Monday, April 30, 2012

April Foodie Pen Pal REVEAL

In an effort to further expand my horizons, I came across Lindsay's great blog: The Lean Green Bean. Lindsay has created a program called Foodie Pen Pals where she matches people up randomly.

The Lean Green Bean
You get assigned someone to send a package of food to and someone else is assigned to send a package to you.  I'm terrible at the post office, but if I have a deadline, maybe I can do it.  Guess what... April 13, I was able to get my Foodie Pen Pals package in the mail.  To read all about what I sent Katie, check out her awesome blog: GooberNutsLife! I really enjoyed reading Katie's blog and to see how similar we are despite a big age difference and an entire country between us.
On April 16, the day after the deadline, I got back to my apartment building and I had a handwrapped package sent to me!  I have to say, it was really fun getting something from an actual person. It was kind of like being 12 again at summer camp and your parents send you the greatest stuff ever because you're a three hour drive away.
Kelly Anne from Texas sent me a great package!
The package had several packages of chia seeds, Texas salsa, Texas pecan coffee, Clif SHOT BLOKS, and some yummy granola.
Chia Seeds: I knew very little about chia seeds.  I've read a couple of random articles about them, but basically chia seeds are this fantastic source of all things healthy.  And you can incorporate them into anything.  Kelly's letter suggested adding them to banana bread, which I would like to do... but I keep eating bananas before they are ready for the bread!  We tried them in pizza dough and also in a smoothie.  It's great because they really don't add any taste, but they pack a punch in terms of nutrients - Protien, Omega-3, antioxidants etc.  I have a couple of packets left, so I'm excited to use them in other meals too.
Texas Salsa: I LOVE salsa!  I think Cameron and I ate the salsa within hours.
Texas Pecan Coffee: OK, so Kelly Anne doesn't know this, but I actually never drink coffee.  I very rarely drink anything with caffeine in it actually - maybe a soda here and there or a cup of tea, but I'm not a coffee drinker.  Fortunately, I am marrying a coffee drinker who enjoyed the coffee very much.
Clif SHOT BLOKS: These are really great for me when I'm hungry right before I exercise.  Sometimes I stay at work later than I should and I get hungry again before I am going to the gym.  This is a great solution to hunger without bringing extra running cramps or delaying my run.
Granola: The granola was very yummy!  I normally add granola to yogurt (although not as much as I used to because yogurt costs a lot in NYC) but I just ate this.  YUM!

Thanks so much Kelly Anne - I loved the package and your detailed note to me.  I hope you enjoy the package you got from your Foodie Pen Pal.

I've already signed up for May and I'm excited to go buy and put together another package!


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 May, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by May 4th as pairings will be emailed on May 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!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Amazing Race

Yesterday, I really did not feel like going for a run.  Our apartment was cold, it was even colder outside, and I just wanted to stay curled up in my bed watching crappy TV.  We have a friend who is visiting this weekend, and he needed to go to J & R to get his fiancee a converter cable so she can defend her doctoral thesis on Monday (good luck!  You'll do great!!)
Obviously, I wasn't going to stay in bed for the entire day with a friend visiting, so we decided to race to J & R and see who gets there first.  I would run and he would take the subway.
My route -1.85 miles through NYC

Subway directions - total travel time = 16 minutes

If it's a 1.85 mile run and I run a mile in approximately 10 minutes, I should get there within 18 minutes.  So this race should be close!  We headed out and went our separate ways.  I felt pretty determined to win.
The run started out really nice. Hudson Street is really nice to run on - there aren't a ton of people or a ton of cars but there is still movement and its very pretty.  When I got to Canal Street... I probably lost about 2 minutes.  Note to self (and to others): Never run near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.  To cross the street and turn east, I had to first cross to the west, then cross south, then cross back east across two separate lights and then finally go south again.  It was a mess.  Then, I stumbled into the Tribeca Film Festival where there were 4-5 tour buses and lots of people.  After that, for a little bit, it was a very nice run through SoHo. I actually ran within a block of the Kettlebell Kickboxing studio.  Once I hit the financial district, it was all tourists, which means people who stop, look at maps, take pictures of random things and turn around abruptly.
I got to J & R in 21 minutes... so not a 10 minute mile, but I wonder how I would have done if I didn't have those obstacles (i.e. planned my route better!) The plus side is that if I was moving, I was running... I just had to stop at lights or would get stuck behind slow groups of people occasionally.
Do you think I won???  Unfortunately, no. My friend got there about 8-10 minutes before I did.  Apparently, he just walked right on a train at the subway station, the actual train ride was only 5 minutes, and the subway stop was a stone's throw from J & R.  I think Google maps map have overestimated the total travel time a little bit.
It's really nice to run through the city even if I get frustrated that my times are not as good.  It makes me feel like I'm getting to know my city better and really enjoying it.  I love running along the river, but I also really love running past new stores or restaurants and just being IN the city.  Also, I run more because I have to stop at lights, so I want to make up time by running.

In other fitness-related news, one of my friends sent me a link to a new website called Go Recess. Go Recess is a website that allows you to make reservations for exercise classes at boutique studios anywhere.  I looked around at the NYC classes and have found a ton of new places to try classes out.  They even separate it into several categories: yoga, cardio, pilates and barre, strength, boot camp, dance, pre/post natal, martial arts.  It's a really user friendly website and makes things a lot easier for people like me who are looking for lots of variety.  I'm excited and hope its successful!

Where do you like to run?  How do you get motivated to run?  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Core Fusion

Sometimes it's hard for me to write a post if I haven't been to a new class or done something major.  So I apologize that sometimes the blog is a little sparse... I'll keep fine tuning my writing skills so I can write about other things.
Anyway, today one my friends and I tried a class at Exhale Spa.  Exhale has locations in NYC, Boston, Dallas, Miami, LA, etc.  We bought a discount on Lifebooker for 3 classes.  Exhale offers their version of barre classes - Core Fusion, as well as some variations (Core Cardio, Core Sculpt or Core Sport) as well as Yoga classes.
We took a Core Fusion Basics class at the Upper East Side location.  The actual building the spa is located in was very nice.  The entrance was welcoming and the spa had a great lobby.  Lots of brown and earthy tones.  Then... we went to the studio, which involved exiting the actual spa and going through what looked like maintenance doors to a small studio.
The studio had 1 large window and 2 smaller windows, but it felt dark and small.  It had tan carpet and there were bars on one of the windows.  There were no mirrors, which bummed me out because I like to use mirrors to adjust myself and also to see what other people are doing and follow along.  It's a lot more distracting to have scan around the room instead of just looking at a different point in the mirror.
My friend and I observed what other people had done, and got ourselves mats, light weights (2lbs), slightly heavier weights (3lbs), and a strap. It's always great to go to a class with a friend because I feel like I'm not alone in being the new person.  As much as I've adjusted to that feeling, it is always great to have company and not feel alone.
The class started pretty slow, but we did these reverse pushups (see below) that really irritated my triceps:
Reverse Plank - we did an adaptation where our feet were planted on the floor and our knees were bent
My triceps were really tight after doing these, which made the other arm exercises a little painful, but still manageable.  The rest of the arm exercises were very similar to what I do in the gym on my own, but instead of using 7.5-10lb weights, I was using 3lb weights. The leg workouts were REALLY intense and I'm getting really bummed out that I live on the 5th floor and I'm going to have to go up and down stairs tomorrow.  The ab exercises were pretty good - there was a lot of balancing which hurts my back, whereas traditional crunches and similar exercises don't as much. Which means I don't get quite as much of an ab workout as I normally do because my back can't handle the work out.
Overall, the workout was a full body workout, but I can't help feeling like it was an hour of little movements that added up to 15 minutes of bigger, quicker, more effective movements.
I was not a huge fan of the instructor (Karen), but my friend was.  I just thought that the instructor kind of lacked personality, but my friend pointed out how directed the class was and how quickly we moved through everything.  Clearly that was just a personal preference.
1) I definitely got a workout and the class was different from other barre classes I've taken
2) The spa itself was gorgeous
3) I didn't feel like the class was too cardio oriented - I'm learning that I like to feel out of breath in classes, but not to the same level as when I run.  I'm not taking the class to improve my running, I'm taking it to strengthen, tone or increase flexibility

1) I didn't love the instructor - I like instructors with personality and more energy
2) I do feel like most of the effects I could have gotten on my own in shorter time
3) I didn't like the room!

Oh and also, they offer a $40 introductory week, but after that, each class is $37/class!!!  $37!  That's way too much for me.

Have you tried Core Fusion? What qualities do you look for in class instructors?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kettlebell Kickboxing

Finally got into that Kettlebell Kickboxing class I mentioned a couple weeks back (see this post).
Went down to Soho, which was pretty cool because I don't go to Soho much, other than for shopping, and this wasn't in the shopping part, so it was cool to be in a different part of the city.
The building is a little difficult to find - its nestled between a shoe store and some other random store and there are no signs that indicate it's in that building.  But go in, it's there.
The entry way is very nice.  You walk in and there are chairs and magazine and lots of inspirational photos and quotes.  It had very nice hardwood floors and looked very clean.  I checked in and filled out the obligatory paperwork.
The locker room was TINY and the bathroom is through the studio.  While I was in the locker room, I met another girl who has taken many kettlebell kickboxing classes so she gave me lots of information.  And then we go into the room to go to the bathroom, and it turns out she's taken a class to become a certified Kettlebell Kickboxing instructor!  Crazy, I chatted up the A+++ student in the class.  Score.
We went in and she set me up with a 12lb and a 15lb kettlebell.  Then when the class started, she led the warmups.  Overachiever!  No, but seriously, she was super nice and very supportive and helpful.  It was nice to have someone watching my back and checking on me during the class.
The class was really good.  We did a lot of different movements and the instructor (who owns the studio by the way) didn't get stuck on any one exercise for a long time.  She kept it interesting and was up front about how long we'd do each movement for etc.  She also gave me a little extra attention as it was my first class and worked with me through some things that are difficult for me.  So for instance, I'm naturally very uncoordinated and cannot follow multiple directions, so she would do the movements directly in front of me so I could see exactly what she was doing.  She was very encouraging and specific with her corrections.  Also, referring back to my post about the Yoga instructor from Crunch, she did not need to be hands on because her verbal directions or models were clear when I needed the extra support.
There were times where I was confused.  Like I said before, I don't follow multiple directions well, so when we have to do 10 swings then 1 high squat then 1 low squat then a jab with the left then a jab with the right then a left kick, then jump three times... I get a little confused.  My A+++ classmate told me after that it gets easier because the instructor always does the same basic movements, but she'll combine them in different ways, so its really only 7-8 different units to learn.
The workout was great.  The 12lb kettlebells might have been too heavy for me for when I was only using 1 hand, but I did the best I could.  Cardiowise, my heartrate was up, but it wasn't like the Crunch Bosu class where I ran out of steam in 15 minutes because we did non-stop cardio.  I felt like there was a solid balance of aerobic activity and weightlifting with some stability and balance work in there too.  My quads and glutes are already sore and I'm pretty sure the rest of my body is going to feel it tomorrow too.

1) Instructor (owner!) was fantastic  - thorough, motivating, provided support/broke instructions down as needed
2) The workout was nicely balanced and was difficult but not impossible
3) I really liked getting to know someone else there and loved how friendly people were

1) There were a lot of people in the room, so I had to crane my neck for some demonstrations, which is why I was lost sometimes
2) I was confused by long lists of directions, but I think that might get easier the more you get used to the class.
3) There are no single class options for purchasing - it's all membership based.  I'd like to take more classes, but not as frequently as a membership.

I would 110% go back to Kettlebell Kickboxing.  Especially if my classmate was teaching classes. They have an open house this weekend that everyone should check out.  I really enjoyed the class - the more I think about it, the more I felt I got out of the class and the more I liked it.

Have you taken a class that exceeded your expectations? Have you tried Kettlebell Kickboxing, or maybe just Kettlebells, or just Kickboxing?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Full Friday (including Crunch! Hot Pilates)

Yesterday was a big day for me exercise wise.  I was at my parent's house in NJ overnight on Thursday night, so I decided to run a 5K in the neighborhood I grew up in.
I grew up on the top of a mountain, so planning a 5K route that doesn't involve going down the mountain is very challenging  Going to the bottom is one thing... but then I'd have to get back to the top somehow, and I'm not really ready for that.
After I figured out my route, trying to avoid running up too many hills, off I went at 10:00am on Friday morning.  About 10 minutes into the run, I turn a corner and see a BIG hill.  Crap.  I thought that was going to be downhill, not uphill. OK, fine, so I'll run up this hill and then walk at the top.  So I did just that.
Fast forward through the rest of the run (that isn't that interesting) - I ran it in 32.30.  Which is not an improvement on my baseline time, BUT I did have to go up and down several hills (albeit small hills) and I'm not used to running at an incline.  Not that that is an excuse, but I'm happy that I didn't lose more time than that with the hills.
Also, during my run, I ran past a woman with a stroller who said "Wow! you're running so fast!" I was running out of steam at that point, so it was a nice little pick me up.  Thanks, random woman.

After the run, Cameron and I headed back to NYC.  We ran some errands and then I went to my last Crunch class for the week.  Hot Pilates.
I did not like it.  I didn't really get it to be honest.  I barely broke a sweat, despite being in a heated room.  Today I don't feel like I got a work out.  It was a very slow moving class and we just didn't do very much.  We would do 5 minutes of some exercise, then "shake it out" and go into Child's Pose.  I'm so used to my Hot Power Yoga classes where Child's Pose is "always available" but only offered a few times a class.  Not after every single thing you do!  I was trying to keep my core activated the whole time, but there were some movements where you didn't need to, which honestly I think defeats the purpose.  I could sit on my couch and clench my abs for free.
I've never taken another Pilates class, so I don't have another one to compare it to, so I'll leave an open mind about Pilates until I've had more experience.  However, I was excited to start with a Hot Pilates class because I was looking forward to the challenge, so I'm disappointed that this class was much less than a challenge.  No summary of pros and cons for this class because I would not recommend it at all.

So my week at Crunch is finished, and I have to say, overall, it was not so good.  I wish I'd been able to go to some of the other classes, like the Body Web TRX class, but I think the fact that it was so difficult to get into didn't encourage me to keep trying.  Crunch is $89/month when you pay month-to-month, and I think more if you pay the year in full (the total came out to $1,234 for the year, which is $123/month), which doesn't make sense to me.  Thats $10 more/month than my gym, and I have to walk 20+ minutes to get there.  I think it might be worth it if the classes were more accessible and provided a more intense workout, but it seems that there is a lot more smoke and mirrors than anything else at Crunch, Union Square.

Have you ever felt disappointed by an exercise class you signed up for?  Do you prefer Yoga or Pilates?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Crunch! Body Web TRX

Did not happen.
Got to crunch... class was full... except the list was full... the actual room was not.  Until 11:03.  Then I got the boot for people who had signed up on the paper but hadn't bothered to show up on time. Strike 1.

So I went to Paragon Sports instead.  I want to buy shirts that are not my $6 Target tank tops to exercise in.  I love my $6 Target tank tops, but they ride up and they also are cotton so I sweat through them easily.  Unfortunately, my shape is not conducive to most shirts and my sensory issues (I like to wear tighter clothing - I almost always wear a tanktop underneath everything because I hate the feeling of loose fabric on my stomach) ruled out the rest of the shirts.  I need a shirt that does not have a built in bra, as I wear a sports bra anyway, but that is form fitting.  Apparently they don't make those.  Strike two.
Instead, I bought new shorts and a new pair of running capris. The shorts were on sale, and then the capris were 20% off! I definitely have enough pants to run in now, so I need to start concentrating on tops now.

New running capris by Adidas + running shorts by Brooks
To make up for not being able to go to a class today, I am going to try out Hot Pilates on Friday evening.  I did want to try this Body Web TRX, but I would have had to go back to Union Square at 6:15 and I had a 6:00 phone appointment with our wedding band.
I do have to say this is a definite drawback of that Crunch.  It is a 20 minute walk from me, which isn't that far, but if I walk there for a specific class, I want to take that class.  So it sucks that it's not first come first serve based on who shows up to the class on time.  That makes more sense to me, but that's also how I've seen it almost everywhere else.
In other news, I bought my veil for my wedding yesterday!  No details here because Cameron can't know anything about it, but I'm pumped that everything is coming together!

Have you ever wanted to try something only to hit a setback?  Do you have any recommendations for shirts that I might like for running in? 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Crunch! Bosu

So Crunch, day 2... decided to step it up and take an unfamiliar class - Bosu Body.
The Crunch class schedule describes it: Integrate balance with strength in this deep body defining class.
Straightforward, no nonsense description.
You can google "Crunch gym Bosu ball" and get this video:
It's actually really cool that Crunch has videos online of their classes.  The video is a decent representation of the actual class.  Except there was a lot more sweating, some stepping (ok falling) off the Bosu ball and we didn't all move perfectly at the same time! Some of the movements were different, some were similar - that might vary based on instructor/class, so I can't really judge that.

The class was pretty good overall.  The first 15 minutes focused on a lot of squats and leg workouts.  I'm very uncoordinated, and I thought it was pretty easy to follow.  That was definitely the toughest 15 minutes - my heart rate was up pretty high and I don't do leg workouts outside of classes, so it's not as familiar to me.  After that, we did some arm workouts, including planks on the Bosu Ball, bicep curls, lunges with shoulder lifts etc.  I used 5lb weights and for most of it, those felt a little too light, but by the end, my arms were very tired.  When I do arms at the gym, I use 7.5 or 10lb weights, but its a lot less repetition, so I didn't want to burn myself out too fast.  In general, the first time you take a class with weights, I think its better to use lighter weights until you get a feel for the class.  Which is a disadvantage of my ADD; I can't push myself as much because I don't know what to expect.

Anyway, we did about 10-15 minutes of abs, which was also really hard for me on the bosu ball.  Most of what was hard was the balancing, and I also think I was running out of steam. And lying down makes me want to stay lying down!  I was able to do most of it, but I had to take some breaks to just watch what she was doing or find my balance.  A second time around, I'd be able to do this better. But thats not the purpose of my experiment here.

Summary of the class:

1) The instructor made it really easy to follow
2) The class wasn't too fast or too slow - sometimes in Yoga, I feel like I'm just hanging out in downward facing dog for 15 minutes while they continue to explain things.
3) I got a nice leg workout, which can only help my running

1) I should have been able to do better with the ab workouts, but I was just out of steam
2) There is this very weird brick structure in the middle of the studio which made it difficult for me to see the instructor at times
3) Other than the Bosu Ball, it wasn't actually that different from any other exercise class I've done - some legs, some arms, some abs, etc etc... the gimmick was the ball, but you can get the same effect without it.

I did really like the instructor, and thought she was pretty easy to follow even when she was demonstrating multi-step movements.  She also demonstrated more challenging things a couple of times which always helps.

Overall, I thought the class was a good workout, but not as original as I expected.  I would take it again if I could, but I wasn't in love with it either.  We'll see how sore I feel tomorrow!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Crunch! Yoga

As a teacher, I have the wonderful vacation schedule that I've had since I was about 5 years old. So it's Easter/Passover, so I have off this upcoming week!  To take advantage of my week off, I decided to sign up for a free week at the Crunch Gym in Union Square.  They offer 15-20 classes per day, including spinning, yoga, heated yoga, pilates and many more!  Even if I only go three times, that's 3 different classes I got to try.
I went today and decided to go to the 5:00pm Vinyasa Yoga class.  I know Vinyasa Yoga (although I am definitely no expert) and figured that was a nice baseline for me to get an idea of what the gym was like.
I got there at 4:15 because I assumed I'd have to have a tour and I'd want to be at least 10 minutes early to the class.  It took about 4 minutes for me to get signed in and then they pointed me towards the yoga studio.  I guess we all know what happens when we assume... I ended up with like 40 minutes to spare.  I went over to Lululemon in Union Square (more on that in a separate post as I may become a Lululemon addict.) and then came back about 15 minutes before the class.
Since I was still there so early, I did some crunches while I was waiting - I don't sit still well.  When the class started, there were only 4 people in the room.  A few more came in, but it was a total of only 8 people in the class.
The studio was very nice - it didn't feel like I was in a gym yoga studio... it felt like I was at a yoga-specific studio.  You could hear the music from the weight room, but only faintly and it was a nicely lit space.  I was going to take a picture, but I didn't because there were other people in the room.
Crow Pose (this isn't me)
The class was good enough. I have never actually taken a non-heated yoga class, so I was excited to see what yoga was like when you didn't also feel like you were trapped in a sauna.  Overall, I still prefer hot yoga because I find that the heat forces me to focus on what I'm doing at the moment rather than allow my mind to wander.  However, I do think that occasional non-heated classes might be nice to really focus on poses and going further than I have in the past.  For example, today was the first time that I was ever able to go into crow pose successfully which was pretty awesome for me.  I also was able to work on my flow from plank to upward facing down to downward facing dog and I felt like I made progress on that.
However, I felt that the instructor was a little too hands on.  I'm pretty comfortable with getting corrections, but there were times where I felt like a verbal instruction would have been sufficient enough to tell me what I could do to help fix the pose or get more out of it.  I had a yoga instructor once stand on my hands to help me, but for some reason, today felt a little excessive.
To sum up the class:
1) Felt like a yoga studio, not a gym class
2) In terms of stretching and making progress, a non-heated class really allowed me to focus on moving forward with my practice
3) It was nice to have a small class where there was a lot of space and the structure was a little more personalized because there were only 8 of us.

1) People kept coming in and out which was a little disruptive for me.  I'm distractible, so that made it hard for me to focus
2) Crunch didn't have time to wash the mats from the last yoga class, so the yoga mat may have been used by another person before I used it.  Which actually is pretty gross now that I am reflecting on that...
3) The instructor was a little too hands on and I think he could actually use some work developing his verbal direction skills.  I need to learn how to get my body into a pose without someone else pushing it, so I should be working on that.  Sure, sometimes I need to know what a pose is supposed to feel like or a little correction might change a lot, but constant physical guidance actually might prevent someone from making progress because they don't learn how to move that way themselves. Also, I think it might make some people lazy because they'll just wait for the instructor to fix it.  It actually made me work harder because I wanted to know that I was able to do each pose without having someone make adjustments.

I don't think I would go back to another one of this instructor's classes because I didn't feel comfortable, but I did like the overall results of the class and the overall feel of the gym.  I'll be going there all week, so look for more class reviews!

On another yoga-related note... vote for Helena, my maid of honor's sister, for this yoga talent search contest:! Look at how awesome she is :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Irish Potato Famine 5K

In 2008, my cousin Lizzie came to visit me for 3 weeks when Cameron and I lived in Boston.  We had a great time (ok, I did, hopefully she did too!!) and we went to NYC for a few days and inadvertently started an annual reunion with all of my college friends.
While we were in NYC, Lizzie, Cameron, Wendi (my wonderful maid of honor) and I did a little sight seeing.  We went to the Sex and the City house (which ironically is walking distance from where we live now) and wandered around downtown Manhattan.
While we were wandering, we stumbled upon the Irish Potato Famine memorial.  It was surprisingly a pretty cool memorial, although very random in downtown Manhattan.  Hadn't really thought about it in a few years until recently.
The Irish Potato Famine Memorial - picture taken in 2008 during Lizzie's visit
Cameron and I went for a run along the Hudson River a couple of months ago and partway through the run, I suddenly thought of the Irish Potato Famine memorial.  Cameron felt it was somewhere along our run, so we kept going and we found it!  I was pretty excited because it was such a unique monument.
Fast forward to this morning... Since we've signed up to run a 5K, Cam and I decided to run a 5K today.  I wanted to have a baseline time to work off of for the actual run we're doing. I got up, went to and mapped out a route along the Hudson River. I decided that I don't like running not along the river because of lights etc, so it was better for training purposes to walk to the river, then run, then walk back from the river.
Well... from the Charles St. entrance to the Hudson River Walkway, guess what is 2.5K away?

The Irish Potato Famine Memorial!

And so, the Irish Potato Famine 5K was born.
So at 11:45, Cameron and I left our apartment and set out to run a 5K.  I decided I didn't want to slow him down, so we decided to run separately.  He started a few minutes after me because he was messing with his phone, but eventually caught up and passed me.  My goal was to run the 5K in under 40 minutes, which to all you runners out there might sound like a long time, but I've never RUN a 5K, so I was basically just aiming to finish it without embarrassing myself too much.
I did it in 32 minutes. I am so proud of myself.  And clearly, I underestimated myself.  By a lot.
So now, for the PRoNE 5K, my goal is to run it in under 30 minutes.  To do that, I basically have to be able to run the entire thing.  I'm not going to lie, I walked for about... 6-7 minutes total, so if I can cut all of that walking out, I can do under 30 minutes.

On a sidenote, American Pie by Don McLean is both my favorite and most hated song to run to.  Its like 9 minutes long, so running for the whole thing means I've run almost a mile.  However, after every verse I think, "OK, here comes the slow verse...I'm almost finished" and then its not the slow ending, but some part of the song I completely forgot about.  AND then when you do get to the slow part, it drags on for ever and ever and ever.  But it takes up a significant portion of the run, so when it finally finishes, I know I've run a lot.

Have you ever underestimated yourself?  Do you have any music you love to run to?  Any you hate running to?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Re-energize myself!!

This past week was kind of a discouraging week for me.  I went to the gym on Monday and then on Thursday I ran home from work.  I did cut 2 minutes off my previous time, getting that 5.5 mile run down to... an hour and eight minutes. Yes, it is still that long.  I am running more though, but I think when I walk, I walk even slower.  So I walked probably about a mile total (which for me, is really amazing), but that mile really adds on at least 10 minutes, if not more!! Anyway, I was proud of myself on Thursday for this accomplishment because it was a good run and I can actually see progress.
However, I was pissed off because I am supposed to be taking a different class every week, and that has been tougher than I realized.  I signed up for a 3 day trial at Equinox, and they are supposed to contact me, but they haven't yet.  I was hoping to have done that this past weekend.  The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago when I tried to sign up for a Kettlebell Kickboxing class.  They take so long to get back to me that I've missed that workout in my schedule and it is hard for me to get back to it.
OK, fine, so one of my friends emails me this Urban Girl Squad link to a boot camp + seminar on how to eat right when exercising.  SAVED!  Equinox fell through, so now I have this boot camp thing to try out!!
Well.  It rained and the boot camp was cancelled.
Bummer.  Very discouraging... how can I take new classes when they make it so difficult???
Fortunately, my friend found a community class at New York Yoga instead, so we went to that instead.  So it was a pretty good recovery all in all - I've taken so many Hot Yoga classes, that I didn't really learn anything new, but I absolutely love going to new Yoga studios, so that was a nice adventure for me.  I'll review the class in a separate post.
All in all, I felt kind of frustrated because I didn't realize this goal was going to be so hard to do.  I knew the exercise part was hard, but I wasn't anticipating having to coordinate things so delicately and so far in advance.  So I was left kind of frustrated and cranky.

So to turn my frown upside down... I am officially signing up for my first 5K tonight!
It is the PRoNE 5K which benefits pugs in New England.  The course is seen in this map below.
it is a cool course through Castle Island in Boston on June 2nd.  I'm very excited to do my first 5K in Boston and with some of my best friends from college.  Also, afterwards, we're going to the American Craft Beer Festival, which we went to a few years ago when we lived there.  It's going to be a great weekend and I'm counting down the days.  Giving myself something to work towards and also something to look forward to really motivates me and gets me off my lazy butt!

What motivates you?  What event are you looking forward to?