Caught TWO friends to go out for a 14 mile Sunday long run in my favorite corner of CT. NOW WE ARE BASICALLY A RUN CLUB. My friend ran his longest run ever!

So far for run club names we got “Bad Decisions” and “Punishers.” I am taking suggestions for run club names! Brief summary of interests include: complaining about running then running anyway, procrastinating, trying not to die, killing/wasting time, beers (if you know me you know I like my recovery beers in the shower- can’t speak for them), dinner, tacos, Big Macs (that’s all Billy), dinner, punk bands.
I knew I had to go between 14-16 today, and Billy already ran a 12 so he was good for 14. I talk about Nate on a semi-regular basis because he’s been my running buddy for a while now- we trained together last year and ran the Ragnar together. He also used to own the first Crossfit I went to in Hartford- Nor’easter. Billy and his wife are my friends at Triton. After showing interest in my last few races, he signed up for the Providence marathon too! As did Nate. Billy hasn’t been doing long runs yet so he’s more optimistic about everything in general- even when he’s adjusting to the higher mileage which can be painful. Then again, I am adjusted and parts of the run are painful for me (attn: right thigh, right ankle, right IT band, right hammie.)
They are both full time workers and busy cool amazing dads- so understandably it can be hard to get a run in with three tight schedules. Even though running in the winter is aggravating as fuck (although it is better with some daylight now!) they’ve also both shown interest in really racing something maybe in the fall- and I believe they could both easily qualify for Boston if they have a good 18 week cycle with speed work and mid-tempos (almost impossible with ice and snow) and run a nice fall race.
So those are my current long-distance running friends this season! Long runs with friends are great because they go by faster. Another favorite past long-run was with Melanie and Alison from Alison’s house to the brewery when they were training for the Hamptons and I was training for Lehigh. Sometimes it’s nice to zone out to music or a podcast- but running adventures and joy really come with pals. I run better races when I do fun runs.
That being said, this course was literally a walk in multiple parks but it was definitely no walk in the park (haha.)  AND our conversational pace around multiple huge mountains with 2-3 climbs on it ended at 14 miles with 8:51/min mile pace. YEA!!
If you’ve been following my Instagram or my running journeys the past few years you’d also know I LOVE Hubbard park, Ragged Mountain, and the creepy forests, graveyards, farms, resevoirs, and orchards in between. SO many ghost stories and urban legends. Just last week Nate and I agreed that Hubbard park has the creepiest woods in the state. And he mountain biked all over the place for years so I feel like he’s a good validator of that statement. Maybe somewhere near Dudleytown is creepier. I’ll talk more about that some other day.
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So this was our course. I was just so happy to not be running on the goddamn Farmington trail. I am SO sick of it. I have the whole freaking thing memorized from New Haven to Avon. I ran it ALL summer. 18 weeks. Just about every 12 miler and longer. That’s 3 times a week I would run various legs. Fuck. Anywhere between Skiff street in Hamden and the Southington dog park I could tell you which tree is what mile, how far we went, how fast we are going (without my phone), where the slight hills are, my favorite intersections, where I got hit by cars, point out the worst porta-potty in the state, you get the idea. That will also be discussed this summer I’m SURE.
SO I was having the time of my life site-seeing mountains, snow, trees, houses, birds, all those other things I mentioned. After I ran the 16 miler through New Haven before Austin and had a blast I knew mapping runs and site-seeing were parts of the journey that made running fun for me. Nate was NOT having a good time and getting stressed out because we were running on several main roads with kind of a lot of traffic. Also respectable. That being said I’ve been hit by TWO cars on the linear trail in crosswalks and ZERO times on the shoulders of highways. So there’s that. We’ll have to hash that out when the snow melts and the trails are acceptable.

Lastly- my friend Billy PR’d his running distance. He’d been growing as an athlete with normal marathon challenges- his shoes, running form, winter training in ice and darkness, transitioning from Crossfit, and now is the part where for the next 3-4 weeks he’s going to be running further then he’s ever ran before. That can be a lot. Every new season the first cycle of long runs seem impossible and I definitely remember my first 15 miler! All of them really. So here he is- victorious! We are watching Nate running longer because his Garmin was .2 miles short of our iPhones (haha but now Nate’s outnumbered so I don’t have to over run.) Now it is time for a recovery beer. 9 weeks til Providence!

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Daylight Savings Will Save Me

….From going crazy soon. I want a full day of light and warmth. A lot of my social media stuff has been about working out lately. Working out is cool but what’s going inside everyone’s heads right about now? SPRRRRIIIINGGGGGG!!!!

Most of us tend to look inward during the winter. Me? I’m around people so often that once the days are short and cold you’d be hard pressed for me to respond to a text, let alone see me in person or catch me ready to hang out. Once March rolls through and the snow begins to melt (ahem, except when we have last minute nor’easters!), I feel happy and hopeful. My favorite seasons are May and June. Once that Justin Timberlake meme starts rolling through my social media I know it’s “GO” time again.

Daylight savings means spring is coming. I tend to wake up and move outward. Clean out my house (sort of), open the windows, and reconnect with anyone I may have neglected during the winter. Last spring I *really* tried to be the best person I could be- but hey shit happens. All the warm weather and yoga and running and sometimes we still lose our shit. Watching my dog slowly die for several months being one of them. Getting injured in Boston- and beginning my spring with a big rain cloud over my head. What will change this year?

As I turn a new leaf I want to make space to foster positive energy. My intention is that I think about things I like to do and what I’m passionate about- and do them with purpose, grace, and love. My hope is that everyone else can do that, too.

Persevering when the dark and the cold starts to weigh on your happiness… and what you gain in return.

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This is beautiful historic Collinsville last year during one of my winter runs I crammed into what little daylight I had. If I made double my salary I would move there in a heartbeat. The tree’s, the mountains, the rivers- are all just a little bigger than central CT. I like to park in Farmington, run to Collinsville, and back- that’s ten miles one way- well, unless I park further up the river- then it’s 14 round trip. I had a great “Gilmore Girls” moment at the market this summer where I was hot and accidentally about to die and lots of nice people had whole conversations with me. Everyone told me about their marathon experiences and their times in Chicago.

Running when there is lack of daylight, aka “low light” in the glamorous workout fashion magazines, is pretty frustrating. Let’s say you have a 12 miler. NOT EVEN A 20 MILER. There is ZERO time. You better leave by 1pm. It’s winter. You have between 7-4pm to get that shit done. TOPS. If you have any kind of obligation that day- you really need to cram that in. There were a few runs last winter, when I worked at Athleta, that I was running back in total darkness because I went out too late. Anyway. I digress.

Yeah, hi, I get seasonal depression. Running in the winter has taught me that it’s not the cold that bothers me- it’s the lack of light. You can layer up as much as you want and it doesn’t fix the lack of sun. You can, however, if you are brave, enjoy the little sunshine you get- when your run or high or snow shoe outside. You know what makes me sad? Feeling like I could be losing out on living life. Lack of sunshine. Wishing I could go out and do stuff. When I went out and ran in the cold or the snow- I was able to come back and hibernate and enjoy the cold with a little more happiness. Go out in the cold! You will feel better.

 

Small Business Saturday Coaching Special

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A perfect gift for the aspiring runner, or a gift to yourself to stay motivated through the winter. Support someone you love by giving them something to build confidence, make a change, set goals, and pursue their dreams. My goal in coaching and in yoga is to help people make their lives better by helping improve physical fitness but also overall well-being and happiness.

Training for a spring race is just about here, or save it and look forward towards the fall.

I am RRCA certified and can coach runners of all levels and meet someone at their current fitness level.  This special must be redeemed within a year. Once payment is received I will send you a gift certificate or a consult form so we can hit the ground running!

Small Business Saturday Running Coach Special

Goal Setting, Personalized Plan, Weekly check-in, and Individualized recovery. Must be redeemed within one year of use. Gift certificate and consultation form will be emailed after payment in received. Please contact me with any questions jenncantsitstill@gmail.com

$150.00

Favorite pose #3: Legs up the wall in general but especially in wide straddle

I’ve been looking at Instagram yoga lately and I️ hope you’re getting the feeling that my message is “let me share with you what I️ like to do!” Rather than “look at what I️ can do!” Most of these pictures are of me flopping around in my sweatpants, haha. That being said my good friends at Crossfit will make fun of my spread eagle and say it’s sexually inappropriate. The joke about that is- also what makes me love my friends- is they’re the inappropriate ones! If I️ do this at the gym there is a 90% chance someone will make fun of me (in a nice way) but it’s worth it.

I️ like happy baby too but I’m not even going there!

Haha if you can keep your mind out of the gutter this is awesome. When I️ played roller derby and squatted and did Crossfit I️ would hold this pose and my inner thighs felt like guitar strings. Nowadays with running and Crossfit it opens my hips more and my thighs aren’t the problem. When I️ would do this pose WITH my roller skates on I’d let gravity do the rest. I’d sit for five minutes and see where my legs would go. On bad days it’s a little excruciating. I️ also like to just lay on the flat floor and open up my arms.

I️ like throwing my legs up the wall and I️ stare at my ankles and try to breathe into them. I get really focused and I️ watch the blood pump through the veins on my ankle and I try to send them healing vibes. Yeah if you don’t do yoga it might sound corny. I️ still think it works. Besides if you know how shitty my ankles are you’d know how much help they need.

My right leg hates me so I just keep doing yoga and making food in my new Instant Pot instead of running

I’ve now been out for a three miler, a two miler, and two five milers since the race. Some yoga, and a walk or two.

Last night Josh put me on the table and tried to help me… because last night that pain was shooting from the top of my hamstring/bottom of my flute to behind my knee, getting tied up in my right calf, and even pulling into the arch of my foot. Basically something is pulling something that is pulling something that is making my whole leg angry. This is the same problem I had *during* my race that caused me to drop my pace to almost 9 minute miles towards the end and cover my entire lower half in biofreeze at every aid station.

So needless to say I think officially Philly is a bad idea. Before my five miler yesterday it was still possible in my brain, but the shooting pains from last night say “no.” Even if I made it through I can already tell the recovery would be ugly.

Anyways I got this fun Instant Pot. It’s a crock pot, rice cooker, pressure cooker… it also sautées for you and does everything else. With my extra time I’ve been trying to eat healthier more healing whole food vegan recipes. Ok ok also some recovery beers still. I made pumpkin chili, lentils, butternut squash harissa stew, tofu veggie dishes, and only had one big fail. Made more tofu scrambles and rice and beans. One food goal will be to not eat any nutrition bars while I’m not training. I have the RP vegan template but I still just feel like having fun vegan cooking and recovering and relaxing first.

Josh is going to intro to yoga with me at West Hartford Yoga, and the grand opening of Ignite was yesterday. It was fun and I met some new friends and got to chat with some old ones. I went to yin with Melissa first and it felt amazing to twist my back. I think the studio will be awesome for North Haven and Wallingford. I’m also having fun writing gentle and power classes.

We’ve been playing with the idea of a running and yoga class- the tricky part is just figuring out logistics. What time? How much if anything? Leave from studio before gentle? Then where to run… down state street? We have two more months of nice running weather I just need to focus my brain to hash that stuff out.

Chicago

Damn man.

I gave Josh a whole talk about happiness on Saturday morning before we met with Mel and Syd. Happiness is the moment. The travel, picking up my bib, people watching 40,000 other runners, and seeing a whole circle of a rainbow from Willis (Sears) tower go through the sky and down into the building’s below us. AFTER they continued to tell us there was zero visibility and not to go up. Happiness is doing my best and enjoying the moments in the race when things weren’t going my way. I mean I wouldn’t call the marathon a “tour” of the city because I don’t remember much of it. I remember a few neighborhoods, the university section, old town, the drag qeens, the dragon dances in the Japanese neighborhood, and random other parts of the race. The expo was fun, hanging out with Mel and Syd and my husband was fun!

I woke up at 4:30 AM. I tend to cut time close, so I was overly cautious. You had to be at your corral at 7:20, I was there at probably 6 because everyone said “get there early.” I got there WAY too early. It was also FREEZING. Probably forty degrees. I didn’t bring disposable clothes. I wasn’t thinking. I was turning blue, tried to stretch and get warm but I was so so so cold. Watched the elites warm up on the track behind a gate. It was cool. I definitely would have been able to leave an hour later. A nice Chinese man who was sitting opened up his solar blanket and offered me to go in there with him, but I politely declined.

It was finally time, and I warmed up.  The first mile went SO fast. I was sticking with the 3:00 pacers, and at a mile they laughed and said, “Wow! That was a 5:57 mile. We really got caught in the stream!” Yeah…  I think if you’re a pacer you shouldn’t do that. If you’re a pacer it’d be better if you looked at your pace and just stayed where you were supposed to because to take off that cold that fast kind of fucked me up a little. Anyway I stayed with them til about mile 7. Then I had to pee, and there was no toilet on my side of the course that I could see until the zoo. I peed and caught the 3 hour people again at mile 10. I will say this is a PR for the fewest times I’ve ever used the bathroom in a marathon lol- That was it! One pee!

I lost the three hour people around mile 12, and kept pace with the 3:05 people until about mile 18. Didn’t use mapmyrun app, because people advised that the GPS wouldn’t work and it would be frustrating. I just tried to keep with pacers.

Around mile 12 my hamstrings began to lock up/seize. This NEVER happened to me before. Not even in a training run. They pulled from the top of my ass all the way down behind my knees. My IT bands hurt. My calves hurt. My left ankle shot a pain. This was TOO early for all that. At mile 12 I used speak and spell to send Mel and Josh messages to say not-so-clearly that I was going to finish the race but I knew it wouldn’t be at my race pace.  It wasn’t mental- I can push through minor shit- but this felt all wrong. I slowed down.

It got HOT around mile 11. It was SO hot. My body went from shivering for three hours before the race to me taking in water and gatorade at every aid station. Two waters. One for me to drink and at least one to dump on my head or down my bra. The gatorade didn’t bother my stomach so that was good. I carb loaded appropriately before the race and had zero GI issues on Sunday (that’s a first- another PR: didn’t crap my pants! (kidding.))

Looking back at my splits- it made sense- Around mile 17-23 I was barely hobbling. All my leg muscles were telling me to fuck myself for some reason. I don’t know why! I hydrated, stretched, ate healthy, went to cryotherapy, got massaged, got dry needled- and I even had new and different shooting pains inside my hips make a debut. WHAT. WHY.

I was comfortable with going slow but I get worried about other people being disappointed. There was absolutely nothing I could have done to run faster. I tried to not be frustrated. At one point I wished my ankle would sprain so I could stop (Totally didn’t mean that).

I tried to remain happy through the discomfort. The day was sunny, the course was beautiful, and as I was struggling through the 3:10 pacers went by. I look back on my splits and realize at that point I was running a 8:40 min mile. I tried to play my music/stride game- couldn’t stride. Just people watched and tried not to jump into the Chicago river.

So I didn’t Lubriderm my feet before I put on my compression socks. I mean, I ran Boston with no socks at all because they kept sliding down and I ditched em at mile 2. On Sunday at mile 23 I had a blister on the entire right pinky toe that popped when I stepped on it. I felt the whole damn thing. I said “AHHH!” out loud because it freaking hurt. My already choppy running gait got totally fucked with that blister for the last three miles.

I stopped once for vaseline real quick, once for swedish fish from a fireman, and twice at med-tents for bio freeze. I think I shocked them with my use of biofreeze. I covered my IT bands, hammies, and both butt cheeks with biofreeze. No shame. I was so wet from water and slimey from vaseline and stinky from biofreeze and the sun was beating on me and it was probably very gross (as pictured above.) Oh a lot of snot rockets too, I can’t lie. Probably had some boogers on me also. At some point I stepped in shit and I can only tell you I hope it was animal poop and not human but who knows. My only regret is not putting bio freeze on my socks to soak through- or very quickly taking off my socks to vaseline my feet. That would have taken forever and I’d finish my fourth marathon sockless, too.

This is also where the 3:15 pacers were dancing through “Hop on the 3:15 train!!” They had a lot of energy. Dude was wearing bunny ears and running in circles around the 3:15 marathoners. I tried to hop on the 3:15 train- heard the pacers talk to each other- “Hey! My watch said we are at 27 miles. That’s weird!” That was probably at mile 24. I felt especially frustrated because I just couldn’t hang with 3:15 either. Too much weird shit was going wrong. I think I ran more than 26.2 too. The message boards say when you run Chicago, if you’re not careful running the tangents- you can run an extra mile with all the turns. I believe it.

Haha at mile 25 I picked it back up because the faster I ran the faster I’d just be done. Then it was done! I walked like a t-rex after that. Walked 10 more miles that day. Saw some beautiful architecture, drank a beer, and hung out. I hit 40 miles of walking that day!

OK. So my frustration lies with things I can’t control. I trained for a whole fucking year and got a 2 minute PR- but last year in Lehigh Valley I got 3:21 and waited two minutes for that train to pass through… so basically I feel like I broke even. A whole year. heat. hammies. 22 weeks training for Boston only to sprain my ankle. 250 miles I ran in July. COME ON MAN. I am NOT patient enough for marathon training, sometimes.

That wasn’t all complaining- just explaining how I felt. It was a great day and a great weekend, and I learned a LOT about myself and my training. I didn’t get hurt, shit myself, sprain an ankle, or die. I listened to my body.

On the RRCA board I read lots of people didn’t hit their goals in Chicago this year- specifically due to heat. Many people said it’s too hot every year and many of them won’t do Chicago again. Some people dropped out or lost their goal by over 30 minutes.

So here’s what I learned, and I am actually happy despite an uncomfortable race:

  1. Yeah under different circumstances I could have hit 3:05- give or take a few minutes.
  2.  PR’d my half marathon and my 10K this year
  3. You can’t control 80 degree humidity. You can’t bank on that clear fall weather and “free speed.” The Nike coaches mentioned that coming in the fall- I saw it a few times in CT- NOT in Chicago. I was putting in 100% effort for waaaay less than 100% return. Earlier in September I was putting in 70% effort and hitting 7 min miles. Oh well.
  4.  I don’t need to run more than four days a week, more than 35-40 miles a week. EVER. I can peak at 50. TOPS. I ran up to 67 miles a week this summer and did just as fine as when I maxed at 50 last year for Lehigh. Then this summer I got fatter, more depressed, and burnt out.
  5. I can run my long runs slow. Last year before Lehigh I ran my 20, 22, 24 milers at 9 min miles and my marathon pace was only 10 seconds a minute slower than this year.
  6. I could drink less beer and not run and still stay in shape.
  7. My self worth doesn’t depend on my marathon time- no one else actually cares and it doesn’t make me a better person.

Those are the biggest things I learned. I kind of want to run Philly in November. I am going to evaluate if I’ll be ready for it. I’m also toying with running Providence in May- experimenting with a three day a week plan. I’m also considering just running 5k-10k’s maybe a half here and there and calling it a day. I’m also getting my Crossfit Coach Level 1 certification in December, and I’m teaching yoga on Thursdays and Sundays at Ignite in North Haven. Lots of other stuff to do rather than chase my marathon demons down.  Alright- time for bed!