Marathon Training

What's Next on My Fitness Journey?

During a cold, wintry long-run last February, my friend Rebecca and I ran together for a few miles in Central Park. My foot was giving me problems, we were dressed in 20 layers to stay warm, and we very quickly fell into an easy conversation that helped distract us from the general unpleasantness of an outdoor run in February. 

The topic of conversation? Food. I had found my culinary-counterpart. We bonded over our love of all things epicurean – and since then I’ve come to the conclusion that no one can make eating look as life-changing as Rebecca. Just look at her with this Pepe’s pizza. Is she not making you want to hop on Metro North for a slice 

right now?

(I don't make it look as believable) 

Anywho, since then, Rebecca and I have bonded over things besides food – one of those being fitness! Like me, sometimes (lots of times) Rebecca likes to lift heavy things. I love that she knows MUSCLES ARE SEXY. And let me tell you, her gun show is the best in town.

Recently, we both started to do Kayla Itsine’s 12 week “Bikini Body Guide.”

I’ve explained in previous posts

that originally, I thought this program would be no big deal. I mean, it’s called the “Bikini Body Guide.” How legit could it be? It sounded like just another trend that would over promise and under deliver. But as I wasn’t able to run at the time, I figured I would give it a shot.

Shit that shit was hard.

Leg day? I would be sore for at least 2 or 3 days afterwards.

Kayla Itsine’s guide isn’t anything revolutionary. She’s taken a bunch of standard strength and cardio moves and put them into an easy to follow plan – it’s short but high intensity. You WILL be dripping in sweat by the end.

As someone who generally despises any and all jumping exercises – this was especially challenging for me. If I never have to do another jumping lunge in my life it would be too soon.

I was loving Kayla’s BBG for a while. And then I started running again. And suddenly the 3X a week commitment on top of trying to run 18 miles a week, swim and fit in yoga got to be overwhelming. I wasn’t looking forward to the workouts anymore and while the leg and ab routines were awesome, my arms weren’t feeling challenged.

Not usually one to quit things, especially fitness-based things, I pretty un-guiltily just…stopped…

After a solid 8 weeks of completing all the workouts, I had had enough. I felt a little bummed. But I also felt excited to be running again, and that off-set any “You’re a quitter” thoughts that I was having about cutting Kayla’s BBG short.

Last week at November Project, I got really excited when Rebecca arrived and I got to run with her for 2 miles. And again, we totally bonded over the conversation topic of choice– Rebecca’s statement of, “I’m just kind of confused on my fitness journey.”


Exactly how I have been feeling! And since that run together, I’ve been thinking about it even more. I’m feeling a little lost on my fitness journey so I’m going to try to write it out to gain some clarity.

I’m not training for a marathon.

 The fall marathon I thought I was going to run as an attempt to BQ – that most definitely didn’t happen. I've been a little sad lately watching everyone around me planning for and running their long runs – especially when it’s so beautiful out!

Do I want to run a spring marathon? I still can’t decide. I trained for Pittsburgh over the long winter months last year and it was hard. I know Peter will be an amazing source of support if I decide to do it again, but I just don’t know if I have the motivation right now for 7 a.m. alarms when the thermometer is in the teens. Then again – I want that BQ. The weather for spring marathons is beautiful. What else am I going to do all winter? So – the jury is still out.

I have been slowly increasing my weekly mileage and so far so good – except that it's still frustrating that I feel like I'm having a fast, strong run - putting in a ton of effort and left completely gassed after 4 miles - yet my pace is so. much. slower. than a few months ago. I know I need to be patient, but I may or may not have cried on a rock in Central Park after Saturday's run. I used to wake up and run the 6 mile loop at a 7:50 pace pretty consistently while training for Pittsburgh. Saturday, it took every ounce of energy to run 4 miles at 7:58. Grr. 



have a few running-related goals to work towards, however.

I just signed up for the NYC Runs 10K on Roosevelt Island on Halloween! I want to be excited, but I know the reality of how much speed and endurance I’ve lost in the past 5 months is going to hit me like a ton of bricks when I cross this finish line. At the 2014 Scotland Run 10K, I threw down a 45:23 – 7:19 pace.  Yikes.

I plan on running a new Turkey Trot this year – a 5 miler near my home on Long Island. My official 5 miler PR is the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off which I ran monstrously hungover last fall – so we’ll see if a 7:45 pace is something I can top.

With our upcoming trip to Austin, Texas planned – my 4


half marathon is on the calendar. The Decker Challenge is a hilllllly course that I’m not expecting to PR, but hoping to feel OK running. It will be my longest run since May’s Brooklyn Half Marathon if/when I cross the finish.

Ted Corbitt 15K is the last NYRR points race of the year – and since I’ve been unable to race as a member of November Project’s team yet, I want to be out there running! It will be a PR no matter what, as it’s a new distance for me.

Last but not least on the calendar (for now) is the Blue Point 10 Miler – which was an AMAZING race I ran last winter. This year it will be even better since I will hopefully have friends to drink with after. By then, who in the world knows what my pace will be like – but I don’t anticipate it being easy to beat last year’s 8:13 pace. Time will tell!

Focusing on these shorter distance races will be different for me and I’m hoping it eases me back into running/racing/going fast and then if I decide I want to go far – we’ll see about that spring marathon. I have another month or two to decide.

Strength Training

has not being something I’ve been focusing on a lot – but I do really love it! I love going to the gym and coming up with my own circuits focused on certain body parts – waking up in the morning and knowing within a minute, “Oh yeah right, I did triceps yesterday – definitely worked!” Marathon training makes it really hard to spend a ton of time doing much besides running. And it makes it really reallllly hard to spend any time at all focused on arms. I’ve come to accept that I need to include one day a week of leg strength training to keep my hips and glutes strong. But in the next few weeks I hope to incorporate some more abs and arms as well, despite the fact that I’m not still following Kayla Itsine’s guides.

If anyone has fun strength training ladders/HIIT/Tabata/etc. that they’d like to share, please do!


are something I’ve been super gung ho about for a few months now. I started saving, I started researching bikes, I started bothering people with a million and one questions (sorry everyone). I spent $80 on shoes for spin class that I have yet to attach the cleats to. I started swimming once or twice a week. And now, I’m signed up for swimming lessons once a week.

And suddenly – I don’t know if I want to do a tri.


That’s not true. I know I want to do a tri. I think I would like it. Maybe love it. That “Iron Man” challenge is definitely still in the back of my crazy mind. But I just don’t know if right now is the time. Triathloning (yes, it’s a word…) is

really really expensive


I just booked a flight to Austin for a 6 day vacation and half marathon and it’s probably going to end up costing me less than a bike would cost me. Not to mention the $200 entry fees, a wet suit, and the tons of biking things I’m sure I don’t even know about yet.

So, jury is also out on whether or not a tri is in my future at the moment -  but I do still plan on stopping at a bike store to get myself fitted so that I can properly stalk Craiglist for a used bike in my size. Doesn’t hurt to keep my eyes open!

And in the meantime, I’ve found that swimming is a nice new challenge and I’m looking forward to finishing this 8 week course and keeping a weekly swim in my fitness repertoire.


continues to bore me for the most part – but I


notice a huge difference when I go twice a week as opposed to, you know, thinking my body will magically be fine without zero stretching. So, I’ve been trying to be consistent with that!

Unfortunately, writing all of that out didn’t give me any real clarity on why I’m feeling kind of “meh” at the moment – why I can’t seem to figure out what I want to put my energy towards.  

But maybe the moral of this incredibly long blog post isn’t, “Figure out what your next challenge is” or, “Figure out what muscle you want to develop next!” Maybe the moral of it is that I’m going to accept the fact that sometimes, we don’t know exactly where we’re headed. 

If there’s nothing calling to me right now, maybe it’s because physically or mentally I need to take a chill pill. Or maybe the lack of direction is making room for something else to unexpectedly turn up – roller blading, that field hockey league I’ve been wanting to join, trapeze school? I’m keeping an open mind and not ruling anything out. 

Some days it makes me a little antsy. Without a calendar to tell me how many miles I need to run on Saturday morning, who am I?! Answer: still Lauren.  

And sometimes, for a lot of fitness-loving ladies and lads – I think that’s harder for us to believe than it should be.

So listen up. I’m talking to you and I’m talking to myself: If you’re ever feeling a little down because you feel “lazy” without a big shiny goal – stop.

Stop scrolling through your Instagram and getting down on yourself because you aren’t preparing to run a marathon. Stop scrolling through your Instagram and getting down on yourself because you aren’t spiritually moved by downward dog. Stop scrolling through your Instagram and getting down on yourself because you didn’t do a WOD at the box this morning.

Maybe you enjoyed a walk through the fall foliage. Or a jog. Or a giant picnic. Maybe you dragged yourself to yoga because you know you needed to stretch your calves. Maybe you hope to never use the term WOD in your life. Maybe you slept in.

 As long as we are moving our bodies in ways that feel good and right for us in the moment, and letting them rest when they want to rest, we shouldn’t feeling anything but appreciation.

Appreciate that we’ve found ways to move and be active that we genuinely enjoy. Appreciate that we’ve realized endorphins really are like drugs. Appreciate that fitness is a great way to connect with your body – to know when it wants to move and how it wants to move and when it wants to rest.

To know on the day that you’re signing up for a marathon that you are ready to commit to it.

To know on a certain day that you can go that extra 100 meters in the pool.

To know on a certain day that you are definitely not going to make it to that spin class you signed up for.

To know on a certain day that the time has come to train for your first tri.

To walk into the gym ready for a tricep workout only to get there and see tthe TRX machine is empty and you feel like doing some back exercises instead.

I loved that Rebecca referred to it as her

fitness journey


No two people’s journeys are going to be the same. Some days your journey is going to be awesomely downhill and wonderful and fun and some days or weeks or months it’s going to be slow going. Then there are those forks in the road where you’re not quite sure what’s coming up next.

It’s allllll part of it. 

So instead of getting down, embrace it and keep your eyes open for the moment when your next goal appears on the horizon. And when it presents itself, you give that goal your all.

The Running Update!

It's time for a recap on my fitness life for the past oh, I don't know...4 months? The last thing I blogged about was really the Brooklyn Half Marathon back on May 16. 

And unfortunately, that was my last real run where I felt good (well, I was even hurting by the end of Brooklyn). 

(Remember when I ran a 1:40:34 half marathon?)

If you remember way back to May - I had boldly declared that I would be attempting to BQ at the Suffolk County Marathon. Well, that race was on Sunday and needless to say, I wasn't there to even slowly run the half. 

The problem has been my IT band and it's been frustrating to say the least. For 4 months I've attempted to rest for weeks at a time (and by rest I mean no running) only to feel pain 2 or 3 miles into a run when I finally decided to give it another try. A run in Tampa - ended in stabbing pain. My first "training run" for the Suffolk County Marathon in Las Vegas - awful. The first attempt at 8 miles in Central Park with Peter? Frustrated tears and stabbing pain. There were a few three mile runs I was able to run without pain - but they mainly made me grumpy because I realized how much speed and endurance I had lost. 

Not to mention not exactly feeling my best in terms of the weight department either - if you've been reading my blog and reading about my summer - it pretty much consisted of a LOT of eating out and drinking. Pair that with practically no running - and I haven't been feeling super confident rockin' my bikinis. 

BUT I also had an amazing summer and just keep trying to tell myself that this whole not running thing won't last forever (please, don't last forever!)

The most frustrating thing about IT band pain is when you try Googling ways to fix it and half the Internet tells you foam roll, foam roll, foam roll and then other people tell you rest rest rest while simultaneously telling you to strengthen your hips and glutes and then other people tell you that foam rolling will only make things worse.

So, what have I been doing in an attempt to get rid of this awful tightness in my IT band? And still exercise? (By no means should you follow my lead here if you're trying to overcome ITBS).

1) Not running - but not exactly resting. 
I was pretty good about taking a serious break with running. Every two weeks or so I would lace up my sneakers and head out for a run to see if things had improved, but most of the time the answer was a big fat no. I listened when that was the case and I never went more than three miles (OK, except for the time I ran to NP Chicago). 

But should I have been going to spin class twice a week? Probably not.

I know it wasn't helping speed up my recovery - but it was low impact cardio and it didn't bother my knee when I did it. So that's what I've been doing - spin twice a week. Some days I was actually OK with the break from running because I was able to find other things I like to do. And one of those things was getting back to spinning. So while it may have slowed down my recovery, it at least kept me sane. 

2) Kayla Itsines 12 Week Bikini Body Guide. 
This chick is all the rage on Instagram. 

She's from Australia and she created a workout and nutrition guide that has completely taken off. The other day, myself and another girl were both doing the same routine at the gym! 

When I first saw all the posts, I rolled my eyes. And to be honest, I thought the workouts would be a joke. I'm hear to admit that I was wrong. 

I just started week 6 of the workouts and while I haven't noticed much of a change (I haven't exactly been following the whole nutrition aspect of this guide...) I am consistently sweaty and out of breath at the end of the workout. 

The way the program works is this:
3 days a week you complete a strength workout - either abs, arms or legs or some combination of those with some cardio. Each workout consists of 2 circuits that you complete twice each. 

Circuit one is 4 exercises. You set a timer for 7 minutes and go through the circuit as many times as you can. 

Circuit two is 4 different exercises. You set a timer for 7 minutes and go through the circuit as many times as you can. 

Then, you repeat circuit 1. Then, you repeat circuit 2. 

28 minutes of work and you'll good to go! 

The guides call for 30 seconds of rest in between each 7 minute circuit but I usually take more than that if we're being honest. 

Set-up to finish is usually 45 minutes for me. 

The other days of the week you're supposed to do either low-intensity steady state cardio or HIIT but I've just been doing my spin classes as cardio.

I really like these because they aren't super time consuming but I definitely feel like I'm getting a good workout in. After leg day, it's pretty daunting arriving at Peter's apartment and knowing I have to walk up 5 flights of stairs. 

Should I be doing 28 minutes of jump squats and lunges and burpees when I'm trying to heal my IT band? Debatable. I will say that my legs have felt stronger, which can't be a bad thing for a runner in the long run, right? 

3) Hip-Strengthening 
Last time I had IT band problems I consistently did a few hip strengthening exercises that I attribute to getting things working again. I've started to do them again. 

-Hip hikes

-Single leg squat onto box

-Clam shells with resistance band
-Leg lifts with resistance band
-Side shuffle with resistance band

Here's a video that includes some other good exercises

4) Foam rolling...sometimes.
My foam rolling game has, admittedly, been pretty weak. 

5) Icing when needed.
Sometimes after an attempted run, my knee would KILL. Any time I have knee discomfort just from walking or sitting, I try to ice it. 

6) Yoga.
I've been trying to get to yoga twice a week, even though sometimes it's only once. It's crazy how fast I lost my flexibility. During Pittsburgh Marathon training I was killin' it with yoga - sometimes going three times a week. Slowly but surely I'm getting back into it and it definitely makes a difference. The other day in the store, I told Peter my chatarunga was on fleek AND HE DIDN'T LAUGH! Someone tell me I'm funny. 

7) Daydreaming about all the things I'm going to do when I can run again. 
And that still includes a big fat BQ. Recently, I've allowed myself to start thinking about a spring marathon.

(This is what I do in my free time...anyone run any of these marathons? Suggestions for a good spring BQ course? Minimal travel? Early May?)

Even bigger than that is this crazy idea that has always semi-existed in my head of completing an Iron Man. I always said I was going to be a bad-ass 50 year old completing an IronMan but recently I've been wanting to do it sooner. But not soon. Like, 10 year plan soon. 

But that means that I'm gunna need to start somewhere in the world of triathlons! Which is why I am officially saving up to buy myself a bike (I'm also accepting donations! And recommendations, advice, etc.) I've got a loooong way to go - as in my current savings are at $35 and I figure I need $1,500. But what's important is that I've started! 

I already bought myself a pair of cycling shoes and cleats so I can start clipping in during my spin classes just to get used to it. 

And the biggest step in all this triathlon jazz is that I started...

7) Swimming. 

You're talking to the girl who DOESN'T put her head under water for fear of instantaneously getting swimmer's ear like she did as a child - ruining many a pool party or summer day. 

I can swim fine - just not for real

Peter has been enlisted as my swim coach. 5 minutes into my first lesson I was totally over it, getting cranky and frustrated. 

But I've been consistently going at least once a week and have improved a TON from that first trip to the pool - there's still so much work to be done though. I can basically get about 15 meters before I'm hanging onto the side of the pool gulping in lungfuls of air. 

Yes, I love lifting weights and strength training - but I need my cardio! So swimming has been good for that too.

8) Plunging. 
I bought a $7 sink plunger and I use it on my IT Band. Yes, this was a day I was feeling particularly desperate. But I've read a bunch about it and it's a real think! Similar to cupping - it's supposed to distract the soft tissue and increase blood flow to the area...or something like that. It feels weird but I'm willing to try anything at this point. 

You can watch it here. 

9. Reading a lot of running related books. 
It helps keep me motivated instead of convincing myself I'm over running completely just because it's going to be a lot harder now. Read these if you need to get yourself out the door!

Two weeks ago, I went to November Project for PR Day and Yearbook picture day. Really, I went for yearbook picture day. The PR day part I was dreading. I woke up and went out to get to the 5:30 workout and on my way there I swear I almost turned around and ran in the opposite direction. I suddenly felt so self-conscious. I know it sounds stupid, but I didn't want my seriously diminished running abilities to be out on display to a bunch of bad-ass, speedy-ass people pushing their limits to PR. 

But then I realized - if there was any place to make a comeback run, it was at NP - home to not only some of the speediest runners, but home to some of the most motivating, understanding, supportive people in Manhattan. Tons of these people know what it's like to come back after an injury. And the best part of November Project is celebrating everyone's accomplishments - not just the super fast and impressive accomplishments. A BQ is just as impressive as someone running their first mile without taking a walking break. 

So I made my way to the East River, got my bounce on, and threw down 3.5 miles that were far from a PR but were a start. 

And I am happy to report that I had a pretty good 3 miles last Sunday when Peter was on Long Island, and a solid 3.5 mile run to November Project Toronto on Wednesday of last week. So Peter and I set out to run the 6 miles to South Street Seaport for November Project on Friday - and it was wonderful! 

I was on cloud 9 when we reached the pier. I'm pretty sure I told everyone that I saw, "I JUST RAN 6 MILES! I JUST RAN MY LONGEST RUN SINCE BROOKLYN! I HAVEN'T FELT THIS GOOD IN 4 MONTHS!"
I was expecting to be super frustrated with my pace and had mentally prepared myself with a "Just be happy if you make it there pain free" speech, but with Peter by my side I was able to run close to my Pittsburgh pace! Granted, 6 miles vs. 26.2 miles is a lot different, but it was awesome to feel my legs underneath me and to feel them giving me a little power. 

I feel like a weirdo but on Friday it really felt like my body was telling me, "Okay, you can start running again - but ONLY if you promise not to be stupid about it!!!!" 

That second part is what I know I really need to focus on. Saturday I was already asking Peter, "Should I run the Hartford Half on October 10?"

The answer is most certainly no. 

But already I feel more like myself. On Sunday morning, Melissa and I jogged the mile and a half over to 63rd Street to cheer on November Project people running the 5th Avenue Mile. Just being back with running friends in the race environment on a crisp early fall morning made me so happy. I jogged with Peter to a Starbucks. I jogged the mile and a half home. Being able to use my favorite mode of transportation was exciting to say the least. More exciting? The half mile from 86th to 97th street where I really let my legs fly. And they worked! I flew! 

I am so ready to ease back into runs a few nights/mornings a week with a little longer run on Saturday mornings. With no humidity too! 

I just hope all this excitement and optimism isn't going to come crashing down this week or in the next few weeks... 

So that's the update. 

But enough about me. I'm also really happy that Peter's feeling better too, though still having some foot aches and pains, his hip seems to be holding up and he was able to break 6:00 at the 5th Avenue Mile this year :) And he looked good doing it too. Like a Disney Prince, some might say! 

The best part about being back to running is being able to do it together - I just hope we can both stay semi-pain free for the best running weather of the year!!

More running, more smiles!

Running Is A Roller Coaster

Running is a roller coaster.

When I first started running regularly, I was a junior in college and I ran 27 laps of the indoor track at Quinnipiac University. 3 miles. I never timed myself.

My next encounter with running was as a graduate student at Baruch College where I consistently ran 3 miles on the treadmill at a 6.0 speed. 10  minute miles. I didn't think I was capable of going any faster.

That is until I started attending weekly social group runs around New York City. My fear of losing the group and being left behind translated into running faster than I knew I could. It also convinced me that treadmills are the absolute worst. 

Much like a roller coaster, the initial ascent is slow, shaky and stressful. Looking back, I don't even know how many miles it took until I was able to comfortably run 9 minute miles, and eventually, miles in the upper 8's. There were bumps along the way - achy body parts that needed to be iced and stretched, stressful days leading up to that first half marathon where I just wanted it to be over and done with or to never happen at all. A lot of that has to do with the fact that if we're using the top of the ascent as a symbol for race day - you have no idea what to expect. 

You can read statistics of the roller coaster you're on - height, material it's built from, top speed, biggest drop. Just like runners read race recaps of those who ran the race before them. You can study altitude charts and figure out where in your race it will feel like you're climbing Harlem Hill. But until you're at the race, running it, you just don't know what you're in for. 

Working up to a 5K, a 10K etc. is the hard part. It takes time. It builds up anticipation. 

And just like a roller coaster, the descent is the reason that you do it. The weightless feeling of joy and invincibility is what we hope running will feel like on race day. We hope the moments of psyching ourselves out, stressing about every little detail, those aches and pains we felt so acutely on the slow climb to the top all fall away.

We throw our heads back and scream out - "THIS IS SO SCARY BUT SO MUCH FUN!" "MY LEGS HATE ME BUT I DID IT!" "I'M GOING TO THROW UP BUT IT'S FINE!"

After a drop like that, after a race like that - you need some time to soak it all in. The track leading you back to the unloading area of a roller roaster is the recovery time. If you're anything like me, that time includes a lot of relaxing and deep breathing. 

During the days after a race, I tend to let go a little bit in terms of my healthy eating, drinking, sleeping and exercise habits. The effort of the race, the intensity of the roller coaster, determines how much time I need to decompress. 

But without a doubt, eventually, I'm ready for that next big thrill ride. Once you ride Superman, you know that eventually you need to put on your big girl pants and go for Kingda Ka.  Finished your first half? You knew the day you'd sign up for a marathon was inevitable.

It's important to take the time you need to feel ready for the next challenge. Unfortunately, while you take the time to feel mentally prepared, your physical preparedness takes a hit fairly quickly. 

You finished that half marathon with an 8:30 pace, so how come when the safety bar comes down and you start making your way back up to the top of the newest coaster, you're running 9:30 miles and it all feels so hard and scary again? 

That's what we as runners, and brave humans do.  We are to willing submit ourselves to hard work and uncomfortableness because we know what it feels like to reach that crest.

If we want to take the metaphor one step further, within The World of Running amusement park you have some other common attractions. 

The Ferris Wheel is like yoga and stretching. You usually forget about it, can't be bothered to take a second to slow down with so many other exciting things around. But when you finally do it, the view from the top reminds you of the bigger picture. In full bind when you finally feel that hip flexor relax, you're grateful for the tortuously slow and boring yoga class you dragged  yourself to.

The tilt-a-whirl is foam rolling because you have a total love-hate relationship with it. It works. As a ride, it succeeds in getting your adrenaline pumping. As injury relief, it succeeds in breaking up knots and releasing tension. But as a ride AND as injury relief - damn does it hurt! I think we all know the feeling of being crammed in a tilt-a-whirl with people who seem 200 pounds heavier than you. When you spin left, it's great. When you spin right, the life is being squeezed out of you. When you lay on the foam roller and crack your back - ahh, sweet relief. When you roll over that knot-ridden hamstring - Sweet Jesus!
Every amusement park is different - a different layout, a different strategy for making the most of your day there. Every race is different - different workout plans, different paces, different amounts of hill work.

And though there's a world full of races and a world full of roller coasters and amusement parks - sometimes it's nice to go back to ones we've loved in the past and experience it all over again. 

Especially if the line is short or the entrance fees are low. 

122 Days Until Marathon #3 - Eeeek.

10 days ago I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon. 

9 days ago I wrote down what I wanted to focus on between now, and training for an October marathon:
Strength (more deadlifts, more squats, more weights!)
Maintaining a weekly mileage around 25

I narrowed my "Fast, Flat, Fall Marathon" hunt down to two races - the Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon vs. the Hartford Marathon.

Mohawk-Hudson River because it's fast, flat, in the fall, scenic, small.  Hartford because it's a little bigger, nearby, logistically easier, and my best friend is running her first half marathon there that day! 

But I was concerned Mohawk-Hudson was too small, and another marathon with a long car ride, hotel, etc. didn't excite me. Hartford's course definitely wasn't as fast or flat. 

There was also the fact that I wanted to be sure my parents would be able to make it to my next marathon. 

A wise man then told me, "If either of those were the right race, it wouldn't be hard for you to pick one." Then he gave me frankincense and myrrh. 

Fast forward a few days of deliberation and - I went rogue. 

Signed myself up for the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon on September 13. 122 days away. And that's right, inaugural. A "proposed" course with zero elevation chart for me to pre-review, I'm simply trusting the website which promises a "fast, flat 26.2 mile course featuring long straightaways" that "will give you the perfect opportunity to shatter your own personal goal." I don't even know if there will be pacers.

Seems a little risky when the goal is the BQ, and oh yeah, it means starting a training plan again in approximately...a week. But there are reasons that make it seem less crazy, I swear! 

A) Logistically, it's easy. I can sleep in my bed the night before.
B) It ends at the "Taste of Long Island" Festival - do you know me?
C) I LOVE running along the water. 

D) Hometown vibes, family can be there.
E) Cheap
F) If I have to, I can switch to the Half up  until the day of the race. And for $65, that's still a good deal.
G) The website says fast and flat, it must be true, right? 
H) That wise-man said he would consider ditching the camel and running his first 26.2

The most daunting thing is the fact that I'm going right back into training - something I hope my body doesn't punish me for. The plan is running the Brooklyn Half on Saturday and taking a full week off from running before slowly increasing the mileage again. 

So that's that. Anyone care to join me? Long Island is pretty great. 


Avocados are the Oprah of Instagram. 

Pittsburgh Marathon Part 2

At around mile 4, on the 2nd bridge, I started looking for Peter and Erin since they planned to be there. Eventually, I spotted them standing on the side of the bridge. I yelled, but neither of them saw or heard me. So I jumped into the air, waved my hands, screamed Peter, and got their attention. I was so excited. Maybe leaping into the air and flailing my arms like a crazy octopus wasn’t the best energy-conservation strategy but the pay-off – getting a second to make eye contact and smile at both of them, was totally worth it. 

After that bridge, we went right over a 3rd bridge – they weren’t bad at all. The race was still flying along at this point- the bridges were short and had basically no incline. My memory of everything after that point is vague with a few moments that stick out for one reason or another. Here are those random moments that I can clearly remember:

Around mile 6 there was a turn and a big downhill. Waiting at the bottom of the hill was a band and a big cheer section. It was an exciting, “Woohoo running marathons is fun!” moment. It was probably the last time I thought that until I crossed the finish line.

At mile 9 I took my first gel because I knew mile 12 was where the big hill was. I wanted to give it 20 minutes to kick in. I passed a photographer while I was eating it and totally hammed it up for the camera.

Someone was holding a sign that said “Smile if you peed yourself!” I thought it was a little too soon for someone to have peed themselves, but laughed at the sign. Foreshadowing.

There was a sprinkler archway set up for us to run through and when I passed under it, the water was ICE cold – it literally took my breath away and it was scary to stop breathing for a second as you’re running and not be able to catch your breath.

Also around mile 9 I caught up to the 8:40 pace group (that’s how far behind the 3:35 guy had lined up in the corral. I stayed with the group for about a mile and the girl who had left the 3:35 group with me was there too.  We exchanged a, “holy shit that pacer was so far back,” confirmed that our watches had the same time, and eventually lost each other. 

Looking back, this was the moment I should have relaxed, stuck with the 3:40 pace group the rest of the race, and probably would have qualified for Boston. That’s not what I did, however. I got impatient and continued to run far too fast for the first half of the race.

Miles 5-10 were run at the following paces: 7:46, 7:37, 7:33, 7:55, 7:43, 7:42.

The bridge leading up to the mile 12 hill wasn’t bad at all.  The mile 12 hill was like a 2 part hill (similar to Harlem Hill). The first part gave me a false sense of security that I was going to be fine. Then I rounded the corner and saw the second half looming in front of me and thought grrrrrreat. But I made it up and over without too much trouble.

I felt good for a few more miles, but I could tell I was running out of steam. I just kept telling myself to get to Peter and Erin at mile 15ish, and then I would get an energy boost and feel better. Miles 11-15 were 7:42, 8:11, 7:55, 8:11, and 7:48.

I didn’t see Erin and Peter again, but I did take another gel, hoping it would give me a boost. I was really starting to feel awful. There was no specific pain anywhere and my breathing was fine but my body was just tired and my legs didn’t want to turn over as fast as I had been asking them to. At the end of the race if you had asked me to guess where I started to slow down, I probably would have said mile 15, but it turns out miles 16-18 were still pretty fast at 7:54, 7:56, and 8:01. But mentally, I knew the rest of the race was going to suck. I had burnt out. I also really had to pee.

I can’t say when exactly it happened, but I knew I was going to have to pee, and I knew that I was very close to a BQ finish time – so there was no way I was stopping at wasting precious time at a portapotty. I grabbed a stick of Vaseline from someone at a fluid station and rubbed it on my thighs in case I had the guts to actually follow-through with the peeing as you run thing. It happened, people. At first it was pretty contained and I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but then my bladder was like, “Oh you’re letting this happen? K, we actually have another gallon of urine, comin’ right up.” There’s no way people that I passed didn’t know what was happening, but I was oddly ok with it in the moment. And I guessed it meant I had been drinking enough water? 

Speaking of water, I was also really proud of my grabbing water cups on the run, folding it in half, holding the top half closed, drinking it sideways technique. It was pretty solid. Plus it was really hot out and whatever I spilled all over myself felt great. There were also people handing out some ice cold towels which felt amazing around my neck. I also used one and attempted to clean my legs off a little…

It was sunny and it was pretty damn hot. I had lost the arm warmers really early on in the race.

Mile 19 on was where it was REALLY bad. I never ever thought I would come as close as I did to walking. One minute I was telling myself, “RUN FASTER YOU IDIOT! You can BQ! Leave it all out on the course! You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t give this everything you’ve got!” And the next minute I was telling myself, “There’s no way you’re BQing at this point, just walk and try not to be so hard on yourself- it’s not happening, you already ruined it, what’s the point just walk a little.” Back and forth, those two schools of thought battled it out in my head for 8 miles, while my legs battled the hilly back end of the course.

I waited for that moment I had in Wineglass where the pain didn’t matter and I just “ran with my heart.” There were brief spurts where I was able to pick up the pace but I couldn’t sustain it more than a few seconds. 19-24 paces were 8:18, 8:52, 8:47, 8:50, 9:05, 8:46.

I would pass spectators who would cheer me on, tell me how great my pace was, tell me I could do it and I wanted to badly to believe that I could still come in under that 3:35 mark.  Even if I ran a typically easy pace for me, I could have done it. But nope, 9 minute miles were all I had left. Every, “You look great!” cheer just made me want to cry because a) I knew I didn’t look great and b) I sure as hell didn’t feel great. As a shuffled my feet one in front of the other some people told me to pick it up, we’re at the end, you got this, let’s go – further proof that I looked like I was hurtin’ and as I passed some people I did the same for them.

Around mile 24 the 3:35 group came up behind me. Of course my heart wanted to finish strong with them, but it honestly just wasn’t possible. The 8:40 group came along shortly after that, and I put in a little more of an effort to stay with them, but that wasn’t sustainable either.

At Wineglass, I ran the last 2 miles like I was never going to run again – I blew past that finish line so strong. But no amount of cheering spectators or internal mantras could get my legs to move any faster in Pittsburgh.  

I saw Peter and Erin as I came to the finish line and I made a “I’m gunna die” face (I’m sure it was super adorable!) When I crossed the finish line, I’m happy to say I wasn’t sad and disappointed that I didn’t BQ – that was never the goal. 

I did PR by a TON, I completed my second marathon, I ran my own race, I learned a ton about race strategy, I had PEED MYSELF, and I knew that I had given it all that I had  - there was just nothing left to give by the end. My last two miles were 9:26 and 8:56.

When I crossed the finish line in 3:37:03, I was way out of it. I felt like everything was really far away, and my legs – oh my freaking legs. Volunteers helped me shuffle away but I really was on the verge of collapsing. I stubbornly told them I was fine, but I really probably could have used a medical tent. Everything was so tight and hurt more than I’ve ever experienced.

I got my medal (SO HEAVY!) and remember thinking “Seriously? A banana? I DON’T WANT YOUR BANANA.” Wineglass had soup and pizza and other delicious things. 
Pittsburgh – a banana. Not amused. Anyway, I chugged some Gatorade, chugged a water bottle, and was happy to see smiley face cookies and Panera bagels (mmm cinnamon crunch bagel!) At least a little better than a damn banana.

I just wanted to get to the finisher’s festival, but the walk there seemed to last for years. I stopped to have some pictures taken but the whole time I was on the verge of tears. We had planned to meet in the finisher’s festival near the family reunion area but luckily, Peter found be before that point and I basically collapsed into him and I don’t know how I wasn’t sobbing, I think it would have taken too much energy. I was so glad to see him, I was in so much pain, and he was saying such nice things about how well I’d done and how proud he was.  And he got me a TEDDY BEAR which I clutched the rest of the afternoon and he took all my pictures with me. His name is still being negotiated.

When we found an area to sit down I literally need Peter to pick me up and put me down, I couldn’t just squat to sit down. They just hurt. So, so badly. About 5 minutes into him trying to massage some life back into them, I let him know that I had peed all over myself. I was horrified and felt so bad but he just laughed at me and gave me a kiss and I think that’s pretty much proof of how amazingly wonderful he is.

Once Melissa finished, Erin met up with us and I get in line for the massage tent. Melissa found us and joined us in line as Pure Protein bars were pushed on us (not delicious). It was such a gorgeous sunny day, there was music, and I finally started to feel that “post-marathon high” that is the reason I will certainly be signing up for another one. Peter went and got my medal engraved, because again, he’s the best.

My massage was OK but not amazing and it didn’t make me feel any better afterwards, but the lady was nice. We met up with Taylor, took some pictures, and headed back to the car. 

Walking was less torturous than right after I finished. Peter and Erin walked up the parking garage to get our bags since I definitely wasn’t about to tackle stairs yet. We took some more pictures in front of the bridge and headed to brunch!

Brunch was wonderful, because we met up with the rest of the November Project people who had run – Natasha, Emily, Nina all ran the half and Taylor, Laura, myself and Melissa had run the full. Plus, Myles, Peter and Erin, Taylor’s boyfriend, and three of Peter’s friends who live in Pittsburgh. It was a partay!

We went to a place called Sonoma Grille that I had found online – for $23 you got an appetizer, entrée and brunch cocktail! Everything on the menu sounded so good, but I ended up ordering the Crab Tian – lump crab, avocado, onion, cilantro, chili oil and sesame crisp. This was killer.  SO much crab. So much avocado.

The entrée I chose was the Kurobuta Benedict – it came with big hunks of pork that were cooked really well, but it was a little much. I preferred the quail eggs and asparagus muffin it came with. The Hollandaise Curry Sauce was a bit of a letdown because it didn’t taste much like curry to me.

I was also bummed that the Bloody Mary tasted overwhelmingly of Worcestershire sauce. That didn’t stop me from eating it, of course.

After brunch we headed back to Erin’s and I promptly showered and organized all my things so that it would be done and I wouldn’t have to think about it again. We sat outside on the porch in the beautiful sunshine and Erin’s family had an delicious outdoor dinner for us – complete with beers and wine, obviously.

Also obviously, dessert. Brownie sundaes! The brownies were Ghirardelli and soooo yum.

(Such a beautiful night!)

It was, understandably, a pretty early night. I was looking forward to a great night’s sleep, but I tossed and turned all night because everything hurt so badly – every time I went to kick the sheet away, it literally felt like I was being stabbed. It was not the wonderful post marathon sleep I had expected, sadly.

(Bye Sophie! :(

In the morning we got on the road (after getting salted caramel iced coffee) and made a stop at Penn State to eat at Waffle Shop (Peter and I ordered ALL THE FOOD) and then Peter drove us through the campus. 

(Eggs, bacon, English Muffin, Home fries, French Toast AND blueberry pancakes)

(Ice Dancing)

It was a long day. After like 9 hours, we got the car back to Long Island and had dinner at Peter’s parent’s house. Lasagna was everything I needed. Next, it was the train to Penn Station, subway to my apartment, cab to Peter’s. Going up stairs wasn’t awful, though it was definitely slow going. Down stairs was a different story. It was SO ROUGH.

Tuesday night I jogged a mile and Wednesday I jogged less than a mile. My first real run since the marathon was Saturday when Melissa and I did 5 miles in the park. My quads are FINALLY feeling almost completely normal. Next weekend is the Brooklyn Half Marathon, so I hope I’m ready to go!

I also said I wasn’t racing in Brooklyn, but now that I know how fast I was able to run the first 18 miles of my marathon, I want to see what I can do in a half!

Overall, Pittsburgh was an amazing weekend. Being there with Peter, Erin and Melissa made me feel so relaxed. The weather was beautiful. Everything was well organized. The course was challenging and I am so so happy to have shaved 12+ minutes off my PR time. I’m not done with marathons yet, that’s for sure.

There’s so many people who encourage and inspire me to get up and run at 6:00 a.m., in the freezing cold, for 3 hours. There’s so many people who encourage and inspire me to go to bed early, to choose race registration fees over nights out, to keep myself healthy. Running and marathon training has completely changed my way of life in so many ways and I’m so happy to be a marathoner. 

(These are our Saturday nights and I LOVE IT)

Pittsburgh Marathon Part 1

If we’re being honest, putting my fingers to the keyboard to type up a recap of last weekend is an extremely daunting task. I hope you’re somewhere comfortable, or have something that you’re really trying to avoid doing, because this is going to be long.

I spent all of last week slowly packing. By Thursday night, my Vera Bradley duffel bag and my backpack were stuffed with every running-related item that I owned, “Just in case.” Ice packs, ace bandages, icy hot, compression socks, foam roller, 4 different outfit possibilities, 3 pairs of sneakers – and did I mention all of the food I brought? My own Ziploc bags of quinoa, oatmeal and carrots (none of which I ended up eating, for the record). There was pita bread and Gatorades and 6 pairs of socks (because obviously you can’t buy Gatorade in Pittsburgh…) It was a small miracle that I contained everything to two bags.

Friday at 3 I left the office (got a good luck hug from Tiffanie!), walking slowly under the weight of all my extremely necessary luggage, and made my way uptown to Peter’s apartment, where his parents had just arrived to drop off his car for us.  We settled in for a long drive (Long Drive – Jason Mraz, quality song that you should download) through the incredibly large state of Pennsylvania.

(Thanks for the hug!)

Our first stop was somewhere in Jersey because Mr. Caffeine needed a hit. As we left Dunkin Donuts, Peter told me to, “Do something funny in front of my car!” Naturally, I climbed onto the hood of the silver car in front of me, only to realize as a man walked by that I was in fact sitting on the hood of a stranger’s car. Good one, Lauren.

(This was actually Peter's car...)

Once we got out of New York/New Jersey it was smooth sailing. We made another pit stop in the Poconos at, you guessed it, Dunkin Donuts, where I changed into my comfy clothes and squeezed my legs into compression socks.

(The drive was beautiful! I took approximately 173 sunset pictures, just ask Peter!)

Next stop was dinner near State College aka Penn State aka Peter’s Alma Mater. I loved listening to his trip down memory lane and seriously wished I had toured Penn State as a high school junior/senior. I had zero interest in going to a big school, but damn, that place is kind of amazing. We sat and ate at Panera and I was reminded that Panera is an underrated fast-casual restaurant that’s actually really really delicious, healthy and wholesome. I had half of a turkey/cranberry flatbread and the chicken hummus power bowl – I loved that the salad was legitimately baby spinach, cucumbers, tomato, chicken, hummus, and a lemon. Not drenched in some fake dressing that probably would have wreaked havoc on my stomach come race day.

Around midnight, we made it to Sewickley, the suburb outside of Pittsburgh where my friend and roommate Erin grew up. Her and Melissa had taken a bus there earlier in the day. Erin showed us where we would be staying in her giant, beautiful, amazing, maze of a Victorian house and we went straight to sleep with plans to wake up around 9 to head out to the expo and Saturday market nice and early. Right before bed Peter gave me a note to read that got me really excited for Sunday, calmed some of my nerves, and reminded me again of just how glad I was that he was there for this, even though he couldn’t run the half marathon like he planned. The note ended with my favorite running quote lately,

“Who of us hasn’t considered how our peers will react to our performance in a given race, whether good or bad? And in those moments, whom are we ultimately running for? The sport is difficult enough as it is; doing it for anyone but ourselves makes it unsustainable.”

I woke up, showered, and went downstairs with my Ziploc back of oatmeal to find Melissa, Erin and Erin’s mom standing around a griddle making banana and strawberry pancakes. Erin’s family makes their pancakes with oil instead of butter too (the best way to make pancakes, trust me). I chose pancakes over oatmeal and Melissa and I did some serious damage – soo many pancakes were consumed in the pretty sun room while the new Australian Shepherd puppy Sophie provided entertainment (Erin’s parents picked her up on Friday and she was the sweetest thing ever!)

(Flowers, puppies, pancakes - perfect start to the day!)

It took us a little longer to get going than we anticipated but eventually, we piled in the car and made our way to Pittsburgh. Along the way Erin showed us the ginormous homes of people like Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux (no big deal, just a hockey rink complete with Zambonis in the backyard!) We also stopped at Sheetz which is like a 7-11 on crack. Apparently Sheetz vs. WaWa is the big debate in Pennsylvania. I didn’t end up trying anything from either, so I can’t make any judgments.

(F'Real f'real?)

We entered the city and it was so much prettier than I had expected – 3 rivers, tons of bridges, and a beautifully sunny day – Pittsburgh was picture-perfect. We parked near the Strip District and walked along all of the booths/shops. I was overwhelmed by all the delicious food, but I was still so stuffed with pancakes that I managed not to buy anything (except a toothbrush, because I somehow succeeded in forgetting something while simultaneously packing everything).

With my eyes, I ate baklava, pastries, lobster rolls, olives, fudge and more. Then, we walked over to the convention center for the EXPO! After seeing the Boston Marathon expo just two weekends earlier, the Pittsburgh Marathon had a lot to live up to – overall, I thought it was pretty good! We first walked in and got our bibs which was easy enough. Unfortunately, I had ordered a small shirt instead of an extra small since the ones from Wineglass were so teeny tiny and when I went to swap it at the shirt exchange table, there were no extra smalls to be found. Oh well! Another thing Melissa and I were bummed with was the fact that the girls and guys shirts were different colors – the guys had green and the girls had pink. Sexist! Although green is my favorite color, I still like the pink shirt.

After walking around and having some samples (why do protein bars taste so bad?) I fell in love with a Nike Pittsburgh Marathon t-shirt but convinced myself I have a million exercise clothes and don’t need any more. 

Peter was still really sick, but being a trooper as we dragged him around. We sat down while Melissa and Erin got the car and we made our way home.

I made a turkey sandwich, did some organizing of all my things, painted my nails, and had a serious discussion with Melissa about which of my four outfit options I was going to wear. After a lot of back and forth, some modeling for the group and some jogging in place, I decided to go with the same outfit I had worn for my first marathon. Original, Lauren. But at least I knew that I would be comfortable and it was one less thing I had to worry about bothering me during 4 hours of running.

We sat outside on the beautiful porch for a little while before heading inside to watch the Kentucky Derby! It’s crazy to think a) how long the race has been going on b) how much money is at stake c) how short the jockeys are. I still have so many good memories from going to Saratoga when I was younger and I’ve really been meaning to make a trip to Belmont one of these days! Mainly for the outdoor drinking if we’re being real.

Anyway. Erin and her parents went out for a family dinner and Peter, Melissa and I headed to the grocery store for dinner supplies. Since Peter’s throat was hurting so much, his dinner was a lot of ice cream and soup. Melissa and I made a pretty delicious meal of rotisserie chicken and sautéed veggies. Easy peasy. I ate my chicken on a whole wheat pita with guacamole and had some veggies on the side. We each had a spoonful of Phish Food ice cream because – because.

Next up was reading the card Rebecca had given Melissa and I and attempting some foam rolling.  All the foam rolling did was make me panic about tight/sore spots which Peter reminded me weren’t going to go away at this point so it was no use worrying about them. What was going to happen in the morning was going to happen. But while I was foam rolling, Sophie totally thought I was another puppy and all she wanted to do was play/attack me. TOO CUTE I TELL YA!

I went up to bed and Peter and I read through “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances” quickly. I’m so glad Peter thought to pack it because it was just what I needed – to laugh at the craziness that is training for and running marathons, to remember the amazing sense of accomplishment and peace I feel while running, and to remember not to take it all so seriously. Shockingly, I fell asleep pretty easily. I woke up a couple of times throughout the night to use the bathroom, so I suppose my pre-race day hydration had been successful.

(Ready or not, here I come!)
At 5 a.m., my alarm was going off. The first thing I did was read the card from Kayla and Jess. Then, I was pinning a bib to my shirt, putting on my throwaway sweatshirt, grabbing my bag, and walking down the stairs for breakfast. Ok, there were a few other steps in there, like brushing my teeth, putting my watch on, etc. But you get the point. 

I was so worried about my stomach after the Wineglass Marathon and Brooklyn Half Marathon. I just prayed #2 wouldn’t be an issue this time around. Like I said, I never really figured out my nutrition situation, so I was winging it. I had some Kashi cereal and crossed my fingers.

Then it was time to put on my Tattly temporary tattoo! It said, "OKAY LETS DO THIS" and I loved it. 

The four of us hopped in Erin’s car and we were off. The traffic was fine and we drove to the second or third parking garage off the highway and had no trouble finding a spot. Just like at Wineglass, I had a last minute struggle about using my Goodwill Chobani half-zip as a throwaway and decided against it. Unlike at Wineglass, it wasn’t freezing cold out. I was fine in my shorts, arm sleeves, and heatsheet from an old race. I left my phone behind with Peter, but had decided to run with my Spibelt – 3 gels, a tampon, ID and debit card. I was ready.

We walked towards the corrals and I gave our adoring fans (Erin and Peter) hugs and kisses goodbye. (I hugged Erin, kissed Peter, in case there was a question about that…)

(Mt 99 cent knee socks/arm warmers are AWESOME don't deny it)

Melissa and I ran into Taylor in line for the portapotty and chatted while I anxiously awaited the moment of truth – would I be able to go to the bathroom before the race, and would that be enough? (If you’re not comfortable reading about my bodily functions as they relate to running, then you’re probably not going to love around mile 17 of this race recap, just a heads up). Answer: I was able to go. I breathed a sigh of relief and we walked to corral B.

The corral was a little bit of a mess. We couldn’t find any pacers. I had told myself I wanted to find the 3:40 pacer to go out conservatively and if I felt amazing somehow, I would chase down the 3:35 group later in the race. Qualifying for Boston was a goal I wouldn’t even let myself consider because I knew I would most likely end up disappointed if I went in with that as my goal. Of course, the only pacer I saw in the entire corral was the 3:35 pacer. And of course, I couldn’t resist lining up near him to see how it went.

Without much fanfare, the race started. And it was packed. It was hard to run very fast at all, and dodging people to keep the pacer in sight was stressful. Eventually, I started to notice everyone around me making comments about our group – wondering why we were so far back. I pushed it out of my mind and tried to ignore it, but if became more and more obvious that we were fighting to navigate through a crowd of people that were much slower than us. At some point in the first 1-2 miles I saw Melissa which was exciting. But then it was back to worrying as I literally heard someone say, “That pacer’s broken!”

The first 3 miles flew by. Literally, I don’t know how they went by in such a blur. It was on the first bridge at mile 3 that I finally took some of the words Peter had said to me and decided to go with them: “Run your own race.”  The whole pace group situation was stressing me out and I didn’t want to be mentally frazzled, especially since my legs were feeling good. So I took off on my own. Another girl who had started near me did the same, and we chatted for a brief moment about how concerned we were the 3:35 pacer and how off he already was. I wish I had gotten her bib number so I could see how she finished, because I know she kicked my butt and I should have stayed with her!

Anyway, with the pacer behind me, I picked up speed. Too much speed. While my first 3 miles with the pacer were 8:37, 8:27, 8:18 (totally not a reason for me to have been freaking out, by the way…) my pace dropped to 7:26 when I went off on my own. Sure it felt fine at the time, but to think that I was going to be able to sustain that was stupid.

At around mile 4, on the 2nd bridge, I started looking for Peter and Erin since they planned to be there. Eventually, I spotted them standing on the side of the bridge. I yelled, but neither of them saw or heard me. So I jumped into the air, waved my hands, screamed Peter, and got their attention. I was so excited. Maybe leaping into the air and flailing my arms like a crazy octopus wasn’t the best energy-conservation strategy but the pay-off – getting a second to make eye contact and smile at both of them, was totally worth it. 

To be continued!

Am I Ready to Beat the Burgh?

Welcome to May! Crazy. I literally cannot even think beyond May 3 to the fact that my birthday is in 6 days. Nonsense. 

I registered to run the Pittsburgh Marathon 7 MONTHS ago. Over half a year ago, now. Just a month after I ran my first marathon! 

And now, I'm about 50 hours away from hopefully crossing my second marathon finish line. It won't be the same as Wineglass, but this race will be amazing and special in its own ways. 

(Pittsburgh will be great, but I won't love my bib number as much as I loved this one!)

For one, Pittsburgh is a different kind of race. Whereas Wineglass was small and rural, with a few big cheer areas, but mainly solitary miles through upstate New York, Pittsburgh is an urban race with bands and cheerleaders and DJs every few miles. I motivated myself through Wineglass (with the boosts from my grandparents and some cheering from the wonderful volunteers at fuel stations) but in Pittsburgh, I expect the spectators to help motivate me. I'm also slightly worried that the Broadway-themed performance group at mile 6 is going to make me slow down because I want to hear what they're singing. I can see it now - running up to XTreme Teen Broadway after just 6 miles of the race, pulling off the course and saying, "Eh, that was enough for me - now let's sing Spring Awakening and Les Mis!"

While Wineglass was beautifully flat, Pittsburgh's elevation chart gives me anxiety. 5 bridges. I've sat here crunching numbers - elevation, length of the hill, rate of the incline - trying to compare it to hills I've come to know (and hate) - Harlem Hill, Cat Hill, Randall's Island footbridge. But honestly, I'm going to be freaked out going into my corral no matter what, so I'm putting the calculator down! 



Training in the winter vs. training in the summer was my biggest concern going into this and looking back, it's easy for me to say it was no big deal. But I know the only reason I was able to get out of bed on mornings that were in the single digits to put on sneakers (and several layers) was because of the amazing people I'm surrounded by. All winter long my Instagram feed was filled with athletes who braved the cold and got it done. All winter long, the people who have become some of my best friends, were there to meet me at Engineer's Gate on a snowy Saturday morning. All winter long, I had someone who would literally have dragged me out of bed if I needed him to. 

And this time around, it's some of those people who will be there in Pittsburgh with me. I'll get to run into the arms of the one who listened to every complaint, every ache and pain. Who drove me to races and stayed in Friday nights to wake up early on Saturday mornings. Who gave me hugs even when I was horribly sweaty. 

I was also inspired by the crazy November Project badasses I'm surrounded by. They seriously race everything. And they race it fast. But I got an even bigger "WOOHOO RUNNING" boost each and every time a friend texted me about their running progress.  Tina's running more and we got to run a 5K together in Columbus. Staci is training for a 10K. Lauren just ran a 5K and said my blog gave her motivation. Allison ran a 5K and is signed up for her first half marathon. Nicole is doing the Couch to 5K. Melissa just went out her front door and ran a 5K. I'M SO HAPPY that people so important to me are taking the plunge!

I did some things differently this time. The biggest change was my mileage. It was significantly less than during my training for Wineglass and less than what NYRR Virtual Trainer had in store for me. My training almost fell apart early on when I started in January. Looking back, I was crazy to think I could jump right into running over 30 miles in a week. At the height of my long runs (18, 20 and 22) my weekly mileage got up around 30 - and I found that 3 or 4 days of running was my sweet spot - definitely not 5 or 6. 

I foam rolled MUCH more than ever before. It's become a habit that instead of going out to eat lunch during the work day, I foam roll at NYSC for 30 minutes. 5 minutes for each calf, 10 minutes for the rest of each leg. I eat lunch at my desk instead, although on some of the nice spring days we've been having, it's even more torturous to drag myself to foam roll.

Girls hate discussing their weight, but we'll see if the fact that I'm 10 pounds heavier at the Pittsburgh starting line is a good thing, or a bad thing. (It's 10 pounds of pure muscle, surely...)

Yoga. Yep, I hopped on board the yoga train and slowly but surely my opinion on it is changing. For 3 weeks I've consistently gone 3 days a week (last week I went 4!) and the skeptic in me has been convinced of yoga's benefits. Woops.

My sneaker shuffle has changed a bit too - instead of running my marathon in Saucony Guides (a stability shoe) I'll be rocking the Saucony Ride (neutral). I also did a ton of training in New Balance fresh foams. Anything under 10 miles I wore my New Balance, and anything over 10 I wore my Sauconys. Once I get back out for speed work, my Adidas will be my speed shoe. I like this new system! 

I used to run all my long runs in compression socks (CEP). But now, I only wear them to sleep for recovery.  

After a brief stint with insoles - I trashed them (bye $60).  

There were also a bunch of things I should have changed, and didn't. Like the fact that I still have no idea what I should eat the night before a long run. Or the morning of a long run. My plan for marathon morning is - well, I don't really have one in terms of what I'm going to eat. Because stupidly, for my long training runs I rarely ate more than a banana. 

All my grand plans to figure out what upset my stomach while running? After a brief stint as a gluten-free and dairy-free runner, I gave up. But I certainly tested out a variety of racing fuels to figure out what I could stomach, right? Oh, if only. At the Boston Marathon Expo I bought my old go-tos - espresso Clif energy shots - and I tested one out on a 7 mile run, but that's hardly "figuring out my nutrition plan." So come Sunday, it's kind of, "cross my fingers and hope for the best." 

I've packed 4 outfits for Sunday. 4. And I don't know how I'm going to figure out which one to wear. 

I have my foam roller, my lacrosse ball, my stick, my icy hot, some ace bandages, and basically every little thing I could ever need. 

My compression socks are ready for the 8 hour drive. 

I'm officially in crazy mode - one minute I'm terrified, one minute I just really don't want to run 26.2 miles, one minute I just one to cross the finish line with a smile, one minute I want to crush my Wineglass time, one minute I'm having a panic attack at a twinge I felt in my ankle. It's exhausting, quite frankly. 

(I'm smiling because this was the only bridge...)

Mentally, it's very different running marathon #2 because on one hand I know I can do this because I've done it before but I also know that miles 20-26.2 are going to be an extremely unpleasant ~hour of my life. Despite the fact that I've completed a marathon, I still want to scream when I hear, "Trust your training. Trust your body." I don't trust it. Hell, I don't even trust what my watch is telling me most days. 

I know that all the training and preparation and foam rolling and yoga in the world can't guarantee that a race is going to go your way. And so instead of trusting my training and my body, I  trust that whatever happens on Sunday will become another part of my running journey. 

Instead of focusing on the fact that everything could quite possibly go horribly wrong, I focus on all the things that went right along the way. The 25K with Peter, my 22 miler at a pace that got me pumped for Pittsburgh, the slow snowy miles, feeling happy enough while running to sing Katy Perry as a plastic bag floated in our path, More than anything, I'll remember telling Peter during the 25K that I felt like the more I relaxed and tried to take it easy, the faster our pace got. That's a feeling that I hadn't had in what felt like years and I'm happy to say towards the end of training it was happening once in awhile.

Whatever happens on Sunday, it's been a great 16 weeks of running and working out with friends, of getting to know my body better, and of treating it better. It's a strange feeling when double-digit mileage Saturday morning runs just feel normal. When training for a marathon just becomes the lifestyle you want to live. It has become a part of my social life, it gives me structure - it challenges me and motivates me and (mostly) makes me smile. 

(But please legs, can you show up big-time on Sunday?)

The Longest Recap In The History of the World; AKA TL;DR

Whoah. A LOT has happened since I last blogged - my b! 

Life just seems to be going a mile a minute lately. My 25th birthday is right around the corner and I wish there was a pause button I could hit just for like a week between the Pittsburgh Marathon and my birthday. I'm not ready! I feel like post-marathon I need a few days to lock myself in a room with a leather-bound journal and some fancy pens while I reflect on a quarter-century of life and figure out, "What next?" There's so many things I want to do, so many self-improvements I want to make, and I need some serious organization if there's any hope of making those things happen. 

I just found a video on BuzzFeed that perfectly explains the feeling I've been all too familiar with lately - how does life seem to go faster and faster the older we get? The Dictionary Of Obscure Sorrows made this video that really hit me hard. Watch it until the end. The last line felt like a punch. 

Maybe this recap will give you a little taste of why my head is spinning!

The last thing I blogged about was the awesome class I took at SLT.

That Friday, I ran down to Tompkins Square Park for a November Project workout - but really, I ran there so I could get the post-workout Tompkins Square french toast bagel with birthday cake cream cheese. Again, it was stellar. 

We had a half day that Friday, so around 2 p.m. I was able to head home to Long Island for the Easter Weekend. It was my first time being home since Christmas! Which is a crazy long time for me. Of course I went straight from the train station to the Yacht Club to meet my dad for a few drinks (they now have UFO on tap - winning!)

My dad did not disappoint with dinner that night - scallops, shrimp, cod, mussels, clams and crab legs. Casual for the Wolman house. (PS - you can search #MitchsMeals on Instagram to see some of my dad's amazing cooking!) 

Saturday morning I went for my scheduled long run - 14 miles that felt really shitty, but were actually pretty damn fast! I was very happy with the 7:58 pace.

That night for dinner he cooked the most delicious lamb on a bed of couscous with asparagus and pine nuts. And all weekend I took full advantage of the tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer. 

I also went digging through some old photo albums to collect #tbt content, naturally. There were some winners. I was totally a normal child...

Sunday morning I went to Easter mass by myself since my mom was working and my sister is going to hell anyway ;) I kid, I kid. But really, she wouldn't wake up for church. The sermon was kind of strange, with the priest going on and on about how important women are. It was nice to hear and all but, kinda weird. 

Easter is one of my favorite holidays because my family started doing BRUNCH since my sister and I always had to travel back to school Sunday afternoon. We get a giant bagel hero with bacon egg and cheese and my aunt makes hash browns and then there's locks with onions and capers and my grandma buys 2347892 danishes. This year, she also made PEANUT BUTTER FILLED CUPCAKES with PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING. It's like she knows me or something. 

It was so nice to spend time with my family - it felt like it had been forever and I was really missing them.  

(Thank God for spring weather!)

Monday it was back to work, and after work, a closing shift at NY Running Co. Tuesday we had a clinic with Nike at the store, and I got a sweeeet pair of Nike Frees! I can't run in them, but I've been wearing them for all of my strength workouts and I have this weird thing that I can't get over the fact that I'm wearing all black sneakers. Does anyone else have this issue?! Whenever I see my feet I'm freaking out. So strange, I know, I know. 

Wednesday I took a half day because MODGE & PODGE CAME TO VISIT ME :) I am so lucky that spending a day with my parents is so exciting to me. They really are two of my best friends. 


I left work and we went downtown to the 9-11 memorial and museum. While it wasn't as sad as I expected it to be (although it was certainly moving at parts!) it was a really amazing museum and I learned so much. I had read online that it would take around 2 hours to get through it, but we could have spend muchhh longer looking around. Unfortunately, we had to rush through the second half so we could get back to the hotel to change for dinner. 

We had a drink at the Hilton bar (the cosmos there are my mom's favorite) and then went back downtown to meet Peter for our reservation at GATO! I have been trying to get a reservation here since it opened, and it never worked out, so I was beyond excited. There will certainly be a review to come, but spoiler alert, we met Bobby Flay! 

(I <3 this picture)

After dinner we went to Sweetwater Social where I had the most vile cocktail in the history of the world , but we played foosball and Peter and I beat my mom and dad so it turned out OK. Oh, and the waiter swapped out my drink for a much more delicious one. 

(Disgusting drink. Do not order. Tequila/spicy/something. Such a disappointment) 

(Things got heated at the Foosball table!)

(Muchhh better!)

It was such a fun day/night and as usual I was sad to say goodbye in the morning :( 

The next night was "Suite Night" for work - we got to eat and drink in the NHL suite for the last Ranger's game of the season which was great! 

That Friday I had a big decision to make. Ok, nothing life altering. But I had to do my longest training run, the 22 miler, that weekend.  I was feeling a little meh and thought I would push it off until Sunday. There was a big November Project gathering on Friday and Peter had a race Sunday morning, so it seemed like the best option was going out Friday, giving myself the extra day of rest, waking up early Sunday and doing my long run then. 

So we went out Friday night, had a great time (Dunkin Donuts gave us lots of free donuts!) and woke up casually on Saturday morning. 

Me being me, I couldn't spend all Saturday with the 22 miler looming over me. Plus Peter was going into work anyway. So, I laced up my sneakers, said a little prayer, and set off to run 22 miles without a real route or plan. Very unlike me. 

I had worked up this training run in my head  A LOT. For me, either this run went well and I would feel confident going into Pittsburgh, or it would be awful, I would shed some tears, and the drive to Pittsburgh would = me being a complete mental mess. 

I'm happy to say that 9 bridges, one stop at Dunkin Donuts, a chugged water bottle, and 3 boroughs later - I finished my 22 miler with an 8:16 pace and felt SO SO GOOD. The subway trip back from Brooklyn wasn't the most fun thing in the world- but I was so happy to have done it (and to still have Sunday to relax!) 

By relax on Sunday I mean wake up, go to Central Park, cheer for Peter and everyone else running the race, and go to BRUNCH. 

(Cheer squad!)



(Brunch at Bocado - very tasty, a little overpriced, and beware: they don't serve the complimentary cocktail until after 12 p.m.) 

After brunch I went to yoga and after yoga we went to the park because it was BEAUTIFUL out! I colored, did some yoga, and PLAYED LACROSSE. Yes, I broke out the lacrosse sticks for the first time in ages and it was lots of fun. I miss it! I need to find a league. Anyone know where a 20-something can lax in NYC? Drop the deets in the comments. (OR FIELD HOCKEY!)

After the park we went to 16 Handles for the 'yo and then Peter and I got some $4 margs from Blockheads because SPRING! 

Monday was work & more work at the store. 
Tuesday was free cone day - or, free cup day?

And Tuesday night was a date with Alex from Burke's Bites :) For the start of the playoffs and the start of the first round series of the Islanders vs. Capitals, she cooked me a DELICIOUS dinner that you can read all about on her blog! Let's just say it involved incredible puns which I give Alex full credit for. Thousand ISLANDERS Salmon with CAP-rese Salad, rice and asparagus. Mmm. 

I'd also just like to note that I have been going to yoga A LOT recently. Like 3 - 4 times a week. This is very very strange for me to say and even stranger is the fact that I've been learning to love it. It's a process, and I'm definitely no yogi yet, but I do think it's been helping me a TON if only because it's an hour dedicated to stretching that I normally wouldn't be doing. That, plus the fact that I'm trying to foam roll for 30 minutes every day during my lunch break. The personal trainer at the gym finally introduced himself to me after commenting on my business-casual clothes while foam rolling every day for the past 3 weeks. I must look so strange. 

(This cute instructor at Union Square gave us each an inspiring quote before the start of class!) 

Wednesday was November Project, and whenever I go to 5:30 with Peter I find myself running harder than I intend. Yay motivation! And yay beautiful sunrises. 

Wednesday night after work I met the girls for an ab deck at NYSC and then Peter and I went to get Brazilian food at Zebu right near my old apartment. It was really yummy. I liked that it seemed simple and healthy (OK, maybe not the fried balls of chicken and cream cheese) but it's definitely something that takes getting used to- there's not sauce and dip and all that jazz. It's just the food you order. Which was refreshing. Maybe I'll write a real review. Maybe not. But here are some pictures! 

(Chicken Pastel and Caipirinhas!) 

(Sausage with black beans, collard greens, rice, bacon & egg - little bit of everything!) 

(Guava Cheesecake!)

Friday I got to leave work early for a team-bonding adventure to Escape the Room! Chances are you've heard of people who have done this - and I highly suggest it! It was so much more legit than I had thought it would be. Apparently only 25% of people manage to escape, and I can see why! We came close, but didn't make it out of the room. We did the "Theater" game. I would love to go back and try a different one, although I think I would only do it if I did it with enough people to fill the entire room with people that I knew. 

I love that they have everyone take a picture afterwards and upload it to their Facebook page so you can download it for free - they could totally charge people $15 for it in some dumb souvenir frame. 

(Womp Womp! Losers but still smiling!)

From there I went to Penn Station to meet Peter and begin our journey to Boston for the weekend to visit Peter's friend Anthony! We went to Long Island, stopped at Peter's house for dinner (more Brazilian food, mmm) and hit the road. I sang a lot of show tunes and he somehow didn't kick me out of the car. We also got ice cream and I remembered how amazing McDonald's soft serve is. We made good time and got to Anthony's apartment around 11:30. 

The apartment is in a beautiful old house in Cambridge that I fell in love with. Wantttttt. 

Saturday morning was sunny and warm and we walked for a delicious brunch - the omelettes at Brookline Lunch were HUGE and served with hash browns FULL of fresh, amazing veggies. I was in heaven. And the toast came with homemade apple cinnamon jam that was essentially pie filling. 

We were pleasantly surprised when we got to the Sam Adams brewery and only had to wait 30 minutes for a free tour! The tour was short and sweet so that we could get to the important part - the beer tasting! The tasting room was FREEZING but the beer was great and we left a little tipsy! 

Next stop was the Harpoon brewery! We opted out of the tour and went straight to the beer garden where I got a flight of the different UFO beers -  my favorites! Oh did I mention the beer garden had GIANT SOFT PRETZELS WITH DIPPING SAUCES!? Like, a cinnamon sugar pretzel with PEANUT BUTTER DIPPING SAUCE. 

But I digress. 

We spent the next few hours walking around and seeing the sights. 

We walked to the Marathon finish line and stopped at a restaurant around there for dinner.  The city was pretty packed, so we waiting awhile for our table at Back  Bay Social Club. I ordered the lobster roll which was better than expected on the lobster front. It definitely had a good amount of lobster, and the lobster actually tasted like lobster! The calamari appetizer came out my favorite way too - with peppers, mmm. We also got a Baked Alaska for dessert that legit looked like the poop emoji. Overall, the food wasn't spectacular but it was definitely tasty and I was happy to get my seafood fix (and eat lots of french fries). Their margarita was solid too! 

We had every intention of going back out to a bar that night, but after stopping home to walk the dog and sitting down on the couch, it got later and later and we were still sitting, until we gave up on motivating ourselves to go back out. 

We woke up Sunday morning (ok, very late morning) and went for a pretty 4 mile run along the Charles. We got a quick breakfast and headed to the Boston Marathon Expo - there were a lot of cool things, tons of free samples, and I got 5 of my Clif espresso energy gels. The quest for a BQ is on! 

We drove back late Sunday afternoon, stayed on Long Island for the night, and commuted in on the LIRR Monday morning. 

Last week was a little less chaotic.  Tuesday I had an incredible opportunity to work at the Islanders playoff game. It was so exciting to hear the Coliseum so loud, to see the players and fans alike so pumped up. It wasn't the outcome that we hoped for, but it was an amazing night none the less and such a good feeling to be able to point to something productive that I did. 

Thursday was "Take Your Kids to Work Day" and my office organizes a really great day for the kids and even though I don't have kids, I was able to invite my little cousins to come in! I took them out for lunch and was so terrified of losing them in Rockefeller Center - I don't know how parents do it! I hope they had a good day, they've probably followed hockey and the Islanders more closely than me this season! 

It was also my aunts birthday and her and my uncle were nice enough to take Peter and I out for dinner at China Grill that night. As usual, it was amazingly delicious. They have a great happy hour deal that I plan on checking out after work one of these days - $7 drinks and appetizers. I've tried their drinks and a few of their appetizers and let me tell you - $7 is a steal! They have a nice outdoor patio area too, so try to go on a nice night! 

Friday we had a special guest at November Project - Andrew Ference from the Edmonton Oilers! It was a fun workout, maybe because Peter was my #BUDDDDYYYY and had me cracking up during hoistees. 

Friday night Peter and I went to Harlem for a night at a legit speakeasy! It's a really tiny, intimate jazz club that's BYOB! I don't fully appreciate jazz music, and I didn't love that you couldn't talk at all, but for $20 it was an experience that I'm glad to have had! 

Saturday morning I woke up for my last "long" run - 7 miles in Central Park which is BEAUTIFUL thanks to all of the blooming flowers! 

I got dressed and headed out for a brunch of EPIC proportions for Jess's birthday. Brunch was on Bleecker Street at a place called Carroll Place. If the group is 10 or more people, you get to pick out a family-style menu. For $35 we got 2 hours of endless drinks (you could choose from Pineapple Screwdrivers, Rose Sangria, Mango Bellinis and Blood Marys!) and all the food you could ever want. For he group of 11 of us, we got 3-4 plates of each dish! 

To start, a fresh salad with golden beets, tomatoes and ricotta. 

Next, meatballs! 

Then, thin crust Margherita pizza! 

Next - french toast and baked truffle eggs with creamy polenta and mushroom (I don't like truffle, but I loved this!) 

Dessert? Nutella calzone. It was incredible. And the atmosphere was great - it was a seriously cute, chic place. And the company was the best part :) 

Sunday I ran the Run as One 4 Miler in the park before free yoga at Lulu Lemon. So much yoga these days! 

I took all afternoon to organize myself and GULP started packing for PITTSBURGH! 

I ended the weekend with Oatmeal Sunday! Rebecca, Kayla and Melissa came over and we all had different toppings for an oatmeal potluck. It was so yummmmmy. I love potlucks, and this one was super easy and cheap! 

Friday afternoon I'll be leaving for Pittsburgh to hopefully complete my second marathon. I can't believe how quickly it arrived and I'm excited but a littler concerned because honestly, the biggest thing I feel when I think about Sunday is "Ugh, I don't feel like running 26.2 miles." Is that a normal thought to be having?! HELP! 

Full Disclosure: This has not been proofread. 

20 Miles of Smiles

Life has just been speeding along and I am a little concerned that tomorrow is APRIL already. Where is time going? 

For the past two weeks I attempted to be gluten and dairy free - it was going really well for awhile. I think the reason I felt better wasn't necessarily because my body doesn't like gluten or dairy (in moderate amounts) but because I was taking the time to really think about what I was eating - lots of quinoa, veggies and chicken - all real food instead of processed and packaged things. 

(What my dinner looked like most nights!)

But then Peter and I FINALLY found the Speculoos Cookie Core Ben & Jerry's flavor. 

(DELICIOUS! However, I don't think I would say it's my favorite B&J's.)

And then I was out for happy hour (sorry, but Bud Light is more budget-friendly than cider, wine or cocktails) and needless to say I quickly fell off the wagon. I would like to try again to make it an entire month and I'm definitely going to try to be good the 2 weeks prior to the Pittsburgh Marathon! My key finding was that Soy yogurt is vile and is in no way an appropriate replacement for Greek yogurt. Instead, I started making lots of chia seed pudding - big fan! 

(Chia seed pudding is an acceptable yogurt substitute as long as it's CHOCOLATE)

Let's see. Last weekend I had a 12 mile run that seemed like it was never going to end. I was not a happy camper and it was pretty torturous if we're being honest. But, it got done.  

That afternoon, Allison came into the city and we met up with her parents for suchhhh an awesome night - dinner at PJ Clarke's followed by The King and I at Lincoln Center! 

(Dinner was delicious, I had a chopped shrimp salad that had chickpeas and lots of other yummy things. The dressed was light and not drowning the salad.)

(This was my first time seeing a show at Lincoln Center - It's so beautiful!)

(The show was GREAT. I didn't know what to expect going into it, and I didn't know any of the music (except "Getting to Know You") but Kelli O'Hara was PHENOMENAL. Seriously, she opens her mouth and makes it seem absolutely effortless.  The plot reminded me of The Sound of Music, the cast was great, and it was very classic Broadway.) 

After the show, Allison and I sat and chatted over a glass of wine at ABV on Lex and 97th - it's super cute inside, the bartender was really nice and let us try like 4 different wines each, it was quiet so we could actually talk, and although it cost more than I would usually try to spend, the prices really are average and totally do-able especially if you're just going out for one drink! I definitely want to go back to check out the food one night. 

We slept in, something I hadn't done in far too long, and got ready for brunch (I mean, Sunday morning, what else would we do?) Did you know that Bareburger has a brunch menu now? Well, it does, and you should seriously get on that. My love of Bareburger was newly ignited with my Farmstead Burger. I need it again. Nowwww. 

(Farmstead = Sweet Potato & Wild Rice burger with cauliflower hummus (!!!), tomatoes and baby kale wrapped in a collard green)

Next we headed downtown to check out the Macy's Flower Show - my mom always tells me to go and I usually roll my eyes but I guess I'm getting old because I suggested it and actually enjoyed it. 

(Basically anything where I can just wander around taking pictures is something I'm going to enjoy!)

It was finally feeling a little springy outside so we walked from Herald Square to Grand Central, stopping for a few pictures of the ever-lovely Empire State Building. Truly never gets old. 

(This is the view from near my desk at work!)

I've been trying to be consistent with Monday morning Bodypump classes at NYSC so that was my Monday morning. I found someone to cover for me at the running store and went straight home and into my bed where I proceeded to listen to showtunes while coloring in an adult coloring book for approximately 2.5 hours. That's not an exaggeration and I have no regrets. 

Tuesday morning I was up early for 5 miles in the park because after work Peter and I got on a train to head to Long Island for his first ISLANDERS GAME at Nassau Coliseum. I'm getting seriously emotional about them not being there next season. Of course, since I was there, the Isles lost, but it was still great, as usual, to be there. 

(Two of my favorite things! Well Peter's not a thing, he's a person, but you get it.)

We went from my comfort zone of the Coliseum to way way wayy out of my comfort zone at a country night at a bar nearby - line dancing and me, as I suspected, are not exactly a match made in heaven. I probably learned one of the steps correctly. But what I DIDN'T expect was for me to find myself thinking that I want to learn! Everyone looked like they were having so much fun, plus I don't like being bad at things, so I may just have to give it another try. 

Wednesday we woke up super early to get a 6 a.m. train back to the city and I went to NYSC for a back workout before work. Back day = favorite day. One day I'll be able to do an unassisted pull-up...

Thursday I finally got to check-out Mile High Run Club - you can read my review here

Friday happy hour and Quinnpiac hockey game watch resulted in a few more drinks than I had planned on, but nothing to derail my plans for my 20 miler! Ahhhhhhh. 

(QU lost BIG TIME but the bar had lots of fun pom poms and beads and thunder sticks. We managed to destroy all of these things - woops.)

Saturday morning I ran the 2 miles to Nike's store on 57th and then had a couple minute break while we waited for them to get their group run started.  Then it was out for a 16 mile route down the west side, around lower Manhattan, over and back over the Manhattan Bridge, and back up to the store. Once we got back to the store, I still had 2 to go, which I finished still feeling mahvelous. 

I've run with Nike Run Club one other time (which you can read about here) and while I was grateful to have company for the 16 miles, I definitely felt like I was cheating because we stopped and started so much (running through Chinatown, really?) The water breaks and snacks to refuel are really clutch, And having a pacer was what kept me feeling so strong and confident the entire run - I wasn't wasting energy changing my tempo the entire time. But I reallllly don't like stopping. 

Peter, Kaitlin, Tiffanie and Taylor all made the 20 miles so much more bearable. And I felt surprisingly strong the entire time. I kept being seriously confused as to why everything felt so good. When I finished at 20 miles, I definitely could have kept going, which made me feel confident and also a little nervous! It's really not that far away now, and already thoughts of PRing are starting to slip back into my head. 

(My boyfriend REALLY LOVES RUNNING WITH ME can't you tell?)

Another plus to running with Nike? PICTURES! My favorite! And I love how some of these turned out. 

After my 20 miles I had no time to rest. It was time to shower, pack and head to Connecticut for my wonderful college rommate's birthday party! I was really nervous I would be too tired and cranky and sore to have a good time, and I was worried about bringing the mood down (and I think I was really out of it the beginning of the night - sorry guys!) but when you're surrounded by your best friends and the best music, you can't help but have an amazing night. 


(QU + Allison who may as well have gone there at this point!)

And that's just what happened - the bar played one song after the other that elicited singing at the top of our lungs and somehow I was able to Cotton Eye Joe till the cows came home (my legs on Sunday though, different story). 

(Iiiiiii wanna dance with somebodyyyyyy, Iiii wanna feel the heeattttt with someboddyyy)

All that's really left besides some shorter-long runs (oxymoron?) is the 22 miler on April 11th and then it's time to run a marathon! WHAT. Cannot believe it. 

(A little Cheno love)

The Run I've Been Waiting For

So, since my last running update, I successfully rested for a (pretty) solid 10 days. 

That's actually huge for me and was shockingly not too torturous considering for 4 of those days I was sick and couldn't imagine running anyway. 

Somewhere in those 10 days I had a verrrrry slow jogging November Project workout in San Francisco (I picked my damn hotel based on the fact that it was .8 miles from NP, there was no way I was going to miss it).


And then on the 11th day I ran 3 miles to November Project NYC's workout to see how I was feeling and whether or not I thought I could run the 25K I was registered to run on March 1 on Long Island. 

(More NP fun)

Friday's 3 miles felt lovely, and so I headed to Long Island Saturday night, telling myself I would see how Sunday's race went - no expectations. No getting my hopes up. If I didn't finish all 15.5 miles, fine. This was a long run, not a race. I half expected to go out, take a few strides, feel pain in my shins, and retire to the car while Peter finished. 

Instead, I cautiously began to realize I was feeling...great? Peter kept telling me we were pushing 8:00 and I was trying to slow down but it just wasn't happening. At one point I even said, "I feel like when I relax and try to slow down I just go faster!" 

This was the run I have been waiting for. The run that just felt right and good and wonderful. Challenging, but amazing. At one point I looked at my watch and saw something that I haven't seen in what feels like forever - a pace in the 7's. 

For about 9-10 miles I was on cloud 9, cruising right along. Of course, it had to come to an end at some point, and at around mile 10 my Achilles and IT band started hurting pretty badly (because it's always something new!) 

The last half mile or so of the course was on rocky/bumpy/icy/puddly trail-like terrain and since I have weak ankles, it was really doing a number on my legs. That's when things hurt the most, and between miles 10-12 every step I switched between "You better not finish the last 5K loop Lauren, don't be stupid" and "OK, you're fine, you got this, your legs are just achy from running a long distance." At one point I told Peter, "Don't let me finish all 15.5 miles." Well, as we got to the start of the last loop, I of course informed him, "I'm finishing." Miles 12 - 15 were pretty good, and the last .5 on that damn shitty trail killed, but we celebrated Peter's longest run at 13.2 miles and we finished at a full-out run, crossing the finish line at 2:09:28. 

We cooled down with a little jog and stretch and then walked back to the food table where I gleefully exclaimed, "ARE THOSE PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA SANDWICHES?" Best race ever. 

But for real, this was my second GLIRC (Greater Long Island Running Club) race and both were excellently organized with really nice courses. The 25K was 5 5K loops through Caumsett State Park and it was really pretty with some rolling hills but nothing too challenging. The heaters in the tent weren't working, but the post-race heroes and snacks, small-town feel, and relatively convenient parking situation more than made up for it. 

The elites were a little sassy, and I lost feeling in my hands walking back to the car, but overall, it was a wonderful day. Oh, and did I mention that when Peter and I were in the tent loading up on snacks, we both heard our names announced as first in our age groups? Cherry on top! 

(Pace = 8:21 suhweeeeet)

I was so exhausted the rest of the day, but not too exhausted to eat approximately every 20 minutes. 

(Home sweet Long Island)

This morning, I woke up pretttttty damn achy. I'm working at NY Running Co. tonight and hoping there's some serious down time for foam rolling... my Achilles is the real thing concerning me and bothering me at the moment so fingers crossed some stretching and a day off will help. And, YOGA TOMORROW. Ew.


I may or may not have used a wine rack as a sneaker tree and a scarf hanger as a medal display...

Pittsburgh on Pause

Let us recap the week in running and exercise, shall we? Even though I'm pretty sure the title of the post provides enough foreshadowing to tell you how things turned out...

As I said in my last post, Monday morning I woke myself up at 5:45, looked out the window, and said “Snow hasn’t started yet, no excuses, get your butt to the park.”

I got dressed, put on my sneakers, looked out the window and…the snow had started. But at that point there was no turning back, and I headed to the park for 6 miles that were faster than I’ve been typically running these days- 8:25 pace in the empty, snowy park and my week was off to a very positive start.

Tuesday was another early morning, but it wasn’t very difficult to get up and out because interval day is my favorite day and I knew I was meeting Melissa to do a few miles as a warm up! We did 3 miles followed by 2.5 miles of 400 meter intervals and a .5 mile cool down back home for a total of 6.

(Interval crew) 

It was cold, it was snowy, and when I got back to my apartment, there was no heat or hot water. Thank god for NYSC memberships.

Wednesday morning I returned to November Project after way too long off. I even got up and out for the 5:30 a.m. group so I could make it to physical therapy at 7:30! 
(So early, but so great)

My new apartment is almost 1.5 miles away from Gracie Mansion, and the workout was about 3 miles plus burpees, lunges and pushups! 5 miles total on Wednesday!


Thursday was a day off from running but I did a shoulder and back circuit at the gym:
10 TRX rows
10 front plate raises (10 lbs)
10 ball slams (14 lb ball)
10 later side plate raises (5 lbs)

Then,  15 minutes of rowing.

Friday was another day off from running – 

(Sometimes, seeing this is wonderful!)

Kayla, Melissa and I continued with my new favorite tradition – Friday decks & froyo! We met after work for 2 decks at NYSC. A KILLER arm deck (renegade rows, tricep extensions, lateral raises, pushups, and Kayla’s Chaturanga death move for the jokers. It took a while, so we made a quick ab deck to finish up with- penguins, lower ab circles, weighted Russian twists, and toes to sky.  

Next was the best part of deck & froyo Fridays- the froyo. $4 fill ups, thank you 16 Handles! Who cares that it was the coldest day of the year!?

(Mine's the one with extra graham cracker crumbs, frosted animal crackers and rainbow cookies)

Saturday was Valentine’s Day and it was the perfect morning. We woke up and headed to the park – I finished 12 miles relatively pain free and when I got back, an amazzzzing brunch was being cooked for me :)

Cinnamon Buns.
An omelet with spinach, mushrooms, peppers & cheese.
Hot chocolate with whipped cream and raspberry chocolate sauce.

Why do I spell omelet wrong every time. My brain just wants it to be omelette.

(Lucky girl!)

We got ready and got on a train to Connecticut for happy hour and endless appetizers at TGI Fridays. Approximately 40 mozzarella sticks later, it was time for some hockey! It was so nice being back at Quinnipiac. Watching hockey with some of my favorite people. And seeing BOOMER of course.

(Favorite people)

(Favorite bobcat)

(Just like the good old days!)

We spent the rest of the night drinking and eventually made it to Eli’s which was weird because it was emptier than I’ve ever seen it! Second trip to Hamden in a row where I’ve been forced to leave the women’s room by the bartender because I was busy girl talkin’ with friends. Woops.

Sunday we slept in and got RAY & MIKES SANDWICHES aka heart attack in sandwich form. Cheesesteak with a buffalo chicken cutlet. Because that’s necessary.

("The Irresistible") 

Then, time for more hockey- we had an entire suite to ourselves at the Bridgeport Sound Tigers game! Sadly, my parents and sister couldn’t make it, but we made the best of it.

(We may or may not have watched an entire period on the TV screen because we didn't want to leave the couch) 

Monday was President’s Day so we had an extra day of weekend-ness. I had every intention of running 6 miles. Instead, the cold made it impossible to run outside- my fingers and toes were immediately numb despite all my layers. So we went to the gym and I figured I could at least do a few miles on the treadmill.


Shins. Were. Awful.

I was crushed. My foot has been feeling almost 100%. I took 3 days off from running last week. My runs had been going great. I was finally back in the groove of waking up early in the mornings for my workouts.

The frustration and disappointment translated to me crying in the middle of New York Sports Club. Not my proudest moment.

Naturally, I dealt with it by brunching with my lovely ladies.

Potluck brunches are the best! You get lots of different food. The drinks are bottomless for AS LONG AS YOU WANT. You can take your shoes off and sit on couches.

Our menu consisted of:
The most delicious mini banana muffins that Kayla made. And healthy too!
 Probably not when you eat like 5 of them like I did, but whatever. 
S’more cookies that were killer. “If we eat them all now, we don’t have to worry about eating them later.”
Bruschetta, classic.
Avocado toast on Ezekiel bread <3
Greek yogurt with coconut flax granola (shout out to Nature's Promise, my favorite granola ever!)
Fruit salad

And lots and lots of sangria. 

And maybe some cucumber vodka. Organic, of course.

Tuesday, I was supposed to run, but a delayed flight and landing in California later than scheduled meant I didn’t have time to make it to the gym.

I woke up this morning SO EXCITED to run in SHORTS and be WARM. My hotel is right near the Guadalupe River Trail, and I woke up nice and early with plenty of time to get in a wonderfully glorious 6-8 mile run.

If only.

Instead, I limped along for 2 miles before finally telling myself that this has to end.

I have to stop blatantly disregarding the warning signs that my body are giving me.

I have to stop knowing what I need to do to get better, and refusing to do it.

Thank you, to the November Project friend who Facebook messaged me and said, “I just honestly don't want to see a talented runner sidelined because of this mental side of training and need to keep up.”

Thank you to Kayla who probably doesn’t realize how much she has helped me- by watching her overall positivity despite not being able to run for so long – by seeing her persistently  stay active with decks and yoga – by being so unwavering in doing what it takes to make it to her end goal, to run happy and healthy again.

Thank you to Nina, whose tough love protestations of “GIVE IT A REST, IDIOT” have finally broken through my stubbornness.

Thank you to Peter for not pretending he didn’t know the weirdo breaking down in the middle of New York Sports Club and for hugging me instead.

Elliptical, rowing, biking, swimming, weights and decks it is for me for the time being.

I’m still fairly confident I can make Pittsburgh happen, but if I keep doing what I’m doing, there’s no way I’ll be making it to that starting line, let alone the finish. 


A Muddled Training and Injury Update

I don’t have a good enough memory to start where I left off back in December, so I’m just going to backtrack to January 12, when I officially started my training schedule for the Pittsburgh Marathon. I’m all set up with a 16 week training plan courtesy of the amazing NYRR Coach John.

This is my first time using the NYRR Virtual Training program, and it is way more awesome than I had even expected it to be. Each day, I’m given not only my mileage, but how it should be run. An easy day, marathon tempo pickups, intervals, hills? It’s all spelled out for me, complete with pace ranges!

As convenient as it is – it’s been hard for me to try not to get too wrapped up in all of the numbers. I successfully ran a marathon without worrying about the pace of each 1000 meters that I ran, and I can do it again. Having all this extra information and data is certainly helpful, and hopefully will help me improve as a runner, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when I’m injured. A lot of the suggested paces are what I was running before Wine Glass and now, with all the leg issues I’ve been having, they’re just not possible for me. It’s been discouraging, and I’m considering switching my program to the “conservative” track. 

Pittsburgh was never a “need to run this fast and BQ” race for me- I want to be healthy enough to run another fall marathon and use that to crush it and Boston Qualify. And in order to make that happen, I need to not kill myself training for Pittsburgh. I’m trying to keep telling myself that- but I’m stubborn and when I see that’s I’m scheduled to run 6 miles, I’m most likely going to run 6 miles whether it’s smart or not. It sounds stupid, I know. And it is stupid.

But while the virtual training program may be a little overwhelming and discouraging for now – it DOES tell me all the right things, like, “Remember to not be too rigid with your training. If you're feeling fatigued or feel a pain, by all means cut the run short. Sometimes we get so caught up in hitting a mileage goal that we lose sight of what our body is telling us.” 

I just need to work on believing that even if I miss a bunch of training runs by taking some time off/taking it easy – I’m in shape, I’m a good runner, and I will probably be OK to run Pittsburgh.

Also adding to the overabundance of data is the fact that for Christmas, I got the Garmin 220! My first run with it was Christmas morning and I was totally surprised to see what my pace actually was - MapMyRun had me feelin' like Meb and Garmin brought me back down to earth reallllll fast. As much as it sucked seeing those numbers, I'm glad that I can feel confident in what my watch is telling me. So far, KNOCK ON WOOD, I have had zero issues with my watch connecting to satellites and I love it so far. 

(What do you mean I'm not running 7:50 miles Garmin?!)

My training for Pittsburgh got off to a good start on January 12 – I was traveling for work, but I still managed to get my first 9 workouts in as planned, with additional strength training. I was ready to rock and roll. 

(Training schedule- check! Amazing necklace engraved with "Wineglass Marathon" and my finish time from my parents- check! Wonderful reading courtesy of Peter- check! Garmin- check! Awesome training journal from Laura- check!)
(Makin' it happen on the road)

My first long run was scheduled as a 6 miler, but months ago I had signed up for the Bluepoint Brewery 10-Miler out on Long Island (full review to come). So instead of sticking to the plan and starting off with a nice, easy, 6 miles – I went out and raced 10 miles. Those 10 miles didn’t feel good. At all. My calves were extremely tight and my shins were in a lot of pain. But I thought I was fine, because I finished.
(I also probably thought I was fine because I chugged two beers after crossing the finish line and was drunk at 10:30 a.m.)

The next day, I ran 2.7 miles to get to work at NY Running Co. Felt pretty OK. Monday, headed to Central Park for my scheduled 5 miles and as soon as I started, something in the arch of my right foot started hurting. It wasn’t the usual tight/sore/achy hurt that I’ve just learned to accept in other part of my legs. This was pain. And that difference right there is why I should have stopped. But instead I finished my 5 miles. Walking around doing errands the rest of the day was seriously painful.

So painful, that I very uncharacteristically called and made an appointment with an orthopedist the following morning. I was convinced this wasn’t something that would just go away and while I didn’t want to get bad news, I also wanted to know what the hell was up- I’ve never had foot issues before. Every other part of my legs, yes. Foot? Usually fine.

I went to the doctor that a friend had recommended to me and she was really nice- totally understood my panic at being only 1 week into marathon training and having to come in to see her. After x-rays and some ultrasound, she told me it was either tendinitis (not the worst thing in the world) or a stress fracture (the worst thing in the world). So she put me in a walking boot and told me to get an MRI. Well, of course by the time I got the authorization for an MRI, I was leaving on a work trip the next day, so the MRI would have to wait and I would have to work for a week in a boot.

I stubbornly continued to get in any and all cardio that I could while in the boot.

On Wednesday of that week, I did 15 minutes on the elliptical IN A BOOT. 15 minutes of rowing IN A BOOT. And some ab and arm exercises. Rowing and using the elliptical with a boot was oddly not that difficult.

(Nothin' to see here...completely normal...)

Thursday I did 30 minutes rowing, 15 minutes stationary bike, a tricep circuit, and fire hydrants, donkey kicks, leg raises, glute bridges and clamshells.

Friday was 30 minutes on the elliptical without the boot to see how I felt and 15 minutes on the bike before a chest and abs circuit.

From using the boot, my foot was starting to feel better and I was contemplating whether I could run the 5K I was signed up for on Saturday. I spoke with John and with instructions to not wear racing flats and to take it easy, I decided I would run the 5K.

(My fave up and coming speedster who kicked butt at the 5K!)

It was quite impressive the number of people that came out for a 5K in January in Columbus, Ohio. It was a well-organized race with awesome swag- a long sleeved technical shirt, buff and medal with lots of yummy snacks and full sized Gatorades at the end.

(My co-workers are pretty awesome for waking up to run a 5K before a 13 hour+ work day!)

But, my body was screaming at me the entire time saying, “You’re really stupid!” I was in a lot of pain. I almost stopped and walked but I couldn’t walk across a finish line.

(LOL, rough.)

When I got back to the city on Monday (after an 11 hour bus ride since everyone's flights were cancelled), there was snow everywhere and I ditched the boot because navigating slush puddles in a walking boot is no bueno. That night, I went to the gym and did some rowing and elliptical along with some deadlifts, squats and lunges.

(Perfect weather for navigating a suitcase home with a walking boot!)

Tuesday I went out in the park for 5 easy miles (except they weren’t easy because there was snow everywhere!) It was really pretty and my foot wasn’t that bad until I got to cat hill…but that’s pretty much the end of the run anyway.

(It felt like we were running in place at some parts, but the park was so pretty covered in snow!)
(A lovely gentleman was making perfectly shaped snowballs for people to throw!)

(Happy place!)

Wednesday I took a spin class and was relieved to find that it didn’t bother my foot at all. That night I went in for my MRI.

Thursday I was an idiot and did a deck of cards workout that included speed skaters, box jumps, jumping jacks and squat thrusts. I was expecting all of the above to really bother my foot- but it didn’t!

Friday I took the day off and Saturday I cautiously ran 4 miles on the treadmill. Not too much pain, but also not the 9 mile long run I was scheduled to run, which stressed me out.

Sunday was fun because I joined some people from November Project for a #TravelCheerStation for the 4 miler in Central Park. What is a Travel Cheer Station you ask? We ran the course in the opposite direction and cheered every time an NP comrade passed by. It was really fun and I got in 6.5 miles.

My paces continued to upset me- with 9:17 being Sunday’s.

(Pace, schmace- I had a blast on Sunday travel-cheering with these ladies. Might be my new favorite activity. Why pay to run the race when you can just run it in the opposite direction and encourage people the whole way?!)

Monday I went back to the orthopedist for my MRI results and was told IT’S NOT A STRESS FRACTURE.

I’m free to run, since I can’t really do any more damage to the tendon which is already inflamed. She gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory (which I STILL have not been able to get filled by a pharmacy) and fitted me for a brace that has done WONDERS. She also wants me to go to physical therapy – which I’ve been two twice now and will go to 3 times this week.

Once I found out Monday morning, I decided to cut the mileage a little bit for each day on my calendar, but to jump back in.

I was even able to do some speed work on Tuesday on the treadmill!

1 Mile Warm Up @ 8:34 Pace
400 meters @ 7:19
:45 rest
400 meters @ 7:14 Pace
:45 Rest
400 meters @7:09 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 7:04 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:59 Pace
:45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:54 Pace
 :45 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:49 Pace
 :30 Rest
400 Meters @ 6:44 Pace
.5 Mile Cool Down @ 10:00 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:13 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:20 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:27 Pace
.25 Mile Cool Down @ 8:34 Pace

Oh AND I went to yoga. Yoga really frustrated me, as usual, because EVERYTHING HURTS when it’s supposed to feel good! Child’s pose was painful! Why is everything so tight?!
Anyway, my foot has been feeling a lot better with the brace, and last week I was able to run 23.5 miles. The only real pain was after my 9 mile long run on Saturday. As soon as I stopped and started walking, it killed.

(Saturday long run crew! Solid.)

The long run wasn’t great in terms of how I felt, but meeting a huge group at NYRR Saturday morning full of friendly, excited faces made it worth it. I also am not the biggest fan of long runs in Central Park, so I was happy that I only had to do 9 miles.


This morning was the first running awhile where I was able to keep a pace that I was happy with- and although there was still some pain, it wasn’t terrible and I felt good with how things went afterwards.  6 miles at an 8:25 pace. I can definitely live with that.

I have lots of plans for this week- intervals tomorrow, NP Wednesday and hills Thursday- but we’ll see if that actually pans out.

I don’t really know what this post accomplished besides re-hashing the last 2 weeks of training but, yup. There ya have it.

If you take anything away from this post it should be that you can use the elliptical, ERG and stationary bike with a walking boot on but you will get some weird looks.

Also, don’t do what I do. 

Frustrated, But Back

It’s been an almost solid 2 months since I last blogged, which is really kind of crazy when I think about all the things that have happened since my last post in December.

Of course I’ve been running, working out, and eating delicious, healthy foods. I made my own stuffed acorn squash, and found a new neighborhood Chinese takeout place with a special “health & diet” section!


(Tried Sweetgreen for the first time in DC too!) 

But I’ve also been traveling, drinking, and eating things like candied bacon and pumpkin doughnut bread pudding with bourbon ice cream. I also spent an entire day in bed, and only got up to go to a bar for football, beer and nachos.

(This dessert was unreal and one night we ordered 3 of them...)

I wish I could say the healthy lifestyle choices and green juices were outweighing the not-so-healthy choices, but in reality, last Friday I covered a 7-11 Boston Cream Donut in Nutella.  So there’s that. There’s also definitely some extra lbs thanks to my choices…

There’s also the fact that I’m in the process of moving, I was traveling for the majority of January, and have another trip coming up in February. Oh right, and that marathon training thing is happening (kind of, but more on that later). Excuses, excuses, I know.

(I really shouldn't complain about traveling when I get to see things like THIS!)

But I recently received an email that someone had commented on the blog, and that comment gave me the kick in my pants that I needed to get back into this blog. This commenter was a self-described new runner and food lover and they asked me to please start blogging again, because they had just discovered my blog. How could I not? So thank you, commenter, for letting me know that someone out there wanted to read what I have to say about two of my favorite things- fitness & food :)  

To be honest, nowadays running hasn’t given me that feeling of being on top of the world that it used it. In fact, most days at the end of a run I just want to scream and cry in frustration. Something that used to be effortless and enjoyable has become something that is painful and stressful as I try to train for a marathon that my body doesn’t seem to want to run. I’ll get into the specifics of my plagued body parts in a separate post, but needless to say, it’s been disheartening.
(Only 2 weeks into marathon training and I ended up HERE. Ugh)

Luckily, I am surrounded by positive people who make me smile and who share my love of not only exercise, but life. My running buddies have become so much more. They’re there waiting for me at Engineer’s Gate for a 5 mile run after a blizzard, they’re there waiting for me at Engineer’s Gate at 6:30 a.m. for some pre-work intervals, they’re there to walk 6 miles uphill with my mattress, bookshelves, and entire wardrobe, they’re there when I really need a freaking drink at the end of the week, and they’re there when I really need a mimosa Saturday morning at brunch.

(We like running)

(AND we like unlimited sangria and tacos!)

Having people like that makes it easier to handle life’s frustrations and stresses. And makes it easier to handle how, on some days, I am so dang ready I am to throw the towel in on this marathon.   

But like JackRabbit’s Instagram account reminded me this morning, “It’s rare when everything lines up and you feel invincible during your run. That happened to us today- and we want you to chase that feeling too.” And that’s what keeps me going. Because I have to believe that one of these days, everything’s going to click and I’m going to have a great run. Runs like that don’t happen every day, but I’ve had my share of them and I can still remember each and every one. It’s worth every single painful, difficult, shitty step for the feeling of one effortless, happy run.

(This was after my first 16 miler when I felt on top of the world - exhausted, but on top of the world. RAWR)

Here’s to hoping it happens soon. I could really use it! 

Guess What I Did?

So, last week I did something that I would like to share with the blogosphere.

I registered for my second marathon!

As soon as I crossed the finish line of my first marathon I knew it wouldn’t be my last. And why wait an entire year to train for another fall marathon? I immediately started researching spring marathons. I was pretty much convinced I would run the Long Island Marathon, despite everyone’s warnings of an incredibly boring course./

(Once definitely wasn't enough!)

But then my friend Erin came to me with an intriguing proposition. Run the Pittsburgh Marathon. There were a few things that gave me some hesitation.

1) Yes I wanted to run a spring marathon, but training through the cold winter months was (and still is) extremely daunting.2) Pittsburgh is not exactly in New York City’s backyard.3) Apparently Pittsburg is nicknamed “The City of Bridges.” Bridges = hills. And the elevation chart for this marathon is a LOT hillier than Wineglass.

(Guess which one is Pittsburgh...)

But in the end, here’s why I clicked that “Register” button and made a commitment to train for 4+ chilly months:

1) I am going to have the most fun training group EVER to get me to lace up my sneakers when it’s the last thing I want to do. A ton of November Project friends have dropped #verbals to run Pittsburgh which is going to make it SO MUCH EASIER.


2) Erin is running her first marathon, and I SO want to be there for it!
       3) We already have a place to stay that’s close to the start.

       4) Did I mention that I’m so excited for the group I’m training with ? We are going to have so much FUN- wild and crazy Friday nights spent in someone’s apartment as we relax and watch movies because we have long runs in the morning. Brunching after our long runs. Talking during our long runs.

      5) Road tripping to Pittsburgh together!

      6) Getting to see a new city!

      7) Friends from NY Running Co. are also running the Pittsburgh Marathon! Dave and Mack are both super awesome and are going to be able to teach me so much and give me such great advice throughout this training process.

       8) It’s a bigger marathon than Wineglass, and after seeing the NYC Marathon, I’m excited for more cheering/spectators/pizazz. It will be interesting to see which I like better!

      9) I am still scared of the hills, but I have decided that next FALL is when I will try to BQ at either Wineglass or another fast course. Pittsburgh is just to get another marathon under my belt for the experience and to make me a smarter racer and trainer. 

         10) I heard the medal is pretty sweet

      I’m using the next month or so to put on some weight, lift some weights, relax and enjoy life- the holidays, parties, drinks, all of that awesome stuff. Then, in January, it’s back to business.

  Right now, I won’t lie, it’s daunting, scary, and I’m feeling a little lazy. But hopefully by January I’m ready to go- I’ll have stuffed myself silly with holiday treats and done my fair share of lounging around by that point!

(Lots of this in my future)

I also want to give a huge shout out to my friend Kaitlin who ran her first half marathon when Andrew and I ran the Wineglass Marathon. Guess what she did? She just signed up for the Pittsburgh Marathon! BOOM! You’re awesome.

You know who hasn’t signed up? Andrew. He’s in denial that he’s running it. But he is. And Pete, you’re running the half. Just accept it. 

Let's do this Pittsburgh!

Transformation Tuesday: Why I'm Over My Abs

On this “Transformation Tuesday” let’s talk about the transformative power of strength training.

“We thought you just ran lots of miles,” you’re probably thinking.

 Well, that’s true. For the past half a year, running has been my main focus. But now that I have some time before I need to start upping my mileage again in preparation for the Pittsburgh Marathon, I’m trying to get back into weights.

Yes it can be a little intimidating at first to step away from the treadmill and the elliptical and the safety of other girls like you, looking cute in your Nike and Lululemon.

But let’s be real. You dream of one day being that badass chick doing all sorts of exercises with the free weights with the guys.  (Or maybe you dream of being the badass girl all alone in your own corner of the gym because you’ve been that girl at the free weights with the guys, and they’re just obnoxious for the most part).

Well, I’m here to tell you that you absolutely should go for it.

There’s no excuse. You don’t know where to start? How to do the exercises? I’m pretty sure there are approximately 129308 ways to fix that. Google. Youtube. Pinterest. DailyBurn. There are literally infinite resources for you to find different exercises and study up on the proper form before you test them out yourself. More times than I can count I’ve printed out workouts, pictures, instructions and brought them to the gym with me. I’ve also watched YouTube videos with no shame.

Start simple, with a few basic moves. Get comfortable. The best part is that once you move to the weight area of the gym- you’re going to see people doing some crazy shit. And then you’re going to go home and try to Google it with weird terms like “crunchy side step weighted leg lift thing” and then say a prayer that Mr. Google somehow figures out what exercise the Hulk at your gym was doing. And then you’re going to research it. And then YOU’RE gunna do it.

Everyone in the fitness world says that cardio bunnies are doing it wrong. Sure, you can lose weight from doing a ton of cardio. I certainly lost weight when every weekend for 4 months consisted of running 15+ miles.

I was never sold on the idea that weight training was just as, if not more, effective in toning your body than cardio until my attention to weight training became almost non-existent. And now, I MISS MY MUSCLES :(

(I even used to have baby biceps when I wasn't flexing!)

At the gym a few days ago, I was doing ab exercises and was asked, “How often do you work on your abs? Your body is amazing.” 1) I thanked that person for the compliment and 2) Said sorry to disappoint you, but I barely ever focus strictly on abs at the gym.

Here’s me 6 months ago when I was doing a pretty good mix of weights and cardio. At this point, I was only dedicating 1 day a week to an ab-based workout. The rest of that came from all the core stabilization necessary to use free weights for shoulder, back, bicep, tricep, leg, and chest exercises.

I read about it all the time, and rolled my eyes. But looking back, it is so completely true.

So while most people use transformation Tuesday to show their progress- I guess I’m kind of doing the opposite. I have totally lost this strength, those obliques, that 2-pack. Those biceps. The triceps I worked so hard for. Gone. Poof. So sad. But I’m excited to get back into the gym to be reunited with dumb bells and kettlebells and squat racks in the hopes of getting toned back up. Looking at these pictures is rough because I know how much hard work I put into getting into that kind of shape, and part of me, of course, wishes I still looked like that.

But at the same time, RIP to that body. I could get it back. But I don’t think I want to. Now, or ever again.

Because that body meant saying “no” way too much.

No to delicious food, no to happy hour with friends, no to drunken nights as a single twenty-something in NYC, no to a coworkers birthday cake.

I was obsessed with never missing a workout. I was obsessed with seeing that definition when I looked in the mirror. Clearly, as demonstrated here, I was obsessed with taking selfies to track my progress (embarrassing…)

And for what? I don’t walk around in a sports bra my whole life. I don’t compete in fitness competitions. Quite frankly, it’s a waste of time and energy for me to look like this. It made me cranky and not fun. I like froyo. I like beer.


I also really like lifting weights and doing squats and learning new exercises and running and taking spin classes.

So I’m going to do all of the above. And what happens in terms of body transformation, happens. I am so over the days where my mood every morning was determined by whether or not I could see my abs. 


Snoozin' for a Bruisin' - How to #JustWakeUp

I suppose I’m lucky- For the most part, I’m a morning person. My alarm goes off, I have a bummed out moment or two when I wish I could continue cuddling with my pillow pet, and then I get up and start my day. I’m not a crazy peppy morning person or anything, but I’m also not super cranky.

As a general rule, I always prefer working out in the morning. People who live for their 9 p.m. gym sessions baffle me a little, but to each their own. It’s a total personal preference, but for me, starting off the day with a healthy dose of endorphins helps me feel more energized and keeps me from thinking about or dreading an end of the day workout when all I want to do is cook dinner and crawl into bed.

While training for the marathon, I often got my runs done before work- setting alarms for ungodly hours like 4:45 a.m.  I’ve never regretted a sweaty morning.  Plus, it makes breakfast that much better (even though breakfast is already the best meal of the day, obviously).

So what’s the point of this post? Basically, to tell you that I’m awesome and motivated and have no prob waking up for exercise while the rest of you sleep, suckers.

HA just kidding.

I’ve been seriously struggling since the marathon to get my booty up and out. At first I told myself I deserved the rest- but now I continually find myself hitting snooze and eventually saying, “Eh, I’ll do it later.” This is very unlike me and I have a few guesses as to why it’s happening.

1) My body actually does need some rest after training for and running a marathon.

(Someone needs to shut me up!)

2) The seasons are changing and its dark outside in the mornings. I don’t like the dark. And I really don’t like the cold. But seriously- it’s harder to get up when it’s dark and your body still thinks it should be enjoying your bed.

(Changing seasons = pretty runs but chilly weather, which I do not like!)

3) Not having a schedule or goals now that the marathon is over is proving difficult to handle. I was so determined to run my first marathon that when I set an alarm for 5:00 a.m. to run 8 miles, it wasn’t really a choice. It was just a fact. I was getting up and doing it because that was how I was going to reach my goal. Also, Tiffanie was usually out there waiting fr me.

4) I’m trying to take a step back. Yes, exercise makes me happy. Yes my health is a priority. But I’m trying to embrace a new attitude for winter. Where I indulge in life a little more than I have been for the past year. I’m trying to convince myself that abs are overrated. And froyo is most definitely not. It’s like the sign I just saw outside of DTUT- “Bikini season is over. Get whipped cream.” So bring on the winter layer of warmth. Maybe 4 days of exercise a week instead of 7 won’t kill me. We’ll see.

(This is what $10 of froyo looks like. I have serious self-control problems at the toppings bar...)

That being said- I am still trying to find some tips and tricks for getting back to my normal morning workout self!

I’ve found a few things that work for me.

1) It may seem silly, but label your alarm so that when you go to turn it off (or hit snooze) in the morning, you have a motivational message staring you in the face! Along the same lines- screw alarms that are peaceful waterfalls or mellow piano music. Is that really going to make you want to lace up your sneakers for a spin class? Where’s your Stronger Better Faster?

2) Accountability in the form of friends. When Tiffanie and I planned to meet on our street corner for a run- I knew I could count on her to be there and she knew she could count on me. For some reason- we usually treat the people we care about better than we treat ourselves. I’m far more likely to let myself down by staying in bed that to let a friend down.
  Fitness friends are super dependable! Jessica had told me she would bring “Gone Girl” to the next November Project workout for me, but when I woke up Wednesday morning to lots of rain- I figured I would have to wait a few more days. Wrong. True to her word, Jessica showed up with “Gone Girl” – wrapped in 3 plastic bags. #Weatherproof! 

Similarly- I had NOT wanted to go out in the rain for that workout. I am a hugeee baby when it comes to rain. And cold rain? Whyy? But I had baked cookies and posted on Facebook that I would bring them. I couldn’t be THAT person that didn’t show up with the cookies promised oh so publicly on social media! And so, I went. So Tip #3 is: Bake the night before your workout. Ok, not really- but find some way to hold yourself accountable – even if it means doing it for other people instead of yourself.

(Oh yeah, cookies yeah!)

3) Sleep in your workout clothes! Really, this makes so much sense. They’re comfy and this way you have one less excuse in the morning. Again, I hate the cold, so the thought of taking my PJs off to change into workout clothes can make me mentally shiver. But if I’m already dressed – no problem! Roll outta bed and go!

       4) Along the same lines, be prepared. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed by the thought of packing things first thing in the morning. If I plan on going to the gym before work- I have my work outfit, makeup, toiletries, gym lock, etc. all packed and ready to go. All I have to do in the morning is get out of bed, put my sneakers on, brush my teeth, grab my bag and head out the door!

       5) This one’s very specific to me- but maybe it can help someone else out there! Typically, I sleep on top of a loft. When I anticipate a difficult wake up, I’ll sleep on the futon down below- just another way of eliminating an extra excuse to stay in bed in the a.m. My loft ladder is no joke people! It takes a lot of energy getting down from there…

I’m sure there are some other things I could come up with, like drink a lot of water before bed so you have to go the bathroom early in the morning anyway? One that I know would work but I never actually do is don’t bring your cell phone to bed! Set your alarm and put it across the room so you have to get up and turn it off.

Does anyone else have any tips?

At the end of the day – know your body. Some days, you can tell you’re just being a boob and you need to suck it up and get the hell out from under the covers (no matter how damn comfy they are). But other days, at least for me, I can tell that I legitimately could benefit from the extra z’s. If my schedule allows for a later in the day workout, every once in a while it’s OK to hit the pillow for a little extra rest. As long as you haven’t dropped a #verbal and as long as no one’s waiting for you (or your baked goods)!

DIY: Runner Edition

Confession time…

I judged people who spent money on arm warmers. I thought it was ridiculous when I saw runners wearing a t-shirt and then arm sleeves. "Why can’t you just wear a long sleeve shirt?" I thought to myself.

But like most instances where you judge others, there’s an explanation that can make you feel like a real jerk for being so critical. Eventually, people explained that arm sleeves are great for races because you’re usually cold at the start, but then warm up as the run progresses- arm sleeves are an easy way to go from long sleeves to short sleeves without actually having to wear two layers.

Except then my next thought was, so you just throw the arm sleeves away when you warm up? That seems like a waste of money. Carry them? That seems like a pain.

For my marathon, everyone had told me I should wear shorts, short sleeves or a tank and, you guessed it, arm sleeves.  But I wasn’t willing to spend $20-$40 on something I was literally going to throw away after using for a few hours. Then, I had a genius idea. Ok, maybe it wasn’t my idea, I think I must have read it on a blog many moons ago and it kind of sat in my back of my brain until Saturday night, but either way…DIY Arm Sleeves.

I took a pair of old knee high socks, cut off the feet and VOILA! 

(They even ended up matching my outfit perfectly, which I swear was unplanned!)

I wore them until about mile 23 of my marathon and am SO glad I had them. I took them off at mile 23, tossed them in a garbage can, and didn’t have any cares about wasted money. 

Next time, I may try cutting them to include thumb holes, because at the beginning of the race when I was freezing, I would have loved to have a little coverage on my hands!

Packing for a Marathon 101

I am by no means a racing expert. I rarely find races worth the anxiety or entry fees. 

However, I have run quite a few races this year and can tell you that it’s absolutely a good idea to do your race-day packing the night before. If you’re anything like me, it’s hard enough falling asleep the night before a race without the added stress of having to think about what you need to pack in the morning.

But the real reason you’re going to want to lay everything out the night before, is to get an awesome picture to Instagram, to let all of your followers know you’re a total badass with a race in the morning, and yes, you will be flawlessly color-coordinated.

(Instagram Exhibit A) 

(Instagram Exhibit B)

Running races in New York City, packing is usually fairly easy. But for my first marathon, I would be travelling 5 hours upstate to Corning, NY. Shockingly, packing went pretty well so I thought I would share my list with you, in case you’ve got a destination race coming up. Also, so I can look back at this and repeat it next time around!

Running Gear 

-First and foremost SNEAKERS. Both of my parents asked me multiple times, “You’ve got your sneakers right?” So much faith in me. Although in High School I did show up to my math final without a calculator. D’oh.

-Compression. I knew I would be running in my CEP compression socks, so those were definitely coming, but I also threw in my 2XU calf sleeves as back-up.

-3 different race-day outfit options. I swear, this wasn’t completely excessive! One outfit featured my Nike Pro shorts if I decided I wanted to go the spandex route. Another featured my Old Navy split shorts with undies inside. And the third was Old Navy capris, in case I decided it was cold enough to run in capris instead of shorts. Obviously each of these bottoms required a different matching top and sports bra.

-Fall marathons mean cold starts. I had prepared by going to Goodwill and buying myself an $8 running jacket that I could start the race with and throw away without caring too much when I warmed up.

-Arm warmers. When people looked at the weather forecast for the day of my race and told me what they thought I should wear, pretty much everyone said arm warmers. Uhm, what? I have been brainwashed into buying a lot of running gear that’s probably not 100% necessary, but arm warmers were something that I refused to get behind. Until I ran a marathon in homemade arm warmers and realized they’re genius.

-Headband that I didn’t end up wearing because it didn’t match my outfit (#Vanity)

-I had decided that I would be leaving my cell phone with my grandparents the morning of the race so that I didn’t need a belt, but I am indecisive, and didn’t trust myself not to want it at the last minute, so I threw my belt in just in case. Happy to say I stuck with my gut and didn’t end up running with the belt.
-The Nike GPS watch that David lent me was bigger than my arm, but so clutch. I am so glad I had it! I definitely can’t imagine having run the marathon without it (ugh, is this the beginning of me cracking on buying a damn watch too?)

-Nutrition is something that I still have yet to master, but I threw in some of my trusted Quest bars, Chia Squeezes and GUs to have with me.
-Agua? I also fail at hydration but I have some water bottles that are supposed to go in one of the Nathan TrailMix belts so I threw one of those in just in case I decided to be spontaneous Sunday morning and hold the water bottle to avoid stopping at water stations. I never really considered this, but I had the water bottle with me so I’m listing it here.

-Heatsheet! I had sniped one of these after the Brooklyn Half to save for later and I am SO glad I did. This sucker saved my life while we waited an hour and a half before the race Sunday morning.

-The stick. Because my calves are jerks.

-Trigger point foam roller. Because who doesn’t love a little pre-race torture?

-Icy hot that felt oh so good  Sunday night.

-The typical toiletries that you would bring on any trip (+ Extra Ibuprofen!)

-Camera and charger!

-Normal people outfits (I forced myself to dress in real clothes when we went out to dinners except that I totally wanted to stay in workout gear the entire weekend. Ultimate comfort.)

-Car ride reading materials courtesy of Claudia- “Bone Health for the Endurance Athlete.” Except that I just ended up sleeping the majority of the car ride. I am a damn good napper.

There you have it! I had to take the LIRR and subway with all of this stuff, so I did a pretty good job keeping it minimal but making sure I had everything I needed.

And most importantly, I got a great Instagram shot.

(The money shot, right there!)

Is there anything you think I was missing that you always pack for a race?

Wineglass Marathon 2014 Recap

I’ve been holding off on writing my first marathon recap because once it’s written and posted, it’s really over.

Training for, running and completing the Wineglass Marathon was by far one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve had thus far and I will certainly struggle to put it all into words. But I will try, because my confidence is pretty high right about now. I can do anything!

Friday after work my foam roller and I made our way to Penn Station to make the trek to Long Island to stay the night at my parents. As soon as I got there, I was greeted with an amazing dinner. I was in full on “Calories are energy and you need energy to run” mode which meant my parents looked on in amazement as I packed away enough food to feed at least 2 people. Salmon, sweet potato, some of my dad’s spaghetti for good measure, and a delicious Mitch creation – artichoke heart salad with feta, red onions and chick peas. Talk about spoiled.

I was convinced by my mom to join her in drinking a cosmo. Totally fine.

Oh, did I mention my mom had also bought me a gallon of Fudge Tracks ice cream? Since I was only home for a night, I made myself a generous ice cream sundae complete with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

I diligently iced my shins and calves, did some stretching and crawled into bed.
(Thank you, Claudia, for my patriotic KT tape!! Keeping my legs from doing anything too crazy.) 

Saturday morning I took advantage of my parents’ fully stocked kitchen and made myself a delicious, healthy breakfast of whole wheat toast, hummus, an egg, Swiss cheese, tomato, avocado and some feta crumbles for good measure. 

(That's hot.) 

My grandparents picked me up at 8 a.m. Saturday to start our journey to Corning, NY. I napped on and off pretty much the entire ride, wrote my pre-race thank yous, stared out the window- you know, typical car ride stuff. For lunch, my grandparents and I stopped at the Liberty Diner, where they used to stop on their way up to Oswego when my dad was in college! Talk about a throwback! 

Diner menus are by far the most intimidating things ever…all the options. So many possibilities. I ended up ordering tuna, lettuce and tomato on an English muffin with coleslaw and a pickle and LOTS of Ken’s honey mustard. Also my grandma’s French fries, dipped in the honey mustard. Oh, and my grandpa’s buttered toast with strawberry jelly. Pre-race nutrition, I was rocking it, right?

After about 7 hours total, we reached the Corning Glass Museum, site of the 2014 Wineglass Marathon Expo! WOOHOO! 

(We made it!)

Packet pick-up was crowded, but pretty quick and Curly and Melissa found me and had already been through it, so they guided me.

What you get with this race is AWESOME, especially given the fact that registration is less than $100. At the expo I got a neon green long sleeved tech shirt, my bib, bag-check bag, safety pins, wine glass, and a cute little bottle of champagne- all in an awesome canvas drawstring bag. Two thumps up for swag!

I would have loved to walk around the expo for hours, but I was kind of overwhelmed and my grandparents were waiting upstairs in the glass museum so I didn’t want to take too long. I saw that there was another Wineglass marathon tech shirt for only $15 since they were out of every size except XS. I bought it for myself, sampled some yogurt and granola, and went back to my grandparents.

(They're good at taking selfies. They've learned from the best...)

I wish we could have actually gone to the museum, because it looked awesome!

Next, Curly, Melisa and I set off to drive a portion of the course while my grandparents went to check-in to the hotel. We wanted to see these two parts that looked like fairly significant hills – but after driving them, they were no big thing! From the car, the route didn’t look as “scenic” as we had thought it would.

We got back to the hotel and I changed quickly before we all set out for dinner in Horseheads at a place called Louie’s Hanover Square. 

(It was a gorgeous night!)

I chose an Italian place because people eat pasta the night before marathons, right? I was really struggling on what to order. I didn’t want to get anything too cheesy since I don’t typically eat a lot of cheese. I also didn’t want to go with salad because too many veggies aren’t usually good for my stomach. Also, I was still full from lunch – adding to the indecisiveness. I finally settled on filet mignon with vegetables and a side of pasta. A little bit of everything – protein, carbs, greens! The best thing about the meal was probably the bread and olive oil before our salads came out. It was bangin’.

(Wonderful company)

My meal was delicious too.

Oh did I mention I drank a glass of red wine, too? Because I did. Again, pre-race nutrition is my strong suit.

I got back to the hotel, arranged everything I would need in the morning, put some water next to my bed, and by 10:00 I was going to sleep. I slept surprisingly well, despite the fact that I had to get up pee about 4 times.

Then, it was 5:30 a.m. and my alarm was going off! AH! I had no trouble getting out of bed, getting dressed, doing some stretching and very light rolling, and eating a breakfast of Greek yogurt with some walnuts and raisins. Yummo.
(Wineglass marathon, sponsored by Chobani?)

So what did I end up wearing?
-Sports bra
-Pink tech tee
-Bib (I was literally obsessed with my number 2434)
-Homemade arm warmers
-Old Navy split shorts with built in underwear (I have really been digging these more than spandex lately). The little pocket in the front of my shorts held my chocolate Powerbar gel with caffeine.
-CEP compression socks
-Saucony Guide 7s
-Goodwill purchased Chobani fit running jacket with pockets and thumb holes (The thought of having to part with this was upsetting me)

(So much style!)

I was packed perfectly in my clear, bag-check bag. All it had were some extra gels, a Quest bar, a banana, water bottle, and a Chia Squeeze since I didn’t know what else I’d want to eat before the race. It also had my heatsheet that I had snagged at the Brooklyn Half. I figured if bag check was easy, I’d do it, and if not, I’d toss the stuff. I packed a separate bag for my grandparents to bring with them in their car, so that I’d have it after the race (change of clothes, camera, phone, etc.).

Melissa and Curly picked me up and as I headed out the door I realized that CRAP it was no joke freezing out. Cars had frost on them. I regretted not buying a pair of throwaway sweatpants. We headed to the further of the two shuttle pick-up locations in Bath, which was about a half hour away and also the first of the spectator “viewing” areas. There was plenty of parking and we got out, used the porta potty, and hopped on the “Special” school bus. I was amazed at the fact that the shuttle area wasn’t packed and crazy. No lines, just walked onto the shuttle and casually drove the 10 minutes to the start. No cramming in and sharing seats. The bus was probably only half full.

(So far, so good!)

When we got to the start area, we walked up to a giant shed PACKED with runners. All the chairs were taken, people were standing and sitting anywhere they could. There were space heaters, but it was an open shed and 30 degrees out and everyone was still freezing. We had about an hour and a half to sit there. I found a spot against a wall, wrapped myself in my heatsheet, and tried to stay positive and upbeat instead of turning into Cranky Lauren. At the end of the day- my pre-marathon ordeal was a LOT better than most people’s. Wineglass was really well organized and is a fairly small race. But that hour in a shed was a little meh. I ended up eating a Quest bar and then we headed out to the long porta potty line. Very unfair that guys didn’t have to wait on it.

They pushed back the start about 20 minutes but it wasn’t bad. It was just COLD. We walked down a hill to the start and there were vans there to check your bag. Easy. And I made the bold decision that my Chobani jacket was going in the bag and not coming with me for the start of the race. The sun was up at this point, and if you stood directly in it, it wasn’t too terrible. We met up with Sam and took some pictures. “Take a jumping picture of me!” I shouted. I jumped up, and literally my legs didn’t work on the landing. Oh, cool, I am completely numb.
(My landing was certainly not a perfect 10)

The start was really crowded but I fit myself in somewhere around the 4 hour pace group and soon, I was over the start line, starting my GPS watch (David’s GPS watch) and I was running my first marathon! There were no spectators allowed at the start line, so it was just us runners cheering each other on at the beginning. It was kind of nice starting without tons of people cheering because that probably would have caused me to go out too fast. Instead, I eased into a nice feeling pace and tried to ignore the fact that everything was numb. There was a little panic that I was way underdressed but I just pushed it to the back of my mind.
There was a girl behind me who kept saying to her friend, “Ok, I need another story” and I just remember thinking damn if you need stories already you are not going to be enjoying this by mile 20…I quickly broke away from her.

My first real memory is entering the viewing area around mile 4. There were more people lining the streets than I had anticipated, and I was worried that there was no way I was going to notice my grandparents in the crowd. But my grandpa had promised he would be loud, and sure enough a little ways into the area I heard him and my grandma, whipped my head around and had the BIGGEST smile on my face. It was a sudden jolt of energy and I felt like I was on cloud 9 for the next mile or so after seeing them. 

I was really proud of myself because the entire run, I didn't push my body too hard- I wasn't chasing anyone down, I wasn't getting angry at myself when the pace on my watch went over 8:30/mile. I had come to terms with the fact that I was running on legs that were nowhere near 100% and that if I wanted to cross the finish line I needed to be nice to body. I remember being very cold, and then slowly, the sun started to warm me. 

The volunteers at the aid stations were all wonderful. The course was never too crowded, and the aid stations were a breeze. I did a good job getting water at almost every one and taking a few sips without choking- hooray! 

Since Wineglass Marathon is only a semi-closed course, we were coned in on the shoulder of the road and the occasional car would pass.  As I approached viewing area 2 around mile 10, all of a sudden, my grandparents were driving next to me! I actually think I jumped up in the air with excitement I was so stunned and excited.  They must have driven ahead and parked super quick and gotten to the sidewalk because when I entered the viewing area, I got to see them AGAIN! And again, it gave me such a needed mental boost. 

I loved all of the viewing areas because it was such a nice pick me up. But I also liked that the entire course wasn't filled with "fans." There were the occasional people outside of their houses with encouraging words, but if the entire 26.2 miles had been filled with screaming, cheering, cowbell ringing people, I think I would have burned out way too quickly from the excitement. The solitary miles through the foliage were great for taking a deep breathe, appreciating what was happening, and giving myself some pep talks. 

Everything was a lot prettier running than it had been looking out of a car window. 

(Not actually taken during my run since I had no phone)

At around mile 7 was the first aid station that was also handing out GU and I took a salted caramel and ate it. By mile 10, I needed a porta potty. No, not to pee. This was also a huge problem for me during the Brooklyn Half and I know that I seriously need to figure out my nutrition if I want to BQ someday. So at mile 10, I hopped into a bathroom, quickly did what I had to do, and was back out on the course. 

I got another salted caramel GU at the half marathon mark and again, a few miles afterwards had to stop at a porta potty. Luckily, I was able to hold on until I found one that had no lines. 

Overall, the course was wonderfully flat. I can't imagine how people run marathons with tons of hills because by mile 15ish, I was hurting. My quads had never felt like they warmed up and they were so tight that it was a burst of pain every time I planted my food down. 

But onward! I didn't see my grandparents again until the end of the race, but some of the other spectators gave me fabulous confidence boosts by telling me I looked great, to keep up the pace, to stay relaxed, etc. You can definitely tell when someone that's yelling at you from the sidewalk is a runner too- and their words of encouragement are incredible. 

Multiple people along the way told me I was looking great, which felt really good because I didn't feel great.  My pace wasn't all that great either. But I was enjoying myself. Eventually, I settled into a pack with a very similar pace and cruised along for awhile with them. Miles 16-18 were probably my best- I was suddenly feeling amazing and scoffing at the wall that was supposedly going to greet me around mile 20. 

At mile 20 I ate my final gel- the one I had in my pocket. It was absolutely vile. 

Mile 20 is also where the course changed- we were less in the middle of nowhere and definitely getting closer to Corning. Then I was passing mile 22 and officially running further than I had ever run before! AH! 

Mile 22-26.2 was by far the hardest thing I've ever done. It seemed that every .5 miles or so, something new in my legs started to bother me. My right ankle? Ouch. Then my IT Band decided to be cranky. Hips? Oof, that doesn't feel nice. And the entire time, my quads were dead. At a downhill into a park around mile 21, I saw Melissa and Nate and gave them a, "Help me I'm dying look." On the downhill, tears sprang into my eyes because the pain was so horrible. I honestly started to worry that when I crossed the finish line, I was going to be one of those people who collapses with cramps and makes a scene. 

These 4 miles CRAWLED by. And my stomach was hating me. Around 22.5 miles there was luckily a porta potty and I stopped and was there for probably 4-5 minutes. All I wanted at that point was to finish strong, and I had to freaking stop for the THIRD time to use the bathroom. So. Frustrating. 

Once I was back out, I went back to seriously questioning whether my legs were going to hold on until the end. My breathing was fine. Mentally, I knew this was possible. But my body just wasn't having it. 

We got into a little park and at mile 23 I finally took the arm warmers off and threw them away. Then came the most amazing moment. I was running behind a woman who was coaching someone, and heard her saying, "Only think with this." She was pointing at everything from the waist up, and telling her friend that her legs weren't going to be what got her across the finish line at this point. 

I ran up  next to her, told her that was the most helpful thing I had ever heard, she told me to go get it, and I pulled up ahead and continued on. Except that everything was different after that. I started thinking about everything that running means to me- which is a whole damn lot. I started thinking about everything that has been going on in my personal life lately, which is also a whole damn lot. I thought about the long runs, the early mornings and the countless amazing people I've met since I got involved with the NYC running community. I thought about my grandparents and how incredibly lucky I was to have them there for this experience. I missed my other grandma. I looked around at the leaves changing colors, appreciated the absolutely perfect weather, the sun shining. I was crying and I didn't care how crazy I looked. Except then I realized that crying is really not the best activity for breathing and trying to finish a marathon so I tried to get myself together. 

I wish I could say that from mile 23-26.2 everything got easier after that but physically, it didn't.  It still hurt. A lot. But whatever. I was just thinking and feeling with my heart and my brain and focusing on anything except my legs. 

Eventually, I was on a bridge and I saw a photographer and I cheesed super hard and then everyone was yelling at us that when we turned the next corner we would see the finish line! I rounded the corner, and saw beautiful Market St. lined with cheering faces, beautiful fall foliage, and at the end- the finish. 

(My new favorite street)

I literally have no idea how I ran Market St. as fast as I did- it was like my legs weren't a part of my body but I kicked it into high gear and flew down that final stretch. People were like, "DAMN" - I could tell. And then my grandparents were on my left looking SO HAPPY I could have exploded. I was so glad that I was able to finish strong.

(I will actually buy these eventually, I promise)

And then I was crossing the finish line and I HAD RUN MY FIRST MARATHON and I was crying and having a heatsheet put on me and getting my amazing medal and wow I was still standing and then I was cheesing with my medal for a photographer and then I was filling up a bag with cookies and fruit and eating pizza and chicken noodle soup and my legs felt very wobbly but I found my grandparents and we were hugging and babbling and then ah thank god sitting on a bench and I was talking to my parents and telling them that I had done it and my time and that it was under 4 hours and I was feeling lost without my phone and then I easily picked my bag up from the bag check trucks. And Nate and Melissa found us and said Curly should be finishing soon. 

(He finished too!)

Then my stomach was like ouch ouch and I was in a bathroom in the information center for quite some time. 

Eventually, we went back to my grandparents car and I changed into leggings and boots and was finally out of my compression socks and had my phone and my camera and we walked back to take some pictures at the finish line.

And then it was time FOR BRUNCH at a cute little martini and wine bar called The Cellar. Salmon eggs benedict. Yes. 

Oh, and THE BEST DRINK I'VE EVER HAD! My grandma and I split a peanut butter banana martini! Heaven. 

I'm a little confused by all the different times I've been shown for my finish- but the one I'm going with is 3:50:09.

The Wineglass Marathon was incredible from start to finish. After running it, I think that 2,500 is the perfect amount for a marathon, and I'm not sure I would like anything significantly bigger. It was the best first marathon experience I ever could have imagined. 

Since I've been back, I've tried Googling "Post Marathon Depression." Because I am missing that feeling of floating on cloud 9 that I had all day on Sunday. Maybe it was the endorphins, but I think it was more the fact that I finally had proof that if you put in the time and effort to achieve a goal, you can make it a reality. I have been needing a confidence boost- to believe in myself, and to appreciate myself. And this showed me that I can be pretty resilient. But it was also such a bonding experience with my grandparents. I have always appreciated them beyond words, but now, I appreciate them more than I ever thought possible. I couldn't wipe this ridiculous smile off my face all day- despite the soreness and inability to walk. Because this marathon wasn't just running 26.2 miles. It was about so much more- I've learned so much from training for and running this race and hope to one day get that feeling I had at mile 23 again- thinking only with my head and heart, feeling complete appreciation and happiness for the exact moment that I was in. 

It doesn't get much better than that.

All of the Thank Yous

I'm writing this as I drive up to Corning, NY to attempt running my first marathon. 

The past 2 weeks of training have been rough to say the least. I'll write about the lessons I've learned throughout this process later, but after 5 days of no running and talks of defferment, it's safe to say I've learned a lot. For now though, I want to take some time to thank the people who have helped me on my journey to tomorrow's starting line- and hopefully, the finish. 

Thank you to the friends who got used to hearing, "I can't, I have to run in the morning." 

Thank you to the friends who stayed over my apartment and hung around waiting to start their days while I ran from 9 a.m. to noon. 

Then there's the friend who stayed over my apartment and actually allowed me to drag her on an over 10 mile run to Yankee Stadium and back.  Morgan, you are amazing and I knew you could do it.  Thanks for being such a good sport as I then proceeded to drag you to Smorgasburg and the UWS for a barbeque when all you wanted was a nap. 

Thank you, and I'm sorry, to everyone who put up with my incessant "run talk" - and a special thank you to the people who willingly submitted themselves to it by asking how training was going and genuinely being interested in my response. 

To all the interesting people I've gotten to talk to on various group runs.  Our conversations helped to pass the time and keep running something I consider a fun social activity. 

To the strangers in Central Park who were unknowing participants in races.  And to the strangers who paced and pushed me- words may never have been exchanged but we knew we were helping each other out.  It's a runner thing. 

To the people who read these rambling blog posts and actually seem to enjoy them.  There's no greater feeling for someone who loves to write. 

Thank you to JackRabbit- the store that fitted me for my first pair of "real" sneakers and introduced me to the wonderful community of NY runners.  The fact that I owe so much of my social life, my feeling of belonging to NYC, my knowledge of running, and countless fitness opportunities to a store is crazy.  I owe so many thanks to my NYC Running Buddies.  If it weren't for each and every one of you that were a part of Tuesday night Union Square social runs when I first showed up, I honestly don't know if I would love running today.  

Nick- you amaze me with you speed and challenge me to push my limits. 

Paul- You have proved to be a spectacular running partner- many thanks for the early mornings in Central Park and for your appreciation for potatoes. 

John- I apologize for the recent crazed visits- "I'm not here to buy anything I just need advice!" Your calm, reassurance has helped my sanity. 

Patrick- Your leadership on Saturday morning long-runs has been great.  You led me to my first 14 miler, introduced me to my now favorite route around Randall's Island, and have dragged us to some pretty crazy (and awesome) destinations. 

November Project.  The accomplishments and bad-assery of the people in this group will probably be the reason I sign up for another marathon eventually.  I am surrounded by ultra marathoners, triathletes, crazy trail runners, and general fitness rock stars.  Seeing all of your commitment, dedication, hard work and accomplishments is beyond motivating.  But the paradox of NP is that is has simultaneously been a reminder that FITNESS IS FUN.  I had been losing sight of that and am so glad to have rediscovered it.  Among a group of 100 or so super competitive athletes, I have found myself smiling and laughing and just enjoying myself more during a workout than ever before.  I am so excited as more and more of these people go from fitness friend to real-life friend.  Cheers to more sweat and much more tequila! 

Modge and podge.  Although they may not understand my running addiction, they are always there with a hug and a "good luck." My real thanks to them is for keeping me grounded.  Although I am a cranky bitch whenever they tell me that I don't "HAVE" to run 16 miles on a Saturday morning- sometimes I need reminders that there are things more important than marathon training.  Of course, I know this.  But as someone who does things 110% or not at all, I sometimes need someone to grab me and say, "Don't risk serious injury because you're stubborn and won't stop running." Me?! I would never... 

The emotional support my parents have given me on non-running related things this past month is more than I could ever thank them for.  There is absolutely no substitute for the knowledge that you are unconditionally loved.  It's that love and support that will get me through ANYTHING- 26.2 miles is nothin'. 

Luciano, thank you for the running chats and lending me the torturous stick.  And Robert, for dealing with multiple 5 a.m. alarms throughout the week. 

Thank you Aunt Dawn, for joining me for 3 miles on my longest training run- the company was greatly appreciated. 

Thank you to everyone who has wished me luck and sent me positive vibes and well wishes. 

David, thank you for being the friend who I blame for catching the running bug.  There's far too much to write to you, so I'll stick to thank for lending me your watch, d00d. 

Claudia- from the moment I walked into your office I knew I was supposed to meet you. More than my first massage- you have already given me hope, guidance and knowledge. I know this is the start of a beautiful friendship.  Thank you for your trigger point foam roller, my car-ride reading, the tape jobs (so patriotic) and the words of advice.  I promise not to accuse you of yelling at me anymore! 

Tiffanie, you already know what we mean to each other and no amount of words could sum it up so I won't even try except to say that you, more than anyone else, will be right beside me every step of the way!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Curly and Sam- thanks for being crazy, too. 

Lastly, I look to the front of the car and see my Nanny and Poppy.  Driving me to my first marathon.  The thought of seeing them at the finish line is making me tear up already.  These two people are, and always have been, my biggest cheerleaders.  My grandpa, who ran 2 marathons in his 50s, has sat behind the wheel going on 7 hours now to bring me to pick-up my bib.  

I don't know what I did to be dealt the hand I was given in this life.  I only know that I am incredibly, overwhelmingly, grateful. 

Legit, I am crying.