When Running Is Hard.

We’ll get into what to possibly do when running seems so hard in just a moment! (Why do I sound like I’m on TV?)

So after the half marathon Sunday which is utterly exhausting in and of itself, I went to work and then out to celebrate with John. We walked around for quite awhile after dinner and then I started to have an anxiety attack inside Trader Joe’s (I tend to have them when I’m overtired) so we knew it was bedtime for me! I am seriously an infant. I didn’t get much sleep and had to wake up at 4:45 AM to catch a 6:10 AM bus up to Binghamton for just a few hours to get my hair done. I got to Port Authority and found out that I stupidly booked both tickets LEAVING from Binghamton, not NYC. So I had to wait for 2 hours until the 8:00 bus left. Being exhausted and moody and sore and sweaty in Port Authority is probably the definition of hell on earth.

All was worth it though because I got to the salon where I love to go and was greeted with foils and wine.

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I don’t have an after picture right now but I went a lot blonder with some layers. If you are in the Binghamton area I highly recommend Friends & Company salon! If I travel 4 hours just to get my hair done, you KNOW it’s an amazing place.

I had just a minute to spare before I went right back so my brother and I went to get my favorite salad at Broadway Diner.

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Greek salad with grilled chicken, honey mustard on the side. The only thing missing was their french fries that are life changing but I figured I needed no more grease in my belly after the burger the night before.

It took me til today to feel caught up on sleep but it was well worth it!

So the other day on Facebook I saw this great quote posted from Competitor Running that I follow on there. It made all the sense in the world to why running seems difficult OFTEN to me lately, and I believe it’s from being a little too inconsistent and taking too many days off in between runs.

“I sometimes hear people say they don’t like running, but I think most people are never in good enough shape to really enjoy running. If you try to run consistently 30 days in a row — give or take a few days off during that span — there is something special that happens and all of a sudden you start feeling good and really enjoying it. But if you only run once or twice a week and are taking several days off, you’re always fighting getting in shape.” – Jenny Barringer Simpson

I would not suggest running 30 days in a row to anyone because you’re asking for an injury and for burn out, but I too often take 3-4 days off due to oversleeping and just plain laziness that my pace suffers and it feels like I can’t breathe well. This might not be the ONLY contributing factor, but I want to safely be able to run 5 days per week. This is also not just about pace but how I feel overall when running. There are definitely some days where a run feels incredible and “easy” but it isn’t often for me lately. I’ll admit my allergies have been the worst they’ve ever been for the last 6 months so breathing in general has not been easy, but I think I am also a tad bit lazy. I love sleep, what can I say!

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Of course you have to listen to your body and distinguish a real need for rest from just being lazy. This is where I fall short because by nature I am a lazy bum! No shame in my game. But consistency is really key in improving in anything, so of course this can be applied to any exercise!

So after this half marathon on Sunday, the rest of my races for the year are shorter except for a 15K in December. I want to run more days per week but keep them to 3-5 miles with a longer run on weekends, probably 8 or 9 miles max. I will also up my strength training and get back to Bikram yoga now that I won’t have to worry about severe soreness hindering a race 😉 Ready to switch it up!

How many days per week do you run or workout?

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Grete’s Great Gallop 1/2 Marathon!

This week has been a little crazy so I apologize for the lack of posts! I’ve been in exhaustion city since running the half on Sunday but I’m starting to feel human again. Here’s a little recap for ya!

I wrote last week about how I wasn’t really feeling motivated to run, and I honestly woke up Sunday morning feeling the same way. I drank my water and coffee, ate my 1/2 banana and PB, put my Polar heart rate monitor on and headed for the subway. The race started on the east side of the 72nd St. transverse in Central Park so it was relatively easy to get to. As per usual, I was in the porta potty line 1 minute before the race began but since I’m not fast I always have about 10 minutes to spare way in the back of the corrals. That’s a perk of being slow, yes?

When I signed up for this race back in August, I was dreaming of a nice chilly start to the race being that it was in October and all. Well, 2 minutes of being outside Sunday morning and you were drenched in sweat from the thick humidity and mist. I was glad I had hydrated so well the day before and morning of and I am particularly happy with how I hydrated through the whole race. I carried a Nathan’s hand held water bottle about 3/4 or a little less full and sipped it every 5-10 minutes until I ran out of it at mile 9.

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This size fits my iPhone 5 (with no case on it), my credit card and ID, and a little baggy of Swedish Fish.

I felt pretty great mentally and physically for much more of the race than I expected. The one mantra I told myself when I would start to get anxious at how much time I had left was to “stay within the mile you are in”. I have read that many times and it helps so much! I would just focus on being in mile 4 or mile 10 and get through that mile. I kept my music off until the 6th mile for a little mental break in the miles, too. Dedicating the harder miles to someone is really helpful too. I thought about my grandma for all of mile 8 when one of her favorite songs came on my playlist- Unforgettable by Nat King Cole. It brought tears to my eyes and an instant sense of motivation!

This course was 2 full loops of Central Park and let me just tell you… it’s Wednesday and the soreness in my quads is still making it very painful to walk down any stairs! Hills on hills on hills. I fueled with Swedish fish at mile 4 and mile 8 and didn’t feel like I needed any extra energy. Swedish fish are amazing and a cheap source of sugar for a long distance run!

I stopped to stretch out my calves and left IT band 3 times and while I wish I could get away with not doing that, I just don’t want to risk an injury. I wait until the tightness is pretty bad to stop so I don’t feel like such a wuss but it definitely feels like a necessity to do.

Finally mile 12 came and as it usually goes, it was the worst mile of the whole race. I almost stopped to walk about 300 times but instead I ran slower than I’ve ever run before. It honestly barely felt like I was moving my feet but soon enough I saw Brenda and John near the final .10 of the race. It gave me the boost of adrenaline I needed, and I sprinted my way through the finish and somehow managed a smile!

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I pretty much want this picture enlarged and framed in my room. So proud that my 2nd half marathon is complete! I actually finished 2 seconds slower than my first one in May but it really doesn’t matter to me! Finishing is all I’m concerned with 🙂

Finishing time was 2:29:17. Pace of 11:24 per mile. Rockin’ the 11’s like it’s my job, right Erika?! 😉

I had to go into work right after for a few hours, and had 0 appetite until I got out of work. I forced down a plain bagel with a little butter, a coconut water, and a pumpkin muffie from Panera brought to me by a co-worker! My heart rate monitor showed that I burned over 1800 calories during the race so this wasn’t nearly enough to refuel but I made up for it later! Mussels, fries, and my first BURGER in 348347329 years. NOT a good idea but I also knew that going into it…

Sorry for the dark lighting!
Sorry for the dark lighting!

Delicious, $5 mussels from Brindle Room.

I had a craving for a burger so bad I could have died. I’m more or less allergic to red meat (I don’t know what else to call it when every time I eat it it gives me a 2 day long stomach ache?) so I haven’t eaten it in a long time. I’ll usually have 1 or 2 burgers a year and it has to be EXTREMELY worth it. I knew the portion was really small and John doesn’t toss around lightly what he considers the best burger in NYC so I went for it.

burger w/ blue cheese & caramelized onions
burger w/ blue cheese & caramelized onions

Seriously worth every bit of pain that followed. YOLO?

I then proceeded to collapse in bed only to have to wake up at 4:30 AM to travel 4 hours to get my hair done. Let’s leave that for tomorrows post 🙂

I’ve rested Monday, yesterday and today out of pure exhaustion so I’ll have a chance to run twice before Sunday’s half marathon! Am I crazy or am I crazy?!?

Have you ever ran a half marathon? Thoughts on the distance?

My Favorite Weekend.

This weekend was too good to put into words. The best one I’ve had in a long time and the happiest I have felt in so long. That’s what being around amazing people, running a bunch of miles, and eating delicious foods will do to you. One of my closest friends since elementary school got married Saturday and it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to and probably will ever attend! I’ll keep the words short because this is a picture-heavy post! Enjoy 🙂

I left for upstate Friday morning early so I packed a healthy, easy breakfast for the ride.

90 calorie Flatout wrap, Better'n PB, chocolate hazelnut butter and a banana
90 calorie Flatout wrap, Better’n PB, chocolate hazelnut butter and a banana

Had a quick pre-run snack when I arrived at my mom’s.

Wheat thins with honey peanut butter & un-pictured coffee with pumpkin creamer :)
Wheat thins with honey peanut butter & un-pictured coffee with pumpkin creamer 🙂

Ran 5 miles of hills. This picture doesn’t do the hills of my hometown justice.

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Refueled at my favorite diner with my mom and brother, Broadway Diner.

chicken gyro pita with the best fries ever!
chicken gyro pita with the best fries ever!

And a huge piece of baklava eaten in 4 installments.

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My mom and I went shopping at TJ Maxx where I got some new workout clothes (all on clearance) like these adorable (and EXTREMELY comfortable) shorts.

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Followed by inappropriate things in Wal-Mart with squash.

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Picture taken and encouraged by my mom.

Saturday morning pre-run essentials. I usually use PB but when in Rome (or my moms house)… use Biscoff.

Coffee w/ pumpkin creamer & stevia, small banana & 1/2 tbsp biscoff
Coffee w/ pumpkin creamer & stevia, small banana & 1/2 tbsp biscoff

Wearing my new shorts and a long sleeved shirt, I set out for 10 miles. I kept it super slow since I hadn’t ran more than 7 miles since April (!) and enjoyed every second of the cool air.

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Picked up John and went to one of our old favorite breakfast spots, Corbin’s Cafe

CRAB benedict with homefries. The sauce was very light & they don't cook their food in oil! Love this place.
CRAB benedict with homefries. The sauce was very light & they don’t cook their food in oil! Love this place.

Then began the hour+ drive to Oneonta with my favorite people. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott which was about 20 minutes from the wedding venue, and it was a super nice hotel.

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The 4 of us (best friend Brenda, her boyfriend Eddie, John and I) got dolled up and headed to the barn to see our friend marry the love of her life.

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Brenda’s outfit: Jacket from H&M, dress from H&M, Chanel flats. My outfit: Jacket from Khol’s, dress from Francesca’s Collection, necklace is borrowed, ring from Forever 21, flats from Chanel.

Her wedding will most likely show up on Pinterest. It was perfection.
Her wedding will most likely show up on Pinterest. It was perfection.

We ate delicious BBQ food from Brooks House of BBQ in Oneonta.

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We danced and drank wine. A lot of wine…

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After the reception, we changed into comfy warm clothes and sat around a bonfire. We lit lanterns with “Love U” printed on them and released them into the sky. This was so beautiful.

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The beautiful newlyweds!
The beautiful newlyweds!

So happy we were there to experience such an amazing wedding.

Sunday morning we went to our old hangover spot, Bagel Factory.

pumpkin bagel (!!) with egg whites & a tiny bit of pumpkin cream cheese with homefries
pumpkin bagel (!!) with egg whites & a tiny bit of pumpkin cream cheese with homefries

Lunch was a must have when I’m in Binghamton. Chicken speidie sub from Harry Tuft’s with their homemade blue cheese and honey mustard sauce.

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Followed by my favorite bubble tea spot.

Excuse the hangover puffy face.. this is a coconut black tea sweetened with honey
Excuse the hangover puffy face.. this is a coconut black tea sweetened with honey

And right before getting on the bus… I knew it would murder my stomach, but I had to have it. The cheesiest, sloppiest, soupiest pizza on the planet. Roma’s pizza, a childhood staple for me.

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Worth every ounce of pain (and gas) that accompanied me on the bus ride home. Sorry to those affected.

Congratulations to Rachel & Jeremy!

What is the best wedding you’ve ever been to?

Are there any foods you just HAVE to eat when you go back to your hometown? I ALWAYS come back to NYC feeling like a 300 pound blimp, but I rarely go up to visit anymore so I gotta get my foods in. Hey, I ran 15 miles this weekend so that probably got rid of most it 😉