Tuesday's Tip - March 31st

To be fair, it seems that this quote is incorrectly attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Regardless, I think there are lessons to be gleaned - all along the lines of the good old proverb:
Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”"- author unknown.

How to Cure the Hiccups

It's that time of year again - the circumstances in my life force me to get extraordinarily creative when it comes to programming and scheduling workouts. I am currently working 7 days a week, upwards of 12 hours at a time. Due to the (most appreciated) generosity of my employers, I can generally run out to the gym to train or to the park to run. It's quick, but it serves to keep me sane. However, even the best routines can become problematic.

The Hiccup - We're down one employee here in the office for the next few days. While I'm sure I can still run out to the gym without garnering any disapproving looks - I just wouldn't feel right. For one thing, everyone else will still be here plugging away. For another, all my work will still be here waiting for me, PLUS the work I'd generally be handing to the missing employee. So, for all intents and purposes - my workload has increased for the foreseeable future. Work with a specific (and tight) deadline.

The Compromise - No more than one trip out of the office per day.

The Solution -
  • :10 - :20 static holds at the top of the pull-up position (potty pull-ups)
  • 1 set of push-ups each bathroom trip (10 the first trip, increasing by 1 each additional trip)
  • 100 squats and sit-ups (not for time) upon returning home
It's not Fight Gone Bad, Yasso 800s or Max Deadlifts. But it's something. And for now, it will have to do.

100 reasons I Run, #95

  • Opening up Ultrarunning magazine, reading the race reports and recognizing multiple names in the majority of the Eastern Seaboard race results.
You (and you know who you are) all rock. See you out there soon!

Sexercising Tanorexics

A while back, I was perusing a friend's blog (she's uber funny and snarky, which is probably why I think she's so freaking hilarious). She'd written about exercise, and the amusement to be found when one lets go of the Ipod (accidentally leaving it at home) and just looks around at all the fellow worker-outers.

Good stuff.

Even funnier when a week or so later I come to find out she's referring to MY gym.

Check out the original blog post here, on Kimmy in the City.

A reminder to us all - you never know who's watching (and writing).

NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge, 4M

Another weekend, another race recap! Now this is what I'm talking about :)

Yesterday, I ran the annual NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge. I had been registered for the 15k, but opted instead for the 4M race, as I am still not quite 100%. Let me tell you - as much as I love ultra events, there is something to be said for short, sweet and speedy (well, relatively so). I ran it in 35:53, for an 8:58 mm pace. My previous PR at this distance was an 8:11 mm pace, so I was definitely slow. But I kept the entire race very consistent (as always slowing down considerably in the 3rd mile - that 102nd street transverse and then south along the west side gets me every time). While it was far from effortless, it was fun. I definitely had plenty more in me, but I opted not to go all out since I'm not sure right now just how quickly I can recover.

The weather was perfect - crisp and chilly at the start, warming up by the finish. A nice, small turnout for the 4M - no traffic jams, or errant elbows. All in all, it was a great way to start my day. Especially considering that the rest of it was spent at my desk :)

The next race on my schedule is the City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks 4M on April 5th. 10 days from the end of tax season - I'm going to hope to better yesterday's time, but in actuality I'll be lucky if I can string two words together by that point :)

Food Find, March 20th

It's amazing the things one comes across...

Scanwiches. Scans of Sandwiches for Education and Delight.
(warning, this is not a Paleo friendly link)

As there are multiple sandwich options per day, I assume (hope) that this is a collaborative effort amongst co-workers, rather than the visual food log of just one person.

I am particularly impressed with the clarity of the images.

Curiously, I find that I am also hungry.

Hmm. I wonder who cleans the scanner?

Potty Pull-Up

In the pursuit of fitness, there are no wasted moments - only wasted opportunities!

Next time you hit the head, work on your pull-up!
  • Using either the door or side wall of a bathroom stall, grab hold of the upper edge.
  • Either jump to the top position or (if you can) pull yourself up.
  • Hold for a 10 count.
  • Carefully lower or drop to the floor.
  • Increase the amount of time you hold the top position each day.
Repeat as often as your bladder requires.

A word of caution - please be careful and make sure that the adjacent stall is empty. It will be very difficult to convince someone that you're working on your pull-up skills and are not, in fact, a pervert.

Side A

I miss cassette tapes. There was something so active about having to flip the cassette over, or queuing it up to your favorite song. Having to sit by the radio to catch your favorite song to record (and filling the space between with your own disc jockey banter). Music today is so automated - it's like an unending buzz, forever looping in the background. Shuffle. Repeat One. Repeat All.

In college and earlier theatrical contracts, I had a hand held cassette recorder that I used to record my vocal lines or accompaniment. Whenever possible, I would note down the starting location of each song so that I could find it easily. If I didn't, it would mean constantly hitting fast forward. Stopping. Playing. Trying to find my place. Or worse, listening to the entire tape until I found the song I wanted. Eventually, I got impatient - I would hold down the play and fast forward button, listening to the high pitched squeal of the music and wait for the next break (indicating a new "track").

Not only does that sound eerily echo fingernails on chalkboard, but in the end it wreaks havoc on the tape. Stretches it out. Trashes it beyond the point where tying the broken pieces together and re-rolling it even works. It's really not an advisable course of action.

Fast forward to today (OK, that was pitiful). After months of little to no real running, I'm back at it. And it sucks. I mean really sucks. What is awful for me is not the running itself - it doesn't hurt, I don't hate it. It's just slow. Deliberate. Unfamiliar. I want so desperately to jump back in where I left off. Tie my sneakers and head out for a few hours. Line up for a race and shoot for a PR.

But in running there is no "Play + Fast Forward = Squeal". If you try to jump in where you left off, you'll wind up either incredibly disappointed and disillusioned, or worse - hurt. Stretched to the point of breaking, just like the cassette tape, with no quick fix and re-roll to make you play like new again.

You don't need to start at the very beginning. But you will need to press play, listen for a bit to what your body tells you, and fast forward those few times where you can. It will be a much quicker return to your norm if you take your time and treat yourself with the care I know I never showed my cassette tapes.

Oh, and try not to leave yourself laying around on the dashboard in a hot car....

Tuesday's Tip - March 17th

"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go." - William Feather
The above sentiment illustrates what I feel singles out great endurance runners. It's the determination to keep moving forward, no matter the discomfort (OK, pain!).

Left foot, right foot. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

NYRR 8000m - "race" report

On Saturday, I made my triumphant return to racing.

Sort of :)

The NYRR 8K was the first race of 2009 for me. In prior years, I'd have run 5-7 NYRR races by this point. Last year I had run 5 of the NYRR races as well as 2 50K by mid-March. But this year, the NYRR 8K would serve as the first race of the season. Of course, to call it a race would be an overstatement of massive proportions.

It was, in the simplest sense, a 4.97 mile conversation with a friend.

The weather was crisp and chill. The race, while sold out, was a very manageable size. The course was a simple almost 5 mile loop around Central Park (going in my favorite direction). I ran with no eye on the clock - turned my watch on as we crossed the starting mats, and didn't look at it again until crossing the finish line.

It was 1.5 minutes per mile slower than my norm for that distance. It was far slower than I'd hoped to be at this point in the year, slower still than most of my friends' times.

But it was light years faster than standing still.

Happy Anniversary

Edited to state: After going over my records, my first day of Elements was actually March 18th, 2008. This is what I get for assuming Gillian had her dates straight :) I did, however, take my first beginner's class with Josh Newman on March 12th, 2008. Registered (and paid) for Elements on March 12th, 2008. But the actual FIRST day of Elements with Keith Wittenstein was on Tuesday March 18th, 2008 and met for 2x a week until April 10th, 2008.


March 13th, 2008 - The first day of my Elements cycle at CrossFit NYC.

I came to CrossFit the way many do: with a healthy portion of word-of-mouth and just a sprinkling of self-masochism thrown in for flavor. I'd first been introduced to CrossFit through posts in the UltraRunning community, and my interest was piqued. I found the local NYC affiliate (right down the street from my office), and took a break from work to hit up their free beginner's class.

I signed up for Elements later that evening.

And so I find myself sitting here, reflecting back on a year of CrossFit. Surprisingly enough, it's a pretty difficult task. On one hand, CrossFit is not the beginning and the end of me. On the other, it has become a very large part of what I do. To say that it has changed my life would be accurate, but deceiving.

When I came to CrossFit last year, I was running. A lot. I had run a 50k in January (on a whim), and had done maybe 1 or 2 more by the time I began Elements. I continued to run a bit in the gym during Elements (generally getting a few miles in before we started) while running NYRR races on the weekend. Two days after Elements ended, I ran another 50k (the race report was the impetus for this blog, actually). The following month (May 2008), 2 more. Over the summer, I continued to run and CrossFit. Trying to fit them both into my schedule was tough - and ultimately I failed terribly at that. Long story short, the balance between training and running slowly became very skewed towards training. I managed to eek out minimal training for the NYC marathon (including running another marathon as a training run), after which my running slowed down to a trickle. But that's an entirely different discussion for another time :)

While my running was being sorely neglected, CrossFit was flourishing. I went for my Level 1 Certification in August, road tripping to VA with 3 of my friends from Elements. Continuing to train regularly in the early mornings, I was getting stronger, my training was focused and most of all I was having fun.

I was also gaining weight, fighting with my boyfriend, and getting increasingly depressed about the lack of running I was doing.

And here lies the crux of the problem. CrossFit can become so all-consuming that you lose sight of everything else. Early morning workouts meant getting out of the house before my boyfriend even woke up. Getting home too tired to go for a run. On the diet front, CrossFit bombards you with so many nutritional resources that your head spins. The Zone, Paleo, Neo-Paleo, Primal, IF....I started tweaking an already clean, measured diet while at the same time my running had a severe drop off and as a result not only did I gain weight, but I was completely mental about food (ew, Gluten!).

As the year closes, most all of the above issues have been resolved. I train with a friend mid-day at a globo gym very close to my office, so the boyfriend and I have more time. I've gone back to eating the way I always did, and slowly my weight is returning to normal. The only thing that remains is getting back to running at something close to the volume and speed I was running in '07/early '08.

But the thing that really stands out as the greatest benefit? My friends. Forged in Elements and sheathed in sweat. Though we don't always train together, we are stronger - together.

My girls.
Lisa V. and Gillian M.

You'll have to just imagine Dan, since he's taking the picture :)

Oh yeah, did I mention that I have some pretty rockin' muscles?

100 reasons I Run, #96

  • Gummi Bears. Sitting in a bowl at an aid station, preferably before they've been melted by the sun.

Here's Lookin' at You, Kid

The internet is a wild resource - especially things like Facebook. One simple click, and virtually everyone you know is right there, at your fingertips. For better or for worse, the internet has made us all incredibly accessible.

I will admit that Facebook is usually open in a tab on my computer all day while at work. As a result I've been a bit more connected to a lot of the peripheral people in my life - the people I worked with once or twice, met through friends or on online forums. People with whom I have significant amount of things in common, even if geographically we're far apart.

As I browsed through my friends, I noticed one glaringly similar attribute about almost all of them - they're really attractive. I mean, some of them are downright phenominal looking. Truly.

Now, I can understand that about all of my theatre friends. We're in a business that rewards good looks to the point where it's almost a more important factor in your sucess than your talent. But my regular people friends (that's what I call my non-actor buds, making all of us theatre folk abnormal I guess)? What is it about all of them that contributes to this baseline gorgeousness? Am I petty? Was it in the water?


My normal people friends are all people I've met through sports.

Either running or CrossFit, most of my non-theatrical friends are all very active. So the question becomes, are attractive people drawn to sports, or is it simply that being involved in physical activity somehow brings out the ''pretty" in us?

I'm going to go with the latter - I think that when you find sporting activities you love to do, you want to do them well and feel good while doing them. So you clean up your diet, add some complimentary training regimes to gain strength, power and agility, and just generally take good care of yourself. Everyone has the potential to look good. Everyone. And I don't mean that in a purely physical sense, either - the underlying appeal really does come from within.

In the end, people who are active generally possess higher self-esteem (even though they are, at times, basket cases). That self-esteem is what I was "reading" as I looked through my Facebook friends.

*This is not to say that any of my non-theatrical, not sports-oriented friends are in any way unappealing. You're all beautiful, and you know it. I'm a very lucky girl.**

Tuesday's Tip - March 10th

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

Truer words, and all that.

Monsters and Mortals, Radio Daze

Gillian Mounsey on CrossFit Radio last Monday evening:

Episode 39 - CrossFit Radio

Stick it through past the abject adulation to hear her programming concepts. Very informative, great stuff and nothing but the truth.

And yes, she really does eat like that. So unfair :)

Food Find, March 6th

Today's food find isn't healthy. Nor is it a single food, per se, but rather a blog. Honestly, it's not much of a find - it's gotten plenty of link love since its inception. But it's entertaining, a little frightening and occasionally mouth watering.

The above is a blog that showcases gastrointestinal marvels of caloric excess. Some make me want to hurl, while others look incredibly appealing (hey, I'm not perfect).

In fact, it's given me more than a few brunch and dinner ideas :)

Time Keeps on Ticking

What can you do in 10 minutes?

Think about it. No, really - think. There is nothing you can't stomach doing for 10 measly minutes. Just 10 minutes. Not a lot in the grand scheme of your life, right?

There is a web site called FlyLady that deals with the pressures of keeping a clean home. She (the FlyLady) proposes setting a simple kitchen timer for 10 minutes, cleaning and then STOPPING when the timer is up. No matter how far along in your project you've come.
"Don't obsess, set your timer for 10 minutes for each task, then QUIT!"

How many times have we all neglected something we should do because we didn't feel we had enough time to devote to it? Personally, I've lost count - needless to say my home is full of clutter. Sad, but true.

Back to the kitchen timer: I will say it again, Brilliant. 10 measly minutes. Who can't manage that?

I decided to put the 10 minute rule to the test in the gym, and have applied it to my warm up for Met Con WODs that don't involve specialized barbell movements. I come out of the locker room and head over to the mats. Then I hit start on my watch and go for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes is over, so is my warm up. Simple.

Perfect, no. I don't always hit everything that I should. But I come pretty close. And that's a helluva lot better than the alternative - routinely neglecting a warm up due to the feeling that I just don't have the time.

10 minutes.

Come on, grab your timer.

3, 2, 1...Go!

100 reasons I Run, #97

  • The uncanny way that one streetlight always flickers and goes out EVERY time I run past it at 6 am. Creepy, but cool.

James Did It!

Warning: Shameless Plug Ahead

I just want to throw a little love out there to James Did It!, a design business owned and operated by the talented James Donegan. My brand spankin' new theatrical website is up and running thanks to James' infinite design talent and computer know-how.

But his talents don't begin and end with actors' web design! If you're in need of a logo, business cards, brochures and the various sundries that come with effectively branding your business, James Did It! can handle it all. You'll come away with a solid identity that will work for you and your business.

So click on over to James Did It! and see what he can do for you.