The Perfectly Imperfect Race

by Melissa on April 22, 2015

But for real, I miss blogging and sharing all that is happening with you!

The past month has been another whirlwind of packing, moving, racing, and hosting.  Although all fun, between the chaos of our personal life, my work life has also been way crazy too.  I’m ready for a weekend of no plans. :)

The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past couple months is that your goals can still be achieved even amongst the most imperfect conditions.  Example #1, my search for a 3 minute half marathon PR this winter.  Yeesssss….THIS WINTER.

Most of my long runs were in 15 degrees (or colder)  While I am a self-proclaimed lover of cold weather running, even I think 10 degrees is a little BRISK.  With the cold and then the frequent snow the treadmill also made regular appearances into my training regimen.  Not ideal. 

Also added into this round of training was getting engaged (best day of my life so far), taking the training to be an RRCA coach, and moving into a townhouse (the weekend before the race).

So what happens when you show up at your race with these conditions under your belt?  You suck it up, look at all the training that did happen, and keep a positive mindset.   Thanks Coach Julie for reminding me of this!

The Love Run expo was held at Phillies Stadium, which you would think would be great for an early spring race right?  Well it would have been had the expo and race been about 3 days earlier.  During the week leading up to the race, we enjoyed spring like temps in the 50s and 60s.  Starting Saturday, the wind picked up and the temperature plummeted.  Devin and I spent about 20 minutes at the expo, grabbed my race bib, and left.  The wind was just too brutal to stick around and enjoy the vendors.

My favorite SWAG though?

The Love Run mug!  Mugs are my jam. 

In short, the imperfect conditions followed us all the way to race day, including our accommodations.  I booked a hotel, however being not that familiar with Philly, it ended up being a good 35 minute walk from the race start.  Not ideal when it’s 20 degrees and windy outside!  Devin helped me stay calm by suggesting we just UBER it.  Totally worth the expense and piece of  mind!

The creature of habit that I am, I made us a reservation at Maggiano’s for my typical pre-race pasta.  Simple carbs keep my stomach clear of any digestive issues on race day.  This is obviously something that I’ve learned through training and many botched pre-race meals! 

Race morning was actually very stress free.  The Uber found us and was able to drop us off with only a 10 minute walk left to the start line. 

It was a cold morning and both of us were bundled.  I brought an extra coat and scarf and luckily had Devin to hold on to it while I raced.

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I can honestly say I’ve never raced with more clothing on!  Gloves, hat, warm tights, long sleeve, and an insulated running jacket.  With 15 minutes left till the start, I got into my corral and stayed warm between runners while doing dynamic stretches.  Despite my efforts, my feet still went numb from the cold.  I spent the first three miles with minimal feeling in my feet!

The course looped through downtown Philly, then headed past the Art Museum and down towards the river.  This is the point where I ended up seeing Devin.  While it was still early in the race (Mile 5), it gave me a boost and fueled me for the miles ahead.  There were 2 hills on the course, and I was gearing my pace to allow time for tackling those.

I was holding a steady pace till about Mile 11.  This was the point when I just wasn’t sure if I could hold on anymore.  And I remembered Coach Julie’s voice at this point – “stay positive”.  I really believe that has been my biggest issue with hitting my goal before in the half.  Mile 10 to 11 would cause a lot of discomfort and I would back off.  Hitting race pace miles late in my long training runs gave me the confidence that I could hit them on race day.  So I kept going!

The finish line was just at the top of hill by the Art Museum (aka the Rocky Steps)!  It was a push to the finish!

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Devin caught it all on camera.  At this point, I knew I would hit my goal!  My face wasn’t the prettiest, because I was cycling between tears and some pain.

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I think this picture really shows the true emotion of my finish: [frozen] tears of joy for finally hitting this goal.  Despite the terrible conditions this winter and the little hurdles we hit going into race weekend, it was so great to reach this point and see all the efforts over the past few months come to fruition.

Devin was right there to greet me after the finish line.  We were both exhausted.  He was outside braving the elements the entire time.  So we hurried up at the Rocky steps and then hopped into an Uber to get back to the hotel!

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The hotel we stayed at was connected to The Red Owl Tavern, which came in handy since we had already paid our valet fee for staying there.  So we showered and then got some delicious food before our drive back to DC.

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The restaurant had a great assortment of breakfast drinks, so we sipped coffee and water and shared a red beet juice!

Lesson learned?  Don’t fret the imperfections in your training.  If you have a good coach or plan, they’re already planning on missed workouts, weather issues, and imperfect race day conditions.  It comes down to how much you want to reach your goal and your ability to think positively through the entire process.  Embrace the imperfections!  Enjoy the training! 

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What are some the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome to hit your goal on race day?

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Tapering, Training, and Moving

by Melissa on March 27, 2015

Like whoa! This past month has flown by in the blink of an eye. Actually, it’s just been a whirlwind since the engagement :)

Almost minutes after we got engaged, Devin and I found out our rental application for a townhouse had been accepted. It felt a little surreal to be honest that not only were we going to get married, but we were also going to start living together very soon! This past weekend was our move in and it was complete chaos, as all moves are.

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I put my FitBit on Devin and that guy racked up some major steps and stairs! Over 25,000 steps and over 50 stairs climbed in one day. Great job babe! I couldn’t believe what an incredible workout moving was even with us hiring movers. My body was beat up and I felt as though I had gotten my last long run in with that effort. My coach even recommended just focusing on a few more miles and letting my body get back to normal.

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Oh yeah, about that, the Philly Love Run is on Sunday which has been my main goal race this winter! We’re going into the city this weekend to pick up my race bib, settle into the hotel, and obviously eat some carbs – necessary for runner and spectator alike. I almost feel lucky that the move was consuming most of my mental and physical energy the past couple weeks because tapering anxiety is real stuff. I just feel like I want to run this race and see what my body is capable of. While it will be a whopping 25 degrees at gun time, I actually don’t feel too bad about it. My longest runs have been in temperatures between 10 – 20 degrees alongside Colleen. Thanks girl for toughing it out with me this winter! We will see how it goes.

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And if that weren’t enough for one month, I added in my RRCA Run Coach certification the 2nd weekend in March. This was a jam-packed information filled two days. The training was held locally and I had a great time meeting local runners and even a few who heard me speak about sports nutrition at local events. Not only was it great networking, but I really learned a lot. Most runners who have been training for awhile have picked up quite a lot of information and knowledge, but this really broke it down and allowed you to understand some of the science and logic behind typical recommendations. Also, the certification course allowed me to become even more confident in the training I’ve been doing this past winter for the half this weekend. Not a bad way to spend your time 2 weeks before race day!

Hope everyone has had an enjoyable and fun March! Tell me what you’ve been up to and how you’ve been reaching your goals!

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As a dietitian, I’ve worked with many clients towards weight loss and weight management goals.  To get there, we typically start with a change in their nutrition or fitness routine.  Simple, right? Weight management is easy… eat less and move more.  But, less than what?  And more than what? And let’s be honest, weight management really isn’t THAT easy.

After working with hundreds of clients who are struggling to see weight loss, those who see the most success are those who make changes to what really needs to be changed. 

Let’s take a look at what the word “change” really means.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that “change is to become different or transform”.  Inherently we should know that in order to become different, we have to know what we are doing rig ht now.  Example:  if you want to change your wall color, you need to know that it’s currently white and that you want to paint it blue.

What am I trying to say?  Many times when we set health goals with an intended outcome of weight management, we don’t set them in reference to where we are, but rather in reference to what we think will get us there.  We see recommendations that tell us to walk 10,000 steps per day, but if you’re already getting 10,000 steps and start tracking it, you won’t see change because you haven’t changed anything.  You’re exactly where you were!

In order to see meaningful change, your first action should be to figure out where you are starting.

This is why I recommend to many clients the use of apps such as MyFitnessPal for nutrition tracking, MapMyFitness for fitness tracking, or a fitness/activity tracker.

This is also why I use a Fitbit and track other health actions such as water intake.

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If your 2015 New Year’s goal was to lose weight and you’re reading this today and you haven’t seen much change, take a moment to evaluate what you are currently doing.  Track your eating habits for a week without making a change.  Track your exercise, your activity, and your water intake.  Then sit and look at your current health habits – these are the things that are keeping you right where you are!  You’ll see them more clearly with real data. 

Then after you have a solid baseline and understanding of what you are doing, pinpoint one to two things to change.  [Yes, just one to two!]

I’m sure you heard this saying from your parents or grandparents – “Those who don’t know history are bound to repeat it.”?  The same goes for your health.  If you don’t know where you’re coming from, it’s hard to make any change going forward!

Track away friends :)

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Love…on the run

by Melissa on February 24, 2015

With a little over a week to absorb all that has happened (read here – changed), I am finally able to write about it!

Random thought (still pertinent to the story): One of my favorite songs right now is “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheehan.  Specifically for the lyric: “We found love right where we are”.  To me it perfectly explains our journey the past year and where we find ourselves right now. (We being Devin and I :) )

The first place to start is really my mental state the past four years.  After those (internally) tumultuous years of trying to find my place after college, I landed in DC.  And laughably enough, I wasn’t completely sold on the place.  As much as I tried to find a way out (country girl not meant for the big city), there was obviously some force holding me here. 

Last spring, I found out why.   

I ran into him during an event set up for work.  We chatted about DC, our love of coffee, and how we should grab drinks sometime.  Drinks led to dinner (which he cooked).  That led to many fun DC dates including monuments, sushi, and of course great falls.

We found that even though we’re both home-bodies, we love to go out and have a good time (good music and good beer required).

He learned to accept my love of running – and he hopped right in.  I accepted his love of the gym and found myself joining in more than I expected (and loving it).

Life turned into a journey  I enjoyed that much more because I had someone to share these things with – the daily monotony and the fun exciting moments.

As we grew into each other’s lives, we also grew together.

Last weekend was one of those times.   We decided to enjoy the long weekend (President’s Day) away from DC, back in PA at my family’s ski condo. The week leading up to it couldn’t have made us more excited to leave the city behind.  I was so stressed that I didn’t even notice Devin’s obvious anxiety and chattiness with my mom and his family.

The morning after we arrived at the ski condo, we decided to try and get a run in.  It was Valentine’s day and honestly a run is something I want to do no matter what day of the year it is.  It was 15 degrees outside, snowing, and a perfect brisk winter morning.  With an impending snow storm, it was the opportune (and only) time to get out!

The route we took on our run led us along a road that we had spent a few beautiful summer days near early on in our relationship.  The contrast was impossible to appreciate. 

After 3 slick miles, we returned, snowflakes in our eyes and frozen faces.  I turned the corner and amongst the kitchen decor were 8 dozen roses and candles.  It took me a moment to realize what was happening.  Cue the excited shakes and frozen tears.

Dev turned me towards him and made everything come full circle.  He got down on one knee and there was no doubt in my mind how I was going to respond.  Absolutely, 100%, YES.

My parents and aunt and uncle helped him set it all up. While we were running, they brought in the roses, candles, and champagne.

The run was an essential part of the story, as I’ve always felt it has been with the rest of my life.

After an amazing weekend of celebrations, we came back to DC ready to start this next chapter of our story.  Like the lyric says “we found love right where we are”. 

The different paths life takes us down end up making sense in the end.  Don’t doubt it.  Roll with it. And if all else fails, go for a run.  You’ll find all you ever wanted, right where you are.  <3

love

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Take a Rest Day.

February 11, 2015

Yesterday sucked. And by sucked, I mean I was in the middle of a huge war between going full steam ahead and calling it a day and lying down on the floor at my office. You have days like that – days that seem like they won’t end, and if one more person pulls you […]

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Tuscan White Bean and Crispy Kale Soup

January 29, 2015

This was meant to be a vegetarian recipe. I had full intentions on only adding white beans. Then I tasted it. Ok, it tasted just fine…. But, my little culinary lightbulb went off in my head and said “hey!  you know what would make this taste even better???  Sausage!” hmmmmm…… I had sausage in the […]

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Clearwater Halfathon Race Review

January 26, 2015

Last weekend, I spent a few days in beautiful Tampa Bay visiting my best friend!  We had the trip planned for a few months and initially she asked me to run the Clearwater halfathon while I was in town.  Knowing I was just getting off the MCM training and the subsequent let down to letting […]

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Enchilada Stuffed Peppers {Veg Recipe}

January 14, 2015

As part of our Tofu Tuesday {see Meatless Mondays} resolution, cooking homemade meals seems to make more sense.  Most vegetarian staple foods such as beans, rice, legumes, whole grains, and lentils are extremely affordable and easy to buy in bulk to have on hand.  Even before this resolution, I usually had brown rice, beans, and […]

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Goals Set, Progress Made

January 12, 2015

Welcome to the second full week of 2015.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a new year’s resolution type person, I’m going to take a guess that you still take a moment to think about how 2015 will compare with 2014.  I know I do! Last year started as one of the worst years and […]

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Enjoy Your Holiday, Don’t Survive Them

December 18, 2014

“32 Science Backed Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain” “Beat the Holiday Bulge” “Survive the Holidays without Gaining Weight” Do these sound familiar?  If you live in the US, have looked at a blog or magazine, or have just talked with someone about the upcoming holidays, then I’m going to bet all my money, you […]

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