Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tips for Your First Marathon

Happy Opening Day! Yesterday was the official announcement of the NYC marathon lotto results. Although I didn't make it through, I found out that two of my good friends did. I'm so excited for them!.  So in the spirit of the day, here are some pearls of wisdom that I wish I had known before my first marathon...

  1. Relish this moment.  Remember that tingly, excited, happy, feeling you got when you found out you actually have a slot to run? Savor it, and then tuck it away in the back of your mind. There will be moments during training when you're physically and mentally exhausted, starving and just all around cranky - and you will ask yourself  "what was I thinking?!" And that's when you'll bring out this memory..and you'll remember why are you doing this
  2. Start jean shopping. Ok, maybe not right this second - but in a few months, you will likely need to do so.  Unless you are already running really high mileages, your body will start to adapt and change to the marathon training. At least in my case, my legs got much more muscular and my waist smaller. Which is a good thing! Until you try on your skinny jeans, and they no longer fit.  You are building an athletic body to match your athletic goals - and it's totally ok!
  3. Get comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable.  New York (many other marathons) are held in the fall because of the prime weather conditions. But guess what? That means training through the summer - when it's likely very hot and very humid. You will have to set some very early am alarms to "beat the heat" for your long runs. You will have to run through some scary temps. And you will sweat. Alot. You will be on your feet for hours at the time. You will be hungry. You may not find a bathroom right when you want one. And you know what? You will be a strong runner, and person, for it all.
  4. Make some new friends. Training for your first marathon can be a roller coaster ride. While it's absolutely great to have some friends who aren't runners/marathoners (and can be refreshing to hear sometimes that yes, the world will still revolve if you miss a training run) it's also really nice to have some friends who are going through, or have gone through, the same thing as you. Plus, 20 miles can be a long, long way to run on your own. So head over to your local running store and see if there any training groups around your way. Besides, you never know who you might meet!
  5. Don't forget to thank your support system.  Yes, you're putting in all the miles, but who is listening to your whining? Helping out around the house? Supporting you despite your cranky moods? Tolerating those 5:30 am alarms? Scheduling their lives so they can be there cheering their hearts out for you on the big day? Don't forget to say I love you every once in a while.
  6. Celebrate little victories. If it's your marathon, you are going to hit a lot of "firsts" along the way before hitting the 26.2. Maybe it's your first training run past the half marathon point. Maybe it's the first time you've hit more than 25 miles/week. Most likely, you will hit your first 20 miler. While yes it's all leading up to the big race, but they are still landmarks in your running "career" and worth celebrating!
  7. Long runs are not the time to diet. I know it's tempting to ignore nutrition on the run. All the sports drinks, gels, and recovery foods can sure add up to a lot of calories. But this is not the time to diet! If you deprive yourself during the run, you will most certainly see some adverse effects on your performance. In a worse-case scenario, you might not be even be able to see your finish line. Be smart - make sure you are hydrating along the run, taking in enough carbs every 45-60 mins, and you are recovering with the right protein/carb ratio for your body.
  8. Listen to your elders. There are many running experts out there, and they all have their own training plans. I'm not going to tell you what plan to follow - that's totally up to you. But which ever you choose, listen! Don't try and push the pace on the long runs, or do more mileage than you are supposed to. There's a reason why the authors of these plans are considered "experts" - because they (generally) know what they are talking about. You are a first time marathoner - listen to what they have to say.
  9. Respect the distance. You are going to run  26.2 miles in one day. That's a heck of a long way to go (more than some are even willing to drive!)  Start off slow. Don't rush it. You can always pick up the pace later on, but if you start out too fast, you will regret it far more later on.
  10. It's just one day in a lifetime of fitness.  When I was prepping for my first half marathon and worried about hitting my goal pace - my dad told "It's just one day. It's not not like passing a test in school, and finishing the class." That stuck with me. Despite your many months of hard training, anything can happen on race day. Weather can suck. Crowds can slow you down. In my case last year, a knee injury decided to flare up at mile 8, and persistent the whole way. Whatever will be will be, and it's out of your control.  All you can do is the best you can do under that day's circumstances, and enjoy the ride along the way.


I made it across the finish at last year's NYCM, and you will, too!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

JackRabbit's New York Running Show!

Well after waking up at 5:45 am to run 4 miles in the rain, and then taking a 45 minute spin class at Flywheel Sports, I was pretty beat. And by the time I finished brunch, it was pretty late. I was a bit tempted to skip out on Jack Rabbit's New York Running Show. But I knew if I missed out on the show I would have been disappointed in the long run. So I mustered up my energy, and headed over to the Metropolitan Pavilion.

As soon as I walked in, I was very happy with my decision. Although it was the second day of the show and I had missed most of the speakers (In particular - Matt Long, author of "The Long Run" was speaking Friday afternoon. I really, really wanted to hear him because i absolutely loved his book - but alas, you can't do it all), there was still a pretty nice crowd.  As I looked around, there were so many booths, I didn't know where to begin! Here's a recap of some of my favorites.

JackRabbit was offering their own treadmill analysis. I was curious to see what shoes they would put me in, but my legs were just too tired!

The first booth I headed towards was Adidas. The first thing I noticed was a display showing off their micoach pacer system. Since I'm a total sucker for new toys - I had to check it out.  Basically, it's a chip that you clip on to your belt, and it  works with any mp3 player, and it measures speed, distance, and heart rate. There's another sensor that you need to clip onto your shoe to measure your stride, and then of course you need to wear the heart rate strap. But the cool part is that it works with your music player, so the system can "coach" you through your run. Then you can log on to your computer, and check out the stats. I would definitely be interested to try it out on a few runs, since I seem to really struggle with pacing.
Adidas micoach system

I also took some time to look at their shoe and clothes display. I need more workout clothes like a hole in the head, but what can I say? I love fashion, I love running, so I like my running clothes!
Adidas clothes - bright for spring!
In particular, there was a pair of racing flats that really caught my eye. My foot is pretty difficult (super narrow, low arch, and I over-pronoate like crazy). The rep said they do have a bit of stability in them...but I think I have alot of work to do on my form before I can go there. But it's fun to look!
Just looking at these beauties makes me want to run fast!

Next stop was Brooks. Their stuff is great and very technical - but both the shoes and the clothes don't really work for me that often. The shoes are too wide (curse of the narrow foot) and the clothes usually seem to be cut a little bigger (or maybe I'm just really petite).

Love the muted tones - so on trend with the runway!
But, even if they are a bit baggy on me, I think their Nightlife line is absoutely genius. It's a line of technical running clothes that comes in very bright yellow/green colors and is super reflective. Sure, my neon yellow pullover might not be the sexiest look for me - but when I'm running in the dark (in well lit areas only with a buddy of course) or even on a dark cloudy day, I just feel much safer knowing I'm more visible to cars
Brooks Nightlife line
My next stop was the Asics booth. The apparel offerings were a bit small, but the shoe selection was quite nice. They had the newish trail 2160s which I was really eager to check out. I've been wearing that line of shoes for ages - I think my first pair started in the 1000s. I have problems with a real motion control shoe because despite my awful gait, I am a small girl, and the motion control can be much "shoe" for me. The 2160 is the perfect compromise for me. But the real sell for me? They come in a AA (narrow) width, and the shoe just fits me like a glove. Unfortunately, the trail version only comes in regular width - so, I'll be stick with my tried-and-true favorites.


Asics 2160s

They also had their tri shoe on display, the Gel-Noosa. Again the whole-horrible-feet-and-gait combo does not make this a shoe for me...but it's just so cool looking, I had to snap a pic

Asics Gel-Noosa - you def won't be missed on the race course wearing these!

My next booth was Moving Comfort - aka the best running bras around. I think any girl can understand how hard it is to find a comfortable bra for your size! I'm a huge fan of the Vixen and the Alexa bras, but of course it all is dependent on your size
The Alexa bra in pretty spring colors! Hey if it's 95 degrees out and the shirt has to come off, at least the bra will look good out, right?

Across the way was CW-X - the original compression tights. Some runners will claim that compression tights solve ALL their problems. I'm a bit skeptical because I don't think any one piece of gear can magically make all your problems go away. But, gear can help, and I must say whenever I do wear my CW-X capris, I do feel a difference. The rep told me they started coming out in some colors because some women requested more than boring black. Hey, I can get on board with that!
I think I might just have to upgrade my black ones for pink and black pair!
My final stop was over at Saucony - and it was brief, because I was quickly starting to crash! But I did spot  a super cute outfit that I couldn't really imagine running in, but would be great for the gym. Hey, runners need to cross train too, right?
I would so rock this for Kettleball class


All in all, it was a great show - and I definitely have a new items on my spring shopping list!

Monday, April 25, 2011

One Race Down, Eight to Go!

Woohoo - I'm officially 1/9 of my way towards the 2012 New York Marathon! Saturday morning was the NYRR 4 Miler in Central Park. I choose this one because it had a later start (9 am) which made the train situation a bit easier, and I figured this would be a low key weekend for me and the boy anyways,  since Sunday was Easter. What I did not account for were the infamous "April showers" that tend to pop up at this time of year.

Well sure enough, I woke up to rainy weather. I groggily grabbed my phone to check weather.com, but the rain was predicted to continue until at least 10 am. Fabulous, since the race started at 9 am and would take me a few minutes under 40 to finish.  I didn't really consider bailing - I had a NYRR buddy waiting for me with my race number, and besides, what happens if it rains on marathon day? Do you give up 6 months of training for a bit of water? NO! I got dressed, toasted a bagel to-go, and headed out to catch the 6:30 am train out of Westport into Grand Central.  The train ride was uneventful - I ate my bagel and basically slept for another hour, and prayed to the pagan weather gods of above to make the rain stop. Apparently that was a bad idea, because as the train pulled into the city, the rain was even worse than it was back in CT.

I hung out in Grand Central for as long as I could, and headed over to the park. As soon as I got to the race site, I got an immediate rush of giddiness despite the bad weather. There is just nothing like a NYRR race - even the small races just have the happy runner buzz that some of the bigger half marathons have.  I staked out a spot by baggage claim, and found my friend Abbey who had picked up my race number earlier (I was afraid they would run out of small shirts on race day!)

Here's normally where I would insert some pre-race photos...but at this point, the weather was so bad, I was too afraid to pull out my iPhone to take photos, in fear of breaking the phone! We met up Abbey's friends Nicole and Dahlia - it was so nice to have some company pre-race, especially in the rain.  Abbey and Dahlia were shooting for 8:30 minute/miles - which I would have liked to try for, but I had to be honest.  That would of been a stretch for me on rested legs, and my legs were already tired from running 12 miles the day before. Nicole was shooting for 9:30 miles. I was tempted to pace with her so I could run comfortably, but I was kind of in the mood to see what I could do.  So the gun went off, and off we went our separate ways.

We started on east 68th street, so right in the first mile I hit my least favorite hill in the park - Cat Hill. For some reason it bothers me more than Harlem Hill - I think because mentally I expect the hills at the top of the park, but Cat Hill just seems to come up too soon! Between the congested (but expected) start and the uphill effort, I had a solid mile 1 of 8:58.

Mile 2 was a bit downhill, and I was totally warmed up from running - I didn't feel cold at all, and the rain actually felt kinda good.  Along the way, a not-so-nice runner in a Red Sox hat cut me and another runner off. The other runner shouted something along the lines of "Of course the Red Sox fan is the rude one!" and I had to give him props for that, as a Yankee fan myself. The mile marker came quicker than I thought, and I looked down at my Garmin to see a 8:30 pop up. Nice!

Mile 3 - didn't feel quite so nice. There were some smaller hills - up and downs - and the initial rush I felt from running in the rain had worn out. My "water resistant" jacket wasn't doing too much for me, and I was tired. I started to doubt myself. I saw the lap pace start to grow slower and slower, and I didn't too much to pysch myself to push through it.  Lap pace - 8:57.

Well after I passed the third mile marker, I felt a bit better - only one more mile to go, I can do this thing! I ignored the pain in my feel from a newly-formed blister and told myself to just GO.  The pouring rain, the cold, none of it mattered anymore. If I could just hang on for another mile, I was going to run 4 sub-9 miles all on my own. Battling hills. And pouring rain.  I dug deep, let it go - and hey, the downhill finish didn't hurt either. Lap pace - 8:32.

My final time was 35:16 - for a total pace of 8:49.  I did a bit of weaving, and I'm really not the best at running the tangents, so I'm sure that's where any discrepancies came from my Garmin's info and the official race results. But I came in at 54.4% for my age-grade - which means I'm officially an above average runner!

My official results!


As I exited the finsher chute, I found Abbey and Dahlia. They had come in only a few minutes before at 33 and change, and they broke an 8:30/mile pace! I was very excited for them.  We found Nicole right after, and she came in a few minutes behind me with a 9:30 pace, right on her goal! We made our way over to grab our bags - and at this point I was pretty cold, wet, and miserable.  Abbey and Nicole were headed to the west side, while Dahlia was heading east, like me. But as we made our way out - we came by the finish area. Dahlia had a friend who was pacing one of her friends on his very first NYRR race, at a 15 minute/mile. She realized they should be coming across any minute - so she wanted to try and catch them and spread good cheer. I'm always up for being a good sport and cheering on fellow runners, so I tried to hang around...but after a few minutes, I was getting the chills really fast, and I knew I had to get out of the rain before I got really sick. So I said a hasty goodbye, and grabbed a cab as fast as I could so I could start pulling off my soaking wet layers.

Normally this would be the point in the race recap where I would say I was off to eat good food - but I had plans to meet my sister for brunch, and I couldn't go to her place until 12ish (she's a pastry chef extraordinaire at ABC Kitchen, so she works long night hours, and sleeps in to make up for it) and it was only 10:15. So I headed to Flywheel's upper east side location.  That way I could get out of my wet clothes, have a snack, and take an 11:30 class to flush out my legs. Thank goodness I got out of the rain when I did - I could not stop shivering while I waited for my class, even as I was in dry clothes and a coat! So not only did the spin class flush out my legs, I think it helped bring my body temperature to normal.

And now, this is the point in the story where I went off to eat good food at brunch. And, there was a large champagne glass filled with a champagne, elderflower liquor, and peach vodka concoction with my name on it!

Stay tuned for part two - my trip to the New York Running Show!

My poor shoes drying out!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I've Been a Naughty Blogger

Sorry gang - I know I've been MIA for the past week. I wish I could say I was off doing a super cool destination race, but really, I've just been swamped.  We are down 2 people during a very crucial time period during my day job, and work has been a monster. Plus, it's Passover - I'm not the most observant Jew, but I did want to make sure a cooked all the good stuff on Monday for a mini sedar (after I got in my recovery run, of course!)  So busy work + running 25-30 miles week + cross training + trying to be a loving girlfriend and having a normal social life = not enough hours in he day!

But I have some exciting news to report. Run Disney just announced a new women-only race in Disneyland - the Tinkerbell Half Marathon. I know some aren't thrilled about another girl-friendly race, and while I understand their concerns, I'm personally thrilled about it.  I love girly fun (and pretty medals and race shirts in a women's cut!)- plus it's an excuse to take a trip to LA next January when it's freezing back in New York. I haven't officially signed up, but it's looking like a strong possibly to start off the 2012 racing season.

There's also lots of good running fun coming up this weekend. Saturday is the NYRR 4 Miler, my first NYRR race of the season, and the first step in getting my 9 qualifying races done for the 2012 marathon.  I am really looking forward to this one - I haven't raced a shorter distance race in SO long, so I'm hoping to see some improvement.  Plus, there is just something so electrifying about the atmosphere of a NYRR race - I've done a bunch of races with all sorts of different groups, but really, nothing compares.

JackRabbit Sports is also putting on a big running show this weekend. Basically, it's a giant race expo, without the race, of course.  I'm a fiend for new running gear, so I'm looking forward to stopping by to check it out. Sure, I may have an entire set of plastic drawers in my closet stuffed to the brim, and I may or may not have three different pairs of Asics scattered around on the floor...but hey, there's always room for more, right?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jamie Oliver Makes Me Sad.

***Disclaimer*** Before I get on my soapbox, let me preface this by saying I myself do not have a perfect diet. I am not vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, or anything. I don't even claim to buy 100 percent organic, all the time. I am also a pretty picky eater and don't love every single vegetable- but I do the best that I can do, just let like the rest of us.

Last night I came home from my kettleball class to an empty apartment since the boy was at grad school, and got excited when my friend reminded me that Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution premiered tonight. I really am not a big TV watcher, but I was pumped to have a show to watch that would keep me occupied before bedtime.

But instead of providing some mindless entertainment, the show just made me really sad. In some ways we have come so far as a country - running has never been so popular, healthy alternatives are popping up on restaurant menus everywhere (heck even McDonalds makes an effort) and vegetarianism is practically as mainstream as meat-eating. But then I see reminders like last night, and I realize how much farther we have to go.

For those who didn't watch - Jamie Oliver basically wants to give L.A. a food makeover. His first stop is to look at the food the school is serving to our children, which is obviously, processed and microwaved crap. BUT the L.A. Board of Education is blocking him from getting into schools. He attends a conference on "nutrition" in the schools system, hoping to get supporters, but instead finds himself in a lecture funded by the dairy industry showing "data" that flavored milk is a positive in schools (you know, because kids totally need all the extra sugar). He attempts to do his own demonstration on how much sugar kids consume from these milks by using a dump truck to fill a school bus fill of sugar - but maybe a handful of 20 parents actually show up. Because no one cares.  Later on in the episode, he wants to attempt to re-do a menu of a fast-food joint to see if he can make it more nutritionally sound, but of course none of the biggies want anything to do with him. A small mom-and-pop joint agrees to an initial meeting, but eventually rejects all of Jamie's ideas. Grass-fed beef is too expensive (who cares where your food comes from right?), it's not a "milkshake" if it doesn't contain 3 scoops of full-fat ice-cream, etc. etc. The owner because says he knows he is selling nutritional poison (that he admits that he wouldn't let his kids eat), he just cares making money.

I would love to brush this off as just one city - but really, this attitude is probably, no definitely, reflective of our entire country. Outside of those of us who actually do make an effort (and I realize if you're reading a blog about running and triathlons, I'm probably preaching to the choir here), nobody cares. They know what they are eating is unhealthy. They know their extra weight is putting them at risk for all sorts of health issues. They know they make an effort to exercise - even walk - more. But they don't.

I'm not saying that we all can't have our favorite meals once in a while (oh believe me, I love food, and we have some really fabulous restaurants in my area between southern CT, Westchester County and of course the city. And when I go to them, I'm not afraid to eat).  I'm not saying that everyone has to run 26.2 miles, or complete a triathlon, to be fit either.  But what's wrong with finding a little balance?

We have such a long way to go as a country in order to get healthy. And that just makes me really sad

Ok, that's the end my rant. Anyone else have the same frustrations, or am I completely off base?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Family That Runs Together, Stays Together

This past weekend was my little cousin's bar mitzvah in Long Island. Since the service was at 10 am on Saturday, with an open bar party immediately following after, I knew it would play havoc on my training. I switched things around a bit and ended up doing my weight training circuit followed by some light cardio on the elliptical Thursday after work, and my 10-miler on Friday morning. There was just no chance I would wake up on Saturday, do my long run, then deal with my hair and get dressed for a formal event - all before we had to leave our hotel at 9:30 am!

My cousin did wonderful at his service, and the party was fabulous - but the real treat of the weekend for me came the next morning. My dad originally grew up and went to college on the island. Our hotel was right by Eisenhower Park, and my dad had logged many miles on those roads in his youth. Sunday morning we both woke up and headed over there  for a leisurely run. My plan only called for a 2 mile recovery run that day, so I was totally unconcerned with pace, miles, or anything really other than just enjoying the run with my father. We did loops around the park and listened to my dad reminiscence about his college days and growing up in Long Island.

Before I knew it, we had been out for an hour and were right by our car - I couldn't believe we had been out for that long! We headed back to the hotel, showered, packed up, and met back up with the rest of the family for a quick breakfast at the diner before hitting the road.

It was one of those runs that make you appreciate the simple joy of running - and the wonderful conversations that might just come along, too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

Well yesterday I managed to pull it together and finish my tempo run just fine despite not feeling 100 percent. I woke up today and wasn't feeling great either - my throat was scratchy and I still feel exhausted - but what I noticed that *didn't* hurt were my legs. In fact, my legs have been feeling pretty good since my race two weekends ago.

Could it be actually be? Are my legs actually doing well this training cycle so far?

You see, I'm anything but a natural-born runner. I over-pronoate like crazy, cannot keep my left leg straight no matter how hard I try, and have the world's flattest feet. So despite my best efforts and working on my form and using tried-and-tested training methods, I usually end up battling one injury after the other.

My latest was kind of my own fault -  I was running pretty well for 2 months, and set a PR at a half marathon in February. The shoes had about 300 miles on them but I tried to squeeze out a few more runs on them anyways the week after the race. BIG mistake - the shoes were actually worn out so they weren't holding me properly, which caused a calf weakness, which was manifesting itself in my right knee. Of course I didn't catch that something was up until a 8-mile run, which left me limping the rest of the day. Had a few rest days, got a fresh pair of kicks and was ok - until I attempted a 12-mile run two weeks or so later. My knee blew up before I even hit mile 5, and was forced to call it a day. This of course left me in a panic - my 12-miler was supposed to be my last long run before the National Half Marathon - but it all ended up working out. I finished the race feeling good which was my main goal, really.

So fast forward to today. I don't want to celebrate too soon, but I'm starting to think this injury is finally behind me and I can finally breath a sigh of relief. But on the other hand, I also don't want to get too comfortable. I always feel like another injury is waiting for me around the corner. In fact, my fear of injury is why I'm a bit hesitant on committing to a fall marathon this year. My marathon last year was plagued by a case of runner's knee. It wasn't enough to sideline me or keep me from finishing the race, but it was enough to have my left knee start to bug me sat mile 8 and keeping on for the rest way, and enough to slow me down so I didn't hit my goal time. I just don't want the same thing to happen again this year.

But, I'm trying to take it one step at a time - and hey, I have another 13.1 coming up in about 7 weeks that I need to focus on. Onward and upward!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Stupid Bug, Can't You Go Bug Someone Else?

Ugh, for the past few days I haven't been feeling quite like myself. My stomach has been on/off upset, and I just feel like all my energy has been zapped away. My boyfriend got nailed with a really bad stomach bug a few days ago, and I think I have a mild version of it.

Monday I went for a short run - I was only due for 3 miles on the schedule anyways - and honestly, my legs just felt like complete lead. I could barely maintain a 10 min/mile, and I thought about slowing to a walk/run for the first time in a really, really long time. 

Yesterday I thought about skipping out on my conditioning class, but then I remembered that I'm actually paying for it, so I forced myself to go. I made it through the class, but I definitely didn't feel I was able to give it my all.

I slept for over 10 hours, and still couldn't get out of bed. I'm due for a 6 mile run tonight, including 4 miles at half marathon pace, but I just want to hide under the comforters. I'm going to do my best to power through it...but if I don't hit the speed I need, I'm not going to kill myself over it, either.

At least I know my bed is waiting for me when I finish.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dipping my Pinky-Toe in the World of Multi-Sports

This Sunday was the Hartford Marathon Foundation's big open house event in West Hartford. The Hartford Marathon Foundation puts on a series of both road races and triathlons over the course of the year. Their main headline race is, of course, the ING Hartford Marathon and Half Marathon. I'm pretty familiar with their road racing side, since I've ran the half in Hartford two years in a row, but I wanted to check out the event to take part in all of the festivities.

I headed up there just in time for the kickoff at 12:30, which was a 5k fun run. Their website didn't say anything but "5k fun run" so I figured we would just take a loop around the neighborhood. Turns out their idea of a fun run is all the perks of a road race, minus timing chips, for free! We even had to wear a number and sign a waiver for the run.

A pretty large group showed up for the run - and for 25 percent of the crowd, they said it was their first run ever! I give them major props for coming out...I don't think I would ever have the guts to come out for a community event for my first run. We got a pep talk, and were led through some stretches...and off we went!
Getting pepped for our fun run!

 The course ended up being a mile loop around the site of the event. In order to keep track of everyone's progress, at the beginning of each loop they handed us a random playing card. Once you collected 4, you veered off the loop to proceed to the finish line, where they had one more for you. Whoever had the best poker hand by the end, won some raffle prizes.
Pretty nice finish setup for a fun run!

My poker hand...too bad that 7 wasn't a king

Oh hey National Marathon, even a fun run managed to have water cups filled for us (sorry guys, couldn't resist!)
This was supposed to be a recovery run from me (I ran 7 the day before) but I got a bit caught up in the excitement of the crowd and ended up coming in at 27:31. I rarely run shorter races, but now I'm a bit curious what I could do if it really raced a 5k.

After the fun run, I headed inside to check out the expo they had set up. It was mostly gear for sale and a table advertising for the foundation's training programs. I was really excited to see they were setting up a marathon training group 5 minutes from my apartment. Since their marathon is only three weeks away from New York, I'm definitely considering joining them if I do get the chance to run this year.

One of the booths with gear for sale

A local bike store set up indoor trainers so you could give their bikes a whirl
The real treat of the day was a mini-stroke analysis swim clinic - for FREE. Since swim instruction is so pricey, I was really excited to take advantage of this. The pool was an Olympic-sized pool...which seemed absolutely humongous to me (I'm used to swimming in my lap pool in my house in Miami or a tiny New York-sized pool in the Times Square New York Sports Club).  I had a chance to swim some laps to warm up, before it was my turn.  I didn't have to swim too many laps for the instructor before he was able to point out my issues - apparently I'm not stretching my arms long enough, so I'm making it much harder on myself to swim. He gave me some pointers, and had me work on some more laps, before I took off. I definitely have my work cut out for me if I ever want to survive even a sprint triathlon, that's for sure.

The pool was longer than it looks, I swear!!
 All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon, and I'm glad I made the trip.

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Amazing Spin Class + NYC Marathon Volunteering - DONE!

Happy April - too bad it was cold/snowy/raining. Really, when do we get spring weather already? I decided to nix my run for today and head to the gym.  One of the trainers in a conditioning class I regularly take treated us all to a free training session - yay! I definately tend to slack off on the weights, especially when my mileage builds, so it was refreshing to get a new routine.  I am going to make a better effort to stick with it this time - so we'll see.

The plan was to take a spin class right after at my gym- but I was completely shut out.   Since I was planning on coming into the city to volunteer anyways, I used it an as excuse to treat myself to a ride at the ultra-luxurious Flywheel Sports. I've taken a ton of spin classes over the years, but Flywheel is still my favorite studio.  The bikes have computers on them that give you stats like your torq (resistance), cadence, current power (combined resistance and cadence effort) and total power. There are also two flat screen TVs in the room called "torq boards" - you sign up with a username and your stats are displayed along with others in the room.  There are also two mini bodybars next to your bike that you use for a song to tone your arms. The total effect = butt kicking!
Doesn't it just look beautiful in there?!
 
After a quick lunch I headed over to the Expo for the More/Fitness Half Marathon to spend my afternoon handing out numbers to race participants.  Although I had no desire to run the actual race this year for a few reasons, I did enjoy handing out numbers and encouragement to fellow runners. My favorite pair of the day was a mother/daughter duo. It was going to be the daughter's first half marathon and she was going to run it with her mom - reminded me when I walked my first half marathon with my mom.  I also totally underestimated how tiring standing and handing out numbers all afternoon would be - I was totally wiped by the end of the day, and I definitely have a new level respect for all race volunteers. 

Overall, it was a great day and I'm glad to have the volunteer portion of the 9+1 out of the way - I just need to focus on running my 9 races. Considering I'm already committed to running the four borough half marathons to qualify New York Half Marathon and I'm already signed up for an additional 2 - that shouldn't be too daunting at all!