What Running 26.2 Miles Teaches You

i posted this earlier today on MOGUL as well, a women’s site for which i am a contributing writer. check out that site if you’re interested and i’d love if you follow me! 🙂

on Sunday, October 11th, 2015, i woke up before the sun rose and knew immediately, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was a great day to do a hard thing.

i was instantly relieved & excited by the acknowledgment that i felt so good about this choice. this was a decision born of months of preparation and also the imminent glory of that morning, and both were necessary to carry out this enormous act. i could have woken up and said to myself, “sure, i thought i was ready for this — but i just don’t want to.” it wouldn’t have mattered, then, if i’d put in the necessary work; it wouldn’t have mattered how many amazing people were rooting for me; it wouldn’t have mattered if i’d paid the entry fee & affixed my bib to my favorite running shirt & laid out all my race-day prep & prayed for fresh legs. that would have all still occurred regardless of how i’d felt going to bed, and yet if i’d woken up at 6am and decided it wasn’t a good day for a hard thing, none of that would have mattered. my life would have still kept going, difficult thing or no difficult thing, and i’d have been okay.

but not the same. no, if i hadn’t done this hard thing, i would certainly not have been the same.

but as it turns out, i did choose to tackle the seemingly-insurmountable beast, and it changed my life & rocked me to my core in the most beautiful way imaginable. if i hadn’t woken up knowing what a good day it was for such a hard thing, i would have missed out on one of the most magical, epic experiences of my entire life, and i wouldn’t have had four hours and 26.2 miles to wrestle with myself on that Sunday morning. i wouldn’t have had that great thing occur — that covetable, magnificent, blood-sweat-&-tears thing that cost me so very much of myself and brought me to places within my being that showed me how very much i still have to learn about the person i’m continually becoming and how amazing it is to be the proud possessor of a human spirit that refuses to accept the fact that in this life, there just might be limitations.

because on that day, i did a really, really hard thing — and nobody can take those four hours away from me. they are forever mine; i fought for those with every ounce of skin & sinews belonging to me. with every footfall, i imprinted my signature in rubber along the long & lovely trail. i was here. & i was here. & oh yeah – i was here, too. i was grit & smiles, sweat & wings, pain & joy. i was suddenly everything i’d ever hoped i’d become.

what you learn about yourself when you run a marathon is that you can do amazing things. you learn that you have a mind and a body that can work together to astound you; that you’re capable of deciding to take on something most people think is impossible – that you once thought was impossible – and that you can discipline your body to carry out that decision. you learn that you are a fighter; that you can push yourself past boundaries of comfort & pain & fatigue & weather patterns and hover on the edge of sanity til you realize you rather like it there, suspended between earth and sky, walking a tightrope of something akin to mania or euphoria when you think about the ways you’ve pushed yourself in the pursuit of a dream worth losing sleep & social life & toenails over. you groan through the aches and celebrate the highs and become more in tune with your body than you ever have before, and you begin to love yourself immeasurably for what you can accomplish entirely on your own.

you learn that anything in life truly worth fighting for – anything you’re desperate to have tucked beneath your skin, written on the tablet of your life, bursting forth from the pages of your story – will require nothing less than total commitment and the utmost self-belief. you learn that all those hours of early morning pavement pounding, of Friday nights devoted to early bedtimes and the anticipation of tomorrow’s long run taking priority over all else, of muscles so sore and tight you often wondered how you’d ever make it through another run, of tunnel vision rendering you one-dimensional in your pursuit of this beast and turning all of your conversations back to your training as you’re suddenly unable to recall a time when you once had other things to occupy your interest and time, are all part of a journey that will leave you forever changed in every soul-gripping way imaginable.

and at the very core of this lies the overwhelming sense of gratitude you begin to wear like a second skin. gratitude for legs strong enough to carry you across those relentless miles; gratitude for a life that allows you the freedom and time to devote yourself to something so all-encompassing; gratitude for all of the people who love you enough to support you through this and champion your efforts. mostly, you’re awash with gratitude for your very youness; for being healthy & strong & determined & able to carry out this dream; to do something so very hard entirely on your own, armed with nothing but a feverish desire to overcome all obstacles in this dogged pursuit of self.

what training for a marathon really teaches you is how to become the very best version of you. it’s as gloriously simple as that. it’s as heart-wrenchingly difficult as that.

i don’t believe it’s possible to accurately capture in words that specific, all-encompassing feeling of elation that overwhelmed me when i rounded the final corner and saw the finish line of my marathon ahead of me. so much crowds into that moment that if i could just freeze it and dissect it, i’d be able to name all of the individual parts that contribute to the overwhelming sense of euphoria that brought tears to my eyes as a grin stretched across my face and my arms had no choice but to fly high above my head — but in that moment, all i felt was so much. so much.

it’s the sense of accomplishment in yourself, of having done this hard, hard thing — this nearly-impossible thing that really is ever-so-possible after all — entirely on your own.

it’s the physical representation of the goal, that banner stretching high, the words marking your final steps. it’s hearing your name over the microphone as you step across the finish line.

it’s the cheers & excitement of the crowds, seeing your parents & best friends’ faces beaming through, feeling their love & pride shining forth at you. all for you.

in that moment, it honestly feels like the whole world just loves you. like you understand what it means to sit atop a cloud and look back at earth & transcend it all, floating high amidst the bluest blue, untouchable, unbreakable, infinite.

in that moment, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are exactly who you were meant to be; exactly who you want to be. you are oh-so-human, with good days and bad, with heartaches & joys, with disappointments & love — you carry the whole world inside of you, & as you cross that finish line after a 26.2 mile journey to the center of your core and back, you can feel it all.

you are one person among many, but you are so very much you.

& suddenly, you know that will always be enough.

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Mohawk Hudson Marathon Recap (aka the best day ever)

Sunday, October 11th, 2015, has to go down as one of the most incredible days of my life thus far. it was the second time i’ve run the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in upstate NY, and by far the absolute most wonderful, amazing, beautiful, kick-ass, fun-from-start-to-finish races/runs i’ve ever experienced in my life.

for starters, the day was utterly glorious. this entire weekend was like a gift straight from Autumnal Heaven. i mean, i woke up to this view of Crooked Lake from my parents’ deck every morning and sent up silent prayers of gratitude that this is, in fact, my life. i felt so relaxed & thankful & rested & healthy & strong & READY for this marathon. Sunday morning dawned all hazy pinkish-purple and chilly, in the 40s, and i knew it was going to be a perfect race day. thank you, God!

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a 6am wake-up call really isn’t that bad for a race, so i woke up feeling SO READY to run. i just knew from the start that this was going to be an awesome day for me.

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i’m blessed with the world’s most amazing parents, who also woke up at 6am and shared my excitement for race day, and the three of us set off to the start in Schenectady NY’s Central Park. i was more excited than nervous, and totally curious about what this race held for me and how i’d be feeling in just a few hours!

i’m a big fan of this race. it’s small — i think they cap it at 1,500 runners. it’s well organized, and the course is just absolutely gorgeous, winding through a truly picturesque, tree-lined bike/running path for a good portion of the race, and over rolling countryside hills & along both the Mohawk and the Hudson Rivers, ending in downtown Albany right along the Hudson. my dad said one of the winners was quoted saying it was the most beautiful course she’s ever run, which is easy to believe. it’s really an ideal place to run an Autumn marathon, showcasing upstate NY at its finest.

the start isn’t very crowded and it’s easy to find people, which was fabulous, as i was so fortunate to be so very surrounded by people i love. one of my close girlfriends came to support me and run the beginning with me (thank you, Sarah — you’re wonderful!), and the boy also dragged himself out of bed bright & early and came to see me off (before getting onto a plane for work, unfortunately, but i’m thankful he made it to the start — points for that 🙂 ). my sweet parents were there, of course, and then resurfaced 3-4 more times along the route, and were the faces i saw in the crowd right before i crossed the finish line as well. my (pregnant!) best friend also jumped in to run a bit with me around mile 19, which was so appreciated and fun, and was also waiting for me at the finish — and took some great photos for me. thanks, baby girl — you are my sunshine!

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i felt so very loved & encouraged & reminded yet again of how blessed i am to have such wonderful people at the center of my life. the world becomes such a bright & shiny thing when people are invested in what’s important to you because they care about you. feeling all that love & support contributed greatly to making this such a magical experience for me.

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so, what can i say about the actual race itself?? it went smashingly. no, but like — it really, honestly did. i couldn’t have wished for anything better, and i went into it so relaxed & ready & confident that i’d done all the necessary work, and i was determined to just enjoy the experience and savor every moment — and i truly feel like that’s what i did. i ran with the 4-hour pacer til just over mile 23, when i started to feel the first twinges of the struggle life set in, and i decided then and there that i was going to run this race for me and not push myself to the point of misery and lose the joy i’d felt the last 23 miles. i slowed down a bit and started reflecting on the whole thing: how crazy good i’d felt for 23 miles, how all my hard work was coming to fruition in this one 4- hour race, how blessed i was to be strong enough to choose to run a marathon, how over-the-moon i was about to be in a few miles when i saw that finish line up ahead.

i won’t lie: miles 24-25 were a bit rough. not rough like during my first marathon (where i thought my body might break apart), but they were the hardest of this race for me by far. i didn’t walk (save a few steps at the water stations), but i did have a few fleeting thoughts of doubt creep in during those 2 miles where i almost wondered how i’d ever finish and everything suddenly just seemed so dang hard…

and then something happened when i saw the mile 25 marker. it was like a switch flipped within my brain and i instantly thought, “okay, welp, stop the pain stuff — you just ran 25 miles. you’re one mile away from finishing this race, and this has been a wonderful, mostly enjoyable experience that will go down as one of the biggest accomplishments of your LIFE. you so, so have this, and you’re going to finish it STRONG & HAPPY & just let yourself go.”

mile 26 was glorious. it really was. no, i wasn’t flying, although i did pick up the pace from my last 2 miles, and no, i didn’t magically feel all my pain swoosh out of my body. but somehow, i didn’t feel it as much, because i started to become overwhelmed with the beauty of the whole experience and be so very present in the reality of finishing this race. mile 26 was so very mine. it was my pièce de rĂ©sistance.

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i don’t believe it’s possible to accurately capture in words that specific, all-encompassing feeling of elation that overwhelmed me when i rounded the final corner and saw the finish line of my marathon ahead of me. so much crowds into that moment that if i could just freeze it and dissect it, i’d be able to name all of the individual parts that contribute to the overwhelming sense of euphoria that brought tears to my eyes as a grin stretched across my face and my arms had no choice but to fly high above my head — but in that moment, all i felt was so much. so much.

it’s the sense of accomplishment in yourself, of having done this hard, hard thing — this nearly-impossible thing that really is ever-so-possible after all — entirely on your own.

it’s the physical representation of the goal, that banner stretching high, the words marking your final steps. it’s hearing your name over the microphone as you step across the finish line.

it’s the cheers & excitement of the crowds, seeing your parents & best friends’ faces beaming through, feeling their love & pride shining forth at you. all for you.

in that moment, it honestly feels like the whole world just loves you. like you understand what it means to sit atop a cloud and look back at earth & transcend it all, floating high amidst the bluest blue, untouchable, unbreakable, infinite.

in that moment, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are exactly who you were meant to be; exactly who you want to be. you are oh-so-human, with good days and bad, with heartaches & joys, with disappointments & love — you carry the whole world inside of you, & as you cross that finish line after a 26.2 mile journey to the center of your core and back, you can feel it all.

you are one person among many, but you are so very much you.

& suddenly, you know that will always be enough.

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xo.

Thinking Out Loud

i’m joining up this week with Amanda @ Running with Spoons for the Thursday spill-sesh of a link-up that is:Thinking-Out-LoudONE: October 1st. gah. i feel like i had a nice, long, full summer with so many amazing trips & weekends & events…and then September, which is one of my fave months, zipped by in a snap. how is it October? and why is it so gray and gloomy in NYC? i love the idea of a beautiful, golden October, but the reality we’re having today of this new month’s beginning just isn’t working for me. September, come back. i loved you so. i think if i ever start a company i’m going to call it always september,” or “the september project” or something like that.  that’d make me happy. but anyway…i’m hoping October is amazing, all the same. i certainly have some awesome things lined up for this month, so i think i’m planning to love it.

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TWO:
& going along with that, when NYC finally gives in to all of the nuances of fall and sheds her summer skin, i always think of this quote:

screen-shot-2014-09-04-at-5-34-36-pmbecause there’s never a wrong time or place to squeeze in a lil Great Gatsby.

THREE: anyone else already excited about Halloween?? yes, i still dress up every year (and have no intention of stopping anytime soon). costume stores began popping up in NYC in September, and although i initially had my heart set on being a unicorn, i think imma scratch that and coerce a boy to dress up with me again — because that’s just way more fun & i love couple costumes. i have my eye on one that i wanted to be last year but that got vetoed in favor of the dalmatian/firefighter combo: a tooth & tooth fairy.

howwemadeiti just can’t take this, i love it so much!

this lightning strike one is too cute too:

lightning1who is this Julie Ann girl and how do i become her?!

if you guys have any great creative ideas, please send them my way!

FOUR: i ordered my first pair of high tops in yearssss yesterday. i think i’ve just been waiting for the “omg that’s them” pair to show up in my life, and i finally stumbled upon them and am hoping they look as good/fit as well as i’ve already decided they have to.

sneakscheers, Nike. i plan to wear you into the ground.

FIVE: i just discovered an Autumn-perfect tea: Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai.

happymart_products_111914__14i’m currently warming up with this as i type, and it’s totally hitting the spot. oddly enough, it’s also sort of making me want a pumpkin beer…but considering it’s 11am, i think that’ll have to wait til tonight. 🙂

SIX: a friend tagged me in this IG post this morning, and it’s definitely the best representation of this quote that i’ve seen. those are my kind of world-conquering shoes.

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SEVEN:
i’m running a marathon in 10 days. that’s all i have to say about that.

3343ed742da8180e750ea6e51fe3700e…for the better. for me, it has absolutely been changed for the better.

but that’s fodder for another post. a post-marathon reflection post, should i live to tell about it. 🙂

Something random from your lately life?
Halloween costume ideas, please!!

what you do when you can’t run the marathon

when you enter “the real world” and work your life away, one of the greatest pleasures becomes the novely of a 3-day weekend. amiright?!

Memorial Day. July 4th. Labor Day. Columbus Day. i don’t even know what i’m supposed to be celebrating half the time (other than more boat time, bathing suit sales and lots of sleep), but i’m always glad someone did something wonderful that deserves remembrance and i’m more than happy to celebrate it.monday-holiday-work-relax-memorial-day-ecards-someecards-e1337955616535since 2011, Columbus Day weekend has always been a memorable, exciting weekend for me, as it’s the Mohawk Hudson Marathon and Half Marathon in upstate NY, where i grew up/went to hs/college/grad school/lived before moving to NYC/still go home to regularly on weekends. it was my very first half marathon in 2011, and again in 2012, and then my first (and only, as of yet) full marathon last year in 2013, which was one of the proudest and most wonderful days of my (still young) life.

photothis past Sunday, it was supposed to have been my second marathon — but instead, it became the first Columbus Day weekend in 4 years that i didn’t run a race. the past two months of super painful leg injuries have kept me from fulfilling that goal, and although i totally made peace with this fact a month ago and was able to def til next year, it was still a bit of a bummer to not keep the streak going…regardless of how much fun i’ve had the past few months after i knew i wasn’t training for a marathon. 🙂

so, i still went upstate this weekend, fully aware that i wouldn’t be running but rather uncertain as to exactly what i’d do to keep myself occupied with fabulous people/activities that’d keep my mind off running. and you know what? i hardly had a single moment’s trip to Bummerville the whole weekend, because it was full of so many great things and people.

how to be happy when your marathon plans fall through:

*go running. like, for myself: no race pressure, no other people, no expectations. any running is a victory for me these days, so i consider this past weekend a huge success: a 2-miler on a treadmill on Saturday and two hilly 5-6 milers on Sunday and Monday. all were painful, especially in the beginning, and i had a few walking bouts in miles 1-2 and did a little screaming at the sky and bemoaned that i’d never be able to run pain-free again. but i forced myself to work it out and push through the pain until it dulled, and although they were slower than i’d have liked, they were huge steps in the right direction.

*shopping date with mom. this is always a good idea, for every reason in the world. especially when you’re shopping for things like shoes and Halloween costume parts for a DIY costume endeavor. new Converse, a pair of moccasins (aka the world’s comfiest feet protectors) and some white clothes with a lot of canvas potential later, i was a happy girl.

*pumpkin beer date with dad. immediately succeeding a shopping date with mom = great pairing. nothing like back-to-back parent dates to make my Saturday love-full. and the place not only had Magic Hat’s Wilhelm Scream, but she also gave me a cinnamon-sugar rim. right in every way.

photo*advice on life & love. this book, i’m telling you…it just continues to rock my world, one advice letter at a time. she’s amazing and i wish she had 10 sequels to this book just waiting for me when i finish this one. i had every intention of going salsa dancing with the bro on Saturday night, but i cozied up in sweats and stayed in to read instead. it had to be done. her words haunt me, like the ghosts of things i wish i’d written, of emotions i wish i’d felt. i love this book.
photo 2photo 1*Halloween costume prep. i love love love love dressing up for Halloween. it makes my inner 5-year old (and creative arts minor) so giddily excited to choose a costume, then shop for parts, and then get to make the costume myself. i’m especially excited for this year’s endeavor — which i will be home working on tonight and tomorrow night, to wear at a party on Saturday night — because i think it’s so stinkin’ cute and i’m having wayyyyy too much fun making it!
lil sneak preview:
dalm*sushi & sake date at my fave sushi restaurant ever. as far as i’m concerned, it doesn’t get any better than Hana in Albany, NY. i’ve had a lot of sushi, and this is one of my faves ever. we also tried a sake flight, which was a super fun way to taste a few different kinds of cold sake (after having warm sake to start, of course), and paired so well with the sushi. i’ll be dreaming of this meal for a while now and wish i’d brought my phone in with me to take some pics of our amazing rolls.
*lunch date with the bff and her newborn. Henry David is the cutest baby alive, for reals. and no, i’m not biased at all. i love this lil nugget so so so much!
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so, what do you do when your plans to run a marathon fall through?
well…you do everything else you love the most, with the people you love the most, and totally surprise yourself by realizing that running isn’t life, after all. it’s a part of it for me, and God willing always will be, but it doesn’t bring me as much joy as my relationships do. and i hope i never, ever forget that.
xo
 

Friday Five {6.13.14}

1. some place i’ve been recently:
Cafe Frida. last night, i went to what is prob my fave Mexican restaurant in the city with some of my darlingest friends — talk about a perfect Thursday night. Cafe Frida on the Upper West Side has everything an authentic Mexican restaurant should have: amazing food, lots of fun drinks, a bright & colorful atmosphere, salsa music (i swear that’s not why i go here…ish), and the best guac everrrr. like, ever ever. ever. can never go wrong with this spot and it’s been way too long since i’ve gone. need to get this into my life more often once again.

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2. some place i reallllly wanna go this summer:
Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel. 
one of my favorite summer in NYC activities is hanging on a rooftop, and this one looks gorgeous, like something right out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. i’m a sucker for anything whimsical and nature-lovely, and this looks like a little foresty tuckaway in the middle of the city.

photo: Jessica Leibowitz

photo: Jessica Leibowitz

photo: Paul Wagtouicz

photo: Paul Wagtouicz

my cousin from Texas actually heard of this and messaged me that i have to go visit it for her, so thanks, T, for the look! can’t wait to check it out!

3. something i’m looking forward to this weekend:
celebrating Father’s Day and my birthday with the fam. back to the lake i go, hopefully bringing last weekend’s fantabulous weather right along with me. my birthday always falls right on or around Father’s Day, which is quite adorably perfect because i love being able to celebrate my dad and my day all at once.

this pic is from my marathon in October, and i’m handing off a layer to my dad, who was my biggest fan that day. i get my love of running from him, and he drove me to the race and met me multiple times throughout the course, and it meant the absolute world to have him supporting me and cheering me on on such a crazy important day.

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4. something so true (if we add “and run” in there):

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5. something(s) it definitely wouldn’t hurt to remind myself of every single day:

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happy Friday, my lovelies.

Questions:
Tell me something you’ve loved about your week or something you’re looking forward to this weekend or anything good about your lately life!

Fun Facts Friday (10/18): The Running Diaries

Wow, what a crazy week. I haven’t even had a free moment to think about starting a blog, which I greatly dislike. Craziness all around at the moment.

Since I’m still on a post-marathon high and have running brain like crazy lately, this will be an “all about my running story” Fun Facts day…whether that’s fun for you or not. 🙂

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1. Running “runs” in my family. My dad’s dad (whom I unfortunately never met), my grandpa Frank Hussey, was known as “the school-boy wonder” in his day, because he qualified for the Olympics when he was still in high school. How cool is that?? He was one of the top sprinters in the US at one point and won a gold medal in the 1924 Olympics in France. I totally wish I’d gotten to meet him and would love to sit around and talk running with him and my dad, who also used to be a great runner (and whose best half marathon time totally trounces mine). It’s so fascinating to me how families have their own unique legacies and interwoven threads, and how much you’re influenced by these systemic factors whether you realize it or not. And it’s also pretty cool to hold an Olympic gold medal and know you’re related to someone who won it!

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2. Growing up with a running-obsessed dad, I learned at a very young age that if you didn’t like to run, or didn’t plan to engage in some sort of physical activity that involved running (soccer, softball, anything), there was something wrong with you and you were obviously missing out on the Best Thing You Can Ever Do For Yourself. So many times in my childhood, my dad would pull the car over as we were driving home from somewhere, and we knew this meant he was running the rest of the way home. Sometimes this was a few miles; sometimes it was 10 miles. I don’t ever remember thinking that I wanted to be like that, to be someone who carried running sneakers around in the trunk of her car and be ready to hit the pavement at any given minute, but it happened all the same. Unconsciously, I settled into the family pattern and came to identify myself by this indelible thread that links my dad to his dad and now to me…and it makes this passion even more dear to my heart, knowing that I was born to carry on this legacy. It’s become a wonderful bond between my dad and I, and I’m forever grateful to him for instilling this love for running in me. This past weekend, as I was on the way to the train station with he and my mom the day after my race, my dad expressed how proud he was of me and said, “You’re the best runner this family has ever had, in terms of distance. You did a wonderful job.”

Thanks, Dad. I owe you. Like, forever. 🙂

3. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I totally have commitment issues. This probably doesn’t surprise many of you who know me well. I’m talking about in my relationship with sneakers, of course. Duh, what else? 🙂 I started with New Balance in high school, then briefly flirted with Asics, Adidas, and Nike before sticking with the Newbies throughout college…and then flitting over to Saucony for a few years’ stretch. We had a pretty good run of it, all things considered, until I cheated with Nike again (so hard to resist, all those pretty models and fun colors).

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That didn’t work out the way I’d hoped, however — too many unrealistic expectations, and “Just Do It” can only go so far, ya know? After one half marathon in Nikes in 2012, I went running back to New Balance will my tail between my legs and haven’t looked back once. These are my guys, and I’m stickin’ with ’em. I probably have 10 pairs of sneakers and they aren’t al NBs, but those are the ones I use to run. And I love ’em.

4. I love fun workout clothes, as I’m sure I’ve reiterated 4325325 times. I definitely get more excited to buy workout gear than any other type of clothing. Currently crushing on these:

Shakespeare + workout clothing = best thing ever

Shakespeare + workout clothing = best thing ever

cutesocks

dumbelldrugeatcleantraindirty

5. And this totally gets to stand on its own. Love it.

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Have a fabulous weekend, friends!

I ran my first marathon and my legs didn’t fall off!!

I did it!! I can hardly believe the day came, went as well as it did, and is now over. All those months of staying in on Friday nights in preparation for early Saturday am runs, of mental and physical preparation for the big 26.2, of physical therapy and insane highs and lows and total uncertainty over whether or not I’d even be able to run at all… they all paid off, and they’re all behind me and totally worth it. Because yesterday, I finally ran the race I’ve been dreaming of running since the spring — and I couldn’t possibly be happier with how it went.

beforerace

pre-race, with the girls and the dad

Ahhhhh I cannot even begin to describe the cloud I’m perched up on right now. At this time yesterday, I was in the middle of running the Mohawk Hudson Marathon, my very first full marathon. The day couldn’t have been any more perfect for a long race: mid-60s, blue skies, sunshine, zero humidity, and just lovely. I was surprisingly extremely calm and relaxed starting this race — I didn’t even have a single butterfly or nervous thought. Pretty sure I got all of the anxiety out the few days prior, when I was a walking basket case and spouted tears right and left. Yep, glad I left that behind on race day. Yesterday morning, I felt wonderful, and I knew that I would finish this race, come hell or high water. I’d done the half the two years prior, and what is it they say about third time being the charm? Exactly.

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This was a very well-organized, intimate, and thankfully flat race (as in, a lot of it was gradually downhill). I heard there were only about 1,800 runners, so the start was not crowded and there weren’t really any bottlenecks. Most of the course was beautiful, running by the Mohawk and Hudson rivers in the peak of Autumn. I actually had a moment where I was running down a tree-lined path for miles, gold and crimson leaves littering the ground around me, and I thought, “Savor this. Cherish this. This is as good as today could possibly be.” I felt very, very blessed to be running in the midst of such a beautiful natural setting, and actually able to enjoy this grueling task I’d set before me. This was it: all those months of training through the hot summer had culminated in this day, and I was determined to make the most of every mile.

foliage

I honestly felt really great and strong throughout most of the race. I was between the 4:05 and 4:10 pacers for the majority of it, and then ran with the 4:10 pacer til about mile 22, when things started to get rough. On the one hand, I’m thankful it took me 22 miles to start really hurting and wondering how I would ever keep going; on the other, I wish I hadn’t started hurting that badly at all…but what can you do? Running that long is rough. ‘Nuff said. 🙂 Things started to get really bad for me around mile 24, when I was struggling to keep up a 10-minute-per-mile pace, and my left hip and quad had been hurting for so long that I was definitely in an agonizing auto-pilot. I just kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other, not to walk, and that in two miles, this would all be over. Yes, that was much harder to do than to say…but I did it. My friend Sarah, who had trained for the race but ended up getting horrible tendonitis and was unable to run, jumped in with me for the last half 3/4 of a mile or so, and that was totally key. Having someone run alongside you and encourage you when you honestly don’t know how you’ll take another step makes such a huge difference, and I am so thankful for her.

Crossing that finish line as my family stood right there and cheered for me was an absolutely ridiculously amazing feeling, and I think I’ll probably being flying high on this accomplishment for a while.

afterrace

I finished in 4:13:51, which I’m thrilled with, especially for my first marathon.

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I’m so grateful to all of my fantastic family members and friends who supported and encouraged me throughout this whole process, from my initial training til when I crossed the finish line. This was such a wonderful, exciting, tumultuous, emotional journey for me, and I feel like I learned so much about my ability to push out of my comfort zone and to commit to something whole-heartedly and devotedly, even when it seemed like such a daunting task. People immediately began asking me if I have any plans to run another marathon. Hmmm… for now, I think I’ll bask in the joy of this accomplishment…and then pick another one sometime in the future.

California sounds good, doesn’t it?

Last pic from yesterday: post-race, still sore and overwhelmingly happy, I shed my sneaks and sweaty duds for heels and a cocktail dress to attend a lovely friend’s wedding. Quite a full and eventful day, and wonderful from start to finish.

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Today? I’m sore beyond belief. But I couldn’t be happier. Feeling blessed.

All Over the Place

Ever have those weeks where you feel like you can’t catch your breath, and you’re always just a little behind where you’d like to be…and then you come up for air, and suddenly it’s Thursday?

So, welcome to where I’m at.

Let’s start with how the running is going lately, as it’s the one thing that doesn’t seem to be overwhelming me, thankfully!

At one point in my marathon training — probably before I ran anything over 15 miles — I’m pretty sure I thought I’d want to run at least 22 miles before the Big Day. Now that I have a successful 20-miler behind me and seem to be unable to shake the issue with my calf, I’m thinking maybe 20 is enough for my longest training run. I’m hoping I can mentally prepare myself to get ready for those last six miles (even if they kinda scare me).

convince

Knowing that I’d conquered 20 certainly made 15 feel pretty darn good this past Saturday, and it helped that it was an absolutely perfect early Autumn morning to be out for a run. Like, couldn’t have been better.

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And that was just the start to a fantastic, fun-filled Saturday, which then rolled right into a fabulous Sunday as well.

 Highlights of my weekend included:

* getting upgraded from a regular economy rental car to a sweet ride for my day trip out of the city

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* a perfect natural chaise on a lovely river walk (which I unfortunately couldn’t transport back to the city and into my apartment)

frametastic

* a river walk, a delicious brunch and sparkling rosé

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* two great church services at two polar opposite churches: Hillsong NYC on Sunday morning, and Dwell in the Bowery area on Sunday night

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* crushing on beanies — i might not be ready for Winter, but the snowboarding hippie in me totally loves this trend and  i’m definitely on the market for some new ones this year. Urban Outfitters has a few i’m currently eyeing:

beanie2  

beanie

This week has definitely been a crazy, non-stop week for me, and I admit I’ve felt more stressed than I have in a while. I’ve been too sore to do much running also, so hopefully I’ll get a few miles in tomorrow morning before my Newport Half Marathon this Sunday in New Jersey. I’m actually really looking forward to this, and it’s interesting — this is the first half I’ve run where I wasn’t training for a half, but for a full, and so this has kind of snuck up on me and doesn’t feel like such a daunting giant after all.

Hopefully I’ll settle into my sneaks and cruise right along and enjoy this whole “falling in love with distance running” thing I kinda think I might have going on.

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And by kinda, I guess I mean totally.