Number Ten Marathon

Three years ago, I walked into a classroom of 43 first year doctoral of physical therapy students at NYU with a secret and a goal.

My secret was that I had, five weeks prior, had major surgery to save my life. My colectomy rid me of the debilitating colitis that almost prevented me from starting school at all. But it also left me with a colostomy bag and incredibly weak. My bag was my secret. No one knew about it and I aimed to keep it that way.

Shhhhhh!!!!! Don't tell.

Shhhhhh!!!!! Don’t tell.

My goal was simple: to run a marathon. It would be my tenth. I trained diligently throughout that first summer of school and finally felt like I was making headway, in spite of still having my bag.

First race with my ostomy.

First race with my ostomy.

I found it both hard and silly to keep my secret from my classmates and proudly outed myself one day as an ostomate. No biggie. I never did get to run my tenth marathon. Two emergency room visits for intestinal blockages made my second surgery an immediate concern and so, under the knife I went again.

No bag!

No bag!

Back to school with no bag and no colon, I set my sights on my marathon goal for the following Summer and a half in the Spring.

I set a PR at the Jersey Shore Half Marathon and had a great time training through a very mild winter. I ran another half a month later with Team Challenge to give back to those who still live with IBD. It was an incredibly emotional race for me.

2nd girl who finished for Team Challenge!

2nd girl who finished for Team Challenge!

With my sights set on FINALLY running that tenth marathon, I finished up my first year of PT school, my first Summer rotation, and dove into marathon training stronger than ever. Training was going perfectly and I was absolutely going to crush it at the Hamptons Marathon, but I didn’t. I went down to the half. I had another secret.

Kickin it at the finish, 3 weeks pregnant.

Kickin it at the finish, 3 weeks pregnant.

I kept this one from my classmates again, but for very different reasons.

I finished my first semester with only one person knowing about my little bun in the oven. It was a little harder to hide second semester.

I finished my first semester with only one person knowing about my little bun in the oven. It was a little harder to hide second semester.

Number ten would have to wait, I was working on a much more important goal. I finished my second year of PT school, my second Summer rotation, and gave birth to our son.

I would much rather have a baby than run a marathon. 

This is what I tell myself when I feel the pull of number ten in my heart. I want to run my tenth marathon, but it probably won’t happen for a long time. Years, I imagine.

Miss spending my days with this guy? Nope. Never.

Miss spending my days with this guy? Nope. Never.

I just finished my last day of PT school yesterday and, you would think I have all this free time. I don’t. Finals are next week, followed immediately by my third and fourth Summer rotations, graduation, and my state licensing exam. Then I *hope* to have a job.

That tenth marathon is pretty far down on my list of life goals, but it’s there. I’m just busy living my life and waiting for a time that it will fit in somewhere.

‘Til then, I’m thrilled to have survived school, have my beautiful, healthy family to wake up to every single day, and am training for two half marathons in the next 6 months. Life is good.

Now go out and run.

I Am My Happiest Running Self…

…when I feel strong.

I had a break in my schedule yesterday and decided to kick up my sneaks at the track. I get to do some track work maybe once a week, if that, so I really try to enjoy those workouts. They make me feel fast.

Not yesterday.

look-like-when-im-running

I felt how I looked yesterday.

 

 

First off, THE WIND. Secondly, I wasn’t alone. When I used to do my workouts at 7am, it was me and a few of my elderly neighbors getting their steps in. Yesterday, it was me and the entire NYU Track & Field team. So, yeah, I felt like I was standing still whilst they sped by me.

E66 Abby Bayles Aug62013 405

But at least I looked good?

Thanks to the gusts of wind on the back stretch, my splits were all over the place as I attempted to knock out some 800s. The youngsters were polite enough but I definitely felt a little embarrassed doing my “speed” workout next to them.

I genuinely miss that feeling of speeding around the track. I miss cranking out repeats and ladders and feeling like I’m working hard and running fast. Le sigh.

This is the hard part. It’s not about how I look or how others see me, but how I FEEL.

What it can do

So I’m looking forward to training more and getting into the meat of it. I’m REALLY looking forward to feeling like I’m getting into some sort of shape (not round). And I’m ready to feel strong again on my legs.

Let’s do this, half marathon training. I got you.

Now go out and run.

 

How to Train When You Have No Time

There are people in this world who legitimately have no time to work out. Instagram would have you believe otherwise.

A quick Google image search brought up these "fitspiration" quotes.

A quick Google image search brought up these “fitspiration” quotes.

The Internet thinks I’m lazy. Isn’t that nice? They call this “fitspiration”…I’ll let you decide how inspiring sayings like this are. For me? Not so much.

Guess what? I no longer have all the time in the world to work out. I really don’t have the opportunity to take 2 hours out of my Monday-Friday to hit the track and then the gym. I only wash my hair 2-3x/week as it is.

And yet, I’m still training for a half marathon by running 2-3 days/week.

Yes, TRAINING.

Yeah, for that, too.

Yeah, for that, too.

So, what to prioritize?

Science tells us that short-term speed and interval training elicits similar physiological effects on the body as endurance training. It’s not a total replacement, mind you, but I’m not Kara Goucher. I’m thrilled that my mitochondria are getting more efficient in my 45 minute intervals versus a 90 minute easy run!

Hallelujah!

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • Day 1: Repeats/ladders/short sprints
  • Day 2: Progression/tempo run
  • Day 3 (optional): Distance w/stroller

Day 3 really isn’t happening these days. It’s just not. The weather hasn’t been favorable for stroller running and I won’t take even more time away from the already very limited family days I have on the weekend to run.

Why?

Because I also need to strength train. And, as science has shown us repeatedly, strength training helps maximize endurance performance AND prevents injuries.

You will find me at Refine Method AS MANY TIMES A WEEK AS POSSIBLE.

You will find me at Refine Method AS MANY TIMES A WEEK AS POSSIBLE. I’m not only one of their amabassadors, I’m OBSESSED with them.

So, yeah. That’s what I’m doing and that’s why I’m doing it.

Now go out and run!

No Going Back

Hi.

Happy Tuesday.

Tuesday

Amen.

 

 

There’s been something kind of bugging me recently. Well, not recently, but for a while now.

As a new mom and an active woman, there’s this tremendous pressure to go back. To get back to my previous weight. To get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. To get back to my pre-pregnancy racing times. To get back to my pre-pregnancy workout schedule.

Here’s the thing, there is no going back.

IMG_2436

39 weeks. Hey baby!

 

 

My body is never going to be the same as it was before I had my son. I will always have the scars of pregnancy, giving birth, and nursing my son in some shape or form somewhere in/on my body. That’s just a fact of life.

I’m not going back.

I’ve got the scars of childbearing and I’m gonna wear them like the warrior that I am. They are the best reminders I have that there is more to life than whatever the hell I’m doing right now.

Instead, I’m going to go forward, just as I am, scars and all. And I’m gonna tackle a half marathon this summer.

Day 1. Sweaty beast.

Day 1. Sweaty beast.

I may not PR. I probably won’t, actually. I may not get in all the miles that I put on my training schedule. I may not ever reach my ideal racing weight. Actually, I probably won’t with that one, either.

But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the fact that I’m not back to where I used to be hold me back from taking on this race.

It’s the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in July and I’m really pumped to be training again, extra pounds and all. I’m doing it with 2 friends who are newbies to running and having a ball coaching them to the finish line.

Did someone say wine?

Did someone say wine?

I don’t want to be back where I was before my baby. He’s awesome. And that shouldn’t be a goal of mine. I’m going forward and gonna kick some ass along the way!

Now go out and run.

 

 

Running-ish

I didn’t imagine it this way. I figured that 8 months post-partum, I’d be back running 3-4 days a week and feeling strong on my runs and ready to train for a half marathon by now.

Here’s the reality:

  • I run 1-2 days a week. That’s a good week. Some weeks I run zero days.
  • I go to Refine (thank goodness I’m an Ambassador for them!) 3 times a week.
  • I’m signed up for a half marathon in July.

I’m ready for the sidewalks and roads to get less icy so I can run to and from Refine. I hate sitting on the bus or in a cab when I could be getting some miles. I’m gonna be sweaty anyway, right?

Pudgy hand on my chest = heart melt.

Pudgy hand on my chest = heart melt.

So what’s a runner to do when she has very little time to run? Me? I complain to Birdie (sorry, Birdie) and run when I can.

When I run with the Mountain Buggy jogging stroller, I just run at whatever pace feels comfortable. If JB or Birdie runs with me and the stroller, they push the stroller and I we just mosey along.

If I’m running on my own, I do a workout. I hit the track or the treadmill and do something involving sprints or repeats. I run to Central Park and bust out some hills. Between Refine Method (thank you, Brynn) workouts and these runs, I’m in relatively ok shape.

Hello, old friend.

Hello, old friend.

There are legitimate barriers to my running. My kid (the happiest, cutest reason I sometimes can’t run), my absolutely bonkers school schedule, the crazy slippery road conditions we’ve had, and life choices.

But part of being a smart runner is recognizing where I am now and what I can do. Placing unattainable standards and goals on my plate will only serve to make me a very angry, frustrated Abby.

And no one likes pissed-off Abby.

So there you have it. I’m running-ish. Looking very forward to the Spring when I won’t be nervous about skidding around with the stroller or the air being too cold for the munchkin. Oh, and I get to be done with school.

Yaaaaaaaay!

That’s the state of things in my running world. Where are you? Are you running or running-ish?

Ready for Summer running.

Ready for Summer so I can get back to running, not running-ish.

Now go out and run!