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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Monday, December 28, 2015

how to run 20 miles while on vacation: city edition

Did you know that running a marathon in January means you have to train through the Christmas holidays?

Did you know that training for a marathon during the holidays leads to limited opportunities for the long runs that one needs in order to get ready for a marathon? 

I should have known. I think I was in denial.

For two Saturdays, I missed my long runs and spent the rest of the week trying to cobble miles together in parking lots, town circles, and neighborhoods while still spending as much time as I could with the people I love.

Eventually though, I had to do something about the 20 miler that was following me around from state to state. 

It's not easy to find somewhere to run 20 miles. Especially when you're not in your usual, familiar running environment. 

I kept pushing it back, hoping that inspiration would strike while I was home in Staten Island, and a 20 mile route would miraculously present itself, like in a dream or a vision. 

It didn't happen. 

I got desperate and posted a whiny status on Facebook, hoping one of the crazy running people I know would be like "I have a route! I'll join you!" 


Then it hit me. Inspiration.

I could run to the ferry from my Grandma's house (I estimated it would be about 5 miles), take the ferry to Manhattan, and run along the waterfront on the West Side. I thought this was a brilliant idea. I have always wanted to run that particular route, having walked a large portion of it with my Mom during our city jaunts. 

I had to make a series of promises to my husband, including running with my phone, texts at various points, and using the Road ID app so he could keep tabs on me.  

Nothing could damper my enthusiasm. He could have asked me to hire 2 giant thugs to follow me, secret service style, and I would have agreed.  

I was very excited.

it was very foggy
Even the heavy fog that made every street look like a creepy scene from a horror movie didn't bother me. I bounded my way down to the ferry and took my 5.5 mile smelly body right onto that boat and tried to stand as far away from the other passengers as I could. 

As soon as the boat docked, I was off and running towards Battery Park where I took a very rare selfie of myself. 


The miles positively flew by. I was looking around at buildings, people watching, making sure I knew where I was and how to get home. It was lovely.

The Intrepid. It is very big.
At about 12 miles, I turned around and headed back to the ferry terminal. At 34th street, I jumped onto The High Line and ran its length - which was FABULOUS, The High Line is simply one of my most favorite places on Earth and it was a wonderful experience to run it, in the rain at Christmas time. 

I made it back to the ferry, stopped at Starbucks (which I paid for using my Starbucks app - greatest thing ever), and called my husband to come pick me up.

It was one of the best running days I have ever had. 20 mile training run DONE. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

I hate downward facing dog

I hate, loathe, detest (basically any word you can think of that denotes total and utter disgust) the yoga position of downward facing dog.

You see, I have one hand. My forearms are the same length but my right arm stops at my wrist. I don't have a right hand, a palm, or fingers. Basically, it is just bone.

I grew up doing everything everyone else did. I can tie my shoes, do my hair - the list goes on and on. Sure, I could never climb that rope in gym class but really who wants to do that anyway? 

When I started practicing yoga. I never considered that some positions would be difficult. I just started doing it. I use a block for some positions, to give myself more balance and to take some pressure off my right arm but you can't use a block in downward facing dog. 

Hence, the hate.

It's not comfortable. Relying on my upper body, ultimately, my arms and hands, to bear the weight of this body is hard.

A yoga mat only provides so much cushion. Trying to find the sweet spot, where my arm can dig into the mat and not kill me, can be hit or miss. I'm also incredibly stubborn and will stay in that freaking position until the cows come home just to prove that I can do it. I want people to think that I am a cool, capable yogi.  

And because I am concentrating so hard on not giving up - I usually stop breathing. Which if you know anything about yoga is ridiculous because yoga is ALL about breathing.

It becomes a battle of will. Will I give up? Will I wiggle and wiggle until I find that spot where I can hang out until the next movement? Will I breathe? Will I take that time to breathe and be proud of myself for always trying and trying even when it is hard?

Life, recently, has felt like one very long moment in downward facing dog. Uncomfortable, stressful, and raw. I feel vulnerable. I care too much about what other people think. I often forget to breathe.

This past week, I was in downward facing dog and having the usual fight with myself about how much I hate this position and this is so ridiculous and why do I continue to do this to myself and something made me stop. BREATHE LAUREN. Just breathe. And as I took each breath, thinking about only that breath - in, out, in, out - it got easier. Not less uncomfortable - just easier to bear.

So, as the holiday season rolls in, and things get complicated with traveling to 3 different states in 4 weeks with 3 kids, and negotiating expectations and celebrations - I am going to carry that mantra with me. BREATHE LAUREN. Just breathe.