Post-Marathon Return to Running & Everyday Random Stuff

So I’m a true believer in the post-marathon depression now, or just post-marathon sadness. These past two weeks without running have been some of the toughest for me. I’ve taken running hiatus’ before, but typically thats because of injury so its been different. But since I’m healthy, and only not running because I was allowing my body to recover after 26.2, needless to say my body was itching to hit the pavement. I also spent about 90% of my day the past two weeks neurotically planning future races and planning my future running goals. Needless to say, I’m not good at all at recovery and am a running addict.

One of my favorite shirts.

One of my favorite shirts.

What have I been doing the past two weeks? Basically crosstraining. I took off most of the week following the marathon from any activity and to let the soreness go away. Then I slowly started using the bike and elliptical and this week incorporated strength training including my first leg day! Squats, lunges, single leg squats galore and my legs were happy (although more sore than usual the day after). I also had time to do more arm strengthening which was something I missed out on often during marathon training.

But then on Saturday I became whole again after this happened..

Running!

Running!

4.5 mile run! Almost two weeks after running 26.2 I laced up my Asics Gel Pursues again and ran over the bridge for 4.5 miles of pure happiness. I do enjoy crosstraining but nothing compares to the way running makes me feel… its almost like there a billion more endorphins released during running than anything else. I really appreciated running and how lucky I am to be able to do it. Plus I don’t mind cold weather running so the brisk temperatures don’t really bother me. Once you get in a mile or so, its all good!

Asics Gel Pursue

Asics Gel Pursue

I of course had to run in all my marathon gear from head to toe, including my marathon gloves and jacket. I feel so proud running in that gear! Oh and I happened to find the finishline photo from my very first half marathon and also the one from the NYC Marathon this year. I think I have a signature finshline pose ;)

NYC Half 2012 and NYC Marathon 2014

NYC Half 2012 and NYC Marathon 2014

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In addition to running here’s some random things that have been going on lately:

1. Karl and I had a tasting for a wedding caterer and it was amazing. I think we found our caterer!
2. Christmas decorations are starting to go up around the city and I have to say I love it. I also have been doing some shopping of my own, my apartment is going to be loaded with decorations!
3. I just ordered my Christmas cards from Shutterfly. So excited to see how they came out.
4. I only have one more bag of Stroopwafels from Amsterdam and I’m sad.
5. I am in love with Pinkberry Chocolate Hazelnut and love that they deliver to my house. Brooklyn rocks.
6. I got a gingerbread house kit this year. This will be the first gingerbread house I’ve ever made!
7. I saw Interstellar this weekend and it.was.amazing! Go see it.
8. The Goldbergs is a great show, reminds me of my childhood even though I grew up in the 90s. Similarly simple life.

The Christmas decorations are going up in Brooklyn!

The Christmas decorations are going up in Brooklyn!

Chocolate Hazelnut from Pinkberry

Chocolate Hazelnut from Pinkberry

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How do you handle post-race or post-marathon sadness?
What are some of your favorite things right now?

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Filed under 2014 NYC Marathon, crosstraining

Bloggers Day Out: #FitBlogNYC 2014 with Fitness Magazine

A few weeks ago, I spent the day with a group of awesome bloggers, cool companies, and Fitness Magazine at an event you may have seen on your social media called FitBlogNYC. I attended this last year and had an amazing time, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go again this year. The event was a ton of fun and it was great to catch up with so many amazing ladies I haven’t seen in a while! We got the chance to chat and catch up, learn great information from the panelists, and explore a great group of companies who sponsored the event!

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Gabby and Kasandra

Gabby and Kasandra

We were welcomed to the event by Betty Wong, the Fitness Magazine Editor-in-Chief who is amazing herself! In addition to Betty there were many panelists discussing a variety of topics throughout the day. They included:

Holly Rilinger @HollyRilinger
Marcy Goolsby, MD, from the Hospital for Special Surgery
Carla Hall @CarlaHall

And other bloggers who talked about making a business out of blogging and their brands:

Lisa Elaine Held @lisaelaineh
Bianca Jade @Mizzfit_Bianca
Anne Mauney, RD @fANNEtasticfood
Laura Sykora @laurasykora

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Carla Hall

Carla Hall

 All of the panelists were incredibly knowledgable and it was amazing hearing there perspective on different topics. I wish I could share with you everything they discussed, but here are some highlights from the morning including their advice and tips.

Holly Rilinger: Use resistance training to build lean muscle. Try to minimize the amount of rest you take in between sets to maximize your time when you are trying to fit in a workout in a short period of time. You burn more calories after workouts when you do strength training vs cardio. No workout is “one size fits all.” A poor diet is a number one factor as to why people can’t lose weight. Wake up everyday with your passion and it will help drive you.

Marcy Goolsby: Delayed onset muscle weakness can be treated with ice, staying mobile, and compression. Signs of overtraining include performance drop offs (tired, fatigue, not sleeping well, elevated heart rate), perceived exertion with exercise changes, decreased immune system, and a woman’s period stopping. Don’t mix a restricted diet with high intensity workouts.

Carla Hall: Be honest with yourself and the universe will help you meet your goals. To turn your passions into a career, go work with people who are already working in that area. A little bit of fat in your cooking is okay. Use silken tofu and a little heavy cream for creamy soups.

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After the morning with those amazing panelists, we were served a delicious lunch and were given the chance to explore the booths set up by all the companies who sponsored the event. The sponsors were fun and I loved learning about some products I didn’t know about. For example, Eddie Bauer has some amazing outerwear for runners that is stylish with good performance. We got to take home one of their long sleeve tops which is now one of my favorites.

Other sponsors included: Balance Bar, Dermalogica, Hoka One One, Luna Bar, Oster, Tonalin, Pure Protein, Tria, and of course Eddie Bauer. We got to try out and talk to them about their products. I tried some delicious bars and learned about skincare and how to take care of my combination skin. There was so much to see!

Sponsors

Sponsors

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 Afterwards we heard from the blogger panelist and learned about making your blog into a business. Those girls worked hard but have accomplished so much.. its so impressive! And after the blogger panel spoke, Hoka One One sponsored a group run. Unfortunately I couldn’t run because it was an off day for me from marathon training (this event was pre-NYC Marathon), but it seemed like a lot of fun!

After the event we headed to the goodbye table where there was a sea of beautiful pink bags waiting for us.  We got to choose a cool pair of shoes from Reebok and each received one of those big bags, which were super heavy and loaded with a ton of amazing goodies from some other great sponsors. Here’s a peek into all the fun stuff..

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FitBlogNYC goodies

FitBlogNYC goodies

FitBlogNYC was an really fun day and I learned a lot from the panelists and the companies who attended. I want to send a big THANK YOU to Fitness Magazine for hosting this event and for having me there. It was such fun!

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What are your favorite new finds?
Have you ever been to a blogger event? 

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Filed under blogging, City life, FitBlogNYC, product review

2014 TCS NYC Marathon: My Experience & Race Recap

Here is my 2014 TCS NYC Marathon Race Recap and my experience in officially becoming a MARATHONER!

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The Start Village: 

Sunday morning, I met the rest of Team Asics to take the bus to the start together. My teammates chatted and calmed me down so I could eat my oatmeal and banana as we at on the VIP bus and got a police escort to the start. Seriously, the police stopped traffic so we could drive through all the lights! Talk about feeling like a badass.

Team Asics!

Team Asics!

After we arrived at the start, we got a quick Team Asics photo and pep talk before all heading to our start villages. I waited around and finished my breakfast and met up with my sister when she arrived. She was in orange and I was in blue, so we hung out in the neutral zone, talked about how nervous we were and how cold it was, and tried to keep warm while wearing 20 layers and wrapping ourselves in blankets. One of the biggest stories of the day was the cold weather and the insane winds. Sustained winds of about 25 mph with gusts between 35-40 mph, resulting in temperatures with a “real feel” in the low 30s.  Yeah, I didn’t train with this kind of wind thats for sure but unfortunately we can’t control the weather. So I packed my gloves and brought ear warmers and sucked it up!

Staying warm

Staying warm

Eventually, I heard the announcement for wave 2 runners to go to their start corrals so we shared some hugs of good luck and I headed to the blue section, corral E. I think wave 1 had a little bit of a backup because they didn’t let us into the corral right away, resulting in a HUGE traffic jam, stressed out people, and less time for everyone to stretch out and warm up in the start corrals. I definitely felt rushed after getting into the corral and wished I had stretched more earlier. We made our way to the start and I threw my warm layers into the donation bin before I finally saw the Verrazano Bridge, heard the wave 2 gun go off, and heard “New York, New York” being blasted!

Start line!

Start line!

The Race: 

Miles 1-3: Luckily, the blue group got to start on the top right of the bridge so I got to live my long-standing dream of running on top of a bridge I’ve driven over a million times. The view was incredible, but unfortunately so was the wind. The was the point in the race where the wind was the most insane and the most noticeable. Strangely, it blew in all directions–side to side, towards you, behind you. There didn’t seem to be a rhyme or rhythm to it at all which made it harder. I was pushed from side to side and saw a TON of hats flying off peoples’ heads during the big gusts. People were still running in their garbage bags, and I had kept on a long sleeve layer for the first 2 miles before dumping it. It was cold on that bridge!

The bridge was one point where I may have messed myself up a bit. I was so excited to run the bridge and the marathon (I mean I waited for this for 3 years!), nervous in general about everything, and had a difficult time finding my pace that I started out WAY too fast for the first 3 miles before I realized what I was doing. I really think this came back to bite me at the end because, as you’ll read later, around mile 20 I felt way more tired than I had in any training runs. Lesson learned.

Verazzano Bridge

Verazzano Bridge

Miles 3-8: These were some of my favorite miles of the race. I just loved the amazing crowds in Brooklyn, I felt strong, and just enjoyed taking everything in. At this point I started to sort of warm up and wasn’t as cold as I was waiting in Staten Island. Along the course I saw some funny signs on the road and communities cooking food for each other because the marathon is a special event for them! Everyone comes out to cheer.

As I approached my own neighborhood in Brooklyn around mile 8 (near BAM), the crowds were INSANE! I felt like an elite athlete because there were so many people screaming for us. And at this point some of my own personal cheering section was waiting too. Karl, Katherine, Jesse and Dennis were waiting for me with support and love. I was so happy to find them, it really gave me a burst of energy and mentally put me in a good place mentally to continue. There is nothing like seeing your family and friends along the course.. its the best!

Heading towards Downtown Brooklyn.

Heading towards Downtown Brooklyn.

Miles 8-14: Actually from mile 3 until 14, the miles seemed to fly by. The crowds and volunteers really made this the best part of the race for me. I barely even had to use my headphones because of all the cheering and music along the course. In Brooklyn I heard everything from reggae to rap to gospel to pop music blasting through the streets, with people turning it into a dance party. I also loved the random guy who read my name on my shirt and yelled out “Megan, there you are! We’ve been waiting for you. Go Megan!” That made me laugh and kept me smiling for a few miles after. The wind was blustery at this point and was pretty much blowing right at my face, and I was so cold I even left my gloves on (which I never do). But luckily there weren’t too many big wind gusts. Somewhere in these miles I also stopped to use the bathroom quickly because I drank WAY too much water in the morning!

Still smiling!

Still smiling!

Mile 15-16: Queensboro Bridge. This is no joke. My legs were already tired but I was happy actually to see the bridge because it signaled the move into another borough. But be careful what you ask for! This incline was a challenge mostly because of when it appeared in the race, not because the incline is so terrible on its own. Its really more of a mental hurdle than anything. Luckily, I trained on bridges though so I ran the whole incline (slowly, but I ran it) even though so many people were walking. I sort of wish I stopped to get a photo on the bridge because there was a nice view, but I figured if I stop my legs might realize they don’t want to run anymore!

Miles 16-18: Made it to Manhattan! Coming off the quiet of the Queensboro Bridge to the boom of the spectators on 1st Avenue was incredible. Thousands of people cheering as loud as they could for the thousands of us running, although it felt like they were cheering just for me. I started to get tired around this point and made the mistake of reading all the streets as they went by, “61… 62… 63..” Let me tell you that’s a bad idea, because the miles go SO slow when you do that. Eventually I realized that wasn’t helping and just focused on meeting my cheering section again at mile 18. At mile 18 I saw Karl and Dennis again and I stopped to give Karl a hug and kiss.

Mile 18 was the point where I realized I wasn’t feeling my best today. I wasn’t feeling as strong as during all my other training runs and my mental game wasn’t 100%. During my 18, 19, and 21 mile marathon training runs, I felt like I could run for days. But that was not the case today. This was more of a struggle and way more of a mental game than any other run I’ve ever had. Plus my legs felt sore in places they didn’t in the past. So I decided to try to use the crowd and feed off the support of my cheering section for all the motivation I could muster. I knew though that I had to finish no matter what, and kept running uptown.

m12

m11

Miles 18-25: The hardest miles of my life. There were hills and small bridges that I didn’t anticipate being there, that made this incredibly hard. During these miles, somewhere in the Bronx, I also developed some random shoulder pain that ended up forcing me to stop and stretch. Everyone was stretching their calves but not me.. I was stretching my shoulder. It bugged me for about 5 miles which was kind of dejecting because I never had any shoulder issues before!

Aside from the shoulder issue, these miles were tough overall. There were times where I questioned whether I could finish and I wanted to quit about 50 times. I saw a sign eventually in Central Park that said “Remember why you started running” and it got me thinking about all the injuries, the deferment last year, the months of training, and I realized there was no way I could quit. My whole running career has led to this point.. to this race. And I couldn’t give up now. The crowds during these miles kept me going. Every once in a while  I’d stop and walk but every time I did I’d hear tons of people shouting my name telling me not to give up but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And so I did. I listened to all those amazing people who got me through the most mentally challenging and exhausting miles of my life. I want to thank them for getting me through those miles… really, the crowds were my fuel.

Mile 26: The last mile. I wanted to cry. I was so close to the finish but it felt as though my body could go no further. Central Park South seemed like the longest road ever. But I pushed and pushed, and convinced myself to take one more step, one more step.

The Finishline: 

I came back into Central Park and saw the countdown signs. 800m to go. 400m to go. 200m to go. I don’t remember running those miles but I remember thinking that I was almost there. I felt like I could collapse but I kept pushing and talking myself into continuing to run. Every step seemed like I was running a mile and the finishline seemed like it was getting further and further away. But eventually my long-awaited dream became a reality and something happened that I will never forget: I stepped across the finishline, put my arms in the sky, and let everything go. I did it. I ran a marathon. 26.2 miles, three years of anticipation, overcoming injuries, and hundreds of miles run. I AM A MARATHONER!

I crossed the finishline in 4:48:51, which was slower than I planned but I have no regrets. My goal was to finish and that’s what I did. At that point, every emotion I’ve ever had hit me and, as they placed the medal around my neck, I burst out into tears. I couldn’t stop crying for a few minutes and on top of that I could barely breath from having run for almost 5 hours. Every emotion showed up, combined with the pain and soreness my muscles felt.. suffice to say it was something I can’t put into words. I cried with happiness for having overcome my mental struggle and finished, sadness that it was all over, relief, joy, thankfulness to the crowds and everyone who helped me along the way and every other possible emotion. I had set a goal years ago and finally it happened. And here’s the photos to prove it!

Crossing the finishline

Crossing the finishline

Post-crying.

Post-crying.

Post-Race: 

I’ll explain this in photos:

Got my blue poncho!

Got my blue poncho!

Karl got Jen and I flowers!

Karl got Jen and I flowers!

2014 NYC Marathon: Finisher!

2014 NYC Marathon: Finisher!

And then there was a big Shake Shack burger..

Congratulations to everyone who ran the 2014 NYC Marathon! And read my last post for all my thanks.

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Filed under 2014 NYC Marathon, goals, NYCM, race photos, race recap, race review, races, TCS NYC Marathon