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Pushing Yourself in Your Normal Workout Routine

It might be the former athlete in me, but part of my mind games is to pretend I am in some sort of competition. I do it when I am working out alone in my home gym. I find myself pretending I have to reach a certain point by a certain time to “win.” I guess this is where I let my imagination run wild…maybe that’s why Barbies were never my thing, no competitive edge. ANYWAY…

I try hard to hit 4-5 rounds when I am doing 20 minutes AMRAP. If I get an additional one, I feel like I pushed myself enough.

sly smile; totally going to hit my goal today
sly smile; totally going to hit my goal today

Now, the dangerous thing is when I am in my Orange Theory Class. There are days when I can stay in my own head space and try to pick a calorie burn to beat. For example, I always try to get as close to 500 calories burned. Some days (like today) it just isn’t possible, because the second I lay down to do crunches my heart rate drops. The other way I push myself is picking someone in class to “beat.” I try to match reps, time, and speed. Usually this is when I end up blowing my calorie burn goal out of the water. The person has NO IDEA I am challenging her, it is my own victorious little secret.

Didn't hit 500 today; it was a weird workout day
Didn’t hit 500 today; it was a weird workout day

FlyWheel also affords me that opportunity. I worry less about turning up the resistance to the highest point in the range and more about getting my heart rate up and pushing the power level. I want my name to be in the top 5 spots, I know I will never be number 1 my little beefy legs can’t take it, but I set a goal at the beginning of class and aim to meet or beat it.

It’s those head games that keep me motivated and push me to work harder each time. Of course, every once in awhile you need to kick it up a notch…I will be letting you know what that is like with a review of the 90 minute Orange Theory class later this week.

2014 New York City Marathon Recap

My head wasn’t in this race for the last few weeks. Training was hard, I thought about just not running a few times, and shook it off. As race day loomed closer my anxiety level continued to heighten, but at that point nothing was going to keep me from running.

I broke one of the number one rules of racing — I ran in something new. Let’s be honest though, by the time the weather report was calling for 30 mph winds with 40 mph gusts, I wasn’t going to be running in ANYTHING like what I had trained in. I bought a new pair of compression tights the day before hoping that it would keep me warm.


I left with plenty of time to make it to the start line. Or at least I thought I did. Here I was concerned that I would be outside freezing for two hours — instead I stressed over getting on a train. Who’s bright idea was it to not run the 6 on a weekday schedule MTA??? From the ferry to the start line the buzz and camaraderie was amazing. It is one of the reasons I so love running.

The Irish gentlemen behind me at the porter potties were honestly hilarious, and the Peruvian in my corral was in the same boat as me, having not trained in this cold weather we huddled together praying for warmth.

Every time the cannon (which ominously sounded like the one from Hunger Games), my heart surged. Finally, it was time. It was my turn to run one of the greatest marathons in the world. And I was as ready as I could be.

Miles 1-10

Going into the first stretch, I decided to go at a comfortable pace and not fight the wind. Good thing, since while on the Verrazano I was practically going sideways. My slower pace had me feeling really strong as I wove my way through Brooklyn. I was so incredibly impressed with spectators. I had never traveled outside of Manhattan to watch the marathon and really didn’t know what to expect. The energy was infectious and I loved every moment of it. Especially as I rounded around mile 4 and saw one of my colleagues with a glitter filled sign!

so strong
so strong

Miles 11-20

As I rounded into Queens I was still feeling quite strong. It was the first place I would get to see my husband, and my favorite little person (Sofia), who had instruments to make noise as I came by. I made a diagonal bee-line for them, so happy to have them out there supporting me. This was especially helpful as I was one mile out from Queensboro Bridge, which I knew was going to be the toughest part of this part of the race. I was so focused on just getting through to Manhattan that I didn’t stop to take pictures of the scenery like so many others were around me. I regret it now, but I do think if I had stopped I might not have started up again.

The wall of sound is real people, and it was awesome. As I began my trek north to Harlem, I saw Janie and Marissa and got a surge. As I headed up in mile 20, I started to feel the wall approaching. I took my first walk break, and then I saw Shari…got a hug and started up again.

Look I was actually smiling on that bridge
Look I was actually smiling on that bridge

Miles 21-26.2

I started playing head games at mile 21. The ‘ol “5 miles, you do that every day” and the “you can’t quit now, this is the easy part.” I started the marathon shuffle and just kept going for as long as I possibly could. The wind was picking up again, and making it a little harder. The mind games continued, as I the “rolling hills” continued to take a toll on my legs. At mile 25 I just couldn’t do it any longer and decided to walk so that I could run across the finish line. Had I not walked I might have finished before 5 hours, but I still feel like it was the right decision.

I did it, I did it!
I did it, I did it!

I was so happy to have crossed the finish line before dark, and while it was a PR, I ran one of the best marathons in the world, and I finished.


Preparing for a Race (with travel)

I was lucky that my first marathon happened to be in my backyard. It was easy to prepare, I simply had dinner went about my normal routine as if I was just going out for a long run. This time though, things are a bit different…given I will be in a hotel and not in the comfort of my own home. It requires more planning and testing well in advance. My trial run in NYC was just a few weeks ago, and I did everything as I planned to do it this week.


Massage: Three days before, one day after

As I noted a few weeks ago, I tried out Body Mechanics Orthopedic Massage NYC. I don’t think I have ever felt like jelly after running 20 miles, in a good way. Beret is a runner herself, and certainly knows all the key areas that can be a bit “irritated” from all that use. Before jumping on the table, we sat and discussed specific issues I was having (again this was immediately after my run so there was a lot of stiffness), and she focused on my hips at my request. This wasn’t just your standard massage. There was this stretching element to it, that really got into those hard to reach spots. I recovered so quickly, that I was able to run on Tuesday as if I had done an easy five miles. I will be stopping by for a pre-run massage this week.unnamed

Yoga: Stretching, stretching, stretching

If I “rested” without doing anything for three days leading up to the race, I would probably gouge someone’s eyes out due to an increase in stress and anxiety. So I focus on lots of yoga days….and different kinds of yoga so that I can get into all the little tight spaces. I recently went to Studio 360 for a Vinyasa yoga flow. There are a few reasons I loved this yoga/cycle hybrid studio; one of which was the fact that they provide yoga mats and cycle shoes free of charge. Another, is the fact that the classes are small and you get one-on-one instruction. The class I attended was Sunday morning and with only two other people, it was practically private. I’ve got two classes picked out for this coming week.photo 3 (3)

Dinner: salt and carbs

At this point I know what is going to go down best, unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of cooking at home. So I’ve scouted the restaurants that are nearby and selected three options for dinner. Though I’m angling for an invite to my besties…..you know who you are ;).

Race Week Is Here!

After two really incredible stressful weeks where I was home for a total of five days, I am getting ready to hop on a plane again bound for NYC. While I am going early for work, I have to somehow remain focused on the fact that race day is Sunday.

I have to be honest, that my training has slacked the last two weeks due to straight up exhaustion. Luckily I somehow managed to time all of this travel for Taper Town, so while I feel bad, I don’t feel nearly as bad as it could have been. In fact, I don’t think I have ever been so happy to be tapering in my life.

This will be me...hopefully
This will be me…hopefully

I received my bib number, and wave information a few weeks ago. I was initially (and still am) slightly disappointed that I am in the last wave — mostly because I feel like I am going to miss out on some of the great spectator memories — but have started to think positively about it. For example, I am on the top of the bridge, and am less likely to be urinated on. (score) If you would like to follow my race you can do so by going here.


I played with this fancy excel document that Kristin sent over several weeks ago, and figured out what pace I need to make my goal time. Amazingly, when I plugged it all in it actually looked doable. I started to think “maybe all that training in the summer heat is going to actually pay off.”


I am equally nervous and relieved that the race is this Sunday. Training has been excruciating, and I know if I ever decide to do this again a run coach will be part of the “must gets.” I’ve reached the point where I just want to cross the finish line, and not do any significant damage to my body (crossing fingers on that last one).

Now it is time to figure out the playlist…honestly it is the hardest part of race week.

Marathon Training Week 15

Like many runners I know I am very superstitious when it comes to my pre-run routine. The foods I eat, the way I lay out my clothes, down to what socks I am wearing and whether they match my outwear. All training I ran in conditions that most likely would not be the same as race day, unless a ridiculous heat wave came through NYC in November. Two things could happen: (1) I could possibly run much faster than I had been running or (2) the shock of different weather could present other challenges. So when the opportunity to run my 20 miler in NYC presented itself, I decided it needed to happen.

I treated this very much like a trial marathon-weekend run…from packing, my meals, and post-race activities.

Although the bridge on Linton has given me some hill training, I knew it wasn’t really going to prepare me for the real deals. So I asked Kristen to map a route with bridges. She really delivered with four, including two from the marathon route. As the day grew closer it looked like I was also going to have to complete my first training run in the rain. Amazing how I made it through 15 weeks of training in Florida with no rain. How is that even possible?

It was cold and literally rained the entire time. We started off near Prospect Park, headed to Brooklyn Bridge, swung back around Manhattan Bridge, through several neighborhoods in Brooklyn (Park Slope, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, hipstertastic places), the Pulaski Bridge in Long Island City, and then over the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan and into Central Park just like race day. Three boroughs in just about 3.5 hours. As we rounded around the West Side the shivering set in. Apparently my “rain” jacket wasn’t waterproof enough for this much rain. I couldn’t really feel my fingers and the idea of two more miles just didn’t seem feasible.

What I learned on this run (other than needing a better rain jacket), is that  I am going to finish this race. There is a good chance that if I keep myself healthy with stretching, icing, foam rolling and sleeping, I could PR it. But even if that doesn’t happen I know I am going to cross that finish line.

photo 2 (4)

Monday: yoga

Continuing to do active rest days to keep my legs active.

photo 1 (4)

Tuesday: 4 miles

Did a mixture of speed work, endurance and hills to keep myself interested on the treadmill.

Wednesday: 5 miles

I have a big work project looming and there was a significant amount of frustration and anxiety building, which fueled a very fast post-work run.

Thursday: travel day/rest day

Up bright and early to head to NYC, so turned this into a rest day.

Friday: yoga

I downloaded a new ashtanga series from Cody App, and although it said beginner I found it really challenging. More to come on that.

Saturday: 20 miles

Pretty much gave you the run down above, I know it is going to be a hard race…and I really just want to finish.

Sunday: yoga

Went to a studio down the street from my hotel, and essentially had a private class. More to come.

photo 3 (3)

Marathon Training Week 14

I’ve decided that all big birthdays should be accompanied by a big race. Once we hit October this week people started asking if I was ready….and my response was completely focused on the race. Explaining that my 20 miler was coming up and I was hinging my preparedness on how I felt during that run. Turns out they were talking about me turning 30 the day after the marathon. One track mind over here, or maybe selective memory?

This week, I went back to only running twice during the week with a swim day. There was still some pain during my long run on Saturday, and I continue to do my new fancy stretches to try to loosen my hips and shins before running. Icing has become a central part of all my post run days…and I am just praying I make it through this.

So we are officially less than a month away from race day, and I am so ready for this to be over.

Monday: yoga

I originally planned a rest day, but I was reaching boiling point by lunch time and decided to walk away for a short 30 minute practice.

Tuesday: 4.5 miles, treadmill, speed work

Painless run, which was quite exciting. I was able to get up to 8.0 on the treadmill and maintain that pace for two straight minutes. I know it isn’t real world because the belt is pushing me, still felt pretty good. My new shoes also seem to be the right fit. photo 2 (3)

Wednesday: 40 laps

Ok, it’s October and I can still swim outside. Point advantage to Florida living today, because it was what I wanted.

Thursday: hill repeats

Headed to my “hill” (Linton Bridge) and ran quite a few hill repeats. Amazingly it was cooler this morning and I thought there was a good chance the weather could be turning.

photo 1 (3)

Friday: rest day

Truncated day so that I could head to services.

Saturday: 12 miles

I felt kind of bad for running instead of fasting, but either way you shook it I wasn’t going to be able to fast because of the run. Also, running 12 miles while the rest of your training group headed out for 18 or 19 makes you feel like you are cheating a bit. Oh well, felt really strong for the majority of this run, feeling a bit more confident heading into next week’s 20 miler.

photo (6)

Sunday: yoga

Yoga flexibility. It’s amazing what happens when you are completely in tune with your body. It has been my left hip/ITB that has been giving me the most trouble and when I tried to stretch it out you would have thought I was leaning into a wall. I am starting to think the month following the race will be completely dedicated to yoga with a little hip/glute strengthening.

photo 3 (2)

Marathon Training Week 13

Week 13 of an 18 week plan probably isn’t the most appropriate time to make changes to your training routine, but when you are sitting in a doctor’s office explaining the pain you are feeling in your left IT band and your doctor says you are probably “heading toward a serious injury” you have two choices.

(1) quit and wallow in the disappointment that you are about a month away from the finish line

(2) make some changes and pray that you don’t hurt yourself more and cross that finish line

So I went with number 2, hoping against all hope something I did was going to make a difference, and get me through these last few weeks of training. It was no secret that I have been painfully struggling through my longer runs. Hitting walls at mile 14 that included pain and then run/walking through the rest.

This past week, I cut back on my runs — only two during the week — and decided to go the Hanson Brothers route of long runs. This meant breaking my long run into two days. I don’t know if I fully buy into this method yet, but I had pain free runs this weekend….so who knows.

Monday: yoga/rest day

Had a panel down in Miami so not a ton of time to workout today, did a 20 minute yoga sequence to stretch myself out.

Tuesday: 5 miles

Went to the doctor earlier in the morning, and was told to be careful and start doing this weird shin rotation stretch before I run. I apparently have no hip rotation, which is causing my ITB pain. My evening run was not great, and I felt like there was a sharp stabbing pain in my left leg.

Sunset run
Sunset run

Wednesday: run failure — 2.5 miles

Attempted a treadmill hill interval run with the goal of hitting 5 miles. My legs just couldn’t take it, and I called it quits. Vowed to see if new shoes would make a difference.

Thursday: yoga

Given my 19 mile run looming ahead of me, I decided to forgo day three of running. I did yoga and STILL had leg pain.

Friday: rest day

Services, resting, carbo loading…the normal drill. Got new running shoes….the Brooks Raveena. We shall see.

Less stability might be the key
Less stability might be the key

Saturday: 15 miles

Honestly, it was so humid out. I really did plan to get those additional 3 miles in. But by the time it was 9:30am the sun was blaring and I thought I was going to pass out from heat stroke. I am already getting up at 5:00AM to run on Saturday, I just don’t know how I can physically get up any earlier. Hence the push to the Hanson Brothers training program.

Sunrise run
Sunrise run

Sunday: 5 miles

Legs were still pretty tired, but no pain. Ran in my new shoes, and I felt like I wasn’t pronating as much as I was with the Asics.


Marathon Training Week 12

Last week was all about mental barriers. There could have been a lot of excuses about why I couldn’t train, and a lot of emotional crap was festering. It took a lot to get four full runs in this week, and that included stressing myself into a spiral on Saturday night…but it happened.

While I felt incredibly strong on my long run on Sunday, and was surprised by my ability to maintain a pretty steady pace, my brain is having a hard time making the leap from 14 miles. I keep hitting a wall there, I push through but with a lot of talking to myself and constant prodding. I can’t figure it out, but 14 continues to be where everything falls apart. I keep going, but it is slower and frustrating.

I keep thinking, maybe I am not cut out for this marathon, and then I think, that is crazy talk look how far you’ve come. Your 20 miler is just around the corner, gosh darn it!

Last week’s training:

Monday: rest dayish

Needed it. The past weekend took a lot out of me. I got supremely antsy around 3:00pm and did a very short yoga stretch to refocus.

Tuesday: Speed workout 4.15 miles

I could have said “there isn’t enough time, I am traveling this afternoon!” Instead I got myself out of bed and actually ran. Was hovering around the 9:20 pace.

Wednesday: 6:00 miles NYC-STYLE

Let’s be real, I was that runner with a crazy happy smile on her face on Wednesday. It was FALL outside, and there was a crisp to the air and it wasn’t humid…and I ran my little heart out in shorts and a long-sleeve shirt with thumb holes. 8:22 pace, which is honestly unheard of for me, but I think I was really revved up about heading into the office and you know, not sweating to death because of the heat.

Ah NYC sunrise
Ah NYC sunrise
That bridge is going to be a beacon
That bridge is going to be a beacon

Thursday: 4:00 miles 

Took a little run to the Queensboro bridge to get some inspiration. This is going to be mile 16 and our first entrance into the City. I’ve been a spectator on 59th Street before and can only imagine what it is like to come off that bridge into a wall of sound. It’s the part right before it gets really hard and we hit mile 20 at the end of the downhill on 1st Avenue. So I ran it a bit just to get a feel for it. 10:00 pace

We WILL be strong coming off this bridge
We WILL be strong coming off this bridge

Friday: rest day

So this was another travel day/rest day. Not to mention a late night celebrating our win for PR Campaign of the Year!!!!

I had a walking meeting with a supervisor so I did get to shake my legs out a bit before getting on a plane.

We won!
We won!

image (21)

Saturday: cardio yoga

Traveling takes a lot out of me, and I probably could have gotten up to run with the training group….I mean I did, it was 5:00AM and the alarm went off and I thought no…sleep today. So I slept and roped Josh into a cardio yoga session instead.

Sunday: 18 miles

Convinced a friend from running group to run with me. It was cooler this morning, but by the time the sun rose it was just straight humid. There was not an ounce of breeze out there, unless a large bike group was going by. I don’t think I have ever wished for a large bike group as much as I did on that run. As I said above, I hit a wall at mile 14 where it was a struggle to get myself moving. I had maintained a pretty steady pace of 10:15-10:30 throughout and each time I got myself started again I got back there. Truth I was alone for the last 12 miles since Stacey was only doing 13…and if I hadn’t told the guy in front of me that I was running 18 I would have stopped at 16. I really need to get through these mental barriers.

Delray Beach sunrise...
Delray Beach sunrise…

Marathon Training Week 11

This week didn’t go exactly as planned, because….well life. For the last few weeks I have been comfortably busy at work, and then this past week was as if everyone came back to reality.  So my training schedule didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped, and my desire to increase my mileage during the week was less than successful. And in full disclosure, I am entirely over the heat. I know come “Winter” time, I will revoke that statement…but right now, I want cooler temperatures.

I travel this week to New York. I am hoping to get in two runs while there — runs that involve wearing thumb hole shirts…because it is apparently Fall there.

Monday: yoga

Being a Monday following a very packed weekend, I needed to start my day with Tara Stiles’ “Energizing Strong Flow.” I find that on Mondays as long as I do a bit of yoga in the morning, I don’t need as many cups of tea to jump start me. Especially if there are inversions involved.

Working on balance
Working on balance

Tuesday: 5 miles

Made the mistake of waiting until the evening to run. Some work stuff came up toward the end of the day and it kept pushing my start time later and later. There was a hot second where I wasn’t even sure it was going to happen, but I just laced up and went. Right at my turnaround spot I noticed something following me as I ran along the water. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was…but it scared me enough to kick up my pace on the way back.

Those ripples behind me are from something following me...not a boat
Those ripples behind me are from something following me…not a boat


Wednesday: Impromptu rest day

I really planned to go out for a 6 mile run today. But work had other plans. Not going to lie though, my back really thanked me for the rest.

Thursday: 4.25 miles

Morning run, because I learned my lesson the day before. It was so humid that I was sweating before I even made it down my stairs. Enough is enough already.

Cloudy sunrise
Cloudy sunrise

Friday: gentle yoga 

Stretching and more stretching for the next day’s run.

Saturday: 14 miles

My bestie was in town and joined me for the group run. The plan was 18 miles…when we woke up and left the apartment it was pouring. When we got to the meet up point it wasn’t raining anymore and I thought “gosh that was lucky” since I’ve only had one run ruined by a thunder/lightning storm. I felt much stronger this run than last week’s run. My legs didn’t feel as heavy and I was maintaining my pace pretty well. Of course, I also didn’t go out with the group I had been trying to stay with. I’ve decided they are just too fast for me. As I was rounding back I saw a large lightning strike and cursed myself for thinking I had got off without any issues. I cut the run to 14 so as not to kill myself.

They say "red sky in the morn, sailors be warned" same goes for runners
They say “red sky in the morn, sailors be warned” same goes for runners
storm rolling in
storm rolling in

Sunday: 4 miles 

Despite going to bed at 2AM — Rascal Flatts concert for the win — I forced myself out of bed for a run.

I’ve heard people follow training plans where you don’t run more than 16 miles in one day (The Hanson Borthers). I thought how does this really work? Well I found out on Sunday when I went out for 4 “make up miles” on tired legs. While it certainly isn’t the same thing as running 18 miles straight, I wasn’t fully recovered to the point that my legs were fresh. Again, I hate the heat.





Marathon Training Week 10

This week’s long run was really tough. Once again I was the last person back to the store, so late that they had broken down the fueling station. While I was originally somewhat happy that I had even pushed myself 17 miles practically alone for the last 8 miles walking into that store with nothing there was a huge ego blow.

In truth, I really screwed myself last week by only running 6 miles and then jumping to 17. It was stupid.  One of the guys came over to chat about training, and I pretty honest that my long runs weren’t going to so hot. I was finishing them, but I wasn’t happy. We started chatting about my routine, and he suggested that I wasn’t getting enough miles in during the week.

Yes, I had cut out that third running day, but had done the same when I trained for Marine Corp. So I am contemplating adding back in that third day this week.

Oh, I’ve also been participating in #balancebasics yoga challenge this month. It’s been fun finding new places to do some yoga poses to switch it up.

Monday: cardio yoga

Since last weekend was light on the training, I did a more rigorous yoga. Josh joined me, which he hasn’t done in a long while. That practice gets me every time. No matter how hard I am working out I am left breathless.

A little tree pose post floating in the pool at my inlaws
A little tree pose post floating in the pool at my in-laws

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Early morning run, that was incredibly humid. I feel like the people I see on my Tuesday morning runs are not as friendly as my Saturday morning people. Maybe it is just that they are walking their dogs before work and aren’t as into going to work. Pace was around 9:50.

Wednesday: cross training

Planned a total body, plus a little sprints. Got to the gym and unfortunately the two treadmills we have (this is our apartment gym, not a big box) were occupied. I did my weight workout, but didn’t get to run sprints. I was a little bitter.image (15)

Thursday: 4 mile speed workout

I took to the treadmill due to 100+ degree heat and pending thunderstorms. I was able to get the sprint on the treadmill pace up pretty high without feeling like I was gasping. I know it wasn’t really “real world” but it worked. I sprinted for a full minute and then light jogged for a minute. Pace was around 10:00.image (14)

Friday: gentle yoga

Nice and easy Friday workout before Saturday’s long run. I could feel my hamstrings needed it. image (10)

Saturday: 17 miles

I really don’t want to have to start my long runs at 5:30AM…6AM is enough for me, but as I noted above my ego is bruised when I get back and everyone else is gone already. I started off strong, but right around mile 14 my legs started to feel like heavy sandbags. I started doing a run two songs, walk one and it helped keep me going for that last three miles. I also didn’t use the Nuun hydration this time around and just stuck to water, gels, salt pills and Gatorade. It made my stomach feel better…I think the fizziness of the Nuun was messing with me.  Pace slowed to a 12:18.

Yes, this is real
Yes, this is real
Sunrise on Saturday
Sunrise on Saturday


Sunday: cross training

Upped my laps, and swam a total of 40. It was basically a 40 minute workout with a little resting between the two sets of 20 laps.