Tag Archive | running

Workouts and Awards

This week I finally feel like I’m starting to get where I want to be in terms of my workout frequency and intensity, and I’m excited to start another productive week tomorrow! Here’s what the last week consisted of:

  • Monday: Pump class
  • Tuesday: 3.5 mile run
  • Wednesday: Though it wasn’t the type of workout you’d typically think of, I spent 6.5 hours at work moving freshman girls into their residence halls. Suitcases, stairs, and sweat. I considered it my workout for the day.
  • Thursday: 1-mile warm-up run, followed by Boot Camp
  • Friday: OFF
  • Saturday: OFF
  • Sunday: 6-mile run and some ab work

I was pretty happy with my run today, as I’m pretty sure it was the farthest I’ve run without stopping since sometime in 2012. Not proud of it. But I made it through with the help of my psychic iPhone that kept playing songs I needed to hear to keep me pumped! My foam roller and I had a date when I returned home. Since tomorrow is Labor Day my Pump class is canceled, so I’m looking forward to creating a leg and ab workout for myself. I’m also hoping to incorporate some more running into my workouts this week!

And now to the more exciting part of this post. Earlier in the week I received a Facebook notification that I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Joanna of Jo(w)anna Know What? I took some time looking up the Liebster Award and between Lorraine Reguly’s blog and Sophie Says I’ve determined that it an award for up-and-coming bloggers and sort of has a chain letter feel to it. Basically, you answer a set of questions that the blogger who nominated you gives you and nominate 3-5 other bloggers who have less than 3000 followers (other rules say 200 followers, but who really knows!). So here we go with the list of questions that Joanna gave me:

1. What is your favorite hobby? (Besides blogging of course): I think I’ll go with working out or singing
2. If a real life genie appeared while you did your weekly lamp polishing, what would be your 3 wishes? Ooh, this is tough! I think I’d wish for enough money to pay off my student loans first! As for my second and third wishes, probably more serious things like health and happiness for my family and friends. I don’t care if that’s sappy. Just go with it.
3. If you could leave right now for a 2 week vacation, where would you go? Vacation?! Yes, please! I’d like to go back to Grand Cayman, so let’s say there
4. If you were a super hero, what powers would you have? I’ve never had the opportunity to choose multiple powers! Teleportation, the ability to fly, and mind-reading skills. Those would be great!
5. What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate. I didn’t even hesitate on that one
6. What is a cool family tradition you have, or have started? My sister and I have always slept in her room on Christmas Eve. Every year, never fails. Shall be interesting this year since she will be married!
7. What is your favorite childhood memory? Family dinners, sitting around the table laughing until we can’t breathe.
8. What historical figure would you love to see in 21st century life? Freud would be an interesting person to talk to, ha!
9. What is your favorite holiday? I love Christmas!
10. If you were ever to be famous, what would you be famous for? I’d love to be a famous singer!
11. What is quote that you live by? “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson
And now for the nominees:
  • Bliss, written by my very best friend Mo! Looking for inspiration? Find it here!
  • Katy in the Middle: A girl I went to high school with, Kate, recently started this blog and it is hilarious!

I think those are the only blogs I read regularly that meet the requirements for the Liebster, but I’m always open to new blog suggestions! And now ladies, your questions:

  1. What is your favorite animal?
  2. If you could re-live one day from your past, what would it be?
  3. If you could pick a different career, what would it be?
  4. What is your favorite sport to watch? To play?
  5. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
  6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
  7. What do you do to relax?
  8. Do you have any pets? Names, breeds?
  9. Where has been your favorite vacation?
  10. What is one piece of wisdom you will be sure to pass along to your children?

Have fun, Kate and Mo! And thanks again, Joanna!

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Fitness Motivation: Appearance vs. Accomplishment

As I was completing a treadmill workout recently, I was thinking about my lack of motivation lately when it came to exercise–especially running. I’ve only run outside once since my move to South Carolina, and I run on the treadmill at the gym about once a week. This is a huge change for me considering the fact that, a year ago, I was beginning training for the Columbus Marathon. I pushed through my run while pondering why it is that I just haven’t loved running lately.

And then I realized that I’m not really working toward anything.

My motivation lately has been based on my appearance. It’s summer, I live a lot closer to the beach than I used to, and I want to look good in that bikini. Is that enough to motivate me through several workouts each week? Eh, sometimes. I’m sure it’s more of a motivation in the summer when the fear of wearing next to nothing in front of strangers creeps into my mind, but it doesn’t last long. I think this explains the people you see in the gym all the time in the summer, and never see again until the following spring. Once summer is over, their motivation to “look good” disappears.

This led me to thinking about what really motivates me–what makes me push myself to go that extra mile (or ten), what forces me to go to the gym even when my muscles are aching–and that thinking brought up one of the best feelings and memories I have to date: crossing that marathon finish line. A little history for all of you that don’t know me: I was a gymnast for 12 years of my life. This meant mastering skills that could likely paralyze me on a somewhat regular basis. Of course there was a sense of pride that washed over me every time I accomplished a new skill, but I don’t remember ever feeling the way I did when I finished the marathon last October. Even though my joints were aching and I was on the verge of tears for the last few miles (having your car totaled four days before a marathon does not bode well for lack of pain during the race), all of that disappeared in that last stretch before the finish line. Both sides of the street were lined with people cheering us on, and when I crossed the finish line the most amazing feeling overwhelmed me. I had accomplished a goal I had been working months to achieve. I pushed through the pain and the doubts in my head and I finished. It’s a feeling that words cannot properly describe and one that I would absolutely love to feel again. As I trained for the marathon, long runs often became boring and I would start to lose motivation halfway through. During those moments, I would imagine what it would feel like on race day to cross the finish line. My daydreams pushed me through those runs, and even my imagination could not compare to the actual feeling I had on race day.

Since the marathon I have only run one 15k and a few 5ks. Needless to say, my motivation to run hasn’t been as strong as it was during marathon training. Though I still go to the gym multiple times each week, I often go because I feel like I have to instead of because I want to. I’ve come to realize that I really need something to work towards if I want to maintain my motivation, and I’m struggling somewhat to come up with ideas. I know that registering for a longer race would definitely motivate me to run more, so that’s something I’ve begun looking into. In terms of other fitness goals, I haven’t come up with anything yet, but I am definitely open to suggestions! I’m somewhat of a competitive person, which is part of the reason I think races (and training for races) are so motivating to me!

The conclusion I’ve come to is that working out for the sake of appearance only takes me so far. Working out for the sake of accomplishment, or working towards a goal, is what really motivates me. Again, this is something that I’ve noticed about myself personally, and may not be the same for everyone. So now on my “to-do list” is coming up with goals to work towards in order to keep my motivation high. I will be sure to update with what I’ve come up with, and please feel free to share ideas in the comments section!

2012 in Races

I started off 2012 with the goal to complete a half marathon. Prior to that the only races I had ever competed in were two 5ks and the Warrior Dash, so it was a pretty lofty goal. Well here we are in December, and not only did I complete a half marathon, but a full marathon, two 5ks, a 15k and a 4-mile race. That’s a total of 58.9 racing miles, on top of all my training runs for a girl that could barely run two miles at this time last year. Needless to say, I’m pretty encouraged by my progress. Here is a recap of my races in 2012:

Rite Cleveland Half Marathon May 20, 2012 Time: 2:08:17 Pace: 9:47/mile Age Group Place: 166/500

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The Color Run Cleveland, Ohio June 23, 2012 Race Not Timed

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Out Run Ovarian Cancer 5k Cleveland, Ohio August 18, 2012 Time: 24:30.4 Pace: 7:54/mile Age Group Place 18/135

With my friend, Katie, after the race

With my friend, Katie, after the race

This is a race that is very near and dear to my heart. My grandmother passed away from ovarian cancer when I was five years old, so it is important to me do to what I can to raise awareness of it and funds for it. There are many survivors that participate in the race or in the one-mile walk. It’s a somewhat emotional race, but is also well-run and a good race overall. I highly recommend it!

 

Nationwide Columbus Marathon October 21, 2012 Time: 4:25:14 Pace: 10:08/mile Age Group Place 199/433

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You can read about my experience at the Columbus Marathon here

 

Hot Chocolate 15k Cleveland, Ohio November 18, 2012 Time: 1:29:08 Pace: 9:34/mile Age Group Place 109-306

With my friend, Allison, and our Finishers' Mugs

With my friend, Allison, and our Finishers’ Mugs

You can read about my experience at the Hot Chocolate 15k here

 

Gennesaret Home Run for the Homeless (3.8 miles) Akron, Ohio November 22, 2012 Time: 34:50 Pace 9:10/mile Age Group Place: 27/132

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You can read about my experience at the Home Run for the Homeless here

 

All in all I’d say I’m pretty content with how I did in these races, but of course there is room for improvement. Some of my 2013 goals will be running- and race-related, but I will get to those in another post!

  • Did any of you run any good races this year? What is a “must run” race I should try?

Thanksgiving Recap

Although I’m a week late on this post, I’d say my Thanksgiving this year was pretty memorable. I was able to spend a significant amount of time with my family (including several from out of town), got to celebrate with friends, and checked a couple things off my sister’s wedding to-do list!

My sister and I both arrived to my parents’ house on Wednesday afternoon, and we pretty much moved nonstop from there. Wednesday evening we went to try on her wedding dress, which came in only two months after ordering it (the estimated time we were given was 6-8 months!). She looked beautiful, even before alterations. You will all just have to wait until October 12, 2013 before you can see pictures! But trust me…it’s a good one!

Thanksgiving morning I ran in a 4-mile race in downtown Akron called The Home Run for the Homeless. It was my first time participating in this race and it was a rough one. Just four days after the Hot Chocolate 15k my knee was still sore and this race was HILLY! It was a cold morning and I am extremely grateful to my parents and sister for coming to watch! I never realized how popular this particular race was, but it was nice to see so many people running for such a great cause. Sadly I haven’t run since the race because my joints are in desperate need of a break and time to heal. Hopefully I can be back on the road soon!

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All bundled up for the race!

The rest of Thanksgiving was spent with family. Thanksgiving is always a crazy day because we try to spend time with both sides of the family. This year it was appetizers with my dad’s family in Brecksville then dinner with my mom’s family in Akron. It was nice catching up with my cousins on my dad’s side while casually grazing the selection of delicious snacks (hey, I ran four miles that morning, right?). I felt kind of rushed, though, since we had to make it back to Akron in time for dinner. We were able to take our time eating dinner and enjoyed some delicious desserts as well. By the time we got back to my parents’ house we were all exhausted. I always feel pretty worn out at the end of Thanksgiving, and am thankful that we catch a bit of a break at Christmas–only one family to celebrate with since the other side is Jewish! Now that Thanksgiving is over I feel I can get excited for Christmas and have already set up my tree. Now I just have to find my menorah and I will have a beautiful, Cathew-ic apartment!

Running for Chocolate

Anyone who knows me knows about my love for chocolate. Milk, dark, caramels, creams–I don’t discriminate. I’ve also, in the past year, come to love running. When I heard about the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k at the Cleveland Marathon Expo and discovered it was coming to Columbus, I was committed. Fast-forward six long months and the weekend finally arrived!
My friend and coworker, Allison, and I headed to Columbus yesterday afternoon to pick up our race gear at the Expo and prepare for this morning’s 15k. After a slight fiasco valeting our car and attempting to check in to the wrong hotel, we made it to the Renaissance and our lovely, comfortable hotel room (thanks, Scot!). We wandered around and ended up finding some good sandwiches for dinner at Tip Top Kitchen and relaxed in hotel Room 1111 the rest of the evening!

Marshall was kind enough to stop for a photo op with us!

The race jackets we got with registration

Our hotel was thankfully only a half mile from the race, so we were able to walk to the starting line and avoid traffic. We arrived to the race about 40 minutes before it began, and it was a chilly wait! Luckily Allison and I bundled up and managed not to freeze to death, except for our feet which felt like ice blocks as we started the run! The race itself was a tough one, which I was kind of surprised by! Part of that could have been the fact that I really haven’t been able to run since the Columbus Marathon four weeks ago due to some cartilage issues in my right knee. My knee started to give me problems before we hit mile marker 1, but that chocolate fondue at the finish line was calling my name, so I was not throwing in the towel! I was a little surprised at how hilly the race was compared to the Marathon course. It wasn’t anything crazy or unbearable, but there were significantly more hills on a shorter course. At Mile 8 there was a pretty big climb, and I can’t say I’m ever a big fan of hills near the end of a race!

Trying to stay warm pre-race

Though Allison and I had plans to meet up at the [very convenient] Runner Reunite if we got separated, we managed to stay together throughout the whole race! We pushed each other through and it would honestly have been really easy to give up if I had been running alone. The pain in my knee and my four-week long running break definitely caught up to me, but having a friend to keep up with was definitely motivating. The last few races I’ve run have really made me appreciate racing with a friend. Seeing the person I’m running with keep going when I’ve  hit a mid-race wall definitely helps me push through and prepare to motivate them when they hit their wall. In my opinion it is much more enjoyable to run with a buddy!
Allison and I finished the race in 1 hour and 29 minutes, with an average pace of 9:34 per mile. We were both pretty satisfied with our time and celebrated by consuming the contents of our Finisher’s Mug!

With our Finishers’ Mugs

Delish!

Overall the race was a good one! The check-in at the Expo was smooth and easy, and the Jacket Swap table was very much appreciated since the race jackets ran a little small. The race merchandise was fairly priced and Allison and I were both pretty content with our purchases! The race itself was well-organized and fairly easy to navigate. Even with all the people at the Finishers’ Party there was no wait to pick up our bags from Gear Check and the wait time to get our hot chocolate and fondue was extremely short. There weren’t nearly as many cheering spectators as there were for other larger races, but that’s to be expected. The volunteers along the course had a lot of energy and cheered for the runners as we ran by. While we didn’t stay very long once we finished the race due to cold temperatures, the atmosphere seemed pretty fun with a large stage and an energetic band performing. Had the temperature been a little warmer we probably would have stuck around to enjoy the fun a little longer. I would definitely participate in another Hot Chocolate Run if the opportunity presents itself. Like I said, chocolate and running…can’t go wrong! 😉

Pain is Temporary

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.” It’s the quote that was displayed on the back of my high school gymnastics team sweatshirt, the one my mom lovingly put on a sign for me during the Cleveland Half Marathon this past May, and the reminder that many spectators provided us with throughout the 26.2 miles of the Columbus Marathon on October 21st. Part of me chuckled each time I saw it because of the frequency of its appearance throughout the last eight or so years of my life. This time around though, it was different. During what was my first marathon, that quote served as more of a challenge than a reminder.

I guess I should go back and summarize my training for my very first marathon. Prior to January 1, 2012 I was not a runner. Sure, I ran a couple 5ks and didn’t do too terribly (I thank my leftover gymnastics endurance!), and I maybe ran once a month, but I never would have called myself a runner. I made it my 2012 New Years Resolution to run a half-marathon and registered for the Cleveland Half Marathon on January 1st. I told myself (and anyone that asked) that it would be the farthest I ever run. I had no desire to ever run a full marathon. Half was good enough for me. About a week after the half was over, I changed my mind. About a month after the half, I bit the bullet and registered for the Columbus Marathon in October. My training for the marathon started off well, but was less than ideal closer to the end. A minor surgery kept me from training for a week, followed by a work trip that sidelined me for another week. The fact that I had not trained for those two weeks had me feeling pretty nervous about the race. Still, I was determined to do my best. Four days before the race I was involved in a fairly serious car accident that left both cars totaled. Before I could get out of my car I could already feel pain in my knee and was freaking out a bit about how I was going to run the marathon!

Fast-forward a couple of days. I made the decision to tough it out and do my best. I had been told that there was nothing structurally wrong with my knee, but that I would likely experience some pain from a pretty bad bruise. I went to the Expo on Saturday with my parents, enjoyed some free goodies, and met up with my friend Lindsey and her husband Kyle. The three of us enjoyed a nice, light pre-race dinner at Aladdin’s and headed back to our hotel. Sunday morning, Kyle dropped us off at the already crazy starting line and we found Corral D. Thank goodness for the free gloves we got because we were COLD. By the time we finally crossed the starting line, it was no longer dark and the energy of everyone around us was full of excitement! After weaving in and out of the pack of runners we started with, Lindsey and I found a good pace and were making excellent time. Kyle joined us for bits and pieces of the race, feeding us protein bars along the way. My parents were cheering along the side of the route throughout the race and I believe they caught up with us six times total! Of course, even at Mile 2, my mom cried as I ran past. Sigh.

Throughout the race Lindsey and I kept looking forward to running through “The Shoe” on Ohio State’s campus. At mile 17.5 we ran through and greeted my parents who were cheering from the stands (I think my dad was just a little excited about this cheering spot!). Though we were a bit bummed that there was no Brutus sighting in The Shoe, I’ll admit I was kind of pumped when I heard “Hang On, Sloopy” as I entered the stadium. For several miles, Lindsey and I kept up with the 4:15 pace team, which we felt good about. Somewhere around Mile 19 or 20, though, some of my old gymnastics aches and pains crept up on me, along with a pretty severe pain in my right knee (the one I hurt in the accident). I fell back from Lindsey and decided to slow my pace. I was still way ahead of my 4:30 goal, so I decided to take it a little easier. Between Miles 22 and 23 I really started to struggle. My right leg kept giving out on me, but when I tried to walk the pain was more severe. There were times when I considered walking the rest of the race, but I knew I wanted to reach my goal and that this was the only marathon I’d ever run so I’d better make it count. I knew my pain would be temporary, but that nothing could take away the pride of running a marathon.

Waving to my parents in “The Shoe”

I managed to finish the race with a time of 4:25. Though I was disappointed that I had to walk throughout part of the race, I was definitely proud of finishing before my goal time. After getting my medal and food bag and finding my family, I went straight to the medic tent to get checked out. The doctor told me to take the standard week off from running and to make a doctors appointment if I was still in pain. Nine days later I still feel a little pain in my knee, but otherwise feel fully recovered. I have not run yet, but am planning to do so in the next couple of days. I am participating in the Hot Chocolate 15k  in Columbus on November 18th, so I’d like to get back out there sooner rather than later!

Throughout my training I had joked about how the hills I had no choice but to train on would make the flat-coursed marathon feel much easier. I wasn’t wrong about that, thankfully. There was apparently a period of gradual uphill running but I honestly didn’t notice it. If you want to train for a hilly marathon, come train in New Concord. I truly believe that, as much as I hate these hills, they were a huge advantage during the race. Something else that I learned during my training is that I have to be hydrated or I struggle immensely. Thankfully the race provided plenty of water and Gatorade along the route, and I carried my handy water belt with an extra supply as well. I didn’t need my extra stash much during the race (except for when I snacked), but it was absolutely imperative on my training runs. Note to self: even though I may look like an idiot, it is well worth it!

Immediately after finishing the race several people asked me if I would run another marathon. My immediate answer was a resounding “NO!” One marathon was enough. And then several days passed, and I got to thinking that maybe I’d like to try for a better time. Everyone wants to PR, right? So, while I haven’t registered for another marathon or even decided which one I’d like to train for, my answer to that question has changed. As long as my body will allow it, I’m pretty confident I’ll run another marathon (or two) in the next couple of years. In the meantime, I’d like to get my body healthy again, improve my speed, and do a better job with weight training, etc.

So, while my pain was pretty intense the last few miles of the race, it was, in fact, temporary. I recognize that my body is not the average 25 year-old woman’s body because of the many years I spent as a gymnast, but I know that working through the pain is worth it to accomplish the goals I set for myself. The pain may last for a couple of days, but the knowledge that I ran a marathon is something that will last forever.

After the race with my medal

Lindsey and me after the race

With my loving parents