Wednesday, July 30, 2014

breaking in the singlet

On Saturday, July 26th I ran my first race in my shiny new Oiselle singlet. It was amazing. Well, the race not so much I guess, but racing in the singlet was everything I had hoped for and more. The race was a 5k in Somerville, MA called Running on the Streets of Gold. I ran with my totally awesome teammate, braid twin, and new friend Rebecca. She picked me up around 7, after I made her wait in the parking lot while I finished gathering all of my stuff. I am a terrible packer and planner, I am great at throwing things in a bag last minute. 

at least I have an awesome new spike bag to throw it all in

We got to the race early so we would have time to do about a 15 min warm up, get our bibs, and braid some hair. Thankfully, I perfected the art of the french braid at a young age. Also thankful I was able to share this skill with Rebecca on Saturday. When we got to the race we were pretty surprised by the number of people. There couldn't have been more than 20. We weren't sure if we were in the right place until we spotted the porta potties. We were able to grab our bibs pretty quickly, along with a fresh copy of Chicken Soup for the Runner's Soul. Definitely the first time I've gotten a book at a race! After we got our stuff, we ran just under 2 miles to warm up. The sun was already warm and the humidity was already making things sticky. My singlet was soaked before the race even started. 

I look half asleep because I was...
(picture stolen from Rebecca)

Once we returned from our warm up miles, there were many more people lined up to get their bids and take a trip to the porta potty. After some delayed announcements, the race finally got started close to 8:30 (it was supposed to be an 8:00 start). It was their first year doing the race, so we cut them some slack. I went in to this race not knowing what to expect. Of course, I always want to shoot for a PR, but even more importantly I want to walk away knowing I gave it all on that day. Training lately has been extremely up and down with the weather (heat and humidity is NOT my friend). I also very rudely woke up at 2:30am Saturday morning and was not able to go back to sleep. I finally rolled out of bed around 5:45 and hoped some extra caffeine would give me some wings. I knew very early on this would not be the case. Rebecca is a super speedy bird. I knew she would be running much faster than me, even on my best of days. My thought was I would just try to keep her in sight as long as possible. It didn't take long after a couple turns, and some hills before I could no longer see her. I was flying solo and feeling pretty beat up. 

I had two options. I could give in to the pain, slow way down, and just use the race as a training run. Or I could embrace the pain and push on knowing I 'only' had a couple more miles to go. I chose the latter. I knew if I completely gave up I would be really upset when I finished. So, I chose to push forward and give the most that my body could at that moment. Near the finish, the course did a weird little out and back and I was able to see Rebecca in the distance still running strong. It gave me a little boost I needed to finish strong as well. 

I crossed the finish line at 23:47. Not even close to a PR, but not my slowest 5K either. It was however a fun day with a great teammate. I'm starting to understand that just because every race doesn't result in a PR, it doesn't mean every race that doesn't result in a PR is a bad race. Racing is fun because it's a challenge. You can't predict how your body will perform on any given day. You can only keep challenging it and hoping for great results. All I can ask of myself is to give my best in that moment. I want to walk away from each racing knowing I gave my best. Thankfully, I can say I gave my best effort at that time, during that race on Saturday. 

after we run...we drink coffee!
(again stolen from Rebecca)

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I have started and restarted this post a handful of times. Where do you even begin to write about something that still seems pretty surreal. I still feel the need to pinch myself...maybe I'll wake up and this will all be a dream.

I have a fun announcement.

I run for Oiselle!

Wait, what?! Me? Yes, I am EXTREMELY (caps are necessary) honored and proud to be able to say that I am a member of the Volee Team. Saturday I will be running my first race wearing the coveted Oiselle singlet that I've been dreaming of wearing for almost two years. Holy shit. This is real.

Side note: in case don't know, Oiselle is this totally incredible company that produces beautiful running clothes, supports incredible athletes, promotes positive change for the sport, and has inspired me to believe in myself every day. They're pretty amazing.

Oiselle gave me wings

Let me back track a bit. I applied to be a member of the Oiselle Team last year in June. On the last day of July I received an email saying I was not going to be offered a spot. I was totally bummed. I thought a lot about it, along with the email I received from Kristin (fearless team manager). Then wrote this post. There was a line in the email that stuck with me, "We hope that you keep in touch with us and continue to be persistent if being on the team is a priority to you." It absolutely was a priority for me. Even though I was not an official member of the 2013-2014 team, Oiselle had become a very important part of me, and I wasn't willing to let it go.

I never gave up hope over the past year that I would one day be able to say I run for Oiselle. I reached out to Kristin throughout the year and kept in touch. I continued to be inspired by all the talented, speedy Oiselle athletes and always felt welcomed and loved by the running community (family) they've built. It really is something very special. 

Ragnar birds
Seriously, when can we do this again?!
Oh wait, this isn't a Ragnar post
Steph and I at the Turkey Trot in NH
(can we do this again?!)

To my biggest surprise, a couple of months ago I was asked if I would like to be a member of the Oiselle Team. My response? YES!! Proceeded by jumping and dancing around my apartment for a while. The catch? I had to keep quiet until now. Maybe this is what winning a reality TV show feels like. It was tough because I obviously wanted to scream to the world that I am a member of the Oiselle Volee Team! My profile is on the athlete page. I almost still don't believe it.

Please don't pinch me. I don't want to wake up from this dream.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

from the city to the trails

I'm always so sad when Sunday evening rolls around, but this has truly been a great weekend. It started yesterday with a short drive in to Boston to run along the Charles River. This is my favorite place to run and I haven't had the chance to do it nearly enough. However, now that I live just a few miles away, it will definitely be happening more often. If you've never had the opportunity to run here, I would very highly recommend it. I ran down one side of the river along Storrow Drive, then crossed over to the other side and ran back along Memorial Drive for a total of 12.5 miles. It was beautiful despite the humidity that doesn't seem to want to quit.

I could look at this view all day

After my run, Ryan and I had planned to spend the day in the city. It's the first time we have had the chance to do so since we moved here. We spent the day walking, eating, and drinking. It was perfect.

my last name = I have to take a picture

This morning I finally decided to explore some trails I've been wanting to check out. I haven't done any trail running since I moved, but I knew there were a lot of them right down the street in place called Middlesex Fells Reservation. I eyed spot on google maps before we even moved and have been wanting to run/walk/bike there since. I ran to one of the many trailheads and was super excited to see what I could find.

very inviting

Pretty soon after I started I was greeted with options of which trail to take. Since I'm not at all familiar with the trails, I decided to stay on as straight a path as possible so I didn't end up lost in the woods somewhere. I followed the trail called long pond, which sounded pretty inviting. It didn't take long before I was running along a pond covered in lily pads. Of course I had to stop and enjoy the scenery.

While I was running I felt this sense of freedom and almost childlike. It was so fun running along the trails, hoping over rocks and logs. I can see why trail running is such an attraction. I stopped paying attention to my watch, partially in fear of falling, but mostly because I just didn't care. I was having fun and enjoying what was around me, so the time no longer mattered.

not going to lie, I kind of love this picture

taking it all in

Both runs this weekend were the type of runs where I finished thinking, "this is why I run." It showed me that where you run can make such a difference. I am so happy living where I am, and even happier after I saw what this weekend had to offer. I can't wait to explore the rest of those trails, and am super excited to run many more miles in the city along that dirty water. This weekend proved to me that running shouldn't always be about the numbers on the watch, it should be about the true love and passion for the sport...however you may find it. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

2014 goals check in

Over the past couple months I have been working with my friend Renee, who is also a health coach. I have always, for the most part, considered myself a healthy eater. I enjoy healthy foods, but like many people often fell in to the trap of convenience. I ate the same similar foods week after week, cooked easy quick foods for dinner, and meal planning was a foreign language. I've always struggled with feeling tired and unrested even after sleeping 10+ hours at night (and by sleeping I mean waking up multiple times throughout the night). I felt like I wasn't fueling my body the right way for enough energy to get through the day, let alone with the number of miles I wanted to run added on. So, after hearing of the success of another friend while working with Renee, I decided to give it a shot.

my first experience with overnight oats...
see, I can be healthy.

I'll write another post on what changes I've been making and the progress I've felt, but this post is about running goals. One of the first things Renee and I did was set (non running related) goals for myself over the course of the six month program. Each week she encourages me to review my goals and then we talk about them during our bi-weekly phone calls. She pointed out that reviewing my goals will keep them fresh in my mind, and more likely to be met. This got me thinking...didn't I set some running related goals for 2014? Oh yeah, I remember that. Since the year is already more than half gone (how the hell is that possible?!), I thought it would be a good idea to review those goals and see what progress I've made.

new goal: start taking off makeup before bed
so I don't look like this on every morning run.

2014 Goals

1. To be good to me body, so my body will be good to me. I'm learning this is an ongoing process. As I mentioned above, I have been working with a health coach, which directly relates to this goal. I have been learning how to be good to my body and what exactly that means. I have been feeling better overall, with more energy and getting more solid sleep. I am realizing this may not be a goal I can simply check off at the end of 2014 and mark as done. It's ongoing, but I am making progress.

When I first saw this picture, I though my thigh looks huge.
Then I looked a little longer and thought, I kind of like it.
While there will always be things about my body I'd like to change,
I am learning to appreciate it for what it is and what it does for me. 

2. Strength Train. Oh boy. This is such an ongoing battle. I realize the importance and the benefits. Why can't I get myself to do it?! This is a goal I also set with Renee that we have talked about during each session so far. When we talked two weeks ago, we set the goal of starting small and adding strength training once a week. I managed to do that. Kind of. It's been very minimal. Still working towards this one. 

Does lifting a bib count as strength training?
No? Glad we cleared that up.

3. To PR in every race distance I run this year. I realize this is a big goal. An even bigger goal now that it's already July. Let's see... I ran a half marathon in February. I did not PR, not even close. It was not pretty. I ran a 10k in April and PR'd, then ran another one in June and PR'd again. Check. I ran the Vermont City Marathon in May and did not PR. Again, not even close. I'll have another shot at the marathon in Philadelphia in November (super excited). I'll be aiming for a PR (and sub 4hrs) there for sure. I ran (my first) 5 mile race in June. Automatic PR...does that count? So, this goal is also still a work in progress. Coming up on the race calendar (so far) is a 5k this month, a 7 mile race in August, another shot at the half marathon in September, and the marathon in November. Time to do some work.

running my way towards a PR at the BAA 10K 

4. To run a sub 4hr marathon. See above. 

Continuing to review my goals will be an important part of achieving them. The expression out of sight, out of mind is very true for me, especially with how busy life can get. However, they are still very real and realistic. Time to prove it.

How are your 2014 goals coming along?