Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Training with Butch Reynolds

Starting a business and working my own hours has allowed me a little flexibility to do things I traditionally wouldn't be able to do working for someone else, like sneak out for a training session with former Olympian Butch Reynolds. 

Butch holds an Olympic gold in the 4x4oom relay and a silver in the 400m. His world record of  43.29 seconds in the 400m was held for 11 years before it was broken. 

Two weeks ago I headed to a fancy gym in the FiDi for a private session with him courtesy of Philip Stein. They were launching their new Horizon Sport bracelet, which Butch is a fan of. 

I had a speed workout later that night so I was hoping he wasn't going to work me too hard. 

We started with a slow walk on the treadmill then went over what we were going to do. He was going to show me some warm ups, stretch my legs out and test my flexibility then go over my running form. 

We did traditional coordination warm ups, balance exercises, high knees, butt kicks, etc. We also went over where to look when running- not straight ahead but also not all the way down. Chin slightly tilted and eyes basically aimed at the feet of the person a few feet in front of you. '

After the first portion, he mentioned I was one of the most in shape person he worked with all day. Thennnn we got to the stretching portion and I became the least flexible person he saw all day. 

While lying on my back, we worked each leg individually to get them to a 90 degree angle vertical and horizontal. Whoa did that stretch out my super tight hips! In order to move my legs back further, Butch used resistance on every exhale. I highly recommend working on flexibility if you're a runner. I have been trying to get to yoga at least once a week. 

Last, we got to the running portion. We did this twice. The first time, without any tips, I ran up and down the small corridor in the gym and Butch took video. Then we went over it. I learned that I run too flat footed and up and down. Also, my elbows are a little too wide. 

The second time I did it, of course I nailed it. Launch off the balls of my feet? Done. Lean a bit forward? Check. Aim eyes lower? Yes. Elbows in? For the most part. 

I have definitely been trying to incorporate all of those changes into my training. I can feel the difference when I'm suddenly aware of something and tweak it. 

Training the past 2 weeks has gone fantastic. My speed is coming back and my long run wasn't half bad. Fingers crossed as the weather gets nicer, my breath and hydration becomes normal again. 

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday weekend!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Marathon Training!


When life throws you some curve balls, you take a little blogging break. Between branching out to be a solo PR badass, weekends out east, seeing friends and oh yeah, running, things got a little cray.

Fortunately, I have been training and as of this moment, in 73 days, I will be toeing the starting line on the Verrazano Bridge to run the NYC Marathon!

In the spring I finally started attending practice (after joining in January) with my team, the Hellgate Road Runners. On Mondays I aim to go to the hill repeat workout and on Wednesdays it's speed on the track. Both of those workouts are going to contribute to me getting up and over those marathon hills and bridges. I can already feel myself getting stronger and faster.

If you hadn't noticed, I signed up for 0 races this year besides the NYC half and full marathons. Coming off of injuries with all of my speed basically gone was going to set me up for disappointment so I decided that 2017 will be the year of PR's.

With that said, hopefully brighter running days are ahead. Like many other runners, the heat and humidity was not my friend. There was some walking, extended traffic light breaks and finishing of the water bottle wayyy before the run was done.

My longest run in this training cycle so far has been 13 miles and it was awful. My hydration was completely off and although I never had to pee, it was a miracle my body was retaining it because all I wanted to to was drink everything I saw. Be it the heat or the fact I was eating pretzels, it did not leaving me feeling great about this race.

But on Monday, a miracle happened and it started getting cooler. I did my scheduled 5 miles, with hills incorporated, and felt fab.

I'm going to start putting a bigger focus on yoga and Pilates to make sure my core and arms are strong so they can carry me across that finish line.

I'm so happy to be back to blogging and can't wait to share some fun topic changes I'm going to be making!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Running & Life Lessons

[Credit: Imgrum]
After a not-so-wonderful Saturday night, I spent all of Sunday sleeping, woke up to get some work done, then went back to sleep. I felt pretty crappy- physically and emotionally. Even though it's been a few years since I lost the weight I put on those last two years in college, I still haven't quite figured out that certain drinks can and will effect me differently now. 

After basically embarrassing myself (and countless others), I woke up Monday and realized nights like that are like not-so-great training runs. They will not ruin your life, just like a bad training run will not destroy your race. 

One of the great things about running is the lessons you learn that can be applicable to other parts of your life. 

[Credit: The Running Mormon]
Running teaches you to keep going even when things get hard and you feel like you're going to go down. 

That hard work and determination will reward you. 

To look forward instead of looking behind you, because then you will go down. 

That one rough training session is not going to make or break the end result. 

[Credit: Quotesgram]
So the next time you want to go into hiding, remember that you bounced back from that awful run and you'll eventually get over it all. 


Monday, April 4, 2016

NYC Half Marathon Recap

Most of you know from my previous posts that I have been nursing a hamstring injury since September and a knee injury since last February. After I completed by 9+1 for guaranteed entry into the 2016 NYC Marathon, I took exactly 2 months off of running and boy did it take a toll on my body. It was the first time I realized how much running played in my physical and emotional health. 

I'm happy to report that although I was under-trained, I started and finished the NYC Half Marathon 2 weeks ago! It was no easy feat but I ran one of the smartest races I have ever run. 

With my hamstring acting up leading up to the race, I didn't make the fact that I was running public knowledge because I didn't know if I was going to be able to finish. The two weekends prior to the race I was also getting certified in Pilates (more on that soon!) so I wasn't able to run. 

During my last Mile High Run Club Dash28 class, I asked Andia if she had any tips for the hills that were going to tear my hamstring up and she told me to run on my toes, lean a little forward and pretend I was climbing stairs. 

So off I went on the morning of March 20 to a freezing Central Park. Knowing if I wore gloves during the race my hands would get to hot, and not having any throwaway options, I checked mine and think I got a little frostbite. Bare hands paired with bare legs = no bueno. I went to find Brock and we headed over to the corrals. 

I already knew I'd be running slower than what NYRR thought I might run so I went to the last corral in the second wave. 

We were finally off about 20 minutes later (at this point my entire body was numb)! The first thing I had to conquer was cat hill, which was easy. While we were on the east side next to the reservoir,  a runner was yelling about bananas and completed crashed into the orange cone and wiped out (she was OK!). Don't yell and not pay attention to where you're going when you're running. 

The rolling hills going into Harlem felt a little tricky and by the time we got up to the roundabout before Harlem Hill, I began to feel my hamstring, yay. I ran very slow during the roundabout and also screwed up my fuel over here. I refused to eat until I went up the hill except I usually take fuel at mile 3. Oops. 

Harlem Hill was hard. I took it slow and made it to the top and I was the happiest injured runner ever. I knew that if I got over that one, the rest of the rolling hills would be fine. And they were! 

Once we started getting closer to the CNN building I got more excited because I knew once I stepped foot out of the park, it was pretty much a flat road to the end. 

Running through Times Square will always be magical. It's only one of two times they shut the street down each year. Between the lights and the crowds, it's an easy mile to get through. And for me, right before I made the right onto 42nd St., my friends were at the end of it! Anna, Lauren and Erin came out to cheer for me, Lauren's boyfriend, Brock and the rest of their Team for Kids team. I tossed Anna my ear warmers (I got hot) and went on my way. 

Everyone I talked to said they didn't like the West Side Highway because it was so boring. As an injured runner, I felt the opposite. I LOVED it. There were no hills, there were crowds and most of all, I could just run without fearing an extra challenge. 

I saw the girls again right before the Battery Park tunnel. Again, for the second time, I took the tunnel too fast thinking I had more energy I'd be able to kick at the end. I was wrong. I almost began hitting a wall at mile 12.75 and just wanted the race to be over. 

As soon as I saw the left turn into the chute I booked and crossed the finish line. Since I was channeling my inner Shalane by running in my compression socks, it was only fitting that I also almost collapsed at the finish line due to jello-y legs. A volunteer got a little scared that he might have to catch me but I regained my balance, got my medal, found my friends then inhaled a pizza.  

Between my body knowing how to run this distance, a lot of Pilates and running smart, I learned a lot leading up to and during this race. 

Next up: a destination race in Virginia wine country the first weekend in June which takes us right into marathon training. I'm excited that one of the woman who stays in the same Hampton's sharehouse as me and is a marathon runner is going to share her tips and tricks with me. She already said I had to start swimming for my injuries- boo. 

Congrats to all of the NYC Half finishers!