Finding My Fitness Self Again

endorphinsAs some of you are aware, on March 1, 2015 I was rear ended during a quick, but horrible, snow storm.  The snow came down fast and furious.  It left the roads slick, slushy and dangerous.

Immediately upon impact I realized my neck was bothering me.  We plied me full of advil when I came home thus not requiring a hospital visit, but definitely requiring a visit the friendly orthopedist. At this visit, he informed me I had a sprained neck muscle along with the normal whiplash. Of course, my first concern about hearing this was whether he thought I’d be in OK condition to run the NYC Half two weeks later. (I’ll be honest, from the moment of impact, running this race was my second biggest concern – first, of course being, how seriously injured was I).

Anyway, a week and a half later, he informed me if I felt up to it, while taking proper pre-cautions, I should be able to run this race. He actually advised that aerobic exercise was good for healing injured muscles.

Well, since the accident, that race, plus two more plus a small handful of other days, totaling maybe 10 in all is the complete amount of working/exercises/fitness I have achieved.

I am frustrated because I have gained weight.
I am frustrated because when I cannot do full body strength training.
I am frustrated because my only attempt at the bike at the gym left my one neck muscle feeling sore and fatigued.
I am frustrated because fitness was something that, in the past two years since I have become absorbed in to the running/fitness community, has brought me great happiness.

I was feeling good about myself, about my habits, about my goals. I was happy with my progress. And pretty much, it came to a grinding halt.

Well, after a talk with the wonderful woman who is giving me medical massages (yes they are a thing, and they are amazing) I finally have put a plan in place to work my way up to where I was before the injury.

20-minute-workoutI realized that any movement is better than none. That stopping entirely is not the best way to help push my healing along, I just have to work in modifications and moderations.

Sunday I mentally put a plan in place. A place I felt comfortable with and confident in.
I am ok working out for 30 minutes, even if its low-intensity, because 30 minutes is better then sitting on the couch all day.

Now I just need to  back to 100% health so I can resume my complete rotation: running, full body circuit training with my trainer, kickboxing, pilates…..

Plan and simple, I miss it. I took my skipped workouts for granted because those were my choices, this is not, this is frustrating, aggravating, annoying and maddening.

Lesson here: never take a workout for granted.  don't take for granted

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That Time I: Ran NYC – United NYC Half Marathon Recap

IMAG2851I know I know, I’m almost a month post race and FINALLY writing my recap….SORRY!  Life has gotten the best of me the past few weeks with stress taking away any and all motivation was sucked out of me.

But slowly I am finding my way back to life.  Just in time also, the More/Fitness Half Marathon is in less then two week!!!  No pressure there.

Anyway, finally posting about the United NYC Half Marathon on March 15, 2015. This was quite an experience.

IMAG2861I was scheduled to be in Wave 3 which didn’t have to be in till about 7:45-8:00am, but as I was running with American Cancer Society DetermiNation team, we were scheduled to be at our meeting spot for group pictured and information by 6:30am.  It was fun to see everyone up so early, dressed for the race, wearing our Green DetermiNation shirts, ready to run the streets of NYC!

We went outside, took our picture then I ventured over with some new friends I had met at the dinner the night before.  This was my first experience walking through some metal detectors to get to a start line, but I guess this is the race day precaution we will see at these important USTAF events throughout the country post Boston bombing. It’s really a sad state that now these sports events have to be monitored in such a way.

As we walked down to our corral section, we made the mandatory porta-potty stop. IMAG2877 There were a fair amount and the lines were manageable – probably because Wave 1 runners were in their corrals and most Wave 2 runners were almost to their corrals as well.

Then came more waiting.  This has been, by far, the largest race I have ran to date. My 4th Half Marathon with just over 20,000 runners! So the waiting around was of course going to be longer then I have been used to. Also not helping was the weather – it was quite overcast, the sky filled with clouds. I was grateful for my Old Navy Active Running Jacket keeping me warm!

Away we go – for a lovely 13.1 mile tour of NYC starting with nearly 6 miles of Central Park running.  I was told there would be hills, but my goodness, if you have never run in Central Park and have rarely trained hills, it would appear that Central Park is filled with mountains instead!  I was feeling it by the 5k, all those little rolling hills, up, down, up, down for 3 miles. Even the short run out on 110th Street was a small hill.  I felt ok during this time, I was pretty much still within my predicted pace of 12:30 per mile.

Back around the 2.5 mile mark my Garmin decided to save the run, as if I was anywhere close to be finished.  So as any good runner would do, I simply restarted it. This race would have two files for it.

However, we rounded the corner back in to the Park and SURPRISE! There was my mountain.  This was not a rolling hill, this was a nice long uphill battle.  I walked most almost all of that uphill. My body was extremely unhappy – guess not running for 2 weeks prior can have that affect! (I was rear ended on a bad snowy day two weeks before race day, suffered a moderately severe muscle sprain in my neck/shoulder/back area – ug, timing).  But I pushed through. I cursed a lot, I sent some angry texts, I fought.

Within the first 5k I also found a bit of marketing magic on behalf of United Airlines – they posted mileage signs for distances to far off places from where we were along the route.  These signs were scattered throughout the 13.1 mile tour.  I enjoyed seeing them, seeing how far I was from some interesting places.  Even more so as a traveler, it made me want to run away to some of those locations (especially as I was cursing CP Hills!).
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IMAG2889Eventually I got to the top of that mountain. I was thrilled, it had to be mostly downhill from here. Now to just find the park exit on to 7th Avenue.  Knowing from there I was about to see my mother (a much needed support boost) and we were halfway done by about then!

As I excited the park I got a tiny rush. I could see Times Square off in the distance. ItIMAG2894 was 10  blocks away! My mother was 6 blocks away.

I could do this, the rest is pretty flat, home free. Right until my ITB started bugging out, my lungs were unhappy, my body was revolting. I knew I was keeping my running jacket on so at my mom’s pit stop I put my GU packets, the photo of my dad I was running with (as this race all started as an honor to him), and a few various other items in to the pockets of the jacket, I then handed my hydration belt off to my mom and IMAG2901with one last quick hug and kiss I was off to finish 6.5 more miles.

I am not going to lie, the marketing push for running the NYC Half Marathon tells the truth – running through TIMES SQUARE really was a rush. As a New Yorker, there really was nothing like running down the middle of 7th Avenue right through the heart of the busiest intersection in the world!

After Times Square we headed west along 42nd street down to West End Highway.  We ran north for about 2 blocks before swinging back south for the next four miles.

We turned south at the intrepid, quite a big ship when you are standing under it!

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Not going to lie – this was also a tough stretch for me.  Personally, this was the hardest half I have run yet….both physically and mentally.  Yes, somewhere along this 4 mile stretch I almost quit the race, I cried, I asked my dad for some support because I didn’t want to let him down, I walked – A LOT! I questioned why I started running, I questioned my abilities, my training, my strength.

During the course I took a couple seconds out to take a quick pic of some of the cute or funny signs I saw while running!
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Remember back when my watch stopped and I restarted – well, I couldn’t remember what the time was when I restarted the Garmin. However, somewhere around mile 11 I realized I was off by about 20 minutes in my guesstimation calculations. I wasn’t within my overall potential goal finish time, but I was within my goal of a time faster then my last half a year ago.  That helped, somewhat, with re-igniting my motivation for this race.

Around mile 12 I realized that I was almost finished.  That in about 13-15 minutes I’d be finished with this awful race experience.  So, I did what any good runner does – I ran!  Well, ok, so I fumbled because my ITB just wasn’t having much running anymore. But I pushed through and I finished the damn race!

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I finished the damn race with a new PR!  My splits were a bit horrendous – Central Park just killed me. Although it looks like everything was off by only 4-6 minutes per 5K marker from what I have run in the past.  But I was proud of myself for pushing through, for not giving up or giving in, for letting my will overpower my doubts. Mostly I was proud for accomplishing a goal I truly worked hard for over the past 4 months, and for finishing it with a group I truly support (American Cancer Society).

Of course, I was scarred after this race. Central Park, those mountainous hills, the doubts, the questions, all of it scarred.  However, like any good runner, I took a week to mull over the race, then I signed up for the More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon a month later (or I guess at this point a week away).  Yes, I am heading back in to the place that left me wounded to overcome it.  NYC put up a hell of a good fight – I shall call this race a draw.  But at least in the end, I still took home the prize: IMG_20150315_140639

Afterwards, I hobbled my way down the subway stairs, on to the 2 train, over to the 1 train, up the stairs at 50th and Broadway and back to our hotel.  I sat down, I showered, I put my sneakers back on (my foot would not dare to enter any other shoe) and went off to a celebratory brunch at Rue 57 with my mother!  Now that the race was over, I was excited about what I accomplished. I acknowledged where I doubted myself, but was thrilled to realize I still possess a certain strength. I proudly wore my medal to brunch, to the Penn, on the LIRR, only taking it off when I got home and wanted to nap.
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Finding Your Inspiration

she believed she couldLately I have discovered that I have become my own form of inspiration and motivation.

I started running two years ago.
I also visited a doctor to figure out why my lungs were giving me such hassles even 5 months after I started running.
5 months after the first visit the final results were in – I was out of shape….even 10 months after I started running 2-4 times a week.

Well, its been two years since I started running.
My lungs aren’t quite where I would be happy with, but they are considerably better then where they were.

You see, I have run 3 half marathons in the past two years, improving my times with each race.
I have ran 5 5Ks in the past two years, improving my times with each race.

I battled a hip injury for nearly 5 months last year that prevented me from running. I didn’t let it me stop and did cross training and strength training while I was unable to run.

I found myself getting stronger.  Physically it has been slow going, but mentally, I am pretty good shape.  I refuse to give in the weakened parts of my body, instead letting the stronger parts shine brighter.

Just because there is an obstacle in your way, doesn’t mean you can’t find the goal you are working towards, you may just need to find another path to get you there.

My trainer likes to remind me how far I have come since my very first session with him a little over a year ago.  When exercises that are somewhat simple now, had me nearly passing out then.  When having me doing a strength/cardio circuit was unthinkable, now its a matter of how hard can he make the circuit.  Its become a game with us – him challenging me and me showing him I can do it.

Next up is the NYC Half Marathon in 3 weeks with a 3 hour time limit.  My previous half, the Miami Half Marathon a little over a year ago was finished in 3:09:40.  According to the pace I have been running of late, I should be able to blow that time out of the water.  I have been running at roughly at 12:30/mi pace – good enough to get me across that finish line before the 3 hour time is up.  That is all I ask for – finish within the time limit.

I have inspired and motivated myself this far, what’s three more weeks!
Though, I will NEVER discount the helpful inspiration and motivation you, my on-line social media community provide as well….that is some thing one will always need!

2015 Goals: To Join Half Fanatics!

2015 game time

Well, it’s official – this year I am aiming to join the Half Fanatics!

As you know, I am already set to run the 2015 NYC Half Marathon with American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team (we are 8 weeks out from race, still time to get your donation in!).

Well, as of yesterday, I am all set to run the Philly Love Run two weeks later!

Not going to lie, I am a bit nervous about this.  In 2013, my first year running and racing, I did 3 races in 6 weeks: Rock ‘n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon September 1, Rock ‘n Roll Providence September 29 and Rock ‘n Roll Brooklyn 10K October 12.

My feet were mad at me after VB (blistered and bruised toe nails!), my IT band was even more angry with me after Prov, by the time BK came around, I was sore, uncomfortable, and of course, dealing with a  sinus infection. But of course, I went out there and ran, it was BROOKLYN! It was a local-ish race, there was no way I was missing it.

After my Miami Half Marathon February 2, 2014, I was sore again, but it wasn’t till month later then I was down for the count with hip issues.

Needless to say, my race history leaves little to be desired. This year I have been training right, actually following a plan, mostly to the letter to (give or a take a modification to time or an unanticipated rest day – I usually make up for that).

I am hoping, fingers crossed, wishing on stars, eyelashes, 11:11, anything that I finish the NYC Half in good shape (even getting a new PR) so that I can enjoy the Love Run – 15 days later!

Last year was the first year this race was ran. It sold out. I have heard good things about the race, about the organization, and of course, about the PERKS! You get a medal, a long sleeve tee, a coffee mug – I mean really, what more does a runner want 🙂

There are a few races I’m eyeing in April also: NYCRuns Queens Half Marathon April 12 and/or More/Fitness Half Marathon April 19.  I would LOVE to do both, but I guess I should see how my body deals with the NYC Half first right?

Do I just suck it up, register for both now, or wait to see how I feel post race in March?

Such a dilemma – but a dilemma I would take over not being able to run anything (like last spring!).

Question of the blog:
What are you race goals for 2015?

Training Log: Challenge Yourself

push-yourself

My treadmill at home is stuck at a 1.5 incline.  To some this may be nothing, to me, it’s everything. I HATE hills, I try to avoid them at all costs, I tend to walk them in races.

My treadmill is forcing me to face this issue. It WANTS me to work hills. I live in a relatively flat area, so running outside offers me zero hill work.

I have found I am more and more intrigued my new training partner. He won’t take no for an answer, he forces me to do things I really don’t want to do, challenges me with each run.

My training calendar says 3-4 miles or 40-45 minutes today.  I can handle that. I can do 40-45 minutes on the ‘mill.  Heck, I did 50 minutes on Monday (3.5 miles).

I look at this new training partner as a challenge. When I first started running inside about two weeks ago, I was quickly discovered I had to go back down to 90 second run/walk intervals (I was up to 2:30/90 back in November) because of this added incline. I discovered I was running my 90 second at a 4.7 speed (also considerable slower then my outside pace).

However, I took this challenge on. I let my body tell me what’s working, whats not, what it can handle.  This week I have increased to a 4.8-5.0 speed! I am up to 3 miles in roughly 42 minutes (also considerably slower then outside….I was doing 5k’s in about 36-38 minutes outside, before the cold hit).

Needless to say, my challenge to myself, get to the 5.0 speed as frequently as I can, for as long as I can hold it – while sticking to the 90 second run/walk.

When training for a race, I find, aside from having the race as my goal, I need little challenges as I run, go a further distance, run faster, increase my run interval, ect. Until it warms up, whenever I inside at home, my challenge is to win the treadmill incline battle of 2015 – each and every time!

Less then two months till NYC Half Marathon, don’t forget to donate. 🙂

NYC Half Marathon: Charity Runner

ACS DetermiNation

As you know, I am running with the NYC Half Marathon in March – TWO MONTHS AWAY!

In the past two years, I have run 3 other half marathons, 1 10K and about 5-6 5Ks.  In any training run (meaning outside of a race) the furtherest I have run has been, maybe, 3.5 miles – not exactly stellar training right?

I was never a runner, somewhat of an athlete yes, but a runner no.  After my first half I was hooked though. I wanted to improve, I wanted to better my best, I wanted to show myself what I was capable of.

I know my dad would have proud of me. He was always my biggest supporter of anything athletic I attempted. I was his tomboy, he never had a son, but he had me.
Me and dad 2004

This summer will be 10 years since he lost his race against cancer. Having experienced a loss due to cancer, when I first learned of charity runners, I knew I would one day run as part of a team for American Cancer Society.

Finally, schedules fell in to place. I am able to run as part of the DetermiNation team for the NYC Half Marathon. I get a solid training plan to follow, a coach and I get to fundraise for such a great organization that helps individuals and families who are racing against cancer.

American Cancer Society helps millions of people each year to celebrate more birthdays. They do this through many different facets: prevention and early detection, research for cures or medicine, lawmaking, helping families as they learn about cancer and how to cope.  They due this through the fundraising efforts of thousands of philanthropic folks such as runners.

As a way to honor and remember my dad and his battle, I opted to run the NYC Half Marathon through them.  I grew up on Long Island, he grew up in Brooklyn.  He loved the city as much as I do, so given the change to run through the streets in his honor, I know would mean the world to him. I also know he is up there supporting me through training and he will be cheering me on on race day.  He has always been watching over me, so to do this in his name is one of the most important things I have ever done.

But to do this I need your help. Please go to my fundraising page and donate. If all my readers donated $5 that would get me so much closer to my goal.  If you battled cancer, know someone who did or lost someone to the battle, for a minimum of $20 I will wear an honor flag on my race day shirt in their honor (as I am doing for my dad, and few others who have donated already).
Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 10.38.49 AMHelp me race out cancer, help ACS fund projects throughout the year, cheer me on as I race 13.1 miles from Central Park to South Street Seaport.

NYC Half Marathon Training Log: Catch Up 2

a-one-hour-workout-is-4-of-your-day-no-excuses-430854Ok, Ok, I get it, I’ve been slacking in my posts – for that I sincerely apologize!

Life has gotten a bit crazy!  I started my new job last Monday, there was a lot of figuring out of hows to do’s, new projects to be worked on, organizing to be done.

As most of my job is done remotely, I was able to make a quick, last minute decision to actually go, trip down to MD for a friends good-bye party as she is moving to Cali next week for a new job! Looks like me and my friends like starting the new year off with new adventures!

Even with all the craziness that was going, I may not have blogged, but I did run!  I mean, if I had to choose, sorry friends, I choose following my training my plan. 🙂

Dec 31/Jan 1 – Ran the New Years Eve Dash 5K at Eisenhower Park
Jan 1 – Rest day instead of run day, legs felt jello-y in the morning…
Jan 2 – Actual rest day per the calendar, legs still felt off (way to cold for my body to have run outside on NYE)
Jan 3- Walked .5 as a warm-up; ran 3.31 in 45 minutes (outside). This was supposed to be a rest day, but I rested the day prior so I ran today.
Jan 4 – Ran 3.16 miles in 40 minutes (outside)
Jan 6 – Ran 3 miles in 45 minutes on the treadmill that is stuck at 1.5 incline. Had to drastically reduce my MPH and my run/walk interval to compensate for the added incline – I rarely have done hill work so my legs weren’t up to par yet…
Jan 7 – Cross Train day at the gym. Did 5 minutes on the rower, my hip sometimes doesn’t like when I do this machine so I had stopped, but am going to slowly get back in to it. Also did 6.4 miles in 30 minutes on the bike. Added some strength training to that after.
Jan 8 – Ran 3 miles in 42:32 minutes on the treadmill with the 1.5 incline
Jan 9 – Rest day + Travel day. Spent the majority of my day traveling from Long Island to Maryland via train and bus. Lucky, the bus had working Wifi so I was able to still work! Another remote worker perk.
Jan 10 – Promised myself I would still get my Saturday run in, so down to my friends gym I went. Ran 2 miles in 24:30 minutes. No forced incline so I challenged myself in other ways. I ran 1 mile without walking in 11:44 minutes, continued running for a total of 1.3 miles in 15 minutes without walking!
Jan 11 – again, due to travel and visiting my nephew, changed up the schedule as Sunday became a rest day.
Jan 12 – as I rested yesterday, I ran today: 3.5 miles in 50:47 minutes! I battled the treadmill and won. When I started I said I’d run to 3 miles, as that came up, I said I’d run to 45 minutes, as that came and went I said I’d run to 3.5 miles. I maybe could have gone a bit further, but I opted not to push myself as I have a run today as well!

Hopefully I will be back on track between working, training, travel that I will keep up the posts!  Now that I have started working again, a bit more of the travel posts will start creeping on in again – that makes me happy!

Hope you are keeping up your New Year’s goals!