I Run, Therefore I Am

 Posted by at 7:53 pm  fitness
Oct 092013

Let’s talk running.



This summer, I was doing a fairly job making running a priority in my life.  Not summer of 2011 good, but maybe 2010 good.



Then, as happens in life, THINGS started happening.  And, as happens, at first I was doing a grand job keeping up with the running.  I was traveling to the Midwest on a just about a weekly basis, but I was managing to stay committed. Sometimes I managed running while on the road, but even if I didn’t, most of my trips were so short that I was able to keep up with my running plan [which at the time was just a sticker chart I made myself to aim for 3 runs a week] when I was at home in New York.


But then, as happens in life, THINGS kept happening, and some of them were hard, and things changed.  I brought my running gear to Chicago with me to run out the emotions after spending time with and saying goodbye to my grandmother, and the run did me in.  I ran. I cried. I walked. I ran. I cried some more. I continued this rotation until politely vomiting* in a ditch and heading back to the hotel to shower off the disgust and face the day of travel ahead of me.



When I returned home from that trip to Chicago, I stopped running.  It was crunch time before HLS and I didn’t even pretend to make working out a priority.  Sleep was a priority.  Time for myself was a priority.  Nutritious meal choosing was a priority. Running was not a priority.


Two and a half weeks later, I found myself completing two mega-short, yet mega-important-to-me, runs in Minneapolis.


The first was Friday morning before registration.  I planned to run out to the sculpture garden and back to make sure I knew the route before the HLS Fun Run Sunday morning. I invited Kelly, Alicia, and Mindy to join me.

It felt good.  It felt good to run with three of my closest friends, and the girls who help motivate and encourage me in running each year.  It felt good to run together, to not have pressure, to take breaks, to sweat out some eagerness, and to start the day off with some activity.  I liked that at any given moment, any one of the four of us was “leading” the pack. I liked that it happened naturally and that even though that out of the three of them, I’ve only ever run with Alicia by my side before (we’ve run many a races together,) it felt like running a couple of miles together on a Friday morning was completely natural and something we “do all the time.”  It felt like I was a runner running with my runner friends.  And I liked that.



The second was that Sunday morning HLS Fun Run, which was another out and back.  I thought, and even mentioned to the group, that I wasn’t going to run fast and that the group could plan on 10:30/11:00 minute mile pacing if they were going to follow my lead.  I encouraged others to run faster and pass me if they wanted, and then we took off towards the garden.


After a minute or two of running, I looked around and noticed a bunch of my favorite friends, new and old, were near me at the front of the line and smiled, taking in the energy around me.  The group talked about our love for city running and my several-year-long goal to run a sub-30 minute 5K came up in conversation.  I shared that I was in no way prepared to run sub-30 now, and that one of these days I was going to actually train and do it.  The girls near me were all super uplifting, and then someone asked what we were currently pacing.  I looked down at my Garmin and was a bit shocked to see that my planned 11:00minute mile was no longer; we were keeping a steady 9:15 pace.  This was encouraging in itself, but a few words from Ari and Nicole stayed with me from that morning.  They may not even remember saying anything at all, but their belief in my ability to run and reach my goals really helped to light a fire in me.  I think back to the conversation often and every time I do I find myself re-inspired to go after what I want in terms of my running life.

Musselmans 5K (84)


After taking some awesome group photos at the Walker Sculpture Garden, I ran back to the hotel with Danielle.  Elizabeth from My Neon Running Shoes joined us for part of the run, too, and we had a nice time chatting as we made our way back to the hotel.  When Elizabeth split off from us to run an errand, Danielle and I continued chatting; mostly about how awesome it would be if we lived near one another and could run together ALL THE TIME.  This was our first time running together since my “healthy living journey” and I really wish it was something we could do more often.  [Seriously. Let’s work on that teleportation machine, scientist!]  Danielle has had SUCH an impact on the person I am today, and it really cherish that short run we got to take together.


When I came home from the Summit, as has happened every year since 2010, the passion I have for running and my running goals was reignited, but this year in a new way.


Instead of training for a race or PR, I simply want to train to truly FEEL and BELIEVE I’m a runner.

I want to run 3-4 times a week, no matter the distance, no matter the route, simply because I ENJOY running and because running makes me a happier, healthier human.

I want to know that each week, I’m going to log some miles.  I’m going to spend some time on the road.  I’m going to put my running gear to good use.

I want to improve, of course.  I want to build my endurance. I want to improve my speed.  I want to do better and be better.


I want to run a sub-30 minute 5K, of course.  And I know it’s possible.



Since returning home from the Summit I’ve run 3-4 times a week, every week.  Running is starting to really feel like a part of me, again, and for that I’m grateful.  I think changing how I think about running [less in the “train for a race” and more in the “be a runner” mindset, that is] has really helped keep me consistent.  Without a training plan written out for me to follow, there have been a few changes to my running routine that I’ve really taken a liking to in the past few weeks.


I run 2-3 evenings after work, and once on the weekend.  [want to hear some tips on running in the evenings, after a day at the office? Read this: I’m a PM Runner]  I don’t think about it too much. I look at the weather at the start of the week and decided when I’m running [I do enjoy taking a day off in between runs, still] and then I run on those days. If I don’t want to run, I run anyway.  This started after I had a mini-revelation that the only thing I needed to do to FEEL and BELIEVE I’m a runner is simply run. So now I run. A few times a week. Every week.


I’ve stopped running with ear buds in, for the most part.  I lost my iPod in Minneapolis and I’ve embraced the listening to the sounds of the neighborhood over the sounds of podcasts and have really enjoyed the change.  I thought it would drive me BONKERS not having distraction when I run, so this was a welcomed surprise.  I have used my phone once to listen to an episode of EHG once, and I think I’m really going to rely on this method only on days I really am dreading the running, as a sort of “reward” for getting it done. [or maybe what I mean is a bribe?]


I’ve been focused on one mile at a time.  A method I picked up on from a friend several months ago, I’ve kind of fallen in love with the evening runs of “run a mile, rest, repeat.”



I run without my Garmin at least twice a week.  I’ve been using map my run to plan out and back routes to accomplish in the evenings, especially.  I especially love a good one mile out, rest, one mile back.  It’s my go-to on days the office-work leaves me exhausted and cranky and has become my favorite way to exhaust emotions of any kind. [angry run, celebratory run, complacent run, eager run, etc.]


I ran 2 miles without stopping for the first time in a VERY long time the other day.  And I had negative splits.  And I paced almost the exact pacing as I did two days prior running 1 mile out, rest, 1 mile back.  And it felt like the biggest accomplishment of my life.  Which may explain why I love running so much.

What’s going on in your running life?














* the use of the word “politely” here may be an exaggeration.  Have you ever seen a polite vomit?

#hls13 LIVE!: Go Ride a Bike

 Posted by at 5:00 pm  fitness
Sep 092013

Can’t make it to Minneapolis this week for the 2013 Healthy Living Summit but don’t want to miss out on the learning opportunity the sessions provide?  Follow along with this year’s Live Bloggers and Live Tweeters!  The full list of who to follow is here:  Follow Along with #hls13, and you’ll notice my name is on it, too!

On Saturday, September 14 from 11:25 AM – 12:10 PM Eastern (10:25 AM Central / 9:25 AM Mountain / 8:25 AM Pacific), check back to this post because I will be live blogging the session on Go Ride a Bike! A Simple Guide to Bike Commuting.

Love the idea of biking to work, but afraid of getting too sweaty, not feeling safe & losing your way? This session, hosted by Diana of Diana Pantz and A Year of Minnesota Nice, is geared towards the “every biker.” No matter your bike, speed or experience, we will be talking about gear, safety & helpful tips to keep you going, no matter where you live.

IMG_3175Diana Neidecker is the voice behind two different blogs ;:dianapantz is a vegan lifestyle blog featuring vegan recipes, awesome eco-products, and tips and tricks for living an affordable, ‘green’ life. Her second blog, ‘A Year of Minnesota Nice‘ is a kindness project documenting the simplicity of practicing one random act of kindness, each day for a year.

She has been a year-round bike commuter for four years and is slowing getting into racing. She is training for her first duathlon and wants everybody to know how awesome biking can be!
Diana lives in Minneapolis with her cute partner Blake and their super-naughty rescue pup, Daphne. They read a lot of books, watch Monk on Netflix, eat chocolate-chip pancakes for supper.  She also loves baseball, the Backstreet Boys and pen pals!

I love Diana and her passion for life and kindness and am stoked to hear her debunking of cycling myths as she shares tips and know-her about bike commuting. See you Saturday!

10:25 – Kicking off the Go Ride a Bike Session!  Diana is the sweetest, most welcoming hostess!!

10:28 – LOVE this Minnesota biking video.  Kinda makes me want to move here!!!

“We help strangers fix flats.” – quoted in the video. #minnesotanice

10:32 – Diana has been a FULL YEAR – four seasons!!! – bike commuter. BEAST :D

10:34 – Biking is a great way to transition between “home” and “work” brains!

10:36 – Bike trains are such a great idea!  A couple of parent/teachers/etc riding bikes to school with a group of 3rd graders = what I want to see in a town!!

10:40 – Sometimes non-bike riders can be mean.  Killing’ em with kindness is Diana’s way to go. [again… #minnesotanice]

10:42 – Diana’ has LOTS of biking road blocks to discuss.  Getting to it with numero uno – “Help! I don’t even know how to start.”

  • No matter WHERE you get your bike [bike shop, garage sale, sports store, etc] take it to a bike shop to get yourself fitted
  • Purchase your tools. MUST WEAR A HELMET!!!! And wear it properly.  Most commonly, make sure your chin strap fits.  [read Julie’s post about Bike Safety here: http://www.savvyeat.com/bike-safety/ ]
    • Get a lock for keeping your bike safe when you’re out and about
    • LIGHTS!!! Make yourself visible to motorists, other cyclists, and pedestrians! Especially in the dawn, dusk, and dark time.
    • Don’t forget a small first aid kit – JUST in case.
    • Diana keeps a bus ticket in her bike bag – just in case she needs it. GREAT idea!
    • Also – an emergency number or two is never going to hurt.
  • Bring your manners – get familiar with “biking best practices/rules” and be a friendly bike riding neighbor!
  • Be calm, dude! Make eye contact with drivers to establish who is going first, use hand signals to show the direction you are going in. Get familiar with the bike signals that best work for you – keep in mind not all motorists understand “standard” bike signals we were taught in driver’s ed back in the day.
  • Biking is fun!  If you’re not feeling comfortable – slow down, find a new route, and look for what works for you.

10:51 -  What about my route being SUPER far away??

  • Half of the trips most American’s make are 3 miles or less in distance!
  • You don’t have to jump in and start ONLY using your bike. Start small if that works for you.  Post office, bank, ride to work once a week – find what works for you to get you started.
  • Every day you bike 10 miles, vs driving 10 miles, you’ll save about $10!!!!!
  • Don’t forget you may be able to use public transportation  WITH your bike, too.  City buses often have bike racks on the front, too.

10:53 – But isn’t biking hard?

  • Because biking is a “go your own speed” activity, it NEVER has to be TOO hard.
  • Biking is GOOD for your body – inside and out!
  • On average, when someone starts biking regularly, they lose 13 lbs the first year.

10:56 – But what if I have kids??

  • Get a trailer! Or a “car seat”
  • Join in community kid-focused bike events!! Look for them in your neck of the woods – they’re out there!

10:58 – The clothing isn’t awesome!

  • There is cute stuff out there if you want to find it!
  • Diana has a list of great brands who make comfy, ecofriendly, great womens bike gear/clothing.  Ask her for details if you want ‘em!
  • BUT – what you are wearing is just fine.
  • Don’t forget you can put padded biking liners for under your normal clothes, if you’d like a cushiony seat
  • You may want to look into gloves to keep your hands happy.

11:00 – But I don’t want to smell

  • Give yourself some extra time and slow down.  Keep the heart rate low.
  • Bike in a skirt!  Add leggings or go with something that makes you feel well covered.
  • Make a “port-a-shower” kit to bring with you on rides – a hand towel, a body spray you like, disposable athlete wipes, etc.
  • Don’t forget to keep drinking water – before, during, and after!  Especially ice cold water after you finish.
  • Long hair?  Try a side pony tail.
  • Avoid cotton if you are going on a longer ride and don’t want to get uber sweaty.  Wicking clothing or wool (in the winter) is the way to go.

11:03 – and now it’s snowing/raining?!?! EEK!

  • Consider studded tires for snow, and make sure your fenders are working for rain, too.

11:06 – Where do I park my bike?

  • make sure you lock up your bike, or it may be gone
  • Diana suggests a U-lock
  • the best place to park is a metal rack that is cemented into the ground.

11:08 – I am not of money – how much is this going to cost me??

  • get an old bike and take it to a bike shop for repair and checking!
  • register your bike and take a photo of the registration so that you have it.
  • REI offers a free maintenance class once a month.
  • and explain what you are looking for…don’t let them talk you into something you don’t need
  • ASK for a discount!!! Check with your health insurance – they more offer you something awesome!

This Week I Will 9

 Posted by at 8:47 am  fitness
Jul 152013


Release the pressure.  A little bit of real talk: This pressure – it’s self-imposed and it’s unnecessary.  I’ve allowed myself to fall into that trap – the one where you just can’t be pleased no matter what you chose.  I eat a healthy meal and I’m annoyed that I’m still longing for ice cream afterwards.  I eat a less-than-healthy meal and I’m annoyed that I didn’t choose something healthier.  I’ve had no motivation to workout [hello, 100 degrees in the apartment] and have been beating myself up for “only doing X” or “simply completing Y” – when really I need to cut myself some slack and accept what I have done and move forward to the next healthy choice.*  It’s my damn mantra, and I haven’t been able to be comfortable with the whole “Make one healthy decision. Now make another.” plan since the start of July.  THIS MONTH WILL NOT CONQUER ME.  I’m wiping the slate clean this week.  I’m getting rid of all the pressure and remembering what it means to live my best life.  I’ve reminded myself that the entirety of #make1healthydecision lies in a lack of pressure to do all the things, and instead focus on what healthy choices you CAN make for your day. 

Consume goodness. In food and beverage and written words and podcasts and television programming and all that jazz.  I want to add more GOODNESS to my life. Less feeling frustrated, more feeling thrilled by my choices.  Less complacency, more enjoyment.  I want to end more days with a smile on my face.   

Take a trip to Ithaca. [speaking of goodness…] I’m so excited for my [albeit less than 21 hours] trip to Ithaca this weekend. I’m taking a train out Saturday and will stay the night at Savvy Julie’s and spend the day together Sunday before heading on a train back to CDNY.  I’m really looking forward to some one on one time with my best blend, as well as lots of #hls13 talk to be had.  Watch out Max, I’m coming to cuddle!

Be one with the road.   I will no longer be running the specific 5K that I was planning to PR this month.  I’m currently on the search for a  local 5K to pour my heart and soles into training for, hopefully sometime this fall.  This week I want to focus on running for the sake of running, without pressure, without the “must.” I want to run for health and fitness and want.  I need some good quiet, alone time with the road. [doesn’t everyone swear by the “running is cheaper than therapy” plan?] This week – no specific miles to log. No “plan” on what to run and when to run it. I will simply run in hopes of becoming one with the road. 


What healthy intentions are you setting for the week?  Tell me about them on twitter and show me the proof on Instagram by using the #Make1HealthyDecision hashtag!


*especially because my lack of fitness motivation has a direct correlation to constant productivity in other areas! “Booyah!” to getting things done!