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Sunday Runday

5 Apr

Happy April, kiddos! Currently writing to you all while gloriously bathing in Adele’s sophomore release. I use a grooming adjective because her voice is so luxurious that you actually want to soak in it. Can’t.Get.Enough. (Kat’s life advice corner: If you only do one great thing for yourself today—listen to “Someone Like You.” You’ll simultaneously sway and ache a little. She’s that good. Your soul will thank you. Promise.)

So for those that know anything about my life, you know that the past month has been heavy. It’s been full (awesome) steam ahead to say the least! And it seems like the only times that I’ve been able to breathe (or even think for that matter) have been in motion. Ironic, I know. Coincidentally, I have been running more often (not a bad thing) and also longer (also not terrible.) Luckily for us New Yorkers, the weather has brightened a bit. (I am totally ignoring the sleet that occurred on Friday. That did not exist in my mind.) So you bet your pretty blue/green/brown/gray eyes that I took full-freaking advantage of it!

Yesterday, Sheila (a co-entrant in the ING) and I met at Columbus Circle for a jog through Central Park. She is a Queens inhabitant and I of Brooklyn so Manhattan was a nice change of faux-foliage for the both of us! We looked tres chic in our matching black tights (I seriously wish I would’ve documented it). Unfortunately, my Garmin was acting up (damn you satellites) and I wasn’t able to get mileage on our run but it was a 50-minute jog thanks to my Blackberry that I trudged along. Not too bad for a Sunday rendezvous!

This is Sheils and I! Sans the tights. But still totally adorable.

Usually, when I am at the gym, I am only able to focus on increasing my speed per mile since I have severe ADD issues in a stationary position. But when I run outside, I am definitely honing in on my endurance. (All while trying to stay within my training pace of 9:40-10:10 minute miles.)

Today was a definitive Prospect Park day—despite what my legs were telling me (seriously felt like my whole body was full of sand!) Throughout my mid-evening run, I kept referring back to yesterday (as it was so lovely to have a running partner in stride). I definitely do not days like that lightly. Thanks Sheila for the run, the laughs, and the Sunday motivation! You can go ahead and make that check out to awesome. Heart!

Countdown to 4-miler in Central Park: 19 Days!

Express Yourself (Hey, Madonna’s Words-Not Mine)

30 Mar

We all have different cardio preferences when it comes to the gym. Some of us of are elliptical junkies. (Um, hello—have you met my oscillopsia?) A few of us still fancy the Stairmaster. And then there’s the stationary bike crew. (Although, where are you guys—it seems that row is ALWAYS empty and “miraculously” broken.) And while I am not planning our honeymoon anytime soon, I definitely have to say that the treadmill is the one for me.

Especially when I discovered New York Sports Club heaven. AKA long distance treadmills. If you have never run on one before—I highly suggest it. You notice the difference (in comparison to their “normal” counterparts) just by the site of them, as their running platforms are made to simulate wooden panels (almost like trail running) and the front end is completely open. This allows you to get a full, open stride sans the shin splits or locked knees! They have always been taken in the past (thank you, gym owls) so I haven’t bothered to wait but their recently discovered glory is worth the awkward seriously-are-you-done-yet glares. Every time I hop on, I really hone in on my form and always go just a bit longer. (Also, just a human observation. Others don’t run like they have barbells attached to their ankles when they use them. Just a friendly, semi-nudging tip from one gym-goer to another.)

Today, while I was working out I was alternating between a re-run of Glee and the newest episode of The Biggest Loser. You all know how much I love me some Ali Sweeney! But today it was Jillian that really got to me. In the midst of working out with her team, someone started talking about how getting “back on track” with their weight and their body made them love everything again. Jillian then asked what they wanted with their life. They said, “to love it all.” And Jillian simply said,

See what you did there? You expressed your needs and the world didn’t friggin’ stop.”

And it got me thinking. About life and about needs. About hearing mine and those of everyone around me. And about tuning into them more often. Perhaps we’d all get a little bit more out of our days if we told each other what we needed. (But also gave in return–effortlessly, humbly, and harmonically.) Just a thought for this Tuesday evening.

Late Night Pep Talk (via USPS)

26 Mar

After an ever-satisfying meal at Greensquare Tavern this evening, I came home to a small white box. Nevermind the uber-me post-its (based on one of my favorite children’s books) or the glow-in-the-dark creepy crawlers. Nope. This particular (early) birthday package had a little marathon inspiration. Which got me to thinking about small things and awesome people.

A dear friend of mine left for the Peace Corps this week. (And she also happens to be the sender of said box.) Better yet? She’s a marathon finisher! Though she didn’t run Cross Country with me in High School, she has been such an effervescent force in my training (and just sheer will) to do this in the first place. How clever of her to send me all her favorite flavors of Clif Energy Gel for when I get to the longer runs! I will definitely be saving them, E. Couldn’t have come at a better time…seriously.

Thanks to all those who continue to cheer me on despite where I am in life!

Oh Hey March, Didn’t See You There

5 Mar

So apparently it’s March – who knew? Or at least that is what my calendar, my blackberry, my pay stub, and the world is telling me. (Oh, did I leave out basketball? My bad.) To that I say…bienvenido marzo! Training-wise, I can already tell that it is going to be a tres excellent month. I triple-pinkie swore myself (yeah, imagine what that would look like) that I would make a STEADY workout schedule and stick to it. If you know the eccentric inner-workings of my personality at all, you know that I like “life goals”—big and small. Kat, today you WILL go grocery shopping. If I put it on a post-it note, fuhgeddaboutit—there’s no way I can break it! Post-its = divinity of some sort in this household. Therefore, I have officially vowed to fit some form of exercise into my too-busy-to-breathe-at-times schedule FOUR times a week. (Ideally aiming for Saturday/Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday in case you were itching to know.) And success! Not only did I reach my goal this week; but I am feeling healthier, happier, and a little bit too acquainted with the gym’s TV channels. (I watch while running, so sue me!)

March means FLOWERS!

Last weekend, Adriana and I used the second of our cycling passes at Cycle Bar. This time, we had the session’s regular instructor, Emma. Uhm. I will gladly spin to Swedish pop and Madonna remixes any day if Emma tells me to. I bow down to her wheeled ways! Compared to the class last week (which I still loved and sweated my behind off in, no worries), I was so happy to see more variation in the workout. (Apparently you can do jumps on a stationary Schwinn, who knew?) I often worry that when I get to the bigger mileage in my training, without a running partner, I am going to legitimately keel over from BOREDOM. A kickass mix featuring back-to-back mixes of whip-my-hair (why yes, don’t mind if I do) Willow will only get me so far. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to use the rest of the Living Social deal tomorrow evening! Probably the best $20 I have spent in quite a while.

Also, in running news this week, I have decided to sign up for a race. Screw the marathon! Just kidding—isn’t that why we are all gathered here today? (Wow, that sounded sermon-esque.) But I do feel like I need something to work towards with a faster expiration date. So, in perfect harmony with receiving my New York Road Runner’s membership card in the mail – I settled on a 4-mile jaunt in Central Park on April 23rd. Cannot wait!

So, as I sit here with my Brooklyn Bread bagel (of the chocolate variety), I officially dedicate all further Prospect Park runs (like the one today!) to the beautiful and inspiring month of March. Let’s get down to business, eh?

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

21 Feb

So the spinning curse has officially been broken. Thank the wheeled and padded gel-seat Gods at the newly opened Cycle Bar in Park Slope – you all are too kind! (The British accents were easy on the ears as well.) This evening’s trip was part of a three-part deal courtesy of Living Social, a coupon site that functions by the likes of Groupon. Adriana and I were able to get the classes at 75% off. NYC-ers you should definitely subscribe! (Though admittedly, this is definitely one of the better deals that I’ve seen.)

But back to the important stuff. If you haven’t been to a hardcore spinning studio before—let me set the mood. Essentially, it is church on a bike. The lights are dimmed (minus one or two that spotlight the tightly-clothed instructor)—this allows you to put the pedal to the metal in total darkness, amen! Next, the music is PERFECTLY timed to the workout. Seriously, people. It’s as if Janet Jackson is legitimately belting it out to the syncopated rhythm of your stationary sprinting. Today Ed chose tunes that were a bit more instrumental/tribal a la The Lion King. Personally, I prefer ones that I can attempt to sing along to while I am dying…but hey—whatever floats your Schwinn!

Fierce on a tricycle!

Compared to my experience at Soul Cycle on the Upper East Side (and I will be the first to admit that I had a lot of extraneous factors swirling around at the time)—today’s workout was sensational. Adriana and I chose the one-hour endurance ride, which consisted of 60-second sprints followed by 30 to 60-second recuperations + 5-7 minute long resistance “hills” where you pedal standing up. The resistance knob went up to 5 and the highest we got was up to 4 (usually going up in intervals of ¼), but trust me—working out at 4 actually felt like drudging through the mud. Good thing the music was blaring and the room was dark because I am pretty sure (make that positive) my mouth was muttering some not-so-pleasant phrases during those parts.

Today’s workout was such a welcomed change of pace. I’ve been especially conflicted lately in differentiating between how far my legs can actually run and how far my mind wants to go. But in an hour class (opposed to a run that could “last forever”), alongside 3 others (have mostly been training by myself), the group momentum was a much-needed boost. And it proved to me that I am nearing a point of fitness, which is exciting!

Math equation of the day: darkness + uncomfortable bike seat + burning thighs + the phrase “just 30 seconds more” + Rafiki-esque tunes + smooth sound of spinning = pure joy, my friends! Can’t wait for round #2.

Where the Warmer Half Runs

17 Feb

Evening, loves! Wonderful to see you all again. (Smiles awkwardly at reflection in laptop screen.) So it turns out that when you are a writer in the three-dimensional world known as LIFE…the fun, personal writing for the two-dimensional world (like this blog) falls to the waste side. Hence, my absence! Luckily, the same has not been true of my running vida. Yes, you can breathe a big sigh of relief. I am sure you have been losing nights of sleep over it. There, there.

What you have missed: this Midwesterner has had it up to her faux-New York britches with the winter. Black snow is not sexy on anyone. Apparently, this is one of the worst we have ever had (and I can use the past few years to say OH YEAH to that). So guess what? I hauled it over to New York Sports Club and got myself a membership. That’s right! The oo-la-land of treadmills, white towels, complicated weight machines, and profusely sweating individuals—some might call this ecstasy. (You might call it hell.)

The New York gym culture is fascinating to me. (My parents met in a gym, for those of you that don’t know, so there is pre-meditated sentimentality attached here…I admit!) I have so many questions! Does one work out before the morning commute and then trek it home to shower? Or do I haul my gym bag to work and slip off the train and into the locker room? I realize that this is not macroeconomics (just go with me here), but these are the things I think about! Seasoned gym goers, please weigh in.

I also got my hands on a three-trip pass to a cycling studio here in Brooklyn. So here’s to giving the stationary bike universe another spin! (Like what I did there?) Last year, I tried Soul Cycle (the ultimate temple of the wheel world) and I swear I couldn’t feel my crotch for days. TMI? Sorry.

On that note, here’s to running in place and escaping the cold. Cheers!

I’d Like that Run on Ice, Please

23 Jan

Running pump-up song of the day: “Hard Times” (Featuring Black Thought) by John Legend & The Roots

It is always a brilliant sign when you go to check the Weather Channel (okay, so it was www.weatherchannel.com – sue me!) and the report reads: “New York – High: 20°F (but feels like 7°.) Now if that doesn’t make a girl want to slap on a pair of Gortex pants and get goin’—I don’t know what would! (JUST kidding.) But against my better judgment, I suited up and braved the Arctic Chill. [Side note: What do all you other intense runners wear on days like today?]

Though it wasn’t exactly a magnificent work-out, not quite sure why I psych myself out like that. I’ve done much tougher things in my life. Swallowed live minnows (don’t ask—that was a low moment in my youth), fell off a raft during a category 3 white water wave (there are excellent pictures to document that), and ate pigeon stew very much against my will (note: this pigeon met its fate AGAINST my homestay’s kitchen shutter. Oh yes.) So what’s a little 13 MPH wind on your face? Eh?

In other news! Look at what came in the mail this week. My bright orange (won’t this look EXCELLENT with my hot pink Nike shorts) ING Marathon 2011 Training shirt! Thanks NY Road Runners for making my week. I am definitely putting this in the back of my closet until the warmer weather and until I feel like I am truly in training mode. (I’m not even cataloguing my miles yet! Shh, no one tell my father. Even though he is probably going to see this and call me to chat about that.) But knowing it is there is an extraordinary motivator on days like today. Can’t wait until the day when I get to wear it and FULLY rock it!