Runner Hacks

I’m writing this on five hours of sleep with a 2:50 a.m. alarm. Today was one of the rare, but ‘part of my job’ days where I had to be at work at 4 a.m. There are certain triggers that make me my most productive, most creative or most delirious. Today is a little bit of both and the trigger was being up before the sunrise. The other big trigger is when I’m sick. Seriously, 8 p.m. on a Friday and you can bet your ass I’m on the couch with a glass of wine on my third hour of binge-watching. But, strike me with a nasty cold and I’m waiting to accept my tenth mission from the chore-gods. I deliriously digress…

As I was sitting in a meeting yesterday, we got off-topic and started talking about working out on lunch breaks. YES, it sucks to get back to your desk and be a sweaty, hot mess the rest of the day. YES, it sucks to slip back into your work attire from said sweaty, hot mess. But when it’s 5 p.m. and you realize you can just go straight home because you got your fit girl on instead of your fat girl on (we have the most irresistible peanut butter cookies in our employee cafeteria…) it makes all the four hours of gym smells worth it. In said discussion, I went on and on about my lunch time workout hacks, when finally a lightbulb went on. “Hey! I should write a blog on that!”

So here you go. 6 Lunch Time Workout Hacks (so there’s no excuses).

  1. Baby wipes are not just for babies! I love me some green tea or aloe vera-infused Huggies. While nothing is as good as an ice cold shower after a sweaty betty sesh, a nicely scented wipe down can get you through the 4-5 hours you have left in the day.
  2. Pack your hair dryer. Now, I know you aren’t washing your hair in the employee bathroom sinks, but your hair will be wet from perspiration, as will other areas. Use the cool setting on your Revlon 5000 to eliminate any moisture. A small desk fan can be helpful, too.
  3. Freshen up with some dry shampoo, pack your foundation for touch-ups and don’t forget to carry a travel-sized deodorant and some perfume to re-apply post workout.
  4. Bring some dryer sheets or foot powder for your work shoes. Either will absorb the sweat and eliminate the stink.
  5. Pack extra underwear. You may have read before that I’m pretty particular about my undies when it comes to working out. If I’m going to workout at lunch, I have a pair to workout in and a fresh new pair for when I get back into my work clothes. Trust me, it makes a huge difference.
  6. If still doubtful, remember that even a 30 minute walk is great for your heart. Bring some tennies (don’t hate on the pencil skirt and Nikes look) and explore the walking areas outside your workplace. You won’t get quite as sweaty, your makeup won’t smear and you never know what new discoveries will come about.
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Global Sports Bra Squad Day

This semi-rebellious yet whimsical and giddy lyric from “I’m Ready” by Jack’s Mannequin has been stuck in my head since Saturday:

“When did society decide that we had to change and wash a t-shirt after every individual use: if it’s not dirty, I’m gonna wear it.” 

When did society decide that we needed to wear t-shirts and cover ups because of a few tiger marks and bread rolls dawning our bodies? When did society decide that we couldn’t just wear what makes us confident? When did society decide we couldn’t be confident in what makes us comfortable? And most importantly, when the fuck did we get ice cream? (Name that movie).

I had the honor of participating in a meet-up for Global Sports Bra Squad Day on Saturday thanks to two fearless organizers. The idea of the run was to do the jaunt in your sports bra – no matter your size, shape or what-have-yous. I’ll admit that I was very apprehensive to go for a run in a sports bra, but my goodness, once I saw the forecast for the day, I was all about it. Actually if it weren’t for my pacing partner of the day, Rebekah, I probably would’ve cowered at home in my PJs before suffering from some severe FOMO. Leaning on each other for support, both of us stepped out of our comfort zone, no fucks given.

19429980_454471681600068_8731960823867391023_nAs I had a hot date with Lake Tahoe later that morning, Rebekah and I met up early to get started on our 5K. How’d we fight our insecurities? Like Forrest Gump, we just sta-rt-ed-run-ning. Along the course, messages of “You are beautiful” and “This is what strong looks like” were sprinkled every so often. It wasn’t long before we got onto the topic of how both of us work out, eat (mostly) healthy, drink (mostly) beer – so why did running in our sports bras make us uncomfortable? My stomach certainly hasn’t seen the light of day…pretty much ever… but yet I’m a gosh-damn marathon runner. I know I’m strong. I know I kick some major ass. Why the discomfort?

People. That’s why. From high school bullies making sumo-wrestler impersonations as I walk by, to bullies online asking me if I can even see my feet when I look down, to the woman who birthed me (she doesn’t deserve the ‘m’ word) straight up calling me fat… yeah, it’s been said to me, it’s gutted me and clearly, it’s shaped who I am today in both good and bad ways.

We finished our run just as the rest of the group was starting – about 15 GORGEOUS women of all sizes rocking their sports bras, sending big middle fingers to anyone or anything that’s ever made them feel insecure. It was empowering, motivating and a message for anyone who saw them out and about. 19437432_454471664933403_5332829303010991259_n

And you know what else? I paced about a minute faster than I have been and could’ve gone farther. I also determined that more runs need to be done a la sports bra. So suck it, insecurities. Suck it, injuries that have slowed me down. I’m back with a goshdamn vengeance.

Shut the Carb Up.

For years I’ve had this agonizing stomach pain that was just as annoying from the pain perspective as was from the brain. It just makes its way into my body whenever it feels like with no true way to relieve it. None of my doctors seemed to have an answer for it, despite multiple tests taken and thousands of dollars spent. I’ve been to the ER for it, I’ve had to quit or put-off working out because of it and I’ve had to spend many nights hurled over in bed from the pain. I finally went to a Gastroenterologist, who seems to think my body doesn’t process carbs, garlic, tomatoes or anything acidic at a normal pace. So, the chubbarita (thanks Emily) in me instantly died a little inside when he told me I needed to give these up (or at least restrict them… basically the same thing to anyone who loves food, amiright?!). But actually, the first whine out of my mouth was, “BUT I’M A RUNNER!!” Despite the fact that many of my reactions are, this is not an exaggerated claim.

This was about a month and a half ago – I’ve gone about 75% carb-free and still get the stomach pain, but not nearly as often as I used to. Now that I plan to up my running mileage though, I predict another obstacle to add alongside insult and injury. What am I going to do when I need to run in the double digits and I can’t have my wheat toast with peanut butter and bananas (also another item he added to the ‘give up’ list… I know, I … I KNOW). The doctor’s response was to focus on protein intake, but I still find myself very lethargic when working out. What’s most upsetting is that it puts a dent in all of my nailed down race/training routines. But I guess it’s good to throw complacency out the window… or something.

I thought I’d put a call out to all my readers for their advice on this one. Does carb-intake affect your running routine? What do you do in lieu of? This blog was meant to make people feel like they are not alone, myself included, so lemme hear ya!

(PS; also on the list of can’t-haves: hot lemon water, ibuprofen/advil, gum or mints. So, sorry in advance if my skin isn’t glowing, I’m in a lot of uncontrollable pain and my breath smells.)

So how exactly do you start over?

You do. You just do. You get your happy ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m., you lace up, you procrastinate a bit, but then you go. You just go. I have started over at least 12 times since running a marathon. But you know what? That’s okay. It means I still care. It means I still have goals to achieve – and I do – but failure is a part of every success story.

Those close to me know that my job has brought on a crazy, ever-changing schedule, endless great meals including free peanut butter cookies always at my finger tips and a slew of stressful-just-want-to-sleep nights. But you know what? Not an excuse. I set out to prove that to myself last week when Festival Season kicked in. I set a goal to workout or hit my 10,000 steps every day, stay on track with my food, get a lot of sleep and hydrate and you know what? 90,000 steps later, I did it. I even managed to have a social life after a few 10 hour days. Fast forward to post-festival and I erased all that hard work. So you know what I did this morning? I started the fuck over. I grumbled and groan as my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. but three miles later, I forgot about the “dammits…” that ensued as I was risin’ and not-so-shinin.’

At mile one, I told myself “it’s never too late to start over.” It’s cliche but so damn true. So I may have had a pastrami Reuben sandwich (work lunch, I promise) and some gelato the day before (not a work lunch, piss off), but before those slip-ups got out of hand, I knew I needed to step back to zero and just run. Just run.

Going forward, I plan to increase my runs to 2-3 per week, with a lengthier one on the weekends so as to work my way up to the Reno 10-Miler. It’s a lot closer than it seems, but I have faith I can kick some ass.

My other obstacle ahead is learning how to fuel for longer runs without carbs. I’ll save that story for another day…

Hey, I was once a blogger.

To sign up or not to sign up. That is the question that’s been roaming through my head for the last 13 months. I’ve missed the miles. The medals. The milestones. I’ve slowly tried to become a runner again (yeah, yeah once a runner always a runner). But truthfully, I haven’t gone a single month with more than 13 miles logged since May 2016. It’s hard. I never believed it could be. During my entire training process, I never thought I’d want to quit once I was done. But my body was tired, and sore, and frankly just didn’t have the will. When this year started, I thought I’d reset and refuel. And while I’m consistently at the gym (give or take a week here and there), I’m still struggling to face the course. I re-injured my hip in April to the point where I thought that the looming hip replacement was going to come 30 years early. My weight, like mind, has been complacent despite any healthy efforts.

While doing a blacklight boxing class yesterday (yes, as cool as it sounds) I decided – here’s where that changes. The second my paycheck clears tonight, I’m signing up for the Reno 10 Miler. I’m also signed up for the Reno Race for the Cure (join Sara’s RaRa for TaTas today!) I’m craving, itching for that double digit run SO badly. From there, perhaps another half marathon, maybe some more blogs in between.  And perhaps that’s where you come in. What questions do you have? What do you want me to write about? Go ahead, post below and let me know! I’m here, happy to help. Not an expert, but I’ve lived, breathed and trained the pavement so you can consider me the generic version. I’m the Great Value to your Kraft.

Here we go! #MotivationMonday

I simply can’t fathom that Race Week is here. Every workout, every short jaunt and long sprint, every chafe, every Nuun tab and all the carbs all lead up to this. Aside from the whole nutrition and extra rest yada yada that will come this week, my goal is to wrap up my final thoughts into this blog because until now, this week was nothing but a dream. A so far away dream that is now here and I’ve already pinched myself a thousand times since waking up this morning.

#MotivationMonday comes in the form of thanking everyone who inspired me and carried me throughout this journey. I can’t even when it comes to listing you all, but to Scott for the sushi dates before long runs and being patient when I had to give up a big part of our weekends, to Marysa for always checking in on me and cheering me on from the PNW, to Ann for your coaching and companionship, to Randy for bragging about me to everyone at work, to Mark for engaging with all my posts and always sending encouraging texts, to my family for forgiving me when I had to train, to Evven at Evoke for helping me reach new feats in strength training, to Pawko (yes, my dog) for helping me stretch and finish out many of my last miles, to New Found Glory for your upbeat and fantastic music that I could blare through my headphones to find my happy place at mile 13, to wheat toast, bananas, peanut butter, ibuprofen, Honey Badger, GU, potatoes and water for the energy boosts, to Frankie for the honk-and-waves and tweets, to Allie, Elizabeth, Margarita, Nancy, Kristen,  Brandy, Mary, Bridget, Kris, Ray and Lara for liking every single one of my social posts (yes, I noticed!), and to my body for toughing out through injury, soreness, laziness, lethargy and whatever other obstacle came my way these last six months – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

In all seriousness, I really wish I could list every single person and thing that has helped me out along the way and please know that if you even so much as acknowledged that I was running a marathon, you were a part of this with me. You motivate me because I don’t want to let you down!

F@$% Running

I had the absolute worst run on Monday. EVERYTHING went wrong and it sure was a lesson against procrastinating. I ran out of time (and motivation) to do my 8-miler this weekend so I thought heck, it’s only eight miles – surely I can do it after work. Wrong. From the beginning, my calf cramped for two miles while my running pack kept falling off for four. I didn’t have any Advil left, my water was leaking all over my hip, I didn’t think I’d need an energy gel but alas when I wanted one, there wasn’t one. My knee cramped. My hip cramped. I got a new phone over the weekend that wouldn’t connect to my headphones for a good ten minutes and even worse, I have none of my music on there yet. Last but not least, I could only find it in me to walk/run seven miles.

I’m NINE days away from my marathon. NINE, PEOPLE. I know everyone has their moments, but really? This close to the race?

I’ve been trying to put it behind me since it happened, but I can’t seem to shake it as it terrifies me that all those things will happen come race day.

Race ready, blog not-so-steady

Hey you! Remember me? I’m the girl who wanted to blog about her marathon training and have alas made it this far, only to fail. But I guess its better to fail at the writing than the running.

There are fifteen days until my first marathon. I’m already starting to feel a post-race depression kick in. I feel it every time I work out. I feel it while I taper. What do you mean I only have to run EIGHT miles this weekend?! Ooh-wee, I’m leaving the vaseline and the GU at home, papa.

Two weeks ago, I finally hit the point where I knew I was ready. I ran 20 miles – the only thing that scared me more than the actual run. That day was phenomenal. The sun was out. My Honey Badger pre-workout did it’s justice and turned me into an unusual 6 a.m. chatterbox. (Seriously… do NOT try and talk to me in the morning). I had my traditional night-before sushi coma that was more delicious than ever. I slept well. My body felt great with no injury in sight. Everything went just as it was supposed to.

When training started, I vowed that each long run would be met with a new product test. This time, we worked really hard at the whole eating thing. I have never craved nor savored a bagel more than I did at mile nine (and I’m a Jew, so that says something). I was let in on a *spudworthy* secret at mile 12 and at the end, I devoured a hamburger, fries, three beers and two shots of whisky that numbed any cramp or pain that came my way. So, when a runner tells you they “run to eat,” it seriously is so very true.

After a two mile incline in the super hot sun, my running gal pal told me I should give myself a “whoop whoop” at the top. What came out of my mouth and what she actually heard resulted in my new mating call, my new holler and what you should yell at me any chance you get (like from the cheering sections on race day): “Jew Whoop!” While that’s not what I said, it’s fitting and Ann had every right to think I would come up with something so clever.

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As I sprint around some of the memories from that day, the one that keeps crossing my mind the most is the thought of being ready and how I felt it most in the last three miles. Truly, it’s because of the people I had with me that day. The ones who texted me every few miles to check-in, the ones who surprised me with a group Facebook follow, the ones who pulled over in the middle of the street to honk at me, and most importantly, the ones who ran with me. I have never felt luckier in life than I have since training began.

But also knowing that I’ve worked my ass off these last six months has left me with such a feeling of completion, even though I haven’t officially ran the race yet. I’ve remained committed. I haven’t quit. I’ve dedicated early mornings, late nights and weekends to accomplishing something I never dreamed I would do. Something I told everyone I would NEVER do. Something I am, now, GOING to do.

Fifteen days separates me. Each day I get a little more nervous, but each day I recall that feeling of being ready because I AM ready.

I’m here….

…and I’m alive with so many training updates to make. But alas, I’m a failure at life… or just blogging… with no time to spare. If you’re really invested in my journey, (and why wouldn’t you be?) I update more frequently on my Facebook page: Sara and Her Soles.

Sarcasm and funny author voice aside, I’ve really loved sharing this venture with you. With 17 days to go, I’ve got a lot on my plate but not a single day goes by where I don’t think about updating you all. Xo.