Mind over Matter

To say, “It’s been a long week” would be the understatement of the century. However, I can’t phrase it in any other way than to say that exact sentence. So, I’ll leave it at that.

Mondays are already a tough pill to swallow, but what had happened on this particular Monday in Boston was the toughest.

This week has been off-balance, uneasy, unsettling. Today couldn’t have come any slower.

I’m a very resilient person. I’m quick to recover and the ease at which I can completely repress memories always amazes me. I’ve gotten so good at it that I often get confused as to whether something actually happened or not. Ironically, I have a fantastic memory (in regards to the things I actually want to remember) I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not though.

Remembering the past is detrimental to who we become in the future. I’m not saying that you’re supposed to dwell on the past, but to at least be aware and acknowledge what happened and hopefully pick up the pieces and begin to recover. This is how we create history. This is how we learn. This is how we grow.

For me, I could say I was directly affected by the events that occurred on Marathon Monday. My co-workers whom I work with day in and day out were there that day. My co-workers who were there were far more affected than I was. For them, it’s not going to be so easy to just acknowledge what happened and pick up the pieces and recover. For them, it could take weeks, months, years. It’s easy to erase a memory that is not your own. It’s easy to dismiss a tragic event that occurred in history because you weren’t there to watch it happen. It’s hard to forget when you were a witness.

My 1st of 2 back-to-back races is in 2 days. I’ll be running the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon and of course I’m excited, but I feel guilty being excited when there is still so much grief. It feels selfish to be happy right now when other people have been robbed of that emotion this week.

I hope and pray for the best when I run on Sunday. I hope and pray for happiness for those who are still suffering.

2 days and still counting…

Going out without going all out

I did it.

I survived my first week of April without consuming a drop of alcohol.

To preface this entry to those who are new to reading my blog, I am NOT an alcoholic. I repeat, I am NOT an alcoholic.

To get some of you up to speed, I recently hit my point of absolute misery when it came to drinking with friends on the weekends. Going out until 3AM in New York City while you are in training mode for a Half-Marathon and Marathon do not mesh well at all. I learned this the hard way, therefore recently vowed to give up drinking any type of alcohol for the entire month of April in lieu of my Spring races

I must say, it’s actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. However, here are the down sides:

  • Going out to a club and/or bar in New York City while you are sober and everyone else around you is intoxicated is pretty weird. You notice how stupid everyone actually looks as opposed to everything being funny. It’s definitely not as funny when you’re sober…
  • Regardless of whether you drink or not, certain places still require a cover charge to get in. So even though you’re not buying drinks, you still have to pay to go to a place that is dimly lit with random spurts of blinding strobe lights and ear deafening music blasting , all while watching people act like morons
  • If you’re tired and not having fun, it’s better to just go home instead of being out and forcing yourself to stay awake when you don’t need to be

Regardless, I felt really good about myself at the fact that I didn’t succumb to peer pressure.

On a more positive note, here are the up sides to not drinking

  • You really do spend less money when you don’t have to buy alcohol
  • You wake up in the morning remembering EVERYTHING
  • You save yourself empty calories and extra pounds
  • You’re not extremely susceptible to getting sick

There are definitely more up sides than that, but I chose to shed light on the obvious ones.

I had a great weekend despite my lack of alcohol consumption which ultimately proves that you don’t need to drink to have a good time.

I was able to get a (slightly) long run on Saturday afternoon in long-awaited, beautiful Spring-ish weather. I only was able to get in 10 miles in 1 hour and 27 minutes, but it still felt great.

I went back home to New Jersey for the second weekend in a row. I got to hang out with friends from home and spend time with family for my Mom’s birthday, which is always a good time in my book.

Moral of the story: Drinking is not all it’s cracked up to be. If anything, it’s less.

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.