Posts tagged ‘Race’

January 2, 2013

Hello, 2013. It’s a Pleasure to Meet You.

My birthday, the holidays and ringing in the new year has officially come and gone in the blink of an eye. What a whirlwind the last month or so has been! Ever since Vegas, I’ve been go, go, go. As you can see, blogging has been low on the priority list between all the celebrating, baking, working, ’tis the season shopping and wrapping. Welp, sue me. Let me get you up to speed. The night before my birthday, my nearest and dearest gathered at my apartment for chili, wine and Christmas cookies with tons of laughs in between, just what I wanted. Mike was out of town on business for my actual birthday and I may have had a mid-20 crisis/breakdown (ahem, when I say mid-20, I of course mean 23…), but luckily Emily came to the rescue for a quick sweat sesh and dinner at the new Tommy Bahama restaurant. Hey, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to. Our meal was too good, as was the company (Em, her dad, Bob, and Bob’s girlfriend, Dianne). Live music, a tropical setting–I literally felt like I was on vacation–and birthday cake? Perfection. Thanks again! Mike made up for his absence the following day with a perfect-for-me dinner of salmon and roasted veggies over quinoa and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. I’m. So. Spoiled.

IMG_3407 IMG_3409 IMG_3417 IMG_3422 IMG_3434 IMG_3476 IMG_3487 IMG_3455

Soon enough, it was Christmas. I headed back to Connecticut for good food, family and thoughtful gifts (13.1 was a common theme!) with new traditions and a new stove…FYI the holidays are never a good time for a stove malfunction but luckily, ours went on the fritz the day before Christmas Eve. Plenty of time to scramble and get a new one, right? 2012 had its fair share of ups and downs. I was in and out of New York interning, cruised with some of my bests for spring break, graduated from UConn, mourned the loss of two family members, enjoyed a summer of a whole lot of nothing, moved into Manhattan with my boyfriend of 5 years and started my dream career. I ran [my first] two half marathons, tackled a Tough Mudder and ran up the mountain I’ve skied down since I was a tot. I went dairy and gluten-free after suffering from tummy troubles for years. Fellow recent grads can probably relate when I say that this has been a weird limbo chapter of my life but certainly an exciting one. I’ve embraced city living more than I ever had expected although I still all too often find myself retreating to my comfort zone. This year, I need to start living, as I’ve put it. I have an itch to explore, learn and try new things. I have set an ambitious goal of six half marathon races this year, I want to get my spin on (SoulCycle every other week with my old roomie, Allie, why not!?) and have decided my body needs yoga again. Like desperately. Oh, and I have already signed up for another obstacle mud race in the summer. I never thought I’d say that. If 2012 has taught me anything, it is to be grateful for all that I have, appreciate loved ones and be patient, for hard work always pays off in the end. So cheers to 2012 but boy am I glad to start fresh this year. Let’s do it.
What fit goals/resolutions do you have set for 2013?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

November 26, 2012

Trottin’ Like Turkeys

I didn’t really know what to expect this Thanksgiving but after my conductor gobbled at EVERY stop on my train ride back to Connecticut, I had a good feeling. (No, I was not able to nap because of his outlandish noises but I give the guy credit for being all festive I guess.) After years of putting on the hoopla for my grandmother and uncle’s sake, my parents, sister and I didn’t really know what to make of the holiday without them. We originally planned on going north to Vermont, avoiding tradition altogether, when our good friends–or should I just call them family at this point–invited us to join them for dinner. It was pretty perfect and after my dad being sick and all, it was nice to not have the added stress the holiday can present. Plus, since we stayed local, I was able to run in the annual Turkey Trot with my favorite running pal! Doesn’t get much better than that. 

With my half so close (one week from today…ahhhh!) and Mandi training for one, as well, we decided to turn the five mile race into 10. You know those crazy people running to the race? That was us. Surprisingly enough, it was a great idea. It felt good to get such a nice warm-up in before getting our Turkey Trot on and as Mandi put it, pushing through the last five with so many people around kept us moving toward that finish line. I mean, everyone from our towns were there, we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves after all. All of that running lent for a guilt-free Thanksgiving, which was two plates full of turkey, slaw and roasted veggies for me! My simple, seasonal broccoli slaw salad was awesome, if I do say so myself (recipe below). The perfect crunch to pair with the whole turkey and mashed potato bit with a sweet tang from chopped apple chunks and the occasional dried cranberry…I may have singlehandedly ate half of that bowl. 

Ingredients
12-ounce package of broccoli slaw
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Stevia packet
Salt and pepper, to taste

Since my family loves leftovers–who doesn’t!–we ended up making our own bird and a few favorite side dishes the following night. It was weird not having Mike around to devour a plate or two of grub with me. The man I’m most thankful for couldn’t celebrate this year because of work (stupid football!) but don’t you worry, I brought him back a huge container of his favorite Thanksgiving things to show him how grateful I am to have him. I mean, come on, no Thanksgiving? That’s just plain wrong and he deserved some turkey. As you can see, the slaw made another appearance. You know a recipe is good when you make it two days in a row. Oh and in my opinion, avocado trumps gravy any day. Yum!

I have so much to be thankful for this year although, as you know, it’s been a bit of a crazy one. It was a bit strange not having Grandma Ginger and Uncle Ricky across from me Thursday night, but as I toasted to all that I am thankful for and clinked my wine glass with my dad, I couldn’t help but focus on the positive. I’m living in arguably the best city on Earth with the guy I fell in love with when I was 17-years-old. I have a dream of a job that I look forward to every single day. I am surrounded by the most incredible, supportive friends and family anyone could ask for. After quite the scare, my dad is well and even starting to run again. I cannot wait to jog alongside him as I compete in my second half marathon. Let the carboloading begin!
What dish did you contribute to your Thanksgiving dinner?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

August 7, 2012

Green Monster

I love sneaking veggies into my smoothies, especially after a long run for that extra little oomph I need to recover. Yesterday, after completing the hilly, humid and hot soundRUNNER Sea Leg Shuffle, all I could think about was a green smoothie. In. My. Belly. And fast. The fact that there was basically NO food left after I completed my 10 miles (um, thanks 5k participants for hogging ALL the watermelon) certainly didn’t quench any post-workout fuel need. So once I got home, guess what I did? I made a killer green monster smoothie. It was powerful and just what I needed, despite the fact it was a little scary looking. Full of greens, healthy fats and, of course, protein. 

Ingredients
8 oz. almond milk (or soy, coconut, water, etc.)
1 scoop of protein powder (I’m loving my new Vanilla Garden of Life)
Handful of spinach or other greens
1/2 of an avocado
1/2 of a frozen banana
2 tablespoons of chia
2 tablespoons of hemp hearts
1 teaspoon spirulina (so energizing!)
Stevia, vanilla extract and ice, if necessary

Yes, it was the same color as grass, but it tasted great. I pinky promise. Reminder: I prefer my smoothies on the thicker side and eat them with a spoon! Therefore, add liquid as needed. Who needs frozen yogurt or  ice cream when you can make a smoothie in a bowl? Oh and in case you were wondering, I finished in 1:30:43 (which is 9:05 splits). I’m pretty content with that, considering the grueling weather circumstances. Although it was rough and a mental challenge, physically I felt strong. I’m confident my second half-marathon is in the near future. That makes me really happy.
Do you like green drinks?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

July 30, 2012

Conquer the Mountain!

I completely underestimated my race this weekend in Vermont. When my dad asked me if I had been training for it, I replied, “I can do a 5K in my sleep.” Uhh, well karma can be a “you-know-what” because the Okemo Mountain Challenge was no cake walk. Let’s just say my goal of running the entire thing was completely disregarded half of a mile into the climb to the summit. At times, speed walking with long strides proved to be more efficient than a slow-paced jog. At least that’s what I kept telling myself…

 

Sweat dripped off my nose as I concentrated on the placement of each step, careful to not twist an ankle on the rocky terrain. I kept imagining myself slipping in the grass and somersaulting backward down the narrow, steep trail. My brain kept questioning my abilities, telling me to quit. My legs felt (and still do!) like jello. Whoever named this event was right. It was a challenge.

 Although it was tough, I’m really proud to say I finished in 44:53 minutes, earning third place in my division. After Mandy, Brian and I made it to the top, we waited to cheer on our crazy 10-miler, Adam, to make his way back down (he had to climb a little higher before making his descend to the base).

 

I am still in awe…like who does this? Maybe next year…

My favorite part of the race was obviously taking the chairlift down. Although it was cool, overcast and cloudy (could we have asked for better running conditions?), the sun came out just in time for our scenic ride. The view was breathtaking. Tips up!

 

After the three of us hydrated and made friends with other racers, some whom ironically live in our neighboring Connecticut towns, Adam finished strong. He certainly earned that bbq meal card! And then some. Rain and small thunderstorms came our way the rest of the afternoon, putting a damper on our plans however I think we were all a little relieved to have an afternoon/evening on the couch with the Olympics, a movie and lots of snacks. Sounds like a vacation to me!

So just another race to check off my bucket list. I hope that by next year I’ll forget how challenging it truly was and be up to conquer the mountain again. Maybe go the full ten? We’ll see. In other news, my running pals and I aren’t finished with our summer races just yet. The Guilford Sea Leg Shuffle is this Sunday. See ya there?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

April 19, 2012

I Run For ______.

I have always considered myself an athlete but never a “runner.” Runners enjoy long distances, eat energy chews or gels and pay a boatload of money to participate in what many consider hell. After completing my first half-marathon, however, I guess I have earned the title I’ve always held on a pedestal. With 13.1 now under my belt and a few days of rest to allow for my adrenaline levels to balance out, I’ve been mulling over the excitement Sunday offered. I feel so accomplished and learned quite a bit I’d love to share with you. Here are 10 half-marathon tips from a first timer’s point of a view. Enjoy some of the mouthwatering meals I’ve been fueling up on, too! I’m on an edamame hummus, canned salmon and seeds/nuts kick, as you can see…

10. I Run For _____. This was the quote that was plastered to a racer’s back that I ran behind for a good chunk of my race. It stuck with me and gave me goosebumps as I mentally prepared a bullet list of “why’s.” Yes, you set the goal but why are you putting yourself through this? What’s the reason behind the struggle, the pain, the buzzing of that 6 a.m. alarm? Reflecting on what has motivated me to make this commitment not only kept my mind going, it reminded me of the reasoning behind the madness. I haven’t been too vocal on this touchy subject but I currently have two family members battling cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. It’s been hard on my family as a whole, especially already having lost loved ones to this disease, but it has served as a huge wakeup call. I’m in control of my body, my health, my well-being and can help myself for the future. Running and the regimen I followed was a way to dedicate myself to a fit, strong and healthy lifestyle, while serving as an outlet for the stress this crazy last semester has presented. It was a goal that kept me going, fighting and committed to other aspirations, too. So set a “why.” Whatever it may be, let this understanding propel you forward whenever doubt stands in your way.
9. Know your body and listen. Working your way up in mileage is no cake walk so naturally you’re going to be sore and there is potential for injury. If you feel a tweak, continue with caution and don’t be ashamed if you need to take a day or two off. It’s better to be safe rather than sorry! Stretch, ice, stretch some more and take pain relievers, if necessary. Schedule a doctor’s appointment, of course, if the issue continues or worsens.
8. Be ready, even if it seems neurotic. The night before the race I was nervous, excited, scared and uber prepared. Laying out your running ensemble, iPod, bib number, SPIbelt, etc. will save you from any unnecessary stress in the morning. Bring tissues or toilet paper because porter potties will be stripped by the end of the race or maybe sooner!
7. The early bird catches the worm—and scores sweet freebies. I’m a stickler, ok borderline overzealous, when it comes to time. Get to both the expo and race early so you can grab awesome gift bags full of goodies and not have to wait in lines. I mean, you don’t want to tucker yourself out the day before the race standing around or plowing through crowds. The less anxiety, the better.
6. Hydrate. Fuel. Hydrate. Fuel. Hydrate. Fuel. Get it? Got it? Good.
5. Stick to your norm. Don’t try anything fancy or different just because 13.1 is looming in the immediate future. You know how your body reacts to certain foods, caffeine, sleep, etc. so keep it balanced the week or so leading up to the race. With that being said, forget about the energy gels, beans, chews, etc. if you haven’t been using them before. (A special thanks to Sam for lending me this advice! I would have been WORSE in the tummy trouble department if it weren’t for her!)
4. Don’t second guess yourself. You can do this! 13.1 sounds daunting but after all the conditioning, strengthening and time you devoted to this goal, you have to trust your abilities. To make the course less intimidating, break it down into manageable distances and celebrate every mile marker. When I got to 10, for example, the three remaining miles seemed like nothing and totally doable!
3. Pace yourself and don’t think about it. As Amanda put it before the race, “We’re just going for a casual jog in the park. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just a typical long run day.” Over-thinking a race will trigger nerves and God knows what else. The finish line isn’t going anywhere so start slow and work up your pace. There’s always time to take it up a notch! Having a running buddy and a playlist full of inspiring beats also helps with this.
2. Race Shirt Swag. I read somewhere before my race that wearing the race shirt before you complete it has some bad “joo joo.” Earn it before you sport it and wear it with just as much pride as the metal itself! Note to self: have one of my “cheerleaders” hang onto it at the end of the race so I can shed the sweaty top for post-race pictures.
1. Enjoy and celebrate your success. Like I mentioned, I didn’t break the time I wanted. Who cares? It was my first race, I worked my butt off for months and I crossed the finish line. Be proud and know that tomorrow’s another day, with many races in the future.


What do you run for?

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

April 16, 2012

I Did It!

It’s still sinking in that I accomplished the 13.1 mile goal I set for myself months ago. Long cold runs in the snow and rain, healthy eating, hard work and dedication all l lead up to one race. 2 hours and 10 minutes through Central Park. Amanda came in early Saturday afternoon and after dropping off her stuff at Mike’s apartment, the three of us headed toward the More/Fitness Magazine Health & Wellness Expo to gather our race numbers and gear. A hot pink SPIbelt and matching Sparkly Soul headbands were purchased before we wandered along the High Line, where we casually bumped into (Amanda literally sort of did…) Cameron Diaz. No big deal. Love her! We worked up an appetite after a few hours of exploring so grabbed salads, alongside some groceries (all for $10.49 somehow!) for dinner later on before heading back to sit out on Mike’s balcony and relax. Countless Nalgenes-full of water later, we got started with our night-before-the-race feast, an energizing spread of grilled chicken, eggplant, peppers and broccoli with roasted parsnips and sweet potato. We were hungry. Before we knew it, it was time to catch some z’s in preparation for the big day. 5:30 a.m. came too soon. I didn’t feel right and had barely slept. Coffee, scrambled eggs and an apple with soy nut butter were consumed but still something was off. I chalked it up to nerves. Amanda and I caught a cab to Columbus Circle and we walked to the starting area where we met up with Em. We worried about a few raindrops, were corralled into place and before I could blink (although in reality it was over an hour later…), the race started.

 It wasn’t easy and I hate to use the word “disappointed” because for goodness sake I ran 13.1 miles, what’s there to complain about? But what got me down on myself was the fact that after doing everything right from eating, stretching and hydrating days prior to the hours of training I had endured in preparation, I never would have guessed a stomach issue would prop up. The first three miles were all smiles. I had goosebumps, soaking in the sunshine and aroma of everything in bloom while my adrenaline rushed with each stride. Things were fine and I felt strong, in fact, all the way until mile 7, when my churning stomach hit. It wasn’t nerves, something else was wrong. A full 24+ hours later, I’m still not back to my normal self. Regardless, I’m proud that I had the mental toughness to push through those “uncontrollables” to cross that finish line. I feel accomplished running farther than ever before and strength-wise, I could have kept going! Moreover, I’m positive that I would have reached my under 2 hour goal if it wasn’t for this bug (or whatever it is). It was tough to have been moping at the finish line, though, especially with my crew of cheerleaders there. I can’t even put into words what it meant to have had my parents, boyfriend and best friend waiting for me. Seeing my dad poking his head out, urging me to push it the last few strides made my eyes tear up and my legs fly. I’m honestly still a whirlwind of emotions and cannot get over the amount of love, support, encouraging texts, tweets and sweaty hugs I have received. I’m truly one of the luckiest people in the world and cannot thank everyone enough for celebrating this with me. The popular question has been, “So now what?” Well, I’m nuts, stubborn (in a competitive way) and always looking toward the future with some goal in mind so naturally I have my eye on the next race. I have about 2 months to recover and prove to myself I can hit that 2 hour mark without tummy troubles. Wish me luck!
Have you ever been frustrated after a race? 

Sprinkled with Sweat (er, I mean Love),
Lauren