Monday, February 20, 2017

My New Training Must-Haves

If you haven't already noticed, Life's Better In Yoga Pants got a little makeover. As I've moved, stopped long commutes, grew my career, started a business and began teaching Pilates, I've evolved as person and I wanted that to reflect in my blog. Moving forward, you will see more lifestyle posts vs all fitness and I hope that you continue to invest in reading Life's Better In Yoga Pants!

Over the course of the past year, I've been fortunate enough to be able to test out some new products. I used most of them during marathon training and am excited to continue using them as I train for the Brooklyn Half Marathon. Redemption here I come! 

Here are some essentials that will get you through your next training cycle:

[Credit: BullFrog Webite]

BullFrog Land Sport Sunscreen
Guys, take care of your skin! I used to be an avid tanner, indoor and outdoor, and I finally knocked some sense into my own head. This gel is easy to apply and does not streak. Powered by innovative Sweat TECH™ technology, BullFrog Land Sport helps skin breathe and allows sweat to pass through and evaporate. It IS quick dry so be mindful of that when applying- quickly rub it in! 

[Credit: Darn Tough Website]

Darn Tough Vertex Running Socks -
I have less than five pairs of sports socks. One thing that I've noticed is consistent with me- new sneaks or not- is back of the heel chafing/blisters. Made in Vermont, the Darn Tough Vertex Running Sock Series  offers ultimate breathability and performance wicking without sacrificing protection. The best part is they have style options  that protect the back of your ankles. I wear these socks all the time and highly recommend. 

Credit: Zim's Website]

Zim’s Max-Arnica -
The first homeopathic product in the Zim's line is ideal for bruises and aches and pains. I personally used this before the NYC Half last year and it worked great (if you remember, I was coming off a hamstring and knee injury). Zim's is roll-on which = no mess.

[Credit: SweetFlexx Website]

- My newest obsession! SweetFlexx fitness leggings have built in resistance bands that really work. I've worn them as everyday leggings, to yoga and even to run and each time (even after washing) I really felt the resistance. According to an email from the team, a recent study by Yale showed that by wearing them throughout the day, someone can burn up to 300 more calories.  Oh, they also look really great on! 

[Credit: Sabre Website]

On a more serious and less fun note, Sabre's Runner Pepper Gel is a necessity, especially when running at night. I was sent a handheld pink version and a larger black version to carry around everyday. The Runner Pepper Gel is discreet and because it's a gel, it virtually eliminates airborne particles and wind blow-back, only affecting the target/person it directly contacts. Safety when running is important and not something to take lightly. 

Looking forward to sharing my second Brooklyn Half journey with you!


Monday, December 19, 2016

NYC Marathon Recap

I ran the NYC Marathon well over one month ago. Yes, this post is extremely delayed but I had trouble coming up with the words to write it. I had the time of my life but the feeling of euphoria didn't last long. My friends are still telling me how proud they are of me and are trying to make me see what a big deal running 26.2 miles is.

Whether it's because the one person I really wanted to be there never came or because someone I didn't want there invited them-self, I haven't been able to bring myself to write this post. But I finally wrote and it was pretty euphoric reliving that experience again.

I'm going to spare you the details of the day before, because friends who don't run marathons were begging me to get excited. God bless the girls who got me through that day in one piece.

I woke up really early on Sunday and put some pump-me-up music on, ate my bagel, drank my water and got dressed. I had throw away sweats I wore but it was so warm, I had my jacket open. After taking the train to the Staten Island Ferry, I boarded the 7:30 AM. The ride was relaxing. I had my headphones in and my phone plugged into a portable charger .

Waiting to get on a bus took forever but nothing compared to the bus ride there. When I run this again, I will be taking the 5:30 AM bus directly to Fort Wadsworth. I will say that I was fortunate enough to get a seat on the bus. Once we arrived at the start village I had practically less than 15 minutes to find a bathroom, get rid of the plastic bag and get ready to run. Not ideal in my opinion. I felt so rushed!

Less than 10 minutes after I got in my corral, we started moving towards the top of the Verrazano bridge. What a cool experience! Shortly after, the cannon went off for my wave and New York, New York, blared through the speakers.

I took the two miles on the bridge to really take in the view and what I was about to do. I felt abnormally relaxed so that obviously was not a good sign. And of course that downhill did me no favors and I lost my race at mile 2.

Brooklyn was by far my favorite borough. The energy, the people, the banana, everything. I was excited to give people high-fives but my hand started hurting after a few so I had to stop. Right before the mile 4 marker I stopped to pee at a hidden porta potty. I was still drinking water when I arrived at the start line and had a feeling that would happen. Fortunately there were only 2 people in front of me so it was a quick stop.

Even though I was taking my chews and had two bagels earlier, by mile 9 I was starving, clearly not good. I took a chew and at mile 11 ended up literally cutting off a shit ton of runners to snatch a banana out of a spectators hand (don't worry, they were meant for the runners). I slowly ate the entire thing and finished it just before the halfway mark.

As I got closer to the 13.1 mile marker, I started to realize the toll my legs were taking- the Pulaski bridge is barely an incline and I definitely huffed and puffed my way across it. I was so excited to get into my borough! It was also going to be the first time I saw some of my people.

I ended up connecting with a woman I met at the start line. We found each other a few times and Queens was the last time I saw her. I slowed down a little after mile 14 because I didn't want to miss my Hellgate team or my dad who was with my aunt, uncle and cousin. For some reason I didn't see my team until someone yelled right after I passed them. My dad was up at the front and I jumped into his arms (I literally jumped on all of my people) and went on my merry way. He told me later he wished I would have stopped for a picture, I said I was kind of in the middle of something.

Next was the bridge with the highest elevation of the entire race- the Queensboro. I ended up flying over that one because I ran that bridge on a weekly basis. The only shitty thing about that bridge was my GPS lost its signal and I never got it back. Let me tell you, doing math for 10 miles after running 16 doesn't work that well.

I was completely underwhelmed coming off of the bridge and going up First Ave. I was really expecting more noise and people. However, I did have 3 sets of people I got to see! First I saw Claire, who I didn't know was going to be watching, then was my mom with Tasch, Wendy and my sister, and last was my ride or die Anna with Chris and Meghan. Again, I jumped into everyone's arms, thankfully not knocking anyone over.

Once I got to mile 19, I really started feeling the effects of the race. As during my training, my hydration wasn't holding so I grabbed some water from a spectator. I made it over the Willis Ave bridge and to mile 21.5 and took a minor walk break. I did that a few times until mile 25 but judging by my time, I was only doing it for a few seconds at a time even though it felt longer. My mind was so clear so I think that's why the pain was so apparent to me. I actually think if I was delirious I would have just ran through like I do when I sometimes get delirious at the end of a hard half marathon.

I will say, the Bronx was pretty poppin'. I was told it was going to be quiet so I was pleasantly surprised

Mile 25-26.2 was so magical. When I got to Central Park South, both of my parents were there (on opposite sides of the street because why make my life easy?) and my friend Jaclyn was there! She was the last person I saw before I went into the park and I was so happy I got to see her.

After that it was a right into the park and there it was, the NYC Marathon finish line. The best piece of advice I got was to screw stopping your watch and put your hands up for that picture. Fortunately since my watch lost GPS, it didn't matter! I crossed the line with my hands up and the biggest smile on my face. I literally had no idea what my time was and when I finally saw they had the clocks going, I was a little disappointed. But then I turned by phone on and checked the app and saw I met my goal!!!!!

I didn't really talk about my goals prior to the race. My first goal was sub-5 hours. My second was 4:45 and my third was 4:30. I was SO excited to see I finished with a 4:44:12.

All I wanted to do while going through the finish line shoot was sit down but I also really wanted to get my poncho and be ready to go to the bar before I did that. Once the long waddle was over, I sat down on the sidewalk to stretch my legs out before ordering a very expensive Uber,

I spent the rest of the night celebrating with family and friends. I somehow managed to stay out until 11:30 PM!

Running the NYC Marathon was the most amazing experience. The question I've been getting a lot is if I'm doing another one. I am. When, I'm not sure. I'm a summer girl so training for a fall race took away a lot of my spontaneity during the summer but it's too cold for me during the winter to train for a spring race. But I'm looking forward to a sweet PR (and running a much flatter course).

Thanks again to everyone who cheered and partied with me, and didn't judge me for sleeping all day on most Saturday's after my long runs so I could go out that night.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Training with Butch Reynolds

Starting a business and working my own hours has allowed me a little flexibility to do things I traditionally wouldn't be able to do working for someone else, like sneak out for a training session with former Olympian Butch Reynolds. 

Butch holds an Olympic gold in the 4x4oom relay and a silver in the 400m. His world record of  43.29 seconds in the 400m was held for 11 years before it was broken. 

Two weeks ago I headed to a fancy gym in the FiDi for a private session with him courtesy of Philip Stein. They were launching their new Horizon Sport bracelet, which Butch is a fan of. 

I had a speed workout later that night so I was hoping he wasn't going to work me too hard. 

We started with a slow walk on the treadmill then went over what we were going to do. He was going to show me some warm ups, stretch my legs out and test my flexibility then go over my running form. 

We did traditional coordination warm ups, balance exercises, high knees, butt kicks, etc. We also went over where to look when running- not straight ahead but also not all the way down. Chin slightly tilted and eyes basically aimed at the feet of the person a few feet in front of you. '

After the first portion, he mentioned I was one of the most in shape person he worked with all day. Thennnn we got to the stretching portion and I became the least flexible person he saw all day. 

While lying on my back, we worked each leg individually to get them to a 90 degree angle vertical and horizontal. Whoa did that stretch out my super tight hips! In order to move my legs back further, Butch used resistance on every exhale. I highly recommend working on flexibility if you're a runner. I have been trying to get to yoga at least once a week. 

Last, we got to the running portion. We did this twice. The first time, without any tips, I ran up and down the small corridor in the gym and Butch took video. Then we went over it. I learned that I run too flat footed and up and down. Also, my elbows are a little too wide. 

The second time I did it, of course I nailed it. Launch off the balls of my feet? Done. Lean a bit forward? Check. Aim eyes lower? Yes. Elbows in? For the most part. 

I have definitely been trying to incorporate all of those changes into my training. I can feel the difference when I'm suddenly aware of something and tweak it. 

Training the past 2 weeks has gone fantastic. My speed is coming back and my long run wasn't half bad. Fingers crossed as the weather gets nicer, my breath and hydration becomes normal again. 

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday weekend!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Marathon Training!


When life throws you some curve balls, you take a little blogging break. Between branching out to be a solo PR badass, weekends out east, seeing friends and oh yeah, running, things got a little cray.

Fortunately, I have been training and as of this moment, in 73 days, I will be toeing the starting line on the Verrazano Bridge to run the NYC Marathon!

In the spring I finally started attending practice (after joining in January) with my team, the Hellgate Road Runners. On Mondays I aim to go to the hill repeat workout and on Wednesdays it's speed on the track. Both of those workouts are going to contribute to me getting up and over those marathon hills and bridges. I can already feel myself getting stronger and faster.

If you hadn't noticed, I signed up for 0 races this year besides the NYC half and full marathons. Coming off of injuries with all of my speed basically gone was going to set me up for disappointment so I decided that 2017 will be the year of PR's.

With that said, hopefully brighter running days are ahead. Like many other runners, the heat and humidity was not my friend. There was some walking, extended traffic light breaks and finishing of the water bottle wayyy before the run was done.

My longest run in this training cycle so far has been 13 miles and it was awful. My hydration was completely off and although I never had to pee, it was a miracle my body was retaining it because all I wanted to to was drink everything I saw. Be it the heat or the fact I was eating pretzels, it did not leaving me feeling great about this race.

But on Monday, a miracle happened and it started getting cooler. I did my scheduled 5 miles, with hills incorporated, and felt fab.

I'm going to start putting a bigger focus on yoga and Pilates to make sure my core and arms are strong so they can carry me across that finish line.

I'm so happy to be back to blogging and can't wait to share some fun topic changes I'm going to be making!