Dancing into December

why am I dancing? PTO is in sight. I love what I do, but I am in dire need of a vacation and I can almost taste it. By the time this is published, I will be officially off work.

Anyone else have massive issues with the WordPress “upgrade”? I had to enable the classic editor plugin to be able to edit this post when it didn’t work on either Firefox or Chrome. Fail. While trying to figure out how to be able to access this draft, I played with my themes. I don’t love this one, but I like it more than the old one.

Was looking at something on Fitbit today and according to my dashboard I’ve walked 21,095,,17 steps. Nuts! I remember when I switched from Jawbone to Fitbit when the former died after 2m steps. I wish I remembered what year it is.

On to Running…

I had an amusing realization when I picked up my Ted Corbitt shirt: it’s the first race where I can wear last year’s shirt. Even for those I repeated, the shirts didn’t always work:

  • Frozen Penguin was one of the layers, but the 2017 shirt was short-sleeved and way too cold for March (or February like it is in 2019)
  • NYRR Retro – it’s a cotton tee that doesn’t mix well with a July race. However it’s super comfortable for weekend lounging.
  • Women’s Mini, I don’t like running in singlets. Way too much exposed skin to chafe/wear sunscreen. I think I finally tossed both Women’s Minis, the Pride 5M and Queens 10K shirts as I will never wear them.
Do the best races come with the most memorable shirts? #RunTheYear Click To Tweet

I was curious to see how many others wear last year’s. It’s a vivid blue and one I’ve not seen at other races, so it will pop especially on I thought likely to be a grey, winter day. 2018 shirts are almost fitting in that regard.

2018 Ted Corbitt shirt.

It’s early NES graphics meets ugly sweater and I kind of love it. I don’t own a grey long sleeve, though it seems to be a theme as Brooklyn Half and Bronx 10 were (darker) shades of grey.

For as much as don’t wear the shirt before you earn it is a “rule”, it’s not one heavily followed in NYRR races, or so it seems. I saw a fair number of the 2018 shirts consistent with what I typically see at the weekly races

Race Recap:

Flat Cari: how many people were running from my apartment?

Oh my, so cold. Yes, it’s December in New York, but it was int he 50s last weekend and my blood isn’t ready for this. This is post-race when I peeled off the layers since pre-race Flat Cari was a pile on the step stool as normal and you didn’t quite appreciate all.the.clothes. Pictured:

  • Bottom layers: the amazing Climate Smart CuddlDudds leggings under a random pair of hot pink & black leggings I wear all the time (including last year). First time in a while I’ve gone with leg layers, unclear if they actually helped as my legs were still frozen.
  • On top: last year’s shirt as mentioned over a TekGear whose thumbholes were useful for keeping gloves on and a t-shirt. Not sure why I made that layer short sleeves other than it was what I did last year. That top shirt was a Brooklyn Half casualty when it was lost to a puddle.
  • Other: turtle fur buff I swear by, Lebow hat, random touch screen gloves that I love because they clip together.
Indoors: why do you do this again? Outdoors: running is serious business. No smiles allowed!

I ran to the start in surprisingly good time. Original plan was to leave apartment at 7:30, but I pushed it to 7:45 because I didn’t want that long in the corrals with the wind chill in the teens. Was still there by just after 8 as I didn’t hit any lights and headed into the Park at 86th even though the start was up at 102nd.

um, there is a race today right?

The volunteer said “welcome to Corral K, or whatever your initial is or you’d like it to be, since it’s yours”. I always love the NYRR volunteers but especially on a frigid day. One man joined our chat and a few filled in but we really didn’t have company until the corrals collapsed. The race was sold out, and the recap indicated 4,971 finishers, about the same as last year, but maybe both had more no shows?

No staggered start due to the loop course (still hate doing the short loop first) and we were lapped by the male leaders around mile 3. *Shrug* I knew this wasn’t going to be a PR, my only goal was to finish and enjoy it.  Some first: salted areas in front of the water stations due to freezing splashes and frozen waters (I blame Erika as I read that post last night) from about mile four on. That was good for a laugh – drinking slush? Interesting texture. I guess it not hurting is a sign of a complete root canal?

I was a bit bullheaded about not wanting to walk despite being undertrained. I’d bet if I had done some intervals I might have had a better time vs. the slogging 12+ later miles. Stubborn much? Also, it was just damn cold. My lungs were fine but my quads hurt early. I’m not sure if it was the hills or that they were frozen, but they definitely didn’t feel as if they were propelling me much. One issue? No food. I meant to take a breakfast bar to eat in the corral but realized halfway to the park that I’d forgotten it. No food, no gels, nine+ miles. Yep, that’s a recipe for fading in the final 5K.

I saw the clock at mile 8 and officially knew the PR was gone, and wondered if I could push it. Nope, not on these frozen legs. Lebow is going to be *fun* if it’s this cold. I lucked out with both of these last time.

unofficial

I used Becca’s trick of wearing the Garmin over the base layer, which had the added benefit of keeping base layer in place. When I looked at my heart rate in Strava post-race I was momentarily confused until I realized why it was so low. I don’t run by HR so it’s a non issue. It was just amusing. One of the best things about this Garmin? Even in cold, even for ~11 miles including warmup, only down to 84%

Official: 1:50:53 ahead of about 400. It’s about two minutes slower than last year, but unlike the Bronx, this really doesn’t bother me. I knew it early, and didn’t have high expectations going in due to November’s struggles. Do I wish I’d PRed? Of course, who doesn’t. Do I realize I’m past beginner gains and went into it undertrained again? Yep. While I can’t say I completely had fun due to the cold, I enjoyed the race and didn’t hate life.

Friends!

Post-race I met up with my friend and former colleague who I’d missed at recent races. She completed her 9+1 so we caught up while waiting for her to ring the bell before heading back to the subway.

Over for another year, I’d still do this race again. It’s a fun winter race.

Weekly Wrap with Wendy and Holly:

so bad. So good
Good habits!
Sweaty SkirtSports stork
  • Monday: when I walked out the door, I immediately wished I’d woken early and gone for a run as it was absolutely beautiful. Beautiful for December? Sure. But straight up beautiful for fall at nearly 60 and ever so slightly humid. Luckily my evening plans fell through and I have a habit of carrying my gym bag with me, so I was prepared to hit the gym. I needed it because of the above. Fried pickles (we split), boneless wings and Anchor chips. Tracked and moved on. I really didn’t have a plan for my workout, so I went to my standard intervals: 5.5/6.0 for .25 miles with .02 walk breaks after the 6.0 intervals. That’s a huge improvement from .05 miles when I started these, and they’re really just because I still can’t run and drink. I LOVE running in my first SkirtSport but this outfit was so a missed opportunity to wear my sneakers with the pink #SweatPink laces. My soundtrack for this run was Morning Shakeout with Des Linden-listening to it with the benefit of hindsight is even more fascinating. She really is a great subject and this is one of my favorite podcasts. They’re the perfect length for gym workouts. This was the first Monday I’d managed a workout in the last couple and it felt so good to set the tone.
  • Tuesday: I’ve come to an important conclusion: gym bag is a bit like Santa Claus. Make a list, check it twice. I got to the gym after work and realized that while I had leggings, sneakers, sports bra and socks I didn’t have a t-shirt. Oops. Not like I don’t have backups of all but sneakers in my desk, but I was already at the gym two subway stops/half mile from the office. Oops. I knew if I left the gym I wouldn’t go back. So it was a short cross train row and a long stretch in my work shirt, which was luckily light. Better than nothing.
  • Wednesday: all gear accounted for. I struggled running so after half a mile of intervals with a line for treadmills, I went to the LateralX for a mile. I decided to finish the running as a cooldown. Weird workout, but it felt good. I really like the LateralX.
  • Thursday: after-hours work event knocked out office run group and the event didn’t end until 8. I did some errands and went home. Break needed at times, don’t regret it.
  • Friday: no formal exercise, but Mom and I did our annual museums & holiday lights hop to the tune of 19K steps.
  • Saturday: race day.
matching? What’s that?
  • Sunday: oh my sore quads. I went for a short bike ride and a long stretch on my poor legs. Oh and of course any reason to not match with my cross training shoes. Beyond that, just some errands before settling in for a quiet day.

2019 Spring Half Marathon training mileage: 21.88. I’m OK with a slow build back up, I don’t want to be injured.

 

Running shirts and cross training Tuesday

Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff T-Shirt

When we were running the Squirrel Stampede, I commented to Beth that one of the runners in front of us had a race shirt that looked different in color to mine. It was only then that I realized the women’s shirts were more of a pink than the red of the men’s shirt I selected. And I love pink.

Women’s shirt sizing drives me bananas. It’s partially that I don’t want to get a larger size, but partially because I don’t like the cut. The only race shirt I’ve never worn is the singlet from the Women’s mini because I don’t like running in singlets (chafing, not batwings) and because the largest size they had didn’t fit right. I’m lucky in that many NYRR shirts are t-shirts and I began to think that I should get over my hangups with women’s sizing because I like and want to run in some of these shirts and men’s small are sometimes too big 😮

When I went to pickup my bib and shirt for Sunday’s 5 miler I realized a desire to keep it wasn’t going to be an issue. I really do not love this shirt.  Just not a fan of green (although I realize it’s a Poland Spring color) and blue seems to be a better choice for the water drop. It seems a missed opportunity for some Halloween fun. I wasn’t going to run in it anyway as I have an adorable Halloween shirt from Gone For a Run that I’d already planned to wear even if I liked the race shirt (I’m Team Don’t Wear it Until You’ve Earned it (although the sea of coral in the Retro 5 Miler was awesome)).

I’d say I’m not even going to keep it (I’m still on a pretty big Spark Joy kick), but I probably will. My shirt from the Run to Breathe was white and hasn’t washed/worn well. It’s also too large as I was a medium then. So we’ll see if I like this enough to keep it in rotation.

After bib/shirt pickup it was too gross to run outside so I headed across town to the gym. I have to say, the choice of Blink was perfect. If I find myself somewhat short on steps I’ll head to the one at 54th & 2nd which has the dual benefit of giving me a walking warmup. If the weather is bad or I’m short on time, I’ll hop on the train two stops from the office. I love that both have rowers and today was the first time I ever had to wait for a machine. Hi August in October.

Warm Up

Today was supposed to be a 4×400 interval day, but I realized in warmup that I really didn’t have enough in the tank for intervals so I treated the 2×400 and warmup as a warmup in its entirety and then went upstairs to the rower. If I can get enough steps in tomorrow, it may be an off day. I ran 5 miles on Saturday (as I thought, Run Less’ starting point was too much for me), 1.95 on Sunday to the gym where I stretched, rowed 3K yesterday and had my combo today. I need a day so I can run Thursday and then be ready for Sunday. We’ll see.

I’ve been doing 3K rows of late but was disappointed to learn those can’t be ranked/verified. I wasn’t sure if the PM5 at the 54th St. location would auto log a non standard length workout either so I decided to drop down to 2K tonight since I don’t often run & row together.

Concept 2 app display

I have to say, the autolog is a thing of beauty. Way better than photos of the displays and button mashing to get the verification code, although Bryant Park only has the old models so this is an east side thing of luxury. Lots of numbers, although I’m too far removed from regular rowing for those to be meaningful. I’m really loving this as a cross training and have all but given up the bike and look forward to seeing how these numbers progress. And yes, rowing gives me Fitbit “steps” but I miss the bike’s reading time.

Speaking of reading, started Becky Wade’s Run the World over the weekend and I’m really loving it. Although it’s a great exploration of running communities and their habits (she and I are currently in Switzerland), the travel bug in me loves it for the destinations she’s exploring. Review TK.

 

On Gyms, August and September

Exhale, I found a gym.

Yesterday’s plan was a follow up on Friday, however only the New York Sports Club at 49th & Broadway was open. It’s nice, and huge. But it’s way too much money. I just don’t want to spend $90/month on a gym no matter how close it is. Speaking of close, I went down to the Bryant Park Blink only to find it’s closed on Sundays.  Not all was lost, however, as I realized how easy it was from work, but also how close it was to the front end of the Times Square station so it’s even easier from home than the Sheraton. I went back at lunch today planning to join if I liked it, since it was looking like the best option.

I didn’t like it… I loved it. It’s larger than E. 54th, has rowing machines and generally seems better laid out. It also has towel service for an extra fee if I decide I really need/want it. Because it’s the end of the month, and/or a day that ends in Y, there was a good sale: $1 for August, September free and no joining fee. So I joined. Means I won’t pay double for the last month of Sheraton’s existence. I’m looking forward to starting there. Not today though, it was a mind blowingly beautiful 72 degrees at 6:30 so I went for a run in the park.

Never in my life did I envision calling two miles, even accidentally chunked, a mini run. Who am I? Had a realization over the last few weeks, quitting on the 30 minute goal is much like when I “quit” on Couch to 5K. While a program is good, I have to do things my way for them to work for me. I’ve had some of the best workouts these last few weeks and it’s liberating to just run vs. obsessing over the watch.  What’s that? It sounds like something I’ve been trying to learn through #GoTheDist? Guilty. Almost four miles with run group yesterday felt like barely half that and id I’d had time today I could have gone longer. August is obviously not final yet but with today’s run included I’m at the following:

  • 38.68 miles (278.82 on the year)
  • 27:13 average run time
  • 11:54 average pace

Thrilled with all of those. I’m making good progress.

Speaking of progress, August was to be my sixth month in a row at 400K and I was a little nervous at the end of July. When am I not nervous? Well month not final and all that jazz, but I’m going to have my best month ever. There’s a slim but technically possible chance I’ll hit 500K steps and might not miss goal for a single day. That’s all TBD when I get back from some time away as I’ve never learned to edit spreadsheets from my phone.

Since I’m already worried about September-setting those goals now.

  • 400,000 steps
  • 166 miles walked
  • 50 miles run / 30 m exercise time / 12:00 pace

[September 2016: 352, 423 steps / 144.75 miles walked.]

Some explanation – travel going to hit September hard so while I will push for more than 400K, I’ll be happy if I get there. Ditto miles walked, will keep me on pace for #RunTheYear although I’m currently OK at 1417.7. If run goals make no sense based on current pace, it’s this: I have a 10K that I’m training better for, but still don’t have a feel for long run pace, so that may bring it down. It may also help with the 30m average. Either way, I’d like to work toward that but not be beholden to it.

More to come on Q3 goals depending on where August totals net out. Oh, and it’s time to set a new fitbit goal. I think I want to see what a normal month looks like first before setting an exact figure because August was (wonderfully) ridiculous with the unseasonably mild weather. Leaning 12K, but may even go 13K since I averaged higher in spring. We’ll see

 

Gym Shopping: Redux

It wasn’t exactly my plan for the afternoon but when I found the 2012 chapter of gym shopping last night, I had a feeling that kind of analysis might be in my future. So this afternoon I headed out to explore some of the options I identified and those that came from my Facebook crowdsource. The plus side? No hard sell at any — they know all the membership info is online anyway so there’s no reason to bullshit the “this sale is gone if you walk out the door”

Planet Fitness

  • No brainer pro here is the price. $10 with a year-long commitment or $15 with a month to month. There’s also a pricier plan that allows multiple gyms but there’s only one remotely convenient to me, so that’s a non factor. The facility is huge and there’s an endless number of cardio machines, so wait won’t be an issue.
  • The main con? The location. It’s relatively near work but at three plus avenue blocks in the wrong direction of my apartment, I can see myself blowing it off. It felt like a slog even on the most beautiful of days, and I can’t imagine how it would be in weather. While I’m a pro at skipping the gym, I want to keep running.
  • Result: I walked out thinking I’d crossed it off the list entirely, but by day’s end it was still in the running.

Crunch:

  • This is the closest to my office and more or less on the way to the train. Major pro. It’s a larger than it appears from the street facility and offers classes. Yeah, classes I’ll never take. It’s full service and the locker room even has a nice steam room. Unexpected pro: rowing machines. I’ve missed those since BOOM Fitness and was happy to see them in Iceland.
  • Con: the price. Even on sale it’s more than I want to pay. I know I’m not going to find a deal like the Sheraton, but I really don’t want to pay in the neighborhood of $70 to run.

Blink:

  • The $25 rate gives you access to multiple Manhattan gyms but since I was wandering across the 50s I tried the one at East 54th Street. Pro: it’s the best located for home and is sort of on my way home so could work. The Bryant Park one isn’t far from work either, might want to check that out before committing if I go this route. The price is good and the location seemed decently equipped
  • Con: it’s really bare bones, I mean no towel service bare bones. My gym bag can fit a towel but all I think of there is needing to buy more & more laundry. Running clothes are already too much laundry.

Net Net? This is going to be a longer process than I thought, where I envisioned a scenario where I already had a new gym.

Already ruled out:

  • Equinox, way too expensive
  • 92Y, Asphalt Green – location not great and pricier than I want (even with 92Y’s Groupon). Plus I’m thinking midtown (east or west) might be better.
  • New York Sports Club UES – dungeon location
  • New York Health & Racquet UES – way too expensive
  • Retro Fitness – not seven days a week

In contention:

  • each of the above really, Crunch a possible leader despite the price. The one near work is a nicer/larger one than the former BOOM up here. Want to go see the Blink at Bryant Park
  • 24 Hour Fitness – feels like it’s worth exploring, although I think it’s too expensive
  • New York Sports Club – 49th & Broadway. Good location near work. Passport gives me access to multiple locations. Really don’t like idea of going further into Times Square on the weekend, although I could just try harder to run outside then. Gym is really to solve the it’s too dark after work problem.

So, more research and over thinking to come. Not all was lost, nearly 23K steps on the day

Speedy Turtle: 5K edition

Speedy is my turtle’s name, though it does not fit. Seldom does he move at all, he just likes to sit

Why yes, I am quoting a song from as far as I got in piano lessons on a running/reading/travel blog. What do you mean that doesn’t fit? I’m a turtle and I “sped” today.

I didn’t have any actual workout plans* but I headed to the gym after work because it was too late to run in the Park. When I got there the long time manager told me that it would be closing to the public at the end of September and I was very disappointed. Can’t beat the location or really the price. Swarm tells me I’ve gone 273 times which is just mind blowing (and on top of 300+ at my old gym! I have no idea who this person is that I’ve become in my 30s, but I love her).

I’m going to check out Planet Fitness as there’s one relatively near work and nothing between the train and my apartment. Somehow I doubt these options have gotten any cheaper in the intervening five+ years, and my gym at that time is now an expensive Crunch.I’d briefly toyed around with Planet Fitness earlier this summer when I was going through a mini kick of strength training, but ultimately never went further than opening the tab. 😮 I’m slightly worried about how I’m going to get 50 gym visits in even if I double pay September, but we’ll see.

With that news, I just hopped on the treadmill and decided to see where it took me. I wanted to see how far I could take this new “speed” and to see if I could go distance where my Achilles gave me grief last Sunday. At the end of some 35+ minutes, this was the answer

PR! Runkeeper showing PR before and after I logged this workout

The prior one was this gem. Luckily for me today, no post-run pain. These shoes really are magic.

July 16, prior PR (RIP East River Course)

Shoes cameo to reward them for being magic.

August 24 PR, Treadmill

PR! No achilles pain (that really was a random flare, it has been fine since. Maybe weird hills after none for a while?) and it felt good! This was the longest I’ve run in a couple of weeks and it was nice to see how the recent speed worked with running longer. It’s not last week’s flash, but I knew it wouldn’t be. It certainly feels more consistent and natural, so that’s a plus.

I need to get back to the longer runs, but maybe I’ve found a sweet spot balance of the two. (*) I need to put the training log on my phone especially since I’ve registered for NYCRuns’ Squirrel Stampede on 9/24. Pleased to find this discount from a fellow running ambassador (I’m one for US Road Running)  since I missed the early registration date. Last time I ran six miles was July 2 and last time I ran a 10K was June 10. (The mascot for the Stampede has something to say about my blog title there). So looking forward to this and then maybe the Sleepy Hollow one in October since I’m going to miss Grete’s Gallop due to family plans.

Speaking of NYCRuns…thinking of doing the Cocoa Classic. I don’t need a mug, but awful tempting to run a 5K on the course I ran my first to see true progress by year’s end. We’ll see.

On last week’s walk challenge? This morning when I bought the weekly metrocard I still had $8 and change on the card. Step totals over that window?

  • Friday, 14,511
  • Saturday, 19,017
  • Sunday, 15745
  • Monday, 16,558
  • Tuesday, 11,028 (worked late & super hot/humid)
  • Wednesday, 22,273

No trains on Saturday or Sunday, walked home Friday, Monday and Wednesday.

Currently Reading: Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzer. He and the seal are both insane, but this is a great read.

Weigh In: March 10 and 300

Weekly Loss: 2.6 lbs
Total Loss: 15.2 lbs
Honestly, I’m losing in the most bizarre places. Not remotely complaining, but it’s weird to lose in my face and legs first. Over all, thrilled with progress since I recommitted and this is the longest (42 days since January 28) that I’ve been focused since I started this journey. I have tracked every morsel I put in my mouth since then and it hasn’t felt like a chore at all. I will finish it this year. I am “All In”, no doubt inspired by this weekend’s reading. Speaking of this weekend …300 visits to the gym in less than three years

300 gym trips? 300, me?!?!?! I joined Boom on March 24, 2010.. so this is 300 trips to the gym in less than three years. WOW.  That’s definitely not the old me. I’m a bit off the pace that I was last year, but it’s still 100 visits in 13 months.  I’ll take it. Recently I’ve ramped back up to long visits, increased cardio. I need to build back in weight training but this is working for me and my health.

#GoTheDist: Q1 Complete

with today’s workout complete, Q1 of the #GoTheDist challenge is as well

Q1 mileage:
January:
114.23 bike / 4.01 walking

February:
62.18 bike / 8.61 walking

March:
62.57 bike / 31.24 walking

Total:
238.98 bike . / 43.86 walking

Although only the ~239 miles counts for #GoTheDist, I’m very impressed with those totals. While it looks like I wasn’t any more active in March than I was in a (sick & traveling) February, it’s more that I walked home a lot more. Not as strenuous as the gym, but good activity and good for the head.

Thought about adjusting up my #GoTheDist goals but as the weather gets better, I’m morel likely to spend more time outside, so might not be as easy to hit my goals so I’ll keep it at 175, and re-evaluate in April or early May. Where on earth did this year go? In the interim, I’ve added goals. Beginning March 1 I recommitted to tracking (22/31 days. Infinitely better than the 0s the previous months) and this month I’ve committed to strength training. So we’ll see.

I also finished Tales from the Scale. Mixed feelings on it, but glad I read it

So today I went gym shopping

Not shopping for gym clothes or sneakers or anything, for a gym.

I’m coming up on two years at Boom Fitness and while I like it, I don’t love it. So I decided to see what’s out there. Figured it can’t hurt to be a diligent shopper so I hit NYSC & Equinox

Putting it as a pros and cons to help myself decide even though I think I’ve already made my decision.

Current gym:
Boom Fitness:
Pros:

  • Not very crowded so I can get machines without waiting.
  • Not that expensive (about $60/month)
  • Relatively convenient

Cons:

  • Not as good a value as it used to be since prices have come down in the market.
  • Doesn’t have a good range of classes (that I don’t take anyway)
  • Not on my way home so I can’t always make myself go.

New York Sports Club – I used to be a member of NYSC before moving (& joining Boom) but not the location that I went to today.
Pros:

  • Between my apartment & the subway. Would take a conscious effort to avoid going. Not that I’m not capable of said effort.
  • Promotional deal to returning members brings the cost to less than Boom Fitness
  • Has more classes, but see above

Cons:

  • Due to location it’s very crowded and I saw a lot of people waiting for machines. I don’t have the patience and would likely walk out vs. get my exercise in.
  • Looked kind of dingy. Could be due to volume of use
  • No pool at this location

Equinox:
Pros:

  • On.My.Block – there’s no way to avoid going here without feeling guilty
  • WOW. An Upper East Side Gym. Clean, nice lighting. Good number of machines. Amazing class schedule. Showers are like a spa and it *has* a spa
  • No hard sell

Cons:

  • Price. The initiation & monthly costs are high although there are plans that waive the initiation

It’s clear which gym I liked the most, but there’s no way I can swing Equinox much as I’d like to. Going to file it for when my financial circumstances change.

There’s a Gold’s Gym near the office, but none that I know of up here & since I tend to be more of a weekend gym go-er, I don’t see that working out well for me. None of the other ones listed up here are really close enough to be worth it. I really miss Planet Fitness. Can’t beat price.

So I guess BOOM it is.