Tuesday, January 21, 2014

MeriG's Favorite Things: Third Installation

The wind and snow are howling outside. But I'm in front of the TV with Archie watching Brooklyn 99 (which is DEFINITELY one of my favorite things) and we are just dandy.

Researching Paris and Belgium.
So, I'm running the Boston Marathon on April 21st. And then I leave for Paris on April 22nd. I know, I know. What a boring week, huh? 

Although I've been to Europe on two separate five-week trips (after undergrad and then MBA graduations), I have never been to Paris. I can't even believe that! 

I'll be going with my dear friend from high school and will be spending time with a cousin while I'm there, and I am basically giddy with excitement already. We'll be in Paris for four days and nights, Brussels for one and Bruge for one. Please give me your recommendations on what to see and -- importantly -- what and where to eat! I'll have just run a marathon. Bring on the cheese and the beer and the wine and the pommes frittes!

I also really want this bag from Zazzle.com

Homemade Indian Food!
Indian food is one of my favorite things. I don't know why, but I've always loved the flavors, the smells, the spices, and the variety of food you can try if you explore different regions. Like all white people, however, I have a special affinity for Tikka Masala. It's basically the gateway drug of Indian food.

However, Indian food is not always the best thing for running (surprise, surprise!) The food served at most restaurants is very decadent and you end up eating portions much bigger than what it's meant for. My friend Ashley and I discovered this fact when we traveled in India for five weeks during business school and realized that what we ordered for two is akin to what the families at nice restaurants were eating. Families of six that is.

So when I found an easy vegetarian tikka masala recipe, I jumped at the chance. I made it last night, except without the cream (which I didn't miss!) and with half the tofu (didn't need that much) and it came out fantastically. 


Delicious, cheap (once you have the spices), homemade, and healthy Indian food! I was delighted and will be making this regularly. This links to the recipe if you want to check it out.

Disney's Frozen
I saw this film yesterday in a theater full of children. That sounds like hell, you say? Well we regretted the decision immediately as well....until it was THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. I loved every single thing about it. The message (girl power? boys are stupid? sisterly love? lots of things), the music (um...hi Idina Menzel), the animation (like whoa), and -- obviously -- the reindeer named Sven.

There was a lot of sass in Frozen, which I appreciated.

Princess Anna being sassy (BostonGlobe.com)

Queen Elsa not being so much sassy as AMAZING (www.bustle.com)

Speaking of Elsa / Idinia Menzel being amazing? If you remotely like Disney or Broadway or anything remotely happy and pleasant in this world, please following the next two easy steps:

1) Watch this:


I leave you with words of wisdom and this hilarious image: 

House of Cards
Upon recommendation from Betsy (blog famous Betsy!), I just completed episode six of this Netflix gem. And I LOVE it so far. It's only one season in and returns next month, so you have some time to easily catch up. And it's worth it, I promise.

The Princess Bride is particularly amazing (and stunning!) in it.

Kevin Spacey thinks so too.

My Amazing Friends and Family!
Thanks to them and to their friends and family, I have raised $5,745 as of tonight towards my goal of $10,000 for Dana-Farber! With 89 days to go before the raise, I am so excited to be training and raising this money. I am signed up for the Manhattan Half this Sunday, which will by far be my coldest race and -- due to my winter delinquency -- will be one of my coldest runs ever. 

With my self-professed love of all things treadmill, this training for a spring marathon is absolutely getting out of my comfort zone. But I'm happy about that. Not only is it pushing me beyond my previous physical (and more so mental) limits, but it makes the money I'm raising all the more worth it. For every dollar raised, I am working equally hard to push myself outside of my normal and outside of what I've done before. Each donation inspires me to get outside when I really want to snuggle into bed deeper. Each email of support or post on my Facebook wall makes me want to run faster, stronger and better on April 21st. 

This for sure is one of my absolute favorite things right now.

Want to help me reach my $10,000 goal to raise money for Dana-Farber? 100% of proceeds go to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research which fosters scientific breakthroughs by advancing the work of gifted researchers in a variety of research disciplines. These funds enable scientists at the leading edge of discovery to achieve better cure rates and -- importantly -- to enhance patients' quality of life. For more on why I run -- very personally -- for this organization, click here.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Don't Fear the Treadmill

Clearly I have not been running outside this week. With windchills below 0, ice plaguing the sidewalks, and those pesky areas on the NY curbs where you have no idea of the depth of the puddles? No thanks.

I do my morning runs on the treadmills between October and February-ish anyways because I don't like running in the dark. But now that training for Boston is officially underway, I found myself having to do my first double-digit run on the treadmill last Saturday. 10 miles. My record is still 12, but still I don't think it makes it any less impressive.

I'm not a treadmill hater. No, I think there is actual incredible value in the machine. You can control your pace and keep it constant. You can add hills. You can have your water and snacks ready along with a towel (should you be dripping as I am). You can wear a tank top in January. And -- importantly -- you can watch copious amounts of E! True Hollywood Stories.

But it still ain't easy.

My Dana-Farber team has a lot of great training resources that I've been using which are helpful as I embark on my first full-season of winter training for a Spring marathon. I've learned (and confirmed from others' blogs and articles on the interwebs) that you're actually supposed to be at a 0.5 to a 1.0 incline in order to match the level of exertion from outdoor running. The reason, evidently, is the lack of wind resistance inside which makes it easier. I'm not convinced, but I have started to make most of my workouts at 0.5 and it's actually been fine to make that adjustment.

I personally do find treadmill running "easier" than outdoor running and as such my pace is faster. According to Runners' World this is normal:
Remember, it is important to run by your effort level rather than your speed while making the transition to outdoor running.  For instance, if you run a 10-minute mile on the treadmill, you may well be running a 10:30 outside at the same effort level (intensity).  
For this reason I am supposed to ensure that I run outside an adequate amount before the race. And I certainly will. Once it gets above 20 degrees.

In case you're toying with the idea of treadmill running more yourself, I also thought I'd share a great conversion chart that gives you pace per mile or km (if you're fancy and European) based on the MPH setting on the treadmill. As an example, if you're at a 4.0 speed walk, that's a 15 minute mile. IT also tells you how long it will take you to run certain distances at that pace (i.e. a 10K, a marathon, whatever!) I enjoy it.

Hope this helps give you some useful information to get your butt in gear. I'm not scurred of the treadmill, and neither should you be. Treadmills hold snacks. Treadmills have TVs (or at least any good one will!) Treadmills are enclosed in buildings with bathrooms. Treadmills don't make you cry from windburn. Bring your ipad, ipod or other fancy new-found device and get saddled up. It can't be worse than running in a Vortex.

* * * * * * * * * *

I am running the Boston Marathon with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge! I have raised $4,919 towards my goal of $10,000! Find our more or donate here: http://www.runDFMC.org/2014/merig