Burned Bridges

There’s something about moving to a new city that makes life so much more exciting. You get to experience a new environment. You gain opportunities to meet new people. When you leave everyone who knew you behind, you get to be anybody you want to be; far from who you were when you were home. You get to re-write yourself.

I’m back home in New Jersey for Easter weekend and as much as I hate to admit it, I can’t deny the fact that it feels great to be back here. There’s a level of comfort that you can only get when you’re at home. It’s that sense of familiarity that consumes us. It’s the feeling we get around the people who watched us grow up before we became who we are. That’s what I like at least.

Every time I come home, I can always expect the same thing because it’s the same thing every time I come home. Nothing here has changed and I think that’s why I left. Everything was always the same. I got too comfortable.

Whenever I come back, I think a lot about people from my past. I do this on my own anyways, even when I’m at my apartment in the city, but it happens more so when I’m back in Edison. It’s because of that familiarity. The roads that I used to drive on, the school that I went to, the park where I used to play. All of these places are linked to memories and people who once meant a great deal to me at one point in my life. I always get sad looking back on it because as I got older, I learned that it’s so easy to lose people. We grow up. We change. We go different paths. There’s a part of me, though, that really misses those people. This can be said for all people at the different points in my life, the ones who have been long gone and the ones who I’ve recently lost. They’ve all made me who I am today. I thank them for that.

It’s hard for me, sometimes, to accept the fact that you can’t just pop into someone’s life un-announced anymore. I get such an urge to contact people who I haven’t spoken to in months or years. Every time this happens, a rush of spontaneity overcomes me and I start this text that I end up never sending because I suddenly realize, we don’t even know each other anymore.

There’s an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” which coins the term, “revertigo” which is when you go back to being the person you were around someone who you used to know from your past. The reason for this is because you can’t really go off anything else. When you get to a certain point where catching up hardly seems possible anymore, you can only draw on shared past memories. There are a lot of people in my life who I could go without seeing for months, but once we reunite, it’s like we had never been apart for a day. But then, there’s people who I just have nothing in common with anymore. There’s nothing to say, only old jokes to stir up some laughter for a brief moment. These are the people I lose.

I’ve recently started noticing that every time I come home now, there are less and less people that I have an urge to contact. I can’t tell if it’s me, or us, or life. But I always ask myself, “At what point, do you just give up on someone?”

All relationships are hard work, whether it be a friendship or a romance. Someone has to care though. It has to work both ways. So what I wonder is this:

Do you stop trying once you’re the only one who is?

I’ve gotten to many points lately where I’ve realized that it’s just me on my own. Now that I’ve come back home and I can’t think of a soul to tell that I’m here, I wonder, am I done losing everyone from back home? Have I strayed that far since I moved to New York?

My pride gets to me sometimes. I think, well if they’re not contacting me, then I certainly shouldn’t contact them.

That’s how you burn bridges.

I feel that I’ve burned a lot of mine and when I go back to the island of Manhattan, there will be no way for my friends to get to me anymore.

Big Sur Countdown

Since I acknowledged the one month mark for my upcoming Half Marathon at Rutgers, it’s only fair that I bring attention to the one month mark for the Big Sur International Marathon. Today begins my 1-month countdown to Big Sur. The more I stare at my calendar, the more I can’t believe how fast time has gone since I began “officially training”

To add to my post yesterday about the importance of rest, I’m now beginning to worry if I got too much rest during my training. I’m sick, yet again, and can’t afford losing any more training days as I’m getting closer to my races.

Yesterday, I attended a great event at the Super Runners Shop located on 3rd Avenue, Uptown, between 71st and 72nd street. The shoe company Hoka One One teamed up with my awesome team at Runner’s World and together, we hosted a Fun Run to test their line of shoes. When I woke up yesterday morning, I knew that I was in no shape to run outside, let alone run at all. My throat is sore, I can’t smell, and I’ve had the chills on and off all day.

I disobeyed my own rule of thumb in regards to taking rest when you’re not feeling well, but I really wanted to join in on the fun. I took the shorter route of only logging 3 miles yesterday, and even then, I still felt awful.

I look forward to this weekend though, which starts today for me as I will be on “vacation” from Friday through Monday. Originally, I was anticipating getting in a longer distance run of around 16-17 miles for my Saturday long run, but now, I’m going to actually take my own advice and rest. I’m going back to good ol’ New Jersey to visit my family for Easter Weekend and hopefully, I’m fully recovered when I return to the city.

Time is tickin’! 30 DAYS!!!

The Importance of Rest and Vitamin C

I never fully understood how significant it was to take a breather every once in a while. I was always a fan of pushing through pain whenever I felt tired or weak. My thoughts towards the whole, “Can’t stop, Won’t stop” mentality were that it would pay off it in the long run because it would make me a stronger athlete; a stronger person.

My findings?

Absolutely false.

Rest is 100% detrimental towards your mental and physical health. In fact, not resting is actually counterproductive and can only harm you more in the long run. Pushing through pain does, in fact, make you stronger, but not in all cases. Sometimes, it just leaves you with injury, re-occurring sickness, and just more pain in general. I began realizing the importance of rest and Vitamin C once I moved into New York City.

Growing up, I had a fairly strong immune system. I would rebel against my Mother’s advice to not go outside with wet hair, to always wear a hood when it’s windy, bundle up when it’s cold, etc. Back then, I would never have to deal with the consequences. Unfortunately, as you get older, it takes a lot more effort to keep your body in tip-top shape. The rebellious acts that I would perform as a child don’t quite work in my favor now that I live in a germ-invested city where only about 1 out of 10 people wash their hands after using the restroom and no one around you covers their mouth when they cough. This makes people, who live in a large city such as New York, very susceptible to catching the common cold- And the rapidness in which you can get sick is astonishing.

This past winter, up until today, I have been sick approximately 6 or 7 times since December 1st, when I first moved to New York. My body hasn’t adjusted well to the drastic changes in temperature along with a combination of a lack of proper nutrients, surrounding germs that make their homes in the city subways, training for a marathon, and an improper sleep schedule. In addition, my inner child would overcome me and I would rebel against layering up during my long runs in Central Park when high winds were blowing in my direction.

Ultimately, my poor judgement and overall lack of common sense led me to getting sick about every 2 or 3 weeks. It’s just awful.

Like an open wound, your body needs to heal itself. It takes a lot of time and patience, but jumping back on the horse before you are ready puts you at great risk of falling right off again.

My advice to myself and any one who is reading this:

When you are in pain, feeling weak, or feeling sick, just TAKE A DAY OFF

Allow your body to heal itself, and you will feel ten times better during your workout and throughout the entire day.

Shedding Dead Weight

This morning for breakfast, I had a large, soothing cup of green tea, whole wheat toast with Nutella, and a bowl of plain oatmeal with an added teaspoon of honey. This all came with a small side of cynicism.

I had one of those weekends where you make poor decisions because you’re just in the mood to have fun. Unfortunately for me, I am always left with a handful of regret when looking back in hindsight bias.

What I am referring to is alcohol and lack of sleep. This combination of things really take a toll on your body, especially when you are training for a marathon (and half-marathon)

In reference to my “Saying Goodbye to Alcohol” post, I always end up feeling a strong sense of guilt immediately after drinking (I really hope everyone on WordPress, or anyone publicly reading this, doesn’t think I’m a raging alcoholic- I’m absolutely not) I think subconsciously, I’m trying to get my last few drinks and weekends of fun out of the way before April 1st hits. (I wasn’t kidding when I said that I’m swearing off alcohol starting April 1st)

On Friday night, I went out for what was supposed to be a “chill night”. I’d really call it “an embarrassment towards my lack of tolerance for vodka shots, beer, and mixed alcoholic beverages. To highlight certain events of the night: I had my face planted to a table from the hours of 12AM through 3AM, I found a shot glass stuffed in my purse, I proposed to my friend from college, and ended the night eating meatball sandwiches at 4AM. This may sound awesome, but it most certainly was not any sort of awesome when I woke up the following morning. It must have slipped my mind that I always do my long runs on Saturday mornings.

Alas, I did do a semi-long run. It was definitely no where near the amount of mileage that I was anticipating to run this weekend. An hour and a half and less then 10 miles later, the nausea started to kick in which is quite shocking for how fast I ran.

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I had some slight relief of guilt knowing that I was motivated enough to even peel myself out of bed.

After my long run on Saturday afternoon, I met with a friend for burgers/frolicking around Union Square for several hours. By 9:30PM, I felt my body slowly breaking down and switching into off-mode. Once I arrived back to my apartment Uptown, I was ready to call it a night until I received a text from a high school friend telling me that he was in the city. Immediately, I felt obligated to meet up with him- It’s always such a rare occasion when my friends come to visit the city.

I restarted myself from sleep mode and forced myself to meet at him and our other friends at a bar on the West Side. I arrived to the bar around 12AM. After 45 minutes of waiting for them to get there, I was in an awful mood. I had a long headache-of-a-night prior, a long day with a semi-long run and hours of walking around Union Square, and somehow had what was left of my energy to make an effort to meet up with them. Once they arrived, all I wanted to do was throw my anger in their face, and that’s exactly what I did. I gulped down my last sip of the beer that I didn’t even want, released my anger, got in a cab and left.

When I woke up this morning and thought about the money that I wasted on two cab rides and a beer that I didn’t want, all of my rage came back burning inside the pit of my stomach. Naturally, I went to the gym to relieve my stress.

You would think that going to the gym would just make all of your rage magically disappear, but instead, I just got progressively angrier as I was frantically hurling myself back and forth on the elliptical. Ironically, I ended up having one of the best workouts in a very long time. Afterwards, my rage finally left me and I experienced a sense of euphoria.

What I meant when I titled this post, “Shedding Dead Weight”, was that I am going to stop trying to please all of my friends and accommodate for everyone by going out drinking. I should have picked an earlier date for my “no drinking” policy. Alas, the epiphany that I experienced was that I realized that I need to get serious about my life, my routine, my marathon training, my money, and my real friends.

So I end this post with this lovely e-card:

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The time for play is over. I need to hit my 20-mile long run soon.

One month away

Yesterday marked the official first day of Spring, which is a very exciting day for some people. Today, however, marks a very exciting day for me personally.

Today, I am exactly one month away from my first big race of the Spring Season, the CGI Unite Half Marathon, at no other than my Alma Mater, Rutgers University (Ru Rah Rah!)

Long before I knew that I was going to run the Big Sur Marathon, (or before I even contemplated running a marathon in the near future) I had my sights set on a half marathon. I wanted to dip my feet into the waters first before diving an extra 13 miles deeper.

As I’ve been documenting my training, I have been emphasizing my focus on Big Sur because it requires much more time and dedication, but I never emphasized the significance that the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon holds in my heart.

During the middle of my junior year at Rutgers, when I really started getting back into the mindset of being a dedicated runner, I had made it a point to run the Rutgers Half before I graduated. Essentially, I only had one year to complete that. Clearly, I’ve failed.

However, the fact that I officially signed up for 2013 compensates for my guilt. Although I’ll be running as an alumni, I’d still say that’s quite special. I would have liked to actually run for a PR in this half, but I also have to keep in mind that I’m running double the amount of miles in exactly one week from then which is why I’m using the half as my last long run.

I’m in crunch-time mode right now, and as I’m getting closer to these big races, I’m doing nothing but filtering out any negative thoughts about how I will perform.

The countdown has officially begun!

Lessons Learned

It’s 11:16PM and I want to get this entry written before midnight when it’s technically Tuesday because I don’t want to go more than a day without blogging.

I had been thinking all day about what I wanted to write about. Instead of coming up with new material, I’m going to re-publish something that I wrote in my journal a while back. This may sound lazy, but at least give me partial credit because I was originally going to publish it as a page instead of a post.

Back Story: I have this light purple journal which says “Journal” on it (Yes I know, I am not discrete at all) I bought this journal from Barnes & Noble during the Summer of 2011 when I decided that I needed to start writing again (to record personal thoughts, experiences, etc.)

This journal entry was written at 12:22AM on August 22nd, 2011. I don’t know what motivated me to write this, but I must have either been in a really great mood or I had some sort of grand realization about my life. Anyways, this was what I wrote:

“Lessons Learned:

#1 Whenever things seem really bad, know that it will always get better

#2 Never let one big fight end a friendship

#3 Put your pride down and ask people to hang out instead of waiting for them to ask you

#4 Before you open your mouth, think about whether it will make the situation better or worse

#5 Always be nice to people, no matter how awful they seem to be – you never know if they’ll be important to you some day

#6 Give everyone a chance – don’t judge on petty observations

#7 Try to see the bright side to every negative experience – there is a lesson in it

#8 God really doesn’t give you situations you can’t handle

#9 Be thankful for your family

#10 Be thankful for your friends

#11 No matter how someone exited your life, good or bad, they have made some sort of impact on your life – so appreciate them

#12 Alone time can be a good thing. Learn to be with yourself

#13 Make use of every minute of every day

#14 Do things that make you happy

#15 When you feel sadness or anger, take it in and then let it go

#16 Smile as much as you can

#17 Do not eat until you are stuffed to the point where it’s hard to get up, eat only until you are satisfied. It’s okay to not finish your food at a restaurant

#18 If you don’t feel up to it, don’t work out. Stretch instead

#19 Don’t stare at people too much, they will eventually notice

#20 Stay out of gossip about other people. Saying negative things about other people is just a negative reflection of yourself

#21 Know when to stand up for yourself or when to just let it go

#22 Always say “please”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome”

#23 Never let anyone make you feel inferior or incompetent

#24 Know your limits – to everything. Drinking. Eating. Exercising. There’s nothing wrong with testing yourself, but you’re only human

#25 Enjoy beautiful scenery and environments. The world can be a very beautiful place

#26 Don’t get embarrassed

#27 Stay creative in as many ways as possible

#28 Work towards your goals and then meet them. After that, make new goals

#29 Get enough sleep

#30 Always pee before you leave the house and always pee when you have to pee

#31 If you have no one to tell something to, write it down

#32 MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING

#33 Don’t over-work yourself

#34 Beware of stress- it really does quite a number on your body

#35 Balance is key

#36 Relaxation is important. If you feel overwhelmed, drop everything and BREATHE

#37 Don’t feel sorry for yourself – you are wonderful

#38 Stop saying sorry for things that are NOT your fault

#39 Don’t make yourself the victim – bad things happen to people every day. Just move on

#40 Be happy with what you have

#41 Stop going on Facebook so much

#42 Not everyone is going to like you, but that’s okay. They just didn’t take the chance to get to know you which is their own loss

#43 Be enthusiastic about everything”

Now I know that was a lot to take in, but for me, I’m glad that I wrote those things down and am now re-writing them in this blog.

Looking back on it, I now remember why I wrote this.

I wrote this right after I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, the Summer before my Senior year of College. It was a really difficult time for me and I had a lot that I was dealing with at the time. I wrote this list almost two years ago and it’s amazing to see how many of these lessons I have actually remembered and applied to my life. I’ve grown a lot since I wrote these, but I’ve also neglected a lot of these things. It takes time to change, but little by little, change will happen.

Hopefully this helps some of you out in your daily struggles, as they have helped me.

Running into the NYC St. Patty’s Day Parade

Long Run Saturday. That’s my thing now.

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I was actually planning on changing up my schedule this weekend and getting my long run completed tomorrow, but then I realized that tomorrow is Saint Patrick’s Day as well as the NYRR New York City Half-Marathon, so I figured that today would be my best bet. I also happened to end up at Artichoke Pizza last night; For those of your who have never been there, one slice is twice the size of my face and it’s very rich with a cheesy, deliciousness.

Anyways, my long run today was a success. The more good long runs I have, the more terrified I am of encountering a bad one. I’m still crossing my fingers that we never have to meet.

I’m a creature of habit, as most humans are, and I run the same exact route basically every time I’ve been doing my long runs. I run from my apartment uptown to the Central Park entrance at 90th street and do the 6-mile loop around the perimeter of the park. I also go at the same time, so I’ve started recognizing some familiar faces.

The major flaw in this habit that I’ve fallen into is that it gets a little boring and tedious after a while.

Luckily for me, the one thing that I didn’t realize when I chose to do my long run today is that today is the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

And I ran right into it.

It was sea of green up and down the streets of 5th Avenue. Some people had very creative costumes, and so did a few dogs. The banging of the drums and bagpipes echoed so loud that I couldn’t even hear the music coming out of my earbuds.

I have to admit though, it was pretty cool. It definitely entertained my long run before I actually entered the park. I also can’t complain that it was a relief to have Central Park be so empty today.

Once I passed the parade and was able to actually focus on my run instead of the calamity around me, I focused on my stride and form.

My legs felt great today and I was really working the uphills. I finished strong and once again, felt extremely satisfied with my performance.

Total Distance: 12 Miles
Total Time: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

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Renaissance [Wo]man?

This is an extension off of my last blog entry (which I would hardly call an entry at all)

I’m a firm believer in the idea that the key to happiness is balance. All parts of your life must be balanced in order for you to feel at peace. I’ve mentioned in a past entry that it is imperative to have everything in moderation; I was referring to food when I wrote that though, but either way, it can be said for all things in life.

Anyways, in terms of balance, I’d say that I do a decent job at keeping the various parts of my life in check. I recognize when I am feeling too overwhelmed with one particular thing, therefore I take my mind off of it and focus on something else- or just take a break.

The thing that I often wonder though is this:

In order to be extraordinary at one particular skill, job, sport, etc, don’t you have to somewhat throw balance out of the window?

I’m sure that Steve Jobs didn’t keep balance in mind when he was striving to build the powerhouse brand that we have come to know as Apple. I’d probably know the certainty of this statement if I had actually read his biography, but from what I hear, he was a bit of a nutcase (in a good way though)

I think and write a lot about sacrifice. Pardon me if I often repeat myself and sound like a broken record in my entries, by the way.

Sacrifice is necessary to achieve greatness. A great novelist spends hours among hours of his day on perfecting his words, the structure of his sentences, the flow of his stories. Even then so, it’s never perfect until it’s perfect.

This leads me to my next point:

Mediocrity.

That word. That taunting word. It just screams, “Hey, you’re not that good!”

It’s something I fear, something I’ve always feared ever being or becoming because really, who wants to be average?

Would it sound horrible if I said, I do?

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t necessarily want to be average or “mediocre”

I’m just very content and confident in the person that I am right now along with the things that I have accomplished. Of course, I’m not done living. I still have yet to accomplish many more things that I want to do in my life, but I know that it will happen over time.

I started this blog to become more serious about writing and it has honestly helped. I get very excited at the ability to publish my thoughts whenever they come to me. I know that I can just do that with my notebook, but I care about feedback and I hope that people genuinely enjoy reading what I have to contribute to the world.

Here’s where it ties together:

I’d say that I’m an intelligent individual. I have a strong set of skills, I’m motivated, hard-working, and I strive to succeed.

I don’t concentrate on just one thing though. I allocate my time accordingly so that I can spend time on multiple things

I dedicate some time to running, some time to writing, some time to my friends, and the rest of the 40+ hours goes to my actual job, which in turn, contributes to the future of my career.

Ultimately, my point is this:

Is it really a bad thing to be just good at something.

It’s an anomaly really- the things I want.

I want to be a great writer. I want to be a great runner. I want to be a great something.

In order to do this though, I have to throw balance out of the window and kind of put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. But where do I find the time?

To sum up this post (because I have to tie this to my title, for my own peace of mind), the definition of a “Renaissance Man”, according to Merriam-Webster is this:

Definition of RENAISSANCE MAN

: a person who has wide interests and is expert in several areas

Right now, I think I can deal with that. I may still want to add a few things to those “wide interests” though.

Saying goodbye to alcohol

As you may have already noticed (if you read multiple blog entries of mine), there are two things that I often write about which generally go hand in hand for me. These two things are:

  1. My love for running
  2. My love for food

Which do I love more? I couldn’t tell you. Let’s just say that when it comes to these things, I like to have my cake and eat it too (both figuratively and literally speaking)

I fight an endless battle between how much I eat and in turn, how much I then have to run or exercise to compensate for my overindulgence.

If you refer back to two of my past blog entries titled, “A pie of pizza and 10 miles to go” and “A sleeve of thin mints and 13 miles of satisfaction” you may see a pattern when it comes to my eating and exercising habits.

Disclaimer: I do not have an eating and/or mental disorder.

We’re all human and we all get those pesky cravings for a certain not-so-healthy food from time to time; some, more than others. Naturally, we sometimes slip and give into temptation and go for that extra-gooey chocolate cake that we see in the bakery window. It just calls out our name.

Personally, when it calls out my name, I come running with open arms. You could even say sprinting.

Nonetheless, I consciously make note that I have to burn off those calories right away

The weird thing is, you’d think that a person who is as into fitness and running as I am would have a strict diet to match.

That is ABSOLUTELY not the case. And I’m not just saying for me. I’m saying this on behalf of a majority of runners and fitness-enthusiasts who I know personally.

You wouldn’t think that a person of my size could take down an entire pie of pizza by herself in just one sitting, but you better believe it. I have quite the appetite. May I add, I stand at a mere 5’0 feet tall, weighing in at 108 pounds. It’s quite a remarkable feat for someone so tiny

Now, the reason why I am blogging today about this particular topic is because of a different type of over-indulgence which seems to also be common amongst runners and fitness-enthusiasts.

What is that, you might ask?

Alcohol.

Have you ever noticed how much beer is served after an event like a marathon, half-marathon, mud run, heck, even a 5K?

Beer is the perfect carb to refuel with after burning hundreds of calories from running a race.

For some people, the post-race beer may be their favorite part.

But here’s the catch:

Often times, we often overestimate how many calories we actually burned and tend to overindulge in food as well as alcohol. We feel like we owe it to ourselves, to our bodies, after putting it through such hard work.

That’s a big no-no.

So, last night, I had a few more beers than I would have liked to consume. To give you an exact number: It’s 4. And that’s 4 more than I should have had because I’m telling you, I felt awful afterwards.

If you have not already noticed, I am currently training for two races at the end of April; The CGI Unite Half-Marathon at Rutgers followed by the Big Sur International Marathon exactly one week later.

As I get deeper into my training, I’ve really tried to limit the amount of alcohol that I consume. Of course, it’s a bit difficult when you’re in your 20’s, live in New York City, and have friends that always want to drink on the weekends.

Last night, I hit my limit.

This morning, I went straight to the gym before work and ran a quick 4 miles on the treadmill due to the guilt that was overcoming me after those 4 beers. During that run, I made a pact with myself. Once April 1st hits, I am abstaining from consuming any alcoholic beverages until after the Big Sur Marathon is completed. This won’t be easy, but I know that it will pay off in the end.

In closing: A while back, I was deeply impacted by an article published in Women’s Health which hit pretty close to home for me (click the below link if you are interested in reading)

Exercise and Alcohol

To summarize the article, it discussed the irony of how runners and fitness junkies also tend to be the heaviest drinkers.

Moral of the story: When a craving calls, sometimes it’s better to not pick up the phone.