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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?

In less than 20 hours (fingers crossed), I’ll be making a right on Hereford and left on Boylston. I’ll see the finish line in the distance and hopefully cross it in one piece.
For the last year+, I’ve had my sights set on breaking 3:00. It’s only been over the last 2 months that I’ve really started to believe — truly, confidently, believe —  I could do it tomorrow at Boston. I’ve spent the final miles of recent runs visualizing those last few miles, knowing I’m running 2:5X:XX, and actually felt the butterflies, excitement, and adrenaline. I worked hard for this. I earned this. I proved to myself, most importantly, that I could do it.
But no matter how hard and how long you train, some things are simply out of your control. Like tomorrow’ weather forecast.

 

90 DEGREES. 

 

In April, 70 would be HOT. 90 is just cruel. I didn’t really start worrying about the forecast until Friday morning, as I woke up to an email from the BAA warning about heat stroke. Yesterday, we received the official announcement that they were adding a deferment option, extending the course time, and signed off with a warning that “speed can kill.” Yes, really.

 

Reality check.

 

I’m not sure how to adjust my race strategy, but I’ll need to. My plan was to start out a tad slower than goal pace, around 6:55-7:00, feeling relaxed & comfortable on the downhills. I’d cruise until we hit the uphills, working a consistent pace, and then use the energy I banked by starting out conservatively to kick it the last 5-6 miles and bring it home under 3:00. The one thing I’ve heard, over and over, is to start conservatively or you’ll pay for it later.

 

I hate the thought of entirely discounting my goal before I even toe the starting line, but I can’t pretend I’m invincible either. The heat is going to affect me and everyone out there tomorrow. Yeah, I’m hydrating, packing in electrolytes, and will be sure to focus on taking water & gatorade at every stop I can, but it’s a fact that heat imposes real physical limitations on performance. BAA’s email today said: “You should adopt the attitude that THIS IS NOT A RACE. It is an experience.”

 

Just like thousands of others here in Boston, I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed. I’m in the best marathoning shape I’ve ever been in and success could be totally out of my reach tomorrow. I’ve had people tell me to just throw all goals out the window, run easy, and just finish. But I don’t train for months on end to simply finish, and it’s really, really hard for me to accept anything less than the finish I’ve been dreaming of.

 

But you know what? It’s BOSTON. My first! And more than likely, not my last. Every training cycle and race has it’s purpose. If I don’t break 3:00 tomorrow, I will be disappointed, but it’s just more experience under my belt that’ll lead me to a 2:5X:XX when the time is right. Maybe it’ll be Chicago in October, and maybe it won’t. But I’ll keep believing I can and working towards it.

 

So I’ll hit the streets in Hopkinton with my game face on and play it by ear. I’ll still start out conservatively and see where the race goes. For all of those who would like to track me, by bib # is 3752! I hope to wear my orange Central Park Track Club singlet, but I might strip down to a sports bra if it’s already warm in the morning.

 

 

And if anything, I’ve had a fabulous weekend so far in Boston– driving up and checking out the expo with teammates, dinner and exploring with my Mom, and just taking in the energy in this city pre-Marathon Monday. Hopefully it’s sunny and warm (but not THIS warm!) next year– I’d love to come watch!

 

Of course, I bought the requisite Boston jacket (& pint glass– because I’ll need a cold brew after this one):

 

Well, I don’t know if tomorrow will be ‘wicked fast’, but I’ll do my best to make it wicked fun.

 

THANK YOU for all of your support over the last few months especially, and for continuing to follow me along on this journey. I know you’ll all be rooting for me out there, and I’m happy to have made it this far healthy, happy, and fit. Boston, here we go! Good luck to everyone racing, let’s do this!

<1 Week!

April 10th, 2012 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (11 Comments)

It’s race week! And oh goodness, what a relaxing weekend will do. This sounds silly, but I haven’t woken up well-rested, without an alarm, or without some semblance of a hangover both weekend mornings in …a long time. Between working or traveling on weekends, rising early for long runs, and going out late, it just hasn’t happened. A week before the marathon is enough time to reset and refresh, right? Right.

Sunday Easter brunch & Central Park walk w/ Mom: The key to happiness!

This week I’m focusing on sleep, sleep, and …more sleep. By nature of my job, I’m ‘on’ and connected to social media all day long and find it hard to disconnect at night and fall asleep. Not complaining, just how it is. I’m trying to make a concerted effort to focus on work but shut down a bit earlier. Some things can wait until the next day. This week, sleep cannot.

But more important than sleep, I’ve been working to mentally prepare myself for next Monday. I touched on this last week, but given the successful training cycle I’ve had, I kinda expect to show up in Boston and break 3:00. I really have no right to be so cocky, so I’m trying to shake that mindset because I know it’s going to be hard as hell and I’m going to have to earn it. Marathons are extremely humbling and if I don’t prepare myself for it, I’m going to fall apart.

I wrote about this in my third Boston.com post yesterday, but at this point it’s really all mental. Grinding out a fast pace over 26.2 miles is hard and there’s going to be highs and lows. Each low point is going to wear down that mental layer bit by bit. I need to be sure I’m equipped with strategies to overcome those trying times and keep everything in tact and push through.

Last Thursday was a good time to practice staying strong mentally. We did a continuous 6 miles: 2 at marathon pace, 2 at half-marathon pace, and 2 back at marathon pace. For a final workout with the majority of it at marathon pace, this probably should have felt easier, but I was right on mentally. Yeah, our paces were a little faster than they should have been, and I think my watch was off a bit from Alex’s, but it’s interesting to see my heart rate didn’t drop back down much once we transitioned back down to marathon pace. Figure this will be similar to the final miles in the race…oof.

While this weekend is a busy one between work events, I’ll make sure to find a way to keep my head above water and rest up. Oh, and don’t worry. I’ve got the carboloading part down pat.

I’ll be nibbling on this all week. This speedy bunny surely has transformative properties. Right? Thought so.

Best mental strategies to prepare for a race? Anything else I should be doing to prep this week? Help! Advice! 

(Belated) Happy Holidays!

December 27th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (10 Comments)

Even though I’m 24 (25 in <3 months!) I still feel like a little kid when I go home for Christmas. I want to sleep in, relax, be carefree, have mom take care of me, etc. Similarly, I still feel like I’m a kid and need to have 2459235 presents under the tree.

But alas, part of growing older and no longer dependent on your parents means Christmas presents turn from “I want that!” to “I guess I need these…”

Case in point: My ‘big’ gift this year was a new carry-on suitcase. Score.

Exciting? Trendy? Lustworthy? Nope. Practical & necessary for the traveling I’m doing? You bet!

I got a few other ‘fun’ items (like my Hunter rain boots & teal fleece liners!), a laptop & iPhone case, gift cards, etc. so I suppose growing up still isn’t half bad :)

It’s been a busy few days since I got home on Friday, hanging out with friends from college/home, hitting up not one, or two, but three malls (gotta love NJ), going out to eat, sleeping, and running I feel like I haven’t had much time to just relax. But, it’s been nice to have a bit of a mental break from the craziness of NYC and enjoy the suburbs.

As much as I <3 running in Central Park, I actually love running in the suburbs. On quiet streets, with sidewalks and parks and no cars or people. I suppose it reminds me of running in HS and College, and sometimes it’s nice to get a break and just zone out on the streets without stopping at traffic lights or dodging crazy bicyclists.

On Saturday, I left my friend Casey’s house around 9:30 am or so and drove home to hit the roads for a run before heading back into the city with my mom & sister for Christmas Eve dinner with relatives. Despite drinking the night before, (Orange Whipped Vodka? Delicious.) I felt great! Also fueled by the Dunkin Donuts I got on the way home (through a DRIVE-THRU! Amazing!)

Saturday, 12/24

On Christmas morning, I woke up “early” (9:30 a.m.?) ready to open presents! However, my sister who is home for college is still on West Coast time and has been sleeping until noon. I knew I had time to kill before getting her up, so I laced up for a Christmas Day run!

Christmas Morning Run! 12/25

I love that loop because it goes through three different parks in Montclair, and by the old house I grew up in until I was 10. Memories!

Yesterday, I was feeling a little sore and tired from running twice in a row (or I’m lazy) so decided to hit the gym for some core/lifting work. Conveniently, there is a NYSC located right next to my mom’s apartment and my passport membership enables me to use it for free. Either I was really tired, really weak, or both, but I was pretty beat after about 30 minutes so called it a day.

And today, I wanted to head out for another 7-8 mile run. I ran to a park reservation with trails I’ve explored once before, but this time I got a bit turned around and exited the trails at a totally different point at which I entered.

I’m not super familiar with Montclair & the main roads, and was totally lost. I don’t run with a phone so I couldn’t use a map, so tried to keep the trails in the distance and follow roads that might lead me back home. I was actually kinda nervous since there weren’t many cars or people, and no other way of getting home besides my own two feet- or hitchhiking with a stranger. Running seemed the better option.

Today, 12/27. Ooops I got lost?

After going down (and back up and up) a few roads, I finally recognized a road from a long run I did this summer! 7-8 miles turned into 11.5, but I felt really good and pushed the pace at the end to get home ASAP since I was going to be late to meet a friend for lunch. Miles 4-6 were in the rocky/hilly trails & jumping over rocks, branches and streams- hence the slower splits.

I’m proud to say this is the most I’ve run since the NYC Marathon! I sure have enjoyed my down time from not running, but it’s almost 2012 and I can’t push off training for Boston too much longer. Womp womb. Still need to map out that training plan.

Tomorrow morning, I’m headed down to Florida(!!!) to spend New Year’s Eve in South Beach with a group of college friends and couldn’t be more ready to escape the cold and hit the beach! While my running streak has been pretty impressive (to me) these past few days, I predict another few days with minimal running and sleep, tons of relaxing and laying on the beach, a whole lot of drinking and dancing, and a fantastic New Year’s Eve. 

Hooray!

Honestly, I can’t wait for 2012 :)

How were your holidays? Plans for New Year’s Eve? Worst time you ever got lost on a run?

There’s No Place Like Home

December 4th, 2011 | Posted by Lindsay Runs in Blog Posts - (15 Comments)

After a whirlwind of travel the past few weeks, I’m finally home in NYC! Aside from last night, I’ve slept in my own bed a total of 1 night since November 15th. Last night, I slept like a rock even though I didn’t get to bed until 2 a.m.

So, where oh where have I been the past few weeks? Let’s see…

  • Chandler, AZ

Yes, I even got to ride in a hot air balloon!

  • San Francisco (for Thanksgiving!)

  • Toronto

Unfortunately, we didn't do much exploring in Toronto

  • Dallas

White Rock Marathon Expo

One day, I will take a fabulous and exotic vacation with all my hotel and airline miles. Just you wait.

While I was at the Dallas White Rock Marathon expo for work, it was pretty much a runner’s paradise. I love marathon expos and exploring all the neat running stuff! Usually, I find the gear at most expos limited and expensive. This expo was awesome, as there was a whole section of discounted running gear, with an extra 20% off! Here are some of my finds:

Nike Pegasus 28: $72

Nike Capri Spandex: $22

Brooks tank: $13; Brooks shorts: $15

Nike tank: $4; Under Armour Thermal LS: $24

$1 throwaway gloves? Genius!! I went crazy and bought two pairs.

There is no such thing as too many running clothes. Whoops.

I’m really looking forward to being home for the rest of the month, with no plans (yet!) to travel until I go away for New Year’s. I’m headed down to Miami December 28th through January 2nd with college friends and could not be more excited for some sun and fun.

———

So, what’s been going on with running, you ask? I’ve probably run a total of 7 or 8 times since the marathon a month ago, mostly around Thanksgiving when I had a bit more time since I was on vacation. While traveling for work there was little free time between events, hanging with the team, and more work.

While exercise helps keep me sane and less lethargic (especially when traveling), I didn’t mind not having time to run as I’m not training for anything right now and I want to focus on the job. I might have to get a bit more creative, or simply wake up earlier, during Boston training when my travel schedule gets crazy again. I’ll definitely have to be a lot more flexible, that’s for sure, but I think that’ll be a good thing for me.

After thinking about my training for NYC, I realized I’m a bit OCD and controlling. Maybe to a fault. While my training plan was pretty flexible in that I only had a goal weekly mileage and 1 set workout and 1 long run ‘preplanned’, I rarely strayed off my routine and often found my thoughts too obsessive for my liking. Have to squeeze in 3 miles tonight to meet my mileage goal. Have to get to bed at this time to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Have to run this exact route because I like the terrain this way. Sometimes I can be a pretty unpleasant person if I don’t do things my way (my inner 6 year old), and that’s no way to live.

Being busy and traveling while training for Boston is going to be a challenge, but a welcome one. It’ll teach me to relax. I still want to run a fast race and gun for a PR since I’m overly competitive with myself, but I also don’t want to drive myself (or anyone else) crazy if I just can’t do it all. Maybe my long runs will have to be on Tuesdays or I can’t get to Thursday night team workouts, but I can do them solo on Friday morning. Once I have a good portion of my travel schedule, I’ll start to map it out and go from there. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’d really like to start running 4 days a week or so for the month of December, just to get my base up a bit before the end of the month. No stress and no plan, just running when I feel like it. While I snuck in a morning run with Nicole, Megan and Jacqui between San Fran and Toronto, I miss the bridle path and am actually pretty excited to reunite with Central Park!

And now, I’m off to catch up on everyone’s blogs since I feel out of the loop and settle back into the apartment. Enjoy your Sundays!

Where’s the best place you’ve traveled to lately? Good finds at running expos? How do you balance sticking to a training plan while remaining flexible?