Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I love runners!!

I love this man.  I've never met him, but I love him. 
This man passed me twice on my first ever beach run.  The first time, he gave me a smile, a nod, and a runner's wave.  Proving that the bond between runners is a worldwide phenomenon. His wave kept me going and basking in the joy of my first international wave.  You know, for about ten minutes, until the dead legs kicked back in. 
Then came my second interaction with this man.  I was struggling and he was finished with his run.  He took one look at me, pointed and said, "Hey You!  You are doing great!!" 
Talk about the ultimate,"I see you, I am here with you, and I feel you."

The Sun, The Sand, and OH MY LEGS!!!

This week, I found myself in paradise.  Literally.  How could I not go for a run on the beach, when this was my view?!?

Now, I am definitely not an experienced beach runner.  In fact, I'm usually floating in the ocean with a nice adult beverage in hand groaning as I watch those beach runners pass by.  But like I said, this was an opportunity I just couldn't pass up.  I had previously done a little reading here and there about running on the beach and decided to follow a few beginner tips like sticking to the tightly packed sand and running with shoes on.  So, on my trusty friends went and I headed down to the water's edge. 

I didn't expect the run to be easy.  I never expect any runs to be easy.  But man, I didn't realize it would be that hard.  The low temperature on the island was about 81 degrees and the high was in the mid 90's, so the heat didn't help, especially with that sun beating down.  What I really felt immediately though, was the effect on my legs of running in the sand.  It was crazy exhausting and my legs felt like dead weight.  Turns out those holes in the top of running shoes that allow air flow are also great for letting sand in!!  My legs actually were dead weight. 

What to do when four minutes in you are regretting your decision to run and thinking there is absolutely no way you can make it to the end?  Get grateful!  Luckily, being grateful isn't hard to do when you've got a crystal ocean next to you, white soft sand under you, and the blue sky above.  As I ran, I kept my eyes on the beauty around me and my thoughts on the gratitude I felt for the opportunity to run surrounded by such beauty.  When you are busy thinking of all of the gifts that surround you, you don't even notice the hurdles in front of you. 

My attempt at a grateful face.  Maybe I should invest in some running sunglasses... 

Speaking of hurdles in front of you, there actually was an old/deconstructed pier right in the middle of the beach run.  On my way out, I actually hurdled it bad ass style.  On the way back, I climbed on top, stopped, and nearly collapsed.  As in my legs gave out and I had to sit down and take a breather.  Also known as a photo op.
Mostly this blog entry is just an opportunity to show off the beauty that can be found through running (or floating in the ocean with a nice adult beverage in hand, but that's another blog). 

Friday, July 26, 2013


Last week I went to visit my soul sister, Courtney in NYC.  I miss my friend terribly. But, if there is one city she had to move away from me to, I am glad it was New York City. We had an amazing time. And I even got in a couple awesome runs. The thing about running is, you really can do it anywhere. And the thing about New York City is there is always something to see when you run. 

Sunday, I strapped on my shoes (it really is about time for me to get some new shoes, but these feel like my friends by now). I ran down by the river and under the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge. Talk about putting man into perspective, you can't help but feel tiny running under those bridges. 
I've got to work on my running selfies. But another man made wonder behind me. 

Monday, I convinced Courtney to join me for a run. I can't say enough about all of the wonderful running partners in my life and how grateful I am to have them running, in this case literally, with me. Courtney, on the other hand, maybe didn't love it so much...
But we got to see the city from a new perspective and got to catch up while we sweated it out (not sure if you've heard, but it's been hot in NYC). 

Running in different cities is so much fun. It is a way to really see and experience where you are like a local. Even if that sometimes mean you encounter a couple weird smells along the way. I mean it is still New York City after all. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This Run's For You

I wrote most of this blog on Sunday after my weekly long (relative term) run.  Throughout it, I used the term “friends and family.”  Last night, I unexpectedly found myself at home surrounded by a number of friends and as I looked around my dining room table at these people talking and laughing, I realized there is no point for me to distinguish between friends and family.  They are one in the same.  My friends are truly an extraordinary group of people.  Just like my biological family, these people have shown me unending kindness, support, and unconditional love.  They’ve also held my hair before.  So, you know they’re special.  I remember having a conversation with one said friend after she moved away and she told me, “I really expected to find another group of friends like this one.  I knew it would be hard and we’d have to put some effort in, but I really thought we’d fall into another circle of friends like we had here.”  And then she said what I had been taking for granted for years and what has stuck with me since, “J.J. it turns out, there aren’t just other circles of friends like this one.  This is special.”  So, with that in mind, I edited the blog to replace “friends and family,” with “Loved Ones.”

First of all, it's impossible to take a selfie and make the heart sign.  But it's appropriate because this run was for my Loved Ones and they are the other half of my heart.
This morning I ran for my Loved Ones.  I carried each of them in my heart and in my mind as I ran and they carried my feet along the path.  I spent a lot of time thinking about some specific Loved Ones while I ran.  Those Loved Ones have recently been dealt pretty crappy hands in the health department.  They have been given news and illnesses that you never want a Loved One to face.  I thought a lot about how for granted we take the health our Loved Ones.  I thought of all of the things I have ever wished for my Loved Ones: successful job interviews, good relationships, career advancement, expanding families, overall happiness.  What I realized was that I had been missing what matters most, their health.  At the very core of everything what I wish for my Loved Ones is health. 
So, I took to the trails and I ran for them.  I ran for all of my Loved Ones who just aren’t up for the long run right now.  I ran for my Loved Ones who need to give their bodies and their minds the rest they need to heal.  I ran because I could and I because I know when the day comes that I need it, they will pick up and run for me.  They will carry me in their hearts and in their minds and they will take over the run for me.  I ran for them because if I could, I would gladly give them my healthy body to use, but since I can’t, I will use my healthy body to honor them.  I will no longer take for granted the importance of my health and I will no longer take for granted the importance of the health of my Loved Ones.  I will be grateful for their presence in my life and I will make my gratitude known to the world. 
And I will run for all of you too.  If life has dealt you a crappy health hand you just can’t face the long run right now, don’t sweat it.  Kick your feet back and take the break you need.  I’ve got this one covered for you.   

Grateful for this healthy body and wishing the same for all of you.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Variety is the Spice of Life - Spice it Up!

In the interest of full disclosure here, you should know running isn't my only form of exercise.  In fact, if you've been reading this blog since it started, you probably know it's not even my preferred form of exercise. 
I really do enjoy spicing it up. I don't think I would have it in me to run every day, physically or emotionally. I'm not saying it isn't great for other people to run and only run. But, personally, I know my body performs better when trained in multiple ways. The rest of this is specific only to me and I encourage you to figure out what works for you.

The Bar Method.  Ladies, this was such a game changer for me.  Over the years, I toyed with several strength training regiments (weight training, boot camps, yoga, etc).  Nothing ever stuck and I found myself always reverting back to cardio queendom.  I have been doing The Bar Method now for two years and it is safe to say I am addicted and have the muscles to prove it.  Personally, I have always preferred to use my own body weight to strength train and you wouldn't believe how hard body weight exercises (especially when done in one inch movements) can be!!  The Bar Method thigh work is great for runners.  Several moves get right into the muscles surrounding the knee and I am certain that this has had a major impact on stabilizing my knees while I run (I've had pretty big knee issues in the past).  The Bar Method not only tones and strengthens, it teaches perfect posture, which is also important when running (hello, air!).  And, let's all be honest here, after a long run, none of us are as good about stretching as we should be.  Insert The Bar Method here.  So many of the stretches are great for runners.  Flexibility is often overlooked and under appreciated, but flexibility can reduce the risk of injury, decrease soreness, and prevent pain.  I don't know if you can tell, but I am a huge fan of The Bar Method. I used to hit up a class five or more times a week, but with my current schedule, I am for three times a week. Like I said, this is all about me here, but if you interested in The Bar Method, let me know.
Body Combat - This is the class I take when I want to "get it all out."  Body Combat is a Les Mills program, so you can probably find it at most gym clubs (I go to 24 hr Fitness, but I know some Y's and other gyms offer Les Mills classes).  There is definitely something to be said for leaving the office stress and going to punch, kick, and sweat it out (complete with karate "Kiai's")!  Body Combat mixes multiple martial arts in an all out sweat-fest.  When I leave this class I am usually head-to-toe soaked and stress free.  I won't lie, I've pictured a couple of faces in front of me while I jab, cross, and hook.  I hit a Body Combat class usually twice a week.
Ol' fashioned cardio - I mentioned my affinity for cardio earlier.  I can't and won't break the habit.  I love plugging in and zoning out while I sweat.  At least once a week, I hop on an elliptical machine, spin cycle, or stair climber with my iPad and zone out.  I really prefer to do this in the earlier morning hours, when I don't have it in me to do anything high stress, energy, or focus. 
There is no one "right" answer when it comes to your personal routine.  This is just what works for me.  In and along the long run, what you find is that it isn't necessarily that it matters what you do, so much as that you get up and do something!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Uninspiring Perspiring

This has been the view on my last couple of runs:
So, you can understand why I haven't exactly been feeling inspired these days.  But that's okay, you can't expect awe at every turn.  Sometimes you just DO IT TO GET THROUGH IT.
You do it because you said you would, or because it'll make you better in the long run, or so you can have that extra slice of cake, or just because you simply have to.  And sometimes, it just isn't any deeper than that. 
We all have days (weeks? months???) when the only lesson to take is that there isn't a lesson to be learned.  At least not yet.  Sometimes the lesson comes well after we've drudged through run after run after run.  Maybe that's the point, maybe we don't need the lesson to get through the all of the runs, maybe we need all of the runs to get through to the the lesson.
Or maybe I'm just extra tired and talking nonsense. 
So, here's to DOING IT TO GET THROUGH IT.  No one promised it would be pretty.
Why didn't I start a blog about an activity that requires me to wear makeup??

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Fourth!

Despite my best intentions, I did not make it on a run.  I hope you all had a fantastic holiday. Gratitude!