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.

Friday Fitness Links: No Run-Off

I will never understand why Jeneba Tarmoh pulled out of the run-off against Allyson Felix for a spot on the Olympics team. Never. I mean, it’s her decision and all that but MAN! What a decision to make. What would you have done?

This week has been kind of a study blur for me. As it turns out, next week will be, too. And the week after that until the end of August. Oh well. So, here’s what I missed this week. You guys are probably totally caught up. Bear with me. There’s some cool stuff happening around town.

(Image courtesy of Runner’s World & your inner child)

AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST: Ali’s awesome boyfriend Brian (who owns his own ad agency) put together this AWESOME display in NYC’s Rockefeller Center for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America to bring awareness to our crappy disease.

The shark is Crohn’s & Colitis, raising hell in my GI tract. Way to go, Brian!!!! (Picture shamelessly stolen from Ali’s blog because it is so awesome. Hope she doesn’t mind…)

There is also a really cool contest where you could win tickets to Newsies and dinner by taking a picture with the shark and posting it to Twitter with the hashtag #CCFAShark. If you win and can’t go, I will happily take your place 🙂 This raises so much awareness for my disease, one that affects 1 in every 200 Americans, and I am thrilled that this display will be in Rockefeller Center for the month of July. If you stop by, tweet me (@Abby_NYC) so I can give you a shout-out!

Have a great weekend everyone! Good luck to Maggie (who is racing her first tri) and all the athletes at the NYC Tri this weekend. Who else is running? Has marathon training kicked off for you? How’s it going? The heat. Oh, the heat!

Now go out and run!

Friday *achoo*

You know what the up-side to having a sexy auto-immune disease like ulcerative colitis is? Nothing. Not a one. Every single time I’m getting a handle on things, my trigger pulls and I flare up, get sick and am sidelined from my everyday life. Boo. Today I have a little sniffle and cough, which isn’t surprising since I’ve been flaring for almost two weeks now. (Can make “flare-ing” a verb? I think I just did. Not flaming, FLARING) Flare-ups = downed immune system = cold/flu AND flare-up symptoms. Yay, me!

Good thing it’s  a long weekend and I don’t have to miss school. You heard me. My, my how things change when you’re a big grown-up paying for your own school at NYU. Missing class is baaaaaaad.

Anyway, I think the extent of my exercise today will be walking up to the NEW lululemon athletica store on Madison Ave & 85th Street to celebrate their opening day. You should stop by, too, if you’re in the city. Say hi! So, no running today. Hopefully, taking it easy will translate into me feeling so much better than tomorrow I can do my long run. Or, at least I can do it on Monday and be better by next week. Fingers crossed.

In the mean time and in-between time, here’s what you should be checking out this week:

I joined Twitter this week. I think I kinda suck at it, but it certainly keeps me up on what’s going on in the world…and in the running world! The famous runner and Runner’s World editor Bart Yasso was my first follower. Weird and awesome!

-Paula Radcliffe’s record-setting time for women’s marathon distance was was stripped of the title “World Record” because the pacer for that race was a man. Are you as outraged as I am? If she’s the world’s fastest woman, who else is supposed to pace her???

-The Chicago Marathon is this weekend. Are you running? Here’s a spectator’s guide to cheering. Should be an awesome day for a run. Go runners!

-The smarties over at ACE (American Council on Exercise) evaluated the popular barefoot-style minimalist shoes and came up with some interesting results. Like, everyone showed over-pronation.

-These coconut granola bars sound amazing. Not that I can eat them because they have oats and nuts and, you know, that doesn’t exactly go with my flare-up. So you make them and report back to me, ok?

-Speaking of my flare-up, did you see the Nobel Prize in Medicine was announced this week for some very smart scientist who did a lot of research about our immune systems? I’m just excited because, after two years of pre-med schooling, I know what he’s talking about!

-ESPN’s ‘Body’ issue is out. What do you think?

-Last, but certainly not least, take a minute (really, it’s that fast and you don’t have to put in your email or anything) and vote for my fellow fabulous fitness blogger friends, Ali & Jess in Shape Magazine’s Best Blogger Awards. They’re awesome and you should check out their blogs AFTER you vote for them (don’t worry, they’re nominated in separate categories)

Ok, folks, I’m out. Oh yeah, I’ve also decided that I won’t be blogging on the weekends. A long time ago, when I was finally able to support myself as a trainer, I made the decision not to work on the weekends. It’s been probably 7 years since then and I realized that blogging counts as work for me. I love it, but it definitely takes away from spending time with the people I don’t get to see during the week, namely my gorgeous husband. So, I hope there are no hard feelings, but I will be a Monday-Friday blogger from here on out. Are we still friends? I hope so.

Now go out and run.

And don’t catch my cold.

What are you reading about this week in the news? I mean, besides Steve Jobs.

From A Newbie Marathoner

Tonight, I am shamelessly going to direct you to my blog friend Ali’s recap of her very first marathon that she completed on Saturday in the Hamptons. You might think, “oh, the Hamptons sounds like ann exciting place to run…maybe I’ll run right into J. Lo or Alec Baldwin.” Can I tell you, it is no small feat that Ali #1. completed her first marathon and #2. did it out in the Hamptons. The Hamptons is the boonies, people. I mean, farmland and deserted roads with scattered mansions along the beach. The season of everybody going out and partying in the Hamptons ended Labor Day weekend and that place is a ghost town these days. No small feat at all for her to have slogged through late miles with few crowds to cheer her on (though her family gets and A++ for cheerleading). It’s not like the New York Marathon where there are crowds everywhere. So, mad props on both fronts, Ali!

Ali’s journey to the marathon was part of the Run For The Rabbit campaign sponsored by my favorite running shoe store here in the city, JackRabbit Sports. Ali has Chron’s disease and her charity of choice was the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation of America. She finished second in her fundraising efforts (amazing!) and raised over $20,000 for CCFA. This charity is close to my heart, too, because I was diagnosed and am learning to live with Ulcerative Colitis. I’d like to thank Ali *very* publicly for all of her efforts to help researchers discover more about our collective diseases and work towards a cure. *sniff*

Marathons (or any races at all) always mean more to me when I’m running for someone besides myself. Don’t get me wrong, I run for me, too. But when I’m struggling through a tough part of the race, what gets me through is not my vanity or my desire to be a better runner, it’s the idea that I’m out there for people who can’t be out there for themselves. Ali ran for herself, but she ran for me, too. And I will never forget that. *sniff*sniff*

Imagine the impact you could have on someone’s life just by choosing run for a charity…

Consider this next time you sign up for a race. Did you know you can always raise money at any race for any charity? Just contact them and find out how to set up a donation page. Simple as that.

Anyway, her recap is worth reading. It made me cry, which is apparently not too hard to do today. Ali’s hard work and dedication to her training is both admirable and inspiring. She is also to blame for my current addiction to 16 Handles.

Now go out and run, friends!

Maybe share a little about who/what inspires you these days???

Battle Of Brooklyn Recap

JB and I just sat down for lunch (yes, lunch at 11am) after finishing the Battle of Brooklyn this morning and all I have to say is: Holy sweaty runner, Batman! I am not unaccustomed to getting my sweat on during a run, especially a 10-miler in August, but Oh. My. God. I think I left puddles along the course in Prospect Park. Yikes.

We almost didn’t make it to Brooklyn because our cab driver felt compelled to drive at the speed of sound down the FDR. I was convinced it was the end of us. No, we did not take the train to Brooklyn at 6am. We are that couple. My husband more so than me, but I really don’t put up much of a fight when it means I can get up at 6:30 (a much more reasonable hour) and do my morning routine without being stressed out about train times. Stress + UC = emergency bathroom breaks mid-race. So, yeah. We took a cab. And almost died.

Well, at least there wasn't a chance in hell we'd be late for the start!

Upon arrival, I thanked all of my guardian angels and headed to the POJ to do my thang. Ummmm….memo to Jackrabbit: When there are hundreds of people coming to your race, 7 POJ’s is insufficient. You read that right: 7. For a race. I was horrified and immediately staked a place in line, hoping I’d get to go before the start, suddenly thankful for my speed demon of a taxi driver.

Wow. Clearly, they did not know I was coming to this race.

One woman complained to some official-looking person. His response, "At 8:05, the lines will be gone!" PS. The race started at 8:00. Nice.

Thankfully, I made it in and out and to the start line with JB in plenty of time. A very unceremonious (not in a bad way) “GO!” started the 10 mile race. We took off downhill, steering clear of the brilliant runners who thought their 10 minute per mile pace warranted a front-line start. I will never understand that. Anyway, the park wasn’t too crowded and the race wasn’t either so it was a great run to pace it out and relax. 1st mile downhill = 7:15 first mile. Ooops. I did not keep that up. JB hung back and we both just tried to get a handle on our pace.

I really enjoyed running through Prospect Park. It’s not nearly as crowded as Central Park, the loop is shorter and friends who live in Park Slope come out to cheer! Nothing’s better than having friends cheer for you as you muddle through a soggy 10 miles. I must’ve looked super sexy.

JB passed me around mile 8, which I love. He’s 6’2” and a former Marine, so I fully expect he will be the fast one in the family. He finished about 15 seconds ahead of me and cheered for me at the finish line. Good man. Hard to miss the sound of someone shouting, “Go Abigail!” (he doesn’t call me Abby–ever). I love that he’s coming out of his cheerleader shell! Go honeybun!

So, done and done. We both ran just under 8 minute miles. Not exactly my goal, but close to it and the weather being what it was, I’m happy. We ran into Ali who was sporting her “I ♥ SWEAT” shirt, a perfect theme for the race.

Clearly, I support this statement because, well, duh...

We also saw our friend from lululemon Run Club, Secret Agent Man who fully kicked our butts and later confessed he was struggling out there as well. No one was immune to the humidity beast today! We’re all just thrilled we finished.


I am home, showered, in my robe and about to devour my tacos. Do not get in between me and my food after a race. I will hurt you. Battle of Brooklyn winner? Me!

What did you do this weekend? Did you rock a run or take a break? Tell me and then…

Go out and run!