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

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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

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

HIIT Cardio

HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training

The best way to get a great sweat in 30 minutes.

HIIT Training is great for burning fat, getting your heart rate up & breaking a sweat. I have added HIIT training into my workout regiment twice a week. I usually follow it with a good arm or ab workout, because this workout really works your legs…

1. 5 minute warm up

2. 2-minute jog (whatever speed you’re comfortable at but be sure to challenge yourself)

3. 1-minute sprint

4. 30-second rest

5. repeat steps 2-4 3 times

Half way done!

6. 2-minute brisk walk on incline (6%-10%)

7. 1-minute jog on incline (2-3%)

8. 30-second rest

9. repeat steps 6-8 3 times

Almost there!

10. 5-minute cool down

11. STRETCH, always stretch.

After this, you should be dripping sweat and feel like you got a great workout in! If you didn’t – increase your speed and your incline to challenge yourself.

Try it out & let me know what you think!

xo. P

** Thanks to my friend Lindsey D. for sharing this great HIIT workout with me! The best part? Sending snapchats to each other after we complete this killer workout – hello unattractive sweaty face 🙂

Be Prepared

It is super important to go into your workout prepared. I used to just go the gym, feel lost looking around & hop on the nearest treadmill or elliptical. Yes, cardio is good for your health and good for immediate weight loss. But, to really build metabolism, you need to build muscle. How do you build muscle? Lift weights. It is a pretty easy formula. The hardest part is probably knowing what you want to do for the day… so that is why you must make a plan before you leave the house!

Here is a picture of my routine from this morning. I planned this over my pre-workout cup of coffee this morning 🙂 I wrote 3 reps, when I meant 3 sets (oops!)

2/9 Workout

Typically I try to stick to just lower body or upper body and then some cardio. But today I decided to do a whole body workout (with a focus on lower body) – a full hour of weights, I felt pretty empowered afterwards!

Here’s to hoping I feel super sore tomorrow. (just in time for spin class!)

xo. P