Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Forced Staycation

Happy Tuesday!

It’s chilly and dark and rainy here in NYC this morning and yet, I feel oddly sunshiny today. Well, it IS Tuesday and we all know what that means here at Run Stronger Every Day: Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays! So, maybe my sunshiny mood isn’t so odd after all?

We’re just coming off of a long weekend, thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday, when lots and lots of people take advantage of the extra day off by jetting out of the city to hit the slopes, the beach or otherwise get the hell outta Dodge. What did I do? I had a Forced Staycation and I loved every minute of it.

I would have loved to have headed north or west to ski. I would have loved even more to have been on a warm, sandy beach sipping mojitos. I would have even liked to have simply jumped in a car and driven to the country. Did I do any of that? Nope. I stayed in the cold city on my Forced Staycation. Why Forced? Well, two reasons, really.

One, JB was sick. He managed to game it up for Cousins Happy Hour on Friday night, but that was about all he had in him as far as socializing this weekend. Poor guy.

Two, all of our dollars are currently going in two directions: NYU and our piggy bank. A certain someone special got engaged this weekend which means lots of fun travel coming up this year which means I need my piggy bank to be a lot more full than it is right now. Anyone want to contribute?

So that’s how come our Staycation was Forced.

But it was kind of awesome, if I do say so myself. We had one dinner out, two dinners in. We watched some awesomely bad (and some seriously bad) 80’s movies. JB got his fill of zombies/vampires/sci-fi television. I finally got to see Moneyball (good, but not Oscars-good). I went for a run and didn’t have to rush out or rush back. I went to Flywheel in the middle of the afternoon. I did all the laundry for the rest of the week. We spent 20+ hours of every one of those days in my pjs. We napped every day. We laughed every day.

We reconnected.

How often do you get to do that?

When I’m in another city, I feel guilty for just sitting around watching tv. I don’t want to nap because I’m certain there’s something else I should be doing to get the most out of my vacation. I never do laundry (I mean, except for at my parents’ house). I rarely cook and go to the store. Running is often something I have to squeeze in while on vacation.

Vacation isn’t always relaxing. This Forced Staycation was exactly what the doctor ordered.

One person commented that I am “too young” to nap all weekend and stay in with my husband. At first, this made me feel bad about my Staycation. And then I looked around at the way people rush from date to date, from plan to plan, not really enjoying themselves. They seem to be DO-ing all this stuff just to have a story to tell when someone asks them what they did with their weekend. You know what? I enjoyed myself and my Staycation and I feel rejuvenated and happy. Do you feel rejunevated and happy after your weekend?

Sometimes it’s a good thing that you can’t go anywhere for a few days. Most of the time, we are so busy lamenting our inability to travel to exotic places and DO stuff that we don’t realize the opportunity sitting in front of us. Sometimes we are so busy DO-ing stuff that we forget to take the time to sit, relax, and reconnect with ourselves and our partner. That’s what the Forced Staycation can do for you.

So, next time you “can’t go anywhere for the long weekend” maybe look at it another way: as an opportunity to be still in the place where you feel most at home, your home. Reconnect. Stay.

My MLK Forced Staycation did just that for me and I couldn’t be happier about being in this freezing cold city all weekend long. Maybe that’s why I’m sunshiny today.

Now go out and run!

What did you do this weekend? Something exotic or were you a Staycation-er like me? Did you run in the frozen tundra? BRRRR!

5 Ways to Keep Your Cool on Race Day

Race season is upon us and all over the world people are gearing up for every race distance imaginable. From the 5th Avenue Mile to the many, many marathons and ultra marathons happening in the next few weeks, millions of runners will toe the line this Fall, all with the same thought, “Please let me finish.”

I’ve quoted him before, but I will do it again because I love this quote; Alberto Salazar says, “We are all cowards at the start line.” So true. I don’t know one person who gets to the start line of any race and isn’t a-flutter with nerves and itching to start. It’s normal. You’ve trained for weeks, months, sometimes years, and it’s all going to come down to how you do after that gun/air horn goes off. That’s terrifying.

Relax. Here are 5 ways to keep your cool as you make your way to the start line:

#1. Breathe. Deeply. Don’t underestimate the power of your breath to calm you down. If you find that your pulse is racing take a moment, sit down, close your eyes and take deep, even breaths until your heart rate comes down. No sense in wasting energy being nervous, right?

#2. Remain calm. Even if you’re freaking out in the inside, keep your physical self calm by walking around. Consciously relax your face, hands and shoulders. Tense muscles make for tense runners so do your best to chill out.

#3. Jog (slowly!) around your corral. I don’t mean for you to add on 3 more miles before your race, but warming up can help ease the jitters that come along with having too much adrenaline coursing through your veins while standing at a start line.

#4. Visualize your training runs. Remind yourself that you’ve done this distance (or close to this distance) on your training runs. Take a moment to sit down, close your eyes and visualize what one of the good training runs felt like. Easy, controlled, relaxed. Transfer that feeling into the present moment and take it with you to the start line.

#5. Trust your training. If all else fails and you’re still a ball of nerves at the start line, talk to yourself. Maybe not out loud, but tell yourself that your training is done and you’re going to go out and do your best. There’s nothing you can do once you get to the start line, it’s all in the training. Let go and trust yourself.

Have fun out there, everyone. Best of luck in your upcoming races. Stay cool, stay calm and try to enjoy the moment.

Now go out and run!