More Bumps

Last weekend I had all of my workouts and menu planned for the week. I was on top of it! Then, life happened! Unfortunately I had to jump on a plane at the last minute for a funeral in Illinois. I was determined that I wouldn’t let this travel time derail me, so I made sure to pack plenty of gear and resolve to get my workouts in. Turns out, when you set your mind to it, you really can get things done.

I arrived Wednesday morning, and in an effort to stay awake after my 4AM wake up call, went for a run. It was cold, but I always love running around my hometown on our absolutely fantastic Constitution Trail. It’s a safe, well-maintained and beautiful place to exercise, and I always miss it when I leave town. Wednesday run was:

  • 5 minute warm up walk
  • 12 x 2:00 walk, 0:20 run
  • 2:00 walk
  • 5 minute cool down walk

Thursday morning I went to a group fitness class with my mom. Holy cow. the first half hour was cardio/dance/aerobic types of movements, followed by some strength and core moves with resistance bands and some pilates moves. It was a pretty tough hour and boy did I work up a sweat! I don’t have the slightest idea how many squats I did, but it was a lot and I felt it the next day. It was a great compliment to the run the day before.

Saturday was another run day. Since the wind chill was somewhere around 10 degrees that morning and I definitely did NOT pack warm enough running gear for something like that, it was back to the gym to jump on one of their super fancy and very comfortable treadmills. As much as I hate that machine, this one was a nice comfy ride and before I knew it, my workout was over. I upped my run time, too, and really didn’t notice any additional fatigue. Hooray!

  • 3 minute walk up walk
  • 12 x 1:50 walk, 0:30 run
  • 2 minute walk
  • 4 minute cool down walk

Today we hit up a Zumba class. While not particularly challenging, it was fun to get moving for 45 minutes and hang out with my mom. I even got to show her some of my rowing form after the class.

It is downright cold and I’m thinking I may need to up my outerwear game if I’m going to do any outside running this winter. A few years ago I was in PT for a hip injury, and my therapist told me that running outside throughout the winter can really boost your fitness dramatically. I’m trying to keep this in mind on those cold mornings when I don’t want to get out of my warm PJs – that it will pay off when Seawheeze (which is 270 days away!) rolls around.

Paleo is non-existent when I’m home. I can modify some meals, but for the most part it is extremely difficult/impossible to follow a strict paleo diet here. But, I do what I can when I can, and will worry about cleaning up my diet once I’m back in my own kitchen. For the most part I do get a lot of veggies and high quality meat, just mixed in with some carbs. Of course after the funeral we had a home cooked meal that I could NOT pass up. With Thanksgiving dinner happening out of town at a chain Italian restaurant, I jumped on this meal of traditional comfort food. It was glorious.

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Back to NYC in a couple days and back in the fitness saddle. I’ll be looking to get in another run or two this week, and am already registered for a rowing class later in the week.

Hope you are all off to a great start to your weeks! Anyone do a particularly great workout over the weekend?

Monday Run

My Saturday run felt pretty good, so instead of a last minute rowing session, I decided to squeeze in another run tonight. Unfortunately I was in a huge hurry and it was already dark so I ran on the treadmill. Ugh. Hatehatehate.

But, I got the minutes in, and am so glad I did! One more run in the books!

  • 2 minute warm up
  • 8 x 2:30 walk, 0:30 run
  • 4 minute cool down

The highlight of my evening, however, was this killer soup I made for dinner. It is SO. DELICIOUS. I love this “recipe” because it’s so simple. I didn’t measure anything, I just chopped stuff and threw it in a dutch oven. Who doesn’t love a healthy, one-pot meal (that happens to make a LOT for leftovers and freezing)?!

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Dealing with the Little Bumps in the Road

A slow workout week, since my knee was sore from the 7 miles of marathon walking last weekend! I knew I was just sore and not injured, but didn’t want to aggravate the soreness, so I laid off the cardio.

Instead, I hit up my beloved restorative yoga with Gina at Ishta Downtown on Monday. Although I’m at a relatively low-stress period in my life, I still find great benefits from these restorative and meditative classes. I can’t imagine what wonders they would have worked had I discovered them in more stressful times.

On Wednesday my knee was still bugging me, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from getting in some sweat time! I guess one thing I’ve learned from being hurt so often is not to give up when there are bumps in the road. So, I did some body weight exercises that wouldn’t stress my knee with repetitive motion. I ended up doing:

With the exception of the pushups and side planks, all of these exercises have been prescribed to me by physical therapists in the past to help with weak/deactivated glutes. That glute weakness leads to knee and hip issues in both legs. I was really proud of myself that instead of sulking that I was sore, I was able to turn it into an opportunity to strengthen some weak areas!! Huge mental progress for me.

Thursday also tested my mental strength. I was having a hard time sticking to my clean eating. I had some appointments in the evening, I was super hungry and Five Guys was calling my name. BUT — I resisted, and had a lovely dinner of delicious, paleo leftovers. Exercising my willpower muscles big time!

Friday was Zumba time! My knee was all clear by Friday, and I had a blast in class. Apparently my best move is twerking. The instructor went nuts. Who knew?

I was feeling great with the fresh knee and a good sweat on Friday, so I decided that today would be the day I went for a run. I had taken a few weeks off when I developed some really nagging and concerning pain in my foot. It was a crisp, cold, beautiful day in Brooklyn, and I just HAD to be outside. I picked up right where I had left off with:

  • 5 minute warm up walk
  • 12 x 2 minute walk, 20 second run
  • 2 minute brisk walk
  • 5 minute cool down walk

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It was so great to finally get out and get some running in, if only for a few minutes. I can definitely tell that the classes I’ve been taking this last month are translating to my running. Yay crosstraining! I closed out my week by registering for a few Classpass classes for next week!

Overall it was a really fantastic week in which I overcame some mental hurdles. They may not have been major obstacles, but I feel like these opportunities to make positive decisions will help out when something bigger comes my way. As one of my biggest inspirations says, “Just keep moving forward!”.

Hope you all had a wonderful week! What opportunities have you had recently for making positive decisions?

NYC Marathon Weekend!

What a weekend! For the second year in a row I hosted a friend from college who was running the NYC marathon. While I didn’t have time to post, I still got my workouts in, and then some!

He arrived on Thursday, but I still had time to hit up my Aquacycling class. I made a quick stop at a nearby Lululemon, hoping they’d have some of the special edition NYC marathon gear. I was only interested in one piece, and thought it wouldn’t be taboo to buy and wear, since there was no mention of “marathon” or “2014” on it. I asked the first “educator” I saw if they had marathon pieces and she said “We have two”. Shoot. “The one I’m wearing (a sweatshirt) and…”. MY PANTS! Anyway, they are awesome, and they are mine.

NYC skyline on Run Inspire Crops!

NYC skyline on Run Inspire Crops!

The skyline is reflective!

The skyline is reflective!

After that I met up with my friend and headed to the marathon expo to pick up his race packet and do some shopping. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get another deranged turkey headband from Sweaty Bands (I love these things – I have a lot of trouble with headbands staying put and these seem to work!), and picked up some Nuun on the expo discount.

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Back to the workout of the day, I took a different instructor at AQUA this time. I thought my first session was a little lower in intensity than I was looking for, and after reading instructor bios I thought this one might work. It was definitely a more intense workout, but more of a regular spinning type of workout (meaning a lot less upper body, which bummed me out). No matter what, I still got in a great workout.

Post expo, we had just enough time to get ready for Hallowmeme. I was “Hot Dogs or Legs?“.

Hot dogs or legs?

Hot dogs or legs?

Friday was a rest day. Saturday I made it to another great class at Row House. 50 minutes of sweat. It was wonderful. I am LOVING rowing. Lovelovelove. They even had leftover glow sticks from Halloween – rowing with glow sticks in the dark – amazing. I’ve also been doing some research into rowing, and most people agree that gains in rowing readily translate to running. Great news. Since my rowing studio is just down the street from New York Running Company, I stopped in after class to check out some shoes I spotted at the marathon expo. I’m just going to drop in some pictures below, and you can see for yourself why I HAD to have these. They are AMAZING!

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Then, the main event! Marathon Sunday! The marathon is my favorite event that takes place in NYC. I watch/cheer every year, and every year I end up crying. I am always overcome by the energy and inspiration. My friend and I set up 3 mid-race checkpoints and a meet up spot for post-race. So fun to run around the city and see different parts of the race. I knew I did a lot of walking, especially when I walked from 112th Street and 5th Ave to 75th and Columbus. I decided to map out everything and it turns out I walked around 7 miles just during the marathon! It was a beautiful day and was great to get in a little extra movement.

Monday was restorative yoga day back at Ishta Yoga with Gina. This is by far my favorite yoga class of all time. I really enjoy Gina’s instruction and she picks the BEST poses.

Of course this weekend meant some questionable food choices, so back to weekday paleo this week! I’ve been doing strict paleo on weekdays and whatever I want (paleo or not) on weekends.

Hope you all had a great weekend. Anyone watch or run the marathon?!

This Week in Paleo

After nearly three weeks of having company, traveling and being sick, I finally had a “real” week to get back on the paleo track. This week featured lots of green salads (spinach, kale and arugula) with lots of veggies (peppers, carrots, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumber and olives). I also made an amazing crock pot pot roast with a beautiful grass fed roast, red onion, carrots and fingerling potatoes. I have no recipe to link because it went a little something like this:

Cut up a red onion and cover the bottom of the crock pot. Place roast on top. Salt and pepper the roast. Chop carrots and potatoes and place on top. Cook on low for 8 hours. That’s it. And it was delicious! I learned that carrots are much more popular than potatoes in our house, so I’ll have to adjust for that next time.

Salad and pot roast leftovers got us through last week. This weekend we cooked up my favorite paleo taco recipe. I roasted some poblano peppers and threw those in a pico (I don’t use a recipe, I just chop up and stir together plum tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper and lots of lime juice). Made taco salads with chopped iceberg lettuce (I know there’s like…no nutritional value here, but I like the contrast of the cold crunch with the warm and spicy of the taco meat), some shredded cheese, my pico and olives. So much yum!

Yesterday I was at the grocery store and saw a lovely grass-fed skirt steak, so for dinner I whipped up a skirt steak salad. I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper, seared each side for about a minute each, then threw the whole cast iron pan of goodness in the oven about 6 minutes (once removed from over I gave the steak 10 minutes to rest). Whipped up a blue cheese vinaigrette (1/4 cup olive oil, 3 T red wine vinegar, 1/2 t oregano and 1/4 lb. blue cheese) and dressed some arugula. Sliced the steak and placed on top. That dressing really could have used a healthy dose of salt and pepper – will remember that for next time because I will definitely be making this again! Skirt steak is a delicious but relatively cheap cut of steak that often gets overlooked! And I posted a picture to Instagram of my dessert – a gala apple, some Gruyere cheese, walnuts and raisins. A delicious treat!

Tonight I had a pound of grass-fed beef left over that I wanted to cook before it spoiled. On the fly, whipped up the following:

Last minute stir fry!

Last minute stir fry!

Another no-recipe meal, I browned a pound of beef with about a clove of minced garlic and some salt, then added a bag of frozen peppers & onions and a bag of frozen carrots, broccoli, snap peas & water chestnuts. Added a little soy sauce (I know, not so paleo but it’s what I had), and BOOM, STIR FRY. It turned out to be pretty delicious!

What are your favorite quick and easy paleo meals?

Walk and Row

I’m trying to take FULL advantage of my Classpass by trying as many new activities as possible. I have to say, I am absolutely LOVING it. So fun to do new things that are still giving me a great workout. So yesterday, I jumped into a rowing class! I had rowed a little bit last winter during a brief CrossFit stint, but nothing more than a few minutes. I decided to hit up an afternoon class at Row House with Sam.

We spent the first ten minutes or so learning proper technique. I didn’t hear any corrections directed at me, so I just kept doing what I was doing! Turns out that later on in the class I’d find out that I have really great form on the erg, so that’s cool! It’s always nice to go in to something new and do it well.

After this warm-up/technique session, we started the actual workout. We did sets of power 10s, a ten minute period of rowing 300 meters hard, then 40 seconds of rest, and finished with a 5 minute all-out sprint. In between each set, we did 5-10 minutes of body weight exercises like squats, dips, pushups, and ab work. With each set of rowing, we were given kind of a target to hit, which was really helpful to me. The 5 minute sprint was done almost entirely in total darkness. I’m sure that was to help us focus entirely on working the erg, but I actually wished I could see my distance (the goal was 1000 meters). Either way, by the end of this sprint, I was spent.

The class was very simple to follow, the instructor demoed everything we needed to do and it is very self-paced – you work at your level. My only gripe was that it was extremely hard to hear him. I’m not sure if it was the microphone or the acoustics of the room, but everything came out kind of muffled. However, the class was small enough and he moved around enough to help that no one was left behind.

I’m feeling pretty sore today, but nothing too crazy. I do know that I absolutely LOVED rowing. It just seems to be something I’m kind of naturally good at, and seems to really be a total body exercise. I’m feeling it in my legs, arms, abs and back today. I will for sure be back to Row House, and honestly if I had to leave Classpass tomorrow, I’d probably join a rowing studio. It was that great.

To try and alleviate some of the soreness, I went for a walk today. I’ve been focusing on some low/no impact activities lately since I was having some soreness in my foot. I haven’t had any soreness in several days, so decided it was time to hit the road again and see what happens. I went on a 50 minute walk this evening in some absolutely beautiful weather.

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We’ll see how the foot reacts, and if all systems are go, might try bringing some jogging back into the mix! SeaWheeze is a mere 294 days away!

How was your Saturday? Try any new workouts?

Aquacycling?

Well yesterday turned out to be an awesome adventure. I decided the next use of my Classpass would be to try out NYC’s first and only aquacycling studio – Aqua. Review below!

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Let me tell you – this workout is so great. It perfectly combines several of my fitness interests (swimming! cycling!) into one workout that was ideal for my fitness level. I am the perfect amount of “sore” today – not too much, but I know I recently worked my muscles.

The studio is beautiful, and easy to maneuver. It is clear where the locker room and pool are. I sometimes find myself a little lost or confused at new studios but none of that here. Due to rain delaying my train and someone actually grabbing me (!!) on my way to the studio, I was a little bit late. They suggest arriving a full 15 minutes before class starts. I think I got there around 9:27 for my 9:30 class. Oops. Luckily the receptionist was super nice and let me postpone filling out all of my first-timer paperwork until after the workout, I just had to quickly sign my waivers and rent my shoes and I was on my way. By the time I got my suit on and crammed everything in a locker (the locks DO work, by the way – several reviews I read online complained about them not working – I believe they have been updated and all seem to be working properly), class had just begun. I think there were about 5 other ladies in the class with me (due to only a single locker room classes are not coed). Unfortunately since the class had just begun, I wasn’t able to get a proper bike setup, so I just walked around until I found one that had a good seat height for me and away we went.

Pedaling on these bikes was something to get used to. My stroke felt very choppy and “bouncy” for a while, especially out of the saddle. There is an emphasis on “smooth strokes”, and by the end of the class I think I had this down. After a nice warmup, we went through a sequence of climbs, jumps and sprints like you would in a traditional spinning class. However, the addition of swimming movements and other arm exercises is what MADE this workout for me. We did several exercises where you essentially take freestyle strokes in the water while spinning. This provided a really solid upper body workout. There were a few other exercises that mimicked a butterfly stroke, and some arm movements that were like freestyle and butterfly in reverse. Another upper body exercise required us to “push” down into the water in double time. Keep in mind you’re still spinning through all of this. These arm movements were SO much more taxing than what I’ve experienced with dumbbells in traditional spin. Big thumbs up.

The other awesome activity and point of differentiation with this workout was the fourth “riding” position. This was done by sliding off the back of the seat. Feet stay in the clips while you hold onto the seat. We then integrated some more swimming type motions, this time mimicking a breaststroke movement. “Swimming” in the fourth position was my absolute favorite part of the entire class.

While I knew I was sweating during this workout, it was nice to be able to splash a little water on my face and keep pedaling. The water temperature was absolutely perfect. It didn’t feel cold at all when I entered the pool and never felt too hot during the workout.

A nice cool down included standard stretches. After the class, it was back to the locker room – which is beautiful. Dimly but sufficiently lit, dark wood and paint – it all felt luxurious. The showers (plenty of them) are extremely roomy and well stocked with soap, shampoo and conditioner. The vanity area has hairdryers (and diffusers), plus q-tips, cotton rounds, etc. The towel provided is full sized and absorbent – no scratchy, thin “gym” towels here. I brought an extra to wrap my hair (which ended up not getting wet, but was nice to have a second towel anyway).

Finally, one more thing that stuck out to me was how incredibly friendly everyone was. I’m not just talking staff. I’m not sure I’ve ever really struck up a conversation with semi-naked strangers in a locker room before, but I think I talked to no fewer than 4 ladies at some length.

My only semi-gripe was with the music. I thought the volume was at a good level – never drowning out the instructor (Ed), even as he turned it up as the intensity of the workout increased. It just wasn’t my style. And while the choreography that goes into traditional spin is probably my favorite part of those classes, it seems like that would be impossible with this kind of setup (the water is your resistance, not a dial). But, honestly I was so focused on the workout I wasn’t paying much attention to the music anyway. Certainly NOT a dealbreaker.

Overall, I will FOR SURE be revisiting Aqua Studio. With Classpass, you may only visit each studio a maximum of three times in a month – you can bet I will be getting all three of my Aqua visits from now on. I’m a big believer in practicing functional movements, and I’m not sure there’s much that’s more unnatural than being strapped to a bicycle that doesn’t move in a swimming pool, but for the fun factor alone I’ll be back. It seems like a great joint-saving supplement to running and other weight bearing activities!This was by far the most “out there” class I’ve taken – what’s your favorite class that isn’t so mainstream? I’d love to hear about it!!

SICK

It’s been quite a busy few weeks, with some family visiting and me getting sick. Now feeling a bit on the mend, I decided to FINALLY put my Classpass to use, and attended a restorative yoga class at Ishta Yoga‘s downtown location. Holy cow, was that a treat! I took a 60 minute restorative class with Gina. I arrived a bit early so that I could grab a spot and get acquainted with the space. Folks were already in the first pose, and Gina was helping people get into the pose as they entered. I think this allowed me to get a good 75-80 minutes of practice instead of just 60. Not too shabby. We ended up going through about 5 poses through the hour, all lying down or seated. I found Gina to be just the right amount of helpful. She would bring you an appropriate bolster/block or make an adjustment if needed, but did this so quickly and quietly that it did not interfere with the meditative focus of the practice. She also gave great verbal instructions so that I didn’t need to look at her to understand the next pose. This was important so that I didn’t have to open my eyes, sit up and turn around – again something that would disrupt the focus of the practice.

This was my first experience in a restorative class (my yoga experience has been more on the vinyasa end of the spectrum), and it was AWESOME. I have become more and more interested in stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation, and I think this is a great addition to any stress management program. I think a restorative practice could also be great for recovery. Gina mentioned that when we have a joint that isn’t feeling great we want to work it and stretch it, but in reality we should be resting the joint – something that can be achieved through restorative yoga.

I was also really impressed with Ishta Yoga. The facility was clean, the people friendly, the instructor knowledgeable (even giving variations for a variety of possible injuries or tight spots the people attending the class might have) and the receptionist was SUPER nice.

Later this week I’ll be hopping back on the cardio horse/bike when I try underwater spinning. I cannot wait for this class and look forward to sharing the experience with you!

In other news, I have new peacock hair!

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