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Hello 2012!

After a completely relaxing and fun-filled two-week vacation from the real world, I am back in NYC and deep into the swing of things. The time off from my regularly-scheduled, over-programmed life was exactly what I needed to feel ready to conquer a new year. I did love 2011, as it turned out way better than I could have ever imagined, but I feel like I was exhausted for the greater part of it. 2012 seems to hold more of the same, so I was happy that I was able to catch up on resting, vegging, and most importantly, multiple sessions of laughing so hard I was crying (which, in case you were wondering, happened at least once a day during the week between Christmas and New Years). I came back happy, relaxed and ready to tackle yet another Wu-nderful year. Watch out 2012!

Some other things that have made my year so far include:

–A plethora of holiday cards that presumably had been sitting in my mailbox since I left NYC on December 20th. So many sparkles! So many fun colors! So many pictures of cute babies who get to live on my refrigerator year-round! Have I mentioned that cleaning and organizing aren’t my strong suits?

–Rediscovery of yoga. I was practicing yoga two or three times a week during marathon training, but had gradually abandoned it over the past two months. On Wednesday night, I finally made it to a Core Yoga class. At the time, I judged it as average, in that my body got a good stretch but I didn’t feel like I was really “working out”. Fast-forward to Thursday afternoon when my abs started hurting and it hurt to laugh, sneeze, or move too quickly. Damn, that hurt so good.

–Actually, any kind of pain-induced exercise belongs on this list, as I don’t think I’ve hurt so good, and so often, since the marathon. Thursday night MPP and I tried out a Total Body Something-or-Other class at the Y. Talk about a pain in the tush! And yes, I am totally going back for more.

–A rediscovered love affair with my foam roller. Why, why did my IT band and I abandon you for so long?

–Discovery of two new (to me) guaranteed mood-lifting songs. Listen to these tunes and then try to not be in a good mood. Just. TRY.

–A link that make me cry from laughing (yes, again):

–A so-challenging-it-was-almost-painful ten mile run w/ Coach K yesterday. This marathoner ain’t what she used to be, but she’ll be back soon enough (I mean me, not Coach). And better sooner than later, as we are running the Miami Half-Marathon in a mere three weeks. For old times’ sake, vegan nach’s at Curlys followed soon after. This is where my post-run obsession with nachos all began, so it felt great to be back! And probably for the last time, as the rest of Coach K’s entree was an EPIC, sour-eggs-and flavorless pancake-fail. Sigh. Breaking up really is hard to do.

–Wifi at jury duty. Ok, so it was a pain to have to re-arrange a bunch of meetings for work due to jury duty, and the train delays on that day made for a prolonged commute in hell. But once I got there, it was rather nice to have a morning free where I didn’t feel like I had to do anything pressing (including updating this blog), but could instead take the time to catch up on emails, Facebook and Gchat. Hey, who wants to be all work and no play all the time, right?

–Having groceries in the fridge again! I mean, I love me some dried pasta, jarred sauce and boxed macaroni and cheese, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. But as a nutritionist I guess I should try and eat more foods that have a shelf life of shorter than a year (or even six months). I’ll keep yall posted (get it?) if I come up with anything remarkable.

–RENT singalong and Brooklyn Discovery Night during First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum. The museum itself was gorgeous, but crowded, and I am already looking forward to returning on a less-crowded day to check out the space and exhibits. Bonus points go to the lady friends last night for so easily humoring my Thai craving and letting me choose a random Thai restaurant for dinner.

–And finally, a lazy Sunday filled with sleeping in, iced coffee, yummy leftovers, pleasure-reading, and catching up with friends, just like the one I am having right now as I type (and hopefully you, as you read this).

P.S. If you all are looking for a blog that gets updated more frequently than once every two weeks, check out my friend Stacie’s new-and-far-superior-to-mine (my?)-blog .

 

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Value of Nothing

December is my favorite month of the year, as it’s the month of my birthday, a long vacation from work, eight billion holiday parties per week, and reunions with friends I only see once or twice a year. This year was no exception, and by the time I got around to my actual birthday on the 21st, I was ready to celebrate it by doing what I do best, which is absolutely nothing! I sat around in my pajamas and glasses til around 4 pm or so, G-chatting, emailing and on the phone with friends.  Only the thought of my birthday dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with my parents (why yes, I did choose that myself) could motivate me to put on some real clothes and leave the house, via the backseat of my parents mini-van. Who says you can’t go home?

The lack of anything “productive” on the first day of my thirty-first year was unexpected but exactly what I needed. After spending the majority of the past year running around (literally! I logged over 500 miles marathon training alone) it felt great to sit around without a plan in mind and do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to. And that, my friends, is the best birthday present I could have ever given myself.

The rest of this week has followed in much the same fashion, although I did manage to make it to the gym twice, once for a yoga class and once to run around the track for a few laps. Although this track is not the traditional tracks you see outside of high schools, but instead a gravel half-mile path, it still got pretty boring and I gave up after 4.19 miles or so. I then spent twenty painful minutes getting my left IT band reacquainted with the foam roller before rewarding myself with everything on the menu at Panera for lunch. Why yes, I will have soup, salad and a pannini all at the same meal, thanks!

My goals for 2012 for are still being fleshed out in my mind, but I think they will be along the lines of:

1) Running a sub-2 hour half-marathon

2) Running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 28, 2012. Who’s in?

3) Using all my hard-earned nutrition knowledge for good, rather than evil (or at least complacency)

4) Unpack the remaining four boxes from my move in July (shut up).

5) Blog more. Maybe!

6) Foam roll more, definitely! And more effective and efficient cross-training (think strength and flexibility), in general. Isn’t that everyone’s goal?

Hope everyone is having a great and relaxing holiday season. Ho ho ho!

 

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Staying’ Alive

Life has been hectic but good the past few weeks, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it:

I cat-sat and staged an impromptu feline photo shoot:

One of my favorite people in the world paid the Big Apple a visit:

Reem Reunion!

We ate (a lot),  we drank (in moderate amounts), we gossiped and giggled (endlessly), and we actually took pictures (very few):

Just like old times! Best remembered fondly, but vaguely...

  • I faced another fear of mine and ran in the rain during a cooling summer shower. Turned out, I loved every minute of it. Fear? What fear?
  • I ran five miles, all at a sub-ten- minute-mile pace. Wu-hoo!
Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary 00:49:33 5.15 09:37
1 00:09:27 1.00 09:27
2 00:09:45 1.00 09:45
3 00:09:33 1.00 09:33
4 00:09:47 1.00 09:47
5 00:09:34 1.00 09:34
6 00:01:24 0.15 09:14
  • My knees were bothering me during the run, but then I went to yoga and felt so much better afterwards. Seriously. I’m not 100% sure what happened, but my knees and the rest of my body were so completely stretched out and relaxed afterwards. I shall call this “Magical Yoga”.
  • I ran 15.3 miles, my longest distance yet!

Hot mess in action

  • 13.3 of those miles, according to my watch, were during the Queens Half- Marathon. Which was nice and flat (yay!!), but hot (boo), humid (gross), muddy in some places (literal hot mess), with no shade (sigh).
  • I also realized, once again, how much running is an endurance sport for the mind.  During the last two or three miles of the race, my legs were fine, my knees were fine, heart and lungs were great, but I just didn’t want to be out there anymore. Clearly, I had to kick my own ass by pointing out that: 1) I was almost done, 2)  to have gotten this far and then drag the last few miles out when it’s 85 degrees, 60% humidity, with no shade was a terrible strategy and 3) It was all mental. ALL Mental. So shut up, get out of your own way, and finish the damn race.  You’ll be happy to know that I scared myself enough that I got through the end with enough steam to sprint across the finish line. The million walking breaks I gave myself probably had something to do with that as well.

Apparently, I was bracing myself in case I decided to face-plant myself across the finish line.

Smiling because we are done!

  • I then inhaled an entire takeout container of nachos:

Mine. ALL. MINE.

  • …and topped it off with a bucket container worth of guacamole:

A delicious recovery, indeed.

  • I went to a not-so-magical yoga class on Sunday, and faced another fear head-on (and upside down) by getting into my first headstand and staying in it for a full five minutes! My muscles must have been so inspired that I was able to do a full wheel for a whopping two seconds right after that, which was also a first for me. Nice! And totally worth the shoulder soreness I woke up to this morning. Watch out crow pose; I’m coming for you next!

What a Wu-nderful life I lead, indeed! Cheesy (like my nachos, perhaps), but true.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Top Ten Reasons Running During a Heat Advisory Rocks**

**Obviously, you should be careful when being physically active in the heat. Listen to your body for signs of distress, hydrate often and take frequent rest breaks. Less is more. For more info, click here, here and here

Yes, everyone. We know it’s hot out there. We know it’s tempting to stay indoors in the comfort of cold fluids, air conditioning and reality TV. However, as Coach K pointed out earlier this week, I have less than 110 days left until I become Marathoning Mimi. So, within reason, the running must go on.

My bladder woke me up before my alarm this morning at the delightful hour of 5:45. I looked at the weather forecast on my phone and saw that it was 85 degrees but felt like 93. Lovely. I got up, used the bathroom, got dressed, indulged in another one of my latest obsessions–cold pressed iced coffee–and gradually made my way out of the apartment. Just before I left I saw that my favorite running blogger,  Ali on the Run, was attempting 16 miles in the heat…talk about perspiration inspiration!

My only goal today was to get through the run. Period. No goals for pace. No goals for how few times I would stop for water, bathroom, or to rest. Not even a set goal for mileage; I would allow myself to cut it short if I needed to. Even during the summer, safety never takes a vacation!

With these goals, or lack thereof, in mind, the run turned out to be not nearly as hellacious as I’d feared. And as a bonus, I returned to my apartment in my usual sweaty, salty, hot mess post-summer-running state of awesomeness, but now with a top ten list of why my run rocked this morning:

1) No expectations, no disappointments: See above re: no set goals. Just finishing without melting was good enough for me, and it was nice to not feel like I had to race against the Garmin every time. The fact that I went further than I intended and lived to blog about it makes it just that much better. Bring it on, summer (but feel free to take a break, too. Please, for the love of God, take a friggin’ break.)

2) It could always be worse: Fine. I ran in an ungodly temperature at an ungodly hour. But you honestly think its going to get any better as the sun comes up? Nope. And by then, I probably would have come up with a Top Ten of reasons why I shouldn’t be running today. Nope. Better to get out there before you are awake enough to realize what you’ve just gotten yourself into.

3) Other runners: I actually spotted Ali on the Run during my run today (and her run too, I guess)! She was running in the opposite direction and I saw her around mile 4 (for me) or so. I didn’t stop her, as I didn’t want to scare or startle her. I was also the grossest version of myself at that point, which would have made for an awesome first impression (you all know I’m brilliant at those). And Ali, in the off chance you are reading this, I’m really a lot of fun and not stalkerish, I promise! Sweaty yes, but stalkerish, no. Please don’t block me from your blog…

4) Nothing feels as good as when you finally go back inside: When I got back into my apartment, it felt amazingly cool, even though it was probably about 80 degrees in there. Perspective is everything, right?

5) It’s a good excuse to run naked: not that I did, but if I wanted to, I bet less people would have judged me for it. If it ever does happen, don’t say I didn’t warn you (ahem, underwear run in August)…

6) That which doesn’t kill you only makes you better prepared: The next long run I have coming up will be the Queens Half-Marathon next Saturday. Weather is supposed to still be hot hot hot, but now I feel more confident that I’ll finish it feeling good! At a snail’s pace perhaps, but good. And prepared to eat and drink anything in front of me that is not nailed down. Post-race brunch, anyone?

7) Other Runners (again): At my last water stop, I saw the guy in front of me drench his hat with water from the water fountain. So I thought “what the hell, I’m already soaked” and drowned my visor too. Turns out it really does cool you down! Maybe next time I really will get (temporarily) naked and drown my shirt too.

8 ) Mind games: I came up with a new game that I will call and perhaps trademark as “Follow That Shade”. Although that strategy had me literally going around in circles and running uphill, I was too focused on figuring where the hell I was that I temporarily forgot to be miserable because of the heat. Which, in some round-about way, means the game worked as the whole point of the game was to try and lessen the effects of the heat on my body and how it felt.

9) Sprinklers: I ran through one at the end of my run, shortly after my shady scavenger hunt. Talk about a cool down! I just need a few hundred of those on all my runs and I will be one happy, soaked runner. Bonus points for a slip-and-slide at the end.  I also loved watching the two overweight middle-aged ladies in matching pink shirts on their morning walk in front of me, who squealed and cracked up as they walked though the sprinkler on purpose. Today would have been the perfect day to cop out, but these two women still came out to brave the heat. Get it, girls!

10) Facing fear: I conquered my fear of running in extreme heat, all before 8 AM.Wu-Hoo! I have been considering taking up Bikram Yoga after the marathon, but wasn’t sure I could stand the heat, much less exercising in it. This run convinced me that 1) I’m not as big as a wimp as I thought I was (famous last words, right?) and 2) Anything is possible. Maybe not the first time you want it, and maybe not the second or third or fourth time either. But if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. So that being said: Bring on the Groupons!

Bonus: I burned 8 bajillion calories before 8 AM. Bingefest 2k11, you may now begin! Love, the World’s Best Nutritionist.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Odds and Weekends

My legs were still sore when I woke up Friday Morning , but I eventually got through the yoga DVD the second time around. Since I had the Central Park Conservancy Four Mile  race the next morning, I regretfully stayed home that night instead of hitting up Bagel Pizza and Beer Pong. I am told there will be a comeback tour though. Post-marathon celebration, anyone?

Saturday morning came bright and early, so once again I woke, I clementined, self-shotted, and off I went.

Yep, still gotta work on the self-shots

I inadvertently cut one of my runs short last week, so I ran the 2.5ish miles from my apartment to the start line. Met up with Coach K (sorry again that I was running late!  Get it? Running late?), got into our corral, and off we went! The race flew by and even though I didn’t PR, I was still proud of my time and how great I felt doing it (i.e. no urge to hurl, unlike the first time I ran sub-ten minute miles in a race). I probably could have PR’ed if it hadn’t been so crowded during Mile 1, but hey, maybe next time. Also, there were two little boys that ran ahead of us the whole time; they were about 7 or 8 years old. They had perfect form and kept up, and ahead of us, for all four miles. It was pretty inspirational. Coach K said her favorite part was finding out that the kids didn’t even speak English when she heard them speaking to the adult they were with; throughout the entire race other people had been coming up to the kids and cheering them on. Lost in translation, indeed!

This is the first race I’ve done since the Brooklyn Half-Marathon two months ago. Compared to last summer, when I was racing almost every weekend in July and August, this was a big adjustment and I had almost forgotten what it felt like to race. It’s nice to have the thrill back. And not to worry, there will be plenty more races in the next few months, at least three more half-marathons to be exact. I’m using them as part of my long training runs, not to mention to acquire more race t-shirts. Even if they’re ugly, they will make great cleaning rags. Yes, I am definitely turning into my mother. If I ever give up running one day to become a Zumba master and/or get a perm…

Race breakdown:

Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary 00:38:36 4.04 09:32
1 00:10:22 1.00 10:22
2 00:09:33 1.00 09:33
3 00:09:18 1.00 09:18
4 00:09:03 1.00 09:03
5 00:00:18 0.04  07:09

Coach K and I stayed after the race to watch the kid’s races, which was pretty much the cutest thing ever. All the kiddos lined up in their “corrals” based on age and gender, and then each group was released one at a time and they raced to the finish line. Some of these kids were fast–I didn’t even get to take pictures! I may only sign up for races w/ kid’s races from now on. We then refueled with bagels and then hit up Fairway before parting our ways. I came home, stepped over the remaining three boxes left to unpack by the couch to nap on said couch, and went to Yogaworks where I started my month-long membership with a 90 minute Vinyasa class. I sweated, I stretched, I passed out by 10:30 that night. It was great! Except for the whole lack-of-social life thing that is, but sometimes, you just can’t have it all.

Today I checked out another Yogaworks class, which I wasn’t such a fan of because the teacher wouldn’t stop talking. Unfortunately, none of it had anything to do with what we were supposed to be doing. Good thing I have all month to check out other instructors! This afternoon MPP and I caught up with each other, the Women’s World Cup and NYC summer scene by meeting up at FoodParc/Beer Parc.

Lobster salad on a roll topped with bacon. Either it looked better than it tasted or I was just too focused on my beer.

Imagine this screen with women's soccer on it rather thank fake graffiti. Apparently they also show movies here on Saturday nights.

We also came up with a NYC Summer Bucket List that you should totally add on to/join us for. Note: there is nothing related to running on this list. Freedom!!

Speaking of, for this week I’m scheduled to run only half as many miles as I have the past two weeks, which will be a nice break physically and mentally. Great timing, it looks to be a busy week; I’m seeing Rock of Ages on Monday night, possible dinner w/ other nutritionists on Tuesday night, date night w/ my ex- roommate Shannon on Wednesday night, and then one of my best friends from college is in town from Dubai for the weekend. Maybe my social life isn’t such a lost cause after all…

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Aftermath

Conquering 12.5 miles felt great mentally and emotionally, but girlfriend began to feel the burn almost immediately afterwards. It’s remarkable how quickly legs can feel like lead, isn’t it? I did stretch and foam roll shortly after the run, but it might be time to start looking into this whole ice-bath thing. Brrr!

I attempted to do a yoga dvd later that day, but pure exhaustion kept me from doing more than five minutes of it. Sorry Bryan Kest…you may have some good moves, but sometimes it takes more than I’ve got to get past that ’90s Michael-Bolton-mane and attire of yours. Not such a fan of your constant talking either…

I did manage to stay awake long enough to venture downtown and join Hirsh for “Love Etc.”, an enormous bag of caramel corn (yep, still working on it three days later), and an endless bag of baked potato fries Seriously, that bag was like Mary Poppin’s purse– it just kept going and going! Hirsh is my first close friend in NYC to be pregnant, and we always kid that pregnancy is like marathon training. We’re always hungry, tired, getting up at odd hours to pee and eat, and try not be on our feet too much. Who knew? Anyway if you haven’t seen Love Etc. yet, I’m not really sure what you are waiting for (unless it’s to finish reading this post). Go. Now! And get some of that popcorn too, or swing by my apt. as I’ve got plenty….

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Always Charge Your Batteries

Thursday morning I woke up to this:

65 and Sunny in mid-July? Yes, please!

A morning like this after a week of heat-advisory-worthy weather must be a sign  that the Weather Gods/The Marathon Gods/Al Roker wanted me to go out and kick some major booty on my scheduled 13 mile run this morning. Who am I to let these fine and well-intentioned folks down? So I got up, sipped a caffeinated beverage, ate two tangerines, got dressed, took some crappy self-shots w/ my camera phone and off I went! In theory, at least.

Ready to Run! And perhaps take a basic photography skills class or two.

In reality, genius me couldn’t remember the last time I charged my watch, so of course it started beeping its “low battery beep” right as I was about to leave. I charged it for about 5 mins, bringing its battery life to 25%, and hoped for the best. Hello, literal race against time. Looks like you’re joining me this morning, huh?

The neighborhood was sunny and beautiful at that hour, and Central Park was too. The weather was amazing and felt more like the beginning of autumn in mid-to-late September, rather than in the middle of July.

Buenos Dias, El Barrio!

So off I went, and indeed I was kicking major butt as I went over the hills and next to the woods (who knew Central Park could be so “rustic”?). I felt great and just enjoyed being able to soak up the beautiful weather and temperatures. Not to mention how much faster I was going without the oppressive summer heat and humidity to weigh me down. That’s the part about training in harsh conditions–they make everything feel easier in comparison!

I stopped around Mile 4 at the Boathouse bathrooms to try out a new kind of training fuel: Orange Flavored GU Chomps. They had a weird powdery after-taste to them, but I liked them because they made it much easier to spread out the GU love throughout the run. They are individual gummy chews, so you can take as many or as few as you want and save the rest for later, as opposed to gels, which are a bit messy to split up. Decisions, decisions. Anyhow, I stopped. I Chomped. I watered. And then I proceeded to dominate Cat Hill. Yeah!

I looked at my watch at Mile 6 and realized I’d done six miles in less than an hour. Six HILLY miles. Man. Was there nothing I couldn’t do this morning? Ok, maybe “charging my watch battery by the sweat and electrolytes coming out of my arms”…but the trusty Garmin managed to capture 7.14 miles before it went kaput.

Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary 01:09:57 7.14 09:48
1 00:09:24 1.00 09:24
2 00:09:53 1.00 09:53
3 00:09:34 1.00 09:34
4 00:10:05 1.00 10:05
5 00:09:50 1.00 09:50
6 00:09:42 1.00 09:42
7 00:10:01 1.00 10:01
8 00:01:26 0.14 10:24

It took me a few minutes to realize that my battery actually died, and then a few more after that to figure out how I was going to time the rest of my run. In the meantime, while I was stopped anyway, I took a picture of the park just for you, my devoted readers (you’re welcome):

Pic stop! Get it? Like pit stop, but not...

I decided to use the stopwatch on my phone, and off I went again. The rest of the run wasn’t as much fun as the first half, probably due to getting tired, rising temperatures, and not knowing how far or fast I was going, and being paranoid/distracted about whether or not I had really started the stopwatch again or if it would turn off on. As anyone who has ever fallen victim to my phone butt-or-purse-dialing could tell you, my phone likes to have a mind of its own sometimes (sorry again about that). I stopped, re-chomped when I passed by the Boathouse again, and prepared myself to crawl up dominate Cat Hill one more time. Even w/ the Chomps, water and bathroom break, i could feel myself hitting the hall soon and just wanted to be done, even though I probably had two or three more miles to go.  I ended up running about 12.5 miles instead of my planned 13, which I was a bit bummed about but definitely realize it’s not the end of the world. There will be so many more opportunities to run 13 miles (and many more) in the park this summer. Hopefully many of those times I will finish my run feeling as strong and as fast as I do in the beginning, with visions, thoughts and feelings of death far, far away. Pacing myself evenly is definitely one of my biggest challenges that I will continue to work on this summer (and probably beyond. Anyone who has ever seen me dance or drive could tell you that my rhythm and timing is totally a bit lacking).

I tried to take a picture of myself post-run so yall could see how nasty and sweaty I got, but see above re: need for photography skills class:

Use your imagination...let's just say it's a good thing I live alone these days.

Next week is a stepback week for me, which means the longest run I’ll do is five miles. Don’t worry, I’ll still find plenty to blog about; if you’re really lucky they may even be non-running related again. Hey, a reader can dream, right?

 

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Uncategorized