Author Archives: Theodora Blanchfield

Running Happy!

I just got back from an OK run, and I’m feeling happy.

Why am I talking about running again all of a sudden? Why is it all of a sudden feeling good? I started talking about this on Instagram, and I said I’d expand here.

My friend Meggie (go follow her, she is hilarious AND a super smart doctor) is basically my personal influencer, and I saw she’d started working with a running coach, Jess Movold. Without telling too much of someone else’s story (though Meggie has been talking about it on IG), Meggie was not feeling awesome running either and started working with Jess. She went from a bunch of run/walk to really feeling strong again.

It was really inspiring for me to watch and, duh, I wanted to feel strong, too. Running is so important to me, so much a part of my identity, and it felt so frustrating to me that this major part of my identity just has felt so out of reach and daunting and scary the past few years. I wondered if I was just getting too old to run (I cognitively know this is not the case but feelings are hard, yo), and it was time to throw in the towel.

just a gratuitous palm tree pic from the route

But I decided to work with Jess, and I’m about six weeks in and really really happy with how things are going. Working with a coach is a definite luxury, and I know I am lucky to be able to do so.

Someone on IG asked me what I do/get from my running coach, and I thought I’d share it here:

  1. Accountability!! My intrinsic motivation has been really hard for me to tap into for a while, so reporting back on my runs to someone helps. And I’m a people pleaser, so I don’t want to let someone down. Plus, paying makes me more likely to do the work to get my money’s worth.
  2. Not having to think: I coach running myself, so I can put together a plan for myself, but I am more likely to move my own workouts around/cut them short/make them easier. Jess gives me both running (speed, easy, long runs) and strength based on how I’m doing—which factors in everything from performance, how I’m doing physically, how I’m doing mentally.
  3. Cheerleader!! Really, the thing I need most right now is work on my running mindset, and she’s great at that, believing in me at where I am now AND what I have the potential to do.

Here’s a run from before I started working with Jess. You can see from the HR dips that there’s a lot of walking. I still walk sometimes now (and truthfully, even did when I was faster, too) but it feels less defeating.

And here’s a run from earlier this week. I was supposed to do 35 minutes but felt really good and did 40. While it’s truly mostly not about the pace right now, I’m not going to lie that my ego feels good seeing my pace improve in a little over a month. Sure, I still get in my head sometimes about my pace and that I’m excited for paces for 3-4 miles now that were my personal slow paces for A MARATHON, but I’m trying my best to just embrace this feeling of a beginner’s mindset and feel like I’m discovering running all over again. (Or develop running amnesia, as Meggie calls it.)

(You can follow me on Strava here. I was resistant to it for so long because I felt embarrassed about my pace, but I like the idea of community and really miss the old DailyMile days.)

What do you have a beginner’s mindset about right now?

2020 Manhattan Beach 10K (Virtual)

manhattan beach 10k manhattan beach pier

Hello, is this thing on? Remember when I used to write about running here? Well, I have an actual race recap for you today! I ran the Manhattan Beach 10K yesterday (virtually)—it’s my fave race I’ve found in California so far. (Last year’s recap here.)

manhattan beach 10k manhattan beach pier

Ugh, I haven’t been in the running shape I’ve wanted to be in for a while, and I’ve had a hard time, to be honest, sticking to it and putting in the work, so duh, I’m not going to miraculously get back there. But this race was important to me, so I’ve been working hard.

Meggie, Gillian and I wanted to make this as close to the race experience as we could, so we met up roughly near the start near the wood chip trail/greenbelt/Veterans Parkway/whatever you call it, and Meggie and I did a little warmup jog. We were planning on running the wood chip trail, but as nice as the trail feels versus the road, it’s harder if you’re used to solely road running! The actual MB10K route has a lot of turns, so we decided to nix that and run our own route—running down Valley Drive through Manhattan Beach, Hermosa and to Redondo, before turning towards the ocean on Herondo and running up the Strand.


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My objective was to walk as little as possible but also not beat myself up if I needed to.

And I definitely started out too fast—just like a real race! I went out in a 9:48, wondering why things were feeling a little hard from the get-go. Foolishly I thought maybe I'm just feeling really good! Ah how quickly we forget. I brought up the back of our pack, and I just tried to keep Meggie in my sight. She was looking awesome, steady and strong, and I aimed to just be like Meggie. I tried to just settle into what felt good and like I could hang onto it for a while. I didn't walk until after three miles, which felt awesome. Six weeks ago, I was running 3:00 on, walking 1:00, so I was happy to run without stopping for a while. Even though it wasn't a "real" race, running on part of the course and feeling strong made it feel like as much of a real race to me as possible, and I felt really happy.

The back half of the course? Not so much. I definitely walked more, but I would set a point in the distance, like a street pole, and tell myself to run to there, no compromising with myself. At a few points, I told myself I could slow my run but not walk, channeling my 2013 NYCM energy. The greenway has some rolling hills, which I actually really liked, because what goes up must come down, so getting to the Strand and knowing I wouldn't have any downhill was actually a little harder.

I'd really wanted to pick up my pace a little in the second half, but...that did not happen. I walked a good amount of mile 4, a little discouraged I still had 2 miles ahead of me, but once I hit 5, I just wanted to be done with the damn thing. I tried to run as strong as possible (feeling about an 8/10 on a rate of perceived exertion) but I couldn't sustain it for very long. But I just tried to keep reminding myself I was happy I was out there doing it and how lucky I was to be able to run along the beach. (Though I'd be lying if I said I weren't jealous of the people sitting on the beach or sitting outside on their terraces on the Strand with their coffee.) My ketamine doc is running for a local office in the South Bay, and I saw one of her campaign signs and also felt grateful for my mental health being in a much better place.

When I finally hit 6.2 on my watch, I immediately ground to a stop. HI I'M DONE.

Since it'd been a while since I'd run 6.2, I felt really happy and proud of myself for finishing the Manhattan Beach 10K — ESPECIALLY since the weather was SUPER HUMID. (hi am I back in NY??)

While you can run it anywhere, I think the draw is feeling some sense of community and tradition with the race, so if you're local and still want a taste of it, you can run it from now until October 13.

Time: 1:05:27 / Pace: 10:33

Tech question: anyone else with an Apple Watch not getting the map data from their workouts? I'm a little nervous to try this wipe-everything "fix."

COVID-wise, I ran with a buff to cover my face and kept it down until I saw someone. (It appears there are conflicting studies on its efficacy, though I didn't realize that yesterday.)