Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Star Spangled Spin Class

I really love a theme for spin classes and there's nothing like a holiday to help determine a theme.  This week it was obviously the Star Spangled Fourth of July Spin.  If you have any playlist suggestions for independence, fourth of July, America and summer music, feel free to suggest.

Spin Playlist at Sky Club Fitness on July 2, 214
1. The Star Spangled Banner, Jim Hendrix
2. Independence Day, Mel C. (Spice Girl)
3. American Girl, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
4. American Boy, Estelle feat. Kanye
5. Blister in the Sun, Violent Femmes
6. The Boys of Summer, the Ataris
7. I love New York, Madonna (a tour of the states)
8. Lubbock or Leave It, Dixie Chicks (NY to TX)
9. Lump, the Presidents of the United States of America (get it?)
10. American Pie, Madonna
11. Young Americans, David Bowie
12. Firework, Katy Perry
13. America, Simon & Garfunkel
14. Ice Cream, Sarah McLachlan

And let me tell you the class could have used some ice cream or fro yo after it was over, even though it was 6:45a.m. because this morning was H-O-T!  It was 80+ degrees and HUMID in New York City today.  To beat the heat, I did my brick workout inside today.  10 min on the treadmill before class and then spin class, back to the treadmill for 15 min and then a quick swim before work.  Gearing up for the triathlons we just signed up for July 19 Hopkins Vineyard Triathlon and Niantic Bay.

This Friday we'll be kicking off our 4th in style with a Firecracker 5k.  I started this week with a great Monday night run and yesterday had a kick ass bootcamp class (workout to follow).

Unfortunately the fireworks are no longer over the Hudson, but this was our amazing view last year. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Flat as a Pancake Triathlon Recap & Race Season Realizations

I have once again been a bad, bad blogger not having posted in about a month.  Unfortunately, keeping pace (pun intended) with training and wedding planning plus my new position at work, has left minimal room for blogging.

So what have I been up to?

Well, on May 9th I posted about race season but since then I've had to minimize my goals, the sprain is taking longer to heal than I hoped, though most people are telling me I should be glad it's healing so quickly! I did my first 5k on May 18 and ran about a 10:30 pace, but definitely felt sore.  So I am aiming for one sprint triathlon per month and a few 3-5 mile races peppered in and still hope that once the wedding is over but before the honeymoon I can complete a half marathon. Here's to hoping.  Fortunately, my most favorite race of the season Niantic Bay is still on the calendar.

But first I had to make sure I still liked triathlon, despite the training, the cool awards and free t-shirts, occasionally right before race season, I start to think of all the downsides - early wake-ups, pain and soreness, ugly weather, etc. - so I wanted to get in an early race and make sure I still loved it. Normally I do a triathlon over Father's Day weekend in CT but unfortunately for the second year in a row it's cancelled so we decided to the Pantanella's Flat as a Pancake Triathlon in Staten Island, I've heard about it for a few years, but never was able to go as I was usually doing the NYRR mini 10K.

My fiance and I both signed up at the last minute in a now or never approach.  Here's the recap:

Pre Race
We were so late!  A friend of mine was already set up and posting to Facebook before I was even out of Hoboken.  The bridge was closed so we had to turn around and backtrack, we just made it and were in the parking lot when they announced transition closing. I didn't get a chance to eat breakfast and swallowed some Nuun before starting.  Fortunately, I remembered everything. No chance to warm-up aside from the walk to the beach.

Well, maybe not everything! Since we signed up so late, I had to have my mom FedEx my tri suits but there was no way to send the wetsuit so I went sans wetsuit. It was COLD!  But I got in anyway and pulled off a decent swim of 10:10. :) I had some trouble after the swim getting up the beach, I had the energy to run but sans sneakers in sand my ankle was pretty unstable. :(

I think I stumbled around a bit not knowing the course and being freezing, I had half a mind to put on sweatpants and sit down but we put on bike shoes. 2:20

I had been worried about the 3 loop course but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, there was enough room to pass and I enjoyed watching the bridge get closer as I circled back.  Time of 43 minutes, need to work on my speed but not bad considering I'd just debated a nap.It didn't hurt to keep seeing my fiance on the course and keep cheering for each other!

I think here I started to get worried as my ankle had started to hurt again and I was still freezing, but I changed shoes and grabbed my baseball hat and pressed on. 2:20 again.

I started out very slow, and was considering walking when my friend from the gym passed by and gave me (unbeknownst to her) a second wind, I did walk the set of stairs to the first water stop and had some water and pressed on to get to halfway, my fiance passed me at the halfway point and I told him to keep going, he had an amazing run and I finished with a 10:40 pace, not too far off my 5k time from a few weeks before.  I even managed a burst of speed at the end with some cheers from the crowd.  The view was great and it was - flat as a pancake.

Great race, definitely had me eager for the next one, it was nice to be done by 10am and on our way home and headed to the Farmer's Market (see my breakfast below) knowing we'd worked out that morning. The weather was beautiful and it was well-run.  Maybe not my favorite t-shirt but nice to have pancakes at the end! Though I didn't eat any it's really cute, I can't eat at races until a few hours later.

Our bikes after the race!

Chatting with a friend post race.

Post race fancy pose.

In the parking lost after the race. 

My pancake breakfast post race with fresh Farmer's market strawberries and farmer's market whip cream.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Comeback Trail...Summer Race Schedule

I've been a bad and delinquent blogger as of late.  Mostly because time is constantly getting away from me with training, work, and the wedding, but also because a few weeks after my last post, on the first nice day in NYC, I went out for a long run (8-10 miles) to see if I was ready to sign up for a half in May and tripped and fell within in the first quarter mile.  I am not sure if I was more upset from the pain or the knowledge that half was likely now out of the question.  It did hurt pretty badly.  Fortunately, it seemed to only be a minor sprain. I was back to spinning the next week, teaching from the saddle only!  However, the half was definitely out, it's next week and I've only just been cleared to run 2-3 miles now. But, I am now back to almost all activities except things like burpees in bootcamp, alas! ;)

Having already done the summer schedule it took a lot for me to regroup and decide not to do a half before the wedding but perhaps get one in before the honeymoon (the next month) and focus instead on getting back into running and triathlon season. I've been waiting to make any final decisions until I actually heard the PT folks say that I was good to run. So far I am hoping the season will shape up as such:

Flat as a Pancake, June 7th
Westport Tri, June 15th
Litchfield Hills, July 20th (this will be a tough one, I had to give up last year after an injury on the bike so this is my "reach" race)
Niantic Bay, August 3rd, (2 weeks before the wedding and the spot of our engagement)
Hammerfest, Sept. 14th

I am also hoping to get in a half, possibly the Newport Half in September in NJ and a few races here and there. I am hoping to do a 5k as early as next weekend and possibly do a few road races over June/July. I just started by 20 week out calendar for the summer now that the okay is in, I'd been thinking about, mentally doing it, but wanted to to wait until the okay came in before putting pen to paper.  Everything will depend on how well the running goes and now the running feels good but also a little like...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Super Strawberry Smoothie & Salad

It's a Strawberry Kind of Day

Smoothies - Wheat Germ, Flax Seed, and Strawberries
When we were in the local A&P last week, my partner decided to get some wheat germ.  I am not sure he knew what he was going to do with it but he figured it looked healthy so why not?

While researching what to do with wheat germ, I found a recipe for a blueberry peach and wheat germ smoothie.  Since then I have taken to adding wheat germ to my smoothies alternated with flax seeds.  I find the flax seeds are better when I prep a smoothie the night before and they can sit in the yogurt and almond milk until the morning, but the wheat germ is great on the go!  I have a the Oster shake blender so I can prep everything in the container slap on a lid, wrap in tinfoil and drink a smoothie at work.  The tinfoil is just in case it leaks, it doesn't destroy my shoes or workout gear. Wheat germ just needs to be shaked up once I get to work.

This allows me to have a filling breakfast after teaching in the morning without a lot of work and it is something I can drink in meetings and on the go.  People often think I have coffee, turns out it's goop.

This morning I used some 1 tbsp wheat germ with:
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 big spoonful plain yogurt (exact measurements are not happening after the gym and before work)
  • 5 or 6 big strawberries, mine were frozen.
  • 1 banana
  • 6 or 7 chunks of pineapple - it looked delicious in the store so I bought it

Salads - Strawberry Avocado
Salads are my go to for a busy day. I often will bring leftover chicken or tuna in a pouch and have that in addition to a salad bought at the Fresh & Co.  But today I made my own salad in a leftover sushi container with a recipe from Facebook! It included:

  • Big Bunch of Spinach Leaves
  • 6 strawberries cut up
  • 1 avocado cubed
  • handful of sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp feta
  • 1 piece of cut up chicken
  • balsamic dressing 

*photos from the internet

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Runner's Vacation In Paradise

I have not been as diligent as a good blogger should. Unfortunately, the work/life balance lately has landed often squarely on the work side, leaving me to not have as much time for fun blog posts.  However, I have been following a pretty good diet leading up to our big trip to Costa Rica, which is now officially over!  Back to freezing NYC COLD.  However, the days in Nosara were beautiful, pura vida!  I will happily return next year and look forward to perfecting my surfing skills.  It's a great vacation since you don't feel bad eating since much of the food is healthy fish and greens and they have a juice bar and you're always on the go!  It's just a few cocktails and desserts thrown in for good measure.  But returning was rough!

In the meantime, under six months to go for the wedding, the 5 month countdown starts right before St. Patty's and we're hoping to sign up for some races this weekend, so back to the diet and hopefully back to the blog to share with you my Tuesday boot camps, Spinning Profiles, races and recipes.

I did get to use my favorite Oscar Spinning Profile this past Wednesday, from Fame to 8 Mile, all Oscar nominees,so that was a lot of fun, and made returning to the cold not as bad.  But, in commemoration of my trip a few pics from a perfect vacation.  We started each day at 6am with a sunrise run on the beach then had a healthy breakfast, did some surfing and yoga with a stop at the juice bar, hit the pool for siesta, had some drinks, sunset surfs, and more.  We stayed at the Harmony Hotel Nosara, which is just beautiful and a 5 minute walk to the beach.  I would recommend it in a minute.

Our back porch at the resort.  There was an outdoor shower too! And specially made products from Red Flower that smelled amazing!

We started every morning with a run along this beach. 
There's nothing like having your toes in the sand!
Another view of our back porch, you can see how much time we spent in the water by the suits and this my surfboard and our shower!  I did much better surfing this time.  I am still learning but it's going better. 
And it was a 5 minute walk to the beach and we ended with either a sunset surf or evening stroll.  This palm tree marks the path back to the resort and was the sign of our run ending, which when it was 90 degrees was well earned. 
And sometimes we ended the night with a few cocktails! This is a tropical sangria.
Nosara has the most beautiful sunsets!
You always have to buy something on vacation!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Snow time like now to Workout (February 2014)

Too Snowy to Workout?
This winter has been brutal.  Between the polar vortex, icy weather and snow, no one feels like coming out for an early morning workout.  Whereas 5 or 7 in bootcamp and 10 or 12 in spin were excellent early morning numbers now 3 and 5 are becoming the norm for my classes, and that's when the snow doesn't force us to miss them.  The good news is that we took advantage of the snowy weather to learn how to snow shoe.
Picture of me snow shoeing in Liberty State Park. 

Picture with Lady Liberty.

But, I think we still put in some pretty hard core workouts despite the weather.  In bootcamp, I decided to my upcoming vacation to Costa Rica as incentive to up my weight and designed a workout that incorporates heavy weights, high intensity cardio and more to give a killer workout. As the class is an hour, I broke the work out up into 3 roughly 10- 15 minute segments with a 5-7 minute warm up and cool down a few minutes rest in between. I also pointed out that they could do any of the 3 15 minute segments on their own and get in a great workout if they were at home, a hotel or pressed for time.  Better to do something than nothing!

Heavy Weights and High Intensity Tough Tuesday Boot Camp Training

 3 rounds as fast as you can
10 burpees
10 dead lift row heavy weight
10 low jack push-up
10 lunges with heavy weight
10 step ups heavy weight
10 plank taps with push-up, tap each shoulder, push up

50seconds on/10 seconds off, 3 rounds, heavy weight
Squat press
One legged squat with one heavy barbell, I used 12 or 15 lb
Switch and other side
Dead lift row bicep curl
Clean & press

5 min - repeat exercises until time is up
 Section 1
10 squat overhead press
20 lunge curl
10 jump squat
20 jump lunge

Section 2
10 burpees
20 dragon lunge
10 side to side jumps
20 mt climbers

Back to Running
In the past few weeks, we were also very fortunate that it finally stopped snowing enough on the weekends for us to get outside.  Last weekend, the weekend of the Superbowl it was nice enough for us to get in a run and a bike ride and while this weekend was back to winter, we were able to get in a run on Saturday and Sunday before the snow hit Sunday night.  Getting back to running was tougher than I imagined but it was nice to change up the workout.
This is me running along the Hudson on Sunday morning.  You can see the ice flows behind me.

After our run we came home and did a quick round of some abs and unfortunately my running partner saw fit to throw some pillows at me.

Yoga Sunday
I ended this weekend with a session at Garden State Yoga, the new yoga studio in Hoboken. I had done hot yoga a few years ago but not in awhile and I was pretty sore from picking up running again.  The class felt great but it was definitely one of the more intense workouts I had that weekend. I had definitely forgotten how hot it can get. I definitely felt reengerized by the class through and will certainly try it again. 

I made some awesome food this weekend that I will attempt to share.  I've been trying to cook at home as often as possible. We've been making our own homemade pizza as our Saturday or Sunday treat.  But this weekend, I made some scrumptious apple/cinnamon/oat pancakes and some great chicken with veggies. Yum!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chia Seed Pudding (or the goop I've been eating for breakfast that doesn't taste terrible)

So, soon after getting engaged, booking our wedding and booking a trip to Costa Rica for the winter, I realized I was going to have to watch what I was eating, meaning I could no longer watch as the Ben & Jerry's Fro Yo went from full to empty, I had to have some control. I am of the opinion that crash diets don't work and only result in me suddenly giving in to temptation and going on week long pizza and ice cream benders, which is what happened in December so new year, new college try.  With Costa Rica that much closer, I am definitely motivated.  The last thing I'd like is to weigh down a surfboard so it sinks.

So, we set up the juicer that had been in the box for a month, bought veggies, pre-made brown rice and quinoa (a food I couldn't pronounce 5 years ago), and bought some proteins.  I went back to making healthy lunches.  Then when the Food Network magazine showed up with Giada's stay healthy tips, it seemed fate. I tried most of the recipes she had in the magazine including the crispy chick peas and a green juice and for breakfast, this chia seed pudding. I had bought chia seeds awhile back and had no idea what to do with them, but I was willing to give them a fair shot. 

I made a a few adjustments to her recipe, but it worked out. I had enough for 3 servings. Her recipe is here. I made mine like this:

1 cup of almond milk
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 tbsp of honey/maple syrup (I didn't have enough maple syrup so I used honey)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tbsp of chia seeds

Mix and I poured into a big container and each day took about a 1/2 a cup with chopped berries (strawberries and blueberries) and granola to work.  The granola was recipe of Giada's as well with oats, sliced almonds, coconut and cranberries. Surprisingly it was delicious. I've eaten it now for 3 days.

The last of my chia seed pudding, which looks a little like goop.