Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #5

Week 4 kinda blew. It happens. As I mentioned in my very first post about the marathon, I have a plan. And I’m super Type A so that means I really really really like to try to stick to my plan. However, life happens. Sometimes you just need to pivot and make the best of the situation.

My strength training went off without a hitch. Rarely do I have hiccups when it comes to my at-home workouts because I have control over that. The only issues I run into are when my kids wake up halfway through it and whine for the last 15 minutes about being hungry. Other than that, the only way I’ll miss a workout is if I oversleep. And that rarely happens because my body is so used to waking up early. (The power of habits!)

As for my runs, I only ran twice last week and they were shorter runs– 4.2 miles and 5.1 miles. Those used to be middle distance runs for me but when you’re training for a marathon, those are short. Thursday’s run was in 12 degree weather so to say it was a good one would be a lie. I don’t think I’ll ever love running in the cold. But on the bright side, if I can run in 12 degree weather, you certainly won’t hear me bitching about the weather when it’s 30 degrees. Friday’s run was a bit better- I don’t remember the temperature but it was warmer than 12 degrees. Then we had a blizzard on Saturday which led to a snowed-in weekend and therefore, no run. But 2 runs is better than 0 runs. And with that, we move on.

I’ve established a “starting loop” now. It’s the first leg of my runs where I go about 2 miles out and then branch off depending on the number of miles I plan to run. 95% of my runs start off with my starting loop. I like it. It’s my little thing.

We’re down to 17 weeks until the marathon. I’ve built out my training schedule for the next 6 weeks. I know that things won’t go exactly as planned, but I’m going to try to stick to the schedule as much as possible. I’ve scheduled in 3 runs per week but if I can get at least 2 in each week, 1 being a long run, I think I’ll be OK. My long run is scheduled for Saturday morning and I plan to run 11 miles. I am going to force myself to run slower than I am used to- about 9:30-10:00/mile pace. The one thing about running outside is that it’s hard to gauge how fast (or slow) you’re going. I appreciate running on a treadmill for the simple fact that you can force yourself to run slower by adjusting the speed of the machine. Running outside is different- having a the Apple Watch helps but it’s not the same as a treadmill.

Wish me luck as I embark on my longest run in about 2 months… (-:

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #4

Week 3 of training was my best week yet! I was able to run 3 days and all my other workouts were completed without any issue. I think I lacked in some stretching and foam rolling but overall my body feels pretty good. I’m going to make sure to get some extra stretching and foam rolling in this week.

Last Thursday was supposed to be my 5k speed interval day. It ended up just being a 5k. I’m perfectly fine with that, as right now it’s most important for me to just get miles under my belt, speed is not that important. That morning was actually a great teaching moment. I was driving my kids to school before my run and Ethan says, “momma, you can’t run, it’s raining out.” To which I replied, “oh yes, I can. And yes, I will.” He’s 6. He doesn’t know that when it comes to runners, we run. Regardless of the weather. But his thought process is the thought process of many people. They see a challenge or obstacle and make an excuse out of it. I saw the circumstances, said to myself “this sucks”, and did it anyway. That is the difference between someone who wants something bad enough versus someone who doesn’t. It’s as simple as that. Even though Ethan probably didn’t get the significance of that moment, I’m hoping that if he sees it enough over his young lifetime, he’ll start to understand it: when we want something, we find a way; when we don’t, we find an excuse.

Saturday was my long run day and it was fantastic- I felt great. I ran 9.1 miles in 17 degree weather. But it was sunny so it wasn’t terrible. I’m still figuring out the right clothes to wear– how much is too much, how much is too little, which gloves work best, should I tuck my shirt in, do I wear leggings or swishy pants, etc. So far I’ve got this down: always tuck the shirt closest to my body into my pants; leggings > swishy pants; puffy vest is best; face shield helps keep my neck warm even if it does nothing for my actual face.

Sunday I skipped the Winter Run Series Race because I just had a lot of stuff to do and I was getting anxiety about losing those 2 1/2-3 hours of my day (I know, I know, I’m a little crazy). But I still got my run in- I did 3.4 miles. My legs were tired from the day before so it kind of worked out that I didn’t race that day- it wouldn’t have been a great time.

This week it looks like I have to do some shifting around to make things work. I don’t think I’ll be able to get my long run in (10 miles was on the docket for this week) but that’s OK. My goal is to do 5-6 on Thursday and Friday and then the final race of the Winter Run Series on Sunday).

In other running news, Nick and I signed up for the Lt Michael T. Murphy Run Around the Lake in June. I’m excited to do that race because it was the first race Nick and I ran together last year! (It was also the start of race fever for me.) Last year’s race was a 15k (9.4 miles) but this year it’ll be a half marathon. Woop Woop!

Until next week… ✌🏻

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #3

Week 2 of training went as expected. I had 2 days of running scheduled- Thursday & Sunday and I was able to get both runs in. One thing is for sure, running in the winter creates a ton more laundry because you have to wear so many layers!

Thursdays run was cold. I ran 5 miles that day because I knew I wasn’t going to get a LSD (long slow distance) run in over the weekend so I wanted to get a couple extra miles in during the week. Sunday was the second run in the Winter Run Series. It was at Robert Moses State Park. It was about 18 or 20 degrees by the time the race started at 11 AM. I bought new gloves thinking they’d help with the cold and wind. I was sadly mistaken- there was barely a difference. My legs and feet were numb for the first mile. Luckily, 3.1 miles is over in about 25 minutes so it wasn’t too bad.

I came in 12th out of 281 females in the race and 3rd in my age group. One of the things that I love about running is that you can compete with others, but you can also compete with yourself. If I came in last in the entire race but I got my best 5k time, I’m perfectly fine with that. If I come in first in my age group but my time was 30 seconds slower than my best, I’m perfectly fine with that too. It’s different when you play other sports. A loss is a loss. You can say you played your best game ever and still lose and you still walk away with a L. It’s either a W or L. I’m never going to come in first place in a run. So I focus on beating myself. I rather get my best time ever then say I beat every female in the race.

Nick kicked butt again and came in 12th overall. His age group is highly competitive and he’s having difficulty getting into the top 3, but he’s getting closer every time. Running has been great for us. It’s something we can do together and support each other in. When Nick was training for his marathon, I was his biggest cheerleader. And him doing the marathon inspired me to add that to my bucket list and make it happen too. He’ll be running with me in May and it’ll be awesome if we can actually run the entire marathon together but we’ll see. Even though we enjoy running together, we’re both competitive with ourselves and others– and if one of us isn’t feeling it and the other is, well, we’ll see each other at the finish line because we’re going for it. I’ll probably never be able to keep up with him on the shorter runs but as the runs get longer, he gets slower and I am an endurance machine so it kinda works.

As far as my overall training is going, the workout program I’ve been doing has been leaving me sore. Not sore in a way where I can’t walk, but sore enough to know that I’m pushing myself and getting stronger. I’m not sure what week 3 will hold in terms of my running. I am scheduled for 3 days of runs- 3.1 with speed intervals, 9 mile long run and the 3rd 5k in the winter run series.

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #2

I was hesitant about signing up for a marathon on May 1st because that meant that I would have to train during the coldest months of the year. Originally I wanted to run my first marathon in September or October– perfect running weather and the ability to do my hardcore, long runs as the summer was winding down and fall was creeping in. But once I thought about it more, I realized that I have the itch to run this thing now and if I put it off I might chicken out and come up with excuses why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it. So, in spite of not wanting to run in anything under 50 degrees, I decided to put on my big girl pants and just do it. (And of course my first week of training coincided with some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had so far this winter. )

I am recapping week 1 of my training. To my surprise, everything went as planned. I did all the workouts in my plan– I ran Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday was a 5k speed interval run. I use the term “speed run” loosely, as I haven’t done speed intervals in a while and I’m also not speedy. I warmed up for 1 mile and then did 1 minute intervals of a pace faster than my 5k speed followed by 1 minute recovery which was slower than my 5k pace. I did that 5 times and then I switched it to a 30 seconds and 30 seconds for the 2nd mile. It was cold and windy that day but it was over in 26 minutes.

Saturday was my long run day. I started with 7 miles and plan to work my way up 1-2 miles each week on my long runs. Saturday was a cold day- it was 20 degrees and icy outside (it snowed the day before) and when the wind whipped I felt it in my bones. It was a decent run considering the conditions and I’m pretty sure it was the first time I ran in weather that cold before. It prompted me to purchase gloves that are more conducive for outdoor activities than the $3 pair of gloves I have from Target.

Sunday was the first of 4 5ks in the Winter Run Series that my boyfriend and I signed up for. The first one was at Heckscher Park. My time was OK but I came in 1st in my age group and I was the 14th female out of 318 to finish the race. I was happy with that finish. I am not a fast runner. I’m more of an endurance runner. My best races are the longer ones. My time differential from a 5k to a half marathon is not a lot. My best 5k time is 7:55/mile pace whereas my best half marathon pace is 8:30/mile pace. That’s a 10-mile difference and only 35 second difference in mile pace. I would like to work on my shorter distance race times but that’s for after the marathon. Right now I just want to focus my training on endurance and getting the miles in. Once the marathon is over I can consider training to improve my 5k time.

Next week I’ll recap week 2 and report on how the second race of the Winter Run Series went. It’s supposed to be a cold one on Sunday so wish us luck!

my top non-fiction of 2021

I did a lot of reading in 2021! This was the first year in a long time that I read both fiction and non-fiction. Today I want to share my favorite non-fiction reads of the year. They range from memoirs to business to personal development.

10% Happier by Dan Harris– This was the first book I read in 2021. Dan Harris, ABC News correspondent, wrote this book about how he found meditation after having a panic attack on television. While I’ve never been a meditator, I do know people that swear by it. Part of the reason I like this book is that Dan doesn’t try to tell you that meditation is going to change your life drastically or that it fixes all your problems. He’s quite real about, saying that meditation makes him 10% happier. Even though I didn’t become a lifelong meditator after reading this book, my takeaway was finding time to get quiet with myself. Instead of constantly being connected to something- on the phone, scrolling social media, reading emails, having a conversation, listening to music– it’s important to get quiet and listen to my thoughts (as scary or uncomfortable as they are at times). I also enjoyed Dan’s writing style as well as his candidness.

Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima– I had no idea who Jamie Kern Lima was before someone recommended (and gave me) this book. I enjoy memoirs of successful entrepreneurs because it’s inspiring and motivating. Jamie Kern Lima is a regular person, who had a dream and extreme grit, and made something happen for herself. She committed to utilizing QVC to sell her IT Cosmetics and worked tirelessly to make it happen. She eventually sold IT Cosmetics to L’Oreal for $1.2 billion. Definitely a worthwhile read for an aspiring entrepreneur.

Lessons by Gisele Bundchen– Another great read from someone I knew nothing about prior to picking up this book. Obviously I knew who Gisele was but I didn’t know her story. I saw that this book was on a list of recommended memoirs and decided to read it. I really enjoyed learning about her childhood, her modeling career, and now her work as a philanthropist and mother.

Now we’re getting to the really good stuff…

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg– Habits, habit building, habit stacking- this is a topic I can talk about all day. It’s something I’m truly passionate about. I’ve read a bunch of books on how to build habits, how to break habits, and the science between why we can stick with some habits more easily than others. I absolutely LOVE BJ Fogg’s Behavior Model because once you see it, it makes so much sense. Ready for it? Ok, here it is:

B (behavior) = M (motivation) + A (ability) + P (prompt)

In order for the B (behavior) to happen, all three elements- M + A + P must happen at the same time. Fogg gives so many great examples of behaviors that are easy for us to do. For instance – stopping at McDonalds on our way home from work. Motivation- I’m hungry; Ability- I’m passing three McDonalds drive thrus; Prompt- my stomach rumbled. Those three things happening at the same time will lead us to the Behavior of stopping at the drive-thru. Fogg goes into how to change our Motivation, Ability, and Prompts to make it easier for us to adopt habits (or break habits). It’s truly fascinating stuff. He even helps you create a My Recipe card for habits. I would highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to build new habits or break old ones, or if you just like to nerd out on stuff like this like me!

Limitless by Jim Kwik– Known as the boy with a broken brain, Jim Kwik, who suffered brain injuries as a child had major difficulties learning and trouble retaining information as he went through school. As Jim got older he was encouraged to start reading a book a week, from there he delve into the topic of learning. He went from being the boy with the broken brain to someone he believes is limitless in his ability to do whatever it is he wants. Over the course of the years, he developed a model, call The Limitless Model. There are three sections: mindset, motivation, and methods. If you’re running up against a roadblock in trying to reach a goal it is because you’re experiencing in one or more of these areas.

He describes mindset, motivation and methods as follows:

Mindset (the WHAT): deeply held beliefs, attitudes and assumptions we create about who we are, how the world works and what we are capable and deserve, and what is possible

Motivation (the WHY): the purpose one has for taking action. The energy required for someone to behave in a particular way.

Method (the HOW): a specific process for accomplishing something, especially an orderly, logical or systematic way of instruction.

Think about that for a minute. What’s something you say you want to do? Are you lacking the right mindset? The motivation? Or the tools you need to accomplish your goal? This book goes into how to rid yourself of limiting beliefs, how to light your motivation on motivation and processes that will help you systematically accomplish your goals. Basically, Kwik helps you find the place where your mindset, motivation and methods all align so you can become limitless too! Such a great read!

Tractiong by Gino Wickman– I can’t say enough about how great this book was. For anyone that works in a small business or is thinking about starting your own business, this book is a must-read. Being a business school nerd, it brought me back to my days in MBA classes where we talked about topics that were abstract considering I had minimal business experience at the time. Now, 15 years into working (most in a small business environment) I see how important the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is. Wickman identifies six components that make up the EOS- vision, people, data, issues, process and traction.

Some of the key takeaways I got from this book are:

  • Start with the vision. What is the 10-year goal of the company and then work backward to the 5 year, 3 year, and 1 year.
  • Develop your company’s language (or culture). Do we all use the same lingo, shorthand, phrases, etc. Do we have goals for the year? Or objectives? Are we a company or a firm?
  • Leadership team meetings should have an agenda and the agenda should be adhered to.
  • “The ability to create accountability and discipline, and then execute is the are of greatest weakness in most organizations.” Yes, yes, yes!
  • As the leader of the organization, you need to stop working in the business 100% of the time and work on the business at times. Me, taking it a step further- You will never be successful if you are too busy with day to day minutiae. You have to set aside time each week to review the week, look at the P&L, prioritize issues, etc.

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins– If you want to read a book about someone who had the odds stacked against him but overcame struggles time and time again, this is the book for you. David Goggins is as strong physically as he is mentally (if not more so). I had this book on my shelf for about 9 months before I picked it up to read the week before my first running race of 2021. Perfect timing, considering Goggins is not only a Navy SEAL but also an ultra-marathon and triathlon runner- someone who has put his body through hell and back more times than anyone can track. If he can run 100 mile races, I definitely could run a 15k. (-:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown- As someone who struggles with perfectionism and being enough I found this book to be inspiring. It offered me a different perspective, and gave me tools and ideas on how to deal with these feelings that will sometimes overwhelm me. A very common theme in many books I’ve read is to let go of what others think about you. While it’s easy to say, it’s not so easy to do. We all struggle with it to varying degrees. Other themes, in that same vain, are: to get comfortable with who you are, trust yourself more, and don’t be afraid to let your freak flag fly.

The High 5 Habit by Mel Robbins– I’m a big fan of Mel Robbins. Something about her high vibe, get it done, no excuse energy just gets me going. Mel is a lawyer, speaker, author, entrepreneur, coach, wife, and mother of three. And she’s pretty kick-ass. This book is about giving yourself a high 5 every single morning when you wake up. Which may sound a little silly and awkward but in the book she talks about how this positive little action every morning can change the trajectory of your entire day. Imagine if your first thought every day was “YES!!! I get to wake up and workout and go to work today!” rather than “Ugh, I don’t want to get up yet. Today is going to suck!” Well, the high 5 habit is Mel’s way of starting your day with a little jolt of “Go me!” energy. And it works– if you’re consistent and you go into it with the right energy.

The book isn’t just 200 pages worth of her selling her high 5 strategy to you. My two favorite chapters were the ones on jealousy and the one on, what I’ll refer to as, the universe conspiring. First, the one on jealousy. Mel says we shouldn’t ignore our feelings of jealousy, that instead we should lean into that feeling and ask why. Why are we feeling the way we do? If so-and- so has something we want, instead of assuming we can’t have it too, ask questions- get curious. If you are feeling jealous, there’s a reason. It doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, to me, it’s a hint that there’s something out there for you to work towards. As Mel puts it, if you’re feeling jealousy or cattiness towards something someone else has, it means you want it but that you’re blocked by self doubt. #truthbomb

Next, the chapter on “everything happens for a reason.” I know that is probably one of the most cliche things you can possibly say in the world but it’s true. Mel describes an elaborate story of a painting that she saw at restaurant and decided that she wanted. It was way too expensive for her taste at the time but she never held out hope that she’d one day have that one of a kind painting. I’m not going to spoil whole story, but I’ll leave you with the paragraph that I loved from this chapter:

“You can always connect the dots in your life if you are looking back. The true art is believing that this moment right now is a dot that is connecting you to something amazing that’s coming in the future. Trust is a major component of that– trusting in yourself, your abilities and the divine nature of things. That everything in your life is preparing you for something that hasn’t happened yet. You may not be able to see how all the dots connect on the map of your life, but they do indeed connect.”

As you can see, I have a lot to say about these books. I started with a top 10 list but I realized this was getting a little long. A couple other recommendations I have are: Discover Your Dharma by Sahara Rose and Built Through Courage by Dave Hollis.

Would love to hear if anyone else has read any of these books and what you’ve thought about them. And please feel free to share your recommendations with me too!

Cheers to books!

❤ L

welcome back!

Welcome to my blog reboot. It’s the morning of December 26th and I decided, rather abruptly, to reboot my blog. Well, if I’m being honest, I’ve been thinking about coming back to my blog for a while now. I just wasn’t sure how or when I wanted to dive in.

Welp! Today is the day. So for those of you that are new here, welcome! And those that used to read my blog, welcome back. I’m excited to restart this journey. When I stopped it was because I was, just like a lot of people, going through stuff (my last post was May 2020). And even though I’m still going through stuff (that’s life), I am in a slightly better place than I was 18 months ago.

My blog posts will be different this time around. I’m not going to just focus on the two things that I think most people know me as– a mother and/or someone that loves fitness. While those are still the biggest parts of my life, those are only a couple sides of Lauren. There’s a lot that you probably don’t know about me. Like the fact that I get twitchy when my routine gets disrupted (ok, maybe you did know that). Or the fact that I am a complete book nerd (my dream house has a room covered wall to wall in books). Or that my favorite channels are Food Network (hate to cook) and HGTV (my walls are completely bare). Or that I listen to the sweet serenading sounds of Louis C.K or Chad Daniels or Tom Segura to fall asleep at night. Or that the flame I’ve held for running was reignited in 2021 and that I will add more fuel to that fire in 2022. Or that I lose my shit when people write the word lose as loose because they don’t understand the English language but it’s cool when walk around saying the word frustrating as fustrating because I too, don’t understand the English language.

Basically what I’m saying is that we’re all complex. We have different sides of ourselves. And weird idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. But (hopefully) we’re always learning and growing and becoming a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday. So my blog is going to be about anything and everything that I feel like sharing- what I had for dinner last night, or things I’ve learned, projects I’m working on, books I’m reading.. who knows! Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want with it.

So welcome back!! 🙂

❤ L