Gearing up for Winter Running

I want to be prepared for winter running this year. So, I am starting while the weather is still decent. This year, I want to invest in one pair of high quality running tights. I am considering:

  1. Lululemon
  2. New Balance Intensity Tights (again! I have these and love them!)

I also want to stock up on a few insulated long sleeves. I will take a look at what New Balance has in stock! Must have features for me are, thumb-holes and, an insulation of some sort on the inside.

Lastly, I want a running jacket that is insulated but, not a rain jacket or a snow jacket. This one will take some effort in researching. Do you have a favorite winter running jacket?

My ear warmers and gloves are still good from last year. I may look into some socks….I can’t believe winter is almost upon us! Set yourself up for success this winter!

 

Happy Running!

❤ A

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EQT 10 Miler Race Recap

I didn’t sign up for the EQT 10 miler until after I ran the Chicago Marathon….that’s only three and a half weeks before the race! – Very unlike me but, I didn’t want to jinx it. Also, I was nervous. I have never run a race so close to finishing a marathon before. I know plenty of people who run races after marathons, within the same week. It’s just something I have never done before and, I wanted to make sure I was feeling good and not putting myself in a position for injury. I finished Chicago, felt good, and immediately signed up for EQT. Usually, EQT is a peak race for me. I ran my 10 mile PR there, three years ago, in 65 minutes. It is my favorite race that Pittsburgh provides and, it is a lot of fun! I just couldn’t miss it. I had absolutely no goals for this race – which is also very unlike me. I decided that I would treat this as a fun, last race of 2018. No training, no strategy, no specific pace, just pure fun. I am glad that I didn’t put much pressure on myself for this race because, on the Friday before the race (Sunday), my boyfriend and I made the last minute decision to drive to Baltimore to take care of some business (Max owns a charming row house there). Since I am on a break from training, the fact that I had a race in two days did not derail me from enjoying an orange crush and some cocktails at our favorite bars in Charm City. In fact, I set a record for how late I was up. We didn’t arrive in Baltimore until 11:35pm….we helped close a bar down at 2:30am and, enjoyed some pizza at 3am. Crazy but, I was really happy to let loose and have some fun that is usually a big no-no for me in training! We got back to Pittsburgh 22 hours later, where I showered, got my things ready for the race, and went to sleep. My body naturally woke up at 5:30am … I was not planning to wake up until 6:20am so….I was a little disappointed. I laid in bed for some time, relaxing and wondering why it was so light out already. When I did get up, I got dressed and went to the kitchen to eat some breakfast. That is when I noticed that the time on the oven and microwave read “7:45” , not 6:45 like my phone. I totally freaked out because, somehow, I thought that the time was not supposed to change until Sunday night! I had a freak-out and called an Uber to take me to the start of the race, just in case this was an iPhone glitch and it really was 20 minutes until the start of the race. Eeks! I also texted my best friend Megan to ask her what time it was. When she responded, it truly was 6:45 and, I was relieved. I got to the area where the race was being held, and chilled for thirty minutes inside, before heading out into the cold (46 degrees and frosty). I ran into a lot of friends and laughed at myself for forgetting about the time change. The race started 20 minutes later than planned, due to some security clearances. They had a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in a recent tragedy that took place in Pittsburgh, the anthem was sung, the elite athletes were announced, the handcycle athletes were off, and so were the runners! I was seeded in this race, and happy to get started!

I cruised the first five miles, enjoying my favorite neighborhoods and the fall foliage all around my city. It was a beautiful morning. Mils 5-8 felt really long and slow…I knew that I would see Max near our apartment, at mile 7, so I looked forward to that. He surprised me and showed up at mile 8 and the finish! I love seeing him at the finish because, we enjoy cheering for other runners and, walking back home (when the race is close by). I sprinted to the end, giving a big kick and enjoying the cheers from the crowds at the finish. I was really happy that it was over and, that I had enjoyed the whole thing!

Max gave me a big hug, let me finish his coffee, and we walked a mile and half home, along with the course, cheering for runners and saying hi to so many people that I know! There was so much support for the victims of the Synagogue tragedy, it truly was heartwarming. I love my community!

We stopped at our favorite coffee shop along the way, picked up cappuccino’s, and hurried home to watch the NYC marathon!

Overall, it turned out to be a jam-packed weekend, full of fun and running! Thank you, Pittsburgh for always putting on a great EQT 10 miler!

Happy Running,

❤ A

Avoiding Sickness When the Temperature Changes

Does anyone else find themselves getting sick as the weather changes? For me, I always feel like my sinuses act up and the sniffling begins. UGH. Getting sick can put a real dent in your training, especially if you have a peak race in the winter or spring. Plus, getting sick just stinks in general so….the more we can to do keep out immune system healthy, the better. Here are my tips for keeping your immune system healthy while training:

  1. Stay on top of your vitamins! I don’t know if it is just me or what but, sometimes I fall off the vitamin bandwagon and, boy does it get the best of me! Don’t just take vitamins to take vitamins….know what your body needs and take that! I need Iron, Vitamin D, Calcium, and B12! I know this through a yearly blood test that I get and, consultation from my nutritionist. I encourage you to do the same because keeping your vitamins in check will help keep all your levels afloat when everyone else is sniffling and sneezing.
  2. Take Vitamin C! I have a couple of methods of taking vitamin C….one, includes the old school Emergen-C packets that you dissolve in water. I take one packet a week and more if I have a race coming up. Honestly, I don’t know if these things really work or not but, we swore by them in college so….I still take them now. On a more natural note, I try to stalk up the house with citrus fruits, which is perfect because they are in season in fall and winter! Also, we drink cold-pressed juice once a week, which is great for getting lots of minerals and vitamins!
  3. SLEEP. You should always sleep but….getting your 6-8 (or 9 for some of us) hours a night is critical for recovery and preventing sickness. REST people, REST!
  4. Nasal Strips! These work really well for workouts and runs were you “sort of” feel sick but, you aren’t feeling bad enough to take a day off. Nasal strips can open up your airways and help you get through your workout! They are also a great little reminder to breathe through your nose while running (instead of your mouth). The strips work to expand the walls of your nasal cavity, promoting better breathing.
  5. Hydration! One time, when I was a kid, I was really upset that I was sick and I had read somewhere that drinking a ridiculous amount of water, you could just pee out the sickness. Sounds crazy but, it turns out my childhood folklore wasn’t all a myth. Drinking water really does help flush out toxins that are keeping your sore or, sick. Drink water! It really helps!

Good luck staying sickness free as the weather cools, everyone!

Happy Running,

❤ A

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November Goals

This year is just going by too fast but, I am savoring each day because this is my favorite time of year. Here are my goals for November, the second to last month of the year!

  1. Make my plan for Spring training – yay! So excited for planning! J
  2. 9-10 pull-ups! I set the goal of doing 10 pull-ups this year and, I really want to hit that goal before December 31st!
  3. Successfully race the EQT 10 miler – my favorite race in Pittsburgh! I have no lofty goals for this race. I simply want to enjoy it and do my best on that day!
  4. Live in the moment – I really need to get better at this and, since Thanksgiving is coming up, one of my goals is to live with intention and thankfulness. It goes a long way in enhancing many aspects of your life!

Happy Running,

❤ A

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October Recap

Well…sometimes you meet all your goals and, sometimes you don’t. The great thing about goal setting though, is that you are not defined by your ability to meet a goal. You are defined by your ability to keep chasing and creating goals after you fail. This month reminded me of that simple truth. Here is how October went for me:

Successfully race the Chicago Marathon – check out my post on Chicago Marathon Goals for more on this!

  1. Goals A: PR (sub-3:09)
  2. Goal B: PR a lot (sub-3:05)
  3. Finish the race healthy and happy!

I successfully met goal three of these goals. You can read more about the Chicago Marathon, here.

  1. Take 2 weeks off from running and start back up training for my final fall race, the EQT 10 miler, in November!

I took one-week completely off from running, with the exception of using the gym for 30 minutes on the bike and stretching the day after the marathon. Week two, I started doing workouts again. I kind of decided that I simply could not miss my favorite race in Pittsburgh (EQT, November 4th)….so, in order to stay in shape and work on my speed, I started weaning myself back into training after seven days of rest.

  1. Enjoy outdoor activities that are running and not running related!

Yessss! This month is simply beautiful. I have enjoyed taking the time to walk before work and spend quality time outside. We live near a river and, our apartment has the most stunning courtyard. I am taking full advantage of the crisp fall air!

  1. Start weight training again, one week after the marathon!

Done. I am back on a strength training plan and boy does it feel good!

I hope you all had a great October!

Happy Running,

❤ A

Why I Signed Up for Pilates

Pilates isn’t just a fitness craze right now – it is a great way to improve the strength of your core and hips. Yes, your hips. And, runners need strong hips. After realizing how “un-strong” my hips were in the Chicago Marathon, I knew that something had to change. From my experience working in Healthcare for three years and, being a trainer and coach, I knew that Pilates would be a great starting point to strengthen my weak areas! What exactly is Pilates? Introductory Pilates (the kind I am starting out with), involves mat based exercises that require small movements from the muscles in your glutes, hips, core, and pelvic area (yep, you have muscles there!). The exercises are generally done with a hold and, the whole idea revolves around the proper form, precision, technique, and SQUEEZING! Advanced Pilates incorporates these same muscles and movements off the mat, and onto a reformer, which is a Pilates machine that provides resistance. Stay tuned for my experience with advanced Pilates, in the Spring!

I had my first Pilates class at an amazing studio across the street from my apartment, on Monday evening. It was interesting and, I really liked it! I really enjoy doing core work so, I had a feeling that Pilates would be right up my alley! I will say – it was much more difficult than I imagined it would be. The class lasted an hour and the instructor led us through a series of exercises and squeezes designed to strengthen and tone the muscles surrounding the hips and pelvic bone, the lower back, the core, and the glutes. I was definitely a “different-kind-of-sore” after Pilates and, I am looking forward to going back next Monday!

Happy Running,

❤ A

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My Experience Spectating a Marathon

For all the races I have run post-college, I have never been to a race for the sole purpose of spectating. Crazy! Last month, a bunch of my college and city friends were running the Erie Marathon, up in Northwestern Pennsylvania. After coordinating a ride with Gretchen, I was really excited to go up and watch Megan, my best friend and training partner, and many other, leave their footprints around Presque Isle. I have always been the kind of person to want to participate, and not spectate and, I had every intention of doing my 18-mile long run during the race but, that didn’t end up happening because it was way more fun watching the race! Here are some of my favorite things about spectating a marathon:

  1. The energy of the runners: if you want to be motivated to run a race, go watch a race. The energy is amazing and the runners are incredible! The whole time, I kept thinking to myself, “I wish I was doing that!”.
  2. The camaraderie of the spectators: I definitely feel synergy among the runners when I am part of a race but, I never thought I would feel a connection with spectators, as a spectator myself. I was happily surprised. It was almost like being at a tailgating party, with families and friends lining the course, cheering like crazy when their favorite runners came by.
  3. Motivating the runners: ahhh- I loved this part! I yelled all the things that I want to hear in a race, stuck my hand out for high-fives, and gave out free smiles to all.
  4. Holding a sign: I actually didn’t think that I would like holding a sign but, my friend Gretchen had made two and I got to hold one. It said something along the lines of, “This was a good idea…. Four months ago”. Haha, It was really fun to watch the runners faces brighten up when they read the sign and could relate to it.
  5. The thrill of the finish: the finish line is such a glorious place….I watched so many people PR, run a BQ or simply finish. Each one was amazing!

I truly enjoyed my first experience spectating a marathon and, I highly suggest that you try it out if you can. There is something about stepping back and taking a birds eye view, that really fosters a sense of self-awareness in humans. I always appreciate any opportunity to step back, reflect, support the sport, and learn a little about myself in the process.

This quote never rang truer…

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

– Kathrine Switzer

Happy Running,

❤ A

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