20. May 2015 · 2 comments · Categories: inspiration · Tags: , ,

Warning: I get a little deep here and think I needed to write this more for me but I hope you gain something from reading. =)

Where do you feel most at peace? What gives you purpose?

Sunday morning I was in the car sipping coffee, singing out loud along with my favorite radio station’s acoustic set which I so rarely get to listen to (I’m one of the few people left on the planet who doesn’t have satellite radio otherwise i’d be listening to the coffee house channel because I’m a sucker for acoustic, singer-songwriter genre music. The doodle was on the front seat (about to be dropped off at my sister in laws) and I was driving to the start of a charity 5k run.
co pilot

co pilot

IMG_5465

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I felt so at peace and happy. It made me think a lot about the things/people/places that make me feel that way. After my husband died I spent more than a decade seeking out solitude and peace. I found it with a walk in the woods, catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee or a road trip. I loved to drive and would drive all over to meet up with friends for long weekends. And then I found running. Running soothed my soul and gave me peace and comfort. And we can’t post about peace without mentioning Duncan—I come home from work at night and all my stress melts away as we get comfy on the sofa and settle in for the night.
can't get any more peaceful. Dog, nature walk and coffee!

can’t get any more peaceful. Dog, nature walk and coffee!

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Anyway that leads me to the second part of this post and brings it back to the 5k I was driving to. I was headed to this charity 5k to run with Mr. SOTSS and his (almost) 10 and (almost) 12 year-old daughters. I was happy to be in such a calm peaceful and joyful mood. I was looking forward to the run not knowing it would be for anything more than just to help Mr. SOTSS out and my own Sweat Out the Small Stuff reasons.
As we lined up at the start I paired up to run with his older daughter and Mr. SOTSS paired up with his little one.
lined up

lined up representing a whole lotta sneaker brands Brooks, Asics, Saucony and Nike! =)

While I am now a year into my relationship with Mr. SOTSS I am still early on in getting to know his girls. Mr S. has been great at knowing when the appropriate time to introduce us was and he continues to know when it makes sense to include me. I know it’s all new for him too and I really commend him on how he’s handled everything so far. Those girls are very lucky. They have a super dedicated mom and a doting dad to start. And then they have lots of other role models in their lives like sports coaches, teachers and extended family. I’ve had some anxiety over how I would be perceived and whether or not the girls would really look for anything more from me other than dad’s friend Sally who does arts and crafts and plays video games with them. But it was during the race that I realized that I could be an additional role model in their lives and instinctually (the way I am with my niece and nephew) I thought about how I could provide value instead of just keeping his daughter company. At one point about halfway during the race his daughter who I was running with was struggling a bit…mainly the heat and humidity were getting to her. Her cheeks were flushed and she was having some trouble trying to stay in control of her breathing. I told her to let me know if she wanted to slow down but she said she was ok. Something made me think she she just might not have felt comfortable enough to tell me if she wanted to slow down so I told her I had friends who ran marathons by doing run/walk intervals. They had a watch that would beep every 4 minutes to let them know to take a walk break. And they would continue running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute for the entire race which helped them recover. I then told her about some strategies I use when there are hills. I would take it easy and walk up the hills knowing it’s easier to go downhill so i could start back running on the downhills. Basically I wanted to give her some food for thought. So as we approached the next hill she asked if we could walk a bit and then when we got to the top of the hill and she could see it was time for the downhill she said “OK, I’m ready to start running again”. I didn’t tell her what to do or how to handle her discomfort yet my information helped her to make decisions. And not only did she complete the race but she was totally in control. She didn’t whine or cry or make a big deal about how hard it was to run in the heat and humidity. She didn’t just decide to walk the rest. She never gave up. She chose what part of the remaining course she’d walk and what part she’d run using signs as markers and making note of the hills. And she sprinted to the finish with all the confidence in the world. (Side note: she also chose to pour water over her head at some of the water stops and we giggled together. I’m sure it felt good and someday I might just have to try that too.)
IMG_5479

She has great form too!

We can feel peace when we feel purpose. 
Both girls did wonderfully and after joining them and their dad for a little post race lunch at their aunt’s house I said goodbye. My original purpose was just to help Mr. SOTSS out and escort one girl so that each girl could run their own race and he didn’t have to try and stay as a group. But it became more than that for me and hopefully for his daughter too.
And I learned a little something from the girls, too. Running is just a part of life. Afterward, drawing contests and selfies with dad and Chester the dog were just as important as the 3.1 mile run they participated in earlier. I want to take that mindset and apply it to my training for the NYC marathon. I want to remind myself that while I will be running a lot for 16 weeks of training, it is just a part of my life. And hopefully I’ll get to be part of those drawing contests and silly selfies too. We can’t take life too seriously or we’ll forget to have fun.
I couldn’t complete this post without a special dedication for an 11-year old who was tragically killed yesterday. Abigail Zukowski was the youngest daughter of a high school friend of mine. While I haven’t seen him in years we had reconnected on Facebook a few years back and today I learned of this unfortunate news. She was crossing the street in the crosswalk and struck by a car. I’m so very saddened for him and his family including their two other daughters.
Do you have kids?
Do you teach or coach?
What makes you feel at peace?
What give you purpose?

Here’s the thing. I know I must have said this before but I’ll say it again. Running is so much more than the miles that your feet cover. Today as a non-running runner, I had so many happy moments that it almost became insignificant that I didn’t actually run 13.1 miles.

Of course it wouldn’t have been half as fun without Elvia, my fellow injured running peep, sharing the morning of spectatorship (is that even a word?) with me.

unplanned...we both decided to go with "spectator pink"

unplanned…we both decided to go with “spectator pink”

It started this morning at 6:30am. I got up, dressed, took the dog out quick and then drove from Staten Island into Brooklyn over my favorite bridge where I parked and hopped on the subway to get out to Coney Island.

VZ Bridge

VZ Bridge

By 8:15am I hopped off the subway and made my way up toward where Elvia was parked.

Iconic Nathans

Iconic Nathans

We walked up onto the boardwalk right past the finish where they were giving out the finishers’ medals.

medalsIt was fairly early still but I happened to notice a Facebook friend’s dog. Long story but through the worlds of labradoodle and running I became “friends” with someone on Facebook. He had just finished running and his fiancé and their dog (who is a bigger version of Duncan) were there to greet him and take pictures. Always so awkward to say “hey we’re friends on Facebook”. Anyway, I chatted with them for a bit and then Elvia and I got busy tracking our friends. For whatever reason Elvia’s phone was working well while mine was having a hard time connecting to a signal (and we’re BOTH Verizon!) so she was the official tracker. All of a sudden it started to pour but we were right by a bar/restaurant with an awning so we grabbed ourselves some cocktails and sat under the awning to stay dry.

cocktails before 9am.

cocktails before 9am.

Lucky for us the rain stopped just before we saw our first friend was approaching mile 13.

And so for the next hour we continued to greet our runners with loud cheers (i think the margarita might have made me a little extra punchy ;) and photo snaps.

First up was Robin…

Elvia and Robin have been friends for 15 years.

Elvia and Robin have been friends for 15 years.

She actually took a little detour to run down her childhood block and still managed to break 2 hours.
Next up was Mike…

Mike!

Mike!

I don’t think I’ve seen Mike since February so it was nice to see him for a bit. And then it was Lisa…

lisa-elv-sall

A left armed selfie since my right arm still won’t go high enough =) And notice how Lisa matches too?! I just noticed the photobomber in turquoise. LOL.

lisa

The volunteer was so nice he helped Lisa get over to where we were. Her own personal escort =)

She was so relaxed you’d never know she just ran 13 miles.
And then smiley Jorge…
jorge

Just before we left to go meet up with everyone at the designated post-race spot I said to Elvia that there were two runners from Staten Island that I was hoping to catch—Michelle (NYC Running Mama) and Jen (Mom’s Gotta Run). So we quickly tracked them on the livetracker site and saw they were literally approaching the finish line! Sure enough not a minute later I saw Jen and Michelle walking down the chute to get their medals. And Elvia and I SCREAMED their names!!!!

Friends help friends get PRs =)

Friends help friends get PRs =)

I knew Michelle was coaching and pacing Jen and that Jen’s goal was sub 2. I also knew that Michelle always has that infectious smile so when I saw the smile I still had to ask….how’d it go? Jen not only beat her sub 2 goal but she PR’ed by 2 minutes. 1:56:xx. The were just the cutest. Walking arm in arm. I’m glad I got to be one of the first to congratulate them.

runner bloggers X3

runner bloggers X3

congrats

Priceless!

And then it was off to the Brooklyn Cyclone’s baseball stadium to meet up with everyone and listen to some music. We finally connected with Cindy.

cindy

 

After party! Photo courtesy of Elvia.

After party! Photo courtesy of Elvia.

Injured rotator cuff twins! Photo courtesy of Elvia.

Injured rotator cuff twins! Photo courtesy of Elvia.

So you see—half marathons are fun whether you run them or not =) But no worries…..i’ll be back to running them in September.

Have you ever spectated before?

Did you see everyone you were there to see?

Ever injure your rotator cuff?

Do you like the color pink?

I have so much to talk about and I thought i should break this post up into chunks. First Let’s talk about my unnecessary rollercoaster ride process to my decision on whether to run the Brooklyn Half tomorrow.

EVERYTHING BUT THE MEDAL

Wednesday afternoon, on my lunch hour I took the subway from my office in Manhattan to Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park where the Brooklyn Half “Pre-Party” (expo) was being held.

This is my stop!

This is my stop!

But seriously...

But seriously…

I wanted to pick up my race bib and t-shirt regardless of what my final decision on running would be. For one, I paid a good amount of money for registration including the tech shirt….

Because i need another race shirt

Because i need another race shirt

plus, i love that it was being held at such a scenic spot in Brooklyn where the views of lower Manhattan are just breathtaking. For whatever reason this race has become a large event with runners from all over and they made sure to tailor the pre-party for the out-of-towners and also highlight some of Brooklyn’s unique eats and music. I love when my hometown (while I live in the neighboring borough of Staten Island, I was born in Brooklyn) can be shared with others.

Sally selfie

Sally selfie

let the "pre-party" begin

let the “pre-party” begin

bk-half-preparty2

A tree grows in Brooklyn

A tree grows in Brooklyn

Yesterday morning, I drove to physical therapy for my shoulder and i was still wrestling with the whole Brooklyn Half situation. How could I possibly be in jeopardy of having to drop out of running this half marathon due to injury 2 years in a row???!!!! And for the same (overuse) injury! After 6 weeks of knee-hab here I was dealing with my ankle demons.

I shut down my mind and focused on the exercises they had me do for my shoulder. Unfortunately due to insurance reasons this was my last session. Crazy since I’m nowhere near healed. But I know the exercises i need to do and will continue to do them 2x a week at home. And maybe Mr. SOTSS can pinch hit for the shoulder massage part. =)

But as soon as I left PT, my mind was racing again….literally! I know I can physically run 13.1 miles on Saturday which is what’s been making it so hard to make that final decision. It’s what i’m risking in the long run. I’m pretty sure it would leave me with a longer road to recovery. My ankle tendonitis is mild at the moment. But this could be just too much for those tendons to handle and I know it took 4 months to heal last year when it was severe. I don’t want to lose 4 months again. Especially after I just experienced being sidelined for the knee.

And I am running a 5k on Sunday with Mr. SOTSS and his daughters and I definitely don’t want to jeopardize that in any way. So really It’s my pride that’s really has been standing in the way here. But I made the final decision just hours ago that I won’t be running. And you know what? It’s not the end of the world. And the silver lining is that I get to be a supporter/spectator this time. I had lots of practice being a spectator last year at the Spring Lake 5, Jersey Shore Half and NYC Marathon. I’ll be waiting at the finish line to cheer as my running peeps cross and then I’ll hang out with them after and help celebrate their finish. I miss them! Plus, my running peep Elvia is also needing to sit this race out so we’re going to meet to run/walk just a couple of miles while we wait for the rest of the crew. YAY!

With my pre-party experience, race spectating and post race celebration basically I’ll have everything but the medal. =)
This brings me to my next share…

PERMISSION FOR LONG SET BACKS

It started back in Sept. 2013. I trained to run 5 half marathons in 5 days.

Half marathon Day 4: Montana

Half marathon #4 of 5: Montana

Yes, I trained hard for that. I ran 65 miles in 5 days in the week of those races. I had never run as much as I did that fall….and then came the NYC Marathon that November followed by a cold and snowy winter that I battled to keep my training going for the NJ Marathon in April of 2014. I did lots of speedwork on a treadmill mainly because the snow forced me indoors and treadmills bore me. So the speed intervals kept me focused. This all proved out as i set a HUGE PR in the 1/2 marathon last March (in the pouring rain) in Philadelphia and then another HUGE PR at the NJ Marathon. I also set a 5k PR in that time as well.

Setting my marathon PR at the NJ Marathon

Setting my marathon PR at the NJ Marathon

After setting a 13.1 PR in the pouring rain

After setting a 13.1 PR in the pouring rain

Breaking 5 hours for a course PR at the NYC Marathon

Breaking 5 hours for a course PR at the NYC Marathon

So when I think about all my injuries….the ankle, the knee, the hip, the hamstring, and non-running related but definitely draining the shoulder it makes sense that i’m still suffering (also, i’ve been poor about the preventative stuff like strength training and stretching).

And so I have given myself permission for these set backs to take a while longer to recover from.

Permission that 2015 just isn’t going to be a stellar year for my physical running capabilities.

Permission to let it be the year I learn a whole lot about the importance of the 10 percent rule and strength training.

Permission to stick to (and rekindle the joys of) short 2 and 3 mile runs a whenever I feel up to it instead of double digit long runs and a religious schedule.

Permission that planks just can’t happen until my shoulder is feeling stronger.

Permission to take multiple trips to bring in the groceries while my arm isn’t 100 percent.

Permission to accept that this is temporary. And temporary doesn’t have to mean a week or a month. This could be an entire year of working toward getting back to where I was.

But the biggest permission slip here is still new for me. I’ve been in a relationship now with Mr. SOTSS for a year now (side note: We went out last night for dinner to celebrate one year since our first date and I even got flowers =)

a year together.

a year together.

The last thing I want to do is whine about my injuries and not being able to run blah blah blah….but I’ve given myself permission to do it anyway (within reason!). He’s a great listener and as a runner himself he gets it. He understands that missing out on a run can impact so many things and like a catch 22 I don’t want to become irritable for not running and then take it out on him. Gosh I’m such an adult these days! I’m so grateful and lucky to have hjm as my biggest fan and to be supportive.

OTHER STUFF:

Yesterday I ran an easy 2-ish miles in my new Lululemon shorts that I bought last weekend when shopping with my niece. Let me just say that I LOVE them!

lulu-shorts1

the waist sits just below the belly button and felt very comfortable on me

Love how the boring compression short turns into what looks like stockings. It's a pretty feminine detail and let's be honest....hot summer runs require breathability.

Love how the boring compression short turns into what looks like stockings. It’s a pretty feminine detail and let’s be honest….hot summer runs require breathability.

lulu3

No creeping! No chafing! #WINWIN

The first time I’ve had a pair of shorts just fit without riding up or needing to be layered over compression shorts. I’m going to be blunt….I have a lot of thigh-age. I don’t hate my legs but I know that they rub and I chafe easily. I also know that most running shorts creep up and look pretty unflattering. So usually i’ll put a pair of compression shorts underneath. These came with an already attached pair of tight fitting shorts but they are so light.

I met my friend for a walk later on in the day and we came across this cute lil frog.

froggie

froggie

This morning I took Duncan to the vet for a checkup. He got a clean bill of health. We celebrated with a walk in the park.

Tranquility

Tranquility

The left side of my face felt like being camera shy.

The left side of my face felt like being camera shy.

Waiting nervously at the vet.

Waiting nervously at the vet.

Do you have a pet? 

Favorite running shorts?

Anyone running a race this weekend?

Anyone going to be at the Brooklyn Half?

 

Hi!
I’ve been so busy lately and haven’t had a chance to post in a while. My list of to-dos keeps getting longer rather than shorter. My day job is insanity and then on most evenings and weekends I have freelance work on top of that! And then there’s life—the other half of the work/life balance. Yep, I’ve been living it up lately :) I had lots of fun stuff going on this weekend.
My niece turned 15 last week and I took her into the city on Saturday to celebrate.city-sushi-shopping
I told her how I felt like it was just last year that I was taking her to the American girl doll store. She’s not a little girl anymore but I am ok with it. I love the teenager that she has become and we have so much in common that I feel like I’m out with a friend or a sister. The day was filled with two of our favorites: shopping and sushi. Oh and we also went to this bakery where you can order a cookie shot. No vodka. This is milk in a warm chocolate cookie shot glass with melted dark chocolate at the bottom.
Cheers!

Cheers!

Sarah isn’t a runner but she is definitely an active person. She takes yoga/Pilates in high school for her required gym class which I think is so cool. And she loves going to classes like Soul Cycle and there’s one she insists I join her to called SLT (Strength Length and Tone). She also pitches on her high school softball team. And she loves to wear athletic gear. So we hit up Lululemon and the flagship Nike store. And then to top off our night we ate at KOI, an amazing sushi restaurant in mid-town.
I spent some time with Mr. SOTSS this weekend too. Sunday morning we had our coffee out on his deck enjoying the unseasonably warm weather (it’s been in the 80s which is a good 10 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year )
The dogs enjoyed chilling on the deck too

The dogs enjoyed chilling on the deck too. It’s like they have butt magnets. LOL!

We also each went for a run…

2-mile-run
I am limiting myself to 2 mile runs this week. I know I said I’d try and just cross train this week and not start running until the weekend but I just couldn’t find it in me to cross train at the gym. I almost took my bicycle out yesterday instead of running buy my rotator cuff is still a mess and I don’t know how steering and using the hand brakes would be. The whole arm is quite weak and stiff and can’t take on too much weight.
The ankle tendonits seems manageable at the moment, so my compromise is 1-2 short runs this week and some walking. Plus my stretching and foam rolling.
After our runs we went to my brother’s house for a Mother’s Day brunch and then, in the late afternoon we spent some time with the pups at the beach.
One of us knows how to look at the camera for a picture and the other blogs.

One of us knows how to look at the camera for a picture and the other blogs.

Mr. Sweat Out The Small Stuff in Shades...say that 10X fast. And then say "Sally sells snail shells" too.

Smiley Mr. Sweat Out The Small Stuff in Shades…say that 10X fast. And then say “Sally sells snail shells” too.

Pretty little snail shell

Pretty little snail shell

While temps inland had reach the mid 80s it was between 65-70 at the beach. Perfect for waking along the water. The only fly in the ointment wasn’t a fly but a tick…actually a few ticks. Yuck yuck yuck! I loathe those things. We gave the dogs a good look over and hopefully we got all those buggers. They get monthly preventatives too just in case. Later on in the evening we were back out on the deck for a little barbecue dinner and some frozen strawberry daiquiris. :)

drinks-patio

drinks to match the patio furniture

MMMMMM!

MMMMMM!

Duncan had one too many….

I should have stopped at one drink...

I should have stopped at one drink…

I’m signed up for the Brooklyn Half Marathon this coming Saturday and I’m really wrestling with whether I should be running it. I’m not going to make any decisions until the end of the week. And I do plan on going to the expo to get my bib so I will be prepared either way.
There are a lot of things to consider:
1. Status of my current healing progress of injuries: My ankle and hip are not 100 percent although the knee is.
2. Logistics: It’s a point to point course with a huge field of runners (30,000 runners I think) and two waves that are about 30 minutes apart. So since most of my friends will be in the first wave I might miss them or I might need to arrive that much earlier to see them and then sit around. And that means needing to find doodle sitting since I’ll be gone for 8 or more hours.
3. Potential consequences of running a half after barely running since my full 2 weeks ago: I am running a 5k the next day that I don’t want to be crippled for.
So you see why I have turmoil. Oh and let’s not forget that I had to bail on this race last year due to injury and that’s the one driving force that is making me stew about still running. I don’t want to miss it 2 years in a row :(
I’ll keep you posted.
So how was your weekend? Were you a busy bee or a relaxed chickadee?
Do you do the pro/con list to help make decisions.