Ready to Fly

Yesterday, I received an email welcoming me to the Oiselle Volée Team (pronounced wah-zell vuh-lee). I submitted my application at the beginning of July and played the waiting game until I found out yesterday that I was selected for the team. I am truly honored to be a member of this team.

I was introduced to Oiselle after falling down the rabbit hole of reading running blogs and kept reading about Rogas. As a research scientist I was trained to be skeptical, and I was especially skeptical of shorts about which there were no-chafing claims. I’d been “burned” (literally and figuratively) by shorts from other brands about which the same claim had been made. After suffering through my first, blazing hot, St. Louis summer stifled in capris I made the investment and joined the #RogaRevolotion, and soon found out what I was missing. Months later, I’ve now expanded both my Oiselle wardrobe and knowledge and I haven’t looked back.

Many of my days can be long, unpredictable often ruled by time points, incubations, and seminars. Getting in a run or workout is very important to me, but cannot take precedent over my work. I’m lucky that my job has a very flexible dress code, but that doesn’t mean I want to come to the lab looking like I’m going to/coming from a run or the gym. Oiselle’s passion for running and understanding of a woman on the run needs is evident in its many versatile apparel options. Outside of that, that I see myself as a competitor and I feel very connected to the brand philosophies of going fast and taking chances and being #femininefierce.

It takes a lot for me to get excited about a product or a brand (see above skepticism example) and I’m excited about Oiselle. I view my running as a lifestyle and Oiselle apparel fits embodies the running as a lifestyle concept. I’m so proud to represent this amazing brand and ready to share my passion with others and fly with my teammates (and step up my twitter game).

A Great Time in Detroit!

Greetings from Waterville Valley, NH! I’m here this week for a conference related to my research.

So far it’s been a busy travel week because I included a stopover in Detroit because it was my family reunion weekend. It was a whirlwind trip but I was so happy to spend some time with my family. So many negative things are said about Detroit, but there are also many positives. We were caught in a rainstorm during a family gathering on the river and after the rain stopped a double rainbow appeared. I can’t remember the last time I saw a double rainbow! To me it was symbolic of the promise of Detroit’s future.

That’s Windsor, Ontario, Canada on the other side of the river. Not many cities can boast that they are across the river from a foreign country. It was a super quick trip and the temps were high so I prioritized spending time with family over running long and joined my aunts on a 5-6 mile walk around downtown Detroit (along the Dequindre Cut and Riverwalk). Which are fantastic additions to the Lafayette Park area.


I arrived in Detroit Friday around noon and by Sunday at 8:30 I was on a plane bound for Manchester, NH followed by a bus to Waterville. The conference days are long (9:00AM-10:00PM), so I’m super happy to say that I’ve gotten up early to get some miles in prior to spending the day listening to seminars, networking, and eating (this conference has good food). The cooler temps here are perfect for running the daily highs are low 70s. After the conference it’s off to NYC to fo the NYRR ING Marathon Long Training Run #1 and visit friends.

It Won’t Be Long Now

Said the monkey when his tail was cut off…

Actually it won’t be long until I’m toeing the start line at the Detroit Marathon. The fine folks from the Detroit Marathon were kind enough to send me a reminder email.

 

The pink writing is mine. 101 days leaves me with 14 more long runs. When I break it down like that the start line seems even closer. I logged my first long run of this cycle on June 2 and was pretty pleased with my training up until June 20 when I headed from St. Louis to Martha’s Vineyard for my friend Tai’s wedding.



 

I had the best intentions. I packed three running outfits I even put one on and wore it to get a manicure, but I didn’t make time to run. I focused on celebrating my friend’s marriage, enjoying my first time on Martha’s Vineyard (now I get the hype) and spending time with my mother who joined me for the long weekend. I did do a fair amount of walking around though.

I don’t like to say that I didn’t have time to run, but I chose not to make time to run. I’m ok with that choice, but now that I’m back my training is priority #2 (behind work of course). Lately, I have been struggling with getting up and getting my run done. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t run before work then the odds of getting a run in that day are very small, mainly because my work day can be very unpredictable. Working in a research lab offers a lot of flexibility, but if you’re doing an experiment, which usually builds up days of setting up, you don’t often have the option of picking up where you left off the next day or taking it home.

Although I haven’t clearly defined my time goals for the Detroit marathon yet, I really want to get the most out of this training cycle. My long runs are going to get a little less lonely because I’m going to do most of my long runs with the Big River Running Fall Training Team. I’m so excited to not be running alone!

On National Running Day: Why I run

Happy National Running Day! This will be my 3rd year of observance. When I first “celebrated” in June of 2011, it was sort of the kick-off to my first cycle of marathon training. I had just committed to running the NYC Marathon with the NYC Alzheimer’s Associations Team Run to Remember, now known as Athlete’s to End Alzheimer’s. I was super intimidated about training, but participating in a running day event hosted by Footlocker in NYC gave me a preview of what it would be like to be a part of a running community.

It’s very cool to reflect on that time in my life 2 years later with two awesome marathon training cycles under my belt. I run for many reasons, because I like to push myself and because I enjoy racing and because my runner’s high can carry me through an entire day after a morning run. I could go on and on, but my favorite reason is why I will run for as long as I possibly can. I run for my health and fitness. I’ve witnessed first-hand exactly how running has benefitted my health, and I have the data to prove it. In January of 2011 (6 months before I began running regularly to train for the marathon) I went to my internist for my annual well-person visit which included a blood draw for a host of different tests including a lipid panel. I left that visit with a warning to keep an eye on my weight but all of my tests came back within an acceptable range and I maintained a reasonably active lifestyle as a frequenter of the gym. Around one year later I went back for another well person visit and my lipid panel changed for the better! Total cholesterol down and LDL (the bad cholesterol) down even my HDL (the good cholesterol) was down a bit too.

As much as I enjoy running and chasing down PRs there is no way to deny that one day the racing PRs will stop coming. My “health” PRs are the most cherished of them all and will fuel my running for many years to come. I encourage you all to be well.

 

Question: What motivates you to run or maintain your fitness regimen of choice?

Looking forward

After so many people realized hard earned personal records (PRs) this weekend, I am wondering when my next one will be. During 2012, my training was up and down with writing and defending a thesis, having surgery, moving half way across the country and starting my career. Somehow through all of that, every race that I ran during 2012 was a PR.

2012 Race HistoryI’m happy that I was able to make all of that progress, however I’m ready to work harder. If I’m being truly honest with myself I haven’t truly followed a training plan since the 2011 NYC marathon. I’m looking forward to training hard for my fall marathons, pushing my comfort zone (Detroit and NYC), and running some races in my new hometown, St. Louis. I’m registered for the GO St. Louis Half Marathon and I’m planning on registering for the St. Louis Track Club Road Series and also becoming a member.

I’m still deciding what my  specific goals for this year will be running wise, but I’m planning on big half and full marathon PRs come the fall.  Stay Tuned!

 

 

Gratitude

Today our President, Barack Obama, was sworn in for his second term.  It’s pretty amazing and also fitting that this inauguration coincides with the celebration of the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now I know that there are many who disagree with his politics and believe his opponent was the better person for the job, but our political process played out and President Obama was the winner. Dr. King and President Obama inspire me to be the best that I can be so that I can do my part to move our country forward.

I got an unexpected dose of inspiration from watching the AFC championship game (Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots) this evening. During the national anthem, the cameras zoomed in on Ray Lewis.

the ugly cry

the ugly cry
from yahoo sports

He was doing the “ugly cry”. At first glance I was slightly annoyed and viewed this as some sort of a contrived display. As the anthem went on my sentiment softened from annoyance; I was touched. He was expressing his gratitude for the opportunity to play in this game. The Ravens went on to win and now Ray Lewis will play in the Super Bowl for his final season in the NFL. I don’t usually follow the Ravens so I don’t know very much about Ray Lewis, but I know that he’s had his share of struggles. This opportunity was never promised to him, but he believed.

So today, I am grateful for where I am today. I’m grateful for Dr. King,  President Obama, my family and friends and for all of the the wonderful opportunities I have been afforded and grateful for the opportunity to be the best me that I can be. The beginning of a dream come true is believing it is possible.

New Year’s Re(s/v)olution

Happy New Year! It’s amazing how time flies.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I got the idea for the title of this post from one of my facebook friends. I kind of love it. I have never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions personally, because I’m able to keep them.  Admittedly, I often set myself up to fail because I set pretty lofty goals (i.e. lose weight, eat better, get toned, learn a language or new skill), but I don’t make small, gradual changes in my day to day life that will help be achieve the resolutions. Enough with the unsustainable, overly ambitious New Year’s resolution.  Enter the New Year’s Revolution.

1) Turn my blank-walled, cluttered apartment into a home.

I moved off of campus for my sophomore year. I ended up moving every year ultimately lived in 3 different apartments during college (gotta keep those Atlanta rent specials going). When it came time to move to New York City for graduate school I ended up having to leave a lot of my furniture behind, the really nice things that I had were borrowed from my mother so they went back to Detroit. Let’s just I put zero effort into the decor of my NYC apartment even though I ended up living there for 6 years. I’d been scarred by moving so many times I saw decorating/housemaking as an unnecessary bother. I once thought I’d never put much effort into a “temporary” home but since my “forever home” is  long way off it’s time to change that approach.

2) Limit myself to 10-12 hours of television a week.

I think I watch entirely too much television. I really like watching the news channels. I’d prefer to use that time reading or exercising or sleeping or blogging.

3) Cook more.

When I lived in NYC I had a galley kitchen with limited counter space and unlimited access to 24 hour/day delivery food. My Saint Louis apartment has a lovely kitchen with lots of counter space. I’d like to use it more to cook dinner more so that I can have yummy leftovers to take to work for lunch.

There they are my goals for my “New Year’s Revolution”. Do you have any goals for 2013. Let’s make this year is the best yet!

 

Illinois Marathon Training: Week 1

Illinois Marathon

My blog posts have been sporadic at best. I’ve spent some time over the past couple of weeks doing some cosmetic maintenance on the blog. Because this is something I’m new to and I wasn’t prepared to spend a lot of $ on a blog developer/consultant. I went the DIY route. I’ve done a lot of internet searches and even cracked open a book, and I’m pleased with and proud of my “finished” product. In all honesty, it is still a work in progress.

In the weeks since I DID NOT run the NYC Marathon, I’ve done a lot of nothing. Well that’s not true, I did travel to Hong Kong which was pretty darn cool and I turned 30.

I was planning on doing the GO! St. Louis Marathon this spring, but I should have started training for that 2 weeks ago. I heard a running buddy talking about the Illinois Marathon, did some quick research and decided that would be the race for me. I haven’t officially registered yet, but I did reserve a hotel room, because they apparently fill up quickly.  I’m planning on running the GO! Half-marathon as well.  I’ve found a free online training plan that I’m going follow which includes strength training, speed work, cross training and 1 rest day. I believe I’m up to the challenge. I’d love to PR, but most importantly I would like to have fun.

This week’s workouts:

  • Monday: Easy Run 45′ + Strength
  • Tuesday: Speed- 60 min easy with 30-60s pick-ups
  • Wednesday: 40-45′ cross-training + Strength
  • Thursday: 45′ run, moderate effort
  • Friday: 40′ run, easy effort
  • Saturday: 10 mile run, conversational pace

I have the schedule printed so I can cross of the workouts and they are loaded into my calendar. Let the training begin! Woo-hoo.

The Detroit Marathon

I’m clearly not the best at keeping my blog updated. I think the last time you heard from me was when I’d completed my running streak back in July.  Since then, there’s been some training, some racing and some travel. There was also some non-running. Let’s just say I did not follow my training plan to a T, and I’m okay with that. I’m not a professional runner, I’m a professional scientist and I started to train just after moving to a new city and starting a new job and I had a lot to adjust to.

Let’s just say I started my “pre-season” around week 24 and my 18 week Hal Higdon plan started around week 26. As you can see, there was more than one “low-mileage” week.  I did manage to get my “big runs” in (2 20 milers and a 22 miler) but I wasn’t exactly sure what my expectations for Detroit should be.

One exciting development was that I’d found a weekly running group through my local Lululemon. After a faster than normal for me 6 miler with the group (~8:10 pace) the week before the marathon I was gained confidence in my fitness. I decided I would line up with the 3:50 pace group (8:47 min mile) for the marathon.

I worked really hard to make sure I got enough sleep during the week leading up to the marathon and I loaded up on lots of nutritious food. I flew into Detroit Friday evening picked up a rental car and headed off to spend some time with my Godmother. Saturday morning, I drove downtown, parked my car at my mother’s house and headed to the Detroit Marathon Expo at Cobo Hall via the the People Mover.

I picked up my bib and headed out to my father’s house for some quality carb loading

Yum!

Carb Loading

and family time. After our visit I headed back downtown to organize my gear and get some rest.  I set several alarms and settled down for what ended up to be a restless night of sleep. Between being nervous about the race and being nervous about sleeping through my alarm.

To be continued…

Marathon Training 101

Hello again,

So I have definitely been slacking on the blogging front. I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten myself inline with regards to running. I have actually run at least every day as a part of the Runner’s World Magazine running streak #rwrunstreak. My training for the Detroit and New York City Marathons officially began last Monday and I competed my first long run (10 miles) this past Sunday. Many people are beginning their training for fall marathons so I’d like to offer some tips (especially for newbies). Completing one marathon certainly doesn’t make me an expert but I think my suggestions will be useful.

Have a training plan!

Are you going to train alone or with a group? Whatever you decide, finding a plan that is adapted to your lifestyle and running ability is key to crossing the finish line. Most training plans require a mileage base and builds upon that base over the course of a 3-4 month period. I didn’t do every run on my training plan because sometimes life got in the way, but I did complete every scheduled long run. When I weighed my training options, I ultimately decided to fundraise for a charity that was meaningful to me. I was slightly apprehensive about my fundraising commitment, however the coaching support that was provided by my charity group was invaluable and I made lots of great friends. I will talk more about my marathon experience with a charity in another post.

Picture from early marathon training 2011

Gear

The most important gear a runner has is his/her shoes. The best way to get running shoes is to go to a specialty store that will conduct a gait analysis and then recommend shoes that are specific to your needs as a runner. When I was shopping for shoes, I was given several pairs of shoes by different brands to try and I was able to select the shoes that I felt most comfortable in. It is also highly recommended that you purchase your shoes a full size larger than your normal shoe size. I initially ignored this recommendation and lost 3 toenails after 2 months of training. I now by my running shoes a full size larger.

You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy expensive, “fancy pants” gear especially if you don’t know if you’re going to stick with running long term. I started off by buying 3 running outfits (on sale) and gradually increased my running wardrobe as time went on. I always by my gear on sale. Essential items I would purchase right away would be non-cotton undergarments, socks, running bra, and underwear. Take it from me because I learned the hard way, cotton is not the fabric of a runner’s life. Save yourself the aggravation and irritation (cotton socks=blisters, cotton undies=chafing). You can get good recommendations from a running specialty store.

I’ve covered just a couple of the basics here. I will go more into my personal gear in a separate post!