Becky Runs Boston

My adventures running in Boston, searching for that runner's chai.


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My (kinda) first Spinning Class

Before I get into my post, I’m thrilled to announce we’re more than 10% of the way towards our $3,000 goal for Sweet Paws Rescue. With 13 weeks between now and the start of my 3 half-marathon challenge, we’ll need to keep this pace up! Check out the Sweet Paws Rescue Facebook to read the amazing stories of the dogs they’re saving. I hope you will consider a gift to support them! Please visit my fundraising page! TODAY ONLY, gifts of $20 will be matched with $5 – aka, $20 = $25, $40 = $50, $60 = $75. Don’t pass up this opportunity to make an even bigger difference!

Also, for the runners out there, I highly recommend checking out the United Relay of America. Starting in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, runners will be running across the country. They’ll be in almost every state, so there’s a chance they’ll be running near YOU! If you’re in the Boston area, join me for an 8-mile run from Watertown to Boston. Or, you can always make a gift to support my fundraising minimum for Boston Children’s Hospital!

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Ok, why haven’t I been going to spinning classes? They are AMAZING! A few years ago when I was living in Watertown, I belonged to a gym that offered spinning classes. I was pretty obsessed with running, but decided to take an early morning spin class just to try it. And it was awful. I hated it. I was bored and it wasn’t fun. So I actively avoided spinning for years.

After hearing two friends separately rave about Velo-City, I decided to give spinning another chance, and I am SO happy that I did. Their classes have a variety of musical themes that are designed to really pump up the riders and get them excited. It’s a lot of dance music and Top 40 hits and then some great throwbacks. Last night we went to the Top 40 Remix, which was mostly just a lot of Justin Bieber, but it got everyone’s energy up and moving! Some other themes they offer include: Bieber vs. Timberlake, Songs of Summer, Britney vs. NSync vs. Christina, etc.

The studio is located in a hidden basement off of Newbury Street in Back Bay, and the classes are taught in a dark room where neon colors shine. They provide special bike shoes (man, those are silly looking), and one of the staff members took a few minutes to explain how to adjust the bike for my height and preferences. Within minutes, I was pouring sweat. The class was constantly moving and changing – speed work, hills, ‘jumping’, push-ups, and there were even hand weights! It was one of the best workouts I’ve had in a while, and suffice it to say, I will be back asap!

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2 Month Goal Check-In

The first two months of being 28 years old are officially over (WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!), so I thought it might be good to check in and see how I’m doing on my goals. Here are some updates:

3. Run 6 half marathons. 1 down, 1 this weekend, 3 to go!

5. ACTUALLY begin doing yoga regularly again. I went to yoga! Once! But my lower back kind of hurt afterwards. I’m considering going back next week. I know that strengthening my back would make it hurt less, and yoga is a decent way to do that, it’s just probably going to take some time.

8. Make our new house a home. In Progress. We’ve painted the living room and dining room. We still need to paint the bedrooms, office, and entryway. The artwork is no longer piled up in a corner of a room and is now spread up among the rooms where I think I want to hang them. Just need to get out the hammer and nails.

9. Check out November Project on a Wednesday morning. Fail. Maybe Wednesday? I’m having trouble getting the motivation to go by myself and have been asking people if they want to join me. Anyone? Bueller? Please? I tweeted at the November Project about how one of these weeks I’ll actually get there, and someone responded that saying stuff like that meant nothing and that if I want to make it happen, I need to be more accountable. So, that was awkward. I tweeted back and said I’m going Wednesday, so I think I actually have to go now… Also, now there’s another run club, RunFellow, that I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I also want to check out. If stairs aren’t your thing, how about running in a group? Anyone?

10. Get back to my goal weight… and stay there. Ugh. I’m still about 7 pounds off from my goal weight and it’s annoying as hell. I’m trying something new to see if a shake up in the routine will help, and instead of Weight Watchers, I’ve been using Lose It! a relatively new calorie-counting app. I like the app, but I haven’t (yet) been successful. Some days I track using both apps which is kind of a pain, but helps to compare how I’m doing in regards to both.

16. Pay off those credit cards. YES!

18. Find a place to volunteer 1x a month. Working on it. We’re so busy that it’s hard to figure out where/when. I’m hoping that once the summer is over (and we no longer have plans EVERY.SINGLE.WEEKEND) we’ll have more time to devote to others.

23. Keep a plant alive. So far so good! I got 2 little plants from Trader Joes the weekend after we moved in and they’re both still alive! Sister also gifted me a little cactus. That’s 5 plants in the house right now. They’re all alive. They have little buds, which I’m pretty sure means that they’re GROWING. And I’m the one watering them!

24. Cook 28 new foods/dishes. I made strawberry rhubarb pie for the first time a few weekends ago, so there’s one! Although, I got so excited about the people who came over for a little cook-out that I accidentally left it in the oven… for an hour and a half. Whoops. It was still (mostly) edible! For July 4th, I made this Red, White, and Blue Fruit Pizza from Skinnytaste (don’t be fooled by the name, it was actually more of a cookie cake and it was DELICIOUS). And I made this skinny taco dip too (also from Skinnytaste), which was also super yummy. AND my ‘big sis’ came to visit last month and sent me the Runners World Cookbook as a thank you that I am SO excited to start cooking from!

Ignore how gross I look - focus on how pretty my masterpiece is!

Ignore how gross I look – focus on how pretty my masterpiece is!

The taco dip was almost gone before sister and her bf came over to the house.

The taco dip was almost gone before sister and her bf came over to the house.

25. 28 days of running at least a mile every day. See yesterday’s post.

SO that’s the update! The year is already 1/6th over! It is crazy to think about. Time is flying, so I must be having fun 🙂

What goals are you working on this summer? Tell me in the comments!


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Goal 25 and #RWRunStreak

The Runner’s World #RWRunStreak is officially over and while I didn’t run at least a mile every day between Memorial Day and 4th of July, I think I did pretty darn well.

RunStreak

I had a rough start to the challenge, missing a couple days right in that first week. Then, MapMyFitness didn’t register one of my runs (probably because I barely did 1 mile). But starting Thursday, June 5th, I think I did a great job. I ran every day except for one day where Eric and I went for a 35 mile bike ride and the day after when I rode by bike to and from work (but didn’t get a run in). That is 30 solid days in a row of some kind of solid fitness.

So what did I learn this past month? That my legs are tired and need a break every now and then. A lot of nights, I passed out on the couch before 9pm even rolled around-probably because of how much I’ve been working my body. I also learned that working out every day does not necessarily cause me to lose more weight than I would while taking rest days, as I am exactly the same weight as I was 30 dad ago (aka, still 7 pounds over goal, grrrr).

However, I also learned how easy it is to just run 1 mile. There were a lot of days where I told myself “Dude, you’re working really hard right now, so just go out there and put in 10 mins.” And BAM, less than 10 minutes later, I was done. (I also ran my fastest mile, under 8:30… And it was after a few hours of eating and drinking hard ciders so who knows what my potential is under better circumstances!).

Finally, now that I’m done with the 30 days and I’m also tapering in preparation for this weekend’s Narragansett Half Marathon, I’m having a hard time “being ok” with not running every morning. I took Tuesday off, my first real break (well, I did bike to work) and during the day started to consider checking out RunFellow, a new running group in the Somerville/Cambridge area that was having it’s first run on Tuesday night. When I got home, I remembered “Oh wait, I’m NOT supposed to run today. Right. Keep sitting.”

I think I’ll try the run streak again in the winter, when I need that extra motivation to get outside and I won’t be biking as much. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I did this time around.

Today is another non-run day (although it was a bike-to-work day). Tomorrow I’ll do another 3 miles. Saturday I’ll rest (and by rest, I mean shop all day long with Sarah). Sunday I’ll run. Wish me luck!


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It’s Going to be a Sweaty Summer

I am a sweaty person. I’ve always been a sweaty person. I have a vivid memory from when I was in 5th grade that is the moment I knew I was destined to sweat… a lot… for the rest of my life. It was my birthday and my mom came to my elementary school to bring birthday treats for my class. I was on the other side of the school’s yard and when I found out she had arrived, I ran and ran as fast as I could to the classroom. When I stopped running, a male classmate turned to me and said “Wow, I’ve never seen a girl sweat that much before.” Yup. 5th Grade. I was destined for sweaty greatness.

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#false

Now that summer is here, it feels like I’m in a constant state of sweat waterfall. As in, a waterfall of sweat is pouring out of me. Since I run in the early morning before work, I can usually count on it being relatively cool compared to the rest of the day, but I’m still a mess when I get home. I’ve had to start giving myself at least 20-30 minutes after a run and before I shower so that I can adequately cool down. Otherwise, I’ll just be a sweaty mess again within 5 minutes of getting out of the shower. And you know what’s not a good look? Being a sweaty mess in a business casual outfit.

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Amen to that!

What’s even more fun is that I’ve begun dabbling in biking the 3 miles to work. It’s so quick (22 minutes!) and relatively easy and flat, but it’s definitely a more sweaty endeavor than walking and taking the T. I’ve had to slip into the bathroom to Wet-Wipe myself off, change my shirt, and put on a new layer of deodorant. Worth it? Undecided at this point, but I’ll keep doing it a few times a week for the meantime.

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If only that was true… Sigh.

Besides the sweat, what’s your least favorite part of training during the summer months? We all know the good stuff, but let’s think negatively so that 6 months from now we can tell ourselves that training in the winter is the best!

 


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Five Things Friday

All the cool kids (and by cool kids, I mean blogs I follow) seem to do the occasional “Five Things Friday” post so I figured I would join the fun and do my own. Here are 5 awesome things going on in my life right now:

1. This weekend is Boston Calling and I am so excited to spend the next 2 days listening to music. High School Becky is pumped to see musicians like Jenny Lewis, Death Cab for Cutie, and Brand New, while Present Day Becky is thrilled to see bands like The Neighbourhood, The Head and the Heart, and Bastille. It’s supposed to be a little rainy tomorrow, but as long as it isn’t freezing like last year, I can handle it (Last year, Eric brought winter gloves because he knew I was going to need them… even though I scoffed at the idea. Love my guy.) AND on Tuesday, we’re going to a free Delta Spirit show!

Boston Calling Music Festival

2. Training is going super well. Yesterday I took my first rest day in a week after successfully running or biking every day for a week. This morning, I did my first work-week bike ride and was successful in incorporating cross-training into the week. Tomorrow I’ll be running 12 miles as my last long run before the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon on Sunday, June 8.

3. Holy moly my social life is blowing up. Now that we live closer to the city, I’m way less anxious about making plans with friends and other couples after work and I have lots of fun plans coming up to see friends that I haven’t seen in months/years.

4. Did I mention it’s a 3-day weekend? A 3-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer? It may be cloudy and misty, but Monday is supposed to be lovely, as is the rest of the week!

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Mostly sunny with a 10% chance of rain? I’ll take it!

5. This shirt is amazing and I think I need it. Or this one. I bought shirts from ActivateApparel.com for me and Sarah that we wore during our March half marathon and their inventory is just perfect and hilarious in every way.

We’re the cutest, duh. ActivateApparel needs us as models.

 


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BikePsyched

You could say I’ve *dabbled* in biking. I grew up in a hilly neighborhood (walking home up hill from high school with my heavy backpack is probably the original source of my back problems). Biking around was never fun because of those hills (seriously, its a roller coaster). While I know how to ride a bike, I didn’t spend a lot of time on one as a kid (like Eric and other friends of mine) and am therefore somewhat of a nervous biker. I ALWAYS wear a helmet.

When I moved back to Boston after a 9 month stay in Los Angeles (after graduating a month early from undergrad and before starting grad school), one of the first things I purchased was a bicycle. From Target. For approximately $100. It’s pretty stellar. I biked a little bit that first fall with friends (but not once did I manage to bike up the monstrous hill to my Somerville apartment).

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One of the first biking adventures, circa 2008, when friends and I took the train to Concord and biked around the town and Walden Pond.

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Also circa 2008 – proof that I always wear a helmet and wear ridiculous shoes (these were a yellow-ish brown color).

A couple years ago, Eric and I decided to venture out on the bike path that connects Waltham to the Charles River Esplanade. Until you get to Cambridge, the path is beautiful. Some dirt pathways. Great views of the Charles River. And totally secluded from the roads. On this particularly beautiful day that we went out on a bike adventure, I managed to bike straight into the curb at the intersection of Soldiers Field Road and Cambridge Street… you know, just your average major intersection. Me, my bike, and my dignity were sprawled out in the middle of the street.

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She should have been wearing a helmet.

After a hobble down the street to a Rite Aid where we purchased all the necessary first-aid equipment to help my road burned thigh and cut up leg and ankle, I was stubborn enough to keep riding along and still have a lovely day with my main squeeze. Eric now always bikes behind me, I continue to always wear my helmet, and I’m still very scared of sidewalk curbs.

Where am I going with this? Well, in addition to having the most wonderful and short commute thanks to this move back to Somerville, we are now a block from an epic bike path. The Somerville bike path starts about a block from our house and goes straight to Davis Square on a lovely route that is tree-lined and filled with runners, families, dogs, and bikers. The bike path connects to the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, which travels north through Cambridge, Arlington, and Lexington to Bedford.

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Spy Pond in Arlington. Hello, most beautiful morning ever.

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The Minuteman Commuter Bikeway

Eric is thrilled to pieces that we live so close to the bike path, even to the point where he woke up at 5:30 am with me one day last week to go on a bike ride before work. It really is perfect since I run the path (I ran out 5 miles, back 5 miles on Saturday for my 10 mile long run) most mornings.

Even though Sunday is supposed to be my rest day, Eric and I ventured out yesterday on what I hope is the first of many bike rides. I hadn’t been on my bike for more than a year (I don’t think I took the bike out of the previous house’s shed the whole year we lived there), but it felt awesome. AND I ran (biked) into my favorite biking friend and her beau while on the path. I struggle with cross-training, but now that I know how easy it is to get on my bike, bike to the trail, and ride for miles, hopefully I’ll keep it up and do it once a week!

How do you cross-train? What are your tips for the novice bike rider who wants to make it a bigger part of her overall half-marathon training?