So, It’s Your First Race? {Guest Post}

It’s no secret that my first half-marathon is in 4 days. That’s pretty much all I have been talking about on this blog (and in real life too). Being a running rookie, with barely any knowledge of big races on one hand, and my life’s most challenging goal on the other, I’ll be honest, it’s getting pretty intimidating. So, I decided why not have one of the running pundits whom I have been following for a while now, tell me (and you) on her five pieces of advice for your first race. 

Suz, thanks so much for being kind enough to guest post on this baby blog. It’s all you now!

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Hi Everyone! I am so excited to be guest posting for Madhuri today. For those who don’t know me, my name is Susie, and I claim the little slice of internet called Suzlyfe. Suzlyfe is a running, fitness, and healthy life blog written with the intention to educate, connect, and inspire readers to live beyond expectation! I am also an RRCA Certified Running Coach and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Now, enough about me, let’s talk training!

Also, before I forget to mention, today is Running Coaches Corner, a weekly link up that talks all things running! Check it out and link up with myself and my co-hosts every Wednesday!

There is nothing like your first race. The excitement, the nerves, the exhilaration, the frustration. And hey–you know you will be getting a PR! Over the years, I have coached many runners to and through their first races, ranging from 5Ks to marathons, and in so doing have distilled my pre-race conversation to 5 major points to share with you! Of course, these are great reminders for each time we go out, so don’t one and done this list!

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1) Problems are speed bumps, not the end of the world
Problems are going to arise, no matter how well you plan. Trust me. Clothes that have never chafed before are going to chafe; rain will happen on days with none predicted; your shoe laces are going to become untied right as you hit your stride; you are going to need to use the rest room 1000x or not at all. Your race isn’t going to be perfect–nothing is–and trust me, the imperfections will make the experience all the better.

When something happens that goes counter to your plan, take a deep breath and deal with it. Ask for help if you need to–runners and the running community are awesome, and we take care of our own!

2) Trust your training, your strategy, and your gear
On race day morning, I want my runners to be on autopilot. No decisions race day morning. Know what you are going to be eating and drinking before, during, and after your race. Know what you are wearing before, during, and after. Who you are going to see before, during (as much as possible), and where you are meeting who after. After one of my marathons, my mom was asking me all of these questions, and I had to tell her (in very slow language) to treat me like a child; I was incapable of decisions.

As for your training… too late to change it now, right?

3) Always have a backup plan!
Decide your backup strategy and gear prior to your race. If I am traveling to a race, I generally take 2 pairs of everything with me, as much as possible. That way, if the weather changes quickly on me, or something happens (such as exploding Gu) I have a back up without even having to think about it.Again, autopilot on race day.

4) Run the Race You Trained for
You are not going to be able to nail 6 min miles in negative split, continuous run fashion if you are a solid and totally consistent 11 min/mi run walker. Be proud of the race that you are about to run, are running, have run. Don’t you dare question how awesome you are!

5) Qualitative Goals > Quantitative Goals
Your first goal? Make smart decisions. I wrote a post about this, and I really think that focusing on the experience over focusing on certain times is just the way to go. Think about it: you may not get the exact time that you want, but if you make good decisions and have an awesome time, do you really care?

Bonus: Read this letter to first time racers and repeat that mantra to yourself over and over ūüėÄ

Congratulations, I am already proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself. Come over to my blog and tell me how it went!

Want more? Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and check out my coaching page for Coach Suz Training!

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 Still looking for more tips for your running journey? Head over to the Coaches’ Corner linkup to check out what Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs and several other bloggers have to say.

*****

And you thought of doing it alone?

Exactly a week from today, I’ll be a¬†half-marathoner. I believe a lot in positive affirmations. So, yes, it’s happening! Whether I run or walk or crawl or fly (or go on a medical stretcher), I’ll be at the finish line of the Philly Love Run 2017 this¬†Sunday.¬†Most of you know how my training is going so far. If not, you can check out my letters to the future half-marathoner in me right here, here, here and here.

Now that I’m in Taper Ville, I seem to have a lot of free time for reflections. It all takes me back to September 2016. I had been trying to take up running for at least a year and a half. Yes, a year and a half!!! But, I still wasn‚Äôt in a place to consistently run even a mile without a break. That‚Äôs when I read this quote during some mindless aimless internet surfing (Hey…it paid off).

Shoot for the moon

I needed something to frighten the wits out of me and get me going. Without much thought and total impulsivity, I signed up for a half-marathon. I can’t run a mile, but sure, let’s do 13.1! From September to December, I tried various online training plans, various running apps, etc. But, I couldn’t get past it for more than 10 days. I can’t even count the several times I pressed ‘reset my training plan’ on my run training app. This whole ‘let’s do a half-marathon‘ thing seemed to be moving farther and farther away from reality and into my dreams. I had only one option left, only one; and that was to join a training group. I knew ‘Charm City Run‘ existed in Baltimore, but nothing beyond that. Apparently, they were the 2016 running store of the year. So, why not check them out, thought I. To be honest, I was really anxious about joining a running group. But, I knew that was my only hope. So, I had to give it a try to find out.

Showed up on Day 1. We had to run 5 miles. It seemed way too hilarious for me. Sure, 5 miles. Not a problem at all. We started running. Within 1000 feet, everyone was nowhere to be found in sight. At this point, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But, I tried to get 5 miles done by foot (No points for guessing that I walked almost all all¬†of that distance). I was the last one to show up back at the store.¬†I was very confident that there isn’t going to be a Day 2. But, my day job as a research¬†scientist has trained me to experiment anything at least three times before totally throwing in the towel. Day 2, I showed up. Surprisingly, I liked it!!¬†Okay, let’s try Day 3. That went alright. And before long, I knew that even if I decided not to run¬†my half-marathon, I wasn’t going to quit on my group. It was something to be a part of it.

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  1. Runners are good people: If ever you feel like you’re losing faith in humanity, the first place you go to is a running community. They are one of the sweetest and kindest people I have ever met (Thanks partly to all those endorphins kicking in). And mind you, I have had the good fortune of being around¬†some genuinely nice people all my life.
  2. Go for the camaraderie and support: I can’t even tell you how you how many times I showed up for our training run thinking, “haha, is my couch completely nuts? 8 miles isn’t happening today!“. Spoiler alert: It did happen….EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! Just having people believe you can do it and cheering your name out loud, when deep down you have the firm conviction that you can’t, makes a humongous impact! They help you realize your true “limits”.
  3. They’re the ones with all the ‘know hows’: You would think running is all about putting one foot in front of the other. Literally yes! But, little did I know that words like strides, fartleks, tempo, pace, splits, cadence and other running jargon had ¬†some real meaning to them. Having someone teach you the ‘tips and tricks’ of running can definitely help you fly along.
  4. It builds mental toughness whilst keeping you mentally light:¬†Somehow knowing that there are people counting on you bolsters your mental grit to get your day’s run done. Contrary to popular belief, running, akin to anything else in life is all mental! Your body is on autopilot once your ‘can’t do‘ switch in your brain is turned off (Words of wisdom from my CCR coach when I had one of my ‘It ain’t¬†happening‘ moments). Also, knowing that there are others who are torturing themselves with 18 miles of running makes it easier for you to run 12 miles. Like there’s a difference.
  5. It’s a humbling learning experience: There may be days when everything goes south, more often than not. There will be days when you finish last. There will be days of real struggle and only self-doubt. There will be days of regrets and pain. But, being in it all together allows you to have greater acceptance of the present moment. It’s all about putting your best foot forward…..every single day!

TAKE HOME LESSON
JOIN A RUNNING COMMUNITY!
THERE’S NO LOOKING BACK!

Disclaimer: I paid for my training and received no compensation from Charm City Run to write this post. I REALLY benefitted from training with them and wanted to share it with you all.

I’m linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Training Recap link up and HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap; and also, MCM Mama Runs for her Tuesdays on the Run series. Do check out their training and other bloggers for some real inspiration!

*****

Dear Half-Marathoner (#004)

Wondering what all these letters are? Check out my first letter, second letter and third letter to myself for more details. Every week, I shall be writing a letter to the future half-marathoner of 26 March 2017, sending out good vibes, keeping her training in check and overall pushing her from today until race day. Hope you enjoy it!

I’m linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Training Recap linkup and HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! Do check out their training and other bloggers for some real inspiration!

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-8-37-55-am(Logo courtesy)

Dear 26 March Self,

Today‚Äôs my fourth¬†letter to you. In 3¬†weeks, you‚Äôll be tip toeing to the start line of your first half-marathon. No No! You’re not going to freak out yet. This week was the last¬†week of high mileage before taper time. I think you did alright. Remember, how horrible your legs felt last week. But, that changed this week drastically and you’ll know why, in just a bit. So, here’s what you accomplished this week:

Monday:
Since you did your long run of 11 miles on Sunday, today definitely called for taking it light. It was going to be a recovery run of 30 minutes. Not too bad. But, your legs were feeling like crap the whole of last week. So, you decided to give running a pass and instead, you made a date with your foam roller. Boy are you going to thank me for the rest of the week.

Tuesday:
Hill repeats!!! Physically, you felt so great. 6x hills and usually by the 6th, you feel like a dead possum. But, today, you felt great. Now you realize why I push you so much to foam roll at least once a week. 30 minutes can make such a huge difference.

Wednesday:
Mandatory rest day – you really take them seriously, don’t you?

Thursday:
It called for a 4 mile run, with 2 miles at tempo speed. But since, you are so terrible at pacing, you ended up doing 3 miles at exactly half-marathon pace and called it a day. You felt great and it was not forced. So, no regrets!
3.05 miles @15:44.mile in 46:44

Friday:
Rest day – physically. Mentally, my thoughts were running around everywhere just thinking of the longest run I had to get in the next day. Also, you were featured on ‘Healthy Living Blogs‘. Talking about running is almost like running right?

Saturday:
I am just going to say one thing. You did it. The longest run of your lifetime….yet!
12 miles @16:02/mile in 3:12:58
Splits –> 16:12, 16:03, 15:53, 16:23, 15:52, 15:39, 16:14, 15:47, 17:10, 16:13, 15:32, 15:28



Sunday:
Simple recovery run for 30 minutes to wrap up the week.

Overall you’re very pleased with this week. You did everything you had to do. Greattt job on speeding up the last two miles of your long run. That mental tenacity is going to pay off on race day. Remember: it’s all mental. You hydrated well. Remember how great you felt after foam rolling. Do that often please, pretty please. No regrets on race day.¬†You’re almost there. So it’s the same advice. Take each day as it comes. Be smart and cautious!! No stupid things until then. Condition your mind to be positive. Love each day of the last few days of training. 20 weeks culminates soon. Taper time has officially begun (shut up…. you’re not stuffing your face with carbs… everything in moderation).

Love,
Your T-3 weeks self

PS: Show yourself who is the boss!

*****

In the land of 7 billion people…

Today’s ‘Thinking Out Loud¬†post is taking a small twist and shall be in the form of poetry.

The air around the poem is melancholic, akin to the lull that surrounds this winter season. The trees are barren and dusk sets in early. We wander about in pensive thoughts. A small entity of this huge universe, yet so distinct. The connection between two people feels so obstructed. Loneliness sets in. Love, is no longer widespread. Hope seems dead before it even arises. The state of the future, sets in more anxiety and fear. Our self-worth seems to be questioned. The hunt for our passion seems to be a lost cause. We feel suppressed, unable to express. Left to wonder, will life ever be better again.

Hope you enjoy this poem!

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In the land of 7 billion people,
Will we all unify like a steeple?
Inquires I, a lonely lost soul,
Life of whom, is dark as coal.

In the land of 7 billion people,
Desolation only seems to triple, 
Our life breaths, verily disconnected, 
Walls of separation, steadily erected.

In the land of 7 billion people,
Love is implied to be the staple, 
Why can’t I feel it around¬†me,¬†
Maybe I’m trivial, as small a pea.

In the land of 7 billion people,
Hope is to burgeon like a ripple,
But, caged to feel like an inmate,
Will I break free, all this weight!

In the land of 7 billion people,
Anxiety hits, thinking the sequel,
Future of mine, nothing but foggy,
Present mental state, oh so groggy!

In the land of 7 billion people,
My worth, maybe, cheap as diesel,
Carving an identity in this field,
A heap of talent, still concealed.

In the land of 7 billion people,
What art to place on the easel,
The concept of passion, afar a mile,
Search of my purpose, oh so futile.

In the land of 7 billion people,
Voice of mine feels lost and feeble.

In the land of 7 billion people,
Will life of mine, be impeccable?

*****

 

Dear Half-Marathoner (#003)

Wondering what all these letters are? Check out my first letter and second letter to myself for more details. Every week, I shall be writing a letter to the future half-marathoner of 26 March 2017, sending out good vibes, keeping her training in check and overall pushing her from today until race day. Hope you enjoy it!

I’m linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Training Recap linkup and HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! Do check out their training and other bloggers for some real inspiration!

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Dear 26 March Self,

Today‚Äôs my third¬†letter to you. In 4¬†weeks, you‚Äôll be tip toeing to the start line of your first half-marathon. This week was the penultimate week of high mileage before taper time. You definitely felt that fact hit you like a brick throughout the week. It’s alright! Before I go on to give you some advice, let’s recap all that you accomplished this week:

Monday:
Your legs felt like lead even for an easy 4 mile run. As with every Monday, you had to lace up after an uber long day at work. So, pat yourself on the back for actually getting your run in. Also, below is what you posted in the heat of the moment. Remember these golden words always.
4 mile splits –> 17:12, 16:45, 16:40, 16:09

Some days will suck. Period. Embrace it! Today was one such day. After being on my toes the entire day at work followed by piano lessons and getting home late, I thought lacing up would be the hardest part of tonight's run. Turns out, that was the easiest. My legs felt heavy and my breathing felt heavier. After a mile, when I stopped to give up was when I asked myself, why am I doing all this? On such days is when we really need to pause, forget about the intimidating goal ahead and reflect on our intent. Are we really doing all this for one coveted goal or for something sustainable forever. It's alright that you didn't go too far today, you at least marched ahead. It's alright to pause in retrospect. Don't honey bees also pause momentarily before producing the ambrosial honey???

A post shared by Madhuri Manohar (@pondernwonder) on

Tuesday:
Your favorite hill repeats. Physically, you felt like death. I guess, that’s because of those amazing paces that you hit!!!
6x 400 m @13:14, 12:49, 12:22, 12:52, 12:02, 13:25 min/mile

Wednesday:
Mandatory rest day!

Thursday:
Not a mandatory rest day. You were off from work on Friday and hence decided to switch up your runs and take an extra rest day.

Friday:
Let’s just say that today wasn’t the day you envisioned. You’re partly to blame, not completely. So don’t beat yourself up for it. Here’s the gist!

Let's talk about today! A day off from work which automatically translated for a runner as a day to get my long run in. In fact, my longest run of this training cycle (and lifetime). Slept through my alarm and hence, I didn't lace up until noon (red flag #1). Physically, I felt horrible. My legs were super heavy and have been this whole week (red flag #2). I know my foam roller is staring at me from the corner. Mentally, I was just filled with so many doubts and just didn't believe it was possible (red flag #3). Environmentally, it was 72 F. After training this entire weather in cold climates, I wasn't ready for all the heat and sunshine (red flag #4). I had two stressful back-to-back days and didn't hydrate or fuel myself much (red flag #5). I really tried to finish off my run, if not the long run of 11 miles, at least a good 4 mile tempo run. But somehow, I wasn't enjoying it one bit. Sadly, it's not one of those 'drum rolling' stories where I conquered my fears and doubts and pushed past them. Gave up after 30 minutes on the struggle bus and walked home. . . This little packet of joy arrived at my doorstep as I got home. It was definitely a reminder to me that it's alright. There will be days when nothing goes right. But, always, one thing is under your control, which is your attitude. BELIEVE at least you can do it. That's the only thing that will help you ENDURE all the physical discomfort and ACHIEVE your goals. Time to throw my fears out and try again on Sunday! . . #needgoodvibes #believe #endure #achieve @momentumjewelry #sharethespark #itsalright #tryagaintomorrow #yougotthis #firsthalfmarathon #halfmarathontraining #phillyloverun #1monthtogo #13point1 #bmorerunners #sweatpink #iamempowered

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Saturday:
You took it off today. You weren’t¬†up for a run today. What you really did well today was hydrate – 100 oz. of water and Nuun!!!!

Sunday:
Again, you slept pretty late last night and hence, long run this morning did not happen. No regrets! You did have a nice girls day out filled with yummy brunch and ‘The Lion’ at the movies. But, after all fun and play, it was time to get down to business and get your long run in. Because, who likes to spend next week in its entirety in guilt and regret, am I right?
11.03 miles @17:17 min/mile {3:10:30 on your feet; that ain’t no joke}
Splits –> 17:53, 18:05, 16:52, 19:33, 17:04, 17:04, 17:02, 18:05, 17:04, 16:05, 15:20¬†

Overall, you’ll give this week a 7.5 on 10. Wasn’t your best week, or didn’t go as planned. But, lessons well learnt. The good included getting a solid interval run and long run. Your first 11 miler ever!! There was significant head wind in the first few miles. But, it just prepared you better for race day. Great job on picking up your pace for the last three miles. The bad definitely included skipping your tempo run all together and running only 3 days a week. It’s alright. You have one more whole week before you begin taper. Don’t worry too much about your legs feeling heavy right now. Apparently, the running gurus say it is normal. You’ll feel better on race day. You’re almost there. So, take each day as it comes. Be smart and cautious!! Love each day!!

Love,
Your T-4 weeks self

PS: Believe Endure Achieve

*****

Running Genie, Grant These Wishes!

Today’s post is a super fun link-up with¬†Patty,¬†Erika, and¬†Marcia¬†for their ‘Tuesdays on the Run‘ series. It’s about three wishes for the running genie. I definitely have a couple of them. But, I was able to pick out my top three ones to ask him. Do check out their posts and a bunch of other bloggers for what we, as a running community wish for.

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First Wish – No Injuries
Hey genie, with my first half-marathon around the corner, I feel so blessed to have come this far in my training. Everything is going as scheduled. There are good days, there are bad days. My top most wish to you¬†would be to fly me through the rest of training with no injuries. Being a ‘heavy’ runner, it was one of my apprehensions to join the sport. I am always in awe of my growing strength each day. Let those slight twinges here and there, be just in my head.¬†

Second Wish – Mental Strength
Hey genie, you know what all this is about. After all, you think and believe in it, in order for you to will it. I usually go out with a positive attitude that I can do it. But, you know. I am human and sometimes, that’s always not the case. On race day, could you give me the best possible mental grit. I am also going to work on it until then. But, just add your magic to it too please.¬†

Third Wish – Spread The Love
Hey genie, if my other two were just wishes, you can call this my command. It took me 26 years to start running and there are absolutely no regrets about joining in the love so late. Better late than never, am I right? Words can’t describe how much positivity and self-esteem this sport has given me. But, I am having a hard time convincing my friends (the real life ones) about how awesome this sport is. Could you just get them started please? I am trying! Just a little nudge from your end will do wonders.¬†

As always, love you running genie!

If the running genie were to grant you 3 running wishes, what would they be?

*****

Dear Half-Marathoner (#002)

Wondering what all these letters are? Check out my first letter to myself for more details. Every week, I shall be writing a letter to the future half-marathoner of 26 March 2017, sending out good vibes, keeping her training in check and overall pushing her from today until race day. Hope you enjoy it!

I’m linking up with Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Training Recap linkup and HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! Do check out their training and other bloggers for some real inspiration!

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(Logo courtesy)

Dear 26 March Self,

Today‚Äôs my second letter to you. In 6 weeks (wait, is it five?), you‚Äôll be tip toeing to the start line of your first half-marathon. I know 6 weeks sounds so close. But, look at how far you have come in the past 6 weeks. The night before your first 8 miler, you were freaking out. You were behind your training schedule A LOT… You missed a 6-miler and a 7-miler. Thanks to those holidays! At this stage, you were planning to give up on training (and get an early refund) because you didn’t have any hope. Three miles was still a struggle for you. But, look at all that you have¬†you accomplished this week:

Monday:
What better way to start my week with some good earned rest. It was a day for an easy run. But, considering you were going to be off on Wednesday, you decided to just enjoy a rest day after work and get in some piano lessons for relaxation.

Tuesday:
Hill repeats: Yeah, we have a love-hate relationship with hills. They make me¬†want to kill my coach, but all said and done, but I bet you’ll be so thankful for these on race day. Overall you did great! You did 3x different hills, each twice – fast run uphill and slow jog downhill. Light easy run as you shuffled between each hill. A total of roughly 2.68¬†miles. You definitely felt so much stronger compared to last month when you did them and couldn’t get past 5 hill repeats.

Wednesday:
Ahhhhh – your day off from work. Remember how you enjoyed this day so much! It’s always alright to take a pause when life becomes overwhelming. Give yourself all that self-love that you deserve. You’ll only come back stronger and braver. The plan was to do Monday’s easy run today. You thought 4 miles – not bad, I can get that done. The good weather and the properly fueled breakfast (with coffee of course), lead it to a solid tempo run.
Warm up: 1.48 miles @17:49/mile
Tempo: 1.35 miles @14:44/mile –> How did that happen?
Cool down: 1.53 miles @16:51/mile

Thursday:
This weather has got to stop fluctuating! You felt feverish all over and decided to skip your easy run for this week.

Friday:
Mandatory rest day! It’s alright you missed an easy 4-mile run on Thursday. You can always make up for it.¬†I made sure to eat really healthy and drink loads of fluids in preparation for your tomorrow’s long run. Also, good 8 hours of solid sleep. You’ll thank me tomorrow.

Saturday:
Long Run by the Baltimore Promenade. You’ve run this route a bunch of times. And yet, hugging the water as you run, makes it so much easier. It was a quasi cutback week. So, you did 8¬†miles @15:52/mile in 2:06:59
Splits –> 14:37, 15:38, 17:32, 16:09, 16:04, 15:21, 15:53, 15:45/mile
We need to have some serious talk on those uneven splits. And what’s with taking your first mile that fast? That’s faster than your 5k pace.

Sunday:
Well, this recovery run hasn’t yet happened as I write this letter to you. You’re in need of some motivation. But, I promise you, once this blog post is up, you’ll be doing either a 30 min recovery run or 30 min of yoga for some relaxation.

Overall, you felt happy about the week. You didn’t obsess about missing a run. Good job on keeping it cool. Great hill repeats. Solid tempo run of 14:44/mile. That’s your 5k pace. Good job on that. Your long run was definitely a huge confidence booster. But, could you please learn how to pace better? If not, at least start off conservatively. You did feel amazing after your long run, in spite of the fast start. Thumbs up on that! You had absolutely no soreness. Double thumbs up on that. It just shows that in order to achieve anything, you got to put in all the hard work that you can. There are no shortcuts in training! You ran your long run at half-marathon pace. Good job on that! But, slow down next week so that you don’t blow yourself out at the end. Next week is not easy girl. It’s 12 solid miles. For the first time ever. So be good about your food and water throughout the week. Take each day as it comes. You have two more super heavy weeks of running, before it’s taper time. So, be smart and cautious! You’re almost there.¬†

Love,
Your T-6 weeks self

PS: You don’t know Math. It’s 5 weeks until your half-marathon. Not six.

*****

It’s alright to pause…

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity!”
– Katrina Mayer

Yesterday¬†was one of those ‘perfect’ days. Not because I did it all. But because, I didn’t do anything at all. I took a day off from work (thanks to my vacation days expiring). After a long Monday and an even longer Tuesday, I didn’t want to plan tasks ahead of time for my day off. Instead, I decided to wait until the sun was sighted at the horizon and spend the day by feel.

Breakfast Time:
The day started off with treating myself to some good breakfast and coffee. That’s always my go-to stress buster – taking the time out for some breakfast, unplugged from humanity, but deeply plugged into my thoughts. Here’s a¬†little teaser for what I usually do when I’m in the zone! Once a breakfast person, always a breakfast person!!!

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Parents Time:
Post breakfast, I had a nice long chat with my parents on Skype. Of course, my mom ridiculed my new haircut. Typical mother-daughter relationship! It felt so good to chat with them without the restriction of time. We don’t realize it, but as we get older, so are they. And for all that they’ve done for us, all they ask from us is our time (Yes, they read this blog….Or I think so…. I’m hoping all this public praising will lead to a generous gift to their daughter).

Run Time:
As a runner, the first thought we have when we have a day off is……extra time to run! And that’s exactly what I did. The weather was perfect at 10 am. Repped my a day ‘old’ Charm City Run top and made a trip to Lake Montebello. The serenity of water bodies always warms my heart. Planned for a nice easy run. But, it ended up being a solid tempo run. More on that in my next half-marathon letter to myself. I guess, performance increases automatically when you’re calm and composed.

 

Productivity Time:
Those pumped up endorphins after the run definitely was put to good use. It’s been a 6-month cleaning marathon at my place. Thanks to the Marie Kondo’s decluttering techniques (more on that sometime soon). I, finally, had the time to give away 6 bags of stuff that l’ll probably never use. If you haven’t heard of her, do check out her book. It’s definitely life changing! She’s a genius, to say the least.

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Dinner Time:
The highlight of the evening! I like trying out new recipes and treating myself every now and then. The feeling of whipping up something good is SO satisfying – for the heart and the tummy. Time, energy and motivation – all aligned yesterday! And the result was Red Thai Curry with Tofu. Totally hit the spot! Yes, it took me longer to take the perfect ‘Instagram’ pic than actually making it. Like the icing on an already perfect day, my very close friend and confidant dropped by. It’s been about 4 months since we met and it felt so refreshing to just chat about life. It was slightly late, yet perfect Galentine’s Date with her. She’s still alive, so I’m going to call dinner a hit!

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Self-love, although outwardly might seem like a vanity based affair, it is but in fact, the best gift you can give yourself. It’s alright to take a pause in life, every once in a while. Doesn’t mean you shirk your duties. Even taking 10 minutes a day to do what makes your soul content, can go a long way in boosting your outward productivity. We’re constantly like little bees buzzing around to bring out the sweetness in our lives. But, even a bee has to pause momentarily before it can produce the ambrosial honey. By giving yourself the love you deserve, your inner being is suffused with love to give out as well. After all, can you really pour out of an empty cup?

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Dear Half-Marathoner (#001)

It’s no secret that I am training for my first half-marathon. For many a days, I toyed with the idea of whether to blog about my training or not. I mean, it’s just¬†regular miles being logged in. Plus, I wasn’t sure if training logs from a (super) slow runner like me will benefit anyone. But, nevertheless, I decided to start this week. I believe in writing my goals to make them happen. And in this tech savvy world, writing = blogging, am I right? Every week, I shall be writing a letter to the future half-marathoner of 26 March 2017, sending out good vibes, keeping her training in check and overall pushing her from today until race day. Hope you enjoy it!

I’m linking up with¬†Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC for her Training Recap linkup¬†and HoHo and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap! Do check out their training and other bloggers for some real inspiration!

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(Logo courtesy)

Dear 26 March Self,

Today’s my first ever letter to you. In 7 weeks, you’ll be tip toeing to the start line of your first half-marathon. You’ve spent the last 24¬†hours really really really (like for real) doubting yourself. If you’ll ever be in any close shape to reach the finish line of your first half-marathon. If you were a big dumbo to sign up for it. If it’s high time to call it a day and back out. If you’ll look stupid doing so after all that rant on social media. What were you thinking? You and half-marathon? Not even remotely your forte. But this week, you flushed all those doubts out of your system once and for before D-day. This whole thing is getting real. Look at what all you accomplished this week:

Monday:
Easy Run; 4 miles @16:14/mile (1:04:57)
After all that self-doubt over the weekend, you felt so strong today. You even did a 14:42 third mile. You go gal!

Tuesday:
6x 400m repeats around the park –¬†14:20, 14:03, 13:32, 14:05, 13:38, 13:53
Holy moly! You felt even stronger than yesterday, especially after a super long day, you were so sure this run would be horrible, but look at you.

Wednesday:
Mandatory rest day – you know how I like making you take them really seriously right? I treated you to some good self-pampering manicure.

Thursday:
Tempo run day – You felt crappy all over. Thanks to having four back-to-back 12 hour days. You¬†just wanted to rest it up and binge on some Netflix. And I decided to honor your body today. I’ve been making you run around a lot lately (pun totally intended). The extra rest day today will make you feel much better for Saturday’s long run.

Friday:
Mandatory rest day! The entire day was spent exercising trying to exercise my positive mindset in anticipation for your tomorrow’s long run.

Saturday:
Long Run by Loch Raven Reservoir
10.02 miles @17:54/mile in 2:59:20 (Fastest mile: 16:04)
You planned to do 12 miles. But, since it was super hilly, you decided to have 10 quality miles than 12 crappy miles.¬†Definitely slower than what you intended, but with a 523 ft elevation gain, weren’t you glad I got at least 10 done? Remember how super sore you were¬†after running 10 miles on 19 Jan (your first 10-miler). Look at you today feeling so strong and badass! You even went to work straight and then met up with friends, without feeling like death.

Sunday:
Recovery Run – 30 minutes with some peppy Bollywood tunes (1.74 miles @17:26)

Overall, you did great this week. You hydrated really well! You got almost all your runs in, except your tempo run on Thursday. All quality runs you’re happy about. You didn’t give up on yourself at all. Stop all this self doubt right now. Run now. Fear later. Also, you’re good at your pre-run dynamic stretches. How about you become a bit more serious about your post-run foam rolling. Agreed, you’re not feeling as sore as before when you first started running, but nonetheless, you’ve upped your mileage like crazy in the past 8 weeks. Enjoy every run and every moment of this training. I know you are already and happily surprised by all that you’re capable of doing. You’re currently stronger than you’ve ever been. Love life and keep running!

Love,
Your T-7 weeks self

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The Ultimate Coffee Date (Feb 2017)

Is it February already? The number guys say that amongst people who make new year resolutions, only 58.4% make it past one month (Source). Let’s say, I might be one among the 41.6% – if not completely, at least partly. Blogging – writing everyday and posting at least once a week, SO¬†did not happen! Turns out my previous post was the January edition of the ultimate coffee date. Yes my readers, that was the plan….to give you all good continuity (*wink wink).

Join me in my second ever coffee date with Coco and Deb and some
awesome bloggers and get to know what everyone’s up to!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you…
I am a Nuunbassador! That’s the highlight and an amazing kick start to the year 2017. I
t feels overwhelmingly humbling to be a teeny tiny part of the Nuun Universe or Nuuniverse (#NuunJargon), amongst so many fantastic athletes!! I feel like a tiny drop in this vast ocean (pun totally intended). If you still don’t know what is Nuun (pronounced like moon with an ‘n’. Oh wait! That’s like the word ‘noon’), head out to their website¬†and check out their amazing products. I know I am using them (extensively) for my first half-marathon training – during my long runs, tempo runs, good runs, bad runs and non-run days to hydrate myself and keep my electrolyte balance in check. Basically, to not pass out at work. Haha! My favorites are hands down¬†Lemony Lime and Blueberry Pomegranate. And yes, if you have to know, I already used abused my ambassador discount. (*wink)

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(Did I also mention that Team Nuun is the first one I am a part of) 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you…
Speaking of half-marathon training, I had my first double digit run of this lifetime! 10 miles! Still feels surreal. It definitely bolstered my conviction¬†that ‘I can do it’. It may seem hard. Life may be busy all the time because of training. But, at the end of the day, I know it’s all going to be worth it for that one moment of triumph of my own belief over my fears. It’s pretty intimidating for a total newbie runner like me. So, accepting only positive vibes and any good advice until then. I definitely couldn’t do it if I didn’t have the support of ‘Charm City Run‘. Now I know, why they were awarded the best in the business¬†in 2016.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you…
That work conference I was telling you about in Palm Springs, CA, went REALLY well. They had good scientific sessions and I definitely got to network with loads of Mass Spectrometric experts and geeks like me. My work was well appreciated, too well appreciated I would say. A $100 award in the poster contest – not too shabby for me.¬†I am eyeing a good deep tissue massage this month. Did I already tell you that everything hurts during half marathon training including body areas I didn’t know existed?¬†

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you…
Speaking of being tired all the time, my current mantra for anything in life right now¬†couldn’t be better described than this pair of socks! Snagged this cutesy stuff in downtown Palm Springs (Nope, sadly didn’t get to meet the Obamas!). One day…one day!! A¬†girl is allowed to dream right?

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you…
I know I know….it’s been too much of half-marathon talk off late. It’s a disease (albeit a healthy one). But, something non-running related for now. I started piano lessons this week. I have always wanted to learn the piano! Especially after learning the harmonium for 6 long years, I knew that piano was my next musical call. In life, I’ve started to believe in and asking myself, ‘If not now, then when?‘ Definitely had a piano expert as friend who motivated me to get started on it.¬†

If we were having coffee, I would tell you…
I am hoping that February turns out to be a good training month for me. The plan is simple, which is to stick to the plan and just run. When there is no motivation, look through Instagram posts of total strangers or watch Kelly‘s ‘BQ or Bust’ videos or just read through my favorite magnet (snagged at downtown Manhattan) and remind myself each day that ‘I¬†Got This‘.¬†

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