searching

It seems like it’s been several (ok 6, it’s been 6) months since I have had an entirely pain free run; I am including the little ouchies (toenails) and the big ones too (knees and IT bands).  How can that be you wonder? How can each and every run you have had since the marathon in November, have been done with some degree of pain…my answer is simple, I’m optimistically hunting for the pain free mile, and I don’t quit.  I know it’s out there, we just need to be introduced again, and so, I keep running.

One mile at a time, that’s how I have learned to look at things. The first mile, well, the first mile is a big fat liar.  It’s absolutely positively not to be trusted, but it’s also the most important. Again, you ask why? Mile 1 is so rarely an accurate depiction of how the rest of the run will go, but it also means that you got out the door (kudos!!), and so therefore even though it’s not to be trusted, you can’t gauge what’s to come just from mile 1, so you keep going.   

Mile 2.  MIle 2 tends to be more encouraging, a bit more uplifting, and positive.  If it’s freezing outside, you’ve likely warmed up enough by now to have forgotten about your frozen nose.  If it’s hot, well, at mile 2 at least you’ve come to grips with the heat; your muscles are loosening up, and your getting into your groove.

Mile 3.  Potentially my favorite mile…this is what I call the golden mile.  Mile 3 is when the things that are going to hurt start to hurt, or, if I’m lucky…they don’t!  I can usually tell by mile 3 if this run is going to be the long lost friend I have been searching for, or if it’s going to be the new tolerable friend I’ve come to accept…  

One day soon, I can feel it, I will get to mile 4 pain free, until then, I will keep running (with a smile) one mile at a time, searching for my old friend, the pain free mile.

game time decisions

Up until Saturday, I thought I didn’t do well with game time or last-minute decisions.  My type-A personality, coupled with on-again off-again anxiety, push me to have a plan before each race.  Saturday I struggled, and showed up without a plan.  Here is a little snippet from inside my brain at the NYRR New York Mini 10k.

Toes on the line: I’m totally not racing today.  I am definitely (most likely, almost certainly) just going for a run.  Yup, I’m running, just going to enjoy and take it easy.

Half a mile in: I guess I’m going for it.  I mean I feel pretty good.  My hip only hurts a tiny bit, and my feet feel ok.  It’s not that hot, and holy empowering field of women running this today (Keitany, Linden, Tuliamuk, Huddle, Bruce, Sellers, & Chichester to name a few) they brought their game, I should bring mine.  I mean right, I should, it’s only 6.2 miles.

Mile 4: oh for the love of god, what was I thinking.  It really is HOT, and my legs feel like lead, but now, well, there’s only 2.2 miles left…I need some water though, I should have brought my own.  Stopping is going to slow me down, but it’s a necessity.

Finish line: 53:37 with negative splits, not my best, but absolutely a finish worth fighting for…so glad I stuck that in the moment decision and pushed…oh look pink bagels!

I’d struggled the whole week leading up to the Mini 10k with whether I should race or just run for fun.  I showed up without a plan Saturday, and learned that GAME TIME DECISIONS are pretty cool…for all the 5k’s and 10k’s to come.  I wonder how many of the 8,373 other women felt the same way.

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We All Went For It!

metamorphosis

A few weeks ago, my son’s preK class watched with bated breath as caterpillars became chrysalis, and chrysalis became butterflies.  They documented what they saw each day, and quickly learned that even though daily changes wouldn’t necessarily be visible, it didn’t mean they weren’t happening.  They had faith that science and nature would do what it was meant to, and that the metamorphosis they were witnessing was happening just as it should.

If a bunch of 4-years-olds understand that seeing doesn’t necessarily mean believing, so too can’t we?

So often we present ourselves with the desire to see immediate or measurable changes in our bodies, or our sports, when in reality (as my son and his classmates learned), changes don’t happen overnight.  This is good and bad…  Good, because it means that if we skip a workout or two one week, or have an ice cream sundae on a Monday…our bodies won’t instantly change shape; it won’t/can’t undo all the hard work.  It’s bad (but not that bad), because it means the change we hope for won’t show up the second we implement the plan.

Remember, change is hard, but if those ugly little caterpillars can become beautiful butterflies, then so too can we attain the goal we are reaching for when we trust the process, and stay the course.  Will it mean we are ALWAYS on point, nailing each and every workout, eating salads each night for dinner – no way.  It’s a journey, one that has to allow for ups and downs and a couple of monkey wrenches (or cheat days) along the way.  The important thing to remember is that the process works, and you don’t need to see instantaneous results to know that. The results will show up over time, just like the butterflies did, as long as you keep the faith.

 

 

 

Summer Running

Whoa…I know we all wished for the winter to end, and the heat and sun to come, but whatever happened to Spring? Usually between winter and summer there’s this thing called Spring, it helps us outdoor runners acclimate to running in the heat slowly. Not this year. Wham. Bam. Welcome to summer, and running in the summer is HARDer!

Here are 10 tips to help you power through the heat, and still enjoy the run:

  1. The earlier the better. If I can, I try to get outside with the rising sun, usually no later than 6am. Then, to make it fun…see if you can run faster than the sun rises. Bonus on those wicked early runs 👉🏻 sunrise photos!
  2. Don’t forget to check humidity levels. When you run in the late spring/early summer the humidity is a MAJOR factor. Anything over 50% adds 10 degrees to your run temperature, so dress accordingly/minimally. 👙
  3. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. If you’re running at any time other than sunrise (and even then…a little is a good idea), don’t forget to protect your skin. I’ve gotten some of the best tans of my life the last few summers with layers and layers of sunscreen…although full disclosure, the tan lines are a hoot.
  4. Start flat and find the shade. Those first couple weeks of really hot runs, it’s helpful (if you can) to try to find a flat route, preferably in the shade, to allow yourself to acclimate slowly. Add the hills back in gradually, because, I don’t recommend forgoing them forever.
  5. Playlist = Power. A motivational playlist can help the miles fly by faster and have you forgetting about the sweat dripping from your brow in no time. Spend some extra time one night finding those favorite songs that pump you up…and remember to include a song at the end that you play while you stretch and cool down.
  6. Find a friend. Everything is better with company, and the friends you find who are willing to brave the heat with you, are the best kind! dbdb218a-57d9-4984-ae14-0e5ce3e2a08c
  7. Body glide. Chafing happens to us all, if we’re honest and, it happens more frequently in the summer months with more skin exposed. Invest in a small tube of Body Glide and not only will YOU thank me, your thighs will too 😂.
  8. S. O. C. K. S. that wick away sweat and prevent blisters. Safe socks = happy feet = better run! Balega Socks are the best I’ve ever found and have a variety of options to choose from to ensure perfection each and every run 👉🏻 https://balega-socks.implus.com/find-your-running-sock-fit
  9. Motivational wrap for the wrist. You’ve come to a hill, you’ve got one mile left, you’re feeling beat…look down, but just for a second, at the motivational wrap on your wrist and feel that frown turn upside down. Motivational wraps from Momentum Jewelry are like having personal cheerleaders out there with you all the time. They have so many to choose from, take a peek: https://momentumjewelry.com/collections/motivate-wraps img_6294
  10. Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. Gatorade (red or yellow are my faves) is my go to for longer runs, but if all you’ve got is water that’s better than nothing. Hydration on ALL summer runs (even the short 2-3-4 miles ones) is super important. Your body sweats in order to maintain and regulate your core temperature, when you start to dehydrate you body stops sweating…when you get to this point, your mission should be FIND WATER FAST. 💦 💦

 

☀️ Happy Summer Running Everyone ☀️

lucky numbers & good luck charms

Do you believe in lucky numbers and good luck charms? I do.

I’ve had 2 (super common) lucky numbers for the last 16 years, number 7 and number 11. My brother’s birthday was July 11th, and after he passed away in 2002, I took his lucky numbers and made them my own. They have served me well on countless occasions over the years, and what’s better, each new memory that involves 7 or 11, cements my brother’s presence in my life without him physically beside me.

In addition to holding those lucky numbers close, I also believe wholeheartedly in good luck charms…have a few of those too. My favorite is an old ring of my brothers with his initials GWP on it…I’ve worn it for every 1/2 Marathon I’ve run, I wore it for my first full marathon too, wore it when my littlest son had ear-tube surgery, and when I got married. It’s served me well every time.

This past weekend was my 11th half marathon and while preparing for the day, I made sure my lucky ring was (as always) a part of my “racing kit.” I also made sure to remind myself, that just by showing up to toe the line this morning, I was lucky.

As runners we truly are a very lucky bunch. Not everyone can run, not everyone can reap the benefits we have all been privileged enough to by being a part of this running community. Lucky are we who are able to tie those shoes on each day, and lucky are we who always remember that running is a gift, not a given.

Should you find yourself beginning to wonder if you’ve got what it takes to tackle a tough race…look for your lucky. Let that lucky number or token you hold dear, be the connection to your inner strength. Focus your energy on the little bit of luck rather than the worry, and ride through the stormy weather stronger.

PS – This weekend at The Popular Brooklyn Half, my 11th, wearing my brother’s ring…          I earned a 3 second personal record. 🍀 xo

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The Motherhood Marathon

It’s my opinion that one of the quirkiest things about motherhood is how one minute you’ve got heart eyes for your little cherubs, and the next steam is rising out of your ears and you are wondering how much longer until bed time.  (I mean, how many of you have literally counted down the hours?!)   Interestingly, you could say the same about running; one second you love it and the next, you’re thinking oh-my-god why am I out here (again) pounding the pavement.  In those harder moments whether or not you are a runner, try to remember this: being a MOM is a marathon not a sprint.

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Early in my training for the NYC Marathon last summer,  someone gave me very sage advice, and told me that when the miles seemed overwhelming, I should simply break it down to one mile at a time; specifically, to “run/enjoy the mile you’re IN.”  That simple phrase struck a chord, and I quickly took to implementing the mindset in my running…and subsequently in life. You learn very early on in training that the ONLY way to complete a marathon is to run it one mile at a time, to trust your pace, and work the race…you don’t rush through it as you would a sprint.  It’s hard work; its early mornings, and long roads, sometimes with friends, often alone…but you stay the course, because in the end you KNOW, the pay off is BIG!

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Similarly, as moms, we find the roads are long, and the work is H-A-R-D, of course it seems like the hardest parts (the potty training, tantrums, picky eating, car-seat-belt-straping, etc.) last the longest, but again, we stay the course, day in and day out.  If perhaps we begin to imply this marathon vs. sprint mindset to our “momming” lives, we may begin to see more clearly through those rough patches (trust me, I’ve tried it).  Perhaps, if we remember to “run the mile we’re in” rather than fret about the miles to come, we will begin to enjoy each MOMent (see what I did there) a little bit more.

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day, the one day a year where all of us took a moment (hopefully) to remember just how lucky we are to have or be MOMS.  It was a beautiful opportunity to embrace the mile marker, check your pace, and remember to enjoy the race.  For me, as a MOM, it was an opportunity to have my tank replenished with some extra doses of love and laughter, hugs and kisses, school crafts and painted toes…and then store those extras in my fuel belt for later on, when there’s a rough patch.  Yesterday also allowed me, as a daughter, to be able to give back to my MOM, and remind her just how thankful I am to have had (and still have) her presence on this path of life we walk together as MOMS.

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The race always seems long at the beginning; that won’t change, but, when you begin to break it down one mile at a time, one day at a time, one MOMent at a time; suddenly it becomes much more manageable.  Remember, you’re never truly alone out there running this Motherhood Marathon, you’ve got your spouses, your parents, your fellow moms, and of course your children routing you on…and MOMS, the payoff is HUGE! xo

 

 

 

about last weekend…

It’s been a week since Ragnar (what the in the world is Ragnar, you ask – keep reading!), and yet I am still trying to find the words to adequately describe the experience I had last weekend.  Often times, right after a race I immediately sit and write out my thoughts, but for some reason this write-up took some time to get from my brain onto the screen.

If I may, let me start at the beginning (10.14.2017) with an innocent enough Facebook posting by my running friend, Jeannette: “Let’s head to Virginia! Ragnar Trail Virginia is April 27-28. It’s a trail race, but it looks like the trails are more like the Rockies than Bear Mountain…Please let me know ASAP if you want to do this as I’m not sure how popular it is and whether it will sell out.”  My response: “I’m in if there’s space for me!”  And so, it was decided, I, the NON-TRAIL runner would indeed be trail running with 7 other like-minded (read: brave, nervous, excited, slightly crazy, running badasses) at Ragnar Trail Richmond, VA.  HELL YEAH – AN OFFICIAL 2018 GOAL ON THE CALENDAR!

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The reason I started this retelling at the very beginning, is because I thought it important to understand, that I agreed to this race 3 weeks before I ran the NYC Marathon.  You see at that time, I was already worried I wouldn’t have a focus/goal/challenge after my marathon was complete. I panicked a little bit, and the eager beaver/running alter ego “Krazy KC” in me, leapt out and said YES, YES, YES!  As a runner, hell as a motivated individual, I cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining consistent (safe) goals for yourself.  This running of an unknown-trail-adventure with friends, seemed like a very safe and fun bet, that I was happily looking forward to from the moment I said yes.

Fast forward 28 weeks (one left knee patella femoral syndrome, one bout of Parvovirus- B19, one pissed off IT-band, and a nervous mom about to leave her kids for the longest time ever) to April 26th 4:30pm…car packed (to the gills) ready to hit the road for one very long drive.  Annnnnnnnd drive done – I’ll spare you the painful details of my sweaty palms as I drove over bridges in the dark, and thought the Lincoln Tunnel made sense directionally as we headed from NY to VA…

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Team Heart & Sole –  L to R: Ruth, Lisa, KC, Francesca, Jeannette, Ruth (sitting), Kari, & Heather

We had drawn straws before coming, and as luck would have it, my first run was scheduled to be in 95% darkness (8:15pm – 9:15pm)…cue the nerves, cue the sweaty palms (again), cue the anxiety…cue, the my START.

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that’s hard-to-see ME!

I’m running.  It’s getting darker.  And darker…suddenly, I’m finding this to be one of the most terrifyingly magnificent experiences of my life!  Wow!  There was something about being in the legit middle of the woods ALONE in pitch black, that filled me with the deepest sense of peace and calm.  The need for the highest level of concentration allowed me to filter out 90% of the fears floating around inside of my head, and focus on the task at hand.  Much like running the streets of NYC a short time ago, my mantra became she-believed-she-could-so-she-did, one foot in front of the other.  Left.  Right.  Left.  Right.  Watch out for the roots…no you didn’t just see a raccoon over there…keep going.  DONE!

The challenge I had set for myself all those weeks back was coming to fruition, and I suddenly remembered why I had said YES to Ragnar during my marathon training: it was for THIS feeling.  This amazing feeling of accomplishment…bonus, the feeling is heightened when you get to watch 7 other dear women/friends, simultaneously crush their goals too!

Goals are important, they are important for a lot of reasons, but mainly they are important because they encourage growth and challenge.  As an individual, specifically as a mother-running individual, I think it’s super important to model personal growth and challenge for my children.  It doesn’t mean that I am constantly hunting for crazy hard challenges like marathons or Ragnar races (but Krazy KC might be) but it does mean, that on the days when you feel like quitting…YOU DON’T.  Your challenge that day, is to remember to be the best you can be in the moment, and look forward to the next challenge…because afterall, if we are facing these challenges (any challenges) it means we are lucky enough to be LIVING LIFE.

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“Ragnar is about doing things together that we could never do alone – either out running on the road or on the trail. Feed your sense of wonder and explore the two options.  In our Ragnar Trail Relays, teams of 8 (or 4-member ultra teams) run relay-style on three different single track loops that start and finish at Ragnar Village. Teams run day and night until each member has completed all three trail loops.”
Thank you to my Heart & Sole teammates, who will forever be cemented in my memory as those with the biggest smiles while running across some seriously hard-core miles!

Oh, and by the way, my boys had an awesome weekend sans mommy; Hubby rocked his role as Mr. Mom – thank you my loves! 

you’ll be MORE than fine

Dear Hubby,

This is a weekend of firsts for us, and while I’m not sure who has the “bigger” weekend ahead of them, I am sure that YOU (and our boys) will be MORE than just fine without me for a few nights.  That said, it doesn’t mean I won’t spell out the details of every activity from now until Sunday for you…cause you know I will.

I’ve made lists, I’ve left out the sunscreen in easy to spot locations, I’ve labeled everything in the fridge, IMG_5542and even left little goody bags on each of the kids’ beds with hopes they might ease any “I miss mommy” moments.  But you know what, even if I didn’t do any of those things, I know, you and the boys would be just fine…in fact, I am willing to bet our boys will have more fun with you this weekend than perhaps I’d like to admit.

I am their mom, and yes, they will miss me…but you, you are the one they get super excited to see every night when you get home from work.  You are the one who they often get small doses of fun with and are left craving MORE MORE MORE.  You aren’t the babysitter in charge while I am away – you are their DAD – and they will be thrilled to get to spend such extra special time with you.

So while I am away Ragnar-Relay-Running with seven other like-minded (insert crazy/adventurous/passionate/amazing) friends, know that I have one million percent faith in YOU.  You’ve had my back on every running adventure I have taken so far, and so, dear husband, please know, I have your back this weekend as you nail your first ever “METZ BOYS WEEKEND!”

I won’t wish you good luck – you don’t need it – YOU’VE GOT THIS!

I Love You and I’ll Miss You,  Your Wife 

PS – to all those reading out there, I absolutely wrote this to assure myself that everything will be just fine whilst I am away.  Also, I wrote it to remind all moms, that the DADS are capable of more when we trust them with more.