September S-miles

Fall sighting in Brooklyn

It’s been another wild month of running in these parts. Every September seems to usher in a marathon season that takes off with such ferocity that I’m always like woah..wait a minute! But then no one’s listening; all too busy running I expect. While I’ve been tacking on the miles with respect to Chicago, the running world’s been preparing for four of the marathon majors happening this Fall. Last weekend we had the Berlin marathon and a marathon world record from everyone’s favorite marathoner, we have a thing for champions, Eliud Kipchoge with a blistering time of 2:01:09. Phew! This coming weekend on October 2 the London marathon will be happening, and next weekend yours truly will be participating in the Chicago marathon. The season will culminate with the New York City marathon on November 9 where I’ll be volunteering and cheering rather loudly at the mile 14 water stop in the borough of Queens. If you happen to be in the environs, please stop and say hi. How’s that for some Fall marathon action! 🍂🏃🏽‍♀️

But let me not get ahead of myself, first this last 10 mile run I have this weekend after which I’m suppose to be super confident about next weekend. We’ll see about that. For now, I’m basking in the best of Fall weather before it gets crazy. October is the month of everything and anything after all, but prayers lifted that we at least get away with a great run day on October 9. 🌥️

I gotta say that aside from my sciatic nerve issues; turns out I have a small herniated disc, which I’m not dwelling on right now, one thing at a time please, I have really enjoyed following a training plan. I’m not sure if I said it before but it’s the first time in some 10+ years of running that I’ve followed a marathon training to the letter and now almost all the way through to race day. It remains to be seen what/if the final results will prove whether it was worth it, but I feel really good about my competency at least. LoL. That alone, I think, is a big deal going into a marathon because there’s always the nagging questions you battle with as to how and if your body will hold up under race day pressures. I think one of the benefits of a plan is that it majorly decreases any misgivings or hesitancy on that account and is a great confidence builder. For sure you can’t anticipate every eventuality, but knowing what you’re capable of removes the burden of doubt. And yay for that because in leading up to D-Day you don’t need to be stressing that sort of stuff. Ideally, no stress at all but we all know life “be life-ing” sometimes 😉.

That said, I’m all about getting the most out of life, minus the stress, whenever I can. For this reason, and also because I figure this will be my last Chicago marathon, I’ve decided to go out with a bit of a bang and have myself the full marathon experience. To this end, I’m volunteering at the runner’s expo on Friday and running the Abbot 5k on Saturday. My hope is to leave the windy city – a city that I’ve really enjoyed running in over the years – with the best memories. So here’s to good weather, a grand time, and the best pacing ever! 🍻

August Long Run Shenanigans; Be encouraged.

Battery Park – along the Hudson River

This month has come and almost gone and it’s been crazy! Crazy weather. Crazy busy. Crazy training runs. It’s crazy that it all happened so fast! Rewind to a few weeks ago when I started marathon training and it was seventeen weeks to race day. Now, we’re down to six. Wait. What? How in the world did it all happen so fast? Meanwhile, I’m here trying to stop time for like one week so I could at least rerun one of my last two long runs. I’ll stop short of saying they were disasters, only they were not at all where I want to be at this point. And I’m sure to be disappointed because apparently time waits on no one. So with September on the horizon here’s a quick sum of August runs.

Summer Streets on Park Ave.

Shout out to my New York City and Summer Streets. Every summer we are treated to 3 consecutive Saturdays of 5 miles of running/exercise bliss aka a shutdown of  Park Avenue in Manhattan from the upper east side all the way down to the Brooklyn bridge. On a typical day iconic Park Avenue is a traffic thoroughfare, so to have it closed to vehicular traffic is a sight for sore eyes. There were strollers, joggers, cyclists, roller blades, skate boards, scooters, anything with momentum, and runners of course. The heat, the people, the activities, the music, and the energy on those streets – it was crazy fun! You might have heard of the term “sweating bullets” yup, that was us out there. I ran with the Nike run club on one of their runs on a summer street Saturday and it was a treat to run alongside other runners, most in training for a fall marathon, with many getting ready for the nyc marathon. It was a large group with many pacers and paces so it was easy to fit in. It was a great 12 miles! The only downside is the late, by which I mean 8:15 a.m start. Summer sun don’t play and neither do I when it comes to getting my long runs done early (by 8:30am) so I don’t have to suffer under its brilliant rays.

End of the Broadwalk @ Coney Island Beach

Another long run I did was out to Coney Island and the beach, which was really an epic fail and my bad. I was exhausted from shenanigans the night before and got up so much later than I had hoped. And so started 15.5 miles of unpreparedness. It sucked but I was determined to run to the beach and back and I did. Just barely. I encountered, what is termed “the wall” in running speak. It’s the feeling you get of not being able to run any further, like a wall is blocking your way forward – hence the term. It happened on the way back, around mile 11, with the sun high in the sky and me without any shade or water. Gosh, I wanted to quit. Call an Uber, I had my phone, no one else would know. But there’s no motivation like self motivation. Somehow, through my inate grit and a merciful God I’m sure, I dug deep and deeper still a few times after stopping for some breaths, and was able to climb over that wall to make it back home just about 2 hours later. You can be sure it was my first and last wall encounter.

Along the Pier on the west side highway
Brooklyn Bridge

The long-run saga continues with a run through a big chunk of The Big Apple. Two weeks before the last run I mentioned above, I did a 2-hour run around the lower perimeter of Manhattan one weekend after a nice 1-hour long active stretch. Crazy me, I decided to go for a sunset run along the East River and the Hudson River starting on the lower east side with some late sunshine and really phenomenal views. I always say NYC has the best skyline in the world. Forgive my bias, as well as my ignorance, I don’t have much basis for comparison. But I imagine it is pretty special as visitors from all over the world come to get in on the action. The downside to that run was the crowds..there were so many people out and about as I ran along the Seaport, Battery Park, and along the piers and the Hudson River on the west side highway. A bit of a zoo. Eeek. But it was also Saturday evening in New York City, go figure. In addition to which, I was also very distracted with the view and felt the urge to take a dozen photos. Just poor planning on my part, or a lack thereof really, and I was left chasing this 2-hour clock all the way up to West 96th Street and back down to midtown to wrap up at Bryant Park sometime after 9pm. Can I just say I hardly noticed that I was running through Times Square at night because it looked like midday – the noise, yes noise, the crowds, and the bright lights everywhere was disconcerting to say the least. I was thorough annoyed with myself to have run into that. Shouldn’t I have known better? Surely never again! Then I had a sense of dejavu. Might I have done that before? Now, that’s just crazy! I don’t dwell on it.

Jersey City skyline from Battery City
Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan’s Financial District

This month, I’ve had early morning runs and evening runs – those are the times that work best with my schecule. I much prefer early mornings even though it takes me a couple of miles before I’m really awake. Once I get going and the sun is a non-issue then it’s going to be a good one. I ran local the last weekend of August and kept within a few miles of home but in a different area from which I’m accustomed. I don’t know how I feel about running around Brooklyn yet. I’ve had some encounters with unmentionable creatures that I’m hoping won’t become a thing so I’ll wait for a bit before that influences my views. LoL. But what I do know is it’s much busier and noisier than where I lived before. I don’t like running around nor into people. I prefer serenity and stupendous views. Sadly, the two don’t come together in this city so one has to be willing to gain some and lose some. I’m ok with that because the upside is that with each run I get stronger mentally, build endurance, discover new depths to myself, and push those limits.

Sunset over the Hudson River

Are you ready to push those limits? This may look different for you. Whether it’s your first 5K, marathon #10, your first ironman or ultra, or you’re thinking grander or smaller – even starting an exercise program, or getting a coach or trainer; you are on to something. Be encouraged and like the good book says, do not despise these small beginnings. One step is always better than none and step two is easier and sets you up to keep stepping and keep moving. Know that every step outside of comfortable and routine is a step forward. September, Fall, Chicago marathon, and new beginnings are all just around the corner and like me, you too can stumble along until you get those feet steady and sure. Running, as is the case with all journeys, is about progression and not perfection.

Nike Group Run

Summer Smiles and Vacation Miles

Gulfport Beach, FL

Summer Vacations can be a lot. A lot of fun, sun, family time, adventure, excitement and very low on exercise and healthy eating. But we try. It’s the heat and humidity that defines exercise on vacation for me. As it is right now, it’s melt-me hot in some parts. Now, you would think this Caribbean gal is accustomed to and even enjoys the sun and you would be right. As long as it doesn’t involve direct exposure like sunbathing and running, I can do sunshine. In fact, I love sunshine since I’m no fan of cold weather. But I’m also no fan of tanning or bearing my flesh to the toll of direct sunshine, so imagine that my family decided on a week’s vacay in Southern Florida to celebrate my birthday. I can recall going to Disney something like 10 years ago so forgive my poor memory in agreeing to that crazy plan. I don’t know if it gets any hotter anywhere else on God’s earth, maybe the desert, and if so rest assured I won’t be going. Ever.

The heat and humidity was wild y’all!  I mean we were on the Gulf so I knew the water would be warmer than what I was used to but no one told me it was going to be soup out there! Y’all, I’ve never felt anything like it and I practically grew up on the beach. But then that was the Caribbean Sea and not the Gulf of Mexico. Like wow! I’m still regrouping but I will say that I was able to brave the heat and get a couple of runs in – early a.m runs of course, which more than likely kept me alive. I’ll be honest, first I had to talk myself into getting up and then talk myself into lacing up my running shoes and stepping out the door. It didn’t matter what time it was, there was a blanket of heat awaiting me out that door. I seriously considered running in my bathing suit but figured I would only be able to stay on the beach so opted for clothes. Running on sand is no easy feat for any long distance.

The weather itself was quite startling with major mood swings. We would go from bright and sunny skies to thunderous clouds in a heartbeat with the prevailing threat of thunderstorms a daily thing and rain quite common. What remained quite consistent was the very warm ocean water. Whether we went swimming at night, out on a boat ride, or stayed in the ocean for sunset and through the threat of thunderstorms and drizzles, the water didn’t get any cooler. Even when we went jet skiing far out in deeper waters with dolphins about it stayed warm. Despite this we had a great deal of fun and I remain super pleased with myself for braving the heat, the late nights into early mornings with insufficient sleep, and the prevailing vacation mood to find the determination to run anyway. This is the same determination I embrace for every marathon – the surety that, as long as God wills it, I will finish what I start and no obstacle will stop me.

This perspective has served me well over the years both in everyday life and in running. I determine a course of action and follow though to the very end. No flaking for me. And that’s just the kind of attitude I need to take back to the city and back to my training plan. Because it’s still on friends. I’ve determined to run my best Chicago marathon this year and it’s going down by God’s grace. Ready, set, let’s run this summer!

Training for Chi Marathon

Night run are still my fave summer runs

Mid-year already! That’s right we’re running through June at the speed of a twister. And no surprise, with the weather we’ve been having, that we’ve already had a few tornado warnings this month. We’ve only not had hurricanes; but hail, heatwave, humidity, rain, we’ve had it all and we’re  still here! Speaking of here, and just like that it’s marathon training time. I think I mentioned before that I’m running the Chicago marathon this Fall so here goes training. I’m getting a leg up this year by starting training early to give myself time to ease in with no rush or fanfare; I’m usually a last-minute sorta person and don’t mind the fuss. LoL.  I’m hoping this  strategy of mine will pay off with big gains in the areas of pace and endurance.

So this year, I decided to try something new: engage in a full 17-week marathon training program. In the past, I’ve mostly done my own thing with a of couple weeks here and there with the B.A.A training program when I ran the Boston marathon, but I’ve never committed to an entire training program that’s seventeen weeks long! This is new ground for me. One thing that I’ve discovered with training though is that at the beginning you always feel like you have forever to prepare but the reality is that weeks are just days that seems like a lot until it’s not. All too soon it’ll be down to tapering time and I’ll be wondering wherever did the time go; but by then race day will be days away and I’ll either be ready or not. I’m putting it out there that I will be ready because of the training I’m about to embark upon to master my speedwork, tempo runs, long runs, and recovery runs. The result will be worth the sacrifice to bring me, quite literally, up to speed and prepared to run my best race.

But really, what does that look like? Well, this is the second week of training so it’s early yet to give any stats but what I can say is that I’m using the Nike run club app. Nike is  the main sponsor for the marathon and those running folks have a plan all prepped and ready to run. I mean I think those guys know what they’re talking about, they’re the pros after all, and it’s time I learnt something new anyway. This is the ideal stage of the game to get uncomfortable with routines and try something new to mayhap get a “new” result. I’m here for it. And, can I tell you? I’m off to a great start with the audio-guided runs! Who knew that was a thing? Likely, a lot of runners while I was all about my “own thing.” How it works is a virtual coach explains, encourages, and leads you through the specific run for that day with a focus on helping you to maintain pace. This is great for me, for though I have years off running experience, I oftentimes struggle w pacing on longer runs. So, here I am, reimagining running this training period and so far so great. A lesson I’ve already learnt is that all runs should start off slow and easy. In all honesty, I didn’t not know this, buried somewhere under the need for speed I’ve always known that building up one’s pace is far better for progression and far more sustainable over the long or longer run but like many people, I haven’t been good at the application process.  No excuses, but for all practical purposes I’m not particularly patient and well I’m just not very good at slow and easy. LoL. Let me correct that, in the past I haven’t been good at practicing patience but I’m doing much better now at exercising that particular spiritual fruit. Thank God; It’s never too late to learn.

The plan is pretty straight forward,  for now at least, 5 days of running with 2 days off: 2 consecutive recovery run days, a speed run day, followed by a recovery run day, and capped with a long run day. Strength training is recommended for day 6 followed by a rest day. I have to say that the most challenging aspect of this training is staying consistent and getting those runs in during the coolest part of the day. My ability (we’re talking tenaciousness here) to do those two things will determine the success of this plan. Yes, I can. And so too, can you!

Loving September Runs

It’s been a tad less crazy around here weather wise this month. Less blistering sun, fewer humid days, cooler mornings and evenings and a lot of overcast skies with little rain. All this means is running is much more fun now even with this slight change. Indeed, the leaves are already turning and falling and the air has a bit of a crisp bite to it at times; and yes, there’s even a whiff of pumpkin spice. Whoa… Halloween, Thanksgiving, Autumn, wait a minute! We’re still dragging out Summer!

There’s no denying it though; Fall is coming, and so are its races. Some of you may know that my two main runs this Fall are the Chicago and New York City Marathons. They’re an average of three weeks apart in October and November respectively. This places me right in the midst of training season and very thankful for September. I’ve been getting in a bit of early morning and evening running, and some long runs on the weekends. There’s much more to be had of course, but, as always, the challenge lies in managing my time around all my other tasks. I often think about the elite runners, for whom running is a job, I imagine it must be nice to just have to run, eat, sleep, repeat. Though I fear I should soon become bored of the monotony. No chance of that now as time tick-tocks away and it’s all I can do to keep up.

More so, it appears it’s open season on competitions in the CrossFit world. The 2019 Open is almost upon us, there’s also the Concept 2 Fall Challenge – this one I opted to participate in as it’s only rowing. Then there are a couple in-house competitions coming up, as well as those at other local gyms. I’ve taken a non-committal stance there and pleading my case citing impending races. But it’s all so crazy busy and bursting with energy that it’s hard to be a bystander. I find that good in so many ways but somewhat unnerving in others. Where is the downtime? Don’t I already live this life with running? But wait, now I’m doing it with running and CrossFit! I guess one always makes time for things that are important. I dare say that finding balance among those important things is even more important. And so my quest continues to be to create that balance in order to maximize joy and fulfillment in my life. For isn’t that the point of all this.

Amidst all these Autumn musings is the reality of the Chicago Marathon. Less than four weeks away now, I have two weeks of training left before tapering begins. Running’s the name of the game as I try to wrap up my long runs and speed work. I haven’t done much hill work since Chicago’s course is flat and fast but I can’t forget that New York’s course rolls. This week I’ll endeavor to incorporate some hills in my speed workouts and stay injury-free, even as I continue to experience some nagging knee pains. In light of this, I’m off to the doctor this week and hoping for some magic portion to give me the knees of an 18 year old. Because eighteen or not, it’s the weekend And a long run is up for the final day of Summer!🏃‍♀️👙🤗

February: Superbowl, Valentine’s and Brr Weekend Runs

Stretching time post long run @home

The first week in February flew by in an arctic flash..as fast as it was cold. That Saturday, Superbowl weekend, along with a few runners from my Wednesday run group, I did my first February winter run in 18℉. Running along the water, across two bridges, up and down stairs, and dodging black ice was the order of the run as we ended up in Queens after making our way from Manhattan, though Brooklyn, then to Queens. As it often happens on these Saturday jaunts, aka long runs, only this time it was 12 miles, we ended up in a new dive as excited to eat and drink as we were to run, and were prepared to forget all about the chill with beers, Bloody Marys and surprisingly, sunshine. Too much fun meant we had to rely on Uber on the return, but who’s keeping tabs? Recovery took place on Superbowl Sunday to the tune of four hours of football, including a decent half-time show, amidst lots of food, drinks, and friendly chatter aka noise.

@Battle of the Fittest – Cross Fit Competition

The following weekend, I attended a Cross Fit local competition held at our gym, only not for the purpose of participating. I helped out with organizing and setting up throughout the event, which was a whole-day affair. As such, my Saturday long run was put off for Sunday instead. I opted to stay local and ran solo through my neighborhood; in the parks, and along its trails, which was good until I had to make up some mileage with a few laps around the local park. Suffice to say, doing laps are not a favorite of mine and neither was the weather. Chilled, but thankful for no winds, I wrapped it up at eighteen miles and called it a day.

@the gym for Valentine’s Day Mid-day workout

Last Thursday was Valentine’s Day, much more into Galentine’s this year, I did some speed work with my run group the Wednesday before and a short midday run to my gym workout on Thursday. Saturday, a friend and I, decided on a 20 miler through upper Manhattan. For most of the run we had sunshine, while it was still chilly and windy in some parts, especially by the water, We started off on the upper east side, along the east river, ran up to 119th street, in East Harlem, across the bridge and over and up all the way across to the West Side and up those crazy stairs at Morning Side Park. Exiting there, we ran down and across 116th Street and through Columbia University, then continued through the Morning Side neighborhood veering off to the Hudson River Greenway, where we ran along the water accompanied by sunshine and a strong wind at times. We made it all the way up and under the GW (George Washington) bridge, at 175th Street, and ran on to 185th and up and over a dastardly hill to emerge on Morning Side drive in the Hudson Heights area. From there, we ran across West 183rd street, I think we were in and around the Bronx area at this point, and we ran over to the Washington bridge, across and aound to US Highway 1 and then we were down hill for a bit, dangerously so at some points on an uneven path with loose rocks. We prevailed without injury all way to the Macombs Dam Bridge, in the vicinity of Yankee’s Stadium, ran across and then onto Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd all the way down to West 138th Street. This area in Harlem is reminiscent of the New York City marathon route and indeed at this point we were able to do a reversal of a bit of the official route across West 138th and over the Madsion Ave Bridge to end up back on the east side, still following the marathon route all the way to and over the Willis Avenue Bridge. We finally veered off to cross over at East 116th Street and back unto the East River running path. From there, it was pretty much a straight, and tiring, path to the 59th Street bridge. Once over that mountain, we were on York Ave on the UES (Upper East Side) and had just about three quarters of a mile left as we navigated our way back to the starting point and wrapped up our 20 miles in 2 hours and 43 minutes. Dang it! I was tired, cold, and dying of thirst; but I was sorta tickled that we had pulled it off minus two stops, one, to grab a bottle of water at a deli around mile 16, and before that, for 30 seconds around mile 11 after that dastardly hill, which played havoc with my back that I had forgotten to tape up.

Post run in Queens

All in all, not a bad showing for February so far and the weather has been good for running with no major snow storms – the cold, and areas of black ice, and frost are expected and have served to keep things interesting and to keep us alert and running. Boston is now about seven weeks away and we have one more weekend long run in February. The challenge is to always keep it interesting. Thus far, I am thankful!

Winter Running is on!

This is not the typical January for me. Granted, it’s the first one since my cross fit debut last March and may account for my somewhat adhoc running pattern this month. Then, there’s the cold weather, which truth be told hasn’t been too insane so far with little to no snow really except for that one freak storm in November last year. Knock on wood! They say. While getting in those runs have been a bit of a challenge, oddly enough I have no qualms as once again the Boston Marathon sits on the horizon with just over two and a half months left to go .

My mileage has seen a decline this month primarily because of the cold weather and associated scheduling conflicts, which has resulted in an average of 25 miles per week. Weekend long runs have been the most consistent. Fortunately, I had decided at the beginning of the year that I was not going to hold fast to any particular training plan as I have done in the past. My road to Boston in April is really simplified this year with focus placed on my long runs and on getting a couple speed workouts in during the week. Of course I don’t recommend this to anyone running Boston. For my part, I determined a more relaxed strategy this year based on my three previous years of preparation that resulted in less than favorable outcomes. So yes, there’s a bit of frustration in my deliberate non-planning, but I figure four times in a row affords me that leeway. In fact, I plan on not stressing with running this year at all and just enjoying it as much as I can.

With no hard and fast training plans, I’ve been able to relax my usual hectic schedule somewhat and enjoy cross training a bit more. I even had a workout challenge going on for a couple of weeks, streaks and all.

My long runs though, have seen me running solo, and with other runners, all over the city from Manhattan to Queens to Brooklyn, over our bridges; through our parks; alongside our waterways; via some trails; and around our neighborhoods. I’ve increased mileage incrementally and this past Saturday I ran 18.6 miles from Manhattan to Brooklyn in what started out as freezing temps but progressed to really great running weather by the time the sun came out. A few of us braved the cold and hammered out those miles and rewarded ourselves with a post run brunch. All things remaining equal, I’ll be heading out this coming Saturday for 20 miles. I can only hope the weather cooperates as we’re in full on winter running mode in these parts.

Rounding off the Summer in running style: A 50K, Speed Runs, and Views to Run for.

Selfie stop @ Vineyard Haven Harbour

It’s been a helluva busy last couple of weeks let me tell you. In fact, I’ve been stretched so thin ( no one’s doing but mine) that I haven’t found the time to get on here and post anything! Excuses, excuses, I know, but the truth is hellishly the same I’m afraid. I’ve run around trying to keep the end of summer at bay by trying to fit in one too many activities to tide me over once it’s well and truly gone. As it is, Labor Day has come and gone and as of this past weekend we’re heading into Fall territory. Ouch! What have I been up to then!

Smart Ass Trail Mix-Up – 50K – 5th Place

Well two weekends ago, I did some impromptu running and ended up with a 50 K trophy for 5th place after running a 31 miler. Yes, my very first ultra! And it happened so by the way that it’s not even funny. Turned out a few runners I know happened to have mentioned that there were two races: 30K and 50K happening in my neck of the woods and I felt challenged to give it a shot – just to see if I was capable of going beyond 26 miles. As it happened, my running was great for the 30K (ie. 18 miles) and got progressively worse as the miles advanced. It didn’t help that I started out with the idea to treat it as a long run – it’s marathon season after all – and I had never run more than 22 miles for a long run. In addition to which I did little to no race preparedness and got all of four hours sleep the night before. I figured this was just to see if it was possible, no big thing really..I wasn’t planning on racing or anything..and just wanted to gauge my ultra running potential. Big mistake of course but two lessons well learnt. I am never one to do laid back running in a competitive setting (or laid back anything for that matter) and trail running requires a different set of running prep – a different strategy for sure – and will not be as easy as road running just because I enjoy it more. It might have been the smarter thing to cut it off at 18 miles but who says I am (LOL), I actually made a decision then that I was going to finish no matter what. I ended up having to run/walk for a few miles, when common sense prevailed. But I did finish, though with a pretty slow time and way below what I would have ever expected to get a trophy for. I guess with just 100 entrants for the entire thing and with just about half of that choosing to go on to do the ultra that didn’t place me in any stellar field of athletes, but hell, in light of the circumstances, I was fine with that.

Part of our lulu run group

A day later I was back in the gym and the following week I joined up with my running group for some speed work in Central Park. I have a standing Wednesday group run with some fine folks at one of the athletic stores in the city and ideally we meet up once a week, twice bi-weekly during summer, to do some speed runs and drills. Ideally, because really I haven’t been fastidious about meeting up, though I have managed to make it count when I do. These speed runs help me work on my pace, running efficiency, and breathing technique as we vary workouts to include speed drills, hill repeats, 1-mile intervals, and Yasso 800s’ among others. Still, I would like to do more and up my training some. Between work, the gym, and getting about this summer, I may have run my lowest record of miles for the month of August.

Bike Trail to State Beach, Martha’s Vineyard

I’m jumping headlong into September though and already have a few runs down. It all started with a Labor Day weekend trip to the Cape where I spent a lovely 2 & 1/2 days on Martha’s Vineyard. A serene- picturesque-tiny-town-old-harbour-countryside feel. It was amazing and way too short. But, I managed to get a run in through the town of Vineyard Haven and along the water with amazing views of the sunrise, the marina, and the endless ocean. Found myself some hills too heading into some winding countryside of sorts and even shared them with a few other runners. We for went running on one of the days and opted to bike to the beach and explore a bit. Needless to say it was great and exhausting fun. It had been a while since I’d been on a bike for that long. When it was all over I felt even more in need of a holiday than I did before the trip had begun. But hey… memories and experiences cannot be bought only lived and enjoyed one day, or one run at a time. I like to say, I will rest when I die! 😁

Summer Runs – New York City

Summer Runs – Martha’s Vineyard

Summer Runs – Queens, NY

CrossFit and Running Update

“So how’s that going?…” is the question on many a mind I’m guessing since I’ve been asked it over a dozen times since I started CrossFit back in March. What if I told you, “It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!” That to this day, since March, I’ve adopted the lifestyle of the over-zealous gym chick who covets her workouts and cannot conceive of the idea of a regular gym. In fact, regular anything no longer exists – is it even a thing – and if so the idea is simply unthinkable.

Right away let me point out that this method of exercise is not just something I do. It is, for all intents and purposes, a way of life I’ve adopted into and I couldn’t be more pleased. As with everything I do, I dove in fully prepared to give 100%. After all, anything less would have been unacceptable and surely wouldn’t have worked in an environment where giving 110% is routine. The term “bring it” well describes my daily workouts as each one seems designed to have you leave it all out there on the floor dripping, exhausted, and hurting, but oh so good. As it is I’ve become rather good at complaining aloud at the demons that drive our coaches when in reality I’m really struck with their ingenuity and creativity in coming up with varied WODs (workout of the day) that keep us interested, excited, and eager to return.

My only complaint is that of there not being enough hours in the day. I find the days slipping away so quickly and I have yet to figure out a sustainable workout schedule that will merge CrossFit workouts, running, and my relatively infrequent but necessary yoga and soul cycle sessions. The truth is now that marathon training has begun and it’s smack in the middle of Summer, I have to schedule my workouts around my job, which has intensified things somewhat and leaves me with but one option of training runs in the morning before work, CrossFit workouts in the evening, and long runs on the weekend. This of course is based on the premise of being well rested ie. getting to bed by 10pm so I can be up and ready to go at 4:30-ish and getting my mid-day nap. At this point, I’m still struggling with making this my reality and know that I will eventually figure it out.

Meanwhile, the jury’s still out on the physical impact CrossFit is having on my running. This is of course largely due to my inability to find a fixed schedule to maximize both workouts. On the other hand, my physicality has improved tremendously: I’m stronger, more flexible, certainly more skilled and adept in the gym, and I’m told I look fit and strong. To that point, I feel great and look forward to the time when I’m able to combine the best of both worlds. For now, I remain chasing dreams and perfection.

The Winter Truth to Running

source: runnersworld.com

I sure I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, but really the season just begs for it and there’s really no nice way to put it. Winter is the worst season for running and trying to get your training going. The younger folks would put it charmingly by saying: Winter sucks balls! So unrefined. But it certainly captures the feeling. If anything, it makes one’s New Year running goals that much harder to accomplish with the arctic hole that is February upon us.

Suffice it to say, January running has been hard in these parts. Sure we’ve seen worse, and while that’s not really helpful right now, we can only be thankful for small mercies; who knows what this month will bring. I get chills just thinking about it. Fear not though, all is not lost, it is possible for your running to survive and even thrive in these chilly temps. Here’s how:

  • Commit to start /stay running. No matter what happens outside (50° or -5°), you must determine where you stand and what your goal is. Only then can you go about with ways on how to get there come rain, snow or shine.
  • Come up with a training plan based on your goal, detailing how many days per week, the mileage, and type of runs (interval, tempo etc.) you’ll be doing. Stick to it as much as possible.
  • January is a good month to engage in a running challenge to keep you motivated, rack up some mileage, and to just get you out and running. It’s also pretty cold around that time and you’ll need reasons and motivation to get those miles in. Which leads to my next point about getting connected.
  • Whether online or physically, find a running group or running support to keep you accountable and help you out on those cold runs, long runs, and just-not-feeling-it runs. Group runs can help to harness your motivation and energy, and provide feedback and encouragement as many members share similar goals.
  • The gym is a great back-up plan for those days when you really can’t make it out. Additionally, it provides the opportunity to get in some cross training and work-out variety, which will only add to your running efficiency. Add to that the new year environment at these establishments, where everyone is actively involved in pursuing their fitness goals, and what you have is the perfect opportunity for running growth.
  • Lastly, sign up for a few races during these cold months. It’ll keep you running, motivated, and competitive, even if it’s just with yourself.

These strategies have worked for me in the past, and so this year I’ve recommitted to them and found that this past January has yielded the most miles since I started a few years ago. That is not to say I’m having a stellar winter, the night is still young as the saying goes, only that maybe, I’m finally perfecting the art of giving winter blues and frustrations a positive outlet. And, so can you!

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