What Defines You?

I was briefly sidelined from running due to a bum butt about three years ago. My gluteus medius needed a break from running and I begged my PT for other cardio/workout options. They were limited. Recumbant bike, aka the one that makes your butt go numb and your back ache. And flat-surface walking. Like I don’t do enough of that already. Oh, and I could swim a little. My hair loved that month of swimming.

I was concerned at my hair while at the pool from a very young age. Also, isn't my hot pink numbers swimsuit just THE BEST?! I totally remember loving it!

It wasn’t that long without running and I had the bike and the pool and weights and stuff to keep me occupied. I feel like I have ADD when it comes to working out, except where running is concerned. Anyway, one month flew by with my PT and I was back at it, one mile at a time, because I followed all of the instructions given to me and let my body heal.

But what if it was longer? What if, in the future, I have to lay off of running for a longer stretch of time? What if it’s harder to get back to?

Clearly, running is my happy place. Running in Yankees Stadium is euphoric.

So many of my friends are currently experiencing running-related injuries that have sidelined them from running entirely for the foreseeable future. Many of them are not recovering as quickly as I did, despite following a variety of trained professionals’ advice, and the it seems that they may not return to running very soon.

Many of you define yourselves as “runners”. Me, too. But, don’t let running define YOU.

Run. Have fun. Race. Run fast. Commit to it. Work hard. PR.

But do something else, too. I have found balance in my life, and more happiness than I could ever imagine, but incorporating other things into my fitness world. Flywheel, yoga, apparently I am trying Zumba with LB, maybe one day I’ll buy a bike and do a try, whatever. I’m not afraid of not being able to run one day (maybe forever) because running doesn’t define me.

Never met a spin bike I didn't love.

Don’t let it define you. So, if one day you find that you have to cut back, take a break, or give it up entirely, you’ll be like, “that sucks, but at least I can still ________.” You know? Remember Obi-wan’s guest post? You gotta be flexible ‘cuz you never know what curveball life is going to throw at you.

Branch out. Have fun. Find things that get you going. It won’t be the same as running, but that’s ok. It’ll be something. It’ll be different. And different is good.

Now go out and run (while you still can!).

Speaking of injuries and branching out, running season is upon us! As you gear up to add mileage or hit the road for the first time, you’ll need a quick tune-up before you get going. Or maybe you have a nagging pain you can’t quite fix? Join me and my friends, Dr. Shure and yogi Lara Benusis,for a Total Body Tune-Up on Sunday, April 1st at the E. 66th St. lululemon. Have Dr. Shure check you out, get stretching/yoga advice from Lara and ask me anything about running! See you there. Don’t forget to RSVP!

Mentors

In my world, I am a leader. I coach teams, I train clients, I advise students. I am a Mentor. My job, as I see it, is to teach people how to take care of themselves so that they have the information to make changes towards leading a healthier life. I take pride in my job.

Go team BRick!

But everyone needs a Mentor. Everyone needs a place to zone out, to follow the leader, to let go and put 110% toward the effort of yourself and no one else.

This is why when people tell me they want to run their first or second race (usually a half or full marathon), I suggest they get a coach or a Mentor. First off, experience is invaluable. Second, education matters when it comes to how your body works. Third, if you have a goal and no clue how to reach it, shouldn’t you ask someone whose job it is to get people to their physical goals?

Mentors do this for you. They’ve been there, done that, and likely have many an ugly, ill-fitted, cotton race shirt to prove it. They’ve hit the walls and climbed over them. They’ve bonked and gotten back on the road. They’ve made the mistakes so that you don’t have to. They are the ones who make it their business what the latest and greatest shoes, gear, fuel, races, training tricks, and trails are.

They are also the ones who will push you when you need it and yell at you when you’re overdoing it. Mentors will talk you off your crazy ledge and make sure you make the smart training decision, even if it’s the hardest one.

I have lots of Mentors. I’m lucky to live and work in the fitness world and have my colleagues be the ones who push me, advise me, cheer for me, and talk me down when I need it. But how do you find a Mentor?

Two of my favorite cheerleaders and Mentors.

Running clubs are a great place to start. Some people feel more comfortable one-on-one with a personal trainer, in which case a gym is the place for you. Most of the lululemon stores have run clubs with rock star leaders from the community. I actually love my Mentors over at Flywheel Sports.

Ambassador Buddies.

Aleah, Steven, Dani, Jessie, they all push me in ways that I cannot push myself. I’m not ashamed to admit that I need to be pushed the same way that my I push my clients. Sometimes we need someone else to believe in us so that we can believe in ourselves and have the confidence to go another mile, faster, harder, and longer than before.

These are the Mentors in your life. They tell you that you can. They tell you that you must. They tell you not to give up. And you believe in them.

Who are your Mentors? Give them a shout-out here! I want to know who you turn to for the leadership that carries you through your workouts day in and day out. Tell me all about them.

Now go out and run!

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. Just...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.

Success!

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!