looking back at 2016 and my running evolution over the past couple of years.

I’ve planned a lot of things out this year and I have to say few if any have actually stuck exactly to schedule.  It’s been an absolutely insane year.  I made a lot of goals and I knocked most of them out and I’m still not entirely sure how I did it.  2016 was bananas to say the least.  I feel like this year was just crammed full of things and it makes me even more excited to see what the next one has in store.

This year has really been an interesting one for me in terms of my fitness.  I became a certified personal trainer through NASM and a Spinning instructor.  Fitness has always been one of my favorite activities and I’ve taken it to such a different level now.  Teaching my Spin classes has become one of my favorite things to do and has taught me so much.  I wouldn’t have pursued either of these certifications if it weren’t for failures in other areas though.  I decided to get NASM certified after I was fed up with studying for the GMAT and wanted to take my mind off of everything academic related and prove to myself that I was capable of handling this difficult exam on my own.  Spinning came about because of my ankle injury and me needing to find a cardio outlet since I was side-lined.  Were either in my plan going into the year?  Nope, not a chance.  But I am super proud I pursued both.

I told myself that my New Years Resolution for 2016 was to run a half marathon. Well, this year I ran not one but three.  So there’s that.  The first was on a treadmill (okay so I ran this Dec. 29th, I think we can call that close enough), the second was the Philly Love Run, and the third was another on the treadmill to prove that I was ready to get back after it coming off of my ankle injury.  I don’t know why I make up the idea in my head to just run one some days, but I do.  I’ve made the executive decision to sign-up for the New Jersey Marathon for 2017.  Training will start the first week of the New Year and I’m stoked.  Right now, I’m dealing with a tiny bit of ankle pain, so I went out and bought all of the balancing implements I could and am working on stretching and strengthening.

My goal for marathon training is simple.  Don’t train the same way you’ve trained before.  Listen to paces.  I am THE WORST.  Literally, certifiably the WORST at slowing down runs.  Which is probably why I spend a good amount of time injured.  I ain’t sayin’, I’m just sayin’. So.  I’ve consulted some handy-dandy pace calculators and am going to do it for real this time.  This week has been 2 miles quick-ish, 8 miles long and easy (9:05 pace), 4 miles for speed (including a 6:38 mile), and I’m aiming for maybeeeee 6 easy tomorrow but don’t quote me.

http://runsmartproject.com/calculator/embed/index.php?title=false

I started running a couple of years ago when my Aunt Mari announced at Thanksgiving that she was going to run a half marathon.  My dad and I, as competitive as ever, decided we were going to blow this one out of the water too and we started training.  Enter both of us getting immediately injured.  I came back swinging but every time I tried to get over 6 miles, I would injure myself in some capacity.  This year, I’m really trying not to.  I’ve talked about running paces before and I really wish I would heed my own advice (Can someone please tell me why I don’t?  Ugh.) because I think it will save me from injury.  I’m prioritizing long, easy, SLOW runs this time around and tons and tons of foam rolling and stretching.

I’m going into this marathon training smart.  I want to be a smart runner.  I have some genetic ankle issues working against me, but I know if I’m patient and go slow I can work it out and have already proved that with my most recent half.  I can do this, it’s not going to be easy but I can.

this was one of my first “long runs” ever. I was so proud, i snapped a pic haha

A lot of people have told me they can’t believe I’m training for a marathon and that they could never do that.  It’s not true.  Every single person started somewhere.  No one was born running 26.2 miles.  No one.  With a little work and a little care, anyone can do it.  Is it going to be easy?  Not a chance.  Is it going to be worth it?  God, I hope so.  In fact, anytime any one asks me anything and about how I got to be fast (for the record, I do not for a second think I’m fast. my 6:38 mile time today is some people’s warm-up) or how I can run all the miles, I just tell them that I worked at it.  I pushed a little harder, ran a little longer and it’s just been adding up over time.  I’m excited for this new challenge, but also straight up terrified.  All I know is when we make plans, God laughs though.

2017 I’ve got big plans for you, don’t let me down.

 

-sj

making it work and a look back at my week as a nomad.

Get on plane, get off plane, walk around new city, go to sleep, go to gym, get dressed up for meeting, go to meeting, repack suitcase, repeat.  Welcome to my life for the past 7 days.  Since last Sunday, I’ve been in North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and New Jersey.  So, you could say I was a little bit all over the place.  I spent about two days in any given location, over 7 hours in the air, over 12 hours in the car, and I’m done.  But, I’m very happy to get all of those meetings and visits out of the way in one solid chunk.  Was it stressful, you betcha, but it’s nice to only have to disrupt my work flow one time instead of five.

I see a lot of people struggle with workouts when their traveling and think that it is impossible, but I promise you it’s not.  You just have to be adaptable and want to do it.  Was I more tired than usual during some of these?  Yes.  But I went in with the mentality that something was better than nothing and that was all I needed.

In North Carolina, my hotel gym was teeny tiny.  Two treadmills, an elliptical, and a recumbent bike all surrounded by about enough space for one human to lie down and that was it.  I didn’t really want to run since I had run a lot over the weekend and my legs were tired, so I got to circuiting.  Circuit workouts are the PERFECT on the go workout.  You don’t need any equipment, they can be done anywhere, and they are EFFECTIVE.  Set a timer for 10 minutes and pick four or five exercises to do.  For example: 15 squats, 15 burpees, 15 push-ups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 high knees.  Repeat that sequence as many times as you can in that 10 minute window.  Rest for a minute and repeat.  The burn will be realllll.

In Atlanta, I was met with a whole other issue.  When I got to my hotel on Monday night, I realized that it was tiny, old, and there was no gym (along with many other issues, but that’s a post for a different day).  I kind of panicked when I realized this.  I had scheduled my rest day for later in the week and although I would have loved to do a circuit workout in my hotel room, I didn’t trust the stability of the establishment and worried I might jump my way through the floor.  That or REALLY aggravate the person underneath me.  Solution: sign-up for a workout class nearby.  I had heard a lot about Orange Theory Fitness from my friends and had always wanted to try a class.  Lucky for me, they’re pretty much everywhere.  I typed in the zip code of my hotel and at least 5 popped up within a 15 minute radius.  It was super easy to sign-up and I scheduled an Uber to come and get me at 5:50 because I knew it would be too dark to walk.

The class consisted of a .10 mile sprint, 250 meter row, and then a run for distance until you reached the 5 minute mark.  I know what you’re wondering and, yes, I did fall off of the rowing machine because I got to excited and pulled back without my seat following me.  And, yes, I have two nasty bruises on my buttocks to prove it.  The second circuit was a reverse: 250 meter row, .10 mile sprint, row for the rest of time.  We did each of these sets twice and then spent the second half of class working on weighted exercises off of the cardio equipment.  The class sped by and I walked away really feeling like I got a killer workout.  Disclaimer: they give you a heart rate monitor in the class and it told me I burned 500 calories LIESLIESLIES.  Always remember at gyms like this or places that give you heartrate monitors, it is in their best interest to make you think that you’ve burned a lot more calories than you actually have.  Never rely on those outputs.  #Polarforlyfe.

When I walked out of class feeling all sweaty and renewed, I was just going to call another Uber, but the closest one was 10 minutes away.  I was only 1.2 miles from my hotel and knowing that given how my legs were feeling it would probably take me 9 minutes to do that distance, I decided to jog on home.  I’m really glad I did this because I got to see a lot more of Atlanta and pushed myself just a little bit farther outside of my comfort zone.

Thursday was a workout at my parent’s gym and was really nice because it’s the gym I grew up with and has EVERYTHING you could ever want (vibration plates, steam room, five different kinds of treadmills, Bravo on the TVs).  I miss it already.

Friday, my dad and I were down in Bloomington, IN staying at a good ole Courtyard Marriott.  Friday’s have been my rest days lately, but knowing that I had an impending four hour car ride to look forward to following my meeting meant that I wanted to move just a little bit.  I hit the tiny gym and just walked on an incline for about 45 minutes.  I didn’t go at a particularly quick pace, but I got my legs moving and set myself up for a good day.  It was too dark outside and we didn’t seem to be in a particularly scenic area, so getting my walk on this way was just sufficient enough.  Big plus was that I got to help my Dad.  He loves to workout and I send him a workout plan every two weeks for him to follow.  I helped him with his form on some of the moves, but overall he was a champion and really crushed it.  I’m always proud of watching him work to be healthy.

There were a lot of times while I was away that I thought, “Maybe I’ll just sleep in today and rest”.  But that’s not me.  I genuinely feel better and more prepared for the day when I workout.  If that means I have to get up a little bit earlier to get it in, so be it.  I could have made a million excuses for not hitting the gym, but instead I was adaptable and made the scenarios I had placed in front of me work.  Whenever you think you don’t have time, don’t have space, or don’t want to, think through it again.  Ask yourself, will I feel better after I do this?  If the answer is yes, get off your butt and get to the gym.

 

-sj