Belmar 5

15 Jul

Well, I did it.  I survived the Belmar 5.  There was a horrible stitch in my side and an even more horrible playlist involved, but I managed to finish and did better than I expected.  My dad also joined me at the last minute which was awesome.  I beat him, which was even better.  I’m competitive.  Granted, the man is 60 years old and came in about 25 seconds behind me, but a win’s a win bitches (930th place counts as a win when you beat your dad).

I didn’t get the best night’s sleep on Friday for a myriad of reasons, but I felt surprisingly okay when my alarm went off at 6:10 on Saturday morning.  I ate half of a nasty Soy Joy bar (mango coconut… holy disgusting, Batman) and half of a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter (since I couldn’t bring myself to finish the bar) and drank some water.  Then I went to  put on sunscreen and get dressed.

My race day ensemble. Try to spot the adorbs sparkly pink headband. It was the key to my success. Actually, it was really just the key to my mom and Chris recognizing me in a sea of runners.

Yeah, you totally can’t see the headband.  It was there and it was pink and  sparkly and it made me happy.  Anyway, I went downstairs at around 7 with the idea that I was going to chill and watch some tv and stretch until 7:30 when my dad and I were going to drive down to Belmar together.  Chris and my mom would meet us later.  Fast forward to me going downstairs and seeing my dad in full running regalia.  He asked if I thought they’d let him register that day.  “Probably.  I think they let you register up until a half hour before the race.”  “I’m going to do it.”  Okay then.

The ride down to Belmar was uneventful.  I really wasn’t nervous at all.  I’ve run 5 miles before.  “It’s just a regular Saturday 5 mile jog except with 3000 other people and without hills and you should probably run faster than you normally do,” I kept telling myself.  By the time we got to Belmar, my stomach was not happy with its situation in life.  I’m sure I’ll post about my stomach issues in the future under the TMI tag, but suffice it to say when I got to Belmar, I needed a bathroom.  Right at that moment.  My dad helpfully directed me to the portapotties, or portaloos as I call them because I’m dignified (as I talk about bathroom issues).  I told him I needed a real bathroom, a real toilet that flushes.  Fortunately, I actually read the racer information sheet so I knew that the boardwalk bathrooms opened at 7.  I told my dad to register, I needed to find a bathroom, and I’d meet up with him.  Considering the amount of people that were at the event, I wasn’t sure if I would find him again before the race started.  I was so desperate though, I honestly didn’t care.  We had to finish the race at the same spot, right?

I found a boardwalk bathroom right near the registration pavilion with a fairly short line.  I did what I had to do and afterwards I felt a lot better.  My stomach still didn’t feel great and I felt randomly cold, which was something new, but maybe it was because I was more nervous for the race than I thought I was.  I found my dad right away and we dropped off his stuff at the baggage check and walked over to the start line.  We had about 20 minutes so we stretched and just kind of hung out on the boardwalk.  I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the weather was.  It was about 73 degrees and while humid, not oppressively so.  Granted, there was no reason i should be shivering, but since I have no explanation for you right now, I’m blaming it on the Soy Joy.

Here’s the weird thing about the Belmar 5- the race organizers love their megaphones.  At the registration area, there was a man just rambling into the megaphone.  Occasionally he’d tell people where to go, but mostly he just appeared to be speaking nonsense.  There were another couple of guys with megaphones in Silver Lake Park herding people.  However, at the start line?  No one.  No megaphone, no announcements that we could hear.  Somehow, miraculously, 3000 + people corralled themselves to the starting line.  My dad and I were somewhere in the front of the middle of the pack.  We had no idea what the hell was happening.  We heard cheers and didn’t know why until we figured out the wheelchair race started.  There may have been singing of the national anthem- I could not tell you.  All I know is at some point a fog horn went off and I am smart enough to figure out that people moving in front of me meant I should move too.

The start of the race was crowded, but not as bad as I thought.  I had to do a lot of bobbing and weaving but I didn’t have to throw any elbows and no elbows were thrown at me.  I put on my 80’s playlist, which I’ve used on long runs before.  I totally wasn’t feeling it yesterday.  At all.  I didn’t want to stop and change it though, because that would be silly, so I dealt with it.  Then, about 10 minutes into the race, I felt a stitch in my side.  Again, I’m blaming my breakfast, although it had been over 2 hours since I ate.  It really hurt, but I tried to put it out of my mind.  I wasn’t stopping after less than a mile.  Despite these very minor setbacks, the first mile and a half were pleasant enough.  We were running down Ocean Avenue in Belmar, people were cheering for us, and it was nice to be running along the beach, something I rarely get to do.  After about 3/4 of a mile, we made a left onto North Boulevard.  My mouth was seriously dry at this point.  Right up ahead was a water station.  The guy who handed me the water probably thought I was a freak because I stopped to thank him, but my mother raised me right.  I’m also an idiot.  Anyway, I had and still have no idea how to effectively run and drink water from a cup so about 90% went all over me and only 10% went into my mouth but it did the trick.

The next mile was a run around Lake Como which was beautiful.  I was keeping a pretty good, comfortable pace, trying not to use up all of my energy.  I was passing a lot of people which was nice, and I wasn’t paying too much attention to people who were passing me.  I saw my dad a few hundred feet ahead of me.  He probably didn’t stop to chat with the water people.  Lesson learned.  The competitive part of me wanted to run faster to catch him, but cooler heads won out.  I also thought, and he later confirmed so I’m really not an awful daughter, that he was running a bit too fast for such an early part of a 5 mile race, and didn’t want to find myself in the same position.  I was finishing this fucker if I had to crawl across the line, but was going to do my damndest to avoid the whole crawling thing.  There was a photographer at the finish line, after all.

Once we ran around Lake Como (another water station, another stop to say thank you, another weird look), we had to run back down Ocean Avenue.  This was kind of annoying, only because now that I ran up Ocean in one direction, I knew how far I had to go back down Ocean.  Part of me loves being in the dark and not being able to say “oh god 12 more blocks before we reach the final lap.”  Although, I was in the dark about that final lap and I was none too pleased.  The second trip up Ocean actually went quicker than I thought it would.  I was looking for Chris and my mom for a bit but then just decided to concentrate on running.  I was running a decent pace and wanted to try and keep it for the duration.

I got to 6th Avenue and thought  to myself, “Oh good.  Now I have have to run around that tiny lake. I saw it on the map.  It’s tiny.”  Note: race map was not drawn to scale.  This lake was soooo much bigger than I thought it was going to be.   I stupidly thought it was a large pond and we’d just run up 6th avenue for a few blocks, make a right, then quickly turn back onto 5th where we’d finish.  Nope.  Side streets galore ensued.  Thank god for the Belmar residents who were out on their front lawns with water and hoses  Granted, I ran under a hose and thought “Oh crap I’m wearing a white shirt and sports bra.”  You’re welcome, people of Belmar.  You’re welcome.  Fortunately my shirt dried ridiculously fast.  Thank you Lululemon.

We finally made our way around the lake to the final stretch down 5th Avenue.  I was ready to be done.  I was also feeling really happy that I was going to finish this race (and on my feet, no less).  I passed my dad around E Street (I wasn’t obnoxious about it I swear).  Two blocks up, I heard my mom and Chris cheering for me which was awesome.  I gave them a big smile and a wave and then heard the guy with the megaphone say “runners, you can finish this in under 45 minutes.  You can run a 9 minute mile” (this man was followed by another man with a megaphone telling us to take out our headphones, followed by a third man with a megaphone with no discernible purpose.  Seriously, guys, where were you at the start of the race????? )    Once I heard I could break 45 minutes, I ran as fast as I could through the finish line.  I don’t even want to see how that professional finish photo turned out.

Since I had never run a 5 mile race before, and certainly never this course, my goal was to finish in under 50 minutes.  I finished in 44 minutes 21 seconds.  I finished in the top third overall.  I was really pleased with the results.  I was really proud of myself.  My dad also finished in under 45.  I can’t even begin to say how proud I am of him.  To wake up in the morning and decide he wanted to run a race with his daughter and then finish it faster than he thought he could is amazing.

We finished! I was really excited about my participation medal for about 10 minutes, then wondered what I’m supposed to do with it.

After the race we drove up to Avon to have breakfast then hung out on the beach for a bit.  It was such a nice day.  This race made me realize that I can set a goal and achieve it, if not surpass it.  That I’m stronger, both mentally and physically, than I give myself credit for.  That as hard as running can be, as painful as it can be sometimes, I really enjoy it.   I can see why people love running so much, why they sign up for marathons and half marathons.   And that is why I signed up for a 5 K in two weeks.  I’m not quite ready for the half marathon commitment, but yesterday made me realize that I may need to do one in 2013.  I look forward to the challenge.

Happy and Sweaty

8 Jul

Most mornings, be it weekday or weekend, I wake up by 6 am.  I cannot sleep late- it’s my lot in life.  I’ve never really been able to.  In college, I’d mayyybe sleep until 9:30 or 10 once in a blue moon due to post-finals cramming exhaustion, but that’s really it.  I could come home from a night out at 4:30 am and by 8 I was awake.  My college boyfriend loved this about me.  That is a lie.

Yesterday I managed to sleep until 8 am for the first time in I don’t even know how long.  I was planing on going for a run later in the day.  I forgot that it was supposed to go up to 100 degrees.  Oops.  By the time I got around to looking at the thermometer before changing into my running clothes, itw as 95 degrees.  I don’t think I’ll ever be that ambitious.  I thought about running on the treadmill, but Chris and I had so many errands to run and were out all day that by the time we got back I realized it wasn’t happening.  I felt guilty but had such a headache from the heat and humidity, I really didn’t care all that much.

This morning I woke up at around 6:30.  I thought about going back to sleep but I needed to get my miles in and I wanted to do it before the temperature rose.  Daisy was being extra cute this morning, hopping around and following me like “don’t go, stay and play with me!!”  But I left (homegirl was pisssssed) and knocked out 5.4 miles.  It was humid and I was soaked when I got back, and towards the end of my run there was this slight, never-ending incline that reminded me of my dreaded Brooklyn Bridge runs, but for the most part I felt really good during the run.  My quad feels so much better.  I do have some pain on the inside of my left knee though so I iced it afterwards.  Running 5.4 miles through hilly Holmdel helped give me confidence that I can do 5 miles in flat Belmar next week.  I can.  I just have to remind myself that I’m not doing this to win, there is no chance in hell of me winning, so I better not start out trying to chase the people in front running sub 7 minute miles.  I get really competitive, sometimes to the point of utter stupidity.

After my run I made myself a green smoothie and ate a hardboiled egg for protein.  I’ve become obsessed with green smoothies in the last month or so.  I usually make them with vanilla soy or almond milk, chia seeds, a little peanut butter, a huge handful or 2 of spinach, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a banana.  I use frozen fruit, including the banana, so it has a milkshake consistency and is just heavenly.  They’re so delicious, even when I use a lot of spinach and they’re not very pretty to look at.  I love having them post-run.  They make me feel so good.  And cold.   Sometimes I’ll have one for dinner on days when it’s so hot the thought of eating makes me nauseous.  I love feeling like I’m doing something good for my body.

And now it’s a beautiful day out.  I have a few more errands to run and I’m happy to go outside and do them.  A Frasier marathon on the Hallmark channel (don’t judge) awaits my return.  Maybe I’ll get a salad from Whole Foods for lunch.  Then it’s back to Brooklyn later.    I’ve had such a nice weekend and I don’t want it to end, but I also realize how lucky I am to have a job that I enjoy.  It makes Mondays a little bit easier to stomach.

Early birds, control, and fanny packs

6 Jul
I got my run in this morning even though I really wanted to stay in bed.  Chris came with me and dropped out early, but I’m so proud of him for getting up at 5:45 and doing it with me.  Baby steps.  I have been making it a point to get my runs done in the morning for the last couple of months, but we both decided we were really going to commit to that.  Now my alarm is set for 5:45, with the goal of moving it to 5:30.  I haven’t told Chris about this goal yet.  I don’t want to scare him.  Anyway, I decided not to go to the Refine class today after work.  Something doesn’t feel quite right with my left thigh.  It’s fine when I run, but I’ll turn ever so slightly and I get a sharp pain.  I’ve been stretching and foam rolling which has helped a lot. I’m certain it’s just a bit of a pull and nothing to be too worried about, but I’m not going to push myself.  Don’t think I don’t feel guilty or that I’m not obsessing about not going to class today though.  I am.
 
I know I’m way too hard on myself with respect to so many things.  Exercising, eating right, health, work, the state of my apartment (not good kids, not good), money, etc. I want to ease up, but I have no idea how.  I get afraid that if I relax a bit on exercise by not going to a class because I think I may injure myself, it will be a one way slippery slope to slothdom.  Don’t go to Refine on Friday, by Monday I’ll be on the couch in a muu muu, eating Bon Bons -do they still make Bon Bons?  Those were awesome- and having to be removed from my apartment by tearing down the building wall because they can’t get me out the door.  I’m not exaggerating.  This is a real fear of mine.  With my apartment, I think I’m one glass left on the coffee table away from being a subject on hoarders.  I don’t really restrict my food, I just try to eat healthy.  It’s not really hard for me- most of my favorite foods are healthy ones- broccoli, strawberries, fuji apples, peaches, oatmeal, quinoa, peanut butter.  But when I eat more than I usually do, I freak out a bit.  Does eating pizza today automatically lead to ordering a supersized #7 value meal at McDonald’s tomorrow?  Intellectually, of course I know that it doesn’t.  There’s just this part of me that doesn’t trust myself to stay in control. 
 
I need to realize that if I workout 5 out of 7 days, hard workouts to boot, that’s okay.  It’s okay to listen to my body if it needs a rest.  On days like today it’s telling me “hey I can’t do this.”  But most days?  It tells me “let’s go.”  I should be grateful for the majority of days when my body shows me how much it can handle, how much I can push it, and respect it enough to let it rest.
 
This weekend is going to be super hot (I sound like a broken record.  It’s July, Allison, It’s hot.  Deal).  I really want to get my miles in though.  I don’t want to use the heat as an excuse.  I also don’t want to die.  Overdramatic, yes, but I do worry about overheating or becoming dehydrated.  Shut up and carry a water bottle, you say?  I may.  But I hate holding a tiny little ipod nano  or a key in my hand while running.  Something tells me I’m not going to get very far carrying a waterbottle.  I’ll try to suck it up and deal.  I am a trooper.  Maybe I should invest in one of those snazzy water bottle belts.  I don’t know.  I think it bears too much of a resemblance to a fanny pack.  And I’m still trying to get over my childhood trauma of my dad’s love for the fanny pack and insistance on wearing it wherever we went.  I can’t even really call it childhood trauma since it lasted until about 5 years ago and only ended because no one, including my mom, would allow themselves to be seen with him wearing that thing.  So there you have it.  Another piece of the puzzle that is me.
 

I got my bib for the Belmar 5 last night.  My first though?  Oh shit now I really have to do this.  A tiny part of me was hoping it would get lost in the mail.  However, for the most part, I’m excited.  I can do this.  I will do this.  I’m not trying to win this thing, obviously, I just want to finish.  I set a goal for myself, I will achieve it, and then I will smile, be proud of myself, and eat a bagel.  Yes.  Next Saturday, I will be running towards a bagel.  Whatever works, right?

4th of July

4 Jul

My loves

Happy 4th of July!  I know a lot of people are bitter that it falls in the middle of the week, but I’ll take any day off I can get.  We don’t leave for our honeymoon until August 17 so I went from wedding craziness straight back to work.  Well, I took that Monday off.  I live on the edge.

I so wanted to sleep in a little today but as usual my body and mind won’t let me.  Neither will Daisy (my dog).  I woke up at 5:45, the time I normally wake up during the week.  I thought about trying to go back to sleep, but as soon as she sensed movement from me, Daisy started her morning ritual of sniffing, sneezing, grunting, and running around until I acknowledged her.  Who needs an alarm clock when I have my own personal rooster?  Usually once I get up, Daisy does a little happy dance, rolls over for a belly rub, then walks over to her little bed and goes back to sleep.  Once I’m up, I’m up for the rest of the day.  Ugh.

I actually like getting up early on days I don’t have to go to work.  I made myself a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and Sarabeth’s strawberry peach fruit preserves (heaven in a jar) and sprinkled some chia seeds on top.  I also had a few slices of apple on the side.

Since my gym is rude and closed for the holiday, I went to a 9:30 Refine class.  I won’t say it was easier, because that would be a lie and lying is bad.  I was definitely more comfortable in this class than I was on Friday.  I think because I knew how to adjust the pulley system and had some idea s to the flow of the class.  I’m much better when I’m not in the dark.  In today’s class, it was still hard as anything, but I wasn’t watching others as much, unless I was confused about what we were supposed to be doing and needed guidance.

The only issue during class was when we were doing jump squats, my IT Band let me know it was not thrilled.  It hurt.  I was probably using bad form, because when we did squats at a slower pace with out the jumps and I could pay more attention to my form, it hurt less.  Still, that pain made me a bit nervous, so when I got home from class, some extra stretching, ice, advil, and a banana were in order.  It feels a bit better now, but still doesn’t feel great.  I’m going to see how it is tomorrow.  I’m signed up for class on Friday, but if it still hurts, I may just wait until Tuesday to go back.  I really don’t want to injure myself.  Does anyone?  I’ve come too far in my fitness journey the last couple of months to be sidelined by injury.  I have to keep reminding myself of that, because I’ll push myself to the breaking point if allowed to.

After class, I came home, showered, and Chris and I walked Daisy around the block.  It’s a little hot for her out there.  Then Chris and I grabbed lunch at a bar in the neighborhood.  I had a veggie burger that was just meh, but it was still nice to be able to hang out and be able to have lunch with Chris on a Wednesday.  I used to always feel like I had to do something festive on 4th of July.  Beach, Prospect Park, BBQ,  rooftop drinking.  All fun.  Today, though, a day at home with my little family is just what I need.

 

 

Monday. Sigh.

2 Jul

I ended up taking it easy yesterday.  I hobbled over to Trader Joe’s, hobbled over to Rite Aid, and got stuck in a squatting position while greeting my dog after returning home from those aforementioned errands.  I apologize to my neighbors for the hair raising howl that ensued.  Even at 2pm I was still thinking “oh I’ll just wait until 4 and then run on the treadmill.”  My husband Chris advised me I was being an idiot.  He’s so wise.  Even though I listened to Chris, I felt guilty about not exercising and not performing the activity I said I was going to do that day.  It’s something I need to work on, not pushing myself to the point of injury or burnout because I feel guilty about not doing something.   It’s hard though.  I’m Jewish.  I thrive on guilt.

Since I’m trying to get regular runs in before the Belmar 5, I got up this morning at 5:45 and headed out.  I really do love getting out when most of the city is still sleeping, or just starting their day.  A run is so much better without having to dodge strollers, groups of 10 who take up the entire sidewalk, food carts and the resulting lines, people who text while walking, wayward children and the like.  I swear I’m not a misanthrope.  Well, only when running.  I really wanted to take it easy so I only did 3.4 miles.  The first mile was a little unpleasant.  I’m still pretty sore (seriously, Refine, WTF?!?) so it took a while for my muscles to loosen and for me to hit my stride. I stuck with it though.  I ran up Everitt Street, the part of the run I fondly call “heart attack hill” even though I told myself I could walk it if I was really hurting.  It’s really amazing to me how much better I’ve been getting with sticking with running.  Or really anything.  I’m always so quick to say “this is hard, this sucks, I can’t do this, Fin.”  It’s probably the quality I like least about myself.  It’s not laziness, it’s fear of failure and fear of disappointing myself and others.  If I don’t try, I don’t fail.  But if I don’t try, I don’t ever succeed.  See, I’m almost as wise as Chris.

This weekend was pretty low key, but it was a much needed boring weekend.  Last weekend was our wedding and the weekend before I was at my parents’ in New Jersey, running tons of pre-wedding errands and celebrating Father’s Day.  Life was a bit of a whirlwind (albeit a happy one) for a while there, so it was nice to just chill out.  I wanted to be bored.  While I wasn’t bored, I was relaxed.  Saturday we went to the gym early, had brunch at the diner, and then later in the afternoon went to the Brooklyn Heights Wine Bar for a bit followed by ordering in sushi and watching Hot Shots: Part Deux (oh Charlie Sheen, the years have not been kind). Yesterday we ran errands and Chris made dinner for us– this stew that I love with eggplant, lentils, tomatoes, and seitan.  I love that he’s been so great about vegetarian-izing meals for me without complaint.  I love that I’ve never had to ask.    I love that I have food for lunch this week.  So much love.  After dinner we watched 21 Jump Street, which I actually really enjoyed, but I have the sense of humor of a 17 year old boy (see: Hot Shots Part Deux Saturday night).

And now it’s Monday.  It’s a holiday week and work is always pretty slow in the summer so Mondays aren’t so depressing, but after a weekend at home, especially one that’s mostly spent vegging, I miss my husband, I miss my dog, and I miss my bed.  Oh how I miss my bed.

 

Who wouldn’t want to stay home with this little mush?

Aside

Ouch.

1 Jul

I can’t move.  I was okay yesterday.  I was sore in the morning but felt well enough to run four miles on the treadmill.  As the day went on though… oh. my. god.  I can’t sit without grimacing and emitting a low moan/groan.  I’m walking like I’ve been riding a horse for the last month. My glutes are just angry with me.

I know it’s because I did a new workout on Friday and did exercises I usually don’t do, even though I should and will do them much more often.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve been in this much pain though.  And I wanted to run 5 miles today.  It’s 1000 degrees outside so I was just going to use the treadmill.  I’m a little worried my butt and legs are going to be like “bitch please” and I’m going to go flying off the back of the treadmill.

So the question becomes, what do I do today?  Do I suck it up and work through the pain?  Am I risking injury?  I have the Belmar 5 mile in 13 days.  I need to get the miles in.  I know it’s not a marathon or anything, but I haven’t run a race since Cross Country in high school.  11 years is a long break.  I’ve just also been really proud of myself for following through with my plan and with training for this.  I usually give up because I feel like “I’m going to suck, I’m going to embarrass myself, I’m never going to be able to do this.”  So I don’t try.  I’ve been trying lately.  I’ve been taking note of the fact that I’m getting stronger and faster.  That whatever I’m doing is working.  And while I’m not anywhere near signing up for a half marathon, nor am I sure that desire will ever arise, I feel that completing this 5 mile race will do a lot for my confidence.  It will really demonstrate that I’ve come a long way in my quest to stop setting myself up for failure with self-doubt.

Now if only I could get off the couch right now.  No, really.  Can someone please help me get off the couch?

My First Refine Class!

30 Jun

I took my first Refine Method class yesterday.  I had very little idea of what to expect.  I just had a feeling it would be hard.  Very hard.  Hard was in fact an understatement.

We started out on the foam roller.  I’ve had a love/hate relationship with foam rolling since a bout with runner’s knee about a year and a half ago.  However, I’ve been running a lot lately and realize how crucial foam rolling it to prevent injury.  Hurts so good, right?  As ugly as I’m sure the grimace on my face was during this segment, I really appreciate that Refine understands how important foam rolling is and incorporates it into their classes.

We then started the circuits which we repeated 3 times.  Holy hell.  I don’t know if I can remember every exercise we did, since I think my mind has blacked some of it out as a preservation strategy, so I’ll do it again and not remember how much it hurt.  Like with childbirth.  We started with jumping jacks.  We quickly moved to side lunges with a kettle bell (which I’ve never used before), squat jumps, pushups and planks, lat pull downs, mountain climbers, side squats, an exercise for the butt that I loved but didn’t learn the name of, and a tricep exercise at the pulley system, followed by more jumping jacks and high knees. 

I thought I was in good shape.  I know I’m in good shape.  But good lord that was hard.  My muscles were shaking, I was dripping with sweat, and I was a little concerned as to how I was going to make it down the subways stairs without falling.  Not to mention it was 98 degrees yesterday so walking out of the studio into that was less than pleasant.  As tired as I was though, I also felt energized and happy.

Regardless, as soon as I got home, I purchased the 8 class introductory package. As hard as the class was, as much as I wanted it to end while I was doing it, I really liked it.  I think that it’s an excellent compliment to running and may even help prevent injury and better my times.  I was doing physique 57 for a while, and I still enjoy the classes, but the theory behind Refine just makes more sense to me.  I love that the workout constantly changed throughout the class.  I also love that the ab work did not involve crunches, since they kill my neck.

The first Refine class is complimentary and I’d recommend anyone give it a try.  It’s hard, it hurts, halfway through you’ll wonder why the hell you came, but you’ll feel so incredible after you’ll wonder why it took so long for you to come.

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