2011

Peaks and Valleys

Having lived part of my life in Colorado, I’m quite familiar with, and love very dearly, the Rocky Mountains. In the mountains, the air is cleaner, the sun is brighter, the world is quieter and more beautiful than anywhere else. When you are on the top of one of the peaks in the Rockies, the view is something to behold. I can’t describe it. I love being there.

But also having climbed up in the mountains, I’m very aware that its beauty can be deceiving and it can change on a dime to become a dangerous, scary place. The valleys are cold and desolate and to get over one of the peaks seems impossible when looking up from the foot of a mountain. It’s terrifying.

Peaks and Valleys. My 2011.

Peaks

Goal #1: 2 marathons in one year. Jersey sucked. Philly was fun.

NJ Marathon

Philly Marathon

Goal #2: Pass all my classes (hello, Calculus & Physics)

Goal #3: Become a lululemon athletica Ambassador

Seriously, a dream come true for me

I'm flying in my Ambassador photo!

Goal #4: Start my own running/fitness blog to educate the community

Goal #5: Try as many fitness classes as I can in the city

Love Flywheel

Love my Flywheel/luluemon family!

My angel baby niece

Nothing better than this

I have so many people to thank without whom I never would have achieve any of these goals this year. JB, The Obi-wans, all of my siblings and family for their support, my gorgeous friends, my E. 66th St. lululemon family, my NYU family and all of the wonderful people who happened into my life at just the right time to get me through this year.

Those were the Peaks.

The Valleys were awful.

Valleys

Having my family member getting sick was one of the biggest blows of my life, not just of 2011. I never dreamed in a million years would happen to us/our family but it did. It’s been devastating. It still is devastating. Even now, I cannot comprehend how she gets through day to day, but she does. She’s braver than she knows and I am just at a loss for words when it comes to describing how this illness has affected me personally and my family as a whole. The battle will continue into 2012, but I pray and hope and believe that 2012 will be so much better. It has to be.

Me getting sicker was just the pits.

What is becoming a familiar place for me: Dr. Boz' office

It ruined one of my marathons and derailed training for the other. It humiliated me on a regular basis and in ways I will only tell JB. It made me doubt myself, hate my body, and caused me to have to take (and continue to take) a series of very harmful drugs. Not. fun.

If there’s anything I have learned from hiking my through the Rocky Mountains and navigating through this year, it’s that with the Peaks come the Valleys and with the Valleys come the Peaks. The most important thing is how I deal with them. Do I let the Valleys consume me or do I fight my way up the winding switchbacks, however long and torturous they may be, to get to that next Peak?

I choose to fight. I choose to live. I choose to keep my eyes set on the Peaks and remember that with every step I fight to take forward, I am leaving the Valleys further and further behind me.

That’s was my 2011.

Here’s to a better year in 2012 for all of us. If you had an amazing 2011, tell me about it! And let’s rock into the New Year looking toward the Peaks together. Have an amazing night, everyone. Happy New Year.

Now go out and run!

Friday Fitness News: End of Year

First off, I’d like to thank Samantha and the team over at Fitness Magazine for selecting me as one of their “Fit Bloggers We Love” and featuring me on their website. I’m honored to be chosen and I thank you all very much for the compliment. I feel very fancy.

Secondly, I want to thank Maggie over at Fat Bottom Slim for including our BRick workout as her Top 5 Workouts of 2011. Maggie attended both BRick workouts and ran both times. Yes, she was there for the ridiculously snowy/slushy 2nd BRick run in a blizzarding Central Park. Smart? Maybe not. But we sure had fun! Thanks, Maggie!

These two very cool honors are leaving me with a serious high going into the last day of the year. But I’m not going to get into all that year-end retrospective stuff today. I’m saving it for tomorrow’s *VERY SPECIAL WEEKEND POST* which will include my Runner’s World Holiday Streak recap as well. Hint: it’s been a roller coaster ride of a year.

In the mean time, let’s wrap up the fitness news this week.

And that’s all for this week. Did I miss anything? I tried to stay away from the end-of-the year stuff so that I can blab all about that tomorrow. So stay tuned for it! In the meant time, welcome to all of you who are clicking over from Fitness Magazine. I hope you come back and comment and get something out of this little blog of mine.

Are you participating in the Runner’s World Holiday Streak? How’s it going? 

Did you reach or set a fitness goal this year? Tell me all about it!

See ya’ll tomorrow.

Now go out and run!

 

The Treadmill Is Your (Winter Running) Friend

Icy roads + funky tummy = lots of treadmill time

I have runner friends who curse the treadmill. They swear up and down that they’ll never, ever use them unless it’s blizzarding outside and they absolutely have to get a run in. And even then, they often opt to forego the run all together versus getting on a “dreadmill.”

Who's afraid of the big, bad treadmill? Not I, said the fly.

I am here to tell you that the treadmill can be your friend, especially in the winter. Not only can you get an awesome short distance workout in, but it can be the best tool in your arsenal against those cold winter runs.

What do I mean? Well, I’m about to share my favorite winter running thing with all of you. Are you ready?

When it’s freezing outside, like below 25°F, warm up inside on the treadmill before you pile on the layers and head out the door.

Pre-sweaty warm up

Here’s how:

  • Strip down to your base layers.
  • Warm up at a reasonable pace but whatever you do, DON’T LET YOURSELF START TO SWEAT!!!! You want to be warm but not be sweating.
  • Once you are warmed up (about 5 minutes), throw on those layers and run out the door while you’re still warm.
  • Enjoy!

Don't get sweaty like me!

If you’re warm before you jump into the cold winter weather, you’re likely to stay warm by having your clothes insulate you before you get cold. It works. Trust me. There is no way on Earth I could survive winter running in NYC without my neighborhood treadmill.

Give this a shot and let me know how it works for you!

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: R & R

I am loving every single minute of our vacation. It has been stress-free, laid-back and full of fun times with the family. That is why I am not going to get all crazy about not having time to blog yesterday.

First off, JB and I had an adventure in Estes Park. We drove the long way up into the mountains, where JB has never been, to show him how beautiful my Rocky Mountains are.

Hello, gorgeous!

Estes Park is about an hour West of Denver and we love a drive. Since we took the long way, we went past lots of ranches and open fields.

MOOOOO!!! COW!!! MOOOOOO!!!

Estes Park is just beautiful, but it has a scary little secret…

The Stanley Hotel (aka the hotel from "The Shining")

Ok, so it’s not scary at all, but The Stanley Hotel is totally cool and has old-world charm in every nook and cranny of its buildings.

Warm and cozy. No scary twin girls here.

I am quite partial to the view just outside the main doors.

Breathtaking mountains.

And this time, we had some friends join us–very close to the hotel!

ELK! You know, just hanging out. Grazing.

We had lunch and walked along the creek. It was our first real date in a while and we had just the loveliest day for it. We had such a great day. “But what the heck, Abby?” you might be saying, “You had all evening to write and post your blog.”

Well, my hands were a little full.

Drool monster.

I think you're just the right size for my carry-on bag.

Blog or cuddle with my sweet baby niece? Priorities, people.

I mean, you get it now, right? I was like, “Blog? What blog? Look at my niece!”

And this is actually what this week’s BTAT is all about: R & R.

Sometimes life just gets to be too much and you need a little (or a lot) R & R. For me, I don’t often realize how badly I need the R & R until I settle down and start to relax and I feel an enormous weight lifted off of me.

Holidays aren’t always the best time to expect R & R. In fact, between traveling and staying in unfamiliar places, holidays can often add to your already stressful life. Fortunately for us, visiting Colorado has been just the respite from life that we needed. No worries, no running around, no work to rush off to. Just us and family and the beautiful state of Colorado.

R & R is important. Physically, it allows your body to repair itself. Sleepless nights, 18-hour days (often sitting in front of a computer), schlepping to and fro all day long. These things beat you down. Emotionally and mentally, R & R allows you to gather yourself and take a step back from that ledge you constantly feel you’re teetering on. You get your footing and take a breath.

That breath for me was the cool, clean mountain air of Estes Park and the giggles of my sweet baby niece.

City girl or mountain girl? Ahhh, a little of both!

But it could just mean a stay-cation or a lunch date with a friend or a quiet drive on a beautiful day. R & R reminds us that there is life outside our apartments/houses/office buildings. There are beautiful things happening in the world, but we have to stop in order to see them.

When you do, wow, it is totally what makes today and every day that we are here way Better Than the Alternative.

Take a day. Take a breath. Let the world go on turning without you. I promise it will be there when you come back.

Now go out and run!

The Runner’s Way to Lose One Pound

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: marathon training is NOT the best time to try and lose weight. However, running IS an excellent way to slim your waistline. First time runners often see dramatic weight loss when they pick up the sport…seasoned runners not so much.

So what’s a seasoned runner to do? We’re doing our 5-milers, our speed workouts, our hills–but no weight loss. Frustrating! Well, there are a few ways to switch up your workout routine without disrupting your training schedule and risking overuse injuries while also kicking ~100 extra calories per workout. If you’re burning ~100 extra calories a day, it works out to be almost an entire pound a month, so long as you aren’t also eating that 100 extra calories a day.

  • 1 pound = 3, 500 calories
  • 5 calories = 1 liter of oxygen consumed
  • 1 mile ~ 100 calories for women, 105 calories for men/per mile running

There are 3 easy ways you can burn off 100 extra calories in your daily workouts:

#1.  Weight lifting  *HOW: Try a strength training class at the gym or train for 25 minutes* Anaerobic training (strength training, sprinting, etc.) has been proven to burn more calories post-workout than aerobic training (slower cardio workouts) and weight lifting is a great way to get your anaerobic workout on. Just make sure you aren’t chatting too much with your buddies while your lifting, keep that heart rate up and blast it out.

#2.  Hike a mile *HOW: Jump on the treadmill and kick it up to a 10.0-15.0 incline, 2.7-3.5 pace and climb for a mile* If you’re a runner, walking a little bit won’t hurt you and hiking at an incline can burn some serious calories. Keep your pace consistent and vary your incline between 10.0 and 15.0 (or whatever incline you feel comfortable climbing for a mile) for one mile…or maybe for 20 minutes post-workout.

#3.  Warm up/Cool down mile *HOW: Add a slow, easy mile to the end of your runs or beginning of your gym workout* Most runners neglect to warm up before and cool down after their runs. Why not take that extra 8-10 minutes and do a warm up or cool down mile and kick those 100 extra calories?

Full disclosure, weight loss is 80% food and 20% exercise and that’s just the way it goes. It is impossible to outrun overeating and you could get rid of one pound a month just as easily if you cut out 100 calories of food a day. But if you’re looking to just kick it up a little bit via your workouts and slowly lose those extra pounds without going bananas, these are three easy ways to do it.

Now what are you waiting for?

Go out and run!