Monday, November 2, 2015

Race Recap - Haunted Island 10K

This weekend was Halloweekend and if I’m being completely honest, I was way more excited about this little race called the New York City Marathon that happened on Sunday despite Halloween landing smack dab on a Saturday - every college student and twenty-something’s dream. 

Up until this year, Halloween was something I got pretty into. It was an excuse to get friends together, put a lot of planning into my outfit (which can be fun sometimes), eat a lot of candy (funalways) and consume large quantities of alcohol.

Looking back through Halloween pictures of yore makes me feel somewhat nostalgic (except for the year I was in a walking boot with a stress fracture and couldn’t do much of anything) so I’ve assembled a quick trip down memory lane.

But while those Halloweens from the past were fun and all – this year the main focus of the weekend was on racing and running.Friday night I apparently discovered that the key to a successful race is a giant Two Boots whole wheat pizza with basil, eggplant, mushrooms, onions and artichokes with a side of pesto. Also, red velvet cupcakes and Haagen-Dazs ice cream. 
Two Boots Pizza
Clearly, I was taking this race extremely serious with my fueling strategy. This was to be my first race in over 5 months and I went into expecting a humbling experience and a good indicator of where I am at speed-wise.

Two friends from Connecticut got in around 10:15 that night and we stayed up chatting for a while, so it wasn’t the most sleep I’ve gotten before a race, but still a solid 7 hours.
My favorite socks by Under Armour: "Speed Don't Lie." My favorite race shirt from my first marathon and my favorite shorts by Saucony.
My favorite socks by Under Armour: "Speed Don't Lie." My favorite race shirt from my first marathon and my favorite shorts by Saucony.
I made myself some peanut butter, banana and honey toast with a cup of coffee and definitely didnot stretch or foam roll like I promised myself I would.

The journey to Roosevelt Island was an easy one and it was a gorgeous fall morning – crisp and cool but warm in the sun. And I was wearing my favorite color-coordinated outfit. The Halloween race was put on by NYC Runs and they offered both a 5K and a 10K. Everything was well-organized and I loved that it was a smaller race. Tons of people were dressed up and there were hardly any spectators – which meant I got to be front and center as Allison and Kait finished their 5K.
Not a bad morning for a 10K.
Not a bad morning for a 10K.
Once I congratulated them, Allison held my bag while I shed my layers and went for a little warm-up jog. Instead of helping me feel warmed up – I went into a slight panic due to completely numb feet. Luckily I managed to wiggle my toes enough so that by the time I was at the starting line, they had regained feeling. What I didn’t manage to do before I got to the start was that oh-so-important pre-race poop, which I was afraid would end up being an issue for me.

With a really official, “Pretend this is a gun – on your mark, get set, BOOM!” we were off.

The course was two loops with a few wonky little “go down this side street and then make a U-turn at the end so that we can get the right distance” portions – not my favorite type of course but what was awesome was that the course was flat as a pancake! And again, the weather was perfect for racing AND we got to go along the water for a portion of the race which is always pretty.

I tried to start out conservatively but that’s never my specialty. My Garmin informed me that my first mile was a 7:12 and I knew I would be in serious trouble if I kept that up. Luckily, two runners on my right were chatting about how they were going to try to run 7:30s which sounded much more realistic. I creepily paced off of them for the next 3 miles. Around mile 4 I told them they were officially my pacers like a total weirdo and when they asked if I had a goal I said no, but my PR is a 7:19 pace. The man who was clearly better at math than me said that I should think 7:18s and I could definitely get it.

So I pulled away and spent the rest of the race trying to keep two other women slightly ahead of me from getting too far out of reach.

I was feeling wonderful which was such a nice surprise and I was also scared that at any minute I was going to regret running 7:20s. But I just tried to enjoy the strength I was feeling in my legs. There’s something about racing that I just love. I’m a competitive person, and I can say all I want that I’m not there to “race” a race, but without fail once I’m out there – it’s on.

Up until mile 5, it was all about competing against myself. Setting a new PR, proving that I CAN still run fast after months of feeling “meh.” Proving that my work on strengthening my legs and hips has paid off.

And then, something happened.

The woman who I had been trailing the entire race turned around and said, “You better tell them you cut a corner.”

“What?” I asked , completely dumbfounded.

“You cut that corner. You were behind me and then you pulled up ahead.”

In my head, I was thinking, “Uhhh, yeah, it’s called a race and I passed you at some point…”

I thought back over the race and was still genuinely confused so I asked her, “When are you talking about?”

“Mile 3.5”

She sounded so nasty and so vindictive that I really didn’t know how to react.
“Well I’m not trying to win or anything so go ahead!” I yelled.

I was so upset – this has never been my experience with runners and the running community especially at a Halloween run. This woman was dressed up for God’s sake! And I had been planning on complementing her at the end for a really well-run race and for looking great doing it!

Then I got a little pissed.

“Happy Halloween to you too!”

Then, I started thinking that maybe she was doing this as a way to mess with my mental-game. Which is a game that two can play.

“You know, I was going to compliment you on a great race and tell you you looked great doing it. I think you’re just scared I’m going to beat you.”


It just came out.

And as soon as I said it, I regretted it. Because I just gave her all the fuel she needed to kick my butt and I had also given myself a lot more motivation to beat her.

A minute before I had been happily cruising to a PR and now I was scared this race was going to end a lot differently. With me angry and beaten down by this bitchy Wonder Woman.

I got a little teary. In my mind, I had let her take this race away from me. I had let her get in my head and suddenly I was no longer just racing for myself. I was racing to beat her.

But it is what it is – now I knew there was no slowing down that last mile. I stayed close behind her, sure not to pull ahead and give her something to chase.

Luckily for me, I could tell she was fading. I probably could have gone faster overall if I wasn’t playing a strategy game with her, which is frustrating to look back on. But hauling-ass the second I saw that finish line and leaving her in the dust felt damn good, I won’t lie.
NYCRuns Haunted Island 10K Roosevelt Island
And I still managed an 8 second PR – which was 2347293748 X more exciting to me.  

Of course, she immediately went to the race director who pulled me aside and asked if I had gone around the lighthouse two times. Yes, I most certainly did because I vividly remember the amazing volunteer stationed there who jogged in place the entire time and said, “I’m still going with you!” I thanked her for being out there both times I passed.

I told the race director that I totally understood if they had an issue giving me an award and he said they would look at the splits and that would make it very obvious if I had cut any corners.

Apparently, the clock told them all they needed to know and I received my plaque for 2nd place female ages 20-29.
My plaque matched my shirt!
My plaque matched my shirt!
And Wonder Woman got hers for first place female ages 40-49. Which she more than deserved.

She ensured that I finished with a major kick at the end – which is my favorite way to cross a finish line, so for that – I thank her. I legit blacked out those last 100 meters so THANKS ALLISON for these baller pictures.

NYC Runs had lots of candy, fruit and bagels afterwards along with a fun costume contest. It was a great way to spend Halloween and I even got to take the Roosevelt Island tram for the first time on our way home! It was anticlimactic but still a nice change from the underground subway.
The entire rest of the weekend was spent drinking and eating to celebrate Halloween and the NYC Marathon. There were Bloody Mary’s, nachos, brownies, Chipotle ($3 on Halloween, duh!) ciders and obviously 16 Handles (twice).

Congratulations to everyone who took on the five boroughs on Sunday– it was a beautiful day and I loved getting to give a giant hug to some of my favorite marathoners at the after party!
I know runner's are crazy, but come on!
I know runner's are crazy, but come on!

Haunted Island 10K: 45:15//7:18 pace.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Restaurant Review: Bluestone Lane's Avocado Toast is SMASHING

Oh avocado toast, how I adore you.

Let me count the ways.

Well actually, there’s too many to count.

I love you all the ways.

I love you with feta.

I love you with chili flakes.

I love you with a splash of lemon or lime.

I love you on whole wheat toast.

I love you on white bread.

I really, really love you on Balthazar Bakery bread.

This is what I discovered last week when I took a trip to Bluestone Lane for my lunch break.

What is better than an avocado toast enjoyed outside in the sunshine on a beautiful fall afternoon with friends? Not much.

Bluestone Lane is one of those Australian café’s that keep poppingup around the city and thanks in part to the popularity of their avo toast, they just opened their 6th Manhattan location (bets as to when the first Brooklyn outpost opens its doors?)

Each location’s offerings vary – and each location is also unique in its architecture and design. Apparently, the new Upper East Sidelocation is quite the site to see! 

However, we Midtown-lunchers headed to the Bryant Parklocation, which is situated in the glass Grace Plaza Pavilion on West 43rd St. and 6th Ave.

This place gets busy, and it seems as if almost everyone is there to order avocado toast. I can’t comment on their coffee, because $5 is a little steep for this McCafe drinking gal, but word on the street is that Aussies know their caffeine. Plus, they add scoops of vanilla ice cream to some of their drinks – something that I fully support.

Though busy, the staff at Bluestone Lane put love & care into their avocado toast – nestling it in a little brown box before sprinkling it sweetly with whatever toppings you choose.

At Bryant Park, the “standard” avocado toast comes in at $7 and includes avo, lemo, salt, pepper, chili flakes and olive oil. Feta, cherry tomatoes and prosciutto can all be added for an extra price – and $10.50 will get you the whole shebang.

Strangely for me – usually a lover of toppings – I decided to opt for the plain Jane. I was not disappointed!

This Balthazar toast is seriously incredible. Soo full of seedy-goodness.

The savory avocado mashed with olive oil benefits from the burst of citrus, pop of chili and bam! of salt.

I’ve finally put it together that I, personally, am a fan of the Avocado SMASH as opposed to avocado toast.

(The whole she-bang - beautifully photographed by Kaitlin over at California Endless Summer!)

What’s the difference you ask? Avocado toast usually implies sliced avocado, while avocado smash is more of a mash.

This isn’t surprising coming from a girl who loves her guacamole and used to cut her corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes into little pieces before mashing it together with mustard. True story.

One of these days, I hope to make it to another one of Bluestone Lane’s locations – preferably their sit-down outpost, the Café Collective, so I can order this delicious avocado smash with a POACHED EGG.

Because if you like it then you shoulda put an egg on it. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Six Sunday Links; Swagger & Sass

Six Sunday Links didn’t happen last week because I was busy celebrating my Gran’s 89th birthday in Florida! Seeing her so irregularly now, when she used to be 20 minutes down the road, is incredibly hard – especially when I think about the fact that she’s living in a nursing home and only getting older.

There are moments in life that you know you’re going to want to remember. As they’re happening, you try to make a mental note of all the little details, scared that one day they’ll slip from your memory. You want to live in the moment but you’re already concerning yourself with what’s going to happen when that moment becomes the past. Maybe that’s why I took so many pictures! I tried soaking up the invaluable family time – it’s not very often that my mom’s side of the family gets to spend time together. We ate, we drank, we caught up – I tried my very best to coax the crew into getting a little sappy by sharing some of our favorite memories.

We also celebrated the fact that my cousin and his wife will soon be welcoming their first baby into the family. Gran’s going to be a great-Gran (she already is the greatest Gran, though!) I was sure to buy baby Emma her first NHL onesie. She’s going to look fabulous in it, even though it’s slightly masculine looking. Whatever, gender neutrality is all the rage these days, isn’t it?

In total I spent 20 hours traveling between Friday and Monday, but it was well worth it for moments like this:

Despite having off on Monday to fly home, the week seemed to last forever. But here we are at another Sunday. Instead of using your brain cells to think about the coming week (ugh) – how about checking out these six links? I think it’s a quality batch -  heavy on my own personal commentary. 

These days, I very rarely watch TV. Peter and I have made good progress on The Office (I know, I know – I’m behind) and for a while I was binge-watching Orange Is The New Black like it was my job. But lately I haven’t been able to make a commitment to the hour-long episodes. Sorry Piper, it’s nothing personal. 

It seems the only time I am truly a couch potato is when I’m visiting my parents on Long Island. And when I’m there – I’m all about the HGTV. Love It Or List It and House Hunters are my absolute favorites and my mom and I have no problems re-watching episodes that we’ve seen 20 times. But when I saw someone post this article on Facebook I took a total trip down memory lane, remembering the hours spent watching the original home makeover show from TLC – Trading Spaces. I’ll never forget the sleepovers where we stayed awake until 5 a.m. watching reruns. I’ll never forget the episode where Hildi makes one couple's room look like a circus tent.

This article blew my mind by pointing out that Trading Spaces premiere 15 years ago. Whoah. This is a long read – but a fascinating look at the life of the show, which was a precursor to many of today’s reality shows. And did you know that host Paige Davis played Roxy Hart in Chicago on Broadway?

First off – yes, I’m a subscriber to Lenny, Lena Dunham’s new feminist newsletter. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s (Love and Basketball) contribution.
When I re-read this article to write about it, I started highlighting which quote I wanted to start with. I highlighted the entire first paragraph. It’s like that standup comic who makes fun of girls studying for finals who go highlighter-happy in the library. Totally me. [Totally don’t remember the comedian.]

So, if you’re really not just going to click the link and read the article (it’s worth it, I promise!) here is at least the first paragraph. I have a feeling that, like me, you’ll identify with a lot of it and want to keep reading.

I am shy. I also have a big ego. Practically speaking, that means everyone is looking at me, and it makes me uncomfortable. Actually, "big ego" has a negative connotation. I'll say "healthy ego." Which, sadly, for women, still has a negative connotation. We aren't supposed to have an ego. It's unseemly. It's arrogant. It's not ladylike. Serena Williams was called cocky when she said she wanted to be the best in the world. Well, what the hell is she training so relentlessly for, to be the 37th best in the world? (No disrespect to the 37th best in the world.) A poster of Serena in mid–epic scream should be required on every little girl's bedroom wall so they can be reminded daily how beautiful it is to be a badass.

This reminds me so much of a conversation I’ve had multiple times with my mom since getting into running.

Me: “I’m REALLY frustrated that I’ve lost so much of my speed.”
Mom: “Well why do you care about being fast? Just do it for fun.”
Me: “Because I know I can be better, and I found something I’m actually pretty good at, and I want to improve.”

Yes, I know I’m not going to be winning any races. But that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge that I’ve worked hard to improve my speed and endurance and that I am always training to beat the runner I was the last time I raced.

But, like Gina Prince-Bythewood – sports have played a major role in my life – teaching me to always give it my all. To leave everything out on the court, the field, the track, etc. Sports has taught me that if I settle, I’m really only cheating myself.

When I was on the field, I was never told to "slow down." No one ever said, "Don't be so aggressive." I was told to "run faster," "be more aggressive," "play harder," "go after it." So I did. And it was the most natural thing in the world.

These lessons translate into so many other aspects of a woman’s life – and I think that fitness in general, even if it’s not organized sports, can really help improve confidence and give ladies out there swagger. Which is sexy.

So, I watched this video and I laughed. Another Amy Schumer video that perfectly captures some of the ridiculous things us ladies do…before becoming completely over the top.

But after I finished laughing, I started thinking. Because a few weeks ago, I got angry at someone. They did something to tick me off, yet at the end of the conversation I texted, “Sorry.”

We’ve all done it. And we’ve probably all been on the receiving end as well. A “sorry” text that clearly doesn’t actually indicate remorse. Well this time, the person on the receiving end called me out and told me not to apologize if I didn’t mean it.

So why do we do it? Why are we constantly saying “Sorry?” This article from the New York Times was SO intriguing to me and brings up tons of interesting points. That “sorry” text that I sent – it was actually the complete opposite. It was basically a text saying, “You did something that annoyed me and by saying sorry, I’m really trying to prove that I shouldn’t have to be apologizing to you.” And we wonder why sometimes, the things we say aren’t received and responded to in the way that we want.

Let’s get a little less serious with this next link. I was cracking up at this video – which is such a sassy satire on marathon runners. I am SO guilty of this. And I also have zero intention of changing my ways next time I’m training for a marathon, PS. NO SHAME.

Another hysterical satire – this time about food bloggers. Gosh – runners and foodies – aren’t we just the worst? At least we can laugh at ourselves!

Quinoa is excellent for every meal because its texture is a reminder that life can’t always be smooth or digestible. 

I LOVE that people have been sending me interesting articles that they think would make for a good Sunday link – keep them coming! (Erin, Jess - yours will be coming up one of these Sundays for sure, loved ‘em!) 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Iron Chef Forgione Welds Familiarity and Originality

To step into Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s namesake restaurant is to be immediately transported out of Tribeca and into a space reminiscent of a twenty-something’s Pinterest page, where rustic barn weddings are all the rage. A dining room as open as Marc Forgione’s is rare in a town where diners are forced to convince themselves that crammed is “quaint.” The spaciousness suggests that your bill will be helping pay the rent, but it’s worth it for the rustic-chic accents and possibility of brushing shoulders with a Tribeca denizen like Beyoncé or Taylor Swift. What also makes a trip to Marc Forgione’s worth the extra dough? Refined dishes with complex flavors and service that make you feel like a somebody, even if you’re not quite sure what to do when they present you with a finger bowl.

First to be brought to the table were a pair of perfectly puffed potato rolls, butter-glazed and gleaming with a sprinkle of black sea salt on top. They’re best when cut open and smeared generously with the whipped chive butter.

Complimentary bite-sized samples were small in size but big on flavor. Smoked halibut’s bold taste was toned-down nicely when sandwiched between two crisp slices of cucumber and warm everything bagel balls filled with vegetable cream cheese were topped with the perfect pop of salt and onion.

Despite possessing what I consider a sufficiently sophisticated palette, I have yet to reconcile my taste buds with truffles. It was refreshing to see an upscale restaurant with a menu almost entirely void of these trendy fungi. Forgione doesn’t lean on this over-used ingredient to create enticing dishes full of flavor. Instead, he relies on his training in American, French, and Asian cuisines to craft an inspired menu made up of basic but expertly employed ingredients.

The Chili Lobster starter is fashioned after an Asian crab dish which Forgione takes to the next level. Sweet lobster knuckles and a rich creamy claw sit atop a spicy chili broth with hints of both Sriracha and soy.

You’re left wishing there was more lobster to bathe in the broth, but luckily the thick slabs of Texas Toast are a perfect vehicle for sopping up the remaining soup.

A cornerstone entrée at Marc Forgione is the made-for-two Chicken Under a Brick. The whole Bell and Evan’s chicken is served deboned in a skillet sizzling with pan drippings and demanding to be Instagrammed.

The chicken is moist with sufficiently crunchy skin and accompanied by Yukon potatoes cooked to crispy perfection. The spuds soak in savory pan drippings that are flavored with capers, butter, thyme and rosemary. The greasy goodness is healthified with some greens –broccoli rabe with a bitterness that’s nicely undercut by the surrounding flavors. Last but not least are the fried onions which add the extra oomph.

There’s something on the menu to appeal to every person in your party but limited enough to ensure it’s perfected. Starters range from Kampachi Tartare to Parmigiano Reggiano Agnolotti while entrees run the gamut from scallops with bone marrow croutons to a well-touted T-bone.

Surrounded by exposed brick and well-worn décor, a meal at Marc Forgione feels special yet comfortable and encourages one to stay for a few extra minutes, finishing a cocktail and being treated to next-level services like a coat check for your leftovers. That’s right, when you’re here, you’re too special to have your table cluttered by a take away bag.

Marc Forgione is located at 134 Duane Street and serves dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday– Saturday with brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. followed by supper from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 212-941-9401.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What's Next on My Fitness Journey?

During a cold, wintry long-run last February, my friend Rebecca and I ran together for a few miles in Central Park. My foot was giving me problems, we were dressed in 20 layers to stay warm, and we very quickly fell into an easy conversation that helped distract us from the general unpleasantness of an outdoor run in February. 

The topic of conversation? Food. I had found my culinary-counterpart. We bonded over our love of all things epicurean – and since then I’ve come to the conclusion that no one can make eating look as life-changing as Rebecca. Just look at her with this Pepe’s pizza. Is she not making you want to hop on Metro North for a slice right now?

(I don't make it look as believable) 

Anywho, since then, Rebecca and I have bonded over things besides food – one of those being fitness! Like me, sometimes (lots of times) Rebecca likes to lift heavy things. I love that she knows MUSCLES ARE SEXY. And let me tell you, her gun show is the best in town.

Recently, we both started to do Kayla Itsine’s 12 week “Bikini Body Guide.” I’ve explained in previous posts that originally, I thought this program would be no big deal. I mean, it’s called the “Bikini Body Guide.” How legit could it be? It sounded like just another trend that would over promise and under deliver. But as I wasn’t able to run at the time, I figured I would give it a shot.

Shit that shit was hard.

Leg day? I would be sore for at least 2 or 3 days afterwards.

Kayla Itsine’s guide isn’t anything revolutionary. She’s taken a bunch of standard strength and cardio moves and put them into an easy to follow plan – it’s short but high intensity. You WILL be dripping in sweat by the end.

As someone who generally despises any and all jumping exercises – this was especially challenging for me. If I never have to do another jumping lunge in my life it would be too soon.

I was loving Kayla’s BBG for a while. And then I started running again. And suddenly the 3X a week commitment on top of trying to run 18 miles a week, swim and fit in yoga got to be overwhelming. I wasn’t looking forward to the workouts anymore and while the leg and ab routines were awesome, my arms weren’t feeling challenged.

Not usually one to quit things, especially fitness-based things, I pretty un-guiltily just…stopped…

After a solid 8 weeks of completing all the workouts, I had had enough. I felt a little bummed. But I also felt excited to be running again, and that off-set any “You’re a quitter” thoughts that I was having about cutting Kayla’s BBG short.

Last week at November Project, I got really excited when Rebecca arrived and I got to run with her for 2 miles. And again, we totally bonded over the conversation topic of choice– Rebecca’s statement of, “I’m just kind of confused on my fitness journey.”


Exactly how I have been feeling! And since that run together, I’ve been thinking about it even more. I’m feeling a little lost on my fitness journey so I’m going to try to write it out to gain some clarity.

I’m not training for a marathon.  The fall marathon I thought I was going to run as an attempt to BQ – that most definitely didn’t happen. I've been a little sad lately watching everyone around me planning for and running their long runs – especially when it’s so beautiful out!

Do I want to run a spring marathon? I still can’t decide. I trained for Pittsburgh over the long winter months last year and it was hard. I know Peter will be an amazing source of support if I decide to do it again, but I just don’t know if I have the motivation right now for 7 a.m. alarms when the thermometer is in the teens. Then again – I want that BQ. The weather for spring marathons is beautiful. What else am I going to do all winter? So – the jury is still out.

I have been slowly increasing my weekly mileage and so far so good – except that it's still frustrating that I feel like I'm having a fast, strong run - putting in a ton of effort and left completely gassed after 4 miles - yet my pace is so. much. slower. than a few months ago. I know I need to be patient, but I may or may not have cried on a rock in Central Park after Saturday's run. I used to wake up and run the 6 mile loop at a 7:50 pace pretty consistently while training for Pittsburgh. Saturday, it took every ounce of energy to run 4 miles at 7:58. Grr. 

I do have a few running-related goals to work towards, however.

I just signed up for the NYC Runs 10K on Roosevelt Island on Halloween! I want to be excited, but I know the reality of how much speed and endurance I’ve lost in the past 5 months is going to hit me like a ton of bricks when I cross this finish line. At the 2014 Scotland Run 10K, I threw down a 45:23 – 7:19 pace.  Yikes.

I plan on running a new Turkey Trot this year – a 5 miler near my home on Long Island. My official 5 miler PR is the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off which I ran monstrously hungover last fall – so we’ll see if a 7:45 pace is something I can top.

With our upcoming trip to Austin, Texas planned – my 4th half marathon is on the calendar. The Decker Challenge is a hilllllly course that I’m not expecting to PR, but hoping to feel OK running. It will be my longest run since May’s Brooklyn Half Marathon if/when I cross the finish.

Ted Corbitt 15K is the last NYRR points race of the year – and since I’ve been unable to race as a member of November Project’s team yet, I want to be out there running! It will be a PR no matter what, as it’s a new distance for me.

Last but not least on the calendar (for now) is the Blue Point 10 Miler – which was an AMAZING race I ran last winter. This year it will be even better since I will hopefully have friends to drink with after. By then, who in the world knows what my pace will be like – but I don’t anticipate it being easy to beat last year’s 8:13 pace. Time will tell!

Focusing on these shorter distance races will be different for me and I’m hoping it eases me back into running/racing/going fast and then if I decide I want to go far – we’ll see about that spring marathon. I have another month or two to decide.

Strength Training has not being something I’ve been focusing on a lot – but I do really love it! I love going to the gym and coming up with my own circuits focused on certain body parts – waking up in the morning and knowing within a minute, “Oh yeah right, I did triceps yesterday – definitely worked!” Marathon training makes it really hard to spend a ton of time doing much besides running. And it makes it really reallllly hard to spend any time at all focused on arms. I’ve come to accept that I need to include one day a week of leg strength training to keep my hips and glutes strong. But in the next few weeks I hope to incorporate some more abs and arms as well, despite the fact that I’m not still following Kayla Itsine’s guides.

If anyone has fun strength training ladders/HIIT/Tabata/etc. that they’d like to share, please do!

Triathlons are something I’ve been super gung ho about for a few months now. I started saving, I started researching bikes, I started bothering people with a million and one questions (sorry everyone). I spent $80 on shoes for spin class that I have yet to attach the cleats to. I started swimming once or twice a week. And now, I’m signed up for swimming lessons once a week.

And suddenly – I don’t know if I want to do a tri.


That’s not true. I know I want to do a tri. I think I would like it. Maybe love it. That “Iron Man” challenge is definitely still in the back of my crazy mind. But I just don’t know if right now is the time. Triathloning (yes, it’s a word…) is really really expensive.

I just booked a flight to Austin for a 6 day vacation and half marathon and it’s probably going to end up costing me less than a bike would cost me. Not to mention the $200 entry fees, a wet suit, and the tons of biking things I’m sure I don’t even know about yet.

So, jury is also out on whether or not a tri is in my future at the moment -  but I do still plan on stopping at a bike store to get myself fitted so that I can properly stalk Craiglist for a used bike in my size. Doesn’t hurt to keep my eyes open!

And in the meantime, I’ve found that swimming is a nice new challenge and I’m looking forward to finishing this 8 week course and keeping a weekly swim in my fitness repertoire.

Yoga continues to bore me for the most part – but I do notice a huge difference when I go twice a week as opposed to, you know, thinking my body will magically be fine without zero stretching. So, I’ve been trying to be consistent with that!

Unfortunately, writing all of that out didn’t give me any real clarity on why I’m feeling kind of “meh” at the moment – why I can’t seem to figure out what I want to put my energy towards.  

But maybe the moral of this incredibly long blog post isn’t, “Figure out what your next challenge is” or, “Figure out what muscle you want to develop next!” Maybe the moral of it is that I’m going to accept the fact that sometimes, we don’t know exactly where we’re headed. 

If there’s nothing calling to me right now, maybe it’s because physically or mentally I need to take a chill pill. Or maybe the lack of direction is making room for something else to unexpectedly turn up – roller blading, that field hockey league I’ve been wanting to join, trapeze school? I’m keeping an open mind and not ruling anything out. 

Some days it makes me a little antsy. Without a calendar to tell me how many miles I need to run on Saturday morning, who am I?! Answer: still Lauren.  

And sometimes, for a lot of fitness-loving ladies and lads – I think that’s harder for us to believe than it should be.

So listen up. I’m talking to you and I’m talking to myself: If you’re ever feeling a little down because you feel “lazy” without a big shiny goal – stop.

Stop scrolling through your Instagram and getting down on yourself because you aren’t preparing to run a marathon. Stop scrolling through your Instagram and getting down on yourself because you aren’t spiritually moved by downward dog. Stop scrolling through your Instagram and getting down on yourself because you didn’t do a WOD at the box this morning.

Maybe you enjoyed a walk through the fall foliage. Or a jog. Or a giant picnic. Maybe you dragged yourself to yoga because you know you needed to stretch your calves. Maybe you hope to never use the term WOD in your life. Maybe you slept in.

 As long as we are moving our bodies in ways that feel good and right for us in the moment, and letting them rest when they want to rest, we shouldn’t feeling anything but appreciation.

Appreciate that we’ve found ways to move and be active that we genuinely enjoy. Appreciate that we’ve realized endorphins really are like drugs. Appreciate that fitness is a great way to connect with your body – to know when it wants to move and how it wants to move and when it wants to rest.

To know on the day that you’re signing up for a marathon that you are ready to commit to it.

To know on a certain day that you can go that extra 100 meters in the pool.

To know on a certain day that you are definitely not going to make it to that spin class you signed up for.

To know on a certain day that the time has come to train for your first tri.

To walk into the gym ready for a tricep workout only to get there and see tthe TRX machine is empty and you feel like doing some back exercises instead.

I loved that Rebecca referred to it as her fitness journey.

No two people’s journeys are going to be the same. Some days your journey is going to be awesomely downhill and wonderful and fun and some days or weeks or months it’s going to be slow going. Then there are those forks in the road where you’re not quite sure what’s coming up next.

It’s allllll part of it. 

So instead of getting down, embrace it and keep your eyes open for the moment when your next goal appears on the horizon. And when it presents itself, you give that goal your all.


Who of us hasn't considered how our peers will react to our performance in a given race, whether good or bad? And in those moments, whom are we ultimately running for? The sport is difficult enough as it is; doing it for anyone but ourselves makes it unsustainable.

Be My Friend!

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