Me? Stubborn?

Yesterday I ran a 5K race against the advice of everyone that I knew.

Yet it didn’t surprise anyone that I was going to push through the shin pain I’ve been having to run.

“You’re stubborn,” my trainer said very matter-of-fact like in his thick Peruvian accent.

No one. ever. has described be as stubborn… regard to WANTING to run.

Sure, I was stubborn in high school when I refused to even TRY to run the required mile in gym class.

My, things have changed.

So let’s talk about this shin pain then.

It’s not shin splints. The pain has become very localized. I can point to an exact spot where the pain is coming from and my lower leg has been throbbing on and off for days, even through prior to the race I cut down my activity to ZERO. Oddly enough, the pain goes away after I run for a few minutes, and I was able to make it through the race without thinking about my shins.

My trainer poked around my leg a bit on Saturday and there was definitely one very tender spot. It also hurts more than normal when I foam roll over my left calf.

So in an effort not to be completely stupid, I’m taking a break from running. And seeing a doctor to (hopefully) rule out a stress fracture.

I’m trying not to be too upset…but it’s hard because I was really starting to LOVE running. The feeling of pushing myself past my limits, following a training plan and the rush of endorphins that lasted for hours.

My rational self knows that right now rest is the best thing for my body. So rest I will.

In other news, I will have a race recap…but it’s going to have to wait, because I’m actually writing about the race for my job. I can’t wait to share it!

I'm probably asking a very important question in this photo.

Credit to Bill Smithuysen for capturing the awkward moment where I’m interviewing the president of the Waldwick Chamber of Commerce.

Hope everyone else is having an injury-free Monday!




10K Training Go Time

I can’t believe I’m saying this.

I’m going to run a 10K. I don’t know when. But I will.

And training starts today.

After checking out a few different plans from Runner’s World and Cool Running, I decided to go with Hal Higdon’s 10K training plan for n00bs novice runners.


I really liked the simple layout and think it leaves a lot of room for customization. It also only has me running three times a week, which, considering the condition of my knees and shins, is probably a good thing. I also like that it incorporates two days of strength. That’s currently my weakest  (is there a pun here?) area and the one I want to most improve.

I felt so good on my 4-miler Saturday that I’m confident I can push myself even further. Believing you can do it is 75 percent of the battle and I’m pretty sure the other 25 percent is compression sleeves haha.

This is my "stop taking pictures and go run" face

I’m going to continue with intervals of 10 min. running/1 min. walking because it’s working really well for me right now, and Higdon’s plan encourages walk breaks.

I also already have two more 5K races planned for April 28 and May 6, but I think the schedule will work nicely with them.

I wholeheartedly believe that putting your goals out there is the first step to achieving them. So here it is. I’ll also leave you with this picture of delicious trail mix from Whole Foods that I devoured after Saturday’s run.

How’s that for a Monday? 🙂





Glen Rock Opt-In 5K Race Recap

I knew this race would be for me when I read the description “flat and fast” on

All week I debated signing up, however, because my last few runs have been terrible. I’ve been having a tough time getting through just 2 miles from a combination of wind and allergies, so I was less than stoked to conquer 3.1.

Also, I had no one to run it with. Would a race alone be any fun?

Enter: Meetups!

A few months ago I joined a runners group on, not actually thinking I belonged in a runners group, but figuring it would give me the motivation to run faster so I could eventually be in a runners group. Wacky logic, I know.

Anyway, I got an e-mail the day before the race that the runners group had posted the Glen Rock 5k as an event and knew it was a sign that I should do it. I RSVP’d immediately, then registered.

Then I started hydrating. The day before I had gone out with some coworkers and drank a bit too much and was absolutely dehydrated (Charley Horses, UGH) so I hit up Trader Joes for some Zico Coconut Water, bananas and Lara Bars.

Saturday I woke up at 7 a.m. Breakfast was half a banana, a cashew cookie Lara Bar and a Coconut Water. Fantastic fuel.

Around 8 a.m. I headed over to the park where it started, which was only a few minutes from my apartment. I was a little shocked to see how few people were there and a little worried that it would mean I would be coming in last.

My nerves soon disappeared as I began chatting with Michelle from the runners group after we found each other by text message. Her longest distance was a marathon, and I told her the 5K distance still felt like a marathon to me! I was so grateful to have her there to distract me from the impending start.

The race kicked off with a playing of the Star Spangled Banner and then all 150 of us (hah!) were off!

The race course was an out and back, which I wasn’t too excited about, but it turned out to be a great thing. Around Mile 1 I saw the winner heading back in the other direction – he was FLYING!

It was a sunny day but cold and I was glad I had chosen to keep on my gloves and ear warmers.

It felt like it took forever to get to the turnaround, but once I passed it I was feeling good again. There were a few spectators along the route who were cheering, which I love.

I got a bit of a stomach cramp around Mile 2 so really concentrated on my breathing and the pain disappeared quickly.

At Mile 2.5 Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” came on my iPod and it was just what I needed to carry me to the end.

No heel striking here!

As the finish line came into site, I knew I could cross it in under 36 minutes – a new PR! I saw Michelle on the side cheering and started sprinting!

My official time was 35:31! More than a minute faster than my first race on Thanksgiving where my time was 36:38. Obviously the total time on RunKeeper is a little off because I started it early and stopped it after finishing, but you can see my splits below:

I’m super proud of those numbers! Every mile was under 12 minutes, which is not the norm for me.

This race definitely gave me confidence in running again. There is something about being surrounded by a bunch of other runners that is always so motivating!

After the race I headed straight to Starbucks for a giant iced coffee and then spent most of the day lying around watching Mad Men. A perfect Saturday 🙂

Hope you all had a good weekend, too!

5K running playlist

Music has been a huge part of my journey.

Maybe you saw this tweet the other day?

Having music that’s motivating and enjoyable had truly been something I’ve come to depend on.

When I first started excising, I didn’t set goals on time, distance or speed. My only rule was that I do it consistently.

For motivation, I created music playlists that were exactly a half hour long, so I didn’t have to bring a watch or phone with me on my walks. I would plug in my headphones, tune the world out and go.

This turned out to be a great move in the long run because these walks were such positive experiences. My whole life I’ve always hated working out. It was tiring, painful, and I felt like, a waste of time.

But not having any goals or expectations for my walks allowed me to focus in on the mental benefits of exercise. After an hour strolling through the park, I was always less stressed, happier and more focused.

This experience changed exercise from something I hated to treasured “me time” where I didn’t have to respond to any texts or answer phone calls. I could zero in on just what was going on in my own head.

However, when I began running, time, distance and speed began to matter. For my first 5k I set one goal: Finish under 40 minutes.

Then I made a new running playlist to be exactly 40 minutes long. I knew that if I began to hear the last couple of songs, it would motivate me to run faster.

So here it is, my 5k, 40 minute playlist. Enjoy!

Beverly Hills – Weezer

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera

Not the Doctor – Alanis Morissette

Possum Kingdom – The Toadies

Pull up the People – M.I.A.

Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

Silver Lining – Rilo Kiley

Stereo Hearts – Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine

Super Bass – Niki Minaj

What I got – Sublime

How to go overboard without jumping ship

The last few weeks have tested my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Since Thanksgiving, the gatherings and access to plates of sweet and savory food have come weekly, with delicious dinners and rich deserts around every corner.

I’ve indulged, a lot. I didn’t restrict the amount of times I filled my plate or how many deserts I chose to consume during this time. In the moment, it was great. The next day? Not so much.

I am the type of person that easily falls victim to the “all or nothing” mentality that so often accompanies a diet. I still struggle with rebounding after a big meal and especially after I eat a lot of sugar. It’s so easy to say, “Well, I might as well eat whatever I want the rest of the day” when you don’t track the calories for a couple of meals.

And while I did gain a pound or two over the holidays, there are a few things that kept me motivated throughout the past month so those two pounds didn’t and don’t turn into 10 or 20 pounds.

1. My personal trainer. I meet with my trainer about twice a week and he always asks me about my eating habits. Over the past month, I tried to schedule sessions with him for the day of or day after a big event. This ensured I either started my day with healthy habits, or had an early morning session looming over my night of eating and drinking. Believe me, a hungover workout would have been miserable. Having scheduled appointments also meant I was at least going to the gym twice a week and made it less likely that I skipped on solo workouts.

2. Eating healthy when I had control. I really tried to make most of my meals healthy when I could, so when I did indulge it was only during one sitting and didn’t carry over into days or weeks. I didn’t take leftovers from anyone and I didn’t bake too many of my own sweets. Having fresh meals packed with fruits and veggies to look forward to really kept me on track and feeling good after too much salt or sugar intake.

3. Setting fitness goals. Thanksgiving 2011 marked my first 5K race! Running the 3.1 miles has been a lifelong dream of mine and it was finally accomplished this year. While I plan to discuss how I got started running in another post, I will say that having a fitness goal really kept me from gaining weight. Knowing that I had a race to run provided the motivation to wake up and go to the gym when it was cold, head to bed early when I wanted to stay out and kept me from slacking on strength training. I knew that if I measured my success on eating perfectly during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, I would end up feeling like a failure and being frustrated. Instead, I focused on my other healthy habits. Running the race also gave me a sense of accomplishment when the numbers on the scale weren’t dropping.


I would say that I’m ready to jump back into calorie counting full force now that the holidays are over, but for the next three weeks I will be traveling in India. Like I mentioned in this post, I have some anxiety about not having access to a scale or being in control of what and when I eat. My healthy goals for this trip are simply to not eat too many sweets. Other than that, I’m really hoping to relax and practice intuitive eating, which for me means turning down food when I’m full. A lot of my meals will be with other people, so I won’t really have control over the times I eat, but I will be able to control how much.

I’m also taking my sneakers and hope to get in some early morning workouts when I have the time and the space. In reality, I know this may not happen, but my intention is to get some kind of movement in on the days I don’t do a lot of walking and sight seeing.

By the time I come back, I know I’ll be more than ready to make my own food again and get back into a routine. It’s also when I’ll be setting my goals for 2012.

My plane takes off tomorrow night and I couldn’t be more excited! I plan to continue blogging during the trip as much as I can – so check back often!

I hope everyone had a good holiday season, and I’m sure many of you were like me and are glad to get back to normal!

Bon Voyage!

– J