Need some motivation?

I dunno about you, but I need a little extra motivation every now and again. I mean, sure some days I wake up READY TO WORK, but other days, I have to remind myself “Excuse me, hell-O, you need to put the work in to accomplish the results you want on race day.” This statement is usually followed by a quick browse of instagram, twitter, or my blog feed (I use The Old Reader if you’re interested) for a little external motivational support. Since sometimes we all need a pinch of inspiration to light the fire, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite athlete-related social media accounts/pages below.

But first, I want to bring to your attention to a study that has shown that when racers see motivational messages while racing, they perform better. Translation: If someone makes you a poster for your next race and comes to cheer you on, YOU WILL RUN FASTER. It’s science. So, if you want to PR in your next race, I HIGHLY recommend making a donation to my fundraiser for Back on My Feet. I will make you a motivational poster (email me if you’re curious or want further deets).

Without further ado, I present to you – in no particular order – a list of athlete-related social media accounts that rock my world:

ImPressive Pros

@fleshmanflyer – Lauren Fleshman, professional runner and entrepreneur – Lauren also has a great twitter account

@jessemthomas – Jesse Thomas, husband of aforementioned Lauren Fleshman and pro triathlete – also writes for triathlete mag

@athletestyle and @athletefood - Wassner twins – professional triathletes on instagram

@karagoucher – has a blog that doesn’t get published regularly, but her instagram game is ON

@emmacoburn – Emma Coburn, track and field pro, great instagram

@LauraRBennett  – Laura Reback Bennett Olympic triathlete, twitter is a mix of hilarious and getting it done

@sgroffy – Sarah True another Olympian with a sense of humor

Awesome Amateurs 

@zippchick – this is probably my favorite find this year, Emily also has a great blog

Run This Amazing Day – (blog) a triathlete and coach with a great outlook and killer sense of humor

Preppy Runner – (blog) New Yorker, runner, professional -Theodora is tenacious, I love how she never quits and is always looking to take a bite off a new challenge

Big Shot Brands 

@oiselle – running gear for ladies, lots of pro runners and pretty clothes

@onlyatomsnyc – “cool running clothes for warm humans” guys and gals – lots of ultra inspiration

@triathletemag – Triathlete magazine – pictures of fast people

@nuunhydration – all kinds of endurance athletes (and pictures of water tablets)

@bettydesigns – triathlete gear for ladies, I think they coined #badassisbeautiful

Who/what inspires or motivates you? (Doesn’t have to be sports related!)

Recovery Week and a #RunFail

What’s shakin’ bacon? Hope everyone had a good week! Mine was a recovery week. It was nice to hit it a little easier, but most of all, it was nice to SLEEP IN.  Since I only needed to do one a day, I moved all of my workouts to the evening and slept in til 7:30am everyday. I got 8 hours of sleep EVERY NIGHT!  How’s that for recovery!?

The last workout of my week was an 8 mile easy run. Things did not go as well as planned. I was out of town for family on Saturday, so Sunday ended up being pretty busy. I ran around most of the morning doing errands, chores, church, and meetings. I hadn’t planned my meals well, so by the time I was ready to run, it’d been hours since breakfast. There was no way on earth I would get 8 miles done without eating lunch – so I made lunch. Tortellini with sautéed kale, meatballs, parmesan and olive oil – DEEEE-licious. I sat for about 30 minutes, then set out on the run. BIG mistake.

I spent miles 2, 3, and 4 wishing I would puke so I could just get it over with. It was seriously gruesome. I’m not prone to gastrointestinal distress while running, but now I realllllllly feel for those of you who are – I don’t know how you do it! Nausea is not for sissies! Mile 5 and 6 were better, but I could feel myself losing steam and knew I needed to get some water. (Somehow I thought that since the calendar said SPRING that the water fountains in the park would be running again…they weren’t.) I stopped and bought a bottle from the vendor in the park, drank as much of it as I could, dropped the half full bottle in the recycling and carried on. As all that water sloshed around in my gut, I changed my tune and wished for mile 8. #RunFail.

BUT – I survived. In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened. It was my first bad run of this training cycle, and I got through it. I kept going, sucked it up, and got ‘er done. And I will never ever eat a heavy meal less than two hours before a run ever, ever again. Lesson learned.

On a much happier note, I got a very exciting package this week!

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Beautifully, locally made running gear from Only Atoms! I’ve been eyeing their stuff for awhile (I mean, how could you not?), but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger to have one shirt shipped my way. Luckily, inspiration struck me a few weeks ago and I realized that I could justify shipping for one shirt to me IF another item came with it for someone else. So I ordered one for me, and one for my momma. She broke her sternum in a car accident in January and can’t run right now, BUT she’s still working out and she will run again, so what better to cheer her up than a super stylish run tank! Amiright?

Spoiler alert – she liked it! How could she not? Check out these gorgeous tops (I wish I could show you how soft they are. So, so soft! Also, forgive my complete lack of picture taking ability):

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They even come with little hair ties made out of the extra shirt fabric! How great is that? Now, Only Atoms gear is NOT cheap, but it’s not CHEAP either. They are literally made of the softest fabric I’ve ever felt. They’re also 100% made in New York City. Unlike the gear I pick up from Target and Old Navy, you know that everyone who worked on these shirts was paid a fair wage, in safe conditions.  So high quality + responsible business practices + beautifully designed = higher price. It’s worth it – and their clothes make a great gift! Also – let’s be real – it’s not more expensive that Lululemon or Athleta, and you know there’s bad juju going into their clothes.

If you’re interested in sustainable and ethical fashion, I recommend this great interview on the Rich Roll Podcast. It got me through two hours on the trainer on Friday night – effing snow – and I learned a lot!

Do you make any purchase decisions based on ethical or sustainability considerations?

Weekend Nutrition Edition

Hey-O! How’s everyone’s weekend going? I had a blast this morning, cheering for all the half marathoners running the United Airlines NYC Half with my Back on My Feet teammates. I made a couple of signs yesterday and they turned out to be a huge hit – with the runners and the cheerers! You can catch a video of the inspiring Lorenzo letting the runners know just how #badass they are on my instagram. I always have such a blast with BoMF and I can’t tell you enougpostersh how proud I am to be a member of the amazing BoMF NYC team! (Reminder- I’m fund-race-ing the NYC Triathlon for the org, and you can make a donation here. I will be eternally grateful, and it will be the best money you’ll ever spend. There are also NYC Marathon spots available if YOU want to fund-race for BoMF – you know you want to!)

But let’s get to what this post is really about – FOOD! As I may have mentioned, one of my biggest lessons in training this year has been the importance of nutrition. I borrowed The Complete Nutrition Guide for Triathletes from library (on my iPad), and it’s definitely helped me out. There’s nothing here you can’t find in various web articles, but it was great to have it all in one comprehensive source with charts and tips. The information I picked up there has informed how I fuel when I’m on the bike (or on the run), and changed how much water I take in mid-training sesh.  Apparently, there’s something called “cardiac drift” (not to be mistaken with Tokyo Drift of The Fast and the Furious fame), and it happens when you start dehydrating. Hence, when you are dehydrated, your heart has to pump faster and you don’t perform as well. So staying hydrated is a big part of a winning race plan. I know you’re all thinking, “DUH Aubrie,” but I’ve always been a “eat when you’re hungry, drink when you’re thirsty” kind of racer. As it turns out, this strategy may have been hurting my performance, and planning out my nutrition and hydration in advance – based on how much I sweat and the length of a race – could really help me out. It definitely seems to be making a difference in my workouts!

Corned Beef and CabbageThe more fun part of this conversation is all of the delicious food I get to eat when I’m NOT training! For starters – like most of you, I’m busy! I don’t have time to cook everyday. So I spend a few hours a week, usually on Sunday, to cook and prep things for the week. Nine times out of ten, I’m making a recipe I found on Pinterest. Last week I made corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot, and a thai curry with shrimp. While I don’t restrict myself of anything, I try to eat meals that are balanced with lots of veggies and a good amount of protein. I’ll usually eat salmon once a week (mostly canned salmon – I’m cheap), and get my protein from plant based sources (beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and nut butters) & dairy for about 1/3-1/2 of my meals each week. I eat more carbs now that I’m training, and I consume more calories with pre, during, and post-workout fuel (one or the other, pre or post is typically regular meal), but my eating habits haven’t changed a ton. I’m still experimenting, but on the whole, I think things are going pretty well!

If you’re looking for inspiration on the food (and general badass athlete) front, check out Athlete Food, or Ask Lauren Fleshman. Both are awesome!

What’s your nutrition strategy? Have a good resource for me to check out?

Everything is Awesome

WatchToday is just THE best. It’s warm, the sun is shining, we did HILL repeats at our team run earlier (I really, really like to run hills) AND I got to ride my bike outside after work, I had an iced coffee this morning, I’m watching my alma mater play in the Patriot League Champs (the GLORY league of NCAA Division 1 – obV) annnnd I’m rocking my new shark watch (see right). There are a lot of environmental factors driving my optimism today, but let’s talk about the internal factors that drive a positive mindset.

One of the things that’s come up over and over again in my quest to gain the knowledge of great athletes is that the mental preparation is every bit as important as the physical preparation. From visualization, to positive self-talk, your mind is 100% going to make or break you during a race, but it’s also a huge (and often overlooked) element in your training.

FUNIt can get pretty easy to start thinking about your workouts as work – especially when they’re taking up enough time to be a part-time job – but that’s a recipe for disaster. Unless you’re a professional, you’re not racing to put food on your table and roof over your head – you’re racing and training because it’s an activity you enjoy (I hope)! So first and foremost, it’s good to remember that while training IS hard, it’s supposed to be fun. Sure, sometimes you’ll leave a workout feeling trashed – but it should be an “I just kicked my ass and dug deep to get better at doing something I love, and it feels wonderful and awful” kind of trashed. (Yes, I love run on sentences. Don’t hate.)

So here are some tips to help you keep a positive mindset while training, gleaned from various sources across the internet, IRL, and via printed publications:

1) When shit gets really hard, smile. In fact, just smile once in awhile when you’re training and racing – be the crazy athlete with a shit-eating grin while you slog uphill.

2) If something goes wrong, instead of letting it eat away at your soul, identify what went wrong and why, and take steps to fix it. Did you just bonk? Check your nutrition and hydration.

3) Remember WHY you decided to do this. Are you trying to kick a goal on your bucket list? That 6am workout is hard to get up for, but isn’t it cool to know that you’re working towards a goal? Do you just LOVE to move? Remind yourself of that when you really really don’t want to lace up after work.

4) Talk nice to yourself. Yea, this shit sounds ridiculous, but it works. In the same way that the manner in which you talk to yourself about your body image will inform the person you see in the mirror; the way you talk to yourself about your training and capabilities will inform the person you’ll be on race day. Next time you feel like you’re slogging, remind yourself what a bad mamma jamma you are for working through it!

5) If you’re really truly having a shit time of it, you may need a break. Take a day or two off and focus on things that bring you joy. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a couple days, but rather, celebrate yourself for knowing your limits and taking the time you need in order to get to the finish line healthy and happy!

In the land of my training, I just took an extra day off because I took on one too many commitments the week after daylight savings (I struggle!).  It’s cool though, leading up to it, I had a solid week of training (albeit a little short on bike mileage – but high on fantastic outside runs), and this week, I’ve rejiggered my schedule a little bit to hit my time and distance goals for the week in spite of it. Whoop!

So, since it’s all in my head, I can be the next Michael Phelps, right…if I realllllllllly believe I can…

Do you have any tips or words of wisdom that inspire you stay positive?

What’s a girl gotta do for some “D”?

It’s no secret that the northeast is having one sludge of a winter. And yes, you’re all tired of hearing about it. So I’m just going to move right along and tell you I’ve already gone on two lovely runs outside this week, in spite of the horrifying view from Monday night:ICEBERG AHEAD!

YeeaauP, that is the frozen wasteland formerly known as New York Harbor. Thankfully, that view wasn’t representative of how cold it felt. It was actually pretty pleasant running weather… but given the icebergs, you all think I’m a badass now, right?

Last week was fun. I got to hang with my little younger brother on Saturday. We went to see The Events at New York Theatre Workshop (its great, go see it!), then I brought him to the infamous Crocodile Lounge. When you buy a drink, they GIVE you a pizza. I’m not kidding. You should go there. I feel like there’s a world where I organize a long run that ends there this summer…*

If you follow me on twitter, you know I engaged in some dangerous behavior on Friday night. Online shopping over wine has damaged many a credit score. I hid my cards from myself, so I didn’t end up buying anything, but I’m still considering (and lusting over) these, this, this, and these. You can find em all on my pinterest boards too!

I also made some DIY beauty products over the weekend. The jury is still out, but I’ll give you a round up of what did and didn’t work for me in the next month or so. I definitely have some doubts, but I pride myself on being a human guinea pig, so bottoms up!

IMG_1792On the training front, I spent just under four hours on this trainer at the rec center. My butt + that seat = BFFs. The rec center has definitely grown on me, I mean you really can’t beat full access to a bike trainer and some good lap-swim hours when you’re in training. That said, I’ve got a serious hankering for the road and the sunshine. Spring is coming right? (And Game of Thrones!)

I also knocked out 3500 yards in the pool, ran for an hour and 10 mins (which was short of my goal for the week – especially since I have a half marathon in a month), and logged two 25 min strength sessions.

It was a decent week of training – definitely above and beyond any of my previous weeks on the bike – but I didn’t do a great job of planning on the nutrition front. As one of my favorite Rockstars says “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” and I dropped the ball there. I’ve definitely found that both WHAT I eat, and WHEN I eat it have a much more significant effect when training. (This girl needs to be eating more Vitamin D if it isn’t coming from the sun!) I’m doing a ton of research to try and dial in on what works for me, and I’ll give ya’ll a rundown of the findings soon!

I’ve also found that getting enough (and quality) sleep can make or break a day’s workout. It’s so huge! I love my sleep, but I never realized how MUCH it matters. With occasional two-a-days, I’m definitely still figuring out the best way to balance AM and PM workouts in a way that gets me in bed early enough for 7-8 hours. Accepting any and all tips!

I also think I need to concede that I need some yoga in my life. I’ve been terrible at prioritizing it in the past (I go, but never regularly), but now may be the time. I’m not sure WHERE the time will come from, but I may have to make it. Maybe I’ll just stop folding my laundry :)

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*Would you be interested in joining me for a long run that ends in beer and free pizza?