Category: Health/Beauty

Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap Number Three

Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap Number Three

This was my third Brooklyn Half and sixth half marathon in total. Last year, I began training too early and had lost a lot of my momentum by the month of the race. That was the first year I attempted actually training. I had a goal time and everything. I didn’t meet it. And I didn’t have a good race. I ran almost-PR’s for all my splits then completely gave up at Mile 10. I had nothing left. And walked most of the last three miles. I was miserable. It wasn’t even my worst time. But it was my worst experience.

For this year, I decided to go back to my training plan of Fuck It. This entails no consistent running schedule whatsoever. Some haphazard “long runs.” Zero pressure. It’s worked in the past so I actually had high hopes. Well, I was three-minutes slower this year than last year. But my overall experience was far better.

Last year, I did not run to the best of my ability. I gave in to my mental weaknesses. This year, I know I could not have ran that race any better. Unless I actually trained, of course. Going in with what I had, I never stopped when I didn’t need to. I never let myself get discouraged. And I really dug deep while struggling and continued when I didn’t want to. That felt good.

So my preparation for the 2015 BK Half included 17 total runs between January & May, the longest being 5-miles. I am not encouraging this. Especially if you are new new to running.

Training for the Mental Race

This year wasn’t about physical training. I already know how to deal with cramps, blisters, pacing, hydration, and dry-wicking material. Last year I let negative thoughts get the best of me and I did not want that to happen this year.

This year, I trained my brain to not sabotage me during the run. I actually wish I had done this in previous races because it helped more than anything else I’ve ever tried. It took a strategy. I came up with a plan of attack for when my doubts and worries come up in the late part of the race. I chose three ideas that could occupy my time and took some thinking.

The first idea I prepared was a current artsy project I’ve started working on for fun. It consists of multiple pages. So I broke down each page in my head. I thought about font, colors, layout, spacing, etc. The minute details were time-consuming to think about and a great distraction. The second idea was working through one of my NaNoWriMo stories. I thought about character development, plot points, sense, and the fictional world. This was another successful distraction because I really could get lost in the story world.

When I began to think Why am I doing this? I don’t even like running, I quickly told my brain “Stop!” Then paused for a second to bring back up what I was last thinking about in the project or story. “Okay, but what about the main character’s sister? Where does she fall in place.” By asking myself questions, it kept up a good distraction from negative thoughts. Or just thoughts about the physical pain I was in.

BK Half Recap

It was a cloudy Saturday. There were fears it was going to rain. It did, later on. Before the race even started, I had to stand in a 25-minute security line. Not a baggage check security line. Just a metal detector security line. … Even at this part I practiced my distraction exercises. I get so upset at ostentatious security. I often exert a lot of energy getting mad at people before a race starts. I didn’t want to make myself so upset this time. So while standing in this mandatory line for the most absurd reasons, I thought about my story to keep myself calm.

The rain held off until the race started (Wave 2). Within the first mile we could start to feel rain drops. Then it really started down pouring. We weren’t even in the park yet and it was raining hard. I’ve ran in the rain before but never during a half. I was prepared with a hat and dry-wicking everything. But it was pretty miserable. My hair was sticking to me. My clothes felt gross. My socks were now wet. There was mud and road gunk everywhere. Just kind of gross.

On the plus-side, the clouds remained the whole time. The run down Ocean Parkway is so boring. It’s flat. There aren’t too many spectators. There’s not much scenery. Since you’re on a highway, there is no shade, so this part is the worst when the sun is out. I was very grateful that it remained cloudy for the entire race.

I stretched a few times, for the first time during a half. I planned it out at certain mile markers and I really think it helped. Although my pace is slow, I only stopped to drink water and stretch. I was running the rest of the time. After the race, I felt fairly good and just had a normal Saturday.

To be honest here, the Great Saunter felt like more of a challenge and struggle than any Half Marthon I’ve ran. Two and a half hours is a joke compared to a 12-hour activity that actually takes up your entire day.

A Few Thoughts on the Diva Cup

A Few Thoughts on the Diva Cup

This is a short review of my experience with the Diva Cup, a reusable menstrual product. These are my opinions and this post is not sponsored.

Reusable menstruation products stored in the little bags they come with
Reusable menstruation products stored in the little bags they come with

One less thing to buy is always a good thing in my book. So when I first learned about sustainable menstrual products, I was intrigued though also a bit perplexed. I liked buying a product only once but questioned the cleanliness of it. I liked that the cup has less safety risks but questioned the cleaning process. I worried I might lose it. I worried it would be too big. I worried it would be too small. It was such a different way of thinking to the disposables that I had always used.

However, disposable tampons and pads can be expensive and are certainly wasteful. Plus, they were never that practical for me. My periods have always been light. Tampons were usually too much. I didn’t like the feeling of pads or panty liners. I also was neurotic about only keeping a tampon in for the minimum time for fear of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome.

[In 10th grade I was in an all-girl rock band. We named ourselves TSS. We were a band for a week.]

Using The Diva Cup

The Diva Cup, a reusable menstruation cup
The Diva Cup, a reusable menstruation cup

About a year ago, instead of running to the store to purchase another box of tampons, I decided to finally buy the Diva Cup. First, it was much larger than I expected. But don’t freak out. If you follow the directions and fold it up, it fits just fine.

After getting through the first few uses and figuring out what worked best for me, I couldn’t feel it at all. There are two sizes. Even though I am over 30-years old, I still bought the smaller one. My vagina didn’t instantly turn into a cavern when I turned 30.

Since the cup is made out of silicone, there is no TSS risk. You can begin using it before your period actually starts. This also makes it perfect for overnight, which I love. The brand suggests you change it at least once every 12 hours. Since I am light, this works well for me. If you are heavier, you may have to change it sooner. It will probably take you a few uses to determine how it best works for you.

Cleaning the Diva Cup

Unlike tampons and pads absorbing liquid, the reusable cups collect it. This means you have to empty and clean the cup yourself. With that said, cleaning the cup is much easier than I thought it would be. At home, you simply wash it with soap and warm water.

Public bathrooms are a little different but it’s definitely not a hassle. Just remember to wash your hands before you enter the stall, then wipe out the cup with some tissue. When you get home you can wash it properly.

You are given a little bag to store it in, so it is safe and clean when you’re not using it.

I’ve been using the Diva Cup for almost a year and haven’t once thought about going back to disposables. Most of the menstruation cups cost about $30. This will easily save you money in the long-run. It might also help you feel safer and a bit more eco-conscious.

I mainly love that it is perfect for a lighter period. I never have the discomfort of removing a dry tampon or the worry of a foreign object sitting inside my body too long. And I don’t have to feel like I’m wearing a diaper. I definitely recommend trying any of the menstruation cups.

Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap Number Two

Brooklyn Half Marathon Recap Number Two

signs at brooklyn half marathon - you are faster than the g train
I AM faster than the G train

After writing about my ‘training‘ on here since practically February, race day finally arrived! I was one of 27,000 runners who ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon this past weekend; 5/17/14. Although I did get burned out on training around April and really didn’t do enough long runs toward the end, I still finished. And didn’t have my worst time. So I’m happy about that!

NYRR BK Half Expo

Some general advice to event coordinators, don’t put a large gathering of people inside a tent. Also, don’t make people trudge far to find said tent. And especially don’t do these things when trying to represent a whole borough.

The Brooklyn Half Expo this year was in DUMBO (down under manhattan bridge overpass) right on the waterfront. It is pretty. And usually has pretty views. Unfortunately, the three days leading up to the race it was cloudy and rainy. I was happy that it didn’t rain on race day. But hiking down to the waterfront, amidst DUMBO’s non-grid cobblestone streets, and beside park construction, was even less fun in the rain.

New York Road Runners put on this giant three-day expo that really was more for publicity than the runners. There was a small tent containing bib & t-shirt pick-up, plus about 3 small vendor tables. Outside on the pier were food + beer stands, food trucks, and a stage for live bands/work outs. The general public were invited to share in the festivities. Sounds great and all but really just meant little for the runners. Also I learned that NYRR just has waaaay too much money.

Running the Race

Ready to get this race over with! brooklyn half marathon
The day of a race is definitely the worst day to wake up with a migraine. My alarm was set for 5:15a but a pounding migraine woke me up at 4a. I sat up in bed, exhausted, nervous, and shaking in pain hoping that it would subside. My thoughts were scattered if I should still run it. If I could even leave my bed. Drama aside, after taking a bunch of advil and crying while walking around my apartment for an hour, the pain finally dulled down to the point I could function again. For good measure, I took a few more advil before heading out.

I guess there’s security clearance for races now so that took a lot longer than expected, even without having a bag to check. Once I got to my corral, a co-worker found me who was also running. I’m used to running these things alone, so it was pretty nice having someone to chat with for the 45+ minutes we were waiting for the race to start. Our wave started at 7:45a but we didn’t cross the start until almost 8:15a.

The first portion of the race went really well. I felt strong, wasn’t tired, my asthma wasn’t acting up. This shows in my time as my 5K, 10K, and 15K splits were all my second-fastest times to date. The spectators were great and there were some great signs, like the one above. I kept telling myself, I am faster than the G train!

This was the second time running this race and I still love the course. Prospect Park and Ocean Parkway are two routes I run very frequently so both were familiar to me. The one downside is that the course passes right by my apartment. It was so tempting to just detour on home to the couch! But that was around mile 7 and I was still feeling pretty good then.

Then mile-10 came along and pain started settling in. First, I felt my quads tightening up. This was rather strange for me because, if anything, my calves are usually the ones to feel sore. Then I began to feel the blisters in my big toes. Everyone knows that runner’s feet aren’t sexy. I’ve had so many blisters on my toes over the years that they are actually calloused now. But sometimes during races, I get blisters inside the callouses. Gross!

Somehow, I still felt good mentally. I never felt utterly miserable and never told myself “I’m never doing this ever again.” The race still felt short. But I was in a lot of pain those last three miles. It definitely showed that I didn’t put enough focus on long runs in my last month of training. Lesson learned.


Fifth Race Down

I finished! My fifth half marathon! My second time running the Brooklyn half!

  • Official Time: 2:24:08 // 11:01mm pace
  • 5K Split: 0:31:03 // 9:59mm pace
  • 10K Split: 1:04:59 // 10:27mm pace
  • 15K Split: 1:39:10 // 10:38mm pace
  • 20K Split: 2:16:03 // 10:56mm pace

Out of five, this places third for time. I feel confident that I can keep up the momentum I had in the beginning of this race throughout the whole thing. My brain wasn’t even sabotaging me this time, my body was. And that is a much easier obstacle to fix.

I know I may not be fast and probably never will be but I still enjoy the challenge of these races. I’m planning to do another half in the fall. To keep up my momentum over the sweltering summer months, I’ve also committed to a 5K summer series. Eight races for $25 is a great deal and hopefully I can get a PR in there somewhere!