Tag Archives: Training

This is not about me

I have a goal. A goal to run a full marathon in a decent time.

My best friend, Allison, has a goal. A goal to finish her very first half marathon.

We joined forces and agreed to achieve our respective goals on the same day. Same time. Same place. Same race.

I proposed the idea of combining our training efforts and tackling this together to make it a more pleasant experience for us both (well, as pleasant as running 26 miles can get). Every Sunday we pound the pavement together for our long distance runs and check up on each other during the week to make sure we’re keeping up with our middle-of-the-week training. Allison typically runs half the distance of my scheduled run. A win-win situation. As a neophyte to running, Allison benefits from having someone to pace her, correct her form when her physical fatigue becomes obvious and keep her convinced that she can go just a little further every time she’s considering a walk break. On the flipside, I have someone to accompany me, keep me from getting overzealous, exert too much effort during the first half of my run and burn-out before finishing my target mileage.

I have always been one to get a thrill from motivating other people and watching their progress (and Allison has made incredible progress). Encouraging someone to keep going harder and stronger makes it easier for me to do the same. Amongst other things, coaching Allison has taught me patience. As mentioned above, I have tendencies to go too fast, too soon. This has resulted in injuries, fatigue and eventual abortion of race goals. Last Sunday I found myself wanting to speed it up and had to remind myself that as focused as I am on reaching my own goal, this is not about me. I am equally in this for my friend. To watch her succeed and witness her happiness when she reaches the finish line. So why go faster? Why fly solo? After all, I’m doing this with her so we can both enjoy it. My struggles come when Allison leaves me. I suddenly have no one to feel proud of, or laugh at how exhausted we are, or question why we are voluntarily suffering in what feels like a humid hell rather than drinking mimosas on the Atlantic shore (which, by the way, lies less than 50 feet away during our entire run). So why leave her?

My point in sharing all of this is the following: Find something that motivates you and run with it. In my case, it is literally Allison. Your inspiration may not be a person but rather lie in a song, a quote or a memory. Different strokes for different folks. But whatever it may be, keep it with you, whether physically or mentally, and you will find your goals to be more attainable than expected. More realistic than you originally thought they were. You might actually have a good time jumping the hurdles and dodging the bullets to reach them. And you will feel like a superhero.

With that said, thank you Allison Sens for making me feel like Wonder Woman.

Stay strong and Happy Holidays.

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Favorite Things: October

I fear change so much sometimes. And I realize that more often than not, it’s unjustifiable. I started a new job this week that makes my days longer than I’d like them to be. I’m exhausted. But I love it. I made the right choice and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Why was I so afraid? Sheesh.
Now I fear not being able to run this marathon. I finally went to an Orthopedic. Diagnosis: Hip Flexor Tendinitis. Nothing that time, lots of ice, ibuprofen, stretching, rest and massage therapy can’t fix. But it’s so mentally debilitating not to be able to run or be as active as I’m used to. Perhaps I won’t do the ING in January. At least not the full distance. Maybe this is all a sign that I should postpone this race just a few weeks. Maybe travel to run the LA marathon and visit a few dear friends on the west coast. I’ve been meaning to journey out there anyway. I just hate to think I’m giving up (Warning: stubborn Taurus mentality surfacing). Who am I kidding? If you know me, you know I’ll find a way to do this thing anyway, regardless of the circumstances.

I digress. The real purpose of this post is to share the things that have made me smile the last month. “Favorite things from October.” Here we go:

  • Becoming a Sweat Pink Ambassador and living the mission: Sweat hard, Play hard, and inspire those around me to achieve their best selves.
  • Receiving a surprise shipment of Zico Chocolate Coconut Water from one of my good friends, Bozievich. It’s the little things in life that are actually the greatest. And I’m referring to the gesture, not the beverage.
  • C.O.P.E. Instructor training (see earlier post). I can’t wait for unsupervised ziplining adventures with Gomez!
  • Finding a new apartment and job that I love.
  • Experiencing the Keys for the first time in ages with two very good friends. Sometimes a few solid days of laziness are in order.
  • Reaching personal records on long runs (pre-injury). I’ve never felt so good on a 12-miler in my life. And I had an awesome sidekick riding his bike alongside me the whole way.
  • Dressing up as a Loofah for Halloween.
  • Although this bleeds into November, the Glow Run 5k on Miami Beach was quite memorable. In fact, the whole weekend was spent in good company with out-of-towners.

And because I’m a huge fan of visuals, here are some photos for you to match to some of the events listed above. I can’t wait to see what November has in store. Enjoy!

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Hit and Home Run

Okay, I’ll admit it. I am guilty of unnecessarily stressing myself out over things that really are, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal. I tend to internally blow things out of proportion, which leads to over-thinking, which then leads to increased stress and sometimes a minor breakdown. I just want to throw my hands up in the air, screaming “I can’t do this!” like a lunatic. We’ve all been there, right? Between searching for a solution to my living situation, debating what my next career move should be, marathon training, and still finding time to manage my friends and family, I often feel like my head will explode. And on top of that, I am not the most confident person when it comes to making big decisions (surprise!). I won’t bore you with minute details but I do want to share the end result. Plain and simple: Everything has worked itself out (or is at least on the brink of it). I will be starting a new job at an ad agency in Midtown Miami in just under two weeks and have found an accommodating apartment that will not require me to make too much of a drastic change too quickly. Perfect. And here I was freaking out. Sometimes all it takes is saying things out loud and/or talking about them with someone else to realize that you already have a decision made. What you’re really looking for is reassurance. For me, at least. Lesson? Have confidence in your decisions and stop fearing that you will make the wrong ones. Even if you do turn out making what you think is the wrong move, it at least served as a valuable learning experience. Time to turn things around and move forward. As stated in earlier posts: There aren’t many things that are irreversible. Stop being so damn scared.

On another note, remember how I mentioned I’ll be going through those mood swings and bitchy moments during this training period? TADA! Here it is. Last Thursday night I stopped my run at six miles feeling like I was going to collapse. I went home to a hypotensive blood pressure of 81/41. I was severely dehydrated. I hate hospitals and refused to go to the ER. So I stayed up all night with a life-saving friend that kept me company and made sure I chugged water and gatorade all night long. I was back to normal by Friday mid-day, but needless to say, I gave my body a break for the weekend. Already discouraged from the incident, I went for a short tempo run on Monday night and somehow managed to strain my groin (self-diagnosis). Really? Another setback? I’m in a lot of pain and I know the only solution is rest. GREAT. More time wasted and I feel like the clock is ticking harder, faster, stronger. I really need to make an effort to not get ahead of myself and let my body heal before I hit the pavement again (oh, and and drink more water. Lots and lots of water). This whole limping thing isn’t a good look for me (although it may have solved my Halloween costume debacle….Penguin, anyone?) Timing is everything in life, I suppose.

I realize my training is not going exactly as scheduled and is actually becoming much like an obstacle course rather than a simple running plan. But such is life. It’s what I’ll do with these curveballs that matters in the end. Hit and Home Run. That’s my plan. Miami ING… you still don’t scare me. I have my heart set on you. See you in January.

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Sunday was the 1st Annual Pedal 4 Kids bike ride in Ft Lauderdale to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida. I rode the A1A course with fellow friends and teammates and, as always, made new ones. The morning started off rough. About 5 minutes before the start of the 60 mile ride I realized that, thanks to the bike shop which I had taken my bike to for a tune-up the day before, my pedals were on backwards and I couldn’t clip in, making my bike unrideable. Really?!? That never happens. So in efforts to save time I didn’t go into a fit of rage or curse the name of the idiot (for lack of better terms) that worked on my bike, but instead I ran to the event-sponsored bike repair tent to get it fixed. What they told me broke my heart. Not only did they not have the tools to fix it on the spot, they also recommended I get new pedals. Apparently, putting them on backwards had ruined the tread and would make them unsafe to ride. I painfully told my teammates to go on without me. As Petunia (my bike) and I began to make our way back to the car, one of the event volunteers asked why I was backing out. Backing out? Wait, Emily doesn’t back out. I immediately made my way to a different tent set up by another bike shop who just happened to have the proper repair tools needed. In short, they were able to fix my pedals and assured me I had nothing to worry about. At this point, it was nearly half an hour after the start. I wasn’t really sure what my intentions were but I knew I was going to ride. So I got on my bike and flew. And I mean FLEW. I passed the leaders of the 30 mile group (who started 15 minutes after my group). At the 30 mile turnaround I wasn’t sure where my teammates were or if it was even feasible to catch up to them. Realizing I might have to do this entire ride solo, I continued on. It wasn’t until I almost reached the 60 mile route turnaround that I caught up to one of my teammates and got a hell of a reaction. “How the hell? I thought you couldn’t ride?!” Nobody tells me no. My legs were dead but I was ecstatic. I felt so accomplished.

This is when the ride became fun. We eventually caught up to our other teammate who had pulled off road due to severe leg cramps. His calves were twitching uncontrollably and there was no chance of a comeback (we have footage. It’s both gross and awesome). We went to the next rest stop and called the SAG van to transport him to the finish. It was a valiant effort on his part, seeing as though he had never completed much more than a 30 mile ride. I think he learned a lot of Do’s and Dont’s about riding that day. Good for him. The best way to learn is through experience, after all. Everything I know about cycling I have learned from other riders and my personal experiences on the road. And I LOVE to be a part of other people’s learning experiences. I hope to see him on many more rides.

After catching almost every bridge on the return trip, fighting the battle against killer headwind and struggling to make it up the 17th Street Causeway at the 58th mile, this seemed like the longest ride ever. But worth every second.

If you take away anything from this story let it be this: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Don’t let minor obstacles obstruct your pre-determined goals.

Overall, it was a great day shared with great people. And the Bison burgers at the finish made it all worthwhile.

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Less is more

The start of 2012 was a rough one. The beginning of the year brought forth unwelcomed changes. The death of a four year relationship, health issues that resulted in emergency room visits (I’m still amazed at the effects stress can have on the body). These changes, however, came coupled with opportunities. It took me some time but I realized I needed to turn things around for myself. Move forward because it’s the only way to go. So 2012 became “The year of Emily” and I have selfishly been focusing on improving myself in all facets of my being. I have since eliminated all my health issues, visited cities I’ve been meaning to see, took an epic trip to the Eastern hemisphere, trained hard and competed in two triathlons (something I hadn’t done in years), established new relationships and rekindled old ones. I’ve learned to enjoy life a little more and focused on doing only those things I find pleasure in, surrounding myself with people I love and eliminating uninvited negativity.

So next on my list of accomplishments is to rock my first full marathon. For the past three years I have signed up for the Miami ING. Injuries, excuses and lack of training partners and motivation to run long distances alone have all been justifications of my recurring decision to not run 26.2 miles, but instead settle for the half-marathon distance. Not this year. I’m determined. Running is not my favorite activity. In fact, the less I have to do it, the better. I would much rather hop on my bike and cover long distances along A1A than subject myself to torturous runs in the South Florida heat. Between cycling, teaching my spin classes, and my weekly dates in the weight room with Prieto (that’s my trainer. You’ll hear a lot about him), I don’t have tons of time to dedicate to this running thing. So I did some research and found what seems to be the perfect marathon training plan for me (a girl can hope, right?). The “Less-is-More Marathon Plan” only requires me to hit the pavement three times a week for a total of 16 weeks. Now I just need to stop procrastinating and get started. Stop thinking, start doing.

My affinity with running… the quintessential love/hate relationship. Prep yourself for imminent mood swings, lots of whining, occasional bitching, sporadic success stories and numerous adrenaline rushes. Looking forward to the runner’s high. Nobody is getting in my way this time.

“Go big or go home.”

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