About Me

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Running With Scissors

Ok, I don't run with scissors. But, I also don't run with a Garmin, a GPS watch, a heart rate monitor, the adidas micoach, or a homing device. Once upon a time, I ran with the Nike Sportband.
Then, I noticed I was mostly staring at the thing most of my runs (mostly my pace and then internally yelling at myself, "WHY CAN'T YOU MOVE FASTER."). So around April 2010 I ditched the sportsband and went sans any timing device. It took some getting used to at first, and a couple of times I actually looked at my wrist to find nothing was there, but I started to really like just running by feel -- if I felt like running fast, I ran fast; if I felt like running slow, I ran slow. (Most of the time, it was the latter).

Around July, I got a watch. Since then, I've really only used it to time myself for workouts or if I'm running for a certain prescribed time. Other than that, I never time myself. So, if you ask me what pace I run at or how long it takes me to run 5 miles, I have no idea. I'm sorry. I enjoy running this way...it takes all of the judgement out of running (at least for me). Running without timing myself is probably the most hippy, zen-like thing I do (other than that, pretty straight-laced, structured, scheduled, organized, do not deviate from schedule, etc...)

I don't think I'll ever go Garmin (but, like Justin Bieber says, "never say never"), but, first of all, I don't think I can run with this monstrosity on my wrist:

I run slow enough as it is. Every ounce counts. That thing definitely is gonna cause some wind drag. Also, I know those things beep at you if you set them to do so if you go over some pace. I'm sure I would do this and then at some point, when I'm angry mid-run, would yell back at it (something like "OMG. SHUT UP! I AM TRYING TO GO FASTER") causing me to look like a psychopath running in NYC, which, come to think of it, wouldn't be so out of place. Finally, I think I'd rather spend my money on manis/pedis and cabs than a Garmin. So, unless someone has a compelling argument for why a ginormous Garmin watch helps them, I'm gonna pass.

Recently, I've thought about bringing the ol' sportband back again. I think sometimes I may go TOO slow because I know I won't know how fast I'm running anyways. I think bringing it back may make me run faster instead of slacking off just enjoying the scenery and people watching in NYC. And, maybe, it would make me a better runner (Hmm...). I also want to challenge people on Nike+, including Lauren Fleshman (http://asklaurenfleshman.com). I just need to figure out a challenge I could win. Hmmmm....

If anyone reads this in succession (doubtful), I did run those 10 miles and then used it to justify a cheeseburger and fries. Plus, it was Memorial Day...what else am I supposed to eat on Memorial Day?!? I then got a few hours off this afternoon, so Erika and I got our run on (and, hopefully, our tan on). And then I ate some cookie cake. It was a fabulous afternoon.

Anyone out there for or against watches, sportbands, Garmins, mi Coaches, etc?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Game. Set. Match. And a Blister.

I had the good intentions of doing a "long" run today (long is not that long these days). But, sleeping in until noon (amazing) coupled with 90+ degrees and the fact that I ran 7.5 HILLY miles the day before put a damper on my motivation.

I felt like I needed to move around though as I ate a ton of cookie dough:And my brain tends to think like this:
So, I asked the little bro (Harrison) if he would hit with me after he was done with his "real" tennis for the day. Tennis is sort of a family affair in our household, minus my sister who wants nothing to do with the sport. I started playing around age 14, played in college, and hope to dominate the mom leagues some day. My brother plays competitively, too, and is now 17 looking at his college options. I taught him everything he knows (Ok, not really, but I like to think I did) and drove him around TWO WHOLE SUMMERS when I was in college to fabulous tennis destinations like like Columbus, GA and Little Rock, AK. Little H kindly took it easy on big sis, probably because he was tired from his 1.5hrs of tennis beforehand.

I love running these days, especially because it fits in pretty well with my lifestyle, meaning it is the most efficient, no fuss exercise I can get in with my busy schedule. But, today made me really I miss tennis a lot and running probably won't be able to fill the void of not playing tennis (for now).

Tennis is, for me, a bit more expressive of a sport than running. From the clothes to yelling after a point (which I am prone to being guilty of), I feel like I can make tennis my own, give it my own style. Maybe I just haven't gotten to that point in my running yet.

There's something also about just going and hitting the crap out of the ball along with screaming and yelling that is just so satisfying. At least it is for me...

Here are some pics AND a video of me and little H's hit. Of course, I'm posting a video where I didn't miss and my brother did. To his credit, he took the pace off a bit for me (much appreciated, little H).

[Video is proof you can move you feet and bend you knees minimally when playing tennis is you want to!]

Down side to not playing much over the past 3 years....BLISTER.
And how do the Smith kids refuel after hitting on a 90 degree day? Picky Bars, of course! (Harrison will actually eat them, which is proof that anyone would like them).

So, I'm putting that long run off until tomorrow and, if all goes as planned, may try to work in about 10 miles tomorrow once I get back to NYC. "Try" is a key word here though. Motivation to actually do that tomorrow much appreciated (if anyone actually reads this). You better believe I'm taking some of that cookie cake back to NYC with me so maybe THAT can be my motivation to get out the door tomorrow...

(PS: thanks again, little H! You're the best brother a big sis could ask for)
(PPS: Steve, if you read this, I'm prepping for women's interclub.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Picky Bars

So, the only people who read this blog (all 5 of you) probably already know about my love affair with Picky Bars and I probably gave you one. (Ok, maybe not you Amelia, but I will give you one when I see you next!). I eat 2 per day when I'm running and, lately, I run just so I can eat one in the afternoon (sad, but true). Hey, whatever gets you out the door, right? Right.

Although if you're reading this I've probably already espoused to you about why I love them, I will outline my top reasons why I love Picky Bars here, in case you've forgotten.

Top 10 Reasons Why I Like Picky Bars.

1. Made by nice people (who are also incredible athletes): Seriously, Jesse, Lauren, and Steph (and Ben, employee #1) are good-natured people who happen to be both incredible entrepreneurs in addition to being incredible professional athletes. Freaking over-acheivers.

2. Seriously taste good: Imagine a PB and J with some chocolate thrown in. What's not to like?The almond one is also a bit squisher and reminiscent in texture to cookie dough to me. How can you beat healthy cookie dough?

3. I can recognize what’s in them: Ok, I am guilty of drinking diet coke (fake sugar and chemicals), but I try to eat stuff that looks like actual food rather than something ending in -ol or -ose (eg: sorbitol, dextrose). Picky Bars fit the bill on this one.

4. Perfect size (both in calories and in portability): They're like 200 calories. If I'm not super hungry, I eat half. They're little guys, so I can keep them in my white coat, my scrub pockets, my purse...anywhere.

5. Ability to throw one down quickly: This is key on my current rotation, surgery, where you don't know when and where you may get to eat next. I haven't timed myself, but I think I can throw one down in about 10 sec.

6. Holds you over: Picky Bars have gotten me through some LONG days in the hospital. 8 hour surgeries. 14 hour days. I know they're made for the athletic type, but they also work for us nerdy, med student type.

7. Chocolate Chips: Makes them seem a little dessert-ish. I eat around all the chocolate chips first and save those for last.

8. Its a Conversation Piece: Most people I know haven't seen them, so they ask me about them. So, bring them to your next party for a little conversation maker (ok, maybe not, but you will probably get asked about them).

9. Allergy Friendly: I don't have any food allergies myself (knock on wood), but I imagine its nice for people who have food allergies to have something they can safely eat without worrying that they will get a bout of raging diarrhea or need to use their epi pen (although please still carry around your epi pen if you have a nut allergy).

10. I Like The Reason They Started Making Them: Legend has it that Steph and Lauren started making them for Jesse when they were both injured and needed another outlet. I admire their ability to keep their lives balanced, something I don't do so hot with all the time. I'd say their strategy paid off if you look at their results from the past year.

So, there you go. I highly suggest you order some here: pickybars.com . I order the pro pack, obviously.

A bonus reason: Picky Bars has such a hold on me that when they tweeted they had a new flavor to try if you were one of the next 12 orderers, I immediately jumped on it like a lion to its prey. The only other time I've felt that strong of a desire to buy something was 2007 when I was at the Coach Legacy Boutique and they told me there were only 30 of this certain handbag in the world. If you know me and my shopping habits, you know putting something on my all-time powerful shopping experiences list is a big deal.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pie in the Sky

I struggle with goal setting. Here’s why – I tend to think that with enough hard work I can do anything. Yet, when it comes down to it, I’m too much of a realist to actually believe I can achieve that pie in the sky goal.

Let’s take my most recent marathon (of all 2 that I have done) as an example.

I set a goal way, way back when (ie sometime last fall) that I wanted to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon, which would be a 3:40 marathon. Last October, I ran a half in Central Park at pretty much the exact pace I would need to run a marathon in to qualify. Being the idiot I sometimes am while also aided by endorphins, I though “jeah, you totally got this!” (I stole “jeah” from Ryan Lochte whom I follow on twitter and l.o.v.e.)

So, I signed up for the NJ Marathon in hopes that 1) I would spot a NJ Housewife and 2) I would BQ (just joking on #1…kind of).

I trained pretty hard (at least I think so, I mean, as much as you can while also being a med student), but as it got closer to said very very very long run, I got less confident that I was actually going to be able to do it. I think its because I realized that when I tried to run my “goal pace” on some long runs, it was really hard. Or maybe I’m just a wimp because usually when it comes to races I have to talk myself into racing instead of “just jogging this one.” I’m not sure why that’s so hard for me.

Because I’m incredibly stubborn, I still started with the 3:40 group. I held on to them until….16? I’m not so sure...all those middle miles kind of blend together and all I was thinking about was getting to the next mile marker (and yelling at Bruce to get my water; I got to sound like Kris Jenner for a lot of the marathon going “Bruce!!!”).

I finished in 3:48:03. To pat myself on the back, it was a pretty good improvement from my first marathon (Feb 2010), which I finished in 4:09:59. Don’t worry, I celebrated accordingly (and used it to justify anything I wanted to do for the next week). But, it wasn’t my “goal” so I was kind of…disappointed.

In retrospect, I think 3:40 was (and still is) my goal, although maybe my expectation when it came to race day should’ve been different than my goal. So, maybe from here on out , I should keep my ridiculous goals, realizing that I may not get them on the first go round, and then set an expectation closer to the day of what I can realistically do.

It was suggested to me by an extremely good runner far, far wiser than I to set 3 goals: an A, B, and C. Kind of like a “holy shit I can’t believe I did that goal,” a “that was a good day goal,” and “that went alright” goal. I think that may be better than setting an expectation, as expectations seem, to me, to have a negative connation. Like, if you don’t meet them, you really didn’t do so hot.

Sometimes, I wish I didn’t like to set goals and could just float through life happy with whatever comes my way. But, then I guess life wouldn’t be as fun and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

Anyone good at the realistic goal setting thing? Is there such a thing as a realistic goal or should they all be kind of unrealistic so you work hard…

Or maybe I just think too much...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Erika Owes Me Some Shoes

This entire running thing is all thanks to (or could be blamed upon) Erika Olson (for those who don't know, Erika is my former teammate).

At my 23rd birthday (2009), Erika talked about how she was training for a marathon. I thought she was insane and was somewhat afraid she might die, but I was also secretly jealous of how much she probably got to eat.

I had been trying to run myself some, but I never really “got” running. It wasn’t a game, no one won…I had no clue how so many people found this “fun.” I also could not wrap my head around how I could play a 3-hour tennis match easily, but couldn’t run for more than 30 min without wanting to shoot myself. And that made me really frustrated. I chalked it up to the fact that I just wasn’t “made” to run so I should probably stop trying (which is what I did for the first 23 years of my life).

About two weeks later, I texted Erika to ask her how she could possibly like running. She told me she made it social and suggested I come run with her on Friday after work. I agreed, figuring it would be, like, 2 miles since she told me she “couldn’t run too far because she had her long run the next day.” She then suggested we do this “little loop that John and I do, its about 5 miles.” I told her she was freaking nuts and I could not run 5 miles without needing an ambulance. Somehow she got me to go run with her…and I made it! I ran 5 miles WITHOUT STOPPING!

Needless to say, we ran super slow but I had run the farthest I ever had in my entire life WITHOUT STOPPING. I’m pretty sure I told everyone I knew (and didn’t really know) that day that I ran 5 miles.

Erika and I continued what I called the “Friday trots.” And, I was motivated to run on other days so I could make it through that 5 mile run with Erika each Friday (seriously). I can’t tell you how many runs Erika had to coach me through where I was SURE I was “going to die.” [cue Erika saying “just focus on Chelsea Piers, the golf nets, smooth to the finish” and cue me asking how much further we had to go and if we could stop for a hot sec]. To her credit, she was much faster and in much better shape than I, yet, she never once complained about me being super slow or whining or needing to “take a break for a sec.”

Erika also invited me to this “running club” started by a mutual friend, Stacy (another NYU-er). I was pretty reticent because anything that was a running “club” sounded like it was for “runners,” and I definitely did NOT put myself in that category. Plus, I didn’t want to finish last/have everyone wait on me. I finally went sometime in May. And I’m pretty sure I did finish last (and still do a lot). But no one cared and they actually all cheered for me when I finished. I couldn’t believe how supportive a group of people could be for someone they barely knew (and who clearly sucked really badly).

In June, I was convinced to sign up for a 10K. Note to others: you should know how far a race is before signing up for it. When I found out a 10K was 6.2 miles, I immediately freaked because, obviously, I had never run farther than the 5 mile Friday trots. Luckily for me, two sweet people (Claudina, Alanna) from that “running club” were just there to run it for fun and ran the whole thing with me. After I finished that race, I was pretty hooked .

That was 2009.

I also can’t forget to mention my two med school running buddies, Jess and Courtney, who also put up with way more whining than they should have (old habits die hard).

Its now 2011 and I’m happy to say Erika and I still Friday trot (not every Friday, but still a good bit) and now Katie (another teammate) joins us (she was injured in '09). [Basically NYU tennis has turned into a post-collegiate NYC running mob.] And, I definitely still go to that running club.

Katie, Me, Erika, Stacy
All Proud Products of NYU Athletics Golden Era

So, thanks, Erika. I’m a little sad that my story didn’t get turned into an essay for some applications you had recently, but at least it made it into the blog world, right?

[And if you're wondering why Erika owes me some shoes, its because if I hadn't started running, I wouldn't have needed all these shoes. Er I wear size 8, Lunarglides. ;) ]