Sunday, May 31, 2009

Greenie goodness

I meant to post both the recipe and the source for which I found the recipe in my last post...  damn monkey mind  :P

I originally found the recipe on Jenna's blog - which is a wealth of information for all things tasty.   Although she'll mix up the exact ingredients, most of her monsters look something like this:  
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 cups organic spinach
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 scoop raw almond butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
In the batch I made yesterday I used a fresh banana and hemp milk in place of the almond milk.  Experiment with different combinations, you can't really go too wrong.  And although this sucker is greener than most of my running gear, it doesn't taste like spinach whatsoever.

Grand Prix, Green Monsters and Girly Things

Reader beware... long hodge podge post ahead.

Yesterday's Brooklyn HM, part of the 5 HM Grand Prix series - one for each borough, went pretty much as expected.  I had 3 goals in mind:
  • run it as a solid training run with a pace that reflected such
  • have a solid mental run
  • have fun
All in all I'd give myself a B for achieving those 3 goals.  I did end up with a 2:00:13, 9:10/mi pace - good for training.  I did have a mostly strong mental race although acclimating to the summer weather (which isn't even full on summer temps yet) took a bit more out of me than I would have liked.   But I learned from it and I adjusted.    And hot damn I did have fun!  The race is great ...circling around Prospect Park twice I passed all sorts of beautiful scenery, dogs getting their outdoors on, bicyclists, stroller bound babies, etc.  It was fun.  Exiting the park took the race along Ocean Parkway which I knew nothing about although I expected to be a little less protected from the sun.   However race organizers had us running in the lanes to the far left and under a beautiful canopy of mature trees.  Perfect.   Further and further into the race I could feel the breezes pick up... the breezes that let you know the ocean is near.   And then we made those last couple turns to end up on the boardwalk and cruisin' to the finish.  Done and done.

After getting back home, I fixed myself a green monster.   Earlier in the week I'd picked up some gorgeous spinach from our local greenmarket and couldn't wait to give it a go in the smoothie...  awesome recovery fuel

And then after relaxing a bit I decided to get my new ride out and see how she handles.  I headed west to the Hudson River Park/Riverside Park path and then north up to the George Washington Bridge and back.   The bike is great!   It feels comfortable and with a good fit.  The weather was ideal for a ride and I was quickly able to get up to an area along the path that I count among my most favorite in all of the city

Still in Manhattan!  Hard to believe, right?  This section isn't very long but it feels like another world; getting here you take a right turn from where the path had been running north right along the water, probably north of 160-something street if the streets ran this far west.   Near the end of this path you remerge right at the water's edge get a great shot of the very large GWB in the background

After riding partially up the long and tough ascent to the bridge's deck, I turned around and shot back home.   Will be planning to get the girl out again today for a longer ride, perhaps further north over the Henry Hudson Bridge or up into the Cloisters.  

But all that will wait until after I've hit our building's spa day.   Free manicures, pedicures, massages and facials and all I have to do is walk down two flights of stairs.  Wheee!!!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Damn you HBO

Last night we discovered the awesomeness that is HBO's series True Blood and like times in the past, when catching up on a show, it's impossible to just watch a single episode. In fact when we first started watching LOST, Jason & I marathoned it out for the first two seasons... as in we stayed up till like 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning just to get through. Sick, very sick. But hey it was a weekend, no workie and also totally worth it. Back to the vampires, 4 episodes and way past my bedtime, I snoozed the hell outta my alarm this morning. Result - will get a few sleazy miles in later today along with a short bike ride, weather permitting.

Thus far this week...

Monday - blobby blob day o' nothing (vastly different than a rest day, I assure you)
Tuesday - 5 sleazy miles in 47:17, quick circuit of push-ups/dips/cross body leg swings
Wednesday - 30 mins swimming (1512 yds), 90 mins yoga (lots of balancing standing poses)
Thursday - 6 miles in 47:17 w/7 x 2 mins on/1 min off + varying length hill sprints

Thursday's run felt great from the moment I got outside. It was about 57* and misting a light rain. I split up the first 3 intervals of hard running and recovery from the last 4 with a mile plus at a very comfortable pace and ended up with an average pace of 7:52/mi and an identical total time as the sleazy 5 miler from Tuesday.


Anywho... I was also able to squeeze in my bike pickup last night so as much as I can get out and get to riding this weekend, you can beat I will.

Up tomorrow morning, the Brooklyn HM. The course is exactly opposite of what it's been for many of the race's past years, starting with two loops around Prospect Park and traveling along Ocean Parkway to end on the Coney Island boardwalk. Going to have to remember to actually pick up my feet on that last stretch lest I end up face planting on the wooden planked boardwalk.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The lowdown

Here are all the details of my new commuting buddy. And although it'll be a short commute (6 miles give or take) I'm still working out the various a.m. combinations that might work for me...

  • time consuming, clean but perhaps not clean enough (think July): shower, commute, touch up, clothing change, work, clothing change, commute
  • requires a gym location near the office: commute, shower/clothing change, work, clothing change, commute
  • possibly polluted east river or hudson style: commute, swim, spray down with disinfectant, clothing change, work, clothing change, commute
  • stanky style: commute, work, commute
  • runner style: commute, work, clothing change & shoe change, run back home while pushing bike


I'll also be considering a good name for the old girl but me thinks that'll take some time spent with her before something suitable becomes known to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

MTA Monthly Buddy

Meet the teammate of my MTA monthly pass. This girl and my MTA card will split commuting duties starting later this week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Uptown on the D Train

Rest day today - woot! So no workout but rather plans to spend some time in the Bronx tonight, watching the Yanks and the Phillies. I'm sure I can get some curls done during that time ...wink, wink. Not much excitement to report, here's how the week looked so far:

Monday: 50 mins. spinning, 3 miles running (23:59)
Tuesday: 30 mins. swimming (1512 yds), 6.35 miles running (58:07)
Wednesday: 90 mins. yoga (balance poses were the focus)
Thursday: 5.65 miles running (47:00)

I'm hoping to get all or at least part of the Half Marathon Circuit Challenge done this weekend to a). spice up a slow starting round of training and b). to get me moving a little faster in prep for next weekend's Brooklyn HM. Not a goal race by any means but a good opportunity for a supported 13.1 mile run and a dip in the ocean afterwards.

I'm also looking forward to finally ordering my new bike and making plans to ride it to work when I can.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And we're off!

Destination: St. George, Utah
Arrival Date: October 3rd

Today marks the official kick-off to another round of marathon training. I'm feeling very strong about this, very determined and was quite motivated to get a solid workout in today. My buddy boB ...yeah no typo there ... he always says that when he seriously wants to go after a BQ he'll really buckle down. Train like a mofo and do everything full steam ahead (nutrition, cross training, tune-ups, etc). In other words, make your training nearly your singular focus. Nearly b/c hey, we gotsta still work.

I think about that often and the way I figure it today is then.

Today is when.

Today is always then. When.

And so I push myself off into 20 weeks of challenges, rewards, sweat and hard work. Nothing like a challenging work day to spring me into tonight's activities. I've been working in our DUMBO office for some time now and I still can't get the damn timing right on the slow ass A train. Adding insult to injury I needed to bring my laptop home for some work tonight and it weighs a friggin' ton. Oh and the subway isn't just around the block, it's a little bit of a jaunt... a nice scenic jaunt but a jaunt nonetheless. I left work a bit too late but hustled up the hill to Cadman Plaza and descended into the deep High Street stop.

Having just missed a C train. Isn't that always the case??!?!

An A wasn't far behind. Spent what seemed like forever traveling back into Manhattan and uptown to Columbus Circle. Glancing at my watch I noticed it was going to be very tight getting out of the station, to the gym and dressed in time for class. I started prepping while still on the train... earrings off and in the wallet, watches switched out, hair pulled back in a ponytail and glasses securely stored in their case. The train pulled into the stop and I was off. After a blur of a clothing change, I sweated out a challenging and hilly 50 min. spin class. Iris is sooo damn good that way. I then scored one of the sweet TMs and cranked out 3 miles in 23:59. I was worried that I was about to miss the closing of the pool at another gym location and so I hustled it a bit more to get my backpack and resurface to ground level so that I could make the call for a swim lane reservation in the morning.

How's that for an action packed first training day? Booking to get one workout done in order to assure I was able to get the next done in the morning. :-) Anywho, I'm not planning to burn myself out in record time so I'll try to schedule that whole routine a bit better next week.

As for the training I'm looking to use a couple of Brad Hudson's plans. His level two plan would be ideal except I'm not starting out with quite the base I'd have liked and I don't want to risk injury. And so I'll mix up elements of levels one and two and have a few tune-up races at varying distances to gauge where I am throughout the next 20 weeks.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Now that's what I'm talking about

I've mentioned before that I'm saddled with a monkey mind, in fact most people probably are to some extent. And although I'd like to think the pros of having my mad multi-tasking skillz outweigh those of my thoughts puked up anywhere and everywhere, it's not working out for me and it continues to affect my running [amongst other things]. You see the monkey mind is not content with existing in the present moment, but rather engages in the thoughts that pass through. This is a serious problem when running miles and miles sometimes hours at a time.

Now I've always struggled with the mental aspects of running, I'm content to live in the moment for only a period of time, most often not the entire time I'm running. And while this is fine for some training runs, come race time it's to my detriment. It doesn't matter if I'm falling apart physically or not and 9 times out of 10 I'm physically a-ok. And so this has been my focus. There was no "official focus training" kick-off but rather something I knew I'd need to get a better grip on if I ever intend to move off this plateau I'm stuck on and start running to my physical abilities.

It started with attending a 4 week workshop at Kula. And although I didn't start noticing the effects right away, progress was being made. It started in the yoga sessions themselves. Regardless of what had occurred in the day already, I was able to gently shut down those thought processes and focus on just the physical movements and guidance provided by the instructor. I didn't go to some far away land in my mind but rather further engaged in what I was doing at that moment. In other words, I wasn't disassociating but rather connecting to my inner self in a deeper fashion.

And little by little as my practice continued, more and more progress was made. All culminating this past Sunday at the Broad Street Run. Here's the set up... I'm not in race shape, I'm not worlds away from race shape but I'm not there and I know it. I am, however, not prepared to take this 10 miler completely casually either. I'm down some lbs., I haven't been completely slacking and I'm hungry. Hungry for a taste of success. I arrived ready to give a solid effort both physically and mentally.

The race starts and I'm off with the yellow corral (wave)... only a minute or so after the official start, which in a race of nearly 26,000 people isn't too shabby. Because I'm fairly close to the front there is no need for bobbing and weaving. I set up on the white line between the right-most two lanes and start ticking away the miles. First thing I noticed is I'm not scanning around as much as I normally do. Sure I take in the crowd, more by hearing them rather than seeing them as well as logging the same information about my fellow runners - who's close by, who's running an even pace, etc. But I'm here (points to head) engaged in my self, in my legs, in my core, in my heart. Mile by mile goes by, I slow at times I speed up at others. I can see my breathe traveling through my body.

I continue to live there

I glance at my Garmin just when passing the mile markers. Taking note of my splits but not going any further with that data. In fact I didn't look at the cumulative time passed until I saw something out of the corner of my eye, on one of the big clocks, around 57 mins and for one brief second my mind shifted. "I'm pretty sure that's Tom's PR ...he'd be finished by now. Wow!" And just as quickly I was back.


I was doing this. I was fully engaged in the moment. I was strong. I was capable. I was proud.

And then I was finished. Crossing the finish line in 1:22:03. Not a PR by any means but really not too far off either. In fact had I not stopped for an emergency porta-potty break I would have been within a minute or so of my PR and with plenty of gas in the tank to have gone for it.

It didn't matter.

I'd already won this race. I was brimming with confidence, with pure joy and also quite a bit of rain (it was a wet one, again!).

Now that's what I'm talking about!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Life is good

What a fabulous weekend! Despite the rain and dreary Sunday we had, it closed out quite nicely. After a loverly run through CP on the bridle path, Jason and I spent the remainder of Saturday with his niece and nephews. What looked like a supa gray day really turned around and we were able to spend a fair amount of time outside. Keaton and I took a walk down to Riverside Park where we spent some time checking out the dogs at their park and then near the wonderful community garden. I love this garden - it's always so full of life and love. Saturday it was also full of the sounds of Toby, a gorgeous parrot. Keaton immediately took notice of the squawking and demanded we get closer. Now you all know me, I'm not a fan of birds - I don't discriminate against any type either, they all scare the bejesus outta me. But for Keaton's sake I got a wee bit closer than my comfort zone allowed.

It wasn't quite close enough for this little guy though he tests just how far the straps of his stroller will extend.

Toby was all "hello!" and some other gibberish but he also sang quite a lot - in opera!

We headed back to the apartment to get Uncle JJ and the other boys and headed back to the park. While they played some catch, Keaton and I roamed around barefoot. Although he's not quite walking yet, he's got it in him and he had the grubby little feet to show it.