Thursday, May 31, 2012


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 :)


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!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Over Memorial Day weekend, I went to Seattle for a work-related conference.  It was very exciting as it was the first time I was presenting a poster of my own research.  I also have never been to Seattle and I've heard it's great.
On Thursday afternoon, my two co-workers and I get to Newark airport and we're faced with a few hours of delays.  We ate SmashBurger, which we would not recommend, and then hung out near the gate.  While we were sitting around waiting, it suddenly occurred to me, "I didn't pack my running capris".  Since I carry a duffle bag, it's pretty easy to go through, and I rummaged through and definitely did not see my running capris.  But I'm wearing my sneakers, which means I had to bring an extra pair of shoes... for nothing?? Oh no.
While the three of us had been planning on going for a run early on Friday morning, I had no pants to run in, and as I mentioned earlier, I can't go pantsless.  Fortunately, the hotels in Seattle are mostly downtown right in the heart of the shopping area, so I decided to head out at 10am to buy a pair of running capris.
After discovering that NikeTown is a "premier" store and does not put anything on clearance or sale, I went to The Gap... my favorite store.  They were having a nice sale and I picked up a pair of sweet capris for 30% off.  I wanted to buy a pair of shorts that were also 30% off, but I resisted because I really just don't need them right now.  Yay self control!
The gap capris I bought - only needed for the weekend, but a nice addition to my wardrobe!
On Friday, I ran a couple of miles on the treadmill, which went very well given my back, and then did some ab work.  Nothing crazy.  Then we went to lunch and walked around Pike's Place Market for like 4 hours.  Pike's Place Market might be my new favorite place in the world.  There is fresh fruit everywhere, gorgeous flowers, and TONS of free samples.  Everyone is giving out samples of everything.  You can try whatever you like.  We ate our way through Seattle and loved it.  It was a great way to experience the city and it also made me feel like Seattle was so fresh and healthy.
On Saturday, I decided I wanted to run a 5K in Seattle to the Space Needle.  The three of us set out, and I was able to keep up with them for about 1.75 miles.  My right leg started to feel a little odd, so I stopped running and immediately went back to normal.  I kept running and then settled that when I turned onto Broad Street to go to from the sound to the Space Needle, I would walk for 30 seconds.  
Well... Broad Street is a massive hill.  I turned and was just blown away by how steep this hill was between me and the Space Needle.  I basically resolved to make it up to the Space Needle however I could.
Map of my run - the turn to the 3 mile mark is where it goes all UPHILL 
I made it to the Space Needle in 31.30 - it was 3.10 miles, so its my usual pace.  I was still impressed given the giant hill. Generally, I try to be positive about my runs... a year ago, I couldn't run for more than 2-3 minutes without feeling like I was uncomfortable.  The fact that I could keep up with my co-workers (who are both experienced runners) for almost 2 miles was good enough for me.  I really just have to keep it in perspective - I have made amazing progress.
The Space Needle was awesome.  I didn't go up it, but it was cool to go to it and know I RAN there.  I actually think there is something more rewarding about making it somewhere on your feet.  While all those other people were driving cars up Mt. Washington, we were climbing it.  It's the same as running to the Space Needle.  There is a monorail from the hotel to the Space Needle, but I did it on my feet.
Of course, after I ran the 5K, I then had to get back to the hotel.  I had no desire to keep running, so I leisurely strolled through Seattle down 5th Ave.  Seattle is very up and coming... there are a lot of brand new apartment buildings and its very clean.
Me at the Space Needle.  The woman who took the picture wasn't sure how to use a smart phone camera... 

While I was walking down 5th Ave, I found a donut place - Top Pot Doughnuts, that my co-worker had wanted to go to.  I decided to go and buy 5 donuts.  5.  What the hell was I thinking?? 5 donuts!!  Well they were all delicious, but we never finished all of them before we had to go back, whoops.
The rest of Saturday and most of Sunday was spent at the conference learning lots of professional development things.  Monday morning we flew back from Seattle on a plane that was likely older than I am.  The wallpaper in the bathroom was very... 80's-tacular and there was a nice little CRT TV mounted to the ceiling like old times.  Also, the seats were TINY!
All in all, it was a fantastic trip!

Do you run/exercise when you go on vacation?  Have you been to Seattle?  How do you keep perspective? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


About a month ago (give or take), I started noticing that my right leg would go numb pretty easily.  If I crouched down for a few minutes or slept funny, my leg would fall asleep within a few minutes.  My limbs have always fallen asleep relatively easily, but I did notice this was happening a lot more.  And occasionally, my right lower back/butt would twinge, but the pain would go away within a couple of hours or with a couple of Advil.
On Sunday, after I spent a day in the park with one of my friends, I noticed that my lower back was hurting again and felt particularly bad.  My leg kept falling asleep and my back was super stiff and uncomfortable.  I took a couple of advil.  Not really helpful.
On Monday, I woke up and it still hurt.  I seriously debated going into work, which is rare for me.  I wake up every day and think, "wouldn't it be nice to relax and stay in bed?" but then I get up and get ready.  As much as I love being at home, I hate knowing I'm missing things at work.  I feel like a day off, particularly an unplanned one, is not worth it because I spend the next 4 trying to catch up on what I missed.  At least when I plan days off, I can prepare before I'm out.
I decided to go to work because I wasn't going to get any better just sitting on my couch. I figured I'd go to work, call the doctor and then leave when I got a doctor's appointment.  At least this way, I only missed part of the day.  I also hate missing work because I don't like using sick days.  I have the potential to be a hoarder, and I like to hoard sick days.
Unfortunately, my doctor was unavailable and I couldn't get an appointment until Tuesday morning.  On Tuesday, I woke up (45 minutes later than usual! Which was glorious!) went to the doctor and found out what I was pretty sure I already knew.
I have sciatica.
Sciatica is actually a symptom of an underlying condition - in this case, the doctor thinks I probably have a herniated disc.  Ouch.  Sounds painful. Essentially, my sciatic nerve is being compressed by something which causes pain and then the subsequent numbness/tingling.
An image of sciatica/what it affects
The herniated disc should resolve itself eventually, which will relieve the sciatica and make it all better.  Until then, I am supposed to go to physical therapy, do stretches... and listen to the physical therapist.
BUT!  research says that there is no difference between using NSAIDS vs. physical therapy vs. doing nothing.  So why should I do physical therapy if it doesn't improve my recovery? I would love some thoughts on this as I'm not sure how to proceed from here!
I basically have to listen to my body.  If something hurts, try not to do it. Of course, putting my pants on is uncomfortable, but I can't walk around pantless, so I just have to deal.  I think it is okay for me to continue exercising, but we'll see.

Have you had sciatica?  Have you experienced lower back pain?  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Exercise and Anxiety

Let me just start by explaining that this has been a post 2 weeks in the making.  I have a lot of thoughts about this topic, so there were many directions I could take.  Please remember that this is my opinion based on my experiences and facts I have researched.  I do understand that there is a lot of information that I have not come across, and that everyone is different and what has happened in my life may not happen in everyone's.

I recently read an article on Well and Good NYC about the effects of exercise on anxiety as compared with anti-anxiety medications, specifically benzodiazapenes.  This article got me thinking about my life.  Over the course of the past 10 years, I have been diagnosed with many different acronyms: ADD, OCD, GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), PAD (panic attack disorder), etc. etc. etc. Just having to list all the things that are "wrong with me" is enough to make someone a little nutty! I spent a lot of time looking for a reason why I was "not normal" and why I had so many idiosyncrasies.

Xanax - miracle drug??
I took Zoloft and then Lexapro for about 4 years.  When I tapered off of Lexapro (with support from a psychiatrist), I was beyond excited to be medication free. Unfortunately, I had everyday stresses that I had a hard time handling.  I was in the midst of finishing up my last year of graduate school and I was working with a co-worker who made it very clear that she did not respect me or care for me.  And I got little support from the administration or validation that my concerns were real. Like many people in this New York Magazine article, I started carrying Xanax in my bag in case something got too stressful and I couldn't escape it.  In order to cope with my challenging work environment, I took a Xanax occasionally, which drowned out the background anxiety and allowed me to focus on my life.  Basically, it made me feel less anxious without having any other effects.  Honestly, it really did work... short term.

But is taking Xanax a long-term solution?  It wasn't for me.  If I needed medication to handle my stress, I probably needed to be back on an SSRI that would modulate my anxiety on a daily basis, rather than having an emergency back up.  Thinking about it now, it's like my asthma.  I have the rescue inhaler, but is my asthma really well controlled if I need to use it every day?  Xanax was my rescue inhaler and my anxiety was not well controlled. (Note: I never took Xanax every day, its just a comparison.)

Fortunately, I found a long-term solution to that work issue; I left the job and took one at a wonderful pre-school as an interim step before I moved to NYC.  It was a fantastic move, and one can never underestimate the power of a change of scenery.

When I moved to NYC, I began having all my little issues creep back up.  It was a very tough transition for me, and also the first time since I was 18 that I was not regularly seeing a therapist. Then it dawned on me... am I going to either be in therapy or on medication for the rest of my life?  None of these options sounded viable to me; I want to have children one day, so at some point I will have to be pregnant and not take SSRIs, and I'd rather not spend thousands of dollars a year on therapy.

Last spring, my fiancee, who was in the middle of a master's program in Social Work, gave me a book about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  I decided to find a professional who specialized in CBT.  Through work with her and lots of my own homework, I dedicated months to looking at my life differently.  Last August, my friends and I climbed Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, and that was really my big test.

I went into the climb very negative (ask any of my friends), but about 15 minutes in, with some support from my amazing friends, I thought to myself, "OK, this is still actually happening, I may as well suck it up and make the best of it." So I did.  I ended up having THE BEST time because I changed my attitude.  And once I was able to change my attitude, I was able to see how exercise can benefit me and I was able to feel this "high" from succeeding.

Me and my friends at the top of Mt. Washington.  We did it! (I'm the one furthest on the left)

While the CBT allowed me to look at the experience differently, I also think my therapy would have been incomplete without that experience and the subsequent months.  After climbing Mt. Washington, I had a surge of self-esteem and pride.  I was motivated to work out and change myself.  I also stopped making millions of excuses to get out of something that might be slightly uncomfortable.  Hey, I climbed a mountain and survived, so a little run on a treadmill should be nothing.

I agree with the Well + Good NYC article.  I think exercise has been better for me for my anxiety than Xanax or Lexapro or whatever other medications are available.  When I'm exercising, I'm thinking in the moment.  What is the point in thinking about what has happened in the past or what may or may not happen in the future?  It does me no good - I need to concentrate on getting through that moment and tackle challenges as they come up, not speculate as to what might come up.  And that has really carried over into the rest of my life as well.

One of my favorite quotes: "You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." - Albert Camus

What relieves your anxiety? Do you have a favorite activity that relieves stress?  How do you live in the moment?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Perfect Fit

Cam used to work at the 92Y so we get a lot of mail from them.  He happened to get a postcard from them about an event: Perfect Fit.  For 2 days, the 92Y opened its doors to the public for a free fitness event. This included lots of free classes, access to their equipment and my favorite part: free frozen yogurt from 16 Handles.
Well, its free, so this fits my requirement for keeping it cheap in the city.  Did I feel bad because this was an event aimed at getting new members? No, not really.  They wouldn't be so open if they didn't expect people who were just looking for a free workout.
To back up a few minutes... or weeks... Cameron and I made a deal that if he went to a yoga class with me, I'd try a spin class with him. (See "Oops!  I did it again")  He has taken 2 yoga classes with me, so I definitely owe him a spin class.  We've been trying for weeks to get into the SoulCycle Community Class on Fridays, but you have to sign up as soon as the class opens up, and right now I haven't figured out when that is! Regular classes at SoulCycle are $32 for a single class, and FlyWheel is $30 for a single class, so those are definitely cost prohibitive.  No one really offers a Spinning to the People class with accessible rates probably because it is expensive to have spin equipment!
Cameron's latest suggestion was for me to rent a bike and go bike riding with him along the Hudson River.  I think that sounds like a great idea, except I actually have a fear of bicycles.  To be honest, I did learn to ride a bike later than most children, but I was fine riding bikes as a kid/teenager.  Then when I was about 20... Cameron and I went for a bike ride around my parent's neighborhood and I had a panic attack.  An actual panic attack - this isn't like when most people say they nearly had a panic attack or freaked out.  I had Panic Attack Disorder at the time, and suffered from poorly timed panic attacks.  One was on a bicycle.  I haven't been back on a bicycle since.  Honestly, it doesn't bother me like 95% of the time, except that cycling is one of my fiancee's favorite hobbies and I cannot participate in that with him. When he presented that as an option, I was suddenly very determined to find a spin class!  I am most definitely not ready to get back on a bicycle in the middle of NYC where cars, people and other bicycles will get in my way and make me nervous.
Fortunately, that suggestion coincided with viewing the schedule for the 92Y event.  They offered spin classes!  Yay! I can stay on a safe indoor bike.
I got to the Y first because I also took an Absolute Ab class before hand.  I kind of loved the Y.  It reminded me of the Montclair Y I used to go to with my friends in high school (back when it costs $135 for a year if you were a student) for Tae-bo classes.  I loved that there was a track overlooking the gym and that there was a pool.  It all felt very oddly suburban in the middle of the UES.
The 92nd Street Y Mack Gym - looks like a high school gym!!

The Absolute Abs class was okay.  The instructor was a male trainer, and I was surprised that I liked him.  At first it felt like he was a drill sergeant, but I warmed up to him quickly as I felt like he knew what he was doing.  We did some great lower ab exercises - raising and lifting your legs with control, which was very very hard for me.  Clearly my lower abs are weaker than I thought, so I really pushed myself through these exercises because I really need them.  The class was in the middle of what looked like a high school gym (with a track above it) which was nostalgic also.
After that, I met up with Cameron and we went to the spinning class.  It was me, Cameron and about 6 other people total.  The instructor spent 15 minutes teaching us how to set up our bikes and taking us through terms you'd normally hear during a spin class.  After that, she conducted a 30 minute spin class.  It was hard! I have to say that I mostly feel cycling in my legs, which indicates to me that I have weak legs, but I'm not entirely sure.
The instructor apparently studied music, so she kept getting distracted and would play songs to see if we recognized them.  She was peppy and energetic, but after a while, the music thing got a little old.  Although, looking back, it did distract me from cycling because I was listening to see what the next song would be.
I have never taken a spin class, so I really have nothing to compare it to, but as an exercise class... I think I'd try spin again.  I liked that you control the resistance so while we're all doing the same thing, we can adjust it for our own levels.
When we got out of the spin class, I was pumped for my free 16 Handles... only to discover they had cleaned that up and finished!!  Considering they still had classes going on at the time, shouldn't they have continue the 16 Handles until all the classes had finished?  Who wants ice cream before they go exercise?!

Have you tried spinning?  Do you prefer cycling or running?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Free Yoga!

Every Thursday, Lululemon sponsors free Yoga in Bryant Park from 6:00-7:00.  As we all know, I'm newly obsessed with Lululemon, but can't afford any of their clothing, so I'm pumped I can afford something that they offer!
I decided to run to Bryant Park from work and then go to Yoga.  I work on the Upper Westside, so the distance from my school to Bryant Park is almost exactly a 5K. I changed and left work and headed to Central Park for a nice run through the park.
As a resident of the West Village, I don't have that much experience with Central Park.  I don't live that close to it, so I don't go there much.  And when I do, we usually wander aimlessly and I'm not using it to get from point A to point B.  I entered the park at 93rd street and headed towards the loop.  I get to the loop and one way looks like its going directly east, and the other way looks like it is going directly west and possibly even out of the park.  I decided to go east because Bryant Park is east of work, so at some point, I have to get east. Several blocks into this run, I look over to my left and realize that Central Park West is still next to me.  I can't be going East if I'm running along an Avenue!  I had to run out to the street to see where I was and yup. 99th street.  Dammit.
I ended up running an extra 12 blocks total, which apparently really slowed me down.  The other issue that I encountered was when I exited the park at Central Park South.  MIDTOWN IS CRAAAAZY!
I thought that 6th avenue wouldn't be so bad, but I was dead wrong.  I could not run basically from Central Park South to Bryant Park, so that 15 block leg took me like 20 minutes.
Lesson learned... if I'm going to run a 5K for training purposes, make sure to avoid midtown.
I got to the park at like 5:56 and found one of my friends who was meeting me for yoga.  I got a mat, but he wasn't able to.  He said he didn't care because it was kind of cool to do yoga on the grass, so thanks because I wanted a mat!
The class was pretty straightforward- lots of Vinyasa flows.  The teacher was from NY Yoga and she was very pregnant but also very energetic.  There were almost 200 people doing yoga, which was pretty awesome.   We were towards the back, so it was a little hard to see her at times, but since I have yoga experience, I was able to follow along to what she was saying without as many demonstrations.  For newbies, it would be beneficial to show up early and practice in one of the front few rows (maybe not the front row as it's always helpful to see what other people are doing).  The instructor did a very good job explaining modifications you can make to make a pose harder or easier based on your flexibility, strength and experience.  Considering there were so many people there, it would have been very easy for her not to do this, and I appreciated that she took the time to mention binds when appropriate or leg changes when appropriate.
I'm a little ADD (as you can tell by my blog post title), so it was a little hard for me to concentrate on yoga at all times.  I kept looking around and looking at the sky and looking at the buildings and then I would realize I'm supposed to be doing something else.  However, that's just me.  It was a very New York experience.  Also, I would say its not for people who don't like being watched.  I did feel kind of like part of a yoga flash-mob.  People would take pictures and I heard tons of tourists stop, watch and talk about us for a while.

The very end of yoga.  As you can see,
I put socks on because my feet were cold.
1) It was free!!
2)  It was awesome to do yoga outside.  Other than my distractibility, it was great to be on the grass and to be in NYC enjoying the city while still doing yoga.
3) The instructor was really good for someone who had to teach to that many people

1) People will watch you
2) You don't get any physical correction and you can't always be sure the people around you are doing the right thing, so supplementing your yoga practice with smaller classes as well would be beneficial
3) I happened to get cold at the end of this class, but that won't be an issue in a few weeks.  I just didn't have a sweatshirt because I'd come straight from a run.

In short, I would definitely do this again! It was free, fun and relaxing.  Great way to enjoy NYC without spending any money.

Do you get distracted working out outside? Have you tried any free classes around NYC or anywhere else?

Monday, May 7, 2012

WINNERS of the giveaway

Quick post here! Thanks to those who commented on my very first giveaway post!  I am very excited to announce the winners:

Congratulations everyone!  Email me your address at: and I will ship those shoelaces to you ASAP.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Urban Girl Squad Run

Just a quick reminder that there are less than 12 hours left until my giveaway closes!!  Comment on that post and tell me your motivation/goals for a chance to win HOT PINK shoelaces!

Now to the actual topic...
Urban Girl Squad does a lot of cool events, some of them cost money and some of them are free.  They do an outdoor running series in Central Park which started up today.  Every other Sunday from now through the fall, Urban Girl Squad will be sponsoring group runs from Athleta stores in NYC.  After the runs, there is a quick stretching class, some refreshments and a workshop of some kind.
So my friend and I signed up and went to the UES Athleta store.  There were a ton of women there!  I was very impressed by the turnout.
The start of the event was very well organized.  They had 3 people checking us in and gave out rubber bracelets to indicate you were part of the running group.  There were dressing rooms in the back which were designated as bag checks, and the store has a restroom (which is definitely a perk if you need to go before you run!) About 15 minutes after we got there, Rachel, the event leader, explained the run and we all headed over to Central Park.
The whole group was divided into three smaller groups; advanced runners, intermediate runners and beginner runners.
Advanced = approximately 7 min mile
Intermediate = approximately 9 min mile
Beginner = approximately 10 min mile OR there was another walk/jog group as well.

We elected to go for the beginner/10 min mile group.  The beginner group was still pretty large, but literally as soon as we started running, the whole group dispersed really quickly and it was just me and my friend running together.  She is also a newer runner, and neither of us have run with another person before.  We enjoyed it (OK, I did, I guess I shouldn't speak for her!) We were able to have a conversation mostly (although there were definitely some awkward breathing pauses) and it was good to have someone else who can monitor the pace and keep me from speeding up too much.  We ran around the reservoir 2 times, which is a 5K.  Unfortunately, my cardio trainer on my phone did not work and we have no idea how long it took us.  I would say I ran slower than I normally do, but we also did not walk as much as I have in the past either.
We did a quick stretch, and then headed back to the Athleta store.  There were complimentary drinks from Honeydrop as well as teeeeeny tiny Luna bars in my favorite flavors. We also got gift bags for being part of the very first one of the season. My gift bag contained 2 hair ties, a blueberry bliss Luna Bar (which I've never had before), an Athleta catalog and a water bottle (as seen below).  My friend's bag the same things, except instead of a water bottle, she had a hat from Athleta.
Amphipod waterbottle - it is designed so you do not have to actively grip the waterbottle.  The strap also has a great pocket that would fit keys, gel, a small MP3 player or other small items.  It's nice when you wear clothes without pockets!

The workshop after was about nutrition, but by the time we got back to the store, there were too many people surrounding the nutritionist for us to even hear what she was saying.  I think this was the only disappointing part of the event - we wanted to learn more, but we couldnt hear everything that was going on.  My guess is that the number of people running will thin out over time and we'll be able to get more out of the workshops as time goes on.
All in all, I enjoyed the event.  We are planning to go back every other Sunday as long as we're available.  I would love to see some more familiar faces at these runs too!  I always thought I didn't want to run with another person, but it turned out to be pretty enjoyable and made the run feel like it was much quicker.  Also, my friend is a lot better at maintaining the pace, so when I'd speed up, I'd realize I have to slow down to stay with her.

I haven't planned out the rest of my week's workouts yet.  I have 2 more Core classes, a week at Clay Fitness to try and a month at NY yoga still!  I need to get started on some of these things before they expire.  I'm hoping to get in at least 3 workouts this week including at least 1 run from work to home, since I have not done that in almost a month.

Do you prefer to run alone or with other people? Have you tried any running groups in your area? What do you think of the snazzy new water bottle?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I found Sweat Pink on another bloggers website.  I researched it a little bit and decided to email the founders of FitApproach and try to become a Sweat Pink Ambassador.
Well guess what!
I am one.  Which means, I get some cool stuff.  I just received my first swag package a couple of days ago  with lots of pink shoelaces and my own Sweat Pink teeshirt.  Which I will be wearing for my very first 5K.
I will be giving away 5 pairs of bright pink shoelaces!  Leave a comment on my blog and tell me one of your fitness goals or something that motivates you by midnight on May 6.  I will randomly choose 5 winners (as everyone's goals are valid - I'm not choosing favorites!) and will mail those 5 brand new shoelaces!

Looking forward to hearing your responses!

My wonderful running shoes with pink shoelaces

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Yoga Vida is Spanish for Yoga Life

Ironically, the title is poking fun at one of my close friends who misquoted Anchorman by saying, "El niƱo is spanish for THE BOY" but the Yoga instructor at Yoga Vida grew up in Spain so my title kind of relates (it's a stretch).
Anyway, I have a cold.  It's the first real cold I've had since moving to NYC (August 2010).  I've had sniffles and coughs, but nothing that's lasted more than a day.  I'm a huge baby when I'm sick, but I also will not call out sick for work unless I either have a fever, I'm throwing up or the doctor has told me I cannot go to work (i.e. strep). And if I'm going to work, I'm pretty much continuing my normal life, with a few moans and groans and extra whining thrown in.
I have not been sick since I started exercising, so I have really not had a reason that would force me to not exercise.  This week is a big test for me to see if I can get back on track with my goals when I feel better.  OR! I could exercise this week and just tone it down a notch.
On Sunday night, I was trying to figure out what to do on Monday evening.  I really wanted to do Hot Yoga because I have been feeling very stressed and I find that a nice sweaty yoga class de-stresses me very well.  I decided that if I'm sick, it's kind of gross to do Hot Yoga because the heat makes my nose run.  Maybe I could do some light running?  Except my chest is on fire normally, and actually running on Friday really burned (but I chalked it up to pushing myself), so that's probably a bad idea too.
Why not try non-heated Yoga?  This way, I still can de-stress and do some movement, but its not too strenuous.
I went onto to try to find a Yoga class on the cheaper side.  I found Yoga Vida which is located on University Place and 12th street (There is another SoHo studio).  Yoga Vida is $12 for a drop in, which is AMAZING, but better yet: its $10 for your very first week with one free mat rental.
Yoga Vida offers Flow classes, Advanced classes and Beginner classes.  The Advanced and Beginner classes are capped at 21 people to allow for more individual attention.  The Flow class was very very crowded. I wish I'd counted how many people there were.
The studio itself was nice - nice floors, nice windows... it felt open and spacious and very calming.  I didn't go to the locker room, but I did notice a long line for a 1-person women's bathroom, which sucks, so thats a downside to the place.
The instructor - Hilaria, was overall really good.  She had a great personality.  I guess she regularly solicits suggestions from the class about what to focus on, which I've never really observed anywhere else.  This class chose the Core and Quads and she designed a class to focus on those areas.
Most of the class was similar to what I've done in other yoga classes - lots of flows, warrior 1 to warrior 2, etc etc.  She did incorporate extra planks in there or holding poses that required core strength for longer.  She also pointed out when we were supposed to be engaging our core or our quads and what it should feel like. She went around and corrected people, although she never corrected me, so maybe I was doing everything okay?  Or maybe there were so many people she couldn't always get to me.
After the typical yoga series, she did a whole core workout.  We did sit ups, bicycle crunches, lifted our legs, alternated lifting legs, did planks, did planks while lifting one leg at a time, did planks by twisting side to side etc etc.  Huge core workout.  It was great.  I was able to do most of it despite being sick (and having done 100+ crunches before class started) but it was definitely not easy!
Oh and personal accomplishment: I was able to get into Wheel pose and maintain it!

1) Hilaria had a fanstastic, light, funny personality that made me really enjoy the class.
2) The ab workout was great (which btw, Hilaria did with us the entire time)
3) I enjoyed having an alternative when I was sick that was less intense but provided me an outlet
oh and 4) It was dirt cheap.  If I don't take another class this week, it was still worth it. However, I might to make it more worth it,

1) I didn't feel as de-stressed as I do when I go to Hot Yoga
2) The class was very full and at one point, the girl in front of me almost kicked me in the face
3) We didn't do the balance poses, which are my favorite part of any Yoga class

I would definitely do this class again when I need something simple and relaxing without being too strenuous or tough on my body.  I enjoyed it and I was proud of myself for getting out and doing something while sick.
I don't know if it will help me get better faster - I thankfully don't get sick often enough to have anything to compare it to.  I do feel like I have to go to work and not hide in bed because if I can do yoga, I can resume my life as normal.  However, today I decided to sit on the couch with some yummy homemade soup (Thanks Cameron!) and watch the Biggest Loser Season Finale.  Hey, I take nights off when I'm not sick too!

Do you exercise when you are sick? What makes you feel better when you feel sick?