Kissing 12

I have been flirting with it for days… seven weeks into training for the New York City Marathon, after a long year of running injured and then months of rest and recovery… I had been flirting with 12.

My last few runs had been right there… with my first mile around 13:10 – so when I laced up my shoes this morning I thought “today is the day”. There were many reasons my it shouldn’t be. It was a big time jump I was looking for. The weather was off…. 79 degrees with 85% humidity and a decent head wind. I was home, after all, because this weather had kept me from my planned race. It was later than I normally run, and I had already had breakfast a few hours before.

But here is was, a break in the rain, so I strapped on my Garmin and marched out the front door… the warm wet air slapping me in the face when I took that first breath.

My route was fairly flat… and I knew that the hardest part would be the last half mile of this 5K, because I would be running north, into 15-20 mph winds kicked up by this storm.

As I closed in on the end of my first mile, I was feeling good… almost afraid to look. My Garmin 620 vibrated on my wrist and I saw it: 12:37… After weeks of flirting, I had kissed 12.

Mile two. Would I lose steam? I thought about my steps; my cadence and my gait. I thought about my breathing…. consciously held my head high and my shoulders back, my arms relaxed at my sides… my watch buzzed again –  12:43. I wasn’t just kissing 12, this was a full on embrace.

Mile three. I had already turned to the west, the wind on my side. A few times with the wind on my back I saw it…. 11… for a few steps some fleeting seconds but I knew, not yet. I can’t manage a relationship with you 11… I am not ready. The hardest part was coming…. turning north the wind was right in my face… and I fell for pockets of time back into the comfort of 13… but it felt strangely manageable. My watch buzzed again – 13:08.

Yesterday, that would have been my fastest mile in these 7 weeks of training.

I let myself have a little burst for that final .1 – and when I pressed pause I saw it- 12:46 average pace.

I looked at the lap times…. I had not been dreaming this – there is was in black and white.

I thought to myself… If this were the marathon, I would be over the Verrazano Bridge, a mile into Brooklyn – turning left onto Bay Ridge… I would be thrilled with a 12:46 pace 3 miles into the race… and I have 9 weeks left to train.

For the first time, in a long time, I am feeling like I am ready to race again.



#feedthemachine: Cracking the Egg

Like most things athletes do for their training, there is intention behind every choice. The need to “feed the machine” requires selecting the right foods at the right times. However this quest for nutrition does not need to come at the sacrifice of taste.

While social media is littered with the reward and recovery meals, often accompanied by hashtags such as #whywerun… a nod to the balance of life enjoyed by many distance athletes, most meals need to be carefully selected to improve the training or event performance.

Knowing why foods fuel us is key to selecting the right foods at the right time.

One staple for many athletes is the egg.20140610-111118-40278146.jpg

About 2/3 of the egg is egg white, and 1/3 is egg yolk. The yolk holds all of the fat in the egg, but before you throw it out, there are a few more things to consider.

1. THE WHITE: The egg white itself is mostly water, about 90%, only 10% protein; requiring the consumption of A LOT of egg whites for high protein consumption. The white is made up of a thick and thin white, and as the egg ages, the think white thins out; this is the cause of a greater spread of an older egg when cracked into a pan, and will be less “foamy” when beaten. The egg white also has very little flavor.

2. THE YOLK: The yolk is only about 50% moisture; the other 50% is primarily protein and fats. Compared to the larger white, the dense yolk is 17% protein. With age, the yolk pulls moisture from the white, causing it to thin out and flatten. The yolk also contains carotenoids, which is what gives it its yellow/orange color. These carotenoids, specifically lutein, help with vision. The yolk also contains vitamin D and Omega 3 Fatty acids, along with L-arginine and leucine which help to maintain blood sugar levels and produce growth hormones.

Keeping just ONE whole egg with the addition of several egg whites (I prefer adding two egg whites for every whole egg) will increase health benefits, assist in the processing of the proteins in the egg white, and add a whole lot of flavor!

As I add my favorite egg dishes in the coming weeks and months I will include links to them here. I hope you enjoy!

Ham and Neufchatel Omelet



References: Figoni, P. (2011) How Baking Works: Exploring the Fundamentals of Baking Science. Hoboken, NJ. Wiley Publishers.

Getting in Gear: Eight weeks to the San Francisco Marathon

June first means many things to many people… School is out, the weather is finally warm (almost) everywhere… And for many runners, it is the beginning of training season for the fall Marathons.

For those with a late summer marathon, it is also the time to check the training plan, and get the gear for the race finalized.

I am excited that tomorrow I will begin training with a new piece of technology, the Pebble Smart Watch.20140602-183535-66935418.jpg

In a unique partnership with The San Francisco Marathon, runners are offered an exclusive $20 discount on the watch. This is not a like other GPS Trackers – its interface works with Apps downloaded to the phone it is paired with. I am still figuring it all out, but have downloaded several different ones and will review them and give updates as I learn. I am a NIKE+ user – and really only use my watch for interval timing. There are several apps for this alone, and the watch will also allow me to control my iTunes Playlist, for a hands free run. Here is to trying something new and exciting!


Healing the Body: Thai Massage

There was a time when getting a massage was a part of pampering, an afternoon of luxury and an escape from reality. 

Not for a runner.

Massage is an essential part of a training plan. Not only will it help runners reach a higher level of performance, but will also assist in avoiding injury. 

There are many types of massage, both deep-tissue and sports massage are popular among athletes. Lately however, I have been exploring an alternative therapy: 
Thai Massage. 

Developed in Thailand, this practice combines massage and assisted stretching. It is preformed on large mat on the floor, with both the client and therapist dressed comfortably. 

If you read about the history and practice of Thai massage, it is often referred to assisted yoga. The moving and manipulation of the body is all preformed by the therapist. You may experience that the hardest task the client needs to complete during the hour is trying to relax and let the therapist work.

I received my first Thai Massage, and every one since, at The Studio Spa and Garden of Healing. This is where I go for all of my massage and facial treatments. 

There were moments during my first session that I questioned what exactly I had gotten myself into. Lying down on my back with the therapists feet working my hamstrings while his hands massaged the arch of my foot was mentally awkward – however, when I felt my hip flexors relax and my IT Band ease…. my mind got on-board with the movements. 

We spend a lot of money on race registrations, travel, and accommodations. Much of this is pre-paid, non-refundable, and paid month in advance. One injury can ruin these plans, and derail a training program completely. Making an investment in the health and maintenance of your body can keep you on track.

Many people who understand this concept and agree with the need for massage, end up jumping from therapist to therapist to get good deals. In this day of Groupon and Living Social Vouchers, it is tempting. I admit, it was Groupon that originally brought me to the Studio Spa, but it was the staff that made me a loyal client.

If you are looking for a new restaurant or experience – jumping around is fine, and even fun. When it comes to your body, your skin and muscles and bones and health – it is essential that you develop a relationship with your therapist. After multiple visits, they know what your body feels like, what is normal, and how to give you the best possible treatment. 

Recognizing the temptation to move around, and rooted in a core belief that Spa Services should be accessible to the average person, The Studio Spa has many methods of offering affordable services to their clientele. Their Facebook Followers and Email recipients are offered Daily Specials. These specials do not need to be used the day they are offered, but can be banked for future use. Spa memberships for even greater discounts are also available.

It is true. You can stretch yourself. You can get a foam roller try and smooth out those aches and loosen up your joints. It hurts, it is hard to do effectively, and ultimately  many of us do not do it the way we should. That is why I love my moments of Zen in the hands of my therapist, I know that this is a part of my running journey I cannot afford to compromise.

If you get massage, I encourage you to try Thai Massage. If you are in the Orlando area, The Studio Spa and Garden of Healing (1245 Michigan Ave, Winter Park – 407-332-4772) is the place to go…. you will not be disappointed.