An Entirely Unscientific Poll

Dave Matthews Band “Stay (Wasting Time)” came on the other day and I found myself grooving in the kitchen with the little man as I relived the summers of my youth through the laid-back tunes of what was surely a very stoned band.

It reminded me of hot weather and sunshine in Colorado. It was a dry heat, nothing like these sticky East coast summers, and I don’t recall feeling the urge to go shirtless on many of those runs. Sure, a few of the two-a-days in August, but not the way I feel like stripping naked in Central Park in May.



I’m pretty hesitant to take my shirt off these days. My post-baby abs aren’t exactly fit for public consumption. But that doesn’t mean these hot summer days won’t finally break me, decency be damned, and you’ll find my shirtless on the track once again.

What about you? Do you run shirtless? Do you care who sees you? I’m curious what your thoughts are!

Now go out and run!

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby

Hi guys.

I’ve been super “excitedly busy” (as my friend, Ali, says) lately. I have approximately 5 very grown-up things on my plate that require most of my attention (and money) of late. Blogging, not so high on that list. Sorry.

Thankfully, runmuting is still going strong, as the blasted heat that is a New York City Summer hasn’t quite hit us yet. I’ve had to reverse my decision to run Napa to Sonoma with Team Challenge, a choice that makes me very sad but had to be done. Instead, I’ll still be training for the Rock ‘n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon in October and running the Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 Miler in July. I’ll probably sprinkle some other local runs in along the way…maybe some stroller-friendly ones???

Is it time for Summer Streets yet?

Is it time for Summer Streets yet?

I get lots of questions about training for races from people who don’t want to run to train for them. They want to spin, CrossFit, swim, or do some other form of cross-training to substitute for actual running. I’m not even talking about training exclusively on a treadmill, but actually NOT running for the majority of the training, or for key workouts.

Here’s the deal, science tells us that if you want to get good at something, you have to do THAT something a lot. (See: Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers) Yes, cross-training and other athletic endeavors can help to improve your overall fitness which, for someone who isn’t a well-trained runner, might help get you to the finish line.

Or leave you feeling like this.

Or leave you feeling like this.

It all depends on your goals. But, here’s the cold, hard truth about any sport, especially running:

If you want to run your very best race and achieve your highest potential as a runner, you have to RUN. Plain and simple.

Lift weights for strength, cycle your training seasons, vary your running workouts, respect the rest days, cross-train more in the off-season…YES, YES, YES, YES! BUT you have to run.

Running is fun, I swear. Ok, not AS fun in the hot, steamy Summer, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Running is fun, I swear. Ok, not AS fun in the hot, steamy Summer, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

It’s entirely your choice to substitute (injuries being the exception to this and just about every other rule) workouts and be ok with the results at the end of the day, but if you really want to reach your maximum potential as a runner, there’s nothing like the real thing, baby.

Now go out and run!

Finding Time: Workouts On the Go

So, that happened.

So, that happened.

School is over. Well, classroom work is over. But STILL–!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To say I’m excited would be an understatement. Moving forward, closer to graduation, makes me so happy. I’m relieved not to be sitting at a desk all day and to finally be back on my feet, working with patients.

Well, except for that being on my feet all day takes some getting used to and now I have no time to work out. No, really. I have no time.

4:30 (5:00, if we’re lucky)- Baby wakes up, so Mommy and Daddy are up

4:30-4:50– Family play time. The only time we have all day when the three of us are together

5:00-5:45– Feed baby, eat breakfast/Daddy get ready

"I'll have whatever you're eating, Mommy."

“I’ll have whatever you’re eating, Mommy.”

5:45-6:15– Mommy get ready

6:15– Daddy goes to work/Put baby down for a nap

Sometimes we nap in airports.

Sometimes we nap on airplanes.

6:30– Finish getting ready for work/finish up stuff around the apartment

7:30– Nanny arrives/Go to work

Hi. I'm Abby, I'll be your physical therapist today.

Hi. I’m Abby, I’ll be your physical therapist today. Don’t be scared. 

8:30-4:30– Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Work.

4:30-5:15– Rush home.*

5:15 (if I’m lucky)- Give baby bottle, put to bed.

5:45– Husband to gym/Make dinner

Julia freakin' Childs here.

Julia freakin’ Childs here.

6:30– Dinner

7:00– Clean up apartment, do stuff around apartment, pack for next day

7:30/8– Bed

I knew if I wanted to run with my new schedule it would either be late at night or I could try to *runmute home.

{Runmute (noun):  run + commute}

I chose the latter since I fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 pretty much every night. I am not one who can sacrifice sleep for a workout.

Anyway, my runmute takes me through Central Park (yay!), mostly uphill the entire way (boo!). But, you know what? It works. And thankfully, I have a locker at work (double yay!) where I can switch out my scrubs for my lululemon.

Let's be real. My walk to work from the train isn't half bad, either.

Let’s be real. My walk to work from the train isn’t half bad, either.

I’m not saying everyone can find the time. I’m not saying I’m going to make the time every time. But it takes the same amount of time for me to run home as it does to take the train during rush hour, so I’m going to employ my legs 2-3 times a week as my ride home.

I’ll be doing mostly tempo, fartlek, and progression runs since repeats on Central Park’s terrain are an exercise in frustration and the distance home is the same, no matter what workout I do. But those are 3 very important and effective workouts I can do given the distance (~ 5 miles) and time.

I’m making it happen because I want to. I have a goal.

How do you make it happen?

Now go out and run!

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.


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.