Great Space Coaster

The AbCircle. Really?
  • "It's as fun as riding a roller coaster"?
  • "Circular Force Technology"?
  • "Momentum of Gravity targets your midsection"?
  • "3 min is equivalent to 100 sit ups"?
  • "You burn fat faster"?
  • "10lbs in 2 weeks"?
  • "Remove the pin, and it becomes a thigh machine"?
  • "Take the ride of your life and get the body of your dreams"?
  • "Slices, dices and chops"?
OK, so the last claim is from a different infomercial, but I'm sure one day someone will tout an exercise contraption that gets rid of ring-around-the-collar as well. It's not a stretch.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. If that's the case then how do you explain the over abundance of crap masquerading as the next great fitness breakthrough? There are 6 pages of Fitness/Diet products at AsSeenOnTv.com. 6 pages that range from Billy Blanks DVDs to cleaning programs (a disgusting plethora) to the Power Plate whole body vibration exercise machine. It's mind-boggling. This is not to say that all of these items have no value - the Bosu Balance Trainer was seen by consumers on informercials before showing up in gyms, with trainers adding stabilization work in an unstable, controlled environment.

But for the most part, the only thing slimming down is the consumer's wallet.

A commercial showing people working hard, eating right and slowly making the healthy changes they've set out to accomplish? Now that's an infomercial I'd love to see. I'd gladly pay the S&H and the sales tax for residents of NYS. But you can't set a price on common sense, and you can't bottle determination.

Until then, I'll just keep reading, questioning and putting one foot in front of the other.

See you on the road and in the gym!

Daisy Duke

Yesterday, I saw something at the gym I'd never seen before.

A girl. In jeans. Working out.

OK, so she wasn't really working out. She was calmly spinning away on a stationary bike. But she was in tiny little cut offs. Denim.

Welcome to my gym :)

Circular Thought

Last night's track workout consisted of 4 x 200m (200m recovery), 2 x 4oom (400m recovery), 4 x 200m (2oom recovery). We were a large group, all varying abilities. The first set of 200m intervals went smoothly, but as we moved on to the 400m intervals, the slower runners (me) got lost in the recovery jogs. As a result, the remainder of the intervals began to occur in waves - ultimately I was timing myself on my watch, running my own workout. Not an ideal situation, but I wasn't going to push the recovery jogs in order to fit someone else's timetable.
I ran the intervals at a comfortably difficult (moderately uncomfortable pace). Last night was the first night we really felt any heat, and the humidity made it difficult to breathe during the recovery jogs (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I was unable to warm up, having arrived moments before the workout began). But I ran, and the intervals were moderately challenging.
As the very last 200m interval approached, I figured I'd give it all I had left in the tank. And I did. :44 a good 5 - 10 seconds faster than any of the previous attempts. It hurt. I could probably have gone faster if I were giving myself adequate recovery between intervals.
So, I either pushed entirely too hard or I am habitually not pushing hard enough.
Probably not much of a stretch to say that the latter explanation is most likely accurate.
I hate feeling icky. Now I have to weigh the icky of hard work against the icky of knowing I could be working harder.
Poopy.

100 Reasons I Run, #90

#90
  • It's the best way to shop for new (barely used) boxing gloves.

Seriously. Check this out:

Kitchen Art

I'm not much of a scrap-booker. I don't have a collection of Playbills from every show I've performed in. I don't have ticket stubs from all the concerts and shows I've seen. Nor do I have little snippets of tactile memories from the places I've traveled to.

But I do have every single bib from every race I've run. For a while, I put the race name, date and finishing time on the back in Sharpie. But eventually I abandoned that record keeping and just added them to the stack when I got home.

Layer upon layer of race bib sat upon my fridge - magnets were doubled in order to withstand the weight, safety pins jingled with every opening of the door.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I finally did what Mr. Diva has been asking me (quite nicely) to do for years. I took the race bibs down, and started to clean up the fridge that has been masquerading as a bulletin board.

Now to find them somewhere to live, other than the kitchen table (I'm sure that's not what Mr. Diva had in mind when he asked me to take them off of the fridge)...


Food Find, June 19th

While the recent weather (deluge) makes it difficult to remember that it is mere days until the start of summer, there are signs all around that winter is far behind us. The least of which is the plethora of gorgeous fruits and vegetables to be found at local farmer's markets. There are countless reasons why we should all strive to eat both seasonally and locally (check out the links below for more detailed information), but to me the most compelling reason of all is also the simplest: it tastes freakin' fantastic.



So whether you're a tree hugger, a bleeding heart liberal or a glutton (like myself) - do yourself a favor and base your meals around fresh, seasonal foods. Your belly will thank you :)

Whistle While You Work

Last night, I finally made it to summer track workouts with my local running club. Granted, at this point in my marathon training I shouldn't be doing speed work, but I went regardless.

And I am stating this right here - out in public:

  • If I do not get my arse there every single Wednesday evening, you all have permission to flame me.
Aside from getting in some much needed mileage and time on my feet, participating in an organized track workout gives my weekly running schedule structure. It acts as a pivot point, or an anchor from which I can construct the rest of my week. For example, since I know that I will run speed on Wednesdays, I make sure that Tuesday and Thursday are easier, lighter days. Which in turn forces me to crank out those longer, more difficult runs on Mondays. Because if I don't do it Monday, I can't do it again without throwing everything out of whack.

Which is not to say that I've abandoned my flexibility mantra - it's still there. But when working with a specific program, the parameters have to be defined. I can move around runs as I need to, but it has to be within reason and whatever I substitute should ideally fit a specific training objective.

In order to run stronger, I need to run smarter.

See you at the finish line!

Potty Mouth

Let me tell you, drinking upwards of 80 ounces of water while sitting in an overly air conditioned office is pure, unadulterated torture.

But, oh how I love my Klean Kanteen water bottle. 40 oz of pretty pink stainless steel - keeps water delightfully cold, and it's one itty bitty step towards a greener tomorrow (OK, so it's probably the only thing that I do that is environmentally friendly).

Drink two, and call me in the morning!

Sidle up to the Balance Bar

If you visit the CrossFit main site with any regularity, you'll see all sorts of athletic monsters. Men and women who achieve things that you and I can only dream of accomplishing.

But, contrary to popular belief, these people you see are not the monsters. They are not the beasts.

The true superstars of athleticism, sport, strength and CrossFit are the men and women who hold full time jobs, who have families to care for and full lives beyond Fran and the CrossFit total.

It is to these individuals that I dedicate today's post. You are my heroes, and from you I hope to learn the enviable talent of balance.

Food Find, June 12th

If you cook it, they'll put it on a stick. Really. On a stick.

Stick it up your *&@%

Some of them are even Paleo/Primal friendly.

I'm still somewhat frightened.

Anyone up for a road trip?

Infidelity

I'm a woman divided. Torn between two loves, one steadfast and true, the other new and exciting. Does my desire for the new have to diminish my love for the old? Is it not possible for them both to exist in my heart equally?

This July will mark my 4th full year running. In 2005, I ran my very first 5K race and never looked back. I had always been a gym-goer, but my workouts were unfocused. With running came the structure I so sorely needed - I kept a running log, tracked my mileage and watched my race times get faster and faster. I conquered new distances and found within myself a strength I never knew existed. While I realized that I would never win a race, I reveled in the knowledge that for once, what I would get out of something was directly proportionate to what I put in. If I did the work I'd get the reward. I was in love.

And then I discovered the amazing joy that comes from lifting something really, really heavy. Over and over again, heavier and heavier, until your body turns to goo and rebels on what seems to be a cellular level. Covered in sweat with muscles vibrating from the effort you've just expended, and relishing every minute of it. And amazingly enough, I found that I was somewhat good at it. That, given enough time and effort, I could actually be competitive should I so desire. And I do desire - hard work doesn't scare me, and the idea of flourishing and excelling and (yes, I'll admit it) winning something is incredibly attractive.

I want them both. I want to get faster and stronger. I want to run ultras and pull a triple body weight dead lift. I want to reach my genetic potential for VO2 max and natural muscle development. I want to have my cake and eat it too.

But at every turn I'm told that I can't. People much smarter than I tell me that it's impossible, that I will not be able to excel in both of them - that one of them will have to go, be relegated to an accessory activity. They back it up with scientific mumbo jumbo. I believe them on an intellectual level, but my heart just won't listen.

So here I stand, a woman facing an age old dilemma - which suitor do I choose? They both court me with passion and determination. They both make my heart race and my body hum. Neither is perfect, everything comes with a trade off. But if I made a list of pros and cons, they'd both come out equal.

Is it so bad to want it all? To want an open relationship of sorts?

For now, I'm going try. I'll live my life in duality, and see if I can't prove them all wrong. So if you see me out lifting, do me a favor and don't tell my running sneakers - I have a feeling they just won't understand.

You've Got A Friend

Last night, I was talking with Mr. Diva and I mentioned some tattoos that a friend of mine has. Out of the blue, Mr. Diva commented on how strange he thinks it is that I refer to certain people as "friends", since I've only seen them (in real life) once or twice.

Hmmm.

I stopped and took stock.

"Friend" is somewhat of a catch-all, a descriptive term that is short, concise and easily understood. "Person I met through another person" is clunky, "fellow employee" and "guy from my gym who I talk to every morning" are just bizarre. So yes, I do refer to most people as my friend.

But truth be told, the majority of my friends are people that I have little physical contact with. Most of them are people who've moved away, or whom I've worked with out of town. But a large portion of them are people whom I've met once. Maybe twice. Women I've met online as we all dealt with managing our weight. Runners I've met online and then ran a race or two with. People I've met at certifications who become a part of my day to day life, people I turn to with questions and concerns about training - and anything else that comes to mind.

These are people who share my interests. We have common goals, aspirations. They understand the difficulties of juggling real life and family obligations with the demands of our athletic pursuits.

They are my friends, and I'm grateful to have met each and every one of them.

In an ideal world, the people I connect with so strongly would all live nearby. We'd be able to train together, run together, meet for coffee and maybe grab a movie. But until then, I will text them, email them and respond to their forum threads online.

So, yes - regardless of the accumulated face time, they are my friends. Besides, "acquaintances" is entirely too long and sounds presumptuous and weird :)

Tuesday's Tip, June 9th

"A rounded tablespoon of Peanut Butter is not, in fact, a tablespoon. Particularly when it comes to the practice of calorie counting and food journalling." - Your's Truly.
Burp.

The More You Know

Anyone remember those PSAs that ran on NBC back in the day? They aired in the 80's, starring the big TV stars of the moment and were always cheesy (in a fun way).

Well, I always want to know more. But as time goes by I am finding that the more I know, the more I realize I don't know!

This past weekend I attended a 2 day certification course to become an RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) Certified Adult Running Coach. The first day focused on the nuts and bolts, the physiological and psychological aspects of running. The second day we split into groups and were given the opportunity to actually build a half marathon training program for a hypothetical runner. Once they were completed, we examined each plan and identified the strong points as well as what could be improved upon.

After 16 hours of incredibly concentrated information, I came away with one really big lesson:

I know nothing :)

But boy am I hungry for more!

I'm currently browing catalogs and websites for workshops and seminars in nutrition, holistic health, personal training - you name it and I'm probably looking into it. In an ideal world, I'd go back to school for a degree in exercise physiology or sports nutrition. But that ship has passed, so I will have to console myself with books, articles, seminars and certifications. I may not always agree with what's being taught (though that's my favorite kind of seminar to go to), but I'm always intrigued by something.

Be a sponge and keep an open mind. You may just learn something.

Food Find, June 5th

Warning. Clicking on the following link will take you to a website that is filled with porn. Glorious, gorgeous Food Porn. Chocolate cakes, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Pound Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Ice Cream, Peanut Candies, Brownies, Chocolate Pie, Creme Eggs...the list goes on and on.

But the beauty of these recipes goes more than skin deep (or chocolaty-coating-deep). The recipes you'll find on this site are gluten-free, sugar-free and all natural.

So if you've gone Primal, reverted to your Paleo roots or are looking for wholesome versions of your favorite foods - head on over and get your drool on!


And you thought you couldn't have your cake and eat it too!

Rain Check

Yesterday, I took the early express bus home in order to hit the track for a much needed speed workout. As my bus traveled from NYC to my home, the skies darkened and rain clouds loomed in the distance. Somewhere in New Jersey, the threat became reality and the view from my seat window was blurred with rain.

It was still raining as I walked from the bus to my front door. The dog reluctantly went out to take care of business, but had no desire to linger. I settled in for an early evening snack, looked at the downpour, and called my running buddy to find out what she wanted to do - run in circles in the rain, or opt out.

When she called me back, it was cool and misty outside. Track practice was called for 7 pm a few towns over. We hemmed and hawed. Accuweather.com showed thunderstorms all evening. Do we head to the track and chance it?

I'm sure you can predict where this is going. We did not go to track practice. It did not rain again, either.

So the question is - did I make the smarter, logical choice? Or was I looking for an excuse to get out of a planned workout?

National Running Day

























Today, June 3rd, is the inaugural National Running Day.

What are you waiting for? Lace up your sneakers (or put on your Vibram Five Fingers, whatever your pleasure) and go for a run! If you're not a runner (yet), go for a brisk walk and think about giving the Couch to 5K program a whirl. Not sure just how to start? Drop me a line, and I'll be happy to get you going, one step at a time.

I promise you won't regret it.

Tuesday's Tip, June 2nd

"Feel the fear and do it anyway." - Susan Jeffers
On a side note - if you engage in a sport that requires, or even suggests, safety gear: do yourself a favor and gear up.
G3 wants to give a shout out to Melanie Kann, and congratulate her on her strong sub-2 hr finish in Saturday's Brooklyn Half Marathon!

Race report of my own (longer than 2 hr) experience in Brooklyn to follow later today.