Narragansett Half Marathon Race Recap!

IMG_4310

Good morning beautiful people of Booyahville! I’m so sorry if you all have been feeling a little neglected, between crazy work hours and not feeling so booyah last week, I’m still here! Bad news though: I’m traveling for work to the great state of Alabama tomorrow (I’ve never been – anyone have any suggestions of must do/must see?) and the Booyah Updates may be erratic (brace yourself, and stay turned!).

As you may have gathered, I was going into the Narragansett Half not at prime booyah level, and had kind of fooled myself thinking, “I’ll do the normal race prep. I’ll fall asleep, I’ll wake up and I’ll be running sub-9 minute miles like an OG.” Did that happen? Uh, no.

Strike number one against my sub-nine pace goal: I was fooled by my lack of fever that I was completely “better.” I did start feeling better later in the week, and despite my dad’s vehement protests I was set on running the half marathon regardless. I called up the “home phone” – the one that’s plugged into the wall like it’s 1994 – to give my parents an update on how I was feeling the day before the race. While speaking with my mom, my dad picked up the phone in another room and yelled, “L*****, you need to withdraw from the race! Forget it, you’re sick! Call them up and withdraw!” (Dad doesn’t really understand that there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of race participants and they aren’t going to wait for L Booyah to show up in order to start the race. But okay, dad!). I did all the pre-race things: I laid out my outfit, put together my “Go Time” Bag, made pasta and sauce to carb up, and then tucked myself into the couch and started marathon watching The Real Housewives of Orange County on my best friend’s suggestion.

IMG_4293

Pre-race bowl of pasta and sauce #2 with a Tofurkey Spinach and Pesto vegan sausage, sprinkled with red pepp flakes and Dr. Bragg’s nutritional yeast. NOMS.

Strike number two against my sub-nine pace: I didn’t sleep well. It was one of those frustrating evenings where you toss and turn and all you can focus on is the internal countdown until your alarm goes off at 4 am. I was tired, but I was nervous and excited, and I remember looking at the clock at 2:36 am thinking “Nooooo, I only have an hour and a half to sleep!” What a bummer.

IMG_4298

Race day outfit and essentials! Lululemon speed tights, CRB, swiftly long sleeve & ear warmer, New Balance FreshFoams, Camelbak handheld water bottle, Mountain Hardwear running gloves, Smart Wool PhD running socks, Bodyglide, Clif Energy Gel in Mocha, GU in Chocolate. πŸ˜€

Strike number three against my sub-nine pace: It was FREEZING. It was 33Β°F / 0.5Β°C at the start of the race! Brrrrrrrrrr! The outfit I chose to wear for the race ended up being perfect for the temperature (long sleeve over a raceback tank, tights, gloves and ear warmer), but it took until Mile 3 for my muscles to feel warm and my feet and hands to start thawing.

The course itself was beautiful; you really did get to enjoy the New England fall foliage. The rolling hills were a fun change from the normal flat road race, I don’t think the course was ever flat for more than 0.1 mile. However, going up and down those rolling hills was tiring. I felt like the first 6 miles flew by, and then we got to mile 8, 9, 10 – those last miles were tough. I was having trouble breathing, and my asthma was acting up. I just felt…exhausted. Usually in a race I’ll get to my zoom zone and I’ll just fly, blocking everything out but putting one foot in front of the other. I never found that mind space, I just felt beat. The silver lining of driving the struggle bus at the end of the race is that my running soul sister (and sorority sister) Ariel stayed with me, despite my serious struggs, and that helped to encourage me forward.

I finished with a still-solid time of 2:02:51, with an average pace of 9:22/mile. I wish that I could have felt stronger, but I’m still proud of my time! I finished the race, didn’t give up and that is an accomplishment in and of itself. I feel like with every one of these race experiences, there is a life lesson in there somewhere. The one I learned from this race is that the time on the clock is much less important than the experience of running, and taking pride in putting your best foot forward, regardless of how you feel/how well you feel you did/the numbers on a board. Nothing can diminish being proud of your accomplishments if you place the important on the experience as a whole, not just on the outcome. Onward to the next one: Seacoast Half Marathon on November 8th! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Have a great week, everyone!

With warmth,

L

Sorry About Your Car, Bro

IMG_4198

Since I’ve been down and out for the past week (great timing, seeing that my half marathon is in two days), this post is slightly delayed. On Monday, I ran the Tufts 10K for Women, with 5,000 other femmes in Boston. When I woke up Monday morning, I was not feeling all that swell. I figured that I’m a tough broad, and I could power through. I was really looking forward to this race, and have always wanted to participate since I moved to Boston, but I always had to work on Columbus Day (scientists know better than to honor that d*ckhead who almost decimated an entire indigenous population of people). I finally signed up for the race, took the day off and, despite my misgivings, I sucked it up and headed toward Boston Common.

IMG_4205

It was pretty incredible and humbling to stand at the starting line with over 5,000 other women – this race is really a celebration of women in the sport of running. What an awesome experience!

IMG_4210

Those thoughts were quickly replaced by woozy reluctance to start running when the airhorn sounded. My first splits were pretty solid: 8:09/8:21…then I really started to not feel well. I stopped and walked at two of the early water stations (that is basically me giving up – my one solid rule in racing is to NEVER walk, you’re always faster even if you are at the slowest and most pathetic jogging pace) and really had to fight the voice in my head that said, “give up!”. I made it all the way until mile 4.5 when body won over mind. I felt really sick, and mid run, as I was slowing to pull off the road and out of the way of the other runners, my stomach rejected the most recent influx of water – all over someone’s white Range Rover on Comm Ave (sorryyyyy!!!). I would love to say that I felt a lot better after that, but I did not. I just tried to shut down the woozy/quit-y/wanting to die thoughts pressing at the edge of my focus (breathe in, out, foot up, down) and pushed myself to run all the way through to the finish (those last few miles = one of the inner circles of hell). I walked straight through the finish line corral, grabbed water, a banana, snacks, straight onto the T, and didn’t stop until I got home. On my ride home, I got my finish time: 56:57 min, with an average pace of 9:11 min/mile (not even close to my 10K PR of 52:40 and average pace of 8:29 min/mile). First thought: UGHHHHHHhhhhhh. Second thought: Well, at least I finished!

IMG_4200

Once home, I was burning up. I dug my trusty thermometer out. 100.7 = yikes (you can ask my mom, she will tell you that if I get a fever, it is never high, so being above 100 is some serious shiz). Whoops. Sweating out all of that water during the 10K is probably the opposite of what you want to do when you are running a temperature. I dumped salt in my hand, licked it (eff those Nuun tablets, sometimes you just gotta go for the Morton Iodized), and chugged a liter of water.

Probably my worst race experience to date. But I effing finished!!!!!!

I spent the rest of the week dragging my carcass to and from work for half days running a low fever, all while trying to rest anytime I was home (just in case you need to know, Reign is a really good show to half-watch/half-sleep through). Yesterday, I was finally fever-less and ran for the first time since the race, and man oh man – my confidence for this half marathon is at an all time low. I’ll take any and all suggestions/good vibes/race tips/prayers/thoughts/moon dances/telegrams/internet hugs. I know that as the High Priestess of Booyah, I am normally overflowing with the good vibes/Pollyanna positive outlook but I am really disappointed in myself for not resting or listening to my body, and being put totally down and out this entire week, and entering into a race weekend at such a low confidence level. So there’s your life lesson: listen to your body! This is a lesson I seem to face again and again, and continue to not absorb or yield to, as I am unwilling to rest and stubborn as …something that rhymes with duck.

As frustrated as I am, and want to throw a 4 year old level temper tantrum in response to the hand I’ve been dealt here (after training my ass off for months), I am in fact an adult, so I will take a deep breath and tell myself that this is when you really find out what you’re made of. When you face a challenge, you can either throw your hands up in the air in exasperation and give up, or you can grit your teeth and tell yourself that you’re going to do the best you possibly can do, because just finishing a half marathon is a huge accomplishment. So there we go.

I hope all of you have had a great week, and I’ve made some pretty delicious things in the past week I can’t wait to share with you next week!

With warmth,

L

The Great Northeast Tough Mudder Recap

IMG_3969

Team Down N’ Dirty 2015

Hi everyone! Thanks for bearing with me while I had the week from hell and worked some crazy hours last week. I now bring to you – the Tough Mudder Recap you’ve been waiting for!

Also, it’s my one year blog-o-versary today! One year ago today, Bubbles and Booyah was born. In that time, I’ve run:

  • 4 Half Marathons
  • 2 Trail Races
  • 1 10K
  • 5 5Ks
  • 1 Tough Mudder

Basically, I have really grown into my own as the High Priestess of Booyah. I’m proud to say, I’VE KICKED MAJOR ASS in the past year!!! There will be more thorough reflection on all things Booyah and a stroll down memory lane later this week. For now, I’ve promised a Tough Mudder recap, and I will bring you a TM recap!

I have to admit: I was more nervous for the Tough Mudder than I was for my half marathons. Running is so mental, and I’ve done wonders to build up my mental game over the past year. For running races, I have a routine, I know what works for me, and I stick to it – I know once I start running I’ll be okay. But Tough Mudders are different: these are mental and physical challenges, and your whole team is watching you perform. You don’t want to let anyone down! Ten days before the race I had a text message exchange with my friend and gym buddy D (who was the unofficial captain of our team, and organized the whole Tough Mudder experience) which really captures how nervous I was:

L: I’m getting excited and nervous at the same time! I just don’t want anyone to yell at me or make me feel bad if there’s a really high thing/enclosed space thing that I really don’t want to do because I’m scared of heights and claustrophobic af. I’m not afraid to push myself and try hard but don’t want people pushing me to do stuff I’m not really down with.

(…I was basically sh*tting my pants, guys. I was so nervous! All I could picture in my head was me standing up on a really high platform and everyone yelling for me to jump off and me frozen in place out of my fear of heights. Or not being able to reach someone’s hand to pull myself up over a wall. Or somehow screwing up an obstacle so my entire team had to do it over. Or basically looking like a complete wimp and my team like secretly annoyed with my lack of athletic ability. Lots of anxiety over here.)

D said something that really stuck with me:

D: You see people of all sizes killing it and you’re like “Sh*t, they did it. I have to try!” But obviously if you don’t want to, no one will make you feel bad at all.

L: I will def try!! I’m sure I’ll have so much adrenaline pumping it will make it easier to get over my hesitation. I guess my biggest fear is being embarrassed if I like don’t want to do an obstacle/freak out at an obstacle and people are like pissed at me or something.

D: No one will care. I promise you that.

Spoiler alert: no one cared. D went on to say more nice things about the emphasis on teamwork and cheering each other on that did wonders to assuage my fears of failing the team and made me feel a little calmer before the Mudder. But underneath it all, I was still wicked nervous.

Picture3

On the morning of the Mudder, I put my pre-planned outfit on: my $3.88 clearance rack workout t-shirt from Target, old Nike running capris, a Lululemon all sport bra, CEP compression socks, my Nike trail running shoes I got from the outlet for $49.99, and a Lulu fringe fighter headband to keep the wispies out of my face that I bought on clearance (in case it was lost/damaged, I saved my no-longer-in-production and highly coveted Lulu Bang Buster headbands from harm). I lubed myself up with Body Glide, counted my Mocha Clif Energy Gels, double checked that my inhaler was working properly, chugged water, made a protein smoothie, braided my hair into a low braid, brushed my teeth and then anxiously waited for Sarah to come get me.

unnamed

Sarah took this from the drivers seat when I walked out to her car at 5:45 am the day of the mudder. I got a few thangs.

Sarah came and picked me up at 5:45 am and we headed up north to Westbrook, Maine where the TM took place. It would be an understatement to say that I brought a lot of stuff. Sarah was dying laughing when I exited my house with two huge tote bags, two reusable shopping bags, my purse and a precariously balanced cup of coffee for the car ride. I packed bananas, apples, enough water for before and after, 2 PB&J sandwiches, a bowl of overnight oats for my second breakfast that I never ate, paper towels, 2 beach towels, garbage bags, face wipes, baby wipes, 4 gym towels, a change of clothes (sweatpants, T-shirt, etc), one hoodie, arm sleeves, kayaking gloves, flip flops, my purse (with wallet/phone/keys/etc), Advil, New Skin, band-aids, Neosporin, sterile alcohol wipes and a cup of coffee. Yeah, I was basically ready for a week long camping adventure, and/or a zombie apocalypse.

toughmudder_pledge_large

We arrived at the parking lot, met up with our team and took the bus to the abandoned golf course where the mudder was to take place. Our heat started at 9 am, so we checked our bags, hit the port-a-potties, wrote our bib numbers on our foreheads and upper arms, pinned our bibs on and headed to the warm up area to prepare for our heat. Being with the team helped quiet my fears – I was lucky enough to be with a team full of awesome, kind and fun individuals. We were in it together, and full of team spirit. We recited the Tough Mudder pledge, sang the national anthem, smiled for the cameras and we were off!

IMG_3976

Riding the bus to the start line!

The first obstacle is about a mile way, so you trudge through the woods on a trail for about a mile, up and over hills, through creek beds and mud puddles. I did the best to keep my feet dry (rule #1 in running long distances), which was kind of pointless because you rounded the corner and the first obstacle we encountered was the Kiss of Mud – basically crawling through a mud pit under barbed wire. race_1191_photo_25928850My hair got caught and I sliced my elbow on the barbed wire trying to free myself. One of my team members freed the fro from the barbed wire (I still don’t know who came to my rescue, but thank you!) and another team member pulled me out of the mud pit. This is when it became apparent why you do this as a team – you help each other get through each obstacle.

The next obstacle was the Beached Whale: a huge inflatable slick with mud that you had to get your team up and over. Not too bad – lots of teamwork involved. Then we faced the most dreaded obstacle: the Arctic Enema 2.0. You shoot down a slide that has chain link fence over it (so you have to lay down flat, and in essence go faster down the slide) into a 36 degree muddy ice bath in a dumpster, head up and over a wall, swim-ish to the other side and get down a ladder. This one I was not looking forward to because a) it’s cold, and you were about to get completely soaked; b) I was not a fan of that chain link fence because of my claustrophobia and c) I did not want to feel as if an ice cube got shoved up my you-know-what. I sucked it up and did it, sliding into the ice bath in between my teammates Nikki and Chris, and it was not nearly as bad as I expected. My face says otherwise though.

Picture5

This is me probably yelling obscenities because of how cold that was.

Picture6

Trying to haul my ass over that wall and get out of the cold water as fast as possible.

Picture4

Brrrrr!

After the Arctic Enema, there are a lot more obstacles. Seventeen more, to be exact. So I’ll just fast forward and give you the highlights of my favorite ones.

Funky Monkey 2.0: Monkey bars angled upwards (so you climb at an incline as you move forward), a trapeze bar and a pipe that you go hand over hand to the end. I was really proud of this one: I made it all the way onto the trapeze bar, but hesitated before jumping onto the pipe to shimmy to the finish. I touched it with my fingertips though! I almost made it – I’m looking forward to dominating it next year. Picture8Picture7I was really proud of myself for how far I got in that obstacle. I was nervous and second-guessing myself but I did it! That’s what happens when you try. You might surprise yourself in what you can accomplish. Also, what are those concentration faces I’m making. LOL.

There were a lot of walls, mud pits, ropes, slippery slopes to get up and over. My team cheered myself and our entire team on for each challenge – individual or team obstacle, it didn’t matter. We stuck together and encouraged one another, which is what made it so fun. They didn’t even care that I chickened out on one of the obstacles: King of the Swingers.

Now if you’ve read B&B before, you’d know that I only have two major fears in life: I’m wildly claustrophobic and totally scared sh*tless of heights. I climbed up onto the 15 foot platform, got to the very edge to get ready to jump and did something dumb: I looked down. My hands started sweating. My heart started racing. And all of my team members had already gone. I had no one to tell me I could do it, and all I could think about is if I hurt myself somehow, I would miss the next three races on my fall roster. I slowly backed away, and climbed down the platform. Sarah predicted the future the best, “You’re gonna regret it.” She was right: I did regret it. But I knew in that moment it wasn’t in me to hurl myself off that platform without some outside encouragement. Am I worried about it or still beating myself up? Nope. I will do better next time.

Everest 2.0: A curved ramp about 15 feet or so in height that you have to sprint toward and jump to the top, it’s one of the most team oriented obstacles, as your team has to catch you and haul you up and over.

I was worried about this one. It’s the second to last obstacle, and by now you’re covered in mud, tired, hungry, thirsty and ready for that post-mudder beer. You can see the finish from here, so I think that helps to propel you forward. I was afraid it would be hard to pull myself to the top, so I backed up as far as I could and sprinted full force toward the wall, and jumped as high as I could right as it started to curve. My teammates told me after they thought I was going to smack right into the wall because I was hauling ass, and that I compressed the curved wall as I pushed down to jump up towards them (which means these legs = power). They helped haul me up and I helped them pull myself with no problem, I was so relieved afterwards. So DAMN FUN.

Electroshock Therapy 2.0

I think this obstacle is tied with the Arctic Enema for the most-feared obstacle. Live wires, crackling with 10,000 volts, hang down over a watery mud pit, and are mixed in with dummy wires. When second-time Tough Mudder D was asked what it felt like, she replied “Like you’re getting punched.” Great. Just how you wanted to end 4-ish hours of obstacles, isn’t it?

Picture9

Please note the smile.

Before the Tough Mudder, I was hell bent on skipping this obstacle. It just didn’t sound all that safe. But after doing all of the 19 obstacles before it (minus skipping out on King of the Swingers) I figured I would give this one a shot. Also, I was armed with the fact that redheads (aka MC1R.3 mutants) are less sensitive to electrical pain. (I’ve electrocuted myself by accident a few times by doing dumb things like trying to plug my phone charger in the dark and getting my hand in between the charger and the wall, and it’s really not that bad). Booyah, betches. Ahead of me, my own team members and other randoms were running full force through the wires with the forearms blocking their face. There was a lot of yelling, shouting and swearing as they got zapped (it’s not funny but it’s hard not to laugh because it seemed like we were in a cartoon). I casually strolled through the wires, avoiding them if I could, and didn’t get hit once. I think someone was looking out for me, because I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that happened to.

And I DID IT!! We all ran across the finish line holding hands as a team. So, so, SO ridiculously fun! It’s a pretty amazing feeling not to just complete but actually excel at something that you weren’t too sure you could do. I felt incredibly strong and empowered as I crossed that finish line, knowing that I did something pretty friggin’ amazing. BOOYAH! And I could never do it without my team: an amazing group of individuals, who supported, encouraged and cheered me on throughout the entire process. Down N’ Dirty: you guys rock my world. ❀ Picture10So my take away message is this: you can do this. You can do something that you think is impossible, if you have an amazing group by your side and work together to push through each and every obstacle. I feel that the immense popularity of the Tough Mudder is due to the fact that it is such a good allegory for life: you may get beat up, fall down, feel defeated, zapped – whatever, but if you keep pushing forward and believe in yourself, you can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. And if you approach each obstacle with some serious mental toughness and belief in yourself, AND have an amazing team of people supporting you and helping you through, it will seem like a cake walk.

Stay tuned for my Tough Mudder Essentials post tomorrow, outlining everything you need to succeed in your first Tough Mudder.

I hope this past week was fantastic, and I hope everyone is having a happy Monday!

With warmth,

L

ROC Half Marathon Recap

IMG_3812

Hey all! As you know, I ran the Rochester Half Marathon on Sunday. It was awesome! The course was challenging – several tough hills, but beautiful sights and a mix of trails and roads. It was the perfect day weather-wise: the sun was out, there was a light breeze, and it was cool. There was a drum circle at Mile 5 (amazing), spirit-filled water stations, spectators decked out in Bills gear. Awesome race all around! B and I ran together as Team Booyah. Let me tell you – running alongside your best friend > running alone (way less boring). This was our third race together, and it feels pretty stellar to finish a race and accomplish something momentous (such as running a half marathon) next to your sister from another mister! Girl power!

IMG_3799

I’d also like to say this. When I told my Boston friends that I was running alongside my best friend for this race, a majority of the responses I got were “ugh, I hate doing that!” and while that may be my feeling the majority of the time (I’m a highly competitive lone wolf; I’ve promised my brother-in-law/friends that I’d run with them and then leave then in the dust and totally peace out unintentionally, when my competitive nature gets the best of me) there are times when sticking it out with someone you love and care about is more important. B set this trend first. When I was one of the last people out of the water during my first sprint triathlon in 2012, B was there, standing on the shore, cheering me on and waiting for me in her super cool orange swim cap before heading to the next portion of the race. When she was riding a super fast road bike and could smoke me on my non-fancy but perfectly functional bike (hybrid tires/mountain bike frame) during the cycling portion of the race, she waited for me to catch up. When I couldn’t run and had to walk during the 5K running final leg of the race, she walked right by my side, and told me not to feel bad. She encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit – and she was the sole reason why I didn’t quit. And, she ran right next to me all the way up to crossing the finish line at the end of the race. (If you want to read more about my first race experience, check out my post Guys, it’s my Raceaversary!). That’s what you do for friends. You encourage them when they think they can’t, when it feels everything is working against you, when you’re having a sh*tty running day, when you are exhausted and want to give up. That’s when you need your best friend by your side, telling you that you’re strong, not to quit, not to give up, that you can do it. And they will be right by your side to the bitter end. Sometimes it’s easier, in both life and races, to leave your friends/family behind so you can get ahead. But it’s not always the right thing to do.

There will be plenty more races for me to try and PR. In fact, I have two more this fall, and the next one is 26 days away. But, there is only one B (and she is WICKED special: she’s the one who will listen to your life drama for the upteenth time, stick by your side through the worst of the worst, the only person you want to talk to when you’re having a sh*t day, can communicate only using eyebrows, the one you remember all the good stories with and laugh until you bust a gut and/or pee your pants kinda friend). And she’s more important to me than numbers on a board. I’m proud to accomplish something I never thought I’d be able to do next to my best friend. You’re the friendship love of my life, B! I’m glad the stars aligned and we crossed paths in Organic Chemistry Lab a million years ago.

So, the race was tough and challenging. But I was next to my best friend, and that made it okay. πŸ™‚ And we ate an amazing breakfast afterwards at Jines on Park Ave in Rochester. Hello, pumpkin pancakes (not vegan – I cheated).

IMG_3806And then I watched the Buffalo Bills unfortunately lose to the Pats (not nice comment redacted, so please don’t give me any football hate! I’m already surrounded by Pats fans, I can’t take anymore πŸ˜‰ ) . 😦 WOMP! But I had an awesome local hard cider, the Flower City Blonde by Blue Toad Hard Cider, Zubaz pants (#BillsMafia) and CEP compression socks, so all was well.

IMG_3814

Flower City Blonde hard cider: A crisp and fruity cider, using a blend of the finest local Golden Delicious, Empire and Crispin apples. A light cider that is pale straw-colored and clean-tasting.

How was everyone’s weekend?? Tell me all about it in the comments. (I’m still catching up on responding to all of your wonderful comments from last week, but I promise I will respond to your comment today or tomorrow!)Β 

Happy first day of fall, everyone! I have lots of good recipes coming this week, so stay tuned. πŸ˜‰

With warmth,

L

xox ❀

7 Mile Trail Race Recap

Picture1

Hey everyone! This Sunday, I ran a 7 mile trail race that was so epic and SO much fun! I did okay for me – I finished in about 1:05, with a pace of 9:21/mile and was in the top 50% of finishers. I was hoping to do a little better than that, but I had two factors working against me: 1. The day before the race, I went on a 4.5 hour, ~35 mile biking adventure with my friend R (whooops!) all over the state of Massachusetts and 2. I was literally running through a forest of ragweed, so my lungs were in serious revolt. Overall, it was awesome, and the post-race party seemed like a grand ol’time, but I had to jet early to watch my Billsies crush the Colts. The Bills Mafia is walking on a cloud today after that win! πŸ™‚

IMG_3672

The view at the Buffalo Bills backers bar in Boston. ❀ ❀ ❀ So much Western New York in one space! YAS!

First, let’s start off with my epic bike adventure on Saturday. R and I rode along the a lot of awesome trails: from the Minute Man Commuter Bikeway (a paved path) to the Minute Man Battle Road (loose gravel/sand) to main roads to dirt trails in Bedford. We covered somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 miles trails over 4.5 hours of biking. Getting off that bike, my legs were feeling pretty wobbly. Obviously, I do not suggest this if you are preparing for a 7 mile race the next day. I spent quality time in compression socks with my legs elevated after that, but there’s really only so much you can do once you’ve burned out your legs the day before a race. It’s almost good practice for me though – steeling yourself with the mental toughness to get through 7 miles on tired legs. Sounds kind of like the self-doubt-crushing mental toughness you’d need during a half marathon, doesn’t it? πŸ™‚

IMG_3624

On the Minute Man Battle Road in Concord, MA on our biking adventure.

IMG_3629

Another view from the Minute Man Park Battle Road that R and I biked on Saturday.

IMG_3635

R and I ate a lunch of PB&J by the Meriam House at the end of Battle Road. It was very picturesque. The only battling we did was squashing our quads, and we slayed those PB&J sandwiches.

Now, let’s get right to the race.

The trail was fairly flat, a majority of it was very rocky so you had to be careful and watch your step – I didn’t want to eat it and bust my sass seven days out from my first of three fall half marathons, so I kept telling myself to slow down. That was the hardest part – putting a lasso on my pace when I was feeling strong, and then dealing with the frustration of feeling like my lungs were letting me down when I was climbing hills or trying to speed up my pace. Regardless of those challenges, I had a blast, and really enjoyed it – it was cool and misty, and felt like a great kick off to fall racing season. With each race, you learn, so I was really glad about some of my race prep that I incorporated into my routine. Everyone is different, so your pre-race ritual may not be the same as mine, but I did a lot of planning ahead. Here are some things I’m glad I planned ahead:Β 

  1. I pre-made my breakfast. I made overnight oats the night before, so I could get up early, grab and go, and eat my oats in the parking lot about an hour before gun time.

    IMG_3658

    Overnight oats with fresh blueberries and blackberries, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter and cinnamon. The perf pre-race breakfast!

  2. I packed a ton of water to bring in the car, for both before and after my race.
  3. I brought a book to read while I waited. I got to the parking lot super early, and instead of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook a million times, I read in my car. It distracted me and allowed me to focus on something other than my pre-race anxiety.
  4. I brought a post-race outfit: jacket, compression sleeves and flip flops to change into after the race. I knew I’d be a) freezing and b) my feet would be sore, so I brought layers to keep me warm, compression sleeves for recovery, and flip flops so I could immediately ditch my shoes. IMG_3663
  5. I packed a post-race PB&J. You never know what will be offered for food after the race (there may be limited vegetarian/vegan options), so it’s always a smart idea to bring your own snacks to refuel.

The best part? The post-race beer/cider, of course.

IMG_3660

All the local breweries were there, and I’m really excited to try Downeast Pumpkin Cider for fall – it looked sooooo good (but was only for the Downeast Running Club VIPs – womp)!! All in all, awesome race, I was stoked to run trails instead of roads and I can’t wait to do another trail race. BOOYAH!!! I’m so in love with trail running! ❀

So, what did you guys do this weekend? Anyone else completely burn out their legs? Tell me all about it in the comments. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€Β 

With warmth,

L

Guys, it’s my Raceaversary!

Picture4

Two years ago today, B and I were probably electric with nerves standing on the shore of Lake Chaunagungamaug (yes, that is a real place, in Webster, MA near the border of CT) before gun time for the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon. I had never competed in anything in my life, and my co-worker convinced me that racing in a tri was a fantastic idea for my first race ever. I, in turn, convinced B that she had to do it with me so I wouldn’t be alone crossing the finish line in last place. Earlier that year, I had cranked up my gym rat ways, and started going to the gym every morning at 5:30 am like clock work, but I felt I had nothing to show for my efforts. I wanted to validate how strong I was, and prove to myself that I was STRONG, an ATHLETE, I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR. I wanted a specific, concrete benchmark to hold up, point to and say, “See? I did this.”

After months of training, a new Lulu outfit (the dawn of my obsession with Lululemon!), a carefully planned pre-race breakfast and nerves stretched taut like guitar strings, Race Day finally arrived. B and I lined up with hundreds of women, and as the gun sounded, our swimming-capped herd all went splashing into lake. And let me tell you: the race was hard. Harder than I expected. To be honest, I hadn’t trained properly. I fell behind immediately in the swimming portion when someone clocked me upside the head in the water and I totally lost my steel – I wasn’t mentally prepared, and felt completely hopeless when I saw how far behind I was once I recovered. But B was there, waiting for me on the shore, like the best ever best friend that she is, and we did our best to make up lost time in the cycling portion. We FLEW on those bikes. Still sparkling with adrenaline from passing a few of our competitors, we got ready to run the final leg: a 5K. As I got off my bike, I could barely move my legs (J-E-L-L-O, it’s aliiiiiiive). There ended up being a lot more walking than running in that final leg, and we pretty much lost any of the ground we had recovered, and more (As I write this, I almost feel ashamed. Should I tell everyone how poorly I performed? Yes, because it’s honest and it’s part of the reason I became so committed to running – but we will get to that in a minute). The important thing is that we FINISHED. For my first race ever, completing it and not giving up, even though a sizable chunk of my mental conviction and determination sank to the bottom of Lake Chaunagungamaug in the first leg, was HUGE.

My disappointment with my placement in the Iron Girl tri actually served to propel me forward. “Next year, we are going to do this again, and we are going to actually RUN the 5K,” B and I said to each other post-race. We knew we could do it, we were definitely strong enough – but I personally needed to beef up my mental game, in order to overcome the “This is hopeless, I can’t do this” defeatist voice in my head. When the next year came around, we instead decided to do our first half marathon race. Thus, Bubbles and Booyah was born, to share my experience training, eating and freaking out, and the rest is Bloggy History.

It was that 5K at the end of the tri that sparked my desire to become “A Runner.” I say “A Runner” because I always watched with fascination as those elite 4 min per mile cyborgs ran down Mass Ave in short shorts with thighs as big as my head, and thought I could never be one of them. But really, you’re “A Runner” whether you run a 13 minute mile or a 4 minute mile. (Are you running? Yes. Do you like to run more than you hate it? Yes. Then you’re a runner!). Running wasn’t my forte. I was a sprinter, honed by years of Coach C’s Lacrosse Camp, sprinting up and down the field carrying a lax stick. There were times that I would go for short runs in high school, but really nothing serious. Out of the gate I shot like a cannon, tired myself out and then hated life for the rest of it (usually when I was the furthest point from my house). This time around, however, I clamped my teeth into this goal (become “A Runner”!), and wouldn’t let go.

I believe it’s when you really set your sights on something, and hang onto that goal for dear life, keeping it in your cross-hairs at all times, because letting go would mean you were letting yourself down, that a mental shift occurs. It’s the push that gets you through those last few miles on a hard run, the push that forces you out of bed when you alarm goes off at 5 am even though you’ve only had 6 hours of sleep, the push that gets you to forgo collapsing on the couch after work to watch ScandalΒ and instead lace up your sneakers to go for a sunset run.

I’m sure there will be a day in the distant-to-near future that I’ll stand on the starting line for a second sprint triathlon, to once again prove to myself that I’m a beast, and when I set my mind on something and keep my eyes on the prize, I can accomplish something I once thought was impossible. Since this day two years ago, I’ve run in more 5Ks than I care to count, 2 10Ks, 3 half-marathons and have logged hundreds of miles on my own two legs. With each mile, I deposit a little bit of equity into my internal bank of grit, and that deep-seated belief in what I’m capable of swells a little bit more. I can say with complete candor: I am glad that I “failed” at that 5K. It pushed me to test the limits of what I could do physically, and pushed the boundary far outside of my comfort zone. I refused to accept that “failure.” I told myself that I was in charge of writing my own story, that this “failure” was not curtains on my running career. So my feel-good Mr. Rogers thought of the day: it’s okay if you totally eff up/don’t do as well as you wanted/are disappointed in your performance, just don’t let it crush you mentally. Brace yourself following that experience, and use it to as a stepping stone to move forward. Because when it comes down to it, you’re totally in charge of your own story; you get to choose-your-own-adventure to overcome whatever perceived “failure” happens – it is NOT the end. You get up, you get out there, and you try again (not sure if that quote is coming back to me from some old school sports movie, or is a Coach C original from lax camp that I tried to block out). πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

When did you guys first start running?? Tell me in the comments! I’m dying of curiosity.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

With warmth,

L

PS: I hung up the course map of that sprint tri over my desk (basically directly above my computer screen), to remind myself on especially hard days that I did something that I thought was impossible. It’s nice to have those reminders sometimes: you can accomplish great things. ❀

NYC Midnight Half Marathon – Part Three

I’ve been very successful at making lists recently, so I think I’m just going to continue this trend from Part One. Then I’ll be able to tell you exactly how to celebrate post-half marathon, and you can just go down this list and check shiz off as you complete each activity. So, what aaaare you supposed to do post-half?

(Missed it? Read how it all went down here: Part Deux).

1. SLEEEEEEP. Post-race and post-pizza, B and I went back to our Airbnb, showered in record time, and collapsed in bed. As soon as I was horizontal, I only answered B with “Mmhmm”s and fell asleep in less than 15 seconds of my head hitting the pillow. I was basically a corpse, and did not move from 3:36 am until 10:50 am. Also I do not recall the last time I slept past 7 am, so that truly was a feat on my part. Amazeballs.

2. Let your inner fat kid run free. B and I have high level experience with pleasing our inner fatties – in college, we would routinely each buy a large side of home fries and down them by alternating dunking them into ranch and Frank’s Red Hot. This = life (as well as the best hangover food, ever). So, it really was no surprise when we decided to eat two breakfasts: one at Steeplechase en route to brunch and actual brunch at Tom’s, both in Brooklyn.

IMG_1513

Breakfast #1 at Steeplechase

At Steeplechase (whose iced coffee is bomb, BTW), we each got a breakfast pastry to sustain us as we walked two miles through Prospect Park to Tom’s. PS: Thanks Miguel for picking us up (mad face).

IMG_1514

Tromping through Prospect Park towards Second Breakfast.

At Tom’s, which is apparently the best breakfast place in Brooklyn according to our gracious hosts, Diggy delivered YET AGAIN (even the Russian judges give you a 10/10, Diggy). Brunch was amazing, satisfying and delicious: exactly what I needed to refuel post-race. Also, B got a Waffle Sundae, and she’s my breakfast hero. If you are in Brooklyn, or go near Brooklyn, do yourself a favor and get brunch here. You won’t be disappointed. Plus they feed your french fries while you wait in line.

IMG_1515

Breakfast #2 at Tom’s

IMG_1517

I couldn’t fit all the food we ordered into one pic/B wins at breakfast.

3. Go outside – preferably to a park. Like Prospect Park. Blobbing outside is far superior to blobbing on your couch watching Netflix the day after a race, so get your bum outside, sit down, get hit in the torso by a Frisbee (thanks again, Miguel!), sit next to your BFF, put your phone into a solo cup so everyone can hear your jams and play this:

Yup. Fave new song.

IMG_1521

Miguel + Sunny skies. And my forehead. Can you handle these picture taking skillz right na?

Picture10

Omg we all have matching sunnies. πŸ˜€

4. BUBBLES! Go buy yourself a bottle (or two) of brut rose that comes in an all silver bottle, such as:

Picture9

Whatever that was, it was amazing. Now, drinking alcohol in parks is not allowed, but I’m not going to tell anyone what’s in your solo cup. We cool like that. Cheers to bubbles!

Picture11

So that, my friends, is how you celebrate after you punch a half marathon in the face. Get it.

With warmth,

L