Why Not You??

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This post initially appeared on Women’s Running. It can be found here.

When my sisters and I were younger, my mom would always ask us Why not you? whenever we began to doubt ourselves.

You want to play (insert sport here)?

You want to go to (insert college here)?

You want to do x, y or z?

Why not you?

She wanted me and my sisters to believe that we could do whatever we wanted and that anything was attainable – as long as we put our mind and hearts into it.

Her thought was that if someone else can do it, why can’t you?

It was about teaching us that nothing should be viewed as impossible.

You can’t control the gifts or natural abilities you were given. BUT, you can control how hard you work for something. You may not pick it up immediately or as fast as others. It may take you longer. It may take more tears and/or sweat. And that’s okay – because the end result is still the same.

(Note: there were plenty of times when we set our sights on things and came up short. My mom would ask us if we tried our best. As long as we did, it was still a success and something to be proud of.)

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    Learning to Trust the Process

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    If you receive Women’s Running (and you should!), check out page 8 of the magazine! I’m beyond excited to share the ads that I got to be a part of in February! There will be another ad or two in the coming months and the two 3-minute videos from the photo shoot should be released soon!

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    #Trusttheprocess has been one of my favorite hashtags to use on Instagram and twitter the last few months.

    I honestly don’t remember where I first heard or saw this phrase, but it struck a chord and has become one of the mantras I repeat to myself when things are tough or I’m questioning why I’m going to do a workout.

    Trusting the process.

    But what is the process?

    The process is the training. The recovery. The racing. The (seemingly) little things. The doing.

    It’s a process to get where you want to go. It won’t happen overnight so sometimes the best thing you can do is just chip away a little bit at a time. Sub-3:10 has been a big goal of mine for years. I stopped trying to do it all at once (because it wasn’t working) and started focusing on just training hard and letting paces, times and everything else fall into place when they are ready. I’ve chipped away the last two marathons and am hopeful that I’ve set myself up to achieve this goal in two weeks.

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      The Long Run: Finding Myself Again

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      One of my biggest issues this past summer was focusing too much on pace for my long runs. I was comparing my current times with last fall and either pushing too hard too soon in the run (and then totally bonking), quitting because I wasn’t hitting paces I was last fall or just stressing out entirely too much for a training run.

      The long run has been this cloud over my head. I used to love the long run – it was always my favorite run of the week. It used to be two to three hours of getting to zone out and just run while enjoying my surroundings and being alone with my thoughts. It has turned into a run where all I do is stare at my garmin and worry about pace while counting down the miles and minutes until it is over.

      Truth -> Training for a marathon is really tough and not enjoyable when you don’t look forward to the staple workout of the training plan. The last couple of months made me question my desire and ability to run marathons.

      So I decided to take some time off from following a rigid training plan. Run hard when I wanted. Run some miles with the double stroller. Take a few extra rest days. Not force any long runs. Just destress and reset. And maybe when it was all said and done, I wouldn’t race a marathon this fall – and I was okay with that.

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        Eight Mile Tempo to Ride into the Marathon

        First week of taper is almost over. I’m still smiling and haven’t gone crazy yet. I think a huge part of it is that I was still running every day and still had a few workouts to get in. So I haven’t had to run easy for consecutive days yet. Ask me again next week how I am feeling. And in case you are counting…we are down to 9 days. =)

        Have you ever had a workout that when it was finished, you wanted to scream and just jump up and down with excitement? That kind of run that gives you a runner’s high that can last hours – or days? I have often found that the tougher the workout, the higher the runner’s high.

        I had one of these runs on Tuesday. It was an eight mile tempo. Yup. EIGHT miles. At my half marathon PR pace (7:00). This sounds easy on paper but after a 71 mile week, no taper and no food/gel, it’s a different story. Almost an hour of hard, fast (for me) running.

        I was terrified from the day I got the week’s plan from my coach. My first thought was that there was no way I could sustain that pace for 8 miles. I thought back to my first tempo workout of this training cycle. 5 miles at 7:10->7:05. And I barely survived. I think I was almost dry heaving by the end. Then I recalled the two-6 mile tempos I did 5 and 6 weeks ago – at just under a 7 min pace. One was tough, the other was a good day. But the idea of doing two more miles on tired legs seemed daunting to me.

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          NJ Marathon Info!

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          Hey everyone!! I have SO much to share with you regarding my week in Atlanta with Mizuno.

          We are on our way home after a fun, exciting week but my mind is focused on one thing – the NJ Marathon on Sunday.  After months and months of planning, training, and imagining this race, it is finally here!

          First, the race details.

          • Date: Sunday, May 5th
          • Start time: 8am
          • Route:  It’s a mix between out and back and a loop.  The race starts by Monmouth Race track, heads north for a bit, over to the coastline by mile 10, then south for 8 miles with the turnaround just after mile 18 and heads back north for the final 8 miles.  

          • Elevation: Virtually pancake flat (after my last few races have been in Central Park, this makes me VERY happy!)

          The weather forecast looks almost too good to be true.  I’m still not celebrating because I know it can still change.  But right now, race day weather looks to be cool (~45-50 at race start), calm, and sunny.  One of my biggest worries leading up to this race has been the wind.  Before moving last summer, we had lived less than a mile from the SI boardwalk, so almost all of my runs would take place right on the coastline.  Most early mornings were calm, but the wind would often pick up (>15-20 mph winds) by mid-morning.  So far, race morning looks like it will have very little wind (~ 5 mph winds).

          For everyone that has asked…if you want to track me, here is the link to sign up to receive alerts (you can get text, email, twitter updates).  My bib is #1023 in case you need it. There’s a part of me that is excited to know that all of my friends will be able to track me on Sunday, but a large part of me is starting to freak out about it. HA. 

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            Strengthening Your Mind

            Baptism

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            Last Day to Enter the PRO Compression Giveaway here!

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            This past weekend was my son’s Baptism. It was a perfect day –  wonderful ceremony, good food, and our family and neighbors to share the day with us.  I’m extremely sentimental and wanted my boys to wear the same christening outfit – just like my sisters and I did when we were all baptized. We had a small party at our home afterwards catered from a yummy place on Staten Island.

            All dressed up for a change!

            I love little boy clothes:

            My mom and sisters:

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            This is one of my favorite mantras to say to myself during a tough run:

            I have many moments of doubt and even more moments of wanting to just quit when I’m doing during tempo and speed workouts.

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              20 miles on the treadmill + Fun in the Snow

              Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!  We seemed to have escaped Nemo’s wrath for the most part – we got about a foot of snow Friday night but thankfully didn’t lose power or have any damage from the high winds.  I have to admit – we were pretty darn excited to get a real snowfall.  This is the first substantial snow that my 2-yr old has seen! Needless to say, we were happy campers when we woke up Saturday morning and saw this:

              Once my youngest went down for his morning nap, my oldest and I got dressed and joined my husband (who was shoveling) for some snow fun:

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              I got up at 4am on Friday to get my 20 miles in on the treadmill.  Well, my alarm was set for 4, but I got up at 330 to nurse my son and didn’t see a point in laying down for <10 min.  My husband had to leave for work by 730, so I knew that I had to be off the treadmill just after 7 in order to have time to shower.

              Within a few miles of running, I was bored OUT OF MY MIND.  Last week’s 18 miler was different – the time seemed to fly.  But, this week I felt like I couldn’t zone out.  I broke my own rule about long runs – I started thinking about how much further I had to run.  And it really started to pysch me out.  I decided to start playing around with my pace to keep my mind off of the remaining miles.  I loved last week’s steady state run and so I started doing a MGP (Marathon Goal Pace) mile every few miles.  The miles started to tick by and I got back into the zone.  It gave me something to push for and made the rest miles a welcome break.

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                Go Big or Go Home

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                Go Big or Go Home.  I love this phrase.  It’s been a mantra that I’ve used a lot in recent years:

                Example A: First race I ever signed up for and ran – 2002 Philadelphia Marathon.  I didn’t see a need to run shorter distances – I wanted to run a marathon and believed I could with 3 months of training.  Longest run was 16 miles.  I finished in 3:54.

                Example B: After falling during a trail race in 2009, my knee was acting up and decided to take a few weeks off from running. I signed up for my first bike “race” (more of a ride).  It was 70 miles (including the ride to/from the start/finish).  I trained for 3 weeks and finished smiling about 4 hours later (which included forced rest stops twice).

                Probably not always the smartest decisions.  But I’m a big believer that you can do anything you want – as long as you want it badly enough to put in the proper time and training.  From when I was a little girl, whenever there was something I was unsure if I could do or accomplish, my mom always would ask me Why not you?  Meaning that if others could do it, then what was stopping me from doing it?  Was there a physical or mental limitation?   She said it to make me realize that nothing was stopping me from doing it – except myself.   She empowered me to believe in myself from a young age.  I could do what I wanted and succeed if I believed in myself.

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                  When do you throw in the towel?

                  Race for Recovery Update

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                  As you are probably aware, I was set to race the Hot Chocolate 10k on Sunday.  I had really big goals for the race: running sub-42 which would allow me to apply for the Saucony Hurricane Team.

                  I spent the last 5 weeks following a training plan – cutting back on my mileage and focusing on regaining the speed I had lost during pregnancy.

                  reacquainted myself with the uncomfortableness of speed workouts and hard runs.

                  I saw HUGE gains in just a few weeks.  My 5k time went from 21:36 to 20:50 in one week.

                  I had successful tempo runs.  My last one included 4 miles at a 7:05 pace.  I finished feeling strong and anxious to run more.

                  I was starting to believe in myself.

                  Last Monday I planned to do a practice 10k.  My goal was sub-43 (~ 6:55 pace).  I jogged a mile warmup, stretched and began the 10k time trial.  I barely made it a mile. Something didn’t seem right.  I felt tired and achy – as though I had a really tough run the day before – which I hadn’t (it was a rest day).

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                    First Step is Believing + Review of Saucony Guide 6

                    My biggest goal right now is to make the 2013 Saucony Hurricane Team.  In order to even apply, I have to run a qualifying time in the 2012 calendar year.  We are 2/3 through November and I find myself with my back against the wall and the clock winding down.

                    I’ve been hesitant to discuss it openly because I’m scared of failing.  I have convinced myself that maybe I won’t be as disappointed if I don’t full invest myself in it.  If I don’t talk about it, it doesn’t mean that much to me…right?  I don’t want to spend the next four weeks training, pushing, believing…only to come up short on race day.  It will crush me.

                    But I realized last weekend that I can’t expect to run that time unless I devote 100% of myself to it.  I can’t push myself as hard as I need to if I hear the voices in my head.

                    I need to believe in myself. 

                    The first step is believing.

                    The second step – find a race.  I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 10k on Dec 16 on Roosevelt Island – two loops around the almost entirely flat island.  I have to run a sub-42 which equates to a 6:47 pace.

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