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Brittany Runs a Marathon.... and could she use a therapist?

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Brittany Runs a Marathon.... and could she use a therapist?

I’m a therapist who loves working with 20 (and 30)- something new Yorkers working to make changes in their lives.

Basically, Brittany would be a perfect client. I’d love to meet her.

As a therapist and a runner (and having seen the movie already twice in the theater, haha), I’ve had some Therapy For Runners-type reflections.

No big* spoilers… but by the end of the movie, Brittany has figured a lot of shit out. She’s gotten her goals and priorities in line and, at the core of it all, has realized how to trust and rely on others. Oh, and she ran a marathon.

*okay, maybe some general theme spoilers. But the title of the movies says she runs a marathon, so I figure that’s a given.

While watching- and as one of the 50,000 people in the movie shown actually running the 2017 NYC Marathon (and contrary to the news reporter in the movie, the runners did NOT love the rain. smh)… there’s a lot the movie gets right. As a therapist in Brooklyn, there are definitely some parts that are a bit of hollywood magic. I tell my clients (and remind myself, regularly) that there is no easy button. I’ve seen a lot of blow back in various running forums online about the movie not being very realistic in terms of Brittany’s transformation. Going from barely running one block, to running a marathon… in that timeframe, may be a bit of a stretch. But in those scenes, there’s a lot that IS CORRECT. At least for a runner like me (and maybe for a runner, or future-runner, like you). I was never athletic, running did NOT come naturally. Since I’ve been running now for about 7 years, and have done 2 marathons and more halfs than I can count… I had forgotten what getting started was like. But the movie brought it all back. I remember downloading one of the couch to 5k type of apps, leaving my apartment in Bed-Stuy and slowly way walk-running maybe a 4 block radius. It was slow, not fun, scary, terrible and overwhelming and all.the.things! But I did it. And each day I went out there, maybe I went a bit further, or it felt a bit easier… maybe.

Making a big change in your life (whether it’s starting running, or making other changes) is never a direct A-to-Z line. It will be all over the place. Sometimes going forward, but many times going backwards or in ever-frustrating circles. There will be challenges, barriers, successes, distractions, good days, and bad days. Many days when you won’t want to trudge through the hard stuff. A lot of days when it would be easier not to have to do it all alone. That’s where I feel like there could have been a good role in Brittany Runs A Marathon for the support of a therapist. [raises hand, I’ll be your therapist, Brittany].

Brittany was a clear success story in the movie. She gets fit & strong, changes her life, improves friendships and romantic relationships, AND runs a marathon. I’m not saying that I think all of that is impossible, I know for sure that it’s not. I just know that it’s a hell of a lot harder than the movie makes it seem. And I’m gonna keep working to motivate myself to make positive changes in my own life, and keep working with people to help them be more of the self they really want to be.

I’m really excited about the future of Therapy For Runners, and some new ideas that have been percolating. A lot of what’s in the works is a better way to help support more people enact these big, positive changes in their lives. Stay tuned for more information coming soon (before 2020). Feel free to sign up for the newsletter below (I don’t send a lot of emails, don’t worry). As always, feel free to reach out to me anytime.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about above… here’s the Brittany Runs A Marathon movie trailer:

And for fun, here’s a before & after pic from my 2017 marathon day:

IMG_2469.jpg

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A year post marathon training injury....

So, it’s September…. I’m not exactly sure where the summer went, but I am accepting the fact that it’s September in NY, fall is around the corner…. and #winteriscoming.

I’ve been thinking this past week a lot about my previous year. I honestly haven’t given my injury a ton of thought… it comes up when I realize I’m not as fast as I used to be, or when I felt grateful for finishing the Brooklyn Half pain free. But for the most part, it does kind of seem like last September-December has disappeared into a black hole of marathon training injury feelings. Anyone else have a similar experience?

This time last year- I was at the very beginnings of my injury. I remember it first popped up after a Mile High Run Club class where something felt a little off and tight. But no pain intense pain. I just had a weird feeling in my hip. I stretched after what felt like a good class, and went on with my day. I was well into my Chicago Marathon training… just under 5 weeks out from the event. Which would have been my 3rd marathon. I had just nailed what felt like a very solid (and speedy, for me) 17 miler. Things were feeling good.

Until they weren’t. The morning following that MHRC class, I woke up unable to move without extreme pain. The worst pain I’ve probably ever experienced. I had been going to Finish Line Physical Therapy for preventative work throughout my training, so I was quickly able to get in and try to figure out what was happening. It was not clear. Was it my SI joint, a slipped disc, a quad injury (my quad would uncontrollably spasm)…. doctor’s appointments, regular PT, X-rays & an MRI…. and still no clear answers. I remember moments hoping to just be able to put on pants without pain, or to walk without a limp (and pain). It’s amazing how quickly your perspective shifts…. and, when running & healthy, how much you do take for granted. Needless to say, I was not healed and ready by October 7th. And I did not run my 3rd marathon. However, I still carb loaded and fully enjoyed Chicago— cheering on all the other rockstars. By that point, I was generally happy to be able to walk around the city with limited pain. It felt like a win.

So, a year later… as we’re getting ready to be in fall marathon season, I’m reminded on how far I have come. I’m still frustrated by never getting a clear answer or fully understanding what happened. And angry that I’m still paying off the MRI that it didn’t seem that I actually needed (after a frustrating experience with a doctor who did not listen to what I was telling him). But I’m happy and grateful to be fully healed. I didn’t run again until the very end of December. I slowly built up and tried to get into a regular routine again. The Brooklyn Half was successful…. not my fastest by any means, but finishing easily and pain free felt just as good as getting a PR. This summer I ran 2 10k legs in the Catskill 100k relay. I’m not currently training for anything, but I am pondering what might be my next steps. And taking time to enjoy the cooler fall running days.

I’m someone who typically likes plans and lists and getting shit done. So, taking a step back and just letting things be isn’t necessarily my norm. So, here it goes…. we’ll see what happens.

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Lower Your Anxiety Now: CHALLENGE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

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Lower Your Anxiety Now: CHALLENGE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

LOWER YOUR ANXIETY TODAY!

3 reasons negative thoughts make us feel so bad &

3 steps to show them who's boss.... (aka YOU)

Negative thoughts..... ugh..... you know, those things that make you feel depressed and anxious and all-over terrible.... we've all got em. But we don't need to let them be the boss of us, and control how we think and feel and act.

One of the first things I hear in therapy sessions are these negative thoughts that come up for people. Everyone has them. Though some people are better than others at realizing that they are around. They're often the things our brain tells us, like "you're not good enough" "there's a reason you're single" "there's no point in applying to that job, you won't get it"…. etc.


Maybe these sound familiar to you. The reason why they're so crappy is:

  1. they make us feel bad. Terrible. Anxious. Depressed. Hopeless. Etc.

  2. they're also often not even real or true or based in any tiny bit of factual information.

  3. and for most people, we don't realize our brain is doing this. it happens so fast, automatically. and our brains have gotten very good at doing this for X # of years. 25, 32, 41.... for however many years, it's a lot of years of practice.

The general way for dealing with them is based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is an evidenced-based therapy modality. All of that therapymumbojumbo basically means that it's proven to work. I use parts of this in my work with lots of different people. But it's not everyone's jam.... so if it's not yours either, don't worry!


3 steps to "mastering your negative thoughts"
might sound easy, but remember... your brain has gotten very, very good at doing this. Many many years of fine-tuned practice. So, it's not so easy or quick. It is a process.

But the 3 steps don't really change:
Step # 1- catching negative thoughts. First, you need to identify and increase your awareness of when these thoughts pop up. You can do this on your own, or work with a therapist to help. When I'm meeting with people, I am listening for a lot of different things, but negative thoughts that you aren't fully aware of, is one of the big ones. And I'll tell you when I hear them. Once we have a good idea of what they are, then we can move to step 2.
Step #2- looking for evidence. Gathering actual, objective evidence to support or disprove your thought is an extremely important step. The objective part is key, though. You can't trust your own brain here. In sessions, I am often reminding people of the objective evidence that very often fully disproves their negative thoughts.
Step #3- finding an alternative thought. Once you identify the negative thought, and are able to disprove it.... now you need to tell your brain what it should be thinking instead. This would be your new & improved, alternative thought. This one is based in reality and objective evidence. And, hopefully, makes you feel a bit better than the first automatic negative thought. It should also be easier to believe (remember, evidence).... but might still take some time to convince your brain, so you might need to actively remind yourself of this newer way of thinking.


If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me. Or if you want to try out this process in real life, let's book a session to get started! Remember, this format doesn't work for everyone, and it's not the only way to tackle feeling crappy. But it is a process and a tool that can work for a lot of people.

Click the button below if you'd like to get my FREE PDF guide to challenging your negative thoughts. It will walk you through all of the steps needed to get started, you can sign up to get it here…. FOR FREE.

#winning

#goodbyenegativethoughts

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Anxiety- friend or frenemy?

This video just crossed my path and it is absolutely AMAZING! I have been known to encourage people to name their anxiety- i.e. “Hi Gloria, I have no time for you today” sort of naming, but this takes takes it to a whole new level.

You can read along with Jae Nichelle here.

Let me know your thoughts or, as always, feel free to reach out if you want to take some new steps to KNOCK OUT your own anxiety.

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SELF CARE IN THE SUMMER: 5 FREE Summer Survival Skills

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SELF CARE IN THE SUMMER: 5 FREE Summer Survival Skills

It’s July. It’s officially officially summer (yes, I know the equinox passed us already). There is something about July in NYC that is….. Let’s say, distinct. Kids are out of school, but the hoards of people haven’t fully left the city yet (like in August). It’s hot, humid, and the streets smell of warm trash (not fun). There are constant fireworks going off in most Brooklyn neighborhoods (as well as the occasional gun shot). Quick thunderstorms roll through, sometimes cancelling your favorite outdoor event (be it a movie screening, concert, or yoga in the park). Not the best time to be in Brooklyn if you’re a dog who’s scared of those things (which I have). And sometimes can be a hard time if you’re just a regular ole human.

So, how best to manage it all….. And, dare I say, enjoy the summer in the city! As a therapist in Brooklyn (and having lived here for 17 years in August)…. I have finely tuned some of my summer survival skills. 

Self care can encompass lots of different things, depending on who you talk to. Some poo-poo it as spending money on yourself. This can be true, but does not have to be the case. Let’s start with the foundational basics, that are all basically FREE & go from there….

1) HYDRATION- Please drink a glass of water every morning when you wake up, and try your best to continue drinking a hydrating beverage throughout the day. Rosé or your favorite summer craft brew don’t count. But given the heat index, and the propensity for summer social drinking events…. make an effort to get in the habit of hydrating throughout the day, your body will thank you.

2) SLEEP- Depending on your air conditioning situation, and being able to sleep through the summer night noises of Brooklyn (fireworks, gun shots, etc).... Sleeping in the summer can be a challenge. If you have AC, use it when you need it! It can also act as a white noise to help drown out the street noises. White noise machines (or apps) can also be helpful. If you don’t have AC- maybe try taking a cool shower before you go to bed, or putting an ice pack on your neck (or anywhere comfortable on your body) as you fall asleep (a cool or frozen washcloth can also do the trick).

3) EAT LOCAL & FRESH- Summer is my favorite time to eat in NYC. We may live in a giant-ass city, but we are surrounded by farms ( Sign up for your local CSA, swing by one of the many the farmer’s markets, or now you can even buy a one-off CSA box from Fresh Direct-so you don’t have to commit to a full season, if that’s too much). Enjoy all the local and delicious fresh fruits & veggies.

4) TAKE OFF SOME DAYS OFF- What I hear over and over from people (and experience in my own life too) is that the summer weekends are already booked up with activities and events from now through Labor day. Us NYers are busy in the summer. It can be hard to avoid it. There are so many things to do, and FOMO is a real thing. But please please please take a day off every now and then. And not a day off that is then re-filled with house chores & laundry (tho that has to get done at some point). But a true day off to recharge & rest. If a full day is too much, start with a part of the day: a lazy morning or evening at home, or (GASP) a day that has nothing planned and see where the day takes you. You might end up lounging in Prospect Park for hours or going to a movie (I love going to the movies in the summer, and will probably write a whole separate blog post for that- but basically it’s a lovely deeply air conditioned escape). If you prefer not to shell out the $17+ for a movie ticket, maybe you end up at one of the many free outdoor movie screenings (not as air conditioned, but just as fun). 

5) TRY SOMETHING NEW- NewYorkers are creatures of habit. We take the same trains to the same neighborhoods, often going to our same favorite spots with our same favorite people. Having favorites is great- I love that about NY. But the summer is also prime time to try something new, and there is scientific evidence that trying something new can be helpful for improving your mood. Just sayin’. It also does not have to cost money to try something new (though, of course it easily can). Try a free fitness class, aforementioned free movie screenings, free concerts, free theater, go to Governor’s Island (first ferry is free) and escape the city, go for a hike in the trails/wooded areas of Central or Prospect Park. The list can go on and on, and there are many places on the interwebs to find such lists. And if you need guidance, reach out & I’m happy to point you towards some fun, free options that you might like to try. The specifics don’t matter that much...The point is to mix up your routine a bit, and you might even find a new “favorite” thing to do. 

As I tell a lot of my clients- don’t try to make all the changes at once. Try just one small step or action, and try to make it sustainable. Reach out if you have any questions, need any ideas, or have your own favorite free NYC selfcare items to add in :)

Happy July, y’all.

ps- I’m not southern, I just really like using y’all. And it basically has been a part of my vocabulary after spending time in Baton Rouge in 2004.

(I took this cover photo at this year’s FREE Shakespeare in the Park)

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Ready for Saturday?

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Ready for Saturday?

Hey Brooklyn Runners! I just picked up by number & shirt from the rainy Brooklyn waterfront, and am getting ready for the race Saturday. I wanted to share with you a FREE (and hopefully helpful) planner to get ready in the next few days! Do you love to-do lists? I do! I have done far too many races where I have forgotten some key ingredients come race morning. Items like: headphones, fuel, dry change of clothes, layers, metrocard to get home, etc.  *Also, my go-to must have on a rainy race day is a trash bag. I sometimes look strange, as I am often the only one wearing a trash bag in the morning... but am DRY & happy. And would HIGHYL recommend! Hehe*

DOWNLOAD IT HERE!

As you may know, I am also a big fan of self-care... especially leading up to (and immediately after) a big race. So this planner will help you set some intentional self-care plans. Some good (and highly recommended) options: SLEEP, massage (self, partner or professional!), some healthy and delicious carbs (do cookies count? i hope so), treating yourself to that way overpriced (but hydrating & good for you) juice or smoothie.

Feel free to add in the comments any other self caring you like to do before/after a race, and any other reminders of things not to forget on race day!

Most of all, enjoy Saturday! The Brooklyn Half is by far the most fun race I have had the privilege of running. And honestly, the rain will very likely be much more enjoyable than the years it has been sunny (and so hot on Ocean Parkway!). Just prepare & pack accordingly. 

See you out there!

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February! Happy New Year (a month late)

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February! Happy New Year (a month late)

Holy cow, it's February! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Where exactly did January go? Anyone else feel like it just sort of magically disappeared. I mean, I remember the weeks-long stretch of really, really cold days.... but overall, it does feel like it flew by. Perhaps it was because I have been sick and/or dealing with miscellaneous mini-injuries all month. I did not get to start 2018 in the focused, goal-oriented, resolution-energized way I maybe would have liked. I woke up New Years day with the beginning signs of a cold. And, that cold (or a combination of other ones I caught along the way), is still kicking it's way around. An entire month of cold-symptoms, ugh! Aside from this never-ending cold... I minorly hurt my neck (skiing), and randomly did something upsetting to my subscapularis/shoulder muscle. These mini-injuries added to my list of (mostly valid) excuses for taking it easy. Semi-hibernating. My January definitely did not start off the way I had hoped.

January wasn't a complete waste- I completed a meditation teacher training, got 4 days of skiing in, registered for the Brooklyn Half, and signed up for a yearlong bootcamp membership.

So, now it's February. And, while still coughing and blowing my nose, I am ready to start tackling some of my 2018 goals! First up, is getting back in shape- post 2017 NYC marathon (and basically almost 3 months of taking it easy).... they say fit-ness runs on 3 week intervals. Meaning, my body won't feel the benefits/effects of working out for about 3 weeks. So, while getting back into things, I'm looking at 3 weeks of feeling out of shape and speeds/exercises that used to feel easy (at top-marathon training), will undoubtedly be quite challenging. The good news is that February is a short month, and I should be caught up by the end of these 28 days.... and ready to start up Brooklyn Half training in March.

Here goes!

 

 

(**and just because I got a slow start this 2018, doesn't mean you have to. Spots still available in the Winter Wellness Intensive)

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10 days to go!!! SELF CARE CHALLENGE!

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10 days to go!!! SELF CARE CHALLENGE!

10 days til #tcsnycmarathon = 10 days of self care!

November 5th is almost here (insert: panic & excitement! AHHH). For those running, I’m sure you are going through lots of different emotions right now- I know I am. After spending 5 months focusing on one thing, one goal, one day... the realization of all of that’s about to happen is starting to sink in. Marathon blues, are definitely a thing. I used to think they’d just pop up post-marathon, but I have been feeling them this week. Tapering is different for everyone, but I spent the first part of this week feeling highly unmotivated- not getting out of bed in time to get the miles on my training plan in, and then beating myself up about it. I realized Tuesday of this week that I was being a bit silly. I’ve followed my training plan (for the most part, very closely), had a great 20 mile run & even felt really good about running the last 10 miles of the course on Sunday. However, for some reason Monday-Wednesday this week felt like I had lost all focus & motivation.

So, with 10 days left to go, I’ve decided I’m going to focus (even more than usual) on SELF CARE.  I’m a big believer in self care & also know that most of us do not do it enough. Living in this city is hard enough. It’s been an incredibly hard year in the world. People have jobs & family & responsibilities & so many stressors... all.the.time! Throw the insane idea of training for & running a marathon on top of that. It’s a bit crazy. So, yes, self care- it’s important & necessary! And, trust me, it doesn’t just happen naturally (unless you’re some sort of magical human with lots & lots of resources). But for most of us, it’s extra time... extra money.... extra focus.... and all of that can be hard to come by most days.

So, for the next 10 days leading up to the TCS NYC Marathon, I’m going to focus on one thing (self care-related) each day. And I encourage you to do the same!! I’ll be posting on Instagram & Facebook. I love the running community & think it’s a great place to get support and connect with others! So, if you’re down for the self care challenge please post along the way and add the tags:  

#therapy4runners

#10daysofselfcare

#nycmarathonselfcareclub

I hope with using the hashtags, people will be able to get new ideas of self care! Either to do in the next 10 days, or even better- to turn into a sustainable self care practice. (Remember: nothing new on race day!!)

What if...
I’m not a runner but want to join in....
I’m a runner, but not running the NYC Marathon this year...
I’ve never focused on self care before & this is scary and weird....
I have no time/money/energy to do something self care related each day....

PLEASE JOIN US!
...start small (5 minutes/day counts!), support others, try something new... and, best of all, take care of yourself!!!

And for the 50,000 rockstars doing the marathon next week... enjoy the next 10 days! Enjoy every moment (and every delicious carb) that will get us to the Verrazano bridge.  

If 10 days of self care seems like a lot... know that you've already come this far, you are capable and strong and determined, and fully deserve to treat yourself to some TLC!

Happy tapering, folks! I look forward to sharing (and learning) new self care tips & ideas in the next 10 days!

Finish strong! 

~katie

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