Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays: Cheerleaders

This has been an awesome Tuesday and it definitely calls for a Better Than The Alternative title! Today’s reason why it’s better to be here than there: cheerleaders. No, not the Dallas Cowboy type. Life cheerleaders.

I do not always believe in myself. Do you? I don’t. Not always, anyway. It’s a good thing I have a group of trusted individuals whose opinions I respect to tell me the truth about tough situations. Because when they tell me I can do it, I actually believe them. They give me confidence and courage to try (and try and try and try) that which scares me the most: school.

Math is not my strong suit, but over and over again Mr. & Mrs. Obi-wan keep telling me just to work hard and keep trying and what will be will be. Without those two cheerleaders, I’m not sure I would even be here in New York City, let alone at New York University.

I wouldn’t have even applied to school if it hadn’t been for my gorgeous husband. All along, he keeps telling me that I’m smart enough to get through any program, I just need the right teachers and tutors and attitude. I love him for this. He’s my biggest cheerleader an my biggest fan. It’s awesome to come home to the Rocky theme song playing on the computer and my husband shouting, “One more round, Rock!” It’s our way of pumping each other up and it never fails to make me smile.

My family and friends and clients are so supportive and understanding about school. They have so much faith in me that they are willing to forgive my absence and absent-mindedness while I put my energy elsewhere. And my lululemon family who pump me up when I’m feeling useless everywhere else in life. What a gift!

My favorite new cheerleaders are the teachers who care. My Calculus, Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry and Pre-Calculus teachers have all told me what a hard worker I am and what a great PT I’ll be. Their kind words and confidence have meant more to me than they’ll know. I’ve had one other college professor care as much and he has since passed away. He never gave up on me or my lack of musical talent and I’m forever grateful for the hours he spent trying to teach me music theory.

This is what I want to be for other people: a cheerleader. For my runners, I will cheer you on at races and at workouts and I will help you in any way I can. For my clients, I always believe that you really can do “just one more.” For those random people for whom I cheer like a wild banshee at marathons, I really am amazed by what you’re doing because it’s hard and you’re doing it. For my friends, whatever you need, I got your back.

Thank your cheerleaders. Tell them you appreciate it. Be thankful for them. Be a cheerleader for someone else. It doesn’t have to be at a sporting event, it can be by celebrating a life victory with a friend. It can be sharing words of confidence with a family member who is struggling. It can be just a positive word of encouragement in an email to someone you love. Everyone needs a cheerleader and I’m forever thankful for all of mine because, on this Better Than The Alternative Tuesday, I am moving on from Calculus to Physics because of my cheerleaders. Bring. It. On.

Who’s your biggest cheerleader? Tell me! I want to know all about it 🙂

Now go out and run.

Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays: Sunny Days

Yay for Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays! Here at Run Stronger Every Day, I believe it’s important to take a moment to remind myself why life is good. Because it is. No matter what’s going on, if you are reading this blog, life is good. Why? Sunny Days.

August. AUGUST! When did it become August? Just yesterday I was studying for my first statistics exam in June and now I’m studying for my calculus final next week. NEXT WEEK! Seriously?!?! Time flies when you’re in summer school, I suppose. I don’t really remember summers flying by like this when I was little because I actually loved going back to school. Could. Not. Wait. New books, new book bag, seeing all my friends again. I guess once my softball season ended I was cool with getting back to the business of school. Not so much as an adult…time flies.

And before you know it, we will all be bundled up for our runs again. Hats, gloves, neck warmers, horrible running tights that never flatter anyone. Ugh. I hate winter running attire.

See how grumpy I am at the start line in the freezing cold? And do you SEE what I'm wearing??! Thank God for lululemon.

Yes, before you know it, our 90 degree days will be a distant, fleeting memory and we will be crying all day (all over Facebook) “where’s the sun?” It happens every year. It’s just a case of wishing and hoping for the days gone by and the days to come instead of living in the moment. And trust me, I’m not loving the crazy heat any more than the rest of you, but I AM trying to live in it. Take each day as it comes because you only get out of it what you put into it.

Hooray for hot, sweaty runs! It means it's not going to snow tomorrow!!! (and also, I get to run on the field at Yankee Stadium, which is reason enough to celebrate!)

So, when you’re out on your hot run today or tomorrow or some other time this week, take a breath and smile at the sun. Embrace the warmth (you know, within reason) and remind yourself of those frozen winter mornings to come. Sunny days are not always here to stay and we really should be thankful for them when they shine our way. It’s the sunny days in life that make the cloudy ones bearable. Slap on some sunscreen, hit the pavement and enjoy what’s left of the summer.

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Every Day Is a New Day

Welcome to Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays where I share with you why it’s so much better being here than not being here. This week: Isn’t is just the best that we can make every single day a NEW day?!

It’s been a stressful week. Ok, stressful two years. I’m coming up on my last two semesters of undergraduate work before I (hopefully!) start my PhD program. I haven’t taken a semester off in two years and I can officially say that it’s getting to me a little bit. I find myself in a very not-so-cheerful-Abby-place of late due to the overwhelming amount of stress in my world. Mrs. Obi-wan told me that I should take one day, one hour at a time. She’s right. Upward and onward to today!

I can’t change my GRE score from Sunday. I can’t erase that stupid mistake I made on my Calculus exam yesterday. I can’t make myself get up earlier for the run I did on Saturday (I regretted sleeping in every step of that run–HOLY HOT!). All I can do, all any of us can do is start over today and work on what we can control TODAY.

This is especially true for running. As runners (and athletes!), we will log thousands of miles in our lifetime and guess what? *Shocker* Every run will not be our best run. We stay up too late, we eat the wrong foods, our body just won’t work, we get too hot, we can’t seem to find our balance in yoga class, we’re dehydrated, we’re mentally checked out of our run, we (ok, me) have to stop every ten minutes to hit the POJ, we go the wrong way on a path, it pours cats and dogs in the middle of a run, our favorite workout class has a sub, we have a crappy run, the pool is full of people, our shorts are chafing, it’s stupid-hot outside, we fail to wake up early on a sweltering hot day for a long run…the list is endless. We’ve all had those days. Mama Said they’ll be days like this.”

The challenge in life and in our training is what we do the next day. Do you hit snooze and blow off your run because you’re still grumpy about yesterday’s disaster? Do you stop going to class because you don’t want to get used to a new teacher? Do you forgo running entirely if the forecast calls for rain? Do you wallow in the negativity of the previous day’s (or year or month) performance and give up?

Hell no!

You wake up and say, “It’s a new day today. I’m going to try again!” Because, you know what? You might have the best run of your life today. You might go up a weight in your class. You might jump up a pace group at your run club. You might have one of those runs where you feel incredibly fast the whole time. You might pass a bunch of people. You might finally do crow pose without tipping over. You might make a new friend in your bootcamp. You might find that your new top is ideal for sweaty runs. It might just be a beautiful day, the kind you might regret not using as a run day. It’s the “MIGHT”s in life that keep you going.

So, if you had a lousy day yesterday on the track, in the gym, at work, at home, in your head: let it go. Let it be in the past and move on. You have to have bad workouts. You have to suck at a race. You have to get a cramp mid-run every now and again because you’re human and that’s what happens. Do yourself a favor and give yourself permission to have a bad run and start fresh and new today. Because today, and every day, is a new day and it’s a whole lot better to be here than not. And, hey, you might surprise yourself.

Now go out and run!

*Little suggestion: If yesterday’s workout was the pits, try something different today. It’s amazing how changing things up can make you forget a lousy run!*

The GRE’s Take Over

Just a quick note, as I am currently writing this from the library on a break between Calculus and GRE studying. I will not be blogging this weekend. I have the GRE’s on Sunday (all day!) and my first Calculus exam on Monday. So, I live in Bobst from now ’til Sunday night.

What’s that you say? Harry Potter is out this weekend? It’ll have to wait for us. Wish me luck! I’ll see you on Monday.

Now go out and run!

The “I-only-have-20-minutes-to-run” Workout

Woooooo, baby! It’s getting hot and toasty out there, isn’t it New York? Summer means so many things to so many people: vacation, beach, flip-flops, a trashy novel. In the last few years, summer has come to mean one and only one thing to me: SUMMER SCHOOL! 3-4 days of 2+ hours in class, at least a chapter of material a day, sometimes a lab, homework every night and exams every week. Jealous? I thought so.

My view from the library

While can usually be found studying in the very fabulous Bobst library most mornings and some weekends, where I really long to be running is on the river at sunrise. *sigh* Until August 11th, however, I will have to find another time to run.

Which brings me to my topic of today: how to get an effective run in only 20 minutes on the treadmill. Most runners hate the treadmill while I choose to look at it as “sometimes” tool. Like, how Cookie Monster says, “Cookies are a sometimes food” (Who are we kidding, Cookie Monster?). When I finally do get to run during the day, I’d much prefer to be out in the park or on the trails, but at 1pm on a 98-degree with 85% humidity day, that just isn’t smart nor am I getting much out of that run. Unless you count the very attractive beet-red face I get to sport for the rest of the day (yay Irish!) and a crazy racerback farmer tan as desirable fashion statements, midday outdoor running is just out of the question. No, you won’t find me suffering through that kinda run. You will find me in the air conditioned gym down at the Palladium on a treadmill, rocking out to my tunes (have you checked out the “Tunes” section of this blog?) and working hard on this workout:

-5 minute warm-up (6.5 speed, aka warm-up pace)

-1 minute sprint (9.0-9.5 speed, aka as-fast-as you-can-go-without-falling-off pace)

-1 minute recovery jog (6.5-7.0 speed, aka recovery pace)

I repeat the one minute sprint/one minute recovery jog for 20 minutes and I. Am. Wiped.

Hot and sweaty runs in the park are the best!

I leave the treadmill with jelly legs, huffing and a-puffing my way home. I can’t even tell you how this workout kicks my butt. Try it for yourself if you only have 20 minutes to get an awesome run in. If you really go as fast as you can, and go that fast every single time while resting in between 1 minutes sprints, you will feel it. I promise. Now go out there and run! And if you feel like doing an awesome workout tonight, join me tonight with the lululemon Run Club in Central Park at 6:45 on the 72nd St. Transverse in front of Bethesda Fountain. See you there!