Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays: People Who Kick Ass

This is an epic week for me and what better way to celebrate than with Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays? Mrs. Obi-wan has this cool necklace that really embodies all of her attributes and inspired today’s blog theme. Allow me to dedicate this blog to those people in my (and your) life who kick some serious ass. Because, I don’t know about you, but being around those people makes my life brighter.

The "Kick Ass" necklace from Dogeared (image courtesy of dogeared.com)

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while now know that I have a serious amount of kick-ass people in my world. I can’t help it, I’m drawn to them. Sometimes I’m related to them (even better, they can’t get away from me!). And sometimes I meet them for five minutes and the memory of their awesomeness is forever imbedded in my mind. I don’t know how I get so lucky, but it seems everyone around me just plain ‘ol kicks ass. I love it!

I like to celebrate those people as much as possible. Usually, it’s with cupcakes. I love a cupcake, especially SugarSweet Sunshine and Moxie Cupcake! I can’t help myself. But sometimes, a shout-out is better than a cupcake so today is all about sending a shout-out to those people in your life who kick ass (sometimes yours) and deserve to know they do.

*Blondie, you kick ass and are just incredible.

*Rainbow Bright, you kick ass for jumping to help a friend in need. Not everyone does that.

*Here’s to an awesome team of 3 from luluemon who are volunteering to guide Achilles athletes at this year’s ING NYC Marathon AND will be raising money for the charity Let All the Children Play in the process. You guys kick ass and I couldn’t be prouder or more inspired!

*Secret Agent Man and Bonkers, you kick ass for follow your dreams, which is always the most inspiring reason to leave any place.

*All the athletes out there who never give up, you kick ass. I see you. Keep going.

*My friends who are embarking on the final stretch to attaining their various medical licenses, you kick some major ass! You are all smarter than me and I am counting on you to fix me and my old bones in the future. I am in awe of your smartypants-ness.

*Anyone who is running for the first time today, tomorrow or last month: you kick ass! Starting is the hardest part and you totally kick ass for lacing up your sneaks and taking those first steps. Welcome.

With all of you kick-ass people in my life in mind, I’m going to head out into this beautiful day and go for a run. Join me, won’t you? Go out and run!

Wait! First tell me, who kicks ass in YOUR life?

How To Train When You’re Sick

Funny thing about this title, I bet you it will get a lot of attention because most runners refuse to stop running when they are sick and are looking for anyone to tell this this is ok. It is not. You do not run when you are sick, do you hear me? No. No. No. Let me tell you why. You will get worse and stay sick longer. Here’s the skinny on how to train when you’re sick.

#1. Rest as long as your body needs to in order for you to feel 100% again. Never, ever work out when you have a fever. When you are sick, your body is working overtime to fight a virus and when you call up the reserves to go for a run, you run the risk of getting much, much sicker and staying that way for a prolonged period of time. Rest.

#2. When you are feeling better, don’t just jump into whatever your running schedule says. Take a run or two to get your legs under you. Do some slow, easy, short runs and see how your body reacts during and after those runs before you start to push it again.

#3. Be mindful of your nutrition. If you’ve been dehydrated or malnourished because of a flu, jumping back into strenuous activity can be a shock to your calorie and nutrient-deficient body. Get back to the food and water for at least two days before you attempt a workout.

#4. Don’t stress about the time off. Missing a week or two of a training schedule due to sickness won’t kill you. Failing to listen to your virus-stricken body can sabotage your entire training season and render you useless come race day. Don’t force your body to start something it’s not ready for.

#5. When in doubt, rest. If you’re feeling under the weather or run down, it is always better to take a day and be fresher and more vibrant during the next workout. This goes for those days that you just can’t sum up the energy to stay awake, let alone run. Listen to your body and rest.

Trust me, it’s better to get that week or two of rest out of the way rather than having a month of crappy runs with terrible times. Talk yourself down from the edge of “I’ll never finish my race if I don’t run every single scheduled run!” because it’s not true. You can miss a few here and there (within reason and for a good reason) and still have an awesome race. If you’ve planned out your training schedule accordingly, you should have at least 14 weeks of workouts to do. Missing a week because you’re sick is no big deal. Keep reminding yourself of this as you try to lace up your sneakers in a feverish haze. It’s not worth it. Rest.

Now go out and run! (unless you are sick and then WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT OF BED?!?!!!)

Tell me…do you have trouble skipping runs when you’re sick?

Battle Of Brooklyn Recap

JB and I just sat down for lunch (yes, lunch at 11am) after finishing the Battle of Brooklyn this morning and all I have to say is: Holy sweaty runner, Batman! I am not unaccustomed to getting my sweat on during a run, especially a 10-miler in August, but Oh. My. God. I think I left puddles along the course in Prospect Park. Yikes.

We almost didn’t make it to Brooklyn because our cab driver felt compelled to drive at the speed of sound down the FDR. I was convinced it was the end of us. No, we did not take the train to Brooklyn at 6am. We are that couple. My husband more so than me, but I really don’t put up much of a fight when it means I can get up at 6:30 (a much more reasonable hour) and do my morning routine without being stressed out about train times. Stress + UC = emergency bathroom breaks mid-race. So, yeah. We took a cab. And almost died.

Well, at least there wasn't a chance in hell we'd be late for the start!

Upon arrival, I thanked all of my guardian angels and headed to the POJ to do my thang. Ummmm….memo to Jackrabbit: When there are hundreds of people coming to your race, 7 POJ’s is insufficient. You read that right: 7. For a race. I was horrified and immediately staked a place in line, hoping I’d get to go before the start, suddenly thankful for my speed demon of a taxi driver.

Wow. Just...wow. Clearly, they did not know I was coming to this race.

One woman complained to some official-looking person. His response, "At 8:05, the lines will be gone!" PS. The race started at 8:00. Nice.

Thankfully, I made it in and out and to the start line with JB in plenty of time. A very unceremonious (not in a bad way) “GO!” started the 10 mile race. We took off downhill, steering clear of the brilliant runners who thought their 10 minute per mile pace warranted a front-line start. I will never understand that. Anyway, the park wasn’t too crowded and the race wasn’t either so it was a great run to pace it out and relax. 1st mile downhill = 7:15 first mile. Ooops. I did not keep that up. JB hung back and we both just tried to get a handle on our pace.

I really enjoyed running through Prospect Park. It’s not nearly as crowded as Central Park, the loop is shorter and friends who live in Park Slope come out to cheer! Nothing’s better than having friends cheer for you as you muddle through a soggy 10 miles. I must’ve looked super sexy.

JB passed me around mile 8, which I love. He’s 6’2” and a former Marine, so I fully expect he will be the fast one in the family. He finished about 15 seconds ahead of me and cheered for me at the finish line. Good man. Hard to miss the sound of someone shouting, “Go Abigail!” (he doesn’t call me Abby–ever). I love that he’s coming out of his cheerleader shell! Go honeybun!

So, done and done. We both ran just under 8 minute miles. Not exactly my goal, but close to it and the weather being what it was, I’m happy. We ran into Ali who was sporting her “I ♥ SWEAT” shirt, a perfect theme for the race.

Clearly, I support this statement because, well, duh...

We also saw our friend from lululemon Run Club, Secret Agent Man who fully kicked our butts and later confessed he was struggling out there as well. No one was immune to the humidity beast today! We’re all just thrilled we finished.

Success!

I am home, showered, in my robe and about to devour my tacos. Do not get in between me and my food after a race. I will hurt you. Battle of Brooklyn winner? Me!

What did you do this weekend? Did you rock a run or take a break? Tell me and then…

Go out and run!

 

Guest Blog: Kim’s Balancing Act, Bootcamp Edition

Kim does Bootcamp!

I’m a sucker for a bargain. I buy sale items, even if I don’t absolutely need them. So when I started to climb out of my fitness rut and decided to recharge and diversify my fitness routine, I took notice of all the deal-of-the-day fitness-related offers that flooded my email inbox. Everything from a Groupon trapeze cardio deal to a swanky pilates reformer offer on Living Social.  Again, no reason for boredom wherever you are (these deals are all over the U.S.)!  Bargains and promises to whip me back in shape?  Done!  I took note of one email in particular with the subject: “Holistic fitness draws raves and gives results – up to 73% off classes.”  I opened the message and saw that the class met .2 miles from my apartment; no commuter excuse for being lazy. Luckily my credit card information was saved from one-too-many bargain clothing purchases (none of which helped me out of my rut or promised holistic wellness!), so with a few clicks, I bought a very bargain-priced 5-pack of classes to Circuit of Change.

Good morning, NYC! (photo courtesy of circuitofchange.com)

I went to the website to register for my first class and poked around to learn that the instructor, Brian, is a gymnast, Ironman triathlete, and yogi who leads a 60-minute “Mind-body Bootcamp” that combines plyometrics, body weight exercises, sprint interval training, kickboxing and core training.  I was intrigued by the Ironman/yogi creds, and the workout sounded fun and challenging; just the right mix of new and exciting moves for my tired running legs and weak upper body. I was a bit nervous on my first day of bootcamp since it seemed that most people knew each other, but Brian walked up and immediately introduced himself then gave me my first-day peptalk: “listen to your body to gauge how it responds to the jumping and circuit training, and take a break if it gets too strenuous. Breathe and have fun!”  His positive energy was infectious, so I was ready to sweat and push myself.

We started with a few laps around the pier and “circled up” to stretch, just like high school lacrosse practice.  As Brian led our stretches (many yoga-based), he briefed us on the importance of breathing, and taught us how to breathe deeply using the Ujjayi technique (in and out through the nose).  With each inhale, he asked us to take in the good, healing oxygen, and with each exhale, we released toxins and negative thoughts. Though I could hear car engines revving and horns honking on the west side highway, I tried to focus solely on my breathing. I liked the idea of letting go of my day, my anxiety, my stress.  Brian then asked us to create an intention for our workout (mine: “don’t make a fool of yourself and don’t throw up”).

Push ups for everyone! (photo courtesy of circuitofchange.com)

From spiritual stretching, we moved into our first circuit which included jumping jacks, squat thrusts, high-knees and mountain climbers.  We were working out in a relatively small area, but my heart was thumping. I was gasping and needed every second of the 2 minute breaks in between the 4-6 minute circuits  The workout continued with abdominal moves consisting of planks, bicycles, and time on our backs lowering/raising outstretched legs.  There were sprints, tricep dips on park benches and step-ups on ledges. I wasn’t wearing a watch, but when Brian said we’d be closing the class with some yoga and stretching, I was both relieved and surprised to know the hour had passed so quickly.

Awesome instructor. Awesome workout. (and no vomiting!)

It’s a great workout and though it’s tough to measure my aerobic capacity or mile times because I’m only running recreationally right now, this is a workout that I look forward to doing and one in which I feel like I’m burning a ton of energy and testing my fitness limits. I have found myself breathing deeply to work through stress during other activities (be it a workout or a tough day at the office) as a result of Brian’s focus on the ujjayi technique. Though I could technically do these exercises on my own, I know I’m not going to (and I wouldn’t have Brian to correct my form and repeatedly remind me to “breathe!”).  And working out in a group environment motivates me to keep up with my classmates. If I’m going to dedicate 60 minutes to my workout, I want to feel like I’m surrounded by others who are as into it as I am.

For everyone out there looking to mix up a running routine or for folks like me who are re-igniting their workouts, I’d recommend trying a bootcamp class. If you’re deep into marathon training, this type of cross-training may be a bit hard on your knees, but as Abby has told us, workouts that raise your heart rate to a high-percentage of your maximum (VO2 max), can help you improve your overall cardiorespiratory endurance (which = faster, longer runs!). Overall, bootcamp classes offer a fun and variable workout, burn a lot of energy and often work out your whole body.  Do a quick search to find bootcamp programs in your area or subscribe to one of the many daily deal sites out there and see what pops up.  You may get more than you bargained for!

Why Do I Run?

Hi friends! I am busy prepping for tomorrow’s lululemon run on Summer Streets (8am @ the E. 66th St. store) and the Joint Protection Workshop afterwards @ 9am. Hope to see you there! In the mean time, a poem I have always loved.

WHY DO I RUN? ‘TAIN’T NO MYSTERY–
WANNA HAVE A GOOD MEDICAL HISTORY,
DOCTOR TOLD ME RUNNIN IS GREAT–
HELPS THEM BLOOD CELLS CIRCULATE,
GREAT FOR THE LUNGS,
GREAT FOR THE TICKER,
CAN’T NOTHIN’ GETCHA
IN BETTER SHAPE QUICKER,
FEELS SO HEALTHY, FEELS SO SWEET,
PUMPIN MY ARMS AND FLAPPIN’ MY FEET,
MOLDIN’ MY MUSCLES, FIRMIN’ MY FORM,
PANTIN’ LIKE A PACK MULE,
SWEATIN’ UP A STORM,
KEEPS ME YOUTHFUL,
KEEPS ME LOOSE,
TIGHTENS MY TUMMY
AND SHRINKS MY CABOOSE,
BEATS BEIN’ SLUGGISH, BEATS BEIN’ LAZY–
WHY DO I RUN?

MAYBE I’M CRAZY!

~Ed Cummingham (I think)

Now go out and run!