Saturday, October 18, 2014

Marathon Training Recap & Tapering

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Well, it's just 15 days away - my second marathon! NYC! My hometown! The excitement is in the air and the street signs are starting to go up along the route. I'm in taper mode, which means my longest runs are behind me and I get to take it a little easy running-wise for the next 2 weeks but it also means that while the physical aspect wanes, the mental and emotional aspect ramps up. For me at least. I know from last year's experience that I'll be an excited and nervous wreck. In a good way, of course.

side note: In case you never heard of the term "tapering", I grabbed this quote from the Wikipedia page -
Typically, tapering for relatively short endurance events takes as little as a week or less, but tapering for an event like the marathon takes at least two or three weeks. Bob Cooper, a veteran marathoner and contributing editor for Runner's World, points to medical studies as evidence that the final three weeks of any marathon-training program are the most critical stage of training; a review of fifty studies on tapering indicates that optimal levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones, which are significantly depleted by intense endurance training, are achieved during a taper.  
What does tapering mean for me? Besides running a little less, it also means no heels, no french fries, no hanging out and NO HUMAN TOUCHING for the final two weeks while I work on staying healthy and injury free for the big day! (this is why I'm not riding the Tour de Bronx. It's one week before the marathon. I did it last year and regretted every minute of it)

As for how I trained this year, I did a few things differently than last year. Most significant is that I purchased the NYRR training plan. It was $50 for the 16 week plan. Because of that plan, I ran WAY more than I ran last year (more often and more miles overall). Sure, I shouldn't have to pay someone money to tell me to run more, but that's how I am. The plan helped me see the whole 16 weeks laid out ahead of time. Knowing what was expected and seeing it in print in a calendar form made it far less daunting for me. And receiving each email daily with that day's challenge was fun and motivated me to keep going. So if you're like me, and need structure, I think you'll enjoy the plan too. (they also offer a 10 week plan for half marathons)

Another change with this year's training was not doing speedwork/track workouts with my group (NBR). There were 2 reasons for this: first, typically I would only get to run about 3 - 3.5 miles with them since I'm so slow (they ran about 5 - 7 in the same time). The other reason is that after one run there this season, I realized just how much I hate the track. The monotony, the soccer balls, the kids, the cyclists (?!?!), and all the other inconsiderate people who use it. In fact, after a near breakdown on the track during one training run, I vowed I would *never* run on the track again. I hate every single second of it. And if it's not fun and I dread it, why do it? I'll get a better run around the neighborhood or over a bridge - something I enjoy. Long story short: no track workouts for me anymore.

So with all of that said, here is what I've run so far this marathon training season. This is every run I've completed, including mileage, pace and monthly totals. (if you can't read the numbers, you can click any of these images to see them a little larger on Flickr)


aug sept

I had 2 months with over 100 miles each! I couldn't even believe I reached that milestone - twice! Last year, my highest monthly total was 87. So that was a big jump for me mile-age wise. And if it wasn't for that training plan I assure you I would not have run the kind of mileage I did!

Now I'm going to answer some of your training related questions that you asked on Facebook earlier -

Katrina Meredith what do you think about when you're doing your training runs AND how do you stay so disciplined to stick to your training programme?

                As for what I'm thinking about, it varies wildly. It often starts with running related thoughts - what I have to do that day, how my body is feeling - the quicker I can get through those the better because then my mind gets to wander. I think about anything and everything. Sometimes memories (good or bad), things I have to do or sometimes I get distracted by my surroundings - thinking about someone in front of me, the place where I'm running, etc. There is no set thing I think about but I do my best not to think about anything that bothers me. Sometimes that's not so easy.

              As for how I stay so disciplined? I really don't know. Because deep down, I really don't think of myself that way. In regards to running especially, I'm really not disciplined at all. I say that because if I'm not training I can barely force myself to run at all! But because I am training, I bought that plan it helped me stay disciplined. And probably the most important thing is I do is make it a priority. If I have to run that day, I schedule it (literally, on my calendar). That means if something else comes up, I either don't do it or I do it after my run. I schedule around the running. But I don't mind doing this - it actually is fun to me, like a puzzle. Another thing I do is spend time making sure I have all the supplies I need (especially at work). There is so much planning involved that when it's time to do it, I just do it. I'm lucky in that I don't have a family or anyone that depends on me so my time is really my own. I realize that's a luxury and most people don't have that same opportunity. I also remind myself that the more work I do now, the better the event I'm training for will be. So again, I just do it.

Camilo Andres Atehortua Best way to avoid un wanted irritation due runing for extended periods of time

             Get ready to learn about a miracle product: VASELINE! I don't remember who recommended this to me on Facebook months ago but I must thank them. Before I put on my socks I smear vaseline all over my toes (top and bottom) and my arches (which have blistered in the past). I also use Vaseline under my heart rate monitor's chest strap (another spot that causes irritation and chafing) and when it's warm out and I'm sleeveless I use it on the back/fatty part of my upper arm - again, because it chafes. I haven't had a single problem in any of those areas, even on my longest runs. As long as I use Vaseline, I'm good to go!

Shay Na 1) how are the old pinky toes holding up?

            Ah those dreaded pinky toes of mine. Well, you all know I'm still holding out hope for pinky toe amputation but until then… since my Vaseline discovery (see above) I haven't had a *single* blood blister! I'm not sure if it's the Vaseline or my new long distance running shoes (Brooks Glycerins - good god they are reasonably priced now, I paid the obscene $150!) or a combination thereof, but I have had ZERO pinky toe problems during marathon training!

2) has the thought, "when the fuck can I stop running?" subsided? Have you gotten to that place where your legs just motor memory and run you forever?

            LOL YESSSSS! I think probably any runner - beginner or otherwise - has that thought on occasion. It's a terrible head space to be in, but sometimes that's just how it is. For me at least. Those of course are the worst runs (again, for me) because I have a hard time distracting myself with something more pleasant if that sets in. And it took me 12 weeks of training, but I noticed that week that my legs *finally* seemed to know what to do with far less input from me. That was a pretty great milestone and I'm hoping to keep at that level through November 2nd because it makes running so much more pleasurable.

3) please address peeing/pooping during a long run. If not for yourself, your observations of others. I gotta know.

            I'll just say I take care of nearly everything before the run. On a super long run I might have to stop and use a port-o-pottie once or twice but I really try not to. It's a tricky balance between being hydrated enough but not drinking too much that I have to pee often. 

Eden Casteel Do you do any cross training? (I guess bike riding counts, but anything else -- isolated muscle strengthening?)

            Though I rode my bike every single day, I never consider that exercise because I'm more of a commuting cyclist. I take my time and ride for transportation. I don't do laps or any sort of fast riding that burns real calories or challenges my muscles. So the only other activity I engaged in during marathon training was going to my spin class. But again, I don't do that aggressively either. I always consider spinning more of a 'recovery' exercise since it helps my quads feel better. It's also why I prefer to ride my bike to and from all my runs - it's a great post run activity. Anyway, since that's all I did, I'm not sure I did any cross training.

Esinath Sekayi Chihombori How do you stay motivated?

            Like I said above having the plan kept me disciplined and motivated. I was/am really just motivated by the end result - I want to have a great marathon experience. I want to finish feeling better than I did last year. I want to get sore and tired much later this time than I did last time. So I know that if I put in the work now, I'm helping myself later. That's what kept/keeps me motivated.

Do you have special food that you stick to before your runs?

           The night before long runs (10+ miles) I like at least 2 cups of macaroni (carbs) and a vegan sausage (protein & salt). The morning of a long run I usually have 2 frozen waffles, 2 small vegan breakfast links and sometimes even a banana and a bagel. Before a shorter run I really don't worry about my nutrition or do anything special.

Is there a certain brand of shoes that you use for your runs? 

            For my short runs I'm still using my Saucony Kinvaras. And for my long runs I only use the Brooks (mentioned above)

Hydration, do you use vests for hydration during your runs? 

            No, I never used a vest and it would make me INSANE to run with one of those things on my back. I don't like to feel anything moving/bouncing on me or I go crazy (hair/body parts/accessories). This is why I can't run with one of those hand held water bottles (I tried. 3 times. HATED IT!). This is also why I prefer to pay for a long training run - because I know water is provided on the course. If I'm running on my own I'll probably take 1 or 2 breaks to buy water at a bodega. On one of my long runs, I even stopped at a bar for a few glasses of free tap water (along with a beer I bought). Liquid carbs, right? ha-ha! 

How did you manage to improve your pace? Does your weight determine how fast you run?

            My pace improves with 2 things: running more and weighing less. It's that simple. So yes, my weight has an effect on not only my pace but how I *feel* when I'm running. I think it's not surprising to know that when I ran at my lower weight it was much more effortless and I was about a minute faster per mile.

Brianna Earle Do you start to get blisters on the bottoms of your toes on long runs? I always do around mile 10 in long runs. It sucks and it hurts.

            Yes, I used to get them - see my Vaseline recommendation above! 

Also, what do you do for hydration? Scientific formula or simple "drink when thirsty" method?

            If it's an event where water tables are provided, I usually drink at EVERY table. Occasionally I will skip one but for the most part I'm always thirsty so I usually take the water. Sometimes 2.

Karenne Gionet Saylor Where does the marathon route enter Central Park (street reference, please) and where is the finish line? When I go there in 5 weeks, I want to have an idea of where your big moment happened!

            It enters Central Park twice - first on Fifth Ave at 90th St (the Engineer's Gate). This is mile 23, I think. We run in the park and continue south, exit the park at 59th St, run west on 59th and return into the park a second time, entering at Columbus Circle (59th & Central Park West). The finish line is just slightly north of that, right by Tavern on the Green (66th St, on the west side of the park)

Is there a special landmark near the end of the marathon that has special significance for you? Example: you approach a certain lamp post or go past a particular tree in the park, etc.

            Yes, it's Columbus Circle. Ever since running into the park at last year's marathon, when I see that circle, it's all I can think about - that moment last year when I reached that point and was about to enter the park for the final time. That's when I knew - I KNEW! - how close I was. I knew that I had done it! I knew that every second of running I had ever done, that every training run and every sacrifice I had made for months had led up to this moment. I knew that I was about to cross that finish line and would be able to call myself a marathoner! I get teary eyed thinking about it (I just cried as I wrote that). I remember last year entering the park and seeing the bleachers lining both sides. I arrived late, and it was dark, so there was hardly anyone left in that area. But I knew hours earlier there were scores of people cheering the runners into the park. I was surprised it was empty but didn't really care because I was focused. I knew what I was about to do and that was all that mattered to me. I remember that I was still mostly walking, and that I was still wearing my heat sheet - the one I had picked up around Mile 21 on Fifth Ave in Harlem. I was *freezing*. But I knew there was no way I was going to cross that finish line with the heat sheet or walking. I remember discarding it to my left as I made my way up that final small hill in the park. I remember seeing the blue finish line area, the lights, and I remember that I was so focused. I don't even think I blinked. I remember that I ran as hard as I could towards that finish line (which wasn't very fast, I was beyond exhausted). And I remember that moment - THE MOMENT - that I crossed that finish line. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. I would guess that if you've had a child you've had a similar experience of joy and relief and pride and amazement all at once, but I've never experienced all of that before. Every time I see the statue at Columbus Circle, that's what I remember. And I feel it all over again. I wouldn't trade that memory for anything in the world.

Nicole Fusco-Evans Are you going to win?

            Yes Nicole, I'm going to win! ;) In fact, in some ways I already did.

Thanks all for the questions, they were fun to answer. If you have any other training related questions, let me know. 

In about a week I'll post my Marathon Day details - including approximate timeline by mile marker and information so you can look out for me in NYC. (I'm just waiting on my custom shirt to arrive in the mail, that way I can also show you my outfit to help anyone spot me in the crowd that day.) I'll also tell you how you can keep track of my progress from around the world. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

August 2014

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I want to thank everyone for the comments in my last post. Except the anonymous coward who wrote "Good" (what the hell is wrong with people??) Anyway, thank you all. I got a lot of email on Facebook too - none of which I responded to - but I appreciate your replies.

But I felt the need to let you all know that I'm ok. I really am. I still haven't found a new WW meeting but I've been marathon training and August turned out to be my highest mileage month of running EVER! I ran (are you ready for this??) 112 miles. Yes, one hundred and twelve! I've never crossed the 100 mile mark in a month. My previous highest mileage month was last August and it was 87 miles. I can't even wrap my head around that number: 112. Wow!

Of course I never take off from biking, either. That's a part of my life and can't imagine it not being a big part of my life. I love my bikes. August also included birthday week, which was filled with lots of fun and adventures.

I just wanted to write this short post so that you weren't all worried about me. I'm in a decent place. I feel better than I did when I wrote that last post but to be honest, I felt so terrible last winter I couldn't have written anything. It would have been far too dark and depressing. Which is why I hid from everyone.

Anyway, I'm here. I'm ok. And I'm still not planning to regularly update this or my other blogs. You can always send me a friend request on Facebook (where I post way too much) but send me a note so I know how you know me. I currently have nearly 400 friend requests. I will not accept anyone I don't know in real life without a note. This is my personal page so I like to have some idea who you are. Thanks :)

You can also follow me on Instagram or just keep track of all my photos on Flickr.

Thanks again for all your support and concern and I hope everyone is having a great summer!

Tomorrow is the last bike tour of the year for me, The NYC Century, and I'm raising money for #VisionZero. If you can donate to this important cause (safe streets for all!), please check out my donation page. Thanks :)


(that picture was taken last Sunday, 08/31 at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn Bridge Park. I swore I'd never go to that event and what a shitshow it was! I only went because I wanted a sandwich from Chickpea & Olive. I thought it wouldn't be crowded since it was Labor Day weekend. Boy way I wrong! I hate events like that. Anyway, I couldn't help but get that photo with their vintage napkin dispenser)

Sunday, August 03, 2014

What's been in my head lately

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Obviously it's been very long since I've posted...

I get asked fairly often why I stopped blogging/will I blog again - especially now that it's marathon training season. The short but vague answer is I stopped for a few reasons, which I don't want to get into. And I honestly don't know if I have it in me to post with any regularity again. That was such a different time in my life and sometimes I wonder how I did it. I do appreciate hearing that you miss me or miss my writing, so thank you, but I just don't know. Things changed. I changed. I've been through a lot since then. I just don't know...

That being said, I have been kicking around some thoughts in my head lately that I feel the need to write/talk about, so here goes:

I don't know what it's going to take for me to get myself back on track. I've been off so long now I barely remember how to do it. I don't know how I ever did it. I tried a few times with new meetings but for 2 years now I haven't been able to find a meeting I like and commit to it. Therefore I haven't been going to meetings. Of course that means I'm not tracking. And that leads me back to a lot of terrible habits and things I'm not proud of. And it's been so long that it feels like I just can't even snap out of it at this point.

I've been trapped in a circle of thoughts that goes kind of like this: I hate where I am and I hate how I feel and I hate how I look. But then I remind myself that when I lost all my weight, and was at my smallest ever and felt amazing - I sometimes missed being 'thicker'. I'd see women who were bigger than me, and looked great, and be jealous of them and I missed being bigger! It didn't make any sense to me! Here I was, having finally done what I thought was impossible - losing all my weight and feeling more amazing than I ever felt in my life, but part of me missed being bigger like them. This confused me at the time and I still don't understand it. But it made me realize the thoughts I've always had in my head about my self acceptance had less to do with actual weight/size since I was experiencing those same thoughts even at my smallest size. It's hard to explain - though I was glad to be at my smallest weight, and didn't want to go back to a higher weight, I wanted to be seen both ways - small and fit but also thick. It might not make much sense. It barely makes sense to me now and I've had 4 years to think about it.

I guess I got my wish? Since the marathon I've put on 20 pounds. Mostly because the winter was so terrible and I let all my old habits return. It was so bone chillingly cold (the coldest winter of my life), so dark, so dreary, so soul-sucking. I spent every night eating too much and sleeping. I was definitely in a minor depression. I saw very few people socially for months - I purposely avoided them. As a result, by the time spring rolled around I'm clocking in the scale in the 170s and I feel terrible! I HATE IT. I don't know what the hell I was thinking when I was smaller - and why I missed being bigger - because I'm here and I hate it so much. I remember this feeling and it sucks. I hate what I look like and I hate how it feels on me. I hate having to search for something to wear because nothing fits. And I hate how it affects my mood/attitude/personality. But here I am. And I know I did it to myself. And I know I'm the only one who can change it. Yet that's the problem - I don't change it. I still drink way too much beer and order dinner out at least 6 nights out of the week. If it wasn't for eating pretty healthy at work and keeping up with most of my activity, I'd probably be at least 200 pounds again.

Of course this means I also negatively obsess about all the parts of my body I've always hated and been self conscious of - especially (of course) my legs. My thighs especially. I'm so horrified by the sight of them. Nothing fits me. Walking is a chore. Running isn't easy either. I carry so much weight in my inner thighs and am reminded of it every second of the day with every step I take, every time I look down at myself on my bike or on my chair at work. I see them. And they're huge. And I hate them.

I try to force myself into a better space mentally by reminding myself how lucky I am that I have 2 legs and that they actually work. These legs have carried me everywhere for nearly 43 years. They've given me the ability to bike over 15,000 miles (? maybe more) so far and they can walk and they can run! They don't run fast but they were able to get across 26.2 miles of roads so that I could cross the NYC Marathon finish line (a memory I will treasure forever!) So I try to never take that for granted - the fact that I have working legs. But I know they can be better - stronger and leaner - because they once were. If only for a brief time.

Side note - On May 29th I was having a beer with a very dear friend. We were both complaining that our weight that had crept up over this winter, and both trying to make the other feel better about it. Three days later he was in a horrific collision while on his bike. He was in a coma for a while. He had brain surgery. It's been more than 2 months now. He's still in the hospital. He's out of the coma but hasn't spoken yet. I visit him every week and think about him every day. I've made it part of my marathon training to run to the hospital to visit him. I want nothing more than for him to make a full recovery and get out of there, but it will take time. The thing is, he's lost weight since he's been in there. Probably the same winter weight he had been complaining to me about. But I am certain that if he had the choice he'd keep the extra weight in a body that can move around vs being an "ideal" weight in a body that can't do what it used to do. Every time I run I think of him. I tell myself I'm running for him because he can't right now. And despite my unhappiness with the size of my legs or what they look like, I'm so so so thankful that I can use them. I try to never take that for granted because I know nothing is guaranteed and it can be taken from me at any minute, especially considering how callously cyclists are treated by some drivers in NYC. They'll endanger your life just so they can get to a red light 3 seconds faster. It's revolting. Anyway… please keep my friend in your thoughts. He has a huge support system of people pulling for him, but the more positive vibes, the better. 

It's been a long time since I felt good about myself. And when I get compliments from people regarding how I look or if they tell me I'm an "inspiration", it's hard to accept those compliments. I feel worse than I've felt in years and I'm not sure why anyone is inspired by me when I feel like such a failure. And to be clear - I do not define myself as a failure because I gained weight. I define myself as a failure because at this time I feel like I've given up - I know what the problem is but I'm not doing anything to fix it.

But I'm so tired of living like this. Of feeling like this. I'm so tired of being a slave to food. I'm so tired of thinking about food. Obsessing about food. Eating food. I'm just so tired of it. But I don't know how to turn it around.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Gluten Free, Day 1

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In case you missed it, I mentioned that I wanted to go Gluten-Free for 30 days, just to see what it was like. I have not been diagnosed with any gluten intolerance and as far as I know I have no sensitivity to it. But I've heard how much better friends of mine feel after being gluten free (specifically Amanda). So much so, that I figured there is no harm in trying it myself.

Since I have no symptoms now, I don't really expect to notice a difference. But if I'm wrong, and at the end of my experiment, if I saw improvements to say my breathing, running, or had less severe daily allergies  - basically anything that would dramatically impact my life - I would consider removing gluten from my diet. Or at least remove most of it, and reintroduce a handful of things to see how it impacts me.

Today was Day 1 and below is what I ate (followed by the PointsPlus values). I admit, I had to google "Is ____ gluten free" many times today, but I'm pretty sure I made it through the day without any gluten. However, if I made any obvious mistakes or you have advice, leave it in the comments.

  • Coffee with Almond Milk - 1
  • Steel Cut Oats - 4
Morning snack:
  • Vanilla Coconut Yogurt - 1
  • Blackberries - 0
  • Super Salad! - Kale, Tempeh, Chickpeas, Pomegranate Seeds, Scallions, Chia Seeds, Tomato, Raw Dressing from Sun in Bloom (I checked the few ingredients and am pretty sure they are all GF) - 7  (*I forgot the avocado!)
Afternoon Snack:
  • Pistachios - 3
  • Banana - 0
  • Coconut Oil, Broccoli, Peas, Onions, Bell Pepper, String Beans, Asparagus Spears, Tofu Shirataki, Lukas Veggie Burger, Purple Cabbage, Cilantro, GF Hoisin Sauce, Sriracha - 7

That all adds up to 23, which means I have 3 PointsPlus to go spend - I think I'll go heat up a piece of GF bread and throw on some PB2. Yummmmmmm!

I'm not sure how often I'll blog about my experiment over the 30 days but I will definitely blog after the 30 days to let you know how it went.

Before you mention it in the comments, yes, I know beer has gluten. This obviously means I'm going 30 days without my precious elixir. Yes I'll miss beer, but I bought some GF beer in case I really have a hankering for something beer-like. I'll also miss seitan & vegan sausages, but I'm sure I'll survive without my fake meats for a little while :)

Finally I have to wish you all a Happy New Year! And if you're in the path of the storm, be careful out there tonight and tomorrow. Sarge is keeping an eye on things for me -

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Winter Wonderland with William & Giveaway: CitiBike Day Pass!

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Well, today is New Year's Eve and I hope you all have something planned to ring in the new year, however makes you happiest. I'll be going to a party and have nothing to wear

Despite living in NYC, I have no desire to ever be in Times Square at midnight when the ball drops. However, I was there yesterday with my good pal William (aka Sour Balls) and we did something very fun…

I read in Gothamist that there would be 6 stationary CitiBikes set up in Times Square to generate power for the New Year's Eve ball! Since I had plans to spend the day with William in midtown anyway, this was added to our to-do list. In case you are wondering, the to-do list included:

  • Grand Central Terminal
  • FAO Schwarz
  • Bergdorf Goodman windows on Fifth Ave
  • Gingerbread houses at the Parker Meridian
  • Rockefeller Center & Christmas decorations on 6th Ave
  • Rockefeller Tree/Ice Skating Rink
  • Le Pain Quotidien for lunch
  • Times Square
  • Bryant Park

Back to the point of my story… I dragged William through a frighteningly congested Times Square to get to the CitiBike station set up on 42nd St and 7th Ave -

We waited in line just a few short minutes and then we were allowed to ride bikes for 3 minutes! I was so excited - SO EXCITED! I haven't been on a bike much in the last 2 months since it's been so cold out and am just always happiest when I'm pedaling - even a stationary bike.

When it was our turn, I threw off my coat (even though it was freezing outside) because I didn't want it in the photos.

I was already pedaling away yelling to William "Get on your bike!"

Happy happy girl!

I was pedaling really hard and fast because I wanted to generate as much power as possible in the short time I was there -

William got off his bike after about a minute, but I stayed on the full 3 minutes.

And the woman manning the bikes was good enough to snap a few shots of me so I could upload one to Instagram. The most exciting part of that IG post was that whoever manages the @citibike account commented on it!

I love knowing that we did a teeny tiny part in powering that ball that will be seen by over a billion people world wide tonight! How cool!

Thanks and I <3 citibike="" p="" you="">
After riding, they were giving away free hot chocolate which I insisted William get (hot chocolate was also on my list of things to do). Here's a photo of William with his hot chocolate at Bryant Park (which is where we went after Times Square)-

So it was a great, holiday and fun filled day with one of my favorite people in the whole world!

Now for the Giveaway -

For all the people that helped power the ball with the help of CitiBikes yesterday, we were given a free day pass to rent a CitiBike! Of course I'm a founding member, so I have no need for this pass and would like to give it away to a lucky reader. If you'd like to win this day pass and try out New York City's bikeshare program, please leave a comment below to be entered. I'll close the comment section on January 13th at 9pm and pick a winner that weekend using a random number generator.

Things to keep in mind -

  • The pass is good until July 1, 2014, so you can pick any day between now and then to use it. This means you can wait until the nicer weather is upon us.
  • Obviously you should live in NYC (bikes are available in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn) or be visiting by July 1st.
  • You should also be comfortable with the idea of riding a bike in New York City streets (If you don't regularly ride in car traffic, this may not be the best way to start!)
  • The overtime fees apply - that means you can only keep a bike out for 30 minutes at a time. Any time over 30 minutes will initiate the overtime charges. But you are allowed to dock a bike and immediately take out another one. This pass is good for unlimited 30-minute rides for a full 24 hours from the time the card is activated.

If you have any other questions, check out their site or let me know. Otherwise leave a comment below for a chance to win.

Happy cycling and happy new year!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Last Week's Accomplishments and the Upcoming Week

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It's been eons since I've written one of these!

Wednesday November 13 - Tuesday November 19

    Accomplishments & Great Moments:

    • Tracking - I tracked all week! A full 7 days! I can't even remember the last time I did that. In the course of my first week on plan, I went to dinner with my Dad, hit the Vegan Shop-Up at the Pine Box (my favorite Saturday afternoon every month!), had drinks with friends, went to the bar for beer & pizza and had Chipotle for dinner one night. And I still survived! I tracked everything and didn't go over! I'm super proud. Here's a snapshot of the Points+ values I earned & used for the week -

    • Another exciting thing was join a new gym. I had quit the YMCA earlier this year since I rarely ever went but I miss classes like yoga, pilates & weights. I didn't want to rejoin the Y so I joined Chalk Gym in Williamsburg. It's a beautiful gym, fairly new, and although it's not as close as the Y, it's a short 15 minute walk or 5 minute bike ride. The other advantage is they have classes at convenient times. I knew I'd have to go to at least 6 classes a month to justify the $85 fee, and I can easily do that.
    • Since joining Chalk, I did a Pilates class. I can't even believe how much I missed Pilates! The great part about the class I took was that it incorporated a lot of stretching, including with a foam roller, and that's what I desperately need because I just don't stretch or do enough foam rolling on my own.
    • I also took another class called clASS and as you can imagine, it was geared toward the lower body. We did lunges and squats pretty much non-stop for a half an hour. I rarely ever break a sweat in spin or even running, but in this class, I was drenched in 5 minutes. This was another thing I missed, this kind of class, and it was great! I was sore for a day and a half.
    • As a post-marathon treat, I got my first ever massage! I went to a beautiful space called Body Mechanics, just steps from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. It's run by a woman named Beret Kirkeby, a massage therapist who is also a runner. In her practice, she works with a lot of runners and athletes, in addition to providing massage for mothers and really anyone seeking relaxation. She first spent time making me feel at ease - getting to know me, my history and making sure I was comfortable with the process before she began. The massage itself was on a heated table - which was awesome. It took me a little while to relax but once I did, the massage itself was great! I had a few expected tight spots (quads, hamstrings, glutes) but there were some areas in my back that I didn't even realize were tight until she got to them. When the massage was over, she even showed me how to put KT tape on my quads - which I'm going to try before I run my next half marathon, since my quads always get sore between miles 11 and 16 (it's what fatigued first during the marathon at Mile 11). I left there feeling like I was floating. It was a great first massage experience. Thank you, Beret!
    • On Saturday I went to Central Park to run one 4-mile loop with Melanie. She was running NINE 4-mile loops, doing her first Ultra Marathon! It was a 60K, which translates to 37.2 miles. Crazy, right?! By the time I got there, she was on her 7th loop. It was my first run since the marathon. I could *barely keep up with her*! Her slow pace is my fast pace and I think she was supporting me more than I was supporting her. It was fun to be there with her and share that special day. Congrats on your first ultra, Melanie!

    • Here's a snapshot from my activity spreadsheet -

    What I'm Working On and Upcoming Events:

    • I'm hitting a different Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow night where I will see some old friends. I likely can't keep it as my regular meeting, but it will be nice to make a guest appearance.
    • I'm going to do a gluten free month as an experiment. I'm thinking of January. That will give me enough time to figure out the little adjustments I need to make and things I need to avoid (believe me, I know this includes beer!!!!) I don't expect to be gluten free forever, I just want to do a one-month challenge to see how different I feel.
    • I'm running my first ever Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving. It's in Prospect Park on Thanksgiving morning and yes, there's a medal :)

    As for what it's been like since recommitting, I already feel so much better just being on track for 1 week - mentally, physically and emotionally! The first 2 days were a little rough hunger-level wise, but I know they would be. They always are. I knew it was temporary while my body adjusted to taking in the right amount of food (as opposed to how much extra I had been eating). It's been 8 days now and I've adjusted a lot already. The hunger is minimal and far more manageable. I'm also not as tired as early at night, which is a nice bonus.

    Tracking is the key to my success, I always knew that. So I will make sure to track again every day this week and just get back into making healthy choices and returning to all my other healthy routines. It actually feels great to be back to doing those things, I missed how great it feels. Of course I want to keep this good momentum going so I will just keep working on it one day, one meal and one decision at a time. :)

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    The Marathon Diaries, Part 41: The NYC Marathon 2013, random

    Links to this post
    I realized after re-reading my last marathon post that there were a few things I forgot to mention, so here are a bunch of random tidbits I should have included in the 3 part recap or the "After the Marathon" post-

    It should come as little or no surprise for you to hear that I barely stretched. I stretched about 2 minutes before the marathon and not at all after. Obviously this is not ideal and could be why I got sore so early on and it took me forever to recover.

    Five days after the marathon I had an appointment with my podiatrist, since my feet always hurt and my stupid pinky toes were still hurting. He basically said (and I quote) that I "traumatized" my pinky toes. He had to (this is gross) shave down the skin that became hardened ridges under my pinky toes, where they curl under my 4th toe (since there is no room for them). He also popped blood blisters I've had for months that were so bad I just thought they were black and blues. And he told me that my shoes aren't wide enough in the toe bed, I have to get wider shoes and/or have these stretched out. I haven't done any of that yet. He also prescribed epsom salt baths (I've done it once) and said I have slight athlete's foot and gave me a prescription for that (which I haven't picked up). And he showed me how to use bandaids and tape to tape my pinky toes so they are forced to sit straight (and not curl under) but I tried yesterday and already forgot. Basically I'm a terrible patient with traumatized pinky toes.

    Tuesday, 2 days after the marathon, when I finally was walking around again, I went to a store in my neighborhood. The cashier saw my medal and asked me what "place" I came in. I laughed so hard I might have snorted. I said "I don't know, but I'm sure it was close to last!" That question made me curious, so when I came home I looked up my stats… Out of the 50,304 finishers, I came in 49,014th place! So I wasn't that far off with my estimate!

    Remember in Part 2 of the Recap, I mentioned that around mile 18-19, I took 2 tylenol? And the woman said I'd feel much better in about 20 minutes? Well she lied. That tylenol didn't do a damn thing for me!

    Pam Anderson
    I can't believe I forgot to mention Pam! One of my marathon goals was to beat Pam Anderson. And with my 5 hour 30 minute goal time I should have. But of course my body wasn't in any mood to run on marathon Sunday, and I did much more walking than expected, so my actual time was 6 hours and 34 minutes. It turns out Pam beat me - at 5 hours and 42 minutes. Congrats Pam! (I love this photo of her after the marathon)

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    Recovery Run
    I'm not joking when I tell you I could barely move on Monday, the day after the marathon. I could barely walk across my apartment to get from my computer to the bathroom. And once there, it took all my upper body strength to lower me into a seated position and then back up again. I was truly a mess. So what does my crazy runner friend Mary Harvey tell me I should do to recover? You guessed it - go out for a run! (I told you she was crazy) I didn't know how to explain to her Um, Mary? I CANNOT EVEN MOVE - I CAN BARELY WALK! There was no way on earth I could even get INTO my running clothes, let alone run. If I could explain it another way: If you have any idea how awful I felt after mile 20, when I was walking and unable to run during the marathon itself - I actually felt WORSE on Monday than I did at that moment. If I couldn't run then, I certainly couldn't run now! lol crazy runners...

    Finisher Photos
    I finally got to see the photos they took of me at the end of the marathon. These were the two moments I was waiting to see and of course will buy:

    seconds before crossing!

    after getting my medal from Amy and heat sheet. Still freezing and in pain but so happy!

    I love numbers! First, here is my data from Runtastic -

    Look how many cheers I got! 372! Thanks you guys!

    Here is my data from the Weight Watchers Active Link:

    92 activity points! Bring on the beer & fries!

    And here's my heart rate monitor totals:


    I also shot a few videos during the marathon! These are all in Brooklyn -

    On 4th Ave in Brooklyn, a band playing the Beastie Boys!

    On 4th Ave in Brooklyn, coming up a band playing Rockaway Beach!

    Here's one in Greenpoint

    Next Year
    Prior to actually running the marathon, and especially as I was training, I thought this would be a one time deal - that I'd just run it this year and that would be it. But now that I've run it, I can't imagine Marathon Sunday coming and NOT running it. As much as I love to watch it as a spectator, I think it would make me so sad to watch but not be running it. Even before I was sure if I'd want to do it next year, I had already qualified for 2014 by running the NYRR 9+1 program. So I'm already in. And for next year, my goal will be to train better - to figure out what I can do differently so I have more energy and not get sore so early. I have a whole year to get in better shape and better prepared and this time I will know what to expect. It may not be as special as my first but it will certainly still be awesome!