Hello, Old Friends

Oh hey there, old friends. Well, not old-old, but…you know. Hiiiiiiiii!!!!

Not much has happened running-wise since I last posted. Seriously, my running is there but nothing to sing about as of late. I haven’t raced since September (if you could call what I did “racing”) and I didn’t end up being able to volunteer at the NYCM again this year.

Sigh.

Slide1Best intentions, right?

But, I have a lot of friends who have been kicking butt recently at the NYCM and other races around the country.

There was the Runner’s World Hat Trick Festival as told through the eyes of my friends Ashley (who is preggers) and Tina (who wrote two recaps). John has been busy over in PA at every race within 50 miles of him. Emily ran her first (for sure not her last!) marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

Gia ran Chicago for time and New York for fun (you crazy, girlfriend), and so did Erin.

Then we have all the NYCM-ers: Jess ran for fun, Ali ran for herself (!), Erin and Theodora both became members of the sub-4:00 club, Leticia (who almost didn’t make it to the start line) represented Texas-style, Kim‘s race was 9 years in the making, Mark ran with his Mom in mind. Charlotte PR’d by 45 minutes!

When the flags go up, the city goes wild!

When the flags go up, the city goes wild!

If you’ve been reading this blog for over a year, you might remember my runner friend Jen whose family lost their home to Hurricane Sandy last year. Well, she’s totally a celebrity now and totally kicked butt at this year’s NYCM. So proud of you, friend!

Then there’s Janae who PR’d her half marathon time in a costume and Meaghan who became and IronMan last weekend, which absolutely blows my mind. And then there’s my friend, Kara. Kara completed the IronMan in Lake Placid (swim, bike, run) AND THEN PR’d at the NYCM by 44 minutes, hence her new nickname is IronKara.

Congratulations to all the runners and if I missed your recap, send it to me! Best of luck to everyone running Richmond (go Birdie!) and Philly this weekend. Go get ‘em, Runner Army!

Yaaaaaaay Philly!

Yaaaaaaay Philly!

I’m not planning any crazy races in the coming months. Maybe a hot chocolate run here and a turkey trot there, mostly for the food and liquid chocolate. But I like to run these races for kicks.

Post-marathon/half-marathon training is a great time to do a silly costume run that requires you have fun instead of stressing about PR-ing. Find that local Jingle Bell run and dress up like Santa Claus. Have some fun. Run with a friend.

Enjoy the holiday season by running all the fun runs you can. I promise you, it’s a better way to get through cookie/pie season versus stressing out about getting a 20-miler in sometime after your holiday work party. That’s not fun.

Mmmm...pie.

Mmmm…pie.

Are you running a fun holiday run? Turkey Trot, Santa Shuffle, New Year’s Eve run? The most important question being: will you be wearing a costume?

Me as a Turkey. Can you tell?

Me as a Turkey. Can you tell?

Congratulations again to all the Fall racers! Can’t wait to get back out on the racing road with all of you.

Now go out and run

Getting Out the Door

Have you ever started your training season and had to talk yourself off the ledge into actually starting? Like, a pep talk to get your butt out the door?

Or maybe you started back at school this week and almost had a panic attack about the pending weeks and days and hours ahead of sitting on your butt, freezing in the classroom, knowing only too well that you have a ridiculous amount of work to do OUT of said frozen tundra of a classroom.

…just me?

Break out the winter coats, folks. The A/C is set at 20 below.

Break out the winter coats, folks. The A/C is set at 20 below.

“We are all cowards at the start line.” ~Alberto Salazar

I love this quote because no matter how many start lines I toe, it rings true. I have to talk myself into starting just about every race I do. Usually because I cannot fathom running as far or as fast as I’ve set my goal.

Fear of failure, I guess. But really, it’s finishing in a respectable time and fashion.

I don’t want to crawl across the finish line or puke as I get my medal.

Totally puked after my first marathon. You can see my tummy is full of Gatorade. Thank you, Indian Summer, for the 83 degree November day.

Totally puked after my first marathon. You can see my tummy is full of Gatorade. Thank you, Indian Summer, for the 83 degree November day.

And I don’t want to hate every step I take.

But I will hate some of those miles. And I will hate being in class some of the days. I mean, hours and hours of lecture wears on you no matter how interesting the material. And miles and miles of running can make you crazy no matter how beautiful the day.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mountains are pretty but HOLY SMOKES was I glad to be done with those runs.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mountains are pretty but HOLY SMOKES was I glad to be done with those runs.

So, how do I get myself out the door for a long run when I’m panicked about the distance? How do I gear up for (what will sum up to) 5.5 years of post-graduate school in my thirties? (I’M SO OLD!!!!)

Guys, it’s all about your team.

I text, email, tweet, and send smoke signals to any and all my runner friends that I need a running buddy. Even if it’s only for a few of the miles in my monster long runs with someone I’ve never met except online, a buddy gets me out the door and running.

I have to meet them. And I look forward to chatting for as long as they’ll tolerate my company.

Sometimes it's a few dozen friends, sometimes it's just one. I'm not picky.

Sometimes it’s a few dozen friends, sometimes it’s just one. I’m not picky.

If I don’t have anyone to run with, I text Birdie and complain. And then she tells me to go because the sooner I start, the sooner I can finish and eat all the salt.

And if I can’t get a hold of anyone, I trick myself.

“Just go out for 5 and, if you feel good, keep going.”

“Well, you’re at 10. May as well kick a 5K in.”

“15 is only 5 away from 20.”

Seriously, I have this negotiation with myself at the start of almost every long run. It’s normal (I think) to not feel like you want to run 22 miles every Saturday. And it’s normal (dear God, I hope) not to love every single minute of grad school.

Sometimes you fall asleep on your notes. It's normal.

Sometimes you fall asleep on your notes. It’s normal.

It’s not all roses. It’s not all awesome. But if you have a goal, you gotta get through the sucky days, the sucky runs, to reap the benefits of having finished. Of having reached the finish line and having that medal placed around your sweaty neck.

You gotta earn it.

Now go out and run.

Tell me: Have you had a recent crappy/intimidating run that you had to talk yourself into doing? Do you negotiate? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who bribes herself with food. That’s normal, right?

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: History Friends

I remember reading an article–probably in some teenage magazine my older sister subscribed to that I thought was THE BOMB at the time, about the types of friendships you’ll have and should keep throughout life.

It was most definitely one of these. They were BIBLES to young teenage girls.

It was most definitely one of these. They were BIBLES to young teenage girls in the 80s & 90s.

The Adventurous Friend, the Friend You Call In the Middle of the Night, the Friend Who Will Run 20 Miles With You, the Honest Friend, the Adult Friend, the Friend With Impeccable Taste in Restaurants, the College Friend, the Friend With Whom You Drink.

Ok, maybe not exactly those names–but I remember specifically a category called the “History Friend“.

At the time, all of my friendships were confined to the one school I had attended for the whole of my academic tenure. Save for a few stragglers who came along in junior high, we had all known each other since we were about 5 years old. All my friends were History Friends.

They'd all seen the perms, the glasses, the high-waisted jeans "french rolled" (of course), the waterfall bangs...and we were still friends.

They’d all seen the perms, the glasses, the high-waisted jeans “french rolled” (of course), the waterfall bangs…and we were still friends.

Then I moved. And went to college. And then to New York. And got married. And, suddenly, I’m in my thirties.

And now I get it.

History Friends are the ones whose houses you can just show up to and not worry that you’re imposing. History Friends are the ones who know all your secrets but wouldn’t (TO THIS DAY!) dare tell your significant other or your siblings or your parents. History Friends still know when something is off. History Friends never need the back story to whatever is going on–they were there.

When I’m around my/our History Friends, I take my shoes off and curl up on a couch. Sometimes I fall asleep. Or they do. There’s something about being around people you don’t worry about impressing or entertaining that is peaceful, rejuvenating.

I actually fell dead asleep in the middle of a conversation surrounded  by my family after my bridal shower. No one minded.

I actually fell dead asleep in the middle of a conversation surrounded by my family after my bridal shower. No one minded. They probably expected it.

For me, History Friends don’t care if we hang out during tub time or happy hour. We make time when we have it and pick up right where we left off. And they don’t call me “crazy” for running marathons. They understand because they get me.

The don't hold this outfit against me. In fact, my girlfriends probably each had one, too.

The don’t hold this outfit (or face) against me. In fact, my girlfriends probably each had one, too.

One of my most favorite things about these friends is that they become OUR friends almost instantly. My History Friends love JB and his love me and that is the end of it. No drama, no try-outs.

And when we go to weddings and birthdays and funerals with/for these friends, as you inevitably do when you’ve known people for the whole of your life, it’s more like being with family than just friends.

4_calvin_and_hobbes_quotes_friendship

(Image courtesy of Bill Watterson and available from Andrews McMeel Publishing)

And that certainly makes it way Better Than the Alternative.

Do you have History Friends? You know, the ones who saw you before all the plastic surgery (I kid, I kid…but definitely before contact lenses). How long have you been friends? Or are your friends all the Friends Whom You’ve Known Post-Awkward Years? I can count on my fingers how many we have between JB & I. Give ‘em a shout out! Or better yet, give ‘em a call!

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Fast Friends

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s a short week for most of you because of the holiday so the weekend is almost here for most of you. Woohoo!

Tuesdays are normally such a ho-hum day of the week except for when they are Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays here at Run Stronger Every Day! BTAT were born out of the necessity to kick myself every once in a while and be reminded why it’s better to be here versus the alternative.

Amen, sister.

Amen, sister.

I was long running last Friday and had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow runner whom I’d met over Twitter. GB is a native New Yorker, newbie runner, and all-around fitness connoisseur.

Basically, he’s the Kevin Bacon of the NYC fitness scene. He knows someone at almost every studio and is the lynchpin in the web of boutique fitness. Oh, and he’s one of the most genuinely generous, sweet guys I’ve ever met.

GB, gettin his 5K on. Whatta guy.

GB, gettin his 5K on. Whatta guy.

We trekked about 5 miles down the West Side Highway together in the ridiculous humidity and chatted the whole way. GB is a phenomenal guy with a big heart. We were Fast Friends right away. He also hand-delivered a very special accessory for me.

My new workout jewelry.

My new workout jewelry.

This little band is for another Fast Friend of mine, Ali. I crashed Ali’s date and fan-girled her at 16 Handles two years ago. We continued to run into each other out and about town doing fitness stuff and in the park running. We were Fast Friends who bonded over our love of all things sweaty and sweet AND having a super-sexy disease.

Yo, buddy. #SweatingForAli

Yo, buddy. #SweatingForAli

And of course there’s Birdie who was a Fast Friend and is a very FAST Friend. She’s my School Wife. And smart. And generous. And seriously an awesome runner. And inspired me to lose the shirt on a blistering hot run the other day.

Gotta wear the shades whilst running nekkid. I feel less awkward that way...don't know why.

Gotta wear the shades whilst running nekkid. I feel less awkward that way…don’t know why.

These Fast Friends, and so many more,make it easy to join groups, open up, and feel at home in this big “bad” city.

They make walking into a fitness class or group run feel like walking into my version of Cheers. No one thinks I’m a freak or gross because of what I have or what I’ve been through or how very, very much I sweat (my apologies to everyone at Refine Method for that one).

That tiny spot is the color my shirt was pre-13 miles. No, it wasn't raining.

That tiny spot is the color my shirt was pre-13 miles. No, it wasn’t raining.

There is no such thing as TMI with Fast Friends cuz they get you right away.

Here’s to the people who are your friends right off the bat, the Fast Friends. You guys are so awesome and so supportive and so welcoming right off the bat. Thanks for being your badass selves. You guys make today way Better Than the Alternative.

Who makes your Tuesday BTAT?

Now go out and run.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Table Buddy

Happy Tuesday, y’all. I really like Tuesdays. There’s momentum from Tuesday that rolls into Wednesday that takes you into Thursday which is only one day away from Friday.

It’s like when you’re finally warmed up and running 15 more miles doesn’t seem that bad because you’re getting into your zone. Right?

I gotta tell ya, after 11 hours of school yesterday I am FULLY warmed up for this week.

Passing out on my books on the regular. NBD.

Passing out on my books on the regular. Everybody’s doing it.

And here we are and it’s Better Than the Alternative Tuesday!

You know those 11 hour school/work days when you have to suffer through pay attention to teachers/customers/bosses/co-workers/classmates and you just want to pull your hair our and scream, grab your chair, throw it out the window and jump?

(or am I a whiny baby?)

The people who save those days for me are my Table Buddies. We sit at two person tables ALL. DAY. LONG. so it’s crucial to share your space with an awesome buddy.

Pretty regularly, I get to share it with my super-speedy friend, Birdie.

Birdie lets me cast her leg. I mean, THAT'S an awesome Table Buddy if there ever was one.

Birdie lets me cast her leg. I mean, THAT’S an awesome Table Buddy if there ever was one.

Birdie lets me tag along on her slow runs and laps me when we do track workouts. She also collects notes for me when I’m sick and shares my love for Two Boots Pizza whilst studying for finals.

We’re basically twins.

Coffee, water, computer, notes, pencil case.

Coffee, water, computer, notes, pencil case.

Different choice of caffeine but pretty much the same. And one of us ALWAYS has gum.

Different choice of caffeine but pretty much the same. And one of us ALWAYS has gum.

Table Buddies make looooooooooong classes tolerable. It’s hard to get everything every professor is saying and Table Buddies catch what you don’t and vice versa.

Sometimes Table Buddies make treats.

I mean, how cute is this?

I mean, how cute is this?

And sometimes my Table Buddy and I shop online side-by-side…or try to keep one another from shopping online. And sometimes my Table Buddy is way better at understanding things than I am and he/she explains it to me in words that my little brain can understand.

Sometimes school is hard. Sometimes school is boring. Sometimes it’s just such a long day that you feel homicidal.

Table Buddies are the first line of defense when it comes to talking you off that ledge of crazy. Maybe your office-mate is that for you. I know that my crazy is far less because of my awesome Table Buddies.

So, yeah. Long days suck. But Table Buddies make them better.

Who makes your long days better? Do you have a work buddy who just rocks your socks off? I hope when I start working that I have a partner-in-crime who understands that getting a Flywheel bike > finishing paperwork that very moment. Priorities. Tell me about your day buddies!

Now go out and run!