Sunday, November 13, 2016

Race Report: New York Marathon 2016

I finally did it!  I ran the New York Marathon.  I have gotten in 4 times, two of which were qualifying entries.  The first time I was about to launch a new business at work.  The second time was Hurricane Sandy.  The third time Matt got cancer so I cancelled.  FINALLY, this time I got in on a lotto and decided to do it even though my mom thinks the course is cursed.  The race was on Nov 6th, the day after my 11th anniversary.  I went alone but Matt and the boys were in my heart.  I lucked out and my co-worker let me stay in her apartment in Chelsea as she was out of town.  I loved everything about the weekend - the apartment, walking around the city, and of course the race.

I got in Friday mid-evening and took the train from the airport to Penn Station.  From the train I walked into Chelsea and stopped at Whole Foods for a healthy dinner.  I had planned to go running in the evening, but decided to just walk instead.  Friday I couldn't sleep as I just wanted to be at the starting line.  Saturday came after a fretful night, and I rose to head out to the expo.  The expo was PACKED!  That was a prelude for the weekend.  Fast forward a day and walking way too much, and it was finally race day. 

Sunday I rose at 5am and started the routine of getting ready.  I got dressed, made coffee, checked and double checked my bib, and then went down to find a taxi.  I quickly got a ride and hopped in to get to Staten Island Ferry.  About 3/4 of the way there, I thought I had left the water boiling (stress jitters) and had the cab go back, only to find I left everything perfectly fine, so I went back to the Ferry.  At the Ferry were more lines, more nerves.  The Ferry was about 30min and the most beautiful sunrise.  From the Ferry we got in a line only to get on a bus, then in another line, and then to the waiting zone for the race.  I was coral 1B meaning I was at the start. 

Finally, GO time!  My race started out OK.  It wasn't too fast or too slow - I started in the 7s.  I did my first half at a 1:36 and then immediately started to feel the wall.  I pushed through at first, and at mile 18 really was feeling mentally drained.  I was hungry, spinny, and a bit overwhelmed with the masses of people watching.  Other people were getting tons of energy from the spectators and I can't figure out why I wasn't.  Maybe my energy comes from dirt, trees, and birdsong. 

I wound up running a 3:31:31 - another Boston Qualifier!  All in, it really was amazing.  My brain is more tired than anything. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Workout report: Base Camp

Yesterday I took my first Base Camp class and I can't wait to do it again!  My muscles are still recovering from the lifting, flexing, and stretching, and it's awesome.  I took Base Camp in Burlingame, CA and wanted to sign my entire family up on the spot (they have kid's sessions for 7 years old and up - rad).

Here's an overview of the workout:
  • 1min bike
  • 1min press 
  • 1min bike
  • 1min kettle bells
  • 1min bike
  • 1min pushups
  • 1min bike
  • 1min TRX pushups 
You get the picture.  The main class was 35min of intervals and then there was a "bonus" 10min of abs at the end. I feel muscles I've never felt before and I swear I'm more toned than when I went in.  Seriously.  I've been pretty anti cross fit and other similar workouts, but I could get into this!

To top off the excellent class, the people who worked at the gym were amazing and the other class goers pretty dandy too.  I walked in with coffee and they offered me a free water bottle (at other gyms this is ~$3).  In the class I had a hard time figuring out the stations and the other class members helped readily. 

All in, can't wait to go back!  I love it so much I'd open my own franchise if I could.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

SoulCycle vs. Flywheel

I go through waves of love affair with spin then lull.  Right now I'm in the love affair wave.  I like getting a great sweat in in under an hour.  Ride 26mi in a room full of others without going anywhere, in!  Here is a quick overview and my thoughts on each.  If you want the spoiler alert, I like them both the same but in different ways (spoken like a twin mom, eh?). 

Similarities for both - considering Flywheel and SoulCycle shared a co-founder (Ruth Zukerman who started Flywheel after a split from Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice), I imagine many of the core offerings for both cycling chains came from the same luncheon chats.  Both chains have packed rooms with bikes lined up facing a stage.  On the stage is the teacher with a spotlight on the stage, and the room is typically dark or lit with a black light.  Both chains have their own gear so riders can tout the brands in skin tight attire.  Both chains have short (45min) classes to get riders in, sweaty, and out.  Both chains have nice touches like lotions, gum, and hair ties at the gyms.  Both are pricey - ranging from $25-30+. 

There are some key differences, though...

Flywheel - a little background, I am competitive.  Very competitive.  Only in sports, not life.  In Flywheel classes, when you create an account you pick a user name.  Then, you have the option to have your name on the torque board during sprints and other in-class races - I love this!  I feel like I work out harder getting to see real numbers.  Regardless of if you're on the board, you get a nice little summary of your ride on their website.  In the Flywheel classes I've taken, most of the music is new popular pop and other similar fast paced songs.  During the class, the instructor motivates to "push it," "own this moment," "make this time count," and so on.  On the bike are two weight bars to do arms mid-class.  The bars are different weights so you can pick or use both together.  The bike has a water holder on the front, and the gear changer down below - you can also look at a little screen to see torque and RPMs.

SoulCycle - there's no torque board or competition.  Also, on the bike is a dial to change resistance, but you can't see your resistance on the bike; instead you go with what feels right.  The torque-less and number-less class make it less competitive and make the class more focused on you, the rider.  The rest of the bike is very similar to that in the Flywheel class.  Differences are that on the SoulCycle bike there are two water bottle holders on either side (which was actually harder for me and I nearly dropped my water).  Also, on the back are 3lb weights (you can pick different weights before class, but only get one set).  On the stage, there are Jonathan Adler candles to give the room a comforting feel.  The room is dark for the most part, and there is a black light on occasion.  The teacher also controls other lights to give a light show kind of feel.  The teacher in my SoulCycle class said more motivational things: "this is all about you," "take time to love yourself," "taking care of your body and mind are the most important thing," and so on.  Along the wall were similarly inspiring phrases.

Completing both classes I felt the same level of awesome exhaustion and sweat.  I'd opt for either!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Partner on the run

Now that Matt has committed to doing a half, he's getting in the training mode and I'm loving every second!  This weekend we managed to get 4mi together, then I went on for 10mi more and he went on for 2mi more.  This was his longest run since Bay to Breakers about 8 years ago, and that was fueled by beer so it didn't quite count.  Unfortunately it took about three days to loosen up.  Last night we knocked out another 3mi just around the Queen Anne loop.  The tandem runs were made possible by Matt's folks being here (babysitters!)  Now we'll see how we can continue to co-run.  May need to be a couple relays for a while where the baton is the boyos.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lunch runnin'

With a jam packed schedule of (1) wake up, (2) get boys up, (3) make breakfast, (4) make and pack lunches, (5) get boys dressed, (6) get me dressed, and (7) get to work, I don't have much time to jam a run in.  Then, when I get home from work and having another tight schedule of (8) make dinner, (9) convince boys to stop playing, (10) eat dinner, (11) homework (if we're lucky), (12) play games, (13) get boys ready for bed, and (14) read boys stories, evenings again aren't time for a run. 

Hence, the lunchtime run!

I've taken to blocking out at least 1:30 every day to run or workout at the gym.  That's really just 30min to run, and time on the other end to change, shower, and eat.  Thank goodness for showers in my building because today for some reason was a spectacularly humid day so post run I was not in prime shape for meetings (as in addition to mornings and evenings being jam packed, every 30min in between seems to be, too). 

Favorite post-run lunch/snack?  Smoothies!  And loving that it's finally season.  We just got a Juicy Cafe in SLU and my all time fav is spinach, banana, mango, spirulina, and ginger.  Yum!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!

It's been quite a year.  We had a bladder cancer scare (Matt), cyst (me), and many sicknesses we call the plague (Wilson and Cole).  It's been a delightful year, too.  My dad turned 70 and can still out cycle me.  My mom's quilting is amazing and she gifted a quilt made of my race shirts recently (more on that another time), and the boys excelled in 1st.

On this Father's Day I'm thankful for many things... from my dad, I'm thankful I learned to have an eye for art.  I'm thankful I've been inspired to find sports as part of life (cycling and running are key sports), and I'm thankful for kindness and love.  From my Matt (dad of Cole and Wilson), I'm thankful for peace, happiness, and love for me and my family.

Here's to dads, and here's to inspiration through family and love.