slow.

After my 10-mile race in August, I knew my training schedule was going to pick up. I knew I was going to have early Saturday morning runs & I knew I needed to be at my best for those runs. So, I decided to stop drinking all together. My Saturday morning runs were awesome. I rarely had a bad run. It was so rewarding when I finished that run and it felt GOOD!

Thankfully, my half marathon is the Smuttynose Half Marathon so there will be a beer tent at the end of the race!! All I have to say is that a Pumpkin Smuttynose beer is calling my name…

Would you ever consider “giving up” alcohol for a period of time?

xo. P

Massage…. please!

“Rabbit rabbit!” were the first two words that came out of my mouth this morning when I woke up. I am in need of a lot of luck this month! Specifically, I need all sorts of good vibes coming my way in just a few days. Ever since I signed up for this race almost a year ago, I knew October 2014 would roll around and I would be nervous, excited, anxious, apprehensive & really any emotion you can possibly think of. Well, here we are… October 2014, and I was right. I feel all of those emotions and more. Never in my life have I worked so hard for a fitness goal & given up so much to make sure that I don’t only achieve that goal, I DOMINATE that goal.

In order to get ready for my race I decided to treat myself and get a deep tissue sports massage today! I am still experiencing pain in both of my IT bands & quads. This is leading to even more anxiety and stress just thinking I won’t be able to cross that finish line (for those of you who don’t know, running races is 100% mental strength). I just knew I needed a way to help myself both physically but most importantly mentally.

“I’ll know once I get my hands on you” was the way our conversation started. Um, OK? Instant second hand awkwardness came my way. Michael specializes in sports massages. I was so excited to see him, tell him my ailments & let him work his magic. I have to admit, being a young female & having a male work on you started off slightly uncomfortable. I had a hard time relaxing. Well, I did not have a choice for very long as I was forced to relax as he pushed into every nook and cranny in my lower back, bum, and legs. It was that “hurt so good” feeling. He talked me through all of my pains & why I may be experiencing certain pains in different areas of my body.

This massage was not only a relief for my body, it was a relief for my mind. Knowing that he was able to work some magic on my tight muscles instantly put me at ease. I left there with a clear mind knowing that I took one more step towards helping myself cross that finish line.

PLEASE send good running vibes my way. I’ll be giving my legs a nightly pep talk from now until October 5th. Until then, I’ll be soaking in Epsom salt baths, heating my legs, popping Aleve & drinking water like it’s a pumpkin beer.

xo. P

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

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

Fit Bit

The personal trainer of the future…?

The Fit Bit is a little rubber band that goes around your wrist. They recommend your non-dominant hand. Not the most stylish “bracelet”, but the best! It keeps track of your steps, your sleep cycle, calories burned, calories eaten, active minutes, distance, goal weight.

The best part? There is an iPhone app that lets you get all of this information real time right on your phone. Once you open the app, it will sync up & update all of your information!

Here is a screen shot of the app. This was my activity from February 7th. Funny thing? I didn’t make it to the gym yesterday. Yet, with how much I walk around the office & around Boston, I still managed to walked 6 miles during the day.

photoDo I completely believe the fact that I walked 6 miles yesterday? Not completely. But, I was talking to an exercise physiologist I work with & he said that even if it gives you more steps than usual, it is consistent. So, if it logs you brushing your teeth (due to movement), then at least it logs that every day!

What do I think is the best part of the app? The friends! You can compete with your friends over a 7-day period to see who can get the most steps in. This is where the personal trainer thought comes in.

Here is what happened to me. I was home visiting my parents for the night, sitting on the couch trying to understand the economics of obesity ready to cry, my mom asks me to go for a run, I say no. I look at my Fit Bit, my boss was ahead of me in steps……. NOT okay. I changed my mind, and went for a run. I got into work on Monday and he asked me “Hey, did you go for a run Saturday afternoon?”  Ha, yes, just to beat you I did. Maybe it helps that my boss shoves it in my face every time he is ahead of me! But, that doesn’t happen very often. See below for the “friends” part of the iPhone app. Perns is my boss, please…. he can’t keep up!

photo

All in all, I firmly believe that the Fit Bit is the best little personal trainer. It runs just about $100, a lot less than a real personal trainer (trust me!). It keeps you motivated, it keeps you honest, and it keeps you active. It is really interesting to see how many steps you really do during the day. You may take the stairs this time, instead of the elevator just so you an beat your boss. I give Fit Bit a huge thumbs up! It keeps me going.

Off to get my long run in for the week… watch out Perns, you can’t keep up.

xo. P