mmm, this looks like my rent bill but add a 1 infront of all those zeros.
Running is a numbers game. It’s about the miles, the paces, the tempos, and the elevations. And though I say I’m a runner, what I really am is a racer. I’m not out there placing in 10K’s or even placing in my age group, but I’m always trying to beat my own numbers. I’m racing with myself.
Lots of people live in NY, like me, and Suri Cruise, and Marc Jacobs and lots of lawyers and bankers. Also a lot of cupcake and froze yogurt makers.
I love that running inspires me to always better myself; it’s the thing I love most about running. However, as I return to marathon training, I realize that while PR’s are awesome, what I really want to achieve is the feeling of a race ran hard, real hard, so hard that the last sprint to the finish is the final bit of running I’ve got left for the year. Even if the clock doesn’t tell me that I’ve run the fastest time ever.
Every block is the same in NY; every block is different.
These days I’m focusing on maintaining my comfortable pace of 12 minute miles and building my mileage. It’s quite the challenge for me to settle on these 12 minute miles when 11 minute miles where my sweet spot during 2010. But a year of lackluster training and a back injury have put me right back at square one. Sure I’m not a newbie runner at heart, but my body isn’t exactly up to speed, so to speak.
The way I see it, I have two options for the marathon, build up from my current level or try to pick up where I left off in 2010. But the latter option, while tempting to my type-A personality, will probably result in a big old injury and a major burn-out.
Instead by embracing my current fitness level, I’m reminding myself that this journey that is running is not an upward trajectory into the clouds. It’s a hilly run, full of peaks and valleys, rocky paths, and puddles. It’s a process, and one that is ultimately about how I feel. If I work hard, than the results will be there. Perhaps not on the clock…but then again if time was all that mattered, than finishing wouldn’t mean a thing.
Hello New York! How are you? What's up? How's that sunset treating you?
Do PR’s last forever? If you are not in top shape, how do you set your goals for a race? Do you even set goals? Also, what’s going on? It’s been forever since I posted.
In New York, kids don't have pools or sprinklers or slip 'n' slides in their backyards, but they have fountains, so all is good.
Summer is so….sexy…in the city. We walk around in a fraction of the clothing that we wear in the winter time (except for the i-bankers, they have to stay suited up year round, muhahaha!), and to stay cool we’re pulling all sorts of tricks such as unbuttoning stuff, rolling up other stuff, and even dumping cold cups of water all over us. Whatever keeps you cool, I say.
Besides near-nakedness, the heat makes the city a little bit loser. We’re wiping sweat off our brows, giving up crossing our legs until tights return, lifting up t-shirts to expose our abs, and letting bra straps see the sun light. And you can’t forget all that ice-cream and frozen yogurt eating.
But do you know what the best part of summer in the city is? A cold shower after a ninety-degree run. AHHHH-mazing.
I hope all these people are wearing sunscreen.
This week I did three mid-week runs for a grand total of eight miles. This still seems like nothing to me, but as I learned this past spring “nothing running” actually means running no miles. Imagine that, huh?
With one “long” run of five miles on the weekend, I will cross over into double-digit weekly mileage. Hooray! That is something to celebrate. I hope to reach about 15 miles per week and get up to a 7-8 miler by mid-July, when I will begin training for the New York Marathon. So far, I think I’m on track to reach that mini-goal.
Washington Square Park is soooo pretty.
The big goal on the horizon is to have fun finishing the New York Marathon. Though I’ll ultimately set some time goals to help me pace, I’m not going to set my heart on a time. If I ever start talking about how I want to finish in under X-hours, please remind me of this. (My ambition often gets in the way of reason.)
When I look back on the Philly Marathon in 2010, the hardest part for me was struggling through the last half, hitting the wall, and then being one of the last people on the course. I think I was one of the last fifty people to finish out of many-thousands that year. So when I look towards NY, my number one goal is to not run alone.
The large field, plus the number of novice and first time runners, will ensure that even if I run NY in the same time as Philly, I will be running on a course full of fans and runners. However, I don’t just want to run on a crowded course; I want to train with someone else.
Why yes, I'd love a free concert in the park.
Money is a big concern for me, so I can’t afford an expensive coach, nor am I interested in joining a charity team since I am not sure I will have the time to commit to fundraising because of a hectic work schedule. I also am a slower runner, so certain track clubs are off limits to me because I just can’t run 20 7-minute miles (and that’s just fine with me).
I’ve narrowed it down to two options:
Online coaching from a runner whose blog I enjoy reading. She has achieved some great running goals and has a training philosophy that I really like. Under this option, I have someone guiding me through my training; helping me to set paces, mileage, and to discuss really important topics like should I buy new shoes yet and Gu versus Shot Blocks?
I love this option because it will allow me to have a completely customized plan, to not feel pressure to do long runs at a pace that is faster than comfortable, and to be flexible with my run schedule. I’m a bit hesitant about it since I’m worried that with just online interaction I will slack off.
A NYM specific training plan with a professional coach. A local running store offers a 16 week training plan, with two group runs a week. The coaches give everyone a general plan, although I’m sure they’d help customize the plans a bit. I really like this option because I have to show up for two runs a week and train with a group of runners and coaches. I also hate it for that. I like to run on my own time and I’m worried that no one in the group will be at my pace and so I’ll be left in their dust.
However, having to commit to regular scheduled workouts and learning to push the pace to keep up with others might be the sort of mental training I need for marathon day.
It’s a lot to think about and I’ve still got about two weeks to figure this all out. In the meantime, I’m just going to keep on enjoying those cold showers.
Now tell me: Do you like running with a team or do you prefer running on your own? Have you ever had a coach? What was your experience like?
On a daily basis, I have about seven thousand thoughts. That’s not a scientific number or anything, but that seems about accurate to me. Six thousand of these thoughts are consumed by friends, family and work.
Another five hundred of those thoughts are regarding innane things, like why do the trains always run late when I’m running late or why is the caps lock key on when I never-have-I-ever had an use for it in over twenty years of computer-using?
But the last five hundred, represent thoughts that I think I should blog about. Granted only like two of them ever make it to the interwebs, but I think them all day long. So here are all the random things I wanted to blog this week:
(1) The best show of all time is back and this little girl did a ballet dance. It is so cute. I cried during this audition. I am one of those people who cries during reality shoes. Sometimes….
(2) You already know I love “Call Me Maybe” but what you didn’t know is that I have a crush on Jimmy Fallon. I love him and if he wasn’t already married, I’d be trying to run into him so that he could realize we are soul mates. And then he did this. I might have listened to it three times before my long run on Saturday. Maybe more….
(3) I got my hair cut at Arrojo Salon recently and my stylist told me that my drug store brands were weighing down my hair. I have naturally thick straight, and while that seems like a gift from the hair gods to my curly-haired friends, it looks frizzy all the time and won’t hold a curl if I paid it $100 dollars.
My shower is a bit crowded at the moment.
I bought the shampoo and conditioner his salon makes. I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch, but I’m also sick of the sleek pony-tail look I’ve mastered of late. My hair seems better but I can’t tell if it’s because of a good cut (my girl left NY about a year ago and I’ve been searching for a replacement for a while now) or because their products are better. What do you think about expensive versus drug store brands?
(4) Remember my post about Soul Cycle? I didn’t love it, but it’s still a good workout and this video shows you what a Soul Cycle workout is like. Also, this teacher is the spinning instructor I used to take double spinning classes with in Union Square on Saturday mornings long before I was a runner.
There’s a reason she’s on TV now….just ’cause I’m not a fan doesn’t mean you won’t love it.
(5) I’m always concerned with eating healthy, and when I spied the story on this trainer who gained 60lbs in 6 months, and then lost that weight in the same 6 months, I was immediately interested to know what he ate to lose that weight. Sadly, his “unhealthy” weight gaining diet was full of whole foods, albiet in higher portions than normal, while his “healthy” diet is full of protein powders and supplements.
hello watermelon.....will you be my summer boyfriend please and never leave my side?
I’m not against protein powders and supplements, per se, but I do think that the best way to get nutrients is through actual food. This reminds me of the Biggest Loser show, where the contestents routinely exercise for 5-6 hours a day to lose weight. Why is it that people keep on promoting weight loss through completely unrealistic means? I know there are a lot of other healthier options out there, but it dismays me that these types of stories still get a lot of attention.
(6) Why are burpees so hard? A set of 20 burpees takes me about 2 minutes, if that, but I can run, even in my just-coming-back state for over 45 minutes. But just this morning, after doing about 12 burpees, my legs were burning, like I’d been climbing Harlem Hill for three hours. How is that possible?
Tuesday morning's workout - I skipped the second set of jumping jacks on accident, and purposely skipped the 10 minute cool-down in favor of a walk to work.
(7) I saw the most beautiful double rainbow on my train ride from Philadelphia to New York. I took a picture from my Blackberry and from a moving train so imagine how gorgeous this picture could have been if I had a real camera and been standing still. Even so, it’s still pretty cool right?
Don't mind all the trailors/train car things...I was in New Jersey.
Do you see that second rainbow?!?! I’ve never seen two rainbows before and I wanted to shout on my library-quiet Amtrack train about the double-rainbows, but apparently it was the second in two weeks in the New York area, and I was probably the only person who missed the first one. Sighhhh.
(8) I’ve been thinking about getting a coach for the New York Marathon. I’ve never run with a coach before, and I really enjoy planning my runs and feeling free to modify them as my life requires, or as my energy levels fluctuate. But after bonking in my first marathon so awesomely that I ran my first marathon in 6 hours and 20 some minutes, while PR’ing in the half about two months earlier in 2:19, I’m starting to think I might need some guidance in the marathon distance.
I love you Central Park, but you really don't care if I run 5 minute miles or 15 minute miles. (Maybe that's why I love you?)
Or just someone to keep me accountable.
(9) I turned 29 last week, and with only one more year left in my 20′s I can’t help but wonder if I’m on track with my life goals. However, this awesome post by another birthday girl who turned 30 the same day I turned 29 reminded me that I might not be crossing marriage, babies, owning a home or even a car off my to-do list yet, and that’s not only okay but actually pretty amazing.
I should have more flowers in my life.
Read her 30th birthday post if you feel like you should have already gotten married, had babies, bought a house, had a more successful career, learned to stop getting stressed out, or really anything you think you “should-have” done by now. Stop “shoulding” all over yourself. (A lesson I am still working on, but even I recognize the wisdom in it.)
(10) And finally, finally, I love running again. Not every run is easy, nor am I running times or distances that I like, but I’m so happy that I got injured and had to take some time off. Absensce does make the heart fonder. That’s not just something people say.
My injury not only made me stop running, but it made me stop pressuring myself to run, and as a result, I stopped punishing myself because my runs weren’t coming as often as I liked or as fast and far as I wanted. I really had been in a bit of a running lull since the marathon. I’ve had my share of good runs during that time (which I made to sure to share on the blog), but I haven’t felt truly invigorated about tackling a big race distance since my marathon.
This guy understands rest. And he's not too happy that I don't get it and insist on taking a picture during his nap. Sorry, Atticus! Love ya!
This injury made me realize that I never fully rested from my marathon, and that resting, real resting, is as vital as water and good shoes. I’m not saying that I should have stopped exercising, but I needed to stop putting pressure on myself ages ago. I’m just happy that I realized it in enough time to train for the marathon.
(11) Finally, because 10 random thoughts wasn’t enough, I have to add more more final item: I have to work a ton in July and travel to Philadelphia a lot, even living there a few days a week for that month. Any tips on how to find running routes and eat healthy in a new city? I’ll be living out of a hotel room and without a car, but I will also be in a suburb area. Do I bring groceries with me? There is a gym in the hotel but it’s always crowded and so I’m not sure I can snag 6 miles on it every morning. I’d prefer to run outdoors, but I am not familiar with the area at all. I need help! I’ve got a marathon to run!
Alright, so now that I’ve shared all my random brain-blog thoughts here, what are you thinking, wondering, pondering, or just plain annoyed about? Share please…I certainly didn’t hold back.
Right now, I’m about seven thousand miles away from the level of fitness I achieved when I ran a marathon. The only time I’m going twenty miles these days is in a car…preferably an air-conditioned one.
When I trained for my first half-marathon, I first started with a one and a half mile route and then slowly ramped up to weekly runs of 3-4 miles during the week, with long runs on the weekend. I remember that first run. It was hard. Almost impossible. I could barely finish it.
However with thousands of miles under my belt, as I return from almost two months off from running, I no longer think that running five, six or ten miles is scary. In fact, I think those numbers sound pretty damn easy. Five miles? That’s nothing for me. I once ran 26.2 miles in one day.
Even my body doesn’t really think five miles is a big deal. Pshhhhhs, didn’t we just do a spinning class and then walk 3 miles to brunch? What about that hour on the elliptical? Five miles is nothing. Well that’s what my body would say if it could talk.
This week was my first week of running in almost two months, and it was awesome. Every minute that I’m out there pounding the pavement, I’m deliriously happy. It feels like I’m rediscovering running and Central Park for the first time. Everything looks so beautiful and green, and I just want to roll around in the grass with my tongue hanging out like dogs do. Unfortunately, that’s only a way for our canine friends to show happiness and not humans.
But I’m not a running newbie, and even though I’ve set up a very conservative plan to rebuild my base, when I get out there and find my stride, I just want to keep on going until I reach the end of the earth.
Hey Central Park. You are really sexy. I love you. The end.
Week one runs involved two laps around the reservoir (1.6 miles, 2.5 miles if I run from my apartment), and my first “long” run of about 4.5 miles on Saturday. While my body felt sufficiently taxed after those little runs, my head and my heart, wanted more. They wanted the West Side Highway, Riverside Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and all of New York City in one sweaty puddle.
Unlike when I first started running, these runs didn’t leave me as exhausted and sore as before. Sure I hurt in places, but the soreness really didn’t linger after some stretching and a nice shower. But more notably, finishing each run isn’t a struggle like it was at first. When I increase my mileage, such as this Saturday’s run, I’m not longer striving for a new personal distance record. I’m not even trying to increase my pace or conquer hill repeats. I’m simply running a route that I’ve run a million times before, in a place that I know like the back of my hand, at a pace that feels good.
My oh my, Central Park, do you look good. MmmmMmmm
In fact, the hardest thing about all of this is restraint. I don’t want to start from scratch; I want to pick back up where I’ve left off. And if I hadn’t been running for four years, I’d probably just start doing daily six milers. I can, so why shouldn’t I?
Well, because, my joints and muscles, while they like running a lot more than they did four years ago, are still not impervious to injury. And though my heart wants to just dive back into Central Park and never leave, I can’t let it take over. Four years of running, means I’m a little bit wiser and a heck of a lot more cautious. I no longer want to take chances today, that I can’t pay for tomorrow.
Though I wish I was a runner who could handle six days of running and 40+ miles in an average week, I’m not that type of runner. I’ve accepted this about myself. I am who I am and that’s what it is.
However, I’m a runner, and I’m always trying to run further and faster. Every run is a race of some sort, even if there are no other competitors and no clocks. I’m in a race with myself everyday. But I’m learning that holding back is actually pretty awesome in it’s own way. It’s like running and I are on our first date, and I’m having so much fun, laughing and talking, but secretly wondering, will he just kiss me already?!?!?!
Sign me up, please!
I’ve set my running heart on the New York Marathon this year, and I feel immense pressure to tack on the mileage and speed so that I can conquer it. I don’t want to waste a minute of this time that I have to train, especially now when I don’t have to commit to an official plan yet. However, I can’t forget my first summer running and then my first marathon training. Every long run was magical. I didn’t fall in love with running because I ran a marathon. I fell in love training for one.
Even though I want to run around this island that is Manhattan, I’m holding back. I’m checking myself. I’m taking it easy. Because it’s the beginning of a big long love affair that will culminate in November. The New York Marathon is something that I’ve been lusting over for two twenty nine years, and so while a part of me wants to just get to it, another part of me wants to savor every mile, to revel in every drop of sweat, rain and humidity (yes, really).
I’m not like a lot of another runners out there. I didn’t love my first marathon and I’m not sure I want to make it an annual event. But as long as I’ve been running, I’ve loved the New York Marathon and I will always love running, until I can’t, and then I will love it despite that anyway. So this may be my last marathon.
But – it will be MY marathon. It will be the race where I run New York – finally.
After all, this is the Amanda Runs New York blog.
How do you recover from an injury? Are you a lifetime marathoner or a one-time marathoner? If you have run multiple marathons, why do you do it year after year? I’m curious…
My great-grandma came of age in the Depression era. When her mom wanted to make chicken for dinner, she went outside and chopped off a chicken head.
When I finally got to know my Nona (Italian for Grandma, and yes, I know nonna is the correct spelling, but that’s how we spelled it and so that’s how I’m spelling it here), she was a grey haired lady who bought her chicken from the grocery store, but she still hated to spend an extra penny on anything when a little time and effort could yield the same results.
Some might call that cheap, but I like to call it wise. There’s nothing I love more than a good bargain. Anytime, I have to make a big purchase, I think about it for months on end and analyze all the options. I go to the stores several times, and google the crap out of it.
Whenever I revel in my savings, I always think of my Nona – a lady who took no shame in negotiating a hard deal, and in saving money. In the end, her strategy paid dividends as she retired and aged in grace and without worry. This June she would have been 99 years old…an awesome age, if there ever was one.
This weekend, I did some serious hard core bargain buying. At the end of the weekend, I had bought about about $460 worth of goods for only $76. My best deal was a pair of $350 shoes for….$25. I had no idea that when I stopped at the sale, that I’d be snagging such a bargain.
The occasion? Not an elusive sample sale, nor a trip to the consignment shop. Not even a crazy goodwill shopping expedition. Nope. I went to a street fair – the ones where they sell grilled corn, falafels, elephant ears and sausage with all the works. And apparently, really cheap shoes.
I also snagged two pairs of running shorts for $30. I got a pair of Adidas running shorts and a Saucony running skirt. Normally, this stuff costs $28 for the shorts and $45 for the skirt, so it was a great save.
New shorts and running skirt....someone's trying to meet boys in the park.
I generally avoid street fairs, since I tend to think that once you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all. But this one was right outside my door, and so I decided to walk through it on my way to lunch. Instead, I spent two hours walking fifteen blocks.
A lot of the stores that line 3rd Avenue in the Upper East Side had set up tables in the fair to sell their out of season gear. The store Wink even had a bunch of the samples for the fall and summer collections at bargain prices, but since I’m not a sample size, I didn’t buy anything. (Although, I thought long and hard about buying stuff and sending it to my size 2 and 4 friends.) New York Yoga had a great deal for 10 classes for $129. Normally, a class costs $25 a pop, but I passed that deal up.
I also snagged some spices from Spice and Tease. The funny thing is that I walk by the bricks and mortar location in Grand Central every day, and have never bought a thing from them. But suddenly, in the shadows of 3rd Avenue, I was drooling over all the spices.
My new spices...already at home next to the canned tomatoes.
Then on Sunday, I decided to go the flea market on Columbus and 77th in the Upper West Side. This flea is a true mix of found items and creations from small businesses. I oogled some coffee tables at Rough Hewn Home, a spot selling real furs and used designer bags, and a place with refurbished Victorian furniture.
Coffee tables from Rough Hewn Home made from mango wood.
Refinished Victorian furniture....it's too big and fancy for me, but I love the idea of making old stuff look new.
The fur coat stand....the lady didn't want me to take a picture (I asked first), but she was okay with it.
In the end, I bought some pickles and a curry sauce, no fur coats for me (although I am in the market for a coffee table). The curry sauce was based upon a recipe from Sengal and the pickles, from a company called Divine Brine, are one of my favorite farmers’ market finds. They sell 4 flavors: Wasabi, Horseradish, Devilish Dills, and Sours, and they’re all delicious if pickles are your thing. I took home a container of the Devilish Dills. At $8.00 for about 6 pickles, they’re not exactly cheap but they’re a nice treat. I ate maybe four of them for dinner that night. Oooops. (You can order online, so no need to be in NYC to try these pieces of heaven.)
I once heard somewhere that when someone compliments you on something, it’s not very classy to respond by saying, “I got it for $4.99 at Forever 21.” I don’t know where I read that, but it was probably in a fashion magazine that had more ads than articles. Clearly, they had no ulterior motives.
Obviously, I’m not a super classy lady by that definition. But to me, class has nothing to do with the amount of money in the bank. It’s about being compassionate, generous, open-minded, and most importantly, thrifty.
So this weekend and my super-duper bargains are dedicated to my Nona…and my retirement fund.
Do you like street fairs or flea markets? I don’t go them regularly, but I always appreciate them, and I love finding hidden treasures.
Saturday was a beautiful day. It was sunny and in the high seventies, with a cool breeze and not a trace of humidity. But there could have been a hurricane or a blizzard, or even a locust storm and I would have still called it a beautiful day, because on Saturday I did my first run in Central Park since early April.
I knew that I would probably get swept up in the race excitement, so I followed a run-walk plan. I ended up running about 2 miles, and walking 1.3 (my Garmin read 3.3 miles at finish). My final time was 40:41, which is a 13.3 minute mile (based upon a 3 mile course, not sure if the Garmin was off a little, the course was long or I just ran really bad tangents, but who cares? I RAN!).
But it didn’t feel real until Saturday. That morning I woke up to a cool breeze, and moved through my morning routine as if I had never stopped, brewing a cup of coffee and then sipping it while doing some blog reading and discovering a few new songs. I dug up a clean set of workout clothes, and then I went to find my running shoes. (Edited to add: I did the Wall Street Run in my Nike Free’s which are my cross-training and short distance run shoes, since my Brooks can hurt if I walk for long periods of time, and I wasn’t sure how much walking I’d do.)
I loveingly pulled my Brooks out from under the couch between the dust bunnies, and sighed. “Hello, my Brooks.” I truly, really did that. I slipped my feet in. They still fit.
Then I left the apartment, and headed towards the park. I decided that I would walk to the park. Normally, I run, but I wanted to get the old legs warmed up a bit. I jammed to ‘Call Me Maybe’ and walked to the park. Like a kid on Christmas Day, I was so excited, I was wanted to start jumping up and down and screaming until I peed my pants. “I’m running! I can run! I’m running!”
Before I knew it I was there. I started running as soon as I entered the park.
“Hello Central Park. Hello reservoir.”
Ahhh, the reservoir. If you ever come to New York and must see one thing in Central Park, make it this place.
“Hello baby joggers, and dog walkers.”
It felt like coming home. That’s the only way to describe it. I felt warm and fuzzy inside, and I found joy in the silliest of things, like jumping the puddles left over from Friday night’s rain. I enjoyed each step, as if it was my first, and smiled like a drunk idiot for the entire 1.6 miles around the reservoir.
Even though I know that my lungs and even my legs could tackle a five-miler or a speed workout, I’m going to slowly ease back into things. While my back injury prevented me from running, it wasn’t caused by running, so I’m not switching shoes or doubling down on foam rolling. However, I am prone to over-use injuries, as the two times I’ve been injured through running, it was because I added speed and distance too quickly.
I’m just going to take it easy until July – 1.6 miles of non-stop running on Saturday, and 2.5 miles of non-stop running on Sunday. I’m going to continue with the 2.5 mile distance for the rest of the week and then attempt a longer run on the weekend.
You might be wondering why I’m taking it easy until July. There must be some reason, right? Of course, there is. And you probably already knew it.
Yeah, so you know that little race the first weekend of November that happens in New York. It’s no big deal or anything, but I’m hoping that if all goes well, I can start training for the New York Marathon in July.
If you’ve ever been injured and couldn’t run, how did you get back into running? Also, what are your big race plans for this year?
Hello Lovelies! How have you been? Did you miss me? I went on a little vacation to that wonderful, fabulous and totally underappreciated (by people not from there) place called Michigan.
Michigan is home to many wonderful things – beautiful lakes, a-maizing schools, the breakfast cereal capital of the world and, best of all, my family. New York City cannot hold a candle to Michigan in that regard. Parents + Brothers + Sisters + Crazy Spastic Beargle = Awesome Weekend.
You know I love New York. But I love going back home to that mitten-shaped state. (S-mitten, get it? hehe).
Here are some scenes from home this weekend. I’m too lazy to recap it, so let’s just sum it up with some pictures and call it an awesome weekend.
Fresh salsa...mmmm, mmmm, mmm
My Dad teaching the brothers how to change the oil on the car. My mom, sister and I watched them work -that's quality family time
This weekend I grilled, chicken, chicken sausage, corn, turkey burgers, tofu....basically anything I could get my grubby little hands on.
The moon...and the sky.
The Royal Oak Farmer's Market...the samples at this place put the NY Farmer's market to shame.
Ladybugs for sale at the farmer's market. You put these in your garden to help them eat the bad bugs...and to make it look pretty, of course.
A rainbow (behind the power lines on the left side).
Road trips with puppies in my lap. I love how dogs view the world on a car ride. Maybe I will start hanging my head out of the windows of cabs soon.
Once a month, I have an I-want-a-puppy moment, but then when I go home and see how much puppies need to be around people and outside playing, I realize my busy life just wouldn't be fair to a dog.
This weekend was amazing! It was sunny, in the high seventies with not a trace of humidity. It was the type of weekend that makes me think, “New York City is the bestest, most beautifulest place in the world.”
So naturally, we’re paying for it it now.
The view from my window last night. Fog + Rain = Good Sleeping Weather.
Now it’s foggy and rainy and humid….and that’s the forecast for the next four days.
But hey, at least the weekend is supposed to be nice again?
Today’s workout is a strength based workout. Here it is. Please excuse the horrible handwriting. There will be a 5-10 minute warm-up (until I feel lose and break a sweat), and then I’ll repeat this with 5 minutes of some sort of cardio machine at a fast speed in-between.
I write in red pen all day at work.
I feel like I should have saved this picture for a Mary Poppins/Chimney Sweeper/Tap Dancing themed post....'cause that's going to happen soon (hehe).
A wise friend gave me some good advice: only blog when I want to and not on some sort of schedule. Wise words, friend.
While my Music Monday posts are always easy posts, they also always come from the heart. Music is a huge part of my running and working out regimine, and honestly, it’s a huge part of my life. I listen to music while commuting, curling my hair, travelling, and even working.
Good music is not something to be kept a secret. It’s one of those things where the rewards multiply the more you share it, sort of like a good mood.
Also, it’s been 5 weeks since I’ve run in Central Park. Can you believe that I waited 9 sentences to tell you that? But anyways, CP and I have a huge date on the horizon. And when it happens it will be all sparkles and stars and fireworks and sweat and smiles. I just had to let you know that me and Central Park aren’t on good terms right now.
Now back to Music Monday.
Of, if you are not already listening to this song, listen to it: Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
Love Collision by Florence and the Machine and Afro Jack and Leona Lewis and Mark Knight
Oh yes, I am going to do this. I feel like I should just lie and say it was awesome and amazing and life-changing, but it wasn’t. And I’m truly sorry it wasn’t, but it is what it is.
Now before we get into what happened on Thursday, let’s talk about the past six years. But before I started running, I was a spinner. I spun. I spinned. Whatever the term is is. I did it. And I did it so much, that had I started my blog back then it might be called Amanda Spins New York.
Long before Soul existed, I was a devoted follower of Soul instructers, who were teaching at NYSC when I was a member there. You could say, I was ahead of the curve. And in fact, the class I took very much reminded me of the spin classes I loved at NYSC.
I can never tire of skyline shots of New York
Anyway, my fave NYSC instructors left, I moved from Queens to the UES, and then I switched to Equinox.. When I first switched to the ‘Nox, I bristled at their cardio focus in spin classes and I was extremely judgemental of the way that they didn’t emphasize all the various positions and movements that were available on the bike. The ‘Nox classes basically had two positions and two speeeds-heavy and light. Whereas, my NYSC classes had all that plus, push-ups, jumps and two different standing positions (so three positions in total). I hated the “Nox spinning. It wasn’t the way I had spun for the past three years.
But over time, the ‘Nox won me over, and their spinning classes have become a huge factor in my cross-training. As I was discovering the ‘Nox spinning, I was becoming a runner. I was embarking on two hour runs, exploring the West Side Highway, and falling in love with Central Park. It’s no accident that as I became a cardio addict I reinvented my idea of the prefect spin class.
So when I walked into my first Soul Cycle class on Thursday, I was prepared for awesome energy, an exciting playlist and a motivating instructor. On that end, the class delivered, and then some. But what I was totally unprepared for was the focus on upper body and core workouts. Pretty much every moment of the class was spent doing some other exercise in addition to spinning.
I felt like a fish out of water. I couldn’t focus on the spinning and the other movements at the same time, and the speed was fast. Everything was on about 80-90 RPMs. And while at the end of the class, I was drenched in sweat, my legs didn’t have that tired, drained and achy feeling that I love. They felt lose, like I could take on Harlem Hill a few times. That was probably my fault, since I was afraid to up the tension and then compromise my form on the other movements, or wear myself out too quickly.
My teacher was obviously loved by many people and a very popular teacher, but there was so much going on, that I couldn’t just dig in and kill it because I was always focused on trying to do three other things at once. I’m not good at exercise multi-tasking.
I know that no spinning class - be it at a full service gym or a specialized spinning studio will offer the perfect-Amanda-class every session. Just this morning, I went to a spin class at the ‘Nox, which featured some great ’80′s rock music, but a less than stellar workout. And I don’t doubt that there are some classes at Soul that would blow my socks off. The very spinning teacher that turned me into a spinning fool is Kelly Ripa’s favorite intructor, and she was even asked to help launch Soul on the West Coast.
But Thursday’s class wasn’t the right one for me. My ideal spin class is full of great tunes, lots of heavy climbing and an even mix of standing and sitting. This class offered a full body workout, with an amazing playlist and an instructor who was full of motivation and energy. She kept on saying, “C’mon bitches!” which made me laugh and dig in. Sometimes, I wanted to yell back to her, “Ok, bitch!” but I didn’t because that wouldn’t have been nice and also, I didn’t have enough breath to make myself heard.
I’m a little bit disappointed that Soul Cycle wasn’t the life-changing workout-gasm I was expecting. I know those types of classes exist there – but they also exist at lots of other gyms too. In a way, I’m relieved that I don’t have to two-time my gym, and my poor wallet doesn’t have to break a sweat either.
So there. I did it. I told you what I thought of Soul Cycle and it wasn’t all, “OMIGOD IT’S THE BEST WORKOUT EVER!” But really, I think that the only workout that’s ever going to get that stamp of approval is the New York Marathon. Because, this is the Amanda Runs New York blog after all.