Category Archives: Product Reviews

Non-Running Runner Adventures: Billy Blanks Tae Bo DVD Review

Continuing on my non-running regime (bummer), I bought another DVD to try out for morning when it’s too freaking cold to walk to the gym at 6am–“feels like” 4 degrees?!–but I want a butt kicking. I find that I feel a lot better all day with a little butt kicking under my belt, and If I could get one everyday that would be sweet. I miss my morning runs alot at this moment in time.

Short slightly unrelated to the DVD story: Before embarking on said DVD purchase, I was feeling down and out about having such a wimpy workout regime and started looking for solutions that would keep me accountable and get me back in shape as soon as possible. Kinda like magic. I came across something called the Pure Power Boot Camp in NYC and thought it looked perfect: a military trainer will kick my ass four times a week for six weeks. I will be buff, I will pump. you up. I called them to inquire about the cost since it’s nowhere on the website. They got back to me–over $900! WHAT! And this is where the story ends.

So. I bought a workout DVD to do in the comfort of my small Brooklyn apartment bedroom in the morning before work. It cost $15, a much more affordable investment. The Billy Blanks Ultimate Tae Bo workout.

The DVD has an option to do an hour and a half of Tae Bo, or there’s also a shorter condensed butt-kicking option. I opted for the condensed version. The one thing that’s cool about working out in your room alone is that you can wear whatever you want, i.e. pajamas. Sweet.

Review: The pumped up condensed workout was about twenty minutes long, which was maybe a little short, but kinda perfect if you have little time in the morning. I honestly didn’t think my butt was being kicked that hard, but I was doing upper-cuts, high kicks, speed bag, jabs and more Tae Bo type moves. The routine was definitely not boring–it was fast paced and changed very frequently to different routines and different muscle groups. Billy Blank is ripped, by the way. One of his thighs is bigger than both of my legs put together. Bigger than an anaconda who just ate something really big and still has it sitting in it’s snake stomach. Wasn’t that a weird analogy? I’m leaving it in.

I didn’t think the workout was anything spectacular as far as cardio–my heartrate never really soared. But I have to tell you, I am sore today and I did not expect it at all. My arms and my back are definitely in pain. That’s pretty cool because I’m pretty sure I never (ever) workout my back.

Thanks Billy. You did some things for me. I’m sure the hour and a half version is like running a Tae Bo marathon.

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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.

Coming Back to Winter Running

After returning from a run-less visit to Ireland, I wrote about having the comeback run butterflies on my first day out. If you follow my blog, you’ll know I face this run often and worry about it like a kid on the first day of school–anxious and wearing my best running clothes for an extra mental perk.

The outcome of the run on Saturday, of course, made me feel great and hopeful. It filled me with dreams of “really getting serious this time” as it always does. Unfortunately, I am once again battling a bout of runner’s knee (read more about what runner’s knee is like here) which has kept my past two runs switching between my usual pace (I’m guessing 9:30 miles?) to walking. Runner’s knee sucks.

But it’s not just the runner’s knee that has me worried this time–it’s that I’m attempting a comeback at the start of winter! AAaahh! Damn you really cold weather and dark mornings!

the non-technical zip attempt

I was talking to a friend last night about how she deals with running in the cold and she implored me (implored–good word!) to get technical gear saying it made all the difference in the world. My only current winter technical pieces are a pair of UnderArmour tights that I scored while working at runworldwide.com back in college, and what I thought was a technical zip-up by Lulumon that I got 60% off; though it turns out yoga gear is far from running gear because it pretty much holds my sweat tight against my skin and stays wet. But it was on sale! Notice a trend? I never want to spend the money on the expensive stuff.

However, I think if I want to have the guts (and glory!) of maintaining my runs in the winter I’ll have to dole out the cash and grab some good gear. Specifically I’m thinking some kind of pullover, a headband for my ears, and a giant panda bear to hug me when I’m shivering. Bear hugs are underrated.

To fight the morning darkness–even though I have given out tips for getting out of bed–I found this little alarm clock that fakes a sunrise before it goes off with gradual light exposure. Genius! Now if someone can send me a winning lottery ticket, I’ll get right on these purchases :).

Winter? I’m still scared of you, but I am attempting to buy courage.

Custom Running Music

Just came across this awesome site called Hella Sound that enables you to customize your perfect run music.

hella sound

How it works:

“We provide hard-driving original music, synced to your pace and built to burn calories. All of our songs are 30 minutes long and contain rhythmic and harmonic structure to help you stay focused during your run.

Hella Sound running music is original compositions produced in-house by an ever-growing group of artists—no remixes or mash-ups here. This provides several advantages over typical running music mixes.”

Pretty cool. I’m not sure if I could listen to one streaming 30 minute song, but I’m sure a marathoner in training would love this. Check out their site at hellsound.com for more info.

Product Review: Asics GT-2140 Trail Running Shoe

Finally recovered from being sick, I was able to try out my new running shoes this morning on this 3.3 mile loop. Weee!

Asics GT 2140 Trail Running Shoes

These kicks came to me courtesy of my good friends at RunWorldwide.com. Btw, when I say good friends, I mean personal good friends.

Here’s a little backstory:

When I was in college, I worked at Worldwide Sport Supply for 3 years. It’s a family owned and run company, and I was lucky enough to work side by side with the 2 brothers who ran the show: TJ & Andy. These dudes rock. I came in to help them with marketing for their vollyball and wrestling business, and when I learned they were thinking of launching a running site I freaked out. PERFECT!

I was with them through the naming, designing, launch, first customer purchase (it was a pair of socks!) and growth. We worked hard to bring the best to the running community, partnered with Soles for Souls to donate shoes on a regular basis, and even sponsored the Winelgass Marathon in our first year:

RunWorldwide at the Wineglass Marathon

Since leaving college, sob, I still keep in touch with TJ & Andy all the time. If I could move their office to NYC I would.. I secretly scope out real estate when walking around the city (TJ- c’mon now, I think it’s time).

SO– about once a year the guys send me a pair of kicks to keep up my habit and I’m a lucky girl :).

Asics GT-2140 Trail Running Shoe Review:

  • When I first put these on I noticed right away that they were very snug- in a good way. Compared to my old sneakers, these molded right to my foot from around the ankle to the tongue, and it felt nice.
  • The sole also melded to my foot as I walked and ran, allowing for a more natural flex in my sole.
  • There was noticeably less cushioning at the base, which I think is what lent itself to the shoe feeling more close to my foot, but it also definitely allowed the pavement to feel more harsh when I hit it on stride.
  • I got a decent sized blister on the arch of my right foot about 1.5 miles in, and by the time I was on the way back I was underpronating because it really hurt. Dammit. I have high arches and most shoes don’t come close to giving me enough support, so perhaps these do.. but I don’t have any skin built up against the friction there. I think in time it’ll be fine.

Overall, I like them alot. I’ve only run in them once, so we’ll see how it goes and I’ll do a follow-up after some time on the wear.

Nothing’s better than new kicks. Are you with me?

Drumroll Please…

1. The box arrives

1. The box arrives

 

2. Second box emerges

2. Second box emerges

 

Runner's Gold

Runner's Gold

 

No, no. Thank you.

No, no. Thank you.

 

Review to come 🙂