TOL: Post-marathon fall fun

speedrun_10_25_16__mg_3427It’s officially my favorite season–cool temps, #foliageonfleek, pumpkin everything–how can you not just LOVE fall?? I’m also really enjoying have a bit more flexibility in my workouts instead of following a strict training plan. I’m definitely very type A so I’m sure this will change soon, but I’m going with it for now. I definitely thought I would miss having a training plan more than I have so far!

Basically, the past few weeks I’ve been sticking with doing something active 6 days a week (some habits are good ones to keep around), but more of those days have been things other than running (i.e. lots of yoga). In case you’re curious, I have a yearly unlimited membership to Yogaworks Back Bay. I did the math and figured out that if I go an average of twice a week, it’s much cheaper than buying class packs or waiting for sales. I have a whole post on saving money on yoga classes–check it out here if you’re interested!img_0719

I think in terms of marathon recovery, I probably could have taken more time off than I did, but I was itching to get back out there so I went with it. You live, you learn! I am still feeling some residual tightness in my hip flexors, but the yoga is helping loosen them up. I do have a half marathon in a few weeks, so I’m hoping to get in a couple of longer runs (8-10 miles) in addition to track workouts, and then see how things go from there. It is lovely to be able to vary my workouts based on what I’m in the mood for–or even skip them altogether if that’s how I’m feeling. We also got a hike in last weekend up Mount Monadnock, which is just lovely–under 2 hours from Boston and a pretty quick hike (2.5-ish hours total if you’re moving briskly). Not the easiest but the views are worth it.

img_0780In non-running news, J and I are finally making some progress with wedding planning! I have my dress and we officially booked our first vendor. I’m finding this process to be pretty annoying, so it’s nice to see a couple of things fall into place. My running/wedding related question is–is this worth $140?? I think it’s adorable and we’re gonna do some wedding weekend runs for sure, but it’s a fair amount of money! Thoughts??

Also, because old habits die hard, here’s a workout recap from post-marathon until now. I think it’s really interesting to see how other people transition from recovery back into a new routine, so I hope this is helpful!

Weekly Workouts:

  • 10/12-10/13: OFFimg_0734
  • 10/14: 60 minute yoga (ouch)
  • 10/15: 3.8 easy fall miles
  • 10/16: 90 minute yoga
  • 10/17: 3.9 miles at 8:09 pace
  • 10/18: Back to TRACK! 24×200
  • 10/19: First November Project stadium workout! 19 sections (again, ouch)
  • 10/20: OFF
  • 10/21: 90 minute hip hop yoga
  • 10/22: First “long” run–5.7 miles at 8:15 pace
  • 10/23: Mount Monadnock hike!
  • 10/24: 5.1 easy miles
  • 10/25: Track attack! 5.9 miles total, speedwork at 6:54 (details here)
  • 10/26: 60 minute yoga

Linking up with Running with Spoons for Thinking out Loud Thursday!

Weekending… and some big news!

IMG_9865Let’s get the big exciting news off the table first, mmk? Last week J and I had a picnic in a local park for our fourth anniversary, at the end of which he got down on one knee and popped the question! I knew this was coming at some point but he did an amazing job and I was still super surprised and excited. I’m pretty sure I was doing so much crying and saying yes that I forgot to even look at the ring until a couple of minutes later 😉 If you’re into that sort of thing, the ring is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever owned–vintage, totally unique, and very “me.” IMG_9874And before you ask–we don’t have a date yet, but we’re planning to get married next summer in Maine. I’m semi-dreading some of the wedding planning stuff but I am SO excited to marry such an incredible guy! We’re having a ton of fun introducing each other as “my fiance” (so weird) and just reveling in the joy of making it official.

After we called and texted and Facebooked on Thursday night, I was basically too jazzed to fall asleep so I woke up bright and early for a quick 3 miler around our neighborhood with J. Friday was a haze of congratulations (you all are incredible, thank you x10000 for the calls, texts, comments, hugs, cards, etc.) and Friday night it was time for the Olympics Opening Ceremonies aka the start of my favorite athletic event of the year! IMG_9872This is my third time in a row hosting an Opening Ceremonies party and this one was extra celebratory given our news. All of my thoughts about the actual ceremonies are pretty much summed up here–but holy heck were they just as ridiculous as always. I effing love the Olympics so if you need me over the next few weeks, I’ll be geeking out about women’s gymnastics and obviously all of the running events.

Saturday morning I battled my way through a tough long run with friends (more to come in the weekly update) and then we were off to NH for a gathering with J’s family. We had been planning to camp that night before a Sunday hike, but we decided to treat ourselves to a night at a B&B to celebrate. Thanks to AirBnB, we stumbled onto the cutest/quirkiest little spot, and I couldn’t have been happier to get a great night’s sleep and a delish breakfast before our hike. EDBD1C7A-FDB0-4C45-8803-71BA2D60DE66

The weather was perfect and we summitted both North and South Twin Mountains–two more 4000 footers down! It was a perfect day hike–definitely challenging with some technical spots, but we were able to wrap up 11 miles and approximately 3000 feet of elevation gain in 6-ish hours. It was really nice to get to spend some time doing something we love together.

All-in-all, it was a whirlwind weekend and my head is still spinning, but I am beyond thrilled. Love is the best!


Go take a hike!

IMG_6829Like all grateful New Englanders, I LOVE Boston in the summer. But when the nice weather hits, I’m setting my alarm at 6:00AM on weekends and jumping in the car to drive 2-3 hours north for the day. Why would I do anything so crazy? Just a little range called the White Mountains. Thanks mostly to my mountain-loving other half, I have officially been bitten by the hiking bug. While the city is mighty pretty in the summer, there’s something special about the blue skies, 360 degree vistas, and the glorious endorphin high from a good hike. These mountains are gorgeous, for sure, but they’re pretty challenging to scale and it can be intimidating to figure out how to get started. Here are my tips for novices, along with some great resources to get you up and hiking.

First and foremost, be prepared! Most hikes in the Whites are lengthy and strenuous, so make sure you are ready for 5+ hours of work. I suggest bringing the following:

  • Synthetic clothing and lots of layers: even if it’s 80 degrees in the valley it could be in the 50s at the summit, so always have extra layers. Be prepared for changeable weather conditions and lots of wind up top.
  • Proper footwear: ideally, hiking boots or trail running shoes. Good sneakers should be fine if you’re just starting out, but consider investing in something with better traction and support.Garfield
  • Water, water, water: Even if the weather isn’t super warm, hiking dehydrates you quickly and there may not be anywhere to safely refill along the trail. I usually bring at least two liters, and more if the hike is particularly long.
  • Food, and not just snacks, but something for a proper meal. Trail mix, jerky, and peanut M&Ms are great fuel, but you’re going to want a real, hearty lunch–think meat, cheese, veggies, protein, etc.
  • A proper daypack: You are going to be way happier hiking if you have a pack with a waist strap and chest strap. I absolutely love my Osprey daypack, if you’re in the market!

    Not an ad for Osprey backpacks.
    Not an ad for Osprey backpacks.

Choose wisely: The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has wonderful guidebooks that describe the various hikes, and you can also look around at sites like this one for more information. When they describe a hike as difficult, they mean it–don’t get cocky! Pick hikes that are appropriate for your timing and skill level. Just because you’re fit does NOT mean you should pick the toughest trail on the mountain. Start small and build your way up!

Also, some bonus wise words from hike-master J: Schlepping through the woods up and down rocks and roots in the humidity can a take a toll on your spirits (why does the last mile take so long!) Do yourself and your mountain-mates a solid and stay positive. If you need an outside influence try bringing some hard candies (just like grandma)–a little bit of sugar will keep you going!

I have just scratched the surface of what there is to hike in NH (let alone the rest of New England) but I do have a couple of hikes I recommend for newbies, listed from easiest to most difficult:

  • Blue Hills: a local Boston area option with skyline views–the trails are not well marked, so skip this one if you get lost and/or frustrated easily
  • Zealand Falls: a short but rewarding hike to Zealand Hut (more on the huts below!)

    Zealand Falls in the fall (no pun intended)
    Zealand Falls in the fall (no pun intended)
  • Mount Mondanock: a wonderful mountain to get you started–super popular, with rewarding views
  • Mount Garfield: a great first 4000 footer with some spectacular views
  • Mount Mooislauke: a good challenge if you’re ready for the next step–the 360 vistas at the top are worth it!

If you want to turn your trip up north into a multi-day adventure, look into your options for camping or get a teeny bit more swanky by staying at one of the AMC’s huts. I have a bit of an “in” here since my brother worked up at the huts for years, but staying at one is an incredibly unique experience. You get:

  • A comfy bunk to sleep on (BYO sleeping bag)
  • Delicious home-cooked dinner and breakfast (they’re super accommodating for gluten free guests!)
  • Fun extras like naturalist talks, hilarious skits by the caretakers (the “croo,” to the initiated), activities for the kiddies, and indoor bathrooms/access to clean water, drinks, books, games, and snacks.

Most importantly, staying at the huts means you can get a several days of hiking in without having to camp overnight and carry all of your food with you. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it! J and I are doing our first multi-day hut trek in a couple of weeks, so more to come on that front.

Happy hiking!