Posts Tagged "fitness"

Looking Ahead, and Reflecting on Falling Short

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Last year I set my mind to accomplish some majorly ambitious goals.

After 2012’s challenging year — in which I ran my first half marathon, got engaged, and overcame depression — I set out to tackle 2013 with intensity and daring. I had plans to run my first marathon, clock 500 miles in a year, and expand my horizons through travel, books and movies.

However, I fell short of some of my milestones. I ran 480 miles out of a planned 500, watched 64 new movies out of 100, and came within shouting distance of my 5k goal (but again, didn’t hit it).

But I’m not upset in the least. 

In terms of fitness this year, I worked harder, ran further, biked faster and trained smarter than I ever had before. Without trying to brag, I’m happy that managed to complete fourteen official races, hit several PRs, overcame an injury that sidelined me for most of the summer, and eventually crossed the finish line of my first marathon.

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As the year came to a close, I realized that I needed to make peace with myself and my limitations. And I need to restore some balance.

Running is a magnificent activity, but over-reaching and over-training takes the fun out of it. At the end of the year, I could have easily reached my mileage goal but also wanted to branch out; that meant swapping a long run for a spin class with friends, or taking time to enjoy yoga again.

I needed a reminder to be kind to my body and my self, and accept that it’s ok to grow as quickly or gradually as I want.

So here’s what I have planned for this upcoming year. Goals, not resolutions. Progress, not perfection.

2014 Goals:

  • Clock more miles than I did last year. That means 480+ miles of running and 250+ of biking.
  • Spend a full year adhering to Mark Bittman’s “Vegan Before 6" philosophy.
  • Officially PR my half marathon (reach goal: get in under 2 hours)
  • Improve my design and marketing skills by practicing and taking an online course or two
  • Giving another try to watching 100 new-to-me movies
  • Give back to my community.
  • Be more kind to myself. Stop being so critical or self-doubting.
  • Be a good wife. Every day forever.

What are your goals? How are they coming along so far?

Where my millenials at?

I’ve been blogging with Navel Gazing on Tumblr for nearly two years now, but so many “fitness blogs” are written by people significantly younger than me. Many are still in college or even in high school.

I love seeing other perspectives and speaking candidly to young women about health — but I’m eager to discover blogs from those in their mid-twenties or later, and hear from people who can relate to my life more easily. Even better if you have a full-time job and juggle that with your fitness, running or training routines, and the rest of, you know, life stuff.

So…reblog, heart or leave a comment if that’s you? Thanks.

Goal Check

Today is National Hug a Runner Day! Have you done your part yet?

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(A picture from the Philadelphia Half Marathon this week last year)

Since it’s nearing the end of my race season, and the end of the year, I thought now would be a perfect time to check in on some goals.

This is the list I set for myself in January:

  • Clock 500 miles of running. That’s roughly 9.6 miles per week. Last year I managed 324 running miles and 60 of cycling. Almost done. I have logged 398 miles of running so far! (Also, 200 miles of cycling)
  • Beat 27 minutes in my 5k. So close! My best official 5k this year was 27:06.
  • Have success at my new job. Ongoing! Loving my job, and growing professionally.
  • Live healthfully in all aspects — physical, mental and emotional. Don’t let negativity or self doubt drag me down. A constant struggle, but I do make an effort.
  • Watch 100 movies I’ve never seen. Up to 51 movies, ranging from The Matrix to Blue Jasmine. Probably won’t make the number goal, but I’m happy to have made the effort.
  • Read more. Miserable failure. Since our book club dissolved, I’ve read even less than I did last year — only about 10 books in all.
  • Personally save $10,000 this year, for our wedding or a house. HAHAHAHAHA ok
  • Go to BlizzCon if we can get tickets. Check!
  • Be more “present” in the moment. That means putting the iPhone away. Evolving, but I do make a conscious effort to keep my phone in my purse most times.
  • Love. Be happy. Enjoy. Good goals for all the time.

There are six weeks until January. Six weeks to complete my goals. 

Most importantly to me right now is hitting 500 miles. I have 100 miles to cover in 43 days, which means I need to hit about 16.5 miles per week, every single week from now until then. 

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What the heck is foam rolling?

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What are those things, lined up in a row at the gym like a line of weird black fence posts? Why are those people basically dry humping them? Why is that guy making such strange faces while he’s rolling his calves over top of it?

Today we’re talking about FOAM ROLLERS! 

As any seasoned runner or personal trainer will likely tell you, foam rollers are an essential part of your exercise routine. But many people don’t know about this very simple tool and how it can help.

So what is it? Foam rolling is way to stretch, improve soft tissue extensibility and improve recovery. Just like the way a deep tissue massage works into problem areas, foam rolling relieves serious tension in the muscle and connective tissue.

When your soft tissue — the stuff that supports and protects the important structures of the human body, including your muscles — becomes tight and restricted, this often results in pain, muscle tension, and diminished blood flow. You might know this feeling as “knots” in your back or trigger points that hurt in your legs or shoulders.

How do you fix that? You need a release! No dude, a myofascial release. More simply,  you need to relax those contracted muscles — by applying specific pressure onto the parts that are tense. By doing this, you release the tension, improve circulation and resume the normal, healthy elasticity of your muscles so you can get back to work.

And back to being awesome.

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Recap: March’s Philadelphia Urban Scramble

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Last week I had the chance to participate in a fun urban scavenger hunt hosted by Philadelphia Runner! I got four and a half miles out of it and a free beer, so I’d say it’s a win-win situation.

My favorite running store hosts cool events all the time, including the Urban Scramble on the first Thursday of every month. Participants sign up (it’s free, by the way!) and meet at the Center City store, where we’re given a list of 10 locations throughout the city. We have 65 minutes from the starting time to run frantically around town picking up tickets from willing local vendors, then high-tail it back to the final location, Tir Na Nog at 16th an Arch.

The more raffle tickets you gather, the better chances you have to win prizes at the end, like gift cards to local vendors or a new pair of running shoes. The catch is that if you don’t make it back to the bar within the time frame, you forfeit your chance to enter the raffle! So you’d better run quickly or pick your locations carefully.

I think the problem is perspective, when you map out locations based on city blocks, it always seems like it’s so much further than it really is. Rittenhouse to Old City and back?! In reality, our entire trek was just over four miles. Apparently this was the hardest and longest course yet! 

Looking at the list of vendors was actually a little daunting. They were spread out from Rittenhouse all the way to Old City, varying from Unite Fitness to Yogorino (frozen yogurt) to PhilaMassages (a favorite after the marathon). I had planned to plot out my course alone, but my friend Vinnie showed up unexpectedly so we decided to run together. It was an absolute blast and crazy amounts of fun.

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That time the Internet came to my aid.

Today I posted on Facebook complaining about a boot camp gym that used my before-and-after photo, and then repeatedly refused to remove it from their website’s testimonial section or Facebook page. I was wondering aloud whether it was even worth it to contact them again. It may seem silly, but I was creeped out.

Without asking, 30+ wonderful friends jumped into action to contact the company on my behalf. Then their friends did. And people I’d never met. All commenting about how unfair it was to pretend I’d done all my hard work last year at this gym, in a state I’ve never even visited.

Now the photo is gone. I still don’t have an apology or even an email response from the company in question,but I’ll consider it a small score for Philly.

I’ll write more about this another day, but I wanted to extend my sincere thanks to the people who showed me today just how much they care.