Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Happy Thanksgiving!!

I kind of love Thanksgiving.  It's funny because when I was a child we didn't do very much to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We actually went bowling, which was always a traumatic experience for me as I lack the necessary hand eye coordination, and even at times, the strength to be a half way decent bowler.  Most Thanksgivings involved tears for me (I was a brat, its fine), but I look back pretty fondly on it anyways.  We also used to go to my grandma's and I was the pickiest eater ever, so I ate spaghetti on Thanksgiving.  Like I said, brat. 

Now, we don't go bowling because we celebrate Thanksgiving in the city with my family.  At some point, we established a new tradition that more closely resembles a typical Thanksgiving, and I kind of love it.  I'm still not the biggest fan of turkey, I don't like cranberry sauce, and I can definitely do without pumpkin flavored everything (sorry rest of world, I think its weird).  I just really enjoy spending the day with my family.  

So in short... to be sappy and corny: I am thankful for Thanksgiving!  This is my first Thanksgiving as a married woman, and tomorrow (if all goes right at the DMV and Social Security Card office) will actually be my last day with my maiden name.  I'm a little bummed about that, but more about that another day.

I'm also getting really amped up for the holidays.  We're going to visit family overseas and I'm pretty pumped.  I haven't seen my extended family for more than like a day and a half at a time in several years.  

Also, loved having a morning run this morning.  Nice little bonus of having the day off.  I am still not doing so well with the evening runs... dark and cold = cranky Nicole.  I'm just going to have to push through it.  

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?  Does your family have any cool traditions? 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What went wrong

OK, so this post title has 2 meanings...

First, I was thinking about the whole changing my blog title and 1) I can't come up with a name I like and 2) I dont want to change the URL b/c I don't want it to get lost on any lists I'm already on.  So... for now, Exercise ADD is stuck, but maybe in the future, I will post a much longer and more gradual change.

Second, I wanted to talk about what happened over the summer after my stress fracture.  See this post for the explanation of the injury. Even though I was injured, I could still do low impact cardio like cycling or swimming (which isn't easy in NYC unfortunately).  I decided to do cycling at the gym (one day I'll tell you all why I won't ride a bike outdoors, but thats a story for another day).  I went to the gym a couple times a week to cycle, and also did crunches most of the time when I was there.

Occasionally, if Cameron went to the gym, I would go with him to the weight room.  I made a vague attempt to gain muscle, but as I have a fear of the weight room, I had a very hard time going on my own.  This fear stems from feeling like I don't know what I'm doing in the weight room and I don't like to have trainers/staff help me, but I don't want to look like a moron.

As a result, I would really only go with Cameron, or I'd go in by myself, do 3 machines Cameron had shown me (probably in the wrong order or on the wrong day) and then sprint out of there.

Then September hit and I started going to NJ a lot to deal with wedding related things.  Which meant fitting in gym time was harder and harder, but I was able to go once or twice a week.  And then about 2 weeks before the wedding, I got a cold, and then threw my hands up in the air and essentially said, "SCREW YOU" to exercise.

I also had this issue where I really missed running as soon as I was booted.  I was very surprised the first time I said to myself, "Today is a great day for running, I can't believe I can't!" I also was a lot more stressed out, on edge and generally crankier.  Yes, there was wedding stress, but I had this itchy feeling like I didn't have an outlet for it.

What I realized is that running outside felt different than other forms of exercise for me.  The big thing was that I was disconnected from my life, but connected to the rest of the world.  I'm not coordinated enough to ever check my phone while running, which means text messages, facebook, emails and phone calls have to wait.  BUT, I'm outside with all these other people, observing how other people exercise, what other people wear, and looking into other people's lives. I can't zone out and watch TV like I can on a bike, but I listen to pandora and get lots of new songs and keep myself current.

Also, and this will sound very bizarre... I missed hating running.  Yup, thats right.  I spent a lot of energy during my runs saying, "f*** you hudson river" or "if only I could run as fast as that guy, I'd be done running by now" which got out a lot of my stress and anger towards other things in my life.

The first few weeks without running were really tough.  I felt very un-regulated and like I wasn't sure how to de-stress.  I tried napping, which I've done in the past, and it's generally unsuccessful.  I tried the bike at the gym, but I felt so un-isolated, that I couldn't process my own thoughts. In the end, I just had to do the best I could and try to get by without.

A few weeks into being booted, I didn't miss running so much anymore, but I did start to obsess over how much I had probably lost throughout all this, and I started to get discouraged.  I worked so hard to be able to run 4 miles, and now I probably lost it all.  It was very easy to let my mind think about what went wrong, and not how things will be in the future.  Also, my diet went downhill.  Not that I have the best diet to begin with, but I was starting to eat lunch consistently, and I was starting to have healthier snacks.  Pfft, that went out the window very quickly.

Now that my foot is better again, I'm starting really slowly.  I realized that jumping into it too quickly set me so far back.  I'd rather do very short runs for a little bit and gradually build up my speed and distance.  I'm not training for the Olympics, so why take the risk??

How do you feel when you can't do your favorite form of exercise?  What is your favorite form of exercise?


Sunday, November 4, 2012

HI!!! I'm BACK!!

Hello world, I'm back!

So what the hell happened to me?  Quick summary.  So last you all saw me, I fractured my foot and was in a walking boot.  I wore the walking boot for approximately 2 months, and have been finished with it since the beginning of October.  During that time, I used the bike at the gym and did a little weightlifting (only if Cameron came with me), but obviously no classes, no yoga and most importantly, no running.

So why didn't I reappear in the beginning of October when the boot came off??

Cuz we got married!!

Here are a couple of pictures from our wedding: 






OK, that was October 14, why didn't I start blogging and exercising right after that??

That's a little tougher to answer.... I'm not sure why to be honest.  I wanted to and even had moments where I thought about writing, but then I just didn't.  But now I feel ready and I'm back and ready to document my exercise "adventures" and other life events.

However, I've done a lot of thinking about this "journey" I started over a year ago.  When I started exercising, I was just trying to get into the habit of doing something a few times a week.  When I started blogging, my goal was to try all sorts of different forms of exercise.

When I was injured, I found what I missed most was running.  I'm not sure if I missed running because I'd been training or because that was the form of exercise (I feel like I've said exercise too much) that alleviated the most stress for me.

I think my journey is evolving.  It makes sense thinking about it.  My first goal was to just do ANYTHING.  It really was to just make it to the gym or a class several times a week.  I didn't care how I did, I just had to stay for 30 minutes or the duration of the class.  My next goal was to explore different options.  I thought that I would get bored doing the same thing (hence exercise ADD), but I also was looking for something that I enjoyed, was good at, or wanted to keep going back to.  Unexpectedly, I found that: running.

So I think my focus now is running, and improving my time and increasing distance.  I still plan to take classes when I can and do other activities, but my main focus is really going to be running.  With that, I want to change the name of my blog and update the format.  Suggestions are welcome!!

How have your goal changed over time?  What should I rename my blog?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday!

To my #1 fan!! Enjoy your day.  Try not to get hurt!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

That can happen??? Seriously??

This is supposed to be an exercise blog, not an injury blog!  And I thought exercise was supposed to make you healthier, but apparently since I've started exercising, I've discovered I have asthma, developed sciatica, had a little plantar fascitis and now...

CHECK OUT MY FOOT.

Not sure what you are looking at?  I wasn't really either.  Other than the fact toes are freakishly long and those little end toe bones are a funny shape, I have absolutely no idea what this x-ray means..

Apparently...


You see the little fleck that those very discrete arrows are pointing to?  That's probably a piece of bone. I didn't even know bone could do that!  Basically, I most likely tore a ligament and when I tore the ligament, a little piece of bone chipped off as well.

Seriously??

I was given a super cool boot to wear for several weeks and I have to get an MRI to check out the ligament damage.  She called it a "Stress reaction" which when I googled it, I got "Acute stress reaction (also called acute stress disorderpsychological shockmental shock, or simply shock) is a psychological condition arising in response to a terrifying or traumatic event. It should not be confused with the unrelated circulatory condition of shock" from wikipedia.   Not what I have... 

Further googling reveals that it is caused by overuse and is similar to a stress fracture, but a different kind of injury.  Lesson learned... don't go from running leisurely a couple times a week to running 10-12 miles a week immediately.  I think this is why experts recommend only increasing your mileage by 10% every week.  Fortunately, I am not an expert, nor have I claimed to be, so all I can tell you is what I've learned from this experience.

Back to my original point... has exercise made me healthier?  Yes.  Definitely.  OK, so all these random injuries suck, but honestly, I basically haven't exercised at all, so my body is still adjusting.  And it's funny, because the (second) most frustrating part of this injury is that I can't run right now!  I feel a little scatterbrained without running.  I love running on the Hudson... I wasn't particularly enjoying the longer runs, but I was really starting to enjoy 3-4 miles.  

Of course, the most frustrating/nervewracking part is whether or not I can wear my beautiful purple shoes for our wedding.  It should be all better by then, and the doctor said even if it isn't, one day out of the boot is fine.


SO PRETTY!


Do you get injured frequently?  Are you done listening to me talk about my foot?  Do you feel healthier as a result of exercising?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hello, how are you?

I am SOOOO sorry!  I have been MIA and particularly unmotivated to write anything because I am no longer working towards the half-marathon and took almost a week and a half off of exercising.  I went back to my pre-exercising life.  And it was weird.

My ankle is still a mess.  I went to the Mt. Sinai urgent care center on the Upper West Side to have them check it out last Monday.  If I had to write a review of it (which I guess I could on yelp), I would say... it was a very unpleasant experience.  The place is gorgeous (sorry I didn't think to take a picture) but I was there for over 3 hours and I didn't feel like I got a lot out of the visit.

What took so long?  Were there lot's of people and your 2 week old injury was not high as "urgent" as other issues?  Maybe they did a very thorough work up?

NO.

I have no idea what took so long.  When I got there, there was no one waiting in the immaculate waiting room.  I think maybe one woman came in while I was waiting and that was it.  It was bad from the getgo.  It took like 40 minutes just to get called into a room.

Once I was called into a room, a nurse took my blood pressure, asked my history etc.  He then said it would be 10-15 minutes until the doctor came into my room.

It was 35.  There was a clock on the phone in the room that I was watching for most of the time.  I had gone straight there from Penn Station with my overnight stuff from a trip to DC.  My cell phone was dying, my nook was dead and there was not a single magazine in the room.  So I watched the clock.  I think I've enjoyed watching water boil more than I enjoyed watching that clock.

So the doctor comes, and she looks at it for 5 seconds.  "Well it could be a stress fracture or it could be a sprain" No shit, doc, that's what I thought too!  I'm here for your x-ray machine.

She recommends an x-ray (something that could have happened over an hour ago at this point) and leaves the room.  20-25 minutes later, the nurse comes back in and takes me for an x-ray.  He takes 3 x-rays and then sends me back to my room.  The x-rays took about 10 minutes to do.

30 minutes later, I leave the room because no one has come to tell me what the hell is wrong with me.  I ask someone at the check-out desk (I know, its not a hotel, but I can't think of a better thing to call that desk), and within a minute, the nurse reappears.  With crutches.

He comes into my room with the crutches and an ace bandage and wraps my foot.  I asked him what was wrong with it and he gave some weird vague answer that indicated the doctor would tell me.  I then tell him that I do not want the crutches because they are not practical for my life and if I could have something else, that would be helpful. He has to check with the doctor, and so after wrapping my foot (which took about 4 minutes)

So another 10 minutes later, the nurse and doctor both come back in.  The doctor said there was nothing on the x-ray, so its probably a sprain, but it could still be a stress fracture.  Can I see my x-rays?  No.  Can I have my x-rays? No.  She also said that I don't have to use the crutches but I should stay off of my foot as much as possible and recommended that I try not to run.  I thought it was kind of weird that it was just okay for me to not use the crutches, but they didn't have an alternative to promote recovery (i.e. an air cast or a boot). I asked how long it will take to recover, and she gave me a vague, "well it depends" answer and kind of shuffled me out of the door.  She also said I needed to follow-up with an orthopedist anyway.  That all took about 5 minutes.

I go to the check-out desk, and apparently the doctor has to sign off on my paperwork and write up the referral, which of course, she has not done yet.  So another 5-10 minutes go by while the doctor is draining someone else's finger or something (why would you start that before signing my paperwork?? Wouldn't you want to wrap one person up since it only takes 15 seconds?) and then that person comes out and hes all cranky because he was waiting a long time. Except not nearly as long. So she's trying to check us both out at once which is very confusing.

FINALLY... over 3 hours later, I am out of there!  On my way home at 7:00pm and exhausted.  In total, I spent about 20 minutes with people, and the rest of the time waiting which is a pretty terrible proportion.  And not only that, but I knew it was either a sprain or a stress fracture and I'd already stopped running (but thanks for the advice) a week before that.  And now I have to go to an orthopedist at Mt. Sinai because they have my damn x-rays! Mt. Sinai is on the Upper East Side so not terribly convenient for where I live.

OH, and to add insult to injury (haha no pun intended), I called Mt. Sinai to make an appointment with the orthopedist, and after being assured by the Urgent Care Center that all their providers take my insurance, I find out that the foot/ankle specialist DOES NOT take my insurance.

I'm off to the non-foot/ankle orthopedist tomorrow, so we'll see what happens.  Hopefully I won't be there as long.

Have you ever had an experience like this at an Urgent Care Center? Do you know of any more efficient Urgent Care Centers?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recap of the past 2 weeks

Sorry guys, I disappeared for a couple of weeks.  Between wedding stuff, work and other things, I've been super busy... not a great excuse! 

Let's start with training week #3 - how did I do??


Week #3 went great!  Because of other commitments, I ended up not sticking to this order, but thats okay.  I ran 6.00 miles on that Friday from work to home.  It was pouring rain and it was a tough run, but I did it.  Not only that, but on Sunday, I did my 4 mile run and I ran the entire time.  I was very proud of myself and was so pumped that I actually ran 4 whole miles - thats such awesome progress and I felt great after the run.  It definitely helped that it was about 20 degrees cooler than it had been in the past 2 months, but it doesn't matter because I was still able to do it! 
Also, the 3 mile run I did on a treadmill and it went pretty terribly.  I don't know what it is, but I hate the treadmill.  I can only run for like 10 minutes and then I feel like I'm dying of boredom/exhaustion.  Even though I'm going slower than I do when I'm running outside, it still feels harder.  Does anyone else ever feel this way??

So with the overall high from week 3, I was pumped to start week 4.  My legs were sore from running 10 miles between Friday and Sunday, but I was actually excited last Monday to go for another run and see if I could do the whole thing again.  

Here was the plan for week 4:


Not bad, only adding an extra mile to the 1st run, but otherwise, basically the same as week 4.

Here is what happened on week 4:

Whaaaaaa???  Such a confusing week!  What happened?!?

I think I sprained my ankle. You know how I said my legs were sore after running on Friday and Sunday?  Well my ankle was very uncomfortable, but I assumed it was because of running so much.  On Monday, when I went for my 5 mile run, about 0.76 miles in, my ankle was in a lot of pain and I decided to stop running.  The only reason its 1.3 miles is because I had to walk back to my apartment.  I tried running a couple more times hoping that it was just very tired, but every time I took a step, I could feel my ankle/foot hurting.

On Tuesday, I had to go see a client in the evening and then on Wednesday we had our tasting for our wedding, so I had to take those days off anyway.  I rested my ankle and figured that it was still probably muscle soreness/tiredness.  Or maybe I needed new shoes...

On Thursday, I laced up, got back to running and went for 3 miles.  It continued to be uncomfortable, but I pushed through the run.  See, the thing is, I don't trust myself when I'm sick or injured.  I'm never sure if I'm genuinely injured/sick (unless its obvious like I have a fever), and so I tend to just believe it's all in my head/I need to push through it.  There is no visible swelling, so there is no proof that I'm injured, other than discomfort.  And I'm a baby, so I'm uncomfortable when I run anyway. 

I decided on Friday morning to buy an ankle brace to see if that helped relieve some pressure so I could run on Friday afternoon.  I put it on and it instantly felt much better.  Not perfect, but much much better.  I decided not to run on Friday and take a couple more days off. 

When I got home and took off the brace, there was some bruising by my ankle, which wasn't noticeable before.  I don't know if the compression increased blood flow and made bruising more apparent, but based on the improvement with the brace and the bruising, I'm pretty sure it's an ankle sprain.

So what does that mean for my half marathon training?

No more running for at least a week.  I am going to go on a bike for an hour as often as I can - at least 3 times a week, because I don't want to lose the cardio base I've built up.  It really sucks going on a stationary bike for an hour.  It's just very boring, even while watching TV, listening to music or reading on my phone.  After this week, I'll see how my ankle feels and do a short test run.  If it feels good, I'll try a longer run, and then just pick up where I should be.  I might have to tweak my schedule or add an extra run when I can to keep adding the mileage, but I'll worry about that once I'm back to running.  Who knows, it could be a week, it could be a month, so there is no sense planning a schedule when I don't know what will happen.

Icing my ankle
 How have you handled injuries/setbacks?  Do you prefer running outside or on the treadmill?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Training Week # 3

Let's check in!  How did training week #2 go??


I added 1.00 mile to my weekly total AND I cut my average pace/mile by over a minute!  I have to say... antibiotics for bronchitis made all the difference!

During the middle run for this week, I was able to run for 75% of the run, including the entire first 2 miles.  That was the first time I'd run 2 miles continuously without walking breaks.  It might not sound like a lot, but as a relatively new runner (ok, it's been almost a year, but a lot of this year has been trial and error) its huge.  I have no athletic base to build off of, and so I was literally starting from scratch.  Running 2 miles continuously as a 10 min pace is pretty good.

I also took a hot yoga class at Pure Yoga on Tuesday night.  The class itself was okay - it was a community class and my friend and I felt it was a very advanced class.  I'll write a full review this week... but it was not up to the usual Pure standards that we've seen in other classes.

What's coming up for this week:

I'm added 1 more mile to my weekly today during my long run.  I'm excited for this because I work 5.5 miles from home, so this means I can use my commute home as a run... I might have to overshoot home, but at least I'm saving some time.
The rest of the week is going to be tight - I have a very exciting and busy weekend coming up!  We are going to the sample presentation for the florist for our wedding and then on Sunday, we're going to see Book of Mormon with my family.  My sister-in-law's parents got us tickets for Christmas, and at the time, July 22 seemed ages away.  Now it's here.
Thursday I'm going to get my orthodontist in NJ to get my Invisalign taken off... I think.  Yes, I have Invisalign.  When I got my initial braces off when I was 14/15, my teeth were great.  I wore my retainers through my freshman year of college and then stopped.  My wisdom teeth came in/were impacted and pushed all of my teeth - particularly my bottom teeth - all out of sorts.  When it came time for the wedding, I decided to go for Invisalign because I didn't want pictures of my teeth to look terrible.  It's a little superficial, but there were always pictures of brides with their mouths open laughing or talking, and I just kept thinking, "oh gosh, these pictures are beautiful, my teeth are going to ruin these pictures of me!!"  However, I have noticed that as a result of the Invisalign, I have been much more meticulous brushing and caring for my teeth, and I have also found that my teeth are easier to brush and floss as a result of my teeth not being on top of each other.  It has definitely had it's benefits, but I am excited to get the little brackets (yes there are little brackets even though its Invisalign) taken off and to not have to wear them constantly!
To sum up, I have to run 3 out of my 4 available days, which isn't that big a deal, but it just shows how inflexible my schedule will be for the next few weeks.  I have time to fun, but I can't be lazy/procrastinate because I don't have time to make up that run if I decide not to go.




How are you doing making progress towards your goals? Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I'm a REAL runner!


Why am I a real runner??

I popped my first blister!  It was not as painful an experience as I thought it would be.  I think the worst part was when I touched the hot part of the safety pin after sterilizing it and then dropped it back into the sink. My 2nd toe looked like it was growing another toe on the side and it was very painful.  So it had to go.

Also, I learned today that I'm not supposed to wear cotton socks.  Whoops.. maybe thats why my feet are always overheated and I'm getting blisters in the summer.  What kind of socks does everyone else like to wear?  I read online teflon or dry wick socks are the best.  I looked around and they are all so expensive!! I've spent so much money on exercise stuff, and I love all of it, but I was happy to be done spending more money!

However, my feet are starting to look like runner's feet with callouses and blisters popping up.  I'm well on my way to becoming a runner!

In other news:

On my google reader, I follow Well and Good NYC, which is a website that has information about living healthy in NYC.  There are blog posts, reviews, exercise tips, beauty tips etc etc.
I was reading through the recent articles/blog posts when I came across this article.  Hilaria Thomas Baldwin is going to head up a new yoga place called SoulYoga.  So why do I care?
This is why: Yoga Vida is Spanish for Yoga Life.  I really liked Hilaria as an instructor! That's cool... I just read an article about a Yoga instructor that I have had.
But wait... it gets crazier... when I took her class, she was Hilaria Thomas.  NOW she is Hilaria Thomas BALDWIN.  Yup, she is the 28 year old who married Alec Baldwin.  I took a yoga class with Alec Baldwin's wife!  I really like Alec Baldwin (especially when he hosts SNL) so it seems really cool to me.
Anyway, moving away from my 15-year-old like moment... I'm still impressed at Hilaria Thomas' promotion to heading up SoulYoga, which will no doubt become a massive hit and very popular in no time.  Especially because she seems to have devoted followers from Yoga Vida - I remember people being very bummed when she announced she was taking a break from teaching for several months.

Moving on...

I apparently have had bronchitis for the last 2 weeks.  So no wonder it has felt like I am breathing underwater for 2 weeks when I run.  I went to the pulmonologist on Friday and he prescribed a wonderful Z-pak for me and voila... I'm all better.  Most bronchitis infections are viral, but he said since it hadn't gone away in a couple weeks, he'd prescribe an antibiotic and that might help.  Guess it was bacterial, or maybe it wasn't bronchitis.  He also switched my steroid inhaler to Symbicort, which is less abrasive on my throat.

So yesterday I went for my first post-bronchitis run.  Apparently, it was not normal for me to feel like I can't breathe, because yesterday I felt great.  I ran 4 miles in 41 minutes.  Hence the massive blister on my toe and my hazing into the running world.

When did you have your first "I'm a runner moment"?  What kind of socks should I buy?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Training Week # 2

OK... so how did I do with Week one... let's check it out...

I did all my miles!!  Maybe not on the days that I scheduled, but I did it all.  Also... that middle run may not have been so easy, but I'm pretty bad at pacing myself.  Whoops.

So... Week 2...

We'll see how it goes... adding 1 mile to my total.  I also will be doing Hot Yoga on Tuesday at Pure Yoga East as part of a Community Event.

In other news... it's less than 100 days until my wedding!  My brain is like completely wedding crazy right now, so its nice to do something thats not wedding related.

What are your goals for the week?  Did you do what you set out to do last week?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Class Review: Exhale Vinyasa Flow

A few months ago, my friend and I got a Lifebooker deal for 3 classes at Exhale spa for $45.  That's a great deal - their single classes are $37 for a core fusion and $26 for a yoga class.  Steep pricing for a girl on a teacher's salary.
We went to a Core Fusion class back in April (I can't believe it was that long ago) and haven't had the opportunity to use the other 2 classes since then.  SInce we had off on the 4th of July, but not the days around it, we were both in the city for a day off and we decided to try a yoga class.
The yoga studio was gorgeous (see left).  It had beautiful floors and was very large.  The door (the wooden piece in the forefront of the picture) was awkwardly heavy and oddly not sound proof given its weight.
There were only about 7 people in our class which was pretty cool - I guess not that many people go to Yoga classes on the 4th of July.
The class itself was pretty good.  I was surprised at how hard it was considering it was a not a hot yoga class.  I always except not hot yoga to be easy, but it really isn't.
The instructor was really good.  She was descriptive in her directions and provided corrective notes as needed.  I also really liked how she broke down the plank/upward dog/downward dog flow... she went through it painfully slowly, but it was very helpful for me because I never go from plank to upward dog correctly.
For those of you who know me, you will remember that a few years ago at Inner Strength, the owner actually stood on my hands in an attempt to get me to position into downward facing dog correctly.  He also manually guided me through the flow several times... but still I have struggled with this and usually just try my best.  I actually found it helpful the way the Exhale instructor verbally broke it down as it was easier for me to conceptualize and it also made me feel less frustrated (it was initially really embarrassing to have the owner of a studio manually guide you through half a class...but over time I've accepted that that happened...)
It was a pretty standard yoga class - there was not a balance series, which is always my favorite part, but I've found that a lot of studios in NYC don't regularly do all the different balance poses at once/in one class like Inner Strength did when I went there.

Pros:
1) I liked the instructor's descriptiveness
2) The 7 person class was nice, but probably not normal for Exhale Spa
3) It's always refreshing to do not-hot yoga once in a while

Cons:
1) I like more balance poses, also there were no shoulder stands which I like
2) Exhale is waaay too expensive
3) The door was not sound proof, which was annoying towards the end of the class when the next class was milling around outside.

Do you prefer Hot Yoga or Regular Yoga? What is your favorite part of a Yoga class?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Giveaway winner

Dear many women on the Hudson River Greenway,  I wish you had seen my giveaway because your sports bras were not supporting you.  I wince when I see women in sports bras that are not supportive... it looks painful!  And I feel like you're just encouraging gravity (even though I'm pretty sure that those are just my feelings and not actuality)

So... the winner of the discount code is Carly!  Congratulations Carly and I hope you enjoy your CW-X products as much as I enjoy mine.  Please email me at exerciseadd@gmail.com to get the code and instructions on how to claim it.

Thanks so much!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Foodie Pen Pals Reveal!



This month is the third time I've participated in the Foodie Pen Pal program started by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean.  This month I sent my package to Krysty over at Little Runner Girl.  I put together a package of east coast things with some Boston favorites and some NY favorites (of course, there was Brooklyn Salsa in there!) Krysty - I hope you liked what I sent!

I received a package from Taryn from Central/Upstate NY. LOVED IT.  First off, she sent me the nicest email because she sent the package 1 day late.  Don't worry Taryn, I procrastinate a lot - 1 day is nothing!

So lets get the rundown...  Taryn sent me:
2 Larabars (Cherry Pie and Apple Pie flavored)
Local Pancake Mix
Dinosaur BBQ sauce
Justin's PB Cups
and Cheribundi Tart Cherry juice.


Last weekend, we had a friend come stay with us, so I made pancakes for breakfast.  The cool thing about the mix is that it it already has milk mixed in, so you don't need to have any.  That's great for us, because Cameron and I have a problem of letting milk go bad/not buying milk frequently enough because we really don't use it often.  Also, on that note, does anyone else find that Trader Joe's milk goes bad very quickly??  Back to the pancakes... they were great!!  Very yummy batter and very easy to make (which is always a plus for me!) We still have about half of the package left, so I'm looking forward to another batch soon.  Another benefit was that I was actually able to cook them decently... usually I burn a couple pancakes or undercook a couple before I figure it out.
The pancakes cooking - they look good!!!

Cameron and I split the PB cups and I drank the cherry juice when I wasn't feeling well one day.  It burned my throat initially, but I feel like that always helps and in the long run, I think it made me feel a little better.

We used the BBQ sauce earlier this week to make one of the least healthy things possible: Tater Tachos.  A couple of our friends were in New Orleans and posted a picture of tater tachos on facebook, and I fell in love at first sight.  Tater tachos are tater tots with nacho toppings on them. So Cameron and I were walking around Trader Joes the other day trying to figue out what to eat for dinner.  I'd had a really long day and wanted some comfort food, which is usually junky food.  We decided to try out tater tachos.  We made tater tots with BBQ sauce, jalapenos and shredded cheese.  They were delicious!  The BBQ sauce was a nice alternative to salsa which I don't love cooked.  It also gave it a little variety and a burst of flavor.  Great BBQ sauce.  There is a Dinosaur BBQ in NYC, but I haven't been to it... this might push me to make more of an effort!

Tater tachos!  Must be eaten in the original cooking dish
I have not eaten the Larabars yet - I have a sensitivity to certain protein bars, and Taryn sent these because she does too and can eat these.  I'm still a little nervous, but I eye them every day, so I'm going to try them soon.

This was a really great package!  Thanks so much Taryn - I really enjoyed it!

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And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

*If you're from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I'll see if we get enough interest this month!
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Training schedule: Week 1

OK, so here's the deal.  I am not a runner.  I am not fast, I'm not great at pacing myself, etc etc.  This morning, I'm running and I'm doing TERRIBLY.  And I'm re-thinking this idea of posting my training progress on my blog.  I've been running for almost a year and I have made a lot of progress, but I am still not "a runner".

And then I thought... I'm not trying to be a fitness expert.  I'm not trying to show people that I'm this amazing runner.  I am a normal person who decided to get off her ass and exercise.  My blog isn't about mechanics or what research is out there that proves this exercise is better than that exercise.  Nobody should expect me to run like the wind or bench press twice my weight.  And if they do, then they don't know me and don't know what my purpose is.  Which, fortunately for me, is not actually my problem.  

So, I'm just going to lay it out there.  I ran 4.00 miles in 51 minutes.  That's pretty slow.  My pace was 12.86/mile. I could prattle off a million excuses as to why I am so slow, but the fact of the matter is, I'm still getting used to running, especially sustaining my speed, and progress is slow but steady.  I did backslide a little the last couple of weeks because I was super lazy and had a cold, so I didn't exercise for like 10 days straight.  That's my own fault - I should have been exercising while sick, but I just felt frustrated. 

Tim made me a schedule, which starts next week... but I wanted to give myself a little bonus time, so I ran yesterday to test out my heel and then I ran again today for a "long" run.  

Here is next week's schedule:

Tim and I are huge excel dorks, so we have a nice google document that I created (and had to format in an aesthetically pleasing way) so he can see what I'm doing based on the schedule he created.  Every Sunday night, I'll post the next week's schedule along with the completed table of what I did the week before. 

Next Monday I'm going to go to the gym and cross train on a bicycle, then do some abs/arms.  Next Thursday, I'm going to go to the Bryant Part free Yoga class.   I'm not going to add the non-running to the spread sheet just because it adds a lot more clutter to it.

Reminder! Enter my CW-X discount giveaway before July 1st at midnight!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Discount Code Giveaway!

CW-X is a subsidiary of Wacoal, which makes athletic wear... specifically support and compression gear.

I am a woman who needs a lot of support, if you catch my drift.  At some point this year, Cameron and I trotted off to Paragon Sports in Union Square and I bought 2 new sports bras.  One is by Moving Comfort and is pretty good, but I don't usually run in it for some reason.  The other is by CW-X and is AMAZING.  Its the CW-X VersaTX in Raspberry.

The bra provides a lot of support, has a triple clasp in the back and easily adjustable straps (with velcro). It comes in sizes 32-36 B/C and 32-36D.

But CW-X makes way more than just sports bras.  They make support tops, compression gear, compression socks, etc.   Just looking at their website, you can tell that they really work hard to make clothing that is supportive and provides athletes what they are looking for, whether its dry fabric for warm weather clothing, or additional support meshed in to support crabby knees.

To take from their facebook page and give you some more information

About

CW-X® Conditioning Wear® is a new generation of revolutionary athletic performance apparel. Combining science with technology, products are anatomically designed to provide targeted support and accelerated recovery.
Mission
Wacoal Sports Science Corporation, headquartered in New York City, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wacoal International. The company's mission is to meet the sports performance needs of the active US consumer through the CW-X brand, the world's first truly anatomically-engineered high performance sports apparel.
Company Overview
Wacoal Sports Science dedicates CW-X® to people everywhere in the world who love the exhilaration and challenge of sports. To celebrate sports is to celebrate what's best in human beings.

So, CW-X has offered me a promotion code of 30-40% off a one time purchase.  It was incredibly tempting for me to use this code myself to stock up on bras, but I resisted.

How to enter:  Leave a comment below telling me your favorite accessory or piece of clothing to exercise in.  Bonus entry: Like CW-X on Facebook and post a comment telling me that you did that.

The giveaway ends on July 1st at Midnight.  One winner will be randomly chosen on July 2nd.

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Goal

So since the PRoNE 5K run, I've been very... lazy.  I've been to the gym here and there and gone to a bunch of yoga classes, but really... I've been taking it easy.  This past week, I have had a cold, so I haven't exercised since Monday.  I also have been working very late hours which hasn't helped.

Well my friend Tim (the one who won the PRoNE 5K) emails me the other day asking if I want to run a "Half-Mary" which apparently is his auto-corrected way of asking me to run a half-marathon. I did a little research (check out http://www.halfmarathons.net/ for half marathons all over the country!) and found one in Jersey City, NJ.

The Newport Liberty Half Marathon

Here is the course map:

I want to do this one because it's in Jersey City.  Cameron and I are getting married in Jersey City on October 14, right in Liberty State Park.  The hotel we'll be staying at is by Newport and all the weekend events will be along this course route.  I get very tied to places (as you can tell by my love of Boston, and my last post professing my love of NYC) and think it would be really cool to do my first half-marathon in the city I will be getting married in just weeks later.

Also, JC is conveniently 2 PATH stops away from us.  And this will be a great opportunity for me to get to know the area a little bit before the wedding.  If I can run from the hotel to the venue, I should know how to direct a bus or a cab!

So... new goal... to run a half-marathon.  This is a serious one.  I need to train for it.  I emailed Tim, and he will be crafting me a training plan that I need to stick to.  To help me stick to that... I'm going to start post my training plan here when he and I make it, and then every week, I'll post what I should be doing and if I did what I was supposed to do the week before.

My plan is to exercise 5x/week - 3 runs, 1 cross training (most likely bike because I'm not a fan of the elliptical), and one class.  In addition to this...one of my runs will be... wait for it... A PRE-WORK RUN.  I'm a bad sleeper, so I don't want to start getting up super early every day of the week, but I also don't want to give up every single afternoon/evening of my week on those weeks where we go away for the weekend.  I'll compromise - I'll get up earlier once a week and run, so then I only have 4 days a week to exercise after work.

Do you think I'll be able to manage wedding planning and half-marathon training this summer?  What do you think of the course?  How do you stay on track to meet your goals?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I love NY



Loving NYC is kind of a big deal for me.  I absolutely adored Boston, and loved living there.  Boston is a great city and it's not as big as NYC, so it feels more accessible.

I was very nervous about moving to NYC when we did in August 2010.  Mostly because when I was in college, I lived in an NYU dorm for a summer and had a miserable experience.  I don't want to go into the details, but I paired those feelings and issues with living in New York, even if that wasn't necessarily the cause of the problem.  My dad had also been mugged a couple of times back in the '80s while in the Port Authority.  So those are my memories of New York.

We moved to Alphabet City, which was incredibly fun for a year, but on Friday and Saturday nights, it turns into NYU/high school heaven and we felt a little old!  So off we moved to the West Village and I love it here.  I started to feel comfortable in Alphabet City and somewhat on the Upper West Side, where I work.  Unfortunately, I didn't really know or care to explore the rest of the Manhattan.

Which is RIDICULOUS.  It really is.  There are so many places to go to and so many things to do, limiting yourself to 1 neighborhood is silly.

I overheard some tourists on the subway the other day, and they just boggled my mind.  They had thick southern accents and were VERY loud.  One of them was talking about how much she loved New York, which made me happy.  Their favorite parts of the city are SoHo, Canal St and Times Square.  They particularly love Times Square because of the bright lights and how stimulating everything is.  Silly tourists... branch out.  SoHo and Canal St are great, and Times Square is... well in my opinion the worst part of New York, but those three places do not make up the city.  Go see the nooks and crannies of New York.

Which made me think about how I've really gotten out and about a lot more in the past few months.  I feel like everything ties back to how exercising has opened doors for me, and sometimes I feel like I'm turning into a broken record, but I really can't emphasize it enough.  I'll try to be brief, but I've run through parts of the city I never walked through.  And I'm taking classes in different neighborhoods.  So therefore, because I exercise I get to see more of the city.

OK, done with my "exercise has changed my life" schpiel.  NYC in the summer is awesome.

There are just so many free events everywhere!!
On Wednesday, Cameron, my brother, my sister-in-law and I went to a free Comedy Central special in Central Park.  It was an Indecision 2012 special with the people behind the scenes from The Daily Show.  Last year, Cameron and I saw Wyatt Cenac tape his Comedy Central special and it was hilarious.  It was a great event on Wednesday, even though it was like 101 degrees.  When the sun set and the breeze kicked in, the park cooled a little and it was almost refreshing.  Plus, it was nice to get out and do something on a Wednesday night.

Yesterday, I went with some friends to the Adventures NYC free event in Central Park (ok, I'm spending a lot of time in the same place so far... but I don't know Central Park that well, so I'm still learning!)  They had rock climbing walls, bikes to rent for free, kayaking etc.  We didn't do any of that because the lines were all too long... BUT Honest gave out lots of free samples, Cabot Cheese gave out lots of cheese, and we had fun walking through the event a couple of times.

Today, we went to the Gay Pride Parade.  Let me tell you, I did not want to go to a parade of any kind.  I hate parades, I hate crowds, I hate being short and having to crane my neck to see whats going on.  It's not fun!  We had a great time.  We kind of wandered around the parade route, but we saw a bunch of awesome floats and lots of people.  It's just really inspiring to see all these people who are so excited and enthusiastic about something so important to them.  So that put me in a pretty great mood.

To sum up... NY is awesome, there is so much to do, and you should not be afraid to get out there!!

Here are some websites with free (or cheap) events posted regularly.  Get out there and enjoy our great city!

http://www.nycgo.com/free/
http://www.nycgovparks.org/events/bM
http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/calendar/
http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/free-things-to-do-in-new-york-city-1


Please feel free to leave more event suggestions or links for me and other readers.  Thanks!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Venturing into the unknown

Remember how I said I would never go into the weight room at my local NYSC? I broke my rule.

Cameron joined the NYSC last month, so I went into the weight room to meet up with him once.  That was like dipping my toes into the water, and it was cold water and I didn't like the fact that every single guy in the weight room looked me up and down.  Dude, I'm disgusting and sweaty, leave me alone. Also, I'm self-conscious.

So how did I end up using the weight room today?

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I've been very frustrated.  I feel like I have one setback after another, and my cardio training has been falling by the wayside.  Honestly, I had only been running once since I did my 5K in the beginning of June. 

Another potential setback has emerged.  Last Tuesday, I had to sprint from work to a doctor's appointment, because like my usual self, I got caught up in something and didn't realize I only had 10 minutes to get 15 blocks.  So I sprinted in my flatter than flat flip flops, that, lets be honest, really just protect my feet from getting dirt on them.  Since then... I've had pain in my left heel.

The pain is towards the back - it feels like my achilles most of the time, but then sometimes pain radiates from the bottom of my heel.  I honestly have no idea what it could be.  I googled and found some information about plantar fasciitis, but I'm not entirely sure that's what is wrong.  Unfortunately, I really don't want to go back to a doctor... I feel like I've been to doctor's a lot recently between the asthma and sciatica etc. I just don't like going to the doctor.  

How does this lead me to the weight room?  

I'm still doing my free month at NY Yoga, but I haven't done much in the way of abs/arms or weightlifting related classes recently either.  So now here I am, not doing cardio and not getting my wedding ready arms!  

Since walking is very uncomfortable, one would assume that running would as well.  I decided to try going on the bike for 20 minutes to test out how my heel felt after that.  I'm trying to take it easy so I don't want to try any of the cool classes that I have deals for right now, which rules that out for defining my arms.

And then when Cameron mentioned he had to go to the gym today, something struck inside of me.  I was itching to do something different and as my options are currently limited by a variety of different pains, maybe Cameron would show me what to do in the weight room!

Also, this way, Cameron is with me, so who will really look at me or judge me then!  

Off we went.  I did 20 minutes on the bike, which felt okay on my heel during, but now it has seen better days.  Then, I met Cameron in the weight room and he showed me how to use a few different machines.  I did it!  I went into the weight room! 

I know I said I never would, but it's because it was always a "fear" of mine to go into the weight room.  I don't know what to do in there, I don't like people looking at me, and I don't like being the only girl.  So having Cameron there was a little buffer.  I kind of enjoyed it, and I also feel like consistency will get results.  

For now, I honestly will probably only go in with Cameron.  I'm still going to need him to tell me what machines to use (because I don't know what 90% of the machines do).  So until I will independently choose my own machines and put together my own workout... hopefully Cameron will come with me.

I'm going to try this 20 minutes of bike + weight lifting for a little while... until my heel gets better and I can run outside again, or until I get antsy and feel like I need to do something different.

Have you had heel issues?  What do you think of the weight room?  Is there something in the exercise world you have been averse to until you tried it?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yo-yo-yogalini

Tip for all New Yorkers looking for free exercise: Like all Lululemon and Athleta stores in NYC.  They post free events frequently as status updates.

Which is how I found the Sunday Salutations class through Lululemon.  Lululemon Lincoln Square does a Sunday Yoga class in their store every Sunday at 9:15am.  Except for the month of June... they are doing their free class at the Nalini Method studio.  For those of you who stalk me, you'll know that I've wanted to try a class at Nalini Method (it's on the list of classes I want to take), but their drop-in price is not aligned with my "exercise for cheap" policy.
So I was PUMPED to discover this free class at a place I've wanted to try!
I woke up at 7:45 on Sunday morning (yes, I got up at 7:45 on Sunday morning.  That in itself deserves a pat on the back... I'm not a late sleeper, but 7:45 is still quite early.)   I took a very challenging 90 minute hot yoga class at NY yoga on Saturday, so I was looking forward to a relaxing non-heated 60 minute yoga class.
I did not do my research correctly.
I was right; Nalini Method does not have traditional yoga classes.  The Sunday morning class was a Yogalini class, which their website describes as:
YOGALINI Our brand new signature class which is the ultimate marriage of Nalini Method and Yoga. Picture a yoga mat with ankle weights! Get into a Vinyasa flow and center your body with this challenging class.
Ankle weights!  That is not what I was picturing for 9:15 on a  Sunday morning!
OK, fine, after collecting my needed materials for class, I resolved that this was no walk in the park yoga class and I'm getting something even better than what I expected!  I'm taking an actual Nalini Method class.
The class was pretty good.  It was a lot of repetitions with lighter weights and incorporating yoga and pilates poses into weight training.  It was definitely exhausting and I had to take some of the bars out of the ankle/wrist weights a couple of times because my arms felt like jelly.  Overall, the actual class was not that much different than the barre classes I've taken.
However, the instructor, Rupa, who is also the founder of the Nalini Method, was fantastic.  One thing I really liked was that they have white boards along the walls and she personally introduces herself to everyone and then writes their name on the wall so she can provide personal feedback.  I thought it was amazing.  Normally, I wonder if instructors are just talking vaguely when they provide praise, but I felt like she was direct and specific to people.  That made me a lot more confident in my movements.  I also liked when she gave me corrective feedback.  She was direct, easy going and thorough.  She didn't need to be hands on because her directions of what to fix were detailed without being confusing.  I knew that I was doing something incorrectly and then I knew exactly how to fix it.
Honestly, the format of the class was not that stand-out compared to Core Fusion, Figure Four, the Bar Method etc, but Rupa was a star of an instructor.

The class: I'm nearest to the door with the white floral tank top and black capris
Picture from the Nalini Facebook page

Pros:
1) Rupa was great
2) Free!
3) Overall a good work out

Cons:
1) Not free other than these 4 Sundays in June
2) A unique concept, but still felt familiar.
3) I was not mentally prepared for a weight training class - I didn't even bring water with me because I thought it was an easy yoga class!

I would definitely do this class again!  If the Nalini method was cheaper, I would love to try out other classes at the studio.  I'll have to keep an eye out for other great events like this one from Lululemon!

Have you ever had an insrtuctor you really liked?  What free events do you like to go to?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Frustrated

I'm going to warn you, this post is a stream of consciousness and more ranty than I usually like to be.

I've been very frustrated the last couple of weeks when I exercise.  Between sciatica, running cramps, clothing issues etc... I've been feeling like every time I exercise, something new bothers me and I hit that wall really early.
I think that's also why I haven't been posting much lately... its not as motivating to post about my 1 mile run where my running cramp was so painful I wanted to puke all over the machine (sorry to give you that mental image).
So what do you do when you hit that wall?  How do you recover and push past it?
I'm still trying to figure this out.
I've scaled back my goals for going to the gym.  I'm back to, "just spend 30 minutes on a treadmill doing whatever" so that I can at least feel like I've accomplished something.  I also am just trying to push myself to keep going and not get discouraged.  Shit happens, right?
It's still really off-putting to go to the gym and come back and feel like I did nothing.  I may as well have stayed home, but now I'm just sweaty enough to need a shower, but not sweaty enough to feel like I did anything.  This middle ground builds up frustration for me.
I've never been the kind of person to be like,  "eh, try and fail, its cool." I don't like failing.  I really don't.  I actually would rather not try.  As my friends know, I do not like to try new foods, because I'd rather not try them and learn that it was the most disgusting thing I've ever had.  Fortunately sometimes, I try new foods anyway, otherwise I'd still be on my pasta, doritos and breaded chicken diet from when I was 7.
This whole exercise experience has forced me to deal with "failing".  I know it's not failing and I know that every day is going to be different, but I feel very frustrated right now while I'm constantly hitting this wall.
I've been running for 9 months now, I can run for about 15 minutes at a 10 min mile pace before I'm exhausted.  I can go a little further than that before I'm really done.  I'm pretty proud of that because when I first started, I couldn't run down the block without feeling out of breath.
But right now, I run on the treadmill for 6 minutes and my back hurts, or my muscles start cramping, or my sock slips down in my shoe etc etc.  It's very frustrating because it feels like a major setback.  I worry that not only am I encountering all these issues, I am also losing what I've spent 9 months building up.
I think this is also why I'm so ADD about everything - I hit a wall and need to switch things up.  Yes, fitness experts, I realize that this slows my progress because I'm trying to do 100 different activities at once.  Instead of getting really good at running, or cycling, or weightlifting, I'm getting slightly better at all of these things.  Very slowly.
Which makes issues even more annoying because I make slow and steady progress, but can lose it very quickly when something crop up.

So my resolve for the next couple of weeks is to just keep going to the gym and to just keep working out.  I need to just keep pushing through this wall.  Everyone has their good days and bad days.  I am also using my one month Living Social deal at NY Yoga, so I'm trying to do yoga 1-2 times a week too, which is very restorative.  Instead of replacing my runs (which is what I did this week) with yoga, I'm going to add the yoga in and still do the running.  I can't hide from my problems and taking a break doesn't make them go away.  It would be one thing if I had a strained muscle and I needed to rest, but sciatica is not made worse by exercising, and muscle cramps are going to happen when they happen.

Do you get frustrated about exercising?  Have you hit a wall?  How do you get past it?  What do you do for muscle cramps??

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pugs and Mugs

A few months ago, I decided to look for a 5K to do in Boston, my old home, as my first 5K.  I figured that getting to go to Boston would be a good motivator for me since I love it there.
It was a choice between the PRoNE 5K or The Foxboro against Diabetes 5K, which were both this past Saturday, June 2.  I discussed with many of my college friends and we decided to do the PRoNE 5K because of its location; Castle Island.  The PRoNE 5K donates money to the Pug Rescue of New England, which helps rescue and support pugs in New England (if you can't figure that out from the title of the organization).
Race Map
It worked out great because the American Craft Beer Festival was also on June 2nd.  Cameron and I went to that 2 years ago with some friends and we all had a great time.  We were all very excited to spend the day together, running a 5K and then at the Beer Festival.  The name "Pugs and Mugs" was born during a conversation about getting tee-shirts made for the weekend.

Anyway, back to the 5K.  June 2 seems like a great day for a 5K, right? Especially in Boston where it cools down nicely.  Last time we went to the Beer Festival, I wore a strapless sundress and we spent all day outside beforehand.  So obviously, this time would be exactly the same... right?!

WRONG!


As you can see... Rain/Thunder = strapless sundress.  Crap.  My OCD self had picked out my Brooks Running shorts and my Sweat Pink tank top to run in.  I threw a pair of capris in my bag and figured I'd be fine in capris and the tank top - I run in tank tops as long as it is above 55/60.

Before the Race:
We all wake up on Saturday morning at 6:45 and its POURING rain.  Not only that, it's also like 53 degrees.  So Wendi, our very amazing hostess, gets out sweatshirts for all of us, including extra ones for after the race and we all get ready and head out.  We got to the event at 7:50ish, registered and got back in the car to wait.  It was freezing.  I committed to wearing Wendi's sweatshirt over my tanktop, which was a challenge itself because I'm very particular about what I work out in.

At 8:45, we climbed out of the cars and got ready for the race.  We took a couple pre-race pictures, but I look so horrifying, those will hopefully be deleted from Wendi's phone shortly. I put my arm band under the sweatshirt to keep my phone dry and set up my music.  We all lined up - my ex-roommate, Tim (ok, half of the people I ran with are ex-roommates, but he is the most recent one), started at the front and the rest of us gathered in the middle.

The Race:
At 9:05 we were off.  It was steadily raining and I had to dodge many people at the beginning.  Note to  anyone who participates in Run/Walks... try to position yourself appropriately.  I think I was positioned appropriately, but I had to run around people who were walking with 4-5 people in a row taking up the entire sidewalk.

About 7-8 minutes into the run, I was feeling pretty good and I hit a head wind.  The wind was literally pounding against me and I was just pushing through it.  I hit mile 1 running and was proud I'd made that with this wind against me.  If you look at the map, you can see that there is a little addition to the route outside of the circle to make it a 5K.  I ran down that and back up and then walked for about a minute, at which point one of my friends caught up to me and we talked about the ridiculous headwind.

We thought that was ridiculous... oh wait... it gets WORSE.

Between the mile 1 and mile 2 markers, the wind was brutal.  There was a causeway where the wind was completely against us BUT the rain, which was very hard, was coming directly from the right.  There were puddles (more like lakes) all over the route and my feet were soaking wet.  It literally felt like I was running through the Perfect Storm.  Except George Clooney was not there and it seemed like I would never make it to the mile 2 marker.

I ran the entire time over the cause way, although running might not be the most accurate word.  I did not walk.  I really wanted to, but I was trying to hard not to.  At one point, "I'm Not Afraid" by Eminem came on my music, which revived me.  I particularly like the lyric, "We'll walk this route together through the storm, whatever weather, cold or warm, just letting you know that you're not alone" as it made me think of all my friends running this with me and where they were at this point.  I pushed through and made it over the causeway.

I had been planning on walking after that, but I finally found the mile 2 marker and decided to keep running.  At this point, I'd probably been running for about 26 minutes.  Shortly after the mile 2 marker was the race photographer.  I remembered reading on someone else's blog to smile at the finish line so your picture is good, so I smiled the whole way to the race photographer.

Pretty good picture right?? You can see the causeway from hell directly behind me.

Not too soon after this picture was taken, a tail wind appeared!  Suddenly I was being pushed along, but because I was only 2.something miles into the race, I didn't want to expend all my energy and tried to run conservatively.  The rain had lightened up and there was a really cool military fort on one side of us.

I kept running and "Edge of Glory" came on.  As many people know, I strongly dislike Gaga, but I really love this song for some reason, and it's a great song to run to.

About a minute into "Edge of Glory", I turned a corner and could see all the tents and the finish line!  But I'd just passed mile 2!  How did I get to the end so quickly??  I passed the mile 3 marker and sped up to the finish line.

The official results:


I finished in 33:37.1. I had been hoping to break 30 minutes before the race started, but honestly, between the sciatica and the weather, I was just happy that it wasn't more than a minute above my best practice run (which was during ideal conditions).
I DID IT!  I finished my first 5K!

After the Race
Once we all finished, Tim had to collect his prize... because... oh wait... I forgot to mention... Tim WON! This is why he went to the front of the pack in the beginning.  He ran it in 18:08.  He got a heart rate monitor, which is cool.  We were all hoping for a pug, but nope.

Tim: the winner!!

There was lots of free baked goods - we took some brownies and bananas and headed out.  It's a shame we didn't stay for the rest of the race, but the weather was miserable. All of us were drenched.  Completely soaking wet.  One of my friends had to wring her sweater out.  I wanted to make sure to get a picture of myself in my SweatPink shirt with my race number, so I forced Wendi to take one while we were all dripping in the car.


We all showered and changed and then threw a load of our wet, gross clothes into the washing machine.  Thank goodness Wendi has a free washer/dryer!  To reward ourselves, we went to my favorite mall, the Natick Collection and shopped for a little bit.  I actually didn't buy anything, but I love the Natick Collection and was just happy to pay it a visit.

At 4:00, a bunch of us headed to the American Craft Beer Festival to wait in line.  We wanted to sit under cover and wait for the 6:00 start.  We had a great time at the Beer Festival - you get to try lots of different beers and we all just hung out for a very long time.   It was a very nice way to conclude the day and we had a very fun filled day!  Sorry, no pictures of the Beer Festival - with the rain, my hair was super frizzy and I didn't wear makeup.

Thoughts on the Race
When we got back to Wendi's, Cameron looked up to see if the mile markers were accurate.  We found that they weren't - the mile 2 marker was at least 1/3 of a mile too far.  That made sense because I was most frustrated during "mile 2".  Besides the giant storm over the causeway, I also thought I was running the slowest mile I've run in months, which really frustrated me.  I also was trying to conserve energy and actually pace myself because I thought that I was not even halfway through it.

I am very proud of all of my friends, because we all got up on our Saturday together and ran in the cold pouring rain and wind.

I want to work on finding a GPS for my phone that is more accurate than the ones I currently have.  My phone has perpetual problems finding signals, so a lot of times, I run and when I stop the timer, its like, "You have run 0.0 miles! You burned 0 calories!"  Annoying!  However, if I'd had the GPS working, it could have told me that I had gotten to mile 2 and my attitude might have been different.

I'll run another race and I loved going with everyone.  Mt. Washington was Summer 2011, PRoNE 5K was Summer 2012.  What does everyone want to do Summer 2013?!



Last note, we all put the pink SweatPink shoelaces in our shoes to run together.  It was GREAT!  It was so easy to find each other because we looked out for the shoelaces.  Love them!

Have you run a race in brutal weather?  Has it effected your time?  What should my friends and I try in the Summer of 2013? 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

MAY FOODIE PEN PALS REVEAL!

So this is month 2 of me doing the Foodie Pen Pals program.  This month was very challenging for me.  I'm a big fan of Brooklyn Salsa, so I like to send that to my Pen Pal... but this month, my Pen Pal was from Brooklyn!!  Anyway, Julie, I hope you enjoyed the package I did put together.  I was trying to re-define local and bought some things I found in the Union Square Fresh Market.


On to my package.  I received a package from Cindy over at Cindy's Recipes and Writings.  After I read a little of her blog, I was pumped because she can cook!
Cindy sent me a very big box of food.  I ripped into it (I'm like a kid sometimes) and immediately saw Kettle Backyard BBQ chips... MY FAVORITE!  Except, I was mistaken - these were the Buffalo Bleu ones (it's weird that they make the packages the same color since they are similar flavors).  I'm on a huge buffalo wing kick - it's like Cindy knew that and shopped just for me.  Needless to say, those chips were gone very quickly.
Cindy also sent me homemade peanut butter brownies, spicy peanuts, hot tamales (the candy), and cheese N peanutbutter crackers.  I think she figured out I love peanut butter and spicy foods.
I have to say that I used to work with students in a residential setting and one of my students LOVED Cheese N Peanutbutter crackers (former co-workers... any guesses who? I'll give you a hint... Jelly and beef was his favorite meal... washed down with a glass of chocolate milk orange juice.) So as you can see, that particular student, whom I adored, did not make many foods look appetizing.  However, these crackers are really a great snack!
I loved the nice touch with the homemade brownies (which were very yummy), along with a couple personal recipes that I cannot wait to try!
Opening the package! 
I really enjoy doing Foodie Pen Pals because it is so interesting to see how people interpret your 2 sentences of preferences.  It is also interesting because I feel like I learn a lot about the person sending me food.  Everyone is so different and I love getting a package that reflects their personality and my tastes!

Thanks Cindy!  I loved the package and the recipes - it made it very personal and it felt like I got to know you :)

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And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals.  In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by June 4th as pairings will be emailed on June 5th!

*If you're from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I'll see if we get enough interest this month!
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