A Stay at Watermark Seaport & 10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners (or anyone with tight hips!) -- video included

I recently was invited to spend the night at the Watermark Seaport and shoot some content for the blog while there. I love fun projects like this around Boston!

Today’s post is a long one, but a good one. First I’m going to give you a little visual tour of the beautiful new residential building and then we’ll get to a guided stretching routine that’s perfect for runners (or really anyone with tight hips!).

Watermark Seaport

Watermark Seaport is a collection of luxury rental high-rise apartments and modern lofts in–you guessed it–Boston’s Seaport District. This neighborhood is exploding with development; I swear every time I venture over there’s a new building being constructed or a new retailer setting up shop. In addition to the residential expansion, you have GE moving its headquarters nearby, a laundry list of other corporations, and national retailers, restaurants (By Chloe!!) and fitness studios/gyms all in the works. It’s an exciting time for the Seaport! 

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Watermark has a prime location as one of the few buildings on its side of Seaport Blvd that has unobstructed views of the water. I got to tour one of the unoccupied Penthouse units … ummmm WOW. Not for those of us ballin’ on a budget, but talk about hashtag apartment goals. There are studio units on the more affordable end of the spectrum (still priced accordingly to the luxury building keep in mind) which are also gorgeous. Think hardwood floors, modern appliances and lots of sunlight. They invited me to stay in one of their one-bedroom guest suites and I may or may not have cried at the sight of an in-unit washer-dryer (Joe’s gym clothes smell like dead bodies so this is my #1 priority in my next apartment haha).

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The amenities available to residents of Watermark are pretty flipping amazing. The second floor common areas offer lots of seating, wi-fi, coffee station, pool table, televisions, dining area for group events and get-togethers, and floor-to-ceiling windows streaming in natural light. During my visit, I spent the afternoon doing work here.

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With an emphasis on wellness, Watermark Seaport also offers a full gym of equipment, machines and free weights as well as a separate room for yoga, stretching and small group classes. It opens out onto a patio with big glass doors that allow sunlight to stream into the room. On nice days, you can open up the doors for an awesome outdoor experience indoors. The television in this room has Fitness On Demand services so that you can browse through all sorts of workout videos. 

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I took advantage of this peaceful, sunny room to shoot a guided stretching video for you. It’s great for anyone but especially if you run frequently (lots of hip work!). For more pictures of Watermark Seaport check out their Instagram.

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners (or anyone with tight hips!) -- video included

Stretching and mobility work is so important for injury prevention and all-around fitness, but if you’re like me, you often rush through it after a workout. When I was training for the marathon, I knew it was vital that I take the time to foam roll and stretch after a run but–especially on those long days–I was mentally done with working out when I got home and found myself quickly rolling out and “stretching” with a half-assed effort. I just wanted to get on with the day!

Regular yoga classes and videos were helpful because it was like guided stretching. I was forced to hold stretches and dedicate the time to mobility. If you’re a runner in Boston, I highly recommend Cara Gilman’s yoga classes. She’s a runner herself and I found the majority of her classes to be designed with running in mind–so clutch!

This 10-minute video I put together will stretch the general areas that are typically tight and overworked if you run frequently. That being said, everyone’s muscle imbalances are different, so this routine is far from comprehensive. I think of it as a compilation of the stretches I personally make sure to do when I don’t feel like stretching. Ughhh I just want to be done with this workout, but I’ll take 10 minutes to hit the necessities. I’m not a yoga instructor, so while there’s a little bit of flow from one stretch to another, the focus is on the static holds.

Ideally, foam roll before doing these static stretches.

We’ll stay on each stretch for about 30 seconds. If you want to hold them longer and take your time moving through them, check out the pictorial below and go through the stretches on your own.

In the video we do a bit of flowing from one stretch to the other. I’m not a yoga instructor (by any means haha)–it’s more just to create smooth transitions from one stretch to the next. I’m also a big fan of adding in a little active stretching after the 30-second static hold. If it feels good to sway a little bit in forward fold, go for it! If it feels good to lift and lower the back knee in kneeling hip flexor stretch (we’ll do this in the video), do it!

10-Minute Guided Stretching Routine for Runners (or anyone with tight hips!) -- video included

WEARING | tank c/o Puppies Make Me Happy // leggings c/o Cory Vines (<– I love these, they have grips on the bottom of the foot stirrup!)

Big thanks to Watermark Seaport for having me–I had a wonderful mini staycation! You can check their site out HERE and their Instagram HERE.

Runners–what are some of your favorite stretches to do after a run? Leave a comment!

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Watermark Seaport. While I was compensated for my time, all opinions–as always!–are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible! 🙂

What I Wore Running the Marathon

2016 Boston Marathon Race Recap

I got some questions about what I wore when I ran the marathon so I figured I throw up a quick post with the details. Heads up–most of the links in this post are affiliate.

TWAV Singlet

Nike High Impact Sports Bra | Nothing fancy, but I love this thing because it pancakes your boobs so tightly to your body, nothing even has the remote chance of jiggling (I can not handle boob bounce when I work out!).

Lululemon Speed Track Short | I bought these the weekend of the marathon and LOVE them. They’re high-waisted with a thick, comfortable waistband and are long enough to stay in place without riding up and giving you a perma-wedgie. I hate having to constantly pull down my shorts when I’m running and I didn’t have to do that once on marathon day. Highly recommend! They have ruched pockets on the sides which are kinda weird for everyday wear (not too flattering), but proved really practical for race day. I kept a couple gel packs in each!

Under Armour Play Up Shorts | Usually I’m all for as few waistbands as possible, but the team singlet wasn’t very long so I knew I’d feel more comfortable with a loose pair of shorts over my Lululemons. This UA pair is super lightweight with a looser waistband so I didn’t even notice they were on.

Nike Free Distance | People actually laugh in my face when I say I run distance in Nike Frees. It’s usually a laugh followed by “Ouch.” Hate on haters. Frees SAVED my achilles tendonitis a few years ago and I haven’t found another running sneaker that’s worked for me as well since. The new(ish) distance version of the Free line is awesome.

Flipbelt | I bought one of these at the Marathon Expo after hearing Heather talk about hers. Since I already had two pairs of shorts on, it was a little overkill to have a third object around my waist, but it ended up being surprisingly comfortable and I was thankful for the extra storage space.

Not pictured:

Quay Sunglasses (old but similar look here) | I felt like a total bro wearing reflective sunglasses, but the lightweight rubber material of the frame is perfect for running (even though that’s definitely not what they’re intended for).

Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Handheld Water BottleThis was another pre-race purchase. I don’t normally like to hold something while I run (for training runs I’d leave a water bottle by a bench along the Charles River and just sip out of it every time I looped by), but with the weather forecast looking so warm, I thought it better safe than sorry. I was happy to have it so that I didn’t have to deal with the chaos of water stations as often.

Thorlo CoolMax Padded SocksI love these socks–especially the added pads to the balls of the feet and heels. Because I run in a lightweight sneakers with less cushion than other more supportive styles, I appreciate any extra padding I can get.

What are your race day go-to’s?

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend.

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Boston Marathon 2016 Race Recap

2016 Boston Marathon Race Recap

I don’t know how to properly convey through typed words how thankful I am for all of you. The gratitude I feel. The fullness in my heart that hasn’t let up since yesterday morning. The response to my last blog left me speechless. When the post went live at 8AM, I’d raised $5,531 for MABVI. Just two short hours later when I finished teaching my morning classes and opened up my computer, I had received 15 new donations. FIFTEEN. What??? I couldn’t believe it. By 5PM, because of YOUR support, I’d raised $7,500. I hit my goal! We hit my goal. You hit my goal. Amazing. Absofuckinglutely amazing. Just typing that is bringing on the burning sensation in the back of my nasal passage that signals the tears are on deck.

Thank you for your generosity. You’ve made my heart so full. I am utterly humbled by your support. <3

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Marathon Monday

Have I dragged this out long enough or what?! Race recap time! Then I’ll STFU about Boston for, like, at least a couple weeks. 😉

My alarm went off at 4:45AM. I had to catch Team With A Vision’s chartered bus at 6AM out to Hopkinton, and wanted to make sure I had time for my new 10-minute daily morning meditation habit. It was pretty pointless though–you try stopping your mind from thinking the morning of your first ever marathon! I sat cross-legged on my kitchen floor with my headphones in “meditating” (good lord I’m turning into my mother) and then started getting dressed for the big day. I had laid out my outfit the night before and packed the bag I’d bring with me, so it was a pretty quick process.

Although it was going to be a warm day, it was still chilly at that hour of the morning, so I threw on some old leggings and a stained sweatshirt over top. TWAV had systems in place to get any belongings back to you, but just in case I wore outer layers I didn’t care about losing.

Last things to do before leaving the house included a swig of apple cider vinegar (disgusting I know, but lots of health benefits so I do it daily-ish), drinking a big 16-oz glass of water, double checking I had everything I’d need packed in my bag, triple checking, waking out the door, realizing I forgot something, repeating a few times, throwing unnecessary shit in my bag “just in case” and then finally leaving the apartment around 5:30AM.

Our bus took off from the Park Plaza Hotel around 6AM and we began the drive out to Hopkinton. On the bus I ate a Blueberry Muffin Larabar because I literally can’t go a day without one and continued to sip on water. I kept having these oh-shit moments where I’d look out the bus window, see a highway sign for Ashland or some other vaguely recognizable town name I knew to be eons away from the city and think aaaand I’m running home. Instead of getting nervous though, for some reason these moments of clarity just made me laugh. I’m running home from Hopkinton. I don’t even like driving home from Hopkinton. LOLLOLLOL.

The Wait

One of the challenges of Boston is the start time–especially for charity runners, who don’t start until 11:15AM. During my long training runs, I’d wake up and then immediately head out for the run. With the marathon though, you wake up at the crack of dawn to bus out to the start line and then you have four hours to sit around and just sort of marinate in your nerves. You need to take this into consideration not just with layering your outfit, but with timing what and when you eat.

TWAV gets to use a small, two-story house (The Vision Center) to wait in before the race. Considering the other runners hang out on the grass or the buses for hours, we might as well have been prepping in the Bellagio. I mean we had a real toilet. Yes, one that flushes and everything. Talk about spoiled.

At the Vision Center, I ate half a bagel toasted with almond butter and banana slices at around 8AM and drank a small coffee. I’ve never done meth, but reflecting on the scene in Breaking Bad where Tuco snorts it and then starts twitching and saying “Tight, tight, tight” repeatedly and then kills a guy with his bare hands, I’d say there might have been a touch of meth in the coffee.

I used the bathroom no less than six times, and then around 10:15AM ate the other half of my bagel with almond butter and banana. All things considered, the wait passed by quickly and before I knew it, it was time to lube up my toes (I smear Vaseline on them to prevent chaffing), lace up and walk over to the starting line.

The Race

Warning: This might be a bit of a boring race recap because I honestly felt great the whole time. I had no big obstacles to overcome aside from some mild armpit chaffing. I had energy to spare, no aches and pains, no injuries along the way. I think the Universe was probably like, This girl is an emotional train wreck, no way in hell she can handle a physically challenging race–let’s throw her an easy one. Hahaaa … but seriously.

It’s funny how, before the race even starts, your brain divides the course up into arbitrary sections. (Mine does anyway?) For me, it wasn’t so much the big distance markers (10K, half marathon, etc.), it was based more on where I knew friends and family would be and familiar landmarks. Instead of doing a mile-by-mile breakdown, I’m going to split the race recap the way my mind did.

Start Line to 4K Mark (My Parents!)

2016 Boston Marathon Race RecapSimon has run Boston before and I’m so thankful for that. There is no way my race would have gone as well as it did for me if Simon wasn’t there because I would have absolutely made the exact mistake he warned against. With all the excitement, I would have practically sprinted this first portion of the race. It’s downhill; your legs are fresh; there’s this badass tailgate of bikers at a burger bar blasting music near the start of the race (please invite me next year, I want to be in your crew); you’re running the Boston motherfucking Marathon. Holy stimulation overload.

The first few miles of the race were hot. No breeze, no shade, and although the forecast predicted a 60-degree day, it had to have been in the 70s at the start. It didn’t bother me though. Honestly, nothing really bothered me the entire race–I was a woman possessed.

My parents were waiting for me around the 4K marker, and I gave them each a quick hug before continuing on my way.

4K Mark to Btone Wellesley (Half Marathon Mark)

This is a long stretch to group together (over 10 miles), but to me it represented the part of the course I wasn’t familiar with–the part that wasn’t “home”. I’d done one training run starting in Framingham, but other than that, I’ve never spent much time in that area of MA. So as soon as I left my parents, my mind shifted its focus to the next familiar sight I’d see: Btone Wellesley.

Because I was so focused on Wellesley, Natick seemed to stretch on forever. The upside was that a breeze had picked up, and while we weren’t necessarily more shaded, the sun felt a lot less intense than it had at the start of the race. The brutal heat was behind us. Still, staying hydrated was important Monday, and that’s yet another reason I am so thankful to have done the race as a team with Simon and Heather. I wouldn’t have drank enough water along the course because it wouldn’t have occurred to me to drink more than I did during cold winter training runs. We got something to drink at just about every water station and I think that’s a huge reason I felt so great during and after the race. 2016 Boston Marathon Race Recap

An hour in, I ate my first Cafe Mocha Hüma gel. This is my favorite flavor, but after the jet fuel meth coffee I drank before the race, I wanted to make sure I didn’t overdo it with the caffeine. Throughout the race, I ate four total gels, one at the hour, 2-hour, 3-hour and then 4-hour mark. I alternated between Cafe Mocha and the Strawberry flavors.

When we finally hit Wellesley, I wasn’t sure if anyone I knew would be outside the studio, but I was SO HAPPY to see Jody and Jamie out front of Btone! It’s crazy how much of an impact seeing a familiar face can make on morale during a race.

Btone to The Turn onto Comm Ave

With Btone behind me, the next thing I focused on was turning off Rt 16 and onto Commonwealth Ave. I swear Comm Ave runs through the entire state of Masschusetts so this isn’t saying much, but I live on Commonwealth and it always felt like a bit of a home-stretch moment when I’d turn onto it during training runs.

It was during this section that the back-of-the-armpit chaffing started. My only “issue” during the race, it was greatly relieved by some heaven-sent guy along the course handing out popsicle sticks with globs of Vaseline on the ends. You’re a true American hero, sir.

The Start of Comm to BC

Although it’d been going on for miles, it wasn’t until this point in the race that Simon finally let on about how much pain he was in. Over a month ago, Simon suffered a pretty bad IT band injury. Inclines only aggravated it, so when we reached the infamous Newton hills, we walked up, running the stretches in between. With the heat, it seemed a lot of runners were using a similar strategy.

BC to Kenmore Square

2016 Boston Marathon Race RecapWe’re getting there! We’re getting there! This is when the excitement started to build for me. We continued to tackle the course with a mix of running and walking

Kenmore Square to the Finish Line

I knew I’d start getting emotional when I wrote this part of the race and yup. All the feels.

The crowd thickens as you near the city–the cheering intensifying, the volume increasing, the energy level rising. I’m home now–not just in the city, but in my neighborhood. I start to look out for familiar faces in the crowd. I can’t stop smiling. Well, I think I’m smiling, anyway. Based on the race day pictures, my face was actually doing something along these lines:

That’s ok though! Your top lip and bottom row of teeth are both highly overrated when you’re nearing the finish line!

We near the Mass Ave underpass and we’re running by my apartment. A “Boston Strong” sign hangs overhead. People drape themselves over the metal gates lining the course. We pick up the pace as we make a right onto Hereford Street. The crowds! We’re almost there! The cheers! I can’t believe I’m actually doing this! It doesn’t seem real.

And then that left onto Boylston Street.

THAT LEFT ONTO BOYLSTON. The months of training in the cold winter weather are worth it if only for that moment. It’s that incredible. For the last stretch of the race along Boylston, you are Mick Jagger walking onto the stage. You are the 2004 Red Sox in game 7 against the Yankees. You are Kate Middleton when she does anything. You feel so loved, so proud, so elated.

The crowds are so thick you can’t even see their end; the cheers erupt in this sort of funnel of wonderful, endless noise; and you fully understand why Boston is such a revered, beloved race. And then it sinks in that you are a part of that.

Final time: 4:45:08

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I grew up in Massachusetts, so from the time I was a little kid, Marathon Monday has always been a special day. I actually didn’t even realize that Patriot’s Day is only celebrated here until I went to college in North Carolina and we–*gasps in horror*–had to GO TO CLASS on Marathon Monday. Since graduating, Boston has been my home, and as fun as day drinking with my friends in Back Bay is each year (it’s the best), I’ve always wanted to be the one running. Even just once, to cross it off the bucket list. I can’t thank Team With A Vision enough for giving me this opportunity. And I can’t thank Simon and Heather enough for making race day such an amazing experience for me. To Simon, it was an honor to both guide you and in many other ways throughout the race be guided by you and your breadth of running knowledge and experience.

The Post-Race Celebrations

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I was greeted at the finish line by my cousin and uncle, and then shortly thereafter, Joe, his mom and aunt. We went out to eat at Cafeteria where I ordered the hummus sandwich with fries, but weirdly enough I didn’t have much of an appetite and couldn’t finish even half of it. But I did drink the best beer of my life. No exaggeration, beer has never tasted better. IMG_1913Even better than the taste of beer though was walking into Cafeteria and seeing horrifying cardboard cutouts of my deranged face all over the bar. My friend Steph had these hilarious things made, proving that she is both the best and the worst (haha). After eating, I showered and then we headed out to a friend’s party for a little bit. And for the first time in my life, I got more attention than Joe in a social setting. It was a big day for me, guys. Big, big day.

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So…

Would I run another marathon? Hell yes. I will run another marathon. Any recommendations??

Would I run again as a guide? Hell yes. I loved the experience.

Would I run again as a charity runner? Yes but … give me a couple years (haha). My attitude for fundraising has been completely transformed for the better because of this experience, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a stressful and time-consuming undertaking. Raising $7,500 is like taking on a part-time job! In addition to the time commitment of training. In addition to my full-time job running the blog. In addition to my part-time job teaching group fitness. It’s a lot, but in a few years, sure, I’d be willing to do it again.

That being said, even if I’m not the one fundraising, I want to help future charity runners reach their goals. If you’re a local reader and get a charity bib next year, seriously reach out to me. Let’s organize an event–I’m happy to teach a fitness class or help with the fundraising in any way I can!

PHHHEWWWW. These marathon update blog posts have been no joke. I’ve asked you guys to do so much reading lately. So. Much. Reading. Tomorrow how about I post pretty pictures of a sandwich and call it a day? Sounds like a damn good plan to me. 😉

Did you run Boston on Monday? How’d the race go for you?

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