Sunday, June 9, 2013

Running, Strength and Yoga (oh my!)

I had a really good workout week. A really good one. So good, in fact, that I feel the need to recap it here.

Everything just kind of grooved this week. My workouts left me energized and even a little uplifted. My body felt strong and healthy. And it was really great.

The week:
  • Sunday I jump-started the week by getting my butt kicked at Barry's Bootcamp. Ouch-a-roo. In the best of ways.
  • Monday was an "easy" run (which didn't feel so easy after my Sunday!)
  • Tuesday morning I got up bright and early to go to the New York Sports Club Total Body Conditioning class I've been attending for going on two years now. Normally I don't gush about NYSC classes (most leave something to be desired...) but this particular one -- Tuesdays at 6:30 am at the 76th Street gym -- is really great. It's taught by Serena, the woman who founded the Masala Bhangra workout and she is great. Very tough and always mixes things up. It's also a nice feeling to be a "regular" in a class and feel like one of the cool kids.
  • Wednesday was another morning run on a gorgeous, picture-perfect day. Although that was a gorgeous day from sun up to sun down, the morning run on the river can just be so fantastic. Low(ish) humidity even in the summer, not a lot of people around, the sun low in the sky...I feel like I need to write a Disney song about it. 
Waking up in my UES apartment ready to face the day! Sun shining! Birds singing!

  • Thursday I met a couple of friends at a morning Core Fusion class at Exhale. It's a ballet barre inspired class and is very similar type class to one I reviewed a couple of months back. The instructor was great and I think -- thanks to a great Rue La La deal I have at Exhale -- I might try to go to this more often!
  • Friday I got back into hashtag #OnceAWeekYoga, also at Exhale! Having summer half day Fridays has opened up this world of afternoon classes for me, so I'm trying to take advantage.
  • Saturday I did a lazy loop around the park for a long run (and even ran into Miriam while I was at it!) On the way home I saw Ethan Hawke and was very impressed by my celebrity sighting.

Today, I rested. And blogged.

I felt good about my week for a few reasons. First, as much as while it's happening it can often feel hellish, the weeks I do morning workouts just seem to be .... a bit better. It kick starts the day and I think I actually feel stronger in the morning before I've worked and ate big meals. It can make me a bit zombie-esque after 9pm, but you know what? I'm 30. Deal with it.

I also really liked how different my workouts were this week. Any health magazine will tell you to vary your workout, but it's really true! You can get into a rut so easily, and I think that rut can happen even more so for a runner (particularly one in training mode). I did a few strength workouts this week that worked my body in very different ways.  

Finally, I think I might be finding my groove a little bit with this whole "yoga" thing. And by that I mean I've weeded out a lot of the classes that I absolutely do not want to go to again, allowing me to focus a little more on my practice and a little less of getting used to the studio, teacher, method, etc.

Over the past year or so I have tried several different studios and class-types, and ultimately I have focused in on Exhale as my preferred studio. Here's why:

What you see above you is a [crazy person's] diagram of my criteria for yoga classes. Each of the six studios have locations on the Upper East Side (which was crucial to even make the list). Where you see the orange bar either means I didn't have enough information or that I was on the fence. For example: Yes, NYSC gives you a mat....but when do you think they cleaned those mats last? 1975? C'mon now.

Exhale gets a bar for cost. The yoga classes there are $26 a piece (a little pricey...) but I honestly don't remember the last time I paid full price. Exhale is always on Gilt and Rue La La, and I always make sure to buy packages when they're offered. When I run out, I am definitely willing to spend $26 a class to have check marks everywhere else.

You're totally scared of me right now because I made that chart. I can tell. Sorry I'm not sorry, because that chart is a totally great reference guide for anyone also interested in #OnceAWeekYoga on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. So really it's more of a community service effort. I'm doing good for society!

Looking forward, I know that I won't even have two weeks in a row of this type of workout perfection. Between early morning meetings, weekend trips, and just simple fatigue, I think it's unreasonable to expect that this could even be a regular situation.

That said, I'm going to definitely try to take the lessons from this week (morning, variety, yoga) and move them forward when all possible. Without guilt-tripping myself when things -- inevitably -- don't pan out.

Now it's time for The Tony's, Game of Thrones and Mad Men. Huge, huge, huge TV night. [Sidebar: And by the way, anyone else still reeling from last Sunday's GoT episode? Holy CRAP!] 

I'm already sad that tonight is the Season Finale of my new obsession. My heart feels like this:

So sad. Because I know nothing.

:::Sigh::: My day of rest is always best when I reward myself by laying out the couch for four straight hours of TV. While Archie judges me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Calm Before...

Happy June, oh faithful readers!

It seems like only last week we were wearing jackets and shivering on the cold hard streets. Oh, wait. That actually was last week.

But now? Now it is fully SUMMER. My Super installed my AC and Archie and I are in good shape, staying cool in our little apartment.

For a runner, heat is a mixed thing. On one hand, no more jackets and layers and gloves and headbands! Oh the other hand...the sweat.

I'm still feeling the post-race PR high after the amazingness that was The 2013 Brooklyn Half. I've still been running and cross-training (I did a Barry's Bootcamp just this morning, in fact!) And I've even been trying (unsuccessfully) to keep up with my hashtag #OnceAWeekYoga.

You're supposed to say hashtag before you write the # right? No? Internets...

I haven't had a gap between race training for almost a year. Just boom, boom, boom one right after another. And now, I have a lil' space to relax and reflect and re...DRINK!

NYC Marathon Training Take 3 begins officially July 1st. For the moment, I'm going to do my best to run a few times a week, but to run however long I please. One mile...six miles...whatever feels good and right and appropriate at that time for that day. I'm also not going to plan my life around working out the way I tend to do when in training mode. I'm supposed to run, but someone wants to do happy hour? Happy hour it is. I want to really enjoy this time and give my body and myself the break it really deserves.

And then, it's starts. Again.

Because there is a GLARING omission from my medals

You guys. Honestly, this is getting a little ridiculous. I now have three YEARS of back posts of me starting to run the NYC Marathon. There was this post that started it all and then this little upbeat diddy when I made my triumphant return from injury last spring.

But now I have hashtag #actually run a marathon and I'm just not gonna play anymore. NYC, you and I have a long awaited appointment. I'm not even kidding this time.

My Dad asked me if when I run NYC in November I was going to bring darkness or plague or the slaying of the firstborn. Not cool, Dad.

...Because maybe it's true...

Let my Marathon Go!!!!

But I feel good about 2013. For one thing, this is my fourth time training for a marathon so...not to sound pompous...but I'm pretty good about talking about running marathons.

This year I also know a lot of people running, which will be great not only for the moral support, but also to coordinate training runs since you KNOW I ain't doing 20 miles on my own.

Team For Kids is not able to accommodate us sad 2012-ers for the 2013 training season (since they have new fundraising hopefuls to take care of!) But they are being nice enough to include us on emails and give us access to the coaches. We also had the option to pay a small fee to take part of the great race day perks that we rudely were denied last November.

So I'll wear my lil' jersey from Miami again with my lil' name on it.

The first year when I trained, it was all about pushing myself to do something I wasn't sure was possible. The second year it was coming back from utter, complete devastation. This year? I'm doing this thing for me. Because I now know I can run a damn marathon. So this is about running this marathon in my city. After Sandy in NY in 2012 and then Boston this past April, this is going to be a special one. And I'm not doing it for any other reason other than that I am incredibly stubborn I want to.

So what to write about? I've covered the newbie starting out topics...and injury recovery....and then getting back into it as a more "experienced runner"....and improving times with smaller what?

We'll see. I think I still have a lot more to say. And if nothing else, I can just continue to bring you Favorite Things. Such as Henry Cavill, best known as Superman in the upcoming Man of Steel movie. Lesser known as the most gorgeous thing ever in the Showtime program The Tudors.