Monthly Archives: December 2009

Non-Running Runner Adventures: The Firm 500 Calorie Workout DVD Review

Winter has officially killed the runner in me. This morning I woke up and my room was 90 degrees due to blasting heat, the sun was beaming through my windows, and I thought “wow, maybe it’s a warmer day and I’ll go for a run.”

Nope. It’s 23 degrees.

On Monday I faced the same scenario, but I’m off this week from work (wahoo!) so I planned a gym visit in my day. Epic failure. I got there, stepped on the treadmill, and then bounced. The dreadmill treadmill completely repulsed me. The air in the gym had a dry heat feeling, there was a sweaty man to my right pounding away, and as soon as my machine started, I felt like I was in jail. Usually one would run away from a sweaty man to the right. Not get drips of his flying sweat on your arm. Yum.

Right, so I left. I went to Best Buy down the street and picked up a workout DVD:

I liked that this one said ‘500 calories’ in the title because I’ve always been a skeptic that tapes will really give you a good workout (that’s the runner in my talking–oh there you are!). So I figured they couldn’t claim that if they didn’t test it out, right? This will have to be my savior when the gym makes me nauseous this winter. Probably will get more DVDs to join this one.

The Firm 500 Calorie Workout Review:

Kind of hard to follow at times since the instructor jumps into some complicated routines without explaining them, but once you see it a few times you get it. I imagine it’ll be a lot easier to follow each session. I used 4 lb weights, and it was perfect. She has you double them up in one hand for bisep work which is smart, and does some unique moves with them making an aerobic strength workout. There is a lot of armwork and legwork, and by the 40 minute mark I could feel my thighs already becoming sore. I stopped the tape there to avoid serious pain the next day. From there I did jumping jacks and jumprope in alternates for ten minutes for a little extra kick in the Christmas cookie ass, and called it a day. It’s the next morning and my inner thighs are definitely down and out. The only thing there wasn’t a strong focus on was ab work, but I think it was incorporated in with the weight reach moves and kicks somehow.

I’ll do it again. More ass kicking is a good thing. But damn, I wish I could run outside instead.

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Websites That Lift My Spirits + Distract Me (from myself)

When I’m not running, I’m reading about other people running and wishing it was me that I was reading about. Unfortunately I haven’t lived up to my winter running expectations (well, actually, I expected this to happen..), but I’m still here thinkin’ about it. And gymmin’ it when I can even though I hate treadmills.

Instead of dwelling in my not-as-many-miles-as-i-like-to-have-a-week grinch spirit, I’d like to celebrate the blogs and other sites that keep me internally motivated. HOORAY!

  • GivesMeHope this is cheesey and wonderful. I get the chills everytime I read through it, and my “big problems” feel trivial.
  • AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com. please visit. it will brighten your day. sample:

look to the left

  • CrunchGranolaGal just posted about our awesometastic date this weekend. We’re both blog lurkers and writers and like to drink. She lives in Brooklyn, runs, and we have a lot in common. She’s kind of like my running ying, and I’m currently the non-running yang. Zen.
  • HealthyTippingPoint Caitlin is honest and eats easy to make meals. That’s cool with me. And when she’s unhappy about something, she writes about it, then writes her solution. Complaints become motivation. Right on.
  • lookbook. helping the world get hot, one hipster at a time.
  • Hungry-Girl i’ve yet to make any recipe from this site, but check it everyday none the less.
  • NoMeatAthlete runs in those weird foot gloves (that’s the technical name) and makes awesome vegetarian food. and he’s funny. Cool.
  • Websites that tell me when bands are playing locally and then how they rocked it:
  • Non online cheer–shoes. New purchase via blurry blackberry photo. HOT. Let’s go party in them:

  • There are more, but who wants to read a 5 mile long blog post? I don’t. I also don’t want to write it… kidding.

What keeps you entertained? Entertain me.

The Gym Might Be an Ongoing Thang

The morning after the holiday party I woke up cursing my hangover, but I ran anyway. It was one of those redemption runs (have you been there?) where you try and erase the damage you did the night before.

yes you can!

The weather that morning was 28 degrees, so I put on my new trusted winter running gear combo and headed out. It was a painful run since I got a side stitch halfway in (hangover dehydration much?), but I was okay other than that. I ran for a 2.5 miles. Done. On with the rest of the hangover day.

But I think I got more from that run then I realized. Not in a good way. In a ‘this is what you get for running in below freezing temperatures’ kind of way.

Yesterday at work, I was joking around with a bunch of my coworkers and when I laughed my upper respiratory/back of my throat area felt tight. Kind of like I was getting over a cough. After work last night I headed to the gym for a workout before I went out with friends, and on the treadmill I felt it too. It was like winter had two icy hands around my throat. <– What an intense sentence right there.

I started thinking that this is definitely a side effect from my run the other morning. I remember being stopped at a traffic light waiting for it to turn red, and holding my hands around my neck to warm it up. My neck was completely exposed and it was almost numb. Maybe I need to invest in a turtle neck running shirt–note: I don’t want to–or wear a scarf at the start of the run?

None the less, I ran a pretty decent 30 minutes on the treadmill thinking about this. Then thinking maybe the gym IS more practical when it’s this cold outside. Then wishing I lived in Florida so I could bask in glorious warm sunshine everyday. And drink Florida orange juice with the Tropicana farm dudes from the commercial…

Holiday Party at Rye House NYC + Hangover Run

Last night was my office holiday party. I work at a small startup ad agency, so we hooked ourselves up modestly with a reserved table at a bar in NYC called Rye House. Most people approach office parties with a plan of poise and pace so as not to become that guy. Well, I think we all had the goal of becoming him as quickly as possible.

Rye house has an awesome cocktail menu that started me off right (or wrong, depending on how you see it). I started with the house punch.

We all started talking, having a good time. After some drinking we went in for food. I find this is always a fatal (excellent) approach: start drinking hard liquor before you eat. Guaranteed sloppy night + hangover.

In keeping with the impending doom that we knew awaited us tomorrow, all the food available was either fried, cheesy, pastry, or meaty. I had a bite of everything below. My coworkers were cheering me on in shock because they think I only eat carrots and coffee. I couldn’t believe I was eating this stuff myself. But dammit, I was drunk and hungry. What do you want?

The tomfoolery went on until around well into the night, and then we all hopped into cabs exclaiming we weren’t showing up at the office until noon the next day. I went home. My stomach went into shock. At 3am I woke up and crawled to the bathroom. Nothing happened.. though I wish it did ’cause I would’ve felt better! I laid in my bed with my hands on stomach until I fell asleep.

Then I did the unthinkable after a night of mayhem. I went running. In 28 degrees. With a hangover. At 8am.

It was brutal. I got a stitch ten minutes into it and had to take walking breaks. I did a small loop of about 2.5 miles, and couldn’t wait to get back to my apartment. I think i do need to invest in warmer running tights by the way if I keep heading out in this weather. When I got in the hot shower, my thighs stayed red and cold the entire time. Like robot legs. Weird.

The Secret to Successful Winter Running

This morning I was determined to get some sort of workout in. I was successful in hitting up the gym Monday and Tuesday, but I had an 8am conference call this morning. I would have had to take it from the locker room. Not an option.

I decided, I would go outside starting at my Greenpoint park, try a run (again), and worst case scenerio I would walk/run, or sprint/jog, to get my heartrate up and a good sweat in a small amount of time. Because less time equals less time in the cold.

I put on the following mix of technical and non-technical running gear for a 30 minute, 30 degree workout:

  • my new long sleeve Asics thermopolis shirt
  • a regular Gap zip-up hoody over that
  • technical running tights from high school. at least 8 years old. doubt there’s any “technical” properties left.
  • running gloves that i scored from runworldwide.com when we sponsored the Wineglass marathon a few years ago
  • an old winter hat from H&M- the label says 100% acrylic

post winter run wave

This time around, I felt good! I was warm, dry, and thought to myself “this is not bad! I can do this every morning!”. My face was chilly, definitely, the inch of ankle skin peeking between my sneakers and tights sucked, but overall I felt securely warm everywhere else.

And here’s what I believe the secret to be: THE HAT.

From now on, every run in 40 degrees or less will start out with a winter hat on. That’s where so much warmth escapes from, as all our moms told us when we were growing up. If you didn’t listen to her, listen to me (maybe). It’s true. And hat’s are where it’s at.

P.S. what a sweaty, unattractive photo of me. happy holidays 🙂

P.P.S. Check out my friend Becca’s blog for a sweet coffee giveaway


Winter Running Gear Doesn’t Mean Success

On Sunday morning, determined to get my running mojo back (the winter is an evil, evil, mojo stealer), I went to Paragon Sports in the city and spent a large sum of money on technical winter running gear. The items? An Asics Thermopolis long sleeve top (below) and a Brooks windbreaker type jacket. I argued: this is an investment in my health, as I handed the cashier my credit card. I told him this theory and he agreed. I felt good.

After a fun, silly, long brunch–there’s no other way to do it–with two other NYC bloggers Leslie and Sofia, I planned an afternoon run. I got back to Brooklyn, digested for a hot minute, and donned my new gear. I have a tendency (bad habit, laziness, impatience.. whatever) to buy clothes without trying them on. The thermopolis shirt in a size xs fit perfect, the Brooks jacket in size xs = not so good. The sleeves landed just at my wrists which doesn’t lend well to ‘end-of-the-sleeve-grabbage’ while on a cold run. I know you know what I mean.

I made due with my shopping ignorance by pulling the shirtsleeves through the jacket and over my hands. Score.

All this effort was for nothing though. I got outside, started down the block. And stopped. It didn’t feel good! wtf? It always feels good. I was confused. I walked for one block then started up again. Negative. Still not good. I repeated the walk one, run one twice more and went in. LAME LACEY. Yeah. Bullocks.

I am going to return the jacket, but keep the shirt and hopefully try again soon. Note for winter gear buyers: the shirt kept me warm, but the thin, windbreaker (one-freakin-hundred-dollar) jacket wasn’t good. It held the wet that the other technical shirt was trying to wick away right against my skin. Lose.

In more news: no running or activity means bad sleeping. I am just not tired at night. So I figured, what the hell, and went to the gym (gasp!) after work today to have some fun. Yes, have some fun. I was actually looking forward to just wingin’ it.

First back to the gym workout (lists always make the workout look hardcore):

  • 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill at 5mph up to 6mph
  • 3×12 on a machine that works back + biceps–i should’ve looked at the name
  • 1×8 on a chest press that wasn’t set up for my height and I almost pulled a muscle in my chest so I stopped. I definitely looked like that girl who doesn’t know a thing about weights. Truth.
  • 3×10 bicep curls with 10lb weights
  • 3×10 shoulder raises with 5lb weights
  • 3×8 push ups
  • 2×30 bicycle crunches
  • 10 minute cool-down on the treadmill at an incline at 6mph down to 5mph
  • 5 minutes of walking jammin’ out to my ipod cuz it felt good.

I dug the gym. It was different. Maybe I’ll get stronger and avoid twenty degree weather windburn and hypothermia. Okay, I’m being extreme. But still.

P.S. To help me fall asleep lately, I’ve been reading a poem anthology book. This quote is from a poem called “Frost at Midnight” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It captures an essence of NYC for me:

“This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,

With all the numberless goings-on of life,

Inaudible as dreams!”

… aaand goodnight.

Winter Gear Giveaway Winner

Wahoo! Time to announce the winner! With help from the random integer generator, the winner of the Moving Comfort Windy Fleece Jacket is:

Lucky #7 @ Good Taste Healthy Me!

“I would love this! I just started running and so need a jacket like this. I’d love to pair it with a new set of sneaks! Thanks so much for the giveaway!”

Please send me an email with your mailing address information and you’ll have this baby by Christmas!