Refining things.

March 31, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Posted in strength | 8 Comments
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Last week, when I was complaining (surprise!) that I don’t know how to do a real push-up on twitter, Dori suggested that I check out one of the free introductory classes at Refine Method. So I signed up then and there and went to my first class last night.

Refine was founded by former New York City Ballet dancer Brynn Jinnett and is described on its website as “a seamless circuit-style technique called Metabolic Resistance Training, utilizing our exclusive Refine equipment system. Our goal is to unite exercise science with the aesthetic objectives of our clientele.” I’d say it’s yoga + pilates + total body conditioning (or body pump, or whatever your gym calls it).

The class was super tiny – just 8 people. I liked that. The instructor could then give each of us personal attention and make sure that we had good form. The routine started with some light warm ups, most of which were basically yoga poses. Right away we had to do push-ups! Since learning a proper push-up was one of the main reasons I came to this class, I couldn’t wimp out. And I was not about to be the only one out of 8 people doing “girl” push-ups. So I just did it. Luckily, they were measured by time and not by number of moves, so it was okay that I just did about 4 (I have no idea how many the other people did; I was too busy concentrating on my own). The instructor didn’t come by to correct me, so I assume that means that I did okay!

(Side note: once again I’ve learned that the only way to tackle anything you are scared of or don’t know how to do it just DIVE IN and make it work.)

The heart of the class was circuit training – a bunch of moves that are repeated with breaks for cardio. I can’t recall it all in great detail but there was a lot of squatting and a good deal of arm resistance training on a weighted pulley system. It was intense, but not impossible by any means. The only thing I didn’t like was that the pulley system was kind of herky-jerkey and the movements were not smooth.

The class ended on the mat with some glute and leg moves with resistance bands that caused more suffering (for me) than any other part of the class. Needless to say, my tushie is screaming today. But definitely in the good way – the “I know I did something awesome for my body” way.

Refine was certainly a total body workout, which is great for me – it means that everything is tackled in one session. Classes are $25 each, which is pretty reasonable given the cost of other fitness classes in this city; I pay a lot for my gym membership, though, so I’m not sure I see it becoming a major part of my routine. That said, I will definitely be back from time to time!

Remember, the first class is free, so it’s worth checking out.

Speaking of races…

March 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Posted in races | 2 Comments
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I signed up for a LOT this morning! What can I say? I love little races in the park. It’s so much fun to pin on your number and line up with everyone else (and wear my Alzheimer’s jersey in front of as many people as possible!).

When I saw that the race I had logged on to sign up for was sold out (the Scotland 10K on April 10), I immediately signed up for every other race that was available (and that I was available for):

City Parks Foundation Run for the Parks (4M), April 17

American Heart Association Start! Wall Street Run (3M), May 17 (after work! This is a fun one we’ve been doing for years)

Portugal Day Event (5M), June 19

Front Runners New York Lesbian and Gay Pride Run (5M), June 25

Achilles Hope & Possibility (5M), June 26 (an awesome race for runners with disabilities – so inspiring. And last year Prince Harry was there!)

Who else is in?

The road to a race.

March 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Posted in races | 7 Comments
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I ran 6 half marathons last year, and I didn’t train for any of them. I had never run a half before I ran the full, so I had a pretty arrogant attitude for the first one (“Oh PLEEZE, I have already done double this distance, it will be cake!”). THAT was something of a reality check. The second was just a few months later, but it was still winter and I probably only ran once a week beforehand. And all the rest fell during marathon training.

This year I’m dedicating myself to properly training for a great half. We are signed up for one in June that just happens to be in the beautiful part of Vermont where we spent a weekend last summer. I didn’t think the mountains would be a good place to go for a PR, but it turns out the course is all downhill! So I’m going for it. I want to run a sub-2 hour half. (My current PR is 2:08:59 so I have a long way to go.)

I decided to use Hal Higdon’s 12-week intermediate training program. I’m trying to stick to it to the letter (except of course for my “vacation” last week).

This morning I had to do 6 x 400 meters at 5K pace. That means run a quarter of a mile (yes, I had to look that up) at 5K pace 6 times with short walk breaks between. This was the best, shortest, and easiest workout ever! I was definitely uncomfortable during the running portions (I did them at 8:30 pace, which is a bit faster than my 5K time, but I figured I’d better kick it up a notch), but the breaks were great and the whole thing took less than 25 minutes. It was awesome.

Has anyone else used this training plan? If not, which one do you like?

Health is wealth.

March 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Posted in running, strength | 9 Comments
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Earlier this year, Chuck and I joined a new gym and signed up for training packages. We both turned 30 in December and feel like now’s the time to be in the best shape of our lives. I started working out 4 or 5 times a week, most days in the morning before work (!), plus some extra yoga and running on the side. I tried to clean up my diet a bit (I don’t think it’s so bad anyway, but I do love bread and cheese) as well.

After a month, I saw no change. Perhaps I was a bit stronger, but not in a tangible way. My clothes fit the same, the scale hadn’t moved, I still couldn’t do a real push up. So I quit.

I didn’t give up completely, but I was feeling pretty discouraged, so I decided to give myself a week off. I didn’t exercise at all and I ate and drank whatever I wanted. I didn’t bother making an effort to drink lots of water during the day like I usually do. I was a total lazeball.

In print it sounds kind of luxurious, but in reality, it totally sucked. I felt like crap all week. I thought maybe it wasn’t so different from the way I usually feel, but I know that’s not true since I’ve started exercising again (for two days, but still!).  I feel alert and happy and completely refreshed. Yes! Completely refreshed from getting back in the habit of waking up at 5:15 to go to the gym. Seems backwards, but it’s true. All that stuff they say about exercise and endorphins is for real.

So, lesson learned. I am a better me when I am exercising. Glad that’s settled.

So, hi.

March 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Posted in not-running | 2 Comments

I think I’m back!

After my first marathon was over, I retired my first blog, and I thought I would do the same with Meghann on the Move after my second marathon. But recently I’ve been thinking about blogging again. I could use a little motivation and accountability, and this seems like the right place to find those things.

I don’t really know yet what shape it will take; I don’t know how often I’ll post or even what I’ll post about. I think it’ll be mostly about running, but there are other things in my life that may sneak on here too. So, it’s a very open ended project. I hope it goes some place fun.

P.S. Let me just say again that I’m NOT promising that I’ll run the marathon this year! I did register just in case (I am eligible because I completed NYRR’s 9+1 program last year), but I’m still very much on the fence about it.

This is not a promise, but…

March 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Posted in races | Leave a comment

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