Favorite Things Friday: In Defense of Runners

As I’m sure you’re aware, this Wednesday was “National Running Day”. Of course I celebrated; but because I’m on the “beginner” training schedule for Newport as a precautionary measure, my big celebratory run was one glorious mile around my neighborhood. Trust me- I’m going to be a little stir crazy by the end of next week when my “long run” is still only three miles.

Along with this national day of recognition for those of us who don’t mind getting up at ungodly hours to log some miles there were more than a few articles about the “dangers of running”. I’m seeing more and more articles that seemed to be aimed at deterring those who aren’t runners from the sport and I have to say I’m more than a little confused.

It’s no secret that as a nation we’re fat. Not a little chubby; just fat. The last thing people need to see are headlines that suggest running may not actually be good for them. If a person has a heart condition, knee problems or another legitimate reason for not running they’re more than likely aware that this is not the sport for them. So when I logged onto Boston.com and saw this as the major health headline I was more than annoyed.

Really? Yes, yes it is. Thank you for asking.

Stop trying to scare people into staying on the couch. Running is less expensive than a gym membership. It doesn’t require a team of people like a pick-up basketball game or ultimate Frisbee. It can be done indoors or out, at any time of day. There’s very little special equipment required. You don’t even have to be in good shape to get started!

Runners face a lot of scrutiny, especially marathoners. Here are some of the things I heard when I started training for my first marathon.

“You will need a knee replacement by the time you’re 40”. This is why we have rest days and listen to our bodies. And use a lot of wraps, shots and physical therapy to make sure we’re in shape.

Sexy. I know.

“Marathons are just an excuse for girls with eating disorders to exercise compulsively”. I love food. So do most runners I know. Our love of food is generally what got most of us to start running in the first place.

“Running a marathon takes a year off of your life.” I will not dignify you with a response.

In our defense, I offer this Favorite Things Friday in defense of runners.

Runners are KIND: Of course, there is the occasional exception, but the vast majority of runners I have met are friendly, supportive, genuinely KIND people. Forgot your Gu? Don’t worry, there will always be a friendly runner who offers you a spare around mile 17. Hit your wall at mile 22? The runners around you who have broken through theirs will be there to shout words of encouragement and run next to you to keep you on pace through the hardest miles. Show me another sport where people in direct competition with each other are so supportive and helpful when someone is struggling.

Runners Are (Typically) In Better Overall Health Than Non-Runners: Lower rates of obesity, less heart disease, less cancer, less common colds. Runners tend to eat better, are more well educated and overall just healthier than non runners. This isn’t to say just because some-one is not a runner they aren’t healthy, but as a group we do pretty well.

Runners Will Wear Stupid Outfits In Public To Support A Good Cause (or even just for a laugh): I’m not just talking about race day, either. Throughout my Boston Training one of my favorite things to see was the different teams dressing up for their long runs. Valentine’s weekend I saw quite a few grown men in red tutus running 17 miles. The 21-miler involved a lot of purple skirts, bright leg warmers and funny hats. To bring attention to their cause and give the runners around them a good laugh when every muscle in their body hurts; runners have no issue looking slightly silly for a few sweaty hours.

I was prepared to wear this for Boston. I wore it to spectate instead.

Runners Party As Hard As They Train: Visit a local bar after any major marathon. Runners tend to go straight from the finish line to the bar line to celebrate. We’re a good time.

Post marathon champagne and cheeseburger. This was after the nice man at the bar bought us shots to congratulate me. Win.

So those are just a few of my favorite things about runners. The next time someone tells you that you won’t be able to walk by the time you’re 50, will have a heart attack if you try a marathon or should be doing something else with your time just remember: Runners kick ass!

What’s your favorite thing about runners? Is it that we’re healthy? Sweaty? Just awesome? Let me hear it!

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Favorite Things Friday: Pastimes

It’s been a busy week. Work was crazy, double workouts were fun, and by the time my head hit the pillow I was already passed out before I could enjoy the feeling of resting. Weeks like these tend to fly by, but luckily it wasn’t so overwhelming that I wanted to scream. Win!

Last night I went to spin class at Just Ride in Plymouth for a free class with an auditioning instructor. After CrossFit on Wednesday I was sore, and I thought spin would work out the kinks and I’d feel refreshed after doing a workout I’ve grown so used to. Wrong. If you happen to see a girl waddling through Boston today say hi and remind me that rest days aren’t the worst idea ever. Sometimes they’re necessary. Then laugh at me and walk away. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve been this sore since after the Chicago Marathon.

See those cold wraps on my legs? Those were to prevent me from screaming.

Sometimes four day weeks seem longer than full work weeks because you need to fit 40 hours of work into four days. When I have weeks like this I always like to make sure to block off a little time each day for some of my favorite pastimes. Some people like to call them timewasters or distractions. I prefer pastimes. A half hour or so to regain your sanity and makes sure you’re not going to snap is key to that whole work/life/workout balance. Being that it’s Friday, let me list them out as my favorite things…

Fitness Blogs: Shocking that I would be into these right? But taking a few minutes over lunch or something to read about an awesome workout, or a new healthy meal to try actually helps me get motivated for workout #2 that night. A few suggestions…

–       Ali on the Run. This is my favorite running blog by far. Ali lives in NYC and has Crohn’s disease. If she can still run through Crohns flare-ups and have a smile on her face, I should just shut up and run, right? Right. She also inspired me to remember the positive things on a regular basis through her “Thankful Things Thursday”, which inspired my Favorite Fridays.

–       Undressed Skeleton. Taralynn was overweight in high school, but then found a healthier lifestyle when she got to college. Because it’s super easy to be healthy in college, right? She has a lot of great recipes for “Grab-And-Go” healthy meals and even healthy cupcakes. And we all know how I feel about cupcakes.

–       Rhode Scholars– This is the forum I’m a guest blogger for, but all the other featured bloggers are great. It’s really interesting to read about other people training for the same races I am and see what works for them. Hoping to meet all these lovely people in Jamestown in July.

The Dog Park Near My Office: There is a terrifying info graphic that explains how much more likely you are to die if you work in an office and sit during the day. This scares the living hell out of me every time I see it. Since it was passed around the office, I’ve made it a point to take a walk during lunch every day. How convenient that there’s an adorable little dog park 5 minutes from my office. Not dying and puppies? Sold.

If Jim asks anyone, this is what I want for any gift giving occasion ever.

Pinterest: Yes, I am guilty of Pinning while working. Sorry. Sometimes it’s just fun to dive into a little dream world where my only responsibilities are to bake, decorate and wear amazing outfits. But aside from all the amazing food I’ve found, there are also a lot of great workout ideas to change up your gym routine. See, it’s not all gluttony.

What helps you waste 30 minutes a day? Any awesome suggestions for me? Let me know!

Favorite Friday: Weekend Workouts

Happy Friday! I know I haven’t written much this week, but to be fair- I haven’t had a lot going on. It’s a recovery week, so there has been some quality time with the elliptical. I planned on doing spin on Wednesday, and Zumba last night but both were cancelled at the last minute. Boo.

Anyways, if you’re new around here, today is Friday and I like to look back at my week and think about my favorite things. If you read Ali On The Run, she has a great Thankful Things Thursday, which was an inspiration for this.

Since there hasn’t been much going on this week, I don’t have many favorite things from the days behind me, so I’m looking ahead. This weekend I have some kick ass workouts planned. I like to plan. Have I mentioned that?

Double Morning Sessions: My favorite Saturday work out since Boston training ended has been a spin class from 8-9am followed by Zumba from 9:30-10:30. Spin still kills me. I’m terrible at it, and my quads aren’t fond of me at all after I get off the bike. Other parts of me aren’t fond either, but let’s not discuss that. After I get off the bike I head back to the locker room where I stretch for 20 or so minutes, then do a nice little walk on the treadmill to shake my legs out. From there, it’s back upstairs to Zumba where I dance like an idiot for an hour and try to get my sexy back. I was not born with hips or boobs. I don’t know how to move these parts of my body in any sort of attractive way. I’m working on it. But the workout is super endorphin heavy and I love it.

Beach Walks and Yoga: I know this isn’t really a super heavy workout, but there’s something really peaceful about just walking as far as you can down a beach on a quiet morning. With the weather finally cooperating, I think this weekend may see a really long, quiet walk along the beach.

Not me, but you get the point.

I also love waking up at the beach (this happens at least once a week over the summer) and sneaking out at sunrise to get some yoga in. It’s hard not to find some inner peace with that view.

Gorgeous.

 

Long Runs: Let’s face it. These are my favorite. The thing I loved most about training for Boston this year was knowing every Saturday morning I had a group of people to run an obnoxious distance with. I have seriously missed waking up ready to face the 15 miles ahead of me. I can’t wait until June 4 when I start officially training for Newport. It’s going to be amazing. I hope.

Ahh, spikes. I miss you.

Post Workout Bloody Marys: They have sodium. Tomato. A full serving of vegetables. Totally healthy, right? That’s what I told myself after Providence last weekend. I passed out halfway through. It was wonderful.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend and kick your workouts butt!

What’s your favorite weekend workout? Yoga? Runs? Spin? Rock climbing? Let me know and give me some new things to try!

Favorite Things Friday: Things That Cheer Me Up

Welcome to Friday everyone! It’s been tough, but we made it. Overall, I had a pretty productive week, which is always nice. I ran, I yoga-d, I Zumba-d and I even took the time to foam roll last night. Exciting stuff.

Last night’s Zumba class was everything I remembered and more. Yes, I looked like an idiot because I haven’t been in so long I forgot a lot of the moves. Yes, I thought I looked super sexy at certain points and most certainly looked like an idiot. And, most impressively; Zumba kicked my butt! It’s such a different workout than what my body is used to I could feel my underused muscles screaming with joy. My instructor incorporates weight training into the class as well which I appreciated. Makes it feel like a more legitimate workout to me.

Today is a rest day, and tomorrow will be 19 miles, out and back in Wellesley. This means HeartBreak Hill- again. I’m hoping these runs of it actually do make it seem easier on race day, and aren’t just a cruel torture. At least I know what I’m getting into?

So, where I’ve needed a significant amount of cheering up this week, I was reminded of the little things in life that can cheer me up when I’m feeling down. Therefore, tin he theme of this Favorite Things Friday, I present to you the things that cheer me up:

Jim Singing to Billy Joel: Few things can make me snap out of a bad mood like Jim rocking out to the Billy Joel greatest hits album. He takes it very seriously. To the point where he made us listen to it on repeat during our Saco trip last summer. So if I’m ever in a cranky mood and there is an iPod hookup in sight, you better believe I (not so) sneaky put on the greatest hits and within 5 minutes I’m feeling better.

Puppies: Pictures of puppies, actual puppies, bulldog puppy stuffed animals. If there is a puppy involved, it will make me smile.

This is my bulldog, I named him Bondi. He's a good cuddle buddy.

Reese Peanut Butter Cups: You would be surprised at what has been the one recurring theme in every relationship I’ve had in my adult life (all 3 of them). If you bring me a Reese cup, I will probably forgive you for whatever I’m mad about. It will also make me very happy, and you’ll get all the credit.

Last year when Jim left for Florida my aunt had this combo waiting for me when I got home. The Reese's didn't make it through the weekend.

Yoga: Running helps me clear my head, but if I’m cranky odds are I’m going to run so some angry, angst filled, sad white girl music. I’ll feel powerful and all that jazz at the end of it, but it doesn’t always fix the mood. Yoga on the other hand will always put life in perspective and help me reach my happy place. And for that I’m grateful.

I can totally do that. Sort of. Definitely not on a beach.

Country Music: I’m given a never ending amount of crap for this at work, but I love country music. Love. It’s just happy (mostly), cheery, let’s just forget about life and get drunk good music. Yes Toby Keith, I will lift my Red Solo Cup.

There are other things, but those make the top of the list. So if you’re having a bad week, I suggest you try some of these things out. They may not bring Peyton back to Indy (and you thought you were gonna make it through a full post without me mentioning it?)- but it could put a smile on your face for a few minutes.

What is your favorite “Bad Mood Turnarounds”? Anything I should be trying?

Favorite Things Friday: Peyton Makes Me Happy

Running wise, it’s been a great week. Since my unexpectedly snowy and speedy long run last weekend, I decided to turn up the pace on my shorter training runs during the week. It’s paid off. I feel great, and I feel more confident than ever that Boston is going to be a great race for me.

Tomorrow is 14 miles along the Charles River with the Miles for Miracles team. If you happen to be out running along the river tomorrow I doubt you’ll miss us. Really, we all got our singlets in the mail last night.

Yeah, you certainly won't miss us.

It’s Friday, and if you’re new around here, it’s Favorite Things Friday. I take a few minutes to go all Oprah-esque and share with you my favorite things. On this weeks list…

 

Peyton Manning: Being from Massachusetts it’s not easy to defend my love of Peyton Manning. Especially this season. It’s OK Peyton, you’ll be back, and I still love you just as much.

 

What, that last play was for me? Thanks Peyton, love you too.

For all the great football Peyton has given us over the past 13 years, how can you not love him? On top of that, he’s given us some of the greatest football commercials ever to grace the airwaves. These are my favorites:

 

–       Football Cops (even though Eli is in it, I still love it)

    Priceless Pep Talks with Peyton Manning

–      Where he acts like a superfan

 

Nike+ Levels: I started using Nike+ at the beginning of marathon training to track my runs, and it’s been amazing. One of my favorite features is the different levels you can reach based on overall mileage. Last night, my 3 mile run was enough to bump me up to Green. Turns out, the whole interface changes when you hit a new level. It’s certainly a dorky thing to get excited about, but it kind of made my night.

It's very St. Patricks Day-esque

 

Training Blisters: Now how could this be one of my favorite things? The way I look at it, the more blisters I get during training, the fewer I will get during the marathon itself. Right? Right. I developed a few new ones this week, and I’m trying to just accept them. It’s been a painful attempt.

 

Yurbuds: Yurbuds are the greatest headphones ever created. This is not a joke. I bought them about a year ago, and I have never once had to adjust them while running. Through rain, snow, sleet and wind, these things do not budge. Ever. They’re a little on the pricey side, but they are worth every single penny.

 

Enjoy your weekend everyone! Xoxo

 

Am I missing something? What are your favorite things this week?

Favorite Things Friday: Feeling Better

This week started out pretty rough. It’s still not where I want it to be, but it’s getting better. Last night was another 2+ mile run, no records set but I did make it a point to negative split. I figured if there was ever a time to focus on it, a 2 miler was it!

 

Not impressive, but I'm not dead. Go team.

5am came way too quickly this morning. I got up, got dressed, and while I was prepared for a “dusting” of snow, and instead I found 4 inches. It is January 20th. I should have expected this, and been prepared for it. I didn’t, and I wasn’t. My Uggs? In my trunk. The shovel? Not a clue. The only thing I had was my snow brush for my car in the back seat. Better than nothing. I also heard Britney Spears “Opps I did It Again” on the radio on my way to the gym. Not sure why they were playing it, but no complaints from this girl. You go Brit Brit.

Being disgusted by a tiny amount of snow, I honestly don’t know how last years runners trained during the winter. We got at least 1 major snow storm every week from January-March. The mounds were so high along the sides of the roads that you couldn’t see oncoming traffic, and there was ice everywhere up until 2 weeks before race day. 2011 Boston Marathon-ers- I salute you. I don’t know if I could have done it.

I’m certainly not prepared for is the 3-6” of snow we’re going to get tomorrow, while I’m doing my long run. However I am excited to get to Wellsely to work with my wonderful coaches and get acclimated to the course. I’m excited to work on my hill running, pacing myself properly and hopefully doing a real negative split at an actual distance.

I think the only thing getting me through at this moment is knowing that my 15 mile run in 2 weeks will be done in Florida. Warm weather. Pretty scenery. No sneaky ice patches making me look like the clumsiest runner ever? Good times.

 

Two weeks. I cannot wait. Can you tell I don't like the cold much?

Now that I’m feeling better, my overall mood has improved and it’s easier for me to appreciate all the little things. And with that, my favorite things this week are…

Nice People: This week was a rough patch in my training. I felt really down on myself, but then something happened. Some amazing nice people showed up and made me feel better. Just the quick texts, nice emails and positive words really made all the difference for me this week. So if you’re one of those nice people, thanks. You rock.

My New Kitchen: Yes, I realize this will be the 3rd time I’ve mentioned it this week, but when you go three months of marathon training without being able to cook pasta, you REALLY love your new kitchen. Speaking of..

Pasta: I run marathons to compensate for my love of carbs. Preferably with cheese, but really, any carb with any topping will usually do. Being able to cook pasta has been the highlight of my week. I think that sums up what type of week it’s been. I also made myself this deliciousness for dinner last night.

Mushroom ravioli, lots of spinach and cheese. Amazing.

Modern Family: Was anyone really offended that Lilly “dropped the f-bomb”? I kept seeing all these articles saying “Modern Family Went Too Far”. Seriously? For a show that depicts a gay couple raising an adopted child, an old man married to a woman younger than his daughter, and all the other completely realistic, normal situations that are discussed, overzealous parents are going to pick a child swearing (which is something they do in real life) to get pissy about? Drop it soccer moms. Leave my Modern Family alone. I think the show sets a great example for mixed families, and beyond that; it’s hysterical. I laugh out loud at least 5x a show, and that’s tough for me. Good work ABC. Good work indeed.

 

Good Playlists: I need to make a new long run mix. I really need suggestions. Right now I’m stuck in a Glee/Britney/Angry Rock combo. Please offer any and all suggestions you have. P

So those are the things I’m happy about at the moment. Tomorrow is 13 miles with the Miles for Miracles team in Wellesely, and I can’t wait. Except for the snow. Maybe it will hold off…

 

What are you favorite things? More importantly, what are your favorite workout songs? Send me your suggestions!

 

 

It’s Been a Good Week

You win some, you lose some. This week was a win. Accepted to the NYC Half Marathon, over the plague of the year that cost me a week of training, a short work week and a fantastic three miles last night that felt like a casual stroll. There’s so much to feel good about it’s hard to narrow it down to favorites this Friday. But I’ll try anyways…

Nike+: I’m a tad OCD. I need lists, I need plans, I need to analyze and see how I can be better. Thankfully, Nike+ does all of this for me. It also likes to throw in little motivators like setting small goals for yourself, reaching different levels through overall mileage and random videos from athletes or Champ Kind letting you know you’re kicking some serious butt. If you don’t have it, you should check it out.

Fried Macaroni and Cheese: The comfort food of all comfort foods. I’m not going to pretend that it’s anything other than absolutely terrible for me, so when I see a newscast about to reveal the calorie count I change the channel as quickly as possible. I saw this exact dish featured not once, not twice, but FOUR times on different “Worst Restaurant Foods For You” lists. I know, there’s a chance it will give me a heart attack mid consumption. But I don’t care. After I’ve run 15 miles and feel like I’m going to die, I’m rewarding myself with fried, cheesy, pasta-y goodness. And no list will stop me.

A heart attack on a plate. A delicious, wonderful heart attack.

Amazing girlfriends: So Jim left this week. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that once or twice. It’s my least favorite day of the year when we pack up his van and he heads south for the winter. I know he has to go, and I accepted a long time ago that this is how his job works, but it doesn’t mean I like it. This year I took it particularly hard and decided to throw myself a little pity party. Luckily, I had two amazing girlfriends who were there to kick me out of it. We ate fried mac and cheese, drank a questionable amount of sangria for noon on a Monday, then went and checked out ridiculous prom/bridesmaid dresses and mocked them openly in the store. If that doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what will.

They're thinking an "Under The Sea" theme

There you go my lovely readers, this week these are my favorite things. And in case you’re wondering what I’m doing with my NYE being all by my lonely, this is what I have planned for the weekend so far:

Friday Night: Gym date with my dad. Yup. Some father daughter bonding on the treadmill. Should be interesting.

Saturday: Long run in the morning (7 miles this week), and as for NYE I will most likely be on my dear friend Tabs couch with a bottle of champagne eating a tub of spinach dip. I won’t be drinking at all from January 3- Race Day to be in top shape, so I’ll enjoy it while I can.

Sunday: Hot Yoga in the morning, then being lazy for the rest of the day.

That’s my plan. I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year!

Xoxo

Wrapping up 2011, what was your favorite thing? What are you looking forward to in 2012?