Races Running

No Means No: The Brooklyn Half Story

I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: At least 70 percent of being a runner is talking yourself into doing things you don’t want to do.

  • I don’t want to run 4 miles before work, but I’m going to make myself.
  • I don’t want to cut happy hour short, but I’m going to make myself.
  • I don’t want to coat my entire body in Vaseline pre-marathon, but I’m going to make myself.
And by coat myself, I mean coat the inside of my belly by eating the entire jar, lid and all. On a side note, this internet-shamed dog is going to be feeling pretty lousy in a few hours’ time.

With so many hours spent every single week talking myself into fitness, today felt like a major divergence. Why, you ask? Because today, registration opened for the illustrious Brooklyn Half Marathon. And instead of trying to talk myself into running it, I spent all 52 minutes before the race sold out trying to talk myself out of it.

(Don’t really click there to register. This is a screen grab.)

You might be asking: Why would I want to talk myself out of joining this iconic New York City road race, which is both the largest half marathon in the country and the site of my last (gulp: last ever?PR? The Brooklyn Half has so many things going for it: the course is fairly flat and ends on a multi-mile downhill, the t-shirts are always top notch swag, and, given the race’s Coney Island finish, you can chase down your victory with a classic Nathan’s hot dog.

photo 2 (70)
Assuming they don’t mind you paying with sweat-soaked currency. I’m the worst.

Plus, I’m already training for the New York City half in March, so it’s not like I’d be starting from square one fitness-wise. I could just maintain for two months between the NYC Half and the Brooklyn Half, I thought as I opened the registration window. Half marathon training for five months straight never killed anyone, I thought as I fingered the edge of my credit card. I don’t have much else to do this spring, I thought as I rounded the corner to check out.

And then I remembered: I actually DO have a lot to do this spring. Not only am I working long days and trying to get to strength training classes at least twice a week, but I’m also cooking 80 percent of my meals at home, trying to read more books, targeting more hours of sleep, and, oh yeah, planning a freaking wedding for 180 of my closest friends (read: giant Irish family) this fall. Half marathon training is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is easy to fold into an already crammed schedule.

Which is why, against all odds, I successfully talked myself out of registering today. And when I signed back on to check the site tonight, this is what I found:

brooklyn 2

Maybe I’ll come to regret the decision on May 21 — or maybe I’ll be laying on a sandy beach that day eternally grateful not to be queuing up for a porta potty before the 7 a.m. starting gun. As a runner and — well, a human — it’s important to know my limits, and I think joining this road race would have pushed me to the end of mine.

And if a few weeks roll around and I really begin to regret my decision not to do a second half marathon this spring, there’s always the MORE/SHAPE Women’s Half-Marathon in Central Park in April, which still has a wide open roster ready for registrants. I’ve run that one at least two times, and I could be persuaded to do it again, but only if my running buddy were to join me for a third year in a row.

What do you say, mama bear? I’m only partially kidding.




My Name Is Jonas/I’m Ruining Your Health

If you’re one of the tens of millions of people impacted by this weekend’s  nor’easter aka Snowzilla aka David Snowie, this post is for you. 

Hello, roofdeck. Goodbye, tomatoes that somehow produced fruit straight through Epiphany.
If you’re my brother and his wife avoiding this whole mess in Hawaiian paradise, you’re lucky I kind of still like you. 

You sun-drenched jerks, you.

For the rest of us, today gives us many things: the first major snowfall of the year, dozens of instagramable moments, proof that it’s somehow still interesting to watch the weather report on repeat for seven hours straight. Unfortunately, a snow day also has a way of offering something else: the uncanny ability to help us pack back on those holiday pounds we’ve been working to shed all January long. 

Of course, I certainly understand how it happens: Not only is it too snowy to get to the gym, but there’s also nothing like a blizzard to make a person crave comfort food. It’s so wonder the papers have been reporting that rather than bread and milk, the first items to sell out at east coast grocery stores were familiar, delicious items like frozen pizza, cookie dough and spicy cheez-its. 

If you have the metabolism of a Hemsworth, or you’ve been outside shoveling all day, by all means treat ‘yo self to some DiGiorno. But if you’re like me and training for a spring half marathon where every extra pound of body weight is going to make it tougher to cross that finish line in under two hours, you may not want to enter the weekend four pounds heavier than you went into it on account off some inconsiderate blizzard. So in this weather, what’s a health-conscious girl to do? I don’t have all the answers, but here are some tips from one snowed in runner to another:

  • Eat slow food. It’s tempting to down a bag of goldfish in weather like this, but heavily processed and ready-made products aren’t going to leave you feeling satisfied for long. Instead, take advantage of being stuck inside by braising a stew in your crockpot all day (I made this one) or baking some homemade whole-wheat bread.  You might still eat yourself sick by somehow finishing 1.5 of the 2 loaves before sundown, but at least you know the ingredients in it are nutritious and filling. 
This photo might look better with a filter, says everyone.
  • Get moving, a little. You’re not going to knock it out of the park today fitness wise, but going a whole day without so much as getting off the coach will leave restless and uncomfortable come bedtime. You can get your heart rate up lots of ways: shoveling snow, vacuuming your apartment, doing squats or lunges anytime the newscaster says “record year.” I chose to do this 45-minute yoga for runners routine from the comfort of my bedroom, and it definitely wore me out enough to enjoy my extended shavasana aka post-yoga nap. 
Remind us to register for towel racks.
  • Enjoy a day of rest.  Runners are good at a lot of things — bagel consumption, porta-potty etiquette, talking about our sport with anyone who’ll listen — but we are notoriously terrible at taking a day off. We tend to think more miles = better athletes … And then we’re always surprised when we end up nursing shin splints and stress fractures with each training cycle. Recovery is key to improved performance, so allow yourself to enjoy this forced day of relaxation. Sleep in, take a nap, read a book, run a bath, open some red wine, watch a movie, or cuddle up with your sweetheart after coming in from the storm. Keira certainly did. 


Just kidding. Keira only cuddles with me.
So that’s my advice for maintaining until the snow melts. What other strategies are you using?

Training Weight Loss

The Resolution Will Be Televised

People in this world tend to fall clearly into one of two camps. They’re either morning people or late-night people. They either love olives or hate them. They’re dog or cat fans, introverts or extroverts, team Chris or Liam Hemsworth, and appalled by the GOP front runners or not paying attention.

They either believe in the value of New Year’s resolutions or they don’t, and they either feel Jan. 9 is too late to publish a resolution-themed post or they forgive me for living an insanely busy first two weeks of 2016.

If you’re already resolutioned-out, best to skip this post entirely and scroll directly to the wet goldendoodle photo I promise to paste at the end of this entry, because, that’s right folks, today we’re talking about New Year’s resolutions, deadlines be damned. So what if it’s already Epiphany?

Let’s start with those of you who fall into the “no resolutions for me” camp. Believe me, you’re in good company. About 50 percent of the population doesn’t make resolutions on Jan. 1, and, sure, I can understand some of the arguments why. It’s an arbitrary day to make a massive life change. It’s also a day many Americans wake up hungover and aren’t itching to get to the gym or eat anything other than a fried egg sandwich. Most of all, it can be demoralizing to set a goal, particularly a dramatic one, and see it fail in a matter of days when it was supposed to last 365. For those of you swimming against the resolution tide, you think it’s better to maintain an even keel than try to blow it out of the water during the coldest, darkest time of the year, and a part of me can totally understand that.

Heck, I kept successfully resolution free for the first 25 years of my life, and for the most part, life was good. I had great fun, I had great friends, I had a great bowl-shaped haircut that practically guaranteed I wasn’t going to get a boyfriend until college.

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I’m that feminine angel in the blue.

But in December 2010, after seeing dozens of unflattering photos of myself at one of my closest friend’s weddings, I finally decided it was time to rip off the no-resolutions band aid and dive head first into the new year. I decided that starting Jan. 1, I was going to count my calories, I was going to lose 30 pounds, I was going to run the 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philadelphia in May, and I was going to get my 20s back on track. And  — humblebrag, or maybe just regular brag — I did.

I also learned how to use illustrator programs more sophisticated that Microsoft Paint. Just kidding!

Coming off of my successful 2011 resolution, I set another lofty set of 2012 resolutions: start this blog, run a marathon, and floss. And I did that, too. (True story: Almost every night before bed, I try to negotiate my way out of flossing, and then I remind myself that if I ran a four-hour long road race four times, I can surely muster the strength to run a piece of plastic against my gums. But I don’t care what Dan Savage says about flossing: it never gets better.)

But in the years since those dynamite back-to-back years of successful resolutions, I’ve fallen back off the bandwagon. In 2013, I kind of resolved to cook more meals at home and rediscover yoga, which I kind of did, but not to any degree that is memorable. In 2014, I kind of resolved to train smarter, with at least one tempo run, one long run, and one speed workout each week, and I kind of did that too, but only when I was officially training for an event. By 2015, I was so disillusioned by those unsatisfactory performances that I returned to my pre-2010 ways: I didn’t make a resolution at all.

So this year, this was the great debate: make a new year’s resolution that might yet again go semi-unfulfilled, or skip the practice altogether?

Turns out, I compromised. I set two big goals for myself at the start of the year — attend BodyPump weight lifting class at least once a week and stay off Facebook when I’m laying in bed trying to go to sleep — and sure enough, one of these goals has already been annihilated. (I don’t even LIKE facebook anymore, but it won’t release me from its meme-filled clutches!) But I refuse to give up so easily on my second goal, and so far, I haven’t — it’s only Jan. 9, and I’ve already taken two BodyPump classes in 2016. Sure, this goal could still go by the wayside, but given my stubborn refusal to fail on both fronts this year, something tells me I’m going to pump my way through all of 2016.

Besides, my arms have to look good in a wedding dress in short order. Wouldn’t want Keira to be disappointed in me.

I told you I’d deliver.

Did you make a resolution this year? How is it going so far?