So, What’s Next

Hey gang! I’m currently in the midst of packing and saying goodbye to Geneva.

Last night was all about the fun, while today is all about packing.

I’ll let you guess which of the two I prefer more. Luckily the movers are also packing the majority of our things but I ended up spending most of the day packing the air shipment goods, the things we’ll check on the plane Saturday and then helping the movers. It went better than expected but is still stressful.

Instead of focusing on the move, let’s talk about something that is more fun: RUNNING! After Sunday’s race, I’m anxious and excited to run ALL THE RACES! Luckily, we’re moving back to New York City this weekend which means that I will have easier access to races of all lengths. Since I have a tendency to over commit, I’ve only signed up for the below races so far. We have a lot going on this Summer with the move, finding an apartment, moving into the apartment and getting reacclimated. But, I’m excited to have a mix of races on the schedule that I can race and others like the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, that I can run for fun and enjoy with friends.

NYRR Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breath 4 Miler – July 18th

  • I’m hoping to run this with my sister-in-law Meg and her fiancée, as they have recently started running.

NYRR R-U-N 5k – August 6th

  • A NYRR race in Central Park on a Thursday night? Heck yes! I’d love to race this one and then celebrate with my runner friends over beers and burgers post race. You should join us!

NYRR Bronx 10 Miler – September 27th

  • Jess suggested that this could be a great half marathon warm-up race to check in with my fitness levels and practice everything for race day.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon – October 10th

  • Excited for an awesome race weekend with LOTS of friends! Amy, my original running buddy is flying in from Cincinnati for the race and lots of fun.

Nike Women San Francisco Half Marathon – October 18th

  • Running for fun with Kristine and my Geneva friend, Lauren, who just moved to San Francisco. Here’s hoping we get in via the lottery.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon – November 7th

  • Running it and then walking with my Mom, Aunt and my brother’s girlfriend Madeline. SO excited for another great Savannah race experience!

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In addition to running, I’m looking forward to taking advantage of Summer in New York City with free outdoor workouts,  trying standup paddleboard yoga with a local yoga studio at Rockaway Beach,  and supporting friends for a few of their miles as they train for fall marathons!

I hope to see a few of you out running! Are you signed up for any of these races? If so, which ones?

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Nike Women’s 10k London Race Recap

Yesterday I had the opportunity to run my first Nike Women’s race event, and I finally understand the hype behind the very popular, global race series.  There were 10,000 women in attendance, of all shape, size, and ability, excited to run, jog or walk the 10k!Hosted in Victoria Park, the race day setup reminded me more of a concert or festival than a race. There were multiple stages, DJ booths, tents and activities for pre and post race including a nut butter bar, braid bar, champagne tent, and of course, a Nike shop.

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Before the race, Charlie, Margaret and I met Zoe and others for pictures and some pre-race relaxation in the media tent. Having the opportunity to check our bags and relax a bit before the race made a huge difference.

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As our group walked over to the starting area, we discussed our strategy for the day. Charlie, who starts Chicago marathon training today, didn’t feel she was in the best shape while Margaret just ran the Nike Women’s 10k in Paris two weeks prior. I suggested to the girls that we make sticking together our primary goal. As we entered the crowded starting area, we agreed to make it our goal to run the entire race together and finish in under 60 minutes.

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Due to our predicted race times, we were towards the front. This meant that we had prime view of Ellie Goulding, a popular British singer and runner who was on hand to get the crowd pumped before the race. As she pumped the crowd and assisted in warm-ups lead by an Equinox instructor, you could feel the electric energy radiating from the sea of peach-colored Nike race tanks and shirts. Women of all sizes and abilities were chatting, supporting each other and nervously waving to their supporters and friends.

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While waiting for the race to start, a wave of emotion hit me as I realized this would be my last European race for a while. Charlie and Margaret agreed that running my first Nike race in a new-to-me area of London was the perfect way to bid farewell to European running.

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After a 15 minute delay, the three of us crossed the starting line with the biggest smiles on our faces. The weather was sunny with a gentle breeze and the day felt more like Spring than Summer.

Nike Women's London 10K

We ran without music, taking in the sights and enjoying the motivating spectators, many of whom were holding signs for moms and girlfriends.

The first mile (8:35) felt surprisingly easy considering that my 10k PR pace is an 8:59. After last week’s Oakley 10K, I knew that my body was stronger than an 8:59 pace and that my goal would be to keep as fast a pace as our group was willing to run. Suddenly, I found myself in a very new role. I was our leader, keeping a faster clip and pushing us forward versus holding us back. The second mile, which included a few small hills, wound us past Zoe’s mom and boyfriend as well as a gorgeous lake. The second mile (8:29) still felt comfortable, perfect motivation to keep pushing versus pulling back the speed.  We all agreed that walking through the water station was a smart idea to ensure we didn’t find ourselves parched towards the end. After a quick walk, we returned to our previous pace, cruising through the third mile (8:13) and towards the second lap.

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As we veered to the right, towards the second lap, I asked the girls if we could try and steady our pace a bit. While I felt strong and didn’t doubt my body’s ability, I knew that maintaining the 7:58 pace I suddenly saw on my Nike Plus app wasn’t realistic. We pulled back a bit as we started to recount our path on the second loop, this time taking more time to move to the right so we wouldn’t collide with the walkers and joggers.  IMG_1137

During this second loop, we took the time to enjoy the many signs Nike placed along the course, motivating and supporting the multiple running groups. We saw many familiar teams such as Zoe’s team and the London Barry’s Bootcamp team. One sign, in particular, resonated with me, motivating me to push through the pain I was starting to feel.

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At Mile 4 I saw that our pace was 8:17, still far faster than I expected to see during a 10k race. So much for slowing down, right? Mentally, I took a second to reign in my emotions and realize that I wasn’t only in PR range, but I was in range of setting a new PR by more than a minute or two.

This is the part of the race where every single step became a mental game. A year ago, I would have started slowing down, not realizing that pain is only temporary and that sudden surge of lactic acid and sweat is totally normal.  Instead of slowing down to a “normal” pace, I tried to figure out what pace I could maintain for two miles. I knew it wasn’t 8:17 or 8:15. I bartered with myself and decided on somewhere in the 8:30 range, telling myself that if I was in too much pain as I entered the final mile I could slow a bit more and still PR.

We hit mile 5 at 8:37, perfectly on point. For the next 10 minutes, I focused on two things:

  • The final miles and minutes are supposed to hurt.”  – Charlie and Theodora have both told me that the final miles and minutes of a race or supposed to hurt. A new PR doesn’t come easy, and this is where runners prove themselves. I kept telling myself that it is normal for every step to feel like running through quicksand and every breath to be a bit heavier.
  • Listening to Taylor Swift. Charlie started her iPod around mile 4, blasting our favorite songs including one especially for me, Welcome to New York. Since we didn’t have speakers or individual headphones, it was hard to hear the lyrics. I focused my energy on trying to hear the lyrics, which made sure I stayed within a step or two of Charlie.

As we passed the incredible RunDemCrew cheer station and turned the corner, I knew the end was near. I could do anything for just a few more minutes.

As we started to see the countdown signs, I started to smile more and more. For years, I’d dreamt of breaking the 9:30 and then the 9:15 pace. Just six months ago I broke the 9:00 pace during a 10k. Now, I was about to break at least the 8:45 pace!

image As soon as we passed the 200-meter marker Charlie urged me to sprint my heart out. Never one to disappoint, I gave these meters every ounce of effort, sprinting towards the finish line as fast as possible, keeping a 7:30 pace according to my Nike Plus!

We finished in 53:05 – a brand new PR and 8:33 pace per mile, or 5:19 km per mile – faster than even my 5k PR pace!

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I was in shock for a few seconds, refusing to believe it until we received the official results. Margaret and Charlie both gave me huge hugs and told me how proud they were that I’d broken through running’s mental barrier.

As soon as the PR sunk in, I immediately requested a jumping picture in front of the iconic #WERUNLONDON sign. This picture is a framer friends as it shows my emotions perfectly – JUMPING FOR JOY WITH FRIENDS I LOVE!

We Run London 10K race

Yesterday reminded me why I love running. Charlie and Margaret supported me for each of the miles, reminding me just how strong we each were as well as motivating me to achieve what they knew possible. Each of the fellow women running motivated me as their passion for the sport brought them all the way out to Victoria Park on a Sunday morning.

Your turn – Why do you love running?

Thanks to Margaret and Charlie for some of these pictures!

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Yoga in The Shard

When Charlie asked me what I wanted to do during my final London weekend, I had no idea. There are so many wonderful things to see and do in London that it’s tough to choose just one activity.  Quite the London expert, Charlie chose the perfect activity to kick off our weekend of fun – Yoga in The Shard, London’s tallest building. 

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The class started at 8:30, quite early for a Saturday but they have to complete the yoga class before the viewing area opens to other visitors. Charlie and I arrived at The Shard around 8 am, not knowing whether we’d have to wait in line. Once going through security and the two different elevators lifts, gorgeous floor to ceiling views of London greeted us! Charlie and I arrived earlier than most, which allowed us front row mats, paired with gorgeous views of the miniature size London below us. Even though the weather was, unfortunately, overcast, we could still see St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, The Gherkin and other famous London sights.

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While enjoying the views, I couldn’t believe that we were going to practice yoga on the 68th floor, 1,016 feet above London! This is the most memorable yoga space I’ve visited!

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At 8:30 exactly, everyone was asked to take their place on the mats provided by Yogasphere. The teacher quickly introduced herself and asked the forty students whether there were injuries or anyone new to yoga. I appreciated that while it was such a large class, wrapping fully around the viewing room, she did her best to move around during class. Also, a second person, stationed towards the back of the class, helped those people who couldn’t view the primary teacher. Thanks to the instructors’ microphone everyone, regardless their mat position,  could hear the soothing music and her instructions.

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The hour-long class, which is open to all-levels, combined a mix of faster-paced flow in between a relaxing and restorative first and last ten minutes of class. There were people, men and women alike, of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. They tailor the class so anyone can follow, whether a practiced yogi who wants to do inversions and deepen the moves or a total beginner. I appreciated that the teachers took time to provide adjustments during a few of the binds and twists.

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After the class, Charlie and I took advantage of the 15-minute viewing time to take pictures and practice poses with the unbelievable background.

Whether you’re visiting London or a local, I recommend booking a Saturday yoga class in the shard. It’s a relaxing class and perfect way to enjoy the views from The Shard. While the 40-pound price isn’t cheap, tickets to the shard are typically 25 pounds just to go to the viewing deck, this is a great deal! If you’re a local, classes are also included on SoMuchMore London, a local fitness booking site.

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The Weekly Sweats – Sweats & Eats

Happy Wednesday gang!

Are you guys having a good week so far? This week the stress of the upcoming move has certainly built to the point that I am living and breathing by my to-do list. In less than ten days the keys to our flat will be turned over, the movers will be finished and I will bid farewell to Geneva. But, between now and then my time is being spent working through the list of things to do in hopes of ensuring that next week’s move goes as smooth as possible. I can’t believe two years ago today we signed the contract for our Geneva apartment!

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I’m so thankful that Bo will be in Geneva next Thursday and Friday to help with the move. Having someone to laugh and cry with when the moments get too stressful to handle will be a blessing. Or how about helping the movers decide what gets packed in which box and what is air shipped versus sea shipped.

I told my mom that I am so thankful this accountability challenge started when it did. Traveling and jet-lag can wreak havoc on healthy and wellness but this time, traveling was a no-brainer since I had a plan in place: eat healthy from the time I woke up until dinner and workout daily.

Due to my time in New York City, this week’s recap will look a bit more interesting than normal.

WHAT DID I ADD THIS WEEK?

As traveling tends to dehydrate me quite a bit, I started sipping a NUUN each day, beginning on Tuesday. I can’t get enough of the NUUN All Day grapefruit orange flavor!  Combining this with my daily supplements helped me stay energized and healthy while flying back and forth.

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SWEATS

  • Monday – I headed back to the park for a solo, relaxed 3 mile run before work. It was a refreshing way to clear my mind before the busy week. In keeping with the Monday night tradition, I enjoyed 60 minutes of gentle yoga with Kerrie and Mary. It’s crazy that next week will be my last time practicing at InnerCity Yoga!

  • Tuesday – During lunch I squeezed in a 45-minute Body Pump class that once again left my triceps and thighs quivering in pain. Last week I increased the weight for two of the tracks, and I was still feeling that decision 24 hours later!

  • Wednesday – Mary and I squeezed in an early morning 3 mile run before my flight. We ran at a conversational pace (9:46) which allowed us the perfect opportunity to catch up. We stopped briefly in the park for some strength moves including dips, push-ups, and planks!

  • Thursday – Thanks to jet-lag, waking up for a 4-mile pre-work run with Bo was a piece of cake. The heat and humidity helped ensure that I sweat everything out while we ran through Central Park. It was a gorgeous morning and perfect way to start the day with Bo after not seeing him for almost 12 days!

  • Friday –  Theodora and I sweat out all the week’s stress during a 60-minute hot yoga class at Y7 yoga. As you an tell from yesterday’s review, I’m in love with everything about this studio!

  • Saturday – I shed tears of joy while racing the Oakley Mini 10k in Central Park! The race, my strongest in months, has me tempted to sign up for ALL the races this Summer. Earlier today I signed up for the Bronx 10 miler and the NYRR R-U-N 5k! If you’re a New York local, you should join for the 5k as a few of us are planning a happy hour after the race!  

  • Sunday – After a leisurely morning together, Bo and I squeezed in one final workout together before my flight to Geneva. His favorite workout in NYC these days is FlyWheel so I happily joined him for Melissa Wolfe’s Fly 45 class.

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EATS

Breakfast: When I was in New York City I took advantage of the easy access to healthy smoothies, iced coffee, and green juice! Here’s a glance at my breakfasts throughout the week, including the days I was traveling.

  • Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup raw oats + cinnamon + chia seeds + 1/2 banana + 1/4 c blueberries

  • Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup KIND granola + 1/2 banana + 1/2 c raspberries and green juice + skim flat white coffee

  • Green smoothie including Almond Breeze, vegan protein powder, banana, almonds, kale, and cinnamon

  • Hard boiled egg + avocado toast + iced coffee from Le Pain Quotidien

  • Huevos Rancheros at Norma’s in the Parker Meridien post-race

  • Berry Powerful smoothie from Liquiteria + iced coffee

Lunch:  I didn’t have time to go to the farmer’s market this week, so my daily lunch was from the office salad bar. I made sure that I limited the amount of protein on my salad and tried to incorporate new vegetables and spices. I love adding a dash of curry powder, paprika and a few yellow raisins to the top of my salads. This flavor mix upgrades the salad from ho-hum boring to unique!

Snacks: I bought enough snacks at the grocery store on Saturday to use all week, including on my flight to New York. The apricots, nuts, apples, cherries and strawberries were easy to transport in Ziploc bags and Tupperware containers. I loved having the cherries mid-flight, paired with a few pieces of dark chocolate.

For those of you who joined the challenge how is it going?

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