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:
NOTE: DUE TO THE EXPECTED WEATHER, I AM MAKING A COUPLE OF CHANGES TO THIS WEEK'S WORKOUT
(you see, I do have a soft side and do have a heart )
MEETING SPOT: URBAN ATHLETICS AT 6:35 PM
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.