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Adventures in cross-training

January 30th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (9 Comments)

It was just about a month ago when my knee got so bad I decided to stop running on it. I figured I’d take a few days off to rest, and it’d go away. The few days of training lost wouldn’t be a huge setback and I’d be back on the roads in no time.

Welp, one month later I can see that I was entirely wrong. This stupid knee issue continues, but I’m happy to report I’m making progress and actually kinda enjoying cross-training.

Thanks to a few free class credits (lucky/weird), I totally drank the SoulCycle kool aid and love it. It’s like a sweaty, endorphin-filled dance party. Sorry haters, hate on. While I’ve been three times so far, including a class with Ali, I don’t understand how people pay that much to do it regularly (Though I’d probably pay to be in shirtless Bradley Cooper’s class). I think I might try it once a month because it makes me feel downright awesome. #treatyoself.

I’ve also been hitting up good ole New York Sports Club regularly for spinning classes with Kelly who has also been sidelined from the bridle path temporarily. Injuries make me glad I didn’t cancel my previously-rarely-used gym membership. I think we’ve tried and tested just about every 6:30 am spin instructor by now. After spinning, I’ve been spending about 30 minutes stretching and pretending to lift weights and do PT exercises before showering and going to work. I’m so over gym showers and their terrible blow dryers.

And I’ve also done a free class (and have another free class tomorrow– East Coast vs. West Coast hip hop rideeeee) at Revolve Fitness. It’s kinda like SoulCycle, but less dance-party-esque but still a good workout. I love these fancy spinning classes, but really only when I can do it for free and I can’t spend my energy running.

My training log is sad, and I still haven’t gotten around to re-adjusting my “Goal weekly mileage” totals. It’s safe to say at this rate, I’ll be able to run the NYC Half-Marathon on 3/17, but any PR attempt is out the window.

Yay for signing up for races I can’t do. I just took advantage of the unlimited beer at the finish.

When injured, some people turn to cross-training like crazy and hit the gym, bike, pool, elliptical, etc. for hours to make up for an equivalent effort not running. I am not one of those people. Kudos to you who are! Sure, I’ve been trying to get to the gym most days and have a newfound love for spinning, but I definitely think I could be doing more to maintain or gain fitness. That’s why I’ve been hitting up classes, because otherwise I’d never push myself on the bike or elliptical.

While cross-training certainly has its benefits, I believe that if you’re training for a running race, you should spend the majority of your time running. When you can’t run, cross-training is the next best thing by default. But I believe that a 45 minute spin class, no matter how sweaty, doesn’t deliver the same running fitness gains. Someone once told me that for every minute run, you should double that time to get the equivalent running effort. Whether or not that’s true, that’s a lot of time I don’t have…

Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m unmotivated. Maybe I’m playing it safe. I know I’m not doing all I can to get back in shape by 3/17, but I really have no desire (or time) to spend like 2 hours at the gym daily to maintain or build my endurance right now. This stupid knee has really knocked out the positive mojo I had leading into 2013. I feel like I took two steps back during the month of January.

I can’t blame my loss of fitness entirely on my knee. I did aim to take responsibility for my actions this year. Remember?

I can’t change my knee pain (to an extent). I could cross-train more or harder. But honestly, I don’t feel like it. So I’m changing my attitude and not letting myself get down by it and being realistic about what I can accomplish. This race, though my favorite, is just one day. I’m going to set my sights on another half marathon in May (probably Brooklyn because it doesn’t involve travel) and work towards getting healthy and fit for that.

In good news, I AM slowly returning to running. About 2 weeks ago, I tried walking/running a few miles during the Run to the Brewery 10 miler in Long Island. The out and back course made it easy to do as much/little as I needed to, so I probably ended up covering around 7 miles total while running 4 of the miles on and off. I didn’t want to be too late to the beer at the finish. Priorities. Last week, I tried running 3 miles easily but the cold weather seemed to make my knee lock up a bit more and everything felt sore and tight afterwards.

And then I spent 27 hours in Orlando for work, 1 hour of which I got to spend outside. I also forgot to pack sneakers so there was no working out (darn.)

Yesterday, I decided to reunite with my running buds for our usual Tuesday morning runs. It had been nearly a month and I missed them! The roads were a bit slick due to the rain/slush that fell Monday night so we tried to take it easy before heading to the bridle for some intervals. I didn’t feel confident to test my knee with the uneven footing and mud/ice mixture, so I called it quits after two. Related: I am totally out of shape and wanted to die during the 1200 and 1000 intervals I did do. Nonetheless, my knee held up OK with some lingering soreness/tightness. Mostly, it felt good to be back for my first ‘real’ run and it’s a starting point.

I’ll probably stick to running once more this week, and spinning the rest of the days. Maybe next week I’ll work up to 3 days of running if it feels OK!

‘Till next time, when I can hopefully share a not-so-depressing update about how I’m back hitting the roads and rocking it.

The Knee Update

January 13th, 2013 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (9 Comments)

It was bound to happen, sooner or later. After a history of being plagued with random running injuries through high school and college (2 stress fractures, rotated pelvis, tendinitis, low iron, IT issues…), it’s been generally smooth sailing the last 3 or 4 years. Little things here and there, but usually things I can train through.

Right before Christmas, I just finished an 11 mile run in Central Park, doing part of it with Nicole. We averaged around a 7:30 pace, which was quicker than I’d been used to but felt surprisingly fine! I brought my credit card to run errands at Duane Reade on my way home, and recall feeling a slight twinge in the back of my knee as I stood in line to pay. I didn’t think much of it and just tried to stretch, but it was a bit nagging.

The next few days, the pain moved from the back of my knee to the inside of my knee, but it was just annoying, not debilitating. I could tell it was throwing my gait slightly, but usually went away once I warmed up a bit. I ran 39 miles the week of Christmas, my highest so far, and I figured the weird twinges would work themselves out.

On New Year’s Eve day, I ran in the park with Terence and Noelle. The pain was much stronger and didn’t go away the entire run. I decided to take New Year’s Day off to rest (well planned…) and hit the roads on Weds the 2nd with Alex and Meredith. That was the last time I really ran. The pain had traveled to the front of my knee cap, and hurt when I walked and especially up and down stairs. Eeek. It even hurt when I was out at the bar dancing…that’s when you know it’s bad.

I took 5 days completely off exercise of any type. Considering it hurt to walk, I couldn’t exactly cross train! Annoying, but I kinda welcomed the laziness.

I finally saw a doctor on Monday the 7th, who didn’t really have a firm diagnosis for me but ruled out tendon/ligament damage and thought more rest and icing would help the inflammation. And it has, generally. Now that the pain has disappeared from my knee cap (but is still present on the inside of my knee), it doesn’t hurt to walk anymore. I’ve begun to cross-train, which I hate. If I can’t run, I am really lazy and can never motivate myself to get in an equivalent hard effort on the bike or elliptical or pool. Meh.

Pain=near the medial retinaculum

I saw a PT on Friday who cleared me to try running on a treadmill (because you use less effort to propel yourself forward) in quarter mile increments, alternating running and walking for 2-3 miles max. The weirdness is still there, but it is much milder and definitely dissipated once I got going. And it was really, really boring.

I think it’s always hard to tell what to do when faced with strange pain: is it the onset of an injury, or can I work through this? If I stopped running every time something hurt, I’d run a lot less miles. I’m really frustrated, because I felt like I was finally getting back into a groove of running regularly and working out. I purposefully ran semi-regularly most of the fall so that when I started to train for the NYC Half-Marathon, I’d have a decent base and prevent injury. Plus it’s been weirdly warm-ish lately and I can’t take advantage of it!

It’s also not the end of the world. Yeah, I’m losing the little fitness I did have, but I do have confidence I’ll be back (outside!) running soon. I just need to be patient and not stubborn. It also could be far worse. While I might not be in peak shape for the NYC Half, maybe I can set my sights on another half in April or May to use as a goal race instead.

So, there’s the update! Here’s to hoping the pain goes away soon…

Any advice? What do you do when you feel a potential injury coming on?

Goodbye, 2012!

December 31st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (7 Comments)

Hope you all had a great holiday season! I enjoyed a nice longgggg week at home with the family in NJ. It was really good to kick back, relax, and spend some time on the couch. I finally caught up on some sleep, destressed, and got in a few decent runs.

Home with the fattest cat in the world, Sushi

I came back into the city yesterday afternoon and headed over to Alex & Steve’s apartment for a few drinks before the 2nd Annual CPTC Ugly Sweater Party! I missed it last year, and was excited to don my festive vest I purchased for 99 cents on eBay.

And now, I’m ready to spend New Year’s Eve in NYC with friends; I haven’t spent NYE here sine ’09/’10 actually. Because I tend to feel a little bit more introspective around New Year’s, I’ll do another “reflections post“. I enjoy looking back, reading these, and seeing how things have changed (or not).

At the end of 2010, a lot had changed in my life and I felt weirdly in transition– as do most 23 year olds bridging the gap between college life and ‘real’ life. And 2011 brought even more changes, as I started a new job, joined CPTC, ran my 2nd marathon, and re-started and subsequently ended a nearly 6 year relationship. It was a hard year, especially from October-December, but I was happy and excited to grow with all the changes and challenges.

As I kicked off 2012, I was in a really good place. New Year’s Eve was great and I set a lot of goals for 2012. For the first half of the year, I was incredibly optimistic, being more spontaneous and putting myself out there in ways I probably wouldn’t have done before. I was kicking butt in running, work was going well, and I was having fun. And then somewhere along the way, I got a little lost. 

It kind of happened gradually, and I didn’t do much to stop it. I got overwhelmed with work. I didn’t know how to properly manage my stress. I was trying to do too much, and not sleeping nearly enough (I need a lot of sleep). I was trying to marathon train while traveling ‘Up In The Air’-style and not taking care of myself. I was away from home more weekends in Spring/Summer than I was home. I wasn’t happy with how I looked and really didn’t feel like myself. I developed bad habits that just made things worse.

After feeling crappy all summer, I got multiple rounds of blood work done in the fall and while my cortisol (stress hormone) was elevated and I showed a gluten sensitivity, follow-up visits to doctors and endocrinologists were pretty inconclusive. While of course I’m happy that nothing is terribly wrong, a small part of me wanted to hear that there was a diagnosis or reason why I feel so weird. I’ll admit it, it’s easier to place blame on something than accept it yourself.

A lot of the year was just a blur; I don’t know what I did or how I really felt. I was passive in my own life, not doing things or just putting them off for when I felt better. Old pictures, blog posts, conversations, memories serve to remind me how unhappy, frustrated, and void I was…or am.

But I think that’s dumb, and I’m over feeling that way. It’s stupid to wish for stuff to happen but not actually take the steps to make it happen. It’s ridiculous to expect things to just get better overnight. I need to stop complaining about things that are wrong if I’m not doing anything to actively CHANGE them.

Wake-up call, Lindsay. Stop doing the same stuff and expecting different results.

I was (am?) in a funk. I’m realizing that I can’t control a lot of what stresses me out, but I can control how I let it affect me or how I deal with it.

Stressed out about how busy work is? Stop checking Facebook & Twitter every hour and focus instead of staying late. Overly tired and need more sleep? Don’t stay up an extra hour to watch my DVR-ed episode of Teen Mom 2 (guilty). Feeling left out of plans? Go ahead and initiate hanging out with people for a change. Unhappy with how out of running shape I am? Step out of my comfort zone and start getting back into workouts and races. Frustrated at the weight I’ve gained? Just eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full, and stop mindless eating out of stress or boredom. Feeling like there is no time to do everything? Relax and breathe, not everything needs to be done right away, right now. And maybe stop wasting the time I do have on Facebook, seriously.

I’m unsure of the point of this post, besides being a bit stereotypical “New Year’s Eve reflections-esque” (is that a phrase?) and overloaded with positive quotes I found on Pinterest, but I’m ready to start changing how I interpret, act on, and manage things in life.

I know in the grand scheme of the world my problems are insignificant; people suffered great tragedy and much worse in 2012. But this is my life and I’m going to feel the way I feel. And I don’t like the way I feel, so I’m going to take it day-by-day and step-by-step to make it better, instead of sitting idly wondering why things aren’t changing.

“Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.”

Well I’m lacing up my sneakers and I’m ready to hit the ground running in 2013. Cheers!

‘Tis the Season

December 16th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (5 Comments)

Although Christmas is just 8 days away (what!?!) I’m only just now feeling in the spirit. It hasn’t been terribly cold or snowed, I haven’t thought much about Christmas shopping, work has been crazy busy to even think about a break, and I don’t have any big holiday travel plans to look forward to besides home in NJ.

My new couch and little Manhattan christmas tree brings joy, too.

But yesterday, I donned my holiday best and joined thousands of others to roam the city in festive garb for Santacon. It’s my fourth year doing Santacon (whoa, time flies) and my fourth year being a reindeer. Ho ho ho! And all the sudden, Christmas started to feel a little closer.

Despite barhopping yesterday for 12 straight hours (seriously how did I last that long?), I woke up this morning feeling not-too-terrible and decided a hangover-clearing run would make me feel a little less gross. It was misting/raining and I didn’t have any mileage/time in mind, just wanted to sweat it out.

A few minutes in, my mind wandered and I started feeling pretty crappy about myself and my running. I still feel off and I’m tired all the time. While it’s starting to get easier to get in my mileage especially when I meet up with friends to run, I just want to feel like my old fit competitive self. I know it’s still early and I don’t need to start killing myself, but I do need to start sucking it up and getting in some basic workouts and pushing myself on runs a bit more.

So I headed into the park and to my favorite trusty solo workout, Central Park’s lower loops. (No really, I’ve professed my love here, remember this awesome workout last winter, and here’s one of the 1st times I ever did this workout, early blog/pre-Garmin days.)

Consistency is my strong suit. While the pace was nothing special for me and actually I thought I was going to die or my legs were going to fall off, I’m proud that I completed it all without stopping short. It felt good to push, even though I wasn’t really able to drop the pace at the end.

Still, doubt creeped into my mind at the end. “How are you going to run 13.1 miles under 6:25 pace in just 3 months?” Honestly, I don’t know. That felt hard, guys. But I need to start somewhere; this is where I am today, but it doesn’t have to be where I am in a few months.

What else have I been up to? This past Thursday was our company holiday party. Even though it was just at our office, it ended up being a blast! The highlight was by far the food and drinks (oh, maybe too many drinks…), talent show, and watching this amazing Rock Center with Brian Williams segment live, alongside Hamdi himself.

Click to watch!

If you know me personally, you know I can talk about yogurt for days and days and think my job is the coolest. BUT I really encourage you all to just watch this video. And then you’ll get it. The company went from startup to a $1 billion business in only five years. It’s a crazy story, but really not so crazy when you get to know Hamdi. He’s an incredibly humble yet visionary Founder and CEO, and sharing the moment to watch the clip alongside my colleagues was truly special.

And last weekend, I kept busy through friends’ holiday parties on the Upper West Side and Brooklyn, a friend’s bridal shower in NJ, and volunteering at the Girls on the Run 5k on Randall’s Island.

Ely, in the middle, is getting married 2 months from today!

This was my first time volunteering as a running buddy, and it was amazing. My girls finished strong and happy, with a bit of a ‘sprint as fast as you can and then get too tired and walk’ pacing strategy, often linking arms to run 3 across. They were both too cute (and knew the Gangnam Style dance, whaaaa?), and one said “I never thought I’d actually be doing this. I just thought it’d be a dream! But this is real!” She repeatedly called us ‘Thunder and Lightning’. Girls on the Run is an incredible organization and I really wish I could commit time to coach. I hope I’m free to volunteer for the Spring 5K, too!

And now, I’m going to go curl up on my comfy couch, bask in my Christmas lights, and try to fall asleep at a ridiculously early hour to get ahead of a busy week. Sunday funday.

How are you getting in the holiday spirit?

I know it’s a bit belated, but (obviously) I’m back from spending Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara, CA and still can’t get over how amazingly relaxing and fun it was. I turned off my work email the second I boarded the plane on Wednesday (at 6:30 a.m. OMG early) and didn’t turn it back on until Sunday night right before I took the redeye home. I didn’t set an alarm the entire vacation, and slept the best I’ve slept in… a long time. Feeling rested, tuning out and truly being ‘present’ really allowed me to destress and turn off my brain for a bit. It was lovely.

For the third year, we stayed at the Hotel Oceana which is located right on the beach. I began each morning with an easy run along the beach path, usually around 30 minutes, and ate a leisurely breakfast outside in the sun. I just wanted to kickstart my day with a little sweat, but mostly just to take advantage of these gorgeous views.

We’d then go over to my aunt and uncle’s house, spending some quality time hanging out with the whole family, and (regrettably) teaching my Grandma how to use Facebook and Instagram on her iPad. Yup, needed a few glasses of wine during and after that lesson…

The whole family

Now that my sister and cousins are over 21,we enjoyed a fun night out in Santa Barbara on Friday…followed by a tipsy walk home along the beach.

Yes, I am short. I also think I was the only one not in heels.

We had an incredible Thanksgiving, followed by 2 days of leftovers. Which basically meant a full Thanksgiving 3 days in a row…and it was amazing. I think I could eat turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie and drink wine 365 days a year and be perfectly happy.

But now I’m back to reality in chilly NYC, trying to get back into the routine of getting myself out the door to run most days. Since it’s been a while since I’ve followed any sort of ‘plan’, I’m kind of struggling with running 5-6 days a week again and getting my mileage up. Lately, I’ve been doing around 4-5 days a week but at least 1 or 2 of those days is something easy like 2 miles before I pretend to lift at the gym. Somehow I can’t even seem to get to 30 miles per week, a relatively low number that always has been pretty easy to exceed.

Quite honestly, it’s just so much nicer to sleep in or be lazy or let early mornings/late nights at work get in the way. I need to remind myself that generally, I feel better after starting my morning with a few miles. It’s true, I rarely regret getting up and out the door. I’m more awake and feel better throughout the day. But my runs have been really slow and drag on, and I sometimes wonder how I’ll get back to the point where hitting 50+ mpw with workouts and long runs ain’t no thang.

Most of my runs have been pretty unremarkable, hovering around a comfortable 8:00 min. pace (which I’d like to work on bringing down), but there have been a few good days here and there!

The day before I left for Thanksgiving, I worked from my house in NJ and went for a nice mid-afternoon run to break up the day. I ran one of my favorite routes through a few parks and started pushing the pace without realizing it. 8 miles later, I hit an average of 7:21 pace with the last 3 miles at 7:09, 7:08 and 6:55. It was hard, but in that awesomely-uncomfortable way that I haven’t felt in a while.

And on Thursday of this week, I decided to attempt a solo workout just to get my legs moving a bit. It was nothing special, I just did 2x 1 loop of the Central Park reservoir (~1.58 miles) with .5 jog between. I hovered around 6:45 and 6:40 pace, which is a bit depressing since I used to be able to maintain that for 8 mile tempos (lolz) and I wanted to die after just 1 loop, but any easily-digestible workout is good right now.

And today I did my longest run in quite a while! I started out with Veronica and Meredith, then hopped back on the bridle after they peeled off, running into Nicole and Sarah for a few more miles. The run ended up flying by, ending up at my apartment 11.25 miles later. Running with people will always beat running solo.

My goals for this upcoming week include:

  • Unpack my suitcase from last week (I know, I know…)
  • Get my couch delivered (Friday!) and find a coffee table
  • Buy a real Christmas tree and lights, and decorate my apartment
  • Run at least 30 miles and rest up before a busy weekend that includes not one but TWO! friends’ Christmas parties, Ely’s bridal shower, and volunteering as a running buddy at Girls on the Run 5K!

The Game Plan

November 21st, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (5 Comments)

As I write this, I’m somewhere 30,000 feet above Newark and Phoenix, en route to sunny Santa Barbara, California for Thanksgiving. (edit: And now posting on my layover in Phoenix!) I booked my flights with a combination of frequent flier miles (all that work travel pays off, somehow!) and credit card rewards points, since Thanksgiving travel is outrageously pricey. It was an equal number of miles to book economy or business class for my outbound flight, so of course I chose business class and was pleasantly surprised upon check-in to have been upgraded to first class. What? Me?! It made the 6:30 am flight time (and 4:30 am wakeup call) slightly more bearable. Now I’m just waiting on my complimentary breakfast and booze…

Anyways, thanks so much for the kind welcome back to blogging. It always amazes me that anyone actually reads this, and actually cares about my ramblings of running mile after mile (or, more recently, not running). It’s awesome and I truly appreciate the support!

While I’m still in the stage where I’m running however long I want to, when I want to, I’ve been looking towards the future and mapping out a racing calendar to get motivated. In fact, I haven’t raced since Boston or Big Sur in April. Before my big goal race in March, most of these races below will serve as training workouts to get me back in the racing game, mentally more than physically.

January 5th: Joe Kleinerman 10K

  • Because I hate racing 10Ks and can’t think of a better way to torture myself after the holidays and New Years. Self-inflicted hazing?

January 19th: Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery

  • My friend Veronica actually won it last year (badass!) and mentioned it’d be fun to do. My friend Terence lives in Sayville, so a few of us are going to go out to his house and make a weekend of it. A race that ends at a brewery with free beer…sign me up! (Says the girl who is supposed to be avoiding gluten, whoops.)

January 27th: Manhattan Half-Marathon

  • ‘Cause what’s more fun than paying to run 2 loops of hilly Central Park in the winter? I kinda bandited part of this race 2 years ago when it was 14 degrees as part of a long training run, willingly, because I was so crazy sick of running alone. Will probably be my first really ‘long’ tempo effort.

Something Awesome in February

  • I want to run the Cherry Tree 10 Miler again in Brooklyn, but I’m pretty sure it’ll fall on President’s Day weekend when my friend Ely is getting married back at Villanova (!!!!!), which is 10x more fun than any race. Open to suggestions for something else fun during this month!

March 17th: NYC Half-Marathon

  • Quite simply, I love this race. Haters can hate on NYRR and the ridiculously steep price tag (my bank account sure does), but I have such happy memories associated with this race and can’t wait to do it again, especially with a new (hopefully faster) course since I last did it in 2011. I didn’t run it last year because I got back from a work trip reallllllly late the night before, and was in the midst of Boston training. This will be my big Spring 2013 goal race. It just feels right. My story…
    • It was my very first post-collegiate race (and first half-marathon!) back in 2010. After 8 straight years of training and competing regularly in high school and college, I was still in that weird “kinda burnt out on racing and don’t know if I want to do this anymore” phase. I hadn’t raced in almost a year, and had never raced anything over a 6K in my life, so I didn’t do any workouts and went in with minimal pressure on myself. While I ran 1:29 and accomplished my goal of auto-qualifying for the NYC Marathon, more importantly, I found I really did love racing and competing again. Running was something I wanted to challenge myself with again.
    • In 2011, I had one marathon under my belt and had gotten more serious about training. I knew I could take down my 2010 time easily, but I totally underestimated myself and ran a 1:24:23, which still stands as my PR. I negative split that race and still remember how awesome it was to drop a sub-6 mile down 7th Ave and into Times Square, smiling and pushing my way down the West Side Highway. I can only hope I’ll be able to recreate that experience in March, this time a little faster.

While I haven’t signed up for the majority of these races (with exception of the NYC Half, booyah guaranteed entry), they’re on my radar and I plan to sign up as soon as registration opens, barring any work/personal plans that arise. Just mapping things out has already created some direction and re-sparked motivation that’s been lacking for quite some time. I’m not sure what’s on the horizon past mid-March, but I’ve got some ideas brewing depending on how the next few months go including (re)attempting Chicago in October if I’m feeling up to it.

While looking ahead to these races and how I’ll get fit again and train to PR, I’m trying very hard not to get frustrated with the health problems I’ve been having. I know my body and myself and can tell something has been off for a while. I had a good visit to an endocrinologist at NYU last week, and while it means multiple blood tests to look into a few things, I’m hopeful we’ll get a little closer to figuring it out once the results are back. I want to get back to competing at my best, but my body isn’t at its best right now. And honestly, it feels a bit out of my control to get it back to its best until I figure out what’s medically wrong. Until then, trying not to Google-diagnose myself with a billion different things…

No, but really.

Happy Thanksgiving, all! I’ll be enjoying a few well-deserved days off work with the family, eating turkey and drinking wine to my heart’s content. And you should, too!

What’s on your racing calendar? Any other fun NYC-area races you’d suggest I look into?