Run to Explore: Mexico City

There are a lot of reasons to run. I’m not training for anything right now- all I have to do is run to see some shit. It’s glorious.

My first day running in Mexico… It was dark at 6-6:30. At the hotel the front door was guarded with a gate, a security guard, and two cops on the street. I had one foot out the door so I took off. The buildings are beautiful plus my favorite thing to do when I travel anywhere is run and watch the sunrise.

I have a list of things to do when I run in sketchy neighborhoods. This includes blowing snot rockets if someone gets too close, keeping my phone in my bra, huffing/puffing/looking more like I’m having a heart attack than I really am, or just running faster.

When I lived in Worcester and ran- I would do sprints past the crack heads who would try to say inappropriate things or grab me on Main Street. This was until I decided to re-route all my runs to NOT go I that area. Needless to say- none of that happened in Mexico City.

Ran a shorter amount the first day because I had no idea how much we will walk, plus I didn’t sleep so hot and my neck hurt. Saw a homeless guy’s dick while he was peeing in some flowers. Cute old ladies planting flowers, a bunch of people walking to work. Regular city. Lots of runners too.

High altitude and pollution made it a little weird and hard to run. New York marathon will be a breeze compared to this. Took pics at street corners because otherwise how do we differentiate running adventure pictures and tourist pictures? I’ll blog about these adventures later- topics include why I love running alone on vacation and top ways to stay safe running in the hood. Running in a cool place still makes me feel better that I didn’t qualify for Boston this year. Running around Mexico City in solitude is a win, too.

During my hot bus trip to and from the pyramids I sat next to a very nice woman from Panama. She was an English professor at a University and was doing some site seeing before a conference.

She told me about the angel of revolution sculpture downtown, along with a picture of the angel from her hotel room. “Here is my bed, here is my feet, the tv, and a view of the angel looking at me through the window! What a view!” She showed me the World Cup soccer balls, and her selfie with the ball from Panama. She had come to Mexico City alone and her family was a little nervous for her, too. Either way, she told me to go see the Reforma if I had a chance.

Considering my most recent run was a little sketch, as was my solo walk the night before, I decided to head for a different part of town.

I ran from my hotel around 6:15am. This time the gate wasn’t across my hotel door. Good sign. I opened maps, didn’t see anyone’s penis, same amount of police presence, and headed for downtown. I think in retrospect the shiny District would have been a little more comfortable for a hotel.

The buildings were SO shiny. How many times can I use the word “shiny” in this post? The soccer balls were beautiful too. It took me an extra mile of getting lost on wrong streets to get there, but three miles in I took a halftime to stop and look. Didn’t find USA. Feel a little stupid about that but I looked at each corner and Jess was waiting for me to get breakfast.

I loved running in Mexico City.

Caught TWO friends to go out for a 14 mile Sunday long run in my favorite corner of CT. NOW WE ARE BASICALLY A RUN CLUB. My friend ran his longest run ever!

So far for run club names we got “Bad Decisions” and “Punishers.” I am taking suggestions for run club names! Brief summary of interests include: complaining about running then running anyway, procrastinating, trying not to die, killing/wasting time, beers (if you know me you know I like my recovery beers in the shower- can’t speak for them), dinner, tacos, Big Macs (that’s all Billy), dinner, punk bands.
I knew I had to go between 14-16 today, and Billy already ran a 12 so he was good for 14. I talk about Nate on a semi-regular basis because he’s been my running buddy for a while now- we trained together last year and ran the Ragnar together. He also used to own the first Crossfit I went to in Hartford- Nor’easter. Billy and his wife are my friends at Triton. After showing interest in my last few races, he signed up for the Providence marathon too! As did Nate. Billy hasn’t been doing long runs yet so he’s more optimistic about everything in general- even when he’s adjusting to the higher mileage which can be painful. Then again, I am adjusted and parts of the run are painful for me (attn: right thigh, right ankle, right IT band, right hammie.)
They are both full time workers and busy cool amazing dads- so understandably it can be hard to get a run in with three tight schedules. Even though running in the winter is aggravating as fuck (although it is better with some daylight now!) they’ve also both shown interest in really racing something maybe in the fall- and I believe they could both easily qualify for Boston if they have a good 18 week cycle with speed work and mid-tempos (almost impossible with ice and snow) and run a nice fall race.
So those are my current long-distance running friends this season! Long runs with friends are great because they go by faster. Another favorite past long-run was with Melanie and Alison from Alison’s house to the brewery when they were training for the Hamptons and I was training for Lehigh. Sometimes it’s nice to zone out to music or a podcast- but running adventures and joy really come with pals. I run better races when I do fun runs.
That being said, this course was literally a walk in multiple parks but it was definitely no walk in the park (haha.)  AND our conversational pace around multiple huge mountains with 2-3 climbs on it ended at 14 miles with 8:51/min mile pace. YEA!!
If you’ve been following my Instagram or my running journeys the past few years you’d also know I LOVE Hubbard park, Ragged Mountain, and the creepy forests, graveyards, farms, resevoirs, and orchards in between. SO many ghost stories and urban legends. Just last week Nate and I agreed that Hubbard park has the creepiest woods in the state. And he mountain biked all over the place for years so I feel like he’s a good validator of that statement. Maybe somewhere near Dudleytown is creepier. I’ll talk more about that some other day.
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So this was our course. I was just so happy to not be running on the goddamn Farmington trail. I am SO sick of it. I have the whole freaking thing memorized from New Haven to Avon. I ran it ALL summer. 18 weeks. Just about every 12 miler and longer. That’s 3 times a week I would run various legs. Fuck. Anywhere between Skiff street in Hamden and the Southington dog park I could tell you which tree is what mile, how far we went, how fast we are going (without my phone), where the slight hills are, my favorite intersections, where I got hit by cars, point out the worst porta-potty in the state, you get the idea. That will also be discussed this summer I’m SURE.
SO I was having the time of my life site-seeing mountains, snow, trees, houses, birds, all those other things I mentioned. After I ran the 16 miler through New Haven before Austin and had a blast I knew mapping runs and site-seeing were parts of the journey that made running fun for me. Nate was NOT having a good time and getting stressed out because we were running on several main roads with kind of a lot of traffic. Also respectable. That being said I’ve been hit by TWO cars on the linear trail in crosswalks and ZERO times on the shoulders of highways. So there’s that. We’ll have to hash that out when the snow melts and the trails are acceptable.

Lastly- my friend Billy PR’d his running distance. He’d been growing as an athlete with normal marathon challenges- his shoes, running form, winter training in ice and darkness, transitioning from Crossfit, and now is the part where for the next 3-4 weeks he’s going to be running further then he’s ever ran before. That can be a lot. Every new season the first cycle of long runs seem impossible and I definitely remember my first 15 miler! All of them really. So here he is- victorious! We are watching Nate running longer because his Garmin was .2 miles short of our iPhones (haha but now Nate’s outnumbered so I don’t have to over run.) Now it is time for a recovery beer. 9 weeks til Providence!

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Daylight Savings Will Save Me

….From going crazy soon. I want a full day of light and warmth. A lot of my social media stuff has been about working out lately. Working out is cool but what’s going inside everyone’s heads right about now? SPRRRRIIIINGGGGGG!!!!

Most of us tend to look inward during the winter. Me? I’m around people so often that once the days are short and cold you’d be hard pressed for me to respond to a text, let alone see me in person or catch me ready to hang out. Once March rolls through and the snow begins to melt (ahem, except when we have last minute nor’easters!), I feel happy and hopeful. My favorite seasons are May and June. Once that Justin Timberlake meme starts rolling through my social media I know it’s “GO” time again.

Daylight savings means spring is coming. I tend to wake up and move outward. Clean out my house (sort of), open the windows, and reconnect with anyone I may have neglected during the winter. Last spring I *really* tried to be the best person I could be- but hey shit happens. All the warm weather and yoga and running and sometimes we still lose our shit. Watching my dog slowly die for several months being one of them. Getting injured in Boston- and beginning my spring with a big rain cloud over my head. What will change this year?

As I turn a new leaf I want to make space to foster positive energy. My intention is that I think about things I like to do and what I’m passionate about- and do them with purpose, grace, and love. My hope is that everyone else can do that, too.

Persevering when the dark and the cold starts to weigh on your happiness… and what you gain in return.

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This is beautiful historic Collinsville last year during one of my winter runs I crammed into what little daylight I had. If I made double my salary I would move there in a heartbeat. The tree’s, the mountains, the rivers- are all just a little bigger than central CT. I like to park in Farmington, run to Collinsville, and back- that’s ten miles one way- well, unless I park further up the river- then it’s 14 round trip. I had a great “Gilmore Girls” moment at the market this summer where I was hot and accidentally about to die and lots of nice people had whole conversations with me. Everyone told me about their marathon experiences and their times in Chicago.

Running when there is lack of daylight, aka “low light” in the glamorous workout fashion magazines, is pretty frustrating. Let’s say you have a 12 miler. NOT EVEN A 20 MILER. There is ZERO time. You better leave by 1pm. It’s winter. You have between 7-4pm to get that shit done. TOPS. If you have any kind of obligation that day- you really need to cram that in. There were a few runs last winter, when I worked at Athleta, that I was running back in total darkness because I went out too late. Anyway. I digress.

Yeah, hi, I get seasonal depression. Running in the winter has taught me that it’s not the cold that bothers me- it’s the lack of light. You can layer up as much as you want and it doesn’t fix the lack of sun. You can, however, if you are brave, enjoy the little sunshine you get- when your run or high or snow shoe outside. You know what makes me sad? Feeling like I could be losing out on living life. Lack of sunshine. Wishing I could go out and do stuff. When I went out and ran in the cold or the snow- I was able to come back and hibernate and enjoy the cold with a little more happiness. Go out in the cold! You will feel better.

 

Small Business Saturday Coaching Special

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A perfect gift for the aspiring runner, or a gift to yourself to stay motivated through the winter. Support someone you love by giving them something to build confidence, make a change, set goals, and pursue their dreams. My goal in coaching and in yoga is to help people make their lives better by helping improve physical fitness but also overall well-being and happiness.

Training for a spring race is just about here, or save it and look forward towards the fall.

I am RRCA certified and can coach runners of all levels and meet someone at their current fitness level.  This special must be redeemed within a year. Once payment is received I will send you a gift certificate or a consult form so we can hit the ground running!

Small Business Saturday Running Coach Special

Goal Setting, Personalized Plan, Weekly check-in, and Individualized recovery. Must be redeemed within one year of use. Gift certificate and consultation form will be emailed after payment in received. Please contact me with any questions jenncantsitstill@gmail.com

$150.00

Favorite pose #3: Legs up the wall in general but especially in wide straddle

I’ve been looking at Instagram yoga lately and I️ hope you’re getting the feeling that my message is “let me share with you what I️ like to do!” Rather than “look at what I️ can do!” Most of these pictures are of me flopping around in my sweatpants, haha. That being said my good friends at Crossfit will make fun of my spread eagle and say it’s sexually inappropriate. The joke about that is- also what makes me love my friends- is they’re the inappropriate ones! If I️ do this at the gym there is a 90% chance someone will make fun of me (in a nice way) but it’s worth it.

I️ like happy baby too but I’m not even going there!

Haha if you can keep your mind out of the gutter this is awesome. When I️ played roller derby and squatted and did Crossfit I️ would hold this pose and my inner thighs felt like guitar strings. Nowadays with running and Crossfit it opens my hips more and my thighs aren’t the problem. When I️ would do this pose WITH my roller skates on I’d let gravity do the rest. I’d sit for five minutes and see where my legs would go. On bad days it’s a little excruciating. I️ also like to just lay on the flat floor and open up my arms.

I️ like throwing my legs up the wall and I️ stare at my ankles and try to breathe into them. I get really focused and I️ watch the blood pump through the veins on my ankle and I try to send them healing vibes. Yeah if you don’t do yoga it might sound corny. I️ still think it works. Besides if you know how shitty my ankles are you’d know how much help they need.

My right leg hates me so I just keep doing yoga and making food in my new Instant Pot instead of running

I’ve now been out for a three miler, a two miler, and two five milers since the race. Some yoga, and a walk or two.

Last night Josh put me on the table and tried to help me… because last night that pain was shooting from the top of my hamstring/bottom of my flute to behind my knee, getting tied up in my right calf, and even pulling into the arch of my foot. Basically something is pulling something that is pulling something that is making my whole leg angry. This is the same problem I had *during* my race that caused me to drop my pace to almost 9 minute miles towards the end and cover my entire lower half in biofreeze at every aid station.

So needless to say I think officially Philly is a bad idea. Before my five miler yesterday it was still possible in my brain, but the shooting pains from last night say “no.” Even if I made it through I can already tell the recovery would be ugly.

Anyways I got this fun Instant Pot. It’s a crock pot, rice cooker, pressure cooker… it also sautées for you and does everything else. With my extra time I’ve been trying to eat healthier more healing whole food vegan recipes. Ok ok also some recovery beers still. I made pumpkin chili, lentils, butternut squash harissa stew, tofu veggie dishes, and only had one big fail. Made more tofu scrambles and rice and beans. One food goal will be to not eat any nutrition bars while I’m not training. I have the RP vegan template but I still just feel like having fun vegan cooking and recovering and relaxing first.

Josh is going to intro to yoga with me at West Hartford Yoga, and the grand opening of Ignite was yesterday. It was fun and I met some new friends and got to chat with some old ones. I went to yin with Melissa first and it felt amazing to twist my back. I think the studio will be awesome for North Haven and Wallingford. I’m also having fun writing gentle and power classes.

We’ve been playing with the idea of a running and yoga class- the tricky part is just figuring out logistics. What time? How much if anything? Leave from studio before gentle? Then where to run… down state street? We have two more months of nice running weather I just need to focus my brain to hash that stuff out.