Ladies and Gentleman, are you ready to embrace the drama?

Reach the Beach Relay

Team Pumped Up Kicks

If so, then let me tell you a little thing about running a relay race, it’s full of drama.

Imagine this: 12 runners without sleep,  very little “real” food or clean showers are crammed into two vans navigating their way through unfamiliar territory while running a countless number of hills and miles. They are hungry, tired and dirty which means everything feels significantly more dramatic than it would on a normal day.

Runger + Zero Sleep + Running All the Miles = DRAMA

Okay, okay so it wasn’t exactly an episode of Real Housewives of NYC , but I did feel the dramatic effects of running downhill for 7 miles, then uphill for several more miles without any sleep and with an upset stomach, but what I learned along the way is that digging deep when the pain sets in is the most rewarding part of running.

Reach the Beach

The 1st Real Script Rewrite

The first time I successfully rewrote the script was during the RnR San Diego Marathon. The memory of picking myself back up off the ground and telling myself I did not come to California to collect a DNF, but to collect a BQ will live on forever. I changed the script and it paid off.

Boston Marathon 2014

But, I thought it was a fluke fueled by my intense desire to go after a reward I so badly coveted (a BQ). Since I earned my long sought after reward I wasn’t sure I would be able to change the script in that manner ever again.

The View From the Pain Cave: New Balance Reach the Beach Relay Leg #25

My 1st leg at Reach the Beach had an elevation loss of over 1,000 feet. Following that run, my quads were toast. By the time I was running my second leg my quads were already sore to the touch. Therefore, when it came time for my final run of the relay, I knew I was in trouble, but I didn’t know exactly how much trouble I’d gotten myself into.

Reach the Beach Leg #25 Elevation Profile

Elevation profile of my final 7.2 miles of Reach the Beach

It was the most challenging run I’ve ran in as long as I can remember. I wanted to punch the race director in the face for designing this route (I’m kidding, kinda!). How could they give this leg of the race to me??? (Everything feels personal at this point in a relay.)

I never really wanted to stop running, but for the first few miles of gutting it out on the climbs I wanted it to be easier and I wanted things to go my way (the flat way ;)). I wanted things to stop hurting and I wanted it to be over immediately.

Thankfully, the script started to change.

This is just running.

I’m not in danger.

I don’t live in Syria.

You don’t have Ebola.

Get a grip on reality. You are simply running!

Pain is just pain. It’s not good or bad.

It’s okay if it hurts!

GOOOOOO! Crush your legs, there’s nothing to lose!

I entered the pain cave, stayed inside and wished I could have stayed longer.

My 3rd leg ended up being cut short due to some confusion and I was actually upset, I wasn’t able to gut it out for the last .5. But, I learned that I was capable of rewriting the negative script that usually plays in my head and that when push comes to shove, I can dig deep.

 

Thank you New Balance, for the invitation to be on your media team and for allowing me to gut it out in New Hampshire with a great group of people!

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Race Pace Training Diaries: The Mental Struggle

by Jess on September 15, 2014

Training Diaries

 

The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here.

The past few weeks of training have had a lot of ups and downs. After a few tragic tempo runs I started feeling really down & was being very hard on myself. This negative mindset started affecting my other runs as well. I began taking unnecessary breaks during long runs and basically convincing myself that my tempo run would be doomed for disaster before I had even started it.

As runners, we all know how it important it is to train your brain in addition to all the hard work you put into training your body. Some days, your legs just aren’t up for a 10 miler, but with the right thinking, you can push yourself through.

Jess passed along this article from Runner’s World and it was really helpful. Give it a read if you haven’t already. I related to so many parts of it- especially being too focused on results and not the process.

brooklyn-street-art-olek-jaime-rojo-06-29-14-web-4

Shortly after reading this article and realizing it was time to give myself a little kick in the rear, I began feeling hamstring pain in my left leg which resulted in two unplanned rest days and needing to skip a long run. CRINGE. Maybe taking that time to rest is what I needed though, because during those days I remember thinking to myself “what if you get injured?” and you wasted all those training runs mentally attacking yourself when you could have been savoring every minute of them and focusing on the good.

After this mini break, I feel like I came back to my training plan with a whole new outlook. Not to say that every run has been perfect since then, but I’m ok with that now.

Last weekend I set out on an 18 miler with the NY Flyers and when we hit South Williamsburg, Brooklyn I remember looking up and seeing this street art sign “BELIEVE,” and I felt like it was there for a reason. We can be our own worst critics sometimes and we need to believe in ourselves. No one but ourselves are capable of pushing through those crappy runs when your legs feel dead your body feels tired and you can think of 100 reasons to stop. That’s when this matters the most. So the next time you’ve dug your own hole before even starting your workout, remember that the body achieves what the mind believes. I firmly believe that now!

The-Body-Achieves_What-The-Mind-Believes-Quote

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Two years ago I ran my first relay race. It was equally exciting and exhausting. I was somewhat organized, but definitely didn’t properly fuel or bring enough clothing options. This weekend I’m running my 2nd relay race with New Balance, and I’m much more prepared. In fact, I’m probably over-prepared!

Reach the Beach Relay

In case you aren’t familiar with relay races here’s a quick rundown on how it goes.

A team of 6-12 runners complete 200 miles over the course of 24 hours (or however long it takes). On a 12 person team there are 36 legs of the race. Each person runs three legs in a specific order. For example runner number 1 runs legs 1, 13 and 25. Each team of twelve is divided into two vans. These vans are your home for the duration of the race. While runners 1-6, in van number 1 alternate running their first legs, runners 7-12 wait around for their turn to run. When it isn’t your van’s turn to run, you eat, try to take a nap and bond with your team members.

Reach the Beach Relay

This weekend I’m runner #1 in van #1. Over the course of the race I’m supposedly running 25.5 miles. We’ll see how that goes! I’ve prepped my gear and even made a fueling schedule. I’m not sure I can ever properly prepare for all the running combined with all the time in a van, but I’m going to try my best to not make the fueling mistakes I made in 2012.

Here are the best tips I’ve found on what to pack, how to fuel and how to know what to expect when running a relay race:

How to Fuel for Race Day – Runner’s World

199 Miles Later: Takeaways from Running Hood to Coast – Greatist

Ragnar Relay Packing List (downloadable PDF) – Another Mother Runner

26 Relay Race Tips for a Long Distance Relay Race – Run Lady Like

2011 New Hampshire Reach the Beach Recap – Health on the Run

Hood to Coast 2012 Recap – Fit Happy Girl

 

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The countdown to fall marathon season is on! I have less than six weeks left before running the Chicago Marathon, which means I still have four long runs left.

In the past I really struggled with long runs. I didn’t enjoy them in the least. At one point the only way I could get through a long run was to rely on someone else to push me to the end. If I headed out solo for one of these runs, I often found excuses to stop or push it off until the next day or week.

IMG_2624

When I decided I wanted to train to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon (read how I qualified for Boston), I knew I couldn’t rely on the company of others to get me through those grueling long runs because I wouldn’t have them with me in the race. I also knew that I had specific paces and workouts to complete in order to reach my lofty goal.

While I do sometimes still struggle to get out the door, I’ve reached a point where I no longer struggle to finish long runs and I actually prefer running them solo for the most part.

Tips for your next long run

 

Whether you’re struggling with your long runs like I did or you just need to refine your current pre-run routine, here are three things to do before your next 20-mile training run:

1. Treat the day before your long run as a special day. Treat yourself well by eating healthy, foam rolling, doing some light stretching, hydrating and relaxing a little bit more than normal.

2. Visualize the course you’ve mapped out for the run. Envision running it relaxed and completing the distance/workout with ease and confidence.

3. Make an itinerary for your night and morning so everything goes as smoothly as possible. It will also help prevent you from procrastinating and will get you out the door and on the road sooner! Below is a sample itinerary:

  • 9:00PM layout all long run gear including fuel, money, metro card
  • 9:15 PM: charge GPS device and ipod
  • 9:20 PM: set automatic coffee maker
  • 9:30 PM shut down electronics; get ready for bed
  • 10:00 PM read a book in bed
  • 10:30 PM : lights out
  • 6:30 AM: alarm
  • 6:35 AM: get out of bed  and eat a light breakfast
  • 7:00 AM: get dressed
  • 7:15 AM: dynamic warm-up/foam-roll
  • 7:30 AM: Time to RUN!

This may seem excessive, but this leaves you with very little to think about. You just follow your itinerary and head out the door before you can start to form any negative or self-defeating thoughts. I also recommend doing this on race day to ease your nerves.

Run long and run happy!

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A Superfood Sweet Treat for Runners

by Jess on August 19, 2014

Chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies have a special place in my memory. Some of my earliest memories include licking spoons and waiting for cookies to cool. I couldn’t wait to get my little paws on them and would often burn my tongue when my patience ran out. In reality these cookies cool rather quickly, but when your six-years-old and you need that peanut butter chocolatey goodness in your mouth, thirty minutes feels like a life time.

While I still occasionally make the original recipe, I’ve been tinkering around with a healthier one for some time now. I think I’ve finally perfected it. Full of healthy carbs, fats and super foods such as raw cacao, coconut oil and hemp seeds they can be a healthy treat for us runners. They’re also vegan and can easily  be made with gluten free ingredients.

no bake almond butter chocolate hemp seed cookie recipe

 

These take very little time to make and yield approximately 15 small cookies. If you’re marathon training and crave salt add in a dash of salt for a salty-sweet combo. Additionally if you don’t have any hemp seeds on hand substitute an additional 1/2 cup of oats instead.

Trust me when I tell you you’ll want to make these this week! Enjoy!

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Training Diaries

The summer and fall edition of Race Pace Training Diaries follows Jess D, a Race Pace Runner, training for the 2014 New York City Marathon with the goal of becoming a faster runner and setting a new Personal Record. Learn more about Jess and her goals here.

I am officially in the fifth week of training and have been filled with so many emotions but mainly I’ve noticed that day by day, I’ve slowly fallen in love with running (and New York City) all over again.

Relaxing post run

This winter was brutal! For those of you in the Northeast, you know what I’m talking about…the “polar vortex.” The days all started to blend together and were filled with endless amounts of snow and crappy running conditions. Running in that type of weather can be really tough at times…the winter wonderland very quickly lost its appeal!

But as the temperatures got warmer and I got myself back into the training groove with Jess, those cold dreary days seemed like a distant memory. I’ve been trying to switch up my runs so that each time I can explore a new part of NYC. And I have to say, the city has been looking pretty great these days. As runners, we get to experience this beauty by foot…and it doesn’t get much better than that.

From early morning runs in Central Park, to weekends at Summer Streets, to sunsets over the Westside Highway, I’ve fallen in love all over again with my running shoes and this amazing city I am lucky to call my home.

Here are just a few of the gorgeous moments I’ve been lucky enough to capture while training for my 26.2. I’d love to hear where your runs are taking you these days…I hope it’s somewhere amazing.

JessDNYCM

You can find me on Twitter and Instagram…talk to you soon!

 

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I swore I Wasn’t Going To, But This Changed My Mind {Why I’m running a marathon this fall & I need your help}

August 6, 2014

After completing 4 marathons in eleven months(!), I had zero desire to run yet another marathon in 2014. Despite how it appears, I’m not a serial marathoner, just a life-long runner. Running that number of marathons over a relatively short period of time is uncharacteristic for me. What exactly was it that convinced me to […]

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Race Pace Training Diaries: Meet Jess D.

August 4, 2014

Hello fellow runners and Race Pace Runners! My name is Jess and I am lucky enough to be working with @RacePaceJess to train for the NYC Marathon this November. I have been running for about 5 years now, but recently felt like I had hit a plateau. I always get myself from start to finish […]

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Soundtrack of My Summer Run + Current Workouts

July 7, 2014

  Ahhhh! Summer running is in full swing (finally)! Personally, I feel like I’m in my element right now. I’m in my fourth week of training for the Chicago Marathon and I’m excited to incorporate some new things into my training plan. I’m focusing on coaching myself the same way I do my clients instead […]

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Do These 4 Things the Next Time You Start Out Running Too Fast

June 17, 2014

“I start out running too slow. My adrenaline and nerves at the start of a race slow me down. I just can’t seem to speed up.” These are sentences I’ve never heard a runner say when giving their race recap. On the other hand, raise your hand if after a race you’ve ever said “I started […]

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