Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Gut Check

Happy holy-hell-it-is-freakin-cold-out-there-Batman Tuesday! My Tuesday has been upside-down and inside-out from the beginning. I blame the blistering cold weather for feeling off.

Back to Snow Beast attire.

Admittedly, I am in no rush for the sweaty, hot days of summer to get here since it will mean that every piece of my wardrobe will be drenched the minute we hit 80°F (that’s 26.67°C for my science friends out there–why aren’t we on the metric system yet, by the way?!).

Wow. That was quite a tangent.

Here’s the thing, when was the last time you had a Gut Check? You know, had someone in your world push back against something you said, tried something you were fairly sure you couldn’t do, had someone call your bluff. A Gut Check.

You know why it’s important to have a Gut Check every once in a while? Because we usually gravitate toward things that make us feel better. The friend who consoles us, the significant other who comforts us, the co-worker who sides with us, the parent who kisses our head and tells us we’re perfect and nothing is our fault.


I absolutely love that JB is (occasionally, brutally) honest with me. I love that my closest family members and friends give it to me straight…most of the time, but always when I need it the most. Without them, I wouldn’t have even tried to go to PT school, which is my dream and also the scariest thing I’ve ever done.

And I moved from the suburbs of Colorado to Brooklyn. Yes, PT school is still scarier.

First day of Anatomy Cadaver lab = TERRIFYING!

The people who run away from Gut Checks are either scaredy cats or narcissists. It’s ok to be afraid. You can get over fear, you will likely never get over being a narcissist. I used to be a scaredy cat where my career was concerned. Sure, I could move from Colorado to NYC but I couldn’t get up the courage to go back to school. I needed JB, the Obi-wans, Red, my family and my bestest girlfriends. My Gut Checks.

Gut Check: you’re smart enough, so why haven’t you gone back to school?

Gut Check: you say you want to run a marathon, but have you signed up for one?

Gut Check: you say you want a new job, but have you been pounding the pavement?

Gut Check: you want to meet someone, but do you actively pursue dates?

Gut Check: you want to do trapeze/skydive/zumba, but you just got on the elliptical…again.

Gut Check: you want to change your life, but you really spend most of your time whining about it, not changing it.

This is the face of me, post-Gut Check.

Gut Check. We all need them. They help us grow, change, venture out of our comfort zone to reach higher highs…and sometimes some lows. But you get to live. So don’t shy away from people who offer you that Gut Check. It’s likely that they care about you, want you to succeed and cannot stand listening to you bellyache about your life anymore (see Season 2, Episode 13 of “Sex and the City”).

Don’t be afraid of the Gut Check. It might be just the thing you need to make the leap. It will make your life richer, fuller and more awesome. It did for me.

“Do or do not. There is no try.” -Yoda

Get it. Gut Check. It’s way Better Than the Alternative.

Now go out and run.

Time Trials

Guys, the Sparkly Soul giveaway ends TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT EST. Get your nominations in and check back tomorrow to find out who the lucky winner is! So excited!

So, I run for distance. My schedule usually says something like “run 5 miles” or “10 miles: 1 warm up, 4 marathon pace, 4 half-marathon pace, 1 all out” or the like. I don’t like to run for time…so, naturally I made that a workout this week. I just figure if I don’t like doing it, I should probably do it anyway.

The other thing is that as I get faster, I really need to be adding on the mileage. 5 miles ain’t what it used to be to me when I’m running it at 7:20-7:35 minute miles and I need more than a 38 minute workout. Plus, the only way you become a better runner is to run more and faster. So, here we go.

Yesterday I did a 60 minute time trial on the treadmill. Why the treadmill? Proximity to the bathroom. Would have loved to have done this outside on the West Side Highway or something but that’s just not in the cards quite yet.

Oh treadmill, people might talk s*#t about you but you are MY friend

Why 60 minutes? Because most of my runs have been 50 minutes or less lately and I wanted to hit that 60 minute mark. Here’s how it worked:

  • 1 mile warm up (8:30 pace)
  • 22 minutes at 7:48 pace (half-marathon pace-ish), worked my way down to 7:30 as I found my groove
  • With 30 minutes left, I dropped the hammer and ran 7:23, working my way down to 7:03
  • Last 5 minutes at 6:53
  • Walking cool down
  • Massive stretch

It generally takes me 3 or 4 miles to feel comfortable in my pace when I’m running any distance over 5 miles. Less than that and I’m just trying not to puke running a hard 5K and it’s a whole other ball game. So that’s why I didn’t lay the hammer down til about halfway through. And yes, 7:23 is “laying the hammer down” for me. Don’t judge. I knew if I did it too soon that I’d burn out. I did negative splits and really felt that I gave it my all for that day.

I did this for a mental as well as a physical challenge. I ran 7.8 miles in 60 minutes. Next time I may not count the warm up and see if I can’t get the full 8 miles in 60 minutes, a goal I’ve had for a while. The mental side of it was that I had to keep going, no matter how many miles I covered. So, because I had that 8 mile goal and was on a time crunch, I pushed and pushed to get to it.

This is a great way to get a hard run in on the treadmill or on an out-and-back run outside.See how many miles you cover in a given period of time and check yourself every month to see how you’ve improved. Doesn’t have to be 60 minutes, it could be 20. Pick a time and run for it!

Hopefully next month's time trial will be here! See you out there?

Now go out and run.

Fitness News Fridays: Free Shipping Friday

First off, thank you all for your feedback regarding yesterday’s first ever workout video blog! According to my stats, over 100 of you have clicked on it…has anyone actually tried it? Love to know what you think/how you felt! Regardless, more of those to come.

Second, today is the day when online stores promote free shipping in time for Christmas. So, if you’re like some people I know and you just started TODAY, get your butts online and grab that freebie before it’s gone!

Third, I wanna throw a shout-out to my optometrist who, while I was getting my annual exam, casually told me she ran her first marathon in Chicago this fall on a whim. Ummm, AMAZING and congratulations! Best part about my visit with her? We talked running and lululemon the entire time and then she told me my eyesight is holding steady at the current prescription. Rock on, both of us!

My Runner’s World Holiday Streak kinda hit a bump this week. I got all my runs in, but they were all interrupted and that suuuuuucks. Soon, very soon, I will be run-interrupted free (right, Dr. Boz & PAK?) and blazing on the Highline Trail in Denver! Yay holidays! Yay streak!

And now, the news this week is all about the Olympic trials for the marathon predictions, summing up fitness for the year (this seems to go on throughout all of December *yawn*) and the rest of it is a mish-mosh. Here goes!

  • Shalane Flanagan is poised to be our best female runner at the Olympic marathon distance.
  • When it comes down to the Olympic trials, time really isn’t the goal, it’s all about placement.
  • The owner of my favorite running shoe store in NYC, Jackrabbit Sports, did a talkback with Well + Good on Facebook about running: read it here.
  • 2012 Wellness retreats. I will happily go on any one of these if someone wants to sponsor me 🙂 Pretty please?
  • Can you be overweight and healthy? #1. Define “healthy” (My answer: no. Your joints & connective tissue are suffering even if your organs are not. It’s a total body equation)
  • Oh yeah, I’m on the luluemon blog. Global domination, baby!
  • New Yorkers: You have 3 days to get Barry’s Bootcamp classes for $22/each. Hurry up!
  • New Yorkers: Fly for FREE @ Flywheel Sports UES tomorrow @ 3pm with my girl, Aleah. You will not regret it.
  • New Yorkers: Come to the E. 66th St. luluemon store for a spa experience THIS SUNDAY from 4-6pm. You may just see your favorite fitness blogger there. Maybe…
  • The CDC says non-smokers get the flu less. Duh.
  • Do you speak “runner”?
  • And finally, what is your reaction to famous ladies signing onto multi-million dollar weight loss contracts? Good for them or just a ploy to get paid?

Good luck to all of you who are running the Ted Corbitt 15K this weekend. One of my favorite races, though I’m just not ready to pay to run in Central Park with NYRR yet again. Who else is racing this weekend? Anyone still marathon-ing? Tell me all about it and then…

…go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Lighten Up

Wow! Time flies. I feel like this week zoomed on by and now I’m facing deadlines for DPT school and there is absolutely no time to waste. In light of how stressful the holidays (and school deadlines!) can be, let us take a moment to Lighten Up.

Exhibit A:

Gobble, gobble!

That is me, dressed in my turkey costume for the 1st annual lululemon athletica 5K Turkey Trot. I may not look much like a turkey, but my costume was made with love, feathers and ridiculous amount of silliness. As “race director” (man, oh man do I use that term loosely!), I could have shown up in my chic luluelmon attire and raced with my fellow trotters around Central Park without having people stare at me, wondering what the tall girl in the feathers was doing in a cardboard box ringing a cowbell. That would have been fine.

I went the other way because it’s a Turkey Trot! Lighten Up! Have some fun, don’t race for time, let the box slow you down and stop when people ask why you’re dressed that way to tell them that, yes, a grown woman is still free to dress like a turkey when she feels the spirit move her. Lighten Up. It’s not all serious.

Exhibit B:

An amazing view from behind. Feathers!

There are soooooo many very serious things in life that we really cannot make light of. Trust me, I am experiencing some of them right now. Some situations are just so crappy and hard and unfair that you want to scream and cry throw a tantrum all at the same time. And sometimes I do just that. (sorry, JB)

But the other stuff, the stuff that really isn’t that deep, that’s where we need to Lighten Up. Do a Jingle Bell Run for fun and wear bells on your shoes. Dress as Santa for the Santa Claus Shuffle. Rent an Elvis suit for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon/Half-Marathon in Vegas this weekend. Wear a funny hat and sunglasses with the year “2012” on them for the Midnight Run. Lighten Up.

Last week, before our trip to Florida, I had to check in with Dr. Boz. He decided he didn’t like what was going on and blah, blah, blah, ordered newer, stronger meds for me and pumped me full of IV drugs to help me feel better.

What's this brown stuff going into my arm?

In between giving me the rundown on  my not-so-awesome-but-they’re-going-to-get-the-job-done drugs, we actually spent the majority of the time during my appointment swapping holiday Outlaw stories and chatting about how a good kitchen set-up makes it so much easier to cook Thanksgiving dinner. See? Lighten Up. Yes, moon face is probably on the horizon for me as we taper the ‘roids, but it’s not the end of the world! There are drugs on the way to helping me kick this flare-up and start off the New Year on a good health note! So, Lighten Up!

Lighten up! Take a funny picture and send it to your husband to make him laugh at work while you tell him all about your doctor’s visit. (See above)

Lighten Up! Run for fun instead of for time.

Lighten Up! Have a sense of humor about yourself.

Lighten Up! Don’t try so hard to tell everyone how sainted you are.

Lighten Up! Let that less-than-flattering picture on Facebook stay up as a testament to how much fun you have and how confident you are.

Lighten Up! Fall over in yoga class (or in the privacy of your own home gym) and laugh.

Lighten Up! Quit criticizing everyone else’s everything.

Lighten Up! Life is hard for you to be wound so tightly all the time.

I can be an uptight ninny sometimes, so I love the moments in life that remind me to Lighten Up. Like the Turkey Trot or my doctor and I comparing Thanksgiving cooking styles as he drugs me up. I love the people in my world who remind me to Lighten Up. Those moments when I truly Lighten Up make being here much better than being there. And that’s what BTATs are all about.

Lighten Up, friends.

Now go out and run!

Fitness News Fridays: Oh boy

Oh boy, Philly is TWO DAYS AWAY. I am doing marathon “prep” all day today, in every way I know how and some I’m not going to share. I’m really looking forward to the big day. I feel rested, relaxed (sort of…) and the new drugs have kicked in so I am ready to rock! Even Mother Nature wants me to PR on Sunday!

Mostly Cloudy
Wind: From SW at 13 mph
Humidity: 72%
UV Index: 2 Low

Thank you in advance, Mother Nature, for the very mild weather. I plan on wearing my crops, a blue tank top, a white pullover and a ponytail-braid. Look for me! I am also the girl who puts her name on her shirt, so I shouldn’t be too hard to find.

I am lucky enough to have my husband and two very awesome lululemon friends coming to cheer me on. The local lululemon store has cheer stations at miles 16 and 22.5, exactly where I need them. I just hope I don’t shame the family.

Anyway, there’s a bunch of cool science stuff happening in the world of fitness this week so let’s get right to what you might’ve missed!

That’s it for me today, everybody. The next time you read from me, I will have complete my 9th marathon. I might cry. Don’t judge. If you’re out running on Sunday and you have a moment, send a happy thought my way. I’ll be thinking of all of you and running my little heart out!
Now go out and run!