I’m Not Delusional

I generally find myself pretty spoiled with good running weather. Even on the coldest of Winter days I’m able to throw on a jacket, two pairs of tights, sub-zero ski accessories and hit the track with Birdie.

Let's play a game of Guess How Many Layers Abby's Wearing!

Let’s play a game of Guess How Many Layers Abby’s Wearing!

The Summer is a completely different beast and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Gross.

Gross.

So what’s a girl to do when it’s 7am and I’m struggling to finish a run in my soaking wet shorts and tank top? Well, lately I’ve been stripping down.

Well, there we are. No shirt in Central Park.

Well, there we are. No shirt in Central Park.

Let’s be clear, I know what I am and what I’m not. I’m not delusional.

I look like neither of these women, this I know.

I look like neither of these women, this I know. Well, except for the tan lines. I definitely have those in spades.

I don’t have a six pack. Things jiggle in my middle when I run. My legs are short. I look nothing like a runner “should”.

But, dammit, it’s hot out there. And when there’s nothing else to do, I just whip off my tank top, wrap it around my waist and get on with my workout. I even do it next to my extremely sinewy runner friends. So there.

What else CAN you do? I mean, 90-something degrees, 90-something percent humidity and I’m trying to work out? Yeah. I’m gonna do it in as little clothing as possible.

Sorry I’m not sorry if it offends you.

You know what? Get over it.

Happy naked runner.

Happy naked runner.

I don’t run shirtless to impress you. I don’t run shirtless to get attention. I don’t run shirtless because I want someone to take my picture. I don’t run shirtless because I think I’m a model.

I run without my shirt because it’s hot and I really want to get my miles in and I don’t care if someone is offended by my non-six pack shirtlessness or a woman running without a shirt in general.

I. Don’t. Care.

And neither should you.

The added bonus: most people stand up taller and run with better posture when they run shirtless. It definitely brings out the best in my running form. Win, win.

Now go out and run.

And run nekkid if you need to. It’s hot out there!

Summer Runnin

…havin a blaaaast! Summer runnin, happened SO faaaaaaast.

Seriously. Where did Spring go?

Oh yes, Summer has arrived in NYC. Whether it’s a disgustingly sticky day like it was Monday and Tuesday or a beautiful crisp one like today, this is a New York City Summer for sure.

The early stages of my AWESOME sock tan line. I will be full-on farmer in a few short weeks.

The early stages of my AWESOME sock tan line. I will be full-on farmer in a few short weeks.

I’m an early-bird runner. Up and done by 8am. The bonus of early-bird running in the Summertime?

  1. Fewer tan lines
  2. Quiet city streets
  3. Cooler temperatures
  4. Happy hour (which I experienced for the first time in MANY years last night–Tuesday night tacos? Half price mojitos? Don’t mind if I do!)
  5. Work out amnesia –> easier to do the double workout

#5 specifically: Marathon training season is upon us = more miles. Sometimes I do doubles during the week so I can get more mileage in without having to go for more than an hour at a time.

Morning workouts allow for me to completely forget I already ran and do another easy run in the evening without hating every one of those last four or five miles of the day.

To make morning runs easier on days that I’m not training a client, I get up with my husband in the 5 o’clock hour and head out the door with him.

All my gear in one place because, let's face it, at 6am I'm definitely forgetting my sunglasses for my East River run directly into the sunrise.

All my gear in one place because, let’s face it, at 6am I’m definitely forgetting my sunglasses for my East River run directly into the sunrise.

Sometimes I make a plan to meet friends for an early morning workout.

Friends that sweat together at dawn...I don't know. There are only, like, two friends of mine who will do this with me.

Friends that sweat together at dawn…are likely sleep-deprived.

Surviving Summer runs and not being completely depleted for the day starts with immediate rehydration upon finishing. I don’t usually drink too much during weekly runs but I absolutely refuel when I stop.

Nuun to the rescue!

Magic, glowing, lemon-colored rehydrating stuff!

Magic, glowing, lemon-colored rehydrating stuff!

Let’s face it, I sweat more than your average bear. Seriously. I’d be sweating through my scrubs and people would be all, “Ummm…are you ok? You’re sweating an awful lot” and I’m like, “No worries. Just, uh, you know…hot?”

And in these temps, water ain’t gonna bring back the electrolytes, you know what I’m sayin?

In short, this Summer’s runs so far are brought to you by JB’s alarm clock, my awesome Oakley shades, and Nuun.

Now go out and run!

Tell me: What’s getting you through your Summer runs?

 

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Best Summer EVER!

Today is Tuesday. That means today’s blog is all about how it’s good to be here because it’s better than not being here. I love this theme. Whenever I get down on myself or what’s not going ah-mazing at the moment, I am reminded in little ways how charmed my life really is. For example, I get to write for you fine folks out there. That’s pretty cool.

But our reason for today’s BTAT is Summer.

Summer is a time of rest and relaxation for most people. Not for me. Summer means all day, all night studying for me.

This was my work.

This was my view of Summer happening from Bobst.

But I got through it and had some fun, too! I mean, this was the Summer of the final Harry Potter movie!

It all ended and it was AWESOME! And sad :(

I spent some fabulous time in the Hamptons with some awesome ladies from lululemon.

Bikes are fun!

I did some outdoor yoga in the middle of Manhattan, which is always a good time.

Yoga! Yoga! Yoga! (Imagine Belushi chanting this)

I have a newfound love of my lovely running hat. I don’t get sunburned on my face when I wear it. Funny how that works, huh?

              

I was honored by my favorite company to become one of their Ambassadors. I said yes. And maybe I cried a little. Don’t judge.

Presents AND an Ambassadorship? Well, oh-kay. If I must.

And I experienced my first earthquake and hurricane (turned tropical storm) in the same week in the same city. And that city was New York City. Go figure.

Hurricane? What hurricane? I’m siiiiiingin’ in the rain!

But by far the best part of the entire summer was becoming an aunt for the very first time. My little Peanut is the sweetest baby on this planet and I miss seeing her even after only spending a few short days rocking her to sleep. Added bonus of spending some important time with my family in the great state of Colorado. Auntie Abby loves you, Peanut. You were the best part of my Summer.

So, as we bid adieu to Summer and a hearty HELLO to Fall, I think maybe my perspective on what my Summer 2011 has slightly changed since I started writing this post. It was a life-changing 4 months that I will remember quite fondly. Even though I spent a good 50% of it indoors deriving equations and banging my head against the wooden table just to make the pain in my brain go away, I had all of these really great moments that more than made up for it. And really, when you look at where I’m headed next year, this Summer’s classes were just a stepping stone to my dreams so who the hell am I to complain?

I hope you had as memorable of a Summer as I did. What was your favorite part? Tell me all about it and remember, every moment here is better than none at all.

Now go out and run!

Hydration

I sweat. A LOT. Like, more than the average bear. You come out of spin class looking like that? I come out of Biology class looking like that in the summertime. It’s true. Ask Tweedy. I can’t help it. I come from a long line of sweaters and am happy to say I am not the only one in my family whose internal A/C goes into overdrive at the mere sight of the sun or a humid day or a flight of stairs. I am my father’s daughter in this way. Mrs. Obi-wan hardly every breaks a sweat. She glooooows.

What does this have to do with hydration?

I’m getting there.

Because I sweat a lot, I lose a lot of sodium as well. Sweat is not just water, people. It is a combination of water and sodium and other trace minerals. You can feel the salt if you let the sweat evaporate on your skin and don’t wash it away. If you reeeeally get your sweat on and it dries a little bit, you can see it on your clothes, too! (Wait, is that just me? Someone tell me it’s happened to them, too!)

Exhibit A The salt all over my face post-marathon:

The salt is everywhere, as is the hair.

So what does this have to do with hydration?

I’m getting there.

Because when you sweat you lose sodium and other minerals as well, you must replace those minerals in order to rehydrate. You’ve heard me say that water just isn’t enough for endurance sports and it isn’t because of this reason. When you lose too much sodium and the sodium-potassium-calcium balance is off in your blood plasma, bad things happen. If there isn’t just the right amount of sodium and the right amount of potassium to work the sodium-potassium pump, bad things like dehydration and over hydration (hyponatremia) happen.

Dehydration gets a lot of media attention, but I want to focus on balance and how not to overdo it on race day.

One of the very helpful things that happens when you’re nervous on race day is dry mouth. You’re at the start line or just barely getting going and you swear your mouth is as dry as the Sahara. Please, please, please read this next line and tell yourself this: You are not thirsty. You have dry mouth. Swirl and spit. It will pass.

If you chug a cup of water or Gatorade every time your mouth goes dry during a race, you are putting yourself at risk of over hydration (hyponatremia) which is just as dangerous as dehydration. Trust me, I learned this the hard way. My first marathon (NYC) was 80-something degrees in November and I panicked throughout the entire run. I drank WAY more than I ever did during my training runs and ended up with a sloshy tummy full of fluid, which I promptly vomited at the finish line and again in the shower, and I experienced some serious disorientation and weakness immediately upon finishing. It wasn’t pretty. Ask Mrs. Obi-wan and Kooshie. I will never forget them taking care of me.

The way to avoid this is to test yourself during your training runs and make a mental note of when you usually drink, how much you drink and what you like to drink. I carry Gatorade with me and drink water at water stations when I want only water. That way, I always have something with a little sugar, carbs, sodium and potassium with me in case I need them. Be wary of the coconut water craze. Not every brand is all it’s cracked up to be. I also always have a Shot Bloks for sustenance, but Rice Krispie treats are yummy, too.

Trust your training and do not detour from it. Don’t like what they’re serving at the hydration stations? Carry your own. Not sure if you’re thirsty or just have dry mouth? Swirl with some water and spit and see how you feel in another quarter mile. Worried because it’s hotter than usual? Hydrate throughout the race by taking small sips, not big gulps. Wondering how your hydration plan is going? Check your forehead to see if you’re still sweating. Sweat? Good! No sweat? No good.

If you fear that you are suffering from dehydration or over hydration, seek medical attention immediately. Dizziness, loss of consciousness (even for a moment), disorientation, loss of coordination, vomiting, and lack of sweat are all bad things and you should get yourself to a medic as soon as possible.

Test your hydration strategies on a day other than race day and you’ll be a hydration rock star during your race! This goes for all sports: cycling, spinning, yoga, swimming, rowing, everything where you’re breaking a sweat for longer than 30 minutes (for me, it means all damn day). I don’t want to hear that any of you passed out because you didn’t hydrate properly, ok? Ok.

Now go out and run!

I’m A Newbie: 3 Ways To Finish Strong

The end of a race is the hardest. You’ve started out conservatively, you maintained a steady pace, you remained calm on the crazy uphill portions and now you’re down to the last few miles, meters, feet and it’s HARD. How could you have ever prepared yourself for this? Well, I’ll tell you but a first, a little story.

My junior high school cross country coach was a dad from our community. He wasn’t a teacher, but a volunteer who took time out of his day to coach this rag-tag group of 11-14 year-olds while we ran around our local park. He was a nice man. He was also fond of the bullhorn during races. Whenever we got within about 600 yards of the finish line, we could hear his voice blaring out over the crowd and he was always saying the same thing, “Finish strong, into the chute. Keep going, you’re looking good.”

*Sidebar: Chute? This is before timing chips and you had to cross the finish line in between two ropes-a chute-as they shouted off times and stay in line as they took your bib number. High tech, right?

To this day, it’s the thing the Obi-wans and my siblings say to one another whenever we’re finishing something: a race, a class, a project, a long day…“Finish strong, into the chute.” It reminds us that we’re near the end and we have to give it all we got. If you can hear Coach, you’re almost there. Run harder!

And this is how I learned to run harder at the end than at the beginning.

In order to finish strong, you can do three key things during training:

#1. Negative split runs. You increase your pace every mile/half mile, depending on what distance you’re training for. Excellent training tool, especially for those of you who go off the line as though you’re at the Kentucky Derby.

#2. 5K finish workout. You run your long run at whatever pace you normally run long runs and take the last 5K to try to run at your 5K/10K pace. You’ll learn how the end of a race feels and how to remain calm while pushing your body. Great for marathoners.

#3. Middle of the run sprints. During a midweek run, take your middle 2 miles and break it down into 4 x 400 yard sprints with jogging recoveries in between each repeat. Then continue on and finish your run. It’s a great way to make sure your first half is the same speed as your second half, even with those speedy sprints in between.

Each of these workouts will train your body and your mind to stay focused in the middle of your race and to work harder at the end. If you do the same pace for every run and never vary your strategy, it’s difficult to anticipate what the end of a race will feel like. And trust me, you want to prepare yourself for those last 3 miles of a marathon because they will make or break you. Give these tricks of the trade a shot and you’ll be ready to go on race day!

Now go out and run. And “finish strong, into the chute!”