Go the Distance

First off, thank you all for your kind words of encouragement yesterday. It’s overwhelming to receive such an outpouring of support from so many and I’m grateful for each and every one of you who read, commented, and “liked” my “coming out of the bathroom” post. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me–it has! Five pounds of colon, to be exact 🙂

Colon-free and kicking ass!

Now when I go to wipe my face with my shirt in Central Park, I won’t be so shy about Rosebud showing because all of you will be like, “What? It’s just an ostomy. NBD.” (No Big Deal for the short-hand illiterate like myself)

This past weekend, I ran NYC’s Summer Streets with several of my lululemon friends and family. We ran about 13 miles down and over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was glorious!

This is actually from last year, but you get the idea. Awesome views from the bridge!

As we trekked down Park Avenue with several hundred other runners, we chatted about life, running, training, and what-not. The miles ticked on by and before we knew it, we were turning around, barely winded and ready to head back uptown.

Grand Central Station, where did you come from? Only one mile left!

I haven’t felt so relaxed on a long run in ages! No bathroom break panics, no oh-my-God-it’s-so-hot-I-gotta-stop-before-I-die moments, no “are we there yet?!” moaning and groaning. Just 13 chatty, easy miles.

In order to go the distance of a marathon (or any other race), you gotta go the distance in your weekly workouts. Long runs aren’t meant to be speedy, they are meant to be long. I have a strict rule that I must feel good at the end of a long run, not dead dog tired.

Save the speed for your Yasso 800s and tempo runs. Save the marathon goal pace workouts for the middle of the week. Save the sprinting for the finish. Use your long runs to go long, go easy, and finish feeling like you could have gone longer.

That’s how Kara Goucher trains. And we all wanna run like Kara, don’t we? (again, I have to credit Erica for this awesome photo)

Matt Fitzgerald over at Competitor Magazine found that most elite athletes do more than 2/3 of their workouts at significantly slower than race pace. The goal is to run and keep running.

“Studies on the training intensity distribution of elite runners have found that most elite runners run at low intensities most of the time. For example, a survey of male and female runners who competed in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Men’s and Women’s Marathons revealed that the men did almost three-quarters of their training slower than their marathon race pace, while women did more than two-thirds of their training at slower paces.”

Sum it up: No burn out.

Promise you, this is the way to train for your marathon and enjoy training for your marathon. After all, it is the journey, isn’t it? What are you waiting for, grab a friend and hit the road!

One handed! Peanut will be my running buddy very soon. And from the looks of it, my shopping buddy, too!

Now go out and run.

Why Do I Run?

Hi friends! I am busy prepping for tomorrow’s lululemon run on Summer Streets (8am @ the E. 66th St. store) and the Joint Protection Workshop afterwards @ 9am. Hope to see you there! In the mean time, a poem I have always loved.

WHY DO I RUN? ‘TAIN’T NO MYSTERY–
WANNA HAVE A GOOD MEDICAL HISTORY,
DOCTOR TOLD ME RUNNIN IS GREAT–
HELPS THEM BLOOD CELLS CIRCULATE,
GREAT FOR THE LUNGS,
GREAT FOR THE TICKER,
CAN’T NOTHIN’ GETCHA
IN BETTER SHAPE QUICKER,
FEELS SO HEALTHY, FEELS SO SWEET,
PUMPIN MY ARMS AND FLAPPIN’ MY FEET,
MOLDIN’ MY MUSCLES, FIRMIN’ MY FORM,
PANTIN’ LIKE A PACK MULE,
SWEATIN’ UP A STORM,
KEEPS ME YOUTHFUL,
KEEPS ME LOOSE,
TIGHTENS MY TUMMY
AND SHRINKS MY CABOOSE,
BEATS BEIN’ SLUGGISH, BEATS BEIN’ LAZY–
WHY DO I RUN?

MAYBE I’M CRAZY!

~Ed Cummingham (I think)

Now go out and run!

I Am a lululemon Ambassador!

Check. Me. Out.

A seemingly innocent invite for coffee and a chat was actually an invitation to become the next ambassador at lululemon athletica E. 66th St. store! *blush* I nearly cried.

This was one of my goals for 2011. I love the company. I love the people. I love what they stand for. I love what they offer the community. I love how they operate. I LOVE the clothes.  And I am totally the girl who strives to live the manifesto, even before I ever saw the manifesto all over the bags and store and lululemon was just this company in Canada that my very fashionable French client told me about (and insisted I buy their pants!) as being the next big thing in workout apparel. Thanks, Frenchie.

I love the manifesto:

All copyright and registered trademark to luluemon athletica

Do one thing a day that scares you? Duh, math. Sweat once a day? Ummm, whether I like it or not. Practice yoga so you can remain active in sports as you age? Done. Dance, sing, floss and travel. Yup, yup, yup and yup. And I am trying with all my might to be the successful person who “replaces the words ‘wish’, ‘should’ and ‘try’ with ‘I will.'” I WILL!

So, yeah, I’m reeeeeeally excited and humbled by this honor. I absolutely love working with all the runners at the Run Club on Wednesday nights (Join us Wednesdays 6:30pm at the stores, 7pm at the 72nd St. Transverse) and I cannot tell you how rejuvenating it has been to meet all the amazing people who work at my beloved E. 66th St. store (I love you west-siders, too). The men and women who work there and so generously share their energy and love with me have been the antidote to my struggles with all of this pre-med stuff. They remind me of how far I’ve already come in life and celebrate my accomplishments while encouraging me to strive for Big Harry Audacious Goals (BHAGs). You should really check them out.

Yaaaaaaay! I’m am Ambassador!

AND check ME out! I will be back to coaching Run Club next Wednesday night and I can’t wait to see everyone. We also have a truly awesome Saturday morning planned for August 20th. We’re meeting at the E. 66th St. store to run Summer Streets (various distances) with all the NYC lululemon run clubs and then I’m hosting a free Joint Protection workshop back at the store. All are welcome for any or all of the activities! I really hope there’s a good turnout for my very first ambassador event (eeeek).

That’s what’s going on with me, friends. It’s been a wild week and I’m looking very forward to Sunday night when all the madness of this week will come to an end. You know what’s great about this week, though? Everything I’ve been working for for months all came to a head in just a few days. It’s really true: the harder I work, the luckier I get.

Ambassador invite = pretty things

What about you? Did you meet a goal recently? What’s your Big Harry Audacious Goal? Shout it out in the comments and then…well, don’t go out and run now. It’s late. But rock the pavement tomorrow for sure, wherever you are!

I ♥ Summer Streets

Yay for Summer Streets! My Mayor, Mikey Bloomberg (aka Bloomie) started this fun August activity three years ago and I have been a loyal supporter ever since I ran out my door one August morning to find Park Avenue shut down all morning long. It’s so great for us runners and bikers and the like because as training season goes into full swing, we yearn for a new route to run. Don’t get me wrong, the park is beautiful and amazing and we’re lucky to have it, but those hills get OLD after a while. So, this morning I very happily took full advantage of the stretch from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge for my 12 mile run this morning.

It was nice and cool this morning (only 79°!) but WOW was it humid! I was so happy about the temperature, I didn’t notice the humidity right away…until my shorts were soaked and I thought it was raining because I felt droplets on my legs. Gross. Still a fun run, though!

I ran South to the Brooklyn Bridge first, passing several friends along the way. I always shout out when I see someone, so if you were one of those embarrassed lucky people who received one of my famously huge “Hey there, so-and-so” bellows accompanied by my flailing arms waving hello, you’re welcome. It wasn’t crazy crowded as I cruised south, but I knew if I didn’t want to have to throw elbows, I’d have to hit the Bridge early. I love running over the Brooklyn Bridge.

This view never gets old

Onward and upward to the Upper East Side! Some fun things I saw along the way were: sandpits for children, though there were an awful lot of dogs in them as well (sand + this sweaty, sweaty runner = my nightmare), Crunch Fitness Bootcamp class (which I considered stopping for, but figured I had the workout thing covered today), free bike rentals, a Whole Foods picnic area (free food? I’ll have to find out next week) and my favorite thing ever: water fountains!

NYC has some of the best drinking water in the country. How do you like them apples?

I love running up and down Park Avenue for lots of reasons, but number one is because I get to run “through” Grand Central Station. It’s so cool.

Sweet historical monument, folks. Can you believe they almost tore this down? Shame on them!

The very cool coming-out-of-the-tunnel view heading north on Park Avenue

Summer Streets is just the thing to keep us feeling fresh and make our August long runs fun and adventurous!

I returned home rejuvenated and disgusting to find my sock was bloody. Oh no! After 9 years of marathon running, had I finally succumbed to the dreaded toe nail loss during a long run? Say it ‘ain’t so! Summer Streets loves me and would never do that to me, right?

Noooooooooo! Where is the source of this bleeding?!!! (and OHMYGOD I need a pedicure!)

Dr. JB, USMC to the rescue with alcohol to clean the wound and diagnose the injury! The patient looks on nervously:

Oh, just a cut. Phew!

Weird place to get a cut, but I still have all my (embarrassingly unpolished) toenails! I guess that pedicure will have to wait til later in the week.

All in all, a gorgeous 12 miler on my favorite super-long avenue in the city.

What is your favorite way to break up the monotany of running the same routes over and over again? Does your town have a Summer Streets-esque activity?

Tell me quick and then go out and run!!!

I’m A Newbie: Adding Mileage

Hey there, Newbies! How are your workouts going? Do you love running yet? Have you felt that “runner’s high” that we seem to yap on and on about? Yeah, sometimes that one takes a while. But I bet you feel better already. Keep up the good work and, in the mean time, let’s talk about building mileage.

A question I get asked a lot is “How much mileage should I add to build up to a <insert distance> race?” The conventional wisdom is 10% each week. I have heard the 10% rule since I was a little tike running in my bright pink Umbros and cotton t-shirt. (It was the style back then, don’t judge). I like the 10% rule for long runs, but not so much for mid-week workouts. Here’s what I would do:

Work your way up to running 3 miles straight. Once you can do that, you can start training for just about any distance, you just need the time to train right. Mix up your weekly workouts (3-4 of them) between an easy run, interval training (aka THE DREADED SPEED WORKOUT) and a tempo/hilly run. Use one of your miles as a warm-up and break up the workout portion so that it adds up to about 4-5 miles (this turns into 6-7 when you’re marathon training, but let’s not put the cart before the horse, ok?). With breaks in between during interval workouts, you’ll be able to cover more miles than if you just continuously run. This will also help you build up your mileage on your long runs and make it easier for your body to do what it does during those longer miles.

Ok, now onto those long runs. This is where I like the 10% rule, with a modification. I would start with one mile more than you have ever run and make that your start distance. Once you feel like you’ve conquered that distance, add on 10% (if you start at 4 miles, you add on .4 miles = 4.4 miles, the next time you add .44 ≈ 5.0 miles). I feel like you need to cover every new distance twice before you move onto adding more, but that’s just the way I roll.

And here’s the trick: Every three weeks, taper back and run a shorter long run. This will give your legs a little bit of a break during a time when you’re adding a bunch of mileage AND offer you the opportunity to go a little bit faster and rock that shorter long run! Score!

Don’t be afraid of adding distance and struggling through a long run. We all have those days. If you start having unusual or nagging pains, please taper it back and do more strength training. The dangers of adding too much too soon are well documented and include developing shin splints, ITB syndrome, tendonitis of just about any and all tendons in your legs, lower back pain and a whole host of nasty stuff that’s really annoying to get rid of. So, listen to your body and be smart about your mileage.

I’m headed out to Summer Streets tomorrow morning! Woohoo! My favorite time of year! If you’re in New York City, it’s must do. Also, don’t forget about Escape To Yoga Island happening tomorrow at Governor’s Island. Stop by and show some love to my luluelmon folk. All day yoga!

But before that, go out and run!