Thursday, December 3, 2009

Back to the old routine

Over the past few weeks, I have learned something about:
a) My diet, and
b) My fitness regiment

I have noticed my energy level dwindling and my skin getting paler and paler (okay, this is normal during the wintertime. But I've been seriously pale). Although there are plenty of reputable sources that confirm that you don't need much protein in your diet, I have a funny feeling I am slightly iron and protein deficient. I have experimented with this hypothesis by loading my diet with dark, leafy green adn meats while limiting refined sugars. This small change to my mostly vegan diet has really made me feel more nourished. To each his own :-)

I still try to stay away from dairy/mis-combining my food groups, but I think it's more important to have a good RELATIONSHIP with food and feel satisfied without the guilt. It is especially important to feel nourished before workouts- makes all the difference in the world.

I have recently "bit the bullet" and got back on the treadmill. When I first became a gym rat and changed my body significantly, I owed that change to three things:
Strength training with my lovely trainer/friend/mentor Marissa
Bikram Yoga
and most importantly, REALLY fast treadmill workouts. Even though I never ran more than 5K on the treadmill (much too boring for that), I found that these high intensity workouts didn't allow me to "cheat" as much as running outside might. I decided to revisit these treadmill runs again.

When I first got back on the treadmill, I was immediately discouraged. I wanted to immediately return to my top fitness level: starting at 7mph (8.30 min miles) and increasing sometimes to 10.5 mph at the end of my workout (that's REALLY fast). I have learned that pushing myself too hard too soon will inevitably lead to failure, and also to a complete loss of confidence (which is what resulted in my unhappiness during my last marathon season). My wise coach Ramon recently set a facebook status update with great poignancy for me:

"Run only if the run you are about to conquer has meaning and satisfies both your body and mind. Stay away from senseless runs, they only damage your confidence and your body."

This is so true. Since the marathon, I have tried to accomplish this- I want to ENJOY my workouts, not fear them. Setting my expectations too high will only discourage and weaken me. I have taken these treadmill runs slowly, and have seen improvement! I have energy I haven't had in months! Today, I actually took the stairs to the 6th floor of school instead of the elevator! I have also noticed a change in my body. A small change, but a good one.

Basically, we should just do what makes us happy. Sometimes I don't want to get on the treadmill, but I know I will always feel better when the run is over (and during!). Even if it merely serves the purpose to sweat out toxins (especially after a late night), that is a run well spent. However, it is not healthy to be governed by guilt. It is JUST RUNNING!

PS - check out this weird piece of news:

Craving and chewing ice: A sign of anemia?
Is constantly craving and chewing ice a sign of anemia?
from Ruben Mesa, M.D.

Possibly. Doctors use the term "pica" to describe craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value — such as ice, clay, cornstarch or paper. Craving and chewing ice (pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency anemia — although it may be associated with other nutritional problems as well.

It's not known why some people with iron deficiency anemia crave and chew ice. Researchers from one recent study suggested it may be because of ice's pain-relieving properties, since some people with iron deficiency anemia experience tongue pain and inflammation (glossitis). The same researchers found that ice has a new and better taste to some people who are iron deficient.

In some individuals, pica is a sign of emotional problems, such as stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder or a developmental disorder.

A thorough medical evaluation can help determine if pica is due to an underlying medical condition. If the cause of pica is an emotional or developmental issue, cognitive behavioral therapy may be helpful. "

I really LOVE chewing ice! I think I need to find a new "addiction" for the chewing is a little cold for the season :-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Marathon pictures :-)

Here are just a few pictures from the marathon!

new workouts!

Once again, I apologize for the long hiatus!

This past month I have been trying to get back into a workout routine. I have been dealing with laziness and lack of money, which is a bad combination when I need a lot of motivation to workout and push myself! At times like these I miss having a trainer.

At the beginning of the month, I took advantage of an introductory week of yoga at Bikram Yoga Union Square. I always enjoy doing these intro week specials (I have also completed them with Bikram Yoga NYC and Bikram Yoga Harlem) because you can do yoga as much as you want for only $20! What a deal!

Bikram Yoga Union Square had a completely different vibe than the other studios. I referred to it as "Bikram Yoga Bootcamp." It was realllly hardcore. I felt like it was much more of a workout than other classes I've taken. It was also kind of scary. The instructors clapped loudly when they wanted us to change postures! and they kept us in the postures wayyy longer than I was used to. The heating system was also different than the other Bikrams I've done, so it took me a few days to get used to the heat. In other words, I was on the floor a lot. I am really glad I did this intro week (especially because I got to explore Union Square), but I will probably not go back fora while. It is pretty expensive compared to what I'm used to, and is slightly more pretentious than other yoga studios I've been to. But I did enjoy getting my butt kicked!

Another workout I tried this month was "Crossfit NYC." I was traveling to Kentucky the week after the marathon (to visit my friend and former roommate Kate and her wonderful family), and this guy I was sitting next to on the plane highly recommended it. I decided to check it out, and signed up for a free beginner workout. This studio is located on 26th and Broadway, and the first thing I noticed when I entered was how empty it seemed! It was not full of machines like most gyms I am used to, but an interesting assortment of weights and block type things. The 2nd thing I noticed was the girl working at the front desk- my friend Sara, who played horn with me in brass quintet last year and graduated from MSM in the spring! She was formally a trainer at Crunch gym on the upper west side and recently converted to the Crossfit studio. What a pleasant surprise!

My beginner class consisted of two 20-something year old sisters without much workout experience, this other guy (who looked like he worked out) and myself. This "workout" was more of an introduction to what Crossfit is, but our trainer promised us that even with just the two 4-minute workouts we were going to do, we would be in agony the next day. Bring it on.

The first workout we did involved squatting down to a medicine ball (so you couldn't cheat; you had to squat down alll the way). We had to squat as many times as possible in 20 seconds (ouch) then had a 10 second recovery time. We repeated this eight times so it added up to four minutes. Our "score" was whatever the lowest number of squats in any of the given sets was. (For example, I started out with 16 squats in the first 20 seconds. By the 8th set, I was down to 12. My score was 12). We needed a LOT of recovery time after this one. Especially the guy in the group...his score was 19! And he was feeling it.

The second workout was similar to the first workout, except it involved push-ups instead of squats. I am pretty out of shape, especially in my upper body, so I did the girly knee push-ups. I ended up with a score of 8 (which was pretty happy with. These got very difficult very quickly).

My body hurt more the next day than it did the day after the marathon. It was awesome. I LOVE feeling sore because that means my body is changing. Unfortunately, I can't afford to do this quite yet, but as soon as I can afford a package, I am in. I want to be buff and in shape. I bet this will help with the running too!

In running news- I have gotten back on the treadmill. I haven't really gotten past two miles yet...but it feels good to push myself and really sweat like my old treadmill days. Soon I'll be back up to my 5K treadmill workout (which is really made me lose weight a few years ago).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

a busy month of travel!

I'm sorry it has been so long since I've posted, especially since so many exciting things have happened! Like A MARATHON.

Two weeks ago, I headed out to San Francisco (my first time on the west coast!) to run the Nike Women's Marathon. I was nervous, excited, relieved and sad (all at once!) for that weekend. Nervous, because I knew what I was getting myself into. Excited, because team in training is an AWESOME group and I knew I'd have an incredible time. Relieved, because I knew that come Monday, I wouldn't have to run for a VERY long time. And sad, because this incredible group I've been running with for five months was reaching the conclusion of its time together.

San Francisco is a great city. I would love to be able to explore the city (and not on foot. for 26.2 miles). I feel like I really associate with the laid back vibe of the city. People are friendly. The food is good. The only aspect I didn't really like was the HILLS. My friend Lauren had a great idea for exploring the city without tiring our legs out before the race. We took one of those double decker tour buses and got to see everything without wasting any energy! I felt very much like a tourist.

The race was very hard. It was a much tougher course than I imagined, and the hills kept coming. I was, however, proud that I completed it no matter how miserable I felt the entire time. This is what I wrote in my journal the morning of the race as kind of a pep talk:

"Marathoning is a microcosm of your life- the strength and effort you use to push through this achievement is the same willpower used to fight through hard situations in life.

I can do this. And I'm going to have fun.

Think about what I am running for. Think about life and what I want to do.

It's just running. I just need to make it from the start sign to the finish. Easy :-)"

This is why running is so emotional for so many people. It becomes much more than just running- it becomes your self. When you devote so much time to one event, your success or failure can really mess with your mind and spirit. Coach Ramon insisted that the achievement of an endurance event is not about race day- it's about the training and hard work you put into it. That being said, the person who starts a marathon is not the same person who finishes one. While running, you have so much time to think about giving up, and that makes it so much more rewarding when you cross ths finish line. This particular marathon was a very teary-eyed one for many- I'm sure our coaches were very relieved when they didn't have to deal with our emotions anymore :-)

From now on, fall will always equal marathon season for me. And New York City is the place to be to experience the marathon magic. This weekend, New York was a very exciting place. Not only was it Halloween weekend (on a Saturday no less!) but it was also marathon weekend. For the first time, I actually got to be a spectator at a race and witness (instead of experience!) the true emotional sport marathon running is.

Have a wonderful week! I'll post more about the marathon(s) soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a few more days!


I leave for San Francisco in two short days! I am excited and nervous and already missing my TNT family. But I am SO ready to have my weekends and legs back to normal :-)

On Sunday I run/walked the Staten Island Half Marathon. I really did not want to do this. 1st of all, we are supposed to be in our "taper" mode, and not run more than 6miles for our long run. BUT my friend Lauren and I have fun all 4 of the other borough half marathons, and needed to do Staten Island to complete the half marathon "grand prix." We receive a special prize if we do all five. Which means, I woke up at 5:15 on Sunday morning to make the (chilly!) trek all the way to Staten Island. One aspect of these Grand Prix races is I get to explore areas of the city I would have never thought to visit. Some of these location (ahem, Queens) I will try not to frequent ever again at 5 in the morning. Staten Island was beautiful though. I loved the ferry ride, and was able to spend some quality time with my original TNT running buddy, Lauren. Oh, the things we will do for a "special prize" (which happens to be a patch. don't judge me. It's pure stubborn-ness).

The Run/Walk was very slow. It was fun! I took this race very leisurely. It was fun being in the back of the pack. I got a lot of alone time, and there was very little pressure. It was a little embarrassing to come in at the end...but I had a good excuse! I'm taking my taper very seriously!

I found this great website! - A guy named Tim VanOrden decided to start the "Running Raw Project:" the question was "Can one be an athlete while eating a 100% raw vegan diet?" and the conclusion he came to was yes! His website is very inspiring. He has accomplished so much with this lifestyle, and has some very impressive athletic accomplishments under his belt. I am interested to try to use some of his more natural dietary options as fuel instead of traditional running nutrition. Maybe I'll wait until AFTER the marathon to experiment....remember- Nothing new on race day!

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of trying New York City's epitome of fine-raw dining: Pure Food and Wine. I have been so excited to try this restaurant after months of hearing rave reviews. It did not disappoint. Everything at Pure Food and Wine is raw-vegan (not cooked above 118 degrees). It is incredible what the chefs can do with those kinds of limitations.

We ordered:

King Oyster Mushroom Scallops with Hijiki Seaweed
chive crème fraiche, wilted watercress with black garlic, tomato broth

for our main courses:

Zucchini and Local Hothouse Tomato Lasagna
basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato sauce, pinoli ricotta


Sweet Pickled Beet and Rosemary Cashew Chevre Ravioli
wilted spinach, grapes, saffron cream, green olive tapenade

and for dessert....

Mint Sundae
chocolate, fresh mint, and mint chip ice cream, with mint chocolate cookies and vanilla cream

Keep in mind....all of this was RAW! isn't that amazing?

I wasn't such a big fan of the appetizer, but I loved the ravioli and the sundae was out of this world!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I LOVE Wednesdays

I really do.

Wednesday is the only day of the week when I have free time during the day AND during the evening. Of course, I'm not one to leave that as free time. But I try to fill my Wednesdays up with fun activities.

I started out the day with a Core Fusion class at the Gansevoort Hotel on 13th street. I had never been to this location, and I was very impressed! It was hidden in the basement of the hotel, and had a very intimate space. My class was small (considering it was at work-time on a Wednesday) so I got the dressing room/shower area all to myself afterward! One aspect of the core fusion class that I love is the amazing facilities. Everything is very clean, the towels are heated, and they have tons of free toiletries and calming music (well, it is a spa). Better yet, there is a student discount :-). Not to mention it's a kick-ass workout. I am excited to stop running these long distances, and just do strength training and city walking for a while. I need a break.

Then, I had a break between my class and my voice lesson a few blocks away, so I stopped at Integral Yoga for a juice, and perused the book section. I ended up buying "The Vegan Guide to New York City." (how lame is that? I'm a sucker for restaurant guides! Especially when its all health food!).

After a productive voice lesson, I headed over to meet my nutrition counselor at the Jivamukti Yoga Cafe in Union. I have learned so much from her about digestive health and feeling GOOD about what I put into my body. Food is and has been my vice of choice for a while, and it isn't healthy. That only leads to guilt. I am working with her to steer away from that guilt, and make healthier choices in the process. I feel like I have come a long way! Plus, she is a fantastic person and mentor to me.

That evening, I tried dinner at "Peacefood" (The new vegan restaurant on 82nd and Amsterdam). I got the Asian Greens Salad (with grilled tempeh) and the scallion pancake special. The greens were good...but I'm not a big fan of tempeh. Live and learn.

The pancakes were great! Maybe a little too heavy, with the curry soup-type dipping sauce. But very tasty. The service was okay; a little rushed and scattered. The cute waiter seemed like he had been working too long. He also was a little surprised when I ordered the salad and the scallion pancakes. The scallion pancakes was an appetizer! I can handle them both! I headed over to a concert afterwards, and saw my friend Hilary who went to Peacefood for lunch! (great minds think alike). She said she had the same waiter at 1PM that I had at 715PM. I will assume that he was just tired and not judging me for having too large of an appetite...

Then I finished the night off with beer at George Keeley's for a post trombone quartet recital celebration. I love New York.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Tapering! The best part of training. Now that I've completed my last long run, it's time to cut back on the mileage and reap the benefits of recovery. It is so hard to imagine tacking on an extra 6 miles to my long run, but in reality, we have all the strength we need to run a full marathon (well, after training. Our coaches are smart). Here's a nice quote from Runner's World: "Your legs get you through the first 10 miles. Your mind gets you through the next 10 miles. Your heart gets you to the finish line." - So true. Training for a marathon is not only a huge accomplishment, but also a huge time commitment. Anyone can run a marathon without training (and feel the pain during and afterwards)- but a training program will really make you confident about your run. Plus, Team in Training is such an amazing, close group; I would recommend it to everyone.

Our email from Coach Ramon about our workout tonight:

The workout: Warm up from Bethesda down the east side to 59th st and 7th avenue entrance of the park. From there
start you 1st of 3 pick ups:

1st : 59th & 7th to West 90th street. RECOVER to 102nd street
2nd West 102nd to110th (bottom of Harlem hill) TURN AROUND and back to West 102nd Street RECOVER to West 90th street.
3rd : West 90th to Bethesda.

How to run the workout: 3 pick ups 3 paces.

1st : This is a long pick up. Run this at your marathon goal time(if you have one) or about 75% effort if you don't
2nd: Push this part of it. You have 2 uphills (specially designed for SF participants). Run Hard up and down both sets.
You want to be pretty tired by the time you get back to 102nd street. This should be done at 80+% effort.
3rd: Run for your life. This is about 1.2 miles to Bethesda. But this is a fast part of the park as it is mostly downhill. Do not be shy,
push. This is the part where you work on your turnover once your legs are tired. This should be done at aroudn 85+% .

Goal of the workout: Once more we are working on our discipline, on our pacing and our fitness.
You need to have the discipline to hold back on the first and longest part of the workout, eventually put some effort and work thru some controlable discomfort during the 2nd pickup and then be brave to deal with real discomfort on the last one...
If you find yourself not being able to pick up the pace or effort on the 3rd pickup, it tells me you went too hard on the first 2.
If you did learn from it, if you didn't do the same on race day !

The exciting part, is that this is our last hard workout until race day! Until then, I am rewarding myself with intense core fusion classes and long city walks :-)

Last night, I tried a great new vegan place on the Upper West Side called "Peacefood." I ran downtown (literally) from my class at school(my class was from 6-9pm!) and stopped in for some dessert. I got a blueberry cream biscuit and chocolate chip cookie. All vegan. I am excited to try some of the more savory dishes, because I was very impressed with the desserts! I especially love its proximity to areas I frequent often :-)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

20 miles: check!

I did my 20-miler Friday. All by myself. It took me three hours to get my butt off the couch to go do it...but it happened! And it wasn't terrible! I tried out the Galloway Method ( and although I didn't finish the run very quickly, it was a positive and relatively pain free experience. I was a little lonely, but it's nice to get some time to myself once in a while.

On Tuesday, I had an interview for the Big Brother Big Sister's program
I am looking forward to trying another volunteer experience after Team in Training, and with the rave reviews my friend Caroline gave me, I am really looking forward to having a little sister of my own. The interview was on 27th and 5th avenue. I guess I am a weird heath food New York foodie, because the first thing that came to mind when I discovered the interview location was this Raw restaurant I've been wanting to try. I have been dreaming of Bonobos and their coconut chai for months, but have never found an excuse to venture down there during the day. I did my research (as I do for all restaurants I visit), and read the menu along with countless online reviews. When I got there, I simply went with their specialty- the nutmeat salad platter. I got to try a sample of each of the 6 nutmeats. I chose the macadamia nutmeat, and along with five veggies and greens, they whipped up a very tasty, filling and healthy concoction. AND it was completely raw!

Oh, and that coconut chai? To die for.

I'm making it a goal (at least for this month) to give up all dairy products. Milk is meant for babies, to help you grow! It is not meant for adults. And it doesn't aid a healthy digestive system. I'm not a fan of cheese as it is, so hopefully it will be an easy transition.

I was sitting at work yesterday, and talked to Rob Sedgewick who stars in the play I work for "The Perfect Crime." He is the brother of Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and brother in law to Kevin Bacon. He has starred in "Die Hard" and other films. Not only does he have a passion for acting, but also for veganism. He co-owns a vegan ice cream shoppe on 10th between 2nd and 3rd called "Stogo."

I have`been meaning to try it for a while, and Vegan Mofo is the perfect opportunity! Will Review later :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's all downhill from here...

I am so sorry for the month long hiatus from the blog! Since the beginning of the season, my training has only gone more and more down hill (which is unfortunate, because San Francisco is mainly an UPHILL race). Running hasn't been fun for me. I have been making excuses for my runs, when really, I am not putting enough effort into because I don't want to do it! (Which is a pretty valid excuse if I do say so myself). Our most recent Tuesday night training run was a pacing workout that involved three lower loops of the park (1.7 miles each). I was in tears for most of the 3rd loop, and I looked PRETTY pathetic (isn't that sad?).

My marathon is in 2 1/2 weeks (October 18th!!). I am so excited to spend a weekend in San Francisco with some of the most amazing people I know. I am excited to perform such an incredible accomplishment, and then take a nice LONG break from running. I have all my qualifications in for the NYC Marathon of 2010, so that will give me almost a year of recovery. Perfect!

I am running my last long run tomorrow morning. 20 miles all by myself :-( I am going to experiment with run walking- maybe that will spark some inspiration. The Galloway method is very famous, and has inspired some impressive results. The idea is to walk 1 minute for every mile (or every 5 minute period). This may seem like a cop-out, but many of these Galloway runners have passed me on long runs! Hopefully it will yield some successful results for me also.

After I complete this marathon, I will not stop working out, but I will try to do what my body wants me too. I do not want to be governed by guilt- that is not what exercising should be about. Instead, I'm going to do what I like to do! That can mean city walking, or some new fun workout classes. Right now, my favorite is the "core fusion sport" class at Exhale Spas. It is a very efficient cardio-strength training that really kicks my butt without depressing me! It's like a cheaper version of my personal training sessions. I am also excited to try the trapeze class at Chelsea Piers that my uncle gave me a gift certificate for :-)

In Other News....

October is not only National Beer Month, but it is also The Vegan Month of Food! (Vegan Mofo)

The concept is for vegan-friendly bloggers to write as much about vegan food as possible during the month of October. I am a vegan by no means, but I have love vegan options. Anyone can make something taste good by frying it and/or slathering cheese all over it. Someone who makes a tasty meal out of healthy foods- now THAT'S impressive. I realized recently that I go days on end eating vegan. Today I ate completely vegan (with the exception of some hot chocolate). I don't think I could do that for a month, but incorporating more vegan dishes sounds like fun! I am up for the challenge.


Today, I had one of my favorite lunches in the area. I am stuck around 122nd st all day on Thursdays (busy day at school!) and one of my favorite places to eat is Broadway Au Lait across the street. The specialize in falafel, and other vegetarian foods. I love their Greek salad (without feta- I can't stand feta cheese) and their veggie burgers, so I combine the two and eat a veggie burger patty on top of a Greek salad! Grape leaves are SO good.

Anyway, it's off to bed. 20 miles in the morning! Hopefully it will be a positive experience.

Thank you for all your support! Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Quick Update!

I've just realized how long its been since I've posted! It has been a busy past few weeks, with school starting, traveling, and celebrating my birthday.

We are now in prime training season. My most recent long run was 16 miles (last saturday), although it was supposed to be a "down week." We are supposed to let our bodies recover once every four weeks, and not increase in mileage. (by recover I mean 10 miles- if you consider that recovery)

Two Saturdays ago (8/22) was the last Saturday of summer streets. I don't know what went wrong. It could have been the disgusting humid weather (I woke up at 3AM to intense thunderstorms that took down central park!). I made my way to our meeting spot in the park at 72nd st, where we were going to begin. Our plan was to run down Park Ave (clear for Summer Streets!), run west on Chambers, run up the West Side Highway, and then complete a 5 mile loop in the park. This seemed like fun, because (for the most part), it would break the monotony of Central Park. Unfortunately, I was NOT feeling it. For breakfast I tried something new- peanut butter with ezekiel toast (which is made from sprouted grains)- may have been too healthy. I felt nauseous for the entire run, and ended up getting on the subway after 6 miles. Which is why I did my 16 miles this weekend when everyone else was doing 10!

This Saturday is a very special run. I am very excited because it takes place just steps away from my apartment- and over the George Washington Bridge! While the rest of the team gets to bitch and moan about the subway ride uptown at 6AM, I can leisurely roll out of bed and into my running shoes. It's really silly how much people complain about making it to the bridge. It's not that far away! It's still Manhattan! Geez!

Anyway, I am (ideally) going to be completing 18 miles Saturday morning. It is a beautiful, scenic route through Palisades Park in New Jersey, however, it would be MUCH more beautiful if it weren't so hilly! Plus, apparently on NPR a few weeks ago, there was talk of a "jaguar" scare in Palisades Park. I hope they have gotten that sorted out!

More to come- More Hill training, Fartlek workouts, and trips to Philadelphia! And of course birthday week :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Heat Wave in NYC

Happy Friday!

I have taken great pride in not turning on my air conditioning all summer. Some may call me crazy, but I have managed to survive up to this point in my fifth floor walk up in Washington Heights without hiking up my utilities bill with "unnecessary" air conditioning. (okay, fine: the reason for not turning on the air is less of a money saving endeavor as it is pure laziness. I can't fit the plug behind my bed and I'm too lazy to find a solution).

New York City has been brutal for the past week. The weather has been hoovering in the 90s all day and all night, and suddenly, that lack of air conditioning has become brutally apparent. (Don't worry- I do have fans. AND I'm still alive. I think I'm going to stick it out until next summer).

What is more scary than the thought of trying to sleep in the sweltering heat, is trying to RUN in the sweltering heat. I was very nervous for the half marathon on Sunday; people were dropping like flies. Seriously. Stretchers were everywhere. Luckily, the race was early enough and there were enough water/gatorade stations for me to feel okay. Tuesday night practice was a different story. We got this email from Ramon on Monday night:

(you see, I do have a soft side and do have a heart )


WE will have 2 Workout options, you make you own decision which one you want to attend:

OPTION 1: Meet at 90th street at benches (inside park) for a 5-6 Miles EASY Hot/sweaty/sucky run !!
OPTION 2: Meet at 97th street off 5th (inside the park) for a Cross Training Killing Workout + Running !!

You decide which of the workouts/options you want to do, just go to the proper location.

NOTE: KEEP in mind that if the weather gets better, the coaches could/may change the workout at the last minute.

I was verrry relieved. Plus, I LOVE cross training workouts! After this marathon, I'm going to take a nice, long break from running and devote myself to strength training and yoga. I want to be toned!

Tuesday night was very very hot. We were sweating profusely by the end of our warm up to the edge of Harlem Hill at 108th. I was very grateful that Ramon was going easy on us by making us hold 90 degree squats for minutes at a time (right). Unfortunately, Ramon took advantage of his authority to change the workout at the last minute (in his note at the bottom of his email). Yes, we were going to do lots of cross training (in the form of squats), but we were going to break up the monotony of the squats by running Harlem Hill! and he meant push it. I wasn't feeling all that great, so I didn't go to my limit. But it was still HARD. We did 4 sets of hills/squats, called it a day and jogged back to Urban Athletics. Oh, we didn't even stretch. It was too hot out :-)

Exciting news: I bought new sneakers on Tuesday! After the half marathon on Sunday, I noticed that my sneakers were a little worn in. It was time for change. I went down to Jack Rabbit Sports on 14th and 6th and tried on a few different pairs. I love Jack Rabbit. They are awesome because they pick out some shoes based on what you need (for me, I need a good stability shoe. I run outward too much) and then you get to try them on the treadmill while a camera videotapes you! My last three pairs have been Saucony brand (2 of them being the Hurricane). I love Saucony, they are great for stability, however, I've been feeling that they've been a little "mushy" around the ankles. This time, I opted for the Brooks Adrenaline brand- they were snugger around the ankles, and loser at the toe of the shoe. I wish they had a size 8 1/4- I seemed to need one of those "in-between" sizes- but it is better to go bigger than smaller. Here's the shoe:

So, I've been breaking these shoes in. Will let you know my full report when they've been beaten up enough.

I have recently starting seeing a nutrition counselor. This is mainly for digestive reasons; making me feel better about the foods I eat and giving me more energy for daily life and my workouts. Some of the most important things I've learned and have tried to incorporate are 1) eating light to heavy throughout the day and 2) food combining.

There are many misconceptions about eating a big meal at the beginning of the day. The truth is, digestion is a lot of hard work for the body, and the less work your body has to do, the more energy you will have. This doesn't mean it's good to starve yourself all day (very bad actually!). I am just trying to eat lighter and simpler meals for breakfast and lunch, and save dinner to really satisfy myself and signal that the day is over!

Food combining is a simple concept: Foods from different food groups (protein, starch, nuts, and fruits) digest at different rates, and therefore eating them together slows down and clogs digestion, making the body work harder. Vegetables are neutral, so you can eat them with anything. I have been trying to avoid combining the 2 biggest groups, proteins and starches. This simple change has made a huge difference in how I feel. I really notice when I miscombine now, especially before a hard run.

On Thursday, I not only ate a huge meal of Indian food early in the day, but I also ate my proteins with my starches. I had planned on doing hill repeats a few hours later. Not a good combintation. After my hour and a half food-coma induced nap, I begrudgingly pulled on my running clothes and dragged myself to do some Cat Hill repeats. I am very impressed that I was able to get a workout when I kept wanting to vomit everytime I pushed myself up the hill (sorry, too much information). I guess this is how you learn! And I will continue to work on the light-heavy concept and food combining, no matter how good Indian food sounds at 1PM. I'm going to blame my roommate Brian for being a bad influence :-)

Tomorrows's workout- the last Saturday of Summer Streets. I am scheduled for a 16 miler at 7AM. Woohoo!

PS- Recently became obsessed with young thai coconuts and the raw, unpasturized water inside. Yum. Natural electrolytes! This is truly nature's candy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NYC half marathon!

So the reason I haven't posted in over a week, is that I missed practice Tuesday night (gasp!). Instead, I got guilted into taking the yearly trip to Six Flags Great Adventure with the boys. As much as I love spending time with these boys, I tend to get tired very quickly at amusement parks. I was ready to go home by 2PM. Unfortunately, the first bus did not leave until 6:30, which resulted in missing my Tuesday night tempo run. This was the description of the workout:


YOU are doing a nice little tempo run. Nice and steady !

Course: From your meeting location at East 72nd. You will do a 6 mile loop of the park, by heading north on east side, around north end of park, south on westside, around south end of park, and north on east to finish at East 72nd.

How to approach it: You have done it before. Do a little warm up, from East 72nd to East 90th (1 mile) and then start your tempo run.
Again, the tempo run should be run at a controlled challenging equal effort pace, for those that have a 10k time, it should be about 20 seconds slower per mile than your 10k pace (maybe 25 if it's hot tomorrow)
The key is to maintain the effort even thru out most of the run, focus on the breathing, your speed should change on the up, down and flats.
Your effort could be a bit higher towards the end as you get tired and dehydrated, but because your body is tired, not because you try to put more effort.

I was planning on doing this workout later in the week, or that night if I had the energy, but six flags really tired me out! I bet I walked more than 6 miles that day anyway...and I needed to taper for the NYC half marathon today!

Brian (the roommate) and I

I quickly and discreetly took this picture at the photo viewing area. The people working there were not happy with me. I'm the one with my arms up :-)


It was hot. When I woke up at 5AM and it was already 73 degrees, I knew the weather would be a problem. This was a very slow race for me. The combination of the heat, amount of people and having to use the bathroom at MILE TWELVE (I know. it was annoying) resulted in a half marathon that was about 15 minutes slower than my slowest half marathon to date (This was my fourth half marathon. My next one is the Queens half marathon on September 20th. Hopefully I'll blow that one out of the water!)

Despite the disappointment of not making a "personal record" (PR) or even close to that, I had a great time today. The race started in the park, and after 7.5 miles, we ran down 7th Ave. from 59th street all the way to Times Square. (At this point, one of our coaches, Rev, joined me on the run. I must have looked realllly bad because she kept checking to make sure I had enough electrolytes).

Running down 7th Ave. towards Times Square was the funnest part of the race- I loved running in an area so familiar and dear to me without having to worry about traffic or tourists (with the exception of the ones cheering for us!). There was even a giant karaokee screen and people singing "Mamma Mia," which was definitely a highlight. I almost joined in, and then realized that if I was running slowly enough to sing, that was not good. Oops.

We then turned right onto 42nd street and left onto 12th Ave. by the Hudson. We continued south until we reached the finish line at Battery Park. This was the biggest race I have ever run in New York, and had far more of a cheering section than any of the other NYRR races in the park. The support for Team In Training was incredible, and I was VERY glad I was wearing my TNT racing shirt. It made me very popular on the course.

After my mandatory bathroom break at mile 12 (I was very upset about having to take this break. I never stop during races. EVER), I knew that there was no chance that I could get a good time. So, I enjoyed the end of the race and ran in really fast at the end! That's my favorite part- as soon as I see the finish line, I sprint as fast as possible and pass everyone. This shows that yes, I do have the speed, and maybe I should use it throughout the race and not just save it for the end. But its so rewarding to go fast at the end! It makes it all worth it :-)

Race pictures to come! Hopefully the race photographers got some nice, smiling ones of me. Not sad, electrolyte and energy deprived ones.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Treats (and streets) of the summer!

Some food news!

On Wednesday night, a few of my friends and I went to Dinosaur BBQ (it may seem this is the only place we frequent. In reality, we can only handle it once a month or so).

I tried to vary my choices a little bit this time. After waiting over an hour and a half for a table for 6, we were ready to eat. I opted for the ultimate BLT (a regular BLT with fried green tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes. incredible. and a TON of bacon) with 2 sides. For my 2 sides, I got the soup of the day (potato corn chowder) and the vegetable of the day (a green bean salad with a balsamic vinaigrette-very refreshing). I was feeling adventurous for sure! I don't think I've ever enjoyed a meal more (especially after waiting 2 hours for it! and after consuming a Dogfish Head Raison D'etre at 8%...)

We then headed down to George Keeley's, a beer bar on 83rd and Amsterdam. What's cool about Keeley's is they give you free popcorn (!!!!) and you can bring dogs. We didn't have a dog with us, but that's still pretty cool. Also, the beer is awesome. All in all, a successful evening for food and drink, even though my tummy was very full by the end of it.

I've also forgotten how much I love bubble tea. A friend gave me a recommendation for this Chinese/Japanese Restaurant on 72nd and Amsterdam called "Ivy's Cafe." I researched it further, and apparently it has quite the reputation for having some of the best bubble tea in NYC. I tried the "taro" flavor yesterday. I didn't even know what a taro is (some kind of root? I'll describe the flavor as "purple." Kind of tasted like rice pudding. mmm!). Anyway, the tea was fantastic and I had to restrain myself from going today after my long run (I don't want to be known as bubble tea girl). Some other flavors that were recommended to me were coconut and almond. I can't wait to try those also!

My Long run today:

Instead of running the monotonous central park loop over and over again, we ran on Park Ave! For three Saturdays from 7AM to 1PM starting today, traffic is closed on Park Ave up to 72nd st for a program called "Summer Streets." Team in Training had the honor of kicking off the celebration and being the first to run! Mayor Bloomberg was supposed to run with us, but inevitably his bed seemed more inviting at 7:30 in the morning. The route was from the base of City Hall to 72nd st. and back. You could add or subtract distance based on how much mileage you wanted to cover. Those of us running the NYC half marathon next Sunday has a dilemma- should we taper and only do eight miles (the coach's recommendation for those running the half) or go all out with the 15 miles Ramon recommended for the advanced group? Tapering is important before an endurance event because it gives the body time to rest and absorb the work you have already done. The NYC half marathon is many TNTers' main event of the season. If I really wanted to race and put all my effort of the season into it, I would definitely taper. However, my main goal is to rock it in San Francisco for the marathon in October. So I compromised....kind of. I had made up my mind to run to 72nd and back (9 miles) and if I had a lot of energy, I would keep going. Because I had made the decision to run a short(ish) distance, I didn't take my GUs (nutrition runners should consume during long runs). I ended up running 13.5 miles (to 72nd and back and then back up to 72nd). I was weak, dehydrated and dizzy from the lack of nutrition and water on the way (I had carried one waterbottle, but it wasn't enough. And there weren't many waterstops). Other than that, I had a great time! I never make it to that part of the city and was excited to explore a completely different world than the one I frequent. For most of the run I ran with my running buddy Nicole. We even got to pass her wedding venue! (68th and Park)

She turned around at 24th st. on our 2nd lap and I kept running uptown, with the intention of getting on the next subway I saw. Unfortunately (and fortunately) I met up with 2 other TNTers who wanted to go all the way to 72nd.


So I felt like I had to accompany them all the way to the end, even though I felt like crap. BUT I did get that sense of accomplishment in :-) It ended up being a 13.5 mile run. Waking up at 5AM followed by a 13.5 mile run followed by a visit from my mother and work from 1 - 10:30 = a lonnngg day.

Hopefully my taper for the rest of the week will go better. I think Ramon would call what I ran today "misbehaving."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

hills and prayers

Harlem Hill is much longer than I thought.

We began Tuesday night's practice at our meeting spot at 86th street in the bridle path on the east side. I thought this was an interesting meeting spot, considering we were running harlem hill repeats, which doesn't even start until 107th st (approximately). We had a 1.5 mile warm-up and then we were supposed to push all the way to the top of harlem hill and recover down. Seems simple enough. Unfortunately, I underestimated the length of the hill. My 1st repeat I took out confidently, and quickly. I thought the hill would never end. Towards the top my breathing became heavy and labored, even though I wasn't moving quickly at all (it's all about effort; not speed...). ANYWAY, since my recoveries down the hill were SO slow (I could have been walking), I only ended up getting 5 repeats in. Most people got 6. Hmph. I was happy enough to finish that last hill and run back to stretch though! My legs DID NOT want to move after all those hills. As one of my teammates stated on our cooldown to the stretching area, "Why does this feel like mile 23?"

The point of the workout was to get the lactic acid to build up and teach the body to recycle it quickly. That must have been why my legs were so sluggish at the end. All in all, a hard workout, and a GOOD night's sleep!

On a sadder note...

On Tuesday night, Pat McCormick (Kate's dad) lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was recently taken off chemo and has been spending time at home for the past week. He is finally whole and well again, and in no more pain. He was one of the best men I knew, and has raised a wonderful, beautiful family. He will be greatly missed and I hope anyone reading this will extend their prayers to him and his family.

Here is his obituary:


Patrick Dean McCormick, 52, Henderson, Kentucky, died of pancreatic/liver cancer at 10:25 p.m. Tuesday, August 4, 2009, at his home.
He was a piano tuner and technician, wonderful jazz pianist, but more importantly, the nicest man you could ever hope to meet. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Henderson, where he was organist until March of this year. Pat loved to play the piano, and his music was enjoyed by many throughout the tri-state area.
He was preceded in death by his father, Carlos Archie McCormick, and his father-in-law, Charles William “Bill” McClure.
Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Heather McCormick; one son, Seth Patrick McCormick of Henderson; one daughter, Meredith Kate McCormick of Henderson; his mother, Juanita McCormick of Harrisburg, Illinois; one brother, Steve McCormick and his wife, Janice, of Harrisburg; nephew, Brad McCormick and his wife, Sherie, and their four children of Harrisburg; nephew, Mike McCormick and his wife, Penny, and their three children of Harrisburg; niece, Sheena Lowrey and her husband, Talon, of Harrisburg; mother-in-law, Mary Ann Blackwell and her husband, Chap, of Columbus, Indiana; brother-in-law, Brett McClure and his wife, Kim, and their sons, Alex and Drew, all of Anchorage, Kentucky.
Services will be at noon Saturday at First United Methodist Church. The Reverend Gary Chapman and the Reverend Willard Knipp will officiate. Private family burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery.
Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Saturday at Rudy-Rowland Funeral Home.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to American Cancer Society, First United Methodist Church Music Ministry, or St. Anthony’s Hospice.
Honorary pallbearers will be members of the choirs and praise teams at First United Methodist Church and Chapel Hill United Methodist Church and the musicians with whom Pat has enjoyed playing throughout his musical career.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

hills in the heat

Coach Ramon's Email about tonight's workout:


Course: hmmmm..... you are doing the Harlem Hill !! lucky you !!

The workout: simple, up and down Harlem hill for as long as the coaches want to keep you there.

Goal of the workout: pure strengthening workout. No much to cover here.
Push the way up, recover the way down. This will strengthen your calf, hip, quad muscles as it will give your aerobic system a good push therefore making your fitter !!
This is a long uphill, concentrate on effort not speed, don't think or focus on keeping speed, focus on putting effort, your breathing is challenging pretty much from the get go, the goal is to build the lactic acid kind of early and continue to push thru it, so the body will be force to flush it.
Yes, it is a hard workout, go ahead, try to enjoy it.

There is nothing like a hill repeat workout that will make you feel like you are really accomplishing something! and make you sleep REALLLLY well.

Yesterday I tried the "Core Fusion Sport" class at the Exhale Spa on Central Park South. This is the description from the website: Our newest proprietary class, Core Fusion Sport, is a total body workout that is designed to help you improve your performance in sports while reducing your risk of sports related injuries. Using a combination of lateral and twisting movements, this barreless one-hour class will chisel and firm your arms, shoulders, legs and butt while focusing on your core ¬ the center of your strength. This calorie-burning class works with resistance bands, core balls and mat abdominals with periodic jump backs for cardio and stamina benefits. Balanced flexibility exercises at the end will cool you down and increase your range of movement for sports. We will do this class in a slightly elevated temp room with motivating music, so be prepared to sweat and work out with a passion!
I was excited to sweat, and sweat I did (then again, I am a sweater. I will sweat after a very small amount of exertion). The first 40 minutes of the class was the hard part (strength training alternated with cardio without much break) and was very reminiscent of what I would have done with one of my trainers- without the one on one attention. It was hard, but I had to do the exercises right to get the full benefits- which meant I had to concentrate on form (my weakness). The prop we used for most of the class was a medicine ball with 2 handles- we used it for pushups, plank, extended weight lifting, etc. The end of the class got a little easier, and by the end I was not sweating anymore. I had planned to go running on the treadmill later that evening to get my cardio in, however, around 7PM exhaustion hit me. Pure exhaustion. Like, I need a nap exhaustion. I love getting this feeling after strength training. It means I'm really working out new muscles and I WILL see results. Turns out, I did not make it to the gym that night....

I will definitely try it again. With the student rate, it is $20 per walk in class. This may seem expensive, but compared to the regular price (I think that's in the $30s) and compared to what a personal training session would cost, I am saving a lot of money.

Off to go run some hills in the heat! Stay hydrated.

Monday, August 3, 2009

14 milers

I'm sorry it has been so long since Ive made an update!

Since I last posted, I have run two 14 milers in the park (both on Saturday mornings. For the 1st of the 14 milers, I ran with my running buddy, Nicole, who also happens to be a musician: opera singer. We had a lovely time exploring the upper 5 mile loop, the lower 5 mile loop, and the middle 4 (for variety sake). It is always nice to run with someone new because you learn so much! You can run for hours and the last thing you learn will be the person's name. (Nicole and I did meet last season though, we were both late for the "Christmas practice" and we ran around with blinking jewelery asking anyone in the park who would listen if they had seen Santa run by. Santa being our coach Ramon, of course).

This Saturday, I ran alone. This is something I am not used to, but is slowly starting to be comfortable. The problem is that I want to run the advanced distances (crazy) but I cannot keep up with the advanced speeds. Since the advanced group is usually so small on Saturdays, I have been finding myself alone. Which is okay. For the 1st 6 miles I ran mostly alone, catching up with my friend Emily for the the last mile before the 72nd st transverse (she was finishing her run however because she opted for the 7AM time- FYI, we have a choice. we can either run at 7AM or 830AM. Guess which one I usually choose...). For the rest of my run, I was joined here and there for a mile or so by one of my teammates but for the most part, enjoyed the solitude. While Team in Training was running, there was also a New York Road Runner long training run going in the park. Hundreds upon hundreds of people with race numbers were running in different pace groups for up to 20 miles. It was a crowded morning. I did appreciate the free water and Gatorade. and Pacers. Very convenient. I felt like I was running with schools of fish.

For the past 2 and 1/4 years, I have been a member of the Bally Sports Club at the world wide plaza on 50th st (I used to live on 48th and 9th). Since then, I have had a personal trainer, named Marissa, who I have come to love not only as a trainer but also as a friend and confidante. Training sessions turned into therapy on some levels. Unfortunately for me (but great for her!) she has been accepted to a full scholarship theater program in Ohio and quit Bally a few months ago. I had about 20 sessions left. So I was passed on to her roommate, Nick (who is also great) and continued to finish my sessions. Unfortunately, he left the gym too when I had 9 sessions left. I got arbitrarily placed with a different trainer who I did not mesh as well with. He did not care about me as a person, just as a client. Which is fine. I appreciated the exercises he gave me and learned a lot. Finally, I have no sessions left (yet, I think I'm still in debt with the gym...) and I have to find a new way to get my strength training in. Preferably not by videos, because I have no self discipline. Oops.

Today I am trying a class at the exhale spa on 57th and 6th. It is called "core fusion sport." I have tried their regular beginner level core fusion class before, and wasn't that big of a fan. When I work out, I will give it my all, but i have TERRIBLE form. I want to feel results and work hard, but not necessarily execute it correctly (I know, I know. It's harder!). This class focuses more on smaller movements, and although I can't do some of the exercises because those muscles aren't as developed, it doesn't feel like I"m getting much of a workout. Hopefully this "sport" version will be more challenging. I am excited for find a way to get my strength training in again!

In food news...

Some of the best food I eat in New York doesn't cost me any money. I am very lucky to have a wonderful aunt and uncle who have adopted a tradition of "Sunday Dinners." They live on the upper west side in a beautiful apartment I have come to know as my 2nd home (often it makes it to the 1st place spot..). For the past 3 years, they have been hosting dinner for my friends and I every Sunday night (groups usually range from 6-16. and this is a one bedroom). As humble as my aunt Mary is (she will never admit to being a good cook and is nervous when she tries something new), she is a fantastic chef who makes huge portions of some of my favorite foods. Some of her most popular dishes include: Meatloaf and mashed potatoes (the BEST meatloaf you will every try. and potatoes), rice pilaf, "flat" chicken (our family version of chicken francaise. I came up with the name), fillet mignon (yes, that's what I said), grilled salmon, lasagna, "make your own pasta," cheesy potatoes, ham, and much more. There is also an endless amount of vegetables and salad (she is our new york mom! we need our veggies!), and at least 5 or 6 ice cream choices along with fruit for dessert. Last night we had salmon with a pasta primavera recipe I found online, a butternut squash salad, and vegetables. For dessert, she made a banana pudding and nilla wafers creation (mmm) with ice cream, of course. We are very, very lucky people.

This week I hope to try the new bar "Dutch Kills" in Long Island City (not as far as one would think!). It is run by the same people as the infamous and private "Milk and Honey" (you need a special key to get in- I would love to accompany anyone with one of those!). They are famous for their tailored cocktails, and Dutch Kills has them for lower prices. Will let you know if I actually make it out there.

This Tuesday we are doing more hills! Last week was a cat hill workout, but I was doing bag watch (one of my mentor duties) so I didn't partake in the workout, although my friend Lauren and I did a pre-bag watch hill workout before practice. It just was not as hardcore as the one my teammates did.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fartlek and Stripping!

Tuesday night we had another one of our training runs with team in training. The good news is- we weren't doing hills. (Apparently this workout is called "fartlek." Funny name.) The bad news- we were doing 4 loops of the bridle path, most being at 85% effort. Plus, it was raining and the ground was nice and wet and soft. And there were puddles.

Each loop is about 1.7 miles. We did our first loop as a warm up, then at loop #2 we immediately got into our fast 85% effort run. When we got to loop #3, we had a .5 mile recovery, and then 85% from the rest of the loop. Loop #4 mirrored #3.

It was really hard, and I was not feeling it. I was exhausted and covered in mud and rain. I don't even want to go near my sneakers now. I think I definitely put in the effort and earned my post-practice Brother Jimmy's BBQ and beer! Now today I can get to some hill repeats! (San Francisco has a LOT of hills...)

Wednesday- Started out the day with some Bikram Yoga. Finished off the night with Stripper Strength class with my friends Sara and Aleksandra! I really did not know what to expect from this class. All I knew is that it is a serious workout and we had to bring heels. There was a small group for the class (8 or 9), our teacher Kimberly said more people usually show up for the Wednesday class. The class was 70 minutes and we had chairs as props. There was a lot of butt slapping and boob grabbing. We basically slowed down the movements of a stripper dance to get the maximum burn (without removing clothes). It was a serious BURN! I've realized how not flexible I am- I cannot seem to straighten my legs (which, apparently, is an essential skill for a stripper to have). I definitely want to try this class again, and see if I can get my legs and abs strong enough to really be able to do some of the moves. Maybe next time we will have some cocktails BEFORE hand :-) Sara said her favorite part was that she got to use her "mirror face" the whole time without feeling silly.

Off to do hill repeats! Our training schedule has me scheduled for "1 lower loop warm-up (about 1.4 miles), 6-8 repeats of cat hill (ouch) and lower loop cool down."

This should be fun.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Running FAQs!

These are some FAQ emails we got from one of our coach's, Christine. Thought these might be fun to share :-)

Hi Team!

You may have realized by now that this long-distance running thing isn’t just about running! What you eat and drink before, during, and after your runs and races can have a HUGE (positive or negative) effect on your performance and recovery.

Here are some questions that address many of the nutrition/hydration issues that you'll face. Some of it you have heard before -- but it doesn't hurt to get a little refresher!

Q: What's a well-balanced diet for long-distance runners?

A: While training for your half or full marathon, you'll want to make sure carbs make up about 60 - 65% of your total calorie intake. Without a doubt, carbs are the best source of energy for athletes. Research has shown that for both quick and long-lasting energy, our bodies work more efficiently with carbs than they do with proteins or fats. Protein should make up about 15% of your daily intake and no more than 25 - 30% should come from fats.

Q: What should I eat right before a run?

A: You should feel neither starved nor stuffed when you begin a workout. Try to eat a light snack or meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before (2 hours if it's substantial). Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. Some examples of good pre-workout fuel include: a bagel with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk. Stay away from rich and high-fiber foods, as they may cause gastrointestinal distress. You should also avoid high-fat foods because they are slow to digest.

Q: What should I eat and drink the day before a long run?

A: The two days before your long runs (and your race) should be high-carb days. But, again, you should make sure that you increase the percentage of carbs in your diet, not the overall calories (don't eat three plates of pasta for dinner!). Aim for at least 65% of calories from carbs during those days. You can still have some protein but, for example, instead of having chicken with rice, have rice with chicken. Pasta, steamed or boiled rice, potatoes, fruits, starchy vegetables, and breads are good carb sources.

Drink plenty of water and nonalcoholic fluids. Not only does alcohol dehydrate you, but it can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Avoid gas-forming foods like beans and any type of food that may upset your stomach or can also interfere with sleep.

Q: How much should I drink before, during and after my runs?

A: In order to run efficiently, you need to stay well-hydrated. Try to drink 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid about 1 hour before your workout. You can drink another 4 to 8 ounces about 10 minutes before you start. To replace fluids while running, you should be drinking about 6 to 8 ounces of fluids every 20 minutes. During longer runs, some of those fluids should include a sports drink, such as Gatorade Endurance, which will replace sodium lost in sweat.

It's good to practice drinking the sports drink that will be on the course of your race. The New York City Half and Full Marathons will feature Gatorade Endurance (lemon/line), Hamptons will have Gatorade (flavor not yet specified), and Marine Corps will have PowerAde (Mixed Berry Blast). As far as I can tell, the Nike Women's Marathon has not yet announced their official sports drink on the course, but last year it was Gatorade Endurance.

Of course, everyone's fluid needs vary. You know you're well-hydrated if you void large volumes of pale urine at least six times a day. To determine how much liquid to take during a run or race, you need to know your sweat rate, and that can vary between 1 and 4 quarts per hour. Weigh yourself nude before a timed training run, and then again after. One pound of weight loss equals 1 pint of water loss. Calculate your sweat rate and use this to determine your fluid needs during a run or race. For example, if you lose 2 pounds during an hour run, that's 2 pints or 32 ounces. Thus, you need 8 ounces of water or sports beverage every 15 minutes.
Don't forget to rehydrate after your run. If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light lemonade color.

Q: My fingers sometimes swell when running in the heat. How can I avoid that?

A: When running in the heat, the most common cause of swollen fingers and feet is electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are the salts in your bloodstream, which must be kept in balance to prevent swelling in the tissues. Sweating without replacing the lost salt can upset this balance. By drinking sports drinks and eating gels or blocks with sodium during your run, you can replace the salt you're losing. You can also do a "salt shot" before you start your run. Here's how to do it:
Ø Just empty a salt packet (get some from your local McDonald's or other fast food joint) onto your hand.
Ø Lick the salt off your hand.
Ø Drink some water (not tequila) immediately after.
Ø If you're doing a run longer than 2 hours, you may want to take another one halfway through your run.

Q: Can I drink coffee before my runs?

A; This is really a matter of personal preference. Some people drink coffee before every long run and never have any issues with it. Others would be stopping at the bathroom numerous times if they drank a pre-run cup of coffee! If you have experienced any GI issues after drinking coffee before a run, I recommend you stay away from it! If you can tolerate it and actually need coffee to get you going in the morning, keep in mind that coffee is a diuretic (makes you have to pee), so it doesn't count as pre-run hydration.

Q: Is it possible to not have to stop to use the bathroom during a long run or marathon?

A: Yes, it is possible. If you find yourself stopping to pee during your long runs, you're most likely drinking too much prior to your run. You should drink 16 to 24oz of (non-caffeinated) fluid 1 hour before your workout or race. Stop drinking after that, and keep emptying your bladder. Drink another 4 to 8oz of fluid about 10 minutes before you start running, so that you're hydrated when you begin. If you hydrate properly like this, you shouldn't have to stop to pee.

If you find that you have to stop to use the bathroom during your runs because of GI distress, don't worry -- this is a very common problem, and there are things you can do to avoid it. It helps to avoid high-fiber foods (fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains) and coffee/tea before working out, stay hydrated, and consume a sports drink (like Gatorade Endurance) during long runs to maintain electrolyte levels. You may have to experiment eliminating certain pre-run foods to see what your possible “triggers” may be. For more info and tips on preventing GI distress, check out these links:

How to Avoid Runner's Trots

Best and Worst Pre-Run Foods

Q: What and how much should I eat during my long runs?

A; If you're running longer than 90 minutes, you need to replace the stored energy that you're burning through when you're running. You can get carbs on the run through sports drinks and solid foods that are small and easily digested.

One of your goals for your "nutrition training" should be to figure out what foods work for you, so you won't have to try anything new on race day. During your Saturday long runs, you'll want to start experimenting with different foods, gels, and bars. You'll decide if you prefer PowerBars to Clif Bars, or vanilla Gu over chocolate PowerGel. Some people can't stand the taste or consistency of the bars or gels, so they opt for sugary candies or other snacks – Clif Shot Bloks (, Luna Moons (, Jelly Belly Sports Beans ( ), gummy bears, candy corn, pretzels, etc. When you take a gel, make sure you wash it down with a fluid.

A basic rule of thumb is that you should be taking in about 100 calories after about an hour of running and then another 100 calories every 40-45 minutes after that. You may need more depending on your size and speed, so make sure you carry an extra one or two gels (or other food). If you feel hungry or low on energy, you can definitely consume calories “off-schedule”.

Q: OK, so how am I supposed to carry all of this stuff?!

A: Figuring out how you will transport your nutrition/hydration is also part of your training. Some people prefer to use fuel belts (available at any running shop or web sites, like to carry their fluids. Fuel belts also have pouches that you can put your gels, bars, etc. in.

If you don't want to wear a fuel belt, there are other options. Some running shorts (like Race Ready: have numerous pockets for gels and bars. Some belts, such as SpiBelts (, don't have bottles for fluids, but are perfect for carrying nutrition. You can also pin gels to the outside of your shorts.

Keep in mind that during the race you'll have water and sports drink stations every other mile, so you won't have to carry your own fluids (although some people prefer to do so). However, you'll have to be prepared with all the nutrition you need for your race. Start practicing now so you’re not trying to figure out what to do on race morning! Remember: Nothing new on race day!

Q: What should I eat after my runs?

A: You need to replenish energy as quickly as possible after a workout. Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. Again, you'll want to consume primarily carbs, but don't ignore protein. A good rule of thumb for post-workout food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs.

So, that means that you need to have some food readily available to you immediately after you finish your long run. If you wait until you walk to your favorite brunch spot, order food, and wait for your food, you've already missed your window. Always keep some nutrition -- a piece of fruit, a bar, or a recovery drink, for example -- in your bag, so you can start the recovery process immediately. Chocolate milk is a great recovery drink because it is the right ratio of carbs and protein. If you're able to get home within 30 minutes after a long run, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt are other examples of good post-run snacks.

Q: I'm trying to lose weight. What should I be eating?

A: To shed pounds safely, you should try to cut your overall calories by choosing smaller portions of high-fat and high-calorie foods and eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Try to keep in mind the basic formula for losing weight. You must burn -- through basic life functions and exercise -- more calories than you take in. Simple as that.

However, DO NOT skimp on calories before, during (when necessary), and immediately after your workouts/races. These are crucial times when nutrition is important to performance and recovery.

Also, don't expect to lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. As you are training, you are building more muscle mass, which weighs more than fat. Also, keep in mind that running a lot does not give you carte blanche to eat whatever you want. Some people are surprised when they don't lose weight during marathon training. They forget that they are scarfing down a quart of ice cream and a dozen Oreos for a snack after their run. Make sure you stock your kitchen with healthy foods, so when the "post-run hungries" hit, you'll be prepared with nutritious foods, not empty calories. It’s also helpful to track your food intake in a training journal. It will make you think twice about the foods you’re putting in your mouth and also help you figure out what foods work best for you.

Another area where long distance runners get into trouble is drinking too many calories. And I don’t just mean alcohol. Just because you're training for a half marathon or marathon does not mean that you should be drinking Gatorade ALL the time. While it’s important that you replace electrolytes during your long runs, you don’t need to constantly have a sports drink at your fingertips the rest of the time. Plain water is fine for staying hydrated during the week.

One more important thing: Atkins, South Beach, or any low-carb diets + marathon training = BAD IDEA. You cannot be on a low-carb diet if you are training for an endurance event. You CAN make better carb choices: Reach for fruits and vegetables, and whole grains -- not cookies, cake, or greasy French fries. But a drastic reduction or elimination of carbs is out of the question.

Q: All this training makes me hungry all the time. How can I satisfy my hunger and not gain weight?

A: It's normal to feel hungry as you increase your mileage. You're burning more calories, so your body needs to take more in. Here are some ways you can avoid feeling hungry, with overindulging:

> Eat lots of healthy, high-fiber foods. Most high-fiber foods require more chewing, which helps to satisfy hunger. High-fiber foods fill up your stomach faster and can also delay the time it takes to empty. Also, many high-fiber foods are low in calories, so you can satisfy your hunger with fewer calories. Whole grains, vegetables, and fruits are great sources of fiber. Just be careful not to overdo it before your runs, especially your long ones (see GI issues question above!).

> Try eating five to six small meals as opposed to three large ones. If you wait too long for a meal, you'll be starving and tempted to overindulge by the time you eat. Eating more frequent, smaller meals helps keep you full, and lets you stay in control. Another benefit: You'll feel like you have more energy during the day.

> Slow down when you're eating. It takes our body about 20 minutes to realize that it's full. If you eat quickly, you'll eat extra calories while your body is figuring out whether it's hungry. If you eat slowly, your brain will start sending signals to stop eating at the right time.

Sorry this is so long, but it's important information, so save this email to refer back to later on. Please let your coaches know if you have any questions. You're all doing an amazing job and we are very impressed with your progress!

coach Christine

Additional Reading:

20 Best Weight Loss Foods,7120,s6-242-304-312-2193-0,00.html

Best Foods for Runners

5 Smart Eating Rules for Runners

Runners' Tips for Weight Loss

When it comes to long-distance running, there are no stupid or embarrassing questions. And, of course, you should know by now that your coaches are here to help you with ALL of your concerns and questions. However, we realize there are some topics that some of you may be a little shy about. So here are answers to some common questions that you may have been too embarrassed to ask:

Q: I've heard that some runners' toenails fall off after they run a marathon. Gross! Is that true?

A: Yes, it can happen. It's caused by constant rubbing of your toe against the front of your shoe. First, the toenail appears blackened (caused by bruising under the nail), and then it eventually falls off. But it's not as bad as it sounds! Your toenail will not fall off until another has started growing underneath it. (Ladies, you will still be able to put nail polish on the new nail. Just be prepared for the looks of horror from the ladies at the nail salon.)

To prevent this problem altogether, make sure that you are wearing the correct sneaker size (at least 1/2 size bigger than your street size; you should have plenty of room in the toebox), trim your toenails regularly, and keep your foot dry for as long as possible during your long runs (i.e., wear good wicking socks - not cotton).

More: Can I Still Get Pedicures?

Q: Is it true that I might lose control of my bowels during my race?

A: This is one of those running myths that is spread by people who never have run a marathon. Although it has happened in a few rare cases, you shouldn't be worried about it. In most cases, you'll be very aware when you have to make a pit stop. And that brings us to our next question...

Q: I've been bothered with diarrhea during some of the longer runs. Is there anything I can do about it? What if this happens during the race?

Don’t be embarrassed about this one – trust me, it’s very common. In fact, research has shown that running keeps you so “regular” that we actually have a lower incidence of colon cancer than non-runners! Some runners do experience gastrointestinal disorders or diarrhea during long runs. The cause may be dietary in nature or due to lack of blood flow during digestion (since the blood is being pulled to your muscles).

This issue is more common in novice runners, so it may disappear as you become more fit. It helps to avoid high-fiber foods (fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains) and coffee/tea before working out, stay hydrated, and consume a sports drink (like Gatorade) during long runs to maintain electrolyte levels. Make sure you don't eat at least two hours before running, so you have time to digest. Before running, choose foods that are naturally binding, such as bananas, plain bagels, rice, oatmeal and pasta.

It's comforting to know where you can make a pit stop during a long run. Plan your long runs along routes where you know bathrooms are accessible. In Central Park, there are bathrooms at Bethesda, The Boathouse, Tavern on the Green, the tennis courts, Lasker Pool and the theater. Ask your teammates, mentors, or coaches if you're not sure where the bathrooms are or which ones are open.

It also doesn’t hurt to carry some spare toilet paper in your pocket or fuel belt in case of emergency. (Once you’ve been a runner for long enough, you’ll definitely have at least one story about making a pit stop in the woods!)

If you face this problem on race day, don't worry. There are plenty of port-a-johns at the start and along the race course. You'll be able to easily see (and maybe smell!) them along the course. In most cases, you can find them near the water stops.

Here's an article that has some more tips on this issue:

Q: I've had problems with a leaky bladder during some of my runs. How can I prevent that?

Female runners sometimes have problems with urinary incontinence, especially if they've given birth. Men can leak urine too, but the problem is more common in women. The leakage can be minor -- just a trickle -- or a full stream.

When your pelvic and sphincter muscles are strong, they can handle the extra pressure from running. But when those muscles become stretched and weak – which often happens as a result of pregnancy and childbirth -- the pressure of exercise can push urine out of the bladder.
An effective treatment for incontinence, Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and don’t require any equipment. To locate the right muscles, try stopping or slowing your urine flow without using your stomach, leg or butt muscles. When you're able to slow or stop the stream of urine, you've located the right muscles. Contract the muscles for 10 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times. Try to do the pattern three to four times a day. After about six to eight weeks, you should notice that you have fewer leaks and more bladder control.

Extra body weight also puts extra pressure on your bladder. By losing weight, you may be able to relieve some of that pressure and regain your bladder control. If these measures don’t work, talk to your doctor about other treatments for incontinence.

Q: My running clothes seem to still smell even after I wash them. Is there a way to remove that stench?

Technical fabrics are great for running because they wick away your sweat but, unfortunately, bacteria (which causes the smell) gets trapped in the fibers and can be hard to get out. Here are a couple of tricks that work:
- Using baking soda helps. Pre-soak your clothes in a solution of water and Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (or just use water and a cup of baking soda). You can use the pre-soak setting on the washing machine or do it in a separate container. Then wash and use Arm and Hammer laundry detergent. - Try using a special detergent formulated for technical wear, such as Penguin Wash:

Q: I've noticed that my back has been breaking out since I started training. What can I do about that?

Acne on the upper back, chest, upper arms is a common issue for runners, especially women. The cause is pore-clogging sweat combined with friction from rubbing clothes. If you're wearing make-up or sunscreen, that can exacerbate the problem.

To prevent exercise-induced acne, you should change out of sweaty exercise clothes after running, and shower as soon as possible. Make sure you cleanse acne-prone areas thoroughly. Try to avoid wearing make-up during exercise. If you need to wear sunscreen (during your race you will probably need it!), opt for an oil-free one that's formulated for the face and neck. Choose a sunscreen gel (instead of a cream-based lotion) for the rest of your body.

Q: Watching a marathon, I saw a man cross the finish line with bloody nipples. Ouch! How do I avoid that?

When men run, their nipples are constantly rubbing against their shirt. Over the course of a couple of hours, this sensitive area can be rubbed to the point of bleeding. Some men learn the hard way how painful it can be, but it's actually very easy to avoid that problem. Generously apply a lubricant like Vaseline or Body Glide to the nipple area before a long run and you should be fine. Some men like to use Nip Guards, which are like band-aids for your nipples. Also, for longer runs, make sure that you wear a synthetic-material (Dri-Fit, not cotton) shirt closest to your body. Cotton shirts will cause chafing.

Because women wear tight-fitting sports bras, this shouldn't be an issue for them (just make sure it's a non-cotton sports bra).

For longer runs, both men and women should also apply Body Glide or Vaseline to any areas where there may be rubbing (inner thighs, under arms) to avoid chafing.

More on chafing prevention products:

Q: What kind of underwear should I wear when running?

The "synthetic material/no cotton" rule also applies to underwear. Make sure you wear tight-fitting, non-cotton underwear so any moisture is wicked away and you avoid chafing.

Some running shorts do have "built-in" underwear. Yes, it is perfectly fine to wear just these shorts -- you don't have to wear another pair of underwear underneath them. Some runners, especially men, prefer to wear spandex under their shorts instead of underwear -- this is also perfectly fine. It's really a matter of personal preference, so you just have to figure out what works for you.

Just remember: When we say "nothing new on race day", this includes underwear, so make sure you are trying out your underwear (and sports bra, ladies) during your Saturday long runs and keeping track of which ones are comfortable.

Check out these recommendations for underwear:,7120,s6-240-320--11434-0,00.html?cm_mmc=Extra%20NL-_-2007_02_06-_-Gear-_-Under%20Achievers

Ladies, if you're having trouble finding the right sports bra, check out these recommendations and shopping tips from Runner's World:,7120,sssss6-240-320--8269-1-2X4-3,00.html

Q: For the ladies: What if I have my period on race day?

The good news is that it will have limited impact on your performance. In fact, women have run well and even set records during all phases of the menstrual cycle. You may find that running can actually improve your mood and alleviate physical symptoms before and during your period. Just make sure you carry an extra tampon on your long runs during that time of the month. Yes, tampons are highly recommended over pads for comfort and to avoid chafing. Don't avoid running when you have your period. Doing it now will help you feel less anxiety if you do end up having it on race day.

Hope that helps. Please feel free to contact your coaches with any other "embarrassing" questions. Chances are we've heard it before! If nothing else, this should all make for good conversation during your long runs!!

Coach Christine

Raining again!

Yesterday evening, I found myself with an hour and a half to kill between seeing my trainer, and working at the theater. Despite how much I complain and moan, I know I really do love running when I spend this time sitting in the running section at borders contemplating which and how many marathon books I should buy 
(I actually didn’t buy any. I’m cheap. But I am very exciting about “A Race Like No Other” which takes the reader through the history and course of the New York City Marathon)

This weekend’s run- Since I didn’t sign up for the 4-mile race in Central Park in time (oops), I followed the advanced schedule by running 10 miles Saturday morning with my friend Lauren. I have been running with her ever since we started training for the Disney World Marathon together. Ever since she’s become a speed demon, I have found it difficult to keep up. Saturday, however, she was nice and we kept the pace slow for our 10 miles on the Hudson River Path. She even provided me with extra Gu's (nutrition for runners).

My crazy coach Ramon ran a 100 mile race on Saturday! (He actually took a wrong turn and ended up running 101 miles. What an overachiever! The race went well and he is recovering nicely. What an inspiration to us all.

I have recently become very interested in nutrition- not only what will help fuel my runs, but what will make me feel good. Being a brass player, I have had my fair share of BBQ and late night Philly Cheese Steak runs. Although I have been told I could be a competitive eater (you would be amazed), and have a very strong stomach, these additions to my diet do not make me feel good. I am trying to work on cutting out dairy products and red meat. I have also been experimenting with vegetable juices (from juice bars) and organic/vegan type foods. One of my favorite healthy places in midtown to grab lunch is called “Green Symphony.” They have an AMAZING buffet, although I usually over-do it and end up spending way too much money. I also love their sandwiches and smoothies (I’m obsessed with the “Ginger Snap”- then again, I’m obsessed with anything ginger. Every time I read a cocktail menu my eye immediately scans it for anything ginger).

I don’t follow my dietary restrictions when I go out for special occasions. I consider myself quite a foodie and often read menus and restaurant reviews as my preferred reading material. Last week, my aunt Mary (a favorite dining partner) and I tried a hole in the wall wine and cheese bar on 56th and 9th called “Kashkaval.” This was a recommendation from my friend Nick (who is also quite the food appreciator- we have been attempting to visit every BYOB restaurant in New York. More about that later). Kashkaval used to be a meat and cheese store, but they expanded into a restaurant in the back with an extensive wine menu, and a food menu with highlights including cheese fondue, cheese/meat plates, and a tapas menu consisting of different types of hummus and spreads. Mary and I ordered a salad with goat cheese and chicken and the 5 tapas sampler with unlimited pita bread. We chose a spicy walnut spread, guacamole, Tzatziki, eggplant carbonara, and artichoke spread. It was so filling, we couldn't finish half of it! (Which is saying a LOT for me). Overall, highly recommended. Maybe the service could have been a bit more attentive. Next restaurant I am going to try- Blossom, a vegan restaurant on 82nd and Columbus.

Workout tonight- 4 loops of the bridle path (1.6 miles). 1st loop= warm up. 2nd loop= HARD (85% effort...ouch). 3rd and 4th loop- recover for .5 miles and HARD for the rest. This one's going to be a doozy...and in the rain no less!!!

Happy Tuessday :-)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

workout routines!

It's been a week of beautiful weather in Manhattan!

Since Last week, I have organized my workout schedule to a very specific day to day routine. Whether I will stick to that, well thats another story.

Monday: Run in morning; strength training with trainer in afternoon

Tuesday: Weekly speed training session with Team in Training

Wednsday: Bikram Yoga

Thursday: Run in morning, see trainer in the afternoon

Friday: Bikram Yoga

Saturday: Long run in the park with Team in Training

Sunday: Bikram Yoga

That may seem like a lot of yoga, but since I have an unlimited package (and I like to get my money's worth), and I feel like it speeds up recovery for my runs and strength sessions, it seems like a good idea to disperse it throughout the week.

This past Saturday, we had our weekly long run in the park with team in training. The advanced group was scheduled for a 12 mile run; twice around the full 6 mile loop in the park (including the dreaded harlem hill, an area of the park I try to avoid as often as possible). I guess the killer hill workout we had Tuesday helped, because I had no trouble on Harlem hill! (well, not much trouble anyway). I guess hills are the secret!

This Tuesday we had a much simpler workout scheduled. 6 mile tempo run (including Harlem Hill). Although I feel myself improving, I don't think I push myself as hard as I can. And I don't think I run enough during the week.

Tomorrow will be a 10-miler in the park. I think I may be running alone for this one, as the team is running a 4 mile race in the park that morning and I waited too long to sign up (oops...). I am not heartbroken about that. I have run 12 races so far this year, so I am pretty sick of racing at this point. I'll save up my race energy/excitement for my next race, which is the NYC half marathon on august 16th! Come cheer me on!!

The next new workout I'm really excited to try out is called "Strip Xpertease." While this sounds wildly inappropriate, it's not really about stripper training. Just getting a hardcore workout (in stripper heals). I'm going with the girls on Wednesday, I'll let you know what I think!

Off to go relax in the park!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Salty Sweating!

After having rain nearly every day for the month of June, it was very refreshing to have a clear, beautiful Fourth of July weekend. I have been feeling a bit under the weather since last Tuesday (running in the rain may have had something to do with it...). In fact, for the first time in 2 years of working out, I took 2 days in a row off. Mentally, that was pretty hard for me to do. But since I live in New York and spend a lot of time on my feet, that is okay right?

I was saving up enough energy for my Saturday morning run with Team in Training. The scheduled run was a little different than usual. Usually, we base our distances on mileage, not time, but this time, we broke off into groups of 80 min, 100 min, and 120 min runs. I chose to run for 120 minutes (because I'm crazy and sick! I had to make up for a few days!). Unfortunately, our pace coach misunderstood the workout, because we ended up doing a much shorter workout. According to a running partner's Garmin, we only ended up running about 9 miles (which is fine. I probably shouldn't have been pushing myself too hard anyway).

Instead of running in Central Park like usual, we broke the monotony and headed and headed over to the path by the westside highway! It was a beautiful run, we were right by the water and the course was nice and FLAT. There were also a ton of cops out getting the course ready for the fireworks that evening. As we ran, a few of my running buddies pointed out their apartments across the river in Jersey, in prime locations for the fireworks. Although I didn't get as central a view of the fireworks, I had a great time at the BBQ I attended :-)

I also learned from Saturday's run that I am a very salty sweater! I never sweat like this in cooler weather. I could have done a lot of face-exfoliating with all the salt residue covering my skin. This means I need to take a lot of extra electrolytes. I like using the Emergen-C packets you add to water (usually use these for bikram yoga) , and I love the Zico coconut waters as a natural form of electrolytes. Adding extra salt to my diet doesn't hurt either. It is VERY important especially in this hot weather to take in these extra electrolytes. During the Disney Marathon, we even did multiple "salt shots" the day before and on race day (we would steal salt packets from the cafeteria and swallow them with water. not tequila). This helps us to retain the water we drink and stay hydrated during and after runs.

Speaking of Bikram Yoga: I have been practicing it on and off for 2 years. My friends have always thought I was crazy; to submit myself to a 110 degree room for 90 minutes. Recently, I have encouraged some of my girlfriends to try it and see what all the fuss is about. I could never have imagined the response I got from them! They LOVE it!! Mind you, I do enjoy it. I love the feeling of the release of toxins and pushing my body to the next level. My flexibility and balance have improved, and I think I have a little more control of my mind. Not to mention it is an AWESOME and easy hangover cure :-) But I would never predict the obsession my friends have developed! Maybe everyone should try it! Anway, I have been practicing bikram about twice a week recently, and I feel it complements my running well, especially when I need recovery. After a particularly brutal 20 miler towards the end of last marathon season, I started my one week of unlimited classes at the Bikram studio on 145th st. It really quicked my recovery, and I still felt lke I was getting a good workout.

Our workout Tuesday was brutal! It was a beautiful evening, perfect for a run in the park. The advanced was scheduled for our first hill workout (post-poned from the week before when we were rained out). We ran on the trails within the park this time, from around 73rd street to 86th street. This strip consisted of 2 hills, a smaller one to "warm up" with, and then a big one to really use our energy on. When we got to the reservoir at 86th street, we'd recover down both hills and then start again! Aren't hill repeats fun....

The approach to the workout was to conserve energy- really go for it, but save enough energy on the first hill so we could really perform on the second (and Ramon was right there at the beginning of the 2nd hill to make sure we didn't cheat).

Ramon gave us a length speech at the beginning of the workout making it clear that this is the time in our training where we need to build strength. We are allowed to experiment, and maybe push it a little too hard at times, because that is how we learn what our body can handle and build strength and speed in the process. The endurance will come later. We need to get our bodies used to producing lactic acid in large amounts so that the body can get used to removing it quickly. (Lactic acid is produced during cardio activity, and when the activity gets too strenuous, the body has a hard time removing that lactic acid at a quick rate, which results in that sluggish/unmoveable feeling in the legs). This is the time in the season where we have to train that lactic acid to have a faster turnover of the lactic acid. Basically, we just have to try and run through the pain.

Sounds fun, right?

After our intense hill practice, I met my mentor buddy Tammy and a few of her mentees for a drink, ran over to Patsy's and slammed a few slices of pizza with a group of TNTers, showered, changed, and headed out for a night with the girls! We went to this beautiful wine bar, called "Wine and Roses" on Columbus between 73rd and 74th. The owner happened to be at the table next to us and thought we were precious, so she took our picture with promises that she would add it to the website. I'll keep you posted on our celebrity status when the pictures go up!