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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Andddd...

A very happy day-after-real-birthday to my number one supporter who has been the most encouraging person in my "running career."

He attended my first cross country meet, encouraged me to continue running after being diagnosed with asthma, watched all my races in the snow and rain (literally) and even drove me to my last marathon with his arm in a sling after having surgery (probably not legal...). Thank you dad! Happy birthday!

Half-way There!

I'm officially halfway towards my fundraising goals: 2,000$!  Thank you to all of my donors. I'll be hosting a fundraiser at Overlook NYC on Friday September 28th...email me if you are in the NY area and interested in attending! There's just about 6 weeks left for donations, and 8 weeks left until race-day...

My furthest run so far has been 20 miles.  It's been quite a challenge juggling marathon training, making friends in the new city and dealing with a new full-time position. Something I've been seeing more and more often along the East River here in NYC are "Kangoo Shoes":

As you could probably guess, people look absolutely ridiculous running around in these.  They supposedly help diminish joint wear and tear, and reduce risk of injury for runners with shin problems.  Next time I see someone wearing these things, I'm going to stop and interview them!

I've also been running with GU, which I am obsessed with. Last year I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while training and during my run, which my family thankfully held onto for me.  During the NYC Marathon, though, I don't think I will be able to count on having friends and family at various points throughout the race due to the congestion of the city.  I've been duct taping GU to my water bottle while I run, so that's probably what I'll have to do for race day.  Espresso Love is definitely the best flavor.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Can't forget Dad...

Forgot to thank Dad in my last post for the hat from last year's marathon that kept me oh-so-dry as it poured for the first half I the 18 miles Saturday :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Physical Activity and the Immune System

I've been a pretty inconsistent blogger these past few weeks, but I finally thought of something extremely interesting to post about! Unfortunately, the only reason I thought to post about this is because it's happening to me as we speak.
This past weekend, I ran 18.8 miles-18 felt so good I kept going for a bit, and it felt great.  The next day, I wasn't even sore.  This workout really had me feeling good about myself for a while, then Monday afternoon a sore throat hit.  Research has shown that physical activity can help boost the body's immune system and reduce our risk for contracting viruses.  Physical activity can even help minimize the amount of time a particular virus stays in your system, shortening the overall duration of your "cold."  Unfortunately, as one nears the marathon territory and the intensity and duration of workouts increases, immuno-supression also intensifies. This can be better explained by the J-shaped curve below, where at a sedentary state, one's risk of disease is average, with moderate physical activity, one's risk of disease is below average, and with very high levels of physical activity, one's risk for disease is above average.
So for the next few days I'm going to be resting up so that I can continue on with my training later in the week.  Just some light yoga and leisurely bike rides to work.
Also, thanks mom for the bracelet..."it's not a sprint, it's a marathon" !

Friday, August 10, 2012

13 miles And Some PB&J

I spent last weekend with Conor, Kimmie and Bennett in RI- a much needed escape from the city. Kimmie and I did a nice woodsy trail on Saturday, but unfortunately the heat took its toll on us and we cut our distance a little short. Since I was pretty much occupied all weekend, I saved my long run for last night. I ran 13.4 miles after work yesterday, and had to bribe myself with a Starbucks mocha cookie frappuccino, which I happily indulged in this afternoon. Is it sad that one of those drinks is the only reason I will put on running shoes after work?? I'm more of a morning runner, so the bribery was very necessary. Here's a view of the Williamsburg bridge from the East River. One nice thing about evening runs is the scenery!


I got back from my run around 9:15, In Stamford in less than 30 minutes. and recovered with some PB&J& oatmeal. PB&J and oatmeal are two things I'm obsessed with individually, and a few weeks ago I decided to combine them. This hearty breakfast holds me over straight through lunch, which is very atypical for me- my stomach is usually growling by 10:45am.



PB&J oatmeal:
1/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cups almond milk
1/4 cup wheat berries (I didn't know what these were until I read Carrots n' Cake- now I'm obsessed!)
1 tbsp all natural peanut butter
1 tbsp jam or jelly
Mixed berries (I used strawberries, blackberries and blueberries)

Combine oats, almond milk and wheat berries into a saucepan and simmer until mixture thickens. Top with peanut butter, jam and berries... Enjoy!

Nora watched my every move as I made this post-run snack...


Monday, July 30, 2012

Top 10 Historic Vegetarian and Vegan Olympians

Top 10 Historic Vegetarian and Vegan Olympians

LOVE these articles!

16 Miles Down- Here's My Summer Schedule!

So this weekend, I had every intention to run 14 miles as scheduled (see calendar below!).  Instead, I decided I was going to outsmart the FDR drive and find a shortcut from the base of the Brooklyn bridge.  That resulted in an extra 2 miles.  Luckily today I'm not at all sore, and now I feel as if some pressure has been taken off for next week's run!  Next weekend I'll be in RI with Kim and Bennett, so a 14 mile run probably won't happen, but I'm looking forward to having my ol' running buddy, Ms. Catlin back =).
I always get questions about how training for a marathon actually works, so I decided to post my calendar to my blog.  I tend to shift around runs and distances based on social events that might interfere, so the schedule is pretty flexible. That's one reason I start training months in advance, so that if something comes up and I'm facing a set back, it's really not a big deal.   
I also got a bike this weekend and rode her for the first time on Sunday! She's a 1970's vintage Raleigh Caprice, and definitely needs some work, but she's perfect for putzing around and getting me to and from work.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Barefoot Running

I've been having some issues lately with my running sneakers- a pair of Nike Lunars that I've only had for a couple months, and I'm seriously debating trying a barefoot running shoe. There is no clear scientific evidence as to whether or not barefoot running is the end-all solution to injury prevention, but studies have proven that it does improve form. When running with normal sneakers, one has a tendency to strike the ground with the heel of the foot. This leads to many injuries that involve the foot and ankle because of repeated stress on the body. Here are the Vibrams I'm getting:



Okay, I might only be getting these because they're adorable..

Something I find really interesting about barefoot running is that it is a common practice for many foreign cultures. For example, the Tarahumara are a Native American tribe of Northern Mexico wo are notorious for their ability to run long distances, and they literally do it in flip flops! Okay, the. Ame of the shoe is huaraches, but more or less they're sandals. Because of this, this native tribe runs with a toe strike method, which is a more natural behavior and can reduce injury. With running sneakers, it isn't a natural tendency to strike toe-first. And the Tarahumara people don't just ru. Around the block a couple of times- some of their tribe traditions involve 200 mile races through their village and canyons! These races last up to 2 days, and the winner is considered a great hero.  Here are huaraches, they're pretty cute too..

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I'm Really Doing This

     This weekend was my 12-miler! Yay!  It was a great weekend, and I went for the run early Saturday morning before my mother's arrival.  I ran over the Brooklyn bridge, down by the east river, then came back to Brooklyn via the Williamsburg bridge.  One thing I love about running is that it's a great (and inexpensive) way to explore- I saw all of these sights in just two hours (and didn't spend a dime ;-)
     My mom visited this weekend and brought my mail that came to our house, which sounds pretty uneventful.  However, I received this:
     I was SO happy to get this in the mail! I've been wearing it just put-zing around the neighborhood today, which I'm sure is bad luck or something, but I'm just so excited to have it!  Receiving this and running 12 miles this weekend really solidified the fact that I actually live in NY and I am actually running the NY marathon this Fall.  Gulp.
     My mom and I had a great weekend- we resumed our typical Paris routine: wake up, eat, walk, shop, eat, walk, shop (repeat until legs can no longer continue).  After my run Saturday morning, we ventured into Williamsburg and walked over the bridge (yes, again) into Manhattan.  Spent a lot of time in Lord and Taylor and eating Crumbs Cupcakes.  Butterscotch and Red Velvet- YUM.
     For dinner, we headed down to the waterfront in downtown Brooklyn.  The restaurant was excellent, but the view was definitely my favorite part of the evening.  There's so much more to NYC than the typical tourist sights- which is one reason why I'm really happy that I chose to live here in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Interval Training 101

Alright, so this morning I did some long-distance interval training before work-so I'll be covering the ins and outs of interval training for this post! While I have good intentions regarding interval training, I never seem to get around to it.  I love to just step out my front door and GO- I never really have a plan regarding my pace. But now with this new app, I really have no excuse...so here's my interval training shpeal.

What is it?
Interval training is a type of training that involves "bursts" of high intensity activity with rest periods separating them.  Interval training can be done as a setting on a treadmill/elliptical, done during a spin workout, or a run.

What are the benefits of interval training?
A major benefit of interval training for running is that is is the most efficient way to make you faster.  Think about it- say you run 9 minute miles, and you want to get your mile time down to 8 minutes.  If you just went out for a run and started dropping 1 minute off of every mile you run, you would burn out quickly and not get very far.  If you alternate your pace (say half a mile at a 9 minute pace, half a mile at a 7.5 minute pace) you won't burn out nearly as quickly.
The other (probably more popular) benefit of interval training is that it burns more calories than a steady paced cardiovascular workout.  The bursts of activity make a huge impact on the workload.  Today, during my 4 mile interval workout my i phone said I burned 520 calories, and my previous steady paced 4 mile run on the same route burned only 460 calories.

Are there any limitations I should be aware of?
Yes- interval training should only be done once or twice a week.  These short bursts of energy are wonderful and all, but they tire your muscles and CV (cardiovascular) system pretty quickly, making you more prone to injury.  You should also change your work:rest ratio in order to maximize the benefits of training and further reduce risk of injury.

So what's a good interval workout?
Today, my workout was alternating my pace every half mile for four miles.  I ran at about a 9.5 minute pace for a half a mile, then at a 7 minute pace for a half a mile.  I measured the distance and pace by using my swanky new i phone app- so it was pretty easy to monitor.
Another popular way to do interval training is by timing as opposed to distance.  For example, run or walk at your normal pace for 4 minutes, then for the fifth minute, increase the intensity, and when the fifth minute is over go back to your normal pace for another four minutes.
If you're time is limited, you can do this really quick interval workout and feel like you just ran 10 miles:
          3 minutes warm up at your normal pace
          15 seconds intense pace
          1 minute resting pace
          30 seconds intense pace
          1 minute resting pace
          45 seconds intense pace
          1 minute resting pace
          1 minute intense pace
          1 minute resting pace
          45 seconds intense pace
          1 minute resting pace
          30 seconds intense pace
          1 minute resting pace
          15 seconds intense pace
          3 minutes cool down at a normal pace
Repeat sequence twice- whole thing takes about 30 minutes.  I find workouts like this easiest to do on a treadmill because you can control your pace simply by pressing a button.  On the road, I usually get distracted and never follow through with a plan like this!

Happy Training =)



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ninety Four Degrees and Counting

Today in NY it is SUPER hot and I'm pretty bummed.  I was planning for today to be my first "long run" starting out at 10 miles- but between the heat and the margarita pitchers last night for Conor's birthday, I figured it's probably not the best idea.  My plan is to stay hydrated and cool today and hopefully go on the run tomorrow.  It's supposed to get up to one hundred degrees here today, so I brought Nora to Conor's apartment where there's AC..they really love each other:

Some tips for running or working out in the heat:
1) Stay hydrated- don't only drink during your workout, but stay hydrated all day.  If you're planning to do something more strenuous than usual, this is especially important.
2) Shower beforehand- sounds silly, but I do this all the time in the hot weather.  I put on my shirt im going to run in and jump into the shower to wet my hair and shirt, then put my shorts and sneakers on.  Exercising drenched in cool water is essentially the same as sweating, but saves your body the extra effort.
3) Wear light colored clothing- it's true, dark clothes attract the sunlight and make you hotter.  Wear as few clothing items as possible and make sure they are a light, breathable fabric.
4) Eat salt- so potato chips might not be ideal, but when you exercise, you sweat. In the hot weather your body sweats even more, and you lose a ton of electrolytes which can leave you dehydrated and groggy.  Reaching for some salted pretzels or nuts to accompany that giant glass of iced water after a workout can help keep sodium levels in check after excessive sweating.
5) Lastly, this applies to anyone working out when it is hot outside- no matter where you are.  Even if you are enjoying the luxury of a cool gym, keeping your body comfortable in the hot weather once you step outside is very important.

Stay cool everyone =)

Monday, July 2, 2012

There's an app for that...no but really...

First, I have to start off by giving Conor credit for the name of this blog.  He called me out on not giving him credit over the weekend.  The story is: for my last marathon, he told me he had a great system to help me train: left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot...funny guy, huh?? =)

The move to NY went well...huge thanks to Conor for being an excellent driver (he named my blog and moved all my stuff, I sure am a lucky girl!) and to Stuart for helping out!  I was pretty sore after the move-and since my ankle had been hurting I decided to wait until today to go on my first run in NY.

I know I'm a little behind the band-wagon on this one, but I just got an iphone yesterday.  I had gotten an ipad for graduation, so it's not too much different from that except for the fact that I make phone calls on it.  One thing that I really looked forward to downloading onto my iphone is the "map my run" app.  For those of you who don't know, www.mapmyrun.com is a great website that you can use to map out runs/walks almost anywhere.  The iphone app, however, takes it a step further and lets you watch the map as you're running and tracks your pace.  Every mile you get an update on total time and your mile pace.  This app was GREAT for me because I had no idea where I was going and am known for getting lost on runs. For my last marathon training, I would write directions down on my hand or on a sticky note and run with it...it can be hard to remember a 16-mile route!  It's also a great way to stay motivated and track your pace if you're just starting off or have a hard time staying motivated.  Highly recommend this app for anyone who: 1) has moved to a new location and is very likely to get lost 2) will be running/walking very long distances to train and needs to remember directions 3) needs to stay motivated.

Afterwards, I went and checked out our roof deck here in this apartment...I didn't realize we had roof access until I moved in!  There's a great view of the Manhattan skyline, but there are a lot of pigeons up there and I'm really afraid of birds so I snapped a quick pic with my swanky new iphone and headed back downstairs.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Asian Peanut Sauce

Happy Friday!

I've been meaning to post about this peanut sauce for the past few days, but I keep forgetting.  Basically, when I'm home, Tyler and Tony make fun of the food I eat constantly...but Tyler actually said this sauce smelled good, and then he ate it, and he LIKED it!  Of course the first words out of his mouth were "You know what would be good with this? Chicken!"  And yes, for all of the non-vegetarians reading this, I'm sure this sauce would be great with chicken.  That night I had the sauce over pasta with kidney beans, broccoli and asparagus.  I've also had this sauce over a salad with brown rice, avocado and pineapple.  It's incredibly easy and quick to make...here's the recipe:

1 tablespoon peanut butter (I've found the all natural pb without any added sugars whips the best- not to mention it's better for you anyway!)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar (I use whatever's lying around the house, but apple cider vinegar tastes best)
2 tablespoons orange juice

All you do is combine all of the ingredients into a bowl and whip with a fork and viola! This only serves one, so it's great for when you're trying to make a meal out of smorgasbord leftovers in the fridge, but if you're cooking for the family this may not be the best bet.

In other news, I had my last day with the Engler's yesterday =(.  I'm so blessed to have been a part of their family for the past year, and I'm really going to miss these kiddos!  Probably my favorite picture in the whole wide world from when we made Dora the Explorer's princess castle cake:



Getting ready for the big move tomorrow! The living room is a disaster (sorry Horton).  I was packing up last night and all of the boxes in my room were kind of stressing me out, so I put them in the living room.  Unfortunately, now the living room stresses me out.  At least Nora is having fun....


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Last Day at BodyScapes

This morning I taught my last class at BodyScapes Longwood! I learned a lot there and had a great time teaching classes and making friends who share my passion. At BodyScapes, I taught spin and muscle conditioning classes. My muscle conditioning class is set up as two circuits with 8 different stages of equipment. One minute is spent at each station, and each circuit is performed twice. Here is today's workout:

Circuit 1
Bosu- feet on top plank shoulder touch
Bench- squat straddle jump
Dumbbells- overhead press with twisting torso
Body bar- overhead chest lift
Stability ball- triceps dips
Medicine ball- hold overhead, lunge with left lower to right (and vice versa)
Mat- plank, jump feet to right, jump back to plank, jump feet to left
Ladder- icky shuffle

Circuit 2
Bosu- side switch squats
Bench-uneven pushups
Dumbells- burpee with overhead press
Body bar- seated twist with legs lifted
Stability ball- abs press up
Medicine ball- superman back lift with arms extended towards the feet
Mat- tip toe lunges with arms extended overhead
Ladder- icky shuffle backwards

Yes- my attendees are tough cookies! I typically don't use this much equipment when I workout on my own...in my opinion, the more simplistic the better-so I will be posting more user-friendly workouts in the future!

I other news, I'm taking a few days off from running. I ended up twisting my ankle while walking home from my DC cupcakes adventure with Kimmie yesterday. I'm hoping to be "back up and running" within a week! In the mean time lots of swimming,elliptical and weights.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bun Run

First off, thanks to everyone who read my first post and showed support! Especially to my mom who sent me the most adorable, encouraging card in response to my running NY marathon:
But I have to say- it was no accident I ended up this way, I learned from the best =).

I had a great day yesterday with Mom, Loo and Kimmie, we had brunch and then shopped around Boston for what will probably be the last time until I pick up and move to NY.  Loo and I went for a run later on after dinner.  We ran the typical route that we've been doing probably since we were in strollers with our moms.  It's about a 4.5 mile loop around the neighborhood we grew up in Freetown, MA. Unfortunately, we had to suffer throuh the attack of the horseflies-but there was also an abundance of bunnies hopping all over, which definitely made up for the horseflies! A little grey kitty tried to follow us for a little while too.  It was so great to have a running partner for the night.  I never used to like running with other people, but in the past year or so I've learned to really LOVE having the company! I'm really missing all my running buddies who've moved out of Boston, and I'll be anxious to find some more once moving to NY.  Here's me and Loo before heading out last night:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Post! Recovery Oatmeal Pumpkin Bars

Hello everyone, welcome to my new blog and first post! The past few days in Boston have been so steamy-not optimal running conditions.  I did make it out the past few days, though.  I woke up early in an attempt to beat the heat-which despite my efforts, failed-and ran 9 miles through Jamaica Pond.  I'm looking forward to exploring  my new neighborhood in NY once I move, but the convenience of knowing Boston so well will be missed!

Last night when I got home from a long day outside at the pool with Jackie and Campbell (two wonderful kids I've babysat for the past year), I was in a cooking kind of mood.  I don't know why, it was still ridiculously hot and sticky, but I made some oatmeal pumpkin bars.  I've been making them for a few months now, they're a great recovery food and vegan (I am a vegetarian, and I do flirt with vegan-ism). After a good workout, your muscles are very susceptible to up-taking glucose from the blood and storing it as glycogen within the muscles for later use.  Because of this, it's important that recovery foods are source of simple carbohydrates-like sugar-so that the glucose can be quickly taken up by your muscle cells.  Maximizing the muscle's ability to store glycogen is very important for distance runners especially who go extended periods of time without taking in any glucose.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Bars Recipe:
1 cup oats
1/2 cup canned, pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup softened earth balance soy butter (regular butter would work too if you're not feeling the whole vegan thing going on here)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons milled flax seed
nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon to taste

Soften the butter then combine all above ingredients into a bowl and mash it with a fork.  Add some add-ins like chocolate chips, walnuts or raisins (I used all three).  Press the dough evenly into a greased bread pan and bake at 400 deg F for about 30 minutes.  Once out of the oven and cool, slice into "bars" and wrap in individual foil.  Perfect for a homemade bar on the go or for breakfast-like I just had this morning with a banana and almond milk!