Monthly Archives: April 2012
Looking for a way to get your full dose of celebration on in honor of Cinco de Mayo, without quite as much guilt? I’m a big fan of Mexican food and we all know I love a tasty margarita, so I know for a fact I’ll be celebrating this weekend. But just like many others, I’ve been looking for an equally fantastic way to get my sweat on before I indulge, so the added calories don’t make as big of an impact. My ticket to the big show: Flywheel. And if you’re in New York City, you’re definitely going to want to get in on the action.
As you all know, I’ve had a running coach for the past few months to get me through my spring training cycle. Even though she was originally hired (that sounds so weird, since she’s one of my friends, but it is what it is) to help me tackle a marathon, Abby modified my plans and stuck by me through all the craziness as I went after a half-marathon instead. My recap on Saturday’s race is coming your way tomorrow, but today I want to share a bit more about Abby and the awesomeness that surrounds her.
This is Abby. I stole this picture from her blog.
You see, Abby’s husband was deployed in the United States Marine Corp six years ago and she was by herself in the Big Apple. Looking for a way to to be productive, she signed up to run the Marine Corps Marathon and decided to raise money for a military charity while doing it. The winning charity? Fisher House Foundation, a charity that builds houses near military hospitals so that families of injured soldiers can stay for free while their loved ones are recovering. It’s a great organization, and 97 percent of the proceeds go directly to those who need it, rather than to advertising and administrative costs.
Fast forward to present day, and Abby is now planning to run the same marathon, but this time it will be her 10th race of that epic distance (wowzers!).The best part? She’s still running for Fisher House and her husband will be running alongside her. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.
But what does this all have to do with Cinco de Mayo and getting your sweat on? I’m so glad you asked. This Saturday at 3pm, Abby and hubby will be hosting a charity ride at Flywheel and they want to see you there. Seriously, she’s one of the nicest people you can meet, so just go and get your daily dose of happiness.
But if that isn’t enough, there are some pretty sweet prizes being raffled off. Think Lululemon, NY Yoga, Erica Sara Designs and more. And I hear there’s going to be a sweet, rather tasty refreshment after the ride…
Anyway, if you’re interested in getting your sweat on with Abby, myself and a ton of other really awesome people, come to Flywheel on Saturday at 3pm. The proceeds go directly to Abby’s fundraising efforts for Fisher House Foundation (DOUBLE CHECK) and bikes are going fast, so nab one here before they’re gone. And if you do decide to go after reading this, make sure you say hi! I love meeting new readers. Who knows, maybe we’ll all go sip on a margarita (or two) after.
It’s almost time to race! But before we get to goals, here’s how the rest of yesterday went down:
After two flights and a one-hour layover in Charlotte, I arrived in Nashville with Dustin. My dad and step-mom were waiting for us at security.
He’s so cute, isn’t he? Like father like daughter 😉
Oh, and that picture isn’t staged. Dustin whipped his phone out to take a picture because he knew I’d like it for the blog. Also, I’m as white as a ghost.
We immediately went over to the expo so I could pick up my bib and check out the other goodies floating around. I nabbed some nuun samples (hydrate!) and munched on the other goodies floating around.
I also became a sucker for marketing and signed up for the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon. I’ve been contemplating it for a few weeks, but once I saw that processing fees were eliminated, I hopped on board. Dustin nodded approval, the race is eight days before my birthday, the price goes up in a few weeks and today was payday, so there really was no chance in hell I was going to say no. I guess I’ll be experiencing my first night race (start time is 10p.m.) this fall!
And then the next most important thing happened: food. I’m taking my pre-race carb loading serious this time around. First, I wolfed down a monstrous Brooklyn bagel with triple berry cream cheese (hey, there’s fresh fruit in there!) at the airport. I wish I could say I only ate half, but then I’d be lying. In fact, I ate all of mine and a little bit of Dustin’s, too. I blame it on the fact that I usually eat breakfast once I wake up and today I had to wait a good hour and 45 minutes before inhaling any carbs. No bueno.
Dad took us to Applebee’s for lunch, which I have quite the soft spot for. I shared boneless buffalo wings with Dustin (my fave) and the fiesta lime chicken dish with a blue moon on the side. Luckily, I have a pretty strong stomach so I don’t have to be too careful about what I eat the day before the race.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel. I made sure not to walk around too much so that I have rested legs and my foot is ready to go. I iced my foot before bed and slipped on the oh-so-sexy hot pink compression socks so they could work their magic while I got my beauty sleep.
Dinner was originally scheduled to take place at Maggiano’s because I requested an Italian feast, but there was an hour and a half wait. It was getting close to my bed time, so we quickly left. All of the local spots we wanted to try had the same problem, so we ended up at the Olive Garden. I had one breadstick, a small portion of salad and three-quarters of my monstrous plate of ravioli with marinara sauce. ‘Twas delicious.
My race outfit is chosen (I brought three options) and was laid out last night as if already on my body. My Garmin and iPod are charged and my full-blown country playlist is ready to rock.
So how do I plan on tackling this race? Here are my goals:
A.) Run a sub-2. If that clock reads 1:59.59, I’ll be a happy girl.
B.) Run at least a 2:07. It’s my current PR and I’d like to not run slower than that, if at all possible.
C.) Finish. I’m not underestimating the heat and hills, and I know I’m not running this in my peak physical condition. A lot could go wrong, but good God I need to at least cross the finish line, regardless of time.
This is how I plan on accomplishing at least one of these (or all three!) goals:
- Hydrating and taking in salt. Usually my salt levels aren’t a concern, but I’ve also never raced long distance in the heat. Dustin will have salt packets and a water bottle with him in case I need some in between water stations. I was going to carry a fuel belt with me, but mine has mysteriously disappeared. I tore apart my bedroom last night but still can’t find it. I’m comfortable going water station to water station because that’s what I’ve always done, but Dustin will have extra stuff on hand, just in case. Anyone running in the heat tomorrow, remember, if you’re running but not sweating, that means your body is overheating. Get some salt and water in you, stat.
- Not psyching myself out on the hills. Every single time I told someone which race I was trying to sub-2 on, their eyes opened wide and they said some variation of, “Oh, wow. Um, I’ve heard it has a lot of hills.” Yes, I’m aware of that. And it will probably suck. But when I brought it up to Abby, she said, “Screw the hills. You’ve been training in Central Park. And you know what? If it goes uphill, it has a downhill. Focus your energy on powering up the hill, then cruise the downhill.” I agree with all of those things. You so smart, coach!
- Pacing myself. This means not going out too fast, which I am notorious for. I get so excited and caught up in the crowds. I see a great split for the first mile and I think, “Woohoo, I’m a rock star!” Yeah, OK, Sam. Things are fantastic and then….I poop out. Womp womp. But not this time! My plan is to find the 2:10 pace group and stick with them for the first mile or so, then push ahead when I’m comfortable and not so high on life.
- Running hard. I’m breaking the race into 5Ks: first 5K, stick to a comfortable pace around 9:05-9:10. Second 5K: Hover around 9:00-minute miles. Third 5K: Pick it up so I’m feeling uncomfortable the entire time, aiming for 8:45-8:50 paces. Fourth 5K: Maintain that uncomfortable pace, but push harder. I probably won’t see a time increase, but I need to push harder to stay at the same pace. Last mile: BALLS TO THE WALL. Sprint as hard as I can, leaving it all out on the pavement, feeling like I want to give up, vomit or die. Doesn’t that sound pleasant?
- Remembering why I’m running. This race is going to be tough for me. I know it is. I’ve never pushed myself to truly race before and I need to mentally stay in the game and be OK with being uncomfortable. Too often I don’t give myself enough credit and think I can’t maintain a faster pace because it feels uncomfortable. Remember, Samantha, it’s not supposed to feel comfortable. Running is easier than racing. I can do this. And when I really think I can’t, I’m going to remember exactly why I’m running this. It’s personal and all sorts of secret for now, but I’m sure I’ll go over it in the recap.
And there ya have it, friends. Yes, I have an injury and am not in the best shape to tackle this race. But I’m ready to push harder than I ever have before. If I come out with a sub-2 PR attached to my name, I’ll be stoked. But honestly, the best part of this race is that my family is there. My dad has never seen me run and I know I’m going to tear up seeing him cheering for me on the sidelines. No matter what the outcome, I’m going to enjoy this weekend.
Who else is racing in Nashville? Rodney Atkins and Gloriana are rockin’ the stage post-race and you know I’ll be there. Good luck and get your country on!
Helloooo, from Nashville!
But wait, Sam…you live in New York City….what the heck are you doing in Nashville?!
Obviously, it’s been a while since I’ve updated. I know. I’m not even going to bother giving excuses anymore. Let’s just say I’ve been living life outside, rather than behind a computer screen. After all, if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have any good stories to tell. And we don’t want things to get boring around here, do we? (BECAUSE IT’S NOT BORING ALREADY!)
Anyway, I’m in Nashville for the weekend to get my race on. Way back when (nearly a year ago…holy crap), I signed up for the Country Music Marathon on April 28, 2012. You read that right – the Country Music MARATHON. As in 26.2 miles, not 13.1. I was super excited as I bought my ticket and watched the money in my bank account disappear. Nothing was more exciting to me than the thought of spending 4+ hours (because you know I’m not going sub-4 on my first mary) pounding the pavement in the hot Nashville sun with my dad and Dustin on the sidelines.
Of course, I didn’t really think things through. Nashville has hills? Psshh. It might be 80 or 90 degrees on race day? Whatevs. I just wanted to ruuuuuun!
Clearly, I’m a bit naïve.
So after a few more races, including a half-marathon, and a wee bit of hip pain, I was ready to start training. Six to seven months of long runs, building up 20 miles until the welcoming relief of taper town (no, I don’t go crazy during taper. I’m totally one of those runners who loves it). I hired coach Abby to guide me through, which ended up being the best decision I made through this entire journey. She coached me well; every run now had a purpose and strength training was reintroduced into my life. We were focusing on getting me strong so that my body would be ready for all the sweat-filled pounding that was about to go down.
But then my knee started to hurt.
Oh yes, we can’t forget that now, can we? The awful long runs, the tears and the total breakdown in the middle of Central Park. If you’ve forgotten, let me remind you. I sure as hell will remember it for a long time. Tendinitis is fun!
After a lot of careful contemplation and discussion with coach Abby (read: me sitting in Starbucks across from Abby bawling my eyes out while she tries to calm the crazy person down so people will stop staring), we decided it was best if I drop down to the half-marathon. If you want to know all of the reasons why, check out this post and try to understand my brain a little. It’s complicated, I know.
Just because I was moving to 13.1 doesn’t mean I couldn’t go after another goal of mine, though: sub-2. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and truly believe I’m capable of it. First step: physical therapy. So I packed up my bags (OK, I’m exaggerating) and paid a visit to Ken at Recovery Physical Therapy.
I can’t say this enough: Ken is a great physical therapist. He doesn’t run himself, but he gets me as a runner. He doesn’t make me do things I don’t want to do, like give up running, and he worked with Abby to stick as close to my new training plan as possible while still building the strength back up in my knee. But more details on that in another post.
I spent my mornings therapy-ing and my evenings running (not on the same days), with some strength and cross-training in the mix. Oh, and a lot of icing, foam rolling, compressing and stretching. A few weeks later though, a dull pain popped up in my foot. Nothing too crazy at first, but noticeable enough. I told Ken and we started modifying exercises and ultrasound-ing the crap out of my foot tendons.
But it didn’t get better. It got worse. Figures.
A few days and a diagnosis of tendinosis due to overuse later (that’s early stages of tendinitis, in case you were wondering) and my mileage was reduced to help heal. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the tendinosis developed right around the time taper period hit. I choose to view it as a blessing because I could drop down on the miles I was logging without seriously compromising my training. More icing, ultrasound and electric stimulation began and soon enough it was time to cruise until race day.
Phew, I think you’re caught up now. I’ll be back tonight or tomorrow with my goals for race day and how I actually feel about these hills now that I’m staring at them up close and personal.
Now you tell me: Have you been dealing with an injury? Tell me your secrets to recovery! And are you racing this weekend? We have a good number of awesome NYC bloggers tackling the country music half on Saturday, so no matter what, it’s going to be a great time!
Happy Tuesday! I’m not sure what the weather’s like where you are, but it is GORGEOUS here in New York City. I was out the door for physical therapy before 6:30 this morning and it was already 70 degrees out. Walking around sans jacket definitely put a little pep in my step and I am in a glorious mood. Funny how the weather can inspire such drastic mood changes in people.
The last few days, I’ve been taking the time to just be. How often do we do that these days? Definitely not often enough, especially when you live in a city that never sleeps and people are constantly on the go to get somewhere. So every once in a while, mostly when I’m outside in the sunshine, I remember to pause and just live in the moment that I’m in. And it’s been glorious.
Whenever I read Ali’s Thankful Things Thursday posts, I always get a big smile on my face and it sets me up for a good day. I don’t feel like waiting until Thursday, so I’m going to get my thankful on today. It’s Tuesday, so it still starts with a “T,” which makes it still cute-sy and stuff. Here we go!
I’m thankful for…
My running coach and physical therapist.
They’re both pretty rad. They know each other too, which makes things more fun. They talk about me when I’m not around. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Hopefully they say nice things. Even if they don’t, I’m still thankful for them. There’s no way in hell I would’ve gotten through this training cycle without them. Mentally, I’ve been beating myself up for a while and am totally checked out. I’m kind of ready for this race to just be here so I can be done with it. But more on that later.
Basically, if I didn’t have coach Abby to report to and Ken fixin’ me up twice a week, then I don’t think I would survive. They brighten my day and keep me from doing stupid things. They’re much smarter than me.
This weather. Because that’s a given. 86 degrees in mid-April isn’t typical, but I’m not complaining. Please stay forever, warm weather ❤
Even though some silly survey thinks that journalism is one of the worst jobs ever, I tend to disagree. Instead, I think Forbes did a pretty good job explaining how rad my career is. My favorite part? I’m constantly learning. I loved going to school and constantly absorbing new information (am I nerd?) and I get to do that every single day still. I also get to do super cool things and meet extremely interesting people on a daily basis. Win.
A lot of them have come to visit since I’ve moved to this grand city and it means the world to me. My buddy Tim, from high school, came for a quick trip the other day. It had been a long time since I’d seen him.
Despite battling a nasty cold that I believe came from the oh-so-wonderful Dustin, we did a lot of walking on Sunday and fun shopping. He lets me dress him, which is very exciting. I think Dustin got jealous because he let me dress him, too. This is new. I like it.
I also got to dress myself in fun dresses suitable for this beautiful weather. This is my outfit today, for example, except I took this picture when I was in the dressing room over the weekend. Ya know, to make sure it looked cute.
But anyway, I really like my friends. They’re super cool. You should be my friend, too. We’ll have fun.
New York City.
It really is a beautiful place and I could not be more happy about living here. Last night I saw a movie with Libby, and as we walked home, we passed Lincoln Center and all of the beautiful fountains and structures that surround that area of town. So pretty and, even though a lot of people are busy, it was peaceful.
Going to school at Oswego.
Speaking of beautiful places, Oswego is definitely one of them. Even though I love this city, I can’t help but miss the college days when a warm-weather day like this one would mean a game of pickup soccer, relaxing by the lake listening to the guitarists play, a walk on the breakwall to reach the lighthouse, followed up with dinner at Rudy’s seafood and dessert at Bev’s ice cream. Apparently I’m not the only one nostalgic for my alma mater either.
Not actual holes in the wall because those aren’t fun, especially when it’s time to move out of your apartment and you have to either fix the hole or watch a big chunk of change disappear from your security deposit (Luckily, no said holes appear in my current apartment. Phew). But rather, little gems of a restaurant or bar that are tucked away in the city, not outrageously advertised but stumbled upon quietly. That happened this weekend when Tim, Dustin and I happened upon Chat ‘n Chew diner.
The atmosphere was quaint, the decor was cute and the prices were just right. The menu was limited, for sure, but I’m not one to complain. The grilled chicken sandwich was bomb-tastic. (Why do I say non-words like this? I don’t know.)
I could keep going, but this post is getting a little long. Just know I’m full of thankful today.
Your turn: tell me what you’re thankful for! I don’t care how big or how small, just tell me. You’ll feel better, I promise!
PS: I added a new page! Check out my personal bucket list, then tell me what awesome things you want to experience.
I know it’s been a week since Easter for many people (seriously, time is flying by), but I live in Astoria where many people are Greek, which means they’ve been celebrating this weekend rather than last. So forgive me, but I’m still in the Easter mood and because I think the bunny butt cake I made at my parent’s house is so darn cute, I want to share the recipe with you.
My mom is big on baking and cooking, so once my plans to head upstate for the holiday were solidified, I knew we would spend quality time in the kitchen together. When I arrived, my mom had a slew of recipes she was ready to make, both healthy and not-so-healthy but oh-so-delicious. Remember, it was also my little brother’s birthday, so a celebration was in order! Craving sugar (the holiday candy definitely got the best of me this year), I took to some of my favorite blogs to see what I could contribute. The bunny butt cake was found on Julie’s blog; the original recipe found here.
After a quick scan through the ingredients, we realized nearly everything was in the pantry. A few change-ups were necessary, but I was preheating the oven and rippin’ open ingredients before I knew it!
Easter Bunny Butt Cake
- 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
- Water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on the box
- 1 container Betty Crocker vanilla frosting
- Red food color
- Green food color
- Shredded coconut
- 2 strawberry taffy’s
- 1 bag mixed jelly beans (to pick out the dark-colored ones)
- Pink construction paper
- Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 1 1/2-quart ovenproof (!) bowl and 3 muffin cups in a regular muffin pan with shortening; coat with flour (do not use cooking spray).
- Make cake batter as directed on box. Pour cake batter in 3 muffin cups, filling two-thirds full. Pour remaining batter into coated bowl.
- Bake cupcakes 20-23 minutes, bowl 50-53 minutes or until done (Quick tip: if you want to know if it’s done and don’t have toothpicks handy, lightly tap the center of the bowl/cups. If it bounces back up immediately, it’s done!) Cool 20-30 minutes.
- Spoon frosting into large bowl. Add a few drops of red food color and stir to make desired pink color (I used 3 drops). Take cake out of bowl and place on sheet tray upside down (the more rounded side should be face-up). Cover cake in frosting.
- Cover cupcakes in frosting, then use additional frosting to adhere cupcakes to bowl cake, making the tail and feet. You may need to use toothpicks to help keep in place. Freeze cake for 30 minutes.
- While frosting is setting, place desired amount of shredded coconut in sealable Ziploc bag. Add a few drops of green food color (I used 4 drops) to make desired shade for surrounding grass. Shake until thoroughly coated. In a second Ziploc bag, place more shredded coconut and add red color to make the same pink color as frosting. Shake until thoroughly coated. Set both bags aside.
- Take two taffy pieces and flatten with rolling pin. Carve out 2 large oval pieces and 6 small circles for the paws.
- Remove cake from freezer. Take bag of pink coconut and sprinkle contents over the cake, coating all visible surfaces and pressing gently to adhere. Take taffy pieces and lightly press into feet in the shape of the paws – one big oval per foot, three circles below the big oval.
- Sprinkle contents of green coconut around the cake to make grass. Cut two pink ears out of construction paper and use toothpicks to secure to cake. Pick out dark-colored jelly beans and place in between feet. Oops, your bunny had an accident! Enjoy!
It turned out delicious! Just to note, I followed the original recipe rather closely, but made adjustments to cut down on time. I also used egg whites instead of full-yolk eggs, and cut out the marshmallows that the original called for. I’d love to experiment next year to make a similar version from scratch, rather than having the mix come out of a box. But it was still mighty yummy! Extremely moist and the perfect balance of coconut. I took the feet and tail home with me and they were gone within the week! (Note: the grass coconut was just for decoration, so if you don’t care about that, feel free to leave it out. It just helps create the scene on the tray).
Did you make any Easter treats for the holiday?
P.S. Congratulations to everyone who completed the MORE/FITNESS half-marathon this weekend! You rock!!
One of these days, I’m going to get back to regularly scheduled blogging, I swear. Between work, travel, physical therapy and training for a sub-2 half, my days have kept me busy and left me exhausted. But enough with the bellyaching, let’s get on with the show!
First of all, can you believe it’s already April 6?! Time is flying by and I can’t seem to make it slow down. But at the same time, I don’t want it to because that means we’re that much closer to summer! I’m so excited for the warm weather, happy people, bright colors and amazing plans that are coming to fruition. But when summer does actually appear, the clock needs to slow down. You hear me?
Regardless of how much I want to slow down, April is here and it’ll be gone before we know it. And it means that we’re already a third of the way through 2012! Phew! So I figured now was just as good a time as any to take a peek back at my 2012 goals and see how I’m faring. Join me, won’t you?
1.) Finish a marathon.
Obviously, this has not happened yet. Still up for debate on whether a fall 26.2 is in my future. I had to drop down to 13.1 for my original race in Nashville and am currently in PT rehabbing the snot out of my knee. I’m eyeing a few races in the fall, but still need to consult with my coach to see if this is something feasible to go after.
2.) Do yoga twice a week.
Ummm….yeah. About that. Yoga has gone missing from my life, again to my busy schedule. And because of physical therapy. I haven’t gotten the go ahead for it yet, but hopefully it’ll reappear soon. Then I’m going to aim for once a week and go from there.
3.) Be able to do 20 push-ups in a row.
I’m working on it! I can do them on my knees, heh. TWSS. Next step: move on up to my toes. I will get there!
4.) Run a sub-2:00 half-marathon
That’s the plan for Nashville! Coach Abby and my PT guys have been really pushing my body to get me into top shape to pull this one off. Fingers crossed I can check this off my list in three weeks!
5.) Run a race for charity
I have my eye on a certain race to do this for, it just depends on where I’m at with physical therapy. But it’s in the works! I’m determined to cross this puppy off before the end of the year.
So clearly I don’t have many things crossed off my list so far. Let’s hope it gets better with the second half…
1.) Grow at my job
Check! I’m loving my job every single day and taking on more responsibility as I progress. I’m learning so much and I believe I’m doing well. The plan is to continue busting my booty so everyone falls more in love with me. And if they haven’t yet, make them. 🙂
With Mr. and Ms. Jay from America’s Next Top Model. I was ecstatic, not gonna lie.
2.) Volunteer at the Hope Lodge
I have it planned for this summer! It’s in my calendar and I plan to spend at least one weekend dedicating to helping out over there. Keep your eyes peeled for that experience. I know it’s going to be amazing. I’m also signed up for Relay for Life in my hometown on my mom’s team. I start fundraising soon and I’m so excited!
3.) Go on a cruise
It’s booked!! Bahamas, Dustin and I will see you in September for four nights. I’m stoked!
4.) Pay off X amount of student loans.
I’m working on it. In fact, I made another payment today. I’ve done some calculations and my mini-goal toward achieving this one is to pay off another one of my loans in full by the end of August. So far, I’m right on track. Boom!
5.) Get my personal trainer certification.
Must. Open. Books. Just do it!
6.) Read at least one book a month
Check! I read:
- Violets of March by Sarah Jio in January
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern in February
- Healthy Tipping Point by Caitlin Boyle in March
- And I’m working on another book now, but it’s a secret.
Not to mention all of the magazines I read on a weekly basis 🙂
If you’re looking for my book recommendations, you can check out my list on Pinterest. But I think I’m going to start posting monthly book reviews as well, so we can dig a little deeper! After reading The Night Circus, I wanted to discuss it so bad with my college friends who took creative writing classes with me. Hopefully these posts will push them to talk to me more. (Hint hint, guys!)
All in all, I don’t think I’m doing too bad. I’ve been traveling a lot the past month or so and it’s been difficult to fit everything in, but I’m having the time of my life. I’ll be back Monday with my mini-goals for April. For now, I’m headed upstate for the weekend to celebrate Easter and this guy’s birthday:
Catch ya on the flip side!
Your turn: How are your goals for 2012 coming? Have you had to re-evaluate and set new goals?