Archive | November, 2013

Random Ramblings

15 Nov

I had a free night, so I figured I would share some of my random thoughts and ramblings. Here we go.

WSJ

This WSJ article and associated backlash is very much entertaining me. If you didn’t see the ridiculous article written by a guy that obviously doesn’t exercise or care about himself, you should check it out. Here it is.

After you read the insanity of this article and laugh at this angry man, read some of the follow up blogs and articles. It is pretty awesome. Moral of the story – Don’t f*** with runners.

Here are my favorite rebuttals:

Lululemon

I don’t really have much of rambling to do about this topic, but I want to know what you think. Obviously the CEO (or whatever that guy’s title is) is an ass. But should we stop shopping at lululemon because of it? I actually felt semi guilty wearing my lulu clothes on my morning run….

How are you reacting to the backlash of this yahoo’s remarks? I can’t lie…I see many more Athleta purchases in my near future.

First Run Post Marathon

Today was my first post-marathon run. It has been 11 days since my race, and it felt like I ran it 2 days ago. My butt pain is STILL there. I don’t know what to do…my mind tells me to be smart and take a couple weeks off the sport. But I don’t know if my brain can handle that right now.

Another thought I had while running this morning is how in the heck people run back to back marathons. I mean, seriously. HOW DO THEY DO IT? If I could barely make it 7 miles 11 days out, how do some of these people run marathons every weekend? Are they just a different breed of people? Or do they just continue to be sore FOREVER? Please help me understand.

I could write another post completely dedicated to how much I love these dumb sparkles on photos.

I could write another post completely dedicated to how much I love these dumb sparkles on photos.

The Baby Karly

My parents have two wiener dogs, and my brother has one. As soon as Ramsey and I get married, we are getting a wiener dog. My family is obsessed with these things. But how could we not be obsessed?? These dogs are so cute.

Well, this last week has been a tad traumatizing because our “Baby Karly” had to have emergency back surgery. It has been so hard to watch this previously spunky and full of life dog look so sad and be in so much pain. But she appears to be healing well and we hope she starts walking again soon.

Have you ever had an injured pet? Did they heal back to their normal selves? Did you struggle with it like we are?

LOOK AT THAT SWEET FACE!!!!

LOOK AT THAT SWEET FACE!!!!

This is all for now.

What is on your mind? Have any thoughts to the things I discussed?

xo!

Ali

and TGIF!!!

Being the best version of YOU.

13 Nov

Lately I have been thinking a lot about life – specifically living the best life possible.

Much of living the best life possible comes down to the decisions that we make on an everyday basis. We control our lives. We control our happiness. And we control changing things if we aren’t happy.

And sometimes “changing things” can mean making hard decisions.

When I talk to a friend that is sad or in a lull, I always ask them the same thing, “are you living the life that makes you the best person you can possibly be?”

Usually if I am having this conversation with them, the answer is “no”.

I have found that usually the areas we are discussing revolve around three things – Jobs, relationships and ourselves. And I always offer the same advice for each.

If you are unhappy with your job, you should look into ways you can make your job work better for you. And if your job doesn’t work for you anymore, you should think about another path you could take.

If you are unhappy with your relationships, strive to make new ones or let old ones go (I wrote about this specific item earlier this year)

If you are unhappy with yourself, do something that makes YOU happy.

Strive to live your BEST life. Strive to live a life that makes you the BEST version of yourself.

Sometimes the route to making positive changes can be extremely hard, and sometimes feel negative. Trust me, I know.

But I ask you to keep your eye on the prize. And the prize is your happiness. Which in my opinion is one of the best prizes of all šŸ™‚

xo,

Ali

Have you ever made a hard decision because it would give you a happier life?

What advice do you tell friends or family members that are going through a hard time?

NYC Marathon Race Logistics

6 Nov

Yesterday, I posted about my PR and success at the NYC Marathon. Today, I wanted to share some of my race logistics and tips!

Running a marathon definitely takes a lot of strategy and preparation – and this is in addition to the 4 months of training leading up to it.

In my opinion, big city races are really hard to prepare and plan for. You have to travel, and you want to see the sights while you are there. You also want to enjoy a vacation and live it up. However too much of any of these things and you will ruin your race.

Friday Prep:

We arrived to NYC on Friday afternoon. Immediately when we got there, I wanted to eat something semi healthy and go to the expo. I thought it would be smart to get all of my wandering around the expo out of the way on Friday.

We ended up walking to the expo, which I was NOT happy with. But traffic sucked and it was our only option. I knew I needed to save the legs, but sitting in a cab for an hour and going into debt didn’t really seem like a better option.

After coming back to the hotel, I rested my legs for a while and chugged some more water. That night, we took another walk that was way too long, but I made sure to go to bed early.

I have read many times that two nights before your race is the most important night to sleep, so I was sure to get in a solid 10 hour rest that night. Sleep is so important to a successful race!!!

Saturday Prep:

Saturday morning I had pancakes for breakfast, a little coffee, a ton of water and a gatorade. We had a late breakfast on Saturday, so I had a light lunch which consisted of a bag of pretzels and another gatorade. Doesn’t sound like much, but when I added the calories I figured 500 was pretty solid. Saturday dinner was full of carbs. I had bread and ravioli. It was the perfect meal. I also continued to chug water.

My biggest obstacle to overcome on Saturday was all the walking. I kept thinking to myself, “you are walking too much!” I took cabs whenever I could and sat down at every opportunity. Normally before a race I will run a couple miles the day before, but on Saturday I decided not to run at all. I was very concerned with overdoing it and tiring my legs. I figured all the walking I had done was plenty and would count as my shake out..

Saturday night was daylight savings, which was amazing!! I was able to sleep lay in bed an extra hour and recharge my body as much as possible.

Sunday Pre Race:

When I woke up Sunday, I felt crazy rested and more than ready to run.

After putting on my race outfit, applying all of the Body Glide in NYC, and making sure everything was secure, I started putting on my layers.

I decided not to check a bag, so everything I was wearing would not be coming home. My layers consisted of a jacket, a long sleeve t shirt, a short sleeve t shirt, another jacket and fleece pants. It was insane how many layers I was wearing – but let me tell you – I was warm! I also had on tube socks as arm warmers (a tip my friend Stacy taught me), a fleece headband and cheap cotton gloves.

On the way to the start, I had my first meal. This meal consisted of a banana, a nutri grain bar, and a cup of gatorade. I also sipped on water the whole way to Staten Island.

When we arrived to Staten Island, I went to my corral and sat down. I was insistent on not using extra energy standing. As I sat there, I drank some more water, and ate another nutri grain bars (nutri grain bars have become my go-to pre running meal).

I was able to use the port-a-potty twice in the corral, but it wasn’t enough. Next time I won’t drink so much before the race, because I ended up having to pee for 26 miles!! (btw I am annoyed yet again with how easy it is for men to pee ANYWHERE!)

When we walked to the starting line, I found another place to sit down. I sat in a ball for at least 20 minutes. This would ensure I didn’t waste energy standing or waste energy shivering like most of the people out there.

Sunday – Race Time:

To stay warm during the start of the race, I wore an old jacket for the first two miles. This jacket was awesome for the wind on the bridge. I ditched it around mile 2 when I started getting hot. I wore my arm sleeves for about 14 miles. The gloves stayed on until mile 21, and the headband was there until mile 22.

I took GU at mile 6, 13, 18 and 23. Sometimes it is hard to force the GU, but if you don’t take it you will pay for it. Usually my tactic is to take it every 45 minutes.

I had water and gatorade at every stop, except the last one (I feared if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to move again). I usually walk to through the stops so I don’t choke. This time I was able to make it through quite a few of them without stopping because I mastered the drinking and running thing!

As I said in my recap, I took my inhaler 3 times during the race. I also took it twice before – once when I got to the start village, and once right before the gun went off. On a day when my asthma is normal, I would only take the inhaler at the start and then again around mile 20.

Recap:

Two days before the race:

  • Sleep as much as possible
  • Rest your legs
  • Drink lots of water

One day before the race:

  • Eat carbs (I always avoid heavy carbs and veggies)
  • Drink lots of water
  • Drink a couple gatorades
  • Minimize the walking

Race morning:

  • Start sipping water/gatorade immediately
  • Eat carbs with sugars (if I eat anything with protein I feel weighed down)
  • Sit down as much as possible
  • Stay warm
  • Pee as much as possible!!!!
  • Stretch

Race time:

  • Sit down at the start if you’ll be there awhile
  • Stay warm
  • Eat gels (or your energy of choice) consistently – this piece is really different for everyone. It is important to train with what you will use on race day so you know if your body reacts well.
  • Force water/gatorade at every stop if you can

Now you know ALL my race secrets, tips and tricks! While all of these things don’t work for everyone, I do believe they are all important things to think about and consider.

Do you have any race tips? Are there things that you have to do before each marathon?

xo!

Ali

NYC Marathon Race Recap

5 Nov

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York

And that is how the 2013 NYC Marathon started – Frank Sinatra belting it out as thousands of runners stood on the Verrazano Bridge waiting to cross the start.

Freezing at the start.

Freezing at the start.

At 9:45am, I crossed the starting line and began my journey from Staten Island to Central Park. I knew the start would be an emotional experience, and let me tell you – it was. I fought back the tears then switched my focus to the 26.2 miles ahead.

The first couple miles were so cool (and quite windy too!). We were on theĀ Verrazano bridge with one of the most incredible views of the city. Hovering next to the bridge were NYPD helicopters keeping us safe and waving to us as we ran by. We could feel the love of the city, and we felt safe.

Everyone told me that this race would be crazy crowded at the start and to expect a very slow first mile. While it was crowded, I don’t think it slowed me down too much. I think the main thing to slow me down was the incline. I ended up running an 8:07 first mile, which made me pretty happy.

Around mile 3, we hit Brooklyn. I could hear the music and the fans as soon as we got off the bridge. They were ready to welcome us to their borough!

My tactic for this race was to run a consistent pace for as long as I could. I didn’t really know what that pace would be, but I hoped it would be something under 8 minutes a mile (I really wanted to break 3:30). I knew that pace so well from all my training runs, and was hoping I could get into the under 8min groove and hang onto it the whole race.

The first half was all in Brooklyn. We saw a number of different neighborhoods and many different people and cultures. I tried to soak it all in and enjoy every minute. I wore my Garmin that doesn’t show overall pace, but just my overall time and mileage (to avoid over thinking and obsessing on pace). When I knew I was reaching a mile marker I would try to check and see what pace I was hitting. Pretty much everything I saw the first half was around 7:35-7:45.

Half of the race DONE!

Half of the race DONE!

I will say I did have a few moments of worry the first half of the race. From the minute I crossed the starting line, I had this annoying pain in my butt. I had been experiencing this nagging pain for quite awhile during training, and hoped my taper would force it to go away. Well, it didn’t. I kept hoping it would either go numb or go away (umm yeah it never did).

Another issue the first half of my race was my asthma. This was another thing that had been bothering me over the past few weeks and I was pretty worried it would affect my race. At mile 9, I had to take my inhaler. I NEVER have to take my inhaler that early in a race, so this was a reason to be worried. I told myself over and over again not to panic. I also told my asthma that I wouldn’t let it ruin my race. I would conquer the marathon even though my breathing wasn’t the best. Letting the asthma win was not an option.

Hitting 13.1 miles in this race was huge for me. The first half was over, and I could evaluate my pace and body.

I crossed the half point in 1:41:52, which was right on target for a big PR. And most importantly, I felt positive and knew my body could make it another 13.1 at a good pace.

The race tactic for the second half was to ‘keep on keepin’ on’ and continue exactly what I was doing.

When we hit the Queensboro Bridge around mile 14 I was a little intimidated. I had read a lot about this race and knew this was a hard part. You are all alone on that bridge and you face an uphill. This was one of the first miles when I felt like I had already run an insane amount of miles. I got myself up the hill and then made my way down. I knew that my family was waiting at the end of the bridge, and I wanted to keep going hard for them!

Exiting the bridge was very exciting, but I will say not as exciting as I had expected. While there were a TON of people down there, for some reason they weren’t screaming as loud as I had expected. It even took a couple runners pumping their arms to really get them going. After that, they got loud for us and welcomed us into Manhattan (anyone else that ran notice this?).

Turning onto 1st Avenue was awesome. The crowds were loud and you could see a sea of runners in front of you. This was also the first time I got to see my family – Ramsey and my soon to be sister Sarah! I LOVED seeing them and gave them a huge smile and huge thumbs up so they would know I was having a good day and felt great.

IMG_2234------

Yay!

Feeling good!

Feeling good!

Right after seeing my family, I had to do few more hits of my inhaler. Again, this did not make me happy but I refused to let it screw up my day. Thank God for my Lululemon Stuff your Bra tank. Because of that tank I could keep my inhaler right on my chest and not have to fish it out of my belt. While it certainly looked a little odd bulging out of my bra, it probably saved me a few seconds on the day.

My mile splits continued to be consistent and on track for my PR.

Mile 18.5ish was crazy exciting because I got to see some of my NYC blog friends!! They screamed so loud for me and it was awesome. It was so fun to be in a city away from home and have people supporting you. Seeing them gave me an extra boost and another reminder that I could do it – and I was going to do it!

Thank you Michele for the photo!!

Thank you Michele for the photo!!

Aside from the 13.1 mark of the race, mile 20 was another BIG milestone. I was actually excited for mile 20 of this race. I knew once 20 hit, I could start picking up my pace and hit it hard to the finish. And when I still felt good at 20, I knew I was going to have a great day. I actually said to myself multiple times – “F the wall!!”

The support in the Bronx was pretty great. Everyone was cheering and yelling and was there to get the runners to the finish line. There were also some pretty great spectator signs.

When we left the Bronx and hit 5th Avenue, I knew it was time to get serious and focus on the finish. Only 5 more miles and I was done.

Mile 23 is when shit got real. I was starting to really hurt. My ass was ON FIRE (remember the pain in my butt, yeah still there), I had to take my inhaler AGAIN and I just wanted to be done. This is when having my name on my tank was the best decision ever. Everyone in the crowds was yelling “Go Ali!” and supporting me.

When I turned into Central Park at mile 24, I knew the race was coming to an end. At this point I was thinking, “one foot in front of the other. keep on moving. you can do it”.

At mile 25, I saw Ramsey and Sarah again. I struggled to wave to them and couldn’t really say anything back. I was hurting so bad. But I knew I was still keeping a strong pace and on track for a huge PR.

“Keep on going, you are almost done”

ouch ouch ouch ouch

ouch ouch ouch ouch

I wore my 2012 bib on my back.

I wore my 2012 bib on my back.

GET ME TO THE FINISH.

GET ME TO THE FINISH.

Turning onto Central Park South was another huge moment. I knew I had one more turn and then the finish would be there. I saw my watch beep Mile 26 (my Garmin was off about .4 from the real mile markers due to all the weaving I had done) and couldn’t believe my split – 7:16. I was booking it, and even though I hurt I was still staying focused and very strong. It was great to see that I was going faster than I had thought.

Right after mile 26.

Right after mile 26, with my Boston Strong temp tattoo on my arm.

As we turned back into the park, I started giving it everything I had. I pumped my arms like I never have before and had quite the mean face determined face going on.

Get it!

Get it!

I saw that finish and had my eye on the prize. I ran harder than I could have imagined possible to get my body across the finish.

I think this was right before the finish line.

I think this was right before the finish line.

And then I was done, and promptly hit my watch.

Holy crap. 3:21.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I DID IT!!!!!!!

As soon as I could think straight, I got out my phone and texted Ramsey. This conversation makes giggle and also makes me emotional. I was so tired I couldn’t even text a sentence. But I wanted him to know I was happy, and I was alive. I think he figured it out. (and yes, he is the most supportive soon-to-be-husband ever).

This makes me smile and I realize it is so sappy.

This makes me smile and I realize it is so sappy.

Then I called my parents. As soon as my Mom picked up the phone, I started crying. I told her I did it and she said, “I know you did! We are so proud right now!!!” Then she told me that my Dad and her were shocked at how perfect and smart I ran the race. My Dad got on the phone and swooned over my negative splits. Negative splits are ALWAYS a reason to celebrate!
IMG_3755
As I hobbled through the park to the family meet up (longest walk EVER!!!) I called Stacy and Nicole to tell them I was ok and that I was so happy.

Seeing Ramsey and Sarah at the family meet up was amazing. They hugged me and helped me put on my warm clothes. Then we posed for a few pics before limping hopping onto the Subway.

As I reflect on this race I am still in total awe that it worked out so perfectly. I did not let my booty pain slow me down, and I didn’t let my asthma mess me up either. I knew I had a good training and was capable of running great on Sunday, but an 11 minute PR and a 3:21 were not expected. I really couldn’t be happier or more excited. This also means that I get to go back to Boston in 2015!!

The NYC marathon should be on everyone’s “bucket list” and I hope to go back and experience this race again. A huge thank you to all the supporters (near and far) for all the love. I felt it the whole time!

Official time: 3:21:19
Overall Pace: 7:40

Splits:

  1. 8:07
  2. 7:30
  3. 7:36
  4. 7:35
  5. 7:51
  6. 7:42
  7. 7:44
  8. 7:40
  9. 7:45
  10. 7:29
  11. 7:47
  12. 7:40
  13. 7:42
  14. 7:35
  15. 7:30
  16. 8:03
  17. 7:18
  18. 7:25
  19. 7:38
  20. 7:33
  21. 7:16
  22. 7:22
  23. 7:21
  24. 7:45
  25. 7:20
  26. 7:16
Damn I am proud of these splits!

Damn I am proud of these splits! (click on this to make it bigger)

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