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NYC Marathon: My Plan for Success

23 Jul

Two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure I was going to run NYC. In fact, I was thinking about every way I could get out of it. My last blog post even centered around all the reasons why I didn’t want to run it. To say I was freaking out would be an understatement. I was in full blown anxiety mode.

But this post will be different. And much of why it will be different is because of you.

A HUGE Thank You to everyone for all your amazing words and encouragement following the last post. I was in awe over the positive messages you sent me and I can say that you all helped me to completely change my mindset on this race.

While two weeks ago I was stressed to the max, I am now excited for the months to come and the race waiting for me on November 3rd.

Here are my top reasons why I am now EXCITED and READY to train/run NYC!

  1. I missed my running routine. Two days back at the early morning runs and I feel like a new person. I have more energy, I feel happier and I love the satisfaction and high right after the run is done.
  2. I will run for FUN. Many of you suggested I take a new PR out of my mind for NYC training, and I think this was the best thing for me to do. I will not run to PR on November 3rd. I will run to finish and have fun. With the pressure of a PR off the table, it feels like a 20 pound weight was lifted.
  3. The opportunity to make new friends. As I mentioned previously, my new neighborhood is pretty far away from my old hood, which means I am far away from my running buddies. That aspect totally sucks, but I have already been in contact with quite a few girls that live by me and would be awesome running buddies. I have also been talking to some other girls about joining their Saturday morning running club, which would introduce me to a whole other group of runners in the area.
  4. I will finally get my money’s worth for this race. In total, I have paid $532 in entry fees to run NYC….and I have yet to run this freaking race (we had to pay again if we decided to run it in 2013, 2014 or 2015). It would be a shame to throw that hard earned cash down the toilet!

So there ya go. I am excited to run NYC and know it will be an awesome experience. It will also be a healing experience.

Thanks again for all the support!!!

xo,

Ali

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What races do you have on the horizon?

How do you motivate yourself to start training?

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I need a pep talk.

12 Jul

In ten days, I start training for my 5th marathon.

The New York City Marathon has been on my list of dream marathons since I knew it existed. Last year I trained for this race like a maniac and was beyond determined to PR it. I put in the crazy miles, ran the repeats, did the cross training and was more than prepared to break 3:30. Obviously we know what happened with the race last year, and I didn’t think twice when it was time to sign up 2013. I knew I would be there no matter what.

At the 2012 expo. I am totally wearing this number at the 2013 race!

At the 2012 expo. I am totally wearing this number at the 2013 race!

Well, the time has come to start training for this thing, and I am not excited or prepared to start running like a maniac again. In fact, I am pretty much dreading it. And I really need some of your love to get me back with it and excited for the next 16 weeks.

There are a few reasons why this training is proving a little more difficult for me to get excited about. So let’s all listen to me whine, complain and cry while I go through each one of ‘em!

  1. I am tired of training. I love to run, but I don’t always love to train. The strict schedules, the stress on my body, the fatigue – it just isn’t always fun. And if you aren’t in the right frame of mind, convincing yourself to get up at the crack of dawn 5-6 days a week to run isn’t so awesome.
  2. I live in a new neighborhood. And I have no idea where the eff I am going when I go out on runs. Last night I went for a 4 mile run, and ended up running on grass for a mile because I couldn’t find a sidewalk. (side note – I have a fear when I run on grass that I will take a tumble, fall into the street and then get hit by a car. If you don’t think I was visualizing that scenario for a mile on my run, you are kind but 100% WRONG!) I used to live in the burbs, and now I am in more of a metropolitan area. While I LOVE my new area, and my new house, and my awesome commute to work, I don’t really love the running path options. I’m not used to any traffic, and now I have to be super aware of traffic. This aspect will take some getting used to.
  3. My running buddies are far away. This is the hardest one to deal with. My girls I could always count on to meet me now live 30 minutes away. These girls are my accountability partners AND my therapists. What am I going to do without them?!?!
  4. Boston scared me. And I am not sure I am mentally prepared to run another big race after what happened there. In the days after Boston, I would’ve told you there was no way I would run NYC in the fall. But then I realized I couldn’t let Boston keep me from running a dream. Hopefully time will heal that fear, and I can put it aside in my mind a little bit, but I am not 100% certain of that right now.

So there are my 4 reasons why I am not so excited to start training for my race.

And now I need some advice, words of encouragement, and love to get me going!!!!! I beg, I plead…make me feel better and motivated 🙂

And in the next 10 days, I will be living up my training freedom with a trip to Vegas, staying up too late, multiple happy hours and wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Xo,

Ali

Resilient Runners

20 Nov

Since the cancellation of the NYC Marathon (yes…talking about that again), I have been so impressed by the resilience of runners. Especially with the way that we never give up nor let our determination be diminished.

Throughout the training period for this race, I connected with so many runners online (mainly via twitter) and followed their progress towards the DREAM race that was the NYC Marathon. We spoke about our goals, our excitement and our fears together. We also spoke about our feelings following this announcement:

Photo from the INGNYCM Facebook page.

Many of us understood the cancellation, but were also sad that our race would not happen.

When I found out NYC was canceled I immediately found a new race, as did many of my other running friends. We would run our 26.2 mile race, and we would run it with determination following the letdown we had previously felt. Many of these girls I connected with were running for charity, and would not be letting down their donors – they would run a marathon! (I look up to all the charity runners SO much!).

I would like to share with you some stories from a few fellow bloggers. These girls all put NYC behind them, and found a new race to run.

The Newbies:

Leticia and Nadia were to complete their very first marahton at NYC. They had put in the training, and they were excited to see the results. Following the news, these girls found new races.

Both girls were able to run their marathon, and did an amazing job. Leticia had an amazing time running the Richmond marathon, and finished it with a huge smile on her face.

Nadia ran the Phillidelphia Marathon, and get this – it was her FIRST RACE EVER!! And she broke 4 hours! Holy cow, girlfriend!

The BIG PR’er:

Jocelyn ran the Philadelphia Marathon after having her world flipped upside down by that damn Sandy. Jocelyn lived in the area of of NYC that lost power, and dealt with a bunch of other super inconvenient things. I can’t imagine living without basic necessities for days.

And even after dealing with the drama of the hurricane and her life being affected in many ways, she still rocked her marathon. Way to go on the HUGE PR Jocelyn! You are amazing and so inspiring!

The Winner:

Katie had big dreams of a PR at NYC, just like I did. She had trained so hard for the race, and was looking forward to running. Her reaction to the cancellation was similar to mine, and I thank her for being honest about her feelings on her blog.

As the rest of us did, Katie found a new race to run. And boy did she run her replacement race. Katie WON her new marathon, and broke 3 hours!!! I was in awe reading her race recap. I was especially in awe looking at her photos and seeing how cute she looked the entire race. Talk about wonder woman!

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In less than 3 weeks, I will be sharing with everyone the story of my replacement marathon. I hope that my stories are just as exciting as the girls I mentioned above 🙂

and one last thought for you all (I love this so much)………

xoxo,

Ali

 

My Choice to Run the Dallas Marathon

14 Nov

As soon as I found out the NYC Marathon would not go on as planned, I began researching new races to run. I was not about to let 14 weeks of training go down the drain. I HAD to run a marathon and PR. Not doing so was NOT an option.

There were many considerations to make for my backup race, but it didn’t take long until I made my final decision.

Factors considered when choosing the backup marathon:

1. Easily accessible
-I am officially out of PTO at work until February (I like to travel a lot), so I could not run a race that would require time off.
-I could easily send myself into debt by paying for all these race entries and travel costs.
-My entourage of spectators would be there.

2. A semi-large race
-I need spectator support to get me to the finish and through those hard miles.
-I like running next to other people. Sure it can be annoying dodging them, but I like the company.

3. A PR worthy course
-Duh

4. The date had to work with my schedule
-I didn’t feel comfortable running a marathon the following weekend due to travel costs and prep time.
-The weekend of November 17th was out due to my Girls on the Run 5k (I would NEVER miss that!)

The Decision

After reviewing my requirements, it became quite clear what my race should be: I would run the Dallas Marathon.

If you have been an avid reader of my blog (THANK YOU!) or spent time getting caught up, you know that I ran Dallas last year. Dallas was my first marathon, and the best day of my life. I pretty much have nothing but amazing memories from that race, and I got excited when thinking about reliving that experience.

I almost feel like I was having a little ESP during training, because I kept saying, “If NYC doesn’t go as I planned, I will just run Dallas again. I know it is a great race, and I know it could give me a PR”. I swear I said this – if you don’t believe me, ask my boyfriend. He will tell you!

A HUGE bonus of running the Dallas marathon is that my parents and boyfriend get to join in on the fun. My Dad has not been able to see me run a marathon yet, so it’s a really big deal to me that he gets to watch this one. He is my coach after all!

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I am now fully submerged and committed to training for Dallas. I will use these extra 5 weeks as additional training time to help me meet my goal. I used to think that people who trained for 18+ week for a marathon were crazy…well now I am one of them!

Thank you as always for your continued support! Updates to my training schedule are on their way!

xo

Ali

I will say that I better not be in a damn poncho this year or have to run the race in a plastic bag.

My NYC Trip – Through the Photos

8 Nov

Photos for you to enjoy from my NYC trip. As you can see, even though the race didn’t happen, we still had an AMAZING trip!!!

Began the trip by going to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

Sipped on Rose at La Grenouille (this is right before I found out the race was canceled).

Downed our race sorrows at the Lion King. Pretty great that they serve you vodka in sippy cups! And the show was fantastic!

Visited the infamous “Dangling Crane”.

Went to the race expo to pick up my race number, and 2012 NYC Marathon clothes on clearance.

Drank amazing drinks at The Plaza!

Indulged in macaroons!

Struck a pose!

Had dinner at Butter, a Lindsay Lohan and Blair Waldorf fave.

Adorably posed for pics in Central Park.

Admired the beauty hidden away in Central Park.

Explored the Met.

Educated ourselves on history.

Snuggled on the rooftop of the Met (it was COLD up there!)

Strolled along Democracy Plaza – It was pretty neat to be in NYC over the election!

Ate cheesecake for breakfast.

Walked the Highline, and spent lots of time with Ramsey’s sister Sarah (she’s a super cool NYC girl!)

Drank Bellini’s at Pastis! (I have wanted to go there for years – always saw it on Sex and the City!)

Went to our first official NBA game! AND got a behind the scenes tour of the Barclay Center!

Discussed who would win the election.

Stalked the news anchors in that little box.

And then…we went home!!!

xoxo,

Ali

The Unofficial NYC Marathon

7 Nov

As most everyone knows by now, the New York City Marathon did not happen last Sunday. This news was extremely disappointing for me when I heard on Friday night. In fact, I was pretty much in shock. My heart broke for myself along with all the other athletes that traveled to this race and spent many months training.

All week I understood why the race should be canceled. I knew there were people hurting and people who needed the assistance. But when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the race should go as planned and it would be GOOD for the city, I went ahead with my trip – as did many other runners.

As I said earlier, I understood the cancellation and also began to agree with it. My only wish with the cancellation was that it had happened earlier in the week, before so many people spent so much money to get to the city and stay in the city. I know that I would’ve gone to NYC regardless of the race being canceled, but knowing sooner could’ve saved many others time and money who would have canceled their plans.

Although the race did not take place on Sunday, I still had the opportunity to be a part of something pretty amazing. I was invited by two of my Twitter friends (Beth and Kristine) to join them for a run through Central Park. They were so kind to include me in their running group, and it turned into the most amazing experience!!

Kristine, Beth and Stephen

Kristine, Beth and the very talented jewelry designer Erica Sara!

Central Park on Sunday morning was a sea of runners, mostly wearing their orange marathon shirts. Some people even pinned their race numbers to their shirts and wore costumes (I saw Buddy the Elf!).

I would say this is the most beautiful place in the city.

As soon as you entered the park, you could feel the enthusiasm of the runners. Everyone was smiling and doing what they love to do – run. People were there spectating as they would’ve on race day, and there were even faux water stations setup for us to get a drink. There was nothing negative in the air on Sunday. In fact, I am pretty sure you got a contact runners high if you looked at all of us.

Kristine and Beth made sure I was able to run the significant miles of the race (24 – 26.2) and also run to the finish line (seriously, you girls were AMAZING!). So many people were swarming the finish. They were taking photos, chanting and cheering. The experience nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Sporting some 2012 Marathon wear that was on clearance.

Look at all those happy people!!!

Simulating my finish line hands!

The thing I realized after this experience was that even though things don’t always go our way or as planned, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make the best of it. Every runner I saw on Sunday was negatively impacted by the race being canceled as well, but that didn’t mean that they sat around sulking all weekend. They got out there and celebrated their love of running with all the others that share that same passion.

Even though the “Official” 2012 NYC Marathon will not happen, the “Unofficial” 2012 NYC Marathon was still an amazing experience. And it is an experience that I will not ever forget.

xoxo,

Ali

And yes, I will be back in 2013!

NYC – It’s Happening People

2 Nov

As I am sure you have all heard, the NYC marathon is happening this year. And I will be there at the starting line on race day.

This week has been quite the roller coaster of emotions for me. I have been stressed to the max, sad and depressed, and happy yet confused. That is a lot of emotions….!

There is a lot of drama surrounding the race this year, revolving along the lines of, “should they?” / “shouldn’t they?”. And both sides have VERY good points (which I agree with). I have been consumed in this drama the past two days, but I will not be consumed with it any longer.

As I said earlier, I am running this race. I am putting all of my hard work and early mornings out there on race morning, and I am determined to PR. This is what I want to focus on now. Since last February, I have been obsessing over race day. Planning every detail and being excited beyond belief. I will not let that excitement and spirit fade because of bullies out there with very vocal opinions. Us runners are not bad people, and I don’t think it is fair to view us that way. In fact many of us (myself included) have already donated to the relief efforts and plan to help out when we are in town for the race.

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Moving along. I was pulling together some fun facts the other day from my Daily Mile (we should be friends if we aren’t already!). It really showed my exactly what went into training, and made me even more comfortable with my goal to break 3:30.

Here we go…

NYC Marathon Training

Weeks Spent in Training: 14 (98 days)
Miles Completed: 508
“Off Days” in Training: 17
Time Spent Running: 62 hours, 6 minutes
Alarm Clocks Set in the 4am Hour: approx. 31
Alarm Clocks Set in the 5am Hour: approx. 40

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All positive thoughts are welcomed and accepted this weekend. As are all prayers for the victims of this terrible storm.

I will be updating my twitter (@alihatfield)/ instagram (alihat)/ facebook page (mileswithstyle) as much as I can! I can’t wait to report good news and share my experience with everyone!!! I will also have my cheerleaders tweet with the hash tag #AliRunsNYC 🙂

xoxo

Ali

One of my favorite photos from marathon training. Running along the boardwalk in San Fransisco!

Maintaining Perspective (or at least trying to)

30 Oct

So this girl is a little stressed right now. Ok, a lot stressed right now.

Why, you ponder?

Because I am supposed to run a marathon on Sunday, and this marathon is one that I have been preparing to run (physically and mentally) the last 8 months. This marathon is also my DREAM race and I have coordinated a 5 day vacation around the event – complete with show tickets and dinner reservations.

In case you haven’t turned on the TV, a hurricane decided to hit NYC and beat the city up pretty bad. The photos I have seen are unimaginable, and the damage is just plain crazy. The thought of the clean up to be done makes me so sad for the city residents.

And through all these photos I have seen, news coverage I have watched, and articles I have read, I am still sitting here stressing out about whether or not I will get to fulfill my dream on Sunday and run in the New York City Marathon. How much more selfish could I be?

This afternoon, I went out on my lunch break for a quick run. I needed to clear my head and most importantly I needed to get some perspective on the situation.

While on my run I started thinking about the people affected by storm, and the people who lost their homes or even their loved ones. I realized that me not getting to run NYC this year is not the end of the world. It is just a very big letdown. And although I will be very sad and angry if that scenario plays out, I will live, and I will still have everything I had before. Which is more than some people can say right now.

I am not giving up on my dream though. I don’t leave until Friday morning, so I am hoping that things will be up and running by then and I will be able to get into the city. Until I hear otherwise (and the amount I am checking twitter for race updates has got to be unhealthy), I will act as if I am running towards a dream on Sunday. And I will continue to envision the finish line in my head.

Wishing everyone affected by this storm a speedy recovery process. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

And as Nicole just reminded me, “Let Go and Let God”. He knows what’s best.

xoxo,

Ali

5 days people – let’s make it happen!

NYC Marathon Training – Week Twelve

29 Oct

Week twelve of training was my first official week of marathon tapering! I love to taper, but I hate to taper. It is a total catch 22.

Why? Because it kind of plays with your mind. When you taper, you aren’t running nearly as much as you were throughout your training. It makes you feel like, “OMG I am not doing as much as I should”. It also makes you say, “Am I going to lose all this speed that I have been working towards the last 12 weeks?”.

Although we have these fears, the best thing to do is relax, and trust that you have done everything you can do. “The hay is in the barn” as my running coach would say.

I will say that I had some issues this week with my asthma. My body is fighting off a cold, but I have been drinking Emergen-C like water!

Monday – Off day

Tuesday – 6 miles at 8:30 pace. 3 miles at “goal pace” (2 of which were a little slower than goal pace…oh well!).

Wednesday – TRX Class

Thursday – 5 miles at 8:20 pace. 2 miles at a faster pace (7:30 and 7:09). Was hoping to pick it up a bit more but my asthma was getting in the way.

Friday – 4 miles at 8:24 pace. One of those runs where I could’ve run forever!

Saturday – 12 miles, 9 at 8:29 pace. I ran 3 of these miles while spectating the KC Marathon (don’t know the pace). Two of my amazing friends were running and we followed them through the entire course. Such a fun day!

After my 9 mile run, I did 35 minutes of yoga. I freaking love yoga!!!

Sunday – Off day

Total Miles: 27

After my Thursday morning run. I totally colorblocked my outfit!

Weighed Down

23 Oct

Lately, I have become a little obsessive about my weight.

I have NEVER been someone to be crazy about the number on a scale, until I read a blog post from a fellow runner, and an article in Runner’s World about the importance of “race weight”.

After I read these blogs and articles, I sat there and started reflecting over the last year. I know that I have not been watching the food and drinks that I put into my body like I should. I also now know that I currently weigh more than I ever have (even more than I did when I was in my beer drinking, pizza eating years of college). Think those two items are related? You bet they are.

So why didn’t I watch what I was eating? “Well duh! I am training for a marathon! I can eat whatever I want!”

So that thinking right there, so WRONG. And I learned that the hard way last week when I stepped on a scale for the first time in months.

When I saw the number that appeared, I about had a meltdown (ok, I did have a meltdown). Yeah, I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, because I have noticed that my body seems a little different than it did a few years ago, and shorts don’t fit me like they used to. But I wasn’t expecting the number that appeared.

The number on that scale was 12 pounds heavier than it was when I ran my first half marathon 4 years ago (still my PR to this day – 1:34).

See those itty bitty size zero shorts?? Yeah…I can’t get into those anymore.

Now I am in a total freak out mode that I am going to ruin my chances of PR’ing the NYC marathon and running under a 3:30 because I weigh too much. Can my body carry that extra weight 26.2 miles under an 8 minute pace? Did I run my 13.1 PR of 1:34 years ago because I was so thin?

I know it isn’t smart to diet before a race, but I have been paying attention to what food I put into my mouth for the first time in a year. I have been making much smarter choices (no pizza, no fried food, nothing with gravy), and not going back for seconds. I have also cut out all alcohol except on the weekends (I used to drink a glass of wine every night). With these habits, I hope to see the number on the scale drop a few pounds before I run NYC. Which will also relieve some of my stress about the situation.

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This post is in no way asking for people to tell me, “You are so skinny, you should love yourself” blah blah blah. I know I am skinny, but I am not happy with myself relative to where I have been in the past.

The point of this post is to get feedback from other runners and athletes on their thoughts about “race weight”, how they trim down before a race, and also how they keep themselves feeling full during training (I am ALWAYS starving!).

Please share any thoughts and tips you have. I always love to hear from you all!!

xoxo,

Ali

I will make one positive comment – although I weigh the most than I ever have, I am also the happiest than I have ever been 🙂

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