A Gift Giving Guide ( ie Santa, This Is My List)

 

In no particular order or organization, here are things I’d want the big man up North to bring me…if I were me and you were me, too…

DRY BAR

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Why? Nothing is better than having someone blow dry your hair for you. And making it look good, too…and Dry Bar always delivers. 

1a. DRY BAR GIFT CERTIFICATE ($40 + tip)

1b. WET HAIR BRUSH AND DRY SHAMPOO

Why? The wet hair brush actually works and won’t rip out your hair. And dry shampoo is how I go just one more day without a shower (shhh). 

2a. DRY BAR BAR TAB (varying prices)

2b. DRY BAR BLOWDRYER ($190)

Yeah, so it’s pricy but it does dry your hair quickly. 

PICKY BARS 
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1. PICKY BARS 10 BOX ($22.99)

2. PICKY BARS PICKY CLUB MEMBERSHIP ($37/month x #of months you give)

Why? Because this is the gift that will keep on giving! Each month, your recipient will get 18 bars delivered to their door and they’ll remember, “Man, ____ is really an awesome person.” 

3. PICKY BAR SWEATSHIRT ($48)

This should be reserved for the Picky addict in your life (raises hand) to enhance their #pickylife. 

OISELLE
Oiselle-Logo

1. RUNFINITY SCARF ($24)

Why? Scarf is functional, soft, and goes with just about everything. I wore mine (ok, I have two) every day last winter.

2. STRIPEY LONG SLEEVE SCOOP NECK ($44)

Why? Another fan favorite. This one is even Mom (my mom, that is) approved. Perfect for travel and for running around the city — its fashionable and holds up for any workout to boot. 

3. LUX LAYER ($76)

Why? This is my favorite weight long sleeve tee that Oiselle sells. The fabric is like butter and the weight is perfect alone for those first cold days of the year and a great layering piece. 

4. LUX LAYER ($76) + DISTANCE SHORTS ($39)

This gift says: I really care about your running. 

Distance shorts in action!

Distance shorts in action!

BAUBLE BAR
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1. PAVE POP STUDS ($26)

I’d go with the turquoise ones but that’s just me. 

2. ACRYLIC SCRIPT MONOGRAM NECKLACE ($58)

A twist on a classic. 

3. CLASSIC SCRIPT MONOGRAM NECKLACE ($100)

Why? Because Blair on Atlantic-Pacific has one and she always looks well put together. 

SOUL CYCLE:

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1. SOUL CYCLE CLASS ($34)

2. SOUL CYCLE 5 CLASS PACK ($165)

3. SOUL CYCLE 5 CLASS PACK + GRAPEFRUIT CANDLE (!!!) ($165+$42)

4. SOUL CYCLE ATHLETE HOODIE ($125)  (I think I just like this because it says athlete on it.)

You have absolutely no idea how happy a grapefruit candle can make someone until you give a SoulCycle addict a grapefruit candle. I only burn mine on times when I really need that grapefruit scent. And I searched high and low last year for comparable grapefruit scents to the Jonathan Adler one (the one SC uses) and the Nest version is close if you need a back up candle choice. [I did my grapefruit candle research.]

RUNNER BUNDLE:

PICK TWO to FOUR (DEPENDING ON SANTA’S BUDGET) AMONGST THE FOLLOWING THINGS AND BOOM! WELL THOUGHT OUT GIFT (IF I DO SAY SO MYSELF)

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NUUN TUBE ($6.50) OR 4 PACK  ($22)              – OISELLE DUDS (price will vary)

– PICKY BARS SAMPLER PACK ($12.50)              – BELIEVE I AM TRAINING JOURNAL ($19.99)

ERICA SARA BLING (price will vary)                   – SPARKLY HEAD BAND ($15)

NYC FITNESS FANATIC:

FitnessFanatic

1. FITIST GIFT CERTIFICATE (varying prices)

2. JUICE PRESS GIFT CERTIFICATE (varying prices)

Odds are if the person lives in NYC and is into fitness, they’re probably also into juices right now. Correlation, not causation. 

CHARITABLE:

1. ALL THE GOOD COOKIES COOKBOOK (benefitting Cookies For Kids’ Cancer)

2. EVERY MOTHER COUNTS GEAR FROM OISELLE (benefitting Every Mother Counts)
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GYMNASTICS GURU OR TRACK ADDICT

1. ACCOUNT FOR GYMNASTIKE GOLD OR FLOTRACK PRO ($150.00/YEAR or $20/MONTH)

I watch more Gymnastike Gold videos (particularly “Beyond the Routine” series than I care to admit. I don’t have Flotrack Pro, but imagine it’s just as good. Both generally have great interviews and profiles on athletes and Gymnastike has done a stellar job with their docu-series. 

FOR YOUR FAVORITE INTERN/RESIDENT:

STARBUCKS CARD (varying) + SPECK PHONE CASE/CARD HOLDER ($35) + SPARKLY LANYARD FOR ID (varying)

I have yet to land a blinged out lanyard for my ID. I mean, my cotton NYU one is holding up ok and I’ve added some pizazz to the scrubs with handbands, but we can always keep improving.

FINAL MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS OF VARYING PRICES:

1. BEADED HEADBAND FROM ANTRHO (~$20-30 dollars)

Why? They’re pretty and can dress up boring outfits…like scrubs. 

2. MAY BOOKS PERSONALIZED NOTEBOOK

For your favorite paper prince or princess. 

3. KILLING LINCOLN BY BILL O’REILLY AND MARTIN DUGARD ($19.59 on Amazon)

Its a good read for your favorite history buff. 

4. GRAIN BRAIN BY DAVID PERLMUTTER, MD ($15.16 on Amazon)

This might be a great addition to a gift for your fitness addict friend whose into juicing who probably also eats semi-gluten free or thinks gluten might be killing us (raises hand here…but still eating gluten). 

5. BRACELET FROM KIEL JAMES PATRICK

For your favorite preppy friend who you think may need to branch out from Vineyard Vines and Sperry’s.
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Happy Thanksgiving…Happy Holidays!

TELL ME: YOUR HOLIDAY WISH LIST?

[PS: Winner of 10 box of Picky Bars announced Sunday – you still have time to enter!]

Pain Brain

I wrote a previous post on my “Marathon Game Changers,” which outlined some of the mental tweaks I made that helped me [in some respects] have the marathon of my dreams.

Turns out, a lot of those mental tricks I learned don’t apply so well to shorter distances and faster paces.

You see, I’ve gotten really good at this semi-state of concentration that numbs the slight pain of marathon pace (that is, until you get to mile 21) and allows for deviation in focus momentarily away from running and towards, you know, unicorns, Phil Dunphy, Dance Moms, and so on and so forth.

While this works great for 3+ hours of running, a race that is less than a TV show (or two TV shows) can’t afford a lapse in concentration. Or so I’ve come to notice.

I’ve raced two 5Ks since the marathon and while the times have been fantastic for me, the mental state has not.

When the pain sets in (which is fairly early in the race in a 5K), I have gotten really good at convincing myself that I “do not care…I already achieved the goal I wanted (BQ)…who cares what I run in the [insert name here] 5k…do not care…should I just walk?…want.to.stop.” People pass me and, instead of it motivating me to speed up, it further bolsters my argument to myself that “I am fading and should slow down.”

My pain brain wants to quit and is a bit apathetic.

I also need to stop taking the first 800 meters out like there’s no tomorrow, but that’ a bit more easily fixable than my pain brain.

I’m racing a 10K tomorrow and trying some new mental tips and tricks I’ve gotten from friends. We’ll see how it goes.

I guess that’s the nice thing about sports – there is always a weakness to work on.

And, for the public record, I retract my broad statement that one of my running talents is an iron stomach. It deserves a caveat. I have an iron stomach for Gu during long runs and marathons. What I do not have an iron stomach for is short distance racing. I have a very compliant lower esophageal sphincter after pretty much every 5K finish line (ie I vomit).

TELL ME: HOW DO YOU HANDLE 5KS? 10KS?

Until next time…

[PS: This does not mean I don’t like 5Ks. I still do, but I just need to get a bit better at them. 🙂 #5krevolution lives!]

My [Humble] “Guide” to Sports Psych

If you go back and read some of my older posts, you’ll know I used to struggle a lot with my running mental game. I still do sometimes, but, over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of “work” between the ears and come up with some strategies to conquer the doubt demons and enjoy racing more.

Here are some things that have helped me. The “Unicorn Guide to Sports Psych” if you will…

[Wondering what the unicorn is all about? Jocelyn described the 2nd semester of my 4th year of med school as being like a unicorn’s horn – always on the up and up…until a crash much later. Plus, unicorns are happy and magical, also somewhat like the 4th year of med school.]

UNICORN GUIDE TO SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY:

By: MBS

1. Ditch the Garmin

At least for a bit. Learn to run and race by feel first and then bring the Garmin back in. I ran completely watch-less for 6 weeks while I studied for the boards and then I completely surprised myself in a race right after I took the boards. I think it was because I stopped thinking about pace in numbers and started thinking about effort.

It took me a while (ie 2.5 years) to learn to use the Garmin as a tool to look at data afterwards and not as an on-the-run Big Brother watching over me. And, always remember, the only person really judging your Garmin splits is you. Garmin is only Big Brother if you make it.

2. Read this book and this book

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Both are worth your time and money in my opinion. I refer back to both books often. They have some great pearls of wisdom. You are welcome to borrow my copy that is highlighted and flagged. #nerdalert

3. Get something to write in

More valuable data than my Garmin splits...

More valuable data than my Garmin splits…

Writing helps me to not only vent, but to figure out why I may have make “x” decision, am scared of “x” workout, and so on and so forth.

4. Articulate why you want to race in a sentence that does not include a time in it

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And to eat ice cream...

I wrote this back in December or January…

Racing takes on a richer meaning when it is for something else other than time. Or, at least, it did for me.

5. Want to be there (the race, workout, etc) and no where else

I’ve noticed that when the pain of racing starts, I start to want to be somewhere else. My bed. Starbucks. The beach. In front of a TV watching Dance Moms. Eating. As of February (ie after Miami Half ADD race), I tried to start to mentally compartmentalize my running, meaning run time was “let’s only think about running and not the 50 other places you’d want to be right now.” You signed up. You put your shoes on. Your body is physically there. Now, commit your mind to also wanting to be there and no where else. And, remember, the whole thing is temporary. It will be over in less time than it takes to watch “The Sound of Music” or “Gone With the Wind” (unless its a marathon).

6. Race a lot

Doing anything repeatedly has a callousing affect and you start to become less nervous. For example, before I took my MCAT, I took 10 separate practice tests each on a Saturday morning to simulate testing conditions. By the time I took the real deal, it seemed like my normal Saturday morning activity. And, now, after tests about every 2-3 weeks during the first and second years of medical school, I don’t get nervous before most tests, unless its my boards.

Racing a good bit also lets you practice how you might deal with your nerves. I might have one “goal” race, but I’ll still race fairly frequently throughout my training to practice dealing with negative self talk, bad racing habits (starting out too fast or way too slow), and so on and so forth.

7. Toughen up

As my friend JB once told me, “The farmers work 16 hours days in the field…you can do this.” Or, as my mom told me before a tennis match onetime, “The Russian girls don’t need sports psych – they just want to win so they do…so go out and win!” So, just remember those farmers and the tough Russian tennis players…

————-

Mostly, I’ve found a robust imagination and practice to be the keys to my “mental game.” Yeah, unicorns? Legs of an eagle? Sounds completely crazy, but it’s worked for me.

TELL ME: YOUR BEST TIPS FOR CONQUERING YOUR MENTAL GAME? 

Until next time…

Marathon Game Changers

The Eugene Marathon 2013 wasn’t my first time in track town. I went last year…twice actually. Once for the whole Eugene Marathon weekend (I ran the 5K) and then for #totallytrials with Oiselle. I distinctly remember watching SarahOUAL, Sweaty Emily, Faster Bunny, Skinny Runner and company all tear it up in Eugene, yet all I was thinking was “thank God that isn’t me.” I swore of marathons and found a new friend in 5Ks and 10Ks.

"5ks are rad. The marathon is stupid."

“5ks are rad. The marathon is stupid.”

Now, a year later, I’m all “the marathon is magical and you’ll find unicorns on the course and forest fairies and it will be amazing so just keep running forever and ever and ever.” In fact, if running and I were in a relationship, we’d be on our honeymoon in Fiji, where it’s beautiful even when its monsooning.

"Unicorns do exist!"

“Unicorns do exist!”

What changed? Probably just finding running friends who helped me like running for intrinsic reasons versus extrinsic gain. But, I’ve been thinking about a list of “game changers” in the past year that helped me go from marathon hater to BQ’er.

I owe my marathon love to these girls.

I owe my marathon love to these girls.

CAVEAT: I’m not going to impart any words of wisdom that aren’t already out there in the universe. I’m not going to tell you any brand new information. These are just the few things that worked for me and, hopefully, can help you, too.

1. LEARNING TO TEMPO

Tempos aren’t might strong suit. Or, at least, in the past they weren’t. I used to freak out over hitting paces EXACTLY (I’m very literal and specific with most things) and a deviation in a few seconds would derail me (it sounds silly now). I used to stop very frequently during tempos, which I’m fairly sure is against the whole point of the run. Taking breaks during a harder effort isn’t exactly confidence boosting for a race either. There are time outs in a race.

I used to think that each workout need to be great – spectacular even – to produce a good result in a race. About a year ago I changed my whole attitude. I told myself that I didn’t need to be great, I just needed to be consistently good. And a lot of good workouts would lead to a great race.

FinishLineMedal:Smile

So, before tempos, I’d tell myself to “just be good” and to “not stop.” A good many were slower than I would’ve liked, but I didn’t stop. And then not stopping became routine, rather than the reverse, and I found myself running a 6.5 mile tempo nonstop by September.

The whole “learning to tempo” bit not only helped improved the physical systems that it works (I don’t know what these are, this is why I have the RC), but it also helped my mental focus. Focus upped my marathon game for sure.

2. LEARNING TO USE THE GARMIN AS A TOOL AND NOT A SLAVEDRIVER

When I first got a Garmin, I’d try to run to make the Garmin say something. For instance, I’d want to make it say 8:10/mile during a tempo. If it was too slow, I’d try to make it say 8:10/mile even if that meant stopping because it was too hard for me at the time.

I’m not sure which the mental switch occurred, but sometime last fall or this spring I got good at using the Garmin as a tool. I’d run the pace at which the effort felt appropriate for the what the workout called for. And the Garmin would tell me what that was. It’s a really subtle difference that is somewhat hard to articulate, but, basically I dictated a run, not a Garmin.

"Yes Garmin! I'm in charge! I didn't care that you told me I ran a 6:50 mile for the first mile!" That one didn't turn out so hot. Maybe I should pay a tiny bit more attention to it...

“Yes Garmin! I’m in charge! I didn’t care that you told me I ran a 6:50 mile for the first mile!” That one didn’t turn out so hot. Maybe I should pay a tiny bit more attention to it…

I’ll even wear a Garmin in a race now as I know I won’t have any mental breakdowns over it. I can see a pace during a race, but won’t mount an emotional response to it until after.

I’m not even sure if the above makes sense. Just go with it.

3. NUUN

I drank a lot of nuun before and after both long runs and the marathon itself. The discovery of banana nuun while in Eugene was clutch. Although I’m drinking more banana nuun now than I care to admit.

I don’t drink nuun while I run mostly because I don’t carry my own water (in case you were wondering).

I, too, was a banana skeptic. I am now a convert.

I, too, was a banana skeptic. I am now a convert.

Read this study on how under-hydrating affects your run the next day.

4. INTRINSIC MOTIVATION

I started running in 2009 and started taking the “getting faster” thing more seriously in 2010. I have no idea why, but for a long time I felt like I need to prove myself as a “good” runner, mostly to myself. I think I doubted my abilities for a long time and wanted race times to show me that I was a runner (vs runner-poser?) and, maybe, an “average” or “above average” one at that. [What the definition of “average” and “above average” runner is, surely, subjective.]

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For a while, I think I wanted a BQ to prove something to myself, to show myself that I was “good” or “above average.” Sometime this spring, my attitude changed. I wanted a BQ because I knew I was those things – “good” (to me) and “above average” (again, to me). I started thing about myself differently as a runner, as someone who was capable and strong. This sounds terribly conceited, but, in other words, I wanted a BQ because I knew I could do it not because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

[If that makes any sense whatsoever.]

5. JOY AND FRIENDSHIP

I wouldn’t have even signed up for two marathons in the past year if it weren’t for Gia and Jocelyn. Both run marathons because they love to run and it brings them a lot of happiness. And they showed me that I could learn to love the distance and have more fun than I could have imagined training for it.

So thankful for my #sisterinsport Gia - friends make a workout fly by! After 6 x 1 mile on a cold day in February!

So thankful for my #sisterinsport Gia – friends make a workout fly by! After 6 x 1 mile on a cold day in February!

We're running 20 miles! Who's excited?! Who's scared?!

We’re running 20 miles! Who’s excited?! Who’s scared?!

Now, let’s get real. The stars aligned for me in Eugene and, of course, it’s very easy to say “of course I could do it” after the fact. I was definitely a tiny bit doubtful leading up to the race. It’s a marathon after all. It’s a long time to run. A lot can happen in 3 hours (I mean, in Titanic, Rose and Jack fall in love and Jack dies all in that span of time). Could I have run 3:38 or 3:45 that day? Absolutely. But, I knew deep down before this race that I was trained to run 3:33-3:34 because of the above mentioned aspects IF everything went right on the day. I’m lucky it did.

TELL ME: GAME CHANGERS FOR YOU AND YOUR RUNNING?

Until next time…