#100milemarch

So, that happened #100milemarch

As you can probably tell (spoiler alert) I ran 100 miles in March.

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I want to preface this by acknowledging that so many of you readers run much further than this on a monthly basis, and after hitting triple digits I bow down to you. Because while I somehow, magically, made it to 100 miles in a month without my knees or shins offing themselves (or losing a single toenail!), it was a close call. As I hobbled into bed last night, I marveled at what I have just put my body through – and I marveled even more at what is POSSIBLE.

How did I accomplish this safely?

Like I said, it was a close call. This past week was especially tough and I don’t think I could have done another day. My last run of the month was 7.6 of the longest, hardest miles I’ve ever done. But I do think that I handled this challenge in a safe way. As someone who literally went from 0 to 100, I knew it was a pretty crazy goal. But I have some tips that I think helped keep my knees and shins safe.

  • Take It Slow – Build Up Mileage
    • Week 1 – 15.28 miles
    • Week 2 – 25.46 miles
    • Week 3 – 20.62 miles
    • Week 4 – 38.72 miles
    • When I first started running again, a long run for me was five miles without stopping. So for my first week, I ran five miles, three times. Simple as that. I slowly started adding in longer and longer runs, until my last week when I repeatedly ran anywhere from 7-9.5 miles like it was chump change. But it happened slowly over the course of the month. I knew I wasn’t Superwoman and the last thing I wanted to do was not achieve my goal because I got greedy.
  • YOGA
    • Obvious, maybe, but yoga became my best friend, especially during the last week. I averaged going once per week (apparently I was a slacker during week two because I skipped yoga AND had my smallest number of miles). The last week, when my mileage was higher than it’s ever been, I attended two hour-long classes and even did some of the moves at home. I view yoga as forced stretching (I’m terrible at doing it on my own) and the last week I’m positive that going to two yoga classes on back-to-back days was one of the reasons I was able to finish strong.unnamed (48)
  • FUEL
    • I stopped apologizing to myself about how much I needed to fuel. There were a few days in the middle of the month when I had a lot of guilt for how much I was eating. For the majority of the second half of the month I needed a solid four meals to keep up. And for awhile I wasn’t allowing that to happen, which just ended up with me snacking a lot, taking in more calories than I would have if I had just allowed myself another meal. All my food restriction thoughts came flooding back – “I can have 20 Triscuits, three slices of Swiss cheese and a spoonful of peanut butter because that’s a “snack”, but I can’t have a turkey sandwich, because that’s a “meal”, and I’ve already had my three meals for the day.” Stuff like that. Luckily the last week I pretty much forced myself to snap out of it because I was so hungry. Like, all the time. So I started to eat whenever I was hungry. I didn’t always make the healthiest choices, but letting go of “the rules” really helped me maintain that mileage.unnamed (45)
  • Post-run care
    • Stretching
      • Lots of calf stretches on the stairs
    • Ice
      • Always post-run for at least 10 minutes – frozen veggies still hold my heart!
    • Compression socks
      • I slept most nights wearing mineunnamed (46)
    • Foam Rolling
      • 5 minutes per leg up and down the IT band, plus an additional 5 minutes rolling my quads
    • Tiger Tail
      • Intermittent use on my calves while watching TV

And, the outcome?

I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt more accomplished. The minute I crossed the 100-mile marker I immediately sent mass texts to my parents, my friends, my development leaders at work…I felt like a kid on Christmas morning who just opened the best gift. Except this time I gave the gift to myself. I didn’t depend on anyone else for my happiness. I told myself I was going to do something, and I did it.

In other news, I feel stronger and healthier, as you can imagine. I am always in the best shape when running is a major part of my life, and I can feel my body shifting back into the crazy-athletic physique that it is capable of. The only difference this time around is that I don’t have an obsession with being “thin” via running. I love the monster calves that I get when I run. And, on the side, I’ve continued working on my upper body, so I feel stronger than ever.

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Another thing that sometimes gets brushed past is the positive effect exercise can have on anxiety. Since I started running on a regular basis I have had zero panic attacks. That’s not to say that exercise will be enough forever, but from personal experience it has helped. Lacing up my shoes and pounding the pavement at the end of the day is my happy place. It isn’t silent meditation and introspection, but I get more thinking done running than I do when I try to force it. But it isn’t the “dwelling” kind of thinking. When I’m physically moving, my mind moves forward as well. So even when a worry or anxiety-provoking thought pops into my mind, it is usually gone as quickly as it came, because you keep moving forward – physically, mentally, emotionally.

What did I learn?

I learned about the power of possibility.

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Do you have those voices in your head? The hesitations? The “shoulds” and “should nots”? The limits you set for yourself? Yeah, I have those too. They trap you in your past possibilities. Can you imagine how many doors would open for you if you just eliminated certain words from your vocabulary? Should, try, maybe, I Wish?

No way did I think I’d be able to run 100 miles in one month. For heaven’s sake I ran maybe 30 miles total between the months of December and March. My mind couldn’t wrap itself around the possibility. But instead of dwelling on that, I set a goal and just went for it. I stepped outside of my mind and let my feet do the talking (so to speak). I did it for myself. No one pushed me to do it, no one else held me accountable (although I did have a great support system at work checking in on my progress). It was all for me. And now I can sit here and revel in the idea that those “past possibilities” don’t exist, in any form of my life. In my personal life, in my work life, in my fitness journey. I can do anything I set my mind to. We all can.

It’s time to explore the world of possibility. It’s time to leave the slow zone. Why? Because it’s now, and that’s a perfectly acceptable time to start. In fact, it’s the best time to start. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for all of you.

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Now, for the fun part – how should I reward myself?? The top contenders are as follows (and I’m open to suggestions!):

  • Donuts: one long john and two donuts so it spells out “100”
  • Massage
  • A new Garmin charger (since mine broke….oh…fifteen months ago…and apparently I’m a runner now)
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#100milemarch update

Well, it’s halfway through the month! I’m slowly but surely working on my personal goal to run 100 miles this month, and have even recruited some unexpected suckers to join me (how’s it coming for you, Salt?)

#100milemarch

So with 50% down and 50% to go, where am I?

40 miles.

“Oy vey, Lauren, you’re 10 miles behind!”

Fear not, doubters! I started out only being able to run 4-5 miles at a time comfortably, and now I’m at 7-8 each run. So the miles will keep chipping away even faster now. Plus, I was only able to run 10 my first week thanks to a new medication kicking the crap out of me, so I’m building momentum each day. For someone who probably ran 40 miles from the months of December-February, this is big stuff. I have no doubt that I’ll be able to hit it!

So, what have I learned so far?

  1. Sometimes you don’t want to run. Run anyway. You’ll be happier for it.
  2. A bag of mixed vegetables is better than any store-bought ice pack.
  3. Hot power yoga is my best friend.
  4. My ears sweat.
  5. When I run, I crave ice cream. Gotta work on that..
  6. I am blessed to live in such a vibrant running city.

Chicago

Goal-crushing.

How are you doing on your March goals?

Weekend happenings: hello, Spring!

There was a lot of sweating, a lot of pavement-pounding, a lot of celebrating this weekend.

It all started Thursday night with an event at one of my favorite studios, Sweat Chicago. They threw a St. Patrick’s Day workout/happy hour called “Sweat, Sliders and Brews.” The workout started at 7:45 and was followed immediately by food and drinks from Hopsmith Tavern (another place I’ve been keen on ever since I learned they have a giant Twister board in their upstairs bar). I’ve been to a handful of workout/happy hour combo events since I moved to the city, but nothing kicked my butt more than Thursday night’s workout.

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What was supposed to be a quick 45 minute workout turned into a hellish three-workout partner combo: A 15-minute AMRAP, an 8-minute AMRAP, and a partner chipper workout. Oh, and the warmup was a burpee contest (which I supposedly “won” but I must have counted wrong because I got 31 in two minutes and I swear to god I’ve never done more than 15 in a minute but hooookay). Needless to say it was a doozy. The chipper was fun because we got to choose how we broke up the exercises, so a lot of teamwork and communication was happening the whole time. We were matched with a partner we didn’t know, and while in typical ice breaker activities this is one of my biggest pet peeves, ever since I’ve become more comfortable in the fitness community in Chicago I think it was a great idea. I was paired with a really nice girl who had never been to Sweat before so I was happy to make her feel more comfortable and have fun with the workout.

After we finally finished, it was time to attack the food. My favorite part about fitness junkies? We know how to EAT. No rabbit food here.

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Buffalo chicken sliders, mini chili dogs, sliders, cobb salad chicken wraps, hummus, ranch, and veggies. Plus a post-sweat drink (beer never tasted so good!)

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We came. We sweat. We conquered.

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Other events the past few days included date night with my one and only (aka my best friend and the only man who will let me dress him up for a lululemon photo shoot and then make him buy me tacos).

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I did my duty and exposed yet another friend to the beauty that is Velvet Taco. Spencer is obsessed now too and we have a standing lunch date next Saturday. It’s kind of a big deal.

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I’m eating my way through their menu, so I tried two new tacos: the Annatto Shredded Pork (avocado crema, house shred, grilled pineapple, pickled onion, queso fresco, and cilantro) and the Rotisserie Chicken (white queso, roasted corn pico, cilantro, and smoked poblano salsa).

Since I plan on trying everything on the menu (except beef options) AND it’s officially March Madness season, I’m thinking I should start a Taco Bracket for this place. Right now the Tikka Chicken and the Rotisserie Chicken would be leading the pack, but I’ll be sure to go back and do further research.

Of course the weekend wouldn’t be complete without some St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans. It was a bright and sunny day spent outside with friends. And although I almost ate a piece of pizza off the ground (that is not even remotely close to an exaggeration), I was one of the behaved ones. Check out that police blotter!

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The rest of the week I was busy chipping away at my #100milemarch challenge (which is going really well, by the way!) Daylight Savings + weather in the mid 50s all week made for perfect running temps. I ran almost every day last week and even though my legs felt like tree trunks through some of those miles, I didn’t regret a single run. I love my city when it starts to come alive this time of year.

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Bridge pic – can you tell it’s rush hour?

I even managed to snap a quick video of the beach just after the sunrise on my long run Saturday morning

Spring is in the air and you can feel it. It’s the perfect time to tackle those fitness goals you’ve been putting off since January, and definitely a great time to get creative in the kitchen. I know this is the time of year when my creative juices start flowing!

Questions:

  • Who wants to come visit me? I’m in the mood to host 🙂 If you visited, what’s the ONE thing you’d want to do in Chicago?
  • St. Patty’s Day — did you celebrate?
  • Outdoor running — is your town ready, or are you still buried by winter