So today was pretty significant. Why? Well, I officially hit my goal of running 1,000 miles for 2016. I’m excited. Stoked. Proud. Teary-eyed. Although something even more important to note, I am still INJURY-FREE. I didn’t start off the year too well. I fucked up my hamstring tendon in ways that will make you scream in pain even when I sat down for an extended period of time. After months of physical therapy and finally listening to my body so I could heal properly, I did. I got back on that saddle (slowly) and got back to my normal running pace. It took more patience than I thought I had in me, but I did it and I have sworn that I would never let myself be in that position again. Now I can say that I’ve hit my 2016 fitness goal.
Here are some tips that I’ve followed to help keep my body healthy and injury-free. Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor and these tips are just things that have helped me.
- Don’t run every single day. I’ve found that if I pack on the miles every single day without rest or a cross training day, that’s a fast recipe to getting fucked up (queue IT band issues, tightness in my hamstring tendon). As a fellow runner, yes I can see you rolling your eyes from here. Just promise to fit in some non-running days here and there. Your legs will thank you.
- Add strength training to your routine. Doing this will not only help prevent injuries, but it will really amp up your speed. It certainly helped me shave off minutes per mile, especially when I was recovering from my injury and was working my way up to my normal speed again. Also, workout your muscles evenly. Don’t just focus on one muscle group.
- Rest. No, I don’t mean resting bitch face like the one you’re giving right now reading this. I mean really letting yourself recover, especially if you feel like something is off. Believe it or not, rest days are just as important as the days you kick your ass at the gym.
- Stretch. I’ve known some runners to not stretch at all and they swear that they’re fine…yeah well I said the same thing until I fucked up my hamstring. Just give it some time. Now that I’m more prone to injuring that tendon again, that does require me to do more stretching than others. Slacking off in this area is absolutely nonnegotiable whether you’re still healing or fully recovered from an injury. My physical therapist gave me a set of dynamic stretches to do before I run. Check them out here.
- Listen to your body. When your stuck seeing your physical therapist for at least an hour, you tend to engage in a lot of conversation. One thing she mentioned was that if more runners just listened to their bodies more, she’d probably be out of a job. Why? Because runners tend to literally run themselves into the ground until they really injure themselves and get stuck going to PT. The key is to fix what might be wrong before a major problem occurs. Feel some tightness during a run? Stomach upset? Slow down a little! Or really, just stop running altogether. Pay attention to your form, breathing, and make sure you’re hydrated.
Sure as a runner, you just want to get up and go for a run, but if you want to stay healthy and keep up with training then you need to run smart. By learning to run smart, I was able to still log 1,000 miles for this year. Had I ignored my doctor, skipped PT sessions, and didn’t take their advice to heart, my running shoes would be collecting dust in the closet right now. Instead, I get to wake up, STRETCH, run, STRETCH AGAIN, and then enjoy taking post-run selfies. 😀
(This is my it’s really cold out, and my face is still thawing out face.)
And really these tips can benefit a runner at any age. I’m a 20-something and no, stretching doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger. Again, don’t be dumb. Listen to your body, and run happy!
Thanksgiving. I can’t believe the holiday season is officially here! Can you believe it?! I have so much to be thankful for..my friends, family, hubby, my health etc…this Thanksgiving I was especially mindful of everything I hold dear in my life. Forget the Black Friday deals and the buy 2 for 1 crap, I’m talking about the stuff that doesn’t come with a price tag. I.e. the calls you get from your parents to see how things are going, sitting down at the dinner table with family you haven’t seen in a little while, making memories with family and friends and holding onto those things for as long as possible. Last week, I lost my baby Apollo. He was pretty much even more popular than I ever was on any kind of social media platform. He was full of attitude as he was fluffy…I still can’t believe he’s gone. It was so sudden. One day he was fine, and then once we got a hint that something might be wrong, the vet told us that his liver was failing and that it was likely cancer. We had the most difficult decision to make…and that was to put him down. He was in pain and with tests, meds, feeding tubes…he might have been able to live another week. I know he would have hated living like that. It was a decision I didn’t even expect to make years upon years from now. He was still so young. Anyone who’s had or has a furbaby knows that they become part of the family pretty fast. They’re there for you through everything and just keep on loving unconditionally. I miss him so much. I don’t know what’s worse, losing him suddenly or having more time with the same outcome.
So in light of losing one of our beloved furbabies, Thanksgiving was a day where I really had to take some time out and count my blessings. You never know when someone/something really throws a wrench into your life and you lose something or someone so close to your heart. On Thanksgiving, I had the whole morning to think about everything I was thankful for and did just that during my long run. (In anticipation of the meal that was ahead of me, I threw in some extra miles for good measure). Lucky for me, it wasn’t too windy and the weather was quite nice. By the time I got back, full of sweat, and out of breath, it was time to hydrate and relax while watching the Macy’s Day parade (tradition). Luigi has been kicking it into high gear and making sure he’s been extra snuggly since we lost our Apollo. They were best buds, so it’s been hard for him too I’m sure. But really, how can one NOT laugh at how silly he is? He wins. My heart might be feeling heavy, but it sure is full.
Running and/or a hardcore gym sesh isn’t just about fitness, sometimes it’s about what it does for your head. It clears it up and kicks those negative thoughts to the curb. I’m a huge advocate of how running is cheaper than therapy. Sad? Go for a run. Frustrated about how a day went at work? Go for a run. Can’t figure out how to solve a problem? Go for a run. Ruined your favorite shirt in the wash? Run fast. Some of my best ideas have come from just sweating it out. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and had the chance to spend some time with their loved ones over some delicious turkey, stuffing, one too many dinner rolls and of course some pumpkin pie. I heard somewhere that the average person eats over 4,200 calories on Thanksgiving…just some food for thought, not the stomach. Spread the love and make memories.
There comes a time when this thing called life happens and documenting it from day to day just isn’t feasible. Especially when exciting things that haven’t happened in over 100 years HAPPEN. Yes, I’m going to start this October/November roundup with THE CUBS. It was a surreal game to watch. We blew the lead twice…and WON THE WORLD SERIES. Heart palpitations, high blood pressure, high anxiety, almost feeling like I just might throw up all over the hundred other Cubs fans that were around me at the bar we were at. BUT WE WON. Absolutely nothing could match the joy of waking up to this that morning.
Feelings of holy shit it happened, extreme happiness, jumping up and down, screaming the lyrics to the Cubs anthem….and flying that W! It was a night I’ll never forget. It was so emotional watching all of the older Cubs fans who have been waiting for this moment for so long. Just a couple days after their historic win, I also was cleared to attend the parade that reported to be the 7th largest human gathering in the world. I opted to go to Wrigley where the parade started. I needed to see this…
This made it so real.
While some bosses and HR departments were saying not to skip work for this day, mine was right beside me. Although it was nothing short of crazy dealing with all of the people on the train and getting a primo viewing spot, I have zero regrets. Seeing these guys bring that trophy home was priceless.
It was a perfect day all around. The only thing that did piss me off were the countless teens just looking to see where the “most epic party” was. Go back to school kids. The hubs has even rewatched the final game numerous times and all of the highlights. It’s just something a dedicated Cubs fan can’t get enough of. We did it. WE FINALLY DID IT. Oh and don’t even get me started on the cray-sauce people in line at Dick’s Sporting Goods after the win. The hubs and I went to see how bad the line would be…we couldn’t even see the end of the line it was so long. INSANE. Online shopping, you ridiculously convenient, sexy monster you. My heart will be full because of this Cubs win for quite some time. GO CUBS GOOOOO.
That Sunday I had a half marathon to run – the Milwaukee Running Festival. I just HAD to represent my Cubs with my race day apparel. Obviously. Although it was FREEZING out in the morning, it warmed up pretty fast. This sunrise was a precursor to how epic of a race this ended up to be.
Little did I know that Milwaukee is FULL of steady inclines and hills. The first half of the course was either up steep hills or a steady incline. My. Lord. The hubs and my in-laws came to cheer me on and man did I ever need them! Their cheers definitely helped me pull through each mile. Little did I know that I would end up with a PR by 8 MINUTES. I haven’t PRed since my injury late last year so I felt like I could cry. In fact, I probably did just because my glutes just took a horrific beating from those hills. I definitely worked hard for this medal.
This time of the year is my favorite. The holidays are right around the corner and the wedding is absolutely perfect for running around the neighborhood. With tensions so high about the election, I’m going to just leave that out and say that we need to love and come together as a nation. This roundup was short and quick and I’m leaving a lot out, but I hope everyone starts this week out right and make it amazing!
As a runner myself, my non-runner family and friends probably on more than one occasion thought that I was a few trees short of a forest (especially when I registered for my first marathon last October). Although we might be a little cray, runners are pretty bad ass. If you have a friend who has started running and he or she is showing the signs of making it a regular habit…let these confessions be your warning of how your relationship with them will change.
::1:: If you expect to hang with said runner friend on the weekend, expect to be met with some hesitation. Are they in training? Sunday mornings are typically race days. But of course you would already know about said race months in advance because well training for long distance races tend to consume our lives.
::2:: Leaving a party early? Yep, probably because of a race the following morning that starts just a couple hours after the bars close. One perk, you can count on them to be the sober one since they’re drinking their weight in water and come on, like they’d risk their chances of a PR.
::3:: Want to go on a shopping binge? YES. We’ll tell you all about the latest and greatest running shoes that have just hit the shelves which also means the previous models are on super sale #stockpilealltheshoes.
::4:: If you ask how we are we’ll respond with a running-related answer. “I was out on a 12 mile run yesterday morning and had some IT issues, oh and I also signed up for a couple more races. I definitely need to carb load tonight too for the half marathon I have tomorrow. I hope you like pasta!”
::5:: Oh you’re on a diet? Let me just eat ALL THE CARBS in front of you.
::6:: If you’re planning on getting fit, don’t mind us, we’re always looking for a running buddy and we’ll be more than happy to encourage running as a way to do so. Running = releasing all the happy endorphins! However speaking of which, try not to talk to us on a rest day…that means we didn’t run that day and we’re irritable as shit because of it.
::7:: Signing onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? Expect your newsfeeds to be flooded with pre-race and post-race selfies! But really, we’re just trying to share the happy. #blingalingling
::8:: If anything you can count on us to be there for you. I mean come on, if our training calls for a 13 mile run in weather that’s hotter than the fiery pits of hell, we’ll still do it because well our training plan says so. We’re dependable like that.
::9:: Is your runner friend also your roomie? I hope you understand that there will be designated wall space for race medal bling. Also, you’ll never have to worry about running out of things such as peanut butter, bread, pasta, and other runner diet essentials. We have that shit stockpiled.
::10:: Not sure why you haven’t heard from us? It’s okay we’re alive and well, just wait a few hours or calculate how far we are into training. If a few hours pass then feel free to search our usual routes. If we’re found on a trail somewhere and unresponsive, please pause our Garmin first? K, thanks.
See? It’s not all bad. Runners are very driven people, however I confess that we do tend to get a little obsessive about it. Don’t find it too unusual if we’re nursing an injury and still budgeting for race registrations at the same time. #storyofarunner. Because really all we want to do is…
Linking up with these lovely ladies this week!
So as 2016 has officially started, I’ve decided to announce that this year will be the year to let go. You know, like Elsa said. Let it gooooo….let it goooo….But really. I’ve learned that holding onto things can be toxic for your mind and body. Letting go of the guilt, stress, pain or anger you have about a person or situation will only hurt YOU. I can’t tell you how many things I haven’t done simply because I was the one holding myself back. It’s easy to blame other people or make excuses, but this year I’m going to work toward not holding onto any negative experiences or people and to only feel those good vibes.
This year, I’m letting ALL of that negativity shit go and let these upcoming goals HAPPEN. I’m really excited for this new start. So let’s see what kind of goals we have for this year!
First I decided that I have a goal to run 1,000 miles in 2016 because well you know…I’m one of THOSE runners who just can’t get enough. And you know there’s awesome swag. Got to have that swag. The 2016 Gold Challenge is great for all of you other runners out there who really want to amp up the miles this year! They also have another 100 Days of Miles challenge going. If you’re interested in signing up for this challenge with me, you can join here!
Speaking of running…I do believe I mentioned not running another marathon this year…yeah well haha that didn’t last long. Training and running my first marathon last year was one of the hardest things I’ve done mentally and physically. I can’t wait to put my mind and body to the test AGAIN when I officially start training around June. If any other Midwest runners want to snag an awesome deal for a marathon, the PNC Milwaukee Running Festival Series is the way to go! You can register here. There’s also a 5k, 10k and half marathon distance options along with the full marathon. This is the second time this running series is going on and it’s getting some great reviews! Annnnd it’s a Boston Qualifier race soooo for all of you superhuman runners…take note.
With having the first marathon under my belt, I have a better idea of things I should and shouldn’t do throughout training and on race day. This marathon will definitely be smaller than Chicago so it’ll be easier to prevent myself from starting out too fast. My #1 problem which caused me to hit my wall at mile 20 and injured my IT band big time. Ouch.
Although my IT band has been a whiny little bitch lately, I’ve been stretching it out and foam rolling like woah so it’ll be back to normal well before marathon training starts….and before my other half marathons I registered for this year. Bahaha. #Lifeofarunner. I started off the new year right and packed on some miles in my new InkNBurn tights and my amazeballs wireless earbuds. I have no idea how I lived without them for so long. I can’t wait until it heats up just a tiny bit…these morning runs are brutal…but will I ever give in to running on the dreadmill??? NEVAAAA!!!
Once the new year hit, I also took advantage of getting some new workout gear. It’s my favorite time of year really since I can stock up on new running gear for a STEAL because of the infamous weight loss resolutions everyone seems to have. I swear by Old Navy’s active wear. Their running tights, tops and sports bras are amazing quality and the prices are A LOT easier on the eyes and the bank than Nike or UA gear. If you need some new gear, I highly suggest you check out those sales! You know…before I buy it all up.
One of hardest challenges for a runner is facing an injury. I’ve had some IT band issues lately and because another marathon is on my calendar I can’t fuck up allowing myself to heal properly. I’ve even set my alarm to get up and do stretches targeting that area and have sworn off running *GASP* for the week and sub it out for cross training to strengthen these damn hips! Lesson learned once again, don’t skip out on stretches or cross training between long distance runs, biotch! Although dealing with an injury totally blows, I’m hoping it’s short lived and I have an amazing support group to get me through it. Not only being part of the RunJunkEes® Run Club but being honored as an ambassador for the group has been amazing. Check us out if you want to join in on the fun here! It’s a great place to get motivated and connect with other runners from all over!
Aside from my fitness and running goals, I’m also playing around with ideas for my first book. It’s a goal of mine that I’ve had ever since college. It’s time to at least start working on making it a reality. I mean…if Kim Kardashian can have a fucking book of selfies published…that means I can get published too right?…Either way, these goals are so big for me it’s scary.
So for the past two Sundays, I’ve finished a very hilly half marathon with a couple of my fav ladies I’ve been training with for the marathon and finished the big 20 miler run yesterday. Marathon training is officially coming to an end after a few short weeks! Guys, shit is getting real. So let’s recap shall we?!
The half marathon was great, although damn those hills…don’t let those smiles fool you, our quads were oh so sore…
I landed a new PR for a half and finished strong! After running these crazy long distances on a regular basis, this race seemed to be a lot less daunting! It helps when you’re chatting it up as well. We also cursed each hill like it was our job. This medal was totally worth it though, and for once it didn’t feel like the fricken African Savanna outside.
Although yesterday….YESTERDAY was the big ol’ 20 miler that the Chicago Area Runners Association hosts to gather up all of the summer marathon training groups into one so we can run our last final long run until the marathon! Guys, my crotch hurts, my quads hurt, my shins hurt…everything hurts. Luckily this soreness has subsided for now. I only had one bathroom break mid-run (a miracle) and I maintained my marathon goal pace. WIN. SO MUCH WIN.
The early wake-up call is always a bitch, but it helps when you’re meeting up with the rest of your training group to ease those pre-race jitters! Knowing you have a whole 20 miles ahead of you to run…is pretty daunting. These people helped make this happen in the most successful way.
I will miss them like cray and I hope to run again with them soon! Unfortunately this was my last time running with them since I have another half marathon next weekend and a volunteering opportunity the following Sunday when we usually meet up and run the trails together. I really don’t know how I could have prepped for my first marathon without these amazing people! Love them all!
When I first saw that finish line, I’ve never been happier to see one in all of my life. 20 miles. Done. Success. Since the group split up during the course, we all regrouped and high-fived like woah. I still can’t believe that I ran 20 miles today…well actually whenever that happens I’m quickly reminded whenever I stand up again to walk. HELLO compression socks for today.
Now that the big 20 is out of the way, we’re now entering taper town! I must say, it’s going to be quite crazy not running so much anymore up until the marathon. Marathon day is coming up so fast…this is happening….
This long weekend was a blessing. Balancing work and marathon training is both mentally and physically exhausting. Although it’s been quite hard getting in those longer mid-week runs after work, I’m still going strong! And to top it off, the longest run I’ve ever completed happened on Sunday. 18 miles….18 miles across the fricken African Savanna (it was stupid hot/humid in Chicagoland). I didn’t die, I didn’t feel any kind of shooting pain anywhere, just the soreness that comes along with running for that long. I was stunned and if I had enough energy to spare at the time…I would have jumped and clicked my heels together I was so overjoyed. My pace wasn’t bad either considering the heat.
The funny this is that the night before, I barely got any sleep since the hubs and I went to a concert and didn’t get home until late. I’m still trying to figure out how this miracle run happened. After Sunday’s run I feel like I’m prepped for ANY kind of weather the marathon might through my way. Having a running partner staying on pace with me was key though. We kept on chanting how awesome we were and how close we were to finishing. Oh and food. Have to talk about food. Sunday afternoon was spent like this….
I also had to get my butt up and walk around so I wouldn’t cramp up so much so my sister and I made a date of it. What’s better than a nice walk around Half Priced Books? HELLLOOO Labor Day sale. We snagged some books and ate lunch before I gnawed my arm off. Burning 2,200 calories is something I’ve never done before in one run…so it was quite a task not dive-bombing for the fridge and eating everything in it. My Shakeology sampler pack also came in the mail over the weekend and I can’t wait to try this stuff out.
The stuff is ridic expensive, but I figured I’d see how one week of incorporating these shakes into my diet does with my marathon training and how they make me feel overall. Review to come!
It’s crazy to say that the marathon is pretty much one month away. ONE MONTH. Before then, I have two half marathons and a 20 miler race. Once that last 20 miler prep race is finished, the miles will slowly start to decrease! After the 18 miler on Sunday, I feel so confident about crossing that finish line in October and rocking the hell out of that medal. My fundraising is also getting closer and closer to the overall goal amount! If any readers would like to help and donate for this great cause, you can find that link here.
In other news, I have the Alpine Half Marathon this upcoming Sunday and stupid me, I forgot how hilly the course will be. Although the mileage is in line with my training, I have to keep my pace in check. The last thing I need is an injury (no matter how small) so close to the marathon! In addition to the hills, NO earbuds are allowed. This will be tough. If it gets bad, I hope any surrounding runners like some JLo because this girl will just start playing my playlist for all to hear. #sorrynotsorry.
Either way, I’m pumped and up for the challenge! All smiles! This runner is HAPPY.
It’s been quite some time since I linked up for a Friday Favorites post! I of course will blame it all on marathon training and pile on the excuses from there. Because well…I just can’t pry myself away from a bowl of pasta long enough to hammer out more blog updates. But let’s carry on shall we?!
I’m sure I’ve posted about Fabletics before when they first made their debut, but I seriously can’t go on enough about their awesome VIP pricing and quality of active wear. Because really? I don’t have time or the funds for ONE pair of $90 running tights.
I recently got to try out some of their sports bras and I LOVE how they have a back enclosure so it’s not impossible to get off post-17 mile run. (FYI getting off a sweat-soaked sports bra should be considered an Olympic sport…if that image is too graphic for you…#sorrynotsorry.)
I’ve recently paid more attention to Zulily thanks to my sis. I swear that website makes it impossible for you to be willing to spend full price on ANYTHING going forward. It’s awesome. I had a gift card to spend on there and within the past two days they had events for Brooks AND Lorna Jane! That kind of apparel can set you back hundreds of dollars and this girl scored some awesome fall running apparel for the price of one top.
Had to snag these Lorna Jane color block tights…because obviously.
This Brooks tech hoodie will ensure that I won’t become roadkill. I’ll be a tall, running highlighter.
Their customer service is also amaze-balls and over-the-moon nice and courteous which is enough to keep me coming back. Even better, if you see something else that you must have and you already placed your purchase, you’ll only be charged for shipping ONCE. We all know how much I loathe shipping prices so this is a major win in my book.
::3:: Race Swag
But seriously, any runner will tell you that before they sign up for a race, they’ll verify that they get awesome swag. I seriously just signed up for a half marathon because why not get a medal when I’m supposed to run that distance for marathon training anyway? Win/win. Race photos…not so much. Do I want a photo of myself at mile 12? Probably not. I’ll most likely look like I’m dying and end up terrified at the realization of how I look while running. It’s not pretty 80% of the time. I need to be more aware of my face as I run…come marathon day I don’t want to mirror some half-living creature as I reach the finish. I also achieved blue status on my Nike Running app and clocked in over 120 miles for this month. I’m not crazy I’m just training for a marathon…oh wait…
Oh how I love Brooks shoes. They’ve been good to me throughout my marathon training and was SO excited to see a second pair of my Glycerin 12s on super sale since the latest model just came out. Brooks isn’t the best when it comes to color choices so I was super stoked when my size was still in stock in another color option that I fell in love with…because that is just as important as its functionality right?…Better cross that finish line in style…and in one piece. I broke them in one morning and had a lovely view!
::5:: Fall Days
Oh yes I had to close with this one! For the past few nights, my runs have been ever so amazing with this fall preview weather. The overcast, slightly windy weather is making me very hopeful for race day in October. It’s such a crap-shoot when it comes to that month in Chicago. I’ve had enough of these hot, sweaty days. Marathon training is hard enough without the sun searing into my skull. I even found out that Dunkin’ Donuts was flying under the radar and got their pumpkin coffee back. (Nope, I don’t care if it’s not even October yet.) I wouldn’t give Apollo any. Not a single drop. Don’t worry everyone, he survived. #dramacat.
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I’ve been hearing a lot about runners getting super burned out right about now while the heat has been at its peak (minus these past two glorious cooler days). I mean even if you love running each morning, knowing you have to put in so many miles each day to train for a marathon can be a little monotonous. It’s even worse when the only time you can get those miles in is after a rough day at work and the days are getting shorter and shorter! Here are some tips that help me lace up each day!
- I remind myself why I’m doing this to begin with! It’s really easy to get sidetracked when you’re on week 11 of training and your legs still feel like lead from yesterday’s longer run. I always wanted to train for a marathon, but with my cousin’s diagnosis, I decided to run for the cause in his honor. He’s the best.
- Think of all the time and effort you put in already! I mean really, quitting now is absolutely not an option. The marathon (for me) is less than two months away and race day will be here before I even know it! No time for slacking! Unless you’re Apollo…
- Get yourself some new running swag! I don’t know about you, but when I get a new pair of shoes or a new tank I can’t wait to go out on my next run. I mean just look at them….#shoegasm #ohyes
- Running with a training group was also the best decision I made. Not only does it hold you more accountable for sticking to your training schedule, it makes those super long runs tolerable and you meet new people who love to run! (This smiley photo was BEFORE we ran 17 miles…)
- Preventing any injuries no matter how bad they may be is also vital to staying motivated and keeping up with your schedule. I mean sure you can tape up your injury as you run but better to prevent any of that from happening! I purchased these recovery sandals by Oofos and they are HEAVEN on my feet after my runs. I highly suggest them.
- After being a part of this training group, some people are VERY against listening to music during a run, but for me…it’s quite necessary when I’m running alone. I always have one earbud out and keep the volume low. That being said, new playlist jams ALWAYS packs some extra punch into my runs and keeps me going strong from that first mile to my last.
The hubs has certainly been a trooper too throughout my training. I pretty much get home from work and skip out for my run before it gets too dark out. This also means that he’s pretty much on his own for dinner unless he wants to wait until I’m home from my run. These longer runs during the week are getting rough! I definitely envy those who have enough time to run in the mornings.
That being said, despite a few times where I really had to drag my ass out on a run after a long day at work, I haven’t officially faced a burnout. With this cooler weather we’ve been having, I can’t help but imagine that moment when I cross that finish line and soak in ALL of that glory! 😀 Here’s to hoping for a successful race day!