1/2 Marathon PR in NYC + Thailand & Ibiza

A few things:

St Jude is awesome
Running through Times Square when it’s shutdown is amazing
I PR’ed my half marathon time by 1.5 minutes
I’m pretty sure I’ll be living in NYC in the next year or 2 because I love it so much
Vacations are never vacations for me
I need to learn to wear sun block & not fall asleep on the beach
I’m going to Thailand AND Ibiza in October

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind – so much, in fact, that I barely took any pictures. The race weekend was jam-packed full of running, meeting up with friends, celebrating, and spending time with family. By the time my (delayed) flight got in after midnight on Wednesday, the last thing I wanted to do was work a 12-hour day on Thursday… but, like all my travels, no regrets 🙂

stages-of-sleepiness-20634-1302142060-2

How I felt by the time I got back home

I flew into NYC Friday morning, checked into my hotel, and picked up my packet. I got a good look at the race course – and I’m so glad I did! I had never run in Central Park, but apparently there are a decent amount of hills. I got the rundown on what to expect from others who have run this course before, and it was extremely helpful!

Grey Dog Cafe NYC

Brunch before the Expo: Grey Dog Cafe in Chelsea!

Afterwards, I took a nap before heading out to Sadelle’s – one of my new favorite places for drinks & awesome bread (with truffle honey & Icelandic sea salt – amazing!). I caught up with a friend from my Belize yoga teacher training over dinner and drinks… It never ceases to amaze me the people I stay in touch with from all of my travels!

NYC_Nina Elise

Saturday consisted of sleeping in, then finally meeting the coordinators of the St Jude Charity & the other runners! Everyone was So nice, and I spent about 2 hours chatting with everyone. As a total group, all runners raised ~ $50,000 for St Jude!! That’s 50 Chemo treatments for children with cancer! Just absolutely amazing.

Afterwards, I went on a coffee date with a new friend, then headed over to Jivamukti Yoga to take a class with another friend I met at the Cuchira Yogance workshop I took back in December. She convinced me to go to Thailand in September with her… I mean, why not??

Most trips I take aren’t personal – I always take yoga classes or workshops at other studios everywhere I go in order to learn more as a teacher and grow my own practice. I always take a ton of learnings back, and I think Jivamukti is my favorite yoga class I have taken to date! I am planning my next trip to NYC in the next month or so to check out a few other studios – next time I might not come back 😉

united airlines half marathon 2016

Afterwards, I made it back to my hotel and prepped for the race, laying everything out so I could sleep in a little longer in the morning. Fast forward a very sleepless night (who doesn’t get nervous the night before a race??), I hopped on a train and headed to Central Park. Since there were over 20K runners, it was a bit hectic… meaning, I was sprinting to my corral at 7:30 before they closed it…. I ended up being fine, but looked like a crazy person. My hands were full of water, gu, my gloves, an extra shirt… I think next time I am going to bring a friend to run this race with me!

The race has been my favorite to-date – central park was a bit hilly, but I ended up running a negative split & PR’ing by 1.5 minutes. It wasn’t my goal time, but considering I missed 2 months of training due to tendinitis & no speed work… I’ll take it!

nina elise nike half marathon

The last half of the course is pretty much downhill/flat once you get out of Central Park, and running through Times Square was unreal! It’s the only other time it’s closed off besides New Years, so it’s a treat to run through the streets. I wanted to take pictures/run with my go pro, but also didn’t want to slow myself down any more… hence the lack of pictures.

Nina Elise Run

Once I finished the race, I couldn’t believe how organized NYRR was… I immediately had a blanket & my medal handed to me, and was then directed to go pick up a bag full of post-race hydration & snacks. I was on the train back to my hotel within 20 minutes of crossing the finish line!

united-airlines-half-2016

My body was hurting, so I took a shower and headed to a water spa for the day. I ended up spending the most time in the nap room after sitting in the saunas… much needed! Afterwards, I stopped to grab some food before my massage:

Le Pain

Avocado Toast + Lemon, Ginger & Honey Tea

Yep, I’ll probably move to the city just for the food.

After my massage, I showered & went out with a friend for dinner & drinks. I’ve been wanting to go to Black Tap – I follow their instagram, and the milkshakes look Unreal. The burger was really good, but my stomach was not ready for that milkshake (the amount of gu’s consumed during my race always makes me not want to eat for a week straight). It was sooo sweet & peanut-buttery! But look at it. It looks so.so.good.

Black Tap NYC

Following dinner with more drinks, we ended up not crashing until 2 or 3…or maybe later… drinking celebratory drinks after finishing a half marathon is totally necessary, so no regrets.

4:30 am rolls around, and my airport shuttle was waiting to take me to JFK… family was waiting for me in Florida! 4 hours later, and I’m hanging out with my cousins… ok, I was napping off a hangover, but AFTER I hung out with my cousins!! It was actually too cold & windy to go to the beach, so we stayed in, and my cousin’s fiance cooked us smoked wings on the grill. So.So.Good.

Candy Cigarettes

On the 2nd & 3rd day, we were burnt to a crisp (blisters on my ear :(), but it was so relaxing and nice to not have to worry about work!

Florida Nina Elisa

Pre-Sunburn

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Wednesday night, I boarded my (delayed) flight back to Ohio , arriving home around 12:30 am. Note: The entire right side of my body was completely red & sun burnt – I looked like 2-face from batman. Seriously, not a comfortable flight back.

So what’s next for running? Resting up the next few weeks, then training for another half… I am determined to get under 1:50! Any suggestions on great courses? I will definitely be running this half again next year – and seriously recommend anyone who likes to run to do it! It actually went by really quickly, but it was so well organized, and the actual course basically sets you up to PR/negative split.

Upcoming travels: NYC in a month. San Francisco in June (TBD-my bank account kind of hates me right now). Thailand & Ibiza in September/October.

Yep, Thailand AND Ibiza! Flights are booked to Thailand and from Ibiza… All I need to do is buy my connecting flight from Thailand to Ibiza! So Yoga retreat with a friend, taught by 2 famous yogi’s for 1 week in Thailand, then jetting off to Ibiza the week after with a few of my favorite people! More yoga, relaxing, and dancing. I’ll be gone for almost a month! More to come on this…. 🙂

So what’s everyone else up to? Travel plans? Has anyone ever been to Thailand or Ibiza? Tips on running a sub- 1:50 half marathon? Best half marathons to run?

Fueling for Long Runs + St Jude

Ok, this is my last post on the St Jude yoga fundraiser, I SWEAR! And it’s only to talk about how much of a success it was! I’ve never organized or put on an event like this before, so I had no idea what to expect. The amount of people that came out and donated totally blew me away – 36 people showed up, and over $400 was donated to St Jude!! 

St Jude yoga fundraiser Land Grant

We all squeezed into the brewery, and I led a 45 minute vinyasa flow. People that had never done yoga before showed up and did amazing! And the support from my friends.. no words.. The entire event just filled my heart up. This was such an important event to me, and I could not have done it without the support of strangers, friends, New friends, & family.

Yoga St Jude Yoga Fundraiser

So thank you, thank you, to everyone who has supported St Jude… These children need all the help they can get after being diagnosed with cancer, and your donations help make the journey to recovery much less stressful.

If you would still like to donate, you still have time – a few days left to raise the last $600. And did I mention I’ll be matching every single donation that comes in?? So really, only $300 more!  Every dollar is appreciated!

You can donate to St Jude here 🙂

Ok. So just to give everyone a recap of what’s been happening in my life:
– New part time job (in addition to my full time AND teaching yoga) – and I don’t even really consider it a job, because it’s fun!
– Planning/packing for my NYC & Florida trip in 2 weeks!
– Teaching an arm balance workshop next Sunday
-I’ve cut my runs down to spare the tendinitis in my foot. So 3 runs a week instead of 4, and doing acupuncture 1x week, cryotherapy after my long runs, Rolfing, and Active Release Therapy. (let’s just say i’m taking a hiatus from running after this half marathon for awhile…) But, so far, so good! I am going for a 14 mile run on Saturday before I begin to taper… the race is 2 weeks away!!

Old woman running

Sometimes I feel like an old woman with my running injuries

I’ve been experimenting with fuel for my long runs, and I think I’ve figured out exactly what I need:

  • Oatmeal + banana + protein bar 2 hours before run
  • 1 gu w/caffeine 5 minutes before run
  • jelly beans/sports chews every few miles
  • 1 Gu + 1/2 banana at mile 5/6 AND mile 9/10 (I mix together beforehand & put in ziplock bags or reusable food pouches)
  • Taking sips of electrolyte water from my 12 oz handheld water bottle  every once in awhile (I grab plain water along the route when I eat my gus).. BTW – just bought this, and I don’t know how I lived without it before!!!

My metabolism is fast and I burn through food really, really quickly. I joke that I need to run with a burrito in my back pocket to eat halfway through my runs.

hamster burrito

Yes, this is a hamster eating a tiny burrito

Side note – I found out about Enduropacks online and it has been AMAZING for electrolyte replacement during my long runs. I struggle with that anytime I workout, so about 5-10 sprays in my water helps keep my levels balanced (the spray lasts a long time!). And no, I didn’t get paid or get anything free to write this… just another runner sharing tips that have helped me! 🙂

So what does everyone else take with them on long runs? Any tips on what to drink, eat, do, or NOT do?? 

Have you ever ran a race for charity? If so, what charity did you support & why? I’d love to hear your experience!

Yoga for St Jude

Hello!

With 1 month away from my half marathon in NYC, I have been working hard on putting together an event to raise money for St Jude. So far, I am only about halfway to my first goal of raising $1500 for the children of St Jude ($2500 being my stretch goal!).

Luckily, Land Grant Brewing in Columbus, Ohio has joined forces with me to help! For those of you in Columbus, Ohio – mark Saturday, February 27th on your calendars! I will be teaching a 45 minute donation-based yoga class at the brewery beginning at 11 am. Following the class, $1 from every beer purchased will be donated to St Jude!

You can sign up on the Facebook page here – please arrive at 10:30 to fill out a waiver & secure a good spot to practice in the brewery!

For anyone not in Columbus, please consider donating to the children of St Jude. They are cheated of their childhood by having to battle cancer, and every child deserves to be stress free!  St Jude takes care of every expense for the child AND their family, including treatment, lodging, flights, etc. St Jude is such an amazing organization, not just for taking care of children with cancer, but also researching/finding cures for cancers.

You can learn more about St Jude here!
You can donate to St Jude here – even if it’s $1, every penny counts!!

Thank you all for your support <3

Yoga For St Jude Nina Elise Yoga

Weekend Update: Aerial Yoga, Acupuncture, Cryotherapy & More!

It’s been a while since I last posted, and a LOT has happened! After coming back from California, I had a sinus infection that lasted over 2 weeks! Between being sick and taking the last 2 weeks off from running (WHAT?!), I found other ways to fill my time that were less stressful (I can’t NOT be productive, it’s just not in my blood to be ;)).

So to start off – I have peroneal tenonitis. I don’t know how, and the only thing I can think that could have caused this is 1) my shoes, and 2) upping my mileage too quickly. I ran 9 miles the weekend I got back from San Francisco, and the next day I my foot started to bother me while teaching 2 yoga classes in the morning, and a 2-hour handstand workshop in the afternoon. By the end of the day, I couldn’t even put weight on my foot. It literally came out of nowhere! So, with less than 1.5 months before my half marathon, I couldn’t walk, and had no idea why. Cue panic.

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Take me back to running in Sunny SF!

So what did I do? Research like crazy, begin LOTS of stretching and rehabilitation, and stopped running immediately. The peroneals are actually these skinny tendons that run up the outside of your calf. The tendons connect to a bone on the outside of your foot, which is exactly where I had my pain. Most people have pain around their ankles, but mine was closer to where the tendon attaches. [Tendonitis generally occurs due to weak/tight calf muscles, running too many miles too soon, running a lot of hills/uneven terrain, or bad tennis shoes.]

Thinking I wasn’t going to be able to run in the NYC Half marathon, I tried several different methods to try to heal up my foot as quickly as possible:

  1. Stop running & stretch the peroneals, using a lacross ball to loosen up the calf/legs (so.painful.)
  2. Do Cryotherapy (Basically standing in a freezer that’s NEGATIVE 170 degrees for 3 minutes). Some of the benefits of cold therapy are increased muscle recovery, increased energy, and reducing inflammation.

ohio cryotherapy (2)

After stripping down to my underwear and putting on 2 pairs of gloves & socks, I got to hang out in a freezer for 3 minutes. Definitely not the most enjoyable experience, but a ton of athletes use it, so I was down to try anything to help my foot!

ohio cryotherapy gahanna

Freezing my buns off

3. Acupuncture: I’ve done this before, but with no results. However, I found someone who does more of dry-needling – a liiiitle more intense, where the needle goes deeper into the muscle to release myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues. Definitely painful. Definitely worth it. After just 2 sessions, I’ve noticed relief in the tightness of my tendon, IT band pain on my left knee gone, AND increased energy (bonus!). I go for my 3rd session tomorrow morning, and I’ll be continuing this a few times a month (or at least until my race is over!). Thanks to Jess who blogged about her acupuncture… so glad I gave it another try!

4. Rolfing: Treatment is described as a “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity.” (Wiki) I did this about 1 year ago – you can read about it here and here and here – but decided I needed a refresher. My hips have been super tight and out of whack since august, and no amount of stretching or chiropractic adjustments have been able to help. My first appointment consisted of working on the feet & lower legs – breaking up scar tissue & working with the soft tissue. Def not a pleasant experience, but I’m really hoping that these sessions will be able to bring relief for this tendinitis, as well as help my hips/lower back. More to come on this!

5. Sports Doctor – I had x-rays done, just to be sure nothing was broken. My dr gave me a brace & an anti-inflammatory, and said to just continue with cross training. I also didn’t need physical therapy, and I should be fine (my foot was starting to feel better after ~ 1 week). So Good News!!

In my time off, I did cross training like cycling & surreal stride to keep up with leg strength & cardio. I also decided to try Aerial Yoga – this requires a bit of thinking, as you have to figure out what part of your body is in the hanging silks when you are moving around… but it was a lot of fun!

Nina Elise aerial yoga

Upon walking into the room, there are special-cut yoga mats on the ground with silks hanging from the ceiling.

Yoga on high ariel yoga

The best part was Savasana – the instructor gave you a little swing – wrapped up in your silk – and it felt like you were hanging over a lake in the mountains. It was so peaceful!

nina elise yoga on high aeriel yoga

So after all this madness, and after all these different treatments for my tendinitis, I finally began running again – 2 miles this past Saturday, and 3 on Monday. I only had a bit of uncomfortable feeling the first mile or so, but after that, my foot felt fine. So fingers crossed I can finish training & run the half marathon in NYC!

Regardless, the main reason for doing this race is to raise money for St Jude – so I will still be making the trip out there, and plan on hitting my goal of raising $1,500! (You can donate here :)) Also – I’m putting on a Yoga charity event – I’ll be posting more details soon, but you can sign up here! It’s a donation-based yoga class at a brewery.. can’t go wrong with that 😉

What has everyone else been up to? Have you ever tried acupuncture, rolfing, or cryotherapy?

Marathoners in Training

Hi all!

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I had joined MIT – Marathoners in Training, a local running group that was highly recommended by my boss & one of my favorite bloggers, Nikki at Will Run for Pizza. The cold and the cost ($120) has always deterred me from signing up – but, since it’s been a fairly mild winter, and I felt like running 20+ miles a week on top of my already busy schedule, I decided to join!

So far, the community has been great! My holidays were not the greatest, and I have been grumpy gills for basically the past month. Top that with getting up at 6:30 am on Saturday morning to run 7+ miles in the 15 degree cold on my only day to sleep in, you would think that I might hurt someone that early in the morning. Fortunately, I’m not that awake that early, and everyone in MIT is so welcoming! I ran the first half of my run listening to music, and trying not to focus on my frozen legs (NOTE: I went out and spent a few $$$ on warm running clothes after my run!!). The second half, I started chatting with another member in my pace group, which made the run much more enjoyable AND go by quicker.

Nina Elise Running

By the time I finished my run, there were bagels & water waiting for everyone, and I was able to chat with one of the running coaches about training afterwards. Overall, I feel pretty confident about running my upcoming half in 2 months, although not so much about PR’ing. Ideally, I want to break 1:45, but I am completely ok with just breaking my last half time – 1:53. However, if not, totally OK – it’s all for charity, and I am going to enjoy my run through the 5 boroughs of NYC!

(Side note – if you would like to support my run by donating to St Jude, you can find my fund page here. Every cent helps, and your support is so much appreciated!!)

Anyways – a few things I have learned so far:

  • Always go slower, as you don’t want to wear your body out
  • Save fast runs for interval training days (I normally like to sprint at the end of my runs – I guess it’s better to just keep going slow & let your body rest!)
  • Get your miles in! The more miles, the more your body will be accustomed to long-distance runs
  • Run 14-16 miles before my half marathon – this will build confidence, and your body will be better prepared to run the 13 miles (coming from a yoga student & fellow MITer)
  • Test out drinking water/when to eat/different types of food to eat when training a few months out (I am awful at this! I eat a feast AND gu before my long races and get burnt out by mile 5… I am considering bringing a burrito with me to eat during my race ;))

I’ll be in California in less than 2 weeks, so I am going to have to figure how to get my miles in before or after my 10-hour yoga training days while traveling! With that being said – are there any good running spots I should know about in San Francisco? I have 3 entire days to roam about and do whatever I want, and running is the best place to explore & get to know the area!

For all you runners out there – have you ever trained with a group like MIT? If so, what have you learned from it? I’d love to hear from you!

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