Resolve to Surrender

Resolve to Surrender

My largest resolution is to surrender to the feelings, the moments, and the process of growing and evolving each minute, hour, day, and week of the new year. I resolve to fully absorb.

The effects of this resolution to surrender transcend into a few different things:

The first is a different approach to goal-making and goal-tracking. I recently read an article The Art of Goal Setting by pro runner Lauren Fleshman that resonated deeply with what I’m striving for in 2018. She urges us to “set process goals, not outcome goals.” The reason for this is that the process is within our control. Because of this it makes the steps of goal setting and goal reaching more introspective, and therefore more attainable. For example, my goal of running a sub-4 marathon is NOT an example to follow. While that may be a part of the initial process of wish-listing, the course, weather, sickness, or any number of things could have ruined a whole summer of training in one explosion of disappointment.

If I had instead set out to say my goals were to do X number of workouts per week, pushing myself Y number of days, and keeping a training journal to hold myself accountable, I may have seen the process transition into the ultimate result.

The second is to to high-bar the goal-setting path. In 2017, I set goals that I’d been tickling for so long they were no longer something on the distant horizon. Even before the 2017 new year, I had what I would consider a near-breakdown over my job situation. I’d also already discussed with said man of my dreams about the potential to move in together. These weren’t really goals so much as they were “plans.” As a result I stripped myself from the potential to truly dig into my soul and see what I was capable of. Apart from pushing myself further than I ever have before in my running, I wasn’t really reaching to capture my other goals. I was lazily jotting down nice things I hoped would happen to me, but was already pretty sure would.

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Racers take your mark.

Racers take your mark.

"Racers take your mark.."

The words and moments of dripping adrenaline before coasting into the familiar movements after a season of training. I think it's safe to say this in close combination with the minute I step over the finish line and feel the aura of accomplishment are what keeps me - maybe keeps us all - racing.

In exactly 2 weeks, I step onto the start line of the Chicago marathon anticipating those words, those feelings. Despite the nerves and anxiousness already setting in, I'm craving them. I'm craving the feeling of overcoming every challenging workout, humidity streaked practice, pulled mid-season muscle, and frequently bruised ego which has been the hallmark of this training season.

A good friend of mine told me a few weeks back, "It's not the running that gets harder. My body knows how to do that at this point. It's the mental part of the sport that just keeps getting harder."

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My New York Tribe

My New York Tribe

The New York running community is like nothing I could have possibly imagined. It’s a group of exceedingly diverse, multi-leveled, pretty freaking weird souls all out on the pavement just trying to survive. The very concept of the “everyday athlete” – a term I’ve often used to describe the basis on which the Happy Runner Diaries was created – seems to have been born in New York. Here there are elites, there are beginners, there are mothers, charity runners, and multi-sport athletes all sharing the course with nothing but love for each other. There’s no room for entitlement, because in true New York fashion, no matter how you’re acting, we honestly don’t give a sh*t.

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New York City Half Hacks

New York City Half Hacks

Much to my disappointment, I've never really been the kind of person that can leave it all on the road race morning, pulling out my best performance on the course despite whatever's been going on at practice. Slight amounts of jealousy aside, what's left is nothing less than admiration for these types of racers. I'm, instead, the type of runner that puts my body through hell at practice, somehow still letting nerves/fear/bad luck get the best of me race morning.

I do have those miraculous kinds of days. But it's always on a random Thursday night when I'm extra amped up from work and need to shed negativity straight out of my sneakers. Alternatively, I'll knock out a PR when I'm pretend-racing my teammates on a long run, resting on my ego that in that moment I know I can push a little harder than everyone else at that specific moment in time. Mmkay, great. This doesn't serve me any glory on a course...so what gives?

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Expos as a Metaphor

Expos as a Metaphor

I’ve been in such dread for the New York City half expo that I actually drank an entire draft of Guinness before stopping down hoping the buzz wouldn’t wear off before I could pop in and out of that bad bear, carefully sidestepping even one hand-out vitamin that I’ll be tempted to take race morning but shouldn’t. The train down was packed, I was sweating through my chambray by the time I crawled out of middle Earth back to fresh air, and I was a face-flushed piss ball by the time I got inside. But why?

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Day Breaker: The Year of the Rooster

Day Breaker: The Year of the Rooster

2017 is the year of the rooster, a day maker, a call to action.

In so many ways it's already been a year of great change, followed as always with great uncertainty. At these times I'm left to wonder what remains as a tangible object I can hold onto. With every year older I'm left to give up another security held fast in childhood. There are no “security blankets” in adulthood.

Although I've only analyzed my personal circumstance I wonder if this intangibility is a contributor to the quarter life crisis characterizing our generation. But then again, I think of all the amazing things our generation has created from intangible property. We are the babies of the Internet, the children of the app revolution, and the pioneers of the future tech standard. We live our lives on an intangible platform and not only rely but thrive on its uncalculated depth of opportunity.

As a direct result of this intangibility, we’ve also been able to achieve ambiguity. Our relationships are concealed behind the veil of a screen, and this is convenience comes with incredible price. I’m guilty of it too. I’ve used social media to portray very specific sides of myself. I’ve used the distance of a screen or internet conversation to voice thoughts I’d never deem appropriate in face to face contact. I’ve lost a portion of the credibility for which I used to hold in the highest esteem: to be fully accountable.

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WTF – The Modern Day Power Mantra

WTF – The Modern Day Power Mantra

I used identify as an 'everything happens for a reason' person but have lost some faith in that belief system over the years. I prefer to identify as a 'learnist' - learn from everything and everyone to make you better.

WTF. Three common sometimes comedic letters that if you are like me you use on the REG.

I.e., “WTF is with people not reading the ‘be courteous’ signs on the subway and wearing their back packs during rush hour????”

Daily annoyance WTFs aside, I've developed a new positive love for WTF, not just in angry moments. It can be a powerful agent of change.

2016 was supposed to be my sub-4 hour grand comeback debut after a 3 year marathon training hiatus. This was my focus and my main life goal for the year. I came back stronger than ever physically, training runs paces were in the right range in dismal summer conditions. It seemed not just possible, but very likely and achievable in Chicago.

Sub-4 did not happen in Chicago. Sub-4 did not happen in Philly by 55 seconds.

After a lot of WTF, I realized my 4:00:54 in Philly is no coincidence. I’ve been a serious competitive athlete my whole life winning state soccer championships and running on champion relay teams. I can't turn a blind eye and say better luck next time to a missed goal. I could just take the easy way out and attribute the 54 seconds to the fact that I didn't wear a watch and really didn't know how close I was, or the rough wind. I figured if I was going to miss it, I'd come in at like 4:05 and it would have been a valiant effort in my 2nd marathon 6 weeks after Chicago. Never did I think I'd be that close, so I figured it was time to pay attention to the universe messaging.

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Podcast Alert - Hops of Life

Podcast Alert - Hops of Life

It's pretty fantastic to watch your childhood friends grow up and follow their dreams. This particular dream sprouted less than 200 yards from my house, from a young man it somehow took me 18 years to befriend. Yet, in the time since then, I have found a kindred soul for a fit an active lifestyle. 

Brandon is a masters student at Cortland University majoring in exercise science and bio-mechanics. He's a lab instructor, a prior strong-man competitor, and volunteer counselor at Double H Ranch. 

Check out his new podcast. Full story and link in the full article!

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The Pursuit of the Personal Best

The Pursuit of the Personal Best

I grew up a high strung kid. Most people would likely still say I'm a high strung adult, slightly too anxious, and always reaching for the unattainable. In many ways, I'd say they are right, or more certainly that they were right. Today, more than ever, we are surrounded by ideals of perfection. We see them on facebook, instagram, snapchat, and blogs. We are bombarded with the images and videos captured on only someone's very best day... marked in the illusion that life can be like this all the time. I'm personally extremely guilty of using social media to portray my "best self" through the portal of imaginary reality that I'm living my best life. Then, as I'm sure we all-too-intimately relate, on the inside we're faced with questions like is this enough? Am I enough? What am I missing out on? 

This wasn't a new phenomenon for me. I think I experienced the term "FOMO" far earlier than the concept existed in any type of abbreviated form. I always felt an urge to be at the center of the action. I always longed for the moments that were just distant enough in the future to still be dripping in imagination. At any instance I was doing one thing, a part of me felt so strongly I wanted to be doing something else. This bred a nervousness in me. It created a concept that whatever I was doing wasn't as good as I what I could be doing. It cultivated the concept that if I just worked a little harder, expelled a little more energy, ate a little less, trained a little longer... you could imagine this is a slippery slope. 

In college it spiraled so far out of control that I lost sight of what I wanted in the long term to focus on the "image" of what I thought I could portray of a life I wasn't even leading. The concept of sharing experiences with others forced me away from experiencing them myself. Immediately following that, I realized that the sharing wasn't the issue, but the perception of being and thriving didn't stand a chance when measured against an external scale. 

The concept of the happy runner was born on the backbone of this timid realization.  The happy runner is not distracted by comparisons, put-downs, or the concept that every race needs to be competitive with the elites. As a runner, the concept of "personal best" is not only key, but critical. While the goal of being elite is both attainable and important to keep in one's mind, it shouldn't and - if we are lucky - isn't the climax of the sport. Bearing ability, opportunity, and injury in mind, we - the happy runners - move along the trails and pavement in pursuit of much more personal and internal goals. 

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Shifting the Frame

Shifting the Frame

This post is honest and it won't be for everyone. It's the pent up, mind churning post that's been marinating in an attempt to assess the essence of the happy runner, on both her best and her worst day. I wanted the happy runner to be for the optimist, but in true form she will always be a realist. Just as happiness will always be a choice.

It's on my way to work that I have the most ghastly thoughts. This is likely because I'm headed to one of if not the very last place I'd like to be going. It's as I stand down on the subway platform dripping sweat and feeling like a horse raced too hard on a hot day that I look around and feel actual loathing. I'm disinterested by everyone enduring their morning grind because I’m consumed in my own. I yearn for a pollution filled breeze, just to feel like anything is moving at all. My mind fills with dreams to run (really, to run away) to take the edge off the dread I have in returning another day to a place that doesn’t fit my skillset with people who don’t seem like they’ll ever relate to me.

It wasn't always this way. In my last job I loved the people I worked with. I respected and looked up to them. I felt they were my friends and my advocates inside and outside the work place. I didn't like the work there either, so I took a leap of faith and began a new adventure.

See, that’s the thing isn’t it? We’re told again and again to take a chance, start an adventure, close our eyes, and “leap”. We read books and stories, watch movies, and hear reports on all of the amazing things that can happen if you just “take a chance.” I’m here to represent the 99% of the world where this didn’t go as planned. I’m here to tell you that I’m sitting smack dab in the middle of the part in that book where they tell you “I failed 100 times before I got it right.”

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Runspiration: John Fiore

Runspiration: John Fiore

Looking at the journey of a runner is a little bit like looking at the rings of a tree. When you cut into the trunk, you can see the progression of seasons and the effect it’s had on the growth of the organism. In times of drought, fire, plague, and other pollutants the tree is forced to conserve, to change, and to grow a thicker skin on the outside in order to endure a long lifetime of a constantly changing external environment.

As a runner you’re more than aware of similar changing conditions on the road and – even harder – in life. I’ve learned not to question the intentions of this unique community. Instead, I’m only able to absorb the stories in utter admiration for what the human body is capable of, but even more so what the drives a human soul.

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The Motivation Testimonials - Charity Runners Share

The Motivation Testimonials - Charity Runners Share

Recently I published an article about the sacred community of charity runners, polling them about their intrinsic pull to the road. Runners in general are a family - connected by a collective internal circuit to keep moving, keep growing, keep challenging ourselves. For many, this will to move is ethereal; it doesn't make sense, but it doesn't have to. For others, running is found because it is needed. Running presents itself as a resolution from a world of conflict. It is the natural high, the moving meditation, and even the pain we sometimes need in order to feel again while we heal.

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The Side Hustle

The Side Hustle

We all (hopefully) have a vision of our dream job… be it the Carrie Bradshaw-shoe loving-fashionista columnist who never in six seasons of Sex and the City ever seemed to be constrained by the 9-5, or the Lotus pose inspiring- headstand machine-yogi with the ability to move people and bring together communities. The problem is while we all can and should achieve our purpose in this journey of life, the current reality - in most cases -  is that it’s not going to pay the ever looming combination of rent, wifi, transportation and a much-needed “treat yo-self” every now and again.

Enter “the side hustle.”

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Love yourself a little more in 2016

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Jessica Ferrucci

The Happy Runner is the everyday athlete; finding balance by carrying six coffees without spilling them on the subway, meditating on elevator rides, and weight lifting your laptop as your hurdle a puddle to make your 9AM meeting. The Happy Runner is a community of like-minded beautiful souls striving to add a little sense of movement and meditation back on the agenda.