Fitness News Friday: Veteran’s Day Edition!

Happy Veteran’s Day! Some of you may or may not know it, but I’m married to a Marine.

That's my Marine!

This means I know all sorts of random Marine Corps facts, like 10 November is the Marine Corps Birthday (NOT November 10th, 10 November) acronyms and the Marine Corps Hymn by heart. Even though JB’s been “out” of the Corps for a few years now, he’ll never stop being a Marine and I’ll always be proud of his service to our country and his continuing dedication to the Corps. Oorah! (And Happy *late* Birthday, Marines) My thanks to the other men and women who have and are serving in all branches of our military.

On that note, here’s what’s news in the Fitness World this week:

  • Speaking of Marines, there’s a battle going down in Manhattan for your boot camp soul. Who knew the hell those Marines went through in boot camp would provide a model for a career for many of them? Even one of my favorite Flywheel instructors is a Marine!
  • Sergeant Abbie Brown, Army National Guard, says her Brooks sneakers comforted her while she was at war.
  • In honor of 11/11/11 and Veteran’s Day, the folks over at the Rock ‘n Roll races are offering a discount TODAY ONLY on all of the races in their upcoming series.
  • The IAAF overturned their previous decision and is now allowing Paula Radcliffe’s record to stand. It’s about damn time!
  • Demon kettlebells. The new rage?
  • The Freshman 15 debunked.
  • Adriana Lima is getting heat for her prep diet for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I gotta say, I don’t condone it but I don’t have to walk down a runway in front of millions of people naked. To be fair, I’ve met her several times and she always looked very healthy to me.
  • And finally, if you just can’t get enough of reading about recaps from the NYC Marathon runners, here are a few more for you.

Have a great weekend, everyone. JB and I will finally be dining at ABC Kitchen to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary. Can’t wait!

Now go out and run!

Marathon Season Winds Down

First things first. Happy birthday, Obi-wan! You’re the best Jedi Master we could ask for. Thank you for sharing The Force with us. I love you.

Second, congratulations to all of the 2011 ING NYC Marathon finishers! I saw approximately all of you yesterday (I was at the cheer station until the sweep vehicle came by and the streets re-opened) and you were a beautiful mass of sweaty runners that inspired all of us in the crowd with every step you took. Well done.

I think we were all a little scared when the snow swept in last weekend and decimated our beloved trees.

Oh no! Our poor trees!

Thankfully, it was GORGEOUS outside and the sun shone on all of the marathoners all day long. They even worked night and day to got the park cleared up by Marathon Sunday for the tourists to admire our beautiful fall foliage without fear of a giant branch falling on their heads. Well done, Parks Department.

Cheering was awesome. We were up on 1st Avenue early enough to see the elites.

One of the 4 signs I made. I'm a cheerleader overachiever.

The women’s race was a nail-biter with Firehiwot Dado pulling out the win in the last 300 yards. The men’s race was equally exciting with Geoffrey Mutai setting a course record, beating his own personal best in Chicago. Meb ran his personal best, better than his own win two years ago, which earned him sixth this year. Jen Rhines dropped out of the race and the first women runners from the USA to finish were two newbies to the marathon world, Molly Pritz and Lauren Fleshman. All in all, a very exciting marathon to watch.

The elite men go zooming by us.

It’s great to watch the elites, but the warriors in the pack are the ones I come to see.


After the 4 hour marathoners pass, things get fun out there. People are trudging through those hard miles, yes, but I think they are also the ones having the most fun out there. Especially at mile 22 where our lululemon athletica cheer station was, complete with a DJ and awesome signs. We danced until the sun went down on 5th Avenue.

Yes, our signs say: "You're the sh*t" because you totally are.

So, for those of you who are done with marathon-ing this season, congratulations and get some rest. I suggest that if you crossed this:

Thank you, New York!

…or another finish line, you take several days of active rest and stretching before you think about getting all geared up for another race. I suggest two days of walking or swimming or gentle cycling followed by deep stretching and *hopefully* a massage or a good foam roll. Get going with running on the third or fourth day and take it easy. It’s all about the recovery run. Oh, and NSAIDs for muscle soreness is a must. At least, it is for me in the days following a marathon. Advil is my friend. And food. And water. You know, the basics.

Post-marathon depression might be something you experience, especially if you don’t have another race on the docket. Think about picking up a half or a 15K in the next two months or so to get yourself going again relatively soon. There’s nothing worse than loving every moment of your marathon training only to find yourself without any direction immediately after crossing the finish line. Find a fun run in December or January and really make it FUN.

For those of you (LIKE ME!) who are tapering for Philly, hang in there. We’ll be seeing signs like this one soon enough…

Two weeks away. Oy.

…but we gotta survive the taper first.

Again, congratulations to all who finished, especially my friends who rocked. You guys inspire me.

Now go out and run!

Fitness News Fridays

Hey everybody! Today I am meeting up with one of my fabulous lululemon athletica friends to work on my personal goals. JB got me started on setting goals a few years ago (we have them listed on a legal notepad on our desk and we check them off as we complete them one by one) and I have learned to love it. I used to hate it because I was afraid of failing. But, as we all know, failure is just another opportunity to succeed disguised as a really crappy day.

In honor of today being a goal-setting day, I decided to check one thing off of my goal list this morning: Barry’s Bootcamp. One of my favorite New Yorker things to do is try new workouts in the city and Barry’s has been on my list since it opened in Chelsea a few months ago. I took a class with the very fabulous Keoni Hudoba this morning and had a BLAST! We did a Full Body class that alternated between treadmill intervals and light weight-training. I love this kind of workout and I love it even more doing it with a whole class full of people. Group suffering! I highly recommend you try it out if you find yourself in NYC. I will definitely be adding it to my workout routine.

But there’s more than that happening in the health and fitness world this week! Here’s what you might have missed:

  • Deena Kastor has some words of encouragement for you. She’s just the best.
  • It’s always sad when a young person dies, especially when it’s from a sports-related injury. The question I ask myself is: Football is a rough sport. Don’t the athletes and their parents take some responsibility for playing/letting their child play a rough sport and risking injury? My baby brother, The Golden Child, played football in college and I love the sport. It’s a tough discussion to have in light of this and many other tragedies.
  • Don’t feel bad. I can’t do a head stand either. Probably for all of these reasons and more.
  • What’s the “BEST” exercise? Whatever one you will do consistently, I say.
  • Kourage Athletics is a company owned and operated by Kenyans making running clothes. Pretty cool.
  • The CDC and FDA want to give food “star” like movies or restaurants based on nutrition to make choosing good for you food a no-brainer. Thoughts?
  • Is there a “genetically determined level of preferred energy expenditure?” this study asks.

…And finally, if you missed them, here are two reviews of our BRICK workout from last weekend. I, for one, am glad these gals had a good enough time to write about it 🙂 Thanks, ladies! If you missed our workout last weekend, we’re on for a second one by popular demand on Saturday, October 29th. Come on down!

Happy Friday, everyone! Is anyone racing this weekend or all we all tapering? I have a 20 miler on Sunday so look for me all over Manhattan if you’re out for a run. The weather is perfect and there’s no better time of year to lace up your kicks and…

…go out and run!

Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays (On A Wednesday…oops): Fall

I thought yesterday was Wednesday. All day. I didn’t miss class or work or anything, but having Chemistry class on Mondays and Wednesdays all year last year really screwed me up for this Tuesday/Thursday Physics schedule. I should have known. I saw my Tuesday clients but, alas, I asked each and every one of them, “Is today Wednesday?” and promptly blogged as if it were. Thus, Better Than The Alternative Tuesdays is on Wednesday this week. *sigh*

Upward and onward.

Marine Corps Marathon finish line is Arlington Cemetery. A beautiful, peaceful place to be in October.

I love Fall. It’s almost Fall here in the city. Apparently, after it rains tomorrow, it will be Fall. Well, except for those two weeks in October when it’s 85° again and people start asking each other, “Can we wear flip-flops in October?!” My response is yes to wearing sandals all year-round if the weather calls for it. I hate when my feet get hot.

I digress.

Fall means my favorite things: boots, light jackets/blazers, marathon season, less sweating while <insert any activity here>, pie, perfect running days, foliage, cozy nights, warm food, open apartment windows (finally!), sweaters, bzzzzzzzzz hot cocoa, new school classes, holiday season, my husband in cute sweaters, baseball playoffs, the GOOD movies finally come out, soup, new marathon shoes, some of my favorite people have birthdays, crisp mornings, long-sleeved running tops, turkey dinner, less bronzer, more snuggling, and it’s almost Christmastime!

Go Yankees!!!

These are just a few of the things I LOVE about Fall. I suppose I could have just said: food, clothes, marathons and the weather. But that’s boring. I like my little list 🙂

I like the other seasons just fine but as a true midwestern gal-turned New Yorker, I love Fall most of all. I just do. Fall and early Spring represent such an amazing change in the seasons and a fresh start at life for me. I suppose that’s why I am in awe when I run through Central Park at those times of year. I’m reminded of the beauty and simplicity in the world and I actually stop to take it in. Thanks for the reminder, Mother Nature.

Central Park in the Springtime is bursting with beauty!

And that’s just another reason why it’s better to be here than there. Fall.

Now go out and run, friends!

What do you LOVE about Fall?

Why Gear Matters

Runners pride themselves in being able to do their sport anywhere. No need for a field, a bat, a team, pads, raquets, or other sports gear; just a pair of sneakers and a willingness to run anywhere. It’s certainly one of the most attractive aspects for the financially strapped athlete such as myself who moved to New York City with four suitcases and a dream at 22 years old. But, as I started to dive into the world of marathons, I found that I needed more than just any pair of sneakers. I needed the right gear.

First, I needed to have my feet assessed and my gait analyzed. The very knowledgeable folks over at Jackrabbit took their time checking my gait as I ran on their treadmill and played back the video of my foot strike for me to explain why the New Balance and Nike shoes I’d been wearing were so totally wrong for me (maybe not for you, but definitely for me). What I didn’t know was that I have a very normal gait, which they could see when they played the video of me running back in super-slow motion. The other stores kept telling me I supinated or pronated (I don’t think they actually knew what either meant, but I do: supinate-foot rolls outward, pronate-foot rolls inward). Jackrabbit put me in Asics, which I loved for about 4 years until the style changed dramatically. Then I married the Brooks Defyance. It’s been 5 years now and we’re still going strong! The new shoes changed my life and made running more comfortable. Shoes matter.

But you need more than the right shoes. You (mostly women, but everyone really) need the right undergarments. Undies matter. Trust me. Shop around. The wrong ones chafe like the devil and make your life miserable.

The right skivvies make shopping for shirts and shorts that much easier. Here’s the thing about shorts: they have to fit you right. Too big and they bunch up. Too small and your everything is hanging out and you spend your entire run pulling your shorts down, not running. But size isn’t the only thing to consider. Please, for the love of your own body, stay away from cotton. Moisture wicking materials will make your running life soooooo much easier. If it’s humid and your shorts are suddenly dripping with sweat and falling down, you are going to put less energy into running and more energy into wishing you had worn different shorts.

And while we’re on the issue of bottoms, can I just say that compression shorts have been my go-to marathon shorts for almost my entire career? I thought they were hideous at first, but their function far surpasses any doubts I have about their lack of style and I have been searching for my perfect pair ever since. Any recommendations? My friends over at lululemon Athletica run design team are working on it right now and I know those will be far more flattering than the ones I’ve been rocking. ‘Til then, I’ll be wearing my old ones…which are not perfect for me and the fabric kinda sucks. I love regular ‘ol running shorts for most of my runs and that took me about 7 years to find. For the record, if you can’t find any Turbo Run Shorts, it’s because I have bought them all. Sorry.

Shirts matter mostly in the winter. Thin, moisture-wicking base layer followed by a vented warm layer is the best way I know to layer for the rain, snow and crazy winter months here in the city. Again, though, it’s the fit that you’re looking for. A snug base layer won’t bunch up and will keep the heat in your body and draw the sweat off your skin. The second layer being vented is important because you gotta let the heat out. Vents under the arms or down the back are good places to allow heat to release without letting too much out. It’s a fine line, kind of Princess and the Pea stuff.

All of this stuff matters because when your gear is working for you, you don’t even know it’s there. You shouldn’t feel it moving around, bunching up, chafing all over. It should feel so natural that you might be running naked, well…without the whole nightmare of realizing you left your house without clothes and are now running naked. Yikes.

These are a few of my favorite things.

So, be picky with your stuff and don’t cheap out where your clothes are concerned. The best running clothes (not shoes, of course) will last a long time when you take care of it. That, and it will allow for you to do what you set out to do: RUN. If you’re noticing your gear instead of focusing on your pace, it’s time to find some stuff you can really run in.

Ok, so hit the shops and then GO OUT AND RUN!