Find Your Secret Garden…And Your Inner Ugly

I expected that after my oh-so inspiring post on Wednesday about “running for me” and all that fun stuff that I’d be equally as eager to run that morning. Wrong.

On Wednesday morning, I so badly wanted to stay in bed. I think it has something to do with sleeping with the air conditioner on now that it’s too warm to keep the windows open. By the time my alarm went off, all I wanted was to stay under the warm, plush covers, but then reality set in. If I didn’t run, I knew I’d regret it for the rest of the day. So I did.

I was in dire need of something different to get me through Wednesday’s workout, and while there’s nothing I love more than Central Park before the cabs and cars are allowed in, I knew I needed a change. Instead, I chose to take my First Avenue route for a total of 3 short-but-sweet miles, with the inclusion of 20 minutes of river-side plyometrics and cross-training exercises.

On mornings when you can hardly muster the idea of lacing up your running sneakers, let alone forcing yourself out the door, it’s important to pick a destination – otherwise, it can be far too easy to give up before you’ve reached your halfway point. (At least, that’s the weird way I view those kinds of runs.)

For me, my happy place – my secret garden of sorts – is a little outlet off of 59th Street and Sutton Place…

…where I can surround myself with the city to my west, luxury apartments I’ll never live in to my north and south, and delicious East River views to my, well, east. Best of all, it’s a mere 1.5 miles from my apartment, and so, while the hills can prove to be challenging, it’s nothing I can’t work my way through.

Once on the water, I committed to a solid 20 minutes of body strengthening exercises. On the menu: lots of stretching, 40 lunges, 24 squats, leg lifts (which are surprisingly fun to do when you’re outdoors on the water, leaning against a “barre” of sorts)…

…32 push-ups, 30 tricep dips, 1 plank (confession: it didn’t last very long), and 100 sit-ups.

But who’s counting.

Unfortunately, although my run to the little outlet on the water was strong and determined, my run back was a lot weaker and tired, which I guess a bunch of squats and lunges can do to you.

When, later in the day as I sat in my desk chair, a friend of mine sent me this text message (courtesy of Men’s Fitness), I felt proud of what I had accomplished earlier in the day. Sure, I had somewhat “forced” myself out of bed and out the door; but it wasn’t to feel better about my reflection. Going back to yesterday’s mantra, I was doing it – working out, working hard – for myself.

“I don’t work hard because I hate my body. I work out because I love it.” Thanks, Elyssa, my fellow muscle mamma, for these inspiring words to keep in the back of my mind.

Speaking of encouragement, sometimes, the best form of it is to embrace running and working out in general in all its shapes and forms — the good, the bad, and especially, the ugly. Even the seriously ugly.

A long time in the making, fellow running champ and amazing jewelry designer Erica Sara and I recently teamed up in an effort to embrace our outer ugly — on the race course, that is. If you have a moment or three, check out our newly launched site dedicated to accepting – while lightly poking fun at – some of our less beauteous racing moments. It’s called Seriously Ugly Race Pics, so be sure to send in your most horrendous race photos too!

To submit your ugly race pic, send a jpg attachment to and include the following information:

  1. Your first name
  2. Name of race pictured
  3. Date of race pictured
  4. Your blog (optional, if you’d like us to link to it)

And don’t forget to spread the word!

  • Do you have a favorite place – a  secret “me” spot – you run to on your toughest, tiredest days?
  • Are your race photos glam or gahhh?

9 thoughts on “Find Your Secret Garden…And Your Inner Ugly

  1. When I lived in NYC I lived right on the East River. Even when I was tired I would run down to the track down past Houston and do some loops or sprints. I woul also get in a core workout as well. There is always so much going on there (soccer, lacrosse, other runners etc) it was hard not be be motivated!

    I submitted my ugly photo. The website is genius. As much as I try to find the photographers to smile and pose now, they generally catch me mid-pose and I look like I’m trying to attack them or about to crumble to the ground!!!

    • That track is amazing…I wish I lived like, a mile closer and it’d be a lot easier for me to get to. It’s SO much fun to people watch there, I especially love it on the weekends.

      Thanks! I’m with you on the midpose thing. Sometimes I want to walk over to the photographer and be like wait, did you catch my good angle? Ugh. At least it’s hilarious, if not attractive.

  2. The idea for the ugly race photo website is genius and absolutely hilarious. Love the idea! I guess I must ALWAYS be working VERY HARD on the race course because my ugly race photos to are too many to count. Ha!

  3. 😀
    I ran a 10km charity run about 2 years ago. Thought I looked cool and sporty. I didn’t. I was horrified at the photo a photographer had taken of me about the 5km mark. Red blotchy face, wild hair and not very sporty running motion. Running is not a glamour sport. Not unless you can take a hair and make-up stop about 10mins before the finish line!! 😀

  4. Pingback: 6.2 x 4:25 = Incredible! « For the love of running…

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