Running With (or Without) Music

For the past few years, I’ve always needed to listen to music for any run over 4 miles. I loved my playlist and refreshed it whenever I felt the need. New songs would get me amped up and old favorites would reignite positive memories from previous runs and races.

Then, the strangest thing happened about 8 weeks ago. I went out for a training run and had no desire to listen to music. None. Instead I put on my Garmin and ran my miles. And I liked it. I did it again the next day, and the day after that. Then I went out for my 12 mile long run that week with no music, and I liked that too. Since that week I went cold turkey with my running music and haven’t looked back yet!

My hope is that this will continue and I’ll be able to run the Chicago Marathon sans music. Since I just went on an 18 mile run this past weekend without it, I think I have a pretty solid shot. There are still two distinct groups of runners, those that listen to music and those that do not.

Do you like to run with or without music? How come? Have you ever switched sides?

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The Chicago Marathon and One Year Later

I have some exciting news, I managed to make it through the Chicago Marathon lottery and be selected as a runner this October! I actually didn’t plan on running a marathon this year, after my first one last fall I was pretty content with just riding out this season with a handful of half marathons and some 10ks. Then one of my closest friends, Ashlee (who was also my relay partner for the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler), decided she wanted Chicago to be her first marathon this fall. I couldn’t pass up the chance to run Chicago and celebrate Ashlee’s first marathon with her, so I threw my name into the lottery. How we both managed to be selected out of 70,000 entrants is beyond me but I can’t wait for October 12, and there’s some serious training to do before then!

On a much different and more somber note, I can’t write a post on April 15th without recognizing what this day meant a year ago, and how the Boston and running communities have changed since. The morning of April 15th 2013, I was interviewing runners at the Boston Marathon starting line. For some this was one marathon of many, for others this was their first, and I was so incredibly excited for them. That joy and excitement for them that morning quickly changed to fear and angst later that day. I have friends who were affected and family members of friends who were affected on April 15th, as many people do. Thinking back on that day, that entire week really, it feels surreal, like a dream almost. Now we’re a year later, and it’s inspiring to hear how so many of the victims have been able to make unbelievable amounts of progress since they were injured, injuries that are both visible and those that are not. Their strength is something I honestly can’t fathom.

I can’t really watch the footage they’re replaying on the news and I don’t really want to revisit all of the emotions from that week. I’d rather look ahead, and you better believe I will be out there this coming Marathon Monday, cheering on the runners of the 118th Boston Marathon!

Clothes Don’t Make the Runner, But They Sure Do Help!

Last week we talked about finding the right running shoes, this week we’re talking about the right running clothes. Sorry guys, but for this one I can only share my thoughts on women’s running apparel!

Quick run through on the basics, we’ll keep this simple. You want to wear clothes that are well-fitting, nothing baggy that’s going to get in the way (and get really annoying) during your run. You can spend an arm and a leg on gear – but by no means do you have to! In terms of materials, aim for fabrics that are light in weight and don’t absorb a lot of moisture – for when you get really super sweaty caught in a rainstorm. When all else fails, wear something that makes you feel good. Never underestimate the motivation a new workout wardrobe can provide.

Now on to the good stuff, brands. Let’s do some love/hate. Brands I love: lululemon, Old Navy Active, and Nike. Lululemon is a leader in the women’s athletic apparel market and sell clothes that not only work well, they’re super stylish too and have creative designs. Some favorites are the run: inspire crop II, the run: swiftly tech long sleeve, the energy bra, and of course the scuba hoodie. Also, their winter running gear is fantastic, bar none. The one downside to lululemon is their high-end prices. You’re getting top-notch quality, but you’re also going to have to pay a premium for it. Enter Old Navy’s Active line.

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Off-Season is Officially Over

Ok, I know I’ve been totally slacking in the blog department for a few months. For the most part it’s been the off season and things haven’t been that exciting. I did go to Martha’s Vineyard for a race and, shortly after, California where I got a serious dose of spring fever during morning runs in 50 degree weather. But all in all it’s been mostly routine gym sessions and maintenance-distance runs with a few yoga and barre classes mixed in between.

But off-season no more! I’m struggling starting to transition back into training for my first half marathon of the year, the Boston’s Run to Remember held in Boston during Memorial Day weekend. I ran it for the first time last year and it quickly became my favorite half marathon for many reasons. I’ve never run the same half marathon more than once (except for that one time the Allstate Boston 13.1 half marathon fit perfectly into marathon training), so that should say something.

Last year’s Run to Remember race was so well organized and was so meaningful. Not only does the race honor Massachusetts Law Enforcement Officers, but also last year’s race was additionally meaningful given the events that had taken place just over a month prior. Sean Collier had registered for the Run to Remember last year, and race officials made sure it did not go unnoticed. Each runner was given a special bib dedicated to him and there was a tribute at the start of the race. The kind of stuff that gives you goose bumps and reminds you why you run, and value the fact that you are able to run.

If you’re in the Boston area on Memorial Day weekend, I highly recommend taking part in this race. Not only is the race well-managed and run along a great course, but the additional meaning behind the purpose of this race makes it worth it in itself.

Pure Barre Review

Image by Pure Barre Charlston

Last Thursday I went to my first barre class. Have you guys ever done this type of workout before? I had been thinking about trying out barre after hearing rave reviews from a couple of friends. It seemed ideal for me because it’s focused on small isometric movements that tone your muscles using ballet-inspired techniques. I’ve had my share of IT band issues from running in the past so I try to keep my leg muscles in good shape, and if I can do that while living out my ballerina dreams? I’m in!
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Gym Etiquette – Don’t Be “That Person”

It’s January, which means we are in the thick of New Year’s resolutions and jam-packed gyms. I’m all for the uptick in gym members. You have to start somewhere and January is a good time to take the first step and commit to a gym!

That being said, there are unspoken gym rules that new gym-goers (and honestly some not-so-new gym-goers) may not realize until it’s too late. So I wanted to share with you my list of tips for proper gym etiquette. Here we go:
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2013 in Review

I can’t remember a time when I’ve looked back throughout one particular year and thought to myself, “Wow. This year is the one to beat.” But 2013 has been that year for me. Both from a running and personal perspective, I’ve worked hard to make some moves and it still sort of blows my mind that it all happened in the past 12 months.
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Mid-Holiday Season Sanity Check

Guys. The holiday season is in full swing. If you’re anything like me, you’re just hanging on for dear life at this point. The parties, the holiday events, the shopping, ohhh the shopping, and have you sent your holiday cards yet? Of course there’s also work, and if you happen to be in college or grad school it’s also finals week. Yup, survival mode. I actually love this time of year, I just wish there were more hours in the day. To be honest I’ve simply been getting the bare minimum in for my workouts and they’ve basically been gym sessions with cross training and strength work, the exception being some holiday 5ks. I ran the Winter Classic 5k this past weekend in Cambridge and will be running Somerville’s Jingle Bell Run this weekend!

How are you staying sane this holiday season?? Don’t skip those workouts – they help immensely I promise!

Gym Showdown: Planet Fitness vs. Gold’s Gym

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope everyone had a great holiday and enjoyed great food with even better company.

Believe it or not there are only 27 days left in 2013, which means those New Year’s resolutions aren’t that far away. For many people, that means making a resolution to get healthy, and getting started by joining a gym. Allow me to weigh in on which gym that should be, and more importantly shouldn’t be.


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Holiday Races and a Budwesier Beer Tasting

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Budweiser. I received a product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

One thing I love about this time of year is holiday-themed races. I’m very selective with theme races and am not a fan of obstacle races, but give me a festive 5k and a turkey trot and I am one happy camper. Three things I love about these races? Friends, costumes, and a celebratory beer. It’s one of the few races where I’ll get dressed up and actually use the free beer ticket after finishing. When Budweiser recently asked me to sample some of their new Project 12 limited edition beers, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to invite a few friends over and plan out our festive running getups for the upcoming Jingle Bell Run in Somerville on December 15th!
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